No Pulp, Some Pulp, Lots of Pulp — 10:32

Do they just take out all the pulp from orange juice destined to go into the “no pulp” boxes and put it in the “lots of pulp” boxes?


Evolution Smackdown 2007 — 11:05

Hannah has some great links about the fallacy of evolution on her site. I couldn’t resist pointing people to them. Peanut Butter and Bananas, each the atheist’s nightmare.


How to pronounce mdawaffe — 23:13

M D A vaffuh.


The best songs are the sad songs

Filed under: a group of folks,music,slice,useless @ 14:35

I had a debate with Michelle the other day that started with me making the statement above. My argument was that artists are going to spend a long time composing and brooding over a work of sadness because they have nothing better to do; they’re sad. A happy song, however, will be written quickly; the artist has better things to be getting on with.

Now, I know there will be many who disagree with this assessment (or the conclusion), so allow me to seal the deal by offering up a concrete example grounded in objectivity that will surely convince even the most fervorous of dissenters: Elliott Smith v. The Village People.

As long as nobody brings up Belle and Sebastian, I think we’ve got that all settled.


Last Comic Standing

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,useless @ 18:35

Jeff and Ariele inviteg Greg and me to a Last Comic Standing taping this afternoon at the Pasadena Civic Center.

It airs tonight at 9 (8 central).

Apparently you can see me several times during the show, so watch it and admire my too hot visage.


Cancelling Amazon Prime is absurdly easy

Filed under: neat!,tech,useless @ 15:02

Through some random promotion, I was given a trial membership of Amazon‘s Amazon Prime, a service offering free two-day shipping on most items and overnight shipping for only $4 per item. It’s a really ncie service, but I just don’t think I shop enough to warrant the $80 per year fee for the permenant membership.

So I cancelled it, and it was ridiculously easy; no AOL is Amazon [2].

Check out these delightful screen grabs.

Amazon Prime Cancellation Before Amazon Prime Cancellation After

Not even a browser refresh between them; just click the button and, a little javascript fade later, it’s all done.

Nice job, Amazon.


Gmail’s Spell Checker Can’t Spell “Gmail’s”

Filed under: tech,useless @ 13:46

Gmail's Spelling


Cal Poly, Shame on You. Don’t cheat the People!

Filed under: slice,useless @ 16:49

That’s the war cry I heard walking down Wilson Ave next to Caltech this morning.

A man was shouting these words at Broad over and over again with an odd accent. I believed it to be Middle Eastern.

cal polY
SHAME on you
the PEOple

I have tried to capture the rhythm of his chant by denoting the accented syllables with capital letters.

I walked by him, not really catching the words he was saying, and ran into Will. Will told me what the lone protestor was yelling and asked, “Do you think it’d be appropriate to tell him this is Caltech?” I smiled and said, “sure”. We walked over to him and he and Will exchanged the following words.

Will: Excuse me?
Protestor: Yes? (with polite anticipation)
Will: This is Caltech, not Cal Poly
Protester: Thanks! Cal Poly has a better rhyme (very kindly and thankfully, and with no trace whatsoever of any accent)

We walked away and exchanged amusement. Right before we parted ways, we heard the guy start to mix it up: “Caltech, shame on you. Don’t cheat the people! Caltech poly, shame on you. Don’t cheat the people!” and so on.

I have no idea what issue the guy was airing. It was just a great way to start the day hearing some dude shouting at Broad caring more about how his chant sounded than to whom he was actually directing it.


It’s harder to catch typos on Dvorak

Filed under: slice,useless @ 23:32

Several months ago, I switched to the Dvorak keyboard layout. On the whole, I’m quite happy about the switch. I’m still a little disjointed when going back and forth between it and QWERTY, but otherwise things are quite smooth.

I do still, however, make a few common typos; I’ll sometimes mix up the following pairs of letters: a and o, e and o, k and x, m and w, and l and s (each pair has adjacent constituents). I’ll also sometimes type characters out of order (presumably because the Dvorak “rhythm” is somewhat different than that at the QWERTY layout).

But I always made lots of typos. It seems, however, that more typos slip through my pinky’s erstwhile diligence at backspace patrol. I believe there are several factors at play here.

  1. I make more typos than before. This explanation is extremely dull. Let us never speak of it again.
  2. I don’t make more typos, I just catch more; I’ve become better at proofing my writing. This explanation I’ve included only for the sake of completeness. I can’t imagine I’m actually any better at proof reading now than a year ago, say.
  3. I don’t yet feel the typos when typing on a Dvorak keyboard (as I do on QWERTY) and so must depend on my eyes to catch them. This would be related to my relative lack of comfort with Dvorak’s “rhythm”.
  4. And finally, I treat vowels and consonants differently. Most of the single character typos I make swap two vowels. When proof reading, it seems harder for me to catch the difference between “color” and “coler” than between “color” and “colwr”. This is interesting. Two possibilities come to mind. To work backward, the second possibility is that the letters a o and e, in their respective lower case forms, look somewhat similar: round (as opposed to the letters o and w). Indeed, the consonants I swap most often also have some sort of “shape similarity”: w and m, and k and x. I don’t think this can be the whole story, though. Continuing backward, the first possibility is that I only read the consonants and that the vowels act mostly as placeholders (and as the occasional disambiguators). This possibility I called “first” because I am irrationally attached to it and proclaim it to be “likely” without any data to back me up. Since all the vowels are grouped together on the Dvorak layout, vowel swaps may be more common and (given this “likely” possibility) cause commensurate unnoticed typos. Perhaps Dr. Language person can comment on the merit of this “I don’t read vowels” possibility.

In any case, I’m not that good at typing, but I never have been. Don’t blame Dvorak.


Cell phone post-disconnect redialing protocol

Filed under: a group of folks,useless @ 00:52

Allen posed a problem to me many have faced before. He was on the phone with a friend of his when his call was dropped*. He called back, but so did his friend and apparently at just the right time such that each reached only the other’s voice mail rather than the other’s actual self. In comedic fashion, this dialing around in circles happened multiple times. Frustration abounded.

The solution, he believes, is the development of a universally known and agreed upon protocol for how to reestablish a broken telephone conversation (be it cellular or landlinear).

I am here to state the optimal such protocol. You are here to read it, accept it, and follow it unconditionally.

The telephone post-disconnect redialing protocol for two parties

Whoever dialled that specific call must redial the call if the connection is lost, unless otherwise explicitly agreed upon by both parties during the course of that specific call.

The question is one of who should call whom. The above is optimal (for the appropriate definition of optimal) due to the following considerations.

  1. The caller should not put financial burden on the callee.
  2. The callee may not know the phone number of the caller, while it is clear the caller has access to the number of the callee.
  3. There is no mention of alternate Tuesdays or the color of either party’s socks.

Go forth and propagate this decree unto the masses.

* Information is passed from cell phone to cell phone by electromagnetic waves cleverly encoding digital information in a fault tolerant and secure fashion such that your voice gets through with reasonable clarity to the party on the other end of the “line” without anyone else being able to listen in. These electromagnetic waves are simply a fancy technical sounding word for “cell phone fairies”. These eager, though sometimes clumsy, creatures occasionally drop your voice as they carry it from one phone to another, hence the term.

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