Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Internet will cure you of anything

Pax Arcana

internet_addictionSuldog over at Universal Hub says this site is his favorite reference for the growing swine flu pandemic, and it’s difficult to disagree. The site offers everything you need to know and more about the illness, and as a bonus feature comes written in seemingly randomized verbs and nouns.

Witness teh awesome:

What preventive measures?
Influenza virus is mainly spread through the air and contacts, so when coughing or sneezing should cover the mouth, the nose; as a result of influenza virus can often be in some daily necessities to survive the surface for some time and should therefore wash their hands, but also regular daily use of alcohol for disinfection . In addition, as little as possible to the local people, but also reduce the probability of infection is an effective way.

But swine flu is a relatively recent cause for concern. There are several pressing medical issues for which the site has already built an impressive body of work.

For example, there’s this handy piece of medical advice from a post entitled “The women like to ailing the Six health problems”:

Fart. Moore said, speaking with your doctor, because usually associated with eating fart can be by adjusting the diet and non-prescription drugs to treat. Mayo Clinical Medical College of Thielen said that in addition to eating beans, the use of straw to drink beverages and eat cruciferous vegetables will make fart.

The site is especially useful for self-diagnosis and self-administered treatment plans. Now if I could just figure out how to for under tree make Special yoghurt spider, I may be able to finally get rid of these make hair back.

Falling Leaves [Home]
My Favorite Swine Flu Site [Universal Hub]

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Drunk driving totally cool in campgrounds

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cooler_scooterAccording to Universal Hub, the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently overturned someone’s drunk driving conviction on the grounds that he was on the grounds — of a campground. Full of coffee grounds. Behind the Ground Round.


Oh yeah — apparently they can’t give you a DUI anywhere other than a public road. And despite the fact that anyone can pay to camp at the campground, it’s still gated and not really public:

[T]he presence of a gate severely restricting general access to the campground is of great significance. The evidence established that no motorist approaching the entrance to the campground could suffer any illusion that he was welcome to enter the campground and drive on its roadways. The fact that the campground solicits business from the general public does not alter the equation; though members of the general public are invited to become licensees of the campground, they are not allowed into the campground unless or until they have acquired such a license. Even more than the fact of that limitation, the gate makes its reality abundantly clear to any putative visitor.

In other news, I’m almost finished constructing a gate blocking off the route from my house to the liquor store. Johnny Law says it’s one way the wrong direction and you’re not allowed to drive on the sidewalk. I say take it up with the courts, Jack. Also, back up. I think I’m gonna boot again.

Court rules it’s not drunk driving if you’re not on a public way [Universal Hub]

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Thursday filler: Pigeon Soup

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Suddenly I have a new respect for turtles.

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Your meat is marketing

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cuts-of-beef1Most of you did not have the privilege to attend Her Majesty’s Royal Academy of Butchery and Meatballing, so I imagine you may be a bit confused about the many different cuts of meat. I’m sure you’ve heard of T-bones, filet mignons, New York strips, ribeyes, top sirloin, chuck roast, rump roast, brisket, flank steak, blade steak, tenderloin, and other cuts of beef, but do you have any idea how they came to be?

After all, there are a million different ways to slice a cow. And as explained by my main man Bourdain, French butchers have an entirely different way of doing it than Americans. I’m sure the Japanese have their own way, which probably requires a blindfold, a samurai sword, and a monkey dressed like a space robot.

The bottom line is that dead cows don’t come with perforations on their insides to show you how to cut them apart. Someone has to actually figure it out.

The New York Times has an interesting article on how the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is using a test kitchen to “invent” new cuts of beef in order to boost sales. For example, test kitchen researchers recently came up with something called “the Denver steak,” which is carved from part of the normally used for ground beef:

The Denver was invented after meat and marketing experts spent more than $1.5 million and five years on the largest study anyone had ever done on the edible anatomy of a steer.

The point was to increase the $15.5 billion a year that people spend at the supermarket buying beef. The association thinks consumers may pay $5.99 a pound for a Denver steak. As ground beef, it’s about $2.99.

“This has been an evolution in the way we think about taking apart that beef carcass,” said Chris Calkins, a University of Nebraska professor who was part of the muscle study. “It’s a profound shift.”

So yes, your grilling options are currently being conjured by multimillion dollar marketing studies. And no, it’s nothing to get all worked up about. After all, London Broil is just a fancy name for flank steak invented by butchers to sell cheap cuts of meat.

Besides, I don’t see why anyone would shy away from the intersection of meat and marketing. For example, I think meat-based business cards are the coolest thing anyone has ever invented. Unless you do a lot of business with cows or people in India, obviously.

Same Cow, No Matter How You Slice It? [NYT]
Meat Cards [Home]


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Glowbeagles will freak you right out

Pax Arcana

Beagles are my all-time favorite type of dog. They are loyal, intelligent, and utterly unconcerned with fetching, rolling over, or performing any other feats they consider beneath them.

glowbeagle“You want to give me a biscuit?” they seem to say. “Then just give me a biscuit already. I’ve got six bushes left to sniff outside.”

And now some Korean scientists have given beagle puppies the ability to glow in the dark. Because who wouldn’t want that?

The four dogs, all named “Ruppy” _ a combination of the words “ruby” and “puppy” _ look like typical beagles by daylight. But they glow red under ultraviolet light, and the dogs’ nails and abdomens, which have thin skins, look red even to the naked eye.

Seoul National University professor Lee Byeong-chun, head of the research team, called them the world’s first transgenic dogs carrying fluorescent genes, an achievement that goes beyond just the glowing novelty.

“What’s significant in this work is not the dogs expressing red colors but that we planted genes into them,” Lee told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Hang on a minute… I think I’ve written about dogs in Korea before.

Oh yeah — that’s right. It was around a year ago, and the government of South Korea was cracking down on restaurants that served dog meat. I can’t help but suspect that cloning beagle puppies to glow red can only mean one thing:

They’re making glowbeagle daiquiris.

Glowing dogs: SKorean scientists say cloned beagles turn red under UV rays [AP]


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The computers want to play Jeopardy

Pax Arcana

alex_trebekAs if Jeopardy needed even more socially awkward contestants, IBM says it is building a computer that will be able to compete with humans on the famous trivia game show.

You may remember that a previous IBM effort resulted in a machine that beat chess masters at their own game. Apparently, Jeopardy is harder than chess for computers:

But chess is a game of limits, with pieces that have clearly defined powers. “Jeopardy!” requires a program with the suppleness to weigh an almost infinite range of relationships and to make subtle comparisons and interpretations. The software must interact with humans on their own terms, and fast.

Indeed, the creators of the system — which the company refers to as Watson, after the I.B.M. founder, Thomas J. Watson Sr. — said they were not yet confident their system would be able to compete successfully on the show, on which human champions typically provide correct responses 85 percent of the time.

I think the IBM machine will lose because there’s no way a computer designed to interact with normal humans will be able to handle Alex Trebek without popping wires and sizzling like in a 1980s movie. Unless they can hard code a douchey condescension dissipator into the BIOS layer, of course. I don’t know. I hate technology.

Computer Program to Take On ‘Jeopardy!’ [NYT]

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Mustache horse is living the dream

Pax Arcana

mustache_horseHorses are among nature’s most proud, and prideful, animals. Behold the majesty of Arabian rising on its haunches, or the way a Kentucky thoroughbred puffs out its chest and prances after winning a race.

But pride of these horses pale in comparison to that of Alfie, a 10-year-old Shire-cross who lives in England and refuses to let his owner shave off his bitchin ‘stache:

However Alfie clearly enjoys the look and groom Justine Greenslade said all efforts to clip it had been in vain.

“He’s obviously rather proud of his facial hair,” she said. “He runs a mile if he thinks we’re going to trim it.”

Moustaches are relatively rare on horses although they are noted among Friesians, which are said to be able to grow ones to rival surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s.

All I know is Alfie the mustache horse is officially the most badass horse in all of England, and should not be kept in a stall in the countyside. He should be rollin’ in a late 80’s Mark III van, listening to Frampton and banging show ponies behind the stables. Yeah, I’ll show you a paddock. Wait, what?

Moustachioed horse evades barbers [Telegraph]

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Tuesday morning filler: Daddy FAIL

Pax Arcana

We’ll be up and running with violent hilarity soon, I promise. In the meantime, I think it’s always useful to remind people that Carolina Hurricane fans are vicious sexual predators.


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It wasn’t Jorge’s fault

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Last night Jacoby Ellsbury stole home plate, sold it on eBay, and used the profits to buy a t-shirt outside Fenway that says HAAHA YANKEES YOU SUCK BALLS FUCK YOU.


Needless to say, stealing home is a pretty sweet play.

Except when you’re watching the game on ESPN, and you’re forced to listen to Joe Morgan say exactly the opposite of what is correct about what just happened. As recapped by Fanhouse, Morgan repeatedly blamed Yankee catcher Jorge Posada for allowing the steal to happen, despite the followingn indisputable truths:

1. It is the pitcher’s job to keep the baserunners on their toes at all times.

2. Posada told pitcher Andy Pettitte to “Be careful” of Ellsbury and “pay attention to him.”

3. Pettitte completely ignored that advice.

Says Matt Snyder:

The play came down to two simple things. Ellsbury perfectly played his maneuver, and Pettitte blatantly ignored a speedster who was taking a huge lead from third base. I’m not going to accuse Morgan of being ignorant on the subject — considering he stole a few bases in his Hall of Fame career — but there’s got to be some confusion or bias on his part to stake this claim.

If I were a sports blogger, I’d start a new Web site dedicated to getting Joe Morgan fired. I would then expand the site into a catch-all basket for sports media criticism. And I’d make it hilarious. Then I would make every sentient being in the world cry by shutting it down to work on a new television show and stare at Rashida Jones all day.

Posada Warned Pettitte Before Jacoby Ellsbury Stole Home [Fanhouse]


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Prepare yourselves for the laser mice


Pax Arcana

Back in the fall, we warned you about the threat of slow-moving frozen zombie mice that were being created in a Japanese lab. Those experiments were thwarted by decisive action from the Grand Council of the Great and Serious Men of Science — specifically by the subcommittee I chair called the Regulatory Subcommittee for International Commerce of Mice and Other Zombifiable Rodentia.

Unfortunately my subcommittee has no jurisdiction in the U.S., and thus was powerless to stop the recent round of experiments at MIT that are sure to condemn us all to die in a hail of laser beam fire:

Scientists have studied high-frequency brain waves, known as gamma oscillations, for more than 50 years, believing them crucial to consciousness, attention, learning and memory. Now, for the first time, MIT researchers and colleagues have found a way to induce these waves by shining laser light directly onto the brains of mice.

These researchers say they hope these experiments will help them solve key riddles in the quest to understand diseases like schizophrenia.

“Gamma waves are known to be [disrupted] in people with schizophrenia and other psychiatric and neurological diseases,” says Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “This new tool will give us a great chance to probe the function of these circuits.”

I say there’s only one equation we need to worry about, and it reads like this:

lasers + mice + gamma rays + schizophrenia = A dystopian future eerily similar to Gary Busey’s dream journal

Making waves in the brain [MIT]


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