Tag Archives: Cool Stuff


Really, really cool.

Kvick Tänkare

Nice video about the war on drugs (h/t daily dish)

The reliability/credibility ratings most intelligence personnel use in the U.S. is bunk and information to that effect has been known since 1975.

I want one….now!  And please don’t burst my bubble by telling me how impractical it is.

I have no idea what this game will be but the promo video has a 1984 feel to it and I’m a sucker for distopian entertainment….

Yesterday the Swedes officially ended conscription and are now converting to an all volunteer force.

Machine teaches men what it feels like to menstruate.  And why would I want to know that?  I also don’t know what it feels like to have hemorrhagic fever, is some knucklehead going to make a simulator for that too?

Kvick Tänkare

Michael Roberto thinks about the BP oil spill and talks about the characteristics of catastrophic failure in organizations.

If soccer (uh..football) was actually like this you couldn’t rip me away from the TV screen

Ah…nothing like a little xenophobia to demonstrate to the world that we’re the bestest, greatest, most perfect nation god ever gave the earth…(h/t Balko)

At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

“Go home,” several shouted from the crowd.

“Get out,” others shouted.

In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called “The Way.” Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

“I’m a Christian,” Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

(uh…for normal people – well, as much as normal people would be part of an angry mob – this would be a big OOOPS moment with shamed faces to spare.  Not this group of winners, though…twshiloh)

But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.

“I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here,” a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.

(Because it’s not really about religion, is it?  It’s about THEM.  They’re coming to get you Barbara.  What a bunch of douches.  Of course, you could say that since the Egyptians were there to protest the very same thing they were just getting their karmic rewards…)

This past weekend I just about got my ass kicked by a beholder.  If that sentence makes any sense to you at you, you can read the session report here.

Here’s a poster for that IT geek in your life…

Military / Swedish time waster of the day

Hey, it’s Friday.  What not waste a bit of time seeing if you’ve got what it takes upstairs to be a Swedish officer.

Here’s a test (based on the Swedish recruitment tests) in English.  The program kept freezing up at the end for me but it was pretty fun.  I enjoyed the background noise to give you the feeling that you’re in a classroom…And great proctor…

Am I the only person to have missed this?

Too bad it came too late for the War of the Worlds live blogging on Halloween.

Not a bad deal…the guy made this movie for $300 and parleyed it into a $30 million deal.  That’s Uruguayan ingenuity for you…

Holy crap!  Who knew the Uruguayans could rock?!  I’d actually put this song in my rotation.

(Can you call it a music video when it’s just about the same length as the movie?)

A little comedy

If you aren’t familiar with Monty Python and their ‘Dead Parrot Sketch‘ I’m not sure we can be considered to be of the same species but…

Important news was announced recently when the ancestor of that sketch was found among jokes written in 4th Century Greece.  I’m a total sucker for this sort of stuff and so was thrilled to see this link for a ‘virtual book’ which not only discusses the context of the find but also has modern translations of the jokes and video of a British comedian performing some of them in front of an audience.

As another note, check out the technology that underlies this site:  Yudu.

Those Swedes are brilliant

Just when you think you got those Swedes figured out they dazzle you again.

Case in point…Typealyzer.com developed by a Swedish venture which purports to tell you the personality type of the person who wrote a particular blog.  It certainly has some potential for sparking some interesting conversations when comparing various points of view within the blogosphere.

I put this blog in there and came up with:

INTP: The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Now, I find this interesting because earlier in the year I took the Keirsey Personality test and came up with the same assessment:  INTP.

People like me apparently make up only 3-5% of the U.S. population so this blog is really giving you a peek at the inner workings of that small subset of fellow citizens who are interested in not only the significant events of our day but also divining the future from bits of twine and seeking that pith helmet wearing duck that is prophesied to bring the world together in peace and unlimited supplies of skittles candy.  Ok, just kidding about that bit, I’m not that interested in significant events of our day.

Left 4 Dead


I just played the demo of Left 4 Dead which is a first person shooter with a ’28 Days Later’/Zombie feel to it.  This is one of those games that makes me wish I had a 60 inch monitor and home theater set up but even on my puny 17 inch laptop screen it conveys a creepy feel.

The controls are easy enough even for a klutz like me (none of this ‘backspace twice, right mouse, left mouse and F1 all at the same time to move forward’ nonsense) and the game can be played in either single or multiplayer mode.  Of course, multiplayer mode is where the game makes its money because cooperation is the key to success, both as the humans and the zombies (yes, you can play as zombies as well).

The game is made by Valve and so if you’ve player Team Fortress 2, you’ll be pretty familiar with the control gameplay but the atmosphere makes it a totally different game.

Check out the trailer:

Evil Tomte in Argentina!!!

The Sun is reporting that a ‘creepy gnome’ is terrorizing a town in Argentina. Fortunately, this is the sort of thing that allows me to apply my valuable knowledge of Scandinavian folklore to the problem. The creature is, in fact, a tomte.

A tomte is a

mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore.  Tomte or Nisse were believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep.”

Now, I have no idea how one of these found its way from Sweden but pictures don’t lie.  This wouldn’t be a big problem if these tomtes were nice all the time.  They do have a dark side…

Despite his smallness, the tomte possessed an immense strength. Even though he was protective and caring he was easy to offend, and his retributions ranged from a stout box on the ears to the killing of livestock or ruining of the farm’s fortune. The tomte was a traditionalist who did not like changes in the way things were done at the farm. Another easy way to offend him was rudeness: farm workers swearing, urinating in the barns, or not treating the creatures well would be soundly thrashed.

Now, I should say that I consulted an expert (my wife) who said:

I watched the film and I have to say, I don’t buy it. I’m not sure what it is moving across the lawn, but I know a tomte walk when I see one, and that’s not one.

This actually raised some additional questions with me.  In particular, I wanted to know how exactly she came by this insider information of what a tomte walk looks like.  When I pressed her on this point, she backpedaled but I’m skeptical.

Look, I’ve established, beyond any doubt, in this blog that King Carl Gustav of Sweden is insanely evil and has been working on raising an army of flesh eating zombies to fulfill his plans of world domination.  Now, I think this is evidence that he also has enlisted tomtes as commandos to infiltrate the centers of world power (and remote Argentinian villages).

I’m also beginning to suspect my wife of being involved…Save yourself…I’ll keep blogging as long as possible.  Watch the Swedes!


Wild Mushroom Hunting

I feared this fall was too dry for us to find any wild mushrooms this year but I was pleasantly surprised to pull into the driveway of my fortress of semi-solitude last week to find this…

It is a Chicken of the Woods which I blogged about last year.  Last year we found it in early September so it appears that these have a fairly wide time span at least in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  This one was perfectly ripe (if that’s how you refer to mushrooms ready to harvest) and we estimated it weighed around three pounds.

Now, at least in our area, there really are no other mushrooms out there that you can mix this one up with.  If you’re lucky enough to find one, do yourself a BIG favor and harvest it.  I’m not sure if we’ve been lucky or if these mushrooms just aren’t too appealing to bugs and animals but it doesn’t look like many other things see this as a food source.  Last year, one of the mushrooms looked like a beetle had bored through portions of one of our mushrooms but we cut those portions out without any difficulty.

These mushrooms freeze and store VERY well so we’re expecting to be able to produce some nice meals througout the holiday season.  What we do is cut the mushroom up into smallish pieces:

Then, we sweat/sautee some onions in some butter (we did a 4 to 1 ratio of mushroom to onions – we figure we can always add more onions later if we’d like) and once they are soft and translucent we add the mushrooms.  You’ll need to add more butter since the mushrooms will absorb it.  Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until the color of the mushroom become more vibrant.  Once the mushrooms are heated through, take them away from the heat.  The color will dull as it cools.  Once the temperature has reduced sufficiently, put your mushrooms in ziplocks and pack ’em away in the freezer.

They’re great in just about anything although I’d recommend you don’t overwhelm their flavor with strong sauces or spices.  They do have a nice, subtle poultry flavor and great texture.  Perfect for a Thanksgiving meal.