Saturday, January 07, 2006

Picture of the Day


Image from www.worth1000.com

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny (really!)


If you've ever wanted to see Godzilla, Shaq, Batman, Chuck Norris and assorted others fight each other in the battle to the death then click here.


(Via Memepool.)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Toilet Seat Operations

FYI:
The Science Creative Quarterly: The toilet seat problem has been the subject of much controversey. In this paper we consider a simplified model of the toilet seat problem. We shall show that for this model there is an inherent conflict of interest which can be resolved by a equity solution.

Consider a bathroom with one omnipurpose toilet (also known as a WC) which is used for two toilet operations which we shall designate as #1 and #2. The toilet has an attachment which we shall refer to as the seat (but see remark 1 below) which may be in either of two positions which we shall designate as up and down.

Toilet operations are performed by members of the human species (see remark 2 below) who fall into two categories, popularly designated as male and female. For convenience we shall use the name John to refer to the typical male and Marsha to refer to the typical female...

...the mututal increased cost of toilet seat operations should be shared equitably, i.e., neither party should bear a disproportionate share of the costs of cohabitation. A short calculation reveals that [this] can be achieved if John leaves the seat up after performing toilet operation #1 with a frequency

f = (2p-1)/p

Since the value of p is seldom precisely measured and is variable in any event it suffices to use an approximate value of f. If we assume that p=2/3 then f=1/2. This suggests the following convenient rule of thumb:

In the morning John leaves the seat up after performing #1.
In the evening he puts it down.

This rule may not be precise but it is simple and approximately equitable; moreover the use of a definite rule sets expectations. The seat is put down in the evening to avoid the notorious “middle of the night surprise”.

I expect that this analysis should settle the toilet seat controversey for once and for all - if John and Marsha are mathematicians.

(Via Pharyngula.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Lawyers Have Do Have a Sense of Humor

The Association of American Law Schools has the following legal disclaimer on their website:
This web site is a forum for the exchange of information and points of view. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Section on Contracts or of the Association of American Law Schools, which when you think about it are really only reified abstractions that have no independent existence and therefore can't really have any "opinions" about anything at all, so we'’re not sure why we have to say this. All statements herein are the sole responsibility of the authors, except for any that are inaccurate, irresponsible, tasteless, or actionable, which are solely the responsibility of student editorial assistants who are working as independent contractors and for whom we will accept absolutely no responsibility whatsoever...

(Via Brad Delong's Semi-Daily Journal)

Blame Canada!

It turns out that we used to have plans to invade Canada. Yee-ha.
The Washington Post: The United States government does have a plan to invade Canada. It's a 94-page document called "Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan -- Red," with the word SECRET stamped on the cover. It's a bold plan, a bodacious plan, a step-by-step plan to invade, seize and annex our neighbor to the north....

...It was drawn up and approved by the War Department in 1930, then updated in 1934 and 1935. It was declassified in 1974 and the word "SECRET" crossed out with a heavy pencil. Now it sits in a little gray box in the National Archives in College Park, available to anybody, even Canadian spies. They can photocopy it for 15 cents a page.

War Plan Red was actually designed for a war with England. In the late 1920s, American military strategists developed plans for a war with Japan (code name Orange), Germany (Black), Mexico (Green) and England (Red). The Americans imagined a conflict between the United States (Blue) and England over international trade: "The war aim of RED in a war with BLUE is conceived to be the definite elimination of BLUE as an important economic and commercial rival."

In the event of war, the American planners figured that England would use Canada (Crimson) -- then a quasi-pseudo-semi-independent British dominion -- as a launching pad for "a direct invasion of BLUE territory." That invasion might come overland, with British and Canadian troops attacking Buffalo, Detroit and Albany. Or it might come by sea, with amphibious landings on various American beaches -- including Rehoboth and Ocean City, both of which were identified by the planners as "excellent" sites for a Brit beachhead...

Apparently the use of absurd color codes to define threats is a longstanding government tradition.
...None of this information is new. After the plan was declassified in 1974, several historians and journalists wrote about War Plan Red. But still it remains virtually unknown on both sides of the world's largest undefended border.

"I've never heard of it," said David Biette, director of the Canada Institute in Washington, which thinks about Canada....

Sadly, there are some idiots* who still think a northern invasion is a good idea...
...In 2002, the conservative magazine National Review published an essay called "Bomb Canada: The Case for War." The author, Jonah Goldberg, suggested that the United States "launch a quick raid into Canada" and blow something up -- "perhaps an empty hockey stadium." That would cause Canada to stop wasting its money on universal health insurance and instead fund a military worthy of the name, so that "Canada's neurotic anti-Americanism would be transformed into manly resolve."

And let's not forget the Web site http://invadecanada.us/ , which lists many compelling reasons for doing do: "let's make Alaska actually connected to the U.S. again!" and "they're just a little too proud" and "the surrender will come quickly, they're French after all."

The site also sells T-shirts, buttons, teddy bears and thong underwear, all of them decorated with the classic picture of Uncle Sam atop the slogan "I WANT YOU to Invade Canada."

Read the whole article, it's actually very interesting.

(Via Pharyngula.)

*Ok, I do realize that invadecanada.us is a satire (though not a particularly funny one). However Jonah Goldberg is definitely a genuine idiot.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Karate Chimp!

Who is the greater fool...



(Video here.)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Humorous Look Back

Forum, a local public radio program that I listen to recently took a satirical look back at 2005 with a group of local comedians (including Will Durst) which I thought was pretty good. Kind of funny but also kind of interesting. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Picture of the Day


What happened here!? Is that Santa Claus? Has he turned evil?

Sadly no. It's simply the Pope, who in this picture is wearing a traditional Christmas hat (and who should think seriously about hiring a new personal photographer).

Cheese On the Mind

Whatever would we do without the British Cheese Board:
The age old myth that cheese gives you nightmares has finally been laid to rest this week following the release of a new study carried out by the British Cheese Board.

The in-depth Cheese & Dreams study, a first of its kind, reveals that eating cheese before bed will not only aid a good night’s sleep but different cheeses will in fact cause different types of dreams...

...85% of females who ate Stilton had some of the most unusual dreams of the whole study. 65% of people eating Cheddar dreamt about celebrities, over 65% of participants eating Red Leicester revisited their schooldays, all female participants who ate British Brie had nice relaxing dreams whereas male participants had cryptic dreams, two thirds of all those who ate Lancashire had a dream about work and over half of Cheshire eaters had a dreamless sleep.

(Via Improbable Research.)