Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CNN: We're Good at Stating the Obvious

In a story about the Indian lunar orbiter overheating* CNN, speaking about a probe released by the orbiter, says

"Officials say that the TV-size probe...hit the moon's surface at a speed of 3,579 mph."

So far, so good, right? Then they thankfully point out

"...[it] was not intended to be retrieved after that."


Who'd have guessed.

* Side note, isn't space roughly 0°K (like -276°F)? Can't they just crack a window on the orbiter and be done with this overheating problem? If "yes", can I now add the title of "rocket scientist" to my resume for offering that bit of advice?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Dear NatGeo, don't you think you have enough quality photographs in your archive that you don't need to swindle average, unsuspecting photo-contest entrants out of their mediocre photos? Stop it already.

From the above linked site:

5. License

By entering the Contest, all entrants grant to Authorized Parties (National Geographic Society and its licensees) a royalty-free, worldwide, irrevocable perpetual, nonexclusive license to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entries (along with a name credit) in whole or in part, without further review or participation from the entrant, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional and trade uses in connection with NGS Products.

Bottom line, **every photo submitted** to them (not just the winning photo, which would be bad enough) becomes theirs to do with what they want. Forever. And ever. Amen. If you enter this contest after knowing this, you're an idiot. If you've entered without reading the fine print, you're naive.

Props to Twitter user Photo_Guide for pointing this one out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best. T-shirt. Ever.

(Click the photo for link to original. Image by flickr user sconartist).

In case you don't get the reference:

Edit to add: Apparently the place to get this masterpiece is Slash Jeans in Berkeley, CA. They have a website where they were advertising the shirts for sale in CA for $25 (with $5 from each shirt going to the Obama election kinda shop!!). I emailed this morning to see if the shirts were still available and if they shipped. Fingers crossed.

Edit^2 to add: The shop in CA is sold out. The guy who made the shirts sells them online here:

Assuming he has them in stock, I'm placing my order tomorrow. Without a doubt.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

That which often halts my finger just before hitting the "send" button.

(webcomic XKCD)

Often, I spend time crafting a retort to a friend's/acquaintance's/random stranger's online post; Be it an email, blog post, Facebook post, news story comment, or whatever. I put thought into my reply, only to hit the delete key at the last minute. Invariably, I think back on this comic and see the futility of my actions. I'm trying to get to the place where I think of this comic *before* wasting my time crafting marginally informative missives, only to send them to the ether.
Here's hoping whatever ride takes place in DC on 1/20/2009 it will be more optimistic than the CritMass Anti-Inauguration ride of 1/20/2005.

DmofoT (slightly out of frame)

DmofoT (slightly overexposed)

Protest Props

(above photos not representative of the angry-ness of the CritMass ride of 1/20/2005, but they're all I had handy.

I feel like Gwadz

So many updates, so short a timespan.

Cool bit: Google Street View comes to DC.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank. Fucking. God.

That is all.

Get Out the Pano

Left for the polls this morning around 5:40am. Got there by 5:45 and was at least 100 people deep in the L-Z line. The A-K line was just as long. Once the polls opened at 6am it was about a 45 minute journey through voting land.

The only strangeness came when a woman who voted before me came out saying "You guys might want to use the touchscreen voting machines. The optical reader is having problems and they* were telling people to leave their ballots and they* would enter them later". Er. Wha? No thanks. As unreliable and paper-trail-less as they are, I opted for the touchscreen. After I had made it in the door, I saw only one woman attempt to use the optical scanner, and it took her three attempts at feeding the paper before the machine finally accepted it.

I shot a couple of snapshots while waiting in line at 0-dark-30. Click the images for biggerer versions:


and a 5-shot pano of the line out front that I snapped after finishing my civic duty:


(better if seen full-sized)

*not further identified