This actually does seem to work:
It’s all over the place, but I picked it up from StarTrek.com.
This actually does seem to work:
It’s all over the place, but I picked it up from StarTrek.com.
Cadillac’s Elmiraj concept car is something to behold:
Will they build it, or at least something like it? For now, it’s a definite maybe:
Last July GM CEO Dan Akerson confirmed that the automaker’s Cadillac brand was working on a flagship sedan larger than the XTS, to play in the big leagues with the BMW 7 Series, the Mercedes-Benz S Class and the Lexus LS, on sale by 2015. While at the recent Los Angeles auto show media preview, Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North American operations, strongly hinted that the big rear wheel drive platform may first appear as a coupe, not a four door sedan. “That’s the car Cadillac needs,” Reuss told USA Today. “You make a statement with a coupe. You don’t make a statement with a sedan.”
One might argue that the statement being made here is “We don’t give a flying Fleetwood what you think about how it looks,” but if a Cadillac isn’t supposed to look distinctive to the point of distraction, what good is it? If your eyeballs hurt, well, there are Buicks for that.
[It] may either have a proper name or be called LTS.
No. No more farging alphanumerics. Leave that to the Germans and to the Japanese wannabes. Bring “Eldorado” out of the trademark closet, if you have to. This car deserves better than three random consonants.
Officially, DeAndre Jordan is at best a frenemy. (It’s that team-rivalry thing, doncha know.) But there’s one thing we have in common:
DeAndre Jordan is a 6-foot-11, 265-pound pro basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers — and you’ll never guess what kind of deodorant he puts on before a game.
“I use Secret,” says Mr. Jordan. The 25-year-old Texan prefers the aerosol form of the product marketed to women because, he says, it is light and doesn’t leave behind any visible white residue. “I’m always powder-fresh during the games,” he adds. “I’m sure my opponents love that.”
Okay, we’re not entirely the same here: I buy a similar product from Avon’s women’s line, and I prefer the roll-on. But the motivations are identical.
It is said that you will be perceived as much more desirable if you are perceived as taken. I’ve never noticed any such thing, but then it’s been rather a long time — about half a lifetime — since I’ve been taken. And I don’t really see myself as a customer for this particular service:
A new app to change your relationship status. “Invisible girlfriend” will call you, leave you voicemails and even give you gifts. All for a price. Just $9.99 per month for “talking” and $49.99 for “almost engaged” status.
How much to leave me the hell alone?
Manti Te’o, call your service. Or this one.
Unexpected good news on the plastic wrapper of Here Media magazines Out and The Advocate this month:
YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN TO GET A FREE RENEWAL COMPLIMENTS OF TLA VIDEO.
Of course, they exchange mailing lists, and I’ve bought stuff from TLA before, though not in the last year or so. Perhaps this is TLA’s way of trying to reattract my attention.
For those of you who were wondering why a beyond-middle-aged straight guy would be reading either of these mags — well, admittedly, they’re not aimed at me, but then neither is InStyle.
This started, actually, some time in the late Nineties while I was still getting the usual package of magazine stamps from Publishers Clearing House. For some reason, I decided to scrutinize the sheet a bit more thoroughly than usual, and to my amazement, there was a stamp for Out, listed as “the leading gay magazine” or something like that. And I figured it was worth my twelve bucks, or however much it was, to encourage this sort of thing, so I sent in the subscription order. In 2010, Here Media started offering a bundle of Out and The Advocate together at not much more than the price of Out alone, so I took that deal as well. And if the information therein isn’t always, as the phrase goes, relevant to my interests, it’s probably of interest to friends, and I have this weird idea that I ought to pay attention to such matters once in a while.
Incidentally, I never saw Out offered again by PCH. Go figure.
Originally — we’re talking 1856 here — it was Coal Creek, after the stream that runs through the town. You might even remember the Coal Creek War, which kicked off in 1891 when owners of area coal mines got the idea of replacing their paid labor, which might at any moment unionize, with convicts leased from Tennessee prisons. The conflict lasted over a year; the memories persisted a bit longer, and in 1936 the town was renamed Lake City, there being a new lake not too far up the road, thanks to the TVA’s Norris Dam.
Now comes the possibility of a third name, this one courtesy of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant:
[I]n Lake City, supporters hope a name change would have them tuning in newfound prosperity.
Development plans include a Disney-style interactive, 3-D animated theater; a Branson, Mo.-style live music venue; an indoor-outdoor waterpark and a 500-seat paddleboat restaurant on an as yet-to-be-constructed artificial lake, according to Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel.
Of course, it’s not just for the bling:
At city hall Thursday night, a standing-room-only crowd broke into loud applause after the council took the first step toward making the change, voting to ask the state legislature for authorization. State Rep. John Ragan was at the meeting and said he thought it would pass easily in Nashville.
One of those in attendance was Gordon Cox, a long-time Lake City resident whose grandfather served several terms as mayor. Cox said the city has lost so many businesses in recent years that it is in danger of becoming unincorporated and losing its police force.
“Only good can happen from this name change,” he said.
The Bryants, who supposedly wrote “Rocky Top” in ten minutes, weren’t available for comment, having long since passed on; however, BMI, I’m pretty sure, wouldn’t have any complaint.
As a carbon-based life form, I have a peripheral interest in diamonds, which are, after all, a highly stylized form of carbon; I even bought one once. (It was stolen during a late-Seventies break-in.) I admit, though, I never have seen an orange diamond, let alone an orange diamond this size: 14.82 carats. (Picture is not necessarily actual size.) And this one’s going up for auction later this month:
The largest orange diamond to come to auction will go on sale next week in Switzerland, with the rare gem expected to fetch a record $17-20 million… It was found in South Africa, but the name of its seller has not been revealed by Christie’s.
This is perhaps the showcase item in Christie’s Magnificent Jewels collection, to be offered in Geneva. But fancy-schmancy auctions would be nothing without good old-fashioned oneupsmanship:
The following day, rival auctioneers Sotheby’s are to sell a flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond, which has an estimated price of $60 million.
[sigh] Cubic zirconia, anyone?
We’ve talked before about the Ship of Theseus, rebuilt plank by plank by the Athenians, until it eventually contained no original parts; it was Hobbes who asked that if the old planks were gathered together and assembled, would that not be the Ship of Theseus?
I was not, you may be certain, expecting an example of this dilemma in my lifetime. As the phrase goes, imagine my surprise. Dave Kinney, who covers the major auto auctions for Automobile, tells the story of a single — maybe — Jaguar D-type in the December issue:
In the world of classic racing cars, engines, rear ends, transmissions, and other parts often got changed out. After the race cars were done with their careers, no one cared what happened when two or three major components — all claiming the same serial number — were separated. That’s what happened when this D-type’s ice-racing career in Finland ended. Two cars held a claim to the same serial number, which hurt the value of both vehicles because originality was in question.
In other news, they (used to, anyway) race Jaguars on the ice in Finland.
“It seems difficult to rectify the situation,” wrote one D-Type collector to another in 1995, “unless some benevolent person should decide to purchase both cars, exchange the front subframes and the legal documents, resulting in only one single car claiming to be XKD 530.”
That’s essentially what happened. In 1998, a collector acquired one of the cars. In 2002, he acquired the other. Then he had both cars meticulously disassembled, and all the various parts and pieces identified and catalogued, and assigned to the correct chassis. In 2003, this amazing reconstruction was completed when the original, fully restored monocoque was lowered onto the original chassis frame; the bolt holes were a precise match.
About a year ago, Buzzfeed wanted to cast name-brand actor types as My Little Pony characters, and the very first one they came up with was Zooey Deschanel as Twilight Sparkle. Said I at the time: “I appreciate the effort to push two of my smaller obsessions into a larger one.”
Which I promptly forgot about, until Sarah Lovell took this picture at DragonCon and it showed up — as usual, uncredited — on Derpibooru.
It must be said here that I look at a lot of cosplay pix, and Rarity and Applejack always seem to come off well, but I’ve never been particularly keen on any of the Twilights — until, um, now.
Twilio is a “cloud communications” specialist; one function they offer is an API to produce transcripts of incoming voice calls.
Which is a pretty neat idea, if you ask me. But what happens if you get a call from a fax machine?
The answer is this:
— E.J. Brennan (@EJ_Brennan) October 31, 2013
I have an incoming-fax service that works via email. Now if I sent one of the resulting graphics … no, wait, better not. Probably requires dividing by zero or something.
For years we’ve known, or thought we’d known, that hot water tends to freeze a bit faster than cold water, the so-called Mpemba Effect. However, no explanation, one way or another, seemed to make any sense — until now:
Each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms bonded covalently to a single atom of oxygen. Those bonds, which involve atoms sharing electrons, are well understood. But the separate water molecules are bound together, too, by weaker forces generated by hydrogen bonds. They occur when a hydrogen atom from one molecule of water sits close to an oxygen atom from another—and they give rise to many of water’s interesting properties, like its strangely high boiling point.
Now, Xi Zhang [Nanyang Technological University, Singapore] is suggesting that those same bonds cause the Mpemba effect. The idea is pretty simple: bring water molecules into close contact, and a natural repulsion between the molecules causes the covalent bonds to stretch and store energy. As the the liquid warms up, the hydrogen bonds stretch as the water gets less dense and the molecules move further apart.
That extra stretch in hydrogen bonds allows the covalent bonds to relax and shrink a little, giving up their energy. The process of covalent bonds giving up energy is equivalent to cooling, so warm water should in theory cool faster than cold.
Seems plausible enough to me, with my, um, smattering of chemistry.
Cite: arXiv:1310.6514 [physics.chem-ph]
(Via Daily Pundit.)
My son is now sporting a “13.1″ sticker on his Bimmer, having successfully completed a half marathon. (Which, given the fat sack of crap he apparently was a few years ago, is doubly impressive.) I didn’t ask him what he was thinking during those hours of pavement pounding, but I suspect it wasn’t anything like this:
Stitches while running a marathon are not usually conducive to success — but they proved to be the making of David Babcock after he broke the scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record.
The 41-year-old finished the Kansas City marathon in five hours, 48 minutes and 27 seconds, at the same time constructing a scarf measuring 12ft 1¾” long.
Babcock, a graphic design professor at the University of Central Missouri, eclipsed the previous Guinness world record, held by Britain’s Susie Hewer.
In other news, there is a scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record.
To create his red, orange and purple scarf, Babcock used a garter stitch, 30 stitches wide, and size 15 plastic needles, as specified by Guinness World Records. To be eligible competitors must complete the marathon in under six hours.
If the next question is “Why?” here’s the answer:
It takes a lot of time to do distance running and it takes time to knit. By putting the two activities together the time passes easier for both activities. It takes his mind off of the endless miles and makes knitting an active pursuit.
Perhaps I’ll drop a hint to the kid.
The mark has been made.
[Warning: Audio may not be safe for work.]
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.)
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.
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?
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.
This turned up, uncredited for some reason — listed source is a Dropbox account — at Derpibooru:
Styli (“needles”) scrape. Lasers tend to generate heat. Another approach:
Incidentally, “scrape” is the kindliest word I could think of: a decent elliptical-stylus phono cartridge with a vertical tracking force of 1 gram exerts pressure on the record to the tune of 30,000 to 69,000 lb per square inch.
The chap who runs Scouting New York had a brainstorm the other day: hey, here I am in south Jersey, why not dash into Atlantic City and see all the Monopoly® properties as they are today?
And so he did — at least for the residential properties, anyway. (If you were hoping for a glance at the Water Works, well, you’re out of luck.) The snippet to the side is Baltic Avenue; you can see a T-Mobile store at the left, and that rotunda-ish thing at the far right is the semi-grand entrance to the Tanger Outlet Stores. The store right before the corner is J. Crew, and who would have thought there’d be a J. Crew on Baltic? Maybe Kentucky or Illinois, but certainly not Baltic. And if I remember correctly, there’s no free parking anywhere in Atlantic City.
(Swiped from Joy McCann’s Facebook wall, because if there’s anyone I trust implicitly to give me the East Coast scoop, it’s someone from Los Angeles County.)
I hate to see a Kickstarter I backed go up in flames, but there’s always another one, right? And this one might be a little closer to my heart, even if it doesn’t involve any copyrighted characters:
Seven days in and 70 percent funded. I am hopeful.
(Erin Palette mentioned this on Facebook and tagged me because she knew I’d buy in. Girl knows me too well.)
Update, 27 September: Made it!
Brian J. reads a book about Hearst Castle, and opines:
For those of you who don’t know what Hearst Castle is (how can you live with yourselves?), it is a palace built by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s and 1930s. It is huge, it has many buildings (what modern newspapers call a compound if they don’t like the owner), and it has lavish architectural details, antiquities, and pretty much everything I dreamed about when I thought I’d earn fabulous amounts of wealth.
My aspirations were never quite so lofty, but I have no disagreement whatever with this:
You know, when faced with opulence of this nature, some people want to firebomb it and take it away from those who have it. Perhaps I was born in a different century, but I find this inspirational. Hearst came from a wealthier background, surely, but he built a publishing empire and earned the capital to build this place that he had half in mind to make a museum — which it is now, of course. Good on ‘im. Let the rich have theirs, and let us all have a system that allows us to get rich if we can.
I’ve never been far enough north in California to see Hearst’s, um, compound, but I did drop in one day — and it takes at least a whole day, believe me — at the Biltmore Estate, one of the few houses in the nation that rivals Hearst’s, and I was similarly impressed. What’s more, while Biltmore is a National Historic Landmark, it’s not tied into any museum system: it remains privately held, and it’s worth every cent of the $59 day pass.
“I have no doubt,” said J. B. S. Haldane, “that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine.”
And the existence of this wondrous bit of Shimmer Incarnate is pretty doggone surprising:
Just what is that?
Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.
The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.
Needless to say, it took some serious number-crunching to find this all-purpose object, and I have to figure that Richard Feynman would have been delighted:
Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated, “scattering amplitudes,” which represent the likelihood that a certain set of particles will turn into certain other particles upon colliding. These numbers are what particle physicists calculate and test to high precision at particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
The 60-year-old method for calculating scattering amplitudes — a major innovation at the time — was pioneered by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. He sketched line drawings of all the ways a scattering process could occur and then summed the likelihoods of the different drawings.
There was just one little hang-up with this method:
A seemingly simple event, such as two subatomic particles called gluons colliding to produce four less energetic gluons (which happens billions of times a second during collisions at the Large Hadron Collider), involves 220 [of Feynman's] diagrams, which collectively contribute thousands of terms to the calculation of the scattering amplitude.
The idea that all these things can be contained in a single object — a spectacularly complex object, yes, but still just one object — is hugely overwhelming yet deeply satisfying: there might actually be something resembling order governing the wild quantum frontier.
(Via Daily Pundit. Illustration by Andy Gilmore.)
One regular feature in The Week magazine is called “Best Properties on the Market”; it consists of half a dozen or so very special real-estate offerings on a two-page spread, with a photo or two and listing information. I’ve even gotten blogfodder out of it once or twice.
This week’s collection was titled Equestrian properties.
Um, no. No. Not even. No es posible, señor.
You’re looking at Valentine Farm near Norwood, Colorado, and here’s some of the write-up from the listing agent:
Certain properties exude excellence the minute you step foot on them. Valentine Farm defines itself as such a ranch. Comprised of a meticulously renovated turn-of-the-century Barn, two remodeled turn-of-the-century cabins and separate 6-car garage, this idyllic compound overlooks 120 verdant acres including a magnificent 10 stall equestrian center with caretaker residence.
But this is the clincher (emphasis added):
Two generous sized ponds and prolific irrigation create a lush setting and provide perfect conditions for significant hay production.
Well, there you have it. The sellers are asking $4,375,000. Celestia only knows how much that is in bits.
I was looking at the receiver, and one of the guys said, “You want it? Take it. Don’t work.”
I figured what the hell, took it home, opened it up, took a can of compressed air and a brush to the interior, deoxed all the moving parts, replaced the power cable, tightened some screws and other connections, plugged it in, and it fired right up.
Considering that more-gently used samples of the KR-4070 are selling for triple digits on eBay, this is a heck of a deal for a good late-Seventies receiver with a solid 40 watts per side. And 40 watts, I think, is probably the sweet spot: lower-powered models tended to be stingy with the features, and high-powered jobs don’t necessarily sound any better. My mid-Seventies JVC checks in with 42 watts per channel and has every control I want and several I don’t.
I hope the Kenwood’s dial cord is still properly strung. These didn’t often fail, but they’re a pain to rework.
(I owned an earlier Kenwood, the KR-5150, for about a year, but swapped it off for the JVC, lured by the siren song of Seventies surround sound.)
In other news, Mr. Jock, TV quiz PhD, bags few lynx.
Pertinent comment left at EqD, not by me:
Instead of scoring 4 touchdowns in one game, Shining can tell the story of how he once tossed his wife against a evil unicorn-cloud-thingy.
I’m sure he has.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Mobil station, and I’ve never, ever seen one of these:
Robert Mars at Ghosts Of The Great Highway reports that only five of these were actually placed at Mobil stations.
While following up, I discovered that some other oil company had this winged wonder first, and in Texas no less:
The Magnolia Petroleum Company … was founded on April 24, 1911 as a consolidation of several earlier companies. Standard Oil of New York (Socony) exchanged its stock for all of the Magnolia stock in December 1925 though it continued to operate as an affiliate of Socony. Later in 1959 Magnolia was fully incorporated into the Mobil division of Socony. Magnolia’s Pegasus logo, clad in red, has been the emblem of Mobil since the 1930s.
Equestria, for some reason, doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of red pegasi: Cinnamon Swirl here, who’s done two walk-ons (fly-ons?) in three seasons, may be the closest approximation. This is a shot from the second-season episode “A Friend In Deed,” which is the one where Pinkie Pie encourages everypony to smile already, darn ya. Alternatively, there’s Juicy Fruit, who resembles a winged Berry Punch: her color is described as “light plum.”
(The proud Mobil steed turned up Found in Mom’s Basement.)
George Carlin: “In Brazil, a nine-year study of dancing has disclosed that, as many had suspected, it really takes only one to tango.”
Plus, apparently, one to hold the camera:
Somehow I can’t imagine this being real, and yet something inside of me wants it to be:
I wonder if they handle bizarre love triangles.
Tom Donhou, who builds bicycle frames in London, observed that it’s quite possible to do 60 mph on a bicycle if you have a steep-enough hill at your disposal. Well, been there, done that. But what I did is not a patch on Donhou’s accomplishment with a custom machine — basically one of his stock frames, slightly shortened, with handlebars dropped and a 104-tooth chainring — and an aerodynamic boost based on the time-honored principle of drafting.
He made it up to 80 or so before running out of road, and by “road” we mean a two-mile runway that hasn’t so much as a hint of grade. A test on a dyno suggests a possible speed of over 100 mph.
This isn’t the fastest anyone’s ever been on a bicycle — Fred Rompelberg once knocked out 167 mph over the Bonneville Salt Flats — but for what is essentially backyard engineering, this is a remarkable achievement.
But this trick always works:
(Found in this Elle Armageddon tweet.)