And here it is, ladies and gentlemen, your moment of Norse.

Today I encountered a line of beauty products with the curious name of Voluspa.

Question: Was the name chosen at random, simply because it contains the three letters “spa?” Or is there a plan for a whole advertising campaign: “Pamper yourself like Freyja on the eve of Ragnarök?”

Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 22:14  Comments (4)  
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Get out and vote!

America just doesn’t take its elections seriously enough. Our last two elections, we got about 55% of the voting-age population going to the polls, and that was unusually high.

Now take a look at Iran. Why, in some towns, their voter turnout was as high as 141%. Now that’s a country that takes its democracy seriously.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 14:56  Comments (6)  
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Observation about physics

Based on the current best measurements of the large-scale structure of the universe, 73% of the total mass-energy is cosmological constant, a.k.a. dark energy; of the remainder, 90% is dark matter of various sorts. The remainder is 90% intergalactic gas, and the rest luminous matter.

For short: 97% of the universe is poorly understood; 3% is hot air; and the rest is on fire.

Any resemblance to other projects is purely coincidental, I promise.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 18:50  Comments (7)  
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From the Telegraph…

(Slightly NSFW, but this is a reputable newspaper)

Apparently HM Treasury really is run by a wunch of bankers. Who, it must be said, can treat their situation with good humor:

“It is true that it caused a few titters among some staff when viewed on its side, but on consideration we concluded that the effect was generic to the particular combination of the letters OGC – and it is not inappropriate to an organisation that’s looking to have a firm grip on Government spend.”

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 15:58  Comments (10)  

Stupidity in Government: Not just in the US

A lovely article in The Register describing a recent debate in the House of Lords about the airline liquids ban. To quote:

“We continuously monitor the effectiveness of, in particular, the liquid security measures…”

How, one might ask? But hold on:

“The fact that there has not been a serious incident involving liquid explosives indicates, I would have thought, that the measures that we have put in place so far have been very effective.”

Ah, that’s how. On which basis the measures against asteroid strike, alien invasion and unexplained nationwide floods of deadly boiling custard have also been remarkably effective.

So they think! Once my Automated Ovinator is complete, all the roads in England will be transformed into Lemon Custard! And then I’ll show them all! Wahahahaha!

Published in: on October 31, 2007 at 15:39  Comments (8)  
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I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with this approach to engineering…

Airline sacrifices goats to appease sky god

Published in: on September 4, 2007 at 19:14  Comments (18)  
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OK, this is worth seeing…

Via gleemie, from “Jihad: The Musical!” — just closed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival —

“I Wanna Be Like Osama”

Published in: on September 3, 2007 at 11:15  Comments Off on OK, this is worth seeing…  
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Punctuation ambiguities

From Reuters, a story about a fundraiser. Starts off innocently enough:

A planned Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire aims to promote gun ownership in America by letting supporters fire powerful military-style weapons — from Uzi submachine guns to M-16 rifles.


Local Democrats say the event is in poor taste amid a spike in violent crime in Manchester and seeks to glorify the use of machine guns for political gain.

It took me a moment to parse that last sentence correctly.

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 13:32  Comments (8)  
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Notes on driving in Tel Aviv

(I know I should be writing about politics now, but that’s going to be an extremely involved post)

  1. Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road, with certain exceptions noted below.
  2. Lane markings, if present, are purely advisory. Cars should drive wherever there is not already another car.
  3. Turn signals and hazard lights don’t convey any information, so don’t use them. The horn works instead.
  4. Parking occurs wherever one manages to stop the car, typically as far right as the car can get. Depending on the circumstance, this means either on the sidewalk, in the parking lane, in the rightmost traffic lane, or in some other lane of traffic.
  5. Two-wheeled motorized vehicles (motorcycles, Vespas, etc) travel wherever they can get away with. This is one of the exceptions to the rule about right-hand driving.
  6. Getting ahead is very important. If two lanes are about to merge (or rather, if the road is narrowing so that merging is pretty much necessary) head right and accelerate; see if you can pass the person in front of you before it’s too narrow.
  7. Do not let anyone get in or pass you. The repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma with many players and no repeat interactions has only one stable equilibrium, and Tel Aviv is in it. If you let someone in, not only will several people force their way in, but other people will pass you from the left and the right simultaneously to get into the gap.
Published in: on June 19, 2007 at 13:09  Comments (32)  
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An odd quote…

Media companies are getting antsy about Web companies, as you’ve probably heard. At a recent conference, various representatives of the media talked about this. The quote that caught my eye was:

“The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation,” Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons said, referring to the Civil War American general George Custer who was defeated by Native Americans in a battle dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand”.

“They will lose this war if they go to war,” Parsons added, “The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion.”

I wonder if Parsons is aware of how that war ultimately turned out for the Sioux?

Published in: on May 8, 2007 at 19:22  Comments Off on An odd quote…  
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