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28 July, 2004

Europe Quiz

How well do you know the location of European countries? Take the Europe Quiz.

I'm ashamed to admit that I scored a mere 31 points (out of 111). I never even heard of some of those countries. And I've never been to Europe, so that would contribute to my pitiful score.

The site also has quizzes for other continents and geographies. I won't even try the Asia quiz. And I'd probably score zero on the Canada province quiz.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Jeff's Dinner With Bill

Jeff Maurone writes: More on My Dinner with #1 on the Forbes.

So, in response to the multitude of email messages I got asking for more juicy details on what it's like to eat dinner with Bill Gates, I figured I should write the comprehensive posting about said topic. So, without further deliberation, I've broken down my account into a few sections: The Experience, The House, The Man, and The Coolest Part.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

J-Walk Guitar O' The Week

Introducing a new blog feature: J-Walk Guitar O' The Week.

We have this niche in the wall near the kitchen, and we couldn't figure out what to put in it. So I put in one of my guitars. So far, I've changed it every week, so it's become known as the Guitar O' The Week. Every week, I'll put in a different guitar, and talk about it. I'll continue doing this until one of three things happen:

  • We figure out something else to put in that niche
  • I run out of guitars (which will happen in about 12 weeks)
  • I forget all about it

This week's Guitar O' The Week is a 1994 Dobro Hawaiian Chrome-Plated 33.

It's a small guitar, but it's plenty loud. It has Hawaiian scenes etched on the front and back.

I think this is the only guitar that I ever bought on a whim. I was in a guitar store in San Diego, and it had just arrived. One of the owners got out a slide and started playing some blues. It took me about 20 minutes to decide to take it home with me.

It's a decent-sounding guitar and it looks spectacular. But I think I probably could have gotten a better resonator guitar if I had done some research.

I always keep it tuned to an open-E chord. I've tried several different slides, but my favorite is a big heavy socket wrench I got from Sears.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Excellence In Web Design?

Is this the work of a madman or a genius Web designer?� You decide.

Welcome to octopacepiet's b(e)lo(w)gos-per-m-I-T-cause
presenting cripplingly biased brilliance on the difference between
location, location, location
and a demographically fair
allocation allocation allocation
interkinkindlin' netkit choices and tittilations
blogging a selection of indymedia sites, the lbo-talk and nettime lists plus occasional jaunts into various bloggeries - with a vigilant eye towards the extremist fringes of all flavors in frontmakers, crowdpushers and other unethically agitatin' critters to offset the 'rite thing (grinding rock musically and moist enough to prevents effects being opposite those intended: oxide reduction!!!!!!)

(Thanks Brad Coon)

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Stock Photography

A potential problem when you use stock photography. From The Inquirer: Girl goes back to school with Gateway and Dell.

It seems that Dell and Gateway both used photos of the same model in their back-to-school ads.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Rename Food Stamps

How could I have missed this? Last month, Madeline Begun Kane had a contest to rename the U.S. Food Stamp Program.

She received more than 200 submissions. The top 3 winners are:

  1. The Diner's Grub
  2. WMD - Weapons of Mass Digestion
  3. The "Ronald Reagan Supplemental User Card Kiosk System" - or simply "Reagan SUCKS" program. The cards can soon be known as "Ron Cards" or simply "Reagans", as America's poor and hungry think about our greatest President (after Van Buren, Harding and McKinley) when they go to the supermarket.

I prefer one of the honorable mentions: I Can't Believe It's Not Food Stamps.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Radioactive Consumer Products

Pictures of radioactive consumer products.

As is often necessary, the scope of this category will be stretched. In this case, a number of the items shown were never sold to the public as true "consumer products."

For example, kitty litter...

For fun, I measured the radionuclide activities in one sample of cat litter. The results were as follows: 4 picocuries per gram (pCi/g) for members of the uranium series, 3 pCi/g for members of the thorium series, and 8 pCi/g of potassium-40.

That pretty much agrees with my analysis.

(via The Presurfer)

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Office 2003 Required

From Ed Foster's Gripe Log: Office 2003 Required.

"I needed to know how to solve a problem we were experiencing in Outlook, so I went to Microsoft for help," wrote the reader. "After drilling down I found what looked like a link to a solution for our problem. Upon clicking on the link a page appeared and said that since the machine I was using did NOT have Office 2003 installed, that content was not available to me. I should go out and buy a new Office suite and upgrade to it and then I could have access."

In other words, some of the content at Microsoft's site is limited to those who have a particular product installed on their system. Even worse:

It looks like even those with Office 2003 may have trouble getting to the restricted content. According to Microsoft's trouble-shooting page, visitors need to have enabled the Active-X control on their browser and have their security set at medium for their Office 2003 installation to be detected. Of course, in the wake of the Download.ject attack, we know those settings are just asking for trouble.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Diagnostic Dice

A new way to figure out what's wrong with your car: Diagnostic Dice. You get five colored dice. For example...

Roll the blue die when the engine is overheating. Could be you need a new head gasket or as simple as a busted thermostat? It may also be something wrong with the temperature sensor or gauge, the water pump, a faulty radiator or an improperly seated or leaky radiator cap. It could save you from a seized engine!

(via Tom McMahon)

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Sunset, Sunrise

Last night's sunset:

This morning's sunrise:

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Reality TV

Seeds of a TV idea - Describes a new TV reality show in the UK, called Make Me a Mum.

Men who want to father a child will be whittled down during the series, until two candidates are selected to compete against each other.

The childless woman will choose the man she believes makes the best father - judged by sex appeal, personality, wealth and fitness.

A second man will also be selected on the basis of genetic compatibility and the quality of his sperm, according to the TV and radio magazine Broadcast.

The finale of the six-part series could feature a sperm race, thanks to new technology, with viewers watching which of the two finalists' sperm reaches the female's egg first.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Travel Warnings

From the U.S. Department of State: Current Travel Warnings.

Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid a certain country. The countries listed below are currently on that list. In addition to this list, the State Department issues Consular Information Sheets for every country of the world with information on such matters as the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, any areas of instability, and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Top 100 Lists

Matthew White collected some lists: The Top 100 This-and-Thats of the 20th Century.

I figure that having a list in hand of the century's greatest books gives me something to look for at the book store. If I fancy myself a film critic and I haven't seen #14 on the list of greatest films, then maybe I had better hike to the video store. If I'm a historian of modern religion, but I've never even heard of Mr. 3 on the top 100 Catholics, then I really should look him up. Even grimly serious scholars use lists when writing great treatises or scheduling classes. After all, what is an outline but a type of list?

This was done in 2001, so some of the external links no longer work. But in most cases, he provides the beginning of the list.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Eight Hours Of TV

Mark Thompson describes what it's like to watch TV for eight hours,

Although the national average of American households owning a television set it 99%, I seem to fall in the small minority of people who don't own one. A typical American household keeps its television on for seven hours a day, and I wanted to find out why.

I pulled myself out of bed at 8:30, let the German shepherds out for the day and made my way into town where I had arranged to watch TV for 8 hours straight: a typical workday. I stopped at a newsstand on the way and got myself a copy of the Shotgun News just in case things got unbearable (if I only knew how bad things would get). One more stop for a pail of gas station coffee and I was ready to start my day.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Warp The Presidential Candidates

You can warp Bush, or you can warp Kerry.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Big Burger

A short video that describes how to make the ultimate burger: All-in-One with Cheese.

Looks pretty good -- except for the french fries. And I think two eggs would have been sufficient.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Preparing For Emergencies

From the HM Department of Vague Paranoia: Preparing For Emergencies.

In an effort to worry the public and convince them to vote for us again next year, and because George Bush asked us to, this website includes the common sense advice found in the Preparing for Emergencies booklet, and information on what the government is doing to protect the country as a whole. (Hint: we're praying really, really hard.) National editions of the booklet will be available here when we can be arsed to get translators to put them into your crazy moon languages.

Here are three things to remember if you are involved in an emergency situation:

  1. Run like hell, particularly if you caused the emergency.
  2. Trample all others in your desperate attempt to escape.
  3. Loot on the way out.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Tattooed Nerds

Revenge of the Tattooed Nerds.

One of the things I love about tattooing is that it attracts interesting people from all demographics. The simple truth is that some people feel a desire to permanently mark themselves with things that profoundly affect their lives. I don't know if this is some genetic leftover that helped primitive humans hold their social fabric together, or whether it's an unavoidable byproduct of being both narcissistic and sentient creatures. Either way, people get tattooed every day with the things that define their lives - and "nerds" and "geeks" are no different.

Shown here is Nicole's tattoo. She's a 21-year old Apple employee.

(via Boing Boing)

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Sleazy Bars

Find a sleazy bar near you.

Sleazy bars are cheap, dirty, and dark places loaded with a diverse set of socially unacceptable thirsty people, usually open till dawn or never closing, marked by low-character of quality, where the smoke is so thick you can hardly breathe and the music is too loud.

Although these places hardly can be defined in one category, some common ground is that food (if any) most likely runs off your plate, you rather piss next to than in the toilet, and you have to take several barriers to enter, like thumping fists on the door, shouting or other kind of rumble. Sleazy bars may be rough, but are still renowned for their excellent (non-aggressive) atmosphere.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Roadside Junk

Some nice photos of old abandoned vehicles: Roadside Junk.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

School Memories

A simple 10-item quiz: What do you remember from school?

I answered all of them correctly, except #1.

Posted on 28 July, 2004

Spamming For Dummies

From The Register: Spamming For Dummies. The story of Stan, and his career as a spammer.

By the end of the week Stan is able to assess the success of his first spam run. At this point he does not consider himself a spammer and hasn't yet considered how his marketing efforts are adding to the spam tsunami.

A quick calculation tells Stan he received a tiny response rate: only 0.03% of the people he emailed actually bought something. But even with such a poor response, he generated a healthy profit. Stan feels very happy with himself and starts researching how best to increase his future spam runs.

And he didn't even attend Spam University!

Posted on 28 July, 2004