Brit researchers give new meaning to “drinks like a fish.”

Independent Online Edition > Health Medical:
Last month, Italian scientists found that feeding fish a certain polyphenol in red wine, resveratrol, extended their lives by up to 60 per cent.

A day of living dangerously.

I survived not one but two trips to the supermarket parking lot today which is enough peril to give anyone pause. I may spend the rest of the day sitting right here, not wanting to push my luck. I could listen to “Treason's Harbor,” which has been in waiting for quite a while. I try to space out the O'Brian books because 1) if I didn't I'd be listening to nothing but for the next year or so and 2) I don't want to get to the end of the series any sooner than I have to. But the wait between the last one and this has been longer than usual and I'm way past ready to get back to sea.

“Cloud Atlas” was a long one, a good story - actually six good stories - with a good point to make, although if I were writing a review I'd have to wonder if the point might not have been made a whole lot more simply. So I won't. Write a review, I mean. It's a good book but you'll need to set some time aside for it if you want to give it a go.

And as long as I'm into entertainment here I ought to mention a movie called “Dummy.” If you're up for a romantic comedy with a deadpan sense of humor, full of wonderfully refreshing characters, put “Dummy” on your list. It's available on DVD.

Bring back the stinky cheese.

Boing Boing: Guy gets credit card using torn up application:
I wasn't sure if just tearing a Credit Card application into tiny bits was good enough to prevent dumpster-diving theft, so I did a test.
It'd solve this guy's problem - “distinct aroma” is, well, correct but not quite descriptive enough. I picked up a taste for Liederkranz from my grandfather who called it “stinky cheese” and loved the stuff - and that was even before he lived in Van Wert himself. It's an “extinct cheese” now, no longer made.

But toss a little of that stuff in with your torn-up documents and you wouldn't need a shredder, I'm thinking.


Just pointing out.

If you've ever dreamed of having a military toolbar for your web browser (“send your browser to boot camp”?) here's the place for you.

If you haven't, forget the whole thing.

Vermont is sort of like Wisconsin, only vertical.

It's cold and has lots of cows. And some people who are prone to getting downright stubborn now and then. As the Burlington Free Press notes.
MONTPELIER -- Vermont Law School is unlikely to begin admitting military recruiters to its South Royalton campus even though the U.S. Supreme Court says it's legal for the federal government to withhold money as a result.
Here's lookin' at ya, Vermont. Way to go.

Looks like a book worth waiting for.

An Army of Wankers: How Blogging and Technology Empower Social Maladroits to Feign Expertise, Over-Simplify Complex Arguments, and Land Face Time on Reliable Sources.
Heh. Let's put it on the list.


Followup: More Americans have a favorable impression of Islam than of Trickshot Dick

Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing:
The poll found that nearly half of Americans -- 46 percent -- have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when Muslims were often targeted for violence.


That'd be perfect, wouldn't it? If they moved Ohio to Hawaii they could call it Lohilo. It'd look like a Bell curve then.

Look, it's not my fault. That's the kind of thing I think about in the shower these days. Anything warm. My furnace more or less gives up on making hot water this time of year. I'm hoping Summer comes along pretty soon.

In the meantime, at least I won't fade.


Yeah I'd call this a “high level leak” all right.

God: I've Lost Faith in Blair:
The archangel reported that the Almighty has become increasingly irritated with the vogue for politicians to claim that He is behind their policies - especially if these involve killing large numbers of humans. According to Gabriel, God spake these words: “That George W. Bush once had the nerve to say: 'God told me to go end the tyranny in Iraq, and I did.' Well, let me tell you I did no such thing! If I'd wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I could have given him pneumonia. I didn't need the president of the United States to send in hundreds of heavy bombers and thousands of missiles to destroy Iraq - even though I appreciate that Halliburton needed to fill its order books.”

The convertible day.

You know how there's one magic day near the end of winter when you see that very first brave soul driving around with the top down? Well today's the day. Here. I didn't see the car myself but it's out there somewhere. I know it is.

Funny thing is my temp widget says it's only 40° but it sure feels good. I'd put my own top down if I had one. You can bet.

Students stamp out stink, and other postmarketing news.

On Cape, air of worry over student fragrances - The Boston Globe:
Students in some of the more strenuous courses at Upper Cape Tech, such as carpentry, rely on body sprays to refresh themselves after class, when there's no chance for a shower, said Mark Dillon, the senior class president and a carpentry student.
Also it makes the girls hot.

Meanwhile in other postmarketing news...

Some Sleeping Pill Users Range Far Beyond Bed - New York Times:
Ambien, the nation's best-selling prescription sleeping pill, is showing up with regularity as a factor in traffic arrests, sometimes involving drivers who later say they were sleep-driving and have no memory of taking the wheel after taking the drug
Sleep driving. Some states find it to be among the top 10 drugs found in impaired drivers. (Pop quiz: What are the other 9?)

But a [Sanofi-Adventis, the maker of Ambien] spokeswoman, Melissa Feltmann, wrote in an e-mail message, “We are aware of reports of people driving while sleepwalking, and those reports have been provided to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of our ongoing postmarketing evaluation about the safety of our products.”
Must be some stuff, this Ambien. I'd never heard of it, but a guy named Sean Joyce says it made him “like the Incredible Hulk all of a sudden” on a flight to London last year. Seems like a strange postmarketing event for a sleeping pill, but then maybe the Incredible Hulk sleeps really good.


Guess who's less popular than Trickshot Dick.

OK that's a tough one, so here's a clue.
Michael Jackson, who was alleged of sexually harassing an underage boy, and American football player O.J. Simpson, who caused a huge clamor for being suspected of murdering his wife in 1994, each maintained 25 percent and 29 percent favorable impression rates, respectively.
Not them.

No, Cheney's rating came in at 18 percent. And the only person (well, other than thee and me) less popular (as noted here on the weirdly encoded donga.com) is...

wait for it...

Paris Hilton.

But that might change when Trickshot's car wash video comes out.

Life imitates spam.

Seeking a Willing Heir, an Aristocrat Turns to America - New York Times:
He feels it is too late to produce a suitable heir of his own, even though he has some frozen sperm on deposit in a sperm bank (“they said I had nine months' supply, whatever that means”). If he were to have a child right this minute, it would be a good 25 years before the child would be ready to take on the estate — “and then it would be too late,” he explained.
So that Nigerian thing fell through? Is that your problem, Bunky? Well cheer up. There's this guy in Somerset, see, and has he got a deal for you! A $13 million estate (says here), complete with a 13th century manor house, included.
The beautiful Victorian wallpaper in one bedroom at Maunsel House is torn and stained. The stair carpet is frayed. “This window unfortunately fell out onto the lawn,” Sir Benjamin said, gesturing into a bathroom....
Oh. Well. And (nothing's perfect in this world, Bunky) annual upkeep is $140,000, the driveway needs a $70,000 fix, and getting the stables up to snuff will set you back another $1 mil. And you'll get maybe 50,000 visitors a year. If you're lucky.
Annoyingly, not one of Sir Benjamin's vast array of British relatives seems eager to inherit.
Go figure, huh?

Well if you're interested drop Sir Benjamin a note. Include a sample of your DNA.

Or you could give the Nigerian thing one more try.


Depends on just how civilized you want to be.

I saw an ad in the New Yorker this morning for transatlantic crossings on Cunard's new liner Queen Mary 2. “A most civilized adventure,” said the headline, so I went off to find out just how civilized that might be. Pretty civilized, I'd say, judging from this picture of the QM2 entering Le Havre. More civilized than, say, coach class at least.

Crossing to Europe (or anywhere else I suppose) by ship really is quite a trip. I went over on the United States in the late 50s. She's a rusty old hulk now (but here are some people working to restore her) but at the time she held the speed record for a transatlantic crossing so she was no slouch either. The trip took, as I recall, four and a half days to Southampton and another day to Le Havre. The return took one day longer on the America, another ship of the United States Line.

Traveling college-student class as I was put me in a cabin with three other guys (two of whom I was traveling with; the third a guy named Lorenzo from Udine) somewhere below the waterline in the bow. But even the cheap bunks came with amenities - excellent food, a new movie every night, a lounge with a dance band and, of course, a patch of deck (although January in the North Atlantic does not encourage much time there). On the way home I met a girl named Candy (no kidding) from the State of Misery (she said) who sweet-talked the crew into letting us spend an evening in the First Class ballroom, quite a sight. Candy was quite a sight herself, come to think of it. But that's another story. Never mind.

So yeah, the QM2 looks a little bit too civilized for me (and way too expensive unless they have a geezer rate) but it is indeed a civilized way to travel and if you ever get a chance, you should.

No it didn't, Arthur, or at least it shouldn't have.

The victory for “Crash” suggested Oscar voters were more comfortable with a tale that exploited the seamy underbelly of racial conflict in contemporary Los Angeles than with a heartbreaking tale of love between two married men.
Says Arthur Spiegelman on Reuters this morning. Phooey, say I. The Academy Awards are awards for film making, not for social commentary making. I haven't seen “Brokeback” and it may be an excellent piece of work but I did see “Crash” and it is. If the Academy voters say it was the best film I'm perfectly willing to accept their verdict on that grounds.
I've done some film judging in my time and I know it's not easy to separate a film's technical virtuosity from it's emotional appeal. One leads to the other. Nor have the Academy voters in recent years, it seems to me, done a very good job at that. But let's not encourage that sort of behavior. It's an award for making a movie, not taking a stand.
So phooey, Arthur. And Kenneth, you too.
Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan saw “Brokeback's” failure as a sign that Hollywood was not yet ready to grant the topic of homosexual love mainstream respectability.
Humbug, say I.

(And I don't know what happened to the font here, probably something that got cut and pasted, go figure. I'm too lazy to fix it so there it stands.

Buttoned down for a morning on the dark side.

Sticky menus, “save as,” paragraph formatting, lists, special characters, cut copy paste, multiple documents, headers and footers, and like that. All word processors are pretty much the same. If they weren't they'd be called something else. Everybody uses Word because everybody uses Word, go figure. I have a copy of it right here, not that I ever use the thing. There are better ways. When did “easy” get such a bad name? Word has become so “helpful” it's become a complete PIA, IMO.

At least I'm lookin' good and that was a struggle, I'm telling you. Dug a shirt out of the laundry bag and it was so rumpled the collars stuck out like wings. I finally had to button them down. Now I'm Mr. Cool.

Also I may be turning into a geek. Thought that little list up there is so good I really ought to take it to class with me just so I don't forget. But it seemed a waste to use up a whole sheet of paper printing so I copied it into a text file and saved it on my iPod, which just happens to be plugged in. Now all I have to do it remember to take my iPod.

Or wait! I could have emailed it to my cell phone! How cool would that be? Cooler than buttoned down collars?

It's way too early for this.

Then it'll say, “Why can't I have one? The Smith's robot does.”

My robot - The Boston Globe:
''The robot could come to you at certain specified times and read your e-mail to you,“ Krumtum said.
The Globe has a piece this morning about people hacking their vacuum cleaners.
''Our kids think it's hysterical,” said Acton human resources consultant Laura Jacobs, who purchased a RoomBud outfit modeled after a panther. ''I put dog cookies on it and have my dog chase it around the house,“ Jacobs said. ''He gets cookies and my house gets clean.
Remind me to get a dog. Maybe that's what I'm missing here.


The Luck Dog returns.

You thought the only food in New Orleans was stuff like Shrimp Remoulade, Crawfish Boudin, jambalaya and Chicken Bayou LaFourche? Oh no no! The one and only vendor allowed to sell food from carts in the French Quarter is Lucky Dog - and now Lucky Dogs are back.

(And thanks to Improbable Research for noticing.)

That damn field just causes no end of trouble, doesn't it?

Termites knocked down, but not out, in New Orleans - Yahoo! News:
“That information came from laboratories, not from the field,” Bordes said.
Scientists expected the flooding in New Orleans after Katrina would have one benefit, at least - drowning the termites. Now it appears the termites had another idea.

Lotta physics in this. Woohoo!

Watch a guy throw a pot of boiling water into the -40c Saskatchewan air. Wheee! That looks like fun.

(Thanks to Boing Boing.)

And here's another thing most people don't know: If you eat chocolate cake you get to have ice cream too.

Virgin Islands Are at Center of Dispute on Tax Break - New York Times:
The economic development program allows an effective federal income tax rate of just 3.5 percent for bona fide residents of the Virgin Islands. It has drawn wealthy Americans from the mainland and kindled an economic boom.
Really. Living in the Virgin Islands should be its own reward, shouldn't it? You get a tax break too?

I want mine with a banana and chocolate sauce.

It's not easy being a trendsetter any more.

It used to take a decade or so, then that shrank to a matter of months and now it happens overnight. Say something one day and the next day everybody wants to climb on board. I blame the Internet.

But whatever. I mention the coffee urn theory one day and the next day Gary Trudeau climbs on board. Check out his Sunday strip.

“White House Situational Science Advisor” Dr. Nathan Null says...
Situational science is about respecting both sides of a scientific argument, not just the one supported by the facts!
Oh well. I didn't actually invent the coffee urn theory anyway, I just mentioned it. And now everybody will be talking about it, wait and see.

Oh the power, the power.