Wednesday, April 30, 2008


It seems that this Friday isn't May 3rd, but May 2nd.

So, Tea that day will be commemorating Dos de Mayo, instead of Tres de Mayo or Cinco de Mayo. HSI Apologies for any confusion.

Luckily, there is some artwork for that day, too.

Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102

From The New York Times:

PARIS — Albert Hofmann, the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known, died Tuesday at his hilltop home near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.

The cause was a heart attack, said Rick Doblin, founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a California-based group that in 2005 republished Dr. Hofmann’s 1979 book “LSD: My Problem Child.

Dr. Hofmann first synthesized the compound lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 but did not discover its psychopharmacological effects until five years later, when he accidentally ingested the substance that became known to the 1960s counterculture as acid.

He then took LSD hundreds of times, but regarded it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. More important to him than the pleasures of the psychedelic experience was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception, of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as almost a religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life.

Perhaps we should all partake of LSD "hundreds of times" - it might increase our longevity.

ED has helpfully pointed out this site with a recipe for LSD for you home experimenters out there. (There are other recipes as well, including one that uses Foster's Beer).

Here's the recipe:

2 egg whites
1 oz mixture of 3 parts baking soda, 2 parts water.
2 fresh cherries
1 tsp red wine
1 tsp sugar.

First of all, you'll want to get some good, expensive red wine. The cheap stuff works, but your trips will be crappier and you'll get some nausea.

Ok, now that you have your stuff, put the Egg whites and cherries in a large bowl. Start stirring until you get a pinkish mass. Now, Pour in your mixture of baking soda. As you do this you will notice heat building and a small amount of smoke being let off- this is normal. Wait about 10 minutes to cool. Then Pour in the red wine. Immediately after you do this, steam will gather and after a few seconds you will be left with A clear liquid at the bottom of the bowl. This is your acid.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Friday Tea - Tres de Mayo

Many others will celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year.

Due to an unfortunate scheduling error, that is not possible for us.

Thankfully, though, there's always "Tres de Mayo", which we'll be celebrating this Friday at 4:00.

JT will be sponsoring this Tea with a variety of cervezas.

Here's some history:

The Third of May 1808 (or El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid, [etc...]) is a painting completed in 1814 by the Spanish master Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Along with its companion piece of the same size, The Second of May 1808 (or The Charge of the Mamelukes), it was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain at Goya's suggestion. Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon's armies during the occupation of 1808.

The painting's content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a groundbreaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources in high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era.[3] According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is "the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention".[4]

The Third of May 1808 has inspired a number of other major paintings, including a series by Édouard Manet, and Pablo Picasso's Massacre in Korea and his masterpiece Guernica.

Next year, we celebrate "Uno de Mayo"...

CC is back!

Let's let her settle in before we give her the news!

The Software Lab now has goldfish

The Software Lab now has goldfish. They're much happier now that we've got the aeration system set up.

Stop by and say hello to Betty and Veronica.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


HSI is proud to welcome its first sponsor, The Rewind Band. They're playing Speakers nightclub a week from Saturday (Mother's day eve), and they'd really like to pack the place. Click on the ad for directions.

Let's all plan to attend!

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's been an extraordinary day.

First, ED has earned himself a good reputation with the fire department, after quenching a rapidly growing mulch fire. Good going, ED!

WL has purchased a sturdy can opener for the kitchen - so take that, can opener "borrower".

It's Orthodox Good Friday - so Sunday is Orthodox Easter. Passover must be about to end, too. (Looks like there's about 1 day left).

...and finally, it's Fonda Fondue Friday - in LESS THAN AN HOUR!

How much better could it get?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fonda Fondue

You know what we don't have enough of around here? Fondue.

AZ has graciously decided to sponsor Tea tomorrow - with some cheese fondue.

See you (tomorrow) at Four.

AZ wants cake!

Does anybody have a birthday this week?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day and Passover

Earth Day and Passover on the same day?

How did we (almost) miss that?

Of course, Earth Day did have a large target...

Do we have a can opener thief among us?

Well, do we NT?

What are the chances?

SM provides the idea for this post. Pardon us for the math...

In a group of people of size r, what is the probability that two people share the same birthday? (Discounting leap days...)

TC = Total potential combinations of unique birthdays = 365 * 364 * 363 * ... * 365-r+1.

Probability of all unique birthdays = TC / (365^^r).

Probability of not all unique birthdays = 1 - (TC/(365^^r)).

Some examples:

# peopleProb (all unique)Prob (not all unique)
11.000 0
100.883 0.117
300.293 0.707

Monday, April 21, 2008

OK, we were wrong...

The article we remembered was from all the way back in ought-two - not from "a couple of years ago". Here are some excerpts:

Few Risks Seen To the Children Of 1st Cousins

New York Times, By Denise Grady, April 4, 2002

Contrary to widely held beliefs and longstanding taboos in America, first cousins can have children together without a great risk of birth defects or genetic disease, scientists are reporting today. They say there is no biological reason to discourage cousins from marrying.

First cousins are somewhat more likely than unrelated parents to have a child with a serious birth defect, mental retardation or genetic disease, but their increased risk is nowhere near as large as most people think, the scientists said.

In the general population, the risk that a child will be born with a serious problem like spina bifida or cystic fibrosis is 3 percent to 4 percent; to that background risk, first cousins must add another 1.7 to 2.8 percentage points, the report said.

Although the increase represents a near doubling of the risk, the result is still not considered large enough to discourage cousins from having children, said Dr. Arno Motulsky, a professor emeritus of medicine and genome sciences at the University of Washington, and the senior author of the report.

''In terms of general risks in life it's not very high,'' Dr. Motulsky said. Even at its worst, 7 percent, he said, ''93 percent of the time, nothing is going to happen.''

The report is in today's issue of The Journal of Genetic Counseling.


Dr. Motulsky said medical geneticists had known for a long time that there was little or no harm in cousins marrying and having children. ''Somehow, this hasn't become general knowledge,'' even among doctors, he said.

Twenty-four states have laws forbidding first cousins from marrying, and seven states have limits like requiring genetic counseling. But no countries in Europe have such prohibitions, and in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, marriages between cousins are considered preferable.


It is not known how many cousins marry or live together. Estimates of marriages between related people, which include first cousins and more distant ones, range from less than 0.1 percent of the general population to 1.5 percent. In the past, small studies have found much higher rates in some areas. A survey in 1942 found 18.7 percent in a small town in Kentucky and a 1980 study found 33 percent in a Mennonite community in Kansas.


Keith T., 30, said he married his cousin seven years ago and in 1998, frustrated by the lack of information for cousins who wanted to marry, he started a Web site, It is full of postings from people who say they have married their cousins or want to do so.

UPDATE: Cecil Adams weighed in on the topic in ought-four - and reminds us:

An argument can be made that marriages of first cousins descended from strong stock can produce exceptional children. Charles Darwin, for example, married his first cousin Emma, which wasn't at all unusual in their prominent and successful family--their common grandparents were cousins too. Three of Charles and Emma's ten kids died in childhood, it's true, but that was standard for Victorian England; the others went on to productive and in some cases distinguished careers.


Why are Americans and their legal system so phobic about first-cousin marriage while Europeans aren't? Ottenheimer blames several factors. First, bad research in the 19th century greatly exaggerated the dangers of imbecility, blindness, etc, among children of close kin. This research was eventually discredited in Europe, but Americans and their state legislators never got the word. Second, cousin marriage in the U.S. was considered a sign of barbarism (probable translation: hillbillies did it). In Europe, on the other hand, particularly in Mediterranean cultures, cousin marriage had a long and reasonably respectable history, although it's rare today. Finally, European deep thinkers contended that certain forms of cousin marriage increased social cohesion. No such positive arguments were advanced in the States.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tea - leftovers...

Today's tea will be much less civilized than last week's tea.

We expect the leftovers to be delicious, though.

If anyone needs something specific to celebrate, it's Zimbabwe's Independence Day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Papa Ratzi!

Who knew you were born on the same day (4/16) as our sister?

You two have a happy belated b-day, y'hear?

Welcome to Hell, CC

As one of her first acts as an employee, CC threw RA under the bus.

In return for a friendly "welcome to the company" email, she shot him in the face, then pretended it was an accident.

Thanks CC. We hope everything goes your way.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

T1 Update

Speakeasy's NY Internet Speed test reports: 1386 kbps download speed, 1473 upload speed.

Seems like we've arrived.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How soon is now? (T1 Update)

Finally we learn that "midweek" is tomorrow between 9:30 and 10:00 AM.

Verizon, verily thy name is Slowsky.

Did you know?

On this day in 1770, Joseph Priestly discovered the Rubber Eraser.

So, today is Rubber Eraser Day. Make all the mistakes you want.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Where's JU?

Probably out looking for a good backup service.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Did you know?

ME: I have to work tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., and i usually wake up around 8:30.
RA: Well then you should try doing this. When you wake up put a pillow over your head and you can go back to sleep.
ME: Does that really work?
RA: Yah. You will sleep until like 3:00 p.m.
Me: I can't sleep until 3:00 p.m. i have to work then.
RA: Yah ok then.

And for sure I tried it. I woke up at 8:00 and i put the pillow over my head and i woke up around 11:30.

So if you want to get more sleep try what i did it works for real.

By: Megan S.

Friday, April 11, 2008

You know what's nice?

You know what's nice?

Civilization. And Manhattans.

Please join us at 4:00 to toast the end of Hate Week and the return of Civility and the Cheese Plate.

Also, AZ has liberated some Vino Aromatizzato All'Uovo from her wine cellar. It has a chicken on the label, so there's no doubt it'll be good.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

T1 Status

Yesterday, we used SpeakEasy's Internet Speed Test to determine our connection speed. We got numbers something like: 272 kbps download, and 493 kbps upload.

Today, we repeated the test, and got the following: 262 kbps download, and 385 kbps upload.

The trend is not good. Midweek is tomorrow, right?

Vegetarian Chili

There's a vat of Vegetarian Chili warming up in the Kitchen.

Interest has been strong so far.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Schlitz is Back!

But we'll have to travel to Chicago to get some... Is Biotech big there?

Chicago Tribune, By Mike Hughlett, April 5

"When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of …" what? Can you remember?

If you said "beer," congratulations, you're the target market for an attempt to revive the once-ubiquitous but now nearly dead beer brand right here in Chicago, where Schlitz once reigned supreme. And yes, it is a long, long shot, beer industry experts say.

Next week, at select North Side outlets, Pabst Brewing Co., current owner of the Schlitz brand, will launch the revamped brew with an old 1960s recipe. That would be the recipe used before the old Schlitz company changed its formula in the 1970s, sending the brew on a path to near oblivion.

New Schlitz will come in traditional long-neck bottles too. Nowadays Schlitz comes only in cans, and they don't exactly fly off the shelves. About as many barrels of Schlitz beer are shipped per year as Bud Light, the leading U.S. beer, are shipped in a day.


Pabst is a virtual company, contracting out brewing and bottling to others. Its stated goal with Schlitz: Make a nostalgia play of sorts to Baby Boomers—guys in their 50s and even late 40s—who remember Schlitz as a no-nonsense beer of their youth.

"These are the guys who remember how great the brand was and what it means," said Kyle Wortham, Pabst's senior brand manager for Schlitz. "It's guys who were drinking this beer back in the day."


But what about the taste?

Well, Wortham said he hears this from people in the first two test markets: "It tastes like the first beer I stole out of my dad's refrigerator." And that, he said, is definitely a compliment.

Weekend Entertainment

Leningrad Cowboys & Red Army Choir - SWEET HOME ALABAMA

Friday, April 04, 2008

NT - Have you tried this?

NT - Have you tried this? It was one of the top ten designs of 2000. They must have the bugs worked out of it by now.

Today starts Hate Week

In George Orwell's 1984, April 4 - 10 is Hate Week.

Please hate the right people, people.

AZ Turned 40 Today!

Happy Birthday!

It's rumored that CL was also born today - Happy Birthday to you, too!

Today's Tea will be canceled in sympathy. (Or moved to Acton, depending on interpretation).

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Whatever happened to?

Whatever happened to Monica Lewinsky?

Well, that handbag business closed around 2004.

She did, however, get a Master's degree in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics back in '06.

Since then, apparently, she's been laying low.

NATO invited Albania to join?

Albania? and Croatia?


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Zero hour, 10 AM

The latest rumor is that the T1 line will go live this Friday at 10:00AM.

Be prepared for a little dizziness.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Coffee Emergency Is Over.

Thanks to RS, we have four (4) gigantic magnums of coffee freezing in the kitchen. Should last us until around May.

Coffee Emergency

Coffee Emergency enters second day.

Authorities unconcerned.