Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.
network solutions made me a child pornographer!
The sordid details...
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The Carbolic Smoke Ball
Superb satire, and based in Pittsburgh!
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Thursday, December 28, 2006
A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries...
English subtitles in Hong Kong films:
1. I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.
2. Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.
3. Gun wounds again?
4. Same old rules: no eyes, no groin.
5. A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries.
6. Damn, I'll burn you into a BBQ chicken!
7. Take my advice, or I'll spank you without pants.
8. Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?
9. Quiet or I'll blow your throat up.
10. You always use violence. I should've ordered glutinous rice chicken.
11. I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out!
12. You daring lousy guy.
13. Beat him out of recognizable shape!
14. I have been scared shitless too much lately.
15. I got knife scars more than the number of your leg's hair!
16. Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected.
17. The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?
18. How can you use my intestines as a gift?
19. This will be of fine service for you, you bag of the scum. I am sure you will not mind that I remove your manhoods and leave them out on the dessert flour for your aunts to eat. [sic, of course]
20. Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have captured you by the short rabbits and can now deliver you violently to your gynecologist for a thorough examination.
21. Greetings, large black person. Let us not forget to form a team up together and go into the country to inflict the pain of our karate feets on some ass of the giant lizard person.
(posted by John Bonnano in the alt.quotations usenet newsgroup.)
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
It's all downhill from here...
We are about as smart as we're going to get, says IQ pioneer
Alexandra Frean, Education Editor
It is a common refrain, repeated in response to every new television reality show and every bumper crop of school exam results: society is dumbing down. Scientists have long argued the opposite, pointing to the now widely accepted "Flynn effect," which shows that over the past century average IQ scores have improved across the developed world, irrespective of class or creed.
Now the man who first observed this effect, the psychologist James Flynn, has made another observation: intelligence test scores have stopped rising.
Far from indicating that now we really are getting dumber, this may suggest that certain of our cognitive functions have reached- or nearly reached- the upper limits of what they will ever achieve, Professor Flynn believes. In other words, we can't get much better at the mental tasks we are good at, no matter how hard we try.
If we are to make any further progress, we will have to start exercising different parts of our brain, particularly the parts controlling language acquisition and empathy, according to Professor Flynn, an emeritus professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
In a lecture in Cambridge yesterday, he said that the study of intelligence has for too long been asking the wrong question: "The questions are not 'Are we getting smarter?' and 'Are our children really smarter than we are?' If the rise in IQ scores meant that we were smarter, that would mean our grandparents were dull and our great grandparents idiots, which is clearly not the case. The question should be, 'Have certain cognitive skills risen?' And the answer to that is yes."
What accounts for our rise in intelligence test scores, Professor Flynn believes, is social and environmental changes that have given us the opportunity to exercise the kinds of skills that IQ tests measure.
We increasingly fill leisure time with cognitively demanding pastimes, such as puzzles and computer games. We have also developed a more scientific way of viewing the world. "In 1900 if you'd asked a child what do a dog and a rabbit have in common, they might have replied with a concrete answer like, 'Dogs are used to hunt rabbits'. Today a child would be more likely to say, 'They're both mammals'. We classify things scientifically."
Another factor in rising test scores concerned our ability to deal with complex abstract ideas. This is demonstrated in our ability to absorb abstract "shorthands"- for example the term " market" to signify laws of supply and demand.
Professor Flynn believes there is no reason to believe IQ gains will go on for ever. He points out that although gains are still robust in America, they have stopped in Scandinavia.
"Perhaps their societies are more advanced than ours and their trends will become our trends," he told his audience at the Cambridge Assessment Psychometrics Centre. The end of IQ gains over time do not necessarily mean the end of cognitive progress, but the advances we have made so far will be of little value unless we "take the next step", Professor Flynn said.
The challenge for humanity now is to enhance our ability to debate moral and social questions intelligently. One way to do this might be to concentrate on reading great works of literature which expand our vocabulary, critical acumen and emotional maturity.
But the fact that, as a society, we are unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to preserve the environment, suggests we still have a long way to go on this front, Professor Flynn said.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
...and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
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The firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address is now something other than email@example.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used firstname.lastname@example.org as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that email@example.com was no longer firstname.lastname@example.org but rather email@example.com which is longer than firstname.lastname@example.org and more letters to type than email@example.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than firstname.lastname@example.org but actually just as functional as email@example.com? I sent e-mails from the firstname.lastname@example.org address to just about everybody I knew who had used email@example.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the firstname.lastname@example.org change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which email@example.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for firstname.lastname@example.org would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that email@example.com no longer is the firstname.lastname@example.org they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. email@example.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...
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