DNA Lounge: Wherein are found pyrotechnics.

The legacy of our incompetent contractors continues to haunt us. Apparently all the doors frames were built badly, and so now that a couple of years have passed, they've all shifted: most of our interior doors no longer close right: they scrape against the floor now. This was getting to be a real problem, because one of the doors that wouldn't close is the one that leads backstage; so customers would see light coming through the door and just wander back there whenever, and help themselves to whatever they saw lying around.

So, this weekend Jason had to cut a half inch of the bottom of the door. This is tricker than it sounds, since these are steel fire doors. It made very pretty sparks, though.

Two shows are coming up that I'm excited about:

The customers have been especially horrible in the last few weeks; more pathetic violence than usual.



World's Longest Snake: A recreation park in Indonesia is displaying a 49-foot python -- making it the longest ever captured -- that was revered as a tribal ruler and has a huge appetite for dogs.

The huge, dark-colored male snake has a diameter of 2.8 feet, weighs 984 pounds and is 48 feet, 7 inches long. In a month, it can eat around five dogs.

    Update, Jan 5: likely bullshit. John Aglionby reports: "If Fragrant ever extends to 14.85m long he will be the most mind-boggling animal on earth because I measured him at somewhere between 6.5 and 7m." "These giant pythons always shrink whenever a tape measure turns up."
Current Music: Vaporum -- Xtaz ♬

the sky's not so big after all

What's Really Visible at Night

There are roughly 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, but only 2,500 stars are available to the unaided eye in ideal conditions from a single spot at a given time. Light pollution in cities and suburbs throttles the number down dramatically: in New York, as few as two dozen stars are visible.

Almost all of the sky objects visible to the naked eye are stars that reside in our galaxy. The bulk of those you can see are relatively nearby, within a few thousand light-years. Most are actually within a few hundred light-years. For comparison, the Sun is about 26,000 light-years from the galactic center; the galaxy itself is about 100,000 light-years wide.


China Needs Jews

An Israeli company has required thousands of Chinese workers to sign a contract promising not to have sex with Israelis or try to convert them, a police spokesman said today. According to the document, male workers cannot come into contact with Israeli women - including prostitutes - become their lovers or marry them, spokesman Rafi Yaffe said.

This must be a gag. Nobody would name their kid Raffy Yaffy.

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Hubba Hubba Hey

Hubba Hubba Hey: A Burlesque Salute to The Ramones
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it was cooler when Gilliam did it

MAGNI-VIEWER by Bausch & Lomb - $285

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message threading + web forum hybrid

This is kind of an interesting idea: it's a proposal for a new way to show message threads that differs from the standard way in that, instead of the "message pane" showing just a single message, it shows all the messages in the thread, more like an indented web forum.

<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(13%) ">

The other interesting part is that the tree structure is somewhat interleaved: normally, message threads are arranged by making a tree of parent/child relationships, and then sorting siblings by date. This gives a lot of priority to tree structure and very little priority to date: when new messages are added, they might show up anywhere in the tree, depending on which message they are a reply to. This is a slight misfeature of every threading system I've used, including the ones I wrote: you often have to turn off threading to be able to find things.

The proposed model uses the X axis for "replies" and the Y axis for "time". So you still get indentation showing who replied to who; but you can also assume that the newest posts are at the bottom. That's a pretty good trick!

One disturbing thing about their presentation is that making it be usable requires the software to throw away a lot of message content: they seem to be assuming that for this to look good, it'd have to recognise and strip out redundant quoted text in the messages. That's somewhat scary.

I found it very frustrating to read that PDF, because it's been a long time since I've read something that was structured as a "research paper", and I find that footnotes just drive me crazy! I want links, not footnotes. Even worse that, when you finally get to the footnotes page at the end, there are no links there either: there are titles and page numbers. You know, dead trees! What century is this?

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"I kick ass for The Lord!"

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Tom Ridge brings you the new Spirit of Christmas: TERRAH!!

"Go forth and shop in fear!"
I feel more Vigilant already:
"Your government is at the ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to stop terrorist attacks in the holiday season and beyond," Mr Ridge said. He urged Americans to be vigilant, but to continue with their holiday plans and to enjoy the "spirit of the season".

Funny how this fearmongering comes out right after "we" caught Saddam, if by "we" you mean "The Kurds":

"Hussein was betrayed to the Kurds by a member of the al-Jabour tribe because Hussein's son Uday had raped a daughter of the tribe. He was then handed over to the Kurdish Patriotic Front who negotiated a deal with US forces for political power before drugging and abandoning Hussein for pickup. Ultimately he ended up in the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Hussein could not escape the hole in which he was recovered because the entrance had been sealed."

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ok, who tilted the planet?

pfarley brings us a map of the world today (solstice):

And three months ago (equinox):

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