Angels from Another Pin
(Lost Cities)

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12 April 2001 - 30 April 2001

Using the Internet as a write-only medium.
Do not listen to the Pusher Robot. He is malfunctioning.
Never send a monster to do the work of an evil scientist.
Here, Child, Finish Your Nothing
And it still says four of two.
Laughter is a universal language. Especially evil laughter.
The Slinky of Destiny is returning to the top of the stairs.

(The Side of the Angels)

Every day:
Acid Reflux

Sluggy Freelance

Help Desk Letterman Top 10 Infraday:
RPG World Polymer City Weekly:
30 April 2001
Bask in the glory that is the Doctor Who episode guide on the BCC Web site.
Okay. This is strong security!
The DejaNews archive is back, under new management. Can I get a "hell yeah," brothers and sisters?
What do you do if you need to connect to the Internet, but all you have are a bunch of carrier pigeons? Mike Ryan
If you're going to surf the Internet today, be sure to bring along a halibut for any restless spirits you may meet along the way.
Those who en-birthday-caked me on Saturday will get what's coming to them. Oh, yessss, my precious...
27 April 2001
Mark is officially a zombie-cog in the Evil Entertainment Empire! He's been working on a video game for Survivor for the last few months. EWWWWWWW! Mark Sachs
The list of "Retro Hugo" nominees has been released. This is an attempt to recognize great SF stories which were written before the Hugo was created. This list, for the year 1951, reads like a who's-who of great writers. And this was just one year's output. I suppose, based on the discrepancy in quality between the 1951 and 2001 Hugo nominee lists, that SF has gone way downhill in 50 years.
Dear Ukraine,
If you want to keep your country stable, don't elect Ernst Stavro Blofeld as your Prime Minster.
Your Friends in North America.
26 April 2001
I'm only mentioning the Shuttle stuff today because, y'know, if NASA needs any help with that computer problem they've been having on Space Station Alpha I have some vacation time saved up.
The Shuttle's wings work if the active pressure on them is approximately 10 pounds per square foot. That's good to know. In case you ever get to, you know, ride on the Shuttle.
In the event of an emergency, the Space Shuttle has several methods for returning safely. There is apparently a big rotary-style "ABORT" switch on panel F6 that you turn to select your abort mode, then you push the "ABORT" button. Just in case you ever get to ride on the Shuttle. Ahem.
The LA Times published an article on American animation last November which explains a lot of what has been going on inside the industry. Interesting reading. The author gets a gold star for praising Hayao Miyazaki but loses points for slagging Don Bluth.
Weather, even fog too thick to drive in, can be quite spectacular.
Some fine soul has put together a list of quotes from the SNL "Sprockets" sketches.
25 April 2001
Buried in among the seething irritation at the Baby Boomers is the fascinating, and true, observation that we Nation at Risk illiterate and innumerate Generation-X slackers are the mental engine behind the current Internet. Not bad for a bunch of Johnny-can't-read kids, huh?
I love the Web. NASA has put online a full, annotated transcript of Neil Armstrong's "one small step." All the transcripts for Apollo 11's sojourn to the Moon are available at the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal. (And here's one of the brilliant and beautiful photos of Earth taken by Apollo 11 as it left for the Moon.)
Bullying is widespread in U.S. schools, MSNBC states. Well, duh! Glenn Juskiewicz
24 April 2001
A fellow named Mike Reed has created a field spotter's illustrated guide to Internet flamers.
Vredefort is a two billion year old impact crater in South Africa. Kara Kul is an impact crater which tears a gap in an ancient mountain range. From a Lunar and Planetary Institute slideset on impact craters.
What gets me about the Cisco executive who was arrested for an embezzling scheme is not that he was only going to make $10 million when he's already filthy rich. It's that the plan was so damned stupid!
So, who was Immanuel Kant?
You know how the Bush Administration says we have to drill for oil in the ANWR to feed California's heroin-like oil addiction? Guess what. That's complete bullpucky.
Right now, the Coca-Cola Web site is showing the default page for the Netscape Enterprise Server. Heh.
Shakespeare's works were important to the leaders of the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.
23 April 2001
As a distraction from the usual dark and dreary blither on this page, we present some cute ducks our for a walk at the Philadelphia Spectrum. I want to know how they got across I-95.
Our alien masters have completed their survey of Earth. There will be no more UFO sightings. That is all.
Carl Sagan, who created Cosmos, popularized the idea that a fireball seen on the Moon in 1178 was the cause of the lunar crater Giordano Bruno. It turns out this isn't possible.
20 April 2001
I always wondered why there were so many department stores in Pennsylvania. It turns out that a bunch of guys founded department stores here, including Wanamaker, Woolworth, Kresge, S.H. Kress, G.C. Murphy, J.J. Newberry, and W.T. Grant.
Apparently, it's a bad year to be a publically traded anime retailer.
In MSNBC's defense is this well-written and thoughtful article, which states, "[T]he flag [of Mississippi] will one day change because the stories told are only about that state’s past, not its future." (This is a reference to Mississippi voters' decision not to remove the Confederate battle flag from their state flag.)
I'm getting tired of living immersed in a sea of advertising. If you don't think the article is about clever cross advertising, wait until you get to the paragraphs about the pop single that shot to number one on the Finnish charts after it was released as a Klingeltöne (a unique cel phone ring schema). Or the expected jump in sales of Klingeltönes in the US when a character who has one appears on ER. Of course, the MSNBC article itself is a form of promotional advertising...
Speaking of planetary science, I've been following the Japanese probe Nozomi (Japanese for Hope), also called Planet B, for a while. Because a valve failed to open on a swing by the Moon, the Nozomi probe is following a really interesting and complicated orbit to get enough kinetic energy to fly out to Mars.
Say what you will about knowledge and science. Most people are willing to fund NASA because its probes send back pictures like this.
This picture has nothing at all to do with science or space or politics. But it is darned cute.
19 April 2001
The recording industry blames Internet sharing of music for a paltry 1.3 percent drop in music sales worldwide last year. The drop couldn't be because of the economic slowdown in the US or the execrable crap that has been labeled as music and poured out of the music industry in the last year. Oh. no. (Note that most of the consumers worldwide don't have access to Napster or its RIAA-satanic clones.)
The Dutch soft drink company Vrumona is sending salesmen to homes in padded protective suits and gloves to pick up some explosive orange juice.
I'm crrrrushing your head! I'm crrrrushing your head!
Okay, I'm sorry. That was a really lame joke. But I couldn't resist.
NASA's X-43A scramjet has been unveiled for journalists to look at. The engineers are predicting there won't be a piloted prototype before 2025, so we probably won't see a black-ops military version before...oh...2003.
I'm pretty sure it doesn't take a PhD in Law to determine that building a chapel in a public high school is unconstitutional.
Every once in a while, one should check to make sure one is not dead. Noel Tominack
18 April 2001
This article states that Stephen Jay Gould is unintentionally giving creationists ammunition against the theory of evolution.
Scary monsters. I have no idea what these are, but I particularly like the mysterious rock creature signalling a touchdown and the Lovecraftean Deep One dancing to classic Motown.
We have busy lives, so we need to automate our trolling of comp.lang.c.
There was snow on my car this morning. There is a law against snow after Easter in Pennsylvania, I'm certain of it.
17 April 2001
I'll bet you need to know who your patron saint is. Sure. We all do.
The National Archive and Records Administration has a new display case for the Constitution. At the unveiling ceremony, Archivist John Carlin said, "Bipartisan support has grown out of an understanding of why we go to such trouble over a few old parchments. It’s for the same reason that we work constantly to preserve and provide access to all the records in our care. Because they are essential for the functioning of our democracy."
So, can you repossess the Presidency for unpaid bills?
On the one hand, building robots using the brains of lampreys is pretty cool in a science-fiction, tampering-in-God's-domain kind of way. On the other hand, it's damned creepy.
Sorry, is restyling, please check back January 1, 1996. Mark Sachs
Woo! Sugar!
16 April 2001
The folks who wrote the little ditty that has become the theme song for All Your Base have come up with a new song which I really like. Are you ready to face The Terrible Secret of Space? Please go stand by the stairs.
I wonder if Dana Scully is named after this guy, a columnist for Variety who was fooled by a couple of con men and wrote a book about flying saucers in the 1940s.
Never take away a ghost's beer. Especially not in a biker bar.
My new favorite word is ekpyrotic, a Greek word meaning "cataclysmic fire." The word is used in reference to a cosmological theory which posits that the Universe as we know it was created when two Universes smashed into each other. New Scientist calms our fears that this could happen again, stating that the fact that Newton's gravitational constant doesn't appear to be changing implies we're safe from a collision for many billions of years.
For the next 700 years things went a little quiet for that particular market research company - until 1801, when the first modern census was commissioned because the Norman Domesday Book description of Birmingham as "being a hamlet of three barns and an ox" was looking a little dated.
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.
The Moon.
13 April 2001
How to email like a bigwig. The trick, it seems, is to be incapable of spelling and to cultivate a brusque, brain-damaged "voice."
I'm certain you've already seen this. If you haven't, you probably also don't know to whom your base belongs.
It's probably another sign of creeping geekness, but I think the 404 not-found page at the official Star Wars site is really cool.
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum sits at the fabled candy desk in the Senate. Truly an honor for the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Gold, platinum, and other heavy metals are primarily created when two neutron stars collide. Because of this, I feel I have scientific credibility if I claim that my wedding ring is made of neutronium.
How not to engage in an illegal attack on a huge corporation. Some people are too stupid to be allowed access to money and/or lawyers.
In 1841, Lincoln defended the three Trailor brothers against a charge of murder. In 1846, he wrote up an account of the event for the Quincy Whig. Not only was Abraham Lincoln a great speechwriter, he also writes a pretty good short story.
I'm the god! I'm the god! Play god with the evolution game.
PC's Day Out is a goofy little Web comic about the silicon ruler of Denmark and his trip to the United States to terrify the UN and steal some technology. Typical Evil Ruler stuff. I have just been informed there is a rebel problem, and they have a strudel catapult.
Mars Odyssey 2001 launch videos. Woo! Mark Sachs
12 April 2001
Emperor Clau-Clau-Claudius, explained.
By God, there will be a MOON BASE one day! Even if we have to take over NASA and do it ourselves. (Please note that the author does not advocate taking over NASA, except as part of some crappy Niven/Pournelle novel.)
Yes, Disney is a huge, culture-warping juggernaut. But it makes some darned cool stuff while it's eating our civilization whole.
The chronology of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Kinda makes you feel small, don't it?
Even the AFL-CIO is powerless before the true American strength that is embodied by The Mighty Hamburger. From the fine folks at Evolution Control.
The Gunderphonic site will ask you to download Shockwave 8. You don't need to have Shockwave for the site to work.
Hey, kids! Watch the coast of North America melt away like mist in the sun as predicted by this fun, fact-filled government site!
Art speaks truth.
Admit it. You always wondered.
Sweet Buddha, the Seventies have returned, and I think I'm blind!

"The amazing new Shelf-O-Shite within a Shelf-O-Shite! And somewhere in this picture there's another shelf! And another! And so forth down to the subatomic level, where matter merges with the thoughts of God, and that damned spider who nearly killed you when you were fighting over that piece of cake is just a bad memory"
Norton Juster is a god.
There has been an auroral flare on Jupiter the size of Earth. All these worlds are yours except Europa...
Philadelphia. You know that, at its heart, the city is a cheesesteak.
It is called a soda, damn you! Why do you deny this...this basic truth?
ShareSniffer. Company motto: "Because it's there."

12 April 2001 - 31 April 2001

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