[FOLLOWUP] -If you couldn't download that "What's Wrong With This Picture"... here is a link that appears a little more reliable: Whats wrong with this picture?? NOTE: I'm told that when you dismiss the page that this link leads to, it brings up a page of text adverts for porn sites. No pictures, just text, but be warned.
[SPAM] - Anything for a reply - As if I'm not on enough spam lists. Every once in a while they try to get me to verify that I am still reading spam. I got this message at my work address:
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 16:43:34 -0500
Subject: Thanks For Lunch Mike
Thanks again for lunch it was great!
I guess I'm supposed to write back politely saying that I got the message in error and that I am not Mike. Fat chance. It's all I need to be on yet another list.
[PERSONAL] - February Sucks - What!!!? I'm still sick? This sick thing is getting tired fast. It's a cramp-o-rama.
On top of that, our van got hit while Maggie was taking Mattie to school. They're both OK (thank goodness). I haven't seen the car damage yet.
[PERSONAL] - Better, but still out of it - I dragged myself into work today, but this illness combined with not eating has me pretty weak and lightheaded. Ugh. I hate being sick.
[RIGHTS] - Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is a website devoted to logging and analyzing the effect of "cease and desist" orders on the internet.
When a company issues a C&D against a fan website, a parody, a criticism of a company or product, a fiction site, the result is often a frightened author shutting down part or all of the site to avoid legal trouble. Thus the "chilling effects."
Backed by the EFF, Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and the University of San Francisco law school clinics, this site maintains a database of C&Ds and will analyze the legalese contained in a C&D if you receive one, and aims to educate you about your rights regarding online communication.
This site is potentially of interest to anyone who hosts their own website.
[HUMOR] - It's all connected - Did you realize that the universe of television show crossovers was such a tightly woven but tenuous web? Ready to open your eyes? I give you: Six Degrees of St. Elsewhere By Dwayne McDuffie (It's worth a read if you enjoy TV at all, and only has a little bit to do with St. Elsewhere)
[80's Flashback] - (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me - Naked Eyes
[TERRORISM] - Anthrax Source - A UK paper is reporting that the FBI has identified the person who sent the anthrax letters late last year. We've heard precious little on this story - especially considering we have a new homeland security organization in place.
Is the FBI intentionally keeping the wraps on this story as some speculate? The Federation of American Scientists have put together an analysis of the letters which is very interesting. A quote from the introduction:
The perpetrator is surely too smart to believe that either the FBIís ludicrous recent actions or the White House protestations of ignorance mean that the authorities are not on to him.† Blanketing Central New Jersey with fliers showing handwriting that was obviously disguised canít possibly evoke useful information, nor can letters to 32,000 American microbiologists, 31,800 of whom live in a different world from the perpetrator.† This is no way to instill public confidence in the competence of the FBI.†[...] Most importantly, the apparent lack of action is sending a dangerous message to potential bioterrorists.
[FOOD] - March is Massachusetts Maple Month - Here's a site with everything you ever wanted to know about maple syrup production in Massachusetts - from types of trees to how to make "sugar-on-snow." Massachusetts Maple Producers Association
Also of note on the site for this month:
Twenty-four restaurants, from Boston to the Berkshires, have teamed up with 14 Bay State maple sugar producers to celebrate Massachusetts Maple Month this March. The restaurants are featuring special maple menus and events as part of the celebration coordinated by the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association and the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture.
A list of participating restaurants and sugarhouses is available on the web at www.massmaple.org. A brochure featuring maple recipes is also available.
[FOOD] - Living high off the hog - A trip to Smokey Bones today prompted me to try to determine the difference between baby back ribs and St. Louis style ribs. I found the answer here: Everything you've ever wanted to know about pork ribs.
[NEWS] - Gumbo closes New Orleans airport - Suspicious, delicious and nutritious. Now a really good gumbo would close an airport for at least 10 hours, so I suspect this was lesser gumbo. Maybe it had some bad okra in it. CNN.com - Gumbo closes Big Easy airport for 5 hours - February 21, 2002
[HUMOR] - How Company Policy Begins - This has been around in email a few hundred times, but it is true enough to mention here. Author unknown.
Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.
Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done around here.
And that, is how company policy begins.
[FUN] - Where's George? - is a site dedicated to registering your US currency in a huge database. Then you spend the money, sit back and wait for someone else to re-enter the bills. When that happens, you will get a message from the website. You can also get anonymous messages from people who receive your bills.
You can increase your chances of getting "hits" on your bills by writing "www.wheresgeorge.com" directly on the bill. Otherwise, people are unlikely to find out about the website and enter their serial number. Use your own judgement. I have registered some bills and will wait and see what happens.
[SKEPTIC] - Just when you thought it was safe to rely on the advice of a psychic - FTC Says Psychic Hot Line Is Fraud (washingtonpost.com). Really? No. Really?
[NEWS] - Riddle me this: What looks like a cuddly cat, but is really a genetically engineered demon which spells doom for all life on this planet? Why, it's "cc:" The first cloned calico cat. Why does the face of evil have to be so cute? Seriously, though, I think cloning holds a lot of promise as far as the applications in curing diseases, in conjunction with stem cell research. I just can't figure out why they cloned a cat. Don't they pretty much breed uncontrollably as it is? Remember - get your cat spayed or neutered. And keep mad scientists away from it.
[NEWS] - Be careful shopping in Lowell -
A woman was arrested for allegedly beating up another supermarket customer who brought too many items into an express checkout line.
[GAMBLING] - More on Quatloos - This section of Quatloos looks interesting. Quatloos! Guide to Casino Gambling. To quote: How the House uses Risk Compounding to wear down bettors, the best and worst casino games, and more. It's interesting to see what advantages the casino builds into the games, and how games differ. I stick to poker, myself, which is not really covered here as far as I can tell.
[WEIRD WIDE WEB] Where is Melchizedek? The "Dominion of Melchizedek" recently came to my attention when I found out a FOAF (friend of a friend) had a melchizedekian passport and citizenship. As far as I can tell, "Melchizedek" is a scam country established by con artists. I'm still looking into it, but here are some initial links for other people who might be interested in this fabrication:
[PERSONAL] - Maggie got bit by a dog while running today. A woman was walking two dogs, Maggie jumped off the sidewalk to run by them and then as she was returning to the sidewalk the dog leapt back at her and bit her arm. The dog did break the skin, just barely, which she didn't realize until she got home. The site is slightly swollen and bruised, and now she gets to go to the ER and get a tetanus shot.
I guess we're going to learn something about how the dog officer works in town. Hopefully the police will be able to locate the woman and find out whether the dog has had its shots. No shots means Maggie starts on a rabies treatment course. That's not a lot of fun, from what I hear.
Incidentally, the other dog that the woman had on a lead was wearing a muzzle, so there may be a history with these dogs. Here is some information on animal bites.
[NEWS] - perhaps I'm just not frightened enough... but I found this a little bit silly. CNN.com - Alert issued for potential teddy bear bombs - February 14, 2002 Better safe than sorry, i suppose. Have you seen this bear?
[FOOD] - An excellent resource for middle-eastern recipes - I stumbled upon this recipe book. Food from the Arab World. Even my favorite, Mahshi Malfouf is here. Maggie has already become an instant expert at this dish under the tutelage of my Sittoo (grandmother).
[SILLY NEWS] -Arrogant bastard fee? - Reuters by way of Patti M. tells the story of a phone customer fined for being an arrogant bastard. Phone Firm Adds Insult to Bill, Apologizes
As a side note, Reuters' Oddly Enough news is a great resource for weird stories. It's where they put all their "human interest" pieces. Stop by there a couple times a week for the state of the art in craziness. Oddly Enough is also available through Yahoo's News which is where I get it most of the time.
[SCIENCE] - It's fun to microwave stuff as Brian and I found out many years ago. Some stuff is more fun than other stuff. Microwaving Grapes cna be very amusing, depending on how you do it. Current flowing through the skin can make some impressive sparks.
[SILLY NEWS] - ...And I was thinking of changing my name to "The Great Gazoo"... Ananova - Man names himself after Hong Kong Phooey. Why not? But at least the guy should have told his wife.
[UPDATES] - Rui follows up yesterday's contributions - He writes:
You can see David Blaine performing the levitation here http://www.artbell.com/mediafiles/BlaineLevitation.mpg, and some good pictures of spooky ice here http://www.artbell.com/letters48.html. I feel compelled to add that although I have never listened to Art Bell's show, I have heard he's not the most incredulous person. However, as I have seen these ice spikes form myself, the links to images are worth posting.
[MEA CULPA] - Woman *NOT* stuck to Airline Toilet - It turns out that the story of the woman stuck in the airline toilet was not true. This story was widely reported (by the BBC and Reuters and, yes, here on Aces Full. Once again, Snopes sorts it out: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Travel (Stuck on You)
I was inclined not to believe originally (I even mention it sounded like an urban legend) but I was drawn in by the media outlets which repeated the story.
[SCIENCE] - SPOOKY SPIKE - Rui comes through again. This is a phenomenon I have been curious about for a couple of years now but I had never seen an explanation. Sometimes when I take the ice out of the ice cube tray I'll notice a strange spike sticking up out of one of the cubes - something like a stalacmite. It didn't look like it could have been caused by drips from the ceiling of the freezer. I was stumped. This site says the subject has been covered in "New Scientist" and offeres a couple of possible explanations.
[MAGIC] - David Blaine's Levitation is something that really fascinated the first time I saw it on his tv special some years ago. Later, after reading many threads on a USENET magic group, I discovered the Balducci Levitation, a form of close-up magic that is very convincing if done right. I've done it and it does work. It's not all that impressive when you know the trick, but Blaine's ability to set a mood and then perform this levitation put the people on his show into emotional fits. Rui sent me this link, which is an excellent description of the trick. EXPOSURE: The Balducci Levitation
[SCIENCE] - Where is lightning most likely to strike? NASA provides new maps of lightning strike frequency. Who gets the most lightning strikes? Looks like lightning is always striking in the heart of Africa. New maps from orbiting sensors reveal where on Earth the powerful bolts will most likely strike
[NEWS] - TIME.com: How the U.S. Killed the Wrong Soldiers - A very unfortunate thing. Not making much of a splash in the news, probably because the people killed are "middle-eastern-looking." You know how those people are. Imagine if we had killed a bunch of British forces. Do you think that would be a major news story?
[COMMENT] - Have I mentioned Michael Moore's Latest? - Agree or disagree, I always feel he has his own way of putting things. Mike's Message 1/29/2002. Obligitory sample quote:
Let me ask you this: If someone was setting a house on fire, and they called you to help them set it on fire, and you said no you wouldn't help them -- BUT then you also DIDN'T call 911 and inform the police that someone was going to burn down a house, do you think you would have committed a crime?
[ACK! Revisited] - Whew! - My machine does have a fan - a tiny processor fan that seldom comes on. After disassembling the machine and putting the parts out on the back porch of my office for a few minutes, the computer is now much happier (and cooler). Cabin fever, I suppose.
[ACK!] - Uh-oh - My machine here at work is making a weird sound, like the fan is having trouble. Trouble is, there is no fan in this machine. If that's the hard drive making that noise, I'm in trouble. So I may be somewhat unresponsive today as I make sure all the important stuff is backed up!
[SCIENCE] - Are we evolving? This article examines the question of whether or not western life has halted our evolution. It seems more likely to me that it has changed our evolution, and that evolution does not stop. It's a fascinating question. See: Guardian Unlimited Observer | International | Is human evolution finally over?
[HUMOR] - Flame Warriors - Anyone remember this blast from the USENET past? Still relevant today, the flame warriors are archetypes of people you meet in online communities. In those days the flame warriors were USENET posters. Today you'll find them on almost any discussion group.
[FUN] - Remember "cookie?" - I'm talking about back when a cookie wasn't a browser spyware device, but rather a "fortune cookie" - a little nugget of humor or wisdom that your computer spit out at you on a regular basis. Here's a site called "Bongo Bob" which does much the same thing every time you click the link.
[FUN] - Googlewhacking? - Searching for the one… that is, the combination of two dictionary words that result in only one hit from Google. Googlewhacking: The Search for The One True Googlewhack.
Both words must be “common” English words, and the arbiter is dictionary.com. Google automatically tells you if your word is in the dictionary by underlining the search term when it guves you the results (the term then becomes a link to the definition on dictionary.com
(My first successful Googlewhack is hieroglyphics tularemia )
[HUMOR] - RTFM? - Someone cleverly found out how to spoof this Microsoft HOWTO page which details what to do when someone tells you to "Read The F***ing Manual": Q209354 - HOWTO. It looks like it is using some kind of redirect, which makes it look quite convincing.