Saturday, December 18, 2010

Potpourri CLVI

Doing a little electronic housekeeping today. Let's just reach our hands into the bucket and see what sort of scary stuff comes out of it, shall we?

First, a little mayhem and humor courtesy of Allstate (via The Deastroyer).

I like these. I shouldn’t, but I do: Killhouettes.

This past week aviation buffs celebrated the 107th year of powered flight by the Wright Brothers. Others, more impressed with mass transportation, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3.

Bored? Have some skill with electronics? You, too, can program your Christmas lights to indicate when you have incoming messages.
Know a geek you'd like to overspend on this Christmas? Consider one of these gifts.
For reasons that elude me, Liberty University decided to put together a choral version of Antoine Dodson's "Hide the wife, hide the kids" rant. Maybe they'll take on the Double Rainbow guy next?
Ever felt the urge to drop an asteroid on the planet and see the results? Well, now's your chance. Purdue University has a site made just for you.
More YouTube goodness from Father Dan:
  • Silent Monks "sing" the Hallelujah Chorus.
  • A six-minute video about unbelievable courage and persistence in battle: "Tango Mike Mike." Absolutely worth watching.
From Charlie: a guy who watched Ocean's 11 and learned all the wrong lessons.
Awhile ago I tried to explain why it's impossible to calculate the odds of one's employment continuing at NASA. An email I received this morning sort of crystallizes the matter nicely:

Congress has passed a continuing resolution through 12/21 and the President is expected to sign today. We have been advised by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer at NASA Headquarters that all ongoing NASA operations should continue at least through 12/21/10. Additional information will be provided as subsequent funding actions are enacted.

Basically NASA, like the rest of the federal government, is subject to the political debates and whims of elected officials in Washington...which, at present, consists of the lame-duck Democrat-controlled Congress trying to push through as much stuff as they can before the next, Republican-controlled session can take place. New laws are apparently more important than passing the budget, so the budget gets passed in days-at-a-time increments. If the lame-duck Congress can't come to any sort of agreement on what to do with the rest of Fiscal Year 2011 after December 21, the government will "shut down," meaning nonessential personnel like me will be kept at home on furlough until a more complete budget IS passed. Wacky times.

And since it's that season, here's an Irish version of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Here's something interesting...a demographic map of darn near every city in America.

I mentioned the Make A Wish Foundation a few days ago. If you've got some serious spare change, you can buy a Stormtrooper helmet autographed by various Star Wars cast members, with the money going to M.A.W.F. No, really.

In my continuing series of gastronomical challenges, I'm including this link from Yohon on the "worst foods in America."

Jerry Pournelle has had some very thought-provoking essays lately on the recent debates re: renewing the Bush-era tax cuts. He manages to get beyond the rhetoric and consider what sort of society we really want...and what we want the economy to do. Any decision has consequences. Let the tax cuts expire and you make a bad economy that much worse by taking money that belongs to productive citizens and giving it to government. Soak the rich (however you define them), and eventually those folks will either run out of money or take what resources they have and LEAVE the country. Pournelle has other thoughts that, again, are worth thinking about.

I saw these in my internet "travels":
  • A Victorian book on how to write fiction, and the then-perceived problems thereof.
  • The U.S. Navy has a new gun--and you really don't want to get hit by this one.
  • Cold weather isn’t good for electric cars, either.
  • Holiday greetings from Jabba the Hutt.
  • Googling America…look up a state on Google, and here’s what comes up. Funny!
  • C-3PO and R2-D2 swimsuits. Um. Wow?
  • While finds this letter "thin-skinned," after awhile, you've got to say enough is enough and get the prankster's attention. "Not just no, but heck no!" obviously didn't do it.
From Tracy:
  • National Geographic released images of the top most unusual animals discovered in 2010. Some are goofy-lookin', others gross, one or two fascinating. The discovery of these creatures begs the question: how do we "know" how many species exist or have really gone extinct on our planet if new beasties keep creeping up (so to speak)?
  • An NPR story about Neil Armstrong and why we should go to the Moon.
From Lin: a two-part article on the role of males in a post-industrial society. I'll read the whole thing eventually, I promise.


No comments: