Buy This Tee Shirt For Me Por Favor

Posted on

My bro-in-law just sent me a link to a site that is devouted to “gamers, geeks and hackers.” Gotta love that. It has tons of stuff to buy in all sorts of lovely categories. The clothes are the by far the best. After briefly scanning the tee shirt page, I really would love for someone to buy me this one. Why have I never seen this on St. Marks Place? Thanks in advance to whomever is buying it – if you need my snail mail address in order to ship this to me, send me an email. Thanks in advance!

Thanks Amos


Secret Wars

Posted on

I have abstained from talking too much about politics recently because it just gets me too angry. However, this little nugget was one I felt was worth sharing:

The Pentagon has secretly been operating a clandestine espionage branch for the past two years after reinterpreting U.S. law to place more power directly in the hands of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Yes, you read that correctly. TWO YEARS! That is a loooong time to keep something hidden from Congress, the CIA, hell, everybody. According to an explosive new article in yesterday’s Washington Post, the group, called the Strategic Support Branch, is “designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary’s direct control” in collecting human intelligence (or HUMINT, in intelligence-speak). Not only does the group operate outside the public view, Rumsfeld has also hidden it from Congress and is not coordinating with the CIA. Already, it has been operating in places like Iraq and Afghanistan – as well as in unnamed “friendly countries” with which the United States is not at war. The group has been working with the elite U.S. Special Forces, such as Delta Force, as well as recruited outside agents, including “notorious figures” whose “links to the U.S. government would be embarrassing if disclosed.” The Defense Department has also engaged in legal tricks, redefining the rules to support its claims that the intelligence group is subject to less stringent oversight than similar operations within the CIA.

Thanks go to the Center for American Progress’s Daily Progress Report


Dumbo Not So Dumb

Posted on

The pic below is of Diew, the world’s first potty-trained pachyderm. I shit you not (pun intended):

This is from a Special Broadcasting Service (I know, lame name) article from today:

Thailand’s talented elephants are about to add toilet-training to their repertoire of skills, which already includes painting, dancing and playing musical instruments.

The elephant handlers, or mahouts, at a private enclosure near Chiang Mai, are determined to teach their charges how to use specially-designed giant-sized toilets, according to The Nation newspaper.

Several large concrete loos have been installed, equipped with a rope-flush that can be pulled with the gentle tug of a trunk.

An eager five year old elephant named Diew has been put on toilet duty, trialling the new sanitation system and its jumbo-sized plumbing.

The operators of the facility at Mae Taman, 50 kilometres north of Chiang Mai, are hoping that the toilets will keep the tourist attraction clear of huge and unsightly elephant droppings.

With fully-grown Asian elephants able to consume over 100 kilograms of forage in a day, even a small group of the animals can produce massive amounts of poo.

Mae Taman and Chiang Mai are among Thailand’s most popular destinations, drawing international visitors who are fascinated by the country’s clever pachyderms.

Thailand’s Asian elephants are an endangered species, with an estimated population of 3,000 to 4,000 animals.

A century ago, around 100,000 elephants roamed the jungles of Siam, as Thailand was formerly known.

The elephants kept at Mae Taman have been rescued from Bangkok’s streets, where they were put to work by their owners to collect money from tourists.

You just can’t make this shit up.


Best. Names. EVER.

Posted on

My parents came over for dinner tonight. Among other things, we discussed how Jermaine Jackson gave his kids some awesome names. After checking with Google, we learned he has two sons with the following names: Jaafar and Jermajesty, ages 8 and 4. ‘Nuff said.


Best. Chart. EVER.

Posted on

A few months back, I received a mailer about a one-day course on “Presenting Data and Information” that was being taught by Edward Tufte and while I didn’t go to the class, one of the graphics that it contained really impressed me and I’ve been meaning to post it ever since (click on the thumbnail to launch a popup that contains a larger image):

“This map drawn by Charles Joseph Minard portrays the losses suffered by Napoleon’s army in the Russian campaign of 1812. Beginning at the left on the Polish-Russian border near the Niemen, the thick band shows the size of the army (422,000 men) as it invaded Russia. The width of the band indicates the size of the army at each position. In September, the army reached Moscow with 100,000 men. The path of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in the bitterly cold winter is depicted by the dark lower band, which is tied to temperature and time scales. The remains of the Grande Armee struggled out of Russia with 10,000 men. Minard’s graphic tells a rich, coherent story with its multivariate data, far more enlightening than just a single number bouncing along over time. Six variables are plotted: the size of the army, its location on a two-dimensional surface, direction of the army’s movement, and tempreature on various dates during the retreat from Moscow. It may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn.”

Okay, impressed yet? Here is a bit more about Mr. Tufte. Edward Tufte is Professor Emeritus at Yale University, where he taught courses in statistical evidence, information design and interface design. He has written several books, which have won 40 awards for content and design. The NY Times has called him “The Leonardo da Vinci of data.”

Still not impressed? Then try reading this essay which was published in Wired about how PowerPoint affects thought. It will blow your mind. I highly suggest you read it if this topic interests you at all because he is to data what Stephen Hawking or Brian Greene is to physics.

One of my goals this year is to read as many of his books as possible. Wish me luck.


Larger Than Life

Posted on

Maybe you are looking for a very large metal book? No, okay, maybe you are looking for a an enormously large shuttlecock? Well, if you are ever looking for these or other extraordinary large items, check out this page that lists tons of really large statues that shouldn’t be as big as they really are. I’m so happy that someone has done this because now I won’t guilty about not moving to the midwest to chronicle this phenomenon.
Courtesy of Anticlown.


Everglade Wildlife

Posted on

I was in sort of sunny Florida over New Years. On my second day there, which turned out to be the nicest overall as well, we took a tour of the everglades where my friend Sam was able to snap these great pics. In the future, I may just say fuck it, move into a trailer and be an airboat captain.