Archive for October 2013

Hanging on

Sometimes life is one damn thing after another; other times it’s several damn things at once.

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High temerity

One of Monday night’s hit-and-run comment spams originated, it claimed, at something called — well, you look at it:

[domain name redacted] /bot-creation-service-2/recaptcha-ocr-with-60-accuracy-rent-available

I think I’m more annoyed that there was once a Bot Creation Service 1, which had to be, um, upgraded.

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Cuter than kudzu

And just as hard to eradicate, evidently:

With it being so dry the last several years we’ve not wanted to tempt the wrath of the fire department that is right around the corner so it’s been building up and making fertile ground for all manner of weeds and jungley vegetation. And the honeysuckle that I posted a picture of awhile back just kept expanding, taking over everything.

I know from drought. Then again, this year has been unusually wet — 18 inches above normal at the moment — and in soaking conditions, jungle welcomes you.

The next step, of course, is to call the Expert:

I got a landscaper out to assess and estimate. He said that the honeysuckle wasn’t honeysuckle. It was Chinese/Japanese honeysuckle, which the Missouri DNR classifies as an invasive species and mandates the removal thereof. He quoted an insane amount for removal of all vines on the fence, meandering through the yard, razing the jungle and completely leveling the bed at the side of the house with a huge conglomeration of vine, poke weed and ancient bush that had seen better days.

I think I could run up a five-figure landscaping bill without even breathing hard — or opening the gate, even.

And if you ask me, mulberry is pretty invasive; it’s already gotten all kissy-face with the cottonwood out back. (Although it kept the lint this spring down to almost nil, so perhaps dues have been paid.)

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Somewhere below “hall monitor”

In view of events like this and this, one might reasonably ask:

Does the employment application for the National Park Service actually include a place where prospective rangers can indicate they were the little power-tripping suck-up who always got picked to watch the class when the teacher stepped out into the hall, and if so, is it a trigger for automatic hiring?

Even given the priorities of government generally and this government in particular, there are far more of those, um, people than can possibly be absorbed, unless some kind soul unleashes the Blob.

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Fleet’s out

Mark Alger asks:

Now I wonder … does anybody besides me notice how much nicer and lighter the traffic is since the .gov shutdown?

Down here in my neck of the woods, it’s not quite so noticeable, possibly because of whatever metalaw it is that says that lighter traffic creates more opportunities for bad drivers. I admit, though, that I haven’t seen a whole lot of appliance-white motor-pool flex-fuel Chevrolets of late.

And then there’s this: over the same period, gasoline prices have fallen about 15 cents a gallon, while crude remains over $100 a barrel. Diesel hasn’t budged a bit, though, which tells me that the Feds are probably still using the big trucks to get to yet-unbarricaded parks.

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Never saw her as a college-mare type

This turned up, uncredited for some reason — listed source is a Dropbox account — at Derpibooru:

Rainbow Dash's GED

“Jennifer”?

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Unadjusted expectations

There’s a reason they’re called Clients From Hell:

I'm not looking for a website - I was actually hoping to get $500,000 for my domain name. How can you help me with that?

To tell you the truth, I don’t think you could get five hundred K even for ZooeyDeschanelWardrobeMalfunctions.com.

(Via this AlesiaKaye tweet.)

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I don’t know, I’ve never furfled

There is now, for some inscrutable reason, an online-dating site for pony fans:

BronyMate is a dating site and social network for the Brony community who are fans of the cartoon show My Little Pony (MLP).

Now the last time anypony collected statistics on the matter, the fandom was about 80 percent male and 75 percent unattached — and about 25 percent INTJ. To me, this looks like a catastrophe waiting to happen. (Then again, almost anything involving dating looks to me like a catastrophe waiting to happen.)

Interestingly, at least to me, their blog link, for the moment, redirects to the blog of FurFling, an existing dating site for furries. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I probably should have looked over their questionnaire, just to see if they asked “Do you even yiff?”

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You’ve got everything now

When last we left This Charming Charlie, Universal Music’s licensing types were making threatening noises about the horribleness of sticking Smiths lyrics into Peanuts panels.

Perhaps they should have asked the guy who wrote those lyrics:

Morrissey would like to stress that he has not been consulted over any takedown request to remove the Tumblr blog named ‘This Charming Charlie’.

Morrissey is represented by Warner-Chappell Publishing, and not Universal Music Publishing, (who have allegedly demanded that the lyrics be removed).

Morrissey is delighted and flattered by the Peanuts comic strip with its use of Morrissey-Smiths lyrics, and he hopes that the strips remain.

This is worth noting, if only for the phrase “Morrissey is delighted” — how often do you hear that?

Said the keeper of the blog:

I’m deeply honored that Morrissey spoke out on behalf of This Charming Charlie, although not surprised. Morrissey is not a stranger to fair use, and it was my extreme respect for his appropriation of words and images that led to this project in the first place. I’m glad he is able to see the humor in all of this, even if lawyers could not. Hopefully, this example will set a precedent for copyright laws in the future, and encourage others to express themselves and enrich our culture through free speech, parody and social critique.

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before.

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Splurge overkill

Ars Technica, on the debacle that was, and continues to be, healthcare.gov:

The result of the headlong rush to October 1 was a system that had never been tested at anything like the load it experienced on its first day of operation (if it was tested with loads at all). Those looking for a reason for the site’s horrible performance on its first day had plenty of things to choose from.

First of all, there’s the front-end site itself. The first page of the registration process (once you get to it) has 2,099 lines of HTML code, but it also calls 56 JavaScript files and 11 CSS files. That’s not exactly optimal for heavy-load pages.

I know from “not exactly optimal,” inasmuch as I look at it every day. In my own defense, I never expect hundreds of thousands of visitors a day — the all-time record is 13,636 — and while it varies somewhat from day to day, the front page at this writing has 1,281 lines of HTML code, calls four scripts, and has a single CSS file.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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Three

If the pony content seems even higher than usual, there’s a reason for it: it was three years ago today that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was unleashed upon us unsuspecting humans, and while I admit to not having noticed it until nearly the beginning of Season Two — well, you know what they say about the ardor of converts.

This song closed out Season Two, and more than once I’ve called upon it to dispel the blues. It’s not the actual last scene, but a video compilation of various scenes in that episode. And if two pony fans meet, perhaps through a dating service, and fall in love, you can be absolutely certain this song will be played at their wedding. So let’s get this party started:

May we all live happily ever after.

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Quote of the week

In the November Car and Driver, P. J. O’Rourke recants:

Yes, 33 years ago in the pages of this magazine I called the 911 an “ass-engined Nazi slot car.” I apologize. Not that the 911’s powerplant doesn’t loom behind its transaxle. And not that the 911’s progenitor, Ferry Porsche, wasn’t a utility infielder on the wrong team during the last World War. And not that a mistaken lift of a 911’s throttle won’t result in Aurora Plastics model-racetrack ess-bend behavior, except in 1-1 scale taking out the whole back of the hobby shop. Besides, to be precise, I was referring to a 930 Turbo, with love-handle fenders and looking like it had backed into a cocktail waitress and driven off with her serving tray. But I’m sorry.

Eventually, P. J. fesses up: he bought one. A 964-series Carrera, vintage 1990. And he loves it, kinda sorta:

The interior is as cozy as a visit home to mom. She has a meth lab in my old bedroom.

Trail-braking bad?

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This sounds shaky

It’s supposedly the world’s most expensive vibrator:

Baci, a high-end lingerie designer brand name, enters the market with the world’s most expensive model.

Called the Minx and crafted by Shiri Zinn, one of the most elite and sought after lingerie designers in the world, the hefty $150 price tag is justified by features and design concepts not usually found in such a, shall we say, utility item?

According to a press release touting the revolutionary product, “The Minx Designer Vibrator is styled with the Baci brand in mind. Every vibrator displays 12 Swarovski crystals encircling a stainless steel end cap, as well as a detachable pink and black feather tail. Each comes in a handcrafted snakeskin box with satin lining, with ‘Shiri Zinn for Baci’ on the lid, stamped in silver.”

However, it has its plebeian side:

Powered by 2 ‘C’ batteries, the Minx designer vibrator boasts “a very strong, silent motor with variable speed control, allowing the user to dictate how strong she would like the sensations.”

Two lousy C batteries? For that kind of money it ought to have its own fusion reactor.

(Via Fark.)

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Brush with danger

Dangerous expense, anyway:

They have a whole section with 47 different varieties. Do they have the original Crest paste that I grew up on? No, Crest stopped making that stuff years ago. Now you can’t buy toothpaste unless there is something special about it. The least expensive tube of Crest was $2.79. There was also a tube of Walgreens brand for under $2, but I couldn’t bring myself to be that cheap. Too many years of using Crest has got it firmly engraved in my brain. Score one for Madison Avenue.

I’d say something here, but I have a $50 toothbrush, as I’ve admitted before, so I really can’t gripe about $2.79 toothpaste.

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Tell St Peter at the Golden Gate

Mr Truman experiments with electronic cigarettes:

To be honest, I am not actually perfectly sanguine about the health potential of these things. They appear to be much, much safer than regular cigarettes. But I will be (pleasantly) surprised if we do not discover, at some point down the line, that vaping (“e-smoking”) doesn’t correlate with higher instances of throat and lung cancer. The throat scratchiness has not gone away. The chest feels better, but there is a persistent shortness of breath. Though I honestly have no problem that the lying scumbag tobacco companies were made to pay for their lies, I do feel like the smokers should have known better. Your body lets you know in every imaginable way that smoking is bad for you and it took a refusal to listen in order not to hear it. If I listen to my body now, what I hear is that this is an imperfect solution.

And one question that has puzzled me as a nonsmoker/nonvaper: Will these contraptions get the same sort of contumely routinely heaped upon Sir Walter Raleigh’s burning leaves?

That’s what I am concerned about, and the proposed regulations are already moving us in that direction. This is of particular concern to me because what finally got me to make the transition to ecigs is that I stopped treating them like regular cigarettes. My initial goal was to impose all of the same restrictions on vaping as I had imposed on smoking. This was a dead end. The only result of that exercise was that it became a cheap copy with the only advantage being that I didn’t have to deodorize every time I came back in and I didn’t have ash to contend with. It was only once I started allowing myself to vape indoors and try a multitude of flavors that I started seeing cigarettes more as an inconvenience rather than a superior product. As such, if we want people to make the transition from smoking to vaping — and we should — then we should give vaping a greater degree of latitude.

Already we seem to have more vapor outlets than cigar bars, for what that’s worth.

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Dot-conned

Remember that possibly apocryphal character who wanted half a million for his domain name? The prospective emptor might want to caveat a little more than usual:

In 2006, Cameras.com was sold for $1.5 million. Monthly traffic: 1,747 unique visitors. Computer.com was sold in 2007 for $2.1 million, and draws in an eye-popping 1,049 people per month. Vodka.com brought 3 mil, and gets 1,346 — no stats on Vodak.com, though, which might be what people type when they’re boozy and thick-fingered. Fund.com went for almost 10 mil in 2008, and doesn’t get more than 400 visitors a month. That just can’t be right, but that’s what BusinessInsider.com says.

“Vodak” is also an occasional Farkism for “vodka,” but then again, Farkers, by their own admission, are boozy, if not necessarily thick-fingered.

I paid $35 for this domain in 1999. Monthly uniques: over 2,000.

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Quote of the week

Street Fight’s Terry Heaton, on the assumptions made by those who would sell to us:

In their effort to influence and produce results, marketers are simply unable to demonstrate even a modicum of restraint when it comes to the line between useful and nuisance.

Operating within the soul of every marketer is the ridiculous assumption that people want or need to be bombarded by advertising, and that any invasion of their time or experience to “pass along” an attempt to influence is justified. If this were true, there would be no looming fight over DVRs, which allow viewers to skip ads. You have no inherent right to my eyeballs, and it is precisely this axiom that makes today’s instruments and gadgets so powerfully disruptive to the culture.

How so? We’re weary of running a relentless gauntlet of jumping, screaming, frantic warnings, hands grabbing, voices shouting, noise-making, disjointed movements, and the almost demonic reaching for our wallets coming from advertising. This is Madison Avenue’s idea of perfection, and the only way you can get there is to completely ignore the effect of advertising on the very people you’re trying to influence. The Web is, at core, a pull mechanism, not one that pushes. It’s why all those big projections of advertising “potential” have turned into a commodified “pennies for dollars” reality.

Lamar Outdoor, most often referenced here for referencing me, plays the DVR card pretty well: they have a billboard which reads “Can’t >> This Ad,” where the “>>” turns out to be the fast-forward button on a remote.

Still, billboards are purely a push medium, since the shortest distance between Point A and Point B puts them right in front of you. The Web does its best to push, but it doesn’t push very well: those thousands of slots that Veeblefetzer Industries bought on Bing won’t matter if your eyeballs are glued to Yahoo!

(Suggested by Doc Searls.)

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Yo soy WaPo

Who knew? The Washington Post is actually getting a handle on how to deal with Twitter snark:

Washington Post Twitter screenshot

Here’s the full thread. (Via this Nu Wexler tweet.)

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Besides, deer can’t read

Officials in Minnesota are thinning out the herd of traffic-advisory signs:

The image of a leaping buck or the words “Deer crossing” on a ­yellow sign are so familiar on rural ­Minnesota roads that many drivers don’t even notice them. The same goes for “Slow, Children at Play” signs on city streets.

In Carver County, officials are removing them because, they say, there’s no evidence that they cause motorists to slow down, and could give parents a false sense of security.

“The signs that are out there need to be useful,” said Kate Miner, the county’s traffic engineer. “If we clutter our roadways with signs, it just kind of all becomes background noise after a while.”

And it’s not like you can get deer to cross where they’re supposed to, anyway.

MnDOT follows similar practices on state roads:

The reason, said MnDOT state signing engineer Heather Lott, is because there’s no evidence that they have reduced deer-vehicle crashes or caused drivers to slow down. The same is true for “Children at Play” signs, she said.

“Use of the signs in some areas would give the false impression that areas without signs do not have children and deer,” Lott said.

I can see that. If a deer takes out your car on a country road, two miles short of a deer-crossing sign, you’re probably going to think “How was I supposed to know there were deer here?”

(Via Fark.)

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The girl next door

About five years ago, New York’s Nassau County decided to pitch itself as “The Island Next Door,” and appointed several tourism ambassadors, one of whom was singer/songwriter Ashanti, who was born 13 October 1980 in Glen Cove and grew up in Roslyn. This is what she wore to the announcement ceremony:

Ashanti back home

Not sure which is brighter: her smile or that dress.

Ashanti has also done a fair amount of acting: she joined the cast of Lifetime’s Army Wives for its seventh and final season (2012-13), playing Latasha Montclair, spouse of an Army corporal.

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It’s like a cold call, only cooler

From out of the blue comes an email from this fellow:

Hello, my name is Matthew Lane and I’m a Graphic + Web Designer in Los Angeles, originally from Portland, Oregon (yes, it is as strange and amazing as you’ve probably heard). I would love it if you checked out my work at http://design.daydreamcreative.com and let me know if I can ever help out with any projects you might have use for me on (design related, no house cleaning or car washing requests, although I’m certainly not above it in an off month).

Dear Mr Lane: While your portfolio is pretty darn nice, I have to admit that if I happen to need any design work from someone originally from deepest Portlandia, I know just the person, just down the block. However, I’m happy to pass along your link to the readership, just in case.

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And the harmony isn’t bad

Yours truly reporting in 2004:

NPR’s All Things Considered had an obituary for Billy Davis, 72, whom they identified as an advertising executive. Which indeed he was; he created that “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” bit for Coca-Cola that grabbed the attention of the tragically-hip types at NPR, and the “If you’ve got the time…” spot for Miller Beer.

The bit, yes; the song, not so much. And in fact, it wasn’t originally written as a Coke commercial:

And we should also credit adman Bill Backer, like Davis then attached to the Coca-Cola account at McCann-Erickson, who’s responsible for wanting to buy the world a Coke.

Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, of course, you know from zillions of hit records; they wrote “True Love and Apple Pie.” Susan Shirley made half a dozen singles before disappearing on the far side of the hill; you might like the wonderfully overproduced “Too Many Tears,” cut three years earlier, which was apparently her second single for Mercury UK, following a version of “The Sun Shines Out Of Your Shoes,” a cute Tony Hatch/Jackie Trent song I know from Petula Clark’s recording.

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Inalienable writes

Being prolific isn’t exactly an unalloyed joy:

My blog has multiple personalities. There’s the mommy blog where I write about birthday parties. The blog where I feature posts about Oklahoma. And, then there’s all the stuff I write about Generations X, Y and Z. All these topics vie for first position and I get frustrated and end up not writing anything at all. This has been happening a lot lately! There is no way to pull the competing topics together under one umbrella, which is why I’m considering adding sub-domains to jenx67.com.

Of course, she’s organized and motivated. Being neither of those things, I accumulate tags and categories. There are fifty-six categories and over ten thousand tags; to give you an idea of how perplexing this can be, neither My Little Pony (166 posts) nor Zooey Deschanel (88 posts) rates a category. Yet.

And there’s this:

I don’t want to worry about whether or not every post is useful or entertaining.

Obviously I’m not worried about such things at all.

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Attention horror

This being the Era of Unrelenting Umbrage, almost every Halloween costume you can imagine can and will offend someone. Repeat: “almost.” Not all:

Most Halloween costumes are actively upsetting to someone or another. My costume this year is Drowned Titanic Passenger. That’s in hella bad taste. I’ve seen costumes at parties which would freak one or other of my friends out — and badly — because of their triggers and phobias. But when you look over [Julia] Serano’s three reasons, actually they do not make sense in these cases. Upsetting and troubling, yes, but they are not bringing offence and disrespect to an important group in society; they are not appropriative. My costume doesn’t erase the original tragedy — it’s not rewriting what happened or being inaccurate. It’s not making any money. And it’s not demeaning to deceased passengers either. Finally — there isn’t a large group of people who will be harmed in the real world as a result of my dressing up. The passengers are all dead; as are their relatives; and the Titanic sinking has very little to do with present-day issues (in contrast, I would have a problem with a Jack The Ripper/Ripper victim costume, because sex workers are still disadvantaged, and intermittently murdered, in our society).

Despite this bit of innovation, it’s a whole holiday full of potential active upset:

Halloween is just not a great day for sensitive people. Isn’t that awful? A fun day like that, can’t help but shut out a whole lot of people.

Still, if the trend holds up, in twenty years every kid with a bucket, from Glasgow to the Galápagos, will be done up as R2-D2, simply because the only controversial aspect of the little vacuum-cleaneresque droid is that he (do droids have gender? Besides C-3PO, I mean) puts coins in George Lucas’ overstuffed pockets.

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A few words at the top

I saw a link to this last Friday and promptly forgot about it — Firefox’s snotty “Problem displaying page” has that effect on me — but Sundays have a way of reinstating dismissed memories, and besides I can always use the material, so here’s some of what Prof KRG has to say about post titles:

Readers decide immediately whether they are going to use their valuable time to read your blog post. They decide by scanning your blog title and determining whether it appears to be worth their minutes.

Most certainly.

A good blog title:

  • Attracts attention,
  • summarizes the post,
  • organizes content, and
  • depicts the post’s tone.

Just a few words should be simple to write, but titles often are difficult. It’s challenging to capture tone, voice and content in a unique and short manner.

Unless, of course, you have the temerity to exhibit the same tone, the same voice, and pretty much the same content, twenty-one thousand times in a row.

Of KRG’s 23 (!) title tips, the one I find most pertinent is #14, “Consider meanings”:

Look for other, unintended meanings in your post’s title.

Not a problem. If there’s any meaning whatsoever in one of my titles, you may rest assured that it was intended.

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A few words at the bottom

With David Foster Wallace gone, who will undertake the task of providing footnotes equal to, sometimes even superior to, the text at hand? I nominate Roberta X:

Oh, woe is us, we are martyrs, hated and feared and misunderstood… Er, a-hem. No; that’s a dopey notion no matter who puts it forth. Looky, whatever you believe, the diversity of human thought is such that a lot of people will loathe you for it. When you pop outta the echo chamber and discover this, you can either assume you’re such a singularly special snowflake that you simply must be right because they all hate you, or you can wise up and realize that it makes you pretty much the same as every other little flake, falling, falling from the darkness to the dirt, and the snowplow’s gonna sweep them all away with nary a blink at their uniqueness. Sure, you’re special and so’m I, but so’s everybody else crammed into this too-short bus. Get over it.

And that would seem to be that.

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Strange search-engine queries (402)

Visitors who arrive here via search string seem much like Christopher Columbus: he had no real idea where he was going, and he misinterpreted what he found when he got here.

Autoculture Girls Yore:  The curved-dash Oldsmobile, for some reason, was widely considered to be a girly car.

supporthosiery hazards:  Take them off too fast and they fly across the room.

apparently everything causes cancer:  Except cancer treatments. They create bankruptcy.

Geezer fogey codger curmudgeon coot fart:  You’ve just heard the final moments of a Congressional roll call. Thank you for watching C-Span.

61/2 oz coca-cola bottle, bottom says coca-cola shoulder says coca-cola side says Dennison Ohio bottling works:  Do I look like friggin’ Antique Roadshow? Take it back to the store and get your nickel.

jailbait nude naturists:  Only if they’re underage.

does mazda still have trans:  No. The new 3 is powered by a ball of glowing light under the hood.

You are Scheie:  Actually, no, I’m not. Although Scheie comes here occasionally.

the boston rag newspaper:  The Globe, being a broadsheet, makes a better rag than the tabloid-sized Herald.

hello miriam this dee dee the one came saturday to get the micro twist. just took my hair out the ponytail today n cumulative to find out that i got big micro twist in the middle don’t:  look anything like a tired call girl so I guess I wasted my money.

are Americans getting clumsier?  They be trippin, mon.

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Bel Air du temp

She bought it new in 1957. It’s been her daily driver ever since:

Routine maintenance is, of course, a must: she has the oil changed every 1000 miles, twice as often as GM specified in those days.

(The whole story from The Truth About Cars.)

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Targeting outflow

The 66th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics features this symposium:

In response to harsh and repeated criticisms from our mothers and several failed relationships with women, we present the splash dynamics of a simulated human male urine stream impacting rigid and free surfaces. Our study aims to reduce undesired splashing that may result from lavatory usage. Experiments are performed at a pressure and flow rate that would be expected from healthy male subjects.

“Aims,” they say. As if.

(Via this Jennifer Ouellette tweet.)

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I don’t get it (third base)

Yet another collection of things I don’t entirely comprehend because they’re so damned screwy.

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Vintage genes

I got a letter Saturday from Anne Wojcicki, cofounder and CEO of 23andMe, a genetic-testing company more or less down the street from Google, offering me their Personal Genome Service, once a cool thousand dollars, now for a mere 99 bucks.

Wojcicki’s pitch:

I believe preventative health information should be accessible to everyone. It’s been my personal mission to empower people with tools to help prevent illness, not just treat it.

They offer a home kit: basically, you spit in it, send it back to them, and tons of genetic information comes back to you.

And by “you,” they don’t mean you if you live in two certain states. From the fine print:

23andMe’s services are not available to Maryland residents and restrictions apply for New York residents.

New York says you can’t have this sort of testing done except at a clinical laboratory licensed by Albany. The solution to this is a quick trip to Jersey, so as to avoid the dreaded New York postmark. Maryland won’t even allow them to advertise their services, and if somehow you find out, you’re still disqualified because they require an actual medical professional — or, since it’s Maryland and you’ve seen The Wire, a court order — to take the sample.

I just might have enough curiosity to send off for their kit. It’s not like I know every last twist and turn of my DNA by heart. (Although “the pony genome and the human genome match up about 98 percent,” according to a story I wrote last year. How is it that my life is following my fiction, and not the other way around?)

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Came back YouTubed

I mentioned this five years ago, and while it can still be had at the old location, it’s now turned into a very static video for your embedding convenience, enough reason to bring it back here:

The mark has been made.

[Warning: Audio may not be safe for work.]

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Thirty points for sure

The generic name — tofacitinib — is not exactly euphonious either. But Xeljanz? Huh? Nancy Friedman? Anyone?

Oh, and Pfizer thinks highly of this stuff: it’s two grand a month. Wholesale. No credit for knowing that the pill was originally developed by a guy from the National Institutes of Health.

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Umbrage Day

This item from yesterday prompted the following reaction [in Comments] from Lynn:

If we can’t be offensive on Halloween then someone needs to invent a holiday specifically for the purpose of offending as many people as possible.

Fillyjonk subsequently suggested this holiday be named “Umbrage Day,” which idea Lynn endorsed, adding:

There are so many people who would have no idea what it means. Now we only need to set a date, preferably on the anniversary of some particularly notable historic umbrage.

This thread, therefore, is to solicit suggestions for when Umbrage Day should be held, and justifications for same. I’m leaning toward the third of October, for the following reasons:

There are, of course, 364¼ other days which could be pressed into service, and your ideas may well be better than mine.

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Calm down already

This is, we are told, the “most relaxing tune ever”:

There is apparently some science, or at least something science-y, involved:

Carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines help to slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Manchester trio Marconi Union worked with sound therapists to create the soothing tune, which also slows breathing and reduces brain activity.

Scientists played the song to 40 women and found it to be more effective at helping them relax than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay.

The study — commissioned by bubble bath and shower gel firm Radox Spa — found the song was even more relaxing than a massage, walk or cup of tea.

And you’re not supposed to listen to it while driving.

The original version runs eight minutes and change; someone made a ten-hour loop of it, which strikes me as counterproductive, since one of the bits of technotrickery here is gradually to drop the tempo, from 60 bpm to 50; jumping back up to 60 defeats the purpose — unless, of course, you’re about 90 percent asleep already.

(Via a bug and her beau.)

Addendum: “Poppycock,” says Lynn.

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Virb unmodified

There was a time when Virb was thought of as a serious rival to MySpace and even Facebook. But Virb’s site builder-plus-social networking scheme never quite caught on, and eventually it was rolled into Web host Media Temple.

Well, it’s about to be rolled back out again:

Media Temple has been acquired by GoDaddy, the Web’s largest platform for small businesses. I’m lucky to have been part of this process from the very beginning, and I truly cannot wait to see what the future brings for these two companies. But more on that shortly. First things first: What does this event mean for Virb, YOU, and your website?

Well, this changes absolutely nothing, while also changing absolutely everything.

After early meetings with GoDaddy, it quickly became apparent that we shared different visions for our website builders. So … I’m thrilled to announce, GoDaddy has decided Virb will be sold back to its original founder and investors, Brad Smith (that’s me) as well as Media Temple’s co-founders Demian Sellfors and John Carey.

“We shared different visions” = “Hell, no, we won’t GoDaddy!” Maybe.

(Via this Andy Baio tweet.)

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There’s no space like home

The first game at the ‘Peake, like most games at the ‘Peake, sold out; unlike most games at the ‘Peake, there was no TV coverage to speak of, so we didn’t get to see the spectacle of five-nine Nate Robinson dropping a flagrant-two on seven-oh Steven Adams. The Nugget-est Nugget was duly escorted off the premises. Shortly thereafter, Adams himself disappeared, having rolled up six standard garden-variety fouls. But hey, that’s preseason, so it seems almost superfluous to mention that the Thunder won this one easily, 109-81.

The Kevin Durant show was kind of schizzy. In the first half, KD was doing that playmaker thing and moving the ball around seemingly at will. In the second, he just tossed up buckets. Scott Brooks, who’d said Durant would play at most thirty minutes, pulled him with five left in the third; by then he’d hit 13-20 and 6-7 from the stripe for 36 points. Serge Ibaka looked like he wanted to grow up to be a low-post man. Jeremy Lamb looked — well, he’s still young. Both Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher handled the point with aplomb. And rookiest rookie Andre Roberson rang up nine rebounds in 17 minutes, which is downright Ibakian. (Serge had, um, nine.)

Telltale statistic: Durant outscored all five Denver starters combined. (Team high was ten, by Nate Robinson and Andre Miller.) OKC outrebounded the Nuggets, 55-33; Denver shot only 38 percent. The Nuggets did pull off nine steals, which is impressive; unfortunately, this was a night when the Thunder would swipe 13.

Then again, it wasn’t all glorious for the home team. Kendrick Perkins, who did not play tonight — busted finger — drew a technical, because that’s just how he rolls. There’d better be video of this.

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Shannyn is gone, I heard

With an eye toward Umbrage Day, I went looking for someone born on the third of October, and wound up with Shannyn Sossamon, a founding member (drums/vocals) of the band Warpaint, which got some attention on these pages three summers ago.

Well, she has left the band — she was replaced by Stella Mozgawa after the release of Exquisite Corpse — but over the years she’s piled up some seriously interesting credits as an actress. Before Warpaint, she starred opposite Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale; during Warpaint, she starred in Wristcutters: A Love Story, set in a semi-afterlife reserved for suicides; after Warpaint, she starred in Monte Hellman’s Road to Nowhere. You can’t get much more eclectic than that.

And to me, anyway, she looks like someone who’s done three startlingly dissimilar films:

Shannyn Sossamon

She’s raising two boys: the older, Audio Science, is 10, and Mortimer was born last year.

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More fake-o than FICO

This dropped into the mailbox yesterday, and it’s a mailbox I use for next to nothing, so it had one strike against it before I even looked at the subject line, which was “Class action against the 3 bureaus got you a major credit increase.”

In a closed door meeting this morning, the Consumer Credit Advocacy Group met with the 3 major credit bureaus. It was determined that those consumers whose credit scores had not been reviewed in over 12 months be given an automatic one time increase as punitive action against the 3 credit bureaus for sitting on your scores. See score.

You have now ascended to a higher credit standing.

Yeah, right. Tell me another one.

Lest this look phish-y to one’s filters, they also tacked on several hundred words of dialogue from Braveheart.

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No MSG

Most of my Twitter followers are aware that I have some, um, unorthodox musical tastes, which is why I get stuff like this:

ARK co-founder Patrice Wilson, best known for a song about a day of the week that went viral, is indeed back with something new:

As the phrase goes, downright catchy. Will I remember it an hour from now?

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