Sunday, July 30, 2006

CBS Ads on Eggs - Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You!

CBS is enlisting eggs in its scramble to attract viewers. The CBS logo and slogans promoting the TV network and its series will appear along with coded expiration dates on eggs sold by grocers _ just another promotional measure in the competitive world of television.

I don't normally use such words on this blog but ... motherfucker. Not only is the United States of World going to hell, it is doing so in a stretch handbasket with no chauffeur.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Prints (on) A Plane!

An unmanned aircraft made from "printed" parts rather than traditional machine-tooled components has been unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show, UK.

Developed at Lockheed Martin's top-secret "Skunk Works" research facility in Palmdale, California, US, the Polecat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a 28-metre flying wing, weighing four tonnes. It was designed in part to test cheaper manufacturing technologies.


In rapid prototyping, a three-dimensional design for a part - a wing strut, say - is fed from a computer-aided design (CAD) system to a microwave-oven-sized chamber dubbed a 3D printer. Inside the chamber, a computer steers two finely focussed, powerful laser beams at a polymer or metal powder, sintering it and fusing it layer by layer to form complex, solid 3D shapes.

The technique is widely used in industry to make prototype parts - to see if, for instance, they are the right shape and thickness for the job in hand. Now the strength of parts printed this way has improved so much that they can be used as working components.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wouldn't it be great if your copy of Celestia would update accordingly every time NASA discovered something new?

Sure it would require obscene advances in OCR and procedural generation of 3D models, but still ... why not, right?

NASA Update (July 17 2006 11:40AM): while I'm on the subject of space, congrats and props to Discovery for getting home safely.

Friday, July 14, 2006 has been medusaheaded.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Henshin, For-Mat-uo!!

Image Hosted by - Why, it's Stuffed Adorable Death for All of course!

- Ain't that just the purtiest lil' thang yew ever did see, punkin'?

Make Up
Image Hosted by - whereas I call it Unholy Psychick POWAH!. Ahem. - Best. Guest Comic. Ever.
(yes, i broke theme; bite me.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Politics of Paranoia and Intimidation - by Floyd Rudmin

The Bush administration and the National Security Agency (NSA) have been secretly monitoring the email messages and phone calls of all Americans. They are doing this, they say, for our own good. To find terrorists. Many people have criticized NSA's domestic spying as unlawful invasion of privacy, as search without search warrant, as abuse of power, as misuse of the NSA's resources, as unConstitutional, as something the communists would do, something very unAmerican.

In addition, however, mass surveillance of an entire population cannot find terrorists. It is a probabilistic impossibility. It cannot work.

Professor Rudmin goes on to demonstrate just that, using Bayes' Theorem. It's quite thought-provoking.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

As Promised, Adventures in Medical-Insurance. Or is that Medical-Industrial Complex? Eh.

The following events take place (and were recorded!) between 3:00PM May 11th 2006 and 4:00 PM May 12th 2006.

And now, Adventures in the Medical-Industrial Complex


For the last two hours, I have been adrift in the American medical system. Fascinating stuff ... for instance, did you know that they won't let people pay for their own medical care with their own money? Apparently, the only way I can pay my own medical bill is to be rejected for eligibility with Free Care (some form of cheapo medical insurance).

Yeah, I can't believe it either (hold your logical explanations, please.)

Digression: Now, I must digress for backgrounding purposes. Throughout the month of May, I was in a Red Cross facility getting my CNA (look it up) licence. I like money very much, you see. Among other things, you are required to get a TB test, largely so you don't become Patient Zero for geriatric deaths in nursing homes.

Which neatly returns us to our tale of insurance-flavoured derring-do ...

In any case, no s**t there I was (to quote Elizabeth Bear :D); stalking through the Boston Medical Center like I owned the place, I staked out Radiology and stated my unwavering desire for answers (specifically the whereabouts of my TB test results and the subsequent arrangement of a chest X-ray). They tell me they won't can't do it for me without an appointment. S**t.

So I demanded -- stop laughing, damn your eyes, yes demanded I said -- to use their phone. It was promptly placed in my possession and verily I snarled into it. It soon became apparent that the Greater Roslindale Health Center (GRHC) was wide-awake and rampant, having bootstrapped itself into an Artificial Imbecility and was determined to bog down my progress in a recursive morass of false starts and uploaded call center operatives falser voices. Not to be deterred, I quickly lifehacked the Imbecility, cutting through its blackICE via a minute vulnerability in the Head Nurse's answering machine. Only one as formidable as I could have spotted and exploited it in such scant seconds.

But I digress. Shortly afterward, I was speaking to a lackey of the bureaucratic machine and, after hearing my dangerous (not to mention hella sexy) tones, she completely surrendered and gave me all the access I desired. I didn't even have to torture or seduce her for it.

Yet my troubles were far from over. I learned that my results had been faxed to the BMC as commanded. Good. But it was in the hands of the Vietnamese lady in charge of the TB Clinic ACC3 (same one who refused to give me a TB test in the first place, necessitating all this) and she was as much a stonewall as before. But this time, I was as a thing of monocrystalline iron; my will as inexorable as the crushing force of stellar gravity. When I got there, she said I'd have to do the X-Ray June 8th. Was she utterly mad, asked I, or did she not know that wasn't an option? I soon squeezed the loophole out of her - as one would blood from steel - that I could get a Referral from GRHC and thus complete my quest.

With a smile - grim, resolute, victorious - I commandeered the use of their phone (the hallway one, of course, not the one at the Reception desk(why would I wish to associate with such quotidian plebes) and once more infiltrated the GRHC AI. Despite its meager new adaptations, I was soon speaking to the Nurse again. Her quick uneven breathing meant she was clearly "hot for me" which might explain her faxing over the Referral without debate. My mighty ears even overheard heard a faint squelching sound against the velour on which she sat, so lustful for me was she. After I hung up, I sat down to wait, enjoying Vietnam's consternation at how one man could possibly have so much juice (again, look it up).


To Be Continued.

"They took the bullets but they left that gun -- said it was too fancy."

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Goodbye Chains has been medusaheaded.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

NASA: Here We Go Again/Same Old S**t Dog/Just a Different Day ...

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Discovery was cleared for launch late on Monday after a small defect found in the insulation lining of the vehicle's fuel tank was deemed not to be a serious flight hazard.

A small triangle of foam was seen to flake away from the giant orange container on Monday, but engineers concluded that the breakage would not result in further losses during the ship's turbulent ride to orbit.

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