Saturday, April 29, 2006

Deadly Russian Roulette

Lefortovo Tunnel in Moscow is one of the deadliest tunnels in the world.

Security cameras in Russia's recently-completed Lefortovo Tunnel captured some pretty wild high-speed car accidents.

This 3150 m long tunnel in Russia is the longest in-city tunnel of Europe. There is a river running over it and water leaks at some points. When the temperature reaches -38 degrees like it did this winter, the road freezes and the result is this video. The 3.2 km tunnel appears rather cramped, but that doesn't stop any of these drivers from traveling at ridiculous speeds, nor has it prevented them from being generally careless. (Windows Media WMV file Approx. 2 Mb)

Exaggerated Diseases in Modern Times?

The London Times Online published a recent article on Big Pharma's "Diseasemongering."

A quote from the article states, "The practice of “diseasemongering” by the drug industry is promoting non-existent illnesses or exaggerating minor ones for the sake of profits, according to a set of essays published by the open-access journal Public Library of Science Medicine."

You can read the rest of the article here.

I did a Google search for those articles from PLoSM and found the entire set here. You can also download the collection of articles by right-clicking on this link (Adobe Acrobat PDF format approx. 4.4 Mb). Some eye-opening reading. I had no idea how bad it was. And these articles aren't written by lay people either!

Friday, April 28, 2006

National Gas Price Map

Are you SURE you want to see the price of gas in your city or town? Or maybe you'd like to know how much more someone else is paying in another part of the country. Check out GasBuddy. And then have a good stiff shot...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Print and Show This to Your Boss!

Ziff Davis Publishing just published a short article by Jim Louderback on web surfing at work. Apparently, a New York judge ruled in favor of employees who had been admonished for spending too much time online instead of working (!). Here's the clip along with the link to their more extensive article. The longer piece also cites several studies to make the case that on-the-job surfing actually benefits employers and employees alike. Bring out that porn, Fred!

"It's OK to Web Surf on Company Time

I'll bet you wish you worked in NYC — or if you do, enjoy reading and exploring these links at work, because it's perfectly legal! That's because a New York judge has just ruled that it is perfectly OK to surf the Internet during company hours. Check out our story for more, and then print it out and show your boss. And when you're exercising your inalienable right to Web surf, might I suggest or Great places to spend some quality time away from work — while you're there!"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Yow! Alcoholics Anonymous Comics from 1968 - 1974

Everyone I know -- me included -- has a favorite (or despised!) alcoholic friend or relative. (OK, OK -- maybe more than one!)

I didn't know that Alcoholics Anonymous had published a series of AA Comics from 1968 through 1974. In typical 60's comic-book genre, they try to convey the soap opera drama of life with alcoholics and the consequences they bring on themselves and those around them. A real glimpse into attitudes of the times... and a fun read!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Air Force One Graffiti Video

Hey, another damn bin Laden tape is on al Jazeera? Fuggedaboutit! The BIG video that's been circulating all day has been the one of Mark Ecko tagging Air Force One! The AP release on WIRED starts:

"WASHINGTON -- A startling internet video that shows someone spraying graffiti on President Bush's jet looked so authentic that the Air Force wasn't immediately certain whether the plane had been targeted.

It was all a hoax. No one actually sprayed the slogan "Still Free" on the cowling of Air Force One.

The pranksters responsible for the grainy, two-minute web video -- employed by a New York fashion company -- revealed Friday how they pulled it off: a rented 747 in California painted to look almost exactly like Air Force One."

Rest of the article is here on WIRED.

If you want to watch the video, here it is (or click on the picture). Pretty damn good hoax. And not too cheap to make according to Ecko. The rest of his site is here: StillFree. (Windows Media wmv file -- approx. 5.9 Mb)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Today's Worth1000 PhotoShop Contest

I like checking in on Worth1000 from time to time to see what subject they've chosen as the PhotoShop project for the day. Today's challenge was to create your own US postage stamps, complete with any theme of your choice. Here are the entries for the day. One of my favorites is the Homer stamp but I also like the first one: Elizabeth Taylor and all her ex-husbands.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Happy 420!

Hey -- it's another April 20th! Happy 420, all! The myth surrounding 420 has spread from a hippie slogan to any of a gazillion other references. Here's a link to the Urban Legends site Snopes on the facts and fiction surrounding 420. And High Times Magazine has a special 420 episode preview from their upcoming June 2006 issue here on YouTube. Happy Hippie New Year to one and all!

Response to My Earlier Ugliest Dog Contest Post

My neighbor has a puppy he's giving away (FREE!). It's a Dachshund, it's house broken and it's great with kids.

He's giving it away because his wife says the dog 'stares' at her when she is undressing and that gives her the 'Heebie Jeebies'. I think she is just weird!

If you're interested -- or know someone who is -- let me know.

Here's a picture of the dog. (See picture below)

WikiHOW: How to Adopt a Chinese Baby

A subset of the incredible Wiki online encyclopedia (I consider it a knowledge base) is the WikiHOW series. They post a dizzying array of HowTo articles written by people supposedly with experience in their particular areas of knowledge. Of course, sometimes you'll get someone talking out their a** about something of which they know nothing but just as in Wiki, the writer generally gets called to task on it and the piece gets either yanked or corrected for accuracy.

I was kind of surprised (even me!) when I saw this piece come up today on How to Adopt a Baby from China (probably written by some Hollywood starlet who needs to upgrade from her Paris Hilton-style chihuahua?). I'm very torn on the social implications of global adoption but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The long-term ripple effects of what we do are generally very hard to foresee. Think about it this way: For several decades, China followed a one-child-per-family policy under Mao's communist rule in order to maintain the "noble" cause of population control: control the growth of population and you'll better manage limited resources like food. However, the consequences that fell out of that were because of old social mores that made sons more desirable than daughters, given the choice. As a result, many baby girls were abandoned or simply given away to orphanages for years. The real consequence? Now there are too many young males in China and not enough women for romance and marriage causing a different kind of imbalance brought on by social re-engineering. They will be paying for this earlier mistake for generations to come. So now what happens when we start to introduce those children into our society over here? Food for thought...

(This image used under a Creative Commons license through Flickr)

Commercial of the Week -- FedEx (?)

A friend sent this one along as a FORD - Quality is Job 1 commercial. But it's actually a FedEx commercial. (Or is it? May be a spoof? But good!) (Windows Media wmv file approx. 1.65 Mb)

Ladies First

Ah, the consequences of not following a Golden Rule: Ladies First!
(Sorry -- no sound on this animated gif file!)

Annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Well, the Sonoma-Marin County Fair is coming again this June and with it comes -- you guessed it! -- The Annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Pick from this year's litter and vote for your favorite!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Slapper Meets Instant Karma

Apparently, if you believe some of the articles running in the UK press, there's a new "phenomenon" sweeping across Britain. Bored city dolts -- like some of the same geniuses you saw in Trainspotting -- are running around randomly slapping strangers on the street for kicks. Most of the Happy Slapper attacks are filmed (generally on crappy video phones) for posting online. As many of my friends know, I LOVE irony. In this recently posted YouTube video clip, one happy slapper gets his when a pissed-off victim decides to slap him back -- out cold!!! Ha ha - I REALLY love it. And a link to the related story in the London Times here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fire Extinguisher Test

As with all mission-critical fire suppression systems, even the Air Force has to occasionally test out their foam sprayers that are built into hangars. These are the very hangars that often house billions of dollars worth of planes and equipment. Anyway, the testing crew sets up scaffolding inside the hanger so they can videotape the foam system working the way it's supposed to work. So here's an incredible inside look at what happens when the foam suppression system works TOO well from a test done at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. And if you want to check out the site for Ellsworth AFB as well, here's their link.

Evolution of Math

Last week I purchased a burger and fries at McDonalds for $3.58. The counter girl took my $4.00 and I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies. While looking at the screen on her register, I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried. Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s......

Teaching Math In 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20 Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2006

Un ranchero vende una carretera de maderapara $100. El cuesto de la produccion era $80. Cuantos tortillas se puede comprar?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Remember Dioramas?

The Museum of Natural History is considered one of the best in the world. I still have fond memories of going there with my brothers when we stayed with our sister's family in Brooklyn. I took my own kids there when we went through New York one summer and they enjoyed it as much as I did when I first set foot in the place. Among the most popular exhibits are their famed Dioramas, those huge life-size recreations of scenes complete with stuffed animals (I know, I know --- not PETA-friendly but who cares?) from around the world. Alaska Brown Bears, American Bison and Mountain Gorillas to name a few. Despite their static nature, the awesome size of these dramatic dioramas seldom ceases to fascinate children of all ages. Anyway, the Museum now has an entire section of their website dedicated to their dioramas and you can spend almost as much time viewing the 360-degree panoramas as you might in real life.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Commercial of the Week: Blaupunkt Pimp My Ride

This one's made the rounds a few times but I still like it a lot. A short 15-second commercial for Blaupunkt sound systems for cars. Turn up the volume -- especially the bass -- for this one. (MPEG file approx. 2.5 Mb)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Easter's Coming...

Have you ever wondered what the Easter Bunny's really like the other 364 days of the year? Link to a new YouTube video here.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Product of the Year

Not sure where this skit came from (Kids in the Hall, maybe?) but it's really good (well, maybe just to guys but...). My Product of the Year Award. (Windows Media WMV file approx. 5.8 Mb)

No Need to Drink Coffee Anymore

Now I think I've seen almost everything. The folks at ThinkGeek have come up with the Buzzaire Caffeine Inhaler. Instead of heading off to your corner Starbucks for your daily cuppa, you can simply pull the Buzzaire out of your desk drawer and take a snort. Mind you, they warn people NOT to take more than 4 doses a day. Wonder if Starbucks might consider branding some of the refill cartridges?

P.S. -- Ahem - You also need to take a look at their April Fools Page! (Heh Heh)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

40 Years Together

A woman awakens during the night to find that her husband was not in their bed. She puts on her robe and goes downstairs to look for him.

She finds him sitting at the dining room table with a cup of coffee in front of him. He appears deep in thought, just staring at the wall. She watches as he wipes a tear from his eye and takes a sip of coffee.

"What's the matter, dear?" she whispers as she steps into the room. "Why are you down here at this time of night?"

The husband looks up, "Do you remember 40 years ago when we were dating, and you were only 18?" he asks solemnly. The wife is touched to tears thinking that her husband is so caring and sensitive.

"Yes, I do," she replies.

The husband pauses. The words are not coming easily. "Do you remember when your mother caught us behind the couch making love?"

"Yes, I remember." says the wife, lowering herself into a chair beside him.

The husband continues..."Do you remember when she shoved a shotgun in my face and said, 'Either you marry my daughter, or I will send you to jail for 40 years?'"

"I remember that, too." she replies softly. He wipes another tear from his cheek and says "I would have gotten out today."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The pig that did this... (an Oldie but goodie)

An 18-year-old girl tells her Mom that she has missed her period for 2 months. Very worried, the mother goes to the drugstore and buys a pregnancy kit. The test result shows that the girl is pregnant. Shouting, cursing, crying, the mother says, "Who was the pig that did this to you? I want to know!"

The girl picks up the phone and makes a call. Half an hour later a Ferrari stops in front of their house, a mature and distinguished man with gray hair and impeccably dressed in an Armani suit steps out of the Ferrari and enters the house.

He sits in the living room with the father, mother and the girl, and tells them, "Good morning, your daughter has informed me of the problem. I can't marry her because of my personal family situation but I'll take charge. I will pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life.

Additionally, if a girl is born I will bequeath her 2 retail stores, a townhouse, a beachfront villa and a $2,000,000 bank account.

If a boy is born, my legacy will be a couple of factories and a $4,000,000 bank account. If twins, they will receive a factory, a retail store and $3,000,000 each. However, if there is a miscarriage, what do you suggest I do?"

At this point, the father, who had remained silent, places a hand firmly on the man's shoulder and tells him, "You try again."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

From The Toronto Star: Once-in-lifetime time

Once-in-lifetime time
April 4, 2006

Some once-in-a-lifetime events are spectacular. Others are much more mundane.First love, winning the lottery and giving birth are just a few mind-blowing moments that make day-to-day life all the sweeter. The ability to recall the good times that life has shown us can make the bleakest day worth living. And one of the joys of life is that you just never know when something wonderful is going to pop up. Then there are other once-in-a-lifetime events that do not rekindle found memories, deliver excitement or question why we are here. One of these events will take place early tomorrow. At 2 minutes and 3 seconds after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. It will happen just this once in our lifetime.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Google April Fools Day Announcement

Google has traditionally broken some pretty interesting surprises over the past couple of years on April 1st. They announced 1 Gb gMail one year (now at over 2 Gb and still counting!). This year's leaked Beta is Google Romance, the first contextual-based dating site. I particularly like the second option in the right column: "Post multiple profiles with a bulk upload file, you sleaze"

April Fools!

Today's April Fools Day so here's a posting of The 10 Best Internet Spoofs as listed on WIRED. You may even recognize more than a few of them (including No. 1 -- the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe...)