Not exactly forward progress

And if we don’t have a carless future, this is what we have to look forward to after a decade or so, says TTAC commenter DeadWeight:

I look forward to 2025, and 0.4 liter, turbocharged, CVT vehicles made of carbon-parmesan cheese bonded fibers, getting 125 mpg on the EPA loop test, and between 22 mpg and 28 mpg in the real world.

Cylinder count is not specified, but with everyone and his corporate cousins now offering 2.0-liter inline fours, suggesting a half-liter standard cylinder, I’m speculating that this is a single cylinder turned upside down, in the manner of the V-12s built by Daimler-Benz for the Luftwaffe.

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That name again is “Missed the plow”

Remember last winter in Buffalo? Traces of it remain even now:

It may be almost August, but dirt-covered snow still hasn’t completely melted since being dumped at a defunct Buffalo railroad station after November’s record-breaking storm.

WGRZ-TV reports that two snow piles nearly 10 feet high in some spots are still melting in vacant lots at the Central Terminal on the city’s east side.

City crews dumped snow in the lots after a lake-effect storm dumped more than 7 feet on parts of Buffalo and the surrounding area the week before Thanksgiving. Eight months later, some of it is still there.

It’s been there so long that grass is growing on it.

Meanwhile, somehow today in the Big Breezy we don’t have a Heat Advisory.

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Aw, ya big lug

I don’t like the idea of an utterly carless future, but I am forced to concede that never seeing anything like this again will provide one tiny sliver of consolation:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How can I put rims with 6 lugs on a Chevrolet Tahoe that has 5 lugs on the wheel assembly?

The only thing we really want to know here is “Did he already buy the wrong wheels?”

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Meet Magda

Brian Atwood himself Instagrammed this new fall pump:

Magda pump by Brian Atwood

“Magda” is, says Atwood, a “tuxedo pump with velvet bow.” I bow to its utter simplicity. There’s apparently also a version encrusted with Swarovski crystals, which is a bit less simple.

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Thin but mintless

It was inevitable, I suppose, that I would somehow talk myself into a package of Oreo Thins, and after stalling for a week and a half, I pulled the tab — Keebler, thou shouldst steal this idea, as thy current packaging sucketh — and grabbed a handful.

On the most severe tests of Oreos, the results were mixed. I managed to unscrew several without breaking the cookie or tearing the Stuf, what little Stuf there is. However, they don’t seem to dunk particularly well: it takes roughly twice as long to absorb the milk.

Flavor? Well, they do taste sort of like Oreos, though the mouthfeel is a bit off, and there’s a hint of aftertaste one does not find in the original; I suspect that they’ve monkeyed with the recipe a little to meet the calorie goal of 35 per. Overall, I think a variation on the original Lite Beer slogan would work here: it’s everything you always wanted in a cookie, and less.

Meanwhile, this seems to be the most useful advice:


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Costs and benefits

Actual lunchtime conversation today:

Me: “They’re planning on spending more money on this new jail than on the new convention center.”

She: “The jail, at least, won’t be sitting empty.”

Why, yes, I do have snarky friends.

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Birthday massacre

No, not the Canadian band. One of the weirdest outcroppings of US copyright law — and believe me, there are some zingers in the bunch — was the claim that “Happy Birthday to You,” a song written in 1893, is somehow under copyright until 2030.

Said claim is perhaps about to be tossed in the garbage with the party decorations:

[I]n the high profile lawsuit over the copyright status of the song “Happy Birthday,” the plaintiffs “Good Morning to You Productions” (who are making a documentary about the song and are arguing that the song is in the public domain) have popped up with a last minute filing, saying they have just come across evidence that the song is absolutely in the public domain.

And, here’s the real kicker: they discovered this bit of evidence after two questionable things happened. (1) Warner/Chappell Music (who claims to hold the copyright for the publishing, if it exists) suddenly “found” a bunch of relevant documents that it was supposed to hand over in discovery last year, but didn’t until just a few weeks ago, and (2) a rather important bit of information in one of those new documents was somewhat bizarrely “blurred out.” This led the plaintiffs go searching for the original, and discover that it undermines Warner Music’s arguments, to the point of showing that the company was almost certainly misleading the court. Furthermore, it definitively shows that the work was and is in the public domain.

Allegedly, the song brought Warner/Chappell up to $2 million a year. It might actually have been cheaper to license the Beatles’ “Birthday” from the White Album — once, anyway.

Update, 8 August: On this last note, Hollywood writer/tech guy Marc Wielage sez:

$330K for most Beatles song publishing — if they approve the use of it in the first place. Meanwhile “Happy Birthday” averages around $2000-$5000 in a film.

So much for that comparison.

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We only sell them

Sylva Stoel in the offending garmentSylva Stoel is wearing shorts by JCPenney, deemed “career wear” in places where one assumes the air conditioning is not set at Meat Locker. One place you can’t wear them, curiously, is at a JCPenney store:

“The only word the manager said on [in-store] dress code during my job orientation was that denim was not allowed, t-shirts were unacceptable, spaghetti-strap tank tops weren’t allowed and skirts couldn’t be ‘too short’,” Stoel told Mic via email. “But I was never warned that wearing linen shorts to work could get me sent home.”

Especially these linen shorts, am I right?

And it’s not like the store is full of demurely dressed fashion plates, either:

Moreover, Stoel told Mic, plenty of her fellow employees wear jeans and tees to work. “Unfortunately for me, it seems as [if] my exposed knees registered as more unprofessional than jeans and a t-shirt.”

Stoel took her complaint to Twitter:

This garb would certainly pass muster at 42nd and Treadmill, though I suspect I would probably have to hide in my office for the rest of the day, purely as a safety precaution: I have been known to walk into walls.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Vancouver lacks Uber

And so the Coyote calls the properly licensed, government-approved car service:

In trying to complete the transaction, I was told that they were very busy and that my wait would be up to 40 minutes for them to show up.

This is the second time in a week (Vegas was the first) that I have had to spend some serious wait-time just because the local government has decided to artificially limit competition and capacity. I am sure the politicians would tell me it’s for my own good, though.

As do all politicians. I think it’s in the paperwork they have to sign to be eligible for graft.

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Bare naked text

When offered a choice, I always opt for plain-text email over HTML, “the way God and RFC 822 intended.” Most people choose otherwise. I contend that they chose poorly, and I am not alone in this belief:

So we decided to experiment with varying degrees of HTML-richness — plain HTML templates, snazzy and sleek HTML templates, beautiful headers, different sized and positioned images, various call-to-action buttons, and even GIFs — to see which would have the best result.

In every single A/B test, the simpler-designed email won. The emails with fewer HTML elements won with statistical significance.

To take this a step further:

HTML emails decreased open rates. What was interesting, however, was that not only were HTML emails receiving lower open rates than their plain-text counterparts, the more HTML-rich an email was, the lower its open rate.

Some of this may be due to mail filters. SquirrelMail, as implemented at my domain, blocks images it deems possibly unsafe, in which case your beautiful design looks like a game of Tetris that ended in a system freeze.

But regardless of the reason, it’s better without all those damn graphics. Trust me. Or God and that RFC.

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Demure in gravure

You’re never too old to learn, or at least I’m not, and this phrase crossed my screen for the first time this week:

A gravure idol is a Japanese female model who primarily models in magazines, especially those marketed to men, photobooks or DVDs. Gravure idols, in most cases, emphasize their sexual attractiveness and often model in swimsuits … Contrary to popular foreign belief, gravure idols never appear fully nude in their photos but their poses often can be labeled as semi-provocative.

Gravure models may be of any age but usually range from their late teens to their mid-twenties.

Presumably a cousin to “rotogravure,” in which you were seen in your Easter bonnet.

To illustrate this definition, I bring you Rina Aizawa, twenty-four:

Rina Aizawa sitting in the back seat

Rina Aizawa sitting but not in the back seat

Rina Aizawa obligatory swimsuit picture

I honestly don’t know how I missed that term for all these years, especially since I was an early convert to LaserDisc, which happily vended lots of Japanese nonporn along exactly these lines in the 1980s. A lot of it looked like this:

Like I said, never too old to learn.

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Give us sweatshops!

I implore thee, Saint Willis of Carrier, lift the veil from the eyes of those who only think they see:

[T]he gender divide, thermostat edition. All these women who actually dress for the season — linens, sundresses, flowy silk shirts, short-sleeve tops — changing their wardrobes to fit the sweltering temperatures around them.

And then there are the men, stalwart in their business armor, manipulating their environment for their own comfort, heaven forbid they make any adjustments in what they wear.

That’s right, my friends. Air conditioning is another big, sexist plot.

No, really, she’s serious:

Setting the temperature to suit men is wrong in ways that go far beyond summer fashion.

Frozen workers make more errors and are less productive, according to Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis and director of Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory, who studied office temperatures about a decade ago.

I suppose there’s some vaguely egalitarian idea behind having everyone sweat, but scratch any totalitarian, and you’ll find a whole bucket full of vaguely egalitarian ideas.

Steven Crowder gives this the response it deserves:

[D]oes anyone else find it ironic that feminists are accusing men of secretly stacking the deck against women in order to get them to … put on more clothes? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to assume that men would more likely crank up the heat to get women to strip down? First step: set thermostat to 91 degrees. Second step: pitch “Casual Bra and Panty Friday.”

Third step: exile all these freezing women to somewhere deep in the heart of Texas. On a day like, oh, the 28th of July.

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Custom for days

Somebody on Quora, presumably for I-want-it-too reasons, wanted to know which WordPress theme was using, so I took a look out there and quickly decided that this had to be a custom job: it didn’t look quite like any of the canned themes I’ve seen.

Still, duty calleth, so I fetched the View Source screen, and this came back to me:

First few lines of

Then followed the names and locations of the three actual developers. And yes, this is a custom theme, which is indeed called “Lemon Soda.”

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Playing to a captive audience

Well, it makes marketing sense, anyway:

Too bad you can’t do the update from the BSOD. (Or can you?)

(Via SwiftOnSecurity.)

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In which we see the hand of Cyberdyne

Up until the very end of the paragraph, this looked like ordinary defense-industry boilerplate:

An effort to recapitalise the Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) with a modern business jet is shaping up to be this summer’s blockbuster defence programme, with three solid industry teams now vying for the $6.5 billion prize and Raytheon working on a curious new airborne radar called “Skynet.”

Skynet logoSkynet? Seriously?

Raytheon is flying under the radar, so to speak, by offering its new “Skynet” radar to all sides. The company is in a non-exclusive partnership with Lockheed, but says it will offer its radar — believed to be a 16ft derivative of the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) carried on the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft — to whichever company wants it.

According to Raytheon: “Skynet incorporates the latest innovations developed for the US Navy’s stringent, wide-area surveillance requirements [and] meets or exceeds all JSTARS requirements for the lowest possible cost.”

Lockheed confirmed in a statement that it intends to carry Skynet on its business jet design, describing the radar as a “state-of-the-art active electronically scanned array (AESA), long-range, ground-surveillance radar.”

Northrop says it is closely examining Raytheon’s radar offering, but could also choose its own ground-looking AESA radar, depending on the final JSTARS requirements. Metzger’s team has been conducting trials with several different radar types at its radar test facility in Melbourne.

So who gets to go looking for Sarah Connor?

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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All over you, yes

You know, just because you relocated from Austria to Liverpool to pursue your dreams of reviving the 1960s British Invasion, and even wangled a regular spot at the Cavern Club (!), it doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to Merseybeat stuff, am I right?

The late Lee Hazlewood surely would have smiled.

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