Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.

Someone just used the email form on the Stop the War on Fun site to send this gem. I assume it's an attempt at spam? Well, if it's a legitimate question, I'm sure someone on the SF Board of Supervisors can help them. They seem like people who would be knowledgeable about cell phones.

From: addesee <>

Subject: Stop the War on Fun
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 15:34:12 -0800 (PST)

Zip code: 123456

I recently acquired an unlocked iphone 3G. I'm sort of new to cell phones, but i know the plan i want. It is a pay as you o rogers plan. How exactly do i activate my phone with pay as you go.

And this one that I received last night is equally puzzling. How does this spam turn into money? Needless to say, there is no such discount offer and we've never heard of these people, so how does trying to piss off my customers with a lie help them? Why would they send this? There were no links.

From: Mike <>
Date: November 30, 2009 12:39:01 AM PST
Subject: DNA Lounge,

Save 10% on your next visit to DNA Lounge.

Located at 375 11th St, San Francisco.

Print this page and bring it with you for a 10% Savings.

(for details click on and Send)

To Opt-out put Unsubscribe on the Subject line and return.

How does that make you feel?

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Coke Sign neon replaced with high fructose corn syrup.

They've killed the Coke sign! This is a tragedy! A travesty. A tragavesty.

Now normally I have a visceral, knee-jerk allergy to advertising in pretty much any form (and I don't even drink Coke, see sidebar), but I have to admit that I have some love for that Coke sign.

It was so old and janky and never worked right! Half of the lights seemed to run on Lucas three-position switch technology (off, dim and flicker) and it was a different half almost every night. I have long had this fantasy that the reason the sign always looked like that is that there is only one guy left in the world who knows how to fix the mechanical relays that drive its pattern logic, and that guy is 95 and has trouble getting up and down the ladder to sweep the birdshit out of the contacts with his vintage Nineteenth-century wire brush.

That's how it is in my head, anyway. If the reality is not actually like that, then I don't want to know.

But anyway, replacing it with a slick, modern LED facimile? Feh! I shake an angry fist.

"Energy Efficient" LED Sign to Be Unveiled in Late December.

The Coca-Cola Company announced today plans to replace the historic neon sign in San Francisco`s South of Market district. Coca-Cola has maintained a display alongside the southbound lanes on the I-80 freeway heading in to downtown San Francisco for more than 75 years. In its place will be a state-of-the-art LED display that is consistent in size and brightness with the existing sign but 80% more energy efficient and is to be powered by 100% sustainable and certified "green" energy. [...]

To begin preparations for installation, power will be shut off to the existing display starting today. Skilled display and lighting workers will begin carefully dismantling and removing the display faces. By December 11, it will be completely disassembled and the installation of the replacement faces will begin. [...] Coca-Cola also plans a `flip-the-switch` ceremony to celebrate relighting the new sign. More details will be forthcoming.

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Say hello to my little friend.

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Series of Tubes, 2

Previously and elsewhere.

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Scene missing! A video in this post has disappeared. If you know of an accessible version of this video, please mail me so that I can update this post.
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"morphological computing"

Fingerprints: Signal Processors for Touch

Debregeas et amis say it looks as if the ridges and whorls in fingerprints filter mechanical vibrations in a way that best allows nerve endings to sense them. The mechanoreceptors that do this job are called Pacinian corpuscles. They sit at the ends of nerves and are responsible for sensing pressure and pain. These devices can sense vibrations over a wide area of skin but are sensitive only to a limited range of vibrations. In fact biologists have known for some time that Pacinian corpuscles are most sensitive to vibrations at 250Hz.

Debregeas and co have investigated this problem using a "CYBER FINGER" that they built in their lab, complete with synthetic fingerprints on the same scale as human ones and a microelectromechanical sensor that measures force with a spatial resolution of millimetres. They say that fingerprints resonate at certain frequencies and so tend to filter mechanical vibrations. It turns out that their resonant frequency is around 250Hz.

That means that fingerprints act like signal processors, conditioning the mechanical vibrations so that the Pacinian corpuscles can best interpret them. It's this optimisation process that allows us to sense textures with a spatial resolution far smaller than the distance between Pacinian corpuscles in the skin.

There is a growing awareness that the processing power of the nervous system, including the brain, simply cannot handle the volume of number crunching that has to be done to keep a living body on the road. Instead, it looks increasingly clear that the brain outsources much of this work to the body itself: to the joints, ligaments, muscles, skin etc. Understanding how these materials do all this processing is turning materials science into a branch of computer science. It's even got a name: morphological computing.

People Hear With Skin as Well as Their Ears

The researchers had subjects listen to spoken syllables while hooked up to a device that would simultaneously blow a tiny puff of air onto the skin of their hand or neck. The syllables included "pa" and "ta," which produce a brief puff from the mouth when spoken, and "da" and "ba," which do not produce puffs. They found that when listeners heard "da" or "ba" while a puff of air was blown onto their skin, they perceived the sound as "ta" or "pa."

Dr. Gick said the findings were similar to those from the 1976 study, in which visual cues trumped auditory ones -- subjects listened to one syllable but perceived another because they were watching video of mouth movements corresponding to the second syllable. In his study, he said, cues from sensory receptors on the skin trumped the ears as well. "Our skin is doing the hearing for us," he said.

"What's so persuasive about this particular effect," he added, "is that people are picking up on this information that they don't know they are using." That supports the idea that integrating different sensory cues is innate.

Current Music: Front 242 -- Skin ♬

He's all up in your areas.

Exhibit B:

Mr. Churchill of Chicago reminds you that you get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.
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