November 30, 2007

Oh, Christmas tree

While some of you might think that the picture below is cute and creative, what you're missing is that it's a crime against nature. Look closely and see if you can spot what's wrong.
more...

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Quote of the day

Not surprisingly, it's from the maker of worlds:


How strange it is that atheists would be so widely loathed when we have spiteful, antagonistic morons like this to vindicate us.

Really, what more is there to add to that comment.

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November 29, 2007

lmomst done

Well, I'm down to 190 spam comments to clean up. About 2-3 more painful sessions and I'll be back to a clean blog. Except for the crap that I write, of course. I've got a potty keyboard.

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November 28, 2007

Pay attention

There is a lesson to be learned here somewhere.......

First-year students at Texas A&M's Vet school were receiving their first anatomy class, with a real dead cow. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body covered with a white sheet. The professor started the class by telling them, "In Veterinary Medicine it is necessary to have two important qualities as a doctor: The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving the animal body. For an example, the Professor pulled back the sheet, stuck his finger in the butt of the dead cow, withdrew it and stuck it in his mouth.

"Go ahead and do the same thing," he told his students. The students freaked out and hesitated for several minutes. But eventually they took turns sticking a finger in the anal opening of the dead cow and sucking on it. When everyone finished, the Professor looked at them and said, "The second most important quality is observation. I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index finger. Now learn to pay attention.

"Life's tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid."

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:43 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Video transcoding made easy

Let's assume that you're already a Linux user. Let's also stipulate that your particular desktop of choice is KDE. With both those things being true, you can easily convert video files from within your file manager, such as Konqueror or Dolphin. Excerpt:


KDE users, here’s a neat application that creates a ’service’ in your file manager that allows you to easily convert videos to other formats using ffmpeg.

ffmpegmenu is what you need. After copying the simple script into the right directory, an action will appear in the sidebar of either Konqueror or Dolphin (your choice), which easily allows you to convert selected video to DVD, MPEG or into iPod format with a couple of clicks.
...
Once installed, highlighting a .avi file should show the following in the sidebar (this screenshot from Dolphin):

ffmpegmenu.png

And it’s done!

Anyhoo, check it out.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:05 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Early reviews aren't good

Iowahawk reports on the dismal box office takes for many of the anti-Santa movies. He ends it with my favorite line from one of my favorite jokes:


Despite the disappointing weekend showing, MPAA spokesman Bell said that industry still has high hopes for 17 more anti-Santa films that will open nationwide this weekend, including "The Reindeer Hunter," "Shop Loss," and Quentin Tarantino's much anticipated "Workshop of Blood."

"Chances are, one of them will be a hit," said Bell. "There's got to be a pony in there somewhere."

Actually, the joke is pretty old. I heard it long before Reagan started telling it. Between that punchline and "At least we've got feathers!", I generate more perplexed glances from people than you can shake a stick at.

Ahh, here's the version that I remember. Apparently the joke's been massaged many times over the years, but the punchline hasn't changed.


A couple had twin boys of five or six. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities -- one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist -- their parents took them to a psychiatrist.

First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. "What's the matter?" the psychiatrist asked, baffled. "Don't you want to play with any of the toys?" "Yes," the little boy bawled, "but if I did I'd only break them."

Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his out look, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist. Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands.

"What do you think you're doing?" the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. "With all this manure," the little boy replied, beaming, "there must be a pony in here somewhere!"


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November 27, 2007

Clean up on aisle seven

I've just spent a few minutes cleaning up 60 spam comments. I have 600+ still to go. Ugh. However, since I seem to have stemmed the flow of new ones, I'll slowly clean up this pile of pigshit that the spammers have left behind. In any event, I'm glad that comments are open once again. Talk at all of you soon.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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November 26, 2007

Well, this is interesting

I know that someone else is bound to have posted about this "nuclear battery", but I think that it's pretty cool. Carry it to wherever, bury it and voila! 27 MW electric power. My questions, of course, would concern waste disposal and economic viability. Assuming that the answers are reasonable, I'd be fine with the idea. I'll be interested to see where it leads.

Update: I should have known the the Slashdotters would be all over it.

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Backup and restore your hard drive

So you want to create a complete image of your hard drive and you want to do it while you're working on your computer. Give DriveImage XML a try. Lifehacker gives you the lowdown. Excerpt:


First, download DriveImage XML for free and install it as usual. You can store your system image anywhere you'd like, but I highly recommend saving it on a disk other than the one you're imaging. So if you plan to image your C: drive, purchase an external hard drive to store C:'s image, or right after you create the image, burn the files to CD or DVD. This way if your C: drive fails or breaks, you
still have your image available on a separate physical disk.

...

Perform a Complete
System Restore


If your computer's hard drive crashed entirely, you can restore it to its past state using the DiX image you created. Restoring an image to a target disk will delete everything on the disk and copy the contents of the image to it. That means you cannot restore an image to a drive you're already using (because you can't delete the contents of a disk already in use.) So if you booted up your
computer on your C: drive, you can't restore an image to your C: drive. You need access to the target drive as a secondary disk. There are a few ways to do this. You can install the target drive as a slave in another PC in addition to its primary boot drive, or you can buy a hard drive enclosure and connect the target as an external drive. Either way, to restore a disk image to a drive you intend to boot from, you'll need:


  1. A PC running DriveImage XML

  2. The saved disk image files, whether they're on CD, DVD, on the
    host PC or on an external drive

  3. A target drive with a partition at least the size of the drive
    image files. (You can use Windows built-in Disk Management console
    or your partition manager of choice to create a new partition to
    restore to.)

There's a lot more to read.

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Not surprising

I could have predicted the results of this quiz, especially since I answered an emphatic YES to the "Do you like redheads?" question:

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

























Spider-Man
80%
Green Lantern
75%
Superman
65%
The Flash
65%
Supergirl
60%
Hulk
60%
Robin
55%
Catwoman
45%
Iron Man
45%
Wonder Woman
40%
Batman
35%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:05 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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November 20, 2007

the Cameron Column #1(#57 reprinted): The Thanksgiving Turkey

If you've never read any of Bruce Cameron's articles, you've been missing out. He stopped writing for a while, restarted and then stopped again. Maybe he finally ran out of ideas. In any event, here is his Thanksgiving column circa 1998.
==================================================

Like many men, I am different from my wife in ways which are noticeable, and, in my opinion, fortunate.

Take the Thanksgiving turkey (and I mean that literally. PLEASE come over to our house, open the refrigerator, shove aside everything growing green fuzz, and take this carcass away before it reincarnates as turkey lasagna or turkey tetracycline or whatever new concoction awaits the family.) But take Thanksgiving--my wife prefers small birds that fit nicely into the roasting pan and which can be cooked in a few hours.

"Ha!" I can be quoted as sneering. I trace my own gender lineage to that proud, hairy group of hunter-gatherers who, prior to the invention of TV remote control, would pick up their spears, huddle, and then go out and pull down a huge bison for dinner, stopping at the bar on the way home for a couple of cave brews. So when I go to the store for a turkey, I find a TURKEY: a mammoth, many-pound fowl with drum sticks as large as my thighs and wings you could park a car under.

Words cannot describe the delight on my wife's face when my neighbors help me carry the bird into the refrigerator, where, following the instructions, it is left to thaw for a period of six months. (My wife often has several interesting but impractical suggestions on where else we might stick the turkey for this thawing procedure.) Cooking begins around Halloween, a slow roasting process which varies from my mother's recipe in that there are no flames or threats of divorce "if anybody says a word about how the turkey tastes."

I enjoy every step of turkey preparation, particularly since I am not involved in any of it. Well, that's not entirely true--at one point, I am asked to reach into the mouth of the turkey and retrieve the giblets, which turns out to be a bag of what looks like pieces of Jimmy Hoffa. (I realize I am not, technically speaking, putting my hand in the bird's "mouth," but I'd rather not dwell on what this means.) How the turkey manages to swallow this stuff in the first place is beyond me. Traditionally, we open this bag, dump the contents into a pan of water, and boil the results. Only the cat is happy about this development.

As wonderful as this all is, by the fourth or fifth night my appetite for turkey variations has waned, and I provide valuable feedback to my wife by making gagging noises at dinner time. Her verbal (as opposed to projectile) response to this is to imply that it is somehow MY fault we have so many leftovers, to which I logically reply, "hey, YOU cooked it."

Now, before you men out there become too smug with how adroitly I out maneuvered her with my quick retort, you should be advised that she STILL blames me for our turkey-induced bulimia. Therefore I appeal to my readership: has anyone else noticed bizarre psychiatric reactions to turkey consumption which might explain this whole controversy? Please advise via return e-mail, which will be picked up by the crack WBC technical team and, judging by previous results, forwarded to the Governor of New Jersey.

Thanks... oh, and Happy Thanksgiving too.

The Cameron Column, A Free Internet Newsletter
Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1998
================================================

Update: My bad. I used to be on his mailing list; not sure why I'm not now. In any event, Bruce Cameron appears to have been writing up a storm. You can find his stuff here, including my all-time favorite column.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:36 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Spicing up Thanksgiving dinner

Why yes, I did post this last year. Thanks for asking
=========================================

Here is a new way to prepare your Thanksgiving or Christmas Turkey.

1. Cut out aluminum foil in desired shapes.
2. Arrange the turkey in the roasting pan, position the foil carefully (see
attached)
3. Roast according to your own recipes and serve.
4. Watch your guests' faces.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:28 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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How to cook a turkey

Reposted from last year.

=====================
This has been making its way around the Internet since 1500 B.C., even though the first computer still hadn't been manufactured yet. However, if there's one thing that you can count on me for, it's recycling the stalest holiday humor you've ever seen between now and the New Year.
---------------------------------------------------
HOW TO COOK A TURKEY

Step 1: Go buy a turkey

Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey, scotch, or JD

Step 3: Put turkey in the oven

Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey

Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens

Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink

Step 7: Turn oven the on

Step 8: Take 4 whisks of drinky

Step 9: Turk the bastey

Step 10: Whiskey another bottle of get

Step 11: Stick a turkey in the thermometer

Step 12: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey

Step 13: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours

Step 14: Take the oven out of the turkey

Step 15: Take the oven out of the turkey

Step 16: Floor the turkey up off the pick

Step 17: Turk the carvey

Step 18: Get yourself another scottle of botch

Step 19: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey(Ed. note: this didn't used to be possible)
Update: More on this here.

Step 20: Bless the saying, pass and eat out

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A special Thanksgiving Day message

You might remember this special holiday image from last year. This time, I won't hide it in the extended entry.


piece of me.jpg


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November 19, 2007

The furry members of our family.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by this site- or sent me emails- to offer supportive comments after my dog was attacked by a rabid raccoon. Some of you have sent followup communications inquiring as to his health. I'm pleased to announce that Diego has been running around the backyard for the last couple of hours. He's officially a free dog, after 6 months of incarceration. I can't wait to get home and play with him.

In this time of joy for me, I'm quite mindful of sadness in the lives of others. Rachel Lucas had to put Digger to sleep. I know that she's agonizing over the loss, even while realizing that Digger was finally pain free. And poor Moxie lost her beloved Bentley. Please stop by and offer your condolences to both. Words are small comfort in times like these, but sometimes it's all that we have to offer. And it does help.

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November 15, 2007

Bastards

I've received over 300 spam comments within the last 4 days. Add in the 400+ that I've already got backlogged and I may never get out from under. God, I hope Pixy Misa gets the big bloggers moved soon. I've shut down comments on my new posts, but all the older ones are getting crushed. I'd shut down all comments if I could, but apparently I can't. Maybe I can refuse to accept comments on posts older than 5 days or something. Either that or I'll randomly brain people on the street. After all, they're probably in cahoots with those magic picture people.

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November 14, 2007

Time to bring back Mr. Pointy

Of course I'm talking about the stake Buffy used

Sure I am. In any event, our favorite Slayer (I do like Faith a lot) posed for Maxim magazine's December issue. There are some preview photos for your viewing pleasure. Okay, MY viewing pleasure.

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When you like the audio as much or more than the video

So you've got a great concert DVD that you love. It would be great to listen to the music while driving, but it's contraindicated to watch a video while driving, the recent growth of in-dash DVD players notwithstanding. Well now you can rip the audio "from DVD, VCD/SVCD and MPEG (MPEG-1, MPEG-2) files into MP3 which can be played in MP3 Players." I present to you the Free DVD to MP3 Ripper. Excerpt:


Key Features

  • It's clean and free, without any adware or spyware.
  • It's stable and fast.
  • It supports DVD movie files(*.vob), VCD/SVCD movie files(*.dat) and MPEG(MPEG-1, MPEG-2) files(*.mpeg, *.mpg).
  • By choosing the start and end point visually, you can fine tune the selection of the source video file to extract into MP3.
  • It uses up-to-date and high quality libraries to encode MP3.
  • It's not affected by any DVD copy protection.
  • The installing and uninstalling process is very easy.

Pretty cool stuff, huh? Here are the Tips and Tricks:


Tip 1:Free DVD MP3 Ripper can not only rip DVD Movie files (*.vob), but also extract audio from VCD, SVCD Movie files(*.dat) and MPEG files(*.mpeg; *.mpg) into MP3.

Tip 2:By sliding the Start Point Cursor and End Point Cursor, you can tune the selection to rip easily.

Tip 3:Before ripping, click the "Edit ID3..." link, you can edit the ID3 tag for output MP3.

Tip 4:Before ripping, click the "Change Settings..." link, you can change the output MP3 settings (bitrate, samplerate, channel mode and VBR).

Tip 5:You can search and get tons of free music clips in MPEG format from Yahoo Video Search (http://video.search.yahoo.com/), all these files can be converted to MP3 files that can be played in your MP3 player.


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November 13, 2007

Online photo editing part deux

Back here I posted about several online photo editors available for your use. Turns out that Fauxto has been revamped and renamed as Splashup. Here's what the website has to say:


Splashup, formerly Fauxto, is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With all the features professionals use and novices want, it's easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photosharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.

Might be worth a look before investing in some expensive editing software.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:59 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Complete and utter bullshit

Everyone, I take it, is aware of the Magic Eye pictures. Is that correct? And you can all see the pictures hidden within, right? Sure you can... you lying fuckers. I swear to God that all of you are in cahoots to drive me me completely batshit crazy. In other words, you want me to become one of the Kos Kidz. Because I've listened to all of the people in the mall, read the instructions in the books at Barnes and Noble and followed to the letter what the Magic Eye™ website said to do and all I get are dry eyes, a headache and an overwhelming desire to bitchslap all you liars for fucking with me. To wit:

3D Viewing Instructions

Hold the center of the printed image right up to your nose. It should be blurry. Focus as though you are looking through the image into the distance. Very slowly move the image away from your face until the two squares above the image turn into three squares. If you see four squares, move the image farther away from your face until you see three squares. If you see one or two squares, start over!

When you clearly see three squares, hold the page still, and the hidden image will magically appear. Once you perceive the hidden image and depth, you can look around the entire 3D image. The longer you look, the clearer the illusion becomes. The farther away you hold the page, the deeper it becomes. Good Luck!

I can see the 3 squares just fine. But even after clicking on the link to see what those bastards say is hidden within so that I'd have something to shoot for, all I see are color stylings of someone suffering from a severe acid flashback.

I know a few others who, like me, think this is like a modern day version of Gaslight. For the record, we're onto you. Quit screwing with us (me) before I take a 2x4 to your head.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:42 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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