Friday, September 30, 2011

Awesome Photography: an Albino Hummingbird

Utterly breathtaking.  More here about the 15-year-old photographer who captured such spectacular images.

Life Imitates Satire: Al Qaeda Slams Iran for "Ridiculous" 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

This isn't completely a new idea, but the latest iteration has hit the news here:
In the latest issue of the al Qaeda English-language magazine "Inspire", an author appears to take offense to the "ridiculous" theory repeatedly spread by Ahmadinejad that the 9/11 terror attacks were actually carried out by the U.S. government in order to provide a pretext to invade the Middle East. 
"The Iranian government has professed on the tongue of its president Ahmadinejad that it does not believe that al Qaeda was behind 9/11 but rather, the U.S. government," an article reads. "So we may ask the question: why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?" 
Though Iran was the first of the two to use the "Great Satan" as a synonym for the U.S., the author claims that Iran sees itself as a rival for al Qaeda when it comes to anti-Americanism and was jealous of the 9/11 attacks.
It's gotten to the point that the line between life and satire has more or less evaporated.  Need I remind you of this Onion video from 2008?

9/11 Conspiracy Theories 'Ridiculous,' Al Qaeda Says

Friday Fun Video: US State Capitals

It's an imperfect video, but it's still a great effort at putting together clips from dozens of movies (the entire list is here).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nerdworld Soundtrack LOL: For La Parisienne

I had never really noticed before, but OMG, THAT'S HUGH LAURIE UNDER ALL THAT MAKEUP. (And John Malkovich too, but we're all used to Malkovich doing weird stuff.)  As for why this 1992 song is on the Nerdworld Soundtrack?  Just look at the title, dude.  What better metaphor for academia than walking on broken glass?  The farther you go, the more you bleed!

Disgustingly Cute: Adorable Superheroes

Just look at this, will ya?  Even Batman is adorable despite his famous scowl.

Nerd Notes: 10 Lost Works of Literature

Just thinking about this makes my nerdy heart hurt a little -- or would, if I had a heart, which of course I don't.  Imagine too if we had more plays from ancient Greece and Rome ...  Of course, sometimes we do get lucky.

TED Talk: Bruce Schneier on Security Issues

Nerd News: Academic Crackdowns in South Korea

They're not what you may think!

Hatching a Chickensaurus

Let's hatch a chickensaurus!  Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Movie Trailer: "William Shakespeare's Coriolanus"

Ralph Fiennes's directorial debut, the film version of Shakespeare's final tragedy placed in modern dress, looks good!  The casting is great -- Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, ever-reliable character actor Brian Cox, and rising star Jessica Chastain.  Let's how Fiennes portrays the Roman general who ultimately marched against Rome itself.  The film opens in the US in December.

Euro Notes: The US, Germany, the EU Rescue Fund, and a "Stupid Idea"


Lest You Take Freedom of Religion For Granted

Read the story of an Iranian Christian who may soon be executed for apostasy.  Iran's Supreme Court has ordered Yousef Nadarkhani to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam.  He has refused.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Doctors and the AMA Split Over Obamacare

Are you surprised in the slightest?



Goofy Headline of the Day: "Why the Antichrist Matters in Politics"

Is this what actually passes for serious journalism these days at the New York Times?  Whatever.  Even more egregiously stupid?  The writer finishes the piece with this drivel: 
"Mrs. Bachmann or Mr. Perry could well ride the apocalyptic anti-statism of conservative Christians into the Oval Office. Indeed, the tribulation may be upon us."   
*facepalm* The Tribulation?  After you've spent the entire piece decrying such Armageddony excesses?  It sounds like yet another tiresome effort to turn GOP politicians into bogeymen.  Why not just give Bachmann and Perry horns and tails and pitchforks and cloven hooves and get it over with?  You know, this also sounds a lot like the wild-eyed leftist frothing about theocratic  "Christianists" taking over and turning the country into a version of "The Handmaid's Tale."  How much easier it is to do that than to face the actual danger of radical Islam, isn't it?  Oh, and for the record, my anti-statism has nothing to do with apocalyptic visions of fire and brimstone, thankyouverymuch.  It has a LOT more to do with my pocketbook and personal freedoms, mmmmkay?  When I go into the voting booth, I'm not thinking about the "end of the world," you know?

Of course, I am reminded of a friend's excellent riposte for people accusing her of various misdeeds: "That's right.  I'm the DEVIL."

On Iran, Syria, Human Rights, and Democracy

Take a look at this and at the actual testimony (in PDF).

History: The Incas and Writing

Hmmmm.  String theory!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Couch Potato Chronicles: "Terra Nova" Premieres

Well, promises, promises.  The premiere episode wasn't horrible, but it wasn't awesomely awesome either. Some of the characters already annoy me.  Still, it was new sci-fi, and there were some dinosaurs, and even if there wasn't enough dino-carnage for La Parisienne's taste and mine ("That's it?  Someone should have at least been bitten in half"), she sagely pronounced that we should give the show a chance and watch a few more episodes ... if only because Irishman Jason O'Mara is so very pretty.  (Oh, and speaking of pretty, Dignified Rant, I did see "The New Girl," and it was quirky-cute and quintessential Zooey Deschanel.)

UPDATE: LOL!  Well, yes. I consciously ignored the stupidities of the episode because I knew that if I thought too hard about it, I would be disgusted and turn off the TV.  What I wanted was lots of Jason O'Mara running through the woods killing dinosaurs.  The whole idea that he can't shoot to kill is ludicrous, frankly, but we'll see just how far his pretty face can carry the show, shall we?  In other news, the Cinema-Mad Sibling and I are hoping "Person of Interest" turns out OK, though I hesitate to hope too much.  I had more fun with the "Supernatural" season premiere that was delightfully entitled "Meet the New Boss."

Nerd News: University of Wisconsin Professor In Trouble for His "Firefly" Posters

You have got to be kidding me.  More here.  The "dirtbag" and "behaving badly" tags refer not to the professor, but to his persecutors.

Monday Therapy: Bellagio in the Backyard

Some delightful kids re-create the water shows made famous by the Bellagio in Vegas.  Technically the summer's over (September 23 was the first official day of autumn this year), so what better way to bid farewell to it?  At least it's still warm here in Nerdworld.  I want to go jacket-less as long as possible.  As for the folks in the video, full marks for creativity, ingenuity, and sheer fun.

Great Moments in Research: Mapping Zombies Worldwide

This is what happens when you ask Google Maps where zombies are.

Barcelona's Last Bullfight

The end of a centuries-old tradition as Catalonia bans bullfighting.  The argument continues, of course, about whether this is a good thing or not.

Geek News: Neutrinos, Einstein, and the Power of Experiment

This article by physics professor Michio Kaku gives us our quote of the day as well:
Reputations may rise and fall. But in the end, this is a victory for science. No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.
Heh.  Think about this the next time someone invokes authority over proof and hard evidence gathered from reproducible experimentation.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nerd Journal: Out of the Mouth of Real Friends

The following exchange transpired yesterday:

Me to Alessandra:  "Should I get a manicure?  I feel ugly."

Alessandra to me:  "You always look good.  But ... you would look even better with a manicure."

Me, laughing: "You should be a diplomat."

*proceeds to get a manicure*

Smart Vs. Wise ... and a Fatal Idea

Read this (via Pseudo-Polymath).  How many times have I told you that "smart" people can often do exceedingly stupid things when they become convinced that they're smarter (and thus wiser) than everyone else?  Know-it-alls are so annoying.  Intelligence does not equal wisdom, my darlings, though it takes a wise man or woman to know and tell the difference.  Geez, don't people know about Socrates anymore?  He basically said he was wise only because he was aware of his own ignorance.

Quirky Euro Files: Latvia's Milk-Carton Regatta

Ummm ... oooooooooooookay.  Whatever floats your boat  milk cartons!  Insane video evidence after the jump:

A Simple Question About Taiwan

The simple questions are often the hardest.

Nerd News: Two Ways In Which We Are Screwed

One: Administrative bloat and educrat-a-palooza on university campuses.
Two: Even more government meddling in K-12 education.

Couch Potato Chronicles: Come Fly With Me

I hadn't intended to check out the new TV show "Pan Am" tonight, but this review makes me think, hm, maybe I should!
Like "Mad Men," "Pan Am" is about glamour, but unlike "Mad Men" there's no critique attached: This is not a story of manufactured desire and empty illusions. The glamour in "Pan Am" may indeed be manufactured — doubly manufactured, given the re-created places and planes — but it's not empty: The show says, yes, this is as good as it looks, and it looks very good — though anyone who has flown anywhere in the last, oh, 30 years, may find it difficult to believe, or to remember, that air travel ever was this gracious, customer-friendly or fun. (We are assured, by network communiques, and a little extra research, that it was.)
Air travel used to be fun, exciting, and even glamorous?  Golly!  I do recall older people saying that back in the day, people would dress up to go to the airport.  Ah, travel before the TSA!  Oh, and the show has Michael Moseley too -- so adorable in the now-(sadly)-defunct show "Kings."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Watch This on DVD: "Dangerous Liaisons"

I had never really watched this Oscar-nominated 1988 adaptation of the play based on an 18th-century French novel, but the production's quite engaging even if the plot basically boils down to "pre-Revolution French aristocrats behaving badly."  As for whether they ultimately get away with it, you'll have to see the film.

Glenn Close is excellent as the scheming, heartless marquise who thinks nothing of destroying lives and reputations for her own personal entertainment, and John Malkovich is a riveting and subtly underplayed anti-hero, the notoriously depraved nobleman who plays the marquise's deadly games with her when not pursuing his own goal: seducing a noblewoman famed for her virtue (Michelle Pfeiffer) just to see if he can.  Amusing bonus: Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves looking impossibly young.  Great costuming too for everyone, even as it highlights the corruption under all that elegance and sophistication.  Here's the trailer, which itself is a lot of fun, especially at the end.

"I have this appalling reputation."

The Economist: Why the US Should Support Taiwan

I'm glad somebody's saying it while a bunch of others seem to be all for throwing Taiwan, its democracy, and its 23 million people under the bus.
But to walk away from Taiwan would in effect mean ceding to China the terms of unification. Over the long run, that will not improve Sino-American relations. Five thousand years of Chinese diplomatic history suggest it is more likely to respect a strong state than a weak and vacillating one. Appeasement would also probably increase China’s appetite for regional domination. Its “core interests” in the area seem to be growing. To Chinese military planners, Taiwan is a potential base from which to push out into the Pacific. At minimum, that would unsettle Japan to the north and the Philippines to the south. 
... To abandon Taiwan now would bring out the worst in China, and lead the region’s democracies to worry that America might be willing to let them swing too. That is why, as long as China insists on the right to use force in Taiwan, America should continue to support the island.
Well, DUH!

Quote of the Day: Clinton on the Middle East

Quoth Bill Clinton recently:
"The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [Ariel] Sharon's stroke."
Oh, come on, Bubba!  So God doesn't want Middle East peace?  But I thought Jesus supported Abbas's UN bid for a Palestinian state!  Of course, this discussion so far only covers 2 of the 3 members of the Trinity.  No word yet on what the Holy Spirit thinks.  I repeat my disdain for people who muddy up foreign policy by invoking religion, especially where it's completely unnecessary and irrelevant.

Bibi on the UN: "Theater of the Absurd"

Well, he's not wrong about that!  Netanyahu's entire speech is here, but I give you the quote below:

Medvedev asks Putin to Run for President of Russia

Vlad is back.  Oh, boy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Predictable Ahmadinejad Antics at the UN

I've never had much respect for the UN, and I obviously think it's ludicrous to give a spotlight and soapbox to this odious, hateful, morally repugnant little man.  The only decent thing to do is what disgusted diplomats from the US, UK, France, Germany, and other nations did: leave.

Oh, don't fret, Mahmoud.  Columbia University still wuvs you.

Couch Potato Chronicles: A New Season of an Old Guilty Pleasure

Last season ended with a bang (and a great ensemble cast of old favorites like Castiel, Balthazar, Crowley, and Bobby), so La Parisienne and I are looking forward to the premiere of the new season tonight!

Friday Fun Video: Gamer Commute

Internet personality FreddieW has a hilarious new video. How many gaming references can you spot?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Euro-Skeptics = Captain Malcolm Reynolds?

Life imitates "Firefly" lines once more: "It's a real burden being right so often."

Nerd Analysis: Obama's Middle East Foreign Policy

Professor Shai Feldman (Co-Chair of the Crown-Belfer Middle East Project at the Harvard Kennedy School) has some analysis to go with the Palestinian statehood efforts at the UN.  Here is a piece of it:
... brilliant speechmaking became a substitute for establishing policy and devising strategy. While masterfully articulating his understanding of Arab-Israeli realities, Obama’s speeches rarely provided or were followed up by an action plan incorporating practical steps that would enable the U.S. to achieve the administration’s stated objectives. Indeed, the administration seemed to have lacked any strategy for moving the parties to where they did not volunteer to go or motivating them to assume risks they were not prepared to take.
Empty words?  Well, DUH.  Not, of course, that I think the speechifying really is all that "brilliant" or "masterful."

Couch Potato Chronicles: Promises, Promises

Jason O'Mara promises lots and lots of rip-roaring dinosaur action in his new TV show, "Terra Nova."  I'm trying (really, really trying) not to get my hopes up.  Are the promises just sweet nothings? Or will we actually get some awesome, glorious dino-carnage every single episode?   Dang it, O'Mara!   Mama needs new sci-fi!

History, Mangled and Not: Gavrilo Princip's Sandwich and Start of World War I


Jesus at the UN

You know, I really wish people wouldn't mix religion and international politics.  Each one is hard enough on its own.  Bringing the "WWJD" idea to the UN is a seriously bad idea.  Besides, isn't it kind of ... um ... presumptuous to say "Hey, Jesus would totally support the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN"?  So ... are you now saying that everybody who professes to be a Christian must also support this (let's get real here --deeply flawed and probably doomed) bid? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

LOL: IKEA's Man-Nursery

Sexist?  Hilarious?  Brilliant?  All three?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Awesome Photography: the Orion Nebula

Utterly breathtaking.  Be sure to click the image for a larger version.

The Glass Igloos of Finland

A most unusual vacation spot!

Arrrrr, Ye Scurvy Dogs!

September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Monday Therapy: Awesome Nerd Prank with Professor Conan the Barbarian

This is awesomely awesome: Some pranksters at Trinity College Dublin put up a new faculty profile webpage in the Department of English for one "Dr. Conan T. Barbarian."

Check it out: Professor Barbarian's dissertation was entitled "To Hear The Lamentation of Their Women: Constructions of Masculinity in Contemporary Zamoran Literature."

UPDATE: Here is a cached version of the webpage that has now been taken offline.  After the fold I copied and pasted the glorious, glorious text.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Movie News: Taiwan, Aborigines, and Japanese Colonialism

Here's something to watch:
A film that depicts Taiwan’s half-century of Japanese colonial rule from the point of view of a fierce tribe of indigenous headhunters is generating a surge of national pride on the island. “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale” was surrounded by buzz at this year’s Venice Film Festival. But that was nothing compared with its reception in Taiwan since opening on September 9th. 
Made by an acclaimed Taiwanese director, Wei Te-sheng, with John Woo, a Hollywood force, as producer, the film has already broken records. At a cost of $25m, it is the most expensive Taiwanese film ever made. The opening-day takings of NT$23m ($790,000), for the first of what will be two instalments, were the highest ever for a Taiwanese film. More box-office records are bound to follow.

Nerd Analysis: An Econ Prof On the End of Borders Bookstores

Here's an interesting post by an economics professor.  The comments are largely interesting as well.  You may recall one author's take on the end of the Borders chain.

Fontastic! If Fonts Could Talk

Comic Sans has something to say.

Movie Girl Talk: The Splendors of Tom Hardy

There is an entire article entitled "Why We Love Tom Hardy," which strikes me as really amusing.  Best bit? This hilarious quote:
 ... for most of us, the moment that clinched our Tom Hardy love involved a grenade launcher and the word "darling." 
Well, that's going to be hard to beat, isn't it?  Especially since Hardy ab-libbed the "darling." (The script had "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, Arthur.")  Frankly, Hardy's Eames was one of the best things about "Inception" and far more interesting than DiCaprio.  As for Hardy, I have to love a guy who can say this and mean it:
"There comes a point where if you want to participate at a certain level in anything, you cannot just turn up and be respected ... A lot of the people who I think are brilliant -- and who I want to be more like -- work their f***ing arses off constantly."
Well, YEAH.

When Twitter Backfires

Sometimes the best weapon really is humor.  Every joke is a tiny revolution, after all.  Laugh on!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Loneliest Tree in the World?

Awwwwwwwwwww.  It's missing its Entwives.

Fun with Medical Insurance Bureaucracy

Have some fun with new medical insurance codes.  I especially like Y93J4 (getting crushed by a tuba) and W6133XA (getting pecked by a chicken).  Hmmmm, I wonder what the code is for injuring yourself while banging your head against the desk/wall after hearing the latest economic news.

What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It?

Seriously?   That's the best you can do?  On the other hand, I'm not feelin' the love, so does that mean I don't have to do a darn thing?  Fine by me.  "Love" and blind emotionalism have no place in serious discussions of policy.  Shoot, even a political body as recognizably idiotic as the US Congress isn't falling for this one.

Nerd News: Why Is Columbia University an Ahmadinejad Fanboy?

Guess who's coming to dinner.  I think I've lost my appetite.  Disgusting.

HopeChange Chronicles: Gloomy Thoughts on Ghastly Foreign Policy

*Sigh.*  Making a dangerous world even more dangerous.

History Lesson: Women in World War II

Take a look at this remarkable collection of photos

Some of the women you will have heard of, others not.  The first one you meet is Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a Russian sniper who racked up 309 confirmed German kills and so became the killingest female sniper in history.  The second photo gives you the infamous Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.  Elsewhere in the photo collection you will see, in moral and historical terms, the good, the bad, and the ugly from every aspect and location of the war.  (The "you go, girl" tag is obviously only for the good ones.)  In an historical event as massive as WWII, one tends to forget that it was composed of individuals.  This photo essay is a reminder of those individuals and the many roles they took.

Hello Kitty Monstrosity of the Day: Crime and Punishment

Just read this news story and note the related photo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nerd News: Idiot Student Misunderstands Jewish Professor, Accuses Him of Rabid Anti-Semitism

What a twitchy little moron who has no inkling what context means.

Disgustingly Cute: the Beluga Whale and the Mariachi Band

Nerd News: Administrators Ate My Tuition!

Again with the administrative bloat and its horrible cost!  I keep going on and on about this, and it's depressing and infuriating.  Here in a poli sci professor's article is more evidence that administrative bloat is killing higher ed:

Cranmer's Law of Social-Political Debate

Now that he has articulated it, it is patently obvious.  Add this to Godwin's Law, of course.

Geek LOL: Cooking with a MacBook Air

Zany fun by Japanese Mac owner Mochrom (his blog here with even more photos and video).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Margaret Thatcher-Themed London Nightclub

Welcome to Maggie's!   Here's the official website.  I hope this drives leftists crazy as much as leftist Mao- or Che-themed clubs drive me crazy.  "The lady's not for turning ... !"

Taiwanese News Animators vs. Ron Paul


Nerd News: Amazon May Launch Netflix-y Service for E-Books


Public Service Announcement: Reverse Discrimination Is Still Discrimination

I'm looking at you, University of Wisconsin!  And yet ... is anyone really surprised who knows anything about higher ed today?

Parenting Win: Lunch Bag Art

This is awesome!  It's almost as awesome as this guy!

I Didn't Know Hobbits Lived in Wales

Did you?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

It doesn't seem like ten years have passed.  But I remember a sunny late summer day much like today, with blue skies and bright air, when I was thinking about school and making coffee before idly deciding to turn on the morning news as I often did (and do) during a bit of breakfast.  Things were never the same again.  

Today you'll read and hear all sorts of comments and retrospectives and analyses (and "analyses").  Some will be good, some bad, some foolish, some infuriating, some optimistic, some pessimistic; some will cover themselves with quiet humane dignity and others with cheap vulgar shame.  I'll leave you instead with some that remind us what courage looks like and who the real heroes were.  See this profile of a remarkable individual. (Note too this sobering assessment by a professor of history.)  I'll say this, though: in the aftermath, everyone -- everyone -- showed their true colors.  

UPDATE 1:  See what Jon Stewart said right after the attacks.  I've never loved Jon as much as I did when he said this, and regardless what you might think of him as a rather lefty comedian, you'll want to take a look.

"I wanted to tell you why I grieve, but why I don't despair."

UPDATE 2: See Gary Sinise's personal perspective.

The Pope Benedict XVI Teddy Bear

Look at this delightful limited-edition teddy bear made for the pope's impending visit to Germany.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Movie Review: "The Debt"

Caveat: I couldn't help comparing Helen Mirren's performance here with her turn in 2010's "Red" (which I loved).  Although the butt-kicking was a little more obvious in last year's flick, Mirren turns in another fine performance in "The Debt," and once more I declare that I want to be Helen Mirren when I grow up.  No, really!  She just gets more splendid and more gorgeous with age.  She's 66 and utterly magical while effortlessly running rings around the latest undifferentiated crop of Hollywood starlets.  She's worth countless numbers of those vapid creatures. You want class and talent and a core of steel?  You look at Dame Helen Mirren.  She's also worth countless numbers of self-proclaimed feminists too, while I'm at it.  And -- yes -- I pretty much decided to go see "The Debt" just on the knowledge that she was in it.  I didn't really know that much about the plot other than it was an espionage thriller set in two time frames and involved East Berlin.  OK, I said, who's in the cast?  A lot of people, actually ... and Helen Mirren.  Did you say Helen Mirren?  *grabs purse and heads out the door*

Since I did label this post a "movie review" and not a "panegyric to Helen," I suppose I should get on with it.  "The Debt" is indeed a thriller constructed with a premise of the past catching up with the present as 3 Mossad operatives face in 1997 what they did 30 years past in East Berlin as they hunted Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel (a sadist who had engaged in human vivisection, chillingly played by Jesper Christiansen, and clearly modeled on Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death").  

Headline of the Day: "Drunk Swedish elk found in apple tree near Gothenburg."

No, really!  There's even an incriminating photo of the elk that partied a little too hard.  I bet it was an undergrad.

MM in the Kitchen: Blueberry Cream Scones

For your delicious Saturday morning delight.

Zero-Grav Kittehs: I Can Haz Graveetee?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Movie Trailer: Warrior

"Warrior" with Tom Hardy (so delightful as Eames in "Inception") and Joel Edgerton opens tomorrow, and I'm excited!  What do you think?

Quote of the Day: Latest Blather About Jobs

I'm not even going to bother with Obama's speech tonight.  Yadda yadda yadda.  I'll give you this observation, though:
Let’s face it: If the president had a plan to create jobs, he wouldn’t have kept it under wraps until now. Why take flak from Republicans and heat from the public if you have what it takes to turn the economy and labor market around? 
Barack Obama doesn’t have a plan to create jobs. Nor is that his job. The government’s role is to provide an environment in which the private sector will create them. That should be his goal.
Well, DUH.  But he won't grasp this because it doesn't hit into his ideology.  We don't need him to do anything -- just get out of the way, really.

Needlework and Nazis

See this very cleverly artistic act of defiance by a British POW.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Chick Beer: A Lager for the Ladies

You've got to be kidding me.  Here's the ad copy:
Chick Beer finally gives women a beer choice that suits their tastes and their style. The bottle is designed to reflect the beautiful shape of a woman in a little black dress.  The six-pack looks like you are carrying your beer in a hip stylish purse.  Chick’s unique reflective bottle blings you up!  It’s fun, fabulous, and female!
I don't know about you, but I find this insulting, sexist, vapid, and STUPID.  Yeah, because the ladies haven't been drinking beer for millennia because we've all been waiting for it to show up in a pink frilly six-pack that looks like a FRIGGIN' GORRAM PURSE.  Idiotic packaging.  I feel like walking up to Chick Beer and punching it in the face -- that's the kind of effect that the packaging is having on me.  What next?  Will the bottles look like lipsticks and be laced with Midol and Pamprin?  Pffffffft.

Look, this whole thing consciously creates a gender rift in beer where none had really existed before!  Every beer-drinking girl I know talks about beer, not turning it into some act of gender revolution or whatever.  I don't know about you, but I don't look at a Sam Adams and whine, "Only a guy can drink that!  I'll have to wait for a beer called Abigail Adams.  Boo hoo!  The beermakers of the world are clearly a bunch of male sexist pigs who don't care about meeeeee."  Guess what?  They shouldn't care about whether you have ovaries or not!  The brewers of the world should only care about one thing: making awesome beer.  That's it.  Make great beer and everybody will show up and buy some.  Everybody, guys and girls.  Meanwhile, let the whiny chicks go drink fruity cocktails or wine coolers or something.  Anyway, real girls drink Guinness -- am I right, La Parisienne?

If you want a beer ad that might actually make me want to try the product, look at this Aussie gem:

Smoke Should Be Only For Barbecue

Take a look at this terrifying map of the current wildfires sweeping across Texas, courtesy of La Parisienne.  The Lone Star State's disastrous drought -- the worst in 50 years -- has made it a tinderbox ready for wildfires.

UPDATE 2:  See just how fast the wildfire at Bastrop can move:

UPDATE 1: The map was scary enough, but the video ... Here is footage from the fires at Bastrop outside Austin.  Overall in the last week, some 1000 homes and 100,000 acres have gone up in smoke.  Utterly horrifying.

Life Imitates "Jurassic Park"

Didn't anybody working on this project watch the classic 1993 flick "Jurassic Park"?  I'll even quote Dr. Malcolm: "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn't stop to think if they should."  Heh.  On the other hand, seeing a T-Rex eat a slimy lawyer was kind of uproariously amusing.  Golly, I love this movie.  (Plus -- hey! -- Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum!)

Life Imitates Student Management

I once told a colleague flustered with trying to give announcements to groups of students: "Don't ever make announcements unless they're important, and don't speak often.  If you talk all the time about things that aren't really essential, then nobody will listen when you are.  They have to know that when you get up to talk, it matters."  I am, therefore, not in the least surprised to read this.

LOL: Hipster Microbes

Either someone made an unintentionally hilarious pop culture-licious headline or someone has a delightful sense of humor: look at this headline.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Nerd News: Thoughts on Plagiarism

Read this, especially the bit at the end.

In Case of Vampire ...

Delightful bit of advertising for the TV show "True Blood."  Kudos.

Frequent Flyer Miles Do Not Apply

Since some of you might be traveling for the Labor Day holiday weekend, here's a travel guide to 10 fictional worlds.  Bon voyage, kids!

Nerd Journal: I Must Have This Coffee Cup

No further comment needed?  LOL!

MM in the Kitchen: Eggs-cellent Ideas

Eggs don't have to be boring!  Check out these great recipes.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

LOL: Shaw and Churchill

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend ... if you have one.
-George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill 
Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one.
-Winston Churchill in response

Geek Fun: the LED Viking Helmet

Someone clearly went (brilliantly) berserk.

*Insert Tumbleweeds* The Texas Drought

Not good at all.

Actually, This Explains A Lot

Your leader might be a psychopath.  I'm pretty sure this applies to more than just the business community.  (Still, La Parisienne, it's time to re-watch "American Psycho"!)

Disgustingly Cute: Danbo the Tiny Box Man

Look at this adorable set of images on Flickr. UPDATE:  Link fixed.  Oops!

Nerd News: An Open Letter to College Freshmen

Pretty much, yeah.  There are some horrible people out there, even if they happen to be smart.  Intelligence is no guarantee that someone is not an evil troll.  I have to say, though, you will find some of your professors, lecturers, TAs, grad assistants, and instructors to be great people too -- but you have to figure out who's good and who's not and just how much of their opinions to take.  Imagine that -- you have to be a grown-up and exercise your own sober judgment!  Also: it takes some brain cells not to get sucked in whatever idiotic fad is current in campus culture.  THINK!  Oh, and if you ever, ever start thinking that Mao or Stalin was an OK kind of guy who's just been misunderstood, I will personally flunk your butt so fast you won't know what happened.

Quote of the Day: Libertarianism and Ron Paul

Obviously you don't have to agree, but here's a hilariously snarky quote:
 If you were an evil genius determined to promote the idea that libertarianism is a morally dubious ideology of privilege poorly disguised as a doctrine of liberation, you'd be hard pressed to improve on Ron Paul.
I'm not a fan of the man.  You'll remember how I summed up Paul at the first GOP debate.  He makes libertarianism look ... well, weird.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

LOL Nerd News: The "Grad Men" Campaign

Some enterprising students from Atlanta have mounted a campaign to get Don Draper of "Mad Men" as their Commencement speaker.  No, they don't want Jon Hamm the actor.  They want Hamm to show up in character as that most dashingly naughty creative director of a fictional 1960s ad agency.  Come on, AMC and Jon Hamm!  This would be some truly kick@$$ PR.  Check out the official website and awesome video below.  These students get full marks for creativity, initiative, and can-do spirit!  Besides, they're taking Don's own advice.  Remember what he said in the episode "The Summer Man"?  It was this: "You want some respect?  Go out and get it for yourself."