Archive for August, 2008

New continents

We need some new continents, for food purposes if nothing else. Consider that in the Old World (i.e. Europe, Asia, Africa), they didn’t have any tomatoes, potatoes, or avocados. But in the New World, they didn’t have any wheat, rice, olives, mangoes, or apples. And the Australians gave us, well, kangaroos and drop bears.

Pretty much everyone depends on staples from another continent. Indian food would be odd without tomatoes or potatoes, Italian would be crazy without tomatoes, and where would Mexican food be without rice? I guess China still sticks pretty well to the local staples; not too many tomatoes or potatoes around. But still, how could you have good stir fry without mini-corn?

The point is this: if we were to discover another continent, just imagine all the great food we’d find. Within a couple of decades, no one could live without it.

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The dingoes send spam

Spam subject line: “We have hijacked your baby”


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A music store I can believe in

I recently discovered the Amazon MP3 store, and it’s amazing. I never wanted to use Apple’s music store because it uses DRM and I use Linux–not a great combination. On the other hand, Amazon’s store gives you high-quality MP3s without any DRM, and they’re disturbingly easy to buy. I’ve been buying songs and albums, and I’m happy.

It also dovetails pretty well with Pandora: Pandora introduces me to music I like, and I buy the best of it (and probably the enclosing album) on Amazon.

Now if only Audible would go the same route. I want to buy some audiobooks, but I can’t because Audible only ships DRMed files, which I (as a Linux user) can’t play. I think $10/audiobook is a great price, but I can’t buy until they jump on the Amazon DRM-free bandwagon.

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Validation and objectivity

In general, I tend to appreciate validation more than I ought to. I think that has a real relation to the fact that it’s impossible to judge oneself objectively.

I have known many people who don’t correctly understand how they’re perceived. There are people who are annoying, seemingly without being aware of it. There are people who are mocked without knowing it: For instance, there was a geeky kid in high school who was nominated for homecoming king as a gag, and he had no idea that it was mockery. I know that I do some of these things: I project more geekiness than I like to admit (seeing myself on video is always embarrassing), I’m annoyingly talkative, and I am fairly self-centered.

My reaction to most of these events is to wonder how I am perceived. Am I annoying? How are people mocking me? It’s impossible to tell from the inside, and even when I can guess from the inside my estimate is likely to be flawed.

So, the question: people advise not to worry what other people think about you. How can you do that when their evaluation is more accurate and more objective than your own? Who can trust their own biased opinions of themselves?


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The Wang Room

Today I’m going to go to a talk in the Wang Room. Of course, the amusing thing is that since it’s in Cory Hall, home of the EE department, the name is appropriate: there probably aren’t many women who go in there on a regular basis.




I’ve just started reading FailBlog, and it’s unreasonably hilarious. For instance, there’s this, which just made me laugh aloud:

fail owned pwned pictures

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Angelina Jolie

I recently posted the spam subject line, “Angelina Jolie Set to Destroy Own Vagina.” Well, I think the source of that spam headline was this parody article on I just thought I’d correct the attribution.

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Michael Phelps

I once came up with a joke that you could tell on stage. It’s not that it’s the only time I’ve been funny, it’s just the only time that my humor actually fit well into a neat package. The joke was inspired at the last summer Olympics because of Michael Phelps, and it goes like this:

So, I read that Michael Phelps eats 8000 calories a day. 8000 calories. That’s enough to feed a family of 4. Well, if you eat like a family of four, you’re going to have to shit like a family of four. And that’s why he swims so fast–he’s got to get out so he can go to the bathroom.

But my joke was ruined today when I read this story about Michael Phelps (please excuse the link to Fox News). Apparently he now eats 12000 calories, thus making me modify the family of 4 to a family of 6. That bastard! That hungry, hungry, oh my god he ate my hand oh god get a doctor, bastard!



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Truly awesome spam subject line

Angelina Jolie Set To Destroy Own Vagina

I don’t know exactly why, but that’s hilarious.


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