The Antikythera Mechanism

Mathematicians have explained how the Antikythera Mechanism works. It's an astronomical computer from Greece circa 300 B.C.


God New Thoughts, Part I

I thought about making the speed of light infinite, but that complicated some things. So, I decided to make it this huge number... and these bastards have calculated it in less than four thousand years... damn! what a screw up!


How badly is the Zune doing, part II

I did a walk up of the common electronic stores (Best buy, CompUSA, CircuitCity) in my area, and also of other stores that could sell the Zune (Fye, Target, Walmart, Gamestop). The experience was eerily consistent. There were Zunes in all the stores, but the experience of finding it and its accessories was really bad. Sandisk had much better displays. I was sort of curious about the magnetic headphones, and thought that buying them could be a hoot when the Zune becomes what my Virgin player is now... Could not find them, not only that, couldn't find a place where they would be displayed because there wasn't one! In one store I saw the brochure for the Zune and it only displayed the advanced headphones. This never happened with the Xbox. The Zune is a flop. It will be gone in six months. Just like Origami.


When is "You're Welcome day"?

Huh?


A letter from University of Michigan President to the alumni



A part of the University of Michigan died today with the untimely passing of Bo Schembechler.

Few people exceed their reputations. Bo was the exception. He was forever dedicated to Michigan ­ to our students, our alumni and our fans.

His contributions on the athletic field are legendary. Yet Bo's impact at Michigan goes well beyond the hash marks of Michigan Stadium, and we should always remember the depth of his contributions to a university he loved.

Bo was a teacher and a mentor. He was a benefactor who believed in the promise of cancer research at Michigan. And as he showed us just this semester, he was a student eager to learn. He loved the life and vitality of a university, and he contributed mightily to the culture and traditions of the University of Michigan.

Bo believed learning and excellence went hand-in-hand. He helped to shape the lives of generations of U-M students, and that is a timeless tribute to the dedication he showed our university.

"Leadership" is part of the Michigan lexicon. Bo helped to make this so, both on and off the field.

Never again will we know the likes of Bo Schembechler. And while we are saddened and stunned by his death, we are also filled with the gratitude that comes with warm memories. As individuals and as a university community, we enjoyed the privilege of knowing Bo and benefiting from his irrepressible personality and loyalty. He made Michigan a better university.

Mary Sue Coleman
President


Blessed humor

The Holy Trinity won a free trip and had to decide where to go. God the Father said he would like to go to Africa, Jesus to Palestine, and the Holy Spirit to the Vatican. Asked why, the Holy Spirit responded: “Because I’ve never been there.”


The greatest college coach ever dies...

Bo Schembechler has died. I was there when he stepped down (or up) as coach of the Wolverines. He was a great guy. I hope this inspires them to beat Ohio State tomorrow. M Go Blue!!!


Indoctrinaction of kids is not easy

A lot of noise has gotten around Venezuela about the indoctrination intentions of the Chavista government. These fears have been rampant since day ones (as have the ones were we became communists, nationalized banks, and were denied exit from the country), but they have resurged lately thanks to a school publishing some videos from the Education Secretary Office. Now, I've always say that indoctrination is not as easy as people believe. Look at the failure rate of religious schools, it is abysmal. Clearly not worth the effort. But now there is scientific proof that kids are pretty good detecting whether something is true or bullshit.


The funniest crash!

Today I witnessed a very funny crash. This guy in a SUV, unfortunately not opposition type new and luxurious, that would have been hilarious, tried to go across from the left lane, known officially in Venezuela as the fast lane, to the shoulder, known unofficially in Venezuela as the fast lane. A Mercedes-Benz bus, unfortunately without obvious signs of being Chavista, that would have been hillarious, circulating on the shoulder, blocked him and started calling him crazy and stuff. Let me make two things clear, so far, there has been no crash, but the guy in the SUV is perpendicular to the cars and it's blocking the two lanes while the bus is blocking the shoulder. All of this in very high traffic. So, the bus driver, thinking his insulting is over, slowly advances, but the guy in the SUV, somehow not seeing the humongous bus in front, also advances and hits him right before the rear wheels. Only the left lane, where I am, is barely passable. I wanted to stay and keep laughing, comedy, after all, is tragedy that happens to somebody else, but the guys behind me where in a hurry to get somewhere... icon_lol icon_lol


How badly is the Zune doing?

What really pisses me off about companies like Sony or Microsoft is not how badly they do things, but how good they could make it. The PSP could have been a fantastic device. So could the Zune. If instead of focusing on its own petty interest (pushing Windows, screwing partners, sleep with music industry executives), Microsoft had just decided to push for the consumer in a big way, the device would have been fabulous. Here is what they should have done:
1) Mac and Linux support from the get go
2) Storage device support and an option to just put music in folders to have them play (no program necessary, but a program available for those who prefer it that way)
3) A browser for Wi-Fi
4) A way to buy music from the device through Wi-Fi
5) Real music sharing thru Wi-Fi. Limit the sharing of DRM music and videos, but not of other music and videos
6) Movies from the get go
Would this had been hard? Yeah, specially because the music industry would have sue them, but Microsoft could have used that money to defend itself and defend us! (and if push comes to shove, could have bought the whole music industry! ). But they decided to do it their own way with their own little screw ups. The device is severely more restrictive than the already restrictive iPod: Windows only, Music only plays in one computer, Only one size for everybody (and, previously, they defended choice? ). The result? look at Top Sellers in electronics at Amazon. On the top 50 (updated hourly, your mileage may vary) there are 18 Mp3 players. Of those, 12 are from Apple, 4 from Sandisk, 1 from Creative, and 1 from Zune (yes, Microsoft doesn't want you to know they make the Zune, they want to create a "brand" and they think you are dumb). The Zune comes in at number 14 (this is only two days after launch). They beat the Creative and most of the Sandisk players (the only ones that work with Mac or Linux), but there is a Sandisk at number 7! Apple has appearances at numbers 19, 16, 11, 9, 4, 3, and 2. It's interesting that at number eleven is the 8GB Nano, almost the same prize of a Zune, less than 1/3 of its prize. There is a lesson there. Windows only in consumer space doesn't cut it anymore.


Muslims outrage by change in rape laws

Of course, the law violates their perceived right to rape women...


Opposite disappointment



The opposition in Venezuela likes to fill its mouthpieces criticizing Chavez' government for whatever they do or fail to do. Even if they do something positive (bridge over the Orinoco river), fast (work on the new viaduct), or indispensable (provisional road to the airport), opposition people try to bring it down by saying that it was started by somebody else or that it will fail at some point. Well, I am here to tell you that if the opposition was in control things could be much worse... In front of our offices at Caracas there has been a construction that has taken over a year, makes no sense at all, and is creating a tremendous traffic disruption. I know it is consider improper to criticize the "good guys", but if the people responsible for that work (Mayorship of Chacao) were in charge of the provisional road to the airport we would still be waiting for it, and the viaduct wouldn't be finish until 2010! That's one of the reasons Rosales candidacy confounds me. Who is he? How do we know he will be any better? His advertisement has sucked ass, actually the best ads against Chavez have come from an ex-chavista accused of corruption, here is a sample:



For the Spanish-challenged readers, bolsa is a Venezuelanism for dumb, so the guy cover his face so that Chavez can't see his dumb face, because that must be the reason Chavez has lied to him this past 8 years! It is great and to the point. Unfortunately, the candidate leaves a lot to be desired. But the Rosales candidacy is just incomprehensible. Why, exactly, is he a candidate and what does he expect to get? Does he believe there was cheating in the referendum? Does he think he can prevent cheating in the next elections? Why? How? They have accepted the fingerprinting machines are now are saying that these do not reveal the sequence of the vote and have nothing to do with cheating, that they are only used to scare government workers. For some reason, that conclusion seems to have been made by the same kind of people that are managing the work in front of the our offices. At the end, I agree with the party Acción Democratica, it makes no sense to participate in a fixed contest.


My daughter just said...

... But when we grow up we will no longer believe in Santa Claus!


Ban organized religion!

I agree with Elton John. Religion should be banned from all public places. It should only be practiced in the privacy of homes or well-marked places of worship. Anyone talking about God should be forbidden to enter politics or public entertainment in any other form.


Zune not out, but already crashing!



Even the person in the picture feels the pain! So, a guy walks into a Bestbuy with the intention of preordering a Zune. Because Best Buy sucks he manages to walk with one. But he can't install it! Now, I know the Microsoft fanboys are out in force about the Zune, they do it so badly that it seems like they are paid by the company, so before they come here, let me add: I know programs can have bugs, I know that it may be a bad Windows install (Flying Spaghetti Monster knows there are tons of those), I know that isn't technically a crash... but... couldn't that error message be a tad more helpful? Typical Microsoft crap. That's why I call it Micro$ucks. The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they start making vacuum cleaners


Test your musical skills

I got excellent music skills! Who would have thunk it?


Toilet Phobia: a crippling problem.



One reason McDonald is successful is for the consistency of its toilet facilities... That came out wrong. Anyway, we all hate to poop in strange places, but for some people it can be a real problem.


Cubans in Miami have their way with Castro



Unfortunately, it was just a sculpture by Daniel Edwards. He is famous for a nude sculpture of Britney Spears giving birth and a nude bust of Hillary Clinton. His initial intention was to have the sculpture installed in New York's Central Park as a tribute for the blind friendship between Harlem and the Cuban Mafia Boss, but a radio station in Miami flew him to hear stories of Castro's cruel reign on Cuba. After the heart wrenching experience he gave the sculpture to the people in Miami who had a nice ceremony to dump the sculpture into a trash truck. Now they are looking for a way to have Castro visit Miami...


This is everywhere today...




How does Fidel Smell?

Fidel, you ol' fart
Bit of a rogue, ol' Fidel. One of the best "gotchas" ever pulled by one ruler on another was the Mariel boatlift during Carter's term. Jimmy Carter, bless his heart, was on the human rights path, and the Cuban exiles demanded that Castro release all his prisoners. So he did. Including the criminals and the insane. It took ages to get it all sorted out--cost Bill Clinton the governorship of Arkansas and was part of the reason Carter lost the Presidency. Further misadventures followed, notably the Elian Gonzalez case, when the Cuban exile community, once more behaving in a dippily irrational fashion, drove American public opinion to side with Fidel.



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