Food poisoning sucks, over.


I, for one, welcome our new extremely pricey fembot masters.

Current Music: some truly horrid limp biskit clone @ DNA

Hey kids, it's Exploding Whale Party Time!

Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours. The 56-foot-long whale had been on a truck headed for a necropsy by researchers, when gases from internal decay caused its entrails to explode in the southern city of Tainan.

The whale drew the attention of locals because of its large penis, measured at some five feet, the Taipei Times reported. "More than 100 Tainan city residents, mostly men, have reportedly gone to see the corpse to 'experience' the size of its penis," the newspaper reported.

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The Corporation: A Documentary

In law, the corporation is a "person". But what kind of person is it?

Considering the odd legal fiction that deems a corporation a "person" in the eyes of the law, the feature documentary employees a checklist, based on actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and DSM IV, the standard tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. What emerges is a disturbing diagnosis.

Self-interested, amoral, callous and deceitful, a corporation's operational principles make it anti-social. It breaches social and legal standards to get its way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. It suffers no guilt. Diagnosis: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.


Confessions of a Car Salesman

Confessions of a Car Salesman: Reporter goes undercover and works at a pair of car dealerships for three months. Surprise! Car salesmen are con-men.

The last time I bought a car, I used an "auto broker", and it was an extremely pleasant experience. The downsides are that you have to know exactly what you want; and you have to pay for it outright (getting financing from your bank instead of the dealer.) The upside is that you will get a way lower price with no haggling, because the broker is playing every auto dealer in the state against each other.

So next time you need a car, I recommend getting a bicycle. But a broker is the next best thing.


Vatican II: Electric Boogaloo

It's what they call a "Pope-and-lock" routine.

VATICAN CITY - In an unusual spectacle at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II presided over a performance of break-dancers who leaped, flipped and spun their bodies to beats from a tinny boom box.

The 83-year-old pontiff seemed to approve, waving his hand after each dancer completed a move, then applauding for the entire group. He watched the performance Sunday from a raised throne.

"For this creative hard work I bless you from my heart," he said.

There is alegedly video of this at CNN, but you have to give them a credit card number to see it! WTF? What's the "cypherpunks/cypherpunks" CC number?

Update, Feb 5: alekb found RealVideo of this on some TV station site. It's small and grainy. It kind of reminds me of NASA moon-landing footage.

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file under "because we can"

Here's what happens when you dump 320,000 ping pong balls down a hill. (There's also a lot of video, but it's a very slow download so I haven't seen any of it yet.)

that's what they *want* you to think

A recently taken undated hand out photograph received on January 25, 2004 shows a fake baby dragon encased in a 30 inch (0.76 metres) jar which was discovered by David Hart in a garage in Oxfordshire, southern England. A metal tin found alongside the dragon contained paperwork written in an old-fashioned German style of the 1890s, a time when their was intense rivalry between Britain's and Germany's scientists. The documents suggest that Britain's Natural History Museum turned the dragon away and sent it to be destroyed, only for the jar to be intercepted by David Hart's grandfather, Frederick Hart, who worked as a porter. REUTERS/Allistair Mitchell
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DNA Lounge: Wherein MC No-ID spoils it for everyone.

We did this hiphop event the other night: a bunch of DJs and MCs. One of the things that happens just before doors is that security goes around and checks the IDs of everyone who's already inside, to make sure they're all 21. Well, one of the MCs didn't have his ID. He had some long sob story, as they always do. Security decided to let it slide, since the guy was obviously in his 30s.

Now, this almost never happens: usually what happens if a performer doesn't have their ID is, we either make them go get it (which makes them hate us a lot) or we treat them like they're an 18-year-old performer, which means they can only be in the club when they're on stage; for the rest of the time, they get to wait on the bus.

So you'd think the sane thing to do would be to be lenient in these cases, right? Except we almost never do, because here's how the conversation usually goes:

Security: Can I see your ID, please?
Performer: This is fucking bullshit, man, I don't have to show you shit. Don't you know who I am?

So at that point, they're no longer merely guilty of not having their ID: now they're also guilty of being an asshole, which tends to eliminate any possibility of leniency.

Also, experience has shown that performers who show up without ID tend to be primadonna dipshits: the kind of person where we're actually better off having them in the building for the shortest amount of time possible, because that way they make less trouble.

But, moving right along (and I think you know where this story is going...)

A couple of hours later, one of the security guys caught MC No-ID smoking pot in the back room, and told him to knock it off. The response? "Hey, I'm the artist. That means you work for me."

Yes, he still has his teeth. That's how restrained our security guys are here.

So then he was on stage doing his little MC routine, and he was talking so much shit to the audience that by the end, the whole place was actually booing him. I haven't heard that before, even back when MC WhinyPants did her thing a few months back.

Oh, but it gets better. Apparently he pissed off the DJ so much that the DJ threw a record at him and hit him in the face! So immediately, MC No-ID was on the mic calling "Security! Security!" (Yeah, suddenly security's his best friend.)

This joker wasn't even the headliner. After MC No-ID was boo'ed off stage, the headliner did his thing, went off stage, and was planning on coming back to do an encore. He wasn't even down the stairs yet when MC No-ID grabbed the mic and said, "That's it, the club's shuttin' us down! Party's over!" Nice one. It was after 2 already, so we didn't really care, but it did leave a packed room full of people thinking that we had pulled the plug when we didn't.

After the event, of course, he was loitering around outside, wanting to fight with the DJ who nailed him in the face, so security walked that DJ to his car. The whole time, MC No-ID was following behind them saying, "yo, yo, I just want to talk to him."
"Well he doesn't want to talk to you. Go home."
"Hey man, he works for me!"

Apparently everyone works for this guy.

Though I dislike the music more at house events, hiphop events are a way bigger pain in the ass. When we've done hiphop events here, we've been pretty careful about what kinds of events we do, and so we haven't suffered the usual fate of people who host hiphop (i.e., having customers kill each other), but we do always suffer extensive property damage from all the fucking taggers. This time, the door staff were doing airport-level pat-downs, and we've collected more thick-tipped magic markers than we could ever need. Despite that, they still fucked up a few of our stools.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: taggers are scum. They are mental deficients. They have grown-up bodies and ten-year-old brains. The only behavioral difference is that instead of carving "fuck" in their school desk, or pulling the legs off spiders, they scribble their little pirate "gangsta names" onto other peoples' furniture and walls.

Here's a clue, buttercup: if your instrument is a magic marker and your subject matter is your name, you're no artist, you're just a fucking vandal. Grow the hell up.

Also: Devon, who is one of the folks who gets to clean up this mess, checks in with the tagging tally from the hiphop event:

  • 3 stools;
  • 2 tables;
  • 5 places in the men's room;
  • 2 places in the upstairs bathrooms;
  • 1 balcony railing.

The one on the balcony railing is probably never going to look right again, because now there's going to be a "clean spot" where the strategically-applied rust that we spent so much time working on before we opened will be uneven.

This place looked way nicer before we started letting customers in.

Also, last night (different event) some girl came up to coat check, yelled that she had lost her ticket and wanted her "fucking jacket" anyway. When she was denied, the girl reached into the tip jar, tore up a bunch of money, and threw cash-confetti at Suzanne.


those crazy biological hackers

Scientists grow neurons using nanostructures:

Scientists at Northwestern University have designed synthetic molecules that promote neuron growth, a promising development that could lead to the reversal of paralysis due to spinal cord injury. [...]

The innovative scaffold is made up of nanofibers formed by peptide amphiphile molecules. The scientists' key breakthrough was designing the peptide amphiphiles so that when they self-assembled into the scaffold a specific sequence of five amino acids known to promote neuron growth were presented in enormous density on the outer surfaces.

"This was all done by design," said Stupp, who is also director of the University's Institute for Bioengineering and Nanoscience in Advanced Medicine. "By including a specific biological signal on the nanostructure we were able to customize the new materials for neurons."

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