SoloTrek XFV is an Exo-Skeletor Flying Vehicle. Strap it on, power it up, and fear for your life.
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
Okay, here's what happened:
- The mayor of Inglis, Florida felt inspired to ban Satan from her town by writing a proclamation against the Evil One on official town stationery. These she placed by the entrances to her town.
- A local woman (and then the ACLU) took offense, saying the ban (in its implied officiality) violated separation of Church and State.
- Local Christians took offense at their offense, claiming discrimination against Christians. The mayor says it's her "freedom of expression."
Hint: If you want to express yourself, use typing paper. On town stationery, you can't ban anthropomorphic personifications.
Monday, January 28, 2002
Said Ashcroft: "Mardi Gras is over. No more boobies in my building."
Or something to that effect, anyway.
Friday, January 25, 2002
Television Addiction. Among other things it examines a possible physical basis for television dependence, and explains (in essence) why Mountain Dew commercials are the way they are. Very interesting.
Thursday, January 24, 2002
If you haven't seen
this account of dealings with a belligerent spammer, you should take a look. It's an excellent read, an ongoing story, and it's been updated recently. First read the Executive Summary, then scroll down to the huge chronicle of emails.
It reminds me of
Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2, a book that documents a battle involving Negativland, U2, Casey Kasem, and various record labels. The book is mostly correspondence (letters, memos, and legal papers) assembled to show a really interesting sequence of events.
If you have any interest at all in digital rights or privacy, I recommend both of these.
A sleep study at Oxford has determined that
counting sheep doesn't actually help you fall asleep.
Amazing. Next thing they'll tell us is that hungry people don't actually hallucinate their companions turning into roast pigs or slabs of beef. Or that tiny novelty umbrellas won't actually slow your descent if you fall off a cliff.
Friday, January 18, 2002
Apparently Lucasfilm has sued the producers of an animated Star Wars porn spoof, Starballz, for copyright and trademark infringement. The judge has ruled that there is "little likelihood of confusion", and that sales of the porn spoof will not be blocked.
Do take a look at the first screenshot. It will haunt your dreams, or possibly get you to buy the video.
Thursday, January 17, 2002
Cheapass Games now has a website for their "long awaited" game Diceland. It apparently involves armies of dice-for-characters, with various attacks printed on the die faces. The state of the characters is determined by a roll initially, but the weird bit is that dice are injured (or upgraded) by tipping them from one edge to another: dice are printed to show which "directions" are legal for tipping.
Probably too much of a war strategy game for my taste, but the gimmick with the dice is interesting.
Magician-turned-politician to get friends to hypnotise voters. Not the best plan for world domination I've ever seen, but it has the benefit of being blatant and stupid.
Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Tuesday, January 15, 2002
Archaelogist Tired of Unearthing Unspeakable Ancient Evils.
Seems like the same thing should be done for musical grunts and soulful interjections, complete with audio clips. (Think James Brown's "Ow!", or Michael Jackson's "Daggonit!") Are you up to the task, Kan?
Monday, January 14, 2002
Based on a survey of 200,000 galaxies, scientists at Johns Hopkins claim that the "true color of the cosmos" (by which they mean the aggregate spectral composition, apparently) looks something like mint chocolate chip (shown at right). They claim this finding is useful, in a vague astrophysical sort of way.
But I'm surprised it's not squant.
One Christian point of view is that Harry Potter is
evil. Another is that the Harry Potter phenomenon is
proof of God's existence. And a Dutch priest was so struck by the similarities between Harry Potter and Jesus that he held a Harry Potter Mass.
If only they had some sort of central authority figure that could decide issues like these. But I suppose that'd never work.
Friday, January 11, 2002
GameSpot has an article on Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, an H. P. Lovecraft-themed first-person adventure game that's in the works. Like the paper-based RPG, it has a "sanity system" that makes it hard to progress if your character has been exposed to too many Unthinkable Horrors. From the article:
Sanity effects include things like hallucinations and visual distortions (motion blur, etc.) as well as your character showing obsessive behavior such as nervous twitches or constantly loading and unloading his gun.
This provides incentive to avoid enemies, which is consistent with Lovecraft's central horror theme. ("Run away from the baddies, there are no baddies, everything is fine, I didn't see a thing. What baddies?") So far so good. Unfortunately, the article also says "You can gain sanity back by slaying evil creatures..." Sort of like having a Mohandas Gandhi game where you gain Nonviolence Points by kicking people's asses.
Wednesday, January 9, 2002
Some use Babble-style markov chains to mimic preexisting text, while others use handmade probabilistic grammars. My favorite is Matchflap College Science & Engineering Syllabus, which I originally made, but which Tom has much improved.
Dean Kamen and his much-hyped
Segway. This was my first
opportunity to see one in action. (Leno, Russel Crowe, and eventually
Sting were seen riding them around the stage.) I'm not convinced that
they'll change the world, but they're damn cool, and if I ever need
to erase the last vestiges of my dignity, I'll have to buy one and
putter around on it!
I just finished James Loewen's excellent book
Lies Across America. His
previous book, Lies My Teacher Told Me,
debunked a great deal of popular history as it's taught in high school; his
latest book attacks distorted, incomplete, or misleading history presented
on monuments and historical markers. Both books are well-written and
are accessible to history neophytes such as myself.