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November 25, 2010

Mo' Pie?

By min | November 25, 2010, 2:22 PM | My stupid life| Link

November 24, 2010

Hey! Who Put Their Turkey in my Arsenic?

Most commercial-grade poultry feed today contains an arsenic-based pesticide. Like the Victorians, farmers use the poison because of its ability to improve appearances -- in this case because arsenic's potent effect on blood vessels makes the chicken and turkey we buy look pinker and therefore fresher.


Delicious! Mebbe it'll clear up everybody's acne, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

By min | November 24, 2010, 10:46 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science| Link

I made this for you

With my own two hands. Don't know why. You're welcome.

By fnord12 | November 24, 2010, 3:07 PM | My stupid life| Link

November 22, 2010

It's not D&D unless...

Mike Sterling has some requirements.

By fnord12 | November 22, 2010, 10:50 AM | Comics & D&D | Comments (1) | Link

November 21, 2010

We Read BoingBoing So You Don't Have To

Two interesting vids I found on BoingBoing today.

  • When did you choose to be straight?

  • Race to nowhere

Interestingly, last night fnord12 and i were just talking about the pointlessness of homework. Now i dunno about that chick who needed to see a doctor because of stress from doing homework, and i do think that doing some exercises to practice something that you've been taught is helpful to remembering lessons, but alot of homework is just crap. Remember the weekly vocab?

By min | November 21, 2010, 2:43 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Chuck Berry rules

I just thought this old photo, from a semi-recent issue of Rolling Stone that Wanyas gave me, was awesome.

By fnord12 | November 21, 2010, 12:59 AM | Music | Comments (2) | Link

November 19, 2010

Debbie Gibson and Tiffany

Today has been my day for finding awesome movie info. The first was Cowboys and Aliens, which is just awesome based on the title alone before you read the plot summary and see that it's got 1) Harrison Ford, 2) Daniel Craig, and 3) Jon Favreau and prolly deserves a post of its own, but i'm too excited by this new find.

First, there was the awesomeness that was Debra Gibson starring in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. It was so awesome, fnord12 and i had to watch this in fast forward.

Then, to my extreme delight, we found out that 80s pop star Tiffany had also made her own B-giant monster flick, Mega Piranha. Oh it's so on my Netflix Instant queue.

Now....now I found out they're supposed to be in a movie together! Squee!!! And just look at the title - Mega Python vs. Gatoroid!

I thought nothing could top my excitement about Sharktopus. How wrong i was.

By min | November 19, 2010, 2:51 PM | Movies & TeeVee| Link

That's, ummmm, one way of putting it

via Yglesias:

"Why do you have to blow up so many of our fields and homes?" a farmer from the Arghandab district asked a top NATO general at a recent community meeting.

Although military officials are apologetic in public, they maintain privately that the tactic has a benefit beyond the elimination of insurgent bombs. By making people travel to the district governor's office to submit a claim for damaged property, "in effect, you're connecting the government to the people," the senior officer said.

By fnord12 | November 19, 2010, 2:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

I Told You I Could Feel It Giving Me Cancer

Ever since i got this stupid phone, i've had a psychosomatic reaction to it whenever it's in my pocket. My leg starts to hurt wherever the phone is. It's like i feel an aching in my bones. Weird, right? Obliviously, i try not to carry my phone directly on my person whenever possible.

Meanwhile, study after study has come out to say cell phones and cell towers don't give people cancer blah blah blah. I don't care. I can feel it giving me cancer in my leg. Cereally.

Now the NYTimes tells me that mebbe cell phones are kinda dangerous when close to your body. So i feel slightly vindicated while at the same time acknowledging that my leg pains are prolly my imagination.

WARNING: Holding a cellphone against your ear may be hazardous to your health. So may stuffing it in a pocket against your body.

I'm paraphrasing here. But the legal departments of cellphone manufacturers slip a warning about holding the phone against your head or body into the fine print of the little slip that you toss aside when unpacking your phone. Apple, for example, doesn't want iPhones to come closer than 5/8 of an inch; Research In Motion, BlackBerry's manufacturer, is still more cautious: keep a distance of about an inch.


The cellphone instructions-cum-warnings were brought to my attention by Devra Davis, an epidemiologist who has worked for the University of Pittsburgh and has published a book about cellphone radiation, "Disconnect." I had assumed that radiation specialists had long ago established that worries about low-energy radiation were unfounded. Her book, however, surveys the scientific investigations and concludes that the question is not yet settled.

Henry Lai, a research professor in the bioengineering department at the University of Washington, began laboratory radiation studies in 1980 and found that rats exposed to radiofrequency radiation had damaged brain DNA. He maintains a database that holds 400 scientific papers on possible biological effects of radiation from wireless communication. He found that 28 percent of studies with cellphone industry funding showed some sort of effect, while 67 percent of studies without such funding did so. "That's not trivial," he said.

Ms. Davis recommends keeping a phone out of close proximity to the head or body, by using wired headsets or the phone's speaker. Children should text rather than call, she said, and pregnant women should keep phones away from the abdomen.

The F.C.C. concurs about the best way to avoid exposure. It is not by choosing a phone with a marginally lower SAR, it says, but rather by holding the cellphone "away from the head or body."

I don't use the phone enough to justify getting a headset/earpiece, but i think about it everytime i get that ache in my leg. I also need some sort of carrying device to keep it away from my body. Like a sack on a stick.

By min | November 19, 2010, 1:29 PM | Science| Link

Remember, Obama appointed this guy


The Republican co-chair of the White House's fiscal commission predicted this morning that his controversial recommendations for reducing long-term deficits will have a real opportunity to become enacted next year, when the nation brushes up against its debt ceiling, and newly elected Republicans threaten to send the country into default.

"I can't wait for the blood bath in April," said Alan Simpson at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast roundtable with reporters this morning. "It won't matter whether two of us have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.' And boy the bloodbath will be extraordinary."

By fnord12 | November 19, 2010, 1:14 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

November 18, 2010


From what i can tell, this new "fantastic" site is a data mining operation where you do all the work for them. I know it's not much of a stance since everything you search for and click on in search engines is catalogued somewhere, but i feel we ought to make the data miners work for it just a little bit. This is just way too easy.

By min | November 18, 2010, 1:32 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

I Love Steven Hill

As Adam Schiff:

I know how to scramble eggs. Doesn't mean I made breakfast.

By min | November 18, 2010, 10:35 AM | TeeVee| Link

Depraved Indifference?

You know how sometimes you see someone trip and fall and there's that split second where you think "should I help or should I pretend I didn't see anything"? That moment when your usual instinct of ignoring strangers wars with the part of you that knows you really ought to do something.

Well, increase that by a factor of 10 and remove that pesky conscience, and you've got today's society.

Last night in front of an audience of hundreds at a presentation at the University of Southern California, TV personality Bill Nye -- popularly known as the "Science Guy" -- collapsed midsentence as he walked toward a podium. Early indications are that Nye is OK, but what's odd about the incident isn't so much Nye's slight health setback as the crowd's reaction. Or, more precisely, its nonreaction, according to several accounts.

It appears that the students in attendance, rather than getting up from their seats to rush to Nye's aid, instead pulled out their mobile devices to post information about Nye's loss of consciousness.


Still, in the annals of the digital public's civic indifference, the Nye incident is nowhere near as disturbing as another episode reported in New Orleans earlier this week, which oddly enough also involved a humorist. Anthony Barre, a New Orleans man popular for his acid-tongued comic performances on YouTube using the handle "Messy Mya," was murdered on the streets of the city's 7th Ward -- the historically Creole neighborhood chronicled in the HBO series "Treme." As he lay dying, witnesses at the scene took to the Internet to chronicle the tragedy in real time, even posting photos of his body lying in a pool of blood.

I hope i remember this feeling of disgust and shame next time someone needs help. I'm afraid that it's more likely that Mr. Bennett was right and that "it will pass away soon enough".

By min | November 18, 2010, 8:31 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

November 16, 2010

It's true


With the underwhelming but over reported news that iTunes now will sell you Beatles albums, I was reminded of that brief shiny moment when Napster ruled the world. It's true that with a bit of work you can still find just about anything on the internets for free if you want to, but Napster was something else entirely. For a brief moment in time, the entire world, or at least college kids with broadband, shared the entire music catalog.

Not justifying the 'not paying for stuff' aspect, but there was also glory in the 'able to find rare stuff that you couldn't find otherwise' part of that. It was a moment.

I found a bunch of cool rare songs on Napster back in the day.

By fnord12 | November 16, 2010, 1:55 PM | Music| Link

November 15, 2010

Is He Rich Like Me?

What's your name?
Who's your daddy?

By min | November 15, 2010, 10:50 PM | Music| Link

Marvel Brothel

Professor Xavier's 16 bit house of ill repute.

By fnord12 | November 15, 2010, 8:58 PM | Comics & Video Games| Link

min's not going to like this

The New Oxford American Dictionary has named 'refudiate' its 2010 Word of the Year.

By fnord12 | November 15, 2010, 3:03 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

November 11, 2010

Getting ugly

Paul Krugman says: Mush from the Wimp.

By fnord12 | November 11, 2010, 2:53 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Sundry Science

By fnord12 | November 11, 2010, 11:17 AM | Science| Link

Sundry Politics

By fnord12 | November 11, 2010, 11:14 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Sundry Funnies

By fnord12 | November 11, 2010, 10:53 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

November 10, 2010

Nightmare list

Obama's Fiscal Commission releases its recommendations. A sampling:

  • Raise retirement age to 69.
  • Cap Medicare.
  • Eliminate all earmarks.
  • Eliminate the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
  • Freeze federal worker wage increases through 2014; eliminate 200,000 federal jobs by 2020; and eliminate 250,000 federal non-defense contractor jobs by 2015.
  • Eliminate subsidized student loans
  • Cut $900 million in fossil fuel research funds.
  • Eliminate funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Establish co-pays in the VA medical system and change the co-pays and deductibles for military retirees that remain in that system
  • Eliminating taxes on revenues companies earn abroad.
  • Tort Reform

While they also reduce some military spending, mainly the elimination of specific programs, this is basically a Republican's wish list. Remember that this was a commission created by a nominally Democratic president, which he created after Congress voted against creating their own version.

This is the "chairman's mark", which means it's the recommendations of the two chairmen, not the full committee's list. They had to release it early because other members of the committee were apparently revolting (and/or revolted by the proposals).

I'm sure this will never even get voted on, let alone enacted. Obama will have to come out against it if he wants his base to vote for him in 2012. Still, at best, this is a PR disaster for the president.

Update: This so-called deficit reduction plan also lowers taxes:

Under the plan, individual income tax rates would decline to as low as 8 percent on the lowest income bracket (now 10 percent) and to 23 percent on the highest bracket (now 35 percent). The corporate tax rate, now 35 percent, would also be reduced, to as low as 26 percent.

Atrios calls it the The Democratic Party Self-Destruction Act .

Update II: Kevin Drum looks at where the plan focuses vs. where our deficit problems really are, and concludes:

Bottom line: this document isn't really aimed at deficit reduction. It's aimed at keeping government small. There's nothing wrong with that if you're a conservative think tank and that's what you're dedicated to selling. But it should be called by its right name. This document is a paean to cutting the federal government, not cutting the federal deficit.

Remember, again, this is Obama's commission. He created it, and he appointed these people to lead it.

By fnord12 | November 10, 2010, 3:30 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Peak Oil

Came and went in 2006. Some assumptions about "unconventional" and "yet to be found" sources are apparently going to keep things steady through 2035, if you believe that. But actual peak oil of exploitable sources apparently went from 'conspiracy theory' to 'already happened' without any of us knowing it.

P.S. this should be making us run for the mountains with stockpiles of solar panels and dried beans, but it apparently isn't.

By fnord12 | November 10, 2010, 12:52 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

China gives us A+, wonders why we didn't ask for extra credit

OK, it's really an economic policy story. China doesn't like that we're devaluing our dollar to help with our financial crisis. But i figured i'd go for a convoluted joke about parents and grades.

By fnord12 | November 10, 2010, 9:26 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

November 9, 2010

So, uh...

i hear weasels are excellent turtle farmers.

you know what i am saying?

eh? eh?

By fnord12 | November 9, 2010, 10:24 PM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link

November 8, 2010

Color E-Ink

[O]n Tuesday at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo, a Chinese company will announce that it will be the first to sell a color display using technology from E Ink, whose black-and-white displays are used in 90 percent of the world's e-readers, including the Amazon Kindle, Sony Readers and the Nook from Barnes & Noble.

While Barnes & Noble recently announced a color Nook and the Apple iPad has a color screen, both devices use LCD, the technology found in televisions and monitors. The first color e-reader, from Hanvon Technology, based in Beijing, has an E Ink display.


E Ink screens have two advantages over LCD -- they use far less battery power and they are readable in the glare of direct sunlight.

However, the new color E Ink display, while an important technological breakthrough, is not as sharp and colorful as LCD. Unlike an LCD screen, the colors are muted, as if one were looking at a faded color photograph. In addition, E Ink cannot handle full-motion video. At best, it can show simple animations.

These are reasons Amazon, Sony and the other major e-reader makers are not yet embracing it. Amazon says it will offer color E Ink when it is ready; the company sees color as useful in cookbooks and children's books, and it offers these books in color through its Kindle application for LCD devices. Sony is also taking a wait-and-see approach.


The technology's not quite there yet, but they're working on it and that makes me happy. I'm sure this isn't the end all be all, and they'll continue working on it until it's at least "good enough that i can't tell it's less good". Then we can worry about how we're gonna get all our comics on an e-reader.

By min | November 8, 2010, 1:38 PM | Boooooks| Link

November 7, 2010

3 comics from the original AD&D Dungeon Master's book

Just 3 of the little comics that are scattered around in the original DM's Guide that i've always thought were cute. I figured i'd share since most players don't look in the DM's book and probably have never seen these. I especially like the Bigby one.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2010, 4:22 PM | D&D | Comments (1) | Link

The Secret Origin of He-Man

Seeing a picture of a toy for Keldor in an issue of Toyfare recently reminded me of how much the He-Man cartoon ruined the original Masters of the Universe storyline. That cartoon was awful. And i don't mean that in an "every show from when you were a kid that you thought was good turns out to be crap when you watch it now" sort of way, like Knight Rider and Land of the Lost. I knew it was crap from the beginning. Because, having read the books that came with the original line of Masters of the Universe toys, i knew the truth.

There was no Prince Adam. No Cringer. There was only one guy named Man At Arms and he didn't have a pornstache and he wasn't Teela's father. And Skeletor certainly didn't used to be some loser called Keldor.

Let's take a look.

He-Man's origin

To start with, He-Man was a barbarian. He's no Prince. He didn't even have shoes or a shirt to start with. Just a loincloth.

He got his start by rescuing a sorceress from a monster.

In return, she gives him a bunch of ancient weapons, including a Battle-Ram and two battle suits. And some shoes. Note that the weapons were made before the "Great Wars" by scientists. This is a swords and sorcery world, but there's also all this ancient high tech equipment laying around. What does it mean? Yep, the Masters of the Universe take place in a post-apocalyptic world. Of course i like it.

Let's also stop here and note that He-Man built his home out of stone. With his fists. Again, no pampered prince in purple tights here.

Man At Arms

Man At Arms was a mysterious guy who knew a lot more about the ancient high tech weapons. He and He-Man didn't really get along that well, but they both worked against Skeletor.

The Power Sword
In the cartoon, He-Man always had the Power Sword, which turned him from Prince Adam into He-Man. Umm, why did He-Man need a secret identity? The bad guys always ran away from He-Man. But they were always kidnapping Prince Adam. The secret identity wasn't just pointless. It actively made things worse.

In the real stories, the Power Sword was the key that opened Castle Greyskull.

The Power Sword had two halves. In the toy line, one half came with Skeletor, and one half with He-Man, and they could be snapped together to make the complete sword. In the books, the spirit of Castle Greyskull was always splitting the swords up and hiding them somewhere. He-Man rarely had the sword. He generally used an axe or a spear. Because he's barbarian.

Skeletor wanted the Power Sword because inside Greyskull was the ability to open a portal to another dimension where his people lived. I guess since we don't see their faces, it's possible that Skeletor's people do look like Keldor. But i had always envisioned a nightmare world full of skeletal sorcerers that Skeletor wanted to unleash on Eternia.

Battlecat was exactly what he looks like: a big, bad-ass cat. He lived in the forest unless He-Man called him. He never turned into a talking house cat, because that would be stupid.

In Conclusion
The original He-Man story was awesome. The cartoon stunk. Thank you. The end.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2010, 2:41 PM | TeeVee | Comments (8) | Link

November 6, 2010

Sadly, You Are Not a Monster

By min | November 6, 2010, 2:57 AM | TeeVee | Comments (2) | Link

November 5, 2010

Oh, Interwebs, You Can Be So Cruel

Yesterday morning-ish, I read about what Judith Griggs had done and I thought, "Oh, that can't be good". You don't want to piss off the Peoples of the Internets. They are not a forgiving lot.

Naturally, the Cook's Source Facebook page immediately exploded. She's being Google-bombed :). There's someone impersonating her on Twitter and scolding Neil Gaiman.

.@neilhimself This was between me and that unfortunate young woman. You have shown an utterly indecent disregard for privacy.

Even the Guardian's writing about it. Now it's real news.

If only the editor of Cook's Source had written a more sincere apology to Monica Gaudio and not worn her Condescending Douche Hat while doing so, this could all have been avoided. Now she's fucked. As one person on fb has said - at least she didn't throw a cat in the trash.

By min | November 5, 2010, 8:25 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

November 4, 2010

Hot, Pointy Finger

I need one of those.

By min | November 4, 2010, 8:25 PM | Comics & TeeVee| Link

November 3, 2010

October's Most Depressing Funky Winkerbeans

Just October's, mind you.

By fnord12 | November 3, 2010, 4:33 PM | Comics| Link

Chile's a Jerk

Back in 1884, Chile seized some coastal territory from Bolivia.

I get that seizing territory is part of war. But c'mon Chile, there's no need to be a dick about it.

Chile's seizure of territory still rankles Bolivians and Peruvians, who say there is nothing more dangerous than a Chilean with a map and a pen. Chilean refusals to return some of the territory, as well as jokes about inviting Bolivians to the beach, have not helped salve the wounds.

Really? Beach jokes?


By min | November 3, 2010, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

A post election message

Congrats to everyone who won last night. You now have 1 week to take down all your lawn signs. If i see any signs or stickers in a public place 1 week from today, you immediately forfeit your office and i get to pick your replacement. And my first pick will be Jimmy McMillan.

By fnord12 | November 3, 2010, 11:04 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

November 2, 2010

Revisiting the Nader blame

It's come to my attention that on this 10th anniversary of the 2000 election, there are some people out there who feel confusion and uncertainty regarding who exactly was responsible for Al Gore's loss. So as a public service I thought it would be helpful to write up the set of heuristics used by Democrats and other fault-laying liberals to assign blame--the Democratic Blame Calculus (DBC), as I call it. I've organized the DBC into the hierarchical classes below, ranked based on the relative frequency and severity with which the designated groups or individuals are targeted by right-thinking Democrats for searing castigation for their transgressions against Al Gore's presidential prospects. Let's take a look, shall we?

By fnord12 | November 2, 2010, 11:34 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

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