cuddly diseases

Giant Microbes:
"Billions of people a year catch the cold. Now you can get one too -- without getting sick! Learn all about the Common Cold with this cuddly companion. The Common Cold Plush Doll: $5.95"

(They also have The Flu (Orthomyoxvirus), Stomach Ache (Shigella), and Sore Throat (Streptococcus), but The Common Cold is the cutest.)

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it's raining cows

Cows at CA Ranch Run Off Cliff

A dozen Holstein cows grazing near Skywalker Ranch in Marin County apparently got spooked and ran off a 50-foot cliff, according to authorities. Motorists on Lucas Valley Road saw the cows cascade over the hilltop at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, said Marin County Sheriff's Sgt. Doug Pittman. Some of the cows tumbled end-over-end as they slid down the slate and gravel cliff, witnesses told sheriff's deputies. [...]

Two of the cows were shot on the spot by a sheriff's deputy, Pittman said. The others were taken back to their owners at Silveira Ranch and were checked by a veterinarian.

"It's something that spooked them very badly. They'll break fences but not go off cliffs," said Lorraine Silveira, whose family owns Silveira Ranch, which has been operating for more than 100 years. The land is owned by George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, and is leased as grazing land by the Silveira family, Silveira said.

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Today in Mad Science News

Neutrino Gun:

The researchers suggest sending a neutrino beam with an energy of 1000 TeV through the Earth to wherever the nuclear weapon was located (see figure). The beam would produce neutrons in a 'hadron shower' and would cause fission reactions in the plutonium or uranium in the bomb. These reactions would either melt or vaporize the bomb.

Such a high energy neutrino beam would be difficult to produce, the physicists admit. The storage ring would have to be 1000 km across - hundreds of times larger than the biggest present day accelerators. The magnets in the specially built muon storage ring would need to be one to two orders of magnitude stronger than those currently available to construct a realistically sized machine. Moreover, the cost of building such a device could be over $100 billion and it would consume 50 GW of energy - the entire power consumption of the United Kingdom.

Finally there is the risk, the authors point out, that the interaction of the neutrino beam with the bomb "could lead to a full explosion" instead of eliminating it.

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ACLU Patriot Act checklist

(PDF of the full poster)



  • I am not terribly impressed with the most recent Front 242 album, "Pulse". It's their first studio album in ten years, and it's not bad... but it just doesn't grab me. Probably my expectations were too high, though, because every previous F242 release, going back to when Official Version came out in 1987, was immediately my Favorite Album Evar, for at least a little while. When "Off" came out, it was my new favorite album before track 2 was half over. But this one disappoints in much the same way as Cabaret Voltaire's "Colours" did. Colours grew on me eventually, but it's not exactly groundbreaking.

  • I just read Jennifer Government by Max Barry -- it's really, really funny. The first chapter is online. It's got the kind of silliness that the first half of Snow Crash had, and many of the characters have the kind of gee-whiz dopeyness that Christoper Moore's characters do (e.g., Bloodsucking Fiends.)

  • I also read "The Moreau Factor" by Jack Chalker. It was total fluff. I occasionally pick up a new Chalker book because when I was 12, I totally loved the "Well of Souls" series. Unfortunately, he's been mostly writing the same story ever since.

  • On thursday, I went to see Throwing Muses at Slim's. I hadn't seen them before. It was a pretty good show, but Kristen Hersh has a very odd stage presence... during every song, she seemed like she was trying to stare a wide-eyed hole through one one particular spot on the back wall, never looking to the side or down, and barely blinking. Kinda odd.

    My club sucks, but there's some good stuff coming up at Slim's in the next few weeks. I'll probably be going to these:

      thu may 15: Verbena
      sat may 24: Red Elvises!!
      sat jun 21: The Fall
      sat jul 12: Placebo
      sat jul 26: Horton Heat
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DNA Lounge: Wherein we hear the very modern stylings of EmCee WhinyPants.

Well, the DNA Lounge security staff now has a theme song!

I'm sure anyone who actually reads this journal has some inkling of the fact that the reason clubs don't allow people to bring in outside liquor is not just because that's the only way we can afford to stay open, but also because it's against the law: allowing that sort of thing can cost you your liquor license.

So tonight one of the performers came in, got up on stage, and plopped her flask right down in front of her. Matt noticed this, went over and gave her the "what do you think you're doing" look; she ignored him, so he took the flask, emptied it in the nearest sink, and gave it back to the promoter.

The result? MC WhinyPants started rapping out four minutes worth of death threats! The gist of it was that she was not only going to shoot him in the head (sorry, choot him in the head), but his children too!

"That shit ain't right, that shit ain't cool, and he knows the rules, you just don't dump out some girl's shit. Foo!"

This is a keeper. You can listen to it here. The sound quality is pretty lousy, but it was lousy in person too.

Oh, and for full effect when listening to the distinctive African-American vernacular in this rap, please keep in mind that the MC was actually a blonde, nerdy looking white girl.

Apparently the song didn't get it out of her system, because afterward she stood outside and spent more than an hour loudly bitching about it to her friends, too. Maybe she was waiting to see if Matt was going to come out and "represent."

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Current Music: Yello -- Pan Blue ♬

Warren Ellis slashdot gangbang interview up now

"Set bowel disruptor to liquify!"

interview with the photographer who got busted for photoshopping war photos

"Walski: I guess you're calling to ask why I destroyed my career."
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Google to fix blog noise problem

Google to fix blog noise problem. (no, that subject isn't flamebait at all!)

Google is to create a search tool specifically for weblogs, most likely giving material generated by the self-publishing tools its own tab. [...]

"The main problem with blogs is that, as far as Google is concerned, they masquerade as useful information when all they contain is idle chatter," wrote Roddy. "And through some fluke of their evil software, they seem to get indexed really fast, so when a major political or social event happens, Google is noised to the brim with blogs and you have to start at result number 40 or so before you get past the blogs." [...]

"They didn't foresee a tightly-bound body of wirers," reckons Stock. "They presumed that technicians at USC would link to the best papers from MIT, to the best local sites from a land trust or a river study - rather than a clique, a small group of people writing about each other constantly. They obviously bump the rankings system in a way for which it wasn't prepared." [...] For Stock and Roddy, the problem is that the resulting degradation in the quality of information makes it even harder to find primary source material. Roddy said the realization came after searching through 500 blog entries to find a primary source. [...]

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FPB (First Person Balls)

"Marble Madness 2003 is a mod for Unreal Tournament 2003."

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