Thursday, August 28, 2008

Collapse of Western Society

It looks like it was a tie between sweetened iced tea and counter-terrorism for the eventual cause of the downfall of our way of life. Thank you to everyone who voted. Extra thank yous to everyone who voted multiple times.

Since it was a tie, I will exercise my prerogative as blog owner to break the tie.

Therefore it is my pleasure to announce to you that I have decided to destroy western society under an endless deluge of sweetened iced tea. This seems fitting as I'm still in Taiwan where sweetened iced tea is the almost the only thing you can find. So you now have something to look forward to, though I'll leave it as a surprise as to exactly when.

Look forward to the next poll... which I'll dream up when I'm not so friggin' tired.

Picture source : (Lost source. Please help me cite it if you happen to know.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blogging from KIX Because I Can

Sitting around in Osaka's airport waiting for my "connection". I put that in quotations because I'm really just waiting to be let back on the same plane that took me here from Detroit. But they were kind enough to make everyone who is traveling the entire way (Detroit->Osaka->Taipei) get off, clear security and sit and wait. There's also the looming threat of bumpage with the 747 being overbooked by 18 people. I'm looking at an ultra-cute little-league baseball team that seems to be composed of about 18 people. I bet they'd love another night in Japan.

Actually, given the number of times I've been in a Japanese airport and never actually set foot on Japanese soil, and given how badly the otaku in me wants to see Japan, and given the fact that due to unexpected inspections and whatnot I can't start my research until Wednesday... it's tempting to take the free hotel room... but I cannot contact my hosts in Taipei and I absolutely will not leave them in any kind of lurch. Japan will have to wait for another day.

Kensai International Airport doesn't have a lot in the way of crap to entertain travelers (e.g. shops, restaurants, etc.) but it does have the single most important thing that an airport really needs: free Wi-Fi. God bless Osaka. Half way through typing the last sentence I was asked to fill out a survey, apparently for the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau. I made sure to point out my particular love of free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi!

Christ, I'm tired.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

6 Days to Vote!

There's less than a week left to vote on the highly exciting and divisive Weasel poll that will determine the mechanism by which Western Society will collapse.

Make your voice heard!

(Hint: all votes for "Other" will be ignored... jerks.)
(Second Hint: if you clear your browser's cookies you can vote multiple times; it's almost as good as living in Cook County!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Longstanding Flaws

Due to a chain of not-so-unlikely research related events, I have been forced to do something that I really thought I'd never do. I have installed Skype in my laptop.

I'm really not a fan of telephones. Nor do I like instant messaging. If I'm going to communicate with a person, I like to do it in person or, if not in person, with time for editing. Skype is really a horrible mishmash of the phone and IM that fills my heart with dread.

Because I never imagined a circumstance that would cause me to want to digitize my vocal output and use it in any fashion on my computer, I had to purchase a headset with a microphone at the same time.

I plugged in my new (and cheap) headset into the analog jacks of my laptop's sound card and discovered, the microphone didn't work. I figured, "Weasel, you've done it again. The crap at Best Buy that's on sale isn't reduced because it works well." (I have a tenancy to fall prey to Best Buy and their discounted items that are not compatible with anything). After some checking though, I found that the headset worked fine; my microphone jack did not work. Some cleaning of the little guy, ignored for three years as the laptop traveled around the world through some of the dirtiest labs in existence, yielded no results. Finally, a Google search turned up that no one with a Dell Inspiron 700m has a working microphone jack. The sound card was designed improperly (no filter between the digital elements and the microphone jack resulting in massive noise or no signal at all).

My computer has been defective for three years and I never even noticed!

Well, I bought a more expensive (and actually, less nice) USB headset which works fine, and gave the analog headset to the Official Wife so that we can talk when I'm on another continent, something that will happen twice in the next month or so. Also, anyone who knows my full name and town can look me up. I can't promise to be online without prior email warning though... but it is free (free = $50 for the two headsets).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Public Service Announcement

The latest season of Tuesday Morning Quarterback has commenced. Now that he finally has an RSS feed though, you probably don't need me to tell you this.

The first posting might set a new mark for having the highest length to actual football commentary of any TMQ, that's even counting past pre-season entries. But, of course that's what TMQ readers tune in for.

As much as I dislike ESPN, I do have to admit that a new pleasure of reading TMQ is to marvel at the vast array of user comments describing in detail how they read the article every week and how horrible it is. Sports fans on the internet are generally idiotic... Wait... I'm on the internet now...

Death to Tuesday Afternoon Productivity!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Extreme Date Movie

The Times Online has a list of 20 best Date Movies. I was curious to see if their definition of the perfect date movie matched mine. In my definition, the movie is long, dark, quite, and unobtrusive such that no one on the date feels tempted to actually watch it.

Their definitions were all over the place, but I was mostly shocked by Number 18, "Shortbus".

The Parents Guide entry for "Sex/Nudity" from IMDB's Shortbus summary: is a rather terse 652 words which I will not reproduce here for fear of the kind of Google hits it might create.

Suffice it to say, the film is sexual, graphic, and unsimulated. Oh, and it's a musical!

Best save this one for really special occasions!

Monday, August 11, 2008

5.43e7 Bloggers Are Probably Making the Same Joke

But it's the best when I tell it.

Somewhere in Harlem, Bill Clinton is really missing being president right now.

Picture source: (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Too Late...

I was flipping through the xkcd store and stopped cold when I saw this shirt:

I don't really have a lot of use for it these days. I can actually introduce myself to people at conferences and hold a conversation without breaking out in hives. Heck, the other day I talked to a total stranger on campus as though he weren't some sort of status seeking troll about to grab my arm and twist it in ways counter-indicated by its manual and shove my head in the space behind the pop machine in order to impress some girl with a single-digit IQ... stupid high school memories...

Man, perhaps the Official Sister of the Sarcastic Weasel has a point that I may need to take up judo or something. There is an old Klingon proverb though...

My point is, this would have been a really great uniform for a certain very cold engineering university I may have attended in the late 90's. Now, I'd never wear it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

4.3 mm Long Dinosaur

Had first post-transfer ultrasound this morning. Since we're dealing with IVF we have some very early ultrasound pictures. At this phase, there is just one baby, slightly smaller than a lemon seed and resembles a dinosaur more than a person.

Here's some pictures:

As you might guess, the Official Wife of the Sarcastic Weasel had to come prepared, having already swallowed the letters B-A-B-Y such that, once under the ultrasound device, some clever positioning was all that was required to have them appear in the correct position on the picture.

On the last picture, there is a graphical representation of the mechanical vibrations picked up from the probe corresponding to the movements of the primary pump organ in the primitive circulatory system that is developing... some people might refer to this a the baby's heartbeat.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Truly Extraordinary Nut Snack

They recently changed the ad. Watch the original version while you still can.

I laugh every time. The cynic in me is convinced that the fact that the original sounds obscene was not an accident.

Ego Odium Latin Lingua

I'm sure the title's wrong.

It rarely fails, given that I read more than I talk, that I can manage to make an ass of myself stumbling over the pronunciation of a word that I am quite familiar with, but don't particularly know how to pronounce.

Latin words are the worst for me.

Today's offender was a posteriori.

It sucks because in System Identification literature, a priori and a posteriori are not just Latin rhetorical flourishes, but technical terms.

Tell me I'm not alone.