flotsam » Posts in category 'Link'

Happy Halloween: Photos of Ghosts

As I’ve stated before, I’m a skeptic. I earnestly believe that 99% of the ghostly and/or religious images that people believe they see are either wishful thinking, or our brains’ superlative ability to find familiar patterns in random noise.

However, as I’ve also stated before, I’m a great big sissy when it comes to the paranormal, and stories like this give me the heebie-jeebies:

Ghostly Photos – Hauntings Or Hoaxes?

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Quote of the Day

A few minutes ago, a group of four 17 year olds walked into The 4th Wall for the sole purpose of making fun of comic books, graphic novels and the people who like them. For the majority of their visit, I managed to refrain from punching any of them in the head or opening my mouth…up until this moment:

Girl 1: So, like, was this always your dream? To open up a little comic book shop for dorks?
Me: Actually, no. My dream was to become an astronaut, but that was cut short when NASA discovered my secret.
Girl 1: Your secret?
Me: Yeah, turns out I love kicking ignorant teens who condescend to others. In the throat.
Girl 1: What?
Me: You want to come in the back room for a sec?
Girl 2: We should probably get going.

I think I’ve got a grasp on this customer service thing.

–Ryan Sohmer, Least I Could Do

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Technology Quiz

Considering my line of work, I should certainly hope so.

What about you? If you got dumped 2000 years in the past, would you be able to jump-start any technological advancements? Or would you be that crazy guy that keeps muttering about flying machines and tiny invisible animals that make you sick?

Take the Quiz

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This Man

I have worked long and hard to become rational, to become a skeptic. I have escaped most of the fears of my youth through application of intellect.

But stuff like this comes along, and it completely bypasses my higher reasoning centers and pokes the hairy ape gibbering in the back of my brain.

In short, it gives me the willies.



This Man

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Dog Costumes

God help me, I laughed at this:

If you want to see 19 more costumes for your pet, click the image.

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Map of Book Censorship

It amazes me that in 2009 we’re still fighting for our rights to read whatever books we choose to. Censorship by the government has always been the hallmark of an oppressive regime, one that fears that their citizens will have access to dangerous ideas. But censorship by individuals is no less dangerous. By trying to force libraries to remove certain books, these folks are determining what you can and cannot read, what your children can and cannot be exposed to.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Huckleberry Finn, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, or Harry Potter, no one has the right to decide what I should or should not read but ME. And that goes for my kids, too.

Lest you think this is a non-issue, this link goes to an interactive Google map showing requests for removal of books from public and school libraries from 2007-2009, according to the American Library Association.

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What’s wrong with a Government Health Plan?

Well, if you’re a big insurance company, everything. It will introduce a competitor in a highly lucrative industry, a competitor that can provide better care at a lower cost. So why is it that all you hear is how horrible a government-sponsored health care plan would be?

Because that’s what the Insurance industry wants you to believe.

Watch this Bill Moyers interview with Wendell Potter, who spent almost 20 years inside the health insurance industry, and hear him describe how that industry is standing in the way of health care reform.

Then ask yourself a few questions.

Why should your premium payments go toward insanely huge salaries for executives, shareholder dividends, and lobbyists, instead of toward your health care?

Why should private and hugely profitable insurance companies be determining U.S. policies regarding health care?

And who should be in charge of your healthcare decisions? You? Your doctor? Or your insurance company?

Watch the interview.

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The Original Multi-tool

Tanuki are creatures from Japanese folklore. While there are actual animals called tanuki, also known as the “raccoon dog”, the tanuki of legend are mischevious and jolly, and are masters of disguise.

There is a lot of information about tanuki available, but for most Westerners the defining feature of tanuki are their enormous testicles. What’s more, their huge scrotums can be used as anything from an improvised shelter to a fishing net:

A collection of woodblock prints from the 1840’s of tanuki using their testicles in a variety of ways is available at Pink Tentacle. Check them out.

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Google Flu Trends

Did you know that Google has been attempting to track influenza activity using only keyword search activity? It’s still only an experimental concept, but it looks like it works. In fact, it works well enough that Google has decided to start publicly tracking current flu activity in Mexico.

Every day, I am closer to living in the future that science fiction promised.

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Fmylife.com

The next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself, or think you’ve had a particularly bad day, cruise over to Fmylife (short for F*** My Life) and read some of the submissions. It might just give you some perspective.

Today, I took the bus to work and a sweet old lady got on after me and sat next to me. Halfway to work, she fell asleep and her head was on my shoulder. Trying to be nice, I gently tried to wake her up before my stop came. She wasn’t sleeping. I let a dead woman lie on me for 30 minutes. FML

Today, I went to my doctor for a check-up before my Caribbean vacation. He informed me I am overweight for my height and should “eat better, exercise, and lose the excess weight.” I just returned from rehab for bulimia a month ago. My vacation was a celebration of overcoming my eating disorder. FML

Today, half asleep, I dropped my pill before I could take it. I quickly picked it up and washed it down. Five hours later, I just found my pill on the ground. What did I swallow? FML

As an added bonus, you can vote on whether or not a given submission truly represents a f*cked-up life.

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