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H.P. Lovecraft Knows Chocolate

Oh, McSweeney’s, will you ever fail to delight?  The evidence points to NO.

Take, for example, this snippet from “Selections From H.P. Lovercraft’s Brief Tenure as a Whitman’s Sampler Copywriter”.

Coconut Creme Swirl

They say that the Coconut Creme Swirl sleeps. But if the dread Coconut Creme Swirl slumbers, surely it must also dream. It is certain that while it dozes the Coconut Creme Swirl is absorbed by terrifying visions of exacting its creamy tropical vengeance upon mankind! Consume the Coconut Creme Swirl before it awakens to consume you!

More eerie and discomfitting confections await you here!


Case Study Number Four

I'm not a number, I'm a free mouse!

I'm not a number, I'm a free mouse!

Today my sainted wife (I think sainted is the word I want…) discovered this mouse in my sister-in-law’s swimming pool, endlessly treading water.  Now, my understanding is that mice can tread water for a really long time, so however long it is, that’s how long this fuzzball was in the water.  She was just barely keeping her head up and wheezing when Susie plucked her out of the pool.

This is the after-recovery picture, several hours later.  The post rescue image can best be described as a floppy wig clipping.  She’s eating and drying off now, and seems pretty calm.  We’ll let her go in the woods this afternoon so as to restore her freedom and whatnot.

Oh, and we’re calling her Case Study Number Four to prevent any inadvertant attachment, because we do have some rodents already as pets.  It’, working fine.  Yes.  FINE.


Cory Doctrow on the Information Economy

As always, Mr. Doctrow is entertaining, passionate, and compelling when talking about the role of copyright, DRM, and effortless collaboration and its effects on the human condition.  It’s arguably one of the most important topics of the age, so give it five minutes.  If not completely mesmerized and entertained, a full refund is guaranteed!


Yeah, That’s Cool

Thanks, Kun-I Chang.

Oh, and there’s more where that came from.


What’s the Atomic Weight of Awesome?

The Periodic Table of Videos is just what it sounds like, a stonking great periodic table where every element’s position is really a video created by the University of Nottingham.  That’s right, 118 carefully crafted vignettes detailing the life and times of all those chemicals we take for granted.  Except for the alkali metals, of course. We loves those, we do.

Via Neatorama and Gizmodo!

Oh, and if you discover a love for science videos while browsing through the elements, don’t forget to check out this treasure trove at


This Is Not Who We Are

I wish this story of a man who was detained in the US until he died painfully from cancer while separated from his family, was unique.  I wish it was a tale from some villainous dictatorship overseas, or the actions of a regrettably insane person with no connection to any public authority.

But it’s not.  As an American, I don’t know how to express my anger and my shame at these events.  I don’t know how to prepare for the next one to be revealed, which I know is underway even as I type this.  But I do know that public pressure can influence the people responsible where decency and respect for basic human rights will not.

Tell your local government.

Tell the federal government.

Tell your next president, whether Obama or McCain.

This is not who we are.


Internet Comment Threads Aren’t Going To Troll Themselves



You’ve just read a political article on Fox News/Huffington Post/That Damn John Scalzi‘s Site and the sheer wrongheadedness and deliberate ignorance of those stupid neocons/libs/greenies/freepers is just too much to take.  You should, nay, MUST set them straight in the comments.  It’s the only way they’ll learn.

But are you really ready to play with the big boys?  Do you have the tools you’ll need for the job?  Do you even know what an ad hominem attack is?  Read on, and get ready to join the trolling big leagues!

Doin’ It Up Right, in 5 Easy Steps:

Ad Hominem, Your Best Friend Ever

You’re a busy person, just like me.  Why waste time reading and understanding your opponent’s arguments when you can just cut to the chase and go for the guy making it?  After all, surely his arguments are just as stupid as he is.  So what if other, smarter, people are saying the same thing.  Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the important thing is to win big in a comment thread on the internet.  PERIOD.  Somebody crowing about McCain/Obama’s economic policies?  For heaven’s sake, don’t figure out what they’re saying, call them a name already!

Straw Man, Way Easier to Push Down on the Playground

Don’t let that guy tell you what he thinks!  What are you, a baby?  YOU tell HIM what he thinks!  That’s the way to do it.  It’s not like you have the answer to every little argument anybody might make.  To save time, just listen to your favorite pundit’s talking points, and then no matter what anybody says, you just reply with those.  It saves a hell of a lot of time, let me tell you.  The best part?  You can’t be wrong if you answer your own questions.

False Dilemma, Either You Use This Or the Terrorists Win

I think it’s pretty obvious that your position is not only the right one, it’s the ONLY one.  Now, most comment thread ‘debaters’ aren’t going to realize that right away, so you’re going to have to make it plain and simple.  Also, don’t wimp out when you use this beauty, combine with the Slippery Slope for maximum impact.  For example, if gay marriage is allowed, the next day everyone is going to marry a pigeon.  That pretty much shows the obvious consequence of gay marriage.  Do you want to marry a pigeon?  I sure don’t.

Post Hoc, or How Disco Destroyed the Roman Empire

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is just fancy talk for I WIN, JERK.  You put one of those double vortex air spinners on your car, and your gas mileage went up.  That’s proof right there, buddy.  Did you put it on right before taking that long highway trip?  Who cares?  Driving is driving.  Thing one happened, then thing two happened.  You don’t have to be a school board member to see the science here.  This one is pure gold when you want to show how stupid the other guy’s political candidate is.  Just google his term of office, then google DISASTER DEATH FIRE PUPPIES.  So easy a commie could do it.

Caps Lock, IT WORKS


I’ve done all I can.  You’re ready.  Now get out there and get mad!


Damn You, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove

Mr. Dove, sans headphones

In 1839, Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered the phenomenon of the binaural beat and inadvertently cursed the internet with one of it’s most persistent pseudo-science institutions: the digital drug.

Wiki Says:

The brain produces a phenomenon resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the loudness of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject’s ears, using stereo headphones. A beating tone will be perceived, as if the two tones mixed naturally, out of the brain. The frequency of the tones must be below about 1,000 to 1,500 hertz for the beating to be heard. The difference between the two frequencies must be small (below about 30 Hz) for the effect to occur; otherwise the two tones will be heard separately and no beat will be perceived.

It’s a real effect, and there is some talk that it can have neurological effects.  That’s great for neuroscientists, but not so great for the rest of us.  The problem is that the quack medicine community loves nothing more than a little actual science to hang it’s products on.  Magnetic belt, anyone?

So far, the most popular angle is to generate several different binaural beat frequencies, and randomly assign effects to them, such as enhanced creativity, energy levels, or meditative peace.

On the plus side, it’s relatively harmless, unlike drinking a flask of molasses spiked with mercury like back in the good old days of miracle bromides and nerve tonics.  Also, since some brainwave entrainment may occur at some frequencies, you may actually find a binaural beat that is pleasant and mood enhancing.  Of course, the same thing can be said for regular music, which has been used to alter and enhance moods since the dawn of time.

Of course, all of this is just my opinion.  Some folks swear by it, so sample some for yourself:

I Dose

Or mix your own:


Binaural Mixer


Birthday Month!

Today’s my birthday, which traditionally I celebrate for the entire month of August.  This annoys the crap out of everyone around me, but honestly, it’s their own fault.  The idea is that if anyone mentions my birthday in any way, I get a card in the mail, a present, or find some other way to claim birthday rights, then that day is ALSO my birthday.

This is surprisingly easy to arrange, and huge fun.  For me.  I think Tycho and Gabe summed my birthday philosopy perfectly over at Penny Arcade:


Interview with Edgar Oliver

Neil Gaiman posted this video of playwright Edgar Oliver on his blog.  If you’ve never heard Mr. Oliver speak, you’ll be mesmerized by the beautiful cadence of his voice, as well as the fullness of expression and emotion that he radiates.