"So there are Oliphaunts. But no one at home will ever believe me."

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With Perhaps a nice Chianti?

This letter from a clinically diagnosed psychopath reveals their simple hopes and dreams, and, perhaps unconsciously, confesses so much more: “My initial forays into therapy did not go well. Overwhelmed with mistrust, concerned at being manipulated, and uncomfortable with the idea of being ‘managed’ rather than ‘cured’, I left on multiple occasions for some periods of time. After chewing through several therapists, the director of the agency finally took me on herself, and to our mutual surprise we got along extremely well.”

Judging by the comments I’m the only person who read that and spewed coffee all over the keyboard and monitor.

Perhaps the two had similar tastes.

(Via Hacker News.)

October 12, 2011   Comments Off

Arrests in female rapists probe

Arrests in female rapists probe: “Midlands police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Charles Makono said officers at an accident scene had their suspicions aroused when three women, including the girlfriend of the vehicle’s driver, approached them with an odd request.”

Some strange variation on the Nigerian spam scan? Why, yes, I am… intrigued… by your offer, ladies…


October 12, 2011   Comments Off

Sometimes you have to break a few eggs

To a certain way of thinking, it is intuitive that antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas. I am a little surprised at the apparent absence of self-knowledge and critical introspection among those reacting to the findings, with the researchers denying the validity of their own results and some of the commenters expressing outrage that such doubleplus ungood thoughts could be expressed (thankfully none of them proposed that these socially non-constructive researchers be forcibly re-educated, for the common good.)

(Via Instapundit.)

October 1, 2011   Comments Off

Bill Clinton wants you to remember his achievements…

… and then he gets this lousy ad juxtaposition. Can’t catch a break. From Bill Clinton wants more credit – James Hohmann – POLITICO.com

Not a targeted ad, I’ve never seen it before and I don’t smoke or search for cigars online.

(Via Drudge.)

October 1, 2011   Comments Off

Troubleshooting hardware/software interaction

When you’re trying to figure out what when wrong, you have to look at all the variables, not just the obvious ones.

I rebooted my hackintosh a few days ago, and instead of booting to the Chameleon boot loader screen, it hung on the spinner. I decided to leave it to the weekend to fix. I hadn’t performed any updates to important system software so I figured it was going to be small nightmare to track down whatever minuscule change had broken the system. I had been making a back up image of the boot partition on a daily basis, but I stopped a few weeks ago when I swapped in an old hard drive that was giving me problems so that I could recover some files from it.

This morning I began the recovery process by removing that old drive and plugging the recovery image drive in. But, dang it, the recovery drive wouldn’t get past the “recovering DMI pool data” message, which means the BIOS couldn’t pass drive information to the boot loader. On a hunch I tried rebooting from the main drive again, and this time it worked with no issues. So I conclude that the old, scratch drive I had been using finally gave up the ghost and Chameleon was choking on trying to read the disk to see if it contained a bootable partition. Possibly if I had let it try long enough, it would have past the problem drive.

March 26, 2011   Comments Off

A chordingly

A little fun fact: on the Mac you can type alternate characters using by holding down the option key while pressing the letter (the use of two or more keys in tandem to send input to the computer is known as a chord—the most common ones obviously being uppercase characters).

Some of my favorites:

  • The em dash—for making asides—is longer than a plain hyphen: opt + SHIFT + -
  • The ellipsis, dot dot dot… can be typed as a single character… opt + ;
  • Degree sign, opt + 0 (that’s the number zero, as in 0º, not a capital o).

Of course there are many other useful ones, such as currency symbols.

Some characters need accent marks. You enter these with a combination of chords. If you enter option + e, your cursor turns into a highlight with the acute accent (´). If the next character you type can take an accent, it will be printed with the accent: á é í ó ú. If it can’t be accented, you’ll just get a the accent all by itself, plus the new character (as above inside parenthesis.

Some combinations I figured out by playing around:

  • Acute ´: opt + e
  • Umlaut ¨: opt + u
  • Circumflex ˆ: opt + i

Finally, there are the ligatures we should see more often: œ and æ. They’re in there, but hiding.

May 21, 2010   Comments Off

Portable Document Philes


“How do you change a pedophile?”


“I have something that I need to make changes to. A pedophile.”

“Ahhh… I’m not sure what you mean?”

“You know, these pedophiles? Or what do you call them? PD files?”

“Oh. You mean Adobe Reader files? Like PDF?”

“Yes, yes. Pedophiles.”

Beware, the PD Bear.

May 20, 2010   Comments Off

Caveman Grammar

I just taught what was quite likely the best 25 minute introduction to grammar, ever, and I made it all up on the fly.

I did it by describing language as developing first from the caveman’s desire to name things, and from that came the first NOUNS. So any word that names a thing—objects, people, ideas—is a NOUN. Next cavemen wanted to describe those things by size, shape, or color, so the ADJECTIVE was invented. Eventually it wasn’t enough to talk about things, and people needed to talk about what things-with-names were doing, so VERBS were created. Just like the ADJECTIVE was needed to NOUN, the ADVERB was needed to describe the VERB’S activity.

It may sound simple, but those guys learned more about the parts of speech in 25 minutes that they had in four years of high school. They were able to identify word roles easily where 30 minute earlier they couldn’t even say with confidence what the parts of speech were.

Of course language almost certainly did not develop that way at all, but that’s some effective pedagogy.

May 19, 2010   Comments Off

Cheaper Madness

Obviously, the government is going to have to step in to prop up these business which are failing because of changing economic circumstances. California is too broke, but the Federal Government isn’t completely broke, yet.

Marijuana in California costs much less than $2,000 a pound, according to interviews with more than a dozen growers and dealers. But the people who don’t have quality product aren’t selling it, according to a former underground grower who now cultivates medical marijuana…

Won’t somebody please think of the stoners?

(From “Plummeting Marijuana Prices Create A Panic In California : NPR“)

May 19, 2010   Comments Off

The inner secrets of B-Mesonry, revealed

Well, at least somebody is doing some cool science and not freaking out. I bet that with these freaky-deaky B-mesons you can make a neat gun.

Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory are reporting that they have discovered a new clue that could help unravel one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: why the universe is composed of matter and not its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends fundamental discoveries at the new Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, as well as a possible explanation for our own existence.

Somebody’s finger was on the scale?

(From “From Fermilab, a New Clue to Explain Human Existence? – NYTimes.com“, via I forgot…)

May 18, 2010   Comments Off