Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mathematical humor

A friend of many years (with whom I spent many an all-nighter studying for a linear algebra or real analysis exam) sent me these math images. The come from Wade Clark's Ocular Trauma, which is apparently on hiatus.

basic algebra...

square roots...




Happy New Year

Here is a shot of Mt. Hood taken yesterday.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Most Evil of 2006

Crooks and Liars filed this report based on this AP story:

DULLES, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new poll from The Associated Press and AOL News has discovered that Americans are torn in terms of their perception of President George W. Bush and his performance in 2006. When asked to name the past year’s biggest villain, Bush was far and away the #1 choice, commanding 25% of the vote, distantly trailed by Osama Bin Laden (8%), Saddam Hussein (6%), President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran (5%), North Korean leader Kim Jong II (2%) and Donald Rumsfeld (2%). Satan only took in 1% of the vote, as did Hugo Chavez, Tom Cruise, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Rosie O’Donnell, among others.

On the flipside, Bush also claimed the top spot when Americans were asked to name the years biggest hero, but with only a trifling 13% of the vote. The troops in Iraq came in second (6%), followed by Jesus Christ (3%), Barack Obama (3%), Oprah Winfrey (3%), and rock star/philanthropist Bono (2%). Other do-gooders of 2006, receiving 1% each, included luminaries, business leaders and politicos such as Warren Buffett, George Clooney, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Billy Graham, Angelina Jolie, Colin Powell, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Condoleeza Rice...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Eye-Catching Phrases From Bowels of The Academy

Inside Higher Education has this brief report on the 2006 convention of the Modern Language Association.
Dec. 28
Academic Fashions Aren’t Just Sartorial

...Just as MLA academics tend to dress alike (think black and brown clothing, she said), they share intellectual fashions, too. Indeed, she said that reading old issues of the PMLA gave her the same feeling as looking at old issues of Vogue: Times and fashions have changed.

Inspired, Ladenson determined to organize a panel for this year’s MLA on academic fashion — broadly defined. What’s in? What’s out? Are the right things in or out? Those attending heard worries about the dominance of the “new historicism” (which of course hasn’t been new for a while), fears for the future of French even in an era of supposed interest in other cultures, and ideas about why professors (or their publishers) call their books what they do. And attendees also got to hear a paper with the sort of title MLA-bashers love ("Is the Rectum a Text?) but whose substance shows that academic fashion may be less sex-obsessed than MLA-bashers like to think...

The most anticipated talk may have been by Paul Morrison, a professor of English at Brandeis University, who it turns out didn’t even come up with the title about the rectum (which was in part a play on a famous work of gay studies, Leo Bersani’s essay “Is the Rectum a Grave?"), but forged ahead anyway after Ladenson suggested it.

Provocative paper titles are of course something of an MLA tradition. They’d never admit it, but plenty of conservative critics of cutting-edge humanities scholarship live for the moment each fall that the issue of PMLA arrives with the names of the papers to be given at the meeting. What will be the most outrageous paper title? Will there be anything as good as the legendary “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” a talk from 1995 that still gets trotted out as an example of all that is wrong with literary theory?

Morrison’s paper talk was surprising because — although it contained more uses of the word “asshole” than is the norm at scholarly meetings or most other meetings, for that matter — he’s actually arguing that there’s more to life than sex and that focusing on body parts, even supposedly subversive body parts, isn’t necessarily the best thing to do.
A Google search of the text "Is the Rectum a Text?" yielded 6 significant hits.

This reply to the question "Anyone got a I-responded-to-a-difficult-question-with-a-joke story?" in the Chronicle of Higher Education blog caught my eye:
After spying the paper title "Is the Rectum a Text?" in the program for this year's MLA, I'm almost hoping to have an interview that's tanking so badly that I'll have nothing to lose by asking that when the SC gets to the "So, do you have any questions for us?" part of the interview.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Quizmas

Stephen Fry introduces the annual quiz in today's issue of The Telegraph.
We at QI take Christmas seriously. Not only is it the research elves’ favourite time of year, spent searching the attic for baubles of newly-discovered information to drape on the wobbly conifer of knowledge, but it’s also a festival entirely founded on ignorance...

A QI Christmas is full of surprises.

Was the General Synod of the Church of England being serious in 2004 when it suggested that one of the three Wise Men might have been a woman?

Will sleigh bells in the snow sound the same after the discovery that St Nicholas, the real Father Christmas, was Turkish and the patron saint of judges, thieves, pawnbrokers, bakers, sea travellers and murderers?

What were the scholars of Merton College, Oxford, doing providing a fully-grown bull for the college steward “to knock down with his own hands” each Christmas?

And isn’t it oddly comforting to know that Henry II gave land to a man called Roland “le Fartere” on condition that he perform at the royal Christmas banquet with “a leap, a whistle and a fart”?
Read the entire quiz here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Some Trivia about Daniel Pinkham

The composer Daniel Pinkham died this week. The Times obituary includes this gem:

Daniel Pinkham, 83, Composer and Organist, Dies
Published: December 21, 2006

Daniel Pinkham, a prolific composer, organist and fixture on the Boston classical music scene who taught at the New England Conservatory for nearly a half-century, died Monday at the home of friends in Natick, Mass., the conservatory said. He was 83 and lived in Cambridge, Mass.
Mr. Pinkham was born in Lynn, Mass. His great-grandmother was Lydia E. Pinkham, who gained fame for her Vegetable Compound patent medicine, a solution of herbs, roots and 18 percent alcohol aimed at curing “female complaints.” Mr. Pinkham often told the story of Mae West, who after drinking her first bottle said, “I feel like a new man.”

Friday, December 22, 2006

The world's shortest fairy tale

This came from a Portland friend (I added the graphics).

Once upon a time,

a girl

asked a guy

"Will you marry me?"

The guy said, "No"

and the girl lived happily ever after

and went shopping,


always had a clean house, never had to cook,

stayed skinny

and farted whenever she wanted.

The End

Thursday, December 21, 2006

a christmas present from nbc (probably NSFW)

Hmmmm... it's been a couple years since I've been a regular 
SNL viewer, but if this is any indication of the direction their 
writing staff hastaken I may need to give the show a second 
look when I move back to the states.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Your tax dollars at work - the anthrax version

From today's WaPo:
Anthrax Vaccine Contract Voided, Thwarting Administration
By Renae Merle

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006; A01

Federal health officials yesterday scuttled the largest piece of the Bush administration's two-year program to counter bioterrorism, canceling an $877.5 million contract with VaxGen to develop an anthrax vaccine after the company missed a deadline to begin human testing.

The decision, delivered in a one-page letter, ends a troubled effort by the small California firm that has come to symbolize the failures of the government's ambitious $5.6 billion Project BioShield. The termination occurred on the same day President Bush signed legislation attempting to salvage the program by reorganizing its management and pumping more money into firms doing the work.

"It's very disappointing that they took such aggressive and dramatic action without engaging in a discussion with us about potential ways for salvaging all the work that has gone into this program," said Lance Ignon, VaxGen's vice president of corporate affairs. "We believe there is a high probability that this technology would lead to a modern anthrax vaccine."

The company has spent more than $175 million of its own money on the project, its only current contract, he said.

The cancellation means the government will continue to depend on a controversial anthrax vaccine, used by the military and made by Emergent BioSolutions of Gaithersburg, years longer than expected. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said the agency remains committed to developing a next-generation anthrax vaccine but has not decided whether to hold another competition.
Sure, they worked hard on this. Just as hard as they worked on getting the contract. Anyone trace the VaxGen/HHS/RNC nexus?

This entry is from Sourcewatch: (scroll down to Connectedness)
  • In June 2005, "Forbes "exposed the ties between" Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advisor, Phillip Russell, "the former chief of Army medical research. Russell sits on the board of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute with VaxGen CEO, Lance Gordon. Both Gordon and Russell denied that their relationship had any impact on the award of the contract." --Transparent Grid, October 14, 2005.
  • In July 2005, "VaxGen named Dr. Eve Slater to its board of directors. Dr. Slater was apponted by President Bush as an Assistant Secretary at HHS and Tommy Thompson’s chief health policy advisor. Before joining HHS, Slater was a senior vice president at Merck and Bush had considered naming her as FDA Commissioner before he named her to the HHS. She resigned in 2003." --Transparent Grid, October 14, 2005.

Carol Gilligan remonstrates against that idiot Dobson

You must watch this. Carol Gilligan is the voice of reason.

Even a blind pig can find an acorn now and then


In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation’s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it.

the new rudolph

Shamelessly stolen from Daily Kos. This made me laugh out loud, probably because I've been teaching a bunch of Japanese 3rd graders how to sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" for the last two weeks. Anyway, the improved version goes something like this:
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose
and if you ever saw it
you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names...
Until he got Dasher's liquor license at the Velvet Antler sports bar suspended.
And levied a $7.5 billion fine against Dancer Enterprises for war profiteering.
And revealed that Prancer was snorting meth while hooking up with a gay reindeer prostitute for "massages."
And shut down Vixen Industries for multiple OSHA violations.
And redirected subsidies for Comet's offshore oil drilling operation to Frosty's wind farm.
And nailed Cupid for tax evasion.
And sent Donder to the big house for insider trading.
And trounced Republican incumbent Blitzen in the midterm election.
Who's laughing now?


Monday, December 18, 2006

Danish ad makes road safety sexy

The BBC reports this story
Danish ad makes road safety sexy
Danish road safety officials have come up with a novel way of warning motorists about the dangers of speeding - by using topless blonde women.

They have produced a spoof news report where the blondes carry road signs showing the Danish speed limit: 50km/h.

The video - posted on the web - is aimed at grabbing the attention of young male drivers, but feminists say they hate it.

Speeding has been blamed for 25% of road deaths in Denmark.

Julia Pauli of the Danish road safety council told the BBC that the reaction to the Speedbandits video had been mostly positive.

"If you want to reach the young people, you have to communicate on their conditions... So, topless women are working," she said.

She said the advertising campaign had been tested and in the target group it was really positive - more than 50% said they were thinking more about the dangers of speeding when driving.

Asked if the council would consider using a man exposing his bottom to appeal to speeding women drivers, Ms Pauli said: "Maybe. We'll see."

Yo may see the NSFW video here at Salon Magazine.

Great gift ideas from abroad - the Japanese version II

Of course, the perfect gift would be a stay at the Hello Kitty Bondage Room in the Adonis Love Hotel. The room has an entertainment center with porn, karaoke, and an in-room dildo vending machine.
ADONIS Love Hotel (from quirkyjapan)

Adonis specializes in S&M rooms and cute cartoon characters. Maybe it was inevitable that the two would be combined to make the ““HELLO KITTY SM ROOM”. There's even a Kitty-chan plush doll wearing a ball gag, blind fold, and barbed wire garter belts that will give you nightmares for years. Adonis also has a room with glow in the dark jelly fish, a prison cell, a high school classroom and some really scary S&M rooms.

Adonis is set off from the other hotels in the Ikutamatera-machi area and is closer to Uehonmachi station, due North of the station and the Miyako hotel on the other side of Sennichimae Street..
Address: Osaka, Tennoji-ku, 5-5-15, Tel. (06) 6761-0168
The toilet seat kitty is from this set at Flickr. (1 image NSFW, the rest are).

See more at Fleshbot (probably NSFW).

Great gift ideas from abroad - the Japanese version

From J-List comes this clever gift, just perfect for that shithead you work with.

Out of stock, but more are coming in soon -- order now!
MAR028 Unchi *Poop* Hat
This item can be ordered. Weight: 100 g. Price: $22.00

The Japanese aren't shy about bodily secretions and have a sense of humor about them unparalleled. And with their ability to make anything cute and cuddly, they have made even poo an irresistible fashion trend. This joke poo hat has the unmistakable color and shape of dung. With a black elastic strap to keep it firmly on your head, this plush poop is 5.5" wide at the base and 4" high. A fun party item or just wear it to make everyone around you think you've gone crazy. A hilarious item that is made in Japan... where else?

Chemistry is fun!

Blowing up alkali metals can be very entertaining. Our beer:30 friends sent us this link.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I have been contacted by a Seer!

Judge Florentino V. Floro, Jr. has responded to my post, Let's see. There's Sleepy, Sneezy, Armand, Luis, Dopey, Angel... Who am I Missing?

Have a look-c.

Does Morano rhyme with moron?

Who is Marc Morano? I heard this inflated rectum a couple of weeks ago on the local Thom Hartmann Show.

Richard Littlemore calls Marc Morano "the outspoken aid to Oklahoma Senator and Environment Committee Chair Jim Inhofe".

Greenblogger has this report:
Inhofe's Flack Gets Shouted Down at Climate Change Conference

I had mentioned a couple of days ago that one of the significant results from last week’s Congressional election in the US was that Barbara Boxer will be replacing James Inhofe as the chair of the major Senate environmental committee.

One of the likely casualties of this transition will be Mark Morano, the Committee’s current spokesman. He cut his teeth working as a producer for the right-wing talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, before being appointed as Inhofe’s propagandist. In this latter role, he has focused his time on manufacturing non-existent “controversy” over the existence of anthropogenic factors in climate change.

It seems that he is not willing to go down quietly in anticipation of the partisan swing in the Senate. Earlier today, Morano attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi as a participant on a panel convened by the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environmental Research on “Communicating Climate Change.” Morano apparently shilled his “climate change skepticism” line and was roundly dismissed by fellow panelists and audience members.

Luckily Morano will be likely be off the government payroll–or at least his position will be diminished–come January.Â
And here is an excerpt from on op-ed piece in today's Boston Globe, written by Daniel P. Schrag, professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment":
On a swift boat to a warmer world
By Daniel P. Schrag | December 17, 2006

...I later learned that Inhofe's communications director, Marc Morano, was a key figure in publicizing the swift boat veterans' attack on John Kerry in 2004. Morano, it seems, is still up to his old tricks, twisting the facts to support his boss's outrageous claims. This made my visit complete: a glimpse at our government that sees the world only through glasses tinted by special interests, which treats science as a political football, no matter what is at stake.
Who is Marc Morano? Yes, he is a Reichwinging tool. You may find the entire op-ed piece here.

Headline of the year

What would you write as a lead to a story involving over a story involving these elements?
* oral sex,
* ejaculation,
* and departure

Our favorite headline of the year goes to ... (insert drumroll here) ....

Radar Magazine, for its headline.

Here is the winning banner:

Men's Health-er
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves

David Zinczenko spends so much time on television plugging Men's Health, it sometimes seems he's less an editor in chief than a cliché-spouting celebrity spokesmodel. So if Zinczenko appeared to to be a teensy bit ill-at-ease during an appearance on Fox News yesterday, chances are it wasn't the camera, but the strange sensation of sharing a screen with someone who has experienced, and written about, his oral sex technique. Awkward! ...
Here's the rest.

An Army Captain's plan for Anbar

Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest For the Trees posted this story pulled from ABC News:

Army Captain's Simple Demonstration: How to Win in Iraq

Dec. 15, 2006 — - President Bush has spent the last few weeks engaged in complex briefings with senior military officers, State Department officials and outside experts as he tries to come up with a new plan to achieve victory in Iraq.

Watch "World News with Charles Gibson" tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET for more on this story.

But a young captain serving in Iraq's violent Al Anbar Province has offered a simple explanation of what the problem was in Iraq and how to solve it. Among his observations is the importance of having a moustache in Iraq.

In a military known for its sleep-inducing, graphically dizzying PowerPoint presentations, the young captain's presentation, which has been unofficially circulating through the ranks, stands out. Using stick figures and simple language, it articulates the same goal as the president's in Iraq.

You can find the entire powerpoint presentation here at ABC News.

The reporter, Martha Raddatz, finishes with this bitter irony.
The creator of this PowerPoint presentation, "How to Win in Al Anbar," was Capt. Travis Patriquin.

But Patriquin will not see victory in Iraq. He was killed by the same improvised explosive device that killed Maj. Megan McClung of the Marine Corps last Wednesday.

Patriquin had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. A gifted officer, he spoke numerous languages, including Arabic.

"How to Win in Al Anbar" may not make it to the desk of the president, but maybe it should.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Letterman: "Dick Cheney: That's Funny"

A new series started on Dave Letterman: "Dick Cheney: That's Funny".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

NSFW Woman gives birth to a rabbit

I would be happy with the hat, but it would take some time for me to decide.

The Ague of Consent

I gave an ACS standardized exam in Quantum Chemistry (1995 version) as a final today. Two of my students scored better than any other student in the last ten years.

Be happy for me. Rejoice for them! So now enjoy this! (SFW, IMHO).

Sexual Consent

P.S. I am all for this...

...and opposed to this.

NSFW: Political role playing

I picked this up at Sal Peralta's blog.

Couple roleplays the political way

Jon Stewart and Lincoln Chafee, Part II

Lincoln Chafee describes what went right in the Senate.

Jon Stewart and Lincoln Chafee, Part I

Lincoln Chafee enumerates the entire list of moderate Republicans in the Senate.

NSFW: Submissive Jesus

Don't Get Cross. Take Action With...
The Submissive Jesustm Talking Prayer Answering Head

There are not enough words to describe this product or the site where I got this video.

The YouTube version is here.

The second commercial is here.

This commercial is definitely NSFW. The second commercial is SFW, but is still in bad taste. Enjoy them both!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Holiday Treat

Go here and play with the snow globe. Make sure that you have your sound turned on.

Putting the X back in Xmas

A colleague has passed along this vital story from The Mirror ("The Best Newspaper on the Web")
12 December 2006
Al's proud 10ft conifer upsets the neighbours
By Jake Morris

JOKER Alan Parkin put the willies up his neighbours - with this naughty 10ft Christmas tree.

Not content with adding just a couple of baubles, Alan, 47, decorated the fir with red and white fairy lights outside his home in aptly named Penistone.

But his jolly green giant didn't exactly excite fellow residents and they complained to police. Proof, perhaps, that size isn't everything.

One said: "It's rather rude. There are children and teenagers about and I don't think it's good for them to see." Another fumed: "It's just obscene. We shouldn't have to put up with it."

Although officers who visited his South Yorkshire home merely asked him to remove the lights, the jobless prankster has agreed to go all the way - and give the tree the snip.

Married Alan said: "It was just a laugh. If it offended anybody, then the shape will be altered.

"I w
as amazed when police called around. They said they had received a complaint and would I mind removing the lights so it didn't look offensive."

But not all neighbours were outraged. Constance Barnard, a widow in her 60s, said: "It doesn't bother me.

"I didn't know we had anyone around here so pious as to complain to police. I'm a churchgoer but I don't think about it. I'm a live-and-let-live lady."

Mind you, even she wasn't that impressed with Alan's idea of a Christmas lunchbox. Constance said: "It looks more like a mushroom."

Yes, there is a Penistone, England.

There is also a Wanker's Corner, Oregon.