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Now drivers have to pass green test

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 14:43 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

After surviving an emergency stop and three-point turn, driving test candidates will in future have to show they can save fuel as well. Fuel efficiency – or eco-driving – is to be made part of the driving test from 2008 in a move ministers hope will cut polluting emissions, save money on bills and make driving safer.

[..]

Are you a green driver? Find out with our quiz.
observer.guardian.co.uk/quiz/questions


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Melton pulls over buses to get a hug

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 14:23 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

[Quote:]

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton said he impulsively asked his police escort to pull four Callaway High buses over on I-220 on Friday afternoon because he needed a hug.

The buses were taking students home from school, about 4:30 p.m.

“It’s been such a stressful two weeks,” Melton said. “I wanted to shake their hands. I wanted to touch them. That’s all it was. … I went through the buses and shook their hand and hugged them and told then how proud I was of them.”

Melton said students saw him out their windows and waved before he had the buses stopped. “I told the kids to have a great weekend and a safe weekend,” he said. “I didn’t do anything stupid or illegal.”

You know, I just might agree with the “illegal” part…


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Playground pentagram to go

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 13:54 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

[Quote:]

The new playground at Springfield’s Washington Park is being altered because of complaints that a five-pointed star etched in concrete could be interpreted as a symbol of the occult.

The pentagram is on the circular stage of a small amphitheater at the rear of the playground. The design was intended to be a spoked wheel, but landscape architect Kent Massie said a mistake made when the concrete was poured late last summer rendered that design impossible. It was decided to go with the star.

[..]

Springfield resident Leland Rhodes said he found the design “distressing.”

“There is a certain breed of individual out there who reveres such symbols, and in that context, it becomes a religious icon. In this day and age of general concern for children’s welfare, especially in regard to predators, my main concern was for the crowd that it might draw,” Rhodes said.

Yeah, I’m sure all these predators prefer playgrounds with stars in them.

Would somebody please point out to this Leland Rhodes that the flag of her country has fifty of them in the design?


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Comments:

  1. I bet he never went to Hollywood… There you’ll find no less then 2500 five pointed stars etched in concrete. Most of these even have names in them, of famous people no less. You can find them on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

    I’ve never heard anyone call it symbols of the occult, I think it’s more commonly referred to as the ‘walk of fame’.

  2. Your right, I’ve never been to Hollyweird. The Washington Park Pentagram was an active site. It wasn’t just an inocent star, but a pentagram. I found a ring of stones off to one side (got pictures, a buddy of mine took care of it) and the park district confessed to finding candles. Most likely just kids playing around, like those Colarado boys or those middle east kids who relish the glory of strapping on the boom vest. Seems we have some “true beleivers” here in Springfield. If they stayed in the broom closet, nobody would have noticed. When they invade my turf, being a park where my children play, they done crossed the line.
    Leland Rhodes

Why was Colbert press corps video removed from YouTube?

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 13:34 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

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[Quote:]

YouTube has taken down the videos [of Colbert's performance], citing copyright infringement

Apparently video of President Bush’s performance from the same event doesn’t violate copyright: Link.

And as you can see from this functional link, the clip from the 2005 dinner is still up.


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Comments:

  1. c-span has a history of IP issues

Creationism dismissed as ‘a kind of paganism’ by Vatican’s astronomer

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 12:40 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote:]

Believing that God created the universe in six days is a form of superstitious paganism, the Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno claimed yesterday.

Brother Consolmagno, who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy, said a “destructive myth” had developed in modern society that religion and science were competing ideologies.


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John-Cage-Orgelprojekt Halberstadt

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 12:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

Looking for a new ringtone for my phone I came across this news, part of this.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a torrent. Perhaps I should wait for the dance remix.


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Titan Descent Data Movie with Bells and Whistles

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 12:06 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture, News

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[Quote:]

This movie, built with data collected during the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe on Jan. 14, 2005, shows the operation of the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera during its descent and after touchdown. The camera was funded by NASA.

The almost four-hour-long operation of the camera is shown in less than five minutes. That’s 40 times the actual speed up to landing and 100 times the actual speed thereafter.

The first part of the movie shows how Titan looked to the camera as it acquired more and more images during the probe’s descent. Each image has a small field of view, and dozens of images were made into mosaics of the whole scene.

The scientists analyzed Huygens’ speed, direction of motion, rotation and swinging during the descent. The movie includes sidebar graphics that show:

–(Lower left corner) Huygens’ trajectory views from the south, a scale bar for comparison to the height of Mount Everest, colored arrows that point to the sun and to the Cassini orbiter.

–(Top left corner) A close-up view of the Huygens probe highlighting large and unexpected parachute movements, a scale bar for comparison to human height.

–(Lower right corner) A compass that shows the changing direction of view as Huygens rotates, along with the relative positions of the sun and Cassini.

–(Upper right corner) A clock that shows Universal Time for Jan. 14, 2005 (Universal Time is 7 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time). Above the clock, events are listed in mission time, which starts with the deployment of the first of the three parachutes.

Sounds from a left speaker trace Huygens’ motion, with tones changing with rotational speed and the tilt of the parachute. There also are clicks that clock the rotational counter, as well as sounds for the probe’s heat shield hitting Titan’s atmosphere, parachute deployments, heat shield release, jettison of the camera cover and touchdown.

Sounds from a right speaker go with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer activity. There’s a continuous tone that represents the strength of Huygens’ signal to Cassini. Then there are 13 different chimes – one for each of instrument’s 13 different science parts – that keep time with flashing-white-dot exposure counters. During its descent, the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer took 3,500 exposures.


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IRS

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 11:45 by John Sinteur in category: Joke

Ralph arrived at his Internal Revenue Service audit accompanied by his attorney. Going over his records, the IRS official said, “Well, sir, it appears that you live at a much higher level than your reported employment income. How do you explain that?” Ralph replied, “I love to gamble and I usually win.”

The sceptical official gave him a disbelieving look. “I can prove it,” said Ralph. “How about a demonstration?” The official thought a moment and said, “Okay. Go ahead.” Ralph said, “I’ll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.” The auditor thought a moment and said, “No way! It’s a bet!” Ralph removed his glass eye and bit it. The official’s jaw dropped. Ralph said, “Now, I’ll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.”

The official could tell Ralph wasn’t blind, so he took the bet. Ralph then removed his dentures and bit his good eye. The stunned official was now three grand in the hole!

“Want to go double or nothing?” Ralph asked. “I’ll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on your desk and piss into that waste basket by the door over there and never get a drop anywhere in between.”

The auditor, twice burned, was cautious now, but there’s no way this guy could manage that stunt, so he agreed again!

Ralph climbed up on the auditor’s desk, missed the wastebasket completely, and pretty much peed all over the desk. The official grinned.

He had just turned a huge loss into a huge win! But then he noticed that Ralph’s attorney looked ashen and was visibly shaken. “Are you okay?” he asked. The man replied, “Not really. Before we arrived, Ralph bet me twenty thousand dollars he’d piss on your desk and you’d be happy about it!”


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Vacation…

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 11:11 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

You know, the first few warm days of the season always makes me long for the vacation I’ve got planned. The problem is, that’s still two and a half months away.

To get in the mood, there’s always Flickr.

Which reminds me, revisiting the maldives is pretty high on my wishlist.

And let’s not forget the Red Sea as a destination.

And no, I don’t know how to ski or snow-board.


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Politics is like driving

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 9:38 by John Sinteur in category: News

To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

yes, that is indeed why so many European cars have manual gear shifts


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Iraqi police killed 14-year-old boy for being homosexual

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 9:36 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

[Quote:]

Human rights groups have condemned the “barbaric” murder of a 14-year-old boy, who, according to witnesses, was shot on his doorstep by Iraqi police for the apparent crime of being gay.

Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad.

Campaign groups have warned of a surge in homophobic killings by state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay and anti-lesbian fatwa issued by Iraq’s most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Ali Hili, the co-ordinator of a group of exiled Iraqi gay men who monitor homophobic attacks inside Iraq, said the fatwa had instigated a “witch-hunt of lesbian and gay Iraqis, including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations”.

“Young Ahmed was a victim of poverty,” he said. “He was summarily executed, apparently by fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police.”

Neighbours in al-Dura district say Ahmed’s father was arrested and interrogated two days before his son’s murder by police who demanded to know about Ahmed’s sexual activities. It is believed Ahmed slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family, who have fled the area fearing further reprisals.

More info here, here, here.


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Jupiter and the Red Spots

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 8:49 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon-Miller (Goddard Space Flight Center), I. de Pater, M. Wong (UC Berkeley)

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a swirling storm seen for over 300 years, since the beginning of telescopic observations. But in February 2006, planetary imager Christopher Go noticed it had been joined by Red Spot Jr – formed as smaller whitish oval-shaped storms merged and then developed the remarkable reddish hue. This sharp Hubble Space Telescope image showing the two salmon-colored Jovian storms was recorded in April. About half the size of the original Red Spot, Red Spot Jr. is similar in diameter to planet Earth. Seen here below and left of the ancient storm system, it trails the Great Red Spot by about an hour as the planet rotates from left to right. While astronomers still don’t exactly understand why Jupiter’s red spots are red, they do think the appearance of Red Spot Jr. provides evidence for climate change on the Solar System’s ruling gas giant.


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Comments:

  1. Climate change on Jupiter, the polar ice cap on Mars is melting…those damn SUVs are heating up the entire solar system !

Katrina Contractors Bilk Taxpayers

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 8:34 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

While removing enough debris to cover Britain, contractors working on hurricane recovery have overbilled the government in a $63 billion operation that only will get more expensive, according to a House report Thursday.

Mileage claims were overstated to get extra fees, debris was mixed improperly to inflate prices and companies sent bills twice for removing the same loads, Democrats on the GOP-controlled House Government Reform Committee found.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who compiled the report for the hearing on Katrina contracting, also complained about layers of subcontractors that drove up costs.

[..]

Davis said many contracts were awarded without competition. Government officials at the hearing said these contracts are being replaced with competitive awards.

Davis said the sole-source contracts allowed an “unprecedented opportunity for fraud and mismanagement.”


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Microsoft’s adCenter is Google, Yahoo! rival

Posted on May 5th, 2006 at 8:11 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself, Microsoft, Software

[Quote:]

Microsoft today is launching its adCenter online advertising system in the U.S., and will now compete directly with Google and Yahoo! in selling ads on the Web.

The official announcement is coming this morning when Chief Executive Steve Ballmer addresses the company’s Strategic Account Summit, a wide-ranging two-day event that on Wednesday included an unusual onstage interview of Chairman Bill Gates that touched on his private and professional life.

Over the past year, Microsoft has been slowly weaning itself from Yahoo!, a rival that it had hired to serve advertising alongside the Redmond company’s Web search results. Now, Microsoft will be working directly with advertisers.

AdCenter will give advertisers sophisticated information about consumers, including their location, age, gender and sometimes, their level of wealth.

And if you go to adCenter and try to sign up:

Microsoft adCenter does not currently support the web browser you are using. Please sign in using Internet Explorer 6+.

Look, guys, I’m not asking you to support my browser. Interoperability is more than enough.

There’s also a “More about system requirements” link on that page that does absolutely nothing. If you go to the support website and click on “I am having difficulty creating my MSN adCenter account” and click on “email support”, you get to a form where your adcenter ID is a required field. Yes, the very thing you want to complain about not being able to create, is required.

A weblog I read regularly has a category, “retarded software”, for this kind of stuff…

So, Microsoft, you don’t want non-Windows and non-IE websurfers to spend money with you? That’s okay, because non-IE websurfers probably won’t see your ads anyway.

From said page’s javascript:
if(!isIE6plus) //support IE only for now
this makes me wonder if they plan on dropping IE “support” as well…


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Comments:

  1. Actually, there was a problem with IE! I posted about it on my blog at http://seog.net/6

    I got a major error that kept me from entering my credit card info and completing the process. And I tried on IE. Happened both at work and at home. Guess they didn’t plan for the response or beta test or something…

  2. It seems to be a cultural problem at MS. They cannot do anything anymore without trying to restrict it to their own OS and software. Whether it is Word Docs instead of PDFs, or things like these sign in pages that require IE, and therefore Windoze. They also started blocking document downloads unless you have verified that your OS is genuine Windows. Mine is not because it is not Windows at all. I’ve not violated their copyright, and I needed to read a document about one of their other products, but it wasn’t allowed because my Linux OS is not genuine crap, um, sorry, Windows. Others are delivered in .exe files; like that is setting a good example in a world where trojans and spyware spread through executables pretending to contain documents. And I’m not even going to get into how stupid it is to try to mandate a mechanism that allows apps running on a Windows box to punch holes in an external firewall on demand…