Your home for classic gravel

From Mel Bracht’s straightforward Oklahoman story about the upcoming bloody dismemberment of KRXO in favor of yet another sports station:

Classic Rock KRXO, which had been at 107.7, will move to a new frequency at FM 104.5, the company announced. According to the news release, KRXO’s lineup of Bob and Tom, Cara Rice, Buddy Wiley, Kelso, Unkle Dave and Rick Caldwell are expected to move to a much smaller signal on 104.5.

How much smaller? A query to the FCC and a subsequent Google Maps overlay produced this map of the station’s “60 dBu Service Contour,” which defines the area in which a station is protected against interfering signals on the same frequency, and which is generally considered to be the station’s service area:

Service area for K283BW translator to carry KRXO programming

And there are stations on 104.5 at Pryor (this is Z104.5 the Edge in Tulsa), Mooreland, and eventually Wynnewood. I’m sort of amazed they could squeeze even a 250-watter (which is what this is) in the midst of all that.

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It’s probably about 666 now

Now the phishers are playing the credit-score angle:

This morning 07-10-2013 11:22:51, all 3 major credit bureaus approved an increase to your credit score.

However, the increase cannot take effect without your verification.

Please take the time to review this info for its accuracy —>

No need. Its accuracy is quite obvious: zero. None. Zip. Zilch. Bupkes.

Weirdly, this is alleged to be signed by one Vivian Jacobs at; the sneaky links in fact go to Amateur fraudsters, these. (And since Whois says this domain was created yesterdayrank amateur fraudsters.)

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She’s got your number, son

If you come to see She & Him, you will quickly discover that She doesn’t want you taking pictures:

The American indie duo made up of Zooey [Deschanel] and M. Ward have been on tour with album, Volume 3, in the US since June.

But the stunning actress and singer/songwriter has been putting up signs to stop people from frantically snapping pictures and recording videos because she wanted her fans to enjoy the music.

So we will have none of this:

Zooey Deschanel at the piano

“Not much of this,” I suspect, is more likely.

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Something to agitate

The Consumerist suggests this feature on your next washing machine:

Auto-load sensing: Instead of guessing what is a “small” or “large” load and wasting water accordingly, the machine figures it out for you.

“There are small loads?” — Every Mother, Everywhere

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Minor site issues

Load times were creeping upward this weekend, then jumped into the stratosphere shortly thereafter. I have shuffled the plugins slightly and reworked the cache, which may have helped somewhat. Also, while perusing the logs, I discovered an anomaly: bots of some sort trying to leave spam on the old Movable Type blog, which hasn’t existed for nearly five years. About fifteen minutes later, I had what I think is a permanent solution for that, including a redirect to Sheol.

Please report any anomalies other than the usual ones.

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Nothing but the tooth

Is the dreaded root canal on the way out?

Scientists have made advances in treating tooth decay that they hope will let them restore tooth tissue — and avoid the painful dental procedure. Several recent studies have demonstrated in animals that procedures involving tooth stem cells appear to regrow the critical, living tooth tissue known as pulp.

It’s still experimental, but there is hope:

Dental stem cells can be harvested from the pulp tissue of the wisdom and other types of adult teeth, or baby teeth. They can produce both the hard tissues needed by the tooth, like bone, and soft tissues like the pulp, says Dr. [Rena] D’Souza, a former president of the American Association for Dental Research who will become the dean of the University of Utah’s School of Dental Medicine Aug. 1.

She and colleagues at Baylor and Rice University focused on regrowing pulp using a small protein hydrogel. The gelatin-like substance is injected into the tooth and serves as a base into which pulp cells, blood vessels and nerves grow.

I have sacrificed a couple of back teeth rather than enter the Torture Chamber, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

(“Faster, please,” says Rand Simberg.)

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Some Edam want to get used by you

Behold the lyrical power of cheese:

Cheese by Eurythmics

(Harvested by Miss Cellania from Pleated-Jeans.)

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This post has been scheduled

The following was originally posted by Morgan:

My Mom saw a sultry and subtle evil behind passive-voice sentences. When she was still alive, I didn’t quite understand the rationale for this … it’s just a construct of the English language, which like any other, might make sense in some situations. With each year I see come and go, I get a little bit more wise to the true nature of her complaint. Verbs should be connected to subjects. Oops, uh, pardon me … writers should connect verbs to their subjects. The “who’s doing it” should, at the very least, exist as a common and successfully-communicated idea, between writer and reader, speaker and listener … whether or not it’s stated specifically, it should be spec’d out in some way. To fall short of that goal, is to deceive.

Perhaps the most blatant failure on this count is “Mistakes were made,” so common it now rates a Wikipedia article, tracing usage beyond Nixon’s henchpersons to Ulysses S. Grant, who tossed it into his 1876 State of the Union message — though Grant did finish off the phrase with “I admit it.”

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And then there were fifty

Even Illinois, which arguably has been heading downhill since I left in late 1954, is capable of buying a clue:

[Tuesday] the Illinois legislature overrode Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill allowing state residents who comply with certain objective standards to carry concealed fireams. Illinois, the last state to impose a blanket ban on concealed carry, is complying with a December decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit said that policy violates the Second Amendment. Under the new policy, which will take effect in nine months or so, people 21 or older who have state-issued firearms owner identification cards can obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons provided that have clean records and complete 16 hours of training.

Why nine months?

The new law gives the Illinois State Police six months to make applications for concealed-carry licenses available. It has to issue a license within three months of receiving a valid application, so it could be nine months before the first Illinois gun owner is licensed to carry.

The key phrase there is “has to.”

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Quibbling over genres

About half of my music acquisition these days has been by way of the ponyverse, which has a thriving music scene and hundreds of worthy composers; if they haven’t yet produced a John Williams or a Thelonious Monk or a Joni Mitchell, well, it’s not for lack of effort.

A lot of the items I check off for future investigation are labeled “trance,” “ambient” or “chill.” Now “trance” I understand, more or less: faster than house, strict adherence to 4/4, and the breakdown somewhere in the middle of the track. The other two are not quite so clearly defined, so I went to someone who has had more MP3 tags than I’ve had breaths, and he explains it thusly:

Basically, if it can’t ever wake me up, it’s Ambient. If it’s something I can see playing while I’m standing on the balcony of a ship, it’s Chill.

On the basis of the above, I think we can call this Chill:

Though that ship had better be well out of port, I think.

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I blame neutrons

The atomic weight of carbon is quoted as 12.011, not because there are any carbon atoms out there that actually measure 12.011, but because while most carbon is in fact C12, there’s a substantial amount of C13 and a smidgen of C14 out there. (Which latter variant, incidentally, is radioactive, which is why carbon dating works, just in case you’re a carbon-based life form needing a date.) These variants are called “isotopes,” like the Springfield Albuquerque baseball club.

Now the distribution of carbon atoms is pretty consistent. Some other elements, not so much:

The standard atomic weights of magnesium and bromine will now be expressed as intervals to more accurately convey this variation in atomic weight. For example, bromine commonly is considered to have a standard atomic weight of 79.904. However, its actual atomic weight can be anywhere between 79.901 and 79.907, depending on where the element is found.

This variation will not affect your late-night tumbler of Bromo-Seltzer, which hasn’t actually contained any bromine since 1975.

(The Friar caught this before I did.)

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Gizmos available at extra cost

You know what’s wrong with those really expensive cars? All those really expensive doo-dads they tack on:

The problem with Cadillacs and all other big fancy cars is all the gimcrack gizmos they use. Nice thing about luxury cars is that they are bigger, faster and more comfortable than your ordinary car, and if that was all the difference, they would be just great. But someone has decided that big, powerful cars should also be fancy, and so they install all these gizmos that are fine and entertaining as long as they work, but eventually they fail, and they fail much sooner than any of the standard mechanical stuff, and they cost a fortune to fix, so nobody bothers to fix them and that leads to a cascade of failures that eventually make the car unusable, even though mechanically it is still very sound. I want to buy an older luxury car and rip out the dashboard and all the other whizbang gizmos and replace them with standard switches and dials, or a standard off-the-shelf computer if that would be simpler. I don’t want to have to learn a bunch of new stuff to work on a car. I invested a good part of my life boning up on all kinds of esoteric computer crap and it was mostly a waste of time because the stuff all went obsolete before I ever got a chance to use all my hard won knowledge.

Remind me not to mention my backlit fluorescent instrument panel and my A-pillar tweeters and my electronic engine mounts.

(Actually, I’ve had to replace one of those mounts, which of course costs twice as much as an ordinary non-electronic mount. Then again, it held up for about 140,000 miles.)

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Not on call

Last time I brought up Carly Rae Jepsen, it was in connection with a sermon. About a month later, someone snagged this photo of her wandering around Paris, and it’s been sitting here ever since.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Assuming you don’t want to hear That Song, here’s a clip of a Jepsen appearance on Canadian Idol, circa 2007, singing, of all things, “Killer Queen.”

No, this did not get her eliminated: she got all the way to the Top 3 before being voted off the stage.

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Amphibian chaff

From Car and Driver‘s take (8/13) on the Nissan Juke NISMO:

There are no logical reasons for it to look the way it does, so clearly drawn without conventional aesthetic considerations in mind. And its 1.6-liter turbo four is an overachiever, imbuing this automotive non sequitur with the verve to match its shape. There’s not a cynical bolt or negative bead of adhesive in the Juke’s batrachian body.

The online version of this same half-paragraph is a lot less scintillating:

There are no logical reasons for it to look the way it does; its aesthetics are so clearly drawn without concern for what critics would think. Its 1.6-liter turbo four is an overachiever, imbuing this automotive non sequitur with the verve to match its shape. There’s not a cynical bolt or bead of adhesive in the Juke’s spunky, amphibian body.

I have to assume that someone in the Web department choked on “batrachian,” and that’s a shame, unless you’re Miss Piggy.

(Title from this recording, a copy of which I have owned for close to forty years.)

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Another plug to be pulled

One of the more curious screen resolutions I’ve ever had to deal with is 544 x 376, which was the size of the original WebTV (later MSN TV) screen. Our decidedly low-tech customer base flocked to the service, and I learned quickly enough to keep the page width down to 540 or so.

Well, what’s left of that base is now being deflocked:

MSN TV closure announcement

WebTV was founded in 1996; Microsoft bought it the next year for $425 million, and turned a fair profit on the service for several years. But no platform can last forever, and this one dies at the end of September.

(Via this Steve Lackmeyer tweet.)

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Pollock exhibition

Recently seen on the frozen-fish shelf: Van de Kamp’s Sandwich Fillets, for those of us who never remember to order a Filet-O-Fish at Mickey D’s. (Then again, about the only time I duck under the Golden Arches is to snag a McRib, at which time I’m not even thinking fish.)

Of course, these are pricey: a box of six approaches $7. Still, how many can you eat at one sitting? I duly picked up a box, slid a couple of the little rectangles onto the cookie sheet, and baked for 29 minutes at 425°F. There was a sauce recipe on the box, which probably wasn’t as convenient as a little packet you can dribble onto the product, but I’d just as soon whip up my own anyway. (Try this, and remember you have to start it half an hour before baking.)

The result was surprisingly good, if a tad short of my gold standard for such things: the fishburger (or whatever it was called) on the kids’ menu at El Matamoros in Austin, which I remember vividly despite not having been there in fifty years.

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