Monthly Archives: August 2008
Ah! Dammit, this computer is freaking out. Stupid computer, if only you could learn from your mistakes, if only you were somehow adaptive and intelligent, that would be excellent, really excellent.
Fear not, dear computer, your brain may be just around the corner! Yesterday scientists at the University of Reading in the UK developed the first robot controlled by biological brain. His name is Gordon, and he avoids walls. How does Mr. Robo-Gordon work? Well these smart scientists removed brain cells from rat fetuses and put them in an enzyme bath. Then they hooked the the enzyme bath up to this “multi-electrode array” which acts as the conduit between living tissue and the machine. The “brain” sends “impulses to drive the wheels of the robot, and receives impulses delivered by sensors reacting to the environment. Because the brain is living tissue, it must be in a special temperature-controlled unit and communicates with its “body” via a Bluetooth radio link.”
The people behind the development of Gordon say that being able observe how brain matter reacts to learning and storing data will give them valuable insight into human brain development and help them better understand and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Sure, that’s exactly what they WANT us to believe, but really, these British “scientists” are being secretly bankrolled by the US Military to develop weapons for 21st century warfare. Who do they think we are? We know that this lovable, smart robot will not become the real life version of Pixar’s Wall-E.
Nay! Gordon will most likely evolve into James Cameron’s killing machine, which will eventually lead to the destruction of life as we know it!
Or perhaps, after spending some time with humans and learning how to love Gordon 2.0 will turn from a killing machine to a Automaton with attitude!
Whichever road Gordon may take (Damn you beef stew! Damn you! Why are you here I smell you, why why why?!?!) robots have become smart, which means that soon computers will be controlling us, and then we’ll wake up in a tube on embryonic fluid and realize that the world is just green flowing characters and now, we have to rely on some dipshit to save us, but really he’ll turn our salvation into a three part suckfest. Oh, how I miss the 20th century.
Info and quotes found here: http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,24181170-5014108,00.html
Blurgh. Hi. How are you feeling? Good? Any new news? How do you get your news? The internet. Yeah I guess that’s pretty excellent, really pretty excellent.
I prefer to get my news through telegram. That’s right the OLD internet. Let’s take a trip back in time to the beginning of telecommunications!
Interestingly, the telegraph was simultaneously invented in both the UK and the US in 1837. In the UK, the first commercial telegraph was constructed by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and used in the Great Western Railway in Britain. It was patented in 1837. AND, Mr. Samuel Morse and his buddy Alfred Vail constructed the the electrical telegraph and developed Morse Code in 1837 in the States. They sent their first message across two miles of wire.. and the message was “A patient waiter is no loser.” Here, here I think we can all agree to that. Right? Absolutely.
**You may hear that the first telegraphed message was “What has God wrought” however, my sources (WIKIPEDIA) disagree**
(Damnit, someone is eating beef stew again! Such a rich disgusting smell and just when I was getting all excited about my telegrams. Pish aaaah. Ok, focus, ignore… tangible… reeking… warm smelling… air)
So telegrams! After being developed and implemented in both the US and Europe in the late 1830s the telegram went international. And even better, the first transoceanic telegram took place 150 years ago (two days ago) – August 16, 1858. The first telegram sent from Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan read as follows:
“The Queen desires to congratulate the President upon the successful completion of this great international work, in which the Queen has taken the deepest interest. The Queen is convinced that the President will join with her in fervently hoping that the electric cable, which now connects Great Britain with the United States, will prove an additional link between the two places whose friendship is founded upon their common interests and reciprocal esteem. The Queen has much pleasure in thus directly communicating with the President, and in renewing to him her best wishes for the prosperity of the United States.”
I wonder how often the Queen did indeed drop the old Prez a line and express her excitement for the US’s renewed prosperity. Or do you think she’s one of those people who says they’ll call and never does?
Here’s a map of the electronic telegraph lines as of 1891.
I found out that you can still send a telegram not via Western Union though. It turns out that Western Union sent its last telegram on January 27, 2006. (Check it out) Sigh. However, you can still send telegrams through International Telegram, which uses Western Union’s original cabled network. So if you feel like you’ve got something to say, but don’t want to say it with an email, phone call, fax, text, IM, or overnight package, then head to International Telegram and spread the news.
Hello. What’s new? Uh huh…. Really? Wow, that’s wonderful! I’m so glad to hear that you’re making such positive life changes and really embracing your art! I always thought you had excellent, really excellent talent.
And speaking of talent, what better way to find talent then by heading over to YouTube.com and checking out what humanity is up to? Ah, here’s something interesting…. let’s talk about it.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the Michel Gondry movie Be Kind Rewind, if you haven’t, it’s not really worth watching as it sucks, but if you have then at least you’ll know what I’m talking about. Anyway, in the movie these two mo-mos through a series of odd and badly explained events are forced to recreate some of Hollywood’s most well-known movies using only their imaginations, local resources and a cheap camcorder. Once a movie has been remade they dub it as being Sweded. So for instance, there’s Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters Sweded! For whatever reason, most likely boredom, I was cruisin’ the youtube and came across a treasure trove of Sweded movies! It turns out that Be Kind Rewind actually hosted a “How to Swede” contest, hence all of these wonderful videos.
I encourage you to watch these videos, as they are a testament to the wonders of imagination and creativity (and they’re only two minutes long)!
Jurassic Park SWEDED!
Silence of the Lambs (Trailer) SWEDED!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory SWEDED!
Star Wars SWEDED!
The Shining SWEDED!
Lord of the Rings Trilogy SWEDED!
Oh! I didn’t see you there! Why hello! How are you? It sure is a lovely day outside. I’m really looking forward to walking home. Stretching the old legs will feel excellent, really excellent.
Yes, I will be making the trek from work to home, and I will encounter wonderful things along the way. I plan on taking the sunniest route possible. I also find myself tempted to take off my shirt and just cruise the streets; unfortunately my modesty requires I leave on my undershirt. I have a feeling that by the time I leave here, however, the fog will have rolled in and I will need my shirt, anyway. Sigh. What kind of summer is this?! One where you have to wear shirts?! Gah. GAH! I defy you foggy summer! I DEFY YOU!
Ok, enough smiting…moving on… yes Walking! Glorious walking! How lucky I am to live in place where I can walk from work to home. Sure it will take me about an hour, but just think of all the encounters I’ll have along the way. I’ll probably smell plenty of urine,
and see countless kinds of people,
Maybe I’ll stop and get a drink? What kind of drink?
A bubble tea with tapioca?
A Veitnamese ice coffee?
Mexican Coke in a bottle?
A tall boy of Bud Light?
Then I’ll be off, up the hills I’ll charge, through the brightly flagged streets of the Castro
and down the slopes of the lower Haight.
Oh look, an open air produce market!
How convenient! I need to buy some tomatoes for eating
and some fruit for snacking.
I wanted grapes earlier and now here they are!
Thank you kind shop owner, here’s your money and off I go! Walking!
Oh! The bike shop just called. Looks like I’ll be riding home after all….
Hello friend. Slow news day? Yeah, right! There’s a new war on, the Olympics are happening as I type, and both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes died over the weekend! SO not excellent, not really excellent at all (well except for the Olympics, which are excellent, really excellent)
In order to deal with all of this drama, sadness, and athleticism, I’ve decided to post something I wrote a while ago. You may have read it before, and if that is the case, then I urge you to read it again and enjoy!
Sometimes I see old people and I think to myself “what’s that? What’s that flap right under your chin? Why does it sway in the breeze? Will I be lucky enough to have a flap like that someday?”
My mom once told me that the chin flap was God’s way of telling you that you will fly to heaven. When your judgment day comes, you will look to the sky and let your flap carry you.
When you reach the pearly gates St. Peter will pull out his sickle and slice your chin flap away. Then your chin flap will be tossed into a bin with other chin flaps. This bin will be collected by one of the angels, Gabriel I think, and then Gabriel will fly the chin flap bin to the Heaven Knows Factory.
No human knows what happens in this factory (at least that’s what my mom told me), but some believe the chin flaps are deep fried, lightly salted and fed to God via Jesus. Others say the chin flaps are melted down in a creamy broth and molded into babies, which are then delivered by mechanical stork to India. That’s where babies come from: India.
All I know is that when I am old enough to have a chin flap I will raise my head to the sky and let the wind take me to the wonderful afterlife. Should my sacred piece of flesh come back either as a beautiful Indian baby or a salty treat for our Lord and Savior, I will know that I lived a just righteous life.
Hallowed be our chin flaps and Jesus.
OH YES! Man, that lunch was aces! Pure aces! Mmmmmm… hot, spicy, salty and tinge of sweetness makes the perfect broth; then throw in fried tofu, fresh vegetables, rice noodles, fried garlic, fresh basil and a squeeze of lime juice. Ah! It’s so excellent, really excellent!
Soup! GLORIOUS SOUP! Pho, really, but not really because traditional Pho has sliced rare beef in it, and that’s not what I eat, although I’m sure authentic pho is delicious. Pho has a nice history though, well not really nice since it was born out of the occupation of Vietnam by the French and the Chinese, but it is a fun hodge-podge of cultures similar to ingredients in a bowl – a bowl of HISTORY, which makes soup that tastes like happiness. Soup that tastes like happiness?! Pho’s history can’t be all bad, right?! RIGHT!?!?! So here’s your fun little pho history lesson: (I’ll use quotes so it’s not like I’m plagiarizing)
“Some theorize it was the French who triggered pho, popularizing the use of bones and lesser cuts of beef to make broth. After all, in a society that wasted nothing, what was one to do with all the bones carved from biftecks? In fact, they believe perhaps it was first created when Vietnamese cooks learned to make pot au feu for their French masters. The name pho, they suspect, might have even come from feu. But others argue that while the French can take credit for popularizing beef, it was actually the Chinese who inspired the dish with ingredients like noodles, ginger and anise. Then there are still others who claim it was the Chinese, and the Chinese alone, who instigated this culinary wonder.“
Fascinating, no? Yes. The “pho” I had for lunch is the veggie. It makes a nice filling, but not too heavy lunch, and of course, it tastes like happiness. I want to live in it, just have my life happen in that noodely, amazing soup. SOUP! I wish I had taken a picture of it so I could have shown it to you, but sadly, I did not. You know what this means though, don’t you? Yes, it means that I will scour the internet in search of the perfect pho – tographs! HEYO! (Give me a break; it’s Friday)
And Veggie Pho – The one I had for lunch looks way better.
Quote taken from this place: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1997/11/05/FD48543.DTL
Hello! How are you doing today? I have garlic breath, but it’s ok. No matter how bad my breath may be, Chinese food is still excellent, really excellent.
And speaking of things that are excellent, I want to talk to you about the importance of quality television programming. It is so crucial, I think, to pack the broadbands and satellites with intelligent, informative, and timely programs that spread knowledge and art. As a television viewer, I find it is far too easy to get sucked into the never ending void of horrible reality television shows. Who wants to become the next Food Network Star while simultaneously dating a millionaire and kicking that ten year old heroin addiction? Sure sounds real to me. While more and more reality television shows clog our airwaves with idiots doing idiotic things while other idiots watch, I want to you encourage you to switch the channel, or just turn off the television altogether.
I find that public access is always good for a laugh, and it makes you feel like you’re really connecting with your community. Also, you may learn something – like the power of your vagina. Another show, which captures my imagination and makes my brain start a churnin’ is the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! I think you should watch it. I’ve included a few of my favorite clips for your enjoyment. And yes, this posting is a result of me wanting to watch the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! at work.
Below is part one of Brule’s Rules with John C. Riley!
http://www2.funnyordie.com/public/flash/fodplayer.swf See <a href=”http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/ccbe047722″>Dr Steve Brule Wine Tasting</a> and more <a href=”http://www.funnyordie.com”>funny videos</a> on <a href=”http://www.funnyordie.com”>FunnyOrDie.com</a>
See more funny videos at Funny or Die
Below is part two of Brule’s Rules with John C. Riley!
Sighhhhhhhhh….. I’m dozing off here. Raindrops on windows and whiskers on mittens and sleeping in sand, ah, a nap sounds excellent, really excellent.
Scientists, YEA SCIENTISTS, recently discovered that dogs are susceptible to contagious yawns. That’s right, dogs. From my preliminary, and therefore, final research I have concluded that no one, not even scientists, really know why we yawn. Some believe that we humans use yawning to stay awake, saying that the act of yawning cools off the brain. I don’t really understand that, but then again I’m no neuroscientist or even just plain scientist. How does it cool off the brain?
According to University at Albany psychology professor Gordon Gallup, “brains are like computers. They only operate efficiently and effectively when they’re cool. And, therefore, there are some very intricate cooling mechanisms that serve to regulate the temperature of the brain.” He said many things associated with yawning, like being tired, actually make the brain hot, and yawning can alleviate the heat. “Many people have the impression when talking to someone that if they yawn, it’s an insult,” Gallup said. “But according to our hypothesis, it’s really a compliment, because it suggests that brain mechanisms have kicked in to reinstate and optimize mental processing.”
So sure stretching your jaw and gulping down some fresh air may cool down your brain, but I’m still not satisfied. Other scientists, (SCIENCE) , claim that yawning, and more specifically contagious yawning is a sign of deep social empathy. Catriona Morrison, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Leeds believes “that contagious yawning indicates empathy. It indicates an appreciation of other people’s behavioural and physiological state.”
Also, furthermore and IN ADDITION TO! a scientist, ANOTHER scientist - Atsushi Senju from the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birbeck College – found that children diagnosed with autism do not yawn contagiously. This finding “supports the claim that contagious yawning and the capacity of empathy share common neural and cognitive mechanisms.” The scientists added it would be interesting for future research to look at whether contagious yawning is impaired in other conditions in which empathy is compromised, such as psychopathy or frontal-temporal dementia. Yes scientists that would be interesting!
So, dogs suffer from contagious yawning too, which means, WHICH MEANS! – that dogs are empathetic to humans. How sweet, how terribly sweet. Those scientists will stop at nothing to prove the wonderfulness animals. Good for them.
HERE’S a video of a dog yawning after a human; it has no sound.
And here are some animals yawning; it has dumb sounds.
Information found at these places….
Cooling off the old brain –
Autistic Children –
Hi there! My foot’s asleep. I’m afraid if I try to get up to walk, I will fall over. So i’m just going to stay here. And type about gorillas and how they are excellent, really excellent.
I don’t know if you saw today, but the Wildlife Conservatory Society announced that they’ve discovered 125,000ish gorillas in the Northern forests of the Republic of Congo, changing the previous census number from 100,000 to 225,000. Gorilla nation!
I’m excited; I love gorillas! Here’s why:
If anyone is looking for someone to join them on a trip to the Congo or Uganda to work with mountain gorillas, I’m ready and rarin’ to go! I’ve got work to do and can’t flesh out this post as I had wished. But I will leave you with THIS, a very informative and sad article from National Geographic about the gorilla murders a year ago.
What the…? Hello? Hi. I found an excellent, REALLY excellent list on Wikipedia that I would like to share with you.
It’s a list of bizarre and interesting deaths throughout history. Yes, I’m a little morbid and enjoy thinking about things like this, but I’ve learned so much from this list. Now, I know I should never have a laughing fit while suffering digestive problems and I should never hold my pee for a ridiculous amount of time. Ah, learning.
As you might guess the list is pretty long, so I’ve trimmed it down to include some of my…. uh, favorites?
- 458 BC: Aeschylus, Greek playwright, was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a stone. The tortoise survived.
* LESSON: Always wear a helmet while out in the wilderness *
- 270 BC: Philitas of Cos, poet and critic reportedly wasted away and died of insomnia while brooding about the Liar paradox.
* LESSON: Don’t think too hard; it may lead to death *
- 207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.
* LESSON: Never get your donkey drunk, feed it figs or laugh at it *
- 53 BC: Marcus Licinius Crassus was executed by having molten gold poured down his throat, following his defeat at Carrhae at the hands of the Parthians under Spahbod Surena. Some accounts claim that his head was then cut off and used as a stage prop in a play performed for the Parthian king Orodes II.
* LESSON: Don’t allow yourself to be defeated *
- 81: According to the Babylonian Talmud, an insect flew into the Roman emperor Titus‘s nose and picked at his brain for seven years. He noticed that the sound of a blacksmith hammering caused the ensuing pain to abate, so he paid for blacksmiths to hammer nearby him; however, the effect wore off and the insect resumed its gnawing. When he died, they opened his skull and found the insect had grown to the size of a bird. The Talmud gives this as the cause of his death and interprets it as divine retribution for his wicked actions in destroying the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Tales of his fate are also found in Christian sources, and the phrase “Titus’s flea” has come to refer to any idea that gnaws at one’s brain.
* LESSON: If the sound of hammering is ever soothing, seek immediate medical attention *
- 258: St Lawrence was executed by being burned or ‘grilled’ on a large metal gridiron at Rome. Images of him often show him holding the instrument of his execution. Legend says that he was so strong-willed that instead of giving in to the Romans and releasing information about the Church, at the point of death he exclaimed “Manduca, iam coctum est.” (“Eat, for it is well done.”)
* LESSON: Stick it to your excecutioners by being witty and fun! *
- 336: Arius, the heretical priest who precipitated the Council of Nicea, passed wind and evacuated his internal organs. 
* LESSON: Don’t fart too hard *
- 1410: Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing.
* LESSON: Control yourself *
- 1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence reportedly was executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.
* LESSON: Die on your own terms *
- 1601: Tycho Brahe, according to legend, died of complications resulting from a strained bladder at a banquet. It would have been extremely bad etiquette to leave the table before the meal was finished, so he stayed until he became fatally ill. This version of events has since been brought into question as other causes of death (murder by Johannes Kepler, suicide, and lead poisoning among others) have come to the fore.
* LESSON: It’s never inappropriate to pee *
- 1626: Francis Bacon died of pneumonia contracted while filling a chicken with ice in order to prove that freezing preserves food.
* LESSON: Wear a coat when filling a chicken with ice *
- 1673: Molière, the French actor and playwright, died after being seized by a violent coughing fit, whilst playing the title role in his play Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Sickness).
* LESSON: If you must die, do it ironically *
- 1868: Matthew Vassar, brewer and founder of Vassar College, died in mid-speech while delivering his farewell address to the College Board of Trustees.
* LESSON: See above. *
* LESSON: Duck *
- 1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.
* LESSON: Keep your scarf inside the vehicle at all times*
- 1935: Baseball player Len Koenecke was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the crew of an aircraft he had chartered, after provoking a fight with the pilot while the plane was in the air.
* LESSON: Never start a fight on a plane *
* LESSON: Don’t try to look cool by doing that toothpick trick *
- 1959: in Dyatlov Pass Accident, Nine ski hikers went missing in the Ural Mountains of the then Soviet Union and were later found dead, having abandoned their camp in the middle of the night in apparent terror, some clad only on their underwear despite sub-zero weather. Six of the hikers died of hypothermia and three were killed by “unknown compelling force”.
* LESSON: NEVER GO SKI HIKING IN THE URAL MOUNTAINS!!!!! *
- 1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated by poisoning in London by an unknown assailant who jabbed him in the calf with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin poison.
* LESSON: Don’t trust people who carry umbrellas *
- 1983: Author Tennessee Williams died at the age of 71 after he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye. Williams’ lack of gag response may have been due to the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse.
* LESSON: Don’t put things in your mouth when you’re alone *
- 2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rothenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.
* LESSON: You can find anything on the internet *