Phase of the Moon
Angels from Another Pin

If you do not follow Santa, you follow the Grinch.

22 December 2004

Incipit gestis Rudolphi rangifer tarandus

Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor --
Næfde þæt nieten unsciende næsðyrlas!
Glitenode and gladode godlice nosgrisele.
Ða hofberendas mid huscwordum hine gehefigodon;
Nolden þa geneatas Hrodulf næftig
To gomene hraniscum geador ætsomne.

(link via Jessica Gothie) permanent link


Why bridge the river when you can bridge the entire valley? permanent link

"What makes you think I had anything to do with this?"

"Occam's Razor."

--Mark Stanley

9 December 2004

Amazing. Pandora's Cube has been busted by the Feds for piracy.

Federal authorities raided three Washington, D.C.-area video game stores and arrested two people for modifying video game consoles to play pirated video games, a video game industry group said on Wednesday.

The Entertainment Software Association said the Dec. 1 raids at three Pandora's Cube stores in Maryland and Virginia were a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Justice's computer crimes unit, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Authorities arrested two store employees on charges of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and conspiracy to traffic in a device that circumvents technological protection measures, the ESA said.

"One of them is someone who has a more substantial role with the company," said Chunnie Wright, anti-piracy counsel to the ESA. She could not provide more details due to the ongoing nature of the criminal case...

Pandora's Cube, Wright said, sold $500 "Super Xbox" consoles, modified versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video game console, that had been modified to hold larger hard drives and play pirated games.

The modified consoles, some holding 15 or more games already copied to the hard drive, were on open display in the stores.

I'm shocked. Shocked! (link via Jessica Gothie) permanent link


The mystery of the beautiful glass bow leads us to how to see the direction of polarized light with the naked eye. permanent link


You may never need it in your quotidian life, but you have to admit an article called "Transfer Orbits for Dummies" sounds interesting.

It requires some math, but what doesn't these days? permanent link

Who solved Fermat's Last Theorem? Richard Nixon. Who conquered the Gauls in 49 BC? Richard Nixon. Who's the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks? Richard Nixon.

--Fred Coppersmith

3 December 2004

From the Science is Cool Dep't: A new simulation suggests that the sharp edge to the Kuiper Belt may have been caused by a close pass of one of the other stars born in the same nebula as our Sun. This might also explain the orbit of Sedna. permanent link


The world needs the Ayn Rand Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It's rational!

Or maybe you're trying to clean out your fridge with a bucket of soapy water...and you look down to find the bucket turning itself inside-out?

And what about buying a VCR, taking it home and trying to program the clock...only to find that the time is displayed in Roman numerals...and it's going backwards?

There's only one solution for all of these problems: rationality. And there's only one sign that rationality can be found inside: The Ayn Rand Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!

You'll never worry again about idiotic design flaws caused by weak-sister liberals trying to avoid the evidence of their senses. Non-causality in your household products will be a thing of the past. And you'll know that every A is A!

Any parody of Ayn Rand is a good thing. permanent link


It turns out shah mat doesn't mean "the king is dead." It means "the king is defeated."

Shah is the Middle and Modern Persian form of the Old Pers. khshayathiya, which is found on the cuneiform inscriptions on the rock-face of the cliffs at Behistun. In Pahlawi writing the Huzvarish form malka was used in its place. It has always been the royal title of the Persian monarch. When the Shah in chess was attacked by any other piece it was usual to call attention to the fact by saying Shah, it being incumbent upon the player whose Shah was attacked to move it or otherwise to remedy the check. This usage passed into Arabic, and was adopted in European chess, although with the change in name of the piece it ceased to have any obvious meaning. Indeed in Med. Lat. the word scac in this sense was simply treated as an interjection. When the Shah was left in check without resource, mat or shah mat was said. Mat is a Persian adjective meaning 'at a loss', 'helpless', 'defeated', and is a contracted form of the adjective mand, manad, manid (RAS(2) uses regularly shah manad and manad for shah mat and mat), which is derived from the verb mandan, manidan, 'to remain'.

One learns something new every day. permanent link


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