Friday, October 29, 2004


The power of crap

ScienceBlog reports on  a new device that produces power while treating sewage

A new technology is being developed that can turn raw sewage into raw power. The device, called a microbial fuel cell, not only treats wastewater, but also provides a clean energy source with the potential for enormous financial savings, according to scientists at Pennsylvania State University.

David Bagley, a scientist at the University of Toronto, has calculated that the energy potential in wastewater is almost 10 times the cost to treat it. ''If we could achieve just one-twentieth of that power, we could break even,'' Logan says. ''We're confident we're going to be able to do more than that.''


Mexican rats 1, Man 0

Mexican Town Surrenders to Rats

The desperate residents of Atascaderos, an isolated farm village in the rugged Tarahumara mountains, appealed to Chihuahua state authorities for help more than a month ago, saying the rodents had infested at least 800 homes. Officials estimate the rat population in the area at 250,000.

As CartoonNetwork teaches us; Speedy Gonzales always wins over Sylvester:

Authorities announced recently that they would send in up to 700 cats for a frontal attack on the rats, but only 50 cats were gathered and some died shortly after arriving.

Doing it "the Saddam way" didn't work:

Attempts to poison the rats had little success.

Doing it "the American way" didn't work either:

The community's mayor then offered 40 cents for each rodent killed but that plan had to be withdrawn after concerns that children could be bitten by the rats when trying to kill them so they could collect the rewards.

At least they have a life supply of rat-au-van

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Don't believe your eyes

Don't click on this link if your boss is looking over your shoulder: It looks hot but it is not 

Via [BoingBoing]


iTunes 5555 + 504 = no music

I was in heaven for one day when iTunes came to Italy. I filled my basked with delicatessen like U2: Vertigo and Maroon 5: Acoustic and was ready to part with my hard earned money when iTunes gave me the following error adding items to the basket:

(at least it's not error 666)

Checking out the items in the baket didn't work either as it bombed trying to access it:


Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Cheap or high quality crap TV?

The guy who invented reality programs like Big Brother should be forced to watch them 24x7. Looks like the executives of Channel 4 agree that it's crap, but not normal crap:

Three of Channel 4's most senior former executives have unleashed a scathing attack on the broadcaster for screening 'crap' programmes like 'Big Brother' and 'Wife Swap'.
"Tim, why are we going on with 'Big Brother'? I know it's very successful but it is crap," Treves said.

Gardam replied: "Ah, yes, but what you have to understand is it is very high quality crap."

Friday, October 22, 2004


Smart SUV?


The whole point about the Smart, is that it is a smart city car, not a huge gas guzzling monster. The SUVs are, sadly, trendy in Milano as well. They break my balls in a major way as they pollute, take loads of space and make it difficult to drive by motorcycle.

The Smart is tiny and cute and great for going around in a crowded city like Milano. More importantly: you can find a parking without driving for hours. Giving it the 'American treatment' and making a SUV is  pretty lame. But, if SUVs turn you on, please get a Smart SUV instead of a huge Hummer

Long live the Smart for 2 and the C1 (Smart for 1 :-)

More on the Smart SUV:

The great idea of SUV bans in city centers:


  • Wired 10|2004 186


Swear yourself impotent?

Dilbert had a cartoon where a lady swore guys ears off, but that that you can swear yourself impotent is news to me.

 "We then looked at heavy swearers, and found whenever men use these words in their daily life, this immediately leads to sexual dysfunctions, i.e. impotence. If a woman uses these words in her daily speech, she slowly begins transforming into a man, getting more hair and muscles."

The again, they did the research on how swearing affects water not wood:

 The shocking revelation comes courtesy of Gennady Cheurin's team at the Yekaterinburg Centre for Ecological Safety and Survival. Cheurin made the discovery after conducting ground-breaking research into the effect of bad language on water. The theory goes that water can be influenced by "negative vibes", and the team spent several hours hurling abuse at a glass of the stuff. This Devil's liquid was then sprinkled on wheat seeds - of which just 48 per cent subsequently germinated. Seeds favoured with water from natural springs, on the other hand, enjoyed a 93 per cent germination rate.

Maybe they should have tested the guys for bad breath instead?

Thursday, October 21, 2004


A mousetrap! A mousetrap! My Kingdom for a mousetrap!

Not only are the mice tricking men into shooting their girlfriends, they also shut down radar systems! Believe it or not; the committee investigating the Italian Radar blackout claims the disaster was caused by mice eating through cables. I've seen them eat through battery cables in cars but I hoped -the- main radar station in Italy would be more protected than my garage.

Either that, or the crew were experimenting with a new critter delicatessen...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


The Onion: U.S. Finishes A 'Strong Second' In Iraq War

Another great article by The Onion: U.S. Finishes A 'Strong Second' In Iraq War

BAGHDAD—After 19 months of struggle in Iraq, U.S. military officials conceded a loss to Iraqi insurgents Monday, but said America can be proud of finishing "a very strong second."

"We went out there, gave it our all, and fought a really good fight," said Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "America's got nothing to be ashamed of. We outperformed Great Britain, Poland, and a lot of the other top-notch nations, but Iraq just wouldn't stay down for the count. It may have come down to them simply wanting it more."


Casey said that, although the U.S. military did not win, it did set records for kills, yardage gained, palaces overrun, defensive stops, and military bases stolen.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Honey, where is my pet?

The next delicatessen?

LIMA, Peru - After 34 years of patient tinkering, researchers at Peru's most prestigious agrarian university have bred a new culinary export they hope will scamper onto dinner plates throughout America and the world: the super guinea pig.

Peruvians consume an estimated 65 million guinea pigs each year. It is a dining experience that normally requires two hands to pick scant, sinewy meat from a bony carcass - often with the head staring up from the plate.

Via [Yahoo! News - Oddly Enough]

Monday, October 18, 2004


Genesis: This way up!

Or was it down?

The parachute system failed to deploy when Genesis returned to Earth September 8, 2004. The MIB, analyzing the Genesis capsule at a facility near Denver, said the likely cause was
a design error that involves the orientation of gravity-switch devices. The switches sense the braking caused by the high-speed entry into the atmosphere, and then initiate the timing sequence leading to deployment of the craft's drogue parachute and parafoil.

Friday, October 15, 2004


The Perfect Neighbor?

NewScientist reports: Sleepwalking woman had sex with strangers:

Sleep medicine experts have successfully treated a rare case of a woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking.

Circumstantial evidence, such as condoms found scattered around the house, alerted the couple to the problem.

Be honest now: Would you, if you were a doctor, cure the person or move in next door?


Thursday, October 14, 2004


Natural Disco Queen?

Disco inferno too hot for you; what about going naked?

As dress codes go, the new rules for the Allen Roc discotheque could not be simpler - leave your clothes behind. All of them.

Nobody was available for comment at the discotheque yesterday to say what kind of music it expected to play, or whether bar staff and DJs would be wearing birthday suits as well.

Is it really a nudist disco or a way to -see before you buy-  (no last minute surprises)? This site has the address of the Allen Roc club in Corneal, Spain  if someone wants to check it out on the next session scheduled for 24 October.

Via []


Remote controlled Bush?

The Register has an interesting article on the Was Bush being told what to say during the presidential TV debates?  issue:

Unless he's reading a well-rehearsed speech, the President is normally much given to malapropisms and incoherent syntax. When confronted with questions for which he is not prepared, he typically muddles along unintelligibly when starting a reply, until he finds a path to one of his prepared talking points, as he repeatedly did during his televised prime-time press conference of 13 April 2004. It is not unusual for him to take refuge in his prepared points, regardless of what question is asked, and his answers are often irrelevant as well as confused. That is, he tends to stay "on message," rather than "on topic".

Yet, during both presidential debates, he miraculously spoke in clear, organized sentences that were fairly relevant to the questions asked. He stumbled only occasionally, and then only briefly. The public has declared Kerry the winner of both debates - the first by a wide margin, and the second by a narrow one - but it is undeniable that the President far exceeded his baseline performance when confronting the unexpected. Or, said another way, he may have looked bad in comparison to Kerry, but he looked very good in comparison to himself.

I would -not- be surprised.

More on the Bush bulge issue:


Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Winter is coming; keep 'em warm

This is a gift for a woman that has everything…
The Possum Fur Nipple Warmers are useful for several things according to the sales pitch:

Possum fur nipple warmers are multi functional. Great for cushioning your nipples by placing inside your bra, protecting from cold and excessive "show through" and fun to wear with the fur facing out as pictured. Keep them warm and make someone smile

Combine them with the possum fur g-string and any caveman would be turned on

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Man Mistakenly Cuts Off "Chicken", Dog Eats It

I don't believe this; how is it possible to walk outside in your underwear and by mistake cut of your own dick mistaking it for a chicken?

The report said 67 year-old Constantin Mocanu, from a village near the southeastern town of Galati, rushed out into his yard in his underwear to kill a noisy chicken keeping him awake at night.

"I confused it with the chicken's neck," Mocanu, who was admitted to the emergency hospital in Galati, was quoted as saying. "I cut it ... and the dog rushed and ate it."

What did the chicken do in the guys underwear in the first case? Or, did the guy 'choke the chicken' and get confused at a crucial moment?

On second thought, I don't want to know.

Via [Yahoo - Oddly Enough]

Friday, October 8, 2004


Spam, Spim, Spit and Crap?

Doesn't SPAM cover it well enough? Do we really need new SPAM acronyms like:
SPIT: spam over Internet Telephony
SPIM: spam by instant messenger

Let's drop them all and call it what it is:
CRAP: Constantly Receiving Annoying Post


Italian air radar blacks out 4 times in 24 hours

Looks like both the UPSs they had didn't work so the police has confiscated them to verify if they have been tampered with. They claim the problem has been fixed by getting three separate lines from the same electricity supplier. It doesn't convince me, but as long as the planes don't start falling down I'm happy.

Maybe they got a new cleaning guy?

Wednesday, October 6, 2004


The Italian radar system and other disappointments

The Italian air radar in Linate blocked out twice today. A problem with an airport radar would have been a minor problem as we would have been sent to another airport. Today it was worse, a lot worse...

The main radar that covers and coordinates air traffic over all of northern Italy went off the air. Poof, and it was dead. They fixed the problem quickly but to late; chaos had already occurred. In the hour it took to bring everything back online no planes took off.

I guess I should be glad that I got up at 5 this morning to make sure I got a seat on an overbooked Alitalia flight. At least I was safely on the way to London when disaster struck. A bit worried during the day when I got the news as I was scheduled on the last flight to Milano. Encouraging news during the day, so I took it easy on the way to the airport.

Bad idea. A moment of panic when I got to the check in. Turns out the plane I was supposed to take was still in Milano as the flight from Milano to London was cancelled during the blackout earlier in the day. Not only that, the radar had problems -again-. I can imagine what happened:

The person that caused the chaos at 9:25 stands in front of the big bosses and nervously explains what happened; "I just pressed this button", click… and the shit hits the fan again (and me more specifically)

Luckily my meetings had ended on time so I was just in time to move my flight ahead to an earlier one. Or to be more correct: in time to move the flight of the 7 people I was traveling with. I ended up with a nice 'Stand by' written in bold on my ticket.

Don't know if it was the fact that we traveled in 8 in business class or that I looked totally crest fallen, but after waiting 15 minutes they found me a place. A quick run past the shops and we arrived just in time.

Running past the shops was a sad moment though. I really wanted to buy the final books in The Dark Tower series:

New books in English cost a fortune in Milano and I haven't found the book on eBay yet.

Monday, October 4, 2004


Singlish: Crap curry

Not only computers have problems with English. Start making optimizations like replacing "ee" with "i" and you get phrases like "'I nit a sit to ress my fit'" and Crap Curry. And I thought people from Belfast spoke funny.

Friday, October 1, 2004


Mount St. Helens ready to blow?

The Mount St. Helens webcam must be pretty busy these days. It's like watching a giant pressure cooker with the safety valve taped shut, waiting for it to blow. Mount St. Helens is close to Seattle but not close enough for Linux fans to get their hopes up.

A few minutes ago it was leaking steam:

Then it went offline:

I hope it's a sign of heavy traffic and not bad news.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument should have the latest news


Lost In Translation: "Try it for yourself!" = "It stops! he examines"

Lost In Translation shows what happens an automatic translation tool translates from English to a few other languages and back again. Not that humans are much better as Pork with Fresh Garbage points out. There are plenty of Funny English Mistranslations around as well.

Original English Text: Try it for yourself!

Translated to French: Essayez-le pour vous-même !

Translated back to English: Test it for yourself!

Translated to German: Prüfen Sie es auf selbst!

Translated back to English: Examine it for!

Translated to Italian: Esaminilo per!

Translated back to English: It for! examines

Translated to Portuguese: Ele para! examina

Translated back to English: It stops! he examines

Translated to Spanish: ¡Para! él examina

Translated back to English: It stops! he examines


Gulf war 2 game and the wisdom of George Bush Sr

Turns out Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction so it didn't end like the Gulf War 2 "game"  (Flash required). It's fun anyway, especially the hate mails from the pro-war guys. Guess they should have read the Reasons Not to Invade Iraq, by George Bush Sr:

While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf.
We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world.
Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.