Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Whale Blogging

Beluga whale rescues diver

The Belfast Telegraph, By Linda Stewart, July 30

At first glance it looks like a vicious attack as a diver finds her leg clamped in the jaws of a beluga whale.

In fact, the animal was rescuing diver Yang Yun (26) as she floundered during a free diving competition in a tank more than 20ft deep at Polar Land in Harbin, North East China.

The diver made the plunge without diving equipment among the whales in a tank that had been chilled to Arctic temperatures but found her legs crippled by cramp from the freezing cold.

At this point Mila the beluga surged to the rescue, pushing the striken diver back to the surface.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Via Media Matters, we have this:

Since when is Egypt not in Africa?

Another danger

Beware of gangs of skinny-dipping girls in Los Angeles...

SKINNY-DIPPING ATTACKERS: Huntington Beach Police are in hot pursuit of a gang of skinny-dipping girls who allegedly shoved a 21-year-old apartment security guard into a pool, sending him to the hospital. The incident occurred at 2:42 a.m. Sunday at the Huntington Villas Apartments, in the 16700 block of Viewpoint Lane, according to authorities. No one has been arrested or detained in the incident, but the alleged shovers could be arrested on suspicion of assault.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Allan Wolfe, MD

How did we miss this?

Celtics Dancers Final Audition

Nearly 20 women shimmied, strutted — and in some cases, high-kicked — their way onto the Celtics dance team last night.

Forty-three women competed for spots on the 2009-10 squad at the "Celtics Dancers Final Audition" at the House of Blues Boston.
We coulda been contenders!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Today, Sarah Palin's Great Adventure as Governor of Alaska ended.

In honor of her leaving the people of Alaska in the hands of new Governor Sean Parnell, we present the following:

But don't worry about Sarah - she's no doubt smiling...

As to her ambitions to remain in politics, all we can say is:

She's far too dangerous:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We can't stand it.

The Los Angeles Times has the sad news:

Gidget, former Taco Bell dog, dies at age 15

It seems that every time we turn around, another beloved celebrity is passing away. Today, it is with heavy heart that we report yet another celebrity death. Rest in peace Gidget, the Chihuahua who starred in a series of Taco Bell commercials and made famous the phrase "¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!"

Gidget died of a stroke Tuesday at the ripe old age of 15, People Pets reports. She'd lived in comfortable semiretirement since the heyday of the Taco Bell advertising campaign, occasionally making cameo appearances (hawking insurance alongside the GEICO gecko in a 2002 commercial and playing the mother of Reese Witherspoon's Chihuahua, Bruiser, in the sequel to "Legally Blonde").

In the grand tradition of celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich who went before her, Gidget played against type in the Taco Bell ads, portraying a male dog voiced by Argentine American actor Carlos Alazraqui. A few years later, Alazraqui landed the role for which he's best known: Deputy James Garcia on Comedy Central's "Reno 911." But others associated with the ad campaign weren't so lucky. Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the creators of the Chihuahua character hadn't been properly compensated for their work, and Taco Bell was ordered to pay $42 million.

Burning Man Tickets are now on sale!

Burning Man (August 31 - September 7) tickets are on sale now!

This year's theme? Evolution

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection… There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers… and that, while this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been and are being evolved.
— Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species


Our theme this year prompts three related questions: What are we as human beings, where have we come from, and how may we adapt to meet an ever-changing world?

Ever feel like you'd like to disappear?

Maybe Liu Bolin could help you out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WBCN is soon to be no more

Long live WBCN!

(Though we wish it were the WBCN of 1985).

Final chord for the Rock of Boston

WBCN 104.1 FM, the long-celebrated Boston radio station credited with leading the progressive rock ‘n roll radio movement from the 1960s to the modern day, will no longer rock the airwaves.

Owner CBS Radio Boston said today that the legendary station is going off the air in a complicated shuffle intended to make room for a new sports/talk format.

On August 13, 98.5 The Sports Hub will replace the music station WBMX, or Mix 98.5, which will move to WBCN’s slot on the dial. WBCN will become a Web-only operation available at

The Sports Hub will air New England Patriots and Boston Bruins games, according to a release from the station. Local personalities Toucher and Rich will anchor the morning drive hours. The station will take the call letters WBZ-FM, pending FCC approval.

Also: WBCN through the years

WBZ-FM was one of our favorite FM stations back in the day - it was at 107.9 Mhz back then...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Scientists and Engineers Respected?

How can that be?

The respected Pew Research Center for for the People & the Press and the AAAS took a survey:

It found that at least two-thirds of Americans hold scientists and engineers in high regard...

...Scientists are beaten only by "members of the military" and teachers as people who are viewed as contributing a lot to society’s well-being. Medical Doctors come next, followed by Engineers. The list continues with Clergy, Journalists, Artists, Lawyers, and, lastly, Business Executives.


IF Tea is held today, there will be substantial variety. Cuba Libre will be added to the usual available varieties, and maybe something can be done with that Mango juice. (For CC, G&T is still available).

An attenuated cheese plate may be expected, as well as the usual chips and dip.

Perhaps see you at 4:00.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon

Tomorrow will see the arrival of who knows how many canines. They will roam the suite with impunity. Perhaps they'll even all get along. We can hope.

P.S. SJ - those were some seriously good brownies. Thanks.


Google is launching its operating system effort, known as "Google Chrome OS". Guess what - they claim that "it should just work"... We think they owe RA a royalty payment every time they use that phrase.

From the Google Blog:

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

We'd observe that if Chrome OS is built over a linux kernel, then how new can it be? but we'd probably run afoul of Apple, and we can't have that.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Friday Tea (July 3rd edition)

Perhaps Tea will move off-site to the Dudley Chateau this afternoon.

Purely as an effort at healing the schism, of course.

The Ants Are Taking Over no worries about your 401(k).

Ant mega-colony takes over world

BBC Earth News, By Matt Walker, July 1

A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.

Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.

The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

What's more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together.


In Europe, one vast colony of Argentine ants is thought to stretch for 6,000km (3,700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast, while another in the US, known as the "Californian large", extends over 900km (560 miles) along the coast of California. A third huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.

While ants are usually highly territorial, those living within each super-colony are tolerant of one another, even if they live tens or hundreds of kilometres apart. Each super-colony, however, was thought to be quite distinct.

But it now appears that billions of Argentine ants around the world all actually belong to one single global mega-colony.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Wikipedia opines:

Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday," particularly in the popular press, the occasion marks the joining of the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867. However, though Canada is regarded as having become a dominion in its own right on that date, the British Parliament at first kept limited rights of political control over the new country, which were shed by stages over the years until the last vestiges were ended in 1982, when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution. Canada Day thus differs from Independence Day celebrations in some other countries in that it does not commemorate a militant assertion of political self-determination, but rather recognizes one of the major milestones of the long and peaceful political process which formed the modern nation of Canada.