"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

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Bear With Me
I'm very much digging the first episode of the second season of Life
  • Donal Logue is great as the new L.A. police captain in from NYC.
  • It features a serial killer with a hand-truck. It's a delivery thing-you wouldn't understand.

Fringe SE01E03 - "Ghost Network"
Oy, have I got nits to pick:
  • If the bad guys (suit wearing, latin-speaking, ghost network using - those guys) want the yellow disk maguffin off of the DEA lady, why go to the horrendous trouble of using the silicon gas weapon on a city bus? With 3 guys, a tazer, and a van they could have snatched her, they wouldn't have left a bus full of frozen people metaphorically shouting "EVIL IS AFOOT" and they would have had all the time in the world to "question" DEA lady if she doesn't have the geegaw in her backpack.
  • A city bus in a tunnel, during rush hour - really? Couldn't they think of someplace more likely to be quickly noticed and harder to get away from?
  • Apparently the FBI is covering up the fact that one of their agents killed a suspect in cold blood and was involved in a horrible chemical attack on an airliner that killed everyone on board. That's reassuring.
  • The jukebox in the diner was playing Smoke From A Distant Fire by Sandford & Townsend.
  • Walter's Homemade Meds:
    • Dextromethorphan:

      Dextromethorphan (DXM or DM) is an antitussive (cough suppressant) drug found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. Dextromethorphan has also found other uses in medicine, ranging from pain relief to psychological applications. Pure dextromethorphan occurs as a powder made up of white crystals, but it is generally administered via syrups, tablets, or lozenges manufactured under several different brand names and generic labels.

      When taken at doses higher than are medically recommended, dextromethorphan acts as a dissociative hallucinogenic drug. It is classified neurochemically as an NMDA receptor antagonist, producing effects similar to those of the controlled substances ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP)

    • Clonazepam:

      Clonazepam is a drug which is a benzodiazepine derivative. It is a highly potent anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety drug).

    • Fluoxetine, aka Prozac:

      Fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac, Fontex, Ladose, Sarafem) is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Fluoxetine is approved for the treatment of major depression (including pediatric depression), obsessive-compulsive disorder (in both adult and pediatric populations), bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, panic disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

  • Walter's drugs aren't "psychotics". They would be better described as "psychoactives" or "psychotropics".
  • Guy in diner w/ camera: "You were supposed to check in before you came home." This doesn't jibe with Peter's story about owing money to the mob.
  • The Bad Guys were digging through the backpack in what looks like a cathedral basement and one of them used Latin on his cell-phone. If they turn out to be part of some ancient secret Catholic Order I'll be disappointed. Spooky monks have been done to death.
  • We can assume that the Bad Guys are not part of Massive Dynamics. If they were they could have gotten ahold of Mendoza's body as easily as FBI Agent Scott's.
  • How did DEA Agent Graham Davidson know that the yellow disk maguffin was implanted in Mendoza's hand?
  • Even if it was small, I wouldn't implant secret stuff in my hand. Hands are full of important stuff, without a lot of spare room-plus any wound or scar would be easily visible.
  • Walter and Peter both play the piano.
  • How does Roy get details of what the aftermath of an attack looks like from overhearing the Bad Guys before the attack?
  • Walter's explanation of a "frequency lying outside the normal spectrum" makes no rational sense. EM frequencies are very valuable real estate, so there are lots of scientists and companies looking for ways to fit more communication into the available spectrum. You can think of the EM spectrum as a line, running from low frequency to high:

    The electromagnetic spectrum extends from below the frequencies used for modern radio (at the long-wavelength end) through gamma radiation (at the short-wavelength end), covering wavelengths from thousands of kilometres down to a fraction the size of an atom.

    The point being: It's really easy to find new stuff on a line - you go left or you go right, and lots of smart, motivated people have been looking at the entire line for some time. There is no "frequency lying outside the normal spectrum".

    And no, Terahertz Waves won't work, the range is too short without a lot of new cell towers.

    I think the writers were lazy. They needed to give Walter more big science words to explain the "Ghost Network". "Quantum Encryption" might have done nicely.

  • So Roy's visual center is picking up Bad Guy conversations (in Latin, a language Roy does not understand) and is somehow converting them into coherent images that depict what the Bad Guys are talking about. OK, I call bullshit.
  • Why exactly did Walter go and hide all this neat crap 17 years ago?
  • "I think it's time for some intercranial penetration."
  • The satellite television line was a little too cute.
  • How is Roy getting the calls to DEA Agent Davidson? Did the Bad Guys give him a "Ghost Network" phone too?
  • There was a bald guy on the train. I think we'll see more of him.
fringe tv bald guy on train s01e03 ghost network
  • JJ Abrams clearly likes people getting hit by buses.
  • Is Massive Dynamics pulling information from a disk and into John Scott or out of a disk implanted in him?
  • Consulting producer Darin Morgan:

    Darin Morgan is an American screenwriter best known for several offbeat, darkly humorous episodes of the television series The X-Files and Millennium. His teleplay for the X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" won a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Drama Series.

The Interweb, It Burns My Brain

That's what cable will look like if McCain wins.

Via WarrenEllis.Com

Eye Candy
The Mystery of the REAL, 3D Mandelbrot Fractal
Via Follow Me Here...

New Favorite Phrase
Computational Metaphysics
Via Anathem Acknowledgements

What He Said

Via The Agonist

Best Financial Crisis EVER

I drive around all day, lubricating my little corner of the economy by moving valuable clumps of atoms around. And I've got to say, as I listen to various speaking heads opine about the proposed $700 BILLION bailout/rescue/clusterfuck, that I am just LOVING the whole mess. Nothing cheers my misanthropic cockles more that watching our well-paid, suit-wearing, white-guy, masters of the universe run straight into a reality based wall. My Ghod, George Bush thought Congress was just going to hand over 700BILLION just like that, just before elections, just because he says so? He's lucky the White House isn't surrounded by a mob armed with torches and pitchforks.

I haven't heard ANY Congress-person say that they support Paulson's "clean" plan yet. The Democrats want one set of conditions, the Republicans want another, and a lot of the conditions are exclusive.

The elephant in the room: We're screwed no matter what we do.

The rhino wearing a tu-tu in the room: The next president is screwed. They won't be able to do anything but clean up Bush's global crapfest.

Straight from the White House:

"With respect to executive pay, again, I'm not going to get into specific, point-by-point details on what our views are on that, other than the Secretary of Treasury said it would make more difficult to make this plan work and effective if you provide disincentives for companies and firms out there who are holding mortgage-backed securities and other securities from participating in the program. You have to remember, these are not all weak or troubled firms that own mortgage-backed securities. A lot of them are very successful banks and investment houses that have done very well, have been responsible, are holding performing assets that have value. They were not necessarily irresponsible players, and so you have to be careful about how you deal with them."

Press Gaggle Via Conference Call with Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto on the Economy

Press Gaggle? - WTF is that? It sounds like a porn term.

Via Daily Kos
Issues/Questions over the proposed bailout - lifted straight from Daily Kos

"Bowers says that there's no crisis. I'm not sure I'm willing to go there yet, but I'm not convinced there is one. What we need to determine the extent of this "crisis":

  1. Transparency. Release the presentation Paulson gave to congressional leaders that supposedly has them all spooked. Give us the data and information, and let outside economists pore over the numbers and reach independent conclusions. The Bushies lie and have zero credibility. We can't trust anything they say.
  2. Timing. Why the sudden rush, when the administration has been working on this plan for months? Seems more than a little suspicious.
  3. Solution. We don't know what the problem is, so we really don't know if this solution addresses that problem. What we do know is that it's targeted not just at failing institutions, but any old financial firm on Wall Street that wants a piece of our money. Even those that "are very successful banks and investment houses that have done very well". Heck, did I say "on Wall Street"? I almost forgot. Any foreign bank can apply!
  4. Details. Why $700 billion? Why not start off with, say, $75 billion. Is the emergency so dire that Treasury will spend all $700 billion next week? Doubtful. So put in what would amount to a bridge loan until people have had a chance to full understand the magnitude and severity of the problem. If it's truly as bad as people say it is, further moneys can be appropriated.
  5. Motives. Given that the administration wants to give money to solvent financial institutions, is this just another component of the long-running conservative effort to bankrupt the government to destroy government's ability to improve people's lives?
  6. Incentives: The administration is really concerned that solvent banks may not take the bailout, so it has to be as condition-free as possible. Why is the administration desperate to force taxpayer funds into these private Wall Street institutions? If they don't want our money, everyone wins, best of all, the taxpayers.
  7. Politics. The American people hate this thing, and those approval numbers are only getting worse. Given all the points listed above, whoever votes for this thing, even an "improved" version, will face a world of hurt this November, and if not this year, in primaries and general elections through 2010. "

"In congressional testimony last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed that the bureau is investigating 24 financial institutions, "large corporations, where the allegations would be that there were misstatement of assets," he said.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko added to Mueller's figure, saying in a statement to ABC News that "the FBI currently has 26 pending corporate fraud investigations involving subprime lenders. As we have seen, this number can fluctuate over time; however, we do not discuss which companies may or may not be the subject of an investigation.""

Guess who we're depending on to keep the economy running?

FBI Probes Possible Fraud at Collapsed Firms

From FDR's inaugural address:

"I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.

Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."

Fringe - Location Titles
Examples From S01E01

Note that they cast shadows and are reflected in "real" water and glass.

Fringe S01E02


Just a quick list, nothing too heavy.

  • There was an earlier team investigating "The Pattern". They probably met some nasty, squishy end.
  • There's something hinky about Peter Bishop's birth. I hope they come up with something cooler than just Walter having cloned himself.
  • Walter has stuff hidden all over Boston.
  • They totally lost me with the 4-hour-old dead-of-old-age baby. Not with the rapid aging, I can accept that, sure-why not? But having the baby turn grow into a full-sized adult means it had to get that mass from somewhere. Nothing alive gets bigger (and heavier) without eating. And we're looking at something like at least 100 pounds in four hours.
  • And why is the rapid aging passed down to offspring? Do hormones change DNA?
  • They've got to give Peter's character more to do than just be the smart-ass voice of incredulity.
  • John Noble is mesmerizing Dr. Walter Bishop. He's the perfect mad scientist recently released from 17 years in a mental hospital.

  • Entertain Your Computer

    Computer Entertainment Thirty-Five Years From Today

    A solo spoken word performance
    by Bruce Sterling

    An excerpt:

    ""Computer entertainment...."

    Okay. That brings me to the other part. The entertainment. Entertainment is fun. Am I correct? I've gotta be. If it's no fun, obviously it's not entertainment. It's one of those phony game educational applications that kids have to be tortured to use. You definitely want the users to have fun. That's the definition of your industry. That's what it is all about.

    Except for three kinds of people. They're not fun people. They're not even users. They're abusers, you might say, because they don't obey your rules.

    First, gold farmers. Rip-off artists. The excluded. The black market. The pirates. Those are all the same guys. Same crowd. Invisible to you. They don't want you to see them. And you don't want to see them, either. Because they're ugly, threatening parasites. But always there, always, from the very first days. They're not accidents. They're something important that you did not let yourselves recognize.

    Second, griefers. Griefers have a game. They have entertainment. But it's not your game. It's their game, which is hate. Hatred and pain and sorrow and treachery and vandalism. Emotional involvement. The thrill of raw conflict. Grief. There are swarms of ‘em. Armies. They never travel alone.

    Third---and these are the weird ones---the convergence culture people. They will play your game all right, but they play it while using six or seven other kinds of media. They don't make any distinction between the media they use. They use the networks as a meta-medium. They don't play the roles in your role-playing games.

    People play roles in Dungeons and Dragons because that is a paper game, it's like little theater for the home. People play roles. You don't see D&D people passing each other text messages and looking for cheats on wikis. Convergence people are metamedia people who are looking for meta-fun. Not your fun. Their meta- fun. Why are they important? Because they are you. You're outside the game because you developed it, and they want to be in the same space that you are in. They're super-knowledgeable game fanatics. They're the people from whom you recruit your own talent.

    They're not fun, these three kinds of people. Gold farmers are into greed, not fun. Griefers are into anti-fun. And metamedia are into meta-fun. They all exist outside your definitional box.

    And that's why they ambush you and they beat on you. They're not exactly your enemies, but they're deeply alien to your chosen paradigm. So they have a kind of control over your destiny that you do not allow yourselves to have.

    The only way to get ahead of them is to redefine yourselves as something that is not "computer entertainment." Because their fun isn't fun and their computers aren't computers. They are cultural. They are more cultural than you. You're an industry. They're a culture. That's why they kick your ass.

    So---you know---how do we control these ugly parasites? How do we exterminate these weeds growing in our money crops? How do we repress them and make them go away for good? The answer is: you don't. They beat you like the schoolyard bullies beat the kids who are good at math. You don't get your revenge until you grow up, and you understand them much, much better than they will ever understand you. Living well, that's the best revenge. "

    Via Beyond The Beyond

    Oooh, Scary
    glowering metal band, Celtic Frost
    Via Metal Inquisition

    America is Doomed
    tombstone deep dish pizza vending machine
    And here I thought shopping cart cupholders were decadent.

    Deep Dish Pizza Vending Machine - The End Is Near
    Via Boing Boing Gadgets

    Fringe Effects
    The location titles on Fringe are very striking. Instead of flat text over the scene, the words are giant 3D structures floating in space inside the scene. On some there's an added suggestion that the letters are actually in the scene, like a dusting of snow.

    I'm wondering if the location titles are a foreshadowing of annotated reality: "overlaying information -- graphics and annotations -- onto the environment", using virtual reality. Or it could just be somebody going "hey, you know what would look really cool?".

    An example of the location titles appears at about 1:19 in this promo video

    Two Books
    I can heartily recommend 2 new books:

    The Gone-Away World, By Nick Harkaway

    " With the right wind behind it, The Gone-Away World could easily become a modern classic. Its scope and ambition are extraordinary, its execution is often breathtaking, and its style is by turns hilarious, outrageous, devastating, hip and profound.

    It is not a book that springs out of nowhere. Its bleakly humorous futuristic vision is not dissimilar to that of Kurt Vonnegut, while its visceral, scattershot energy brings to mind landmark American books like The World According to Garp and Catch-22. But there is also something very English about Harkaway's writing, specifically his acute sense of the ridiculous, and the ghosts of Douglas Adams and P G Wodehouse haunt some of the finest passages here."

    Plus it's got pirates, ninjas, kung-fu, ninjas vs kung-fu, mad scientists creating apocalyptic WMDs, and mimes.

    Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

    "Pandemonium may be Daryl Gregory's first novel, but it's not the work of a novice. He is already a stand-out short story writer--his 2006 story "Second Person, Present Tense" won the Asimov's reader poll that year and was shortlisted for the Sturgeon and Locus awards. Since then "Unpossible," "Dead Horse Point," and "Damascus" have graced the pages of several "Year's Best" anthologies. His writing is conceptually brilliant and very personal--qualities that also inform this novel.

    It takes place in the current day, but in a skewed world. In the world of the story, people may find themselves randomly possessed by "demons." While under "possession," they act out the traits of whichever demon has control: the Painter finds ways to create the same artwork over and over, the Hellion possesses young children and acts like a Denis the Menace on steroids, Kamikaze hijacks planes and crashes them, Smokestack Johnny commandeers railroad trains. Most people are never possessed, and some only once, while others appear to be magnets, attracting the "demons" over and over.

    So why the quote marks around "demon" and "possession?" Because in this analog of our world, not everyone believes in other-worldly entities. Scientists seek secular explanations: environmental and genetic factors, neurological disorders, what have you. The narrator though, Del, he knows better. Possessed by the Hellion as a young child, he never really got over it. An adult now, he's never totally gotten his act together. He stumbled through high school, majored in graphic design in college, landed a series of minimal-paying jobs. Compared to his brother--who went to college, got a computer degree, got a real job, moved up the ladder, got married, and is living the good life--compared to that Del knows that he's a loser. Now things are getting even worse. Not stable at the best of times, he feels like there's something in his head, something trying to get out. It even takes control while he's asleep--he chains himself to his bed at night. Under these circumstances he loses even his crappy job and is running out of money and sanity. He heads back home, to Chicago. He knows his mother will help him, and his brother too. He underwent therapy after his initial possession, but suspects that it won't help much this time. First he pins his hopes on a neurological researcher who may have found the brain area affected during possessions; next he looks to a Catholic priest/former possession victim who has had some luck "exorcising" the demons. Finally he starts tracking down a possible origin of the demons themselves. Through it all Del throws himself on the mercy of his loved ones and acquaintances alike, traumatizing many of them even as they're trying to help him."

    This may sound like a gloomy downer of a book, but it's very smart and funny. It's not a long book, and once finished it occured to me that in a more perfect world the Sci-Fi channel would be making movies out of material like this instead of grinding out a seemingly endless series of made-for-television crap about giant snakes and handily stoppable natural disasters.

    On the opposite tack, I've started 2 of James Rollin's thrillers, and found both of them basically unreadable. For one, he doesn't pull off the "suspension of disbelief" needed in a book about ancient secret religious orders trying to take over the world using Judas's foreskin as part of a dark energy laser (alright, I made that last part up, but doesn't it sound good? All it lacks is some credible sounding mumbo jumbo) .


    "A 2001 paper by the Office of the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives reported that red-light cameras are "a hidden tax levied on motorists." The report came to the same conclusions that all of the other valid studies have, that red-light cameras are associated with increased crashes and that the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to increase tickets for red-light running. That's right, the state actually tampers with the yellow light settings to make them shorter, and more likely to turn red as you're driving through them.

    In fact, six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the yellow light cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant to catch red-light runners. Those local governments have completely ignored the safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits instead.

    The cities in question include Union City, CA, Dallas and Lubbock, TX, Nashville and Chattanooga, TN, and Springfield, MO, according to Motorists.org, which collected information from reports from around the country."

    Red-Light Cameras Just Don't Work
    Via Schneier on Security

    This Sounds Familiar

    " Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.

    Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process."

    In Office, Palin Hired Friends and Hit Critics

    Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street

    Via Kottke.org

    Belated Convention Post

    "What is it they hate? Guiliani and Palin both made it pretty clear: community organizing. Community organizing is energized from below. From the periphery. It is the direction and facilitation of mass energy towards productive and cooperative ends. It is about replacing conflict with collaboration. It is the opposite of war; it is peace.

    Last night, the Republican Convention made it clear they prefer war. They see the world as a dangerous and terrible place. Like the fascist leaders satirized in Starship Troopers, they say they believe it is better to be on the offensive, taking the war to the people who might wish us harm than playing defense. It is better to be an international aggressor - a bulldog with lipstick - than led by the misguided notion that attacking people itself makes the world a more dangerous place.

    In their attack on community organizing - a word combination they pretended they didn't know what it meant - Giuliani and Palin revealed their refusal to acknowledge the kinds of bottom-up processes through which our society was built, and through which local communities can begin to assert some authority over their schools, environments, and economies. Without organized communities, you don't get the reduction in centralized government the Republicans pretend to be arguing for. In their view, community organizing as, at best, equivalent to disruptive and unpredictable Al Qaeda activity.


    Republican party representatives are proud today that their convention has finally produced the “same level of energy and enthusiasm” as the DNC's last week. And while it may have produced the same level of excitement, the excitement was of a very different character. It's much easier to get people riled up but inviting them to hate a man - particularly one who they haven't been allowed to hate for traditional reasons. Giuliani's job - much like his job as mayor of NYC - was to give the Republicans in attendance permission to hate Obama and the potentially intelligent society he represents. It's not about city vs. country or educated vs. military. It's about thought vs. violence.

    Why am I going to vote for Obama? Because I think America needs to be run by adults.

    Hate Party
    Via Boing Boing

    Get Your Geek Drunk On
    The Large Hadron Collider Drinking Game

    Current Favorite Phrase
    Viral Sovereignty
    I especially like the ambiguity - is it sovereignty of or over viruses?

    Via WarrenEllis.Com

    Post-Bush Accountability
    I like the sound of that - spread the meme.

    TPMtv: A Chat with Dahlia Lithwick
    Via Talking Points Memo

    And because I can, and because it's incredibly satisfying to see a GOP spokes-dweeb's brain smoke, here's CNN's Campbell Brown operating on Tucker Brown without benefit of anaesthesia:

    He's going to need counseling after that

    Huddled Together in a You-Shaped Beehive

    "The genetic chaos continues. The Endosymbiotic Theory says that the mitochondria in our bodies, without which we couldn't live, let alone write snide humor articles, was at one point a separate organism that invaded our cells and set up camp. They formed a symbiotic relationship so beneficial that we've never booted them out. Furthermore, large chunks of the human genome are thought to be ancient retroviruses that managed to transcribe themselves into our DNA and have spent the remainder of their days happily clambering up and down our nucleotides like the McDuck children on a mansion banister. Basically your cells are millions of individual organisms, all huddled together in a you-shaped beehive. Now see how long you can go before wanting to shower.

    And lastly, a thought for the right-wingers out there: At some point half of you was an egg in your Mother's womb. That egg existed in her body from the day she was born. And a long, long time ago, she too was an egg in her Mother's womb, who had that egg ready for use from the moment she squirmed out of your Great Grandma's nethers. The point being, technically speaking, there's no break in the chain of existence, no time when you are not a life form of at least the most rudimentary sort. Your family, at least on your Mother's side, could theoretically be considered an immortal, constantly-regenerating organism. Of course that would make men, whose sperm has to be created years after the moment of birth, just disposable donors here to fuel the everlasting fire of womanhood. You go girls!"

    5 Scientific Theories That Will Make Your Head Explode
    (Utility Fog not responsible if head explodes)
    Via dy link blog

    My Obsessions Seem a Little Saner Now

    "From R. Crutch:

    Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.

    Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them breaks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.

    I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.

    Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.

    When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3x5 card reading, "Please use this M&M for breeding purposes."

    This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this "grant money." I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion.

    There can be only one. "

    The breeding properties of M&Ms
    Via Bifurcated Rivets