Boundary Layer

The best way to find a line is to cross it

Sunday, December 23, 2001

No relation to Gene Simmons

Check out the size of her lingual organ. (via Metafilter)

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Next up, Somalia?

According to The Times (via Rumor Mill News), Kenya has consented to allowing the US to use it as a base for attacks into Somalia. There hasn't been a functioning government in the country in a decade. It's not even really a country at this point but a patchwork of warlord controlled territories.

Let's hope we don't have a repeat of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu which is chronicled in Mark Bowden's amazing book Black Hawk Down. The great thing about our post-Nam military is that they will not make the same mistake twice. There's a saying that goes something like, "The military is always ready to fight the last battle" where last means previous, not final, although during the cold war it could have meant that too.

All of this is marketing you can't buy for the movie version coming out soon which I'm looking forward to. Pearl Harbor had its premier on a carrier with approval from the navy, so it's not like the Department of Defense hasn't dipped their toe in the foul waters of blockbuster movie marketing. And both movies had military personnel advising, used military equipment and were produced by Jerry Brukheimer. Hmm.

Incidentally, only two countries on the planet have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. One is Somalia. Can you guess the other?

David Bowie would be proud

In 1976 the Viking lander set down on Mars. One of the experiments on board was to test whether or not there was any living bacteria in the Martian soil. Surprisingly, the experiment indicated there was! The actual data is available online but isn't much to look at. A bunch of info on the martian atmosphere and soil supporting the theory is also available.

Bacteria can live in some pretty extreme environments. Undersea vents, hot springs, deep underground and maybe even the surface of the moon. In 1969 two astronauts brought back a camera that had sat on the moon for two and a half years. The NASA scientists must have soiled themselves when they studied the cameras and found that bacteria had survived a trip to the moon, a 31 month stay there, and a trip back.

The Phosphate Island

Nauru, an island in the South Pacific is no longer a paradise after disease, colonial rule, obesity, and massive strip mining.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

The Origins of Santa Claus

Apparently the myth of the guy, dressed in red, in a sleigh flown by reindeer, arose in Finland where the Sami would feed red hallucinogenic mushrooms to reindeer and drink the urine which led to some strange visions.

Monday, December 17, 2001

Two way this

I'm sick of seeing Blackberrys and two way pagers in hip hop videos. A year ago I thought it would blow over but here we are and the trend shows no signs of stopping. Seeing a wanna-be thug thumb typing to his ho makes me yearn for the days when Adidas had to be convinced to sponsor Run DMC even after they recorded 'My Adidas'. Motorola and competitors must be putting on a full court marketing blitz.

This article was written a year ago and it seemed like the trend was cresting already. I may as well accept it. Britney isn't going away and neither is this.

A material world

Inconspicuous Consumption attacks the newest marketing trend, exlposive brand names.

Pyrotechnics, munitions, and the like may not seem like the most obvious way to sell a product, but they have a certain niche in marketing history ... But the current emphasis on "Blast" seems to owe less to these earlier examples than to a desire to cash in on the rise of "extreme" youth culture. As such, the trend feels rather lazy and uninspired, especially when it's pumped up with meaningless hype."

Not so classic

Somethingawful updates some old pulp scifi covers:

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Butt why?

This link has probably been passed around more than a joint at a Phish concert. It's a Korean game that is easy to describe but impossible to explain. The object is to shoot your finger into a giant ass while avoiding the projectiles raining down. It must loose something in the translation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

In his own words

Green Beret Captain Chris Amerine gives a first hand account of his efforts to help Hamid Karzai organize an opposition to the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. On the same day that Karzai was named leader of the interim government, he and Captain Amerine were injured by a stray bomb dropped from US a aircraft. Oops. You can also listen to an excellent interview he gave with NPR.

Monday, December 10, 2001

His new writing technique is unstoppable

David "Get Your War On" Rees explains the motivation for his comics and how karate is like rapping. (via Robotwisdom)

Who dunnit?

This short FAS report summarizes much of the knowledge about the anthrax mail attacks. They conclude that the perp is a lone nut, like the Unabomber, who probably had inside access to a source of weaponized anthrax and planned the attack before September 11th. Very little of this information appears on the official Amerithrax investigation page. (via Follow Me Here)

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Microminiatures Carvings

By far the most bizarre and intriguing exhibit at the Museum of Jurassic Technology is the microminiature work of Hagop Sandaldjian.

Sandaldjian's creations - colorful figures poised on or inside the eyes of needles, or painted directly onto split grains of rice or individual hairs - are at the very least amusing, and at their best, profound.

Pictures don't do justice but you can see his Snowhite and 7 dwarves (above), golfer, colonial, or just read poetry inspired by his creations.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

The Great Alaskan Particle Gun

The HAARP (High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a device whose name doesn't give a clue as to its function. It is actually a series of 72 180 foot antennas in Alaska. Its official purpose is simply to study the ionosphere. Some believe that its really a tool for weather modification, others believe it is some form of missle defense shield. Apparently, it's now being used to find tunnels in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Pocket concert

The Dialtones Telesymphony:
"Dialtones is a large-scale concert performance whose sounds are wholly produced through the carefully choreographed ringing of the audience’s own mobile phones."
(via Gammatron)

Monday, December 03, 2001

The Dukes of Hazardous Material

The Canonical List of WEIRD Band Names. Some notables include:

Armed and Hammered
The Cunning Runts
Her Majesty's Secret Cervix
REO Speed Dealer

Sunday, December 02, 2001

A plot to bomb the Mexican congress?

On October 10th two men, armed with guns, explosives, and hand grenades, were captured inside the Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro. They were subsequently released. Did they just want to use the bathroom? Were they simply lost? This article explains the situation and speculates that the infiltrators were Mossad although I have a hard time believing Mossad could be that incompetent. Here is a translation of the official press release. (via Rumor Mill News)


This laser puzzle game (via Fark) is addicting and infuriating. You will be curious after a few levels. By level 6 you'll be confused, by 8, bitter, and by 11 you'll be cursing everyone you ever knew.

Also there's mouse hacky sack, java soccer, and the worm cave game.