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Me Personally, I Want This September 18, 2014

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This is probably much more fun than an RC car.

  • Controllable from up to 200ft with the 2.4ghz remote, indoors and out
  • The Snypa Dart Blaster attachment fires your Snypa Darts up to 45 feet
  • If you shoot back it falls apart when it gets three hits.  Nice.

    Sad But Beautiful September 18, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants.
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    Dead two-headed dolphin discovered in Turkey

    Conjoined twin dolphins (sadly dead) in Turkey.

    DNA Lounge Robartenders September 18, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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    They had a little contest Sunday night at DNA Lounge, as laid out in this little notice:IMG_20140915_091046

    IMG_20140915_115846

    My oldest step-daughter had listed us for tickets, so we went to the door expecting her to be the bouncer.  She was not.  In her place was our youngest step-daughter who, unbeknownst to us had wheedled her way into DNA Lounge’s good graces, no doubt on the oldest’s recommendation.  My wife did not recognize her, even as she was stamping her hand.

    Not the strangest thing we saw that evening, by half.  The most complete full-assed was a cam-driven mai tai mixin’ machine:

    In the half-assed category was this conveyor belt-driven mixing machine1. They had some trouble getting it to be reliable before I got my margarita, spilling onto the belt when the stepper motor miscounted(!).  The belt-and-suspenders approach would have a drain gutter, instead of the arrogant “we don’t need not stinkin’ steenkeeng gutters” approach.IMG_20140914_194329

    This contraption was also quite good, except the ingredients were dispensed from a single spout, leading to cross-contamination of the ultimate product.IMG_20140914_194536

    This rocketship did not dispense any fuel while I was watching.  It did have dry ice for steam, though.IMG_20140914_194601

    By the time I got to this LEGO robot, it was all blurry. IMG_20140914_195505114

    Not really sure why.

    ______

    1 They actually were working on it the night before, which may explain it.

    The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross September 18, 2014

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    The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross is another fun ride in the bewildering labyrinth that is The Laundry, a black-budget British agency for covertly defending England (and the world) from the scum of the Multiverse (that’s more capital letters than I have used in a single sentence for some years now).1

    Our hero Bob Howard has been promoted to junior management and Deputy Eater of Souls (read the previous books.  They explain it all, with footnotes), an even more frustrating exercise in demonic bureaucracy than he had thought possible, while his wife is still furious with him for roping one of their few remaining normal friends into The Laundry.  That would be fine if she wasn’t the  gun mount of choice for a particularly nasty personal weapon with a mind of its own. 

    While exercising his “free time” to look for outbreaks of demonic possession by trawling the big data in Her Majesty’s health archives, Bob stumbles across a group of people with “unusual symptoms such as super strength and speed, an uncanny talent for mind control, an extreme allergic reaction to sunlight, and an unquenchable thirst for blood.”2 Worst of all, they are bankers.3

    I recommend The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross as highly as possible.

    ____

    1And two sets of parentheses.

    2You, know, vampires.

    3You, know, vampires.

    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie September 18, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words.
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    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is a wonderful examination of responsibility, revenge, justice and sense of self in a science fiction universe (arguably the safest place to talk about things political).  Ann Leckie’s use of gender pronouns (always female unless the character is obviously male) makes for a head-slapping read in one sense; the assumption that everyone in human space is female is pretty strange.  When read by Celeste Chula the ambivalence is even sharper…and it seems as if the genders of the characters only matter a little bit, probably because the main character is, um, not entirely human.

    I won’t spoil that for you.  When the protagonist is forced to act against her character, it causes her to snap and behave in a very selfish and yet selfless manner—which is our story, of course.

    I recommend Ancillary Justice very highly, and especially the audiobook version.

    As it is the winner of the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, I gather I am not the only one who recommends it.

    Feline Neckwear September 15, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorizable, Uncategorized.
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    Cat stole

    I showed this to my boss.  She said:

    “She’s beautiful.”

    “That’s Gray Kitty.”

    “I meant your wife.”  Pause.  “I’m telling.”

    Bathing Beauty August 11, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome.
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    My wife and I often stop to investigate swimming holes and waterfalls. Northern California is so dry (especially lately) that riparian zones are really the best place to catch any wildlife, including the very rare Shy Beauty:

    CIMG1027

    Known for their stunning good looks, the Shy Beauty is somehow preternaturally aware of the camera and will hide unless well obscured by camouflage clothing (above).

    Arboreal Correspondent August 11, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Photography, Science.
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    Greetings from the Great North Woods (Lassen National Forest), wherein I enjoy respite from the soul-sucking drudgery that is software testing. I have hardly touched technology for days, and seem the better for it.  And, surrounded  as I am by the sounds of nature, I love life more than in many recent months.  We’re staying here:

    CIMG1000

    Miles from people, it’s a deserted campground probably used last in the sixties.  As such, the most frequent visitors are deer, who nightly come out and lick whatever is left lying around, like the tablecloth(?), the dishes from each night’s feast (on the plus side, the trays and dishes are clean as a whistle down as far as a deer’s tongue can reach) and the shower bag (?).  They aren’t much frightened by us, but mostly because we try not to startle them. They are not afraid of green lasers.

    Another nice thing about the campsite is the lack of visitors means flora are largely undisturbed.  A mushroom growing from a tree stump can reach its full size (except where licked by deer):

    CIMG0997

    That’s a Men’s size 11 mushroom, friends.  Has a smaller companion, too:

    CIMG0998

    I really should start carrying a ruler for comparisons like this.

    The sunsets have been spectacular too, since the fire got so big:

    CIMG1041

    Our camp is by a stream emanating from a spring couple of hundred yards up the hill.  Here is our view at night:

    CIMG1044

    I’m sure the lights are just fae visiting.

    Lassen is on Fire August 5, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography, Uncategorizable.
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    I have no video (you couldn’t make it out from Lake Wilson), but this is a photo of a 30,000 acre forest fire in the vicinity of Mount Lassen.

    CIMG1018

    Damn.  For a little while, the missus and I thought Lassen had erupted.

    Knitted Hellboy August 5, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants, Video.
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    (Beautiful Knitted Characters nbsp by a UK Mom

    One of the most interestingly filmed excesses of Guillermo Del Toro’s career is Hellboy, featuring Ron Perlman typecast as demonspawn.  He looks something like the fuzzy knit apparition above.

    Arboretum Database is On Line!!! July 28, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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    When I asked the curators about the locations and inventory of plants at the SF Arboretum I was shown a prototype database.  This was maybe eight years ago. Yesterday* (one of the most beautiful days on the year here in SF) I was at the Arboretum and asked again.

    Apparently the database has been on line for YEARS, linking the Family, Genus, Species and Bed number.  The search page allows you to search by Common Name (Examples: Lily, Passion Flower, Bottlebrush, or Poppy), Scientific Name (Examples: Magnolia campbellii, Quercus, Brugmansia, or Bomarea caldasii), Scientific Family Name (Examples: Asteraceae, Poaceae, Rosaceae, or Fab*), Collection, Bed Number (Examples: 5A, 11B, 29B, 42C, or 74–they provide a link to the BED MAP, which you will need), Accession Number (Examples: 1987-0580, 1984-0276, XY-0578, or 2010) and  Flowering Time.

    Happy hunting.

    *I should tell you that the pictures I usually would take never happened because I was so entranced I didn’t want to break the spell.  Seriously, it was so beautiful it took my breath away.  Go now and be enchanted.

    Great. Now I Want an Armadillo July 22, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Toys.
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    VkMNEGP

    An Outpost of Progress July 20, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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    faux NASA truck

    Found this little gem in Podunk, California (nowhere near Hat Creek Radio Observatory).  Not sure who the owner is, or why this homage to space exploration is here, but it surprised the heck out of me.

    Almost as much as this:

    IMG_20140526_151949

    Chicken coupe?

    Pacific Crest Trail Hikers July 20, 2014

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    IMG_20140705_103803

    This is Gretchen and Stephen, two of several hikers we met (Viola, Mike, the ukulele player whose name I have forgotten[Ryan!! I remembered!] over the Fourth.  We gave them water and cherries and a shady place for breakfast.  Ryan gave us a short concert:

    These guys were hiking for the five days of the weekend…Gretchen is halfway through hiking THE WHOLE DAMN THING.

    The Rewards of Heroism July 20, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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    My cow-orkers (hyphenation intentional) and I put in some long hours on a project recently, and our boss gave us each a pair of socks as a thank you, salary increases being outside of her authority.

    IMG_20140616_081741

    They are fetching, I grant you, but somehow not quite the reward one might have anticipated.

    Serendipity July 20, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Mutants, Toys.
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    I was looking for a phone charger at Fry’s and found these:

    IMG_20140709_204834856

    And this:

    IMG_20140709_204047761

    Fry’s seems to be a one-stop shop for my peculiar interests.

    Janus Cat July 1, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Hello Kitty, Mutants, Science.
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    Diprosopus is caused by a malfunction in development in the sonic hedgehog protein (you think I’m kidding.  That’s its real name.  Should have been called “politician protein”…but I digress).

    We might save time by referring to this animal as “Photoshop Cat”…except his name is Frank and Louie.

    From https://www.facebook.com/IFeakingLoveScience?fref=nf, which is not misspelled.  Sent to me by my step-daughter, who fucking loves science.

    A Macbook Pro, a Canon 5D and $9000 June 26, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Uncategorizable, Video.
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    I would go so far as to say that the friends and families have the benefit of fairly good writing, excellent editing…and some actual talent.

    Air Harp Using Leap Motion Controller June 24, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Applications, Awesome, Brilliant words, Mutants, Star Trek Technology, Toys, Video.
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    Brilliant guy makes the Leap Motion controller into an actually useful music triggering device.  Interesting demo (!!!) begins at 3:20.

    Obsessive Nerd Music June 20, 2014

    Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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    Well, if you need to obsess over something it should be something good like Bach’s greatest hit, Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

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