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I Should Have Found This Sooner July 29, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty.
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My apologies.  To make up for it, I will share the results of my latest researches in Google Image.  With the SafeSearch turned off!


This might be another case where my mother shouldn’t read further.

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The Armor of Light July 29, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words.
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This nifty little novel assumes that magic in Elizabethan times worked exactly like Elizabethans thought it did, that devils are real and spells efficacious (and some folks thought witches weren’t necessarily in league with them).

Oh, and in this novel Sir Philip Sidney and Christopher Marlowe aren’t dead (well, yet).  Sir Philip survived his wounds in the Netherlands and was therefore alive to save Marlowe from that knife in the tavern (a foiled assassination attempt).

The authors, Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett, have a pretty good understanding of Elizabethan history and culture, and it shows.  You can smell danger just where you should (non-magical danger, that is;  I have no experience with magic, so I couldn’t say), courtiers are trying to get influence (or laid), Catholics are out of favor in a dangerous way and life is pretty miserable all around.  In this uncertain time, Elizabeth’s horoscopist predicts the beheading of her successor, touching off Sir Philip’s trip to Scotland to see James safe from magical threats. 

Complicated?  You bet.  Detailed?  Yup.  Fun for Elizabethan geeks? Absolutely.

Did I mention Marlowe is a spy?

The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett is published by NESFA Press, who bring you people like Terry Pratchett.

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Octopus Venom From An Icy Hell July 28, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Octopus.
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Makes an excellent horror film title, don’t you think?  This guy has venom imagemade extra special by virtue of being able to kill at sub-zero temperatures where this cute little fellow lives—the Antarctic ocean.  His venom (and that of 202 others) has recently been collected by nosey scientists at the Bio21 Institute who plan to study a bunch of properties that might enable this sub-zero activity, like understanding “the structure and mode of action of venom found in all octopuses” which “may help design drugs for conditions like pain management, allergies and cancer.”1

It seems the Aussies are pretty busy in the drugs-from-the-sea research area. Researchers led by David J. Craik of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland discovered that by linking the N-terminus of α-conotoxin Vc1.1—a compound derived from Conus victoriae—to its C-terminus, they could make the 16-residue peptide orally active.2  This is significant because the other version requires sickeningly intimate administration: a drug pump inserted into the spine.


1   University of Melbourne (2010, July 28). Scientists tap into Antarctic octopus venom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/07/100726094907.htm

2  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., DOI: 10.1002/anie.201000620

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Jane Austen’s “Fight Club” July 26, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Video.
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This will totally be lost on my sainted, white-haired mother, since she has never seen “Fight Club”, but I laughed until my stitches hurt.  A lot.

Mom, here is the trailer to Fight Club, so you can see what I think is so funny about Jane Austen’s Fight Club:

And now, to make up for it, the one Youtube video that makes me cry:

A Slow Loris July 19, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Video.
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A Slow Loris is not a tarsier, nor a Lemur.  Adorable, though.

Stepdaughter’s Audition Films July 19, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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My youngest (13) stepdaughter was admitted to the Media program at San Francisco’s Ruth Ozawa School of the Arts on the strength of these little films (made while taking Ronald Chase’s SF Art & Film class), and her considerable personal charm and vivacity.


I can’t find the nifty little film she did about a blob of clay giving a tour of his castle, but I will post that eventually.

Another reason to love fark.com July 18, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.
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I read fark.com when I find a funny headline that, um, wants discussion.  The example below is from a story of a special forces guy turned furniture mover who found a thief invading his home (he wiped the floor with him):


Lamune_Baba: Ed Willy: What the hell is a furniture removalist?
Special forces. He deals with … "problem" furniture.

Go ahead and laugh, but would you like to mess with this? The guy is hardcore.

2010-07-17 03:43:50 PM

The all time worst burglary was this loser who tried to armed burgle an old British soldier who had fought in the Burma Campaign against the Japanese, if you can imagine hand to hand combat over half a country, with total murderousness and no quarter. Very nasty business.
The old soldier’s neighbor was retired FBI. He noticed the soldier’s door ajar, so poked his head in to see if everything was okay. For a moment, it looked all right, with the old soldier sitting on a chair facing the burglar, who was also sitting on a chair. Then the FBI noticed that their was a .45 automatic on a coffee table between them, and the burglar’s hair was messed up, he was drenched in sweat and had been intensely crying. It was the burglar’s gun.
The burglar was so terrified he could not move, and he had crapped his pants. Eventually, after the FBI guy had called the police, they had to lift him out of the chair to carry him to their car. So paralyzed his legs didn’t work.
The old soldier never did say what had happened, and the burglar confessed to that burglary and several others, on condition that he never see the soldier, or be anywhere near him again.

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My Second Favorite Group July 16, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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These are the Arrogant Worms, another of Canada’s finest exports. 

If only we could import health care.


This is in no way an indictment of my two teenaged stepchildren and their nocturnal habits.  I’m just gonna have to live with that.

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The World Needs This July 15, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science.
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I have thought for a long time that exoskeletons should be used to help the halt and lame get about.  This gizmo is $150,000 and so does not exactly scream “gotta have!”, but it’s a step (heh) in the right direction.

The exoskeleton below is more what I had in mind, were it but portable.  My mum could really kick ass with this.

It’s meant for military applications, but how long will it be before someone really manages a walkersuit for Grandma?

There’s a company locally making one:

Once again military, but at least they KNOW about the grandma market and have some ideas.

WWII—Unbelievably Bad Writing July 13, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words.
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Scott finds the plot and writing of World War Two unbelievable.  When you look at his objections, it makes sense:

“Let’s start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn’t look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apoplectic rage when he doesn’t get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn’t even mind the lack of originality if they weren’t so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren’t that evil. And that’s not even counting the part where as soon as the plot requires it, they instantly forget about all the racism nonsense and become best buddies with the definitely non-Aryan Japanese.

Not that the good guys are much better. Their leader, Churchill, appeared in a grand total of one episode before, where he was a bumbling general who suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Ottomans of all people in the Battle of Gallipoli. Now, all of a sudden, he’s not only Prime Minister, he’s not only a brilliant military commander, he’s not only the greatest orator of the twentieth century who can convince the British to keep going against all odds, he’s also a natural wit who is able to pull out hilarious one-liners practically on demand. I know he’s supposed to be the hero, but it’s not realistic unless you keep the guy at least vaguely human.“

Click here to read it in full.  Hilarious.

Until, of course, you remember the untold numbers of dead, injured, orphaned and displaced.

Microsoft’s best product July 13, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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Microsoft coffee

Go on, drink the Koolaid.

My Work Here is Done July 9, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys.
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I can think of no greater accomplishment, except a vocal interface.

Correct Use of Pie Charts July 7, 2010

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More charts should be self-explanatory.

Golden Gate Park in July July 5, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography.
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pano gardenspot in arboretum Here is a little garden spot in the Arboretum.  Click on the photo to get the big-screen treatment.

Here is a statue of Cervantes, the second-most popular fiction author for two hundred years (the most popular work during that period was a collaboration referred to as The Bible).


It is worth noting that San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park statuary has little in the way of politicians (except an Irish radical) but lots of nifty statues to Beethoven, Shakespeare (a contemporary of Cervantes), Cervantes and that highbrow crowd.  Oh yeah, and a statue of James A. Garfield (dunno why he got included.  I’m pretty sure he’s not on the list of Great Presidents…maybe because he was fluent in both Latin and Greek and could write in both languages simultaneously, being ambidextrous. That would probably play well in a town full of scholars).  It stands to reason, though: San Francisco has the highest per capita number of college graduates in the nation.  This explains the “liberal” voting record; it’s very hard to fool educated people, which also explains why right-wing types keep trying to privatize education.

Sundays at 11 AM a local group gives Lindy Hop dancing lessons.  Note the charmingly excitable little tykes roaming about.  Usually there are lots of people there, but this was early Sunday and they had only just set up.

There is a pretty little platform under a big tree in the arboretum which I have always really liked:

Japanese pavilion Golden Gate Park Arboretum

Click on the picture for the screen-filling panorama.  Very tough to photograph well with my crappy camera; be kind.

Inside the Hidden Yurt July 3, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Click the photo above for a panoramic view inside a friend’s delightful yurt.

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Hey, This is My Blog, OK? July 2, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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War is fun when you only play at it.  Like this guy:

The pages including these videos link to interesting methods for creating the video effects on a budget (obviously).

StuffILike.net is educational.  Really.

The Parking Lot at Sunset July 1, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography.
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bio-rad parking lot sunset feb27,2008

The best camera is always the one you have with you.  Too bad the camera in my crappy Cingular6700 is such a wretched device.  It really doesn’t do this awesome sunset justice.  My next phone camera will be much, much nicer.  I understand some Nokia models are very good, indeed.

Skull Cake July 1, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome.
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This is nearly as good as the Zombie Birthday Cake.

I Should Have a Special Category for Two-headed Critters July 1, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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This is Lenny and Squiggy, a two-headed albino hognose snake at the Venice Beach Freakshow.  Not to be confused with this.

Lindsay Lohan’s Best Career Move July 1, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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From the pin-up artwork of Aly Fell.