Thursday, January 31, 2008
At the push of a button a hydraulic mechanism transforms the sports car into a propeller-powered boat.
The Rinspeed Splash was created by Swiss genius Frank M. Rinderknecht, 48, at his car company Rinspeed.
"It can reach 125mph on the road and accelerates to 60mph in 5.9 seconds." The water performance is impressive too, with the Splash reaching an impressive 45 knots.
"That's fast enough for water skiing or knee boarding,"
Damn! I want one! More.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
I'm absolutely in love with this recently released Heinlein book, For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs.
Everything about this novel is interesting, even the experience of reading it. For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs was written in 1938-1939; it is Robert A. Heinlein's first extended piece of fiction, and was never published because in 1939 it was not simply unsold: It was probably unpublishable. Over the 20th century, didactic novels of a utopian bent had been increasingly perceived as unmarketable (dystopias like Huxley's Brave New World  or Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four  do very much better); but more specifically, For Us, the Living promulgates the kind of arguments about sex, religion, politics and economics that normally gain publication through fringe presses, not the trade publishers Heinlein submitted his manuscript to, Random House and Macmillan (which did all the same publish B.F. Skinner's Walden Two in 1948).
For us, though, in 2004, For Us, the Living, as far as its arguments go, is pure Heinlein; indeed, because almost every radical notion he ever generated appears here in utero, the book rewrites our sense of Heinlein's entire career; and because Heinlein's career, as we understood it, has always seemed expressive of the nature of American SF from 1939 to 1966, this small, slightly stumblebum first novel rewrites our understanding of those years, especially the early ones, when John W. Campbell Jr. was attempting to shape the nascent genre into a weapon of future-purification.
It has certainly been well known that Heinlein (unlike the younger Isaac Asimov) found Campbell's personality and diktats less than persuasive, but the degree to which he corralled his imaginative intellect, in order to help create the SF that missed the boat, has never I think really been guessed. In a nutshell, the ideas about sex and privacy and government that inch into view—just a little pruriently, perhaps—through the finger-wagging pages of For Us, the Living are exactly the ideas that the professional writer Heinlein only let himself begin to utter again in 1959, with Starship Troopers. I'm not about to suggest that if Heinlein had been able to publish openly in the pages of Astounding in 1939, SF would have gotten the future right; I would suggest, however, that if Heinlein, and his colleagues, had been able to publish adult SF in Astounding and its fellow journals, then SF might not have done such a grotesquely poor job of prefiguring something of the flavor of actually living here at the onset of 2004.
Watching the Competent Man being born
A short notice of this text cannot begin to articulate the minutiae of similtude and difference between early Heinlein and late. Central to both periods is the concept of the absolute privacy of the individual citizen of America; as the new Constitution of 2028 states:
Every citizen is free to perform any act which does not hamper the equal freedom of another. No law shall forbid the performance of any act, which does not damage the physical or economic welfare of any other person. No act shall constitute a violation of a law valid under this provision unless there is such damage, or immediate present danger of such damage resulting from that act.
This is a radical doctrine, as Heinlein clearly argues, for it means
the end of the blue laws, and a grisly unconscious symbiosis between the underworld and the organized churches—for the greatest bulwark of the underworld were always the moral creeds of the churches.
And so forth. These two quotes, which appear 200 pages apart in the text, are, as one might put it, just like Heinlein. The consequences, direct and cognate, which For Us, the Living doesn't really go very far to dramatize, run from the absolute and genuine separation of church and state, to the liberation of women, to very widespread private nudity, and to what we call, in this world, "open marriage."
The story through which these arguments are put—they include long lessons in Social Credit—begins typically. A young man named Perry from 1939 is, more or less magically, transported to 2087, where he learns about the brave new world which has evolved. He is necessarily as stupid as most of his fellow visitors to utopia—else there would be no reason to tell him everything down to the last detail—but gradually changes into a Competent Man, piloting the first spaceship around the moon in a slingshot ending, though before he gets Competent he has to spend a while in a psychological rehabilitation unit after biffing the nude male friend of his new nude lover Diana because he has failed to grasp the implications of privacy as applied to sexual freedom. The language in which this is all laid down (the word "breasts" never appears, though "breast"—designating a vague frontal region—shows up lots) is perhaps the most poignant residue of the claptrap writers had to grapple with just a few decades ago.
More here and here.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A 15-year-old Australian liver transplant patient has defied modern medicine by taking on her donor's immune system.
Demi-Lee Brennan had a liver transplant after she suffered liver failure. Nine months later, doctors at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital were amazed to find the teenager's blood group had changed to the donor's blood type.
Further tests revealed the stem cells from the donor liver had penetrated her bone marrow.
Dr Michael Stormon says he and his colleagues were even more surprised when they found the girl's immune system had almost totally been replaced by that of the donor, meaning she no longer had to take anti-rejection drugs.
Dr Stormon says his team is now trying to identify how the phenomenon happened and whether it can be replicated.
Top 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Daughter (So Far)
Children bring a great amount of wisdom with them when they join us here in this world. I have known this for many years and have always loved being around children. But it was not until I became a father, a bit more than four years ago, that I discovered just how wise these little beings really are.
From the moment of my daughter’s birth (and even before that) fatherhood has been a truly transformative experience. It’s rare that a day goes by without learning something about life from my Ella. And in many ways I really do see her as one of my most effective teachers.
So I thought it would be fun to share some of the personal growth lessons I have learned... Every one of these lessons has had a significant impact on my life.
1. Tomorrow’s Gonna Be a New Day.
2. Sometimes it’s Better to Make Up Your Own Rules
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Enthusiasm.
4. Feel your emotions fully.
5. Walk On Walls Whenever Your Have The Chance
6. Sometimes you have to do it alone (even if there’s someone right there who could
7. Know When to Ask For Help.
8. Don’t be attached to what you painted yesterday (or 2-seconds ago).
9. Singing Makes Everything Better.
10. Dance like no one’s watching (even when you’ve made sure that everyone is!)
Cool full article here.
- Honk If Your Religious Beliefs Make You An Asshole
- Intelligent Design Makes My Monkey Cry
- Too Stupid to Understand Science? Try Religion.
- There's A REASON Why Atheists Don't Fly Planes Into Buildings
- God Doesn't Kill People. People Who Believe in God Kill People.
- If There is No God, Then What Makes the Next Kleenex Pop Up?
- People Who Don't Want Their Beliefs Laughed at Shouldn't Have Such Funny Beliefs
- GOD - APPLY DIRECTLY TO FOREHEAD!
- When the Rapture Comes, We'll Get Our Country Back!
- Science: It Works, Bitches.
- "Intelligent Design" Helping Stupid People Feel Smart Since 1987
- My Flying Monkey Can Beat Up Your Guardian Angel
- If God Wanted People to Believe in Him, Then Why Did He Invent Logic?
- ALL Americans Are African Americans
- I Forget - Which Day Did God Make All The Fossils?
- The Spanish Inquisition: The Original Faith-based Initiative
- If we were made in his image, when why aren't humans invisible too?
- Every Time You See a Rainbow, God is Having Gay Sex
- Another Godless Atheist for Peace and World Harmony
- God is Unavailable Right Now. Can I Help You?
Thanks to RM
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Is it Martian Bigfoot? Maybe. Is it just our brain trying to interpret shadows on a rock formation? Probably. Will there be loonies trying to prove one way or the other? Probably as well.
He was found dead in his bed in one of his residences in Soho by his housekeeper at 3:35 PM ET today. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ they believe it was not a crime, adding that prescription pills were found near his body.
He seems to have done an outstanding job as the Joker in the next Batman (see our previous post). Too bad.
Yes, this is him above, no photoshopping.
As mayor, he picked fights with a notable lack of discrimination, challenging the city and state comptrollers, a few corporations and the odd council member. But the mayor’s fist also fell on the less powerful. In mid-May 1994, newspapers revealed that Mr. Giuliani’s youth commissioner, the Rev. John E. Brandon, suffered tax problems; more troubling revelations seemed in the offing.
At 7 p.m. on May 17, Mr. Giuliani’s press secretary dialed reporters and served up a hotter story: A former youth commissioner under Mr. Dinkins, Richard L. Murphy, had ladled millions of dollars to supporters of the former mayor. And someone had destroyed Department of Youth Services records and hard drives and stolen computers in an apparent effort to obscure what had happened to that money.
“My immediate goal is to get rid of the stealing, to get rid of the corruption,” Mr. Giuliani told The Daily News.
None of it was true. In 1995, the Department of Investigation found no politically motivated contracts and no theft by senior officials. But Mr. Murphy’s professional life was wrecked.
“I was soiled merchandise — the taint just lingers,” Mr. Murphy said in a recent interview.
Not long after, a major foundation recruited Mr. Murphy to work on the West Coast. The group wanted him to replicate his much-honored concept of opening schools at night as community centers. A senior Giuliani official called the foundation — a move a former mayoral official confirmed on the condition of anonymity for fear of embarrassing the organization — and the prospective job disappeared.
“He goes to people and makes them complicit in his revenge,” Mr. Murphy said.
This theme repeats. Two private employers in New York City, neither of which wanted to be identified because they feared retaliation should Mr. Giuliani be elected president, said the mayor’s office exerted pressure not to hire former Dinkins officials. When Mr. Giuliani battled schools Chancellor Ramon C. Cortines, he demanded that Mr. Cortines prove his loyalty by firing the press spokesman, John Beckman.
More from the NY Times.
Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”
Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
Maybe Mr. Obama was, as his supporters insist, simply praising Reagan’s political skills. (I think he was trying to curry favor with a conservative editorial board, which did in fact endorse him.) But where in his remarks was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?
For it did fail. The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder. Yes, there was a boom in the mid-1980s, as the economy recovered from a severe recession. But while the rich got much richer, there was little sustained economic improvement for most Americans. By the late 1980s, middle-class incomes were barely higher than they had been a decade before — and the poverty rate had actually risen.
When the inevitable recession arrived, people felt betrayed — a sense of betrayal that Mr. Clinton was able to ride into the White House.
More from the NY Times.
"Witnesses heard a cracking and a loud "boom," and then the ice surfaced. We understand ice this large breaks off from under the glacier approximately once a year and we were fortunate to be able to photograph it. The ice is a very deep blue as it is deprived of oxygen. Within 24 hours it will be white as the typical floating ice pieces."
Very interesting, and what's even more amazing is the guy seems pretty normal!
Imagine being able to recall just about anything, your mind functioning as a nearly endless encyclopedic scrapbook of names, pictures, dates and events.
Wisconsin resident Brad Williams' total recall makes him a personified version of Google. His extensive memory allows him to recall almost any news event and anything he has experienced, including specific dates and even the weather.
Williams' type of detailed, exhaustive memory is called hyperthymesia and few known cases exist. Brad's brain scans are now being studied by neuroscientists at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the Univeristy of California, Irvine.
Initially, the drive-time radio broadcaster didn't think his ability to recall so much was anything special. Gradually over the years other people noticed how much he was able to remember in detail about the same events, Williams said.
In the film, which hasn't been completed yet, Williams takes on a person who is Googling answers to 20 questions.
He answered 18 of them correctly and was 11 minutes faster than the searcher.
More, with video interview from ABC News.
Friday, January 18, 2008
There are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects on earth at any given moment. Seriously, that's a real number. For every one of us, there are 1.5 billion bugs.
But some of them are so horrifying, just one is too many. Here are five you want to avoid at all costs.
Japanese Giant Hornet (vespa mandarinia japonica)
From: Japan, obviously.
Why you must fear it:
It's the size of your thumb and it can spray flesh-melting poison. We really wish we were making that up for, you know, dramatic effect because goddamn, what a terrible thing a three-inch acid-shooting hornet would be, you know? Oh, hey, did we mention it shoots it into your eyes? Or that the poison also has a pheromone cocktail in it that'll call every hornet in the hive to come over and sting you until you are no longer alive?
Think you can outrun it? It can fly 50 miles in a day. It'd be nice to say something reassuring at this point, like "Don't worry, they only live on top of really tall mountains where nobody wants to live," but no, they live all over the goddamned place, including outside Tokyo.
Forty people die like that every year, each of them horribly.
UPDATE: See this newer post for a photo of JJ Abrams' Enterprise!
This is the first official glimpse of the U.S.S. Enterprise under construction for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2008). Not sure about the one below, but it's cool.
This is the first official glimpse of the U.S.S. Enterprise under construction for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2008). Not sure about the one below, but it's cool.
I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.
Take Father Michael, down our road apiece. I’m not of his creed, but I know that goodness and charity and loving kindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I’m in trouble, I’ll go to him. My next door neighbor’s a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat—no fee, no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.
I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman, there are hundreds of politicians—low paid or not paid at all—doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the Thirteen Colonies.
And finally, I believe in my whole race—yellow, white, black, red, brown—in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth—that we always make it just for the skin of our teeth—but that we will always make it, survive, endure.
I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb—this animal barely up from the apes—will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets—to the stars and beyond—carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.
Robert A. Heinlein won four Hugo Awards during his 50-year career as a science fiction writer. Born and raised in Missouri, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929 and did aeronautical engineering for the Navy during World War II. Heinlein’s books include Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
We know you too well to think you're going to want to sit through ninety minutes of pain simply for one great tease. But that's not to say that a hot non-nude scene doesn't have its merits. And with that as our outlook, we've compiled eight of the best. Some of these movies are actually decent, but for most of them, we're saving you some time, which you can use on the sure thing: porn. You're welcome.
Salma Hayek Club Dance - The funniest bloopers are right here
The video is deeply disturbing.
In it, CNN Headline News anchor Glenn Beck describes going to the emergency room in intense pain -- so overwhelming, he wept.
He says that for two hours, no one gave him pain medication. In fact, he says, no one lifted a finger to help him at all for 40 minutes.
There is now a way to extend the lifespan of organisms so that humans could conceivably live to be 800 years old. In an amazing development, scientists at the University of Southern California have announced that they've extended the lifespan of yeast bacteria tenfold -- and the recipe they used to do it might easily translate into humans. It involves tinkering with two genes, and cutting down your calorie intake. Tests have already started on people in Ecuador.
Researchers have created baker's yeast capable of living to 800 in yeast years without apparent side effects. The basic but important discovery, achieved through a combination of dietary and genetic changes, brings scientists closer to controlling the survival and health of the unit of all living systems: the cell. "We're setting the foundation for reprogramming healthy life," says study leader Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.
Longo's group put baker's yeast on a calorie-restricted diet and knocked out two genes - RAS2 and SCH9 - that promote aging in yeast and cancer in humans.
"We got a 10-fold life span extension that is, I think, the longest one that has ever been achieved in any organism," Longo says. Normal yeast organisms live about a week.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Visitors to Big Sister start at the electronic menu, which provides each woman's age, height, working name and the languages she speaks. After a customer makes his selection, a manager makes sure the client signs broadcast release forms, and then the intimate details are arranged with the partner for the evening.
After donning a burgundy terry-cloth robe and slippers in a carpeted locker room, each client heads downstairs where the action takes place. Every move is recorded by more than 50 video cameras mounted everywhere from the toilets to the bed posts.
Big Sister is the logical result of the reality TV craze, says Paul Levinson, chair of communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York. The brothel's name is a play on ``Big Brother,'' a TV show seen in 70 countries. The two aren't related.
``It does seem people like all extremes of reality TV,'' says Levinson, who wasn't aware of Big Sister. ``As media gets more advanced it gets more real. As much as high-definition has replaced black-and-white, this advancement has also been seen in terms of content.''
At Big Sister, about a dozen guests perform on camera each night, and the Web site gets 10,000 to 15,000 hits a day, Borowitz, 26, says.
[NSFW] Big Sister Site
Monday, January 14, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
#3.Magnus Ver Magnusson
Nordic naming conventions mean that his name essentially means "Magnus son of Magnus" which immediately brings to mind a line of men, all Magnuses, doing incredibly manly things through the ages. This is a damn solid entry, and you can never go wrong with a nice "Ver" or Von" or "Mac" in there somewhere.
Magnus Ver Magnusson is the strongest man in the world.
No, seriously, it's official. Or, at least he was the strongest man in the world four times, winning the World Strongman contest in 1991 and then from 1994-96. The guy's a man mountain.
Watch him in action in his final Strongman contest at the sunset of his career and still comfortably beating guys who can lift cars over their heads.
1. You Can Do Terrible Things in the Name of Either One
We're putting aside the question of which belief system has killed more people by percentage of population, or whether a hypothetical world without religion would have seen fewer or more genocides than ours. We're not going to open a spreadsheet and try to count which belief system manufactures more murderous sociopaths per capita.
All I need from you is agreement that it's entirely possible for either an atheist or theist world to devolve into a screaming murder festival. The religious leader sends his people into battle because he thinks God commanded it, the Stalins and Maos of the world do the same because they see their people as nothing more than meaty fuel to be ground up to feed the machinery of The State. In both cases, the people are equally dead.
Yeah, yeah, I know the Christians are saying that the guy who fights an unjust or needless war is violating God's law, and thus isn't a good Christian. Meanwhile, the atheists are saying that Stalin was merely bloodthirsty, separate and apart from his disbelief in a higher power. Both believe, then, that it is a corruption of their belief system that allows unjust slaughter to happen.
But for this project, All we need to agree on is this: it happens in both cases. And if the opposing belief system vanished tomorrow, war and bloodshed and terror would still take place.
And can we further admit it's actually physically impossible to calculate whether, if your side had its way, the volume of terrible things happening would go up, or down, or stay the same? I know you have an opinion on that, and I can guess what it is. But we don't know, and can't state it like it's fact. Right?
2. Both Sides Really Do Believe What They're Saying
3. In Everyday Life, You're Not That Different
4. There Are Good People on Both Sides
As any nerd can tell you, being smarter than everyone else has a price. Poor social skills, being grossly over or under weight, being terrible at sports. Skin problems, probably bad eyesight ... you get the idea.
Yet, there is a whole class of nerds who break that universal rule, who somehow wind up smarter than us, yet also, are so good at kicking ass or being hot that they've got legions of adoring fans...
#7.The Offspring lead singer Dexter Holland
#5 & 6.Underworld's Kate Beckinsale and Kevin Grevioux
#3.Porn star Asia Carrera
#2.Queen guitarist Brian May
Casio's new EX-F1 [expected price US$1,000] can record full motion video at 1200fps. That's enough frames to catch water droplets fall in unbelievably detailed flight. Unfortunately, the EX-F1 scales things back to a tiny 336x96 resolution at that full 1200fps. Still, the results are startling even when set at 300fps (with the bonus of a much higher resolution)