Thursday, May 24, 2007

White and Nerdy

A colleague sent me this very funny video. The Schrödinger equation appears in the last minute or so. If you look carefully, you can see that they equation is incorrect - it uses Planck's constant h instead of h bar; that is h / 2 pi.

That reminds me of a story my thesis advisor - a Cal Tech alum - told me about his physics prof, the extraordinary Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, whom I had the pleasure to meet and hear speak several times.

Everyone knows what it is like to have a nitpicker in class.
  • "Shouldn't that be log base 10?"
  • "Is there an apostrophe in D'Alembertian?"
  • "I think that should be a minus sign."
Well, Feynmann's intro physics class DID have a nitpicker, one who was prolific and vociferous. His corrections - delivered with the precision of a surgeon's scalpel and the tact of an IRS agent - clearly took their toll on the patience of both the instructor and the students, turning the class into a daily Inquisition.

And inevitably, one day late in the term, the bough broke. After spending some time discussing a calculated cross-section, Monsieur Ergoteur interrupted with "Didn't you miss a factor of 2 pi?", at which point Poor Richard lept onto his desk and yelled "Fuck the 2 pi!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More Falwell

In honor of the guy who died in Lynchburg yesterday, I thought it would be fun to revisit Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). Specifically, what prompted the Jerry Falwell's lawsuit in the first place? This ad, from a 1983 issue of Hustler:

If you can't make out the text, it reads:
Falwell: My first time was in an outhouse outside Lynchburg, Virginia.

Interviewer: Wasn’t it a little cramped?

Falwell: Not after I kicked the goat out.

Interviewer: I see. You must tell me all about it.

Falwell: I never really expected to make it with Mom, but then after she showed all the other guys in town such a good time, I figured, "What the hell!"

Interviewer: But your Mom? Isn’t that a little odd?

Falwell: I don’t think so. Looks don’t mean that much to me in a woman.

Interviewer: Go on please go on before i have u!.

Falwell: Well, we were drunk off our God-fearing asses on Campari, ginger ale and soda—that’s called a Fire and Brimstone—at the time. And Mom looked better than a Baptist whore with a $100 donation

Interviewer: Campari in the crapper with Mom. how interesting.. .Well how was it?

Falwell: The Campari was great but mom passed out before I could come.

Interviewer: Did you ever try it again?

Falwell: Sure. Lots of times. But not in the outhouse. Between Mom and the shit, the flies were too much to bear.

Interviewer: We meant the Campari.

Falwell: Oh, yeah, I always get sloshed before I go to the pulpit. You don’t think I could lay down all that bullshit sober do you?

(the last line in very small print at the end - Greg)

Interviewer: Just to let you know this whole interview is a lie, I just wanted to see what I could get out of you!
Wikipedia has an informative article on the entire case, including the arguements made before the Supreme Court in 1987.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


There have been a range of reactions to the demise of the vicious vicar from Lynchburg, VA. I personally would have paid a great deal of money to see Larry Flynt's face when he heard the news.

Needless to say, some reactions have been more amusing than others. Wonkette has this, from the "Dept. of Kids These Days Show No Respect."

My own research turned up a number of humorous Wikipedia vandalisms.

  • First, the man who blanked the page and replaced it with the words FUCK JESUS.

  • In our next entry, those who scroll down to the "Health" section will note that in addition to being found unconscious in his office on the 15th, many people thought Falwell had been "unconscious for many years".

  • The jokers in this next one erroneously reported the cause of death to be a "severe bowel obstruction."

  • Our fourth entry argues that "HE WAS A BIG TOOL, OH YES HE WAS DON'T DENY IT."

  • Rounding out the top five is a slightly more subtle vandal. Line 15 of this entry refers to Falwell as a "televangalism freak." Line 36 contains the latter portion of this sentence:
    Thomas Road Baptist Church has grown to a membership in excess of 24,000, based in a 6,000 seat auditorium and an additional 1 million square feet of educational space for people with way too much time on thier hands (emphasis added).
    There are more, but I don't really have the time.

    On a final note, just to prove that Jerry Falwell really was an asshole who deserved every bit of this ill will, here's AmericaBlog with some statements Falwell made just last week. Asshole.
  • Monday, May 07, 2007

    "Bubbles 'n' Babes"

    As readers may be aware, Australia is currently suffering a severe drought. Residential water use has been limited to a drastic extent, and even agricultural irrigation may be cut off if things don't improve. With private citizens unable to wash their cars at home, car washes - nearly all of which use recycled water - are doing booming business.

    Especially this car wash in Brisbane. Funny thing is, Sam and I know a girl from Brisbane, and for some reason she's never mentioned this establishment.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Mr. Butts Goes To Salem

    Our Oregon hsa produced this hilarious video of Mr. Butts' visit to thestate legislature, lobbying against funding the Healthy Kids legislation through a cigarette tax hike .