2008/07/30

Transportation Fees: tracking your car and how you use it.

From NPR Morning Edition:
Americans are not driving as much because of higher gas prices. A drop in gas consumption is hurting gas tax revenues, which pay for roads, bridges and mass transit projects. Transportation officials say they need to rethink the way they collect and dispense money for transportation. They say the current system of relying on the federal gas tax is unsustainable.

Click the LISTEN NOW button to hear Transportation Secretary Mary Peters talk about a little black box in your car that tells the gov't how you used your car so they can determine how much your bill should be for transportation services.

Ah well, driving is still a privilege, not a right. Their highways, their rules.

White and Nerdy


I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

2008/07/29

Happy Soul Caliber IV Day

Milky Way over Canada in today's APOD

From Astronomy Picture of the Day:

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

2008/07/28

Worms are smarter than you think

From Yahoo News:
Worms Do Calculus to Find Food

Like humans with a nose for the best restaurants, roundworms also use their senses of taste and smell to navigate. And now, researchers may have found how a worm's brain does this: It performs calculus.

Worms calculate how much the strength of different tastes is changing - equivalent to the process of taking a derivative in calculus - to figure out if they are on their way toward food or should change direction and look elsewhere, says University of Oregon biologist Shawn Lockery, who thinks humans and other animals do the same thing.

Like human visual systems that respond to the presence and absence of light, Lockery and colleagues found that when the left neuron fires as salt concentrations increase, the roundworm continues crawling in the same direction. The right neuron responds when salt concentrations decrease, and the worm turns in search of a saltier location.

Lockery said this is similar to a game of hot-and-cold with a child. But there is one key difference: the worm doesn't need an observer to say if it's getting closer to or farther from the target - the worm calculates the change by itself.

Observing the worm responding to changes in concentration suggested an experiment to see if the worm's brain computes derivatives. The mathematical concept of a derivative indicates the rate at which something, such as salt concentration, changes at a given point in time and space. So Lockery tried to verify that these neurons recognize changes in salt concentration and then tell the worm where food is and where it is not.

Soon to don robotic suits, battle evil, go by the name Jim....

2008/07/25

Aliens: Colonial Marines written by BSG team

From Shacknews:
"This is no joke," said Gearbox president Randy Pitchford, and I had to agree. The more we hear about Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC, 360, PS3), the more exciting it sounds for fans of the original films.

Gearbox seems dedicated to staying faithful to the source material, and smartly expanding on it with a solid creative team. Four player co-op doesn't hurt, either.

Last week I had the chance to catch up with the Gearbox squad during a quick E3 lunch. During the interview, Pitchford explained the lengths that his company went to in order to make their game feel like an authentic piece of the Aliens franchise.

Randy Pitchford: One thing that's cool is some of the people we've been able to work with to help us [on Aliens]. The guys that write the Battlestar Galactica series, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, they wrote our script. They're amazing guys. They gave us a lot, too. We could make a whole season of TV with the stuff they gave us. [laughs] We profited from the writer's strike, let's just put it that way. We talked with a lot of people, but those guys are so good.

And then a lot of the concept guys that helped make the movies. Like [Aliens concept artist] Syd Mead, that guy walks on water. And to be able to go to his studio, his house, and then have him draw a bunch of stuff. "Here's when I designed the Sulaco back when we made the first movie. Here's the original artwork. You want a copy, Brian?" And Brian's like, "Yes."

And now he's designing all the new stuff, because the Sulaco's a big ship and we only saw a bit of it, so you get the guy who designed it to design the rest of it. And he's awesome, he designed so much stuff. And then like [concept artists] Keith Thompson, Craig Mullins.. anybody who knows these names knows what we're talking about. This is no joke.

Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom for a while....

2008/07/24

Gun injures journalists at gun control conference.

From News.Au:
THREE journalists have been injured in south-west China after a gun went off at a press conference called by Chinese police to highlight the success of a gun control campaign, state media said.

The press conference was taking place in Nanchong in Sichuan province to publicise the results of a campaign by the city's police to seize illegal weapons, the Beijing News reported.

According to Zheng Chongjun, deputy head of the political division of Nanchong police, some of the reporters asked to take photos of the guns seized.

One of the police officials mishandled a homemade weapon, releasing the trigger and dropping it to the ground.

It is unclear from the report whether the gun contained bullets or shotgun pellets but it said one local journalist needed surgery after being hit in several areas of the body including his ankle, crotch, and chest.


So I see Irony's sting is actually buck shot. Nice....

2008/07/23

Set rifle to stun

From Newscientist.com:
A gun that fires variable speed bullets and which can be set to kill, wound or just inflict a bruise is being built by a US toy manufacturer. The weapon is based on technology used to propel toy rockets.

Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio based near Chicago, makes toy rockets that are powered by burning hydrogen obtained by electrolysing water. Now the company is being funded by the US army to adapt the technology to fire bullets instead.

The US Army are interested in arming soldiers with weapons that can be switched between lethal and non-lethal modes. They asked Company Invention to make a rifle that can fire bullets at various speeds.

The new weapon, called the Variable Velocity Weapon System or VWS, lets the soldier to use the same rifle for crowd control and combat, by altering the muzzle velocity. It could be loaded with "rubber bullets" designed only to deliver blunt impacts on a person, full-speed lethal rounds or projectiles somewhere between the two.

Bruce Lund, the company's CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet as it leaves the gun. "Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 metres, to lethal at 100 metres or more, as desired," says Lund.

The company says that the weapon produces less heat and light than traditional guns. It can also be made lighter and could have a high power setting for long-range sniping.

Unnecessary Censorship - Seasame Street

From Break.Com:


Unnecessary Censorship Sesame Street Edition - Watch more free videos

2008/07/18

KOTOR MMO confirmed!!!

From Portfolio:
N. Evan Van Zelfden in Los Angeles warns, watch out World of Warcraft. In an interview at E3 this week, Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello said that EA is working on the next version of Star Wars game Knights of the Old Republic, and it will most certainly have a massively multiplayer online component to it.

"We've got two of the most compelling MMOs in the industry in development," said Riccitiello. The first title, based on the Warhammer property, will launch soon. "And the one that people are dying for us to talk to them about -- in partnership with Lucas, coming out of BioWare, which is, I think, quite possibly the most anticipated game, full stop, for the industry at the point when we get closer to telling you about it."

Does Riccitiello mean the oft rumored Knights of the Old Republic Online? "Yes," he said.

Moving into MMOs is an essential component for any gaming company, and it's a big part of the reason Vivendi merged with Activision, for that company's World of Warcraft MMO.

About gorram time! KOTOR was the BEST single person RPG, and behind Tie Fighter, the BEST Star Wars game released. Making it a MMO makes so much sense. WIth Bioware doing it, it'll be good. Much better than the current Star Wars MMO offering from Sony.

2008/07/17

Police confront white rabbit

From Germany:
Mysterious tapping noises late on Tuesday night caused residents in an apartment building in Wetter in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to alarm police, who broke into the empty apartment only to find an albino rabbit amusing himself in his cage, police reported on Wednesday.

The inhabitants of the flat were out of town, so neighbours were concerned when they heard thumping noises and alerted the authorities, fearing an intruder. Police said they heard the noises upon arrival, and were particularly alarmed when the enigmatic being behind the door reacted to their verbal inquiries with angry thumping.

2008/07/16

Trinity....I need help....

From Wired:
1945: The first atomic bomb is tested successfully at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in a remote section of desert near Los Alamos, New Mexico. The instant the bomb detonated at 5:30 a.m. that Monday, the atomic age was born, and the world changed forever.

The Trinity test, as it was known, was the culmination of the American effort to win the race against Germany (and, ultimately, the Soviet Union) in building an atomic bomb. A mere three weeks after the test, the United States used atomic bombs to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, was under no illusions about what he and his fellow physicists had wrought. The effects of the blast, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, moved the intellectual Oppenheimer to quote from the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one. Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds."

More prosaically, Dr. Kenneth Bainbridge, site director of the Trinity test, said: "Now we are all sons-of-bitches."

Hail to the king, baby...

Ah, Amore!

From Gwinnett Daily Post:

Couple marries at Waffle House

The lucky couple, George "Bubba" Mathis and Pamela Christian - both 23 and employees at the Dacula diner located at the Ga. Highway 316/U.S. Highway 29 interchange - wouldn't have it any other way.

"I don't know, it's something different," Mathis said while fixing his tie prior to the ceremony.

For years, the couple tried to marry on their Independence Day anniversary. But the bride was always scheduled to work. Instead of waiting any longer - she got the day off at the last minute; Mathis had to report for the morning shift - the couple of nine years decided to seal the deal at work.

Shortly after exchanging vows under the shade of a tree next to the parking lot, both man and wife let out sighs of relief as they picked up their two little blonde girls and chatted with family and friends. But there was not time to relax - the wedding cake had to be cut inside.

The couple plans to honeymoon Monday and Tuesday, but then it's back to work.

The destination?

"I don't know yet," Mathis said.



Please let the photo gallery load up at the bottom and play it. *sniff sniff* Brings a tear to the eye.

2008/07/15

Thoughts on competition

Michael Bane has posted some thoughts on competition and real life scenarios. Check 'em out.

The new holiday sport...

From Yahoo!:
Women arrested in sex competition

ATHENS (Reuters) - Nine British women were facing prostitution charges after being arrested at the weekend for taking part in an oral sex competition in the Greek holiday island of Zakynthos, police said on Monday.

Six British and six Greek men, including two bar owners, were also charged in the incident, which took place at Laganas beach in the south of the Ionian island, which lies off the west coast of mainland Greece, police said.

The women, who came to the popular resort on holiday, had been paid to take part in the competition, which was video recorded and was to be posted on the Internet, police said.

The men were charged with encouraging obscene behavior.

First served, first come? Oh yeh, and no video posted yet either.

2008/07/14

Candygram

From Atlanta:
Five Dead Sharks Found in Spalding County

ATLANTA (MyFOX Atlanta) – Five dead sharks were found along a dirt road in Spalding County Sunday.

The sheriff's office said a driver saw the sharks on Minter Road near Mobley Road, an area known for illegal dumping.

The creatures were about four to five feet in length. Investigators said they weren't sure how the sharks got to Spalding County.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources was notified.

Wanted for questioning:

2008/07/11

In September, the Force is Unleashed

Monster Garage lives again.

Monster Garage was a popular television show for the Discovery Channel hosted by Jesse G. James. A team of five people with mechanical, fabricating, or modifying expertise builds a "monster machine."

Despite its huge ratings success, Monster Garage was cancelled in 2006 after Jesse G. James lost interest in the show shortly after his marriage to movie star Sandra Bullock. Jesse had grown so bitter that he did not even appear in the Finale. Obviously the show could not be produced without its sole architect, and so James rode into the sunset.

My favorite Discovery TV show behind Mythbusters. It left this world way too soon, IMHO. However, it lives again on Thursday nights on TLC. The show has been shortened into a 30 minute show, removing a lot of the drama, but keeping the core building and machining. There are two episodes run back to back. Right now, season one is running. School Bus/Pontoon and Geo Tracker/Baloon was on last night.

2008/07/10

Sex every day for a year.

From Dailymail(UK):
When Charla Muller told her friends what she was giving her husband Brad for his 40th birthday, she was met with a variety of responses - none remotely positive.

One thought she might have been going through a mid-life crisis of her own when she came up with the idea. Another questioned her sanity, and yet another asked bluntly: 'Were you drunk when you thought of this?'

On the eve of Brad's birthday, Charla told him that his present was going to be sex with her every day for a year. She had wracked her brains to think of a gift that was original, intimate and - most importantly - memorable.

'I never wanted him to look back and ask himself: "Now, what was it Charla bought me for my 40th?"' she says. 'When I came up with the idea of daily sex for a year, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. What man wouldn't think that was the best present ever?'

'Then, to my horror, he declined the whole thing, saying that he didn't want me to feel that I had to have sex with him - like it was some sort of duty,' says Charla. 'He actually walked away from me, saying we would discuss it later. I was quite deflated.'

'But I was pleased with myself for seeing it through. We'd never have considered doing something like that before, but once we did, we realised it's not that difficult.'

And so it would continue for an entire year. So successful was the venture - the couple don't claim a 100 per cent success rate but say they had sex roughly 28 days a month for 12 months - that Charla, a feisty American from North Carolina, was persuaded to write a book on the subject, 365 Nights: A Memoir Of Intimacy.

In fact, most of her book isn't about sex at all, but about all the stuff that gets in the way of it for married couples - loading the dishwasher, work, night-time TV, body image, bouts of depression and the fact you need to shave your legs, but really can't be bothered. Whether you regard it as a funny book or a tragic one will probably pend on your domestic status.

A newly-married woman who always finds time for waxing might read it and laugh, declaring she will never become one of those sad souls who has to schedule sex in the way she schedules PTA meetings.

But one who has been wed for ten, 15, or 20 years and who has spent more than her fair share of 3ams consoling a sick child is more likely weep in recognition of her own experiences.

And even if offering her husband sex every day for a year was a flippant gesture - which she says it wasn't - it made Charla re-examine every aspect of a marriage she had believed was solid.

As she puts it: 'By doing this I really questioned everything I had assumed about my marriage and asked myself: "Was it really that good before?"

'The answer was that it couldn't have been, because the sex side of things had slipped into oblivion - and I had been guilty of allowing that to happen.

'I am not the only woman I know who somehow made a career of dodging sex with my nice husband. The trouble is that I didn't even admit that to myself until we were well into this process.

Ah, the gift that keeps on giving. Too bad with busy lives most couples can't squeak in a good nights sleep let alone think about spending those moments intimately.

2008/07/08

I've heard of bats in the belfry, but this is a new one.

From the Telegraph:

Teenager finds baby bat in her bra

Abbie Hawkins, a hotel receptionist, thought her mobile phone was ringing when she felt vibrations coming from her clothes.

But she later discovered the tiny creature tucked away in the padded pocket of her underwear.

As staff and colleagues crowded around, Miss Hawkins, 19, produced the frightened bat, which was the size of her hand.

"I keep thinking how could I have not known it was there?" Miss Hawkins said. "I will certainly be checking my bras every morning from now on."

Jaime Eastham, of the Bat Conservation Trust, said they had never heard of a bat being found in a bra before.

But she said the animals roost anywhere that appears dark and safe.


Dark and safe indeed.

I have the dumb

cat
more cat pictures

2008/07/07

Flying the friendly skies

From Gadling:
Ryanair has been flirting around with the idea of starting a new transatlantic airline ever since the Open Skies Agreement took effect earlier this year. They have yet to make an official announcement or reveal any details, but that isn't preventing them from stoking the media a little bit.

If you've ever seen any of Ryanair's marketing, you know what I'm talking about. Last year they launched a "Girls of Ryanair" calendar showing off some of their flight attendants' better features, and perennially launch raunchy advertising campaigns to reel in the European cash.

Their CEO, Michael O'Leary, is no more modest. In a recent German press conference, reporters asked about the new airline and O'Leary replied saying that "in business class it'll be beds and blowjobs."

At the head of their industry indeed.

2008/07/04

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day



http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Independence_Day.shtml
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.


Stay safe, shoot straight, remember the four f's: Family, Food, Fun, Fireworks.

2008/07/03

Breakfast anyone?

From Al Dente:
Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburgers

THE DEVIL. Either that, or it's from a Google cafeteria in New York. Apparently they serve Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburgers, a.k.a Luther Burgers.



Anyone up for a road trip to Decatur, GA for a hamdog?

An armed, not-so-polite society

From Comcast:
A Palestinian construction worker rammed a bulldozer into buses and cars on one of west Jerusalem's busiest streets on Wednesday, killing three Israelis and wounding more than 40 before he was shot dead. Israeli police said the driver of the 20-tonne earthmoving vehicle was killed by a civilian and a policeman who clambered onto the cab as it wrought havoc along Jaffa Road, overturning a city bus and crushing cars along a 500-metre stretch.

When the citizens are armed, they can make a difference along side the police. Why can't American politicians get that through their damn head. Frackin Sheeple.

2008/07/02

T3 Mobile Defender

From Gizmodo:
Lamperd Less Lethal will be developing, in cooperation with Lumenyte, the use of the Defender I in the T3 Series Law Enforcement Electric Vehicle. The Defender will use a Red Dot Holographic Sight System that makes use of a high quality German camera (same as used on the LLUCIS) and a monitor to accurately target the criminal. Further details will be forthcoming.

Information on the T3 can be found here:
http://www.t3motion.com/index1.html

A nice upgrade from from a Segway, but it's no T-X.

2008/07/01

Trying to take guns via suicide prevention

From CNN of course:
“More than 90 percent of suicide attempts using guns are successful, while the success rate for jumping from high places was 34 percent. The success rate for drug overdose was 2 percent, the brief said, citing studies.”

Less of a tax payer burden that way.