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May 2005
image Gunner Miller forwarded me a link to the latest viral video going around. It shows a purse grabber who gets taught a lesson. I've never seen the video before, and I can't decrypt the text above it (I tried to translate it using altavista's Russian-to-English tool, but that didn't work). So I can't add much to it. Gunner comments that "The females stance and shoulders seem very guy'ish."
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri May 27, 2005
Comments (24)
Wired has an article in its current issue about the amateur time-theorist Peter Lynds. Lynds and I had quite an argument going about two years ago. This argument gets mentioned in the Wired article:

For a while, the question of whether instants exist was superseded by the question of whether Lynds exists. His claims were so outlandish, the scandal they provoked so fervent, and his home country (apparently) so exotic that the Internet Museum of Hoaxes briefly decided Lynds wasn't real. He spent months corresponding with the webmaster to clear that up. This part of the Lynds controversy turns out to be the only mystery I could resolve without knowing advanced physics.

The problem is that this is incorrect (plus, it makes me sound like some kind of idiot who thinks no one in New Zealand can be real). I didn't doubt that Peter Lynds was real. What I suspected was that Lynds was creating all kinds of phony aliases to promote his work. This is what we were arguing about.

For instance, I suspected that Lynds was using false names to post flattering comments about himself on message boards. I also became suspicious that a press release written about him (the press release which brought him to the attention of most people) was actually written by Lynds himself. The author of the press release was a woman named Brooke Jones. But when I did some research I discovered that Ms. Jones's work address was the same as Peter's home address. So I think that I had some grounds to be suspicious. Plus, even though I tried to get Ms. Jones on the phone many times, she would never speak to me. I did find out, however, that Peter had a girlfriend named Brooke.

So anyway, that was the real disagreement between Peter and myself. I just thought it was unethical for him to be creating all kinds of phony 'sock puppets' to hype his work. I've already written to the author of the article, Josh McHugh, to complain that he mischaracterized my disagreement with Lynds.
Categories: Identity/Imposters
Posted by Alex on Thu May 26, 2005
Comments (29)
I'm pretty sure this isn't a hoax because it's possible to place an order for it. However, it still seems extremely odd to me. It's a keyboard marketed to 'ubergeeks' under the brand name 'Das Keyboard'. This is the part that gets me:

Das Keyboard is an enhanced 104-key USB PC keyboard equiped with 100% blank keys mounted on precision and individually weighted key switches... Since there is no key to look at when typing, your brain will quickly adapt and memorize the key positions and you will find yourself typing a lot faster with more accuracy in no time. It is amazing how slow typers almost double their speed and quick typers become blazing fast!

So it's basically a keyboard with all symbols removed from the keys. I can type over 100 wpm, and I don't normally look at the keys. But occasionally you need to. I would find it very annoying to never be able to look at them, and I find it hard to believe that anyone would want this as a feature.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Thu May 26, 2005
Comments (34)
A French woman, Francoise Gaellar, had a kidney transplant two days after Princess Diana died in a car crash. She believes that she received Diana's kidney. As a consequence, she now feels urges to speak in English:

"I found myself speaking English to my friends, something I don't normally do because I have no reason to," she says. "I cannot explain why I did this."
Is this evidence of a fanciful nature, or an indication she had indeed received an organ from an English-speaker? Improbable though it sounds, there are many documented accounts of organ recipients taking on characteristics of their donors.

The French authorities aren't allowed to say who people get their organs from. They also aren't about to reveal what happened to Diana's body after she died. But a Hospital spokesperson did say that: "Because of bioethical laws and other considerations, it would have been impossible for this type of transplant to have taken place in a French hospital involving a British citizen, particularly when that person was the Princess of Wales."
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Thu May 26, 2005
Comments (20)
image If you live alone, then here's a product to alleviate your loneliness. It's Singles Wallpaper, which is basically life-sized pictures of people that you can stick on your wall, and then you can pretend that they're your friends. Unlike real people, who can be annoying and messy "The single-wallpaper is the complete opposite: it is always friendly and doesn't smoke, it likes watching "Friends" with you for the 100th time without ever complaining, it doesn't leave dirty socks lying around, it never protests against your ideas, and it always looks fresh and attractive ... even when, from time to time, you can't help losing your temper!"
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu May 26, 2005
Comments (28)
Tomorrow (May 26) I'm going to be a guest on an NPR show, Odyssey, which is broadcast out of Chicago. Not that I'm going all the way to Chicago for the show. I'll be in the NPR studios in San Diego. The topic of the show will be "Falling for Hoaxes": From Piltdown Man to crop circles, history is littered with hoaxes that have grabbed headlines and fooled the public. So why do we keep falling for them? (my answer: because we're idiots!)

The other guest will be a historian from UC Davis, Michael Saler. The two of us will be having a discussion with the host, Gretchen Helfrich, and we'll take questions from callers at the end of the show (from what I understand). I've been getting quite a lot of media attention lately, what with being on the Paula Zahn show a week or two ago. I have the Runaway Bride to thank for it all. Anyway, the show will be on at noon Chicago time, if you want to listen. But not all NPR affiliates carry the show.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Thu May 26, 2005
Comments (11)
A lot of people worry that we may be in the midst of a serious housing bubble. But worry no more. If everyone simply buys a St. Joseph Statue (only $9.95) and buries it beneath their 'for sale' sign when they go to sell their house, they're guaranteed to get full price or more! This is the way to keep the bubble propped up forever. Put the power of miracles to work for you.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon May 23, 2005
Comments (33)
image A raisin that is the spitting image of the current pope is up for sale on eBay:

Yes My Friends, It Is Truly Amazing How This "Unmodified" Raisin Resembles The Pope In Every Way ~ Shape & Form ~ To The Smallest Detail
The Eyes, The Nose, The Ears, The Mouth
It's Like Holding The Pope's Head in Your Hand. But Smaller.

There are four days left to bid, but I think people are hesitant to make an offer because they may not want to interfere with the starting bid of $6.66.
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Mon May 23, 2005
Comments (13)
Here's something for the jealous, paranoid lover: forget-me-not panties. They're panties with a built-in gps device, so you'll always know where the wearer of them is.

This amazing device will answer all of your questions! These panties can give you her location, and even her temperature and heart rate, and she will never even know it's there! Unlike the cumbersome and uncomfortable chastity belts of the past, these panties are 100% cotton, and use cutting-edge technology to help you protect what matters most.

I think the site is one of the entries for the Contagious Media Project.
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon May 23, 2005
Comments (8)
I haven't been posting as much to the site lately. That's because the deadline for turning in the manuscript for my next book is fast approaching. It's due in about two weeks, so posting in the near future will probably be even lighter. I'm finding it hard to focus on the book and the site at the same time, so the site temporarily has to go on auto-pilot. But I'm not going to disappear entirely. There will be scattered posts. I just can't promise that they'll appear regularly.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Mon May 23, 2005
Comments (5)
image Artists work in all different kinds of mediums. Some work in oil. Others in stone. Dave Powell's medium is cats. He breeds cats and then displays them as art in plastic containers. He tries to breed for mutations such as polydactylism. He seems a little sensitive that people won't think his cat-in-a-box displays qualify as art, but he argues that they are since anything created with 'artistic intent' is art. I actually disagree. I think that art is whatever art critics define as art. In other words, it's up to the audience to decide what qualifies as art, not the artist. But as a cat lover, I'm perfectly to happy to regard cats as art.
Categories: Animals, Art
Posted by Alex on Mon May 23, 2005
Comments (16)
Some amazing pictures of a tornado have been doing the rounds. According to the info that accompanies them, these are "Photos of storm near Bunbury" (which is in Australia), although the text also notes that "you'd swear these were taken in america's mid west / tornado belt..." This has started some discussion on alt.folklore.urban, as people try to locate exactly where these photos were taken. The scenery does look a lot like the midwest.

image image image
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri May 20, 2005
Comments (81)
image The self-proclaimed 'art terrorist' Banksy made headlines back in March for sneaking his own work into various New York art galleries. Now he's done it again. He managed to sneak some faux prehistoric rock art into the British Museum. The rock art depicted a caveman pushing a shopping trolley. It hung in the British Museum for two days before being detected. The British Museum has now loaned the rock art back to Banksy who is displaying it at his own show in London. But they expect to get it back eventually.
Categories: Art
Posted by Alex on Fri May 20, 2005
Comments (8)
image I went to see Star Wars last night. I hadn't planned to. The plan was that I wasn't going to see any movies until my book is done, which should be in early June (hopefully). But I was at the mall with my wife, and I noticed it was playing, so I couldn't resist. I talked her into seeing it. It turned out that there was absolutely no line, and no wait of any kind. We bought our tickets one minute before the movie started, walked in, and pretty easily found seats. (and we got a matinee price because it was only 5:30!). I was surprised. I thought it would be more crowded opening night.

But apparently theaters were more crowded up in Hollywood. According to The Talent Show, there were also some protesters up there who were denouncing Star Wars as a Satanic menace. Yeah, it was a joke. These are the folks from who for years have had a spoof webpage arguing that the Force is a tool of Satan.
Categories: Entertainment, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri May 20, 2005
Comments (21)
Jeff Tweiten has been waiting in line outside the IMAX theatre in Seattle, Washington for FIVE MONTHS to see Star Wars Episode III. Some suspect this must be a publicity stunt, perhaps engineered by the Star Wars publicity department itself. I would agree. I've also noticed a lot of stories on the news about how much money businesses are going to lose on the opening day of Star Wars because of employees cutting work to see the movie. I also suspect that story is being fed to the media by the Star Wars people. (via AdRants)
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Wed May 18, 2005
Comments (26)
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