Friday, October 31, 2008

I wasn't scared until he went back up my walk

News reports abound that former Chicago Bears great and current coach of the San Francisco 49ers Mike Singletary made a point to his team using his prat. In those two cities, I think it would make a decent Halloween costume to pair a football jersey with an amazing rubber simulation of the famous athlete's middle lineback side. Maybe in Minneapolis too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Extremely loud and incredibly deep

originally uploaded by Andrew Lilley.
With the global economic crisis, we must use all our ingenuity to encourage the flow of cash. Thus it makes sense to consider those areas we here in the US are good at (amusement park rides) instead of those we are no longer so good at (building cars people want).

The world's tallest rollercoaster is here in New Jersey. This is a kind of record that isn't terribly hard to imagine being broken, as it just requires a designer willing to build a structure more than 46 storeys in the air and the financial backing to construct it. But has anyone considered going in the other direction and building the world's deepest rollercoaster? There are so many abandoned mine shafts around the country that there must be one which can be rehabilitated and adapted for the purpose. Could one go fifty meters down, a hundred, a few kilometers deep? Also, to most people, even the rational ones, mineshafts are inherently creepy, especially for the significant number of people with claustrophobia. I am confident that engineers could address the issues of tainted air, of rescue shafts, of inundation, and of evil cave trolls so that such a structure could take over the title of MOST DANGEROUS ROLLERCOASTER IN THE WORLD which would be certain to pack them in.

Of course when one considers technical difficulties, it is well to remember that one is comparing things to the difficulty of building a structure 150 meters up, which is no picnic either. At least you wouldn't have to worry about wind load, rain and snow.

I propose that we turn the problem over to the experts: high-school students.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let's help you get one of these babies

I found a YouTube item on an advanced artificial heart. Do you notice anything unusual about the ad next to it?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Urgence de feu

I was thinking for hipsters in French-speaking Switzerland and in the Haut-Savoy region of France, one could adapt this T-shirt design

to one that takes advantage of the local fire-roasted culinary specialty, raclette

To wit: "break the glass to get a wedge of cheese and some potatoes."

Even though people usually use a machine nowadays to make their artery-clogging treat, rather than open flame, I think the gag would likely get across anyhow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Night and day

I think the idea of a surveillance camera powered by the sun is not a bad one, but I would like to see the cell connected to a deep cycle battery so that after the sun goes down it could still function. Say if one had one posted at the foot of the driveway leading up to your illicit late night Old Maid/cricket fighting gamepit. Maybe an infrared spotlight too off of the same power source, for illumination, and a camouflage blind over the whole thing too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All round-eye look same

Have you yourself been worried of giving offense because you, a white person, have difficulty remembering or distinguishing the characteristic facial features of those of Asian descent? Well you can relax now, as we find out that everybody is that way.

They’re Caucasians and they look alike. It’s not easy to distinguish them.

The person speaking is a government official of the Philippines referring to a meeting which may or may not have been held with representatives of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. Or perhaps it was the World Bank. Or some white guys with a bunch of money from somewhere apparently.

I blame faulty ethnology, and maybe a lack of name tags.

Note on the title of the post: I have only heard the imagined slur in jest. Also, I have no plans to register that domain, which does seem to be available.

Image generated at the Ultimate Flash Face site

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

While we're speaking of Italian, I have a question about Gli Bronchi

Denver Broncos logo, lit (2001)
Denver Broncos logo, lit (2001),
originally uploaded by oddharmonic.
When the New England Patriots apply a drubbing to the Denver team, is that an outbreak of bronchitis? Or would it be the other way around, since -itis implies an inflammation?

I pose this question coming off of a week-plus long bout of bronchitis. The most valuable players on my team were Levofloxacin and Promethazine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I hate earworms

Maybe this is a couple of months late, or maybe a bit early, but I've been troubled by this every time they play the theme to that movie for years now. Either my Google-fu is weak or I'm the only one who hears it though.
Link (MIDI file)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rendezvous with mouth

personal by Jonathan Ward on ZooomrEssential tremor is a condition that can affect the ability to use one's hands in a steady fashion and often causes the person who has it to have problems feeding themselves, drinking, or grooming. Medical researchers are working on treatments involving neural stimulation as well as pharmaceuticals, but there are also technologically assisted methods of helping sufferers deal with the unwanted motion.

A device which fits on the person's body to attenuate the motion caused by essential tremor has been the subject of a Mechanical Engineering thesis. I was thinking, though, of a way to compensate for the tremors by using special utensils which were instrumented to correct for the shake much the same way that high-end digital cameras compensate for shaking, or perhaps like the automatic docking system used on the ESA's unmanned transports to ISS. I imagine a fork, knife, or spoon with 3-axis acceleratometers inside the handle, along with a miniature video camera pointing at the destination (the mouth), with an articulated drive holding the working end of the utensil steady despite hand tremor. Now that they have tiny motors built into mascara applicators, it cannot be too difficult to put one into a piece of flatware.

I can foresee one issue with the invention, however: would it be dishwasher-safe? Perhaps if the water-sensitive part were detachable from the spoon/knife/fork part in a way similar to the interchangeable heads on an electric toothbrush, one could get around this too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Would that it were so

I was frightfully disappointed to discover that the Victorian Internet Exchange is not in fact a time-travel facilitated means of commerce between the present time and that of 150 years ago which we could use to bring wealth from their time into ours. It would have made some things so very simple.

1891 image from Project Gutenberg

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A modest economic proposal

Administration officials, Wall Street executives, media pundits, average people in the street, and everyone else is complaining about the unavailability of business credit these days what with the shocking, shocking revelations of people playing fast and loose with other peoples' money. I ask, why not monetize scrip that everyone probably already has, in the form of board game money?

For instance, Milton Bradley's Game of Life has always had an extensive collection of scrip, including stock certificates and promissory notes. The 1960's era set had $100000 bills bearing the face of trusted television personality Art Linkletter. The Treasury could simply declare some or all of these bits of paper to be backed up by the full faith and credit of the United States Government, and there would be an immediate infusion of cash as people would unearth their bounty hidden in their attics and basements and start using them as instruments of monetary exchange.

The Promissory Notes are interesting as they are essentially debt obligations made between the player and whoever was playing the banker (in my case, this would often be my cousin Estelle). Perhaps we should reserve these for small businesses to replace the lost short-term credit opportunities that are besetting them now, in the expectation that once the system has been re-primed, they will be able to make good on the note plus interest when it matures, same as if they had obtained funds in the commercial paper market.

Some might complain that the allocation of this windfall would be unfair, purely at the whim of whether a person had packrat tendencies or not. My reply is that it is certainly less unfair than the TARP program, which gives money to the some of the very people who made the crisis as bad as it is, and just about nothing to the average citizen boardgame-playing or not.

If the amount of stimulus is too little, the Treasury Secretary could go on to phase two of the program, which would monetize Monopoly cash and perhaps also the little metal tokens they used to package in the box. One hopes that the government would not have to resort to a third round involving Scrabble tiles and the like.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nursery rhyme

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed off on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the three.
"We've come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea.
Nets of silver and gold have we," said
and Nod.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Total Metabolic Information

TMI Cooling Towers
TMI Cooling Towers,
originally uploaded by scenesandcinema.
Some might be of the opinion that this product goes too far (careful if you are at work), but it might just be that it doesn't go too far enough. How about an upgrade where your internal body temperature is put up to Twitter so all your contacts know exactly how you're doing minute to minute? It's just a matter of integrating a cellphone application keying off of the Bluetooth connection, child's play really.

A no-brainer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I was thinking

Yes, challah is taken...
Yes, challah is taken...,
originally uploaded by MarisaElana.
If rednecks ran a matzo bakery, would the labels say Challah done been took?