Monday, February 28, 2005

Putting one's values into action


After not enough sleep last night and a lot of playing with R today and feeling sort of zonked about now, I feel like sharing an article that was reported today. Many people take moral positions but do not even try to live up to them. Until recently, this was arguably true of hold that it is immoral to destroy human embryos, even for science. However, last year at a clinic in Spain
women began to adopt surplus frozen embryos and bear them to term in order to “save” them from research.
. While I do not agree that using embryos for research is immoral, adopting embryos strikes me as a refreshingly self-consistent way for opponents of research on embryos to live by the beliefs the profess.


Weird thing of the day 28 February 2005/19 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Public Sleeping Day/Ayyám-i-Há)


Weird science-fiction news update: Star Trek: Enterprise fans raise over $3,000,000 to keep the show on the air another season.

Today’s weird thing was sent to me by Ruth and is included below. Enjoy.


English is Easy?

So a 2 letter word has a hundred completely different meanings. So what is this stuff about English being easy?

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meaning than any other two-letter word,and that is "UP."

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we waken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing:

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable of the proper uses of UP, look UP the word in the dictionary. In a desk size dictionary, the word up, takes UP almost 1/4th the page and definitions add UP to about thirty.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say
it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so.............

I'll shut UP...

Razzie results


It is with great pleasure that I inform you of the 25th RAZZIE® Dis-Honors. Go forth and see who the worst of the worst last year was. Enjoy.


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Weird thing of the day 27 February 2005/18 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (International Polar Bear Day/Ayyám-i-Há)


Today’s weird thing is the 2004 Razzie Awards. The first report, “Yahoo! News - Bush and Berry win Razzies”, is available, though the official Razzies site has not been updated yet. I hope to send out a full list this evening.



Friday, February 25, 2005

Weird thing of the day 25 February 2005/16 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Go Bowling Day)


I have too many URL files for weird news articles cluttering up my desktop:I would also like to make fun of some spam I received yesterday. It purports to be from “” and says:
Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 40 illegal Websites.

Important: Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
M. John Stellford

++-++ Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
++-++ 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2130
++-++ Washington, DC 20535
++-++ (202) 324-3000
This one, like a lot of other spam, assumes people are downright stupid. Most obviously, the quality of the language is substandard (e.g., “we” should be capitalized, “Yours faithfully” has no place in a formal letter), which is a tip-off it is not from the FBI. (The government tends to use proper English, George W. Bush excepted.) Secondly, the sender would likely have a username more sensible than "Web". Thirdly, I have major doubts the FBI is conducting that draconian level of surveillance of the Internet, which would involve a lot of peaking at data passing through their computers on the way to other computers or (worse) spyware; either way, an invasion of privacy is involved, and as such they would arguably be trampling on my constitutional rights unless they had probable cause and a warrant. Finally, if the FBI wanted to ask me questions concerning alleged illegal activity on my behalf, I would presumably be visited by their agents personally. There have to be smarter ways to get people to activate a virus.

Today’s weird thing is the article “Wright This Way: iPod Shuffle RAID” and its sequel “Wright This Way: Shuffle RAID Redux”. For the uninitiated into the obscure world of computer geekdom, RAID stands for “redundant array of inexpensive drives” and refers to a way of configuring a bunch of small drives to act as a bigger, automatically backed-up drive. Using a bunch of music players for the job is simply creative silliness. (Challenge for anyone seeking ultimate RAID silliness: a floppy disk RAID.)

Enjoy, and Shabbath shalom.


And I thought Bush was a public relations disaster...


I really cannot make this up, especially since I do not have the equipment to produce this: Social Security.

Be scared.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Weird thing of the day 24 February 2005/15 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Pure Shushan Qatan/International Pancake Day)


Today’s weird thing is the article Patent Prescription: A radical cure for the ailing U.S. patent system, which talks about the sorts of bizarre things people hold patents on and how to fix such a blatantly broken system. After reading this, you will want to try patenting pancakes. Enjoy.


Worthy cause of the day


The nice people at MoveOn have a new petition for every American citizen who supports democracy to sign. The demand made in it is, and I quote: ”Congress must support electoral reforms such as guaranteeing paper receipts for electronic voting machines, providing remedies for long lines, and prohibiting partisan election officials.” If you sign this petition, your Senators and Representatives will be sent copies of the message. (I got snail-mail back from them for a previous petition, that one on gun control.) So please make your voice heard and sign, and help avoid a repeat of our last two presidential elections.

Thank you.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Weird thing of the day 23 February 2005/14 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Purim Qatan/National Dog Biscuit Day)


General note: You can reply directly to the mailed version of the blog, and the replies go directly to me. However, some of the replies some of you have sent me are more suitable as comments directly on the blog, so please feel free to post your comments. On-line commentary was one of the main reasons I wanted a blog in the first place.

Caveat: Comments whose language or insinuations go beyond the bounds of decency will be deleted. I have already done this to Bobby Awesome.

Furthermore, I would like to note to the last person to send me a message on Social Security that:
  • I am not a Democrat. I am an anti-Republican. The difference is not that I think the Democratic Party is great; rather I believe that the Republican Party has degenerated into the party of the greedy rich who do not care if the rest of the country suffers horribly, so long as they themselves do well, and therefore must be opposed.
  • Taking Bush’s plan in the most generous light rationally possible, I still oppose it. Yes, some people might do better on it, but many would not. Stock is not a reliable place to keep money in the long term. The market fluctuates, and given enough time, the market inevitably crashes. The odds are that many people on Bush’s plan will lose money in their private accounts in the stock market, which defeats the purpose of Social Security in the first place. One’s money would be safer in a mattress. Now, I am aware that Bush wants to make his plan one which people opt into, so one could easily avoid the problems associated with the stock market. That is good news for me, but what about those who do not realize that stock is risky? I am a religious man, and in my religion the ideal is that people ought to care for each other, including helping the poor and getting them self-supporting so they do not need charity, and that we should reduce human suffering. (These values are shared by other ideologies, too.) The Bush plan works against these ideals, since it would make millions of people financially worse off, resulting in many people needing to give money, time, and effort towards helping them that might otherwise be better utilized (such as towards education and curing diseases). Net suffering would increase. As such, I feel justified in exercising my democratic rights and complaining about Bush’s plan. Those who disagree may complain about my complaining in comments on the blog. I am quite fallible, and if anyone has good reason to believe I am wrong on this or any other issue, I welcome such criticism.
Today’s weird thing is A. K. Dewdney’s article “A Tinkertoy computer that plays tic-tac-toe”. Enjoy.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Social security


I have done some editing today, and as I type, R is busy crunching-data. That leaves me free to do share with you two items on Social Security brought to you courtesy of the Democratic Party:Be scared.


Weird thing of the day 22 February 2005/13 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765


I’ve been doing lots of running in circles trying to find useful information so I can properly edit a paper for resubmission. Not exactly happy when the information isn’t forthcoming. God willing, I’ll get to play with R (a statistical programming language) today.

Today’s weird thing is “New graphic displays for the blind”. It’s amazing what they can do these days.



Monday, February 21, 2005

Weird thing of the day 21 February 2005/12 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Presidents' Day/International Mother Language Day)


Weird political update: Yahoo! News - U.N. Panel Backs Anti-Cloning Resolution, which was namely “to prohibit all forms of human cloning in as much as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.” My previous comments on cloning still stand.

Weird health update: Yahoo! News - Lead in Environment Causing Violent Crime - Study.

Today’s weird thing is the article “Army to deploy robots that shoot”. (I cannot make up stuff like this.)



Bush smoked pot!


Yes, it’s time for more embarrassment for George W. Bush’s Reign of Error; not a day goes by without it making it harder to believe this man could be taken seriously by anyone.Be scared.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Weird thing of the day 18 February 2005/9 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (National Battery Day)


Weird update: Pale Male and Lola seem happy with their new nest.

Weird health news: Tailor-made skin from 'ink' printer. (And, no, I am not making this up.)

Weird political news: There is way too much out there which reflects very badly on politicians all over the planet, even in places I have never mentioned here. I could easily make a full-time job out of sorting through it all and commenting on it. Since no one is paying me to do that, I want to keep it down to about one a day, so please infer that for every politically damning article I tell you about, there are a few orders of magnitude more out there. As for today’s political update, you can visit National Priorities Project to find out how bad a job the Bush administration is doing with taxpayer money, including how much he’s costing your state and city.

Today’s weird thing is Fourmilab’s Earth and Moon Viewer. Enjoy, and Shabbath shalom.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Weird thing of the day 17 February 2005/8 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Champion Crab Races Day)


Weird health news: Yahoo! News - Quit Smoking or Quit Your Job, U.S. Company Says, which is about a new method to improve employee health.

Weird political news: Mahmoud Abbas has decided to show everyone what he really thinks of cooperating with Israel by executing three “collaborators”.

Today’s weird thing is a neat trick that has nothing to do with crab-racing: - The Amazing Mind Reader. Enjoy.


Bunch of weird things


I’ve had the dubious pleasure of calculating tables of distributions of 24 variables today. Information on these variables was incorporated into a report I’m working on which has grown to 94 pages long. Good thing the report only exists as data on my hard drives; otherwise the desk would probably collapse.

People do not know how to stop doing weird things, especially in politics. Here in the USA, Pataki has decried remarks by his state’s (New York) chairman of the local Republican party. The politician on the hot-seat had the audacity to “lump” the lawyer for a terrorist into the Democratic Party, thereby following (illegitimate) President Bush’s lead in effectively putting Senator Kerry into the Axis of Evil.

Things are just about as crazy in Israel. The “Palestinian” Authority is adding wanted terrorists to its “security” forces. (“The move is designed to protect them against Israeli assassination attempts.” As if such a move had any chance of working.) As for the Israelis, the Kenesseth has passed a Gaza disengagement bill without a referendum, thus subverting the democratic process and giving Israeli citizens every right to feel their concerns are not being considered by the politicians. Since this is the same sort of shtik that Yishaq Rabbin pulled, I suspect ’Ari’el Sharon is well on his way to being assassinated. (NOTE: I do not endorse assassination, but in this case I would not find it surprising.) That Sharon is also releasing terrorist prisoners with blood on their hands is probably doing little to increase his life expectancy. If stuff like this keeps up, I may start seriously ranting on the “peace process” and write out a peace plan that has a chance of success.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Weird thing of the day 16 February 2005/7 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765


Double-edged retraction: Barry and I had a little discussion about yesterday’s weird thing about Rick Mathes, and while the incident apparently happened, not everyone agrees on the details. I am thus giving you the full list of links on the incident which came up in our discussion. Not all of them are reliable.
The main reason I posted the story in the first place is because of its plausibility: Islam is the religion most used on the planet to preach and perform violence. Though there are non-Muslim terrorists, they tend to be very localized (e.g., Basque separatists); only Muslim terrorism has become a planet-wide threat. (See the news every day and listen to what Muslims around the planet actually say if you do not believe me.) Whether or not Mathes’s interpretation of the incident corresponds well with reality has little bearing on this. The only question is whether or not I should be more careful doing my homework.

In today’s weird news, Iran is hard at work trying to get a hefty bribe out of the European Union to stop work on nuclear weapons. Needless to say, Iran is not likely to keep such an agreement anyway—they are already in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which they did sign—and the most likely outcome will be that Israel will have to bomb them, just as they did Iraq.

Not quite as bad, is collecting donations to fund another season of Star Trek: Enterprise. On a brighter note, J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5) wants a chance to do Star Trek himself.

Finally, for today’s weird news, I am pleased to announce David Dingman-Grover, the boy who dubbed his tumor “Frank”, is now cancer-free.

Today’s weird thing is the bizarre case of some Colorado teens fined for giving cookies to a neighbor. Fortunately for them, they have received donations towards their legal defense.

Enjoy/be scared.


Chicken soup


Due to my brother David getting apparently the same infection that I got, he’s got a sudden desire for chicken soup. Since what we have seems to be going around, for the greater good I am releasing the family chicken soup recipe on the Internet. I am also releasing the accompanying massah ball (kneidlakh) recipe, since they go great with chicken soup. Everybody thank Mom for writing the recipes. Also note that chicken soup is known to be as effective as an cold medicine on the market and much better tasting. Enjoy.


PS: I’m aware that Mom and I have different ideas about how to transliterate Hebrew.


1 CHICKEN, cut up
rib of celery
sprig of parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Put cut up chicken into pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil. Skim as necessary. Add other ingredients and simmer for at least 1 hour, although it tastes better when the chicken falls off the bones.


2 Tbs. fat (chicken fat or regular crisco)
2 eggs
1/2 c. matzah meal
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. soup stock or water

Mix fat and eggs. Add matzah meal and salt. Blend well. Add soup stock or water. Cover bowl and chill at least 20 min. In 2 or 3 qt. pot boil water briskly. Reduce flame and drop balls into it. Cover and cook 30-40 min. Add to soup that is at room temp. or warmer. Let soup simmer at least 5 min. before serving.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

More weird stuff


I’m zonked, I managed to create 48 pretty (yet highly functional) graphs anyway, and my desktop is getting clogged with weird and damning items.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Draft: UN Troops in Sudan; Darfur Sanctions, or Too little, too late. (Tangent: If anyone knows anything about charities to actually do something meaningful about the Sudan genocide, please tell me.)

Yahoo! News - Study: Homeless Shelters, Food in Demand, or Bush hates the poor.

Yahoo! News - War budget request loaded with extras.

Yahoo! News - Chocolate Industry Eyed for Child Labor. (Warning: Not for the faint of heart!)

And finally, demonstrating that some people have no understanding of religion whatsoever (and I cannot make something like this up): Yahoo! News - Hail Christina Aguilera, love goddess.

Be scared.


Weird thing of the day 15 February 2005/6 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765


Today’s weird thing was forwarded to me by my mother from Vanessa and Storm, and it is included below. Enjoy.



Have you ever heard of Rick Mathes??? This is a must read ... it’s short but very informative! The Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion per capita in the United States, especially in the minority races!!! Allah or Jesus?

By Rick Mathes

Last month I attended my annual training session that’s required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of their belief systems.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video. After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.

When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: “Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?”

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, “Non-believers!”

I responded, “So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?”

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, “Yes.”

I then stated, “Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven!” The Imam was speechless.

I continued, “I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be with me?”

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame. Needless to say, the organizers and/or promoters of the ’Diversification’ training seminar were not happy with Rick’s way of dealing with the Islamic Imam and exposing the truth about the Muslim’s beliefs.

I think everyone in the US should be required to read this, but with the liberal justice system, liberal media, and the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized. Please pass this on to all your e-mail contacts.

This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in a prison ministry.

Monday, February 14, 2005

More political insanity

They keep doing bad stuff; I keep noticing it.

Yahoo! News - Bush Urges Renewal of Patriot Act, or How Bush wants to keep on impinging on our freedoms

Yahoo! News - Bush Wants $82B More for Iraq, Afgan Costs, or How Bush wants to waste your money on a war he has no idea how to win rather than balance the budget

Yahoo! News - Lawmakers Divided Over Social Security, or How Bush’s plan to destroy Social Security isn’t winning many converts among Republicans who wish to be reelected

Yahoo! News - U.S. Missile Defense System Flunks Test, or How Bush bush wastes our money on big toys that don’t work

Yahoo! News - Moderate evangelicals preach their own politics, or Why not every seriously religious Christian is a pro-Bush idiot, despite the stereotype

And finally, unrelated: Yahoo! News - New Bad Boy Truck Dwarfs the Hummer, or How to show the world one is an oil-wasting idiot


Weird thing of the day 14 February 2005/5 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Valentine's Day/Ferris Wheel Day)


I have no material on ferris wheels, so you’re going to be subjected to articles on Valentine’s Day:Enjoy.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Idiocy at the United Nations


I still haven’t fully recovered from my bacterial infection, and I’m feeling rather zonked, and yet I was still instantly able to see this article was a big bunch of worrying over nothing: Yahoo! News - U.N. Talks Seek Compromise on Human Cloning Ban. This is a downright pointless issue, since there is nothing to panic over.
  1. No one actually holds that early embryos have the same status as fully developed humans. If they did, they would have to argue that forms of contraception that prevent fertilized eggs from implanting (“morning after” pills) are murder.
  2. Cloning for reproduction is not an affront to individuality. Many individuals on this planet share the same genome without anyone (of any intelligence) claiming there is any affront. We call such people “twins”, “triplets”, “quadruplets”, etc.
  3. Cloning for reproduction, even if it were available at very low cost, would be an idiotic way to reproduce regularly. The canonical method of reproduction is much more fun and results in children with a wide variety of genomes. The latter is critical for our species, because widespread cloning would result in too many people who are all susceptible to the exact same diseases. (Even non-epidemiologists ought to be able to recognize this side effect of too much cloning as bad).
  4. Given the previous, the only people likely to resort to cloning to reproduce would be egotists, those obsessed with the silly notion of “racial purity” (such as the Saudis), and those unable to reproduce in any other manner. Only for the latter is anyone seriously advocating reproductive cloning.
  5. Just to preempt the whole notion of an evil army of clones: forget it; that’s just too stupid. The clones would take just as long to grow to maturity as anyone else. They would require the same resources as anyone else. They would turn evil no more easily than anyone else, and they would not be any easier for a dictator to control than anyone else. And let’s not forget the aforementioned disease problem: to disable the whole army, the enemy would only have to find a disease that disabled one of them. In short, a dictator foolish enough to bother with a clone army would probably be easily conquered by enemies who chose to invest in more practical weapons, such as nuclear bombs. (Believe it or not, someone actually used the “evil clone army” argument against cloning on me, and I did not hesitate to explain why this was a stupid idea to him.)
If anyone knows of anything the UN is actually doing right, please let me know.


Weird thing of the day 13 February 2005/4 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Stamp Collectors Day/Get a Different Name Day)


If anyone knows any stamp collectors trying to change their names, please tell me.

Political update: 54% of Americans think Bush is doing a bad job as president. Too bad enough of them did not figure this out before November.

Meanwhile, Star Trek: Enterprise fans have taken out a full-page ad in an attempt to the save the show. If they are successful, I pray that God inspire the writers to produce some better scripts. I demand time-travel be used to get the Enterprise into the midst of the Great Tribble Hunt!

Today’s weird thing is The Goldfish Online, which has information on the amazing things one person has made out of LEGOs.



Friday, February 11, 2005

Before I forget about these...

I hate being sick. So easy to forget about stuff...

More political stuff:

Enjoy (or be scared).


weird thing of the day 11 February 2005/2 ’Adhar Ri’shon 5765 (Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day/National Inventor’s Day)


Today’s weird thing is the British Weights and Measures Association, which is a group for promotion of the pound, the inch, and all manner of obsolete units of measurement, despite the fact that almost all of the planet is using the same measurement system and that unnecessary extra systems are just a waste of time, effort, and memory. Tell these people they are being petty by voting NO on their survey!



Way too many anti-Bush articles


I’m drowning in anti-Bush articles over here. His second (illegitimate) term has barely begun, and already he’s causing trouble rather than do the best thing he could possibly do for his country: take a four-year vacation. Notice that absolutely no one likes his tax cuts or Social Security reform ideas.

And finally, just because Bush is probably at least as ignorant as American youth: Yahoo! News - Teach Evolution: Leave No Child Behind.

Be scared.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

The ceasefire has already been broken

Did anyone with any grip on reality expect the “Palestinians” to even try to live up to their end of the bargain? See the Jerusalem Post article “IDF, ISA thwart J'lem suicide bombing”.


Weird thing of the day 10 February 2005/1 ’Adhar Ri’shon 5765 (Ro’sh Hodhesh ’Adhar Ri’shon/Umbrella Day/Islamic New Year)


I’m feeling better, but my sleep was sufficiently disturbed last night that I doubt I’ll get anything done today. It’s a good thing that I’ve taken to writing the regular posts four or five at a time at night and then sending them out when appropriate. (Thank God.)

Today’s weird thing is a sad story: “In defence of 'lost' languages”.


New Sanhedhrin news


The proto-Sanhedhrin is hard at work, as discussed in the article “Reestablished Sanhedrin Convenes to Discuss Temple”. The focus of this article is on the determination on where the Temple stood. This is not made easy by the popular political delusion that it is necessary to mollify the Arabs and thus the lack of archaeological examination. One of the two favored opinions puts the Holy of Holies directly on the Dome of the Rock, which makes it extremely similar to the opinion of Leen Ritmeyer, the archaeologist who created my late grandfather’s Temple Mount model, outlined in his book The Temple and the Rock. Considering that doing almost anything that the Arabs claim they oppose works (against the common delusion) against terror and violence, the proto-Sanhedhrin’s idea of reestablishing the Temple service (which the Arabs show no sign of being willing to allow) deserves serious consideration if for no reason other than saving human life. Intuition suggests that it may be time for a study of how to practically rebuilt the Temple, including cost estimates.

Very notable link: אגודת "השיבה שופטינו" - לכינון בית הדין הגדול, which is the site of the proto-Sanhedhrin. My apologies to those who do not know Hebrew.

Other notable links, recycled from the post of 4 May 2004 for the benefit of those who were not not reading the Weird thing of the day back then and who would otherwise have to wait until I put the pre-blog editions on-line:Enjoy.


Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Weird thing of the day 9 February 2005/30 Shevat 5765 (Ro’sh Hodhesh ’Adhar Ri’shon/Toothache Day/Ash Wednesday)

Greetings, and happy new month.

Yesterday my mother dragged me to the doctor. Turns out I have a bacterial infection. I have new medicine to take now. When they say the cough medicine may make you drowsy, believe it. I’m not expecting to get much done the rest of this week.

Today’s weird thing is the Klingon language, which is the most financially successful artificial language ever. (Esperanto has about a million speakers, but they’re an idealistic bunch with little publicity who could easily be conquered by the Klingonists.) The main source of information on Klingon is The Klingon Language Institute. These people have a number of projects in the works, including translating the Bible (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) into Klingon, and the restoration of Shakespeare to its original Klingon. (See Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country for the latter.) Enjoy.


Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Weird thing of the day 8 February 2005/29 Shevat 5765 (Kite Flying Day/Shrove Tuesday)


Still sick. No fever, but plenty of other symptoms. Have finished off the kneidlakh Mom made for me.

Political commentary: Condoleeza Rice has actively raised money for the (corrupt, terror-supporting) Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas wrote a doctoral thesis denying the Holocaust and is currently occupied doing everything he can to avoid getting the Palestinian Authority to live up to its obligations (such as fight Hamas), all the while pretending he is a respectable human being. Hosni Mubarak has failed to make his country, Egypt, live up to its obligations with regard to Israel, such as keeping smugglers from sneaking weapons into the Gaza Strip. Is anyone stupid enough to believe any of these is a good choice to help the “Palestinians” make real peace with Israel, especially when the current prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, has gone insane and is ignoring democratic principles and risking civil war in order to force a questionable plan down his country’s throat? The last person to try such a crazy stunt was Yitzhak Rabin, and the results were disastrous. All these “peace-makers” should go fly a kite and find something more worthwhile to do with their time, such as hunting snipe.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic (and itself worthy of being dubbed weird thing of the day) cable companies provide porn while funding politicians. (Thank you, Dad, for pointing this one out to me.) The cable companies and the Republican recipients of their bribes should also go fly a kite and find something better to do with their time, such as hunting snipe. (It’s a big planet, and their are plenty of snipe to be hunted.)

Today’s weird thing is a grandfather clock made entirely out of LEGOs. (Somehow I feel tempted to challenge this guy to make a kite out of LEGOs. No doubt any snipe would stand in awe of him.)



Monday, February 7, 2005

Weird thing of the day 7 February 2005/28 Shevat 5765 (Charles Dickens Day/Carnival Monday)


Still sick, but at least my sense of humor has returned in full force. Hope to get some work done today.

Worthy cause of the day: Someone has figured out how to harness normally annoying advertising to raise funds for charity!
The Hunger SiteThe Breast Cancer SiteThe Child Health SiteThe Literacy SiteThe Rainforest SiteThe Animal Rescue Site

First there were sin taxes, which targeted those who exercised their vices. Then there were stupidity taxes, or as they are usually called, “state lotteries”, which target those who are foolish enough to think they can beat probability at a game of chance. Now, with the George W. Bush-caused financial crisis gripping governments across the nation, the vanity tax is coming to pass. For more information see “Lawmakers Look to Tax Cosmetic Surgery”.



Sunday, February 6, 2005

Weird thing of the day 6 February 2005/27 Shevat 5765 (National Frozen Yogurt Day/Superbowl Sunday)


I’m still sick. I’m able to do things, though a lot of the symptoms are still there. I need to get my hands on some kneidlakh...

Today’s weird thing is “Asteroid named after ‘Hitchhiker’ humorist”. Enjoy.


Friday, February 4, 2005

Weird thing of the day 4 February 2005/25 Shevat 5765 (Thank a Mailman Day)


This is not one of my better days; I think I’ve come down with a virus, despite having gotten a flu shot. Right now I’m making bean soup.

Today’s weird thing is a rant that Barry wrote, included below.

Enjoy, and Shabbath shalom.

Having seen a few episodes of the remake of the series Battlestar Galactica, I felt like making some comparisons with the original, not all of them kind.

1) There are some interesting revisions of the characters. Boomer and Colonel Ty are no longer black (Boomer now is east Asian, Ty is white). Furthermore, Boomer and Starbuck are now women. Baltar now looks and sounds a lot like Dr. Julian Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and at times acts like him too (as when he hit on Starbuck). Baltar also now is conflicted, scared, and has hallucinations of a blonde woman which I think are caused by the Cylons. The Cylons, when they look like robots, look a lot slicker than the old ones. However, these Cylons can also look like humans. So far there is no sign of the dagget, for which I am really disappointed. I also have not seen anything in the Cylon command structure, like the one voiced by Patrick MacGee or the toadying one with all the lights in his head.

2) The show is a lot grimmer than the old one, and the characters often have to make unpleasant decisions which often involve people dying. Can you imagine Lorne Green making the decision to leave behind a ship full of people? I don’t think so. Overall the show comes off as less cheesy than the original.

3) Baltar has been charged with coming up with a way to screen people for being Cylons. For some reason this is a problem. I don’t know why he can’t think of a convenient way of doing this (other than him being a traitor working for the Cylons), but I can think of a few ways that humans and Cylons disguised as humans might differ:

• Cylons made primarily of metal might be heavier than humans, denser, have a different specific gravity, etc. If the Cylons are denser than humans, all it might take is dumping the suspected Cylon in a tank of water to make the determination. Then again, having one step on a scale might be just as effective.

• The internal structure of Cylons might look different on a CT scan.

• Retain suspected Cylons until they say they have to go to the bathroom. Covertly observe if anything comes out of them and what exactly does come out of them.

• Analyze the composition of what they exhale. It should have less oxygen and more carbon dioxide than what went in.

• Put refrigerator magnets on the suspected Cylon’s head. If they stick, you have a Cylon.

• Prick the suspected Cylon. Presumably robots don’t bleed. If the suspected Cylon does bleed, put the liquid under a microscope and look for blood cells.

• Check to see if the suspected Cylon sweats.

• Swab the inside of the cheek and put the swab under a microscope. Cylons are presumably not made of cells.

None of these is completely foolproof, but making robots indistinguishable from humans would presumably become increasingly difficult the more characteristics they have to match humans on. In order to be indistinguishable from humans in every way, they would ultimately have to be humans, which does not make them robots in anything more than a trivial sense. The idea of robots passing as humans is interesting, but unless extreme measures are taken in the design and manufacture, they should be relatively easy to detect. That the humans around Baltar do not realize this (not to mention Baltar or the writers) makes me seriously question how much a future humanity has up there in the heavens.

4) My dream episode: Starbuck trips and spills her beer on a Cylon impostor, causing it to short. Baltar makes lame excuses for his failure to think of this and is thrown to the dagget. Lucifer (the annoying toadying robot) shows up and saves Baltar just so he can have something to laugh at.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Almost forgot about this

TrekToday - UPN Cancels 'Star Trek: Enterprise'

Yes, the rumors turned out to be true, and it will not be missed by many of us. (Just say “no” to illogical Vulcan-bashing!) God willing, the next time they make a Trek series (or movie; Nemesis wasn’t particularly good) they’ll think it through ahead of time.

Trek project idea: I’m hoping to see something along the lines of a Borg civil war and perhaps some of the Borg (other than Hugh and company) trying to enter the Federation.

Alternative Trek project idea: It is known that the Klingons exterminated the tribbles. Why not base a movie on that?


Weird thing of the day 3 February 2005/24 Shevat 5765


Alleged president George W. Bush gave his State of the Union speech last night. For those of you who missed it, it consisted of him saying what boiled down to “We are going to turn the USA and Earth in general into Utopia, never mind that I have no idea how to do that and have been actively working against that for the past four years. Now start investing your retirement money in the stock market so you can make my good buddies on Wall Street even richer than they are now. Blah blah blah.” The Democratic rebuttal usurped Bush’s religious and moral overtones (to which he never had a legitimate claim anyway) and rightly slammed Bush for working against the interests of senior citizens and our troops.

Other weird and scary political headlines:
Astronomers Surprised by White House Plan to Scuttle Hubble - Freedom of what? - Jan 31, 2005
Yahoo! News - Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq

Today’s weird thing is “Small Asteroid Passes Between Satellites and Earth”, which shows how little most of us know of what is going on up there.



Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Weird thing of the day 2 February 2005/23 Shevat 5765 (Groundhog Day/Frozen Food Day/No Soda Day)


1) On January 9 (National Static Electricity Day), I reported on a boy, David Dingman-Grover, who was being treated for a very inconveniently placed tumor. Today he is scheduled to have a biopsy to make sure the tumor is dead. (It has been treated with radiation and chemotherapy and has dramatically shrunken, thank God.) Prayers for a full recovery would be appropriate. You can find his Web-site at

2) The groundhogs are predicting six more weeks of winter. I wouldn’t mind, but winter isn’t much fun without snow, which we get very little of here in Charleston. Meanwhile, a town in North Carolina has decided to use a pig on “Groundhawg’s Day” to predict the weather. Go figure.

3) If you've checked Lesser Known Holidays, which is where I get a lot of my weird holiday information, you won’t find No Soda Day. That’s because No Soda Day is a holiday only here at the Medical University of South Carolina, where they sent us some E-mail on it:


Sodas and other sweetened beverages are associated with:

*Higher Caloric Intake, *Greater Weight Gain, **Displacement of milk from
Children’s Diets, and **Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women
CELEBRATE NO SODA DAY! Wednesday, February 2nd

Stop by the Horseshoe and get a free non-soda beverage between noon and 1pm.

Affirm that you take a stand against a cause of obesity by being a role model –
You will not imbibe liquid candy for a day!

Goals of No Soda Day:
• Make people aware of the health problems associated with soda consumption
• Encourage health professions students to think about their own habits and setting
an example for their patients

Sponsored by PHIG (Public Health Interest Group) and AMSA (American Medical Student

*J Pediatr. 2003 Jun;142(6): 604-10. **JAMA. 2004 Aug 25; 292(8): 927-34.

Considering how bad soda really is, decreasing soda consumption is something worth thinking about.


Tuesday, February 1, 2005

My poor Uncle Grover’s demise last year


I just got contacted by someone I didn’t know by instant messaging (Yahoo! Messenger’s protocol, specifically), and I quickly decided to have some fun with him/her...

12:24:24 2005-02-01



12:24:43 2005-02-01
Hiergargo (Aaron Adelman)

Do I know you?

12:25:09 2005-02-01

i am Barr. Felix Odogwu

12:25:27 2005-02-01
Hiergargo (Aaron Adelman)

You don't sound familiar.

Do you know who I am?

12:26:07 2005-02-01

i know your late unclwe

he live in Nigeria

before his death

12:26:25 2005-02-01
Hiergargo (Aaron Adelman)

You do?

12:26:38 2005-02-01

i am the personal attorney to your late uncle

12:26:41 2005-02-01
Hiergargo (Aaron Adelman)

You knew Grover?

12:26:52 2005-02-01


he died 2004

i am looking for his next of kin

12:27:20 2005-02-01
Hiergargo (Aaron Adelman)

I never had an Uncle Grover.  Go read while I take a walk around the department.  Good day.

I’ve heard of this sort of scam before, where the scammer tries to get bank account numbers so he/she can steal money, but this is the first time I’m aware of it being attempted via IM.


Weird thing of the day 1 February 2005/22 Shevat 5765 (Robinson Crusoe Day)


Yes it’s that day you get to pretend you’re stranded on a desert island. To get into the mood, you can read Robinson Crusoe and The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Or watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island if you have any idea when (and if) that’s on.

Today’s weird thing was going to be Terranova: Planet of the Day, which focuses on imaginary planets. However, Barry pointed out to me an article by Bill Moyers titled “There is no tomorrow”. This is about how common the Christian belief in the imminent Second Coming of Jesus is in the United States (apparently very) and how this affects American politics. Moyers’ thesis is essentially that the current administration is able to perpetuate many of its outrages because to believers these abuses of governmental power do not matter. After all, if the World (at least as we know it) will not be around much longer, there is little point in trying to make it a better place. Some of the abuses, in fact, such as making war stupidly in the Middle East, may even be perceived as hastening the Second Coming, which also meets with believers’ approval.

If I may build on what Moyers wrote, I as a religious man also find this mixture of theology and politics disturbing. As an educated Orthodox Jew, I could easily attack Christian theology. However, even within the confines of Christian theology, regardless of whether its basic assumptions are correct or not, the logic of those who believe the Rapture will be soon and act upon it is not valid.

For one thing, the eschatology is not correct. Throughout history many have attempted to calculate end-times, yet so far all have failed. There is no a priori reason to assume current predictions of the World’s imminent demise are any more correct. This is not in and of itself a reason for a believer to suspect that the Second Coming might occur soon; many unusual events have occurred in recent year. However, considering that there is a sizable chance of being wrong, relying on the Rapture occurring soon is downright foolish.

Even worse, they have botched morality according to Jesus. While Jesus fully approved in helping others do evil to oneself (“turning the other cheek”), he did not approve of helping do evil to other people, and certainly not doing evil oneself. (Go ahead and check the Gospels. I dare anyone who disagrees.) Since Jesus is supposed to be the standard for Christian morality, the Bush administration’s efforts to benefit the greedy rich at the expense of everyone else (not to mention trying to undermine our future) are downright un-Christian. Did not Jesus himself say that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Have I not been pointing out the Bush administration’s immoral (and hence un-Christian) actions to benefit those himself and others who are highly unlikely to enter the Kingdom of Heaven on this mailing list and blog? Such behavior should not be welcomed by any believing Christian, period, and ought to be actively fought. QED.

Be scared.

Aaron, believing Orthodox Jew, hoping to see the coming of the Messiah (not Jesus) in his lifetime, though not relying on it, and hoping that the Birth-Pangs of the Messiah can be circumvented

NOTE: I have said in the past that you should feel free to forward the Weird thing of the day to others. With something like this, I seriously recommend it to better help fight the Bush administration.