Saturday, May 28, 2005

Pass The Potato!

Growing up in a pot near Columbus, Ohio, Couch Potato became fascinated at an early age with television. Though urged by his parents to take an apprenticeship with a European Vodka-maker, Couch Potato would rather spend his days in front of the TV (although he avoids the Food Network due to "too much violence".) Recently, Couch Potato was horrified to find that the snack he was eating during an airing of Green Acres was actually his cousin.

Pass The Potato

Friday, May 27, 2005

Battle of the Barbies

WINNIPEG SUN - Mattel is suing to shut down a BBQ joint in Quebec called "Barbie's," on the grounds that very stupid children might wander alone into the bar/restaurant and order ribs under the mistaken impression that they have something to do with the Barbie dolls.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Great Moments in Suicide Prevention

MSNBC - A Canadian province will shut its 24-hour suicide hotline and replace it with one that operates only during business hours. Prince Edward Island, a small province on Canada's East Coast, says it is too expensive to operate the hotline around the clock. Starting June 1, it will be open only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The plan drew protest from mental health groups across the country Wednesday. "How many times, when you get upset or worried or concerned about things, is it in the middle of the day? It's usually at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning when you wake up," said Joan Wright, executive director of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

It's Soda,


Monday, May 23, 2005

Too Much Knowledge Can Be Bad For Memory

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY - A new study found adults did better remembering pictures of imaginary animals than they did remembering pictures of real cats. "The adults remembered these artificial insect-like creatures they had just seen for the first time much better than they did the cats that were very familiar to them," said Vladimir Sloutsky, co-author of the study and professor and director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Ohio State University.

The results show how some types of memory might be better when people forget what they know and instead approach a subject with a child-like sense of naivete.

"Verbatim memory is often a property of being a novice," said Sloutsky, who is also associate dean of research at the university's College of Human Ecology . "As people become smarter, they start to put things into categories, and one of the costs they pay is lower memory accuracy for individual differences."

The ability to categorize is often very helpful, but this study shows how it can lead people to ignore individual details, Sloutsky said. The inappropriate use of categorization can also lead to problems such as stereotypes of groups, Sloutsky said.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Stem Cells

Special treat for today.... I was watching NOVA about a month ago and thought this segment of the program was particularly interesting/enlightening. Here's one exchange:

SAM BROWNBACK: What is a human embryo? What is a human clone? Is it a person or is it a piece of property? And most Americans look at this and they say, "Life beings at conception." And if that's so, that, that life...there's a sacredness to it, and we shouldn't be violating it.

DOUG MELTON: Often times this issue is couched in terms of, "When does life begin?" I think of it more as an issue, "When does a person begin?" And personhood for me is a process. The fertilized egg has the potential to become a person, but it won't necessarily become a person. Imagine you and I are sitting in an IVF clinic with my son and the fire alarm goes off. So now I have the choice of taking my son out of the room or grabbing a freezer with 100 fertilized eggs, which would I choose? I think for me that emphasizes the difference between a real life, a person who exists, and a potential.

Very brief explanation of how stem cell cloning works.

I encourage you to watch the segment and read more about the issue on NOVA's Science Now page. It's really worth it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Republican Wants U.S. To Become Nation of Snitches

BILL PIPER, ALTERNET - A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force. Sensenbrenner, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has introduced legislation that would essentially draft every American into the war on drugs. . .

Here's how the "spy" section of the legislation works: If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" about them, you must report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution" of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Here are some examples of offenses you would have to report to police within 24 hours:

You find out that your brother, who has children, recently bought a small amount of marijuana to share with his wife; You discover that your son gave his college roommate a marijuana joint; You learn that your daughter asked her boyfriend to find her some drugs, even though they're both in treatment. In each of these cases you would have to report the relative to the police within 24 hours. Taking time to talk to your relative about treatment instead of calling the police immediately could land you in jail.

In addition to turning family member against family member, the legislation could also put many Americans in danger by forcing them to go undercover to gain evidence against strangers.

Even if the language that forces every American to become a de facto law enforcement agent is taken out, the bill would still impose draconian sentences on college students, mothers, people in drug treatment and others with substance abuse problems. If enacted, this bill will destroy lives, break up families, and waste millions of taxpayer dollars.

Congratulations, Justin!

Congrats to my brother, Justin, for graduating high school today!

Best of luck to the little guy in the future!

Russian Villagers Spooked as Lake Vanishes Overnight

BBC - Residents of a village in central Russia are trying to solve the mystery of a lake that disappeared overnight.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sign Language

Animated .gifs

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jackass had Sex

JAMES RIDGEWAY, VILLAGE VOICE - Alan Colmes, on his Fox radio talk show last week, asked anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley if he was kidding when Horsley once claimed to have had sex with animals as a boy growing up in Georgia. Horsley is best known for his "Nuremberg Files," which, according to Planned Parenthood, lists abortion doctors "marked for death." Here was the exchange between Colmes and Horsley:

Horsley: Hey, Alan, if you want to accuse me of having sex when I was a fool, I did everything that crossed my mind that looked like I . . .

Colmes: You had sex with animals?

Horsley: Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.

Colmes: I'm not so sure that that is so.

Horsley: You didn't grow up on a farm in Georgia, did you?

Colmes: Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?

Horsley: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality. . . . Welcome to domestic life on the farm. You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You're naive. You know better than that. . . . If it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates, you might in fact have sex with it.

Not knowing whether or not to believe this, we called Horsley and read him the quotes. "That's correct," he said. Then we looked at his website. Here's what it says: "Now when homosexuals, or adulterers, or fornicators, or pedophiles, or beast fornicators and beast suckers, or any sexual outlaws, parade themselves around as if they could be followers of Jesus Christ, they demonstrate a lie and blasphemy and abomination."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Catching Condoms in Milwaukee

AP - After spending more than $1.8 million for a temporary system to catch stray condoms slipping through a sewage treatment plant, a Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District spokesman says officials are fairly confident a majority of condoms are now being caught before they can reach Lake Michigan...

Initially, a single laborer armed with a swimming pool skimmer was posted at the chlorine tanks at the Jones Island treatment plant to capture condoms that survived earlier phases of screening at the plant... A system of 24 large nets to catch condoms was installed early last year, but officials say they clog with algae and other debris, requiring them to be changed every two or three weeks. But district officials say the net system is meant to be only a short-term fix.

They say "bar screens" with three-quarter-inch spacing which act as a sieve at the front of the plant, where raw sewage enters, will be replaced with screens with quarter-inch spacing, but that $23 million effort is not expected to be completed until 2009.

Ahh, the things we don't usually think about.

Which MASH Character Are You?

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!

Unintentionally Sexual Comic Book Covers

"The Rifleman" - Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha

Monday, May 16, 2005

Life Lessons from Lemon Curd

Danielle Nails It. Read.

Stuff to SNAAAACK On


HOUSTON CHRONICLE - Houstonians let their freak flag fly high Saturday, with artists and mechanics, political provocateurs and welders unleashing their imaginations onto Allen Parkway. Among the more than 280 entries were cars decked out as boats, festooned as flowers and rigged up as mythical creatures... The event is put on by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, a center for folk artists. The first art car parade in 1988 had 40 vehicles and few onlookers. (Picture Gallery on Right)


NEW SCIENTIST - Developed at the university, the guitar is designed to reproduce the sound and feel of a wooden acoustic guitar. The soundboard is made of a polycarbonate foam rather than the traditional spruce. "If you inject different quantities of hydrogen into it you can replicate the densities of different woods. And it is not inert like plastic; it resonates," says Alan Greensall, who is in charge of licensing the technology for Loughborough University Enterprises. The instrument could ease the pressure on endangered tree species... Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman famously played a plastic instrument in the 1960s, but they never caught on.


AP - A county Republican chairman says his bid to head the state party was sabotaged because a letter falsely accused him of having been married six times. The right number, he says, is five.

"That's unconscionable," Seminole County Republican Party Chairman Jim Stelling said Tuesday in the trial over his defamation suit. "I have four children and eight grandchildren that I love dearly. I believe in family values."





and last but not least....

FAINTING GOATS!!!! (we used to have these)

Thursday, May 12, 2005


What else is there to say?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Social Security

Best one-minute explanation of the issue I've seen.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie." ~Tenneva Jordan

Friday, May 06, 2005

School Board Bans 'Louie Louie'

AP - A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band was told not to perform "Louie Louie." Benton Harbor [MI] Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival. . . "Louie Louie," written by Richard Berry in 1956, is one of the most recorded songs in history. The best-known, most notorious version was a hit in 1963 for the Kingsmen; the FBI spent two years investigating the lyrics before declaring they not only were not obscene but also were "unintelligible at any speed."

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Studying for tomorrow's final in pathology.

Halfway moved into the new apartment.

Glad that I finally got internet installed.

Listening to KJHK.

Will have more later.

Hungry now.....

The Effects of Inappropriate Highlighting

MARC ABRAHAMS, GUARDIAN - Vicki Silvers and David Kreiner, of Central Missouri State University, [have written a] study called The Effects of Pre-Existing Inappropriate Highlighting on Reading Comprehension. "Textbook highlighting is a common study strategy among college students," Silvers and Kreiner wrote. Then they described their experiments.

First, they had students read a passage of text. Some students had text that was highlighted appropriately. Some had text that was highlighted inappropriately. Others had spartan, un-highlighted text. Silvers and Kreiner then tested how well the students comprehended the text. Those with the inappropriate highlighting scored much lower than the others. A second experiment showed that even when students were warned about the inappropriate highlighting, they had trouble ignoring it.

In 2002, Silvers and Kreiner were awarded the Ig Nobel literature prize. At the awards ceremony, they offered one piece of advice: "Don't buy a textbook that was highlighted by an idiot."

Monday, May 02, 2005


Make it Dazzle!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Subdivisions Impose Social Divide

STEPHANIE MCCRUMMEN, WASHINGTON POST - Lately, Ivan Barry, who is 12, feels like a stranger in a strange land, which is odd, since he and his family moved to their red brick rambler on Ryan Road in Loudoun County seven years ago, before most of their neighbors arrived. They were part of a rural community then, their street mostly fields and woods where Ivan could romp with abandon, discovering creeks and paths to such hidden spots as an old mill, where he'd go sometimes to think, hunt for red-tailed skinks or just pretend that he was lost in the wilderness. Then, things changed.

It was not simply that thousands of houses came; it was how they came -- in such self-contained communities as Brambleton and Forest Manor, Forest Run and Belle Terra, all with their backs turned to the rambler. And Ivan, once the insider in a sense, became an outsider -- a resident of nowhere.

"At school, they're like, 'What development do you live in?' " Ivan said recently. "And I'm like, 'I don't live in a development!' And they're like, 'Do you live in the woods?' And I'm like, 'I've been living here for seven years!' And they're like, 'This didn't exist seven years ago!' " he said, throwing his hands in the air. . .

According to the Community Associations Institute in Alexandria, four out of five U.S. homes built since 2000 have been in homeowner association-governed subdivisions, where residents pay dues to support such amenities as clubhouses and pools that usually exclude those outside.

While life inside such places as Brambleton often is vibrant with block parties, poker nights, book clubs and a sense of identity, life on the outside feels quite different these days, altered in ways large and small.

The Power of One Overturned Parking Ticket

WTAE, PITTSBURGH - All Chuck Pascal wanted to do was challenge a $5 parking ticket. But his victory in a Butler, Pa., court has sent shock waves through the state and led some towns to suspend writing tickets. Pascal showed that Butler was in violation of a state law that requires parking meters to be certified as accurate every three years. Now, cities and towns are clamoring for the state's Division of Weights and Measures to certify their meters. Butler has stopped writing tickets until its meters are certified. So has Erie, at a cost of $2,000 a day in fines. At least two dozen municipalities are waiting for certification.