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December 2003 Archives

Soviet Revisionism, Time-Warner Style

Paul sent me this rather troubling article on how Time Magazine removed a significant story from their online version and significantly changed the wording and tone of many article titles. Specifically, the March 2, 1998 edition of Time had an article by George H.W. Bush and his defense secretary Brent Snowcroft entitled, "Why We Didn’t Remove Saddam." Take a look at the link for details.

Of course, when something like this happens, someone on the Internet will post the original, and here it is.

I do realize, naturally, that I'm reading both these links from random places on the Internet myself....

Hello Kitty Toaster

[Hello Kitty Toaster]

Guess what I saw today? A Hello Kitty Toaster that actually creates a Hello Kitty pattern on every slice you toast! :) (I looked inside and it seems to have a big piece of metal shaped like Hello Kitty.)

Beware plastic bottle reuse

Apparently, clear polycarbonate bottles can give off a substance that's harmful to fetuses. So if you're a pregnant woman, you should not reuse bottles that have a #7 on the bottom inside the recycling logo. You should likewise not reuse #1 bottles (the kind most bottled water comes in), as they can give off a suspected carcinogen. I've been reusing those a lot. Oh well. :P

So check that plastic type: #2, #4, and #5 bottles are safe to reuse, according to the article.

And this has been a klog public service announcement.

Office cube house

Someone turned their office cubicle into a house for the holidays.

Things to get

Kenneth in his new apt:

"Hm. I need to get some thumbtacks."


"Hm. I need to get an apron."


"Hm. I need to get a notepad..."

New Home

I was trying to call the landline at my new apt last night to test it out. I looked up the "Own Numbers" category on my cell phone and dialed the "Home" entry. I got my parents' place instead. I tried it again. Same result. Turns out my entry for my parents' place was also called "Home", and I guess my cell lets you type in duplicate names but doesn't resolve them properly. *grumble*

So I renamed my parents' "Home" entry to "Parents". Kinda symbolic and stuff. :)

* * *

On a related note, I woke up this morning, my first day in my new home, and as I walked to the kitchen, a thought occurred to me:

Dude.. this is like.. my kitchen. And that bedroom.. and bathroom.. and living room... It's all mine! Mine mine mine! Mine! I'm not sharing it with anyone else! It's all mine! Mine mine mine mine mine! Etc. :)

It just all feels somewhat unreal. I think that was the first moment that I really felt like an adult.

* * *

When I see some styrofoam speck on the floor now, or some sticky bit on the counter, I don't have any excuses. Ain't nobody else gonna clean that up, Kenny-boy. If I don't get rid of it, it's just a-gonna stay right where it is.


The Torchiere is dead! Long live the Torchiere!

This is a followup to my earlier post about the demise of Halogen Torchieres. I was all sad. I went out shopping today, and they have 150W incandescent torchieres and 55W fluorescent ones. I decided to give the fluorescent ones a try, and to my surprise, they actually seem brighter than my old 300W halogen! Now I know why those halogens are dead. These are better! I am no longer sad. :)

Hurray for science! Vorsprung durch Technik!

Actual Avian-Carrier Network

The true computer nerds among us have heard of RFC-2549: IP over Avian Carriers with Quality of Service, an old April Fool's network protocol involving pigeons. Well, it seems pigeon data networks have now become a reality.

The Waitomo Adventures tour company in New Zealand has been using pigeons to ferry memory sticks from digital cameras back to base. This way, customers can have photos printed once they get back from their cave tours.

They've grounded the fleet temporarily, however, due to packet-loss issues caused by nesting falcons killing the pigeons mid-flight.

Iraqi Anti-Terrorism Demonstrations

So I first heard of this story through blogdex links to an Iraqi blog with photos of a demonstration against terrorism and resistance in Iraq. Varying reports state an attendance of 5000 to 20,000 people.

There's been very little coverage of this in the Western media. I think there have been some TV reports now, but I can only find two mainstream media stories on the web, from Knight-Ridder and AFP. Here's a column about it from an MSNBC analyst, though.

I was reading yesterday about how we're using Israel-style tactics in Iraq now, like knocking down buildings that harbor terrorists, fencing off whole villages to set up checkpoints, and holding relatives of terrorists hostage. It's quite scary that we're going down that road, but I think there are plenty of major differences between the two situations, and so I remain hopeful.

R.I.P., Halogen Torchieres

I've been looking for those Halogen Torchiere floor lamps, and they don't seem to exist any more. I know there were safety concerns, so they added those gratings on top, and even tilt shut-off sensors... but apparently now they just don't sell them any more at all.

IKEA has 150W halogen floor lamps still, but they're weak and expensive compared to the cheap 300W lamps from their hey-day. The closest replacement I've found seems to be 300W incandescent floor lamps of a similar design at Target. I saw that online, so I'll have to go check those out in person... but they're more expensive as well, not to mention more yellow.

I guess the halogen halcyon days are over. To quote Blade Runner, which was probably quoting something else, "The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long."

Update Dec-13: I found out today that those fluorescent ones are quite bright and nice! Yay! See this new post.

Breaking News: University of Leeds develops formula for Perfect Toast!

[toast equation] EXTRA EXTRA! Read all about it!

Finally, an example of corporate sponsorship of university research producing useful results that will benefit all humanity! The philanthropic Arla Foods corporation (producers of "Lurpak" brand butter) commissioned the University of Leeds (UK) to develop a formula for creating perfect toast!

BBC News has jumped on this amazing story. (Paul pointed me to it.) Here is the original University of Leeds press release. An excerpt:

Taste tests showed that people prefer their toast to have patches of partly melted butter, improving the taste and texture of the toast. The equation relates to the critical amount of butter, applied at fridge temperature (approximately 5°C), required to produce this effect. H represents thickness, Cp the specific heat, P density, T the initial temperature of the toast, w the weight, and subscript a and b toast and butter respectively.

But as the equation is a little complicated, the researchers have condensed it into some practical advice on making perfect toast: "To produce the patches of butter most people said they prefered, the bread needs to be heated to at least 120°C, and the butter should be used straight from the fridge, applied unevenly within two minutes of the bread coming out of the toaster. The amount of butter should be about one seventeenth the thickness of the bread." said food scientist Professor Bronek Wedzicha.

Deeper words have never been spoken. Professor Wedzicha deserves not just a Nobel Prize; he deserves a place in the history books beside Einstein, Aristotle, and Decartes... nay, above them. He has just solved one of the most significant metaphysical questions of our time!

I can hardly contain my excitement. I'm holding back tears. I simply cannot believe that we have finally discovered the key to ultimate toastiness.

About December 2003

This page contains all entries posted to the klog in December 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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