Strange search-engine queries (590)

If you’re new around here, let us fill you in on what happens in this weekly feature. A substantial percentage of traffic to this site consists of searchers, be they from Google, Yahoo!, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any of several others. What they may be searching for, we don’t know until we look through the logs; and if we’re lucky, we’ll find something worth passing on. (And yes, I suppose we’re always lucky; we wouldn’t be in the 590th installment if we hadn’t been.)

my cadillac 2005 sts makes a snapping sound coming from the rear and leans what could it be:  A very large repair bill.

devon knows that there are 3 teaspoons (tsp) in 1 tablespoon (tbsp). his cookie recipe calls for 6 tbsp of honey. which expressions can be used to find the number of tsp in 6 tbsp?  Enough of a frown to get parental attention.

the things that michelle gave up from her decision are called the:  Tablespoons of honey.

aprilbugs:  Immature form of junebugs.

brad pitt astrology:  He’s a Sagittarius, just like me. (Well, he’s a Sagittarius, anyway.)

tumblr bimbo milf:  You don’t ask much, do you?

quoth the raven 404:  Lenore must have been more lost than we thought.

spoony’s brother killed a man:  Just to watch him die?

the cramped quarters migrant boat:  Well, yeah. Migrants seldom can afford cabin cruisers.

new six:  For when those old V8s are banned.

amazon service error 1002:  It’s your fault. Amazon is never wrong.

a manufacturer wishes to make tee-shirts for the band dixie chicks. they sell for $12 each:  Not in the real world, they don’t.

armadillo syphilis:  They’re gonna love this down at the clinic, I just know it.

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Not what you’d call a losing streak

From People, 9 June 1975:

Jagger and the Stones have endured at the top longer than any other rock band, but as for the future, Jagger admits that it could all suddenly end. “I only meant to do it for two years. I guess the band would just disperse one day and say goodbye. I would continue to write and sing, but I’d rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45.”

Sir Mick Jagger, one month short of his 70th birthday:

I’m thinking he’s changed his mind.

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Déjà scrutiny

Six months ago, I got my newly-increased auto-insurance bill; five months ago, I was advised of a decrease (by $24.70) in the semiannual premium. I figured the next time around, they’d raise it back to the previous amount.

Well, they didn’t. It’s just the same as the final version of the last bill. It’s still a trifle pricey; but then, being a defensive person by nature, I tend to load up on the coverages.


Resurrection songs

Cover art for The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk OperaMark Swetz had been asking himself for some time: “How do you open performance to those with low, no and full vision?” The question of “blind spectatorship” became a topic for research, and eventually a thesis. Part of Swetz’ research, though not formally a part of that thesis, was a musical he commissioned from composer Paul Shapera, first performed in 2012. The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera runs just under an hour and a half, and of necessity it’s on the wordy side, so that it’s not necessary to have access to the visuals to comprehend the story.

Brief overview, so to speak:

The 1st Act is concerned with a scientist, Annabel McAlistair, and her attempt to bring back her dead love, placing him within the body of a mechanical mannequin. The 2nd Act follows her son Edgar, the 3rd Act his son Byron and the 4th Act Priscilla McAlistair. Each generation’s meddling with these Dolls contributes to the gradual fall of New Albion itself.

Jasper, Annabel’s object of fixation, only once actually noticed her; it turns out that he was already committed to another in an arranged marriage. That marriage did not go well, and when Jasper died, Annabel put her scientific (and beyond, perhaps) knowledge to bring him back, bring him to her.

This gets seriously complicated over the four generations of McAlistairs, as Annabel’s work, the work she’d tried to suppress, was eventually discovered by Edgar, who decided to go into business as the local re-animator. It made him a fortune; unfortunately, his wealth went to his head. Meanwhile, more and more Dolls were being created from the souls of New Albion’s deceased.

You can follow this rather easily from the audio. (Paul Shapera has put it up for sale at Bandcamp; he’s asking $10, and he got it from me.) And yes, you can watch a performance.

(With thanks to Roger Green.)

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Let the chips name the paint

Seemed like a good idea at the time:

So if you’ve ever picked out paint, you know that every infinitesimally different shade of blue, beige, and gray has its own descriptive, attractive name. Tuscan sunrise, blushing pear, Tradewind, etc… There are in fact people who invent these names for a living. But given that the human eye can see millions of distinct colors, sooner or later we’re going to run out of good names. Can AI help?

For this experiment, I gave the neural network a list of about 7,700 Sherwin-Williams paint colors along with their RGB values. (RGB = red, green, and blue color values) Could the neural network learn to invent new paint colors and give them attractive names?

Short answer: Yes, but no.

Slightly longer answer: Look at these and judge for yourself:

Paint colors invented by a neural network

Neither Sherwin nor Williams, I suspect, has much to worry about.

(Via Ars Technica.)

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Word salad with no dressing

Most comment spams are incomprehensible.

Most personal ads are incomprehensible.

Now combine the two and you have this thing, dropped into my mailbox this week:

Smart, crazy, funny, wanting and eventually still mature. I’m 5-3 midium built with stunted wavey black hair. I smell good. I pet good and yes, I am attractive. With very light peel (IRISH) and Honeybrown eyes (Mexican) I have a greats ense of humor and when your sad or up-end, I will shape you laugh. Looking looking for joy and excitment, would infatuation to arrange pleasure I am finishing up my considerably in college, dearth to have nonsense in between. Not looking in the direction of A LTR.

The rest is sufficiently disquieting to justify throwing it under the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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A definitive femme fatale

Scene: Beside a roulette wheel.

Jeff: That’s not the way to win.
Kathie: Is there a way to win?
Jeff: There’s a way to lose more slowly.

You need to explain film noir to someone, you could practically do it with those three lines from Out of the Past, a 1947 thriller starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. You may be certain that what goes around eventually comes around.

Jane was originally “Bettiejane,” but truncated her name shortly after turning 21. “It’s a sissy name,” she said, and maybe it was for someone who was already doing darkish films.

Jane Greer in late November

Jane Greer in late October

Jane Greer in a good mood

Jane Greer by the pool

A pertinent scene from Out of the Past:

Speaking of things coming around, Out of the Past was remade in 1984 as Against All Odds, perhaps best known for its weedy Phil Collins theme. Jane Greer was in that too, as the mother of the femme fatale character played by Rachel Ward. Still a working actress, she went on to do three episodes of Twin Peaks (!), in which she played the mother of Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton). Alas, she won’t be in Twin Peaks: The Return, which starts on Showtime tomorrow; she died of cancer in 2001, aged 76.


Keepers of the sacred tablets

Welcome to Rare Disease Month. (Actually, I think that was February, but no matter.) This should make the producers of the few remaining soap operas very, very happy. Look what it did for ABC’s General Hospital:

A recent plot twist … had one character not just getting any cancer, but polycythemia vera (PV), a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). In other words, a rare form of blood cancer for which the standard treatment is blood-letting and anticoagulants.

The TV patient, not satisfied with this prognosis, demands of the doctor, “This protocol sounds like you are treating the symptoms of this cancer; how do we beat it?” “I have to keep going to bloodlettings for the rest of my life?”

Now that’s the beginning of a story arc for the ages. And there’s technical assistance to be had:

Why is GH highlighting this incredibly specific cancer? It’s ostensibly the culmination of a partnership between a company called the Incyte Corporation and the producers of the show to raise awareness for MPNs as part of rare disease month.

Or, you know, not:

But in an opinion piece published this week in medical journal JAMA, Dr. Sham Mailankody of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Dr. Vinay Prasad of Oregon Health & Science University argue that this is really just stealth advertising for Incyte, which just so happens to make only one FDA-approved product, ruxolitinib, which (you can probably see where this is going) is used to treat MPNs, including PV.

Doesn’t sound like an off-label usage. What’s the problem?

But the fictional circumstances could make it seem like ruxolitinib is a first-line therapy for PV, which it is not, the doctors note.

“Instead it has a precise and narrow indication,” they write, explaining that the drug is approved only for patients with an inadequate response or intolerance to chemotherapy, who are dependent on blood-letting, and who have an enlarged spleen.

“Thus, if PV is rare, appropriate use of ruxolitinib in PV should be rarer still,” the doctors say.

On the other hand, you’re not going to see routine stuff like mere strep on General Hospital, fercrissake. And you don’t want to know how much Jakafi (the brand name under which ruxolitinib is sold) is going to cost.

Oh, you do? I checked prices in my neighborhood, and we’re talking $2,800.

For fourteen tablets.

Two hundred bucks, give or take a dollar or three, per tab. If you’re going to be able to afford that, it probably helps to have a steady gig on an ABC soap.


Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal

If this describes you, and you’re somewhere near Los Angeles, polish up your personal custom spoon and go for it:

[N]ow, LA residents can enjoy a bowl of cereal in a brand new cereal bar in the Virgil Village neighborhood. The bar is called Cereal and Such, and was opened by musician, producer, and fashion designer Theo Martins, who moved to LA just five years ago to get more involved with the city’s art scene.

Martins opened up Cereal and Such in a refurbished shack in the back patio of a clothing store called Virgil Normal, Eater reports. Cereal and Such opened on May 5 and started selling bowls of cereal at $4 a pop, along with a menu of coffee, tea, and t-shirts. The cereal menu will move in a rotation of six different cereals, and there will always be one vegan and gluten-free option for those with diet restrictions to enjoy. While on tour in Japan this month, Martins says he will bring back cereal from his trip to sell at the bar.

L.A.’s best-known cereal-eater is not likely to put in an appearance, having (on video!) admitted that she doesn’t really like cereal.

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The pepper, it burns

We begin with a relevant review:

It was like a religious experience, mainly because our tongue was on fire. And that accursed conflagration was reaching down down down into our digestive depths, twisting us sideways/inside-out/round-and-round with searing waves of pepper-powered pain.

So spake an Adweek staffer after trying a single tortilla chip imbued with the Carolina Reaper chili pepper, now the second-spiciest pepper on earth.

Wait, what? Second- spiciest?

Alas, it is true:

Death by chili pepper may not be a common way to die, but it’s certainly a possibility for unlucky souls adventurous enough to try Dragon’s Breath, the new hottest pepper in town.

Mike Smith, the owner of Tom Smith’s Plants in the United Kingdom, developed the record-breaking pepper with researchers at the University of Nottingham. He doesn’t recommend the pepper for eating, however, because it may be the last thing a person ever tastes.

So how exactly do hot peppers, such as Dragon’s Breath, maim or kill those who try to eat them? Let’s start with the pepper’s spicy stats: Dragon’s Breath is so spicy, it clocks in at 2.48 million heat units on the Scoville scale, a measurement of concentration of capsaicin, the chemical that releases that spicy-heat sensation people feel when they bite into a chili pepper. Dragon’s Breath is hotter than the current record-holder, the Carolina Reaper, which packs an average of 1.6 million Scoville heat units, as well as U.S. military pepper sprays, which hit about 2 million on the Scoville scale, according to the Daily Post.

Individual samples of the Reaper are reported to have broken the two-million mark, but 2.48 is just out there.

Dragon’s Breath, in contrast, is so potent that it will be kept in a sealed container when it goes on display at the Chelsea Flower Show from May 23 to 27 in London, the Daily Post reported.

It better be more thoroughly sealed than, say, the average mayonnaise jar off Funk & Wagnalls’ porch.

(Via a woman who is apparently not trying to kill me.)

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Miles away

Robert Miles, pioneer of the short-lived dream-trance musical genre — the emphasis is on the melody, while the beats pound away at 4/4 — passed away a week and a half ago, and it turns out that he’d had metastatic cancer, already at Stage 4 within nine months.

Miles, born Roberto Concina in Switzerland in 1969, first clicked with “Children,” a sound with a very specific purpose:

The creation of dream trance was a response to social pressures in Italy during the early 1990s: the growth of rave culture among young adults, and the ensuing popularity of nightclub attendance, had created a weekly trend of deaths due to car accidents as clubbers drove across the country overnight, falling asleep at the wheel from strenuous dancing as well as alcohol and drug use. In mid-1996, deaths due to this phenomenon, called strage del sabato sera (Saturday night slaughter) in Italy, were being estimated at around 2000 since the start of the decade. The move by DJs such as Miles to play slower, calming music to conclude a night’s set, as a means to counteract the fast-paced, repetitive tracks that preceded, was met with approval by authorities and parents of car crash victims.

Miles’ album Dreamland followed. The second single, “Fable,” was released in several different versions, of which my favorite was the seven-minute “Dream Version.”

In 2012, Miles set up OpenLab, a radio station based in Ibiza; he was still perfecting it when he took ill.

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Let ’em die

“First, do no harm.” This is not technically part of the Hippocratic Oath, but it’s consistent with its values. So naturally, it’s got to go:

Remember that once you change the idea that docs never kill to the idea that killing is mandatory if “asked,” then you get docs (and nurses) who decide to be god and doing the killing spontaneously, or causing a person to die indirectly, not because the treatment won’t really help the patient, but merely because the patient is looked down on as useless, so why not?

An unfortunate incident to illustrate:

Once I worked a few weeks filling in at the ER at one of the IHS hospitals in the Sioux area. While I was giving report to my replacement, a moonlighting resident who worked in Baltimore but flew in to help on the weekend, one of the staff members came in to ask if we would check an x ray that the feeding tube was placed correctly so they could tube feed a lady with a recent stroke until her swallowing ability improved.

The resident, however, said: “Why don’t you just give her morphine, haha”… (implying we shouldn’t feed her but just sedate her into a coma and let her die of dehydration etc). The staff doctor said “WHAT?” and the resident repeated the same thing.

The staff doctor said quietly: “well, we don’t do things that way here,” and left, telling the nurse he would be back later in the evening to check the x ray.

I kept silent, since I had no authority here but knew my next door neighbor was a member of the American Indian movement and would have her group intervene if this was done.

But you know, I wonder how many poor black patients he cared for in Baltimore also got “morphine, haha.”

The black community already distrusts the medical community but since elder suicide is seen as a problem for rich white people, they aren’t worried about this. Yet.

“First, do nothing”?

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Take a hike

Oh, wait, she did:

Rebecca Black takes a hike

I couldn’t tell you if that was before or after this:

The operative word here, of course, is “again.”


An Important Document

“You may have been pre-qualified for an auto loan up to $32,950,” says the back of this silly-ass document, billed as “Freedom Certificate of Finance — Preferred” on the front, along with a picture of Lady Liberty flanked by a couple of pieces of artillery. After all, what’s more American than recovering from a period of penury by going out and overspending on a frigging new car?

This is the very top of that front page:

Important Document from some car dealer

No document attempting to sell me stuff can possibly be “Important.”

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That which I tweet

This is bannered “Interests from Twitter,” and if nothing else, this makes me wonder if Biz Stone has been summoned just to clean up the mess:

These are some of the interests matched to you based on your profile and activity. You can adjust them if something doesn’t look right.
Action and adventure
Automotive news and general info
Beginning investing
Biographies and memoirs
Board gaming
Business & Finance
Business and finance
Business and news
Business news and general info
Car Culture
Car culture
Celebrity fan and gossip
Drawing and sketching
Financial news
General info
Indie spotlight
Make-up and cosmetics
Movie news and general info
Music news and general info
NBA basketball
Performance arts
Political elections
Politics and current events
Sci-fi and fantasy
Sci-fi and fantasy
Science News
Science news
Space News
Sports themed
Talk radio
Tech News
Tech news
Women’s outerwear
Women’s shoes
Women’s tops

What I’d like to know:

(1) The difference between “Business & Finance” and “Business and finance.” Ditto “Tech News” and “Tech news,” or several other seeming (or actual) duplicates.

(2) Why I should give a flip about any of this.

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These jeans aren’t all there

By which I mean these jeans:

Cutout detachable jeans

The latest double-duty demin doozies come in bleached blue or black, and are equally absurd from the front and the back — which is all about celebrating underbutt. Thank (or not) the design folks at Y/Project and Opening Ceremony, where the two-in-one trousers are on sale for $425.

Still, these are better-looking than the jeans with the clear plastic panel and far better-looking than the jeans with the clear plastic everything.

(Via Martin Lieberman.)

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