Saturday, October 31, 2009

Can simultaneous prayer take God offline?

Found on Google Reader:  From Net Effect by Evgeny Morozov

I don't care if it's "slacktivism" but this Facebook campaign is incredibly funny: launching DDOS attacks on God by simultaneous prayer
As you may already be aware, recently the Atheist Founation of Australia and the Global Atheist Convention websites were the target of a significant DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which began on Monday 19 October.

This is a call to all non-believers and advocates for freedom of speech to join us in a global co-ordinated minute of prayer with the aim of inundating God (in this context, the Christian god, God, as distinct from the Greek god, Zeus, the Egyptian god, Ra etc etc) with so many useless prayers that it causes his divineness to go offline as as result of our own DDOS ('Divine' Denial of Service).

The prayer minute will be at exactly 8pm (Eastern Standard Time) and 9am (Greenwich Mean Time) on Sunday 8 November 2009.

Friday, October 30, 2009

You think you're bad?

As Michael Jackson once said, "You ain't bad! You ain't nothin'." This bird is bad.

Level of Awesomeness? Red Alert

This could be then next big thing:  Movieoke. Forget it, Jake, you can't handle the truth that it’s Chinatown, the whole frickin’ system is out of order and that’s what I like about high school girls… I keep getting older, they stay the same age. Talk to me, Goose (because) I am a golden god and tonight we dine in hell. Hoo-ah!

Okay, so that’s not what movieoke is about at all, but you get the idea. Or not. See below.

MOVIEOKE tonight in Toronto

Are you tired of drunken amateurs butchering your favourite songs? Now they'll have their way with your favourite movies too! Movieoke is a lot like Karaoke, but instead of sloppily belting out the lyrics of classic songs, you'll be sloppily performing the dialogue of classic films. This Halloween edition features iconic horror scenes from selections like The ExorcistPsycho, and of course, Halloweem. – R.T.

Admission is free. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON


For more information about Movieoke in general, go to I like movies. I like karaoke. Why didn’t I think of this?!? 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The power of righteous indignation

Dude Drops His Kindle 2, Convinces Amazon to Replace it and Pay Him $200 For His Troubles [Balls] - from Gizmodo by Adam Frucci

Behold, the power of a scary-sounding letter from a lawyer! Paul dropped his Kindle 2 and it broke. Amazon wanted $200 to replace it. Instead, they replaced it and gave him an additional $200. Damn, son!

Seriously, how badass is this letter he sent to Amazon?

Paul Gowder
[Address omitted]

August 12, 2009 Inc.
Legal Department
1200 12th Avenue South
Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98144-2734

Dear Sir or Madam:

On June 21, 2009, I purchased an Kindle 2 e-book reader from the website. I purchased this device based, in substantial part, on the expectation that it would be reasonably durable. In particular, I expected that it would be approximately as durable as is ordinary in the consumer electronics market. advertises the Kindle 2 on the basis of its durability. Notably, displays a 'drop test' video on the web page for this product. That video displays the device being dropped twice from thirty inches onto what appears to be tile. That video displays a fall with sufficient force that the device visibly bounces, and deliberately creates the impression that the device will function after impacts similar to that sequence of drops.

Despite those representations, the Kindle 2 is far less durable. On July 26, 2009, I dropped a messenger bag containing the device onto the sidewalk, from approximately two feet above the ground. It was dropped only once, and the messenger bag absorbed enough of the shock that nothing else in the bag, including a Macbook laptop, suffered any damage whatsoever. (Unlike the drop displayed in's video, for example, nothing actually bounced.) Moreover, there was no visible damage on the exterior of the Kindle 2. Nonetheless, the Kindle 2 became completely unusable, with over 50% of its screen no longer able to display any text.

I called support and was told that, because of the accidental drop, you would not be willing to supply a replacement device under warranty. You did, however, offer to sell a new device at a discount, for $200.00. I took advantage of that offer under protest, and explicitly reserved my rights to bring a claim against you based on the unreasonable fragility of the device and the misrepresentations in your advertising. It is that claim that forms the subject of this letter.

I am prepared to offer an immediate settlement of my claims against for a payment of $400.00. That sum represents the $200.00 replacement fee I paid plus $200.00 to compensate me for the diminution of utility and value of the device as well as of the e-books I have purchased for that device, in light of the fact that the replacement device, too, can be expected to be far more fragile than advertised and prone to destruction under the slightest stress. This offer expires thirty days from your receipt of this letter. If you do not accept this offer, I intend to bring suit either individually, or, if I decide it is warranted, as representative for a class of similarly situated plaintiffs. At that time, I will seek the amount noted above, plus punitive damages under the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civil Code §1750 et. seq., costs, fees, and such other monetary damages as provided for by law, including without limitation Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 et. seq., the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and other relevant law.

Also, you have demanded the return of the broken device as a condition to the unreasonable discounted replacement offer which I accepted under protest. Your agent has informed me that you will charge my credit card for the full price if the broken device is not returned to you. I am considering seeking a protective order placing that device in the custody of the Court pending litigation. However, should I instead return the device, you are hereby notified that it is evidence in the anticipated litigation to which this letter refers. Should you modify, destroy, or resell the broken device, I will ask the Court to treat that as deliberate spoliation of evidence and make adverse inferences as appropriate.

Very truly yours,

Paul Gowder

And here's Amazon's response:

Pretty awesome. Just goes to show that if you put your somewhat-unreasonable request in an official-looking form and also threaten to sue, big companies will be happy to toss a token amount of money your way to make you go away. [Consumerist]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Landmark Freed v. Hanes Case

From Above the Law:  Lawsuit of the Day: Defective Underwear Causes Penis Pain
Albert Freed penis pain.jpgLet's get the boring stuff out of the way. Albert Freed (pictured) won a trip to Hawaii (not pictured). As part of the vacation celebration, Mrs. Freed bought her husband some new Hanes brand briefs. But Mr. Freed is a husky gentleman, and apparently the new trunks couldn't contain all of his junk. He sued Hanes, claiming they made 'defective' underwear.

Move over Roe v. Wade, America turns on a new hot button court case with Freed v. Hanes. Click here to read all the twists and turns (and chafing) in this fascinating case.

Freed v Hanes.pdf

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Today's something or other #39

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa City police are investigating an early morning assault in which a man accused another of being a zombie, then punched him twice. Police said the assault occurred at 1:17 a.m. Sunday at an Iowa City restaurant south of the University of Iowa campus.

A man was ordering food when he was approached by another man who called him a zombie, then hit him in the eye. When the victim tried to call police on his cell phone, the man punched him again, breaking his nose.

The man then ran out a back door.

The victim was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Source: The Huffington Post

Monday, October 26, 2009

Today's something or other #38

Who knows what you'll turn up in Google Reader Recommendations?!

Amazingly Freaky Dead Tauntaun Wedding Cake [Star Wars]:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's something or other #37

Shooting Anvils 200 Feet In the Air Is as Bloody Crazy as It Sounds [Explosions]: "

See that guy who kind of looks like Ernest Hemingway? His name is Gay Wilkinson. His favorite sport is to shoot anvils in the air. Anvils. He says that women ask him: 'why would you like to do that.'

I tell you why, women! Because he can. Just pack a lot of black powder between two anvils, put a notepad with the fuse in between, light up, and watch the anvil on top shooting up 100 to 200 feet into the air, stop for a second, and then fall down pretty much at the same spot.

Yes! I understand you, Mr. Wilkinson. I actually want to hang out with you, drink beer, eat grilled meat, fire up anvils, and change our names to Yosemite Sam and Wile E. Coyote for a day. [Riverfront Times via Boing Boing]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

“Led Zeppelin II” Turns 40

From Rolling Stone Magazine: “Led Zeppelin II” Turns 40: "

Forty years ago today, Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin II just nine months after unleashing their historic debut. Produced by guitarist Jimmy Page, II laid the groundwork for heavy metal with its classic “Whole Lotta Love” and firmly established Zeppelin as one of the loudest and greatest bands in rock at the time. II also boasts Robert Plant’s unparalleled vocal prowess on hits like “Ramble On” and “What Is and What Should Never Be” and John Bonham’s still-unmatched drum solo on “Moby Dick.”

When the album came out 40 years ago, Rolling Stone critic John Mendelsohn wasn’t exactly glowing in his 1969 review of the album, writing tongue-in-cheekily, “I’ll concede that until you’ve listened to the album eight hundred times, as I have, it seems as if it’s just one especially heavy song extended over the space of two whole sides. But, hey! You’ve got to admit that the Zeppelin has their distinctive and enchanting formula down stone-cold, man.” Of course, Mendelsohn’s opinion turned out to be the small, small minority, and Rolling Stone went on to place Led Zeppelin II on our 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The New Rolling Stone Album Guide awarded Led Zeppelin II the five-star review it rightly deserves, adding that “Whole Lotta Love” “became a starting point for Aerosmith, Guns n’ Roses and Van Halen, among others. It’s an amazing song not just for its seismic riff and bingeing-on-lust vocal performance, but for its mind-bending midsection, in which Page orchestrates the aural equivalent of an orgasm (Theremin included.)”

So bust out your old vinyl or eight-track or CD, crank up your stereo volume high and celebrate the album’s fortieth birthday.

New life on Dundas?

Perhaps Dundas isn't over just yet after all? Maybe it is just evolving differently than originally envisioned. And, let's face it, did we really need a hip bar/resto strip on Dundas when we've already got the College, Queen West, West Queen West and Ossington strips nearby? Dundas Street, across the entire city, has long been a street remarkably resistant to gentrification.

From the Globe and Mail:

Suddenly teeming with indie coffee shops, Little Portugal is also becoming a little Left Bank. Emily Thomas pays a visit and gets the down-low on the boho joe. Dundas spills the beans.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hard to believe this isn't a spoof

The handshake, with its potential to transfer the flu virus, should be replaced with the safer and more contemporary pound, says the dean of medicine at the University of Calgary.


But something had gone quite wrong

I've written about some truly awesome/scary food concoctions on this blog in the past (e.g. the uber Super Bowl snack; the White Castle & Bacon Bake; and who can forget the Turbaconducken?), but we may have a new champion in the food insanity sweepstakes. The beauty of this new contestant is the simplicity of its genius. The other offerings referenced above were all very high (cholesterol) concept but this one cuts right down to the bare essentials.

From The Economist:

On A fine afternoon at the Texas State Fair, a ringmaster encouraged a gaggle of children to flap their arms like butterfly wings. “What could possibly go wrong on a day as beautiful as today?” he asked. But a hundred yards away, something had gone quite wrong. People were queuing for an unusual delicacy: balls of butter, dipped in dough and cooked in a vat of boiling oil. Fried butter, in other words. The balls were dusted with a thin coat of powdered sugar. When bitten, they collapsed with an unctuous squelch.

Fairs are known for their decadent snack offerings. Most are unhealthy, and some push the conceptual boundaries of food into new territory. The Los Angeles County Fair, which ended on October 4th, featured a Meat Lovers’ Ice Cream Cone (don’t ask). The Minnesota State Fair is known for its foods-on-a-stick. The Texas fair bills itself as the fried food capital of the state.

Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today's something or other #36

The Martini - Why Everything You Know Is Wrong (source: Interesting Thing of the Day)

As a San Francisco resident, I like to brag that my city is where Important Things were invented. The television. The jukebox. Bay windows. Denim jeans. The slot machine. Cable cars. The fortune cookie. Chop Suey. And yes, Rice-a-Roni. It’s also reputedly the birthplace of quite a few alcoholic beverages, including Irish Coffee, the Mimosa, the Mai Tai, and the Martini.

Although the martini is apparently less than 150 years old, records of its invention are sketchy at best, and several other municipalities would like to take credit for it. A great many widely divergent stories about the drink’s origin are in circulation, each one as plausible as the next. But since this is a question that cannot be answered definitively, I choose to believe the story I like best. That story says that in the mid-1800s, a miner about to board a ferry in San Francisco for the trip across the bay to his home town of Martinez asked a bartender to whip up an interesting drink for him. The resulting mixture was named after the traveler’s destination, and years later, when the drink had become more popular, the name was shortened to “martini.” This story, I hasten to admit, may be entirely apocryphal, but it does at least seem likely that the name “martini” is in fact derived in some fashion from “Martinez.”

Mixed Messages
In addition to the drink’s uncertain provenance, no reliable documentation of its original recipe exists. Among the ingredient lists I found claiming to be the original are these:
4 parts sweet vermouth, 1 part gin, dash of bitters, two dashes of Maraschino, slice of lemon
3 parts gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part dry vermouth, dash of orange bitters, slice of lemon
3 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth
2 parts gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, (sometimes) dash of orange bitters
1 part gin, 1 part dry vermouth

(In addition to the ingredients listed, every martini is mixed with ice to chill it; the ice is strained out before serving.)

You will notice, of course, that all these recipes contain gin—not vodka—and vermouth (a type of wine flavored with herbs and spices). Vodka martinis are a more recent invention (and, according to some, an egregious misuse of the very term “martini,” since vodka is all but tasteless). The same is true of the ubiquitous olive garnish, which is suspiciously absent from early ingredient lists. But the uncertainty of the recipe is precisely what’s at issue here. Since there is no canonical reference as to what the “one true” martini should contain, anyone who gets uptight over the fact that a certain martini recipe is “wrong” is arguing from a position of ignorance. (More on this in a moment.)

How Dry Am I?
In any event, it is clear that over the last century, the commonly expected ratio of gin to vermouth has steadily increased to the point that some martini aficionados consider even an extra-dry 8-to-1 ratio too “sweet.” If you want to be extremely hip, you can buy spray bottles designed expressly for “misting” a few microdroplets of dry vermouth onto cold gin to give your hyper-desiccated martini the mere suggestion of a hint of vaguely vermouthish essence.

This change is apparently no accident. Some sources claim that the gin commonly available a century ago was much more bitter than what we have today, that the purpose of the vermouth was to mask this bitterness, and that the decreasing proportion of vermouth has thus been nothing more than a natural adjustment to expose more of the gin’s flavor.

Shaken, Not Stirred?
But the biggest (and silliest) martini controversy is, of course, whether they should be shaken or stirred. Everyone knows James Bond’s choice, and I’ve read countless criticisms that Bond orders his martini the “wrong” way—that a sophisticated international spy ought to know better. One could perhaps justifiably criticize Bond (or, to be more accurate, Ian Fleming) for preferring a vodka martini, since the one thing we can say with certainty about the traditional recipe is that it uses gin. But surely the manner of combining the alcohols is of little consequence? Well, you’d be surprised.

Putting the ingredients (including ice) in a covered container and shaking will result in a colder beverage—ordinarily considered a benefit. But purists never seem to tire of saying that shaking a martini bruises the gin, as though this were a self-evidently ridiculous thing to do. You cannot bruise gin. You can bruise yourself or even a piece of fruit, but you simply cannot damage gin in any way merely by shaking it.

OK, say the critics, maybe “bruise” was a poor choice of words, but by shaking gin with ice you do change it—you aerate it (a tiny little bit) and you probably melt a little more of the ice, diluting it a smidgen more than you would by stirring. The presence of air bubbles (and perhaps a few ice fragments) can in fact make the martini slightly cloudy, but this appearance dissipates quickly. The real question is whether you can taste the difference between a shaken martini and a stirred one, and let’s just say that innumerable blind taste tests have yielded inconclusive results but a lot of bruised feelings.

Even if a shaken martini does taste different from a stirred martini, who’s to say the difference is objectionable? Some people like carbonated water better than still water. Some people like Pepsi better than Coke. Some people like their orange juice without pulp. These are all merely preferences, not matters of right and wrong. And so what if Bond, for whatever fictional reason, preferred his martini shaken? The point is that he knew stirred martinis were the norm—otherwise, there’d have been no point in ordering his specially. So he’s not betraying ignorance, but rather expressing a preference.

Or maybe he was doing it for his health. As crazy as it sounds, the British Medical Journal published a study showing that shaken martinis have measurably higher antioxidant properties than stirred martinis. Higher enough to make any real difference? Probably not. But at least when your know-it-all friends give you a dressing down for being clueless about proper martini preparation, you’ve got a great comeback.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10 new details on the iTablet

Hard to bet against Apple these days. It will be interesting to see their pricing strategy and how they position the Tablet in the marketplace.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today's something or other #35

Marijuana brownies mistakenly eaten for Thanksgiving

KINGSTON, Ont. -- A Kingston man faces drug-dealing charges after a family member munching on drug-laced brownies ended up in an ambulance.

Police officers were called to a home late Monday afternoon to help paramedics.

A man told the emergency personnel that his family member passed out after eating brownies baked with marijuana. Police saw two large plastic pails full of pot and several large plants.
A 39-year-old man is charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

Source: Sun Media

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

That's a nice little bit of walking around money

Just in case you missed this little tidbit in the October Report On Business Magazine.

Total revenue Japanese game publisher Taito has earned from Space Invaders since it appeared in arcades (and caused a nationwide coin shortage-in 1978): $500,000,000.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stupid people on airplanes

Air Canada plane diverted after man steals beer

KELOWNA, B.C. - Police took a man off an Air Canada Jazz flight in Kelowna, B.C., on Tuesday after a disturbance on the flight from Vancouver to Fort McMurray, Alberta forced the pilot to make an unscheduled stop.

Police say the man stole some beer from the beverage cart on the plane and tried to hide the evidence by flushing the empty can down the toilet.

Airport Communications Officer Jenelle Turpin says the pilot made the decision to land in Kelowna and call in the Mounties.

When the plane landed the RCMP took one man away in handcuffs, while questioning two others before releasing them.

The plane then continued on its flight.

Source: Sun Media

An innovative, new anti-smoking campaign

New Anti-Smoking Ads Warn Teens 'It's Gay To Smoke'

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Onion shows no love to Michael Vick

And who can blame them, really?

Wow. I mean... wow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Raccoons - lovable cartoon characters or remorseless killing machines?

Raccoons surround, maul 74-year-old woman
Tried to chase them from her yard

LAKELAND, Fla. — Animal control officers hope to trap a pack of raccoons that mauled a 74-year-old woman who tried to chase them from her yard.

The sheriff in Polk County, east of Tampa, says Gretchen Whitted fell when five raccoons surrounded and attacked her Sunday. She was taken to a hospital with extensive cuts from her neck to her legs.

“We’re not talking about a lot of little bites here,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “She was filleted.”

A neighbour called for help after hearing the woman’s cries and seeing her covered in blood.

Whitted was treated for rabies, though officials doubt the animals were infected.

Fire crews flooded nearby drains to drive the animals out, but none appeared. Animal control officers hope to catch them using cat food and sardines as bait.