Saturday, December 03, 2005

Friday, December 02, 2005

She's Back!

Give up, Michael Eisner - richer and smarter villains than you have failed to kill Kim Possible.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another day on ScrappleFace

I read Scrappleface a lot more often than I link there. Good grief, what to pick? - this guy always has something good. I'd probably do better just to rename this blog "Scrappleface West" or something and to link to all of his posts.

Well, one day won't hurt. Go to the top and scroll down.

Consolation prize

You don't have to be a doctor to know that getting fat is bad for your heart.

Of course this can lead to heart damage.

Certain types of heart damage can be treated effectively with adult stem cells.

And it appears that these adult stem cells can be derived from.....fat.

Long distance dedication

No, I'm not Casey Kasem. I don't know if LDDs were his creation or not, but he used to feature them on his weekly radio show "American Top 40".

Alright Casey, I'll dedicate this song to you and the peaceniks currently being held hostage in Iraq.

Y'all may be scared, but don't lose your heads. Better people than you are working to get your sorry asses out, so you can spread more nonsense like this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Engineers get horny too

There's a website for everything, and now Boing-Boing points us to Homemade Sex Toys and their instructions for expanding the entertainment potential of an old Atari 2600 controller.

Radioactive consumer products

I'll bet that there's a lot more of them than you think. Check it out here.

Attention gay Iraq War vets

How about dating Ted Rall?

Never mind - you've sacrificed enough already.

Stolen from The Corner.

Lest we forget

Greyhawk has put together a timeline from 1998 showing events from Iraq and the Clinton Administration. As usual with Greyhawk, there's a lot there - keep it for reference.

Via RSS (Reynolds's sloppy seconds).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

He must have inhaled

Way back in HS I was a wrestler. I had a winning record and all, but was nothing spectacular, and if I wanted to go to the state finals I would have needed a ticket.

But I had started late and wasn't ready to quit. Title IX hadn't decimated college wresting teams yet, so I wrote off to a couple of schools where I had applied to engineering school. I got some letters back and...well, I'm a pack rat, but I had those letters for years just for being acknowledged by some very successful programs.

Nothing came of it all. I was running late for the first practice in college and took a nasty fall down some concrete steps. I tried to wrestle through it and wound up with an injury that ended my season. I never went back.

What if...?

And Bill Richardson wants me to believe that he really didn't know whether he had been drafted into major league baseball by the KC Athletics?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Woman with food allergy dies after kiss

Right here.

Her boyfriend had had peanuts hours before. Sheesh!

Stolen from Medpundit, who has more.

Move over Detroit

Check out the latest in brazen crime in Baltimore:
Thieves are sawing down aluminum light poles. Some 130 have vanished from Baltimore's streets in the last several weeks, the authorities say, presumably sold for scrap metal. But so far the case of the pilfered poles has stumped the police, and left many local residents wondering just how someone manages to make off with what would seem to be a conspicuous street fixture.

The poles, which weigh about 250 pounds apiece, have been snatched during the day and in the middle of the night, from two-lane blacktop roads and from parkways with three lanes on either side of grass median strips, in poor areas and in some of the city's most affluent neighborhoods. Left behind are half-foot stubs of metal, with wires that carry 120 volts neatly tied and wrapped in black electric tape.

"It's a newfound phenomenon; I have to say we haven't seen this before," said David Brown, a spokesman for the city's transportation department . "Apparently, the culprits know what they're doing because we're talking about 30-foot poles here. It's not like you can stick one in a grocery cart and get rolling."
How about this?
"If the cops can't catch guys who're cutting down 30-foot poles, how are they going to crack a major drug gang?" said Chip Franklin, a talk-show host on WBAL Radio, a local news and talk station. "What's next? Someone taking a downtown building?"

But Lynn Smith, the manager at the Modern Junk and Salvage Company in Baltimore, said the thieves' quest for quick cash did not surprise her. "They find any way they can to get the metal and then the money in Baltimore," Ms. Smith said. "They don't care how they get it."

She added that she and other local dealers in scrap metal were "on alert" for sections of aluminum light poles and would not buy them. But, Ms. Smith suggested, thieves may be cutting the poles into pieces, then heading out of town to sell the scrap aluminum, which goes for about 35 cents a pound.

It will cost about $156,000 to replace each pole, the metal arms that extend over roads and the glass globes, city officials said.
250 lbs/pole * 0.35 $/lb
= $87.50 worth of aluminum as scrap, and that certainly isn't the only cost for the thieves. Surely thieves with enough talent to pull this off can make better money doing something else.

Such as reinstalling them for $156K or so a pop....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The power of the Internet

Admit it, you've never heard of Princeton, IL. The college went to the one in New Jersey, the big Toyota plant went to the one in IN. But our Princeton, halfway between Chicago and the Quad Cities on I-80, has its high speed Internet delivered over power lines.
The Princeton service, which began testing this spring, is being watched by small communities across Illinois. One member of the Illinois Commerce Commission hopes other towns will experiment with BPL to spread Internet connectivity and drive down costs.

About 15 customers are served by Princeton's BPL test deployment, which demonstrates the service is robust and works well, said Jason Bird, superintendent of Princeton's municipal electric utility.

"From the utility's standpoint, this hasn't been difficult," he said. "The equipment is similar to what we work with every day."

Customers seem to like the service, especially the in-house portability BPL offers. A computer can move from one room to another and go online simply by plugging its modem into any electrical outlet in the house.

"I'm much more active on the Interent now because the speed is much better than with dial-up," said Leslie Lund, who began using BPL in March. "I don't get interference, even when my husband uses his power tools."

The electric line connections get their Internet signals from a 12-mile loop of fiber that Princeton installed last year as a means of attracting industrial development. After one factory left town in 2003 and the manager of another complained about the town's lack of advanced communications infrastructure, the city decided it needed fiber, said Mayor Keith Cain.

"We already had our own electric utility, so that gave us a real advantage," he said.
In addition to the above, it keeps competitors honest:
Since the city installed fiber and started testing BPL the local cable and phone operators upgraded their systems and cut service rates, he said.
Woe to the early adopters:
One downside to Princeton's BPL experience has been an inability to get enough equipment to begin the commercial rollout sooner, Cain said. The town's BPL vendor ran into financial difficulty and stopped producing equipment while it went into reorganization.

Under new ownership, the vendor now says it can ship the products needed for the rollout, said Steve Brust, vice president of Connecting Point Community Centers, the Internet service provider that manages Princeton's broadband service.

"The equipment works fine, but it's proprietary," Brust said. "There are a lot of companies in BPL right now, but there are no standards and no one company dominates the market."

Lack of standards is common with any new technology, said Raymond Blair, vice president for BPL initiatives for IBM Corp. Broadband technologies like Wi-Fi that are based on standards enjoy popularity because the equipment is interoperable and less expensive than proprietary systems.

At least three industry-based committees are working toward BPL standardization, Blair said. The emerging industry should benefit from their work within a year or two, he said.

"The best case for BPL right now lies in creating a smart electrical grid," Blair said. Utilities can spot trouble, read meters, improve efficiencies and generally boost reliability once they install fiber to monitor their grids, he said.

Once BPL standards are in place, equipment costs will drop, making a stronger economic case for offering high-speed Internet to residences, Blair said.
If this be pork, it's my favorite kind:
There will be another $5 million available next year, and he hopes that some BPL projects will receive a portion of that Digital Divide infrastructure funding.

Also, Lieberman said, the ICC and state lawmakers need to provide incentives to electric utilities to install smart grid equipment that makes BPL to residential customers possible. Texas lawmakers recently adopted such incentives, and legislators in New York are considering doing so, he said.
And if that doesn't work:
Power lines aren't the Internet's only new avenue into homes. There's also interest in using natural gas pipelines.

Broadband in gas, or BiG, has been proven to work in concept, although field trials haven't yet been launched, said George West, a senior analyst with West Technology Research Solutions, a market research firm based in Mountain View, Calif.

BiG would rely upon ultra-wideband radio waves traveling through gas pipes to bring Internet to customers. The Federal Communications Commission approved ultra-wideband applications a few years ago but requires they operate at very low power to avoid interference with wireless phones and other appliances.

Pumping ultra-wideband signals along gas lines buried underground would shield them from interference, enabling them to operate at higher power, West said. "BiG has the potential to serve 18 million homes by 2010."
I just got my latest bill for broadband. This can't happen soon enough.

Stuffing staff stiff

The inventor of Stove Top stuffing has died.

Link thanks to Doctor Frank, who needs to follow this link and get his act to Chicago!

Stop it or you'll go blind

Just now on the tube a law firm advertised for people who went blind after using erectile dysfunction drugs.