Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mango Soda

How to make Mango Soda

As a public service, Head-Smashed-In presents sources of Mango Soda.

You could order Mango Soda from Cool Mountain. Only $ 1.75 a pop!

If you're keeping kosher, Diet rite has a kosher version.

You could take a flight on Yunnan Air...

As pictured above, you could concoct your own.

HSI does not recommend Mango Soda - it's not particularly nutritious... On the other hand, it probably won't kill you, either.

Marry not an engineer

Champagne Bride

From memories of times long past, I'm compelled to present a link to one version of Psalm to an Engineer's Sweetheart (aka "Marry not an Engineer"). Here's how it starts:

Verily, I say unto ye,
marry not an engineer.
For an engineer is a strange being
and possessed of many evils.

Yea, he speaketh always in parables
which he calleth formulae.
He wieldeth a big stick
which he calleth a slide rule.
And he hath only one bible,
a handbook.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Today's analogy

Nanobiology is hard, hard work. Sometimes an analogy can clear away the fog of misunderstanding that occludes our vision.

Today we learned that in solution large molecules are like elephants, and small ones are like squirrels. While elephants are smart enough to avoid the odd tsunami, they are also massive. So massive that they are not going to be accelerated quickly by a little water pressure. Smaller, squirrel-like molecules will move around the elephant, and maybe end up only irritating it. So even if one were to use a fire hose, the elephant would probably just think that he's getting a nice shower. Only after some time would it get the idea that it'd be best to move along.

The moral: Pump your fluids slowly, lest you enrage a bull elephant!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

One way to get a blackberry

SG reports that Oprah's giveaway show this year (to Katrina rescue workers and survivors) included a blackberry. That's a tough way to get a blackberry, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.

BlackBerry 7105t™ from T-Mobile
Suggested retail price: $299
1-800-TMOBILE (800-866-2453);

UPDATE: Also among the booty was an iPod.

Apple iPod
Suggested retail price: $299
800-MY-APPLE (800-692-7753);

Those lucky, lucky people.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

The Cat

... Well, Logical Friday, anyway...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Who'd have thought this?

According to "The Big Picture", there's a Gartner report that claims ANY and ALL DRM schemes on music CDs can be defeated with a small piece of opaque tape.

I'll bet Tom and Ray would be keen to hear about this! (I'll let them know).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Here's to you, Mr. Outside Contractor.

Why do companies bring in outside consultants and contractors? Is it because they are looking to save a little dough, or to remain flexible in the face of changing conditions? Yes, but there's a better reason. To bring in fresh blood - to shake things up a little.

A contractor is never more appreciated than when he claims to have all the answers. It's a tough row to hoe, however, if the rank and file, the old-hands, think they know better. Sisyphus had it easy compared to the contractor in that situation. Take Sisyphus and add a lava flow of molasses coming down that mountain, and you'll start to have an idea of the sort of Herculean task such an unfortunate one would face, day after day, after day. It could give a guy a complex, if he weren't endowed with extraordinary fortitude.

The ability to survey the landscape, pick a direction and set forth, dragging the entire company with you, like a ball and chain manacled to your leg, is the hallmark of the successful contractor. Companies don't really know what they want - it's the job of the contractor to come in, size up the situation, and get to work rescuing the client from itself.

Here's to you, outside contractor, have a Budweiser on us!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Little-Known Fact of the Day

On a recent field trip to Pennsylvania, WL was apprised by JC (not this JC, nor that JC) that the world's first "Penitentiary" was established at Philadelphia. This fact is not widely known - even the great Wiki has no reference to the event. Merriam-Webster's listing doesn't reference any special provenance for the word, either.

A brief search, however, reveals that, indeed, the world's first Penitentiary was Eastern State Penitentiary. The first prisoner, Charles Williams, was brought there on October 23, 1829.

The penitentiary was informed by "Quaker ideas about the nature of man and the redemptive powers of solitary reflection and penitence." While it was better than capital punishment, that doesn't mean that it was fun. Each prisoner was kept in solitary confinement for the duration of his term, had his own quarters, including plumbing, and even adequate ventilation to prevent "Gaol fever."

Another fun study

Blogging is hard, hard work. Grueling, actually. The pressure of day after day having to come up with something to say can wear a guy down. So much so that he'll start linking to things like this.

(I figured that since the Aluminium foil hat study went over so well that I'd continue on in that vein).

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Is iPod bigger than Jesus?

The Cult of Mac blog has, in addition to "Zen iPod docks" made of stone, this handy little item for the true believer. Looks like something that Madonna might have worn before changing her name to Esther.


Friday, November 11, 2005

On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study

From the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT comes this important study:

Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

Learn more!

Update: Hattip Neddie Jingo!

Update 2: On Friday, a google search for "Fringe community of paranoids" netted exactly 2 results, both of which pointed to the web sites of the authors of the study. As of this writing, there are three pages of results for that query. Just goes to show what can happen if Slashdot picks up on a story.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

WL Day

Yesterday, all day, was WL day. We all donned fake moustaches, and tried to be as punny as possible.

WL was moved to recall the cream song:

Swablr by Cream.

By Jack Bruce and Pete Brown

Coming to me in the morning, leaving me at night.
Coming to me in the morning, leaving me alone.
You've got that rainbow feel but the rainbow has a beard.

Running to me a-cryin' when he throws you out.
Running to me a-cryin', on your own again.
You've got that pure feel, such good responses,
But the picture has a mustache.

You're coming to me with that soulful look on your face,
Coming looking like you've never ever done one wrong thing.

You're coming to me with that soulful look on your face.
You're coming looking like you've never ever done one wrong thing.

So many fantastic colors; i feel in a wonderland.
Many fantastic colors makes me feel so good.
You've got that pure feel, such good responses.
You've got that rainbow feel but the rainbow has a beard.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Energy Fiend

Energy Fiend brings us this handy "Death by caffeine" calculator. Should you wish to commit seppuku without all the blood - perhaps overdosing on caffeine would do.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Que es mas macho?

What are the characteristics of a good engineer? One source has it that among these are:

1) Curiosity.
2) Inititive (or the display thereof).
3) Creativity.
4) Understanding of Processes (System knowledge).
5) Failure Analysis (So as to fix said system).
6) Must like fish.

Suggestions for additions to this list will be respectfully entertained.

(Oh, BTW, Congratulations!)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

One Good Reason for leaving work early

Generally speaking, if one needs to attend a funeral, is it perfecly OK to leave work a little early.

Just be sure to make up the time, if required.