Friday, April 21, 2006

Benevolent Inventor

A little more introverted than I usually score on these kinds of tests. Still, it was better done than most, so it might be more accuracte.

Results here , but you can mose over the pick to see what they mean

Peeps: Not As Popular As I Thought?

It seems that, despite their sweet taste and charming disposition, some people... well... there's no other way to say this. Some people just plain *don't like peeps!*

Yeah, I don't get it either.

However, the Strawberry Woman send over this video which seems to offer no other conclusion.
WARNING! This video contains scenes of extreme peep disrespect, violence and, in some cases, quirk death. Not for the young or for Peep lovers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Value of Human Life

Interesting, my value is almost exactly equal to the amount of money I think I need to have in assets in order to retire.

I am worth $2,787,932 on

Thermite vs. Liquid Nitrogen

As you all know, thermite is a complex, inorganic mixture of aluminum, iron and adolescent sexual frustration with a burning temperature exceeding the surface temperature of a M-Class star. In my teens, I performed dozens (but not hundreds) of "experiments" with thermite.

However, I never had the resources to try these experiments.

Kinda Creepy

From those pining away for the days when women were property and "certain folks" knew their place.

The Purity Ball

The Heart to Heart™ program, created by jeweler Joe Costello, differs from other abstinence programs in some important, unique ways. [...]

First, the "key to her heart." This beautiful heart has a smaller heart in the front. Behind that heart is a keyhole. When making the covenant with your daughter, you explain that the covenant is between her, you and God. Since God has placed her in your care as a parent, you and only you can hold the "key to her heart."

God not trusting her enough to let her be responsible for her own heart.

You then explain to the child that you will hold the key to her precious heart until the day of her wedding. On that day, you will give her away like at all weddings, BUT in doing so you will also “give away” the key to her heart to her now husband. The key and lock are actually functional and your son-in-law will place the key in the heart to open it.

Nothing at all Freudian going on here!

Inside will be a small note that had been placed in the heart on the day you made the covenant. That note can say something like, "I do not know your name or what you even look like, but this is my promise to save myself for you this day. Love, Melanie."

Or, the note could say something like, "I've been saving myself for you for many horny years, so the sex tonight had really better be worth it!. Oh, and make sure my Dad gives you the key to my chastity belt too. Love, Melanie."

The New 300, 600, and 1000 Euro Notes

I'm guessing they were designed by the French or the Italians in an attempt to get the UK to switch currencies.


The 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference

Register Now!

Like most Nigerians, you're probably finding that it's increasingly difficult to earn a decent living from email. That's why you need to attend the 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference.
"This conference is an investment in your future. Learn to take advantage of modern technology, and make a great deal of money with very little effort. If you have any question, please contact me and I will send you a proposal that may be of interest to you. I await your response by return while assuring you that the transaction is absolutely risk free."
- Dr. Collins Mbadiwe

A Contest I Will Be Entering

This is something I've done in the security lines at airports for the last few years.

And, btw, if you're in the "this kind of thing only gives the terrorist ideas/knowing about the secret wiretap program only aids the terrorists" camp, I suggest you stick you head back in the sand for the duration. It's only through these exercises and through transparency that we improve security.

Announcing: Movie-Plot Threat Contest
NOTE: If you have a blog, please spread the word.

For a while now, I have been writing about our penchant for "movie-plot threats": terrorist fears based on very specific attack scenarios. Terrorists with crop dusters, terrorists exploding baby carriages in subways, terrorists filling school buses with explosives -- these are all movie-plot threats. They're good for scaring people, but it's just silly to build national security policy around them.

But if we're going to worry about unlikely attacks, why can't they be exciting and innovative ones? If Americans are going to be scared, shouldn't they be scared of things that are really scary? "Blowing up the Super Bowl" is a movie plot to be sure, but it's not a very good movie. Let's kick this up a notch.

It is in this spirit I announce the (possibly First) Movie-Plot Threat Contest. Entrants are invited to submit the most unlikely, yet still plausible, terrorist attack scenarios they can come up with.
Your goal: cause terror. Make the American people notice. Inflict lasting damage on the U.S. economy. Change the political landscape, or the culture. The more grandiose the goal, the better.
Assume an attacker profile on the order of 9/11: 20 to 30 unskilled people, and about $500,000 with which to buy skills, equipment, etc.
Post your movie plots here on this blog.

Judging will be by me, swayed by popular acclaim in the blog comments section. The prize will be an autographed copy of Beyond Fear. And if I can swing it, a phone call with a real live movie producer.

Entries close at the end of the month -- April 30 -- so Crypto-Gram readers can also play.
This is not an April Fool's joke, although it's in the spirit of the season. The purpose of this contest is absurd humor, but I hope it also makes a point. Terrorism is a real threat, but we're not any safer through security measures that require us to correctly guess what the terrorists are going to do next.
Good luck.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

McSweeney's Reviews of Food

'casue nothing is more amusing than reviews of food.

An Exerpt:

Kellogg's S'mores Pop-Tarts
Submitted by Marshall Norton Jr.
She shoved me under her bed and told me not to move. Her father had gotten home earlier than expected. As the minutes passed, I inventoried the various pieces of dirty laundry and discarded plates under her bed with me.
A little later, her face appeared, upside-down. "They're leaving soon. I'll come back when they're gone. Here, have some," she said, offering me a piece of the Pop-Tart she'd brought up on a plate. I thought it best not to ask about the other plates for the moment.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

7-Hour Standoff Ends; Police Discover Nobody In Home

Would that I could make shit like this up.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A police standoff ended early Tuesday with metro police discovering there was nobody in the house they were monitoring.
A seven-hour standoff near Southeast 59th Street and Bryant Avenue started as a drug investigation of a home in the area. Officers said they were worried about activity in the house, and they called for a tactical team. (emp.mine-Ed)
For hours, according to reports, they tried to make contact with anybody in the house.
At about 3:30 a.m., agents approached the house but found nobody inside. A search of the area did not turn up any culprits; however, agents remain in the area looking for leads.


They stayed looking for leads but it turned out the stake-out operation was actually the operations office of the Cheney for President 2008.


What could be more delicious?

Field corespondent Tara continues to earn the hefty salary I'm not paying her.

According to a spokesperson from Just Born -- the company that manufactures Peeps -- one billion of these squishy, marshmallow delights will fly off the shelves in the weeks leading up to Easter.
Why Peeps for Easter? The tradition dates back further than company history -- way back. Ancient pagans in Europe used eggs, chicks and rabbits as symbols of renewal in their spring rituals. Over time, European Christians incorporated the pagan symbols into their Easter traditions, and brought them to America.


A Race to The Bottom...

I'm not sure which is worse, lawyers or insurance companies. I received this today:

A Charlotte, NC lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, and then insured them against fire, among other things.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost in a series of small fires. The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued... and WON! (Stay with me) In delivering the ruling,thejudge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous.

The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer "held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable andalso guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire" and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires".


After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had himarrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!!

With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.
This is a true story and was the First Place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest

Obviously an Urban Legend, but a good one.

Young Frankenstein Musical Due

From Sci-Fi Weekly. It's not going to be The Producers...

Mel Brooks, who made a monster hit musical out of his 1968 movie The Producers, is adapting his classic 1974 film Young Frankenstein for the musical stage as well, the Reuters news service reported. With no deadline set, Brooks told the news service that he is in the middle of writing the score, including a song for scary Frau Blucher, played in the original movie by Cloris Leachman. When the musical is completed, Brooks says he will make a formal announcement to raise money. Brooks offered Reuters a preview of Frau Blucher's song: "He vus my boyfriend/He vould come home in a snit/He vould have a terrible fit/I am the first thing he vould hit/But I didn't give a s--t/He vus my boyfriend." When he made Young Frankenstein, Brooks said he did everything he could to emulate the 1930s James Whale movie Frankenstein, from shooting the whole film in black and white to using many of the same shots. Now Brooks said that his challenge is to do the musical on Broadway with a black-and-white set, with all the mists, moodiness and laughs of the original movie, plus songs.

Spinning Wheel, Got to Go 'Round

There are 6 currently unclassified methods for enriching Uranium, each more technically challenging than the previous, with *tiny* increases in production.

Slate has a really good article on the basic physics of what's going on in Iran around their enrichment program.

When uranium gas enters the tube and whips around at high speeds, the useful U-235 isotopes get separated out from their heavier cousins, the U-238 isotopes. The speed of the rotor determines how effectively a centrifuge can enrich uranium, and a rotor's maximum speed depends in part on the dimensions of the centrifuge. Since it's hard to maintain a balanced spin in a long tube, engineers have to keep the devices to less than a few meters in length. That means they can enrich only a few grams of material at a time.

Even those few grams need lots of trips through the centrifuge to reach the weapons-grade level. (For more on how enrichment actually works, click here.) Enrichment plants get the job done by connecting hundreds of small centrifuges together, in clusters called "cascades." The uranium gas enters one centrifuge after another, with the enriched gas that comes out of the first getting siphoned off and directed into the next. By routing the enriched product back through the cluster of centrifuges over and over again, you can keep increasing its U-235 content. Given enough time—and enough spins—you'll reach the 3 to 5 percent concentration you need to run a light-water reactor, or the 80 to 90 percent you need to make a nuclear weapon.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Blogging as Narcissism

One of the reasons I took a little blogging break (besides needing to spend time getting my City Of Heros character BluShield to level 50) was because I found my posts getting smaller, pettier and less and less interesting to people in general. I looked at all the stuff I had blogged and tried to see where it was going wrong. After sorting through 2 years worth of good and bad, I made some new rules for what gets posted and how often. In restarting the blog, I decided to highlight the:

Father vs. Son conversations

I decided I would only lightly blog about the:
Personal Medical problems

and I would try to studiously avoid:
what I had for breakfast/lunch/dinner
how much weight I lifted and when
where I was going and who I met (unless it really fell into one of the top categories)
dreams I had
personal information about me, my family etc.
the Iraq War
the president
why other, actually famous bloggers are off their collective rockers and how they should Listen To Me
any diatribe unlikely to be seen by the person I am ranting about (e.g. Ann Coulter, Bill O'Rielly, Travis)

In short, I decided that blogging was an act of narcissism but that even my ego had limits which should be respected.

Why go through explaining all this?

A great example of why I think I was on to something came up today:(via Pharnygula)

You may have heard the disturbing news story about the Oklahoma murderer/pedophile/cannibal—just to make it a little creepier, he had a blog. (I don't expect it will stay up for too long, so read The Insomnia Report for excerpts.)
He says things like

I mean it, I really need a girlfriend. It's not just depressing anymore, it's actually starting to have a negative effect on my mental state I think. For example, my fantasies are just getting weirder and weirder. Dangerously weird. If people knew the kinds of things I think about anymore, I'd probably be locked away. No probably about it, I know I would be.

Mostly, though, he comes off as pathetic and banal.

After the *dancing*, Orz think you will make good *special sauce*

It seems there might be a new version of Star Control II in the works!

Pluvius writes "A recent post on GameSpot's Rumor Control blog suggests that there may be a chance for a new entry in the classic Star Control series in the foreseeable future. It would be developed by Toys for Bob, the creator of the first two games in the series, and it is implied that the company already holds the rights for the franchise. Quoting from the article: 'But maybe, just maybe, if enough of you people out there send [Alex Ness, producer] e-mails requesting that Toys For Bob do a legitimate sequel to Star Control 2, I'll be able to show them to [Toys For Bob parent company] Activision, along with a loaded handgun, and they will finally be convinced to roll the dice on this thing.'

For those of you who are now asking yourselves, "Why do I care about this? What the hell is Star Control II and why do I even read Horvath's blog anymore?", this is good news.

Star Control II was one of the finest (and first) computer games ever made. Rich in content, cutting edge (at the time) in graphics, it was a wonderful blend of all the elements of a superlative game. Ask any game player of a certain generation (current ages 20-45) and they will tell you Star Control II is the gold standard by which all other games are measured. And, surprisingly, many modern games fail to reach this standard set in the90s. It was a good blend of a non-linear story, exploration, graphics and playability that's really hard to achieve.

Wiki entry here

Update: Found this in the Wiki entry. I didn't realize this, but it makes perfect sense and is obvious in retrospect. No wonder I like David so much.

David Brin's science fiction series about the Uplift Universe is also often mentioned as inspiration for the Star Control II universe.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


What would Easter be without Peeps??!?? Slower, less colorful and filled with fewer diabetic children to start, but why wish for the impossible?

Every year I send some Peeps, usually 40-50lbs worth, to Geoff's mother? Why? Is it because she loves them so much, or becuase I'm a heartless bastard who doesn't know when to quit a joke? You choose, it's all good. Oh how she loves her peeps! But appearently not as much as the folks at the Peep Research Foundation, who have been experimenting with peeps for years and have reached some interesting conclusions with their data.