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August 13, 2005

Open thread 47
Posted by Teresa at 10:46 AM *

Today’s forecast high: 99 F.

Comments on Open thread 47:
#1 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 11:12 AM:

And my dog and I am off to the local pond, which
is so far blessedly free of Chinese shakehead fish.
Our forecast is as bad as yours in Amherst MA, but
we don't have as much pavement as you do in NYC.

#2 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 11:15 AM:

AccuWeather says the RealFeel will be 111 F.

I wish I'd gotten up earlier...have to walk around a lot today.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 11:25 AM:

We're going to have heat-related deaths in the city. I just hope we can get through this without a blackout.

If we do lose power, remember: it's George Bush's fault.

#4 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 11:58 AM:

Maximum of 62'F here. Give us six months and it'll be 99 and you'll be freezing again.

*bites lip* I hope there isn't a blackout, and that you get through it without the expected deaths.

#5 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 12:13 PM:

I've decided to blame the weather on George Bush, too, instead of just blaming him for potential power outages. It makes me feel better.

Not cooler, just better.

#6 ::: Jeff D ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 12:33 PM:

I find that blockquotes in Making Light posts don't get indented in Bloglines. Blockquotes in the other RSS feeds I subscribe to show up just fine.

Does anyone else have this problem?

#7 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 12:42 PM:

>I've decided to blame the weather on George Bush, >too, instead of just blaming him for potential >power outages. It makes me feel better.

Well, most of the negative things happening in the world *are* his fault, so you're more than likely right. Even things like global warming, that are kinda everybody's fault, really, are still, now, mainly his (especially after Kyoto).

I was going to make a joke about how if he could be the personification of our sins, we could crucify him, but I realized I cannot make the analogy, even in jest. Except for the crucifixion bit, because I can think of few other people who've deserved it more.

God, I hate this administration.

#8 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 12:44 PM:

*Begins to Hum 99.9F*

How's the humidity, though? That's the real killer, the third H in the Hazy Hot and Humid triad.

#9 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 01:25 PM:

It as worse a few weeks ago, and I didn't hear about blackouts. Plus, it's a weekend, so lots of offices will be closed.

#10 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 02:08 PM:

60F by the shores of San Francisco Bay at 11:00 AM--it's surely 5-10F colder at the Golden Gate. High of 81F today with plenty of wine in the Napa Valley...

#11 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 02:18 PM:

Warm and breezy in the Isle of Man, and my town smells of sandcastles and summer.

*pets coastal climate*

Right. I'm off to enjoy the benefits of the Gulf Stream, while it's still possible...

#12 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 02:19 PM:

Two websites of art I saw recently:

Artisan made antiwar medals.

Fabulous urinals.

(And according to the local forecast, we have anotehr "Air Action Day.")

#13 ::: almostinfamous ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 02:23 PM:

97F here in athens,oh.... with heat index 105. a great day to go to the county fair i suppose.

#14 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 02:33 PM:

Gad, summer in New York! I'd forgotten quite what happens when heat and humidity get tagged for a Giant-Sized Team-Up.

On a similar if lighter note, and since I don't think it's been mentioned hereabouts yet: Giffen and DeMatteis and Maguire have been given the keys to the Defenders. Not so much with the bwa-ha-ha as their Justice League work, granted, but they haven't had as much time to lard it up with the inside jokes. (One could, of course, make the point that Marvel continuity is little more than a thick, communal larding of inside jokes, from which all are free to take and to which any is free to add, but I wouldn't want to start another tragedy-of-the-commons kampf.)

#15 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 03:13 PM:

83°, 54% humidity, W ENE @ 14mph in Honolulu.

#16 ::: James Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 03:59 PM:

One phrase: Fuller Dome.

You could install a big-ass AC for all of NYC and pump the heat someplace else. The lower portion of the dome could be reinforced to act as a seawall, should that prove necesary.

#17 ::: Chuck Divine ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:11 PM:

Some years ago -- for a joke -- I circulated the following petition:

  • Whereas we are experiencing a brutally hot summer
  • Whereas volcanic eruptions have been known to cool the earth
  • Whereas some scientists have promulgated the theory that nuclear warfare will cause a nuclear winter

We the undersigned hereby petition the United States Government to nuke all the volcanos. We need nuclear winter and we need it now!

Friends, aware of my warped sense of humor, laughed. Some even signed the petition!

#18 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:18 PM:

Chuck, do you live near any volcanoes? 'Cos I do, and that solution seems, um, drastic.

#19 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:24 PM:

We just came back from _March of the Penguins_, which is an excellent thing to see on a hot day, not to mention OMG BABY PENGUINS!!!--err, I mean, its charms are not solely weather-related.

#20 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:26 PM:

My Gunnera nearly died while I was on holidays in France: I had to cut off half its giant rhubarby leaves, dead due to lack of rainfall. In fairness, it should be right beside a pool or river, but in Ireland lack of rain is rarely a problem.

The front garden is a bit drab at the moment: In flower we have only the Liatris Spicata (aka Gayfeather) and Triteleia Koningen Fabiola, with the last of the Yarrow and Sisyrhincium Striatum (which I must recommend to everyone everywhere).

If you're trying to place my garden from memory, stop now. Google Earth says it's at 53 degrees 25 minutes 58.77 seconds North by 7 degrees 56 minutes 55.69 seconds West.

#21 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:45 PM:

We've now got a Severe Thunderstorm Warning too...from now until 10PM.

And the humidity is only 47%, which is very dry for these parts. Or maybe AccuWeather's frelled at the moment.

#22 ::: Elaine ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:49 PM:

64 degrees F. here at 2:47 in the afternoon. About midway through August we start getting these occasional cooler days in Colorado at 7200 feet.

#23 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 04:53 PM:

On the Myth of Panic:

I was close to throwing things at my TV after the plane crash in Canada. They continually told me that in a panicked, desperate escape from a blazing crashed aeroplane: nobody was actually killed, injured or seriously inconvenienced at all. "It's a miracle!".

They seriously suggested that it was "very lucky" that someone had dug a big ditch in just the right spot to prevent the plane from ending up on the motorway.

Furrfu.

#24 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 05:43 PM:

26, 59% humidity, humidex of 32, winds East 9 km/h here in Toronto.

(79 F, 59% humidity, humidex of 89 F, winds East 6 mph here in Toronto for those who think in Imperial units.)

That's much, much cooler than it has been. If this goes on for another week I will catch up on sleep.

#25 ::: Chuck Divine ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 05:59 PM:

Linkmeister,

Did you see the word "joke"?

#26 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 07:11 PM:

Second the recommendation on March of the Penguins. I just got back from it too. Wonderful film.

I'd love for all the Intelligent Design people to see this film, so I can ask them, "If the penguins are really part of someone's Master Plan, what's so 'intelligent' about making them put up with all that?" It's a lot more awe-inspiring, to me, to think that over thousands of generations they perfected this incredibly roundabout breeding pattern as the single way to survive where literally nothing else can.

#27 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 07:16 PM:

Niall McAuley:
I was close to throwing things at my TV after the plane crash in Canada. They continually told me that in a panicked, desperate escape from a blazing crashed aeroplane: nobody was actually killed, injured or seriously inconvenienced at all. "It's a miracle!".

Jon Stewart had a pretty good rant on that on The Daily Show, and on our persistent reluctance to attribute anything to simple human achievement and training. "Miracle? The plane was struck by lighting. If anything, God was trying to KILL those people! Damn that rescue crew and their Satanic competence!"

#28 ::: booksandlibretti ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 08:01 PM:

Well, this doesn't have to do with the heat -- but I have been waiting for an open thread to show you this.

(Oh, and my e-mail address is booksandlibretti/hotmail/com; the form wouldn't accept the mangling necessary to protect it from bots.)

#30 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 08:27 PM:

Chuck, my "um" there was supposed to imply humor. Certainly I understood it was a joke.

#31 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 10:15 PM:

High of about 85 F today in central northern Cali; first time in over a month it's varied from the 98-105 F range. We even had a breeze . . . glorious.

Can't wait to see March of the Penguins.

#32 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 10:27 PM:

March of the Penguins was good, although I could have done with less anthropomorphization, and the narration was a little heavy-handed at times. At least Morgan Freeman was more bearable than dubbed-in comedic voices.

Hmm. I suspect March of the Penguins would make a good double feature with Grizzly Man.

#33 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 11:59 PM:

Willamette Valley: Low nineties, dry, and breezy.

Quite tolerable in the shade, but I spent the first part of the day in a wide-open field, at a rocket launch.

One of my models was kept aloft by a "thermal" from the plowed soil; it drifted over a line of trees. These turned to be well-nigh impassable; a thick wall of thorny blackberry bushes grew among them. After gobbling a handful of berries I ranged along the line until I found a gap. The trees and bushes proved to line the banks of a deep, mucky-bottomed creek. On the other side were more berries and thorns.

I gave up at that point. One of the merits of model rocketry: No matter how much care you take, it occasionally provides you with an excuse to build a new model.

#34 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 03:36 AM:

1. There is a type of liastris which flowers in the fall, I have one specimen of it growing in my yard, purchased several years ago at Garden in the Woods in Framingham (headquarters of the New England Wild Flower Society, I think that the URL is http://www.newfs.org ). Garden in the Woods was willing to the society by the two men who had lived there for decades converting what had been land left bare by a railroad, to acres of a remediated site planted with native plants.

2.

There's a crackpot in Crawford,
On summer vacation,
His time off from work
Is not like yours or mine.

He gets major benefits
Paid all for from taxes,
He gives to the wealthy
All else he makes poorer.

He has his religion
Or is it addiction
He says he quit booze,
He speaks not about coke.

Advised by James Dobson
And reading no papers,
His culture he gets though
The people who coach him.


Now, wouldn't a Petri have more pizzaz?
Wouldn't that Petri dish be more open-minded?
Wouldn't that Petri dish be capable of more compassion?

The crackpot in Crawford
Is sponsoring dinners
A million or two is
The noise level's cellar.

He's raking in money
From all sorts of int'rests
But none of the causes,
Will help me or help you.

He splurges the wealth that
The nation once had and he
Gives to fat cats who
Get richer with each day.

The others are paying,
But losing all income,
Disappearing to elswhere
Or lie dead in the streats,


===================


[In progress... within a few more weeks...]]

Two thousand soldiers have died
They were sent to a land far far way,
Sent for a cause rooted in lies,
And none of them are still here today.

The wounded and maimed there are
Ten tmes as many as died,
Medicine's come far since the timed
amputation of gangrenous limbs,

And so has armor what years ago
Would have more soldiers dead,
Are merely crippled and blind,
Most can't get back who they were.

The crackpot in Crawford
Sits there in luxury,
On his immodest ranch,
Cast quite as folkhero.

He will only listen
To prevetted sound bites
Written by Karl Rove and
Others of Rove's ilk.

Reagan the senile less
Biased and tolerant,
Invasion malicious,
Bush transferr'd the outrage.

Osama bin Laden
Planned an atrocity,
Bush sent punishing wrath
To bomb Iraq instead.

Osamas bin Laden
Is still out there laughing,
The blood of more victims,
Staining George Bush's hands.

Two thousand soldiers have died
They were sent to a land far far way,
Sent for a cause rooted in lies,
And none of them are still here today.

And untold thousands of Iraqis,
The rights of women there being expunged,
Imposition of state religion,
Bush claims that a war is being won...

#35 ::: Tayefeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 08:05 AM:

Today’s forecast high: 99 F

And me without air-conditioning...

Please don't put a Fuller Dome over NYC, as the logical place to pump the heat would be Joisey, and we have enough heat of our own already, thanks.

#36 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 09:20 AM:

The 21st annual Sydney City to Surf Fun Run (~60k entrants) was on this morning (along with a Gay Marriage March and a Science Pride event for the start of Science Week -- the team of married gay scientists running in their veils, labcoats & pink shoes was a cheering sight*), so our chilly weather kept them from overheating. This is some kind of comfort, I suppose, as I huddle in my sheepskin slippers & warmest nightclothes tonight.

Last week I sent these to an American acquaintance, in case the pix might help cool her down (I wonder if that's part of the Penguin popularity?): Freak snow blankets southern Australia; The big chill is set to continue; Snow falls in Melbourne -- For some reason there's a picture of snow in Canberra** on top of a story about Melbourne (**Fresh snow cover on the Brindabella Mountains behind Canberra and Parliament House Photo: Andrew Taylor)
Winter Wonderland -- photo taken near Oberon, next to Blayney, where I saw snow in December!! while trying to sleep on the old overnight Sydney-Broken Hill train. Snow over Victoria -- has some nice photos

Reader Photo Galleries
Victorian Snowscapes (NOTE: This is a tree-fern NOT a fir-tree); Surprise snowfalls
Four seasons in one day (August 11, 2005), by Shirley Stackhouse
"Some places have proper seasons; we have weather. Last winter seemed colder than usual - remember frosts on the frangipani? Then there was that cold spell in January.
"In Sydney, we had a cold spell in early autumn, plus some good rain. Then conditions went back to warm and sunny. Confused plants, such as roses, thought we had had winter and it was spring and kept growing. Spring will still come in September, but don't pack your blankets away."
[*non-core report]

#37 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 10:07 AM:

Epacris: the wind's howling, too.

The weather report on my ISP's homepage says it's 12'C and fine, but I simply refuse to believe it. (Even though it's a feed from the BoM, and I generally do trust them.)

#38 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 10:51 AM:

That piece about blow-out scams: the poor fellow didn't just happen to get into the poker game with Mafiosi--it was a side effect of spending years thinking gangsters are way cool and hoping to be accepted by them. (Ok, I haven't seen the original, but it follows from the summary.) I don't think there are tight parallels with the current mess, but I do think many of the people who supported the current administration have an unhealthy identification with irresponsible power.

That Ryman piece about the July 7 victims was very touching, but I'm always left wondering about the obnoxious and worse people who get murdered. I'd like to see the fact that any bunch of people will be mixed bag get mentioned a little more often. Making that appropriate for a eulogy is left as an exercise for the reader.

James, there's no need to set off volcanos to moderate global warning--just dump ash in the upper atmosphere. That would be less dramatic, but also more controllable and less destructive. Sorry if it's less fun to think about.

We've had some bad weather in Philadelphia lately--a number of 95 high/75 low days, though there at least haven't been too many of them in a row. It was worse in 1995--iirc, there were about two week of 105/85 days.

#39 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 10:57 AM:

Denver libraries put in a bind:
Officials of the city's system, which this month pulled 6,000 racy Spanish-language picture books from its shelves, are worried that a full review of its 2.5 million books, CDs and videos may follow.

#40 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 12:43 PM:

In mile-high Prescott AZ: highs no more than 84F, humidity ranging from 60s to 90s, 50% chance of thunderstorms for the past 2 weeks (thus the humidity variations), our shrinking amount of unbuilt land turning green again, unfortunate resurgence of mold here and there -- achoo! --, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. (Great one last night, with a half moon.)

As a former Bay Arean, I remember my reactions to my one visit to NYC in summer ('81) when natural temperatures seemed reversed: air-conditioned interiors all felt like a foggy morning while the outer air seemed artificially heated. Very odd, to this Weather Wimp.

#41 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 12:57 PM:

Southern California (Los Angeles area) is currently c. 85high,65low -- more than 10 degrees below the past month's long hot spell. A bit cool for the summer-squash (which is okay -- "The Zucchini Season is over when I get tired of Zucchini") but the tomatoes should start setting fruit again, to ripen if chilly weather doesn't arrive too early. The second plantings of green (& yellow, & purple) string-beans are starting to produce, and it's about time to start seeds of edible-pod peas, and other cool-season crops.

#42 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 01:24 PM:

Nancy --

We're already doing that with industrial polition. Google 'Global Dimming'. It was just this year that the second avenue of evidence matched with the first -- and mostly ignored as implausible -- line of evidence for decreased sunlight reaching the ground. The dimming is in the range of 10 to 15 percent since 1950.

The upshot is not that global warming is moderated, even if we're not quite as hot as we would otherwise be right now. The upshot is that the range of climatic instability is much wider, especially since the dimming is uneven. This makes both the runaway greenhouse and snowball scenarios more plausible.

It also means that every single detailed climate change model was wrong, so all the climate change projection numbers yet seen are wrong, almost certainly on the low side.

The back of the envelope results from factoring in that much decrease in sunlight to the ground tend to come out somewhere around 'the Greenland icecap is gone'.

#43 ::: James Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 04:47 PM:

"Please don't put a Fuller Dome over NYC, as the logical place to pump the heat would be Joisey, and we have enough heat of our own already, thanks."

It occurs to me that it might be possible to use the waste heat to mitigate the effects of cold runoff water on the Gulf Stream. Any NYLon should favour that use of the wastes of one end of the community to deal with a problem of the other end.

#44 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 07:59 PM:

A young friend of mine did this:

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/1554/thingy0wf.png

#45 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 08:44 PM:

I dimly remember seeing an engineering study of the Fuller-Dome-Over-Manhattan idea, and, if I'm remembering it correctly, there is no waste heat: the heat produced under it by the energy use of a couple of million residents would generate enough thermal lift to levitate the dome. Which has the additional benefit of allowing easy entrance-and-egress at street level.

#46 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 09:04 PM:

99 here too, in the Arizona monsoon. Pretty productive monsoon this year, too. Quite a bit of rain, pretty lightning, only minimal property damage.

I realize I ought not to complain: I did after all move here voluntarily. However, I could do without the nice announcers at the local NPR station giving the weather in the format of: "...We reached a high of 99 today, which is fifteen degrees below normal". That's just rubbing it in.

Though I note that when KJZZ was in its little overheated cement bunker at Mesa Community College (as opposed to the beautiful and presumably much cooler studio they occupy today), they seemed to mention the summer normal temperatures far less often.

#47 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 09:22 PM:

Um, everyone will be wanting to read the lyrics of and hum to themselves The Poor Man's new song.

#48 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 09:43 PM:

For a Fuller Dome over NYC, see Spinrad's "A Thing of Beauty".

#49 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2005, 10:41 PM:

The New York Dome story I keep thinking of (though it was actually off Jersey) is Katherine MacLean's The Missing Man.

"Making the air smell funny" has certainly not diminished in its effect on crowds.

#50 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2005, 07:43 AM:

A friend suggested I post this extract from a crit I got over in an open thread at Making Light and see what y'all thought about it. Not that this has anything to do with the weather (a balmy fifty degrees Fahrenheit, with scattered cloud).

I can't help feeling that ash in the atmosphere would not be good for the planes. Still, the planes are not good for the atmosphere, either, so maybe it'd all work out?

1. The Opening Salvo In most novels, including Sci-Fi, it is critical to set the world, lay down the rules of the world, and place your protagonist in that world with a goal (what's wrong with the fabric of the universe and why should the reader care if the hero succeeds or fails in correcting that wrong). If you open ten paperbacks at Walgreens or any bookstore, what you see in 9 out of 10 is the protagonist's name and her problem in her universe within the first sentence, or at worst, no later than the second paragraph. This isn't just me talking, this is the senior editor at TOR books who shared this with me.

#51 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2005, 12:09 PM:

Beyond mathematical cat-vacuuming:

Group Theory in the Bedroom
An insomniac's guide to the curious mathematics of mattress flipping
Brian Hayes

"Having run out of sheep the other night, I found myself counting the ways to flip a mattress. Earlier that day I had flipped the very mattress on which I was not sleeping, and the chore had left a residue of puzzled discontent. If you're going to bother at all with such a fussbudget bit of housekeeping, it seems like you ought to do it right, rotating the mattress to a different position each time, so as to pound down the lumps and fill in the sags on all the various surfaces. The trouble is, in the long interval between flips I always forget which way I flipped it last time. Lying awake that night, I was turning the problem over in my head, searching for a golden rule of mattress flipping...."

#52 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2005, 02:42 PM:

This makes me happy:

"Nerd Baby Alphabet"

It also makes me almost wish I had a baby of my own just to justify buying the whole set.

#53 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2005, 11:40 PM:

Thel, that's lovely.

I'm afraid that this is nowhere near as appropriate for youngsters. It's an illustrated alphabet book by Shel Silverstein.

I know of no child I would dare to give this to.

#54 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 03:33 AM:

Sundre, I particularly like "W." "How would you like to get $3.20?" Now that's subtle.

#55 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 07:01 AM:

I quite liked the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire Defenders and very nearly bought the first issue, except for that one page where DeMatteis managed to rip his muzzle off and put a bunch of New Age bullshit in Dr. Strange's mouth. I fear that over the years I have gotten sufficiently sensitive to DeMatteis's New Age bullshit in particular that the one scene ruined the whole thing for me.

#56 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 11:59 AM:

Sundre, the right children will find that book on their own. I, for one, bought a copy of it at the concessionary at church camp one year. Whose idea it was to sell it, I have no idea, nor what on earth they were thinking; but I can tell you that the book had a longer-lasting positive influence upon my life than church camp did.

#57 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 12:00 PM:

...for certain values of "positive influence," that is...

#58 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Re growth rates, Mormon and otherwise: it's risky to take any organization's rosy statements about its growth and prospects at face value.

#59 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 05:35 PM:

I'm going to have to pitch in on the "99? So?" front for the Texas contingent. Although, at the moment it's a pleasant if humid 82 and mostly cloudy in Dallas.

Anywho, I just dropped by to link to the often delicious "Overheard in New York" blog's recent entry appealing to fans of a certain "kind of iron building."

#60 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 05:45 PM:

If you feel like playing bait the scammer, head over here.

#61 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2005, 07:28 PM:

Bonjour aux francophones: en méditant une réplique au passant qui a voulu me corriger et ensuite me réconforter, il m'est arrivé de me demander comment traduire to be disemvoweled. Etant donné que les vocables étriper et voyelle n'ont rien à voir l'un avec l'autre, je vous propose la locution être désenvoyouté(e).

#62 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 02:59 AM:

The door irised.

Well, sort of. Did you know that goats have horizontal rectangular pupils and, therefore, I suppose, panoramic vision?

#63 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 03:50 AM:

Not likely. The pupil isn't a matte box, and its shape doesn't affect the image; the human eye doesn't produce a round-framed image, no matter how constricted the pupil is (tunnel vision is a retinal problem), and cats don't have less peripheral vision at noon.

Animals with wide fields of vision have wide-set eyes. I could, science-fictionally, imagine an animal with an anamorphic lens, whose retina or vision center stretched the image out to Ultra Panavision 70 (vaguely like the way our brains flip our vision right-side-up), but it would seem a lot more complicated than wide eyes -- unless the beastie was one-eyed, which Nobody, here, says is a disadvantage in itself.

#64 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 05:46 AM:

Am just racing off in a great hurry, but has anyone seen a relatively recent (last few years) study of the kind of vision that horses have? It covered quite a different kind of field to human vision.

#65 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 11:06 AM:

Sitting in the physical therapist's waiting room and then office (my particular physical therapy involves a lot of sitting around while they apply electricity and then ultrasound to my shoulder), I read an article on the vision of some kind of crab. Natural History, I think April 2004, if anyone wants to try to track it down.

Basically, these crabs live in burrows in the mud. They have multi-faceted eyes on stalks, giving them a not-very-complicated view of everything above/around them. They seem to sort what they see into "above" and "at my own level". Any motion above the crab is preceived/treated as a predator (most likely a bird), and the crab retreats to its burrow. Motion at its own level is another crab, and the response will depend on how far the other crab is, how far the first crab is from its burrow, and whether it's looking for a mate.

#66 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 11:28 AM:

"the human eye doesn't produce a round-framed image"

The eye, doesn't produce an image at all. The lens of the eye produces a circular image, much like a camera lens (the image circle), of which the retina doesn't use very much. A bit of google research turns up this from a vet: "Goats have prominent eyes, a panoramic field of 320°–340° and a binocular vision of 20°–60°."

#67 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 11:58 AM:

One function of Science Fiction is to show us the universe through alien eyes.

Science Fiction which does this particularly well is memorable, and feels like opening a window onto a magical emotion, a sort of meta-empathy.

Vernor Vinge did this well in "Of a Deepness in the Sky." I mean 'eyes" both literally and metaphorically.

James Blish: "Surface Tension" (the microscopic viewpoint). Robert Forward: "Dragon's Egg" on a neutron star. Olaf Stapledon: "The Star Maker."

This is deeply intertwingled with the issues of Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

#68 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 12:33 PM:

Horses can see directly behind them -- but not directly in front of them.

#69 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 01:13 PM:

"but not directly in front of them."

So if you *backed up* a horse to water . . .

#70 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 02:33 PM:

- - -
Anywho, I just dropped by to link to the often delicious "Overheard in New York" blog's recent entry appealing to fans of a certain "kind of iron building."
- - -

A friend from Boston once looked at that building and said, "What's that flatiron building?" It took me a few tries to parse that.

Apparently Boston's so full of pie-wedge corners that "flatiron building" is a generic descriptor there.

#71 ::: cicadabug ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 02:40 PM:

Randolph Fritz wrote:
Did you know that goats have horizontal rectangular pupils and, therefore, I suppose, panoramic vision?

It's hot and humid enough here that, with the shimmery air between me and my computer screen, I misread this as: "Did you know that goats have horizontal rectal pupils and, therefore, I suppose, paranormal vision?"

Which, I suppose, would be a discussion unto itself.

#72 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 03:39 PM:

I wanted to say that I just finished reading The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens and was very impressed. It's one of the best anthologies I've read in a long time. I hope this doesn't mean my tastes are juvenile. I feel somewhat validated by Kelly Link getting a Hugo for "The Faery Handbag" and Brad Denton getting the Theodore Sturgeon award for "Sergeant Chip."

Thinking about what makes good young-adult fantasy and science fiction, it's not watered down -- if anything, these stories seem more intense than the average short fiction in the magazines. One thing that really jumped out at me was that all the stories, with one exception, were open-ended. The endings of the stories were only the beginnings of much bigger things for the characters. That might be even more important than the other common pattern that the viewpoint characters are young adults. The exception was the Kipling story. I think the sense of finality and the older main character made it feel more different than the mere century since it was written. By comparison, Kim would be right at home among the other stories.

I thought it was interesting how, given the title, only one of the stories was unequivocally science fiction, that being "Sergeant Chip." "Blood Wolf," "Sleeping Dragons," and "Dancer in the Dark" have science-fictional aspects, but for me they work better when approached as fantasies. Not that I am complaining. It may be that the best age-appropriate stories happened to include more fantasy this time. I just hope that Jane and Patrick can keep the series going and I look forward to seeing what the next volume is like.

#73 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 03:51 PM:

I just came across this interesting and somewhat timely article by Mark Twain.

It features martyrdom and explosions.

#74 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 04:22 PM:

Debbie, I certainly agree that writers should generally strive to get the story moving as quickly as possible, but there are a lot of ways to do that. I don't really buy the categorical statement that X information absolutely has to be in the first sentence, or the first couple of paragraphs.

The real task is to interest the reader. There are as many ways to do that as there are good books.

#75 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 04:46 PM:

Debbie: An exchange on the old Genie SFRT about this point stuck in my memory. Damon Knight was complaining that too many writers feel the need to jump immediately into action, even if it's inappropriate for how their story should be told. I pointed out as devil's advocate (and my ex posted this for me) that the Iliad begins in medias res. Damon retorted,

Yes, but it doesn't begin, "Whang! A spear clanged off Achilles' helmet."
Game, set, and match to him; and it beautifully illustrates the wrong way to do that.

#76 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 05:17 PM:

cicadabug, I think that's the most subtle goatse reference I've ever seen.

Of course, I suppose it could be unintentional, but I must curse you all the same.

#77 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 06:06 PM:

Randolph: Sorry, I compressed a bit too much. Yes, the lens would cast a circular image; the point was that you do not see a circular image. You don't see any sort of frame around it, if your eyes are normal.

It's good to know that goats have a wide field of vision,* but it's not because of the shape of their pupils. If you didn't intend to imply that, I apologize.

*Though I would in any case leave sneaking up on one to trained professionals.

#78 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2005, 09:24 PM:

Mike, no problem. My original post was also too compressed; what I was getting at was that goats wide horizontal rectangular pupils were probably a sign that their visual field is wide. It was very strange to see that shape in a biological pupil, as sharp a rectangle as any mechanical optical mask. I'd never noticed it before.

#79 ::: Alexis ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2005, 02:38 AM:

That "passing strange" particle looks like someone fed Tolkien and a poker strategy guide into dadadodo, or some other dissociator.

#80 ::: Moi ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 05:17 AM:

I don't know if this happens to other people, but frequently when I am linked to Making Light or post a comment and then go back to the thread I was reading, Firefox just keeps loading the page which is blank except for plain black text on a white background which reads

"You need this!
Affordable, delectable jewelry that you can wear anywhere. Buttons and magnets with new views. All in one store.
Read More...
Buy text ads on Making Light"

Does this ever happen to anyone else or is it Just Me?

#81 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 12:50 PM:

A day or two ago a new descriptive term for what Faux News, Rush Limburger, etc. spout, occurred to me:

infomaimment

#82 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 01:06 PM:

A day or two ago a new descriptive term for what Faux News, Rush Limburger, etc. spout, occurred to me:

Al Franken calls them "disinfotainers."

#83 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 01:23 PM:

From the Very Cold Case file: Judge Crater may have been found: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/338782p-289273c.html

A long-hidden letter allegedly claims that he's buried under the Coney Island boardwalk.

#84 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 02:45 PM:

Oh my.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster advocates have thrown down the gauntlet.

In response to a "prove evolution" reward offer from a creationist group, Boing Boing has just announced a $250,000 reward for any creationist or "Intelligent Design" advocate who can prove, from empirical evidence, that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

URL for the clicky-impaired : http://www.boingboing.net/2005/08/19/boing_boings_250000_.html

#85 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 03:56 PM:

Under the Boardwalk
Down by the sea
In a blanket with a thirty-eight
Is where he'll be

The clue was there all the time.

#86 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 04:25 PM:

Whilst browsing in one of the duty-free shops at Heathrow's Terminal 4 on Wednesday evening (17 August), the shop assistant told me that although they had great stacks of other single malt whiskys, they were sold out of Lagavulin.

My immediate reaction was: how many attendees at Patrick's Worldcon panel on "Whiskey, Whisky, Bourbon and Rye" have been flying home on British Airways?

#87 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 06:36 PM:

Ah, Lagavulin--what we bought Jarkko a bottle of to celebrate his release of Perl. I'd never even sniffed the stuff before, but now, there's a bottle in the house.

Damn shame about Leo.

#88 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 06:41 PM:

Moi, yes a number of us have that happen, sometimes with the first reveal and sometimes with the second after you make a post. Just click Back and you'll get the whole page.

#90 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2005, 12:26 AM:

Cicadabug writes:

It's hot and humid enough here that, with the shimmery air between me and my computer screen, I misread this as: "Did you know that goats have horizontal rectal pupils and, therefore, I suppose, paranormal vision?"

Speaking of goats and paranormal vision, I have not read The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson, but here is part of the blurb:

"As Ronson reveals, a secret wing of the U.S. military called First Earth Battalion was created in 1979 with the purpose of creating 'Warrior Monks,' soldiers capable of walking through walls, becoming invisible, reading minds and even killing a goat simply by staring at it."

#91 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2005, 02:15 AM:

Argh . . . the Earth Soldiers thing.

This wasn't a "secret;" there were stories about it in newspapers back then.

The B.S. factor was maybe a few degrees lower than that of stories about CIA psychics, but still, at the time it sounded like the military itself was attempting this. In reality, it was more like a self-promoting huckster trying to sell something.

#92 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2005, 04:30 PM:

"It's hot and humid enough here that, with the shimmery air between me and my computer screen, I misread this as: 'Did you know that goats have horizontal rectal pupils and, therefore, I suppose, paranormal vision?'"

Well, Diana Wynne Jones did say they have "mad goats eyes". Really, though, it's more that goats eyes don't don't track like human eyes; they mostly don't need to, it seems.

#93 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2005, 07:41 PM:

Yes, but it doesn't begin, "Whang! A spear clanged off Achilles' helmet."

*falls over laughing*

And thanks to Patrick for his answer, too :D. My faith in one of my openings was severely shaken lately, but there's no Whang! in it.

#94 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2005, 02:33 PM:

The ordering page for the forthcoming McSweeney's anthology Noisy Outlaws...[etc] (see the sidebar link for "Eleven Tedious Stories..."), includes the following:

"Lemony Snicket adds an introduction and a story of his own -- at least, he starts one, and then it is up to the reader to finish. The story appears on the inside of the dust jacket; you add your own thrilling, joyful, or disgusting ending. The jacket then folds up into a fancy envelope, addressed to us. Our favorite ending will receive a fabulous prize of some sort."

I misread that last sentence on first reading, and thought it said: "Our favorite ending will receive a fabulous pizza of some sort."

Actually, thinking about it, a fabulous pizza would be a pretty good prize. Especially if a "fabulous pizza" meant it would be a magic pizza.

("What kind of meat is it on this pizza?" "Elves.")

#95 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2005, 05:33 PM:

Everybody has their Serenity comics?

#96 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2005, 05:50 PM:

A fabulous pizza would be the most fabulous prize. Assuming it was still hot after its journey.

#97 ::: James Nicoll ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2005, 08:06 PM:

Ha! The new nanotube material is perfect for making city-sized tents! It's destiny!

New York doesn't get any wind, does it? Huge, light tents might have problems with their sail area.

#98 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 01:33 AM:

Christo to Wrap Solar System

Nanotube Project to be Funded by Sale of Advertising Space, Walking Tours of Planetoid Belt, Cheaply Made Martian Tchotchkes

Littlewoods Offering Odds on Discovery of 11th Planet Before Artwork Completed

#99 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 04:00 AM:

Okay, half of this story is weird and the other half is unhappy, but the synergy is just eerie.

Over on BoingBoing, the two entries for Sunday were a link to a NYT article about a new record label that's reissuing -- this is not my description -- "classic space-age bachelor pad Jewish music."* One of the recordings is a Gershon Kingsley collection called God is a Moog.

The other item was an obit for Bob Moog, who died yesterday.

I'm not gonna make an actual joke about this, partly because it would be in bad taste even for me and partly because I'm really going to miss Moog, but the possibilities are certainly large, and I'm not going to object or be offended if anybody else does. Buck officially passed.

*I am embarrassed to admit that I actually know what this means, but it's because I was interested in electronic music early rather than actually owning any of these records. Hey, I don't even look space-age. [Okay, that's a side-issue joke. Buck still in play.]

#100 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 09:09 AM:

Shit! I didn't even hear anything on the news, yesterday or today, about Moog's death. What the hell is WRONG with the press?!?!?!

Oh well, I guess he's not as important to most people. But shit. And I guess when Les Paul dies, electric guitar players like Patrick will mourn him, and most people - including less thoughtful/knowledgeable electric guitar players - will shrug, or never hear about it at all.

#101 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 09:51 AM:

Ripperwatch: Cornwell Still On the Case; Time to Consult Clouseau?

Piece in the Guardian in which Patricia Cornwell continues to insist that Joe Sickert Done For All Them Ladies, despite the lack of what less skilled observers, like Sherlock Holmes, would call "evidence." Quote from Cornwell:

"When you accuse someone of terrible crimes, you are obliged to pursue any evidence that comes up."

One is also obliged to be open to the idea that maybe the accusation is wrong, even if a)the accused is beyond both injury and access to English libel law and b)the longer you carry on accusing, the sillier you'll look if you're proven wrong.

Not that such proof is likely to appear, in this most warmed-over of cold cases, since it would require either establishing that Sickert could not possibly have committed the crimes -- which, even if possible, would require an effort at least as great as proving he might have done -- or the identification of the Really Truly Jack Himself, the odds of which are left as a Challenge to the Reader.

#102 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 10:10 AM:

Dear me, no! We don't want to know who the real Jack was, thank you very much. Think how many writers you'd be putting out of work. This thing can run and run...

#103 ::: MaryRoot ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Thought this might interest folks here. Harvard Extension School is offering Prof. Daniel Donoghue's History and Structure of the English Language as a distance education course. Here is a link to the syllabus. The syllabus links to a preview of the exercises for the course, which looks terrifyingly thorough, including page after page of things such as "Phonaesthemes and Sound Symbolism" and "VOWEL CHART: An interactive drag-and-drop exercise that asks you to place the vowels of Middle English on a diagram of the mouth."

I'm going to be taking it on campus. I have a feeling I'll be cutting way back on my blog reading this fall.

#104 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 12:57 PM:

or the identification of the Really Truly Jack Himself

Rats! If only it'd come up with better timing, I'd've sent Lenore to Glasgow with a pocketful of buttons that said "I am the Really Truly Jack Himself!" And to get one, everyone would have to come up with a creative answer to "Why did you kill those women?" I've already claimed "Because they were The Thing," so you can't use that.

But it was not to be, alas.

And I love Lemony Snicket's tedious story openings! One of them, though, the one about the two kids with the box, could be saved from tedium if the next paragraph began with "That is, not until..."

#105 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 06:56 PM:

I keep hearing news stories about the ballooning gas prices--but not ONE of them mentions the two-footed ordure in DC with energy industry and Middle Eastern tyrant ties (look up Cheney, Halliburton, and the illegal business that Halliburton was doing through a phony subsidiary--it was a fake business which existed as a paper exercise to claim that Halliburton wasn't dealing directly with Libya, Iraq, and Iran was it, which US companies were banned by US federal law from directly doing busines with--with, as above, countries that US companies were banned from directly doing business with, and look up Schmuck's ties...) as having ANY responsibility for the situation.

Melechim Ha'mawvetz....

#106 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 07:06 PM:

Now, now Paula!

You can't blame the media for not getting around to that story, what with the terrifying revelation that out of place looking homeless people may in fact be murderous terrorists!

#107 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2005, 07:13 PM:

Fashionable shoelacing.

#108 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2005, 07:21 AM:

Is this the appropriate forum to dance around singing about how we're going to Serenity on Sunday night? Or would that be gloating?

(And my favourite Jack candidate is still James Maybrick, not because he's at all plausible, but because of the Dickensian symmetry of it all.)

#109 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2005, 02:31 PM:

Character actor Brock Peters, who did more than his fair share of appearances in SF&F productions, has died:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/24/movies/24peters.html

Peter's Darth Vader, for the Star Wars radio show, wasn't bad.

#110 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2005, 03:08 PM:

I might not be encouraged (or allowed) to have posted this article in Making Light, but it is an amazing amalgam of Literature, Math, History, and Biography:

"Tolstoy's Integration Metaphor from War and Peace", Stephen T. Ahearn, American Mathematical Monthly, 112 (Aug-Sep 2005) pp.631-638.

#111 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2005, 03:14 PM:

Teresa: Here's a song for you, about Jell-O. It's a little late for the last discussion of the culinary weirdness that Mormons possess, but I figured you might enjoy the link.

http://www.spaff.com/poesy/jello.html

#112 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 12:10 PM:

It has been annouced that K9 is to return to Doctor Who, and Sarah Jane.

BBC News Report

But why an "evil race of Cat Women"?

Why do they have to be evil?

#113 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 12:50 PM:

open thread - on a local radio program question about teaching so-called 'intelligent design' in the schools, one caller just brought up the new-to-me idea of teaching chemistry & alchemy, astrology & astronomy, and intelligent design & evolution as a history of science and pseudoscience vs science unit.

#114 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 01:34 PM:

But why an "evil race of Cat Women"?

If they were good cat woman, the BBC would have to deal with hordes of desperate furry fans hanging around the employee parking lot.

#115 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 02:48 PM:

But why an "evil race of Cat Women"?

If they were a socially well-adjusted race of Cat Women, the supermarket would have to contain personal care products with names like "Gee Your Butt Smells Terrific!", and casual introductions would become even more awkward than they already are.

Clifton, Speaker to Cats (Not That They're Listening)

#116 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 03:00 PM:

I don't think the furry fans would care...

#117 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 03:29 PM:

Since this is an open thread...
http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0,6000,1543308,00.html Nice article on the decline of editing.

#118 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 03:46 PM:

I'm more interested in the return of Sarah Jane than of K9.

Dave Bell - I thought that evil cat women would attract a sufficient number of fans. Is that what you were thinking?

#119 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 03:59 PM:

Those awaiting Serenity may not be aware that some sorta weirdzo viral marketing thing started up a coupla weeks ago. It's a series of very short video clips not taken from the film. To tell you anything more would be to dilute the fun, so I'll just point y'all at Session 416. Be sure to watch the clips in the order they were 'leaked.'

#120 ::: Steff Z ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2005, 07:28 PM:

In regards to the (possibly prematurely) closed thread "Yo, Wocky Jivvy, Wergle Flomp—"

OK, this joke is going a bit far.

Charlie Stross has published an intergalactic version of the Nigerian scam letter in the scientific journal Nature.

One of their "Futures" columns, it's called MAXO signals.
Nature 436, 1206 (25 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/4361206a
Probably one needs a subscription to access it.

Charlie, if you're reading this, two questions:

Do you have a link to the text for Nature-non-subscribers?

And do your Nigerian co-authors really exist?

Everyone else with academic access to Nature, go read it.

#122 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2005, 06:38 PM:

Maybe that sign is an advertisement, Xopher.

Which would make Morans a famous brain retailer.

#123 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2005, 12:55 PM:

Can we have a new Open Thread please (if only for the ingenious little intros)?

And Teresa, loved the lightning/storms photo site link! As a relative newcomer to (central) Arizona, familiar only with what passes for "weather" in the Bay Area, I still gawp at monsoon lightning storms like a farm gal seeing her first skyscraper. (And thunder during a snow storm? Wow!)

#124 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 05:14 AM:

As a lifelong Bay Area resident, I've often been heard to say that I consider weather to be overrated.

Those were cool pictures, though.

#125 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 07:21 PM:

Just back from Serenity.

Good film.

#126 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:00 PM:

WashPost sports columnist Sally Jenkins frequently writes on women's issues and Title IX, etc., but today her article is about how athletes prove Intelligent Design. Yikes!

#127 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:47 PM:

For everybody who was interested in items with the Infernokrusher sonnet, we still have them . . . and now some with Bishop Archie Explains It All For You from "Harry of Five Points," as well as the sonnet that first appeared here about worms, the passage of time, and memory (now inelegantly titled "Against Entropy"). If you missed it, it can be found on Elise Matthesen's LiveJournal for 25 August (linked in the blogroll to your left).

The Techstore is located here.

The store has plans to expand in the next few weeks; any suggestions for other products (that I own the rights to, or you think I ought to create) are welcome.

#128 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:01 PM:

Jenkins's ID column is astoundingly dumb.

Shorter version: "ID is true because jocks can feel it in their bones."

#129 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 08:46 PM:

Jenkins's ID column is astoundingly dumb.

Each after its own kind.

#130 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:14 PM:

Jenkins' article also begs the question. It is quite possible to believe in evolution and also believe in a higher power with which one can connect. But to say that athletes are evidence of intelligent design!

It reminds me of my favorite late-60's sentence from a high school coach:

"God gave man short hair so he could dominate over women."

Printed in the Los Altos Times, though I don't remember the date.

#131 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 09:20 PM:

Okay, can't leave that Particle alone . . .

English is the noise made by people who don't believe you can use language but want your stuff handed over politely.

English is what happens when you can't decide whether the Greeks or the Romans had the better civilization, so you ask everybody they ever beat up on to sort it out.

English is a language in which up has forty-seven dictionary definitions but antidisestablishmentarianism is considered a "hard word."

English is a text parser's way of getting faster processors built.

English is the inevitable result of repressing the gender of nouns.

English is ideographic, but it's sneaky about it.

English was created to be the language of international air traffic control, but it got bored waiting.

English is the "universal Martian" used for interplanetary ditching instructions.

English is a tale told by an extremely clever and inventive idiot.

#132 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:43 PM:

American is essentially English, only more so.

#133 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:49 PM:
The store has plans to expand in the next few weeks; any suggestions for other products (that I own the rights to, or you think I ought to create) are welcome.

On the serious side, I think "Janus" would be a good choice, other than that it's currently in print, which I suppose would be a problem. I would also like the opening of "Winter Solstice, Camelot Station" (down to "To be hung with original tapestries," if that fits).

On the other side, the first thing that comes to my mind is the Anachronistic Missions Force intro from Pyramid news, if you still have that handy.

Actually, I would guess that a Speculative Engineering shirt with one of your favorite "creators of" tags would sell at least a few dozen to Pyramid denizens (if you've already thought of this, never mind - I let my Pyramid sub lapse a few weeks ago).

#134 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 12:38 AM:

Sorry, I meant an "Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow (Dept. of Spec. Eng.)" shirt, but you probably had guessed that.

#135 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 03:35 AM:

Not actually part of any conversation, but I was wondering if anyone else was experiencing the same sort of minor bug I am: The dashed line that's supposed to separate the main body text and the whatsitses on the right side of the text is coming out misaligned, and is cutting through those whatsitses.

#136 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:04 PM:

Xopher, Stephan...you guys have seen that pic before, right? It's got to be 3 metric internet eons old. It's even a Fark photoshop cliche, along with mustard guy and Akbar.

#137 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:25 PM:

On "intelligent design," it just occurred to me:

Assuming the existence of an Intelligent Creator, is s/he still putting out upgrades?

I mean, one doesn't put all that work into a product and then just stop. Not when there are still bugs to fix and enhancements to add.

#138 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 09:01 PM:

Sure... assuming s/he hasn't decided to terminate the product in favor of a better one.

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