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6 February, 2003

Is MSN Trying to Make Opera Look Bad?

MSN is a web site and Opera is a web browser. Why does the MSN site look bad when using the Opera browser? The MSN site detects the browser used, and sends a special version of the HTML file. They also use a browser-specific style sheet. Is this done in order to make Opera look bad?

Here's a link to a site that describes this sinister plot. Or maybe it's just an accident.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Joyce Brothers Update

Joyce Brothers' dissertation was not about rats. However, her doctorate is in Experimental Psychology (not Clinical Psychology). The title:

AN INVESTIGATION OF AVOIDANCE ANXIETY AND ESCAPE BEHAVIOR IN HUMAN SUBJECTS AS MEASURED BY ACTION POTENTIALS IN MUSCLE. BROTHERS, JOYCE D., PHD. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, 1953

I found it here, by doing a search for "brothers, joyce"

* * *

Amazingly, she is often referred to as "the Dean of American Psychologists." An excerpt from a Simpson's episode seems appropriate:

Marge: Oh, Homer, where have you been?

Homer: I just underwent a procedure to increase my IQ fifty points.

Marge: Really?

Homer: And they gave me this spiffy nerd ensemble, too.

Marge: You feel smarter?

Homer: Is the capital of North Dakota Bismarck?

[Marge, Maggie, and Bart look expectantly at Lisa]

Lisa: [pause] It is.

Bart: I don't believe it. Say something else smart.

Homer: Dr. Joyce Brothers may be highly known, but her psychological credentials are highly suspect.

[and the family looks at Lisa, again]

Lisa: It's true!

Posted on 6 February, 2003

The Poutine, She's Delicious

Until today, I'd never heard of poutine -- supposedly a popular Canadian dish.

In its simplest incarnation poutine is composed of fresh french fried potatoes topped with good old-fashioned Quebecois cheese curd and dark chicken gravy.

If that description has whetted your appetite, you can read all about it at Kuro5hin.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Bill Gates' Inbox

Click here to see a sampling of the kind of email Bill Gates receives at his Hotmail account (it's a joke).

Posted on 6 February, 2003

SCI Images

View lots of very interesting images from the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute gallery.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Fun With the Pronouncing Dictionary

The Mirriam-Webster OnLine dictionary has a feature that lets you listen to the pronunciation of a word. As it turns out, the CGI program responsible for this doesn't do much in the way of validating the request. The program accepts two arguments: the *.wav file and the word (or phrase) -- and they need not match.

As a result, bored humans can create all sorts of amusing URLs. Here are a few:

To create your own URL, you first need to determine the *.wav file for a particular word. Look up the word at the Mirriam-Webster site. If you see a pronunciation icon, move the mouse pointer over the icon, and you'll be able to see the name of the *.wav file in your browser's status bar. Then, create a URL by substituting the *.wav file name and your desired text. The text can be anything you like, and it does not need to be in the dictionary. Like this:

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/audio.pl?FILENAME.WAV=YOUR TEXT

By the way, I don't take credit for figuring this out. I learned it from one of the Microsoft MVPs.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

The BSA Grace Period

The folks at Slashdot are discussing the Business Software Alliance: Is the BSA Grace Period a Scam?

The BSA, as you may know, is the organization that commissions the bogus software piracy rate studies, which I discussed last year.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Soda Constructor

Soda Constructor is an internet classic -- one of those sites that I visited a long time ago, and then forgot about. Hours of good clean fun.

Thanks to Zaine for reminding me.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Dr. Joyce Brothers

I've been trying to find out the title of Joyce Brothers' doctoral dissertation -- with no luck. As I recall, it involved rats (just like mine). All of the online dissertation services I've found require a fee. And, of course, her web site is useless.

I did find a reference to the Joyce Brothers Papers: 1955-2000 -- 218 cubic feet of various documents and media. But these won't be made public for 20 years. It does, however, reveal that she obtained a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1955.

If anyone has access to a university library (and some spare time), can you check it out in Dissertation Abstracts International and let me know?

Posted on 6 February, 2003

The Death Clock

According to the Death Clock, I have about 22 years remaining. Hopefully, I'll live to see some of those long-standing Excel bugs eradicated. Maybe not...

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Cluster Ballooning

I think I've seen a similar thing in dozens of cartoons, but cluster ballooning is for real.

Have you ever dreamed of floating into the sky with a giant bouquet of colorful toy balloons? That's the idea behind cluster ballooning. The pilot wears a harness, to which a cluster of large, helium-filled balloons are attached. Control is achieved by releasing ballast to ascend, or by bursting balloons to descend.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

More Patent Extortion

From CNET: Patent scare hits streaming industry

Michael Roe, proprietor of the small RadioIO Webcasting station, got a surprise FedEx package this week, containing a notification that he was violating patents owned by a company he'd never heard of. That's not uncommon in the technology world--the surprise was the scope of the claims. The sender, a company called Acacia Media Technologies, said it owned patents on the process of transmitting compressed audio or video online, one of the most basic multimedia technologies on the Net.

According to the article, this sort of thing is becoming increasingly common "as more companies attempt to turn intellectual property into royalties in a time of economic malaise."

Posted on 6 February, 2003

McLawyers and McTrademarks

According to this document, the McDonald's Corporation owns these trademarks

1-800-MC1-STCK, Always Quality. Always Fun., America's Favorite Fries, Arch Deluxe, Aroma Cafe, Automac, Big Mac, Big N' Tasty, Big Xtra!, Birdie, the Early Bird and Design, Black History Makers of tomorrow, Bolshoi Mac, Boston Market, Cajita Feliz, Changing The Face of The World, Chicken McGrill, Chicken McNuggets, Chipolte Mexican Grill, Cuarto De Libra, Did Somebody Say , Donatos Pizza, emac digital, Egg McMuffin, Extra Value Meal, Filet-O-Fish, French Fry Box Design, Gep Op Mac, Golden Arches, Golden Arches Logo, Good Jobs For Good People, Good Times. Great Taste., Gospelfest, Great Breaks, Grimace and Design, Groenteburger, HACER, Hamburglar and Design, Hamburger University, Happy Meal, Happy Meal Box Design, Have You Had Your Break Today?, Healthy Growing Up, Helping Hands Logo, Hey, It Could Happen!, Iam Hungry and Design, Immunize for Healthy Lives, Kiwiburger, Lifting Kids To A Better Tomorrow, Mac Attack, Mac Jr., Mac Tonight and Design, McDonald's Racing Team Design, Made For You, McBaby, McBacon, McBurger, McBus, McCafe, McChicken, McDia Feliz, MCDirect Shares, McDonaldland, McDonald's , McDonald's All American High School Basketball Game, McDonald's All American High School Jazz Bank, McDonald's All Star Racing Team, McDonald's Building Design, McDonald's Earth Effort, McDonald's Earth Effort Logo, McDonald's Express, McDonald's Express Logo, McDonald's Is Your Kind of Place, McDonald's Means Opportunity, McDouble, McDrive, McExpress, McFamily, McFlurry, McFranchise, McGrilled Chicken, McHappy Day, McHero, McJobs, McKids, McKids Logo, McKroket, McMaco, McMemories, McMenu, McMusic, McNifica, McNuggets, McNuggets Kip, McOz, McPlane, McPollo, McPrep, McRecycle USA, McRib, McRoyal, McScholar, McScholar of the Year, McSwing, McWorld, Mighty Wings, Millennium Dreamers, Morning Mac, Quarter Pounder, RMHC, Ronald McDonald and Design, Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo, Ronald McDonald House Logo, Ronald Scholars, Sausage McMuffin, Single Arch Logo, Speedee Logo, Super Size, Teriyaki McBurger, The House That Love Built, The House That Love Built Design, twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesoniononasesameseedbun, Vegi Mac, We Love to See You Smile, What's On Your Place, When the U.S. Wins You Win, World Children's Day, World Children's Day Logo, World Famous Fries, You Deserve a Break Today.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

Brandy's Tongue

If you'd like to see photos of a dog that has, perhaps, the longest tongue in the world, go here. According to this article:

Physiologists and historians are scrambling to determine whether or not "Brandy" the Boxer has rightful claim to the title "biggest dog tongue in the world".

Yeah, I'll bet they're scrambling.

Posted on 6 February, 2003

A 15-Inch Waist

Supposedly, Cathie Jung has a 15-inch waist -- a world record.

Looking at these photos, I'm reminded of one of my favorite John Hiatt songs, A Woman Sawed in Half.

Posted on 6 February, 2003