February 28, 2005

Useless Bachelorette Blogging

So now that Jen gave up on this latest guy, can ABC please give up on The Bachelorette? i don't ever want to see that chipper asss on the tube ever again. Dude. Like how long can you stretch out 15 minutes?

i hardly ever watched this show, but i noticed tonight that Jen really has no sense of humor. i mean, can't they get a chick with some personality? Jerry is so much better off, he's not only a babe, but his great sense of humor would have been wasted on her.

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Useless 24 Blogging

i'm not sure why the writers of 24 felt it necessary to include the whole "Ms. Driscoll's crazy daughter" storyline, but i'm certain it was unnecessary for them to end it in such a predictably tragic way.

Now the law student in me asks why "the clinic" didn't use a stronger sedative when she started acting up, and why they didn't restrain her for her own safety. Come on, don't tell me the CTU clinic didn't have any spare restraints?

There's a wrongful death suit there, but how much is a schizophrenic dependent worth?

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The TV Commercial That Annoys The Shit Out Of Me...

...fortunately, i don't have a problem with irregularity, so i'm just pointlessly annoyed at that commercial with the chick getting dressed and her boyfriend or husband keeps playing that Eric Clapton song on his laptop, you know that song from Clapton's boring sucky phase (which in my opinion equals anything he did after Cream, and continues to this day), the part where he sings "she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . she's wondering what clothes to wear . . . This evil commercial never fails to insert that awful song into my consciousness until i drift off to sleep, if i'm lucky.

Other commercials i hate include any in which chewing noises predominate, such as all the Carl's Jr. commercials and the new "Cheerios are good for babies too" spots, and also any commercial with kids singing.

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Memo To Doris Matsui

Most likely, i wasn't going to vote for you anyway, but when you included that still photo in your tv spot showing you hugging Hillery, you sealed the deal against you.

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February 25, 2005

Robot Week Coda

Owing to the fact that i have a big project due Monday, it is highly unlikely that i will be blogging this weekend. i'm mostly done with the assignment, but i need to meet with my partner and go over it with a fine toothed comb, then make sure all the cites are correctly formatted, which takes forever.

Therefore, i think we'll have to say goodbye to Robot Week one day early.


And if anyone leaves a "thank God" comment, i will retaliate by designating next week otorhinolaryngology week.

As a final farewell to Robot Week, 2005, please go check out this cute illustrated story i found, by a teacher named Jeanette Kachkowski. It will bring a smile to your Friday afternoon, i promise.

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Latest Churchill Outrage

Michelle Malkin has news on the latest outrage from chief CU liar Ward Churchill. Be sure to check out the description text in the eBay link, which repeats the Native American credentials lie, which even Churchill has admitted to.

What a kook.

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Dr. Seuss Blushed

Kevin's latest poem, about his cat.


*dials 911*

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Uselessly Vague Philip K. Dick Referenced Blogging

Do really lonely farm robots fuck electric sheep?

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Finally, The News We've All Been Waiting For...

i think i speak for all of us when i say i'm truly relieved it's finally over.

Still, you'd think someone would have stamped this shit out sooner.

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February 24, 2005

Robot Chicken

Don't forget to catch Robot Chicken tonight at 12:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Here's the New York Daily News review:

Robot Chicken is the brainchild of actor Seth Green (Dr. Evil's son in the Austin Powers movies) and Internet stop-motion short filmmaker Matthew Senreich, and an outgrowth of their early, Sony-funded experiments with Internet animation.

The concept, fleshed out by head writers Doug Goldstein and Tom Root, is as weird as it is original: Imagine an SCTV sketch series poking fun at TV and film, but with animated action pictures and puppet likenesses playing all the parts.

The first Robot Chicken, co-created and co-directed by Green and Senreich, premiered Sunday night on Cartoon Network, and encores Thursday at midnight and 3 a.m.

Viewers may want to take a toy collector's approach to this show, by taping every one and trading with friends. This show's a keeper -- and definitely rewards repeated viewing, because some of the skits go by with such blinding speed, they're almost subliminal.

A puppet president doing a commercial that says, 'I'm George W. Bush, and I approved this message: Tacos rule!' -- five seconds.

The scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, getting stabbed with a shiv in prison and bleeding straw -- eight seconds. The skit's title, which justifies the conceit: 'Oz.'

There are longer productions, too, ranging from a 'very special episode' of Transformers, which turns out to be a medical public service announcement starring Optimus Prime, to a delightfully accurate parody of the classic 'This is your brain on drugs' PSA spot, in which Rachael Leigh Cook trashes her apartment with a cast-iron frying pan.

In Robot Chicken, the real Cook provides the voice of her stop-animated puppet counterpart (cheaply superimposed cartoon mouths match up to the recorded dialogue), who continues her rampage outside the apartment -- for a very long, very funny drug-induced temper tantrum. It may be Cook's career-high performance, though that's not much of a compliment.

Other celebrity voices adding to the fun in the premiere include Macaulay Culkin, Seth Macfarlane, and lots of characterizations by Green.

i haven't seen the show, but this being Robot Week, i feel it is my duty.

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Movie Cussin' Trivia

Here's some movie swear word trivia.

  1. Of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture, which one has the most swear words?

  2. Which Best Picture nominee contains the fewest swear words?

  3. Which Best Picture nominee contains the most f-words?

  4. What movie holds the record for the most swear words of any previous Best Picture winner? Hint: It won in 1987.
Answers here.

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Noonan's Blog Column

Shelly alerted me to Peggy Noonan's column about the blogosphere from last week, which i missed. In it she discusses the advantages political bloggers have over the MSM. Much of her column is stuff we've heard others say before, but i like this paragraph:

Bloggers have an institutional advantage in terms of technology and form. They can post immediately. The items they post can be as long or short as they judge to be necessary. Breaking news can be one sentence long: 'Malkin gets Barney Frank earwitness report.' In newspapers you have to go to the editor, explain to him why the paper should have another piece on the Eason Jordan affair, spend a day reporting it, only to find that all that's new today is that reporter Michelle Malkin got an interview with Barney Frank. That's not enough to merit 10 inches of newspaper space, so the Times doesn't carry what the blogosphere had 24 hours ago. In the old days a lot of interesting information fell off the editing desk in this way. Now it doesn't. This is a public service.
i actually hadn't thought of that point, but it's obvious. Similarly, i suppose if i worked at a newspaper and wanted to publish a poll about robots fucking, the answer would probably be a no.

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February 23, 2005

Bonds Quote Of The Day

Barry Bonds on the sports media:

I mean, you can't -- you guys are like rerun stories. This is just -- this is old stuff. I mean, it's like watching Sanford and Son, you know, you just, rerun after rerun after rerun.
i think he means What's Happening instead.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Greetings humans. This Wednesday, i bring you...

Robot Love Poetry!

A simple google search yielded this gem:

Poem 3

by TB788-E10-D

Oh baby you're so divine
with all those terabytes of fast cache
behind your flip-o-flex patented green irises.
I love the look of your sleek silver fins
and your interchangeable gold-rimmed
elbow and knee joints.

Oh, you are such a fashion statement baby.

The sight of your one point eight kilo capacity
frontal lobes makes me want to
re-scan the Kama Sutra every seven seconds
and stochastically generate a thousand and one
new positions for us to try.

Let's inter-collate indices daily
and murmur at sunset another tale from
Arabian Nights.
Oh, you exotic chrome and vanadium sweetie.
Oh, how I dig you to bits.

Pretty funny, but shouldn't it properly be called Poem 11?*

Also check out "Robot Barcode Poetry" at a blog called Sean. And there are some interesting Robot Builder limericks at the nerdy Dallas Personal Robotics Group website.

* As in: Only 11 more days until the end of Robot Week!

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TP Interview Part II

Hey all. Part two of Tony Pierce's interview with me is up. Thanks for the love Tony! We really get into some shit this time: Bukowski, the French, smoking Wead, neocons and wmd, Nathanael West, trekkies and Wil Wheaton, to name a few.

Here's part one, in case you missed it. Topics that time included .pdf manipulation, Ana Marie Cox, rabbits in space, my ex's, and the Gannon brothers.

Between Matt's and Tony's interviews and my own 100 things list, i don't think there's anything you don't know about me. Except for my current hair color, maybe.

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February 22, 2005

My E-Mail To Lindsay Lohan

Okay, yah. i checked out Paris Hilton's phone book. Not much interested me in there, but i did find Lindsay Lohan's phone number and e-mail address. So i got this brilliant brain flash. i thought i'd do a good deed for a friend. i hope he appreciates it. i know he's single, and i know how much he likes her so... more...

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Robot News: K.I.T.T. Car Comes Closer To Reality

David Hasselhoff's robotic co-star, the Knight Industries Two Thousand, may be one step closer to reality.


Swiss manufacturer Rinspeed Industries plans to introduce the Senso next month at the Geneva Motor Show.

The 'Senso', which runs on environmentally friendly natural gas, has, not without reason, been labeled the most sensuous car in the world. The 'Senso' actually 'senses' the driver by measuring his (or her) biometric data, and then exerts a positive effect on him with the help of patterns, colors, music and fragrances. A person who is relaxed and wide-awake simply drives better and more safely.
The Senso, while not as articulate as K.I.T.T., seems to care just as much for the well being of its driver.
As both speed and number of cars increase steadily, mobility becomes its own pitfall: the more cars there are on the street, the more stress is induced in the drivers – which might even add to a potentially aggressive mood caused by private or work-related problems. Nowadays, cars are used primarily by individuals, so there is no-one there to soothe the drivers in case of aggression, or keep the drivers awake during a long, monotonous journey. This results in an increasing number of accidents caused by stress or drowsiness.

One solution to this predicament would be a car that reacts to the mood of its driver.

The Rinspeed Senso with zenMotion shows what the future in automotive man-machine interaction could look like . . .

During the trip, sensors constantly measure speed, accelerate-brake-frequency, the driver's pulse, and other aspects that are part of the 'driving behavior'. Depending on the situation, the patterns change to soothe the driver or keep him/her awake, the music volume is adjusted accordingly, and the cabin temperature rises or falls. Of course, this happens in very subtle and unobtrusive ways, so the driver will still fully concentrate on the traffic.

i don't know about you, but the novelty would probably wear off on me after the first week. Then it would just become annoying. Kind of like the show Knight Rider, come to think of it.
The whole project is based on an elaborate sensory system that forms the heart of the vehicle. It consists of a number of sensors that have the job of gathering data about the driver's condition. Firstly, there is a biometric Polar watch to measure the driver's pulse. A "Mobile Eye" camera records his driving behavior, in other words how well and how often he changes lane, and how close and at what speed he approaches the cars in front. Then - this, at any rate, is the vision - a HP board computer evaluates the data and establishes, with the aid of special algorithms, the driver's current state of mind.

. . .

In the 'Senso' – depending on the condition of the driver - four small Sharp LCD monitors emit stimulating (orange/yellow), relaxing (blue/violet) or neutral (green) color patterns into the driver's line of vision. They are integrated into the futuristically designed interior paneling, which lights up over the entire area and bathes the cockpit in dazzle-free ambient light.

. . .

The optical stimuli are reinforced by especially composed sounds stored digitally on a computer. In addition to the eyes and ears, the nose is stimulated, too – by scents developed by the fragrances specialist, Voitino CWS, which flow into the car through the ventilators. Vanilla-mandarin has a calming effect, while citrus-grapefruit is more stimulating.

Interesting. Anyone who has ever ridden in a car with my brother when he has gas can verify the power of odor to keep a driver awake and alert, if not extremely eager to arrive at her destination. But i digress.
Even the tactile senses are included: should the central computer establish any symptoms of tiredness in the driver, electric motors integrated in the seat will shake him awake by vibrating.
A vibrating seat? Now that has promise.

i bet this car will be a big hit in Germany because, as you know, Germans love David Hasselhoff.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

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Robot Etymology

Greetings. Here is some robot trivia.

The word robot apparently dates back to 1920, from a play by Czech author Karel Capek called R.U.R., or "Rossum's Universal Robots."

Capek is the founder of the Czech school of science fiction writers and an annual award given in the field of science fiction writing in Prague bears his name. This play introduced the word 'robot' first into Czech in its present meaning and then on to the world's languages.
Here's a snippet of philosophical dialogue from R.U.R., concerning the very nature of an android:
Mr. DOMAIN: ...a working machine must not want to play the fiddle, must not feel happy, must not do a whole lot of other things. A petrol motor must not have tassels or ornaments, Miss Glory. And to manufacture artificial workers is the same thing as to manufacture motors. The process must be the simplest, and the product must be the best from a practical point of view. What sort of worker do you think is the best from a practical point of view?

Miss GLORY: The best? Perhaps the one who is most honest and hard-working.

Mr. DOMAIN: No, the cheapest. The one whose needs are the smallest. Young Rossum invented a worker with the minimum amount of requirements. He had to simplify him. He rejected everything that did not contribute directly to the progress of work. He rejected everything that makes man more expensive. In fact, he rejected man and made the Robot. My dear Miss Glory, the Robots are not people. Mechanically they are more perfect than we are, they have an enormously developed intelligence, but they have no soul.

Reminds me of what Data said to Riker in the Star Trek TNG pilot episode: "I am superior, Sir, in many ways. But I would gladly give it up to be human."

More etymological trivia:

Some references state that term 'robot' was derived from the Czech word robota, meaning 'work', while others propose that robota actually means 'forced workers' or 'slaves.' This latter view would certainly fit the point that Capek was trying to make, because his robots eventually rebelled against their creators, ran amok, and tried to wipe out the human race.
Stupid robots. Always bent on destroying the human race. Even from the beginning, it seems.

Back to the etymology:

However, as is usually the case with words, the truth of the matter is a little more convoluted. In the days when Czechoslovakia was a feudal society, 'robota' referred to the two or three days of the week that peasants were obliged to leave their own fields to work without remuneration on the lands of noblemen. For a long time after the feudal system had passed away, robota continued to be used to describe work that one wasn't exactly doing voluntarily or for fun, while today's younger Czechs and Slovaks tend to use robota to refer to work that's boring or uninteresting.
Kind of like the work i'm trying to avoid doing at this very moment.

Robot week! Let's celebrate it together, shall we?

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The List Of Words That Reuters Won't Say Is Longer Than i Had Thought

i already knew that Reuters won't use the word terrorist, but apparently they have an aversion to a few other words. Here's a google news page for today's top story. See if you can see what's missing.

US Citizen Accused of Discussing to Kill Bush
- 23 minutes ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
CBC British Columbia, Canada - 42 minutes ago

Man charged for 'Bush death plot'
BBC News, UK - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
ABC News - 1 hour ago

Virginia man accused of plot to assassinate Bush
Sun-Sentinel.com, FL - 1 hour ago

Plan to assassinate Bush
News24, South Africa - 1 hour ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
San Jose Mercury News (subscription) - 2 hours ago

A plan to assassinate Bush?
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, FL - 38 minutes ago

Plan to Assassinate President Bush Revealed
Elites TV, TX - 38 minutes ago

Man Charged with Conspiracy to Assassinate Bush
WLNS, MI - 1 hour ago

US Citizen Plots to Assassinate President Bush
The Conservative Voice - 1 hour ago

Virginia Man Charged With Plot To Assassinate President Bush
Jackson Channel.com, MS - 58 minutes ago

Indictment alleges Bush assassination plot
WBBH, FL - 1 hour ago

Former High School Valedictorian Charged In Bush Assassination ...
KWTX, TX - 1 hour ago

Ex-Virginian accused in alleged plot on Bush
Richmond Times Dispatch, VA - 1 hour ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
Salon - 20 minutes ago

US man accused of discussing to kill Bush
Reuters.uk, UK
- 26 minutes ago

Houston native charged in Bush death plot
Houston Chronicle - 45 minutes ago

Former Saudi prisoner accused of Bush
Ireland Online, Ireland - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
San Francisco Chronicle - 1 hour ago

Virginia man charged in alleged plot to assassinate Bush
San Diego Union Tribune - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
Wired News - 2 hours ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
Guardian, UK - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
ABC News - 2 hours ago

Valedictorian Charged With Plotting Bush's Assassination
WFIE-TV, IN - 22 minutes ago

Man Charged In Alleged Plot To Kill Bush
KFMB, CA - 18 minutes ago

Man charged in alleged plot to kill Bush
Albany Times Union, NY - 1 hour ago

Virginia man charged in alleged plot to assassinate Bush
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MO - 1 hour ago

Virginia Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate President
7Online.com, NY - 1 hour ago

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Bush
WJXX, FL - 1 hour ago

Something's wrong when Reuters is more politically correct than the San Francisco Chronicle.

Update: i was wrong. In some limited contexts, Reuters is perfectly comfortable using a word like "terrorist," for example.


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February 21, 2005

Completely Lame Robot Mailbag Post

annika's journal gets mail, and Robot Week is no exception.

To: Annika
From: Leonard Nimoy
Subject: Robots

Dear Annika,

I was reading through your blog from beginning to end, and I noticed this Robot related post from last March. In it you incorrectly refer to Iron Man as a colossal death robot.

Allow me to point out that Iron Man, while colossal and deadly, was not a robot at all. A key fact, which you seem to have quite forgotten, is that Iron Man "was turned to steel in a great magnetic field."

Logic therefore dictates that Iron Man was at one time a carbon-based life form, and at no time was he a mechanical device, which by definition all robots are.

Please correct this error.

Sorry, Mr. Nimoy. If that is your real name. It's too late to correct that entry, so you can just kiss my ass.

Iron Man? Gimme a break. "Why should we even care?"

Any more celebrities wanna take a shot at me?

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