Friday, May 29, 2009

How did Torchwood miss our collective nets?

BBC America will be premiering Torchwood:Children of Earth this July. Here is the trailer:

It has a “Fringe meets Children of the Corn” feel to me, but the interesting part is that this will mark the beginning of season 3 of the series! How did this make it into season 3 without me noticing? Weird. Apparently it airs on BBC America as well as HDNet in the US.

Guess that I am going to have to set a season pass for Torchwood and catch up on the first two seasons before season three starts.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sham WOW!

I can’t POSSIBLY talk about Vince Offer Shlomi (thats his real name) aka “Mr. Shamwow” of late night infomercial fame without doing a little  history. So Vince was a Scientologist, yup, he believed in a religion that was made up on a bet by a science fiction writer. Scientology is a religion that is steeped in stupidity, you should Google it, it’s SUPER funny.

SO, Vince is a Scientologist, he gets into a fight with his “church” for  whatever whacky reason, they basically throw him out. Vince counter sues, in the Church’s court. Pretty lame. So Vince is living large doing Sham wow commercials and loving life. This is Vince loving life:


THEN Vince hooks up with a hooker and gets arrested, but not for soliciting a woman for sex, no he goes to jail for assault. It seems that Mr. Shamwow, sorry “Mr. Shlomi” was kissing the hooker  (eeewwwww) and she bit his tongue, and wouldn’t let go. Why, oh why would she DO such a thing? I mean for the love of Xenu, let his tongue go you ho! Which I am sure is similar to what Vince was trying to scream at her, but she couldn’t understand, as a ho’ had his tongue. So when she wont let go of his tongue (with her teeth) Vince starts throwing punches at her. I wonder if Vince’s attorney will plead “self defense”?  All in all pretty dam funny.  So here is Vince after a night of beating hookers.


BUT, that’s all old news and is not why I called you here. That was just something that I felt like I had to get off my chest. The real reason that we are here today is to  enjoy the work of DJ Steve Porter and his remix of Vince’s late night infomercials, he calls it “Jam Wow”.



And of course, the “Rap Chop” also featuring Vince.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Garmin Handheld GPS


I was at Staples today picking up a replacement mouse and they had the new Garmin nuvi 500’s out. These rugged little units do it all, they come preloaded with topo AND road maps for the lower 48 and you can upload maps for other areas. They are waterproof rated at IPX7 which is “Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter”, so it can certainly handle rain or a wet backpack. And since it comes with the topo maps preloaded you will almost certainly get it wet hiking or walking your favorite city.

You can get the windshield mount for your car, then just pop it out when you want to go for a hike and throw it in your pocket. The screen is 2.8” x 2.1” and the unit is less than an inch thick. It has a user replaceable, rechargeable battery with a mini USB port for charging. It has all of the standard road features like calculate route, “avoid this road”, shortest time, shortest distance, find address, find food, find gas, etc.

For $254 you really can’t beat the price. I don’t need a new GPS, BUT if I did, this unit would be at the top of the list.

Update: When viewing this unit at the TeamPaulC store, note that the related items list on the left has a handlebar mount for your bike as well. Wery cool.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Evernote Is the Coolest Thing Ever

Recently I have started using Evernote, and it is by far, the coolest thing ever. In short, it turns the camera in your cell phone into an OCR capable scanner and then it helps you to organize all of your data. (plus it does web  clipping, twitter integration, blah, blah, and of course blah)

For example, lately I have been visiting LOTS of Doctors (including Kerry!!!!), it’s no biggy, everything is fine, I just had a bunch of crap hit me all at once. For example: sore jaw turned into cavity turned into root canal turned into a cap now I still need to see a periodontist. No big deal, its just a lot of visits. Little sore on my back turned big, had it biopsied, its no problem, but had to have it removed. Had a physical, Doctor said “Your cholesterol is high, take this twice a day.” Pregnant chick rear ended me.

SO, its tough to keep track of all of this, and EVERY Doctor says “what did the other Doctors say/do?” Like *I* have some clue. So, Evernote to the rescue. I installed the Evernote client on my cell phone (this will also work with any old digital camera, but the phone makes it easier) now I photograph everything and tag it for easy retrieval. For example I took a photo of my prescription and tagged it “medical, prescription”. Now I can find it by those tags, but the prescription also has the word “tablet” in it, so I can search by that as well because evernote does OCR on the image.

Yesterday my cute dentist (and she is) asked “are you an any meds?” I am, so she naturally asks “What are they?” As if I know. Sure the Doctor told me, but I don't recall the name, hell, I cant pronounce it, how do you expect me to remember it? So I whip out my phone, fire up evernote and search on “tablet” (I could also have searched on “cvs” or “daily”) and there is the high resolution photo of my prescription which includes the drug name, dosage, issuing Doctor, etc. Very nice.

When I go to the Doctor and he fills out one of those nice insurance forms that says what he did? Yeah, I take a picture of it with my phone. Now I can easily recall what he did.

This feature should also work handily on business cards. Create a new notebook called “business cards” and as you collect those cards scan them with your phone and optionally tag them. Now you can do a search based on the tags or on the content of the business card.

If a pregnant women rear ends you, take photo’s of the insurance documents. Now you have them with you all the time.

Evernote also tags stuff with the Lat/Lon where applicable which is pretty cool. AND it will also clip web pages. Look, its a great, FREE organizer with a web client, and clients for Mac, Windows, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows  Mobile. The pay version is only $45 a year and gives you more upload capacity. When I get a job I will prolly upgrade, but for now the free version is fine.

Give it a try!

Thor’s Unemployment Blog

It has come to my attention that SOME of you have not headed over to “Thor’s Unemployment Blog”. Really, you should. While Andy doesn’t post as much as he should, his blog is still young and its coming along nicely. Anyway, its  a good read and you should add it to your RSS reader or your list of sites to visit daily.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Google Groups search results as RSS feed

Joe Lichtenberg asks via twitter
“Does anybody know if/how to get an RSS feed from a Google Groups search?”

First install Chrome. Ok, that’s not a requirement, but Chrome is a great browser.

This will require Google Alerts which is a pretty cool service. Log in to Google and go to and type in your search term and under “Type” select “Groups”, then under “Deliver to:” select “Feed”.

Now click “Create Alert”, this will create the alert and take you to “Manage your Alerts” where you will see your new Alert. You can then access the feed raw, or read it in Google Reader.

Hey, be alert. The world needs more lerts.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quigly Shoot?

The Harvard Ghost Riders are sponsoring the 2009 SASS MA/CT/RI State Championships on June 4th – 7th. On Friday they have an event titled “Quigley Shoot (offhand)”, I have never heard of such a thing before, but its certainly clear what that must be (long range, no support allowed, small target).

Last years overall winners were “Jimmy Spurs” and “Appaloosa Amy”.

Overall Winners: Jimmy Spurs and Appaloosa Amy

According to the Harvard Ghost Riders, there will be “Food and cowboy vendors” at the event as well as a “Cowboy swap table”. I assume that means that you can buy a Cowboy or find someone to swap your current Cowboy with.

This really sounds like a fun way to spend the afternoon, PaulC will be there!

(As I am sure Dragon will, he’s probably on the planning committee, ‘cuz that’s the way that Jim rolls!)

Cat Yodeling

This video makes me want to borrow a cat so that I can test it. Its a longish video at 6:31, but WELL worth it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Count Dracula, the blogger

I recently re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, what a great book. The book is written as a series of journal entries by the characters, its an interesting writing device and apparently is called an “epistolary novel.” I had no idea.

For you kids out there that haven’t read Dracula yet, it was the genesis of the character Van Helsing, who was NOT a Hugh Jackman like dipshit, but rather an incredibly intelligent, gentle older gentleman who used technology (think “steampunk”) and his wits to win the day.

Anyway, Whitney Sorrow is publishing the book as a blog so that readers can read the story in real time. It’s a cool idea. So she will post the journal entries on the Dracula blog on the dates that the narrator did so that “the audience may experience the drama as the characters would have.”


The Dracula blog can be found here.

via ars technica

Why real Trek fans don’t like the new Star Trek

I don’t generally read the Onion, but from ONN (Onion News Network) we get this little gem:

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Swine flu in perspective

While the swine flu is no laughing matter (30 deaths world wide), its not really as bad as we are being led to believe. Lets look at some other outbreaks and how they compare to the swine flu.

Generally found in Africa, Asia, Latin America. Most recent outbreak killed 4,200 people in Zimbabwe. Wow, that's 140 times more fatalities than the swine flu! OH! I see, but Zimbabwe is in Africa, so who cares?

Spinal Meningitis
The northern Sahel region is known as the “meningitis belt”, (even by the WHO) so guess where we see most outbreaks? Lets see, in 2009 so far we have 1,900 deaths, Mr. Science tells me that we have seen 63 times more deaths this year from spinal meningitis than we have swine flu.

AIDS is found worldwide, BUT, 70% off all people infected people live in Africa. That’s right kids! Africa! “The Dark Continent” hmmm, no Disney land, a disproportionately small number of Caucasians, seems like the gold and diamond mining guys have this all taken care of! No need to worry about some pesky little thing like AIDS. Hmm, lets see 5,700 deaths PER DAY from AIDS. Well Mr. Science is refusing to the math as its just so absurd. Lets see, we are willing to stop airplanes, detain innocent people, close schools and businesses because 30 people died from the flu. BUT, we wont distribute condoms and educate kids when 5.700 people die every day from AIDS? Moving on…

Ohh, a classic! Any one care to guess where the most frequent outbreaks are? Let me give you a hint: no Disney Land, and Tarzan. That’s right! AFRICA! Outbreaks of this deadly disease kill in the range of 10’s to 100’s. So its in line with the swine flu.

Look, I could go on for pages naming diseases that kill more people than the swine flu, yet get a fraction of the attention, but I think that I have made my point. Should we react swiftly and strongly to the swine flu? YES! But lets not forget about the other communicable diseases that are doing so much more damage.

Thank you Foreign Policy for the inspiration.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The federal budget in scale

I really have a hard time with the federal budget, the numbers are just too big to get my brain around. For example, did you know that most Americans don’t realize that one trillion is a million million.Thankfully Terence Tao over at “What’s new” has scaled the budget to make it easier to grasp. The full article with the math of the scaling is here, but below is the outcome.

FY 2008 budget:

  • Total revenue: $75,700
    • Individual income taxes: $34,400
    • Social security & other payroll taxes: $27,000
  • Total spending: $89,500
    • Net mandatory spending: $48,000
      • Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP: $20,500
      • Social Security: $18,400
    • Net interest: $7,470
    • Net discretionary spending: $34,000
      • Department of Defense: $14,300
        • DARPA: $89
      • Global War on Terror: $4,350
      • Department of Education: $1,680
      • Department of Energy: $729
      • NASA: $519
      • Net earmarks: $495
      • NSF: $180
        • Maths & Physical Sciences: $37.50
  • Budget deficit: $13,800
  • Additional appropriations (not included in regular budget)
    • Iraq & Afghanistan: $5,640
  • Spending cuts within 90 days of Apr 20, 2009: $3

Other figures (for comparison)

  • National debt 2008: $174,000
  • National GDP 2008: $427,000
    • National population 2008: 9
    • GDP per capita 2008: $47,000
    • Land mass: 0.27 sq km (0.1 sq mi, or 68 acres)
  • World GDP 2008: $1,680,000
    • World population 2008: 204
    • GDP per capita 2008 (PPP): $10,400
    • Land mass: 4.47 sq km (1.73 sq mi)
  • World’s richest (non-rescaled) person: Bill Gates (net worth $1,200, March 2009)
  • 2008 Bailout package (TARP): $21,000 (maximum)
    • Amount spent by Dec 2008: $7,410
    • AIG bailout from TARP: $1,200
      • AIG Federal Reserve credit line: $4,320
      • AIG bonuses in 2009 Q1: $4.95
    • GM & Chrysler loans: $552
  • 2009 Stimulus package (ARRA): $23,600
    • Education: $3,000
      • “Race to the top” education fund: $150
    • Investments in scientific research: $645
    • Pandemic flu preparedness: $1.50 (was initially $27, after being dropped from FY2008 and FY2009 budgets)
      • Additional request after A(H1N1) (”swine flu”) outbreak, Apr 28: $45
    • Volcano monitoring: $0.46 (erroneously reported as $5.20)
    • Salt marsh mouse preservation (aka “Pelosi’s mouse“): $0.00 (erroneously reported as $0.90)
  • Market capitalization of NYSE
    • May 2008 (peak): $506,160
    • March 2009: $258,180
    • Largest company by market cap: Exxon Mobil (approx $10,000, Apr 2009)
  • Value of US housing stock (2007): $545,760
    • Total value of outstanding mortgages (2008): $330,000
      • Total value of sub-prime mortgages outstanding (2007 est): $39,000
      • Total value of mortgage-backed securities (2008): $267,000
  • Credit default swap contracts, total notional value:
  • US trade balance (2007)

Did he say Gooification?

I think he did…

As you know, Leonard Nimoy will be on Fringe next season, which clearly means that Fringe has been renewed for another season. This commercial for the new season features Walter and some of his “Walter-isms”, they are ALL awesome, but my favorite by far is “gooification”, which I assume means “a process that yields goo”.

They removed the video, but this is a good one too... :D

Monday, May 4, 2009

Leonard Nimoy on Fringe!

As you undoubtedly know, PaulC is a big fan of Fringe. And I just saw on IO9 that Leonard Nimoy is going to be playing the part of William Bell on Fringe. YAY!

John Nobel and Leonard Nimoy in a wierd off on Fringe! I can’t wait!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Megan

Today is Cousin Megan’s birthday!

Happy Birthday Megan! Megan shares her birthday with legendary crooner Franky Valli. PaulC wonders, what do 13 year old girls do on their birthday?

Hungarian Notation IS correct

Hungarian notation is a topic that will almost certainly start a bar fight at just about any nerd hangout. Its similar to the "airplane on a treadmill" discussion. I am referring to the fact that the argument almost always comes down to a basic misunderstanding  of the issue and solution.

I wont bore you (any further) on my blog, read the full write up over at the TeamPaulC web page.