Luckily, all that talk about how the government can never do anything right doesn't apply to nukes

Margin for error 1/8 of an inch in nuclear world - U.S. - Stripes

Investigators determined that a single replacement circuit card in a Minuteman 3 computer system's slot connector was one-eighth of an inch from being fully seated. That effectively jammed communications between the missiles and the five launch control centers to which they are connected by buried cables.

We don't have Whole Foods here

We just have partial foods. Aparently they have Whole Foods in Brooklyn.

Whole Foods, and Gentrification, Grows in Brooklyn : The New Yorker

…the store stocks over two hundred products from bakers and food makers from the borough, including a cage-free, Sriracha-spiced mayonnaise…

We don't even have cages for our mayonnaise. All our mayonnaise is cage-free; it just sits there on the shelf, totally unrestrained. (And I thought Sriracha was some kind of Volkswagon.)

What? New Jersey has an annual bear hunt?

350-Pound Bear Found Hiding in Crawlspace of New Jersey Home Days After Annual Hunt Ends | NBC 10 Philadelphia

A 350-pound bear apparently used a crawlspace as a hideout during New Jersey's annual black bear hunt.

Are there prizes? Other than the bear? (What are you going to do with a dead bear in your garage?)


Oh no, it's supposed to rain tomorrow

(And the next day too.)

Success comes in really, really tiny steps

The continued rise of single-subject sites » Nieman Journalism Lab

…we[*] have grown from a small reverse-chron blog to a full-blown news organization with employees and living wages and HR policies.

*Not we. Them. We, on the other hand, believe we are "reverse-chron," an exotic (but apparently cureable) disorder of the DNA.

Dear Ms Takken [The first k is silent.]

Regarding your new job title, over there in the right column, I'm just wondering—what is general click bait?

-Weirdly Attracted

Dear Weirdly,

Not what, who. The General's original surname was Bate, but he changed it to Bait in order to conceal his identity while on loan (briefly) to the CIA. When he later tried to change it back he found somebody else had claimed it (just like that!) and the closest match available was Bate9876. This looked pretty dorky on that little nameplate generals wear on their pockets, so he just kept Bait. In spite of it all, he requires our special care.

-Ms Takken [The first k is silent.]

Or maybe just trying to get more people to log in

Four charged after 1,250 bags of heroin are found in car on I-91 in Hatfield - Metro - The Boston Globe

The K-9, Frankie, located the bags of heroin, which were labeled “OBAMA CARE,” and the four were taken into custody, State Police said.

And hopefully it'll warm the place up some

Canada high court strikes down all restrictions on prostitution - Yahoo News

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Supreme Court of Canada struck down all current restrictions on prostitution on Friday, including bans on brothels and on street solicitation, declaring that the provisions unconstitutionally violated prostitutes' safety.

Yeah, good plan

Susan Tompor: You can't afford to ignore credit card breach at Target | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

But frankly, I find it far easier to put my faith in Santa and a little reindeer with a red nose.

We're leaving for the oh-shut-up space

Magazine Eats World: The Ever-Expanding Edible Empire - Modern Farmer

So, now, the tiny magazine from Ojai is found across the United States and Canada. All, according to Ryder, are “doing well because the hyperlocal print model is thriving in the food space.”

We are ex-relieved

Glad to have that cleared up

Corrections - December 20, 2013 - NYTimes.com

Anchorage — not Boise — is “the most remote city of its size in the country.”

New health insurance policy: Just wing it

News from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People whose existing health care insurance has been canceled because of the Affordable Care Act will not be hit with tax penalties for failing to line up new coverage as required under the law.…

Under another stopgap option Sebelius announced Thursday, those whose plans were canceled will be able to buy a bare-bones catastrophic plan regardless of their age. Such plans had been intended for those under 30.


But what is the sport of kings?

How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers - Gregg Easterbrook - The Atlantic

Football is the king of sports.

Now, the War on Lucifer

Florida denies ‘grossly offensive’ Satanists a spot at the State Capitol building | The Raw Story

A Satanic display will not be joining a Festivus pole made from beer cans, an office desk chair representing the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and a nativity scene at the Florida State Capitol building.…

The 5-foot-by-5-foot poster the Satanists hoped to display showed an angel falling into hell along with a message reading, “Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple.”

Holidays. See? If they'd only said, Merry Christmas…

When this is news we're in trouble, Bunky

How Long Will You Wait at the Emergency Room? - ProPublica

People who are having heart attacks or who have suffered life-threatening injuries are typically seen by doctors as soon as they arrive at the hospital.


Undernews: Media apology of the week

By unfortunate error we referred to ....the late Sebastian Horsley’s girlfriend, who arranged the exhibitions, as a prostitute.…

And I thought it was me

Buzz Hoot Roar

Chasmology! The study of yawning! It’s a real thing! There’s even an international conference!

Everybody yawns!

Is it too late to say Target targeted?

40m card numbers stolen from Target - Boing Boing

On December 13, security researcher Brian Krebs reported that Target was investigating a data breach "potentially involving millions of customer credit and debit card records." Target confirmed this morning that 40 million such records were stolen.

Time for the "some things never change" piece

The Long, Expensive History of Defense Rip-Offs | Mother Jones

General George Washington decries the suppliers overcharging his army: "It is enough to make one curse their own Species, for possessing so little virtue & patriotism."

Dear Prudy,

Just in the last week or so, when I'm out and about, I've been encountering this, well, old (OK, elderly, like me) woman, very short, wears a nice coat and a proper hat, walks with a stick, who makes some sort of (presumably) seasonal comment as we pass on the sidewalk, like, for example, the other day, something about snow and Christmas. Today she said, "Got your chimney all cleaned out for Santa?"

What should I tell the children?



The books on our reading list are books we recommend…

…but this one, The Spy, by James Fenimore Cooper, we recommend with certain reservations. It is not an easy read. Oh, it's a pretty good yarn, an adventure set in the American revolutionary war written only 40 years after that war ended. And it's a book of some literary interest, being considered by some the first inherently American novel ever (and one that occasionally pops up on lists of great spy stories).

It's written in an archaic language with long-vanished sensibilities, full of impossibly dashing soldiers and women constantly blushing and weeping (full of "sorrows," Cooper notes, "and varied emotions"). Yet it comes to an entirely satisfying conclusion if one hangs around long enough to reach the end.

For its price (free), it's worth at least a look.

It's those cranky Canadians again

Tory MP accuses Liberals of abandoning North Pole, Santa Claus, and suggesting jolly old elf no longer Canadian | National Post

All of a sudden the Liberals are suggesting that Santa Claus is no longer Canadian and that they would abandon the North Pole and abandon Santa Claus.


Slow news day

News from The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- For a significant number of Americans, Christmas has largely lost its religious meaning, becoming an occasion focused instead on visiting family and friends and exchanging gifts, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Be honest: How would you like to find one of these in your bed?

Riverboat’s Backers Look for a Way to Get the Delta Queen Moving Again - NYTimes.com

…the Delta Queen has been parked here since 2009 as a hotel along the Tennessee’s north shore. A newcomer to Chattanooga, the state’s fourth-largest city, it embraced a practice of other local hotels and offered a Moon Pie, a locally developed confection of marshmallow filling, chocolate and graham crackers, with turndown service.

Sounds a little cynical there, Bill

Got a Light? Olympic Torch Relay Seems Cursed to the Ends of the Earth - NYTimes.com

The Olympic flame is not eternal, but is relit a few months before each Olympics, said Bill Mallon, a former president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. It originates in the temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece, where it is ceremonially lit by “supposedly Greek virgin priestesses,” Mr. Mallon said, using the sun’s rays via a parabolic mirror.


Always a good time in Madison

Flying Spaghetti Monster joins crowded holiday display at Wisconsin State Capitol | The Raw Story

The Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics group at the University of Wisconsin set up the satirical religious display alongside a “Festivus” pole and a “Winter Solstice Nativity” scene featuring Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain that was set up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“The rotunda is getting very cluttered,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.…

Snow makes me hungry

Look, I can't help it. I sit here watching it snow and all I want to do is eat. More. Or take a nap.

That sounds like a good idea.

You don't even have to sprechen to lachen

How to make really long words in German - Boing Boing [video]

And speaking of "smart toilets"…

Here's What It Looks Like When A 'Smart Toilet' Gets Hacked [Video] - Forbes

A hacked toilet could theoretically scream and spray you with the bidet while opening and closing its ‘mouth,’ “causing discomfort or distress to user,” according to a Trustwave security advisory.

Distress. Right.

Plus, imagine how happy this would make the N.S.A.

Most People Are Cool with 'Smart Toilets' That Share Their Personal Data - The Wire

The results of a new survey from Intel and Penn Schoen Berland say that 70% of people in 8 countries would be willing to share data from their smart toilet (pdf) if it would mean lower healthcare costs.

And that's without jelly

The Big Squeeze - NYTimes.com

Peanut butter, as an early pioneer in the field demonstrated at General Electric in the 1950s, turns to diamond.


How long before you can get a degree in fish psychology?

Scientists Find That Polluted Oceans Could Make Fish Anxious | Mother Jones

Simply stated, ocean acidification is making fish anxious—or, at least, anxiety as we measure it in fish.

Well oops


Under a proposed rule released Monday, the agency will require manufacturers to prove that anti-bacterial soaps and body washes are safe and more effective than plain soap and water. Products that are not shown to be safe and effective by late 2016 would have to be reformulated, relabeled or removed from the market.

I seem to have spent all day…

…putting boots on and taking them off again, and hauling heavy jackets around the streets of this town. Winter. And it's not even really here yet.

I meet people who enthuse about the fresh air. Why is it people think cold air is fresh? Arguably it's less fresh than warm air, given the number of furnaces cranking away at the time. Or maybe people who exclaim about fresh air are just tired of saying ^(&$**_ freezing my )%%#%^&*. Could be.

Although the "founding fathers" would also be "aghast" at "phone records," collected or not

Federal Court Rules Bulk Collection Of Phone Records By NSA Likely Violates Constitution: Founding Fathers 'Would Be Aghast' | ThinkProgress

A little icy

Ahhh, those Italians

Female protestor who kissed riot policeman's helmet charged with sexual assault - Boing Boing

"Franco Maccari, the Secretary General of Coisp, the Italian police officers' union, said during an interview on Radio24 that he had pressed charges against the demonstrator who kissed an officer's helmet…"

A friend from suburban Chicago once said to me…

"I always listen to WFMT in the morning when I'm getting ready to go to work. All the other radio stations tell you about sub-zero wind chill and massive traffic jams on the expressway, but WFMT tells you it's Beethoven's birthday."

Which it is. Today.

View Classical Music Radio Schedule - 98.7WFMT - Classical and Folk Music Radio Streaming Online


You don't even have to buy a ticket…

…to watch Virgin America's safety video, here on YouTube.

Who says the Lady is gray?

Fourth Down Bot - N.F.L. Coverage - The New York Times

For every fourth down of every N.F.L. game in the 2013 season, NYT 4th Down Bot analyzes over 10 years of N.F.L. game data to determine whether a team would have been better off had it punted, attempted a field goal or gone for a first down.

You can follow the NYT 4th Down Bot in real time on Twitter, here.

I'm not a weather geek, I'm a weather grumbler

(And I’ve lived in plenty of grumble-worthy places over the years.) But here’s a little-known fact: In high school I belonged to the weather forecasting club. For one year. Not so much because I cared much about the weather (though in Duluth everybody cared about it a little), but because the faculty advisor was the algebra teacher and basketball coach, and therefore a cool guy.

Back then, in the middle of the 20th, weather forecasting was not as good as it is today. Just by predicting today’s weather for tomorrow, consistently, one could almost always run up a better record than the guy on TV. That’s about all I learned. I never did figure out how to read a weather map although I still think they’re fun to look at.

Snow, however, is not fun to look at. It just lies there turning the world into black and white. (Except for the red house out my kitchen window, next door.)


“Those who have never tried it cannot easily imagine what a rapid progress a warm-hearted female can make in love, in the short space of half an hour, particularly where there is a predisposition to the distemper.”

Excerpt From: James Fenimore Cooper. “The Spy.” iBooks. 

Or something. Or…wait. What?

Suddenly, it's the thing

France Broadens Its Surveillance Power - NYTimes.com

The law provides for no judicial oversight and allows electronic surveillance for a broad range of purposes, including “national security,” the protection of France’s “scientific and economic potential” and prevention of “terrorism” or “criminality.”

What happens…

Iran Reports Successfully Sending Another Monkey Into Space - NYTimes.com

The monkey, a male rhesus macaque named Fargam, or “Auspicious,” returned to Earth safely, state television said.

…when the monkeys learn more about what's going on up there than we know? Is anybody worrying about that?