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June 12, 2007

Wow, you can do anything with DNA these days
Posted by Patrick at 09:27 AM * 141 comments

It’s magic!

Comments on Wow, you can do anything with DNA these days:
#2 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:41 AM:

One wonders if the headline folks thought that through, or if they went and did it on purpose, with intent.

These days at the Times, it could be either one.

#3 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:51 AM:

And vice versa.

#4 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:55 AM:

Wow. I must be slow this morning, because that took me three read-throughs to get to the version intended by the headline writers. All I could think was, "What ARE they doing in their labs?"

#5 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:55 AM:

Tea, meet nose.

#6 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:55 AM:

If the dogs were turning into guinea pigs in real time, while people were watching, it'd be right out of Star Trek. "We fixed his DNA -- look, he's getting younger! Oh NO! He's turning into a spider!"

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:07 AM:

I put my teacup down before reading that headline. That was fortunate.

My next thought was about Clarke's dictum that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That was followed by regret that I'm not a writer of sf, since that's a lovely hook for a story.

#8 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Well, at least they aren't capybaras. 'Cause then Lent would be really tough on the dog population then.

As for the Star Trek reference, I think it would be more of a, "Scotty, WTF have you been doing with the transporters?"

#9 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Idiots.

(Sorry, I came to this headline straight from this. It's not just the NYTimes who're succumbing to teh st00pid. Sometimes I fear that Vernor accidentally hit the nail on the head in "A Fire Upon the Deep" ... and we're drifting from the Slow Zone perilously close to the Unthinking Depths.)

#10 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:31 AM:

Fortunately I read the story before coming here. Or IT would be mad at me for showering my keyboard... Gotta post that to Cranky Editors tonight... if no one else beats me to it.

#11 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:32 AM:

PiscusFiche, in their labs, in their golden retrievers, in their rottweilers.....

#12 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Ha! The NY Smite strikes again!

#13 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Their owners send them out to fetch very very very small newspapers.

#14 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:43 AM:

I strongly suspect cats are involved in this somewhere:

IM N UR DNA, MAKIN U SKWEEL!!!

#15 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Let's get down to the real issue here: Am I going to have to get rid of all those patterns for knitted dog sweaters I just inherited, damn it?

#16 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Still doesn't beat my favorite headline ever:

BRITISH LEFT WAFFLES ON FALKLANDS

#17 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Dave @ #14

Don't you mean MAKIN U WHEEK?

#18 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:08 AM:

I love that headline.

Charlie @ 9: "Sometimes I fear that Vernor accidentally hit the nail on the head in "A Fire Upon the Deep" ... and we're drifting from the Slow Zone perilously close to the Unthinking Depths."

Heh. I know *I* certainly am...

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:08 AM:

Aconite @ 15

No, you just have to use the yarn and needles to get the stitch count to fit the size you need.

#20 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:10 AM:

I vote for on purpose, with intent.

It's not like the dog owners had myostatin knock-out dogs grown in a tank somewhere. The dogs just happended and they said, "OMG! WTF?" so the dogs aren't guinea pigs in either sense.

And a little closer to home....

#21 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:10 AM:

This is clever and all, but I really want to see scientists turn cats into dogs and vice versa.

This is exactly the kind of Science(TM) that Scientists(TM) are forever doing in movies and TV and (especially) comic books. The ones where people like Reed Richards majored in Science.

#22 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Meredith @ #16

My personal favorite has always been

SQUAD HELPS DOG BITE VICTIM

#23 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Ah, the Law of Unintended Headlines. Although this might explain what I thought were Teacup Chihuahuas.

#24 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:29 AM:

P J Evans @ 19: And robotic eyes to see the stitches made with spider silk on 00000000000000000 needles.

Damn it, they always find a way to make you upgrade.

#25 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:29 AM:

Someone have a picture of a skinny guinea pig sitting to the left of a fat guinea pig? both facing to the left?

We could have a "before" and "after" shot.

And the big guinea pig should have a carrot too far in it's mouth, for added effect.

#26 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Aconite: I think you can get away with 5x0 or 4x0 needles, if you're using spider silk. It is pretty stretchy stuff, after all. (Have you ever seen the Christmas stockings knit from sewing thread, in that sock book from Knitters? The book that also had the socks knit from licorice strings ....)

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:39 AM:

My favourite headline was in the newspaper I worked for, albeit more than a decade before I was born: "Russians push bottles up German rear".

#28 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Aconite @ 24

The latest fad in knitting: atomic force needles and buckyarn.

#29 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:53 AM:

This reminds reminds me of the very old joke about the woman who's going to get a fish head for her cat.

And, more recently, of this news reporter.

#30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Bruce @ 28

Will they supply the necessary electron microscopes, too?

====

I was at a genealogy show last weekend. There were at least four exhibitors of DNA testing. For people. (I was slightly boggled, yes.)

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Greg London @ 25

Give me a before and after shot and I can make a movie that shows the morph from one to the other.

#32 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:21 PM:

P J @ 30

The needles do the work, that's what scanning force microscopes are all about. You know, you could actually do that. I don't think it would be hard to market a modified AFM that cost no more than a high end sewing machine or serger.

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Bruce @ 32

Sweaters for bacteria?
Socks for daphnias?
Scarves for brine shrimp?

#34 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:40 PM:

MONTY FLIES BACK TO FRONT

(a headline approached in the Goon Show:
GERMAN GENERAL --Gentlemen, General Montgomery is alvays flying backvards unt forvards betveen England unt Africa.
FIRST GERMAN -- Zey haf planes zat fly backvards?)

More here...
http://www.geocities.com/Principessa07/Headlines.htm
Prostitutes Appeal To Pope
Soviet Virgin Lands Short Of Goal Again
Drunk Gets Nine Months In Violin Case
Eye Drops off Shelf
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim

#35 ::: mimi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Aconite and P J Evans: You only think you're kidding. Have you seen the pieces at Bugknits.com? I keep going back and forth between awe and sympathetic eyestrain.

#36 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Bruce@31, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), I have no guiniea pigs to take pictures of.

#37 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 12:59 PM:

mimi @ 35

I'd need the microscope just to see what I was doing. Ooh, my eyes...
(Have to admit, that's a very high level of skill she's displaying.)

#38 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Nancy C @ 11: Good one. You would be revered in my family for your punning ways. :)

#39 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Speaking of genetic testing, I just signed up for the one that the National Geographic is offering on its website:

Genographic Test

It's pricey (over $100US) but I figure that yes, I'm THAT curious. Also I'm hoping for identifiable Amerind and/or Scottish genes, in addition to the MittelEuropa ones I know I have for sure.

#40 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:29 PM:

The NYTimes has had several articles on (creepy*) human meddling with dog breeds...

Here's a short article on Japan, Home of the Cute and Inbred Dog. But that isn't much difference from what might be happening all over. See the much longer magazine article on The Modern Kennel Conundrum:
'“You’re going to have a real battle here” between hybrid dog breeders and “the purists who say this is all 25th-century voodoo science.” The rift seems to epitomize a peculiarly American tension: between tradition and improvisation, institutions and fads.'
...
"Virtually noseless by now, purebred pugs are prone to belabored breathing, sensitivity to heat (they couldn’t survive outside air-conditioning in parts of the country) and a pitiable propensity to bash their eyes into whatever they’re trying to smell."

-----------
* So seems the pugs, in that the females can't have ordinary births: all puppies arrive by C-section. ' “You’ll never have feral pugs,” one woman told me earlier that night. She said it fondly.'

#41 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 02:42 PM:

(Of course, my own all-time favorite newspaper blooper is in one of the collections put out by the Columbia Journalism Review. It's the US weather map, with the caption "Shaded areas have been occupied by Israel since 1967.")

#42 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Kathryn (#40)

Did you see the recent Onion article on the massive pug recall?

Pugs are the cutest damn dogs, but they're pretty much a vet bill on legs. My roommate and I were considering one, but we determined we just couldn't afford it. Herding bark aside, we're quite pleased with our Corgi-esque mutt, but we haven't decided if we're going to send her DNA to be analyzed to see what her heritage is.

#43 ::: Carl Dershem ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Why am I reminded of the killer rabbit of Caer Bannog? "Watch out for the guinea pig - he'll bite your ankles off!"

#44 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:25 PM:

POLICE FOUND SAFE UNDER BED

#45 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:37 PM:

BEGIN MARS PEACE TALKS

#46 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 03:39 PM:

P J @ 33

Shoes for industry!

#48 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Patrick @ #41,

So does that explain Joe Lieberman?

#49 ::: Canard ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:13 PM:

When I was copy chief of my college newspaper, we let this headline get published:

Iraqis Protest Police Searches By Sniffing Dogs

(I wasn't working that evening, but I got in trouble anyway.)

#50 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:15 PM:

My favorite news typo wasn't a headline error - just a case of perhaps an inappropriate auto-complete, or find-and-replace snafu in an article about honeybees.

Queen Who?

#51 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:40 PM:

Is this a new game? OK. lemme try.

Beef Recalls Selling Out Chicken


#52 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Police Take Steps to Trap Wheelchair Bandit.


#53 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:47 PM:

nerdycellist, oh lordy, don't post that here! We Brits were trying to hide the fact.

'Queen Elizabeth has 10 times the lifespan of workers and lays up to 2000 eggs per day'.

any Agatha Heterodyne fans (I've just been converted by Serge): that surely explains what is going on with Her Undying Majesty...

------
SIR VIVIAN FUCHS OFF TO ANTARCTICA is allegedly a real headline about a polar explorer.

#54 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 04:52 PM:

QUEEN HAS BOTTOM SCRAPED

SOMETHING WENT WRONG IN JET CRASH, EXPERT SAYS

and the ever-popular

BRITISH LEFT WAFFLES ON FALKLAND ISLANDS

Years ago, I had a couple of book collections of bad headlines like these.

Also, on flickr, is this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29297284@N00/535350813/

(For those who don't want to click through, it says PIRATES KNOCKED UP SHREK)

#55 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:01 PM:

Kathryn, #40: Don't get me started. :-(

Much the same thing has happened to Persian cats. I still remember when the so-called "Peke-faced" Persians were rare, and the "standard" Persian had a short but identifiable snout. Now the Peke-faces are all you see. They have respiratory problems and tear-duct problems, and they're FUGLY to boot -- and the breeders just keep going for "the flatter, the better". It's insane.

Jennyanydots, #53: Is that the same guy for whom the flower (and the color) fuchsia is named?

#56 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:12 PM:

I'm reminded of a Vietnam-era Mad Magazine feature which portrayed a kid's view of headlines (might have been Don Martin drawings). One of them was a mock newspaper with 24-pt type shouting about something happening on the Plain of Jars in Laos, and the kid's vision had a sea of Mason jars stretching as far as his eye could see.

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:28 PM:

I worked for a newspaper which had, shall we say, an interesting approach to typography (this in spite of having proofreaders). This could involve headlines such as 'Arthur Dies' (under which was reported the death of James Blish), or 'King Bedouin ill' (on a report about King Baudouin of the Belgians) as well as the military atrocity I mentioned above. My favourite, however, was a typo which struck us all as very apposite: A government minister was announcing that garbage collection was going to be put on a two shift system; we omitted the eff.

#58 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Kathryn & Lee, oh, I so much agree about the genetic damage done by crazy breeding of pets [insert long rant here].

Modern pedigree Persian cats are not only facially deformed, but in my experience thick as a brick to go with it, really noticeably so by comparison with an average moggy.

------
Lee:
Is that the same guy for whom the flower (and the color) fuchsia is named?
I'm curious now! Apparently not: a quick Wiki-check (*unreliable, caveat, etc.*) suggests that the plant originally comes from South America, and was named in 1703 in honour of a C16th German botanist, Leonard Fuchs.
I didn't know it was non-native to the UK. It grows wild in the hedges here in great profusion.

#59 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:35 PM:

> the same guy for whom the flower (and the color) fuchsia is named?
No, that's a different Fuchs.

#36: I have some different sized guinea pigs, but I doubt I could pose them suitably.

#60 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 05:38 PM:

SHEEP ATTACKS ROCKET

#61 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Alan I have some different sized guinea pigs,

I must have had guinea pigs mixed up with something else, because I thought they were smaller than that. But, cool.

;)

#62 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Fuchsia was not named for Klaus Fuchs, either, although since the color is defined as purplish red it would seem appropriate for a physicist who gave UK/US nuclear secrets to the Soviets.

#63 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:46 PM:

Kathryn, Lee & Jennyanydots

It's bad enough when certain breeds have a predisposition for a disease/health problem which is not directly related to the defining breed characteristics (a LONG list for e.g. German Shepherds). What drives me nuts is that the breeders have a description such as "short face" or "diamond-shaped eyes" or whatever and never cry "enough, already - we've reached what we were aiming for, now let's stop." Instead you get pugs etc. which are unable to breath (or give birth)and shar pei unable to see due to rolls of skin and hairs poking into their corneas and...

Not to mention the breeders who don't want to know/don't care that their stud dog is throwing out epileptic puppies which have to be euthanised before they reach a year old.

Every credit for the breeders who club together to test for and eliminate nasty recessives (or late-onset dominant gene problems).

#64 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 06:52 PM:

"It's the US weather map, with the caption "Shaded areas have been occupied by Israel since 1967.")"

And so I discover the dubious joys of snorting chard-and-chickpea soup out through my nostrils . . .

#65 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Not a headline as such, but my alma mater's student paper used to have a constant-running ad for a local clinic that read ARE YOU PREGNANT? LET'S MAKE SURE!

#66 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:25 PM:

Linkmeister@56 I remember that Mad Magazine feature! In fact, I think it was something about "Guerilla battles on the Plain of Jars" and the kid was picturing gorillas running across the mason jars

My favorite typo, though it was never seen in public, was the letter I drafted many years ago, while working for a public utility company, from the Vice President of Unclear Operations. It was supposed to be Nuclear Operations.

#67 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Kathryn, Lee, Jenny, and dcb,

Then there are thoroughbred horses. The combination of drugs and advanced surgeries (think of what Barbaro was put through) and the fact that there is a lot of money is at stake results in horses being bred for speed not for soundness, and horses that break down being saved simply for breeding purposes. And horses are being raced and retired young, before they've really matured completely, thus increasing the chance for breakdowns.

#68 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:11 PM:

Damn, OtterB, you're right. I remembered there was another pun in that thing, but I couldn't remember what it was. Of course!

#69 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:45 PM:

The sequencing work which gives us a baseline for this haplotype mapping and disease research was done where I work. I'm still amazed at how much faster we can crank out a mammalian genome sequence these days than we could even 6 years ago.

#70 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 10:56 PM:

Braves Sweep Giant Double-Header was another of those headlines.

#71 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:49 PM:

So Fragano, did you work for the Grauniad?

#72 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Aconite @ 24 et al.:

"You need little teeny eyes for reading little teeny print like you need little teeny hooks for microfiche."

#73 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:26 AM:

Linkmeister @ 56: Let's just hope nobody tells them about the Diet of Worms.

#74 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:41 AM:

Where I used to work there was an fund named Sitka Pubic Service. For years and years. I fixed that one. The accounting system truncated fund names, my favorite was Breeding size of the legal male.

#75 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:59 AM:

Of course the worst of the unnatural dogs has to be the animated horror of the cadaver dog. Don't read the details, but just contemplate that name.

While I haven't studied them much, it seems as if those people who invite- or especially those who do not invite- the cadaver dog into their homes will find that the human dead aren't far away*.

Let the dead rest, and let sleeping dogs lie, and don't get the two mixed up.

----
because whatever technologies are used for cadaver dogs will eventually be used for cadaver humans. It just follows. And so do zombies, they never stop following you...

#76 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Of course the worst of the unnatural dogs has to be the animated horror of the cadaver dog. Don't read the details, but just contemplate that name.

While I haven't studied them much, it seems as if those people who invite- or especially those who do not invite- the cadaver dog into their homes will find that the human dead aren't far away*.

Let the dead rest, and let sleeping dogs lie, and don't get the two mixed up.

----
because whatever technologies are used for cadaver dogs will eventually be used for cadaver humans. It just follows. And so do zombies, they never stop following you...

#77 ::: Kathryn requests dedup, thanks ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Oops. If any kind hosts are about, please dedup?

#78 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:04 AM:

Ross @ #73, right. I suspect somebody at Mad at least thought of that at some time or another.

#79 ::: wow powerleveling ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:07 AM:

[Comment spam deleted.]

#80 ::: Joe McMahon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:38 AM:

There is a very large sign in our local Whole Foods; "Frozen Dog Food".

I had no idea that frozen dogs *needed* food.

#81 ::: abi spots comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:44 AM:

Re Comment 79

Unless Fragano (cf 57) has changed jobs and begun repeating himself, or Mr W Powerleveling has had the good fortune to turn his parents' catastrophic bad taste in naming into a job opportunity, I call comment spam.

#82 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 05:07 AM:

My favourite newspaper typo of all time appeared in the classified section of our local free paper. It was an advert for a cat sanctuary and it went thusly:

With over 100 cats in our car, we desperately need your help.

#83 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:35 AM:

I concur: comment spam @79.

#84 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:50 AM:

pat green @ #67

Yes, Thoroughbreds are raced too young. But at least they are being bred for ability of some sort, not deliberately for disability. Poor cats have been bred as "munchkins" (very short legs, cannot jump properly) and "rag dolls" (extremely calm to the point of not being able to defend themselves, so they relax when dragged about or thrown in the air, rather than tensing, scratching and teaching their tormentors not to treat cats as toys).

Mind you, I'm still waiting for the USA to catch up to the 21st century and stop declawing cats (any of you want all your fingers cut off half way through the last bone?) and trimming dogs' ears to make them stand up in a point. Of course, we've (UK) still not quite managed to outlaw tail docking of dogs, but we're getting closer.

#85 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 07:40 AM:

I have to admit that a lot of the overbred dog breeds disgust me. If Cetagandans had created pugs through genetic engineering, it'd be a clear mark of their status as Not Nice People. (I mean, deforming and crippling a dog so it looks kawaii? Good grief.)

#86 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 07:47 AM:

Re: #79: Amazing. I never thought I'd see WOW spam on Making Light. As far as I can tell, it was lured in by the first word in the title.

I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait for them to build better spambots.

#87 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:42 AM:

The Fire Joe Morgan blog is conducting a contest for the worst sports-related headline of the year, and the early leader concerns a Kansas City-Anaheim baseball game and the starting pitcher:

"Royals to get a taste of Angels' Colon."

Though this is a close second:

"Wang provides lift for Yankees' staff"

#88 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:46 AM:

Allan Beatty #71: Alas, no. I worked for the Gleaner.

#89 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Ross Smith #73: When I first read of the Diet of Worms I was 10, my mental image was of the emperor forcing Luther to eat worms as a punishment for his views.

#90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Abi #81: I certainly haven't changed jobs, and that's definitely spam.

#91 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Geez, this far into the thread and no one has mentioned "human guinea pigs"? Whether it inolves an unwieldy head graft or an IQ boost for the four-legged furries, any literalization of that common metaphor seems funny/creepy to me.

#92 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 12:05 PM:

From the Harvard Crimson, a few years ago:

HARVARD SCIENTISTS DISCOVER SOLAR SYSTEM

Only a few centuries behind Copernicus...

#93 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Mostly because I can never remember all the funny headlines, how about unfortunate tradenames and acronyms? My all time favorite has to be the Washington Public Power Supply System, which quickly became known as WHOOPS. Not the name you want your nuclear power system to be known by.

And I for one welcome our new AI search engine masters. I wasn't sure of the exact official name for WHOOPS, so I googled "washington nuclear power whoops" and the first hit was a Washington Post story about it with the hit fragment "... nuclear power plants as part of a consortium of utilities called the Washington Public Power Supply System, which quickly became infamous as Whoops. ..." Now that's search AI that rocks! I didn't even have to follow the link; all the information I needed was right there.

#94 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:34 PM:

The utility district in Alameda County (Oakland, etc) called East Bay Municipal Utility District, abbreviated as East Bay MUD (or EBMUD). They handle, among other things, water.

#95 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:48 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 6... "We fixed his DNA -- look, he's getting younger! Oh NO! He's turning into a spider!"

Meanwhile, the latest issue of Asimov's has a Michael Swanwick story where, among other events, we have Charles Stross turning into a giant blue lobster.

#96 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 01:51 PM:

dcb@84: when we bought our house, we adopted a cat that we found living in our yard. Turns out he had been declawed and then tossed out like trash. I'm still hoping to get my hands on whoever did it... And he's the sweetest, most loving thing too.

Jenny@53: did you have to? Did you have to introduce me to Agatha? Don't you know I already have enough obsessions in my life??????

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:02 PM:

jennyanydots @ 53... any Agatha Heterodyne fans (I've just been converted by Serge)

My brain ray worked.
At last.
They laughed at me at the University, but my hour has come.
Bwahahahah!!!

#98 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Emma, it was Serge what did it! I'm an innocent victim!

I like today's strip, esp. Gil's face in the last panel. Poor chap, he's so radiantly happy that I'm sure something is going to go horribly wrong (and can think of many reasons why it's almost bound to...)

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Jennyanydots @ 98... it was Serge what did it! I'm an innocent victim!

Someone needs another session with the brain ray.

#100 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Dr Paisley:

"Wang provides lift for Yankees' staff"

Has anyone alerted Gabe & Tycho?

#101 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 02:57 PM:

@99: You think you have me in your power, viper, but you do not know my secret plan. Bwa-ha-ha-ha to you too.

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Jennyanydots @ 101... Nyah nyah nyah... My infernal devices are scarier than yours. So there.

#103 ::: Dei ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Can't add anything to that headline, but if DNA can change critters, could I have a pair of wings? Fairy wings, bat wings, angel wings -- I'm not fussy, as long as they work and as long as I don't have to sacrifice my arms.

I'm a bit surprised that breeders are surprised given how much bull-and-terrier has gone into the modern whippet and greyhound. Many lurchermen swear by seven-eighths staffiebull and when they were available, pit bull crosses with greyhounds as the best combination of speed and stamina.

I'm a bit dismayed, though not surprised at how poorly dog breeders are using the additional tools genetic testing offers: to short-sightedly narrow already over-narrow gene pools for goals rarely related to the health, longevity or usefulness of the animals. Then again, it's the underlying philosophy of most of the dog fancy that's broken -- and only a different way of thinking will fix that.


@75: Cadaver dogs serve two non-ghoulish functions. First: as a means of helping to locate evidence in a criminal investigation. Second: closure. Don't knock how important it is to people.

#104 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:30 PM:

@102 but do your infernal devices make a decent espresso?

#105 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 03:58 PM:

Emma, #96: I don't like the practice of declawing, but my partner insists on it due to bad past experiences. Several of our cats have been rescued parking-lot ferals. About a year ago, the back door failed to latch, and one of them got out and disappeared. She was a sweet, loving baby, but very shy with people other than us. We hunted high and low, and never caught so much as a glimpse of her... nor any sign of a corpse. I still wonder and worry about what might have happened to her, and pray that she found someone else to take her in. If that means that someone thinks of me as having "declawed her and tossed her out like trash"... well, I can live with that, if she's okay.

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:02 PM:

Jennyanydots @ 104... As a matter of fact, my infernal devices do make excellent espresso. They also toast bread then spread peanut butter evenly, without any lump, and without any break in the toast. Hah! Top that.

#107 ::: Jennyanydots ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Then, Serge, methinks we are in fact on the same side. (Except I loathe peanut butter: can I have jam instead?) I propose an alliance. We can go forth into the world together and exterminate bad coffee.

(starting with the cafe at London Bridge station that sold me a latte made with *sour milk,* eurgh).

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Jennyanydots @ 107... I always take my coffee black, but, yes, let us form an alliance that will prove unstoppable.

#109 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 05:47 PM:

And to think that I only just rediscovered my copy of "Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim" from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. The very first item in the book:
"Corection"

Others:
"Stiff Opposition Expected to Casketless Funeral Plan"
The famous "Mush from the Wimp" headline from the Boston Globe
And this bit from the Boston Herald-American:
"By then, she will have shed 80 of the 240 pounds she weighed in with when she entered the Peter Bent Brigham hospital obesity program. A third of her left behind!"

#110 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 05:54 PM:

pat greene @ 67: That may finally be starting to change. Breeding farms are reporting that while their business is still primarily made up of clients who want babies winning stakes races at two and three years old, they're beginning to get a noticable number of clients who say they want to breed horses who will be capable of 10-year racing careers. They want soundness, not early speed and then breakdowns.

There's also a small but growing number of trainers who realize that we've bred horses to their biological limit of speed already, and the smartest move now is to train them to be more responsive and maneuverable. This requires an investment of time that makes a longer racing career more practical, financially.

#111 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Aconite

I was hoping Barbaro would make it, because he had genes for intelligence, or at least co-operativeness, that would have been great for things like dressage and grand prix jumping. Longer careers than in racing, too, and less likely to break down. (Well, in dressage, anyway.)

#112 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:08 PM:

P J Evans @ 111:

SQUEE! You said "dressage." I'm in a barn full of reiners and Tennessee Walking Horse riders and while they are all very nice people, only one person there knows what I'm talking about when I say a horse is behind the leg.

But back to topic--yes, I would have liked to see those genes spread around. One of the things I love about the warmblood associations is that temperament counts as much as conformation and athleticism when they're deciding whether or not to approve a stallion.

#113 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 06:47 PM:

I had one of my cats declawed; he needed frequent treatment for eye problems, and the only way I could give him eyedrops alone put my face too close to his paws. Towel wrapping entailed prolonged wrestling matches, getting him extremely upset (and even more inclined to scratch and bite), and frequently he would manage to shoot a paw out of the towel despite my best efforts. I got scratched in the face several times before deciding to have him declawed. It's not always a matter of convenience.

#114 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 08:14 PM:

Lee @105: I should have made myself clearer. I know who threw him out, as the neighbors remembered the whole thing well. It was definitely a case of abandonment, not accident.

I have the same worries. RC likes to wander off sometimes - though lately he simply wanders off to the back yard and sits under my father's work table and grumbles sotto voce about Bubu (the potbellied pig). He's more trusting, too - at first he didn't even like us to hold him in our laps. Now he wants "up" all the time.

#115 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2007, 11:17 PM:

Aconite, I know Nick Zito has gone on record as being very concerned about soundness issues.

As far as Barbaro... sigh. A large part of me wishes they had euthanized him on the track, but then I am always concerned about the claims that the horse isn't really in pain, especially when the break is as severe as this one was.

#116 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:12 AM:

Linkmeister @ #56: I'm reminded of a Vietnam-era Mad Magazine feature which portrayed a kid's view of headlines (might have been Don Martin drawings). One of them was a mock newspaper with 24-pt type shouting about something happening on the Plain of Jars in Laos, and the kid's vision had a sea of Mason jars stretching as far as his eye could see.

That image is actually kinda close to the truth. The "Jars" in Plain of Jars isn't a Lao word, it refers to the fact that the plain in question is littered with giant stone jars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Poj_site3.jpg

#117 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 02:23 AM:

Dei @103,

My reference to cadaver dogs was supposed to be a subtle reference to bliteotw day (zombies). The book link goes to the CRC book on "Forensic Training and Tactics for the Recovery of Human Remains."

CD's are essential in recovery work. But I do find their name has a hint of ambiguity.

I remember reading how rescue dogs are prone to depression if they can't find survivors after a disaster. Their handlers will get volunteers to be hidden and discovered by the dogs in order to keep the dogs' spirits up.

I'd now write about the psychology of dogs after 50,000 years of co-evolution with humans, but it's late. Still, 50,000 years is a good chunk of time: 40,000 more years than for any other creature.

#118 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 04:46 AM:

I'm about halfway through, and I've nearly spewed beer out my nose enough times to have to put it down. Good beer too; Pyramid Apricot Weizen. Great goodness.

We have three darling mutt cats and no zombies.

Has anybody here not seen the Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness? The funniest ones are "eating in the army" and "emotive lamps."

#119 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 07:19 AM:

During the recent fight for the right for gay marriage in South Africa, one newspaper published the immortal headline: LESBIANS LOSE APPEAL.

#120 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Headline on the obituary for one Mr. Savage, printed in the small-town newspaper where my husband worked right after graduation from journalism school:

SAVAGE RITES HELD

#121 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 09:43 AM:

I hope the whole Barbaro tragedy won't happen again. A fairly recent news story mentioned that he has a "baby brother" who may eventually race.

#122 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 10:53 AM:

My favorite New York Times headline was RUSSIAN VIRGIN LANDS IN TROUBLE.

#123 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Well, it's not the NYT, but the local TV news has this headline up on their sports page today:

Jose Lopez plays with heavy heart after brother's death

What a bizarrely macabre thing to do, I thought. Oh, wait.

#124 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 06:48 PM:

Emma, #114: Okay -- apparently I took a specific comment more generally than it was intended. Sorry about that.

Thel, #123: Having had more than enough of zombies, I submit the following.
"At your command, before you here I stand; my heart is in my hand (ecch!)..."

#125 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Serge a few posts back: Without breaking the toast? Niiiiice.

#126 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 10:09 PM:

OK. I don't know if this qualifies, but I just saw an ad on TV for some show that

"plays 7 days a week... weekends too."

Made me think of an old episode of "Taxi". Reverend Jim had gone missing, and everyone was starting to get worried. many days later, he shows up to work as if nothing happened. They asked where he'd been. He says he was just gone for the weekend. They tell him he'd been gone for ten days. And he looks at them and says in a way only Jim could say: "I thought we went to the metric system"

#127 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 10:52 PM:

My favorite "headline" was the subject of a spam email I received awhile back:
ATTRACT MEN WITH BIGGER BREASTS

#128 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:00 PM:

Note: The previous Caroline on this thread is not me. (Just for clarity -- no negative implications intended!)

Maybe we need to use another initial or something?....

#129 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:25 PM:

I just watched a Capital One commercial, it suggested using green beans 'cut into thirds or halves during the last part of cooking."

Yeah, I'm fishing green beans out of boiling water and cutting them and putting them back in. Not.

#130 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:25 PM:

I just watched a Capital One commercial, it suggested using green beans 'cut into thirds or halves during the last part of cooking."

Yeah, I'm fishing green beans out of boiling water and cutting them and putting them back in. Not.

#131 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Today, in The Oregonian:

"Bonnie L. Hays Shelter seeks solution to mix of cats and dogs."

I blame liberal secular-humanist attitudes toward interspecies mating!

#132 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2007, 11:35 PM:

(And d'oh, I managed to unthinkingly comment using another email address a few times recently.....so now people will think there are three of us. Wonder if there's any way to merge the ones that are me.)

#133 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 12:02 AM:

Paula @ 130

I suppose it can be done that way if you use something like a colander or a steamer basket to hold them while they're in the boiling water, then take them out and dump them in cold water before trimming them.
Not that I'd do it that way, either. Much easier to cut them first. Or last. (Mmm, fresh green beans ... squeaky.)

#134 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Any sufficiently advanced misuse of metaphor is indistinguishable from magic.

#135 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2007, 01:29 AM:

PJ, I've handled literally bushels of green beans in my lifetime, if I'm getting them ready to cooK and I want them in parts instead of whole, I snap them while I'm removing tails, stems and bad beans.


Though nowadays Costco carries these Perfect thin green beans in their produce area. Yeah, you have to buy about two pounds of 'em. BUT, I parcook them and freeze them in usable packages. And since green beans are my favorite vege Evah, it's a win. But they're so tiny and tender that they don't need to be handled except to coolk.

#136 ::: Spam, now deleted. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 05:34 AM:


#137 ::: abi says wow spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 05:40 AM:

136, gold and games

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 07:13 AM:

Interesting, abi. I mean, this spamming usually occurs in threads that have been dead for some time. ("I wasn't dead, I was just... dormant.")

#139 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 07:55 AM:

Serge @138
Heresiarch @86 mentions the existence of something called "wow spam". I guess the tendency toward that trumps the thread age rule.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2007, 08:01 AM:

Oh, one of those, eh, abi? There is also 'Fanny Ardant' spam, as I found out last year when I posted about that French actress on my blog.

#141 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Re #136: Avram, I presume that was you who deleted the spam?

Could you please leave something, a period, anything, in the text? Deleting it all means that I can't go in to find out the IP numbers or anything else. Junk the post, unpublish the post, strip it all to a single letter, just please don't delete all the text from the post. Doing so removes my ability to do anything at all with the spam.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

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