Saturday, September 10, 2005

Daily Show Disaster List

The Daily Show did a sketch that claimed Bush's disasters are named alphabetically. (The whole sketch, which also includes plans for building a dam in Arkansas, can be seen here. Scroll down and click on "Beleaguered Bush"). Matt over at Polyscifi has transcribed the list. They manage to throw in a Princess Bride and a Harry Potter reference. But we're only two away from "Mars Attacks", so stay alert.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Another Problem with the "War on Terror"

It never ends (because terrorism has been around for a long time and isn't going away any time soon), so the government can detain anyone it declares an "enemy combatant", even U.S. citizens, forever without charges or trial. That should frighten you. I don't care how much you trust the people in charge not to abuse that power. There should always be some kind of check in place. Even if you think the media will act as a check against abuses, the media is far too easily distracted by it's own hype and by situations that are easily conveyed with pictures and a sound byte. The Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant trials, which don't affect the average person in any way, were covered far more extensively than the Padilla case.

I'm not saying that Padilla is innocent or that he should go free. But charge him with something: conspiracy, treason, something. Or are we starting to enter the relm of pre-crime?

Just How Bad was the Flood?

Never been to New Orleans? Having trouble grasping just how large an area was flooded? This site has an overlay of the approximate flood area that it has placed over maps of several cities. Choose the one you're most familiar with, and you'll get an idea of just how large an area was affected. Pretty much all of D.C. would be under water, along with some areas of MD and Northern VA.

Quote of the Day - September 9, 2005

Back in high school, I used to drink 100 sodas a week - right up until my third heart attack.

- Fry, Futurama, "Fry and the Slurm Factory"

Caffeine Dosage

Labels on food and drinks have all kinds of information. But one thing they don't generally tell you is how much caffeine it contains. This is the most complete list I've found of the caffeine content of various beverages as well as some foods and medicines. I notice that my drink of choice, Coke, actually has a relatively low caffeine content. I'm not sure I want to know what a No-Doze would do to me. I think I'd rather just do the straight adrenaline shot.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Three Hurricanes

It's a official: there are three hurricanes in the Atlantic. Since Katrina made landfall, Lee has come and gone. Maria is a hurricane but is a concern only for ships. Nate brushed Bermuda and is headed northeast. Ophelia, however, is whipping the coast of Florida. Right now, she's just sitting there, slowly building stength. She could head north to the Carolinas. She could cross over Florida and into the Gulf (though hopefully not). Or she could head out to sea. I think she's trying too hard to act like her namesake, unpredictable and crazy.

By the way, we'll soon reach the midpoint of hurricane season, but there are only 6 names left on the list for the year. I have no idea what they'll do if they run out of names.

"The sky turned a deep shade of blue and the clouds coalesced to form a chilling message: 'Fatal Error 00000003034324: Stack overflow.'"

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

White-Collar Job Hunt

At least I wasn't the only one having trouble finding a job.

Civilization and the Bathroom

This rather random, but how do you judge the level of civilization where you are? Availability of mass transit? High speed internet? Cable? Electricity? Running water? When I was in Girl Scouts, there was but one way to judge the level of civilization: bathroom facilities.

Level 0: Hole in the Ground. If you have to dig a hole to relieve yourself, congratulations, you are as far from civilization as it is possible to get. There’s no running water, no toilet paper (unless you brought your own), no permanent structure, and no privacy. Oh, and bring your own shovel.

Level 1: Latrine. Well, it’s still a hole in the ground, but at least you have some privacy. And a permanent structure. It’s probably best if electricity is unavailable, since lighting would only give you a better view of the creatures that have taken up residence. The more critters that share your bathroom with you, the lower you are on the civilization scale.

Level 2: BIFFY (Bathroom In Forest For You). Ah, BIFFYs. Only those who have been to Level 1 or 0 truly appreciate how wonderful they are. All the comforts of a public restroom – multiple toilets with individual stalls, running water right there instead of twenty or thirty paces away, and mirrors right over the sinks. The only things missing were air conditioning and flush toilets – yep, still a hole in the ground. Can you say “fertilizer for the ranger’s garden”?

Level 3: Flushies. You’ve now made it to level of central sewage systems, a great leap forward in public health care. Without them, there would be a rather low upper limit on the number of people a single city would be able to handle and your toilet would have to be a considerable distance from your living space. Now your toilet can be right in the next room! And you can share a square mile of land with thousands of other human beings without dying in a horrible plague. Excellent.

Level 4: Auto-flushies. There’s a computer chip in your toilet. Welcome to the 21st century. At this level, the number of automated items in the bathroom increases the level of civilization. I have seen all of the following, but have yet to see them all in one bathroom: auto-flush toilet, automatic towel dispenser, automatic soap dispenser, and automatic faucet. If you don’t have to touch anything but the door (and, you know, why even the door?), you have reached the ultimate level of civilization. Lack of physical contact with anything and anyone: the future of civilization as we know it.

Within each level, of course, the cleanliness of the facilities would increase or decrease how civilized your surroundings were. The presence of electricity and the distance from potable water were also factors. If something was broken, automatic downgrade. If the purse hook on the back of the door was deemed necessary, downgrade. If the soap was scented or had aloe, upgrade. Couch? Upgrade. But, when it came down to it, it was mostly about the flushies.