Need some help avoiding work this weekend?

Want Some Ketchup With Those Noodles? The Best in Absurd Stock Photography | Raw File | Wired.com


Jack Daniels takes on tiny distillery over label dispute | The Sideshow - Yahoo News

The lawsuit claims that there are several similarities in the way the two brands are labeled, including angled shoulders on the bottles and the black on white color schemes employed by Jack Daniels, which the lawsuit describes as, "one of the oldest, longest-selling and most iconic consumer products" in U.S. history.

Maybe they should just merge. I kinda like "Popcorn Jack's".

Frosty morning

Frosty morning by Ted Compton
Frosty morning, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Getting away with it still

Reparations From Banks - NYTimes.com

If the government accepts no admission, or an admission that is broad and nonspecific, it would be shielding JPMorgan — on the theory, presumably, that private lawsuits would imperil the bank and endanger the economy. But if the settlement, in effect, precludes private litigation, then $13 billion is not enough. The government has to require either a bigger settlement, which seems unlikely, or a clear and comprehensive admission of wrongdoing.


But they're pretty much all lefty monsters so no reason to be too scared

Monsters of New England - Lifestyle - The Boston Globe

In the more rural parts of New England, residents have reported sightings of unexplained beasts that inhabit the night, dawn, dusk, and sometimes, most frighteningly of all, the daylight. Here’s a guide to some of the more famous creatures of the region we have catalogued at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.…

It's the "other things" you have to keep your eye on

'Spy Rocks' Could Be the Military's New Secret Weapon | Danger Room | Wired.com

This week at the annual AUSA Army meeting in Washington, D.C., Lockheed Martin showcased developments in their surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network), a “covert, perpetually self-powered wireless sensor network” that can provide “unobtrusive, continuous surveillance” in units so small they can fit in a rock.…

The defense contractor is hoping to sell its spy rocks for surveillance, border protection, pipeline monitoring and bridge security, among other things.

And you thought it might all go away. Or maybe not — not would be the correct choice. 

Go John

Go John by Ted Compton
Go John, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

No, it's not real (although it might be)

'Teenagers Are Sexting Less' Complains NSA

“We’ve known for some time that terrorists and foreign governments can embed secret messages in pornographic images,” Alexander explained to legislators. “Therefore we need complete access to all pornographic material on SMS. That way, our analysts can thoroughly examine them for hidden training manuals, attack plans, or general communications. The more there is, the easier it is for us to develop a baseline of totally harmless naked pictures and uncover enemy activity.”

The Duffleblog (link above) is sort of a military equivalent to the Onion, therefore an excellent work-avoidance tool.

Equal rights for big, big grass

Tea party-aligned FreedomWorks fueled by elite donors | Center for Public Integrity

The self-described “grassroots service center,” which is based in Washington, D.C., reported raising $15 million last year…

The group’s top donor — who contributed nearly $4.9 million — alone accounted for about one-third of FreedomWorks’ overall receipts.

But we quit caring about this guy's opinions sometime in the last century

What happens when you have too many pages to fill

Hexing & Texting - Newsweek

“Every reading is kind of like a snowflake,” 28-year-old Bay Area tarot reader Alese Osborn tells me before reading my cards over the phone. It’s Wednesday, Osborn’s day off from her hectic metaphysical schedule…

(Yeah, we stopped reading there too.)

Well, yes…but wait!

Does Bacon Really Make Everything Better? Here's The Math : The Salt : NPR

Recipes with feta and cream cheese, cranberries, strawberries, avocado and "whipped topping" all appeared with equal or greater frequency in highly rated recipes…

Are we looking at some sort of cranberry-bacon stew? Are we nuts?

And of course this too

How Healthcare.gov Could Be Hacked | Mother Jones

With Healthcare.gov plagued by technical difficulties, the Obama administration is bringing in heavyweight coders and private companies like Verizon to fix the federal health exchange, pronto. But web security experts say the Obamacare tech team should add another pressing cyber issue to its to-do list: eliminating a security flaw that could make sensitive user information, including Social Security numbers, vulnerable to hackers.

Not to mention Verizon has one of the most un-navigable web sites on the planet (followed closely by most of the other telcos, so maybe this is just some kind of genetic thing).

Surveillance crews are standing by

Organizers hope for big crowd at surveillance protest - Network World

IDG News Service - About 4,500 people have indicated they plan to attend a rally Saturday in Washington, D.C., to protest surveillance programs run by the U.S. National Security Agency.

No this is not from the Onion, it's…

News from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After uniting against Republican efforts earlier this month to delay President Barack Obama's health care law, a growing number Democrats in Congress now want to extend the enrollment deadline, and one senator wants to delay the penalty for not complying.

Updating the Wörterbuch

The Handyüberwachung Disaster - NYTimes.com

BERLIN — Germany, of course, has already concocted a compound word for it: Handyüberwachung. That would be spying on cellphone calls.


Ooops Boston

Mike Royko, the great newspaper columnist from Chicago, used to predict the World Series with very, very nearly perfect accuracy by just counting the number of ex-Cubs on each team and calling the team with fewest the winner. I'm too lazy to do it myself but if you can't wait to find out how the current series will end, have at it. You will probably be right.

We are shocked

Belgian Racing Pigeons Using Cocaine and Painkillers to Improve Skills | TIME.com

A South African lab found problems with samples from 20 birds that the Belgian pigeon racing federation sent its way. Is there no honor?

But I like the minty ones

Right-wing pastor: Girl Scouts are wicked and their cookies promote lesbianism - Salon.com

Also "abortion, Communism and general wickedness." Seriously. Dude.

Learned his lesson, eh?

The UC Davis Pepper-Spraying Cop Gets a $38,000 Settlement - Abby Ohlheiser - The Atlantic Wire

Former UC Davis officer John Pike, famous for casually pepper spraying a group of students in the face during a 2011 protest, was awarded a $38,000 settlement for psychiatric injuries for the way he was treated afterwards.

Me, I'm waiting for this call to turn up on YouTube

Merkel Calls Obama Over Suspicions US Tapped Her Mobile Phone - SPIEGEL ONLINE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss suspicions that she may have been targeted by US intelligence agencies for years, SPIEGEL has learned.

There's some stuff we don't mention here just because it's so freaking ridiculous nobody would believe it anyway

NATO may play role in Syrian disarmament, says Hagel - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

NATO members may provide troops to help international weapons inspectors in Syria, but American forces will not be part of that effort, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. 

Imagine our relief

Carney: US drone strikes ‘precise,’ ‘lawful’ - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

Carney said the White House strongly disagrees with the assessments from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that U.S. drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan violated international law.…

“The administration has repeatedly emphasized the extraordinary care that we take to make sure counterterrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable law,” he said.

Anyway their web site works so what are they bitching about?

Or this? Really?

Rams' wooing of Brett Favre demontrates the NFL's growing quarterback problem - Yahoo Sports

The St. Louis Rams, desperate for a quarterback like seemingly half the NFL is these days, called Brett Favre this week, according to ESPN. The franchise wanted to see if Favre would unretire for the umpteenth time and give it one last final shot, after all the other one last final shots.

Seriously. They called Brett Favre.

Maybe it's some new kind of brats

What Is Going On In Wisconsin -- And Why Is It So Secret?

It's a topic so hot in Wisconsin, no one involved with it can talk about it.

Or wait…I know…cheese!

OK, it's a rom com so kissing, of course, but even so…

…Joss Whedon's take on Much Ado About Nothing is definitely worth a watch. Well played.

Fortunately for us, entertainmentwise…

What You Need to Know From the Opening Statements at Today's Health Care Hearing - NationalJournal.com

The HealthCare.gov Congressional circus has begun. On Thursday morning, executives from two of the contractors that were responsible for building HealthCare.gov testified in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But don't count on contrition: thus far, neither executive has leapt to take blame for the site's failures. Instead, blame is being shifted to other contractors or, most commonly, to one party that's not represented on the panel: the Obama administration.

…the government is pretty much tech-illiterate. So, good times are in store.

At least there were none of those pesky government regulations

Oil Spill in North Dakota Raises Detection Concerns - NYTimes.com

As it turned out, a Tesoro Logistics pipeline had ruptured, spreading more than 865,000 gallons of oil across seven acres of Mr. Jensen’s farm. The spill is one of the largest inland oil pipeline accidents in the United States.…

“This section of the pipeline was not required to have leak monitoring or pressure sensors,” said Kris Roberts, an environmental geologist with the North Dakota Department of Health, who is leading the state’s response to the spill. “And it didn’t.”

[Emphasis supplied]


It's a miracle we haven't nuked ourselves

Missile doors left open while Air Force nuclear officer slept – CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

In another public embarrassment for the Air Force's nuclear missile program, two crew members were disciplined earlier this year for leaving silo blast doors open while they were on duty in an underground facility housing nuclear missiles.

Pepperoni by the numbers

Mathematician works out formula for perfect pizza | Crave - CNET

The paper's abstract is short and sweet: "We investigate the mathematical relationship between the size of a pizza and its ratio of topping to base in a median bite. We show that for a given recipe, it is not only the overall thickness of the pizza that is is affected by its size, but also this topping-to-base ratio."

A new computer for breakfast

OK not computer, exactly, but Apple's latest iteration of OS X (Mavericks) downloaded and installed overnight. It's pretty sweet. Usually it takes me about a day to click on all the new buttons, see what they do. Lots of new buttons this time, might take a little longer. So a couple of hours tomorrow, maybe. 


Trouble in the nursery — again!

D.C. Scandal: Did Someone Say Something Mean to the President? - Philip Bump - The Atlantic Wire

Here is the cool debate that's happening in Washington right now. At the height of tensions over the government shutdown, did a Republican say something super mean to President Obama? We don't know! But probably not? But maybe!

Don't hold back, Mr. Mitchell, let 'em have it

James Bond, Jeeves and Philip Marlowe Return in New Books - NYTimes.com

“Our civilization echoes to the sound of the bottom of barrels being industriously scraped,” David Mitchell wrote in The Observer of London. “No franchise must be left unexploited, no film unremade, no TV series unreimagined in our commercial desperation to avoid the undignified recourse of trying to think of a new idea.” (For good measure, he said that hiring a “proper novelist” instead of a “hack” to write a sequel was “a bit like paying an actual film star to have sex with you rather than a prostitute.”)

But we're not saying which bookcase so it's still a secret, right?

Report: Romney home’s secret room - Jose DelReal - POLITICO.com

Romney’s newest house, which is currently under construction in Holladay, Utah, features a secret passage leading to a hidden room. The sliding door is, of course, disguised as a bookcase.


Glub glub

Cornwall shipwreck, 1901 - Gibson family photos capture 130 years of Cornish shipwrecks - NY Daily News

These voyages would end in tragedy but regardless of the treacherous conditions, the Gibson family was ready behind the camera lens to document the slow demise of ships along the rocky coastline of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for more than 130 years.

The internet will set you free

BBC News - Facebook lets beheading clips return to social network

Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again.

Or whatever.

I will if you will, Bunky

Poll: Nearly half say replace everyone in Congress

In a nationwide USA TODAY/Princeton Survey Research Poll, just 4% of those surveyed — equal to the margin of error — say Congress would be changed for the worse if nearly every member was replaced next year. Nearly half say it would work better.

Does this mean drones?

HHS calls Verizon to help with ObamaCare website - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

Obama said the administration was undertaking a "tech surge" to fix the problems that have plagued the site since its launch at the beginning of the month.

Meanwhile, the good news:

Verizon…is not writing code or dealing with other Web problems, the person said.


You may worry all you like about the NSA but…

Can we trust the data brokers who store our most intimate private details? | Ars Technica

An identity theft service that prosecutors say illegally sold social security numbers, birth dates, driver license numbers, and other sensitive data for more than 500,000 people purchased much of the information from credit service Experian, according to a report published Sunday night.

…like our friends the R's say, the private sector is more efficient. (Like, for example, the private-sector company that built healthcare.gov. Or, for that matter, the private-sector companies that do almost all the government's IT. But hey.)

We are relieved

Corrections - October 20 2013 - NYTimes.com

An article on Oct. 6 about the status of women in the fields of science and mathematics misstated a statistic regarding girls who are taking high-school physics. It was the percentage of girls among all high-school physics students of both sexes that rose to 47 percent in 1997 from 39 percent in 1987 — not the percentage of girls taking high-school physics among all high-school girls.

Wait. What?

Creepy is the new friendly skies

Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly - NYTimes.com

It is unclear precisely what information the agency is relying upon to make these risk assessments, given the extensive range of records it can access, including tax identification number, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, and law enforcement or intelligence information.


…we seem to have reached some sort of limit for items in our sidebar. We will figure out a workaround anon. Until we do, here is an excellent new work avoidance tool: The New Yorker cover browser.


Because these Democrats are fools

Republicans seem no closer to unity for 2014, beyond but confident about elections | Fox News

Democrats are gloating that Republicans’ obsession with dismantling ObamaCare and other unreasonable negotiating tactics during recent financial talks to reopen the government have further divided their party, and that they will pay in upcoming elections.

(Or because Fox News.)

Whoa, wait a minute…

Maine man wearing Joker makeup and returning from Halloween party charged with driving drunk - The Washington Post

Halloween is still 10 days away. How do they know this guy is not the real Joker?


Democrats Opening The Door On Cuts To Social Security | FDL News Desk

You would think after winning the shutdown and debt ceiling battle Democrats would press their advantage, instead they seem to be volunteering cuts to Social Security as a solution to a future budget deal. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin went on Fox News to promote a deal that would cut Social Security in exchange for tax increases.

We need to trade these guys in on a new batch and do it soon.

But it seemed like a good idea at the time

Afghan special forces commander switches sides - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

A U.S.-trained Afghan special forces commander has defected to an insurgent group — and brought a truckload of weapons and equipment with him.…

“He sent some of his comrades on leave and paid others to go out sightseeing, and then escaped with up to 30 guns, night-vision goggles, binoculars and a Humvee," Shuja ul-Mulkh Jalala, the governor of Kunar, told Reuters.

Nuked by the Air Force, it's still up there

Tech Time Warp of the Week: Telstar, 1962 | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

The day before Telstar’s launch, the U.S. Air Force had performed some high-altitude nuclear tests, and the fallout fried the space bird’s brain. The satellite stopped working just months after its launch.

Fear the bear

Why is it not pronounced "feer the beer"? Or "fare the bare"?

I have no idea.

"The bare-faced callousness of the American hospital system is obvious…"

Hospital Stay Convinced British Writer that US Needs Obamacare | New Republic

I begin to wonder how the Republicans have managed to convince even those in the very midst of a system that punishes the poor, that the slightest implementation of state-funded healthcare is an evil, communist conspiracy.

Or, come to think of it, no less cruel than making a person read this freaking sentence

Stop Calling All Criticism “Shaming”

Making a dog wear a sign that says “I break into the pantry and hide potatoes all around the house” is surely no less cruel than making a dog wear a Halloween costume.

Stuff I didn't know

The Middle Class Gets Wise - NYTimes.com

[In the U.S.] almost 60 percent of adults over the age of 25 still do not have any degree beyond a high school diploma.

…46 percent of students [now] enrolled in a four-year college will not have a degree after six years.


Means lots of beach

Undernews: Great Lakes at record lows

Crains Detroit - In September, Lake Michigan's average water level was 577.56 feet, or 18 inches below its long-term average for the month, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Because Kardashians

Glenn Greenwald and the $250 Million "Angel Investor"

The project is likely to focus on privacy, surveillance and what Scahill dubbed America's "Dirty Wars" executed in secrecy by the Tampa, Florida-based Special Operations Command. But Omidyar has stressed that he wants the new organization to cover entertainment and sports news, as well.

By any other name

Case Against Contractors Resurfaces - NYTimes.com

The Justice Department on Thursday brought fresh charges against four former Blackwater Worldwide security contractors…Blackwater Worldwide is under new ownership and is headquartered in Virginia. It is now called Academi.