Friday, August 18, 2006

not my bestest friday post ever




This post, sadly, lacks any organizing principle of any kind. In my defense, it's been busy, busy, busy down in the salt mine this week, so I've been slacking off in my blogging obligations. So when I get a spare moment, I just toss together a few photos and add some tidbits I found on the interwebs, with random snarky commentary of my own, and voila.

  • First off, I've spent a decent amount of this week's few posts hinting at why I've been so busy. Here's yet another reason: _beginthreadex() goooood. CreateThread() baaaaaaaad.
  • The top photo is a rose in front of a fraternity house near Portland State University. Yes, apparently they have someone who tends their roses. I don't know what to think about that.
  • The middle photo is of a fountain hidden in the underground parking garage of the Union Bank of California Building, in downtown Portland. Many months ago I promised I'd take a photo of it and post it here, and now I have. I always keep my promises, when I remember them.
  • The bottom photo is "Rusting Chunks No. 5" (a.k.a. Leland One) at night. I guess they light it at night so people won't walk into it and injure themselves, or something.
  • And now for tidbits: The fundies are freaking out over the dangers of sending your kid to college. Not, you know, the perils of fraternity hazing or final exam stress or anything like that. It's that with all that education and open-mindedness and critical thinking, some kids come out of it not being bigoted fundies anymore. Well, I would certainly hope so, otherwise what's the point of sending them to college?
  • The "Mystic Dwarf" Judge in the Phillippines has his own blog. Words fail me. Enjoy.
  • Here's a silly piece over at Treehugger that attempts to explain why having a second home is actually good for the environment. Because, apparently, so long as you're an affluent, liberal-minded, educated sort of person who thinks happy, benevolent thoughts about the Earth, anything you want is good for the environment, by definition. Feh.
  • Researchers have tracked down a gene that responsible for differences between human and chimpanzee brains. Well, the creationists would probably beg to differ about that. If researchers could point to a handful of key genes and show how they mutated as humans diverged from other primates, well, that simply wouldn't do. Since fundies run our government, don't be surprised if the researchers lose their funding in the near future.
  • No, I haven't seen SoaP yet. Maybe when it comes to a pub-theater. Seems like a movie that would go better with a drink or three. I mean, I wrote about it here, on this very blog, before the movie came out and everything, and I got absolutely no schwag from the studio, no free tickets, no expenses-paid trip to the premiere, nothing. Bastards. Ingrates. So I'm feeling a little bitter about that, I have to tell you.
  • The latest weird twist in the SCO saga. If you're suing someone, and the judge keeps ruling against you because you have no case, what do you do? Go find a different judge on the other side of the country who doesn't know the case, and isn't assigned to the case, but will rule in your favor anyway, for some reason. I don't think you're supposed to be able to do this.
  • It's official: Humboldt squid are bastards (Yes, this is today's cephalopod item from Pharyngula.)
  • Jon Swift explains Senator George Allen. Personally, every time I hear the word "macaca", it makes me think of the catchy-annoying title song from Rififi. (Yes, I do occasionally watch good movies, believe it or not.) The song's just begging for new, topical lyrics, and I have no musical talent whatsoever, so the field's wide open. Be my guest.
  • A bit at DailyKos about the 2001 anthrax letters. I'm not a person who buys into conspiracy theories, but it sure is weird how nobody seems to want to talk about the case anymore. Is anyone still assigned to the case, even? Once the bugs had been ID'd as having come from one of our own weapons-grade strains, you'd think the list of potential suspects would be far from infinitely long, and you could just go down the list of people who had access to the stuff. They do keep records about that sort of thing, right?
  • I see the city's tweaking its styrofoam ban. Back in college, I was part of a group that lobbied in favor of the ordnance, and I helped picket a downtown McDonalds because they were fighting the ban. Whether the ban was a good idea or not, and whether it made a difference in the end, I really don't know. The whole ozone layer thing has taken a back seat to global warming over the last few years. I do know that trying to save the world is a great way to meet members of the opposite sex (or same, if you prefer). This is not to say that college students aren't motivated by ideals, certainly not, but people are just that much more enthusiastic if they can mix business with pleasure, so to speak.
  • Meanwhile, in the recreational math department, I'm trying to wrap my brain around the notion of forcing in set theory, which is proving to be tough going. There aren't a lot of treatments out there for the nonprofessional; it seems to be assumed that if you're interested in it, you already know how it works. Here are two links that I found reasonably comprehensible. Apparently the idea is to somehow conjure up additional real numbers with certain desired properties, and add them to the normal set of real numbers, in order to prove various things. For instance, if X and Y are true of the real numbers, but in your newly created set X is still true without Y being true, Y is independent of X (for instance, X=ZFC, Y=Continuum Hypothesis). Or at least that's how I gather it works. I'm curious about the newly-added numbers themselves: what they are, what they're like, where they "come from", and so forth, and I haven't found a lot of info on that point yet. For instance, if the "normal" real numbers completely fill the real line, where do the additional numbers go, if they aren't equal to any of the existing numbers? So far, it's a mystery to me.
  • I admit it, I, too, am a fiend for mojitos. Yes, I realize they were so two years ago (or was it three?) until that stupid Miami Vice movie came out (which I haven't even seen). But still, they're pretty damn tasty. Besides, even now, I still have to explain to various friends, relatives, and coworkers what a mojito is, which means they have absolutely no idea I'm drinking an untrendy lamer's drink. Always drink with dorks, that's the takeaway from this item.
  • This site has a small photo of a baby silky anteater, riding on its mother's back. Awwwwwwwww.... (Also see my earlier 100%-silkie post).
  • Aieee! It's "Evil Dead, The Musical"! Run!
  • And at Mondo Schlocko, the vintage trailer for Attack of the Puppet People. They just don't make movies like that anymore.

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