Archive for the ‘From the Web’ Category

Blame Someone Else

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I’m a little late on this one.  It’s not my fault though.

Yep, it’s official. Today is Blame Someone Else Day – the first Friday the 13th of each year. And since there is only one Friday the 13th this entire year, today’s your only chance to blame others all day long. So have at it. You don’t have to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong. And you can blame someone else for all the problems, mistakes and unfairness in your life. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. According to Wikipedia “It’s been estimated that $800-$900 million is lost in business on this day.”

(thanks to Dan Miller’s 48 Days)

Link Roundup – Crime Fighting With Glass, Peak Oil vs. Manure, Fireflies, and Men are Lame at Colors

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Here’s my attempt to pass on some interesting stuff, and leave room to write about something substantial later.

First, some new links that have been forcing me to keep Firefox open for most of a week:

The Sure Don’t Make Pyrex Like They Used To

Most people probably don’t think of Corning as a crime fighting company, but when it sold its Pyrex brand to World Kitchen in 1998, the company accidentally made the illegal manufacture of crack cocaine more difficult—a fascinating example of unintended consequences.

(via Schneier on Security)

Fisher Investments has a good explanation about why we can’t extrapolate the future from today in  A Common Thread Between Horse Manure and Peak Oil.

Second, some old links from the backlog.

Tracking Fireflies in the forest

Cool photography project.  Read the article at Flowing Data.

How Men and Women Label Colors

This is part of the results of an experiment in which visitors were asked to name colors. I find the analysis below amusing, and even less complimentary of my gender than I would have predicted.

His calculation of most masculine and feminine colors is by far the most interesting part of the results, however. Here are the top five feminine colors, by finding the ones that were most disproportionately used by women:

  1. Dusty Teal
  2. Blush Pink
  3. Dusty Lavender
  4. Butter Yellow
  5. Dusky Rose

Not bad, right? The colors are flowery and descriptive. Nothing surprising there. Now here’s the top five masculine colors:

  1. Penis
  2. Gay
  3. WTF
  4. Dunno
  5. Baige

The only real color in the list is “baige” — and it was misspelled. Like Randall, I also weep for my gender. Although, I think these results also say a lot about the type of people who read xkcd (like me).

Star Wars Mashups

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

 I found this collection of Star Wars mashups via an internal company newsletters (yeah, I work for a cool company.)

(Mashup: “In Web development, a mashup is a Web page or application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services.”)

You gotta love Star Wars.  There’s something here to offend every fan.

Star Wars .. and Scooby Doo!  Cool.


Star Wars … and Monsters and BobbleHeads! (This is getting wrong)


Star Wars … and Disney characters.  (Getting Wronger, but check them out!)

Star Wars … and Hello Kitty.  (This is just wrong.)  (especially Chewbacca)


Star Wars … and Dr. Seuss. (Now we’re back to cool.  Check these out – he has more.)

(sorry again about the Hello Kitty)


 Star Wars … and Winnie The Pooh.

Say what you like, but I love this one, ’cause I like Pooh and Eyore as much as I like Star Wars.


Turbo Encabulator

Monday, April 18th, 2011


How to Make Anything Signify Anything

Friday, April 1st, 2011


This photo says “Knowledge Is Powe[r]” using Sir Francis Bacon’s Bilateral Cipher.  See how here.

I found this on a fascinating treatise about cryptography, steganography and WWII cryptographers William and Elizebeth Friedman.

Read more in the original: How to Make Anything Signify Anything

Here’s one of several more examples:

The biologist turns cryptographer. Friedman’s most elaborate example of how to make anything signify anything using Bacon’s biliteral cipher. Courtesy the Bacon Cipher Collection, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.

Mathematically Annoying Advertising

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Secret for a long happy life

Monday, January 24th, 2011

A bald, wizened little man was rocking in a chair on his porch, smiling happily. A passerby, charmed by his smile, came up to him and said, “I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look. What’s your secret for a long happy life?”

“I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day,” he said with a toothless grin. “I drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fast food, and never exercise.”

“No way! How old are you?”

via Mikey’s Funnies…daily Christian humor email list

VMware Cloud Jumper

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

This is an interesting marketing technique.

“Join the growing elite of IT leaders known as ‘Cloud Jumpers’ who have taken the leap and begun their journey to Cloud Computing. ”

It’s a short but respectable game from my very own VMware.  Give it a try.


Tying up loose ends

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Make sure you have some time before you start Loops of Zen

Just rotate the shapes until there are no loose ends.  A little graph theory goes a long way.

It starts like this:


and continues thus (if you’re good or stubborn):


Looks like it saves your progress so you can continue where you left off.

Go on.  Try it.

Nerd comics, with a slight holiday theme

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Happy day!  This FoxTrot strip, added to some others I have bookmarked make a small collection worthy of a small post.  Some are Christmasy and geeky and some are just geeky.


Next up is a guest post on xkcd by FoxTrot’s Bill Amend.

(Hover over the xkcd strips for additional comments – “Guest comic by Bill Amend of FoxTrot, an inspiration to all us nerdy-physics-majors-turned-cartoonists, of which there are an oddly large number.”)

Guest comic by Bill Amend of FoxTrot, an inspiration to all us nerdy-physics-majors-turned-cartoonists, of which there are an oddly large number.

Ok.  That was mostly just geeky, but it’s a great segue to these.

Not only is that terrible in general, but you just KNOW Billy's going to open the root present first, and then everyone will have to wait while the heap is rebuilt.

This one mentions Santa:

This is a fun explanation to prepare your kids for; it's common and totally wrong. Good lines include 'why does the air have to travel on both sides at the same time?' and 'I saw the Wright brothers plane and those wings were curved the same on the top and bottom!'

This one is just funny (since my dad has a GPS…)

Yes, I understand that the turn is half a mile past the big field, but my GPS knows that, too.  This would be easier if you weren't about to ask me to repeat it all back to you.

And finally, for my son, who always wants to know the difference between “geek” and “nerd”.

The definitions I grew up with were that a geek is someone unusually into something (so you could have computer geeks, baseball geeks, theater geeks, etc) and nerds are (often awkward) science, math, or computer geeks. But definitions vary.