Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Transformers the movie is coming out in a week so now is a good time to look at some and nerdy ways people have reinterpreted and re imagined the whole concept of robots transforming out of of other things. For me Transformers didn't do anything for me, besides a line from the theme song, Transformers - robots in disguise.

Transformer costumes

Transformer as used car

Working robot transformer

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Open Pit Sandbox

Spam on the Eastern Front

Let us look at the email inbox for General Erich Manstein on 3/2/42, when he was engaged in the Crimea:-


HeiniKreditAnstalt...............Get the cheapest motor insurance quotes from us

Adolf Hitler.........Why did Lt Schmidt take one-and-a half hours for lunch yesterday?

Mrs Manstein....................He's your son, too. What are you going to do about the gum disease?

Adolf Hitler........................Why are the water cooler maintenance people late?

Bill from Sonnenliebe...........Have you made pension plans? Try us!

Colonel, 541 Infantry...........Regiment will be at start-line 12 am.

Adolf Hitler....Transfer Corporal Schultz & his 6 men from Kerch to the Tartar Ditch.

As you can see, of all these messages, only one is relevant to the matter in hand.

From Johnnyreb on the thread Modern (2006) computers and the internet in WWII on For the record Hitler was into to giving detailed and mindless tactic instructions. This tendency can be seen as this clip of Hitler as a gamer.

Apocalypse Now / Real Life Mashup

Capt. Frank Willard, US Army Special Forces, Caguyen River, The Philippines:-

At first I thought they handed me the wrong dossier. I couldn't believe they wanted this man dead. Third generation West Point, World War One, the Battle of the Beltway, about a thousand decorations. Like they said, MacArthur had an impressive career, maybe too perfect. He was being groomed for one of the top slots in the Corporation, four-star, Chief of Staff. Then things started to slip. Leaving the bombers on the ground to be blasted by the Japs. That gold the Philippine President gave him. And this guy was still in the field, commanding American troops. LOVED YOU IN WALL STREET.

The last comment, screamed out loud, caused the boat's crew to look up in surprise. Then they shrugged their shoulders. Willard was a spook: Those guys were nuts.

From Modern (2006) Computers and the Internet in WWII
on the Alternative History Board.
This was written by Johnnyreb.

Bad Booze From those Crazy Anti-Castro ex-Cubans

Here is an interesting ad from Bacardi. Bacardi used to make rum in Cuba and now makes weak watered down booze in an anonymous international setting, Havana Club is much better. The family that founded Bacardi like many rich Cubans chose to leave Cuba. The anti-Castro ex-Cubans are in a word crazy. They often wish to appear sane and well adjusted like in this passage in a blog I found.
The msm press would just ridicule as another one of those crazy anti castro Miami mafiosos, discredit him, and negate any effectiveness he does have...
Unfortunately this was from a blog on killcastro. The mission of this site is to encourage murder. The weasel word this site uses to excuse murder is that they do not "advocate the illegal execution of Fidel Castro." You can never trust a crazy ex-Cuban.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is Political Reform Taking the Fun out of Politics

“It’s funny how when you take away the free booze and take away the babes, people just aren’t as interested in hanging out.”
NY State Lawmaker who understandly
wishes to remain anonymous, in
In Albany, Life Has Seeped Out of Night Life,
in the NY Times.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Robot Coke Machine Cadging Coins

Here is a Japanese Coke ad from Japan. A Coke Machine springs to life as a Giant Robot. What is amusing the the over the top dramatic intro, something appropriate for a cheesy robot TV series and quotidian story of a day in the life of a giant Coke machine robot. More videos can be seen here.

Monster with High Approval Ratings

In in a slashdot discussion about another Bush League scandal, this time the use of outside email accounts to shelter official activity from scrutiny, there were many despairing comments.

Whitney Mac Fanboy asks:
Just how obvious does the corruption in the White House have to be before you demand a change of government?
That's the problem with presidential systems, which is why it is government system of choice for the new tin pot banana republics , is that it can be auitocratic autocratic. Presidents don't lose non confidence votes.

Sheldon offers this bit of possible political theatre.
Bush could have a live press conference where he bites the heads off kittens, and nobody would care. The 28% who still support him would claim he was showing true leadership by biting heads off kittens. The news media would report both sides of the story as if they had real credibility.

I don't know if this was planned, or just accidental, but basically after all the false scandal coverage during the Clinton years people have learned to just tune this shit out.
Lawpoop also thinks that scandal fatigue from the 90's republican witch hunts against Clinton is helping people overlook Bush's notable failures.
Talkshow host Tom Hartman said that he can't help coming to the conclusion that the endless investigations into Clinton's Christmas card lists, travel agent's activities, and sexual peccadilloes was an effort to sour the public on the process of impeachment, and make whatever crimes the next president would do seem like partisan politics. It's hard not to start thinking this way.
Of course the appeal of politicians who don't do appealing things, who have the courage to do crack the eggs to make the omelets explains why some still admire Stalin the Murder. When Sideshow Bob was mayor and a criminal he said the people need evil. People like him or Francis Urquhart people who are willing to "put a bit of stick about".
Because you _need_ me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this: to protect you from yourselves.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Drunk Cat

Globalization in Food Ingredients

The NY Times on Saturday had an interesting story about how food processors have been sourcing their ingredients world wide, Globalization in Every Loaf. What is mildly disturbing, and this article was in the business section is this paragraph. It is rare for business journal to not sing the Internationale in favor of the wonders of free trade.
The lowering of trade barriers more than a decade ago has pushed food companies to scour the globe for more exotic — or the cheapest — ingredients to compete in a more global marketplace, not unlike automakers shipping in parts from all over. But with America’s relatively permissible food-import rules and weak inspection regime, is the trend to assemble food from so many far-flung locations heightening the risks of contamination?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Unemployed Robots

On slashdot there is this slideshow of a visit to a motherboard factory in Taiwan, or as I like call it Free China. Many, especially those who have seen electronics factories over the years noted how unautomated the factory is compared to Califronian or Japanese electronic factories in the '80s. Many blamed globalization for making people cheaper than machines. Mechanization has historically happened when the capital and running cost for a machine is cheaper than the extra hands it replaces.

Animats pointed how the decline of low skill wages because of illegal immigration has deautomated some service jobs in the US.
It's discouraging. I've watched America go from robotic car washes to "100% hand wash" over the last 25 years.

The assembly line for the Macintosh IIci was more automated than this one. Back in the 1980s, when consumer electronics came from Japan, the Japanese makers were frantically trying to automated enough to keep their labor costs down. Seiko and Sony developed some beautiful technologies for making small consumer electronics items untouched by human hands.

Now everybody has those long lines of low-paid women in some low-wage area.

But denoir points out the dimishing return of automation.

Many of the things don't have to be made by hand, but it is simply cheaper. And it's not just in Taiwan.

A few years ago I worked on a project at ABB Robotics (largest maker of industrial robots) and had the chance to often see their production lines. Once upon a time their assembly lines were automated to a large degree, until they realized that their throughput wasn't big enough to benefit from robots doing the work. People were cheaper and needed less maintenance. When you built a new robot model, you could use the same people - with little extra education required. Robots on the other hand required expensive reprogramming and testing for each small change.

When I was there they were just dismantling the last robot in the line - the one that painted new robots. Instead they outsourced it and now three guys in gas masks spray paint them manually.

Explosions are Cool

Prank a Funeral

Nothing wrong with a little bad taste to remember a friend. As John Cleese said at a memorial for Graham Chapman "anything for him but mindless good taste".

Chinese Ad Suggests Ad World full of Aliens

Doesn't this image of an Art Director for an ad for Chinese Campaign Brief Magazine, also here and here.

Look alot like this image from the documentry Men in Black.

Ahmadinejad's Demons

In line with Golda Meir's depressing view of Arab and Moslem family values, “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”, is this report on the actions of the Basij in the Iran/Iraq war. In that war the iranians religiously conscripted teenagers to clear minefields. Iran current civilian, not religious leader, Mr ImATuxedo was in this organization training teenagers to willing clear minefields with their bodies. Here is a disturbing report of Ahmadinejad's demons and his world.
At one point, however, the earthly gore became a matter of concern. “In the past,” wrote the semi-official Iranian daily Ettelaat as the war raged on, “we had child-volunteers: 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds. They went into the minefields. Their eyes saw nothing. Their ears heard nothing. And then, a few moments later, one saw clouds of dust. When the dust had settled again, there was nothing more to be seen of them. Somewhere, widely scattered in the landscape, there lay scraps of burnt flesh and pieces of bone.” Such scenes would henceforth be avoided, Ettelaat assured its readers. “Before entering the minefields, the children [now] wrap themselves in blankets and they roll on the ground, so that their body parts stay together after the explosion of the mines and one can carry them to the graves.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Money Can't Buy

Money can buy everything, except civilization.
said about Saudi Arabia
and all the rich Arab sheiklets

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An Interrogator's Story

Tony Lagouranis joined to the army to learn Arabic so he was trained to be an interrogator. His training stressed the importance of rigoriously following the Geneva Convention and fobeying its rules and regulation with everyone an interrogator comes in contact with. Then he was sent Abu Graib and was told to not follow the Geneva convention and to use harsh measures. The newly authorized techiques didn't work.

Listen to him in discussion on NPR. During the program a more senior interrogator talks about techniques that sound wishy washy but actually work.

Spooking Airline Travellers

This is a varriation on the trick that Bart pulls on Moe, force someone to announce something weird over a public address system.

Industrial Film as Video Game Ads

Roger Heddon has kindly given me a link to a Sega site promoting a new racing game. The site and associated videos are done as industrial films. The new game technologythat is being highlighted is quite cool. Instead of things just "blowing up real good" with some standard animation. Sega has examined that way things blow up in real life.

AK-47, a History

AK-47 is a history of the famous Soviet assault rifle. Here is an ad for this book that is found on the author's website. The book covers the life cycle of the gun from its creation by a soviet tanker to its use in the various "wars of national liberation" of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's down to the present day. Now the Russian have a new generation of assault rifles and have begun to replace the AK-47 at least in the Spetsnaz and other elite units. In the history of the Ak-47 is the the history of the world for the half century after the atomic bomb. A period of the Cold War and many, many small brushfire wars. In the small wars AK-47 shone in the hands of the badly trained, half trained and completely untrained "innocent bystanders". It is not a weapon for the professional millitaries with their detailed training schedules and maintenance rules.

The problem of creating an infantry weapon is different than a hunting rifle. A hunting rifle is used for a small number of shots a few days a year. After a small degree of use the hunting rifle is cleaned and put away. The infantry rifle might be used continuely. It cannnot be cleaned after each use. In the Great War Canada was saddled with the Ross Rifle because of the mendious incompentency of the Minister of Militia Sam Hughes. The best weapon isn't some panglossioan ideal. The best weapon is the one right right here, right now, working.

The safest times in history is when weapons and weapon systems are expensive and scarce. The dangerous times in history are when weapons and armies are cheap. In expensive days armies are few and small and precious. When weapons become cheap and easy small freelance armies spring up otherwise know as brigands. When the State no longer has the monopoly of force the State disappears. In one history there was a mention of the democratic nature of the Cowboy or Gaucho in the sense instead of being a "man on a horse" a phrase that has been applied to the officer/knight/squire the cowboy was a man on a cheap horse. The horse in some times and places in history are cheaper or more expensive to keep. When horses are expensive they are reserved for knights and officers. When horses are cheap and available cowboys and huge mongol armies are possible. What military resources are available dictate what tactics are available be it a small elite or some sort of Levee en Masse. A small professional army is given the best weaoins and training money can buy. A revoltionary situtation much like the French Revoltion means near total mobilization of the population resulting in ill equiped untrained parttime soldiers. The AK-47 is perfect for a Levee en Masse.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Aircraft Beauty Contest

Here is a story of a guy who entered his homebuilt airplane in the huge air show/convention/beauty pagent of Oshkosh. The article for Air&Space has a drawing of his entry and the more typical winning entry. I love the way the slob airplane builder is being penalized for "mustache improperly alligned".

Police Recogition Poster

This is an ad from VW that mimicks the identification posters that were used in WWII, look at one below as an example. It also replicates the posters that shows the different marking and heraldry that is found on identical units from diferent counties. For both of all pictures click on for larger image.

Albanian Pimps and Thieves Looove Bush

Graphic evidence that war to conquer Serbia for the benefit of Albania was a very bad thing. I think it was the worst thing that Tony Blair did, right up with there with coddling Irish terrorists and calling it peace. This still is from an article on Jihad Watch, this has also come to the attention of Boingboing, link has video of theft in action, which normally doesn't comment on Muslim criminial activity.

I call Albanians pimps but a better word is slavers just like the founder of their cult Mohammed. Here is an unflattering view of Albania land of Scum is from Anti-Slavery International.

Ronald McDonald Worship

It looks like Ronald McDonald is having a better time in Japan than he had in Pakistan.

We Have ways of Making you Talk

This is a mash up of the Monty Python Spanish Inguistion sketch, a Tony Robinson (Baldrick) sketch and current news clips discussing torture. If torture worked as a way to win hearts and minds and information John McCain today would be a fervent communist. John Mccain and his history prove the pointlessness of torture. However interrogation is ok and asking after name, rank and serial number is given is part of the dance. I once saw a Brittish movie that explored interrogation techniques used on spies in WWII. Instead of using goodcop/bad cop it was very, very sympathetic civilian employee (not cop) which caused the subject to react and become very helpful at same time being angry at the good cop.

Monday, June 11, 2007

History of Underwear

This is part of a promotion of a advertising agency to sugest there alwyas is a perfect fit. The Institute of Practical Underpants is a fake research institute into underwear. I can just see the latin motto for the group as Semper Ubi Sub Ubi.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gordon Brown as Vader

In a thread Clone War on Terror on Sargon makes this comparison between Gordon Brown and Vader
Gordon Brown certainly seems to breathe a bit like Vader...just watch whenever he speaks and pauses to suck in air!

"You cannot defy the power of the treasury...., soon all your cash will be in my grasp (suck).... I shall drain it out of you....".
Jose1337 chimes in:
"never underestimate the power...of trade deficits!"
and the great Thande adds:
I find your lack of financial prudence...disturbing."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cat Photography

The above is a photogragh from the daily rambling of a German cat named Mr Lee. Mr Lee kept disappearing at times so the person who fed him rigged up a camera for him to wear. Here is the technical details so you too can make a cat camera. A friend of Mr Lee an actor cat Squeeky in California also kept disappearing, he was fitted with a video camera. Watch here for Squeeky movie.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Latest Giant Walker: ChairBot

Here is a Walking Chair prototype that some lab has created. It is very cool lokking and impractical like BattleTech itself. Over at slashdotm where I got story, many were inspired by the sheer nerdiness of this project.

Creimer wanted a toll to make gaming easier.
I just can't wait for the model with integrated gaming computer, toliet and soda dispenser for those long deathmatch games where it can walk you home after you pass out from playing too much.

Bughouse wanted a fanboy toy.
I'll take one with 6 Medium Lasers, an AC/20, a PPC-10, and an LRM-6 please.

Dr Memory expressed a fear that these could be widely adopted.
Heh, that was my first thought: "Jesus, how soon before I see these things stomping around Wal-Mart?" I swear, I go there about five times a year, and every time it's like Bloated Freaks on Wheels week.
cephal0p0d includes links to many more walking robot sites. []

BigDog []
RHex []
ZMP, Inc. []
RiSe []

Monday, June 04, 2007

How Some Police View Police

In a segment on informers on the program On The Media there is this horrifying insight in how some from disenchanted communities view police.
There was a session at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice a week or two ago, which is a school of higher education that trains law enforcement officials, and there was an open session about whether it's appropriate to snitch.

And among the students, among the students being trained in law enforcement, some of them took the position that it's not appropriate to cooperate with the police because the police can't be trusted. And this manifests itself in rap music. It manifests itself on tee shirts. And it does seem to be a societal movement or feeling with some force.

It brings to mind Kipling's line "lesser breeds without the Law".

Nazism and Office Politics

"Showing an interest in Nazism [was] a career-wrecker in Germany"
German Ambassador in the ISOT Second Chance,
a story on the Alternative History Bulletin Board

Be Afraid of the GUM

from Newgrounds.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"Maximum Booze to the Beer Community out There

This is from an upcoming Norwegian TV show which is going to be an interview show animated. There is also a followup video done in amateur Youtube fashion, there are interruptions, background noises, doorbells, airconditioning hum and framing problems. The followup video includes the disclaimer that "beer is good in moderate amounts". NSFW

Low Corporate R&D Spending, Huge Corporate Resources

In a thread on slashdot about recent advances solar cell technology thpr has this insight into a lack of R&D spending by oil companies in particular and large companies in general.
I'd note that most oil companies do have lots of research into alternative (non-oil) energy. It's just hard to see in their financials because oil is so lucrative. The major one that realy gets criticized for its lack of investment in areas like solar is ExxonMobil - and the reason they don't is probably the same reason that Cisco doesn't tend to develop most of its revolutionary technology inside the company. XOM and CSCO both have tons of cash, tons of cash flow and a well-priced stock giving them the ability to simply buy a producer of new equipment if it becomes a valuable market. Why bother to spend tons of money on basic research when you can let the newcomers fight it out in the market and just buy the leader when the time is appropriate? As strange as it is, that's R&D economics at many large industry-leading corporations. It's "efficient outsourced innovation" [].

Geographic Instructions

Yes, England boy. England, a big damn foggy island nor noreast of Usher.
Captain Pellew