Boundary Layer

The best way to find a line is to cross it

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tiger on the loose

A hungry big cat is loose and the trackers don't know where it came from.

Operator: "911 emergency, this is Gloria. What are you reporting?"

Tucker: "Yes? Hi. I live in Moorpark, and there is that tiger that is loose in our backyard. Behind our yard."

Operator: "You say he is in your backyard?"

Tucker: "He is behind our backyard."

Operator: "OK, do you see him?"

Tucker: "Yeah, we took some pictures of him…. Anyway, we are looking at him right now."

Operator: "OK, what color is he?"

Tucker: "He's just a regular-looking tiger."

Competitive Bass Fishing

It's always been confusing to figure out what is and isn't a sport. The dictionary definition doesn't help much either,
An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

One can argue that using the toilet fits that definition. If you turn one of the ESPN channels at random times you might see billiards and poker, as well as auto racing and lumberjacks. But are any of these sports? They're all physical activities governed by rules and played competitively so according to the standard definition, they are. But so would chess, and checkers, and most eating competitions. Clearly this definition sucks.

I have a suggestion for revising the definition.
An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively that makes you sweat.

This has the virtue of eliminating all these games and activities that you do while sitting down. It would exclude fishing, but include running distances over 100 meters or so, exclude archery, but include snowboarding. And I have bad news for baseball and golf, they're both gone. The one big problem that I can see is that figure skating would be included. I'm not sure what to do about that.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

In the shadow of insects

A segment on This American Life profiles a comedy duo that appeared on the same episode of the Ed Sullivan show that the Beatles made their famous appearance on.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sand Art

Ferenc Cakó turns grains of sand into a story. (via Metafilter)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Big Mysteries

The New Scientist has an article on 13 things that do not make sense. These are unexplainable anomalies from the placebo effect, to dark matter, and other cosmological questions. (via Alterslash/Slashdot)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Fantasy Land

A tour of the Pixar studio. (via BoingBoing)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Polar Inertia is sort of a short version of the CLUI database which is the go-to place for describing that strange structure you pass on the highway outside of town. (via A Joshua Tree in Every Pot)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

From the people that brought you BLAZEMONGER

Ftrain reviews the three best games of 2004, America's Army Special Ops: Abu Ghraib, Will Oldham's Adventure, and, Cat Ball Shaver. (via Robotwisdom)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Plan B

The story of a professional partier on This American Life.
It's Another Tequila Sunrise. Reporter John Hodgman first encountered Cuervo Man on a press junket to Cuervo Nation, a small island owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila. Cuervo Man was wearing nothing but a Speedo, wraparound shades, and a red cape. Occasionally he'd stick a toilet plunger on his bald head. John was fascinated and eventually got to know Cuervo Man, whose real name was Ryan. Though the Cuervo act was Ryan's Plan B, it had a special power that John couldn't help but envy.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


In case you didn't know, they're giving Bugs Bunny a new look. You can get a very NSFW sneak preview here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Spoils of War

An insider's look at how the war pigs feed. (via Robotwisdom)

Blurry Lines

What happens when you cross some wicked satire with a political situation that is already outrageous is brilliant.
"The last time I was here, my guard was up 24/7 and I went back home and everything relaxed and it was fine," Butler said. "But, you know, when your part of an Imperial army trying to steal what's been under somebody else's feet since time immemorial, them folks is gonna come up on you. I look around and this ain't St. Louis."

Butler's life, like that of many of the returning soldiers, has changed since the invasion. He has been promoted from private first class to sergeant. He has married, has a child and has a house the bank owns.

"This time I have to think about having a wife and a daughter back home That leaves less time to care about what I kill over here," he said. "I'm responsible now for bringing home my guys alive to their family even if that means taking out somebody's daddy or mommy over here. I can't get this creepy feeling that this ain't St. Louis out of my mind."

The quick redeployment to Iraq takes a toll on families---especially Iraqi families.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Edge Below

Crawling through an unexplored cave a mile underground and under 20 feet of water is probably the last place I would want to be. This is the exactly the kind of place Bill Stone seeks out. And he'll design and build the equipment to get you there when he's not designing for NASA. His story was in Wired magazine.
He knew that the odds of survival at close to a mile deep aren't great for even the strongest cavers, a chiseled superset of explorers who routinely haul 180-pound loads down 65-foot vertical shafts, live for weeks underground, and dive through bone-chilling water. Mapping the last uncharted land on earth is a dangerous proposition. One slip, one momentary lapse of concentration, and you die.

Surviving Jaws

Apparantly, it's a myth that fighting back against a Great White Shark is effective. More statistics on Great White attacks are here.
Okay, bad luck. You’ve followed every good bit of advice offered here, but you’ve still managed to find yourself in the mouth of a white shark.

What to do?

Open your wallet and show photos of your wife and kids? Use sarcasm? Fight back with your fists? Surprisingly, some of the experts believe that fighting back might make your situation worse.

"On the question of whether or not to strike your attacker," Collier says, "it would be difficult, if not impossible, to not hit something that was trying to carry you off, or that was biting the hell out of you. However, in the 10-year study conducted by Dan Miller and I (Shark Attacks in California and Oregon: 1926-1979), in those cases where the victim hit or took a defensive posture with the attacking white shark, in a high percentage of cases the shark returned, after releasing the victim, and attempted to bite the individual a second time.

"In some cases the shark did inflict a second injury and continued to follow the victim until they were removed from the water or the victim made their way to safety."

Sean Van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation agrees: "Having actually, personally witnessed such interactions I can verify Collier’s claim first hand. The ‘myth’ that all you have to do is punch it in the nose and it will swim off with tail tucked is bogus. If the shark turns away after being hit, it never was intending to attack you."

But there have been some instances where self-defense paid off.

John Ferreira, who was attacked near Scott Creek in 1991, was able to shove his surfboard into the shark’s mouth on a second pass — a feat that may have saved his life.

The Uncyclopedia

The Uncyclopedia is everything that the Wikipedia isn't. More importantly, it is currently the sole repository for all things Clinja.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Nice Rack

Sometimes the right answer isn't the most obvious one. It's not obvious that the best way to preserve an endangered species is to allow it to be hunted but it might turn out to be that way. The Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (sound) seems to be succeeding at bringing back some wild sheep from the edge of extinction by auctioning off hunting licenses for these same sheep. Mother Jones has about half the article which appeared in their magazine online and you can listen to and read a transcript of an interview with the author as well. Mother Jones also has a Q&A with the author online.
After all, Drettmann wasn't stalking this animal just for fun. In an unusual approach to environmental fundraising -- call it free-market wildlife conservation -- the Wyoming-based Foundation for North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) has struck deals with 21 U.S., Canadian, and Mexican states in which FNAWS gets to auction a precious few bighorn hunting permits in return for giving 90 percent of the proceeds back to those states? sheep conservation programs. Drettmann had paid tens of thousands of dollars to come down here, further encouraged by the fact that the hunt would occur on a southern Baja ejido, a form of government-mandated collective property. Because this land also falls within the Vizcaino Biosphere?the Mexican equivalent of a wilderness area, and therefore closed to most forms of development?the 142 indigenous rural families of ejido Licensiado Alfredo V. Bonfil don?t have many ways to make a living. Since 1996, however, the FNAWS auction system has brought them an average of $200,000 a year, funding a drinking water project, a school, a health clinic, conservation programs centered on the nearly extinct Baja pronghorn antelope and the Baja mule deer, and, of course, the bighorn project that employs the dozen ejidatarios who?d spent the past few weeks gauging the age and size of every ram in the range to make sure Drettmann got the biggest rack possible.

Weight Loss

Apparently, that seen in Primer wasn't so fantastic after all.
A small non-conducting and non-magnetic sample weighing 5.48 g was placed over a levitating superconducting disk and the loss of weight was measured with high precision using an electro-optical balance system. The sample was found to lose from 0.05 to 0.3% of its weight, depending on the rotation speed of the superconducting disk. Partial loss of weight might be the result of a certain state of energy which exists inside the crystal structure of the superconductor at low temperatures. The unusual state of energy might have changed a regular interaction between electromagnetic, nuclear and gravitational forces inside a solid body and is responsible for the gravity shielding effect.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Comparing Chinese and Mesoamerican artifacts.

Playing in the mud

Wildbell recounts his trip to Death Valley and includes some embedded movies. (via Highways West)


Neat kaliedescopic eye candy. (via Metafilter)