Easier to swallow

“Better living through robotics,” says FuturePundit, and that especially includes robotic surgery:

We need robotic surgery to cut costs and reduce accidents. We especially need robotic surgery to swap out old organs for new organs once organ growth in vats becomes practical. Replacement organs created by tissue engineering are going to be a key rejuvenation therapy. Only robots will be fast enough and safe enough to do organ swapping on the scale that will be required for full body rejuvenation.

He cites a present-day implementation for tumors in the neck:

The study found that the use of robot-assisted surgery to remove these tumors through the mouth took about 25 minutes on average, and that blood loss was minimal — a little more than three teaspoons, or 15.4 milliliters, on average, per patient. No surgical complications were encountered and 11 of the 13 patients could accept an oral diet within 24 hours.

If, on the other hand, these tumors are removed by performing open surgery on the neck, the operation can take around 4 hours to perform, require 7 to 10 days of hospitalization on average and require a tracheotomy tube and a stomach tube, the researchers say.

As the Instant Man might say, “Faster, please.”

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They could almost be twins

Rainn Wilson tweeted this Monday: “I’m like Zooey Deschanel without the quirkiness, beauty or vagina.”

Replied Zooey: “Why? Did you get bangs?”

In response, Rainn put up a vintage photo of himself at around age 14.

You know what’s coming next, right?

Zooey Deschanel and Rainn Wilson as teenagers

On the left, one of Zooey’s high-school yearbook pictures; at right, Rainn’s vintage photo. In view of same, we find Mr Wilson to have made his case, or at least two-thirds of it.

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A general sense of rightness

Snapped from the iTunes Shuffle playlist:

Screenshot from iTunes

“Right or Wrong” is, of course, a cover of Wanda Jackson’s 1961 original, and you met Dr. Smith here.

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Agitators everywhere

All of a sudden I feel better about my relatively antiquated (nine years old) laundry equipment:

Families are reporting exploding washing machines that have led to doors shattering and shards of glass covering their kitchen.

Dozens of complaints from owners of appliances have been received by an online forum and now consumer magazine Which? has launched its own investigation into the growing phenonemon.

In some cases, doors have shattered when the machine is not even in use while others users said glass had simply fallen out of its casing.

I tell you, it’s those damned front loaders. They’ll get you every time.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Bad for your imaging

I think we bought this same damnable device:

Today, after scanning a 10 page article and hitting print, after printing two pages, it happily informed me that I needed to replace the toner cartridge. Which of course I don’t have, since I didn’t get a spare with it. And unlike most copiers, this gives you no wiggle room. When it says you need to replace the toner, there is NO. MORE. TONER. At all. So I’ve just spent several minutes standing uncomfortably on my toes, and lost all of it. To e-mail this I’m going to have to scan it a page at a time into my office scanner attached to the computer which takes a lot longer. And I’m going to have to wait a week or so to get the new toner in. Grrrr. I ordered one of each color cartridge and two black, since one is going directly into the machine the instant I get it. And of course I can’t find out who else in the hospital has one of these models, if anyone, because no one can use the “everyone” e-mail list anymore.

I have a color laser printer in my weaselworks (like skunkworks, but vaguely deodorized), and it has the same attitude toward toner: Now, And I Mean Now. I have learned to keep C, M, Y and K at its side at all times, at a hundred and six bucks per letter.

On the upside, we have a chap who comes by the shop once a week to ascertain our printer needs, and then delivers the products himself. I suppose if I spent half a day combing through the Intarwebs I could beat his prices by a few cents here and there, but why bother?

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Spotting the generic spammer

Distinguishing characteristics:

On sο many levels, Ӏ am more angered by the “generіс commenteг” than by the leѕѕ аrtful spammeг. Υou might ask whу, Bеcauѕe at lеast the obvіous spammer is complеtely open and honest about their spamming! We can sеe who they aгe. The so called genеrіc sρammer is a lіаг and a fаκe! Υou can probably sеe that І have ѵeгy stгong toward thiѕ group of рeорle.

Which was just one of entirely too many such foisted off on poor Buttercup.

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More dinty

Or, we can have archaic and eat it too:

“[B]y dint of” — does any American speaker of English actually use that? I only know it as an “English” translation of some French construction — which I have now forgotten. But of course the English phrase sticks in my head, and even though it may be archaic, it still fits some situations, so I use it.

I duly typed “by dint of” into the Google Custom Search box over in the sidebar, restricting it to just this domain. Got 857 results. Admittedly, some of them were for the same page — this happens when you have individual, monthly and category archives — but still, that’s more than a hint of dint.

Then there’s Antarctica’s Dint Island, within a handy 7 km of Vittoria Buttress.

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A pony-powered bandwagon

Every now and then I shake my head and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. And then a reminder pops up:

Bronies — adult fans of animated children’s show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (FiM) — are bound to set a record for the highest number of fanworks in the shortest amount of time.

Tons of art, hours — weeks, at least — of music.

But neither medium can hold a candle to the massive world of brony fanfiction.

Brony fanfiction has become one of the fandom’s most lasting traditions, with adoring writers creating their own stories that take the original equine characters of the Friendship is Magic universe and portray them in new situations.

I wonder about that word “lasting,” since the fandom itself is only two years old, but I can’t deny this:

I swore I would not get involved with fanfic, period. I admit that this particular fandom has drawn more of my attention than any other in recent years, and that these characters mean a lot to me in many ways, but still: No Fanfic.

And then I read one, because a friend suggested it. One can’t hurt, right? And then I read another, and it turned out to be My Little Dashie.

I wrote that on the 16th of June. Of this year. That was more than 400 stories ago. (Including three I actually wrote, with a fourth in progress.)

Perhaps I’m paying now for never having been a proper Trekkie/er. Or something. But nothing in Deepest Roddenberria ever affected me as much as MLD.

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Your 2012 State Questions

The sixth biennial roundup on what’s on the ballot next month besides, you know, all those dadgum candidates.

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Never let a trademark go to waste

The Oklahoma Publishing Company shut down the Oklahoma City Times, its afternoon paper, way back in 1984, much to the dismay of those of us who actually preferred an afternoon paper. There evidently weren’t enough of us around. However, they never let the trademark lapse, and now it’s back on the Web, as a brand for the Oklahoman’s downtown OKC coverage at NewsOK.com — which gives me an excuse to put up this nifty little song by the late Hamilton Camp.

I still have this on a 45.

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Barest essentials

I’ve mentioned before that wartime mobilization took nylon completely off the consumer market, and as expected, demand soared after the war ended. And by “soared,” we mean that there was actual rioting in the streets when sole source DuPont couldn’t possibly meet that demand.

Things really didn’t settle down until DuPont, faced with the threat of antitrust action, agreed to license nylon to another producer: Chemstrand, a joint venture of American Viscose and Monsanto. (Monsanto bought out its partner in 1961.) Like DuPont, Chemstrand ran only generic advertisements for garments, not wishing to tread on the turf owned by the mills who bought their fiber. This one ran two whole pages in the fashion mags:

Hosiery ad by Chemstrand

As risqué as they would get would be in the “It’s Nylon or Nothing” series circa 1956:

Lingerie ad by Chemstrand

There also exists a swimsuit version. And yes, there are ads for tires made from Chemstrand nylon, but they’re beyond the scope of this series.

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Played twice and then archived

I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but there now exists a marketplace for used MP3s and such. Unsurprisingly, The Industry is not happy about that:

A US court is to consider a case that could determine whether digital media files can be resold.

One-year-old start-up ReDigi is battling music giant EMI over whether digital music can be retraded after it has been legally purchased.

ReDigi says that its software is designed to comply with existing United States copyright laws. But EMI argues a legal principle which allows consumers to resell purchased material goods does not apply.

This only works, presumably, if the individual trading files is required to delete his original at or about the same time he obtains the new track. ReDigi says its software does exactly that: checks the original file for legitimacy, then transfers it to the central server while deleting it from the trader’s computer.

And it gets better: ReDigi, assuming it’s not beaten to death with legal clubs, plans a similar service for ebooks.

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Strange search-engine queries (349)

Monday morning means another trip through the logs, in which we find the freshest and most implausible search records available, wipe them down with Mitt Romney’s handkerchief, and present them to the readers, who will promptly close this tab and go read Fark or something.

physics: mary and daryl are new to the sport of rock climbing. mary says she wants a stiff rope because a stiff rope is a strong rope. daryl insists that a good climbing rope much have some stretch. who is correct and why:  Whichever one is not found crushed to death at the bottom of the pile was correct.

answer plot map for no more victims:  You’re not one of those who watch it just for the plots, are you?

itunes cannot run because:  It’s iTunes. Screw you. That’s why.

enemal 3xgirl.com:  “I am not an enemal! I am a 3x girl!”

is metaphor tablet for insomnia:  Take ½ hour before bedtime, then spend an hour wondering what it was you meant by that.

“fembots” “Khrushchev”:  “We will bury you! And then we will make sweet mechanical love in Kremlin.”

yield frontier seize receipt retrieve diesel caffeine routine magazine suite unique curious antique bikini put in alphabetical order:  You know, there is such a thing as too much OCD.

modifying tennis racket fly swatter toss stun gun:  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 Swiss Army knife.

has dolly parton slwaus had nice legs:  Always. And what the hell kind of word is “slwaus”? Is this part of the new auto-incorrect function?

Too young to be a slut:  Yeah, that’s what they said about Honey Boo Boo.

dilithium crystals delorean:  Unfortunately, not compatible with the first-generation flux capacitor.

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Splice of life

Today’s remix culture is dependent on skilled technicians who can splice different bits of recorded sound together with split-second accuracy, a process that did not exist until, oh, the 1940s:

In the days before magnetic tape came into wide use, the process of transferring music to the new discs (soon to be known as LPs) was complex. Long pieces of music, split among multiple 78 r.p.m. records, needed to be stitched together on the new discs without interruption.

To do that, Mr. Scott and his colleagues lined up overlapping segments of music on 78s, and — with Mr. Scott snapping his finger in coordination — switched the audio signal at just the right moment from one turntable to the other. As the industry began to use magnetic tape, beginning in the late 1940s, such work was no longer necessary.

Mr. Scott — Howard Hillison Scott, born in 1920 — may have been ideally suited to this position: he’d graduated from Eastman in 1941 and was going on to graduate piano study at Juilliard when the war effort came calling. He built a reputation as a record producer, and finished his career remastering old Columbia Masterworks recordings for Sony Classical CDs. H. H. Scott died last month at the age of ninety-two; do not confuse him with the other H. H. Scott, manufacturer of fine high-fidelity components in the 1950s and 1960s, who died in 1975 at sixty-six.

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Oh, F

Tucked away on page 16B of the Oklahoman today:

Correction notice

Of course, this is only a problem if there’s an actual customer capable of doing the math.

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Municipal beautification

Costa Mesa mayor Eric Bever, concerned with the appearance of his city, has determined what he believes to be the source of a “huge negative impact” thereupon, and proposes to do something about it. Said Bever:

“My belief is that if we manage to put the soup kitchen out of business that will go a long way to addressing the attractiveness in our city that’s creating a huge negative impact.”

You know, Eric, ol’ pal, if these pesky poor people don’t look so great, perhaps you can talk that billion-dollar South Coast Plaza operation to donate some up-to-date outfits. And it’s not like the city government has to bear a whole lot of expense for either Someone Cares or Share Our Selves, both of which are long-established 501(c)(3) charities.

(Via Amy Alkon.)

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