Monday, March 31, 2008

Having Trouble Sticking to Your Diet?

Need to encourage yourself a little? Would you prefer to let a third party hold the pot for your bet?

Then take a contract out on yourself, and let Stickk motivate you!

(As heard about on Here-and-now, this noon).

Coffee Emergency

We're down to only about one (1) of those plastic coffee cache doohickies. There is no more frozen coffee in the freezer, or anywhere else that we can determine.

The raspberry herbal tea will be of no use, particularly because it doesn't have caffeine, but also because it expired in NINETEEN EIGHTY-NINE. (February, '89, to be precise). We think that VS hadn't been born yet!

We hope someone gets to work to avert this incipient crisis.

Despite good reviews, we don't think that the Coffee Emergency in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be able to help in time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Herb Peterson, Inventor of the Egg McMuffin, Dies at 89

Apparently, ol' Herb didn't ingest too many of 'em.

Software Working Group

Day 2 of the Software Working Group has started. It is very quiet in here - the tone is substantially subdued - it's very unlike the atmosphere during a summit.

RA Has a New Nephew

They've named him Henry Tecumseh.

7 1/2 lbs and 21 in. long. Delivery was 8 hrs. His father says he's gorgeous. Mom was a trooper. He's their first. Henry was born at 4 in the morning on the 26th. The family resides in Virginia.

UPDATE: William Tecumseh Sherman was a UNION general, famous for his scorched earth policies of total war against the Confederacy. Military historian Basil Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".

We hope that his classmates go easy on him.

UPDATE 2: We are reliably informed that Henry has not been named after the Union general, but after the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh. This Tecumseh was a uniter, not a divider. He and his followers fought alongside the British against the US, in an effort to lose less territory to the new country. The impression was widespread that Tecumseh was a British General - so much so that he was often depicted as such in portraits.

The correct Tecumseh (Tekamwthē: "He who Walks Across [the Sky]"):

We still hope his classmates will go easy on him.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Overheard in the Software Lab

"If I were to wear short sleeves because my office is so warm, I'd catch a cold going into the kitchen..."

Once again - one does not catch cold from being cold! It's the same word - but being cold won't cause anyone to catch a cold!

(To a first approximation, of course).

Thursday, March 20, 2008


One characteristic of polytheistic religions is that there is often less of a tendency to accept authority.

For instance, one might think that the Hindu God Ganesh might have an agreed-upon provenance. For us, sadly, it seems not to be so.

Wikipedia has this to say about Ganesh:

Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance in Indian art.[42] Puranic myths provide many explanations for how he got his elephant head.[43] One of his popular forms, Heramba-Ganapati, has five elephant heads, and other less-common variations in the number of heads are known.[44] While some texts say that Ganesha was born with an elephant head, in most stories he acquires the head later.[45] The most recurrent motif in these stories is that Ganesha was born with a human head and body and that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati. Shiva then replaced Ganesha's original head with that of an elephant.[46] Details of the battle and where the replacement head came from vary according to different sources.[47] In another story, when Ganesha was born, his mother, Parvati, showed off her new baby to the other gods. Unfortunately, the god Shani (Saturn), who is said to have the evil eye, looked at him, causing the baby's head to be burned to ashes. The god Vishnu came to the rescue and replaced the missing head with that of an elephant.[48] Another story says that Ganesha was created directly by Shiva's laughter. Because Shiva considered Ganesha too alluring, he gave him the head of an elephant and a protruding belly.[49]


Though Ganesha is popularly held to be the son of Shiva and Parvati, the Puranic myths disagree about his birth.[101] He may have been created by Shiva,[102] or by Parvati,[103] or by Shiva and Parvati,[104] or appeared mysteriously and was discovered by Shiva and Parvati.[105]

Also according to Wikipedia:

Ganesha is identified with the Hindu mantra Aum (ॐ, also called Om). The term oṃkārasvarūpa (Aum is his form), when identified with Ganesha, refers to the notion that he personifies the primal sound.[94]

As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway of many Hindu temples to keep out the unworthy...

Ganesha appeared in his classic form as a clearly-recognizable deity with well-defined iconographic attributes in the early 4th to 5th centuries.


... and speaking of Pantheism - any guesses as to how many Hindu Gods there are?

The Vedas, the earliest comprehensive literature of the Indo-European people, contain mantras for pleasing the devas to obtain blessings. The Rig Veda, the earliest of the four, enumerates 33 devas, which in later Hinduism became exaggerated to 330 million, likely because the same Sanskrit word means "ten million" and "class, group", i.e. "33 types of divine manifestations".

Now THAT's an abundance of riches!

Today's Etymology


Function: noun

Etymology: Italian, literally, goddess, from Latin, feminine of divus divine, god — more at deity
Date: 1883

1 a: prima donna : a usually glamorous and successful female performer or personality (a fashion diva); especially : a popular female singer


Deva (Hinduism)

Deva (देव in Devanagari script, pronounced [ˈd̪eʋə]) is the Sanskrit word for "god, deity". It can be variously interpreted as a spirit, god, celestial being, angel, deity or any supernatural being of high excellence. In Hindu mythology, the devas are opposed to the demonic Asuras.

The word is from PIE [Proto-Indo-European] *deiwos, originally an adjective meaning "celestial" or "shining"... ...Related but distinct is the PIE proper name *Dyeus which while from the same root, may originally have referred to the sky, and hence to "Father Sky", the chief god of the Indo-European pantheon, continued in Sanskrit Dyaus.

The English words "divine", "deity", Latin "deus" and French "dieu" (both meaning "god"), are cognates of deva.

Friday Tea

Today's tea is twice special.

Not only has LM donated two (2) bottles of Madeira to the cause, but NR is going to open the Jägermeister.

AND, RV is rumored to be planning to attend - which means that AZ will be there, too.

So much good news.

Happy Spring!

Spring arrived in the Northern Hemisphere at 1:48 AM EDT today.

(Just another service we provide).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

JM is Leaving

Long Live JM.

At least we'll not be confused anymore between JM and JM.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How do they do it?

They EARN it!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Pi Day Everybody!

Lets all celebrate responsibly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Martina Navratilova Defects!

Martina's done it again! This time, though, she's defected to her native Czech Republic.

Disillusioned with the US, Navratilova defects again

The Independent, By David Macintyre, March 12

Martina Navratilova has regained Czech nationality more than 30 years after fleeing a Communist regime she now compares favourably to that of her adopted country America under President George Bush.

The nine-time Wimbledon champion and one of the world's greatest ever tennis players, Ms Navratilova was born in Prague. She fled in 1975 at the height of the Cold War after being denied the right to compete in professional tennis in the US, where most major tournaments were then played and to where she later moved.

After angering the Communist authorities and living in America for six years, she became a US citizen.

Yesterday, however, she told a press conference in Tokyo that she now has her home citizenship back. "I lost it at the time I defected. I got it back on 9 January," she said.


She will now maintain dual citizenship with both the US and the Czech Republic....

It must have been the limited variety of cheese available here that did it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Engineers of Jihad

Sounds like a good idea for a calendar.

No less than Oxford University has produced a study, "Engineers of Jihad", that asserts that Engineers are posessed of minds that tend toward "monism" and "simplism." (Is the latter even a word?). We tend toward the right, politically, and pine for a rational world where, if everyone just did the right thing, everything would be all right.

From EE Times ('Jihad' study roils engineering, By Sheila Riley, March 7):

Islamic terrorists are more likely to be engineers than members of any other profession--and not because engineers possess superior technological skills. That's the conclusion of a controversial Oxford University study that has the engineering community buzzing.

The study's disturbing finding blames what it calls a universal engineering mindset [We are Borg!], which it describes as one drawn to structure and rules plus clear, single solutions to complex problems. When coupled with the harsh realities of life in many Islamic countries, terrorism can be the result, the study says.


Earlier research done in the United States and Canada backs up one element of the British findings: that engineers incline toward more-conservative political and religious thought than those in other professions. The U.S. study was done in 1984 at the request of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and looked at college instructors; the Canadian study, done in 1999, drew the same conclusion.

The study also claims that Electrical Engineers have "high social status." The whole thing must be flawed.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Русский Стандарт

Today's Tea will feature Russian Standard vodka, straight (pun intended, WL) from St. Petersburg.

From the manufacturer's website:

Russian Standard Original is recognised throughout its native homeland as the ultimate benchmark for all Russian vodkas. Conforming to Professor Mendeleev's original formula, it is a superbly smooth spirit with a pure taste that maintains the characteristic “bread” flavour of traditional Russian vodka.

The unique shape of its specially textured bottle—reflecting the depth of the product's Russian personality—is inspired by the 200 tonne bell commissioned by Tsarina Anna I, which stands at the foot of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in Moscow.

Featuring Dmitri Mendeleev's signature as a mark of its absolute authenticity and historic ancestry, Russian Standard Original's striking packaging presents a dramatic evocation of Russia's Imperial past and the culturally important place vodka holds in Russian life.

Russian Standard original is the finest expression of traditional Russian vodka.

Mendeleev (Дми́трий Ива́нович Менделе́ев, Dimitriy Ivanovich Mendeleyev), the originator of the Periodic Table of the Elements? Yes, the very one!
Here's the story:

In 1893, he was appointed Director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures. It was in this role that he was directed to formulate new state standards for the production of vodka. His fascination with molecular weights led him to conclude that to be in perfect molecular balance, vodka should be produced in the ratio of one molecule of ethyl alcohol diluted with five molecules of water, giving a dilution by volume of approximately 38% alcohol to 62% water. As a result of his work, in 1894 new standards for vodka were introduced into Russian law and all vodka had to be produced at 40% alcohol by volume.

Rewind Returns (Triumphantly) To Marlborough

Come on down to Speakers Nightclub to catch 'em again, while they're still HOT.

The Rewind Band

Speaker's Nightclub
19 Weed St.
Marlborough, MA

Saturday, March 8th (This Saturday!)
9:00 PM - 1:00 AM

What's this we hear?

NT has never read this fine blog?

How does he keep up?

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Susanna is a feminine given name. It is the name of at least two women in the Bible. It is often spelt Susannah, although Susanna is the original spelling. It is derived from Σουσάννα (Sousanna), the Greek form of the Hebrew Shoshannah, which is derived from the Hebrew shoshan meaning lily. The spelling Susanna is used in Sweden, Italy, Netherlands and Finland.


Today is "Alamo Day"...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We're taking a poll...

1970's Porn Star, or used-car salesman?

Oh, Susanna!

Oh I come from Massachusetts with a keyboard on my knee,
I'm going to Pennsylvania, my true love for to see
It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry
The sun so hot I froze to death; Susanna, don't you cry.

Oh, Susanna, don't you cry for me
For I come from Massachusetts,
With my keyboard on my knee.

I had a dream the other night when everything was still,
I thought I saw Susanna coming up the hill,
The buckwheat cake was in her mouth, the tear was in her eye,
I said I'm coming from software land, Susanna don't you cry.

I soon will be in Philly
And then I'll look around
And when I find my gal Susanne,
I'll fall upon the ground.

You spin me right round, baby, right round!

It's hard to say that WL isn't helping out in the lab...

Yesterday's Big News

The big news from yesterday's political activity (aside from the REJECTION of the Johnson, VT dump truck) is that Brattleboro and Marlboro, VT have voted to "draft indictments" against the President and Vice President of the US.

It's only fitting, since Vermont is the only state that President Bush has not visited during his term as President.

In other news, Huckabee is out ("Mike Huckabee Crosses Finish Line In Presidential Run"), and O'Bama and Clinton are *still* both viable - and the next BIG state (PA, April 22) is 6-weeks away. It should be entertaining. As someone put it, "There will be blood."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today's "The Day" Again...

Clinton and Obama are today running the gauntlet in two great states - the outcome may cause one of them to drop out of the race.

Vermont and Rhode Island are voting, with Clinton ahead in the polls in Rhode Island, and a landslide predicted for Obama in Vermont.

Yes, Ohio and Texas are also holding primaries today. We hope that they aren't too overshadowed.

Oh - it's also Town Meeting Day in Vermont. Primaries and Town Meetings in one day? Spare us the excitement!

UPDATE (3:00 PM ET): The first returns are in! Johnson, VT, has REJECTED the purchase of a dump truck. (Darn).