31 July 2005

When Animals Don’t Attack

... it can look like this.

Anybody know if the stripes fool the tiger into thinking the pigs are tigers or something? I’d think the piglet smell would be a dead (no pun intended) giveaway...

26 July 2005

Pardon My Cynicism

... but if something like this happened at an Israeli airport, do you think there would be the same mobilization of Jordanian (or Egyptian or Lebanese or Syrian) medical personnel? I'm not saying that I'm confident they wouldn’t send help, but... I think it’s kinda sad that the question of a one-sided response even comes to mind.

Update, 07/26/05 2:30 PM — Well, the plane didn’t crash... looks like it just blew a tire and flipped or something, and all the crew is safe and healthy. Still... the Israeli crews were prepping to help, which IMO is a worthwhile gesture of goodwill.

(Article from AP)

Roberts – Highly Entertaining

The blogosphere debate over the impending SCOTUS confirmation process for recently-nominated John Roberts and how it will play out is in full swing, with voices from the left and the right weighing in. Many on the left are concerned about Roberts not being sufficiently forthcoming about his philosophical and ideological bent during Senate questioning, and most on the right seem to be cautiously optimistic that Democrats will forgo the filibuster and permit the (likely successful) Senate confirmation vote for Roberts.

However, I'm really not qualified to speak to any of that, save to express my hope that, whatever the outcome, Roberts's nomination is permitted to come to a vote. What I am writing about here is Basil's Blog, which I just ran across. Fortuitously, the first post I ran across was this one—I actually laughed out loud at a couple of points. Note that those leaning left may not appreciate this all that much, but those in the middle, on the right, or who are comfortably politically indifferent should be... well... highly entertained. ;-)

(Incidentally, check out the ‘El Edwards’ link early on in the post... 's a couple of shades above mildly cool.)

17 July 2005

Bungie Python

Well, I’ll be darned if I can remember where I was linked to this... I may have just been doing a Google search for “Not Being Seen,” but I’m pretty darn sure that I was pointed to it from somewhere. Ah well, it’s darn funny anyways!

By the by, if anybody out there has a copy of the original bit handy, do me a favor and hook me up... I couldn't find it on Google. Much obliged!

14 July 2005

A Whole New Meaning To ‘Picture-In-Picture’

Off of AP this afternoon:

At last, a way to end squabbles over which TV channel to watch - without buying a second set. Sharp Corp. has developed a liquid-crystal display that shows totally different images to people viewing the screen from the left and the right.

One person can be surfing the Internet, using the display as a PC screen, while another watches a downloaded movie or TV broadcast. It also works for watching two TV channels: One person can watch baseball while another watches a soap opera.

The “two-way viewing-angle LCD,” announced by the Japanese consumer electronics maker Thursday, will go into mass production this month and will cost roughly twice as much as a standard display.

According to the article, the new technology will still allow for a single show/screen to be displayed in both directions during those rare moments of channel surfing synchrony. (This is a rather obvious feature on reflection, since it likely just sends the same signal both directions. <shrug>) Aside from the issue of overlapping soundtracks, which likely will require one or both users to wear headphones, I think this is a really sweet piece of technology. It’s like those things that you can turn back and forth and different pictures show up, except that you can play videogames on it. ;-)

Something like this could also really revolutionize net parties by permitting two people to play at one monitor. Assuming the unit has two separate video inputs (and that they’re making a VGA/DVI compatible version) each person could connect his own computer (no offense to Annarchy :-P) and play from either side of the single two-way monitor. Super space-saver! Multi-console multiplayer games (e.g., Halo) might also work out well, though the audio conflict might be harder to resolve (convert from RCA to 1/8” headphone plug and route through a four-way splitter to individual headsets).

Regardless of the various minor issues, the boon to domestic tranquility from this thing is undeniable. Er, well... it’ll do okay until TV watcher number three gets home. :-P

13 July 2005

A CWRU-Born Timewaster

Derb on the Corner linked to this today. Good to see they’re still keeping the Comp Sci’s busy over there. :-P

06 July 2005

Alcohol Might Actually Stunt Your Growth

I ran across an interesting article while doing a literature search for my research—here’s a link; click on “Article via ScienceDirect” in the page that loads and then scroll down on the subsequent page to read the abstract for the paper. Those not connected to a university network will probably only have access to the abstract (you can try clicking the ‘PDF’ link on the right side of the page for the full text), but that should be sufficient to get the (admittedly rather technical) gist across.

In more normal language, they basically found that when they dosed rats with ethanol for long periods of time, it threw their hormone balance out of whack in a manner consistent with pituitary malfunction (decreased testosterone levels and improperly managed LH and FSH). They observed that the pituitary cells didn’t appear to be dying though, which implies that the damage may not be permanent. However, since the pituitary produces human growth hormone (HGH), which is critical for proper development and has to be carefully regulated, I’d say it’s quite possible that the alcohol-related damage could cause physical maturation problems for those who drink during puberty and adolescence.

An interesting corollary study that could be done in humans would be to examine the relationship between ultimate maximum adult height and alcohol consumption level. There’d probably have to be various control factors introduced (e.g., the height of each individual’s parents in order to adjust for intrinsic genetic differences), but it’d be neat (and informative!) to see any correlation that might show up. A similar experiment could also be done in rats, as long as there’s a similiar hormone produced by the murine pituitary with a similar mode of action (which, since according to this article there’s a receptor for MGH, it’s likely that MGH itself exists); the correlated variables would have to be things that MGH is known to influence (e.g., body girth or body length).

All in all, I draw from this the conclusion that heavy drinking is both a result and a cause of stupidity. :-P