Thursday, October 06, 2005

More Cold-Blooded Exploding Critters

You remember Pop Goes the Toad? Well, now we have an exploding snake. Ever wonder what would happen if a snake swallowed something really big? Like an alligator? No? Well too bad. You know the answer anyway. Jody has a link to a bigger version of the picture. In case, you know, the small versions available at my own link aren't quite disturbing enough for you.

The Bots are Getting Smarter

I've been getting a lot of comment spam lately. It used to be, the bots would comment anonymously on whatever my most recent post was. All comments go directly to my e-mail, so I'd know the next time I checked my mail that the comment was there and delete it. Lately, though, the bots have had names like Admin and Adele. Not only that, they appear to be searching for posts that are at least tangentally to key words in their comments. Several spyware spams were posted at my computer service rant. Quite a few air conditioning spams were posted at my post about how air conditioning contributed to people withdrawing into their homes and out of the local, physical community (and I love how the spam "agreed" with me. "Yes, air conditioning is contributing to reduction of casual human interaction crucial to a healthy community. Now, come buy one of your own!").

I suppose one of these days I'll have to switch to Haloscan. But will I lose all previously posted comments if I do? Stupid bots.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

He'll Name the Next One Chewbacca

What... in the world? Nick Cage named his new son Kal-el. As in Superman's Kryptonian name. What is wrong with celebrities lately? Children aren't pets! They have to put these names on a resume someday! What's next? Antonio Banderas names his kid "Puss"?

Gentlemen! Behold! The Space Cycle!

It's the next leap forward in home exercise technology! Do squats, pull-ups, or run in place at up to seven G's while your friend or significant other pedals the bike that powers this compact centrifuge-like device. Great as a status symbol, particularly when installed on your private spaceship.

Putting the Zone Out Effect to Good Use

Hypnosis has often been suggested as an alternative to drugs for treating pain and anxiety. Parents often complain about how kids zone out when watching tv or playing video games. So why not use this usually disconcerting effect to medical benefit? The article talks mainly about using video games to distract children during medical procedures, but I think they could be useful for adults, too. It's not like kids are the only ones who play video games these days. And it's not like kids are the only ones who can get so enthralled by video games that they get distracted by basic physical cues such as hunger, thirst, and tiredness (and pain?).

Imagine going in for surgery and, instead of waiting nervously in the waiting room and then waiting nervously in the room where they prep you for surgery, you play video games. To me, the video game doesn't even have to have a specific theme. It can be Bejeweled or Mario Brothers for all I care. Just so long as it gets your mind off any anxiety you may feel leading up to the procedure.

Afterward, the video games can distract you from the pain. As I recall, the thing that excited me most about getting my tonsils out when I was little wasn't the prospect of getting all the ice cream I could eat (and I ended up really not wanting ice cream) but the fact that my friend was lending me his Nintendo while I recovered. Hmmm, age 8 and I was already working on electronic medical devices. :)

Quote of the Day - October 4, 2005

Since September it's just gotten colder and colder. There's less daylight now, I've noticed too. This can only mean one thing - the sun is going out. In a few more months the Earth will be a dark and lifeless ball of ice. Dad says the sun isnt going out. He says its colder because the earth's orbit is taking us farther from the sun. He says winter will be here soon.
Isn't it sad how some people's grip on their lives is so precarious that they'll embrace any preposterous delusion rather than face an occasional bleak truth?

- Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes together again

The Washington Post has an article today on the new Calvin and Hobbes collection that contains every C&H comic ever printed in newspapers (I'm not sure if it includes the extra strips that Watterson wrote for each of the anthologies, but that's still a lot of strips). Long live Calvin and Hobbes!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Quote of the Day - October 2, 2005

I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.

- Wash in Serenity

Serenity: This Isn't Your Mother's Science Fiction

When my father asked me last week (prior to Serenity's release) if my Mom should see this movie, I said no. My mother doesn't like violence, moral fuzziness, or less than happily-ever-after endings. And, knowing Whedon, I knew the movie would upset her on all three counts. This is not Star Trek, where humans and their society are mostly perfect and aliens are everywhere. This ‘verse is populated only by humans, and each individual has their flaws, both great and small. This is not Star Wars, where the line between good and evil is pretty clear. Some of the good guys do bad things and some of bad guys have noble goals (which aren’t justified by their means). It’s a mixed up ‘verse where things can be very unpredictable.

When I saw Serenity last night I was utterly exhausted. I didn't sleep well at all last week, I woke up early Saturday to play football, then I walked around D.C. and Georgetown between lunch and dinner. So when I sat down in the theatre, with my emotions already raw from sleep deprivation, I began to question the wisdom of seeing this movie in that state of mind. I knew going in that this was going to be an emotional roller coaster. Would being tired make it harder to handle?

As a fan of Firefly, I did in enjoy the movie. A lot. It was funny, exciting, scary, and heart rending. The adrenaline rush sustained me long enough to get to the metro station from the theatre. There were at least a dozen "Oh, As a fan of Firefly, I did in enjoy the movie. A lot. It was funny, exciting, scary, and heart rending. The adrenaline rush sustained me long enough to get to the metro station from the theatre. There were at least a dozen "Oh, $&#*" moments. And I will be seeing it again next week with my father, hopefully having gotten a bit more sleep. Not to say I'm not upset about a couple of things that happened (I now understand why Whedon said this was one of the hardest things he ever had to write). Whedon has the amazing ability to make you laugh and cry within the span of a second. As such, I tend to love his work and curse his name in the same breath. As in, “You bastard! How dare you make me feel this way! Man, he’s good!”

See this movie, if you think you can handle it. But DON’T READ SPOILERS. With Whedon, anything can happen, so if you know what happens, you’ve ruined the effect. RUINED, I say!