Friday, May 21, 2004

in my day we just peeled off the stickers & rearranged them

There is a remarkable thing here about a Lego robot machine that solves the Rubik's Cube.

There's even video from that Screensavers show to go along. This is the kind of science I wish I could do. Why can't I have a homemade robot that solves the Rubik's Cube?

A few things learned from watching video:

1. You can lubricate a Rubik's Cube.
2. There's a Swedish Rubik's Cube champion (paging Joss Whedon; get this on TV immediately).
3. Saying you're going to make a Lego robot dedicated to solving the Rubik's Cube is received by your friends like saying you're going to quit smoking.

So, wow. Have you guys ever made anything like this? What's the neatest/most obscure/most robotic thing you've ever made?

Friday, May 14, 2004

Nothing but Mortimer

I wanted to find something somewhat "withboots-esque" for my inaugural post. Lo--tonight I encountered mention of the American Acclimatization Society:

The "American Acclimatization Society" had the unfortunate goal of bringing all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works to North America. In 1890, after two failed attempts to establish them, the group released 60 European starlings in New York's Central Park. By 1950, starlings were spreading across the continent. Today there are over 200 million European starlings in North America.

Wing-ed rats, indeed. Well, I'm sure Eugene Scheifflin, who concocted this scheme, would have found a well-appointed home in the Bush administration with his tricksy science.

The article also delineates the far less "successful" plight of the Eurasian tree sparrow, which was introduced to St. Louis in the 1870s but hasn't made it too far out of Missouri. As far as I know "Eurasian tree sparrow" doesn't appear in any of Shakespeare's plays. Doesn't scan well, does it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Naughtiness Quotient: It had to be done

This is just brilliant -- after doing the obvious Misty (half-dog, half-porn star) and Katya (wow, what a dirty bitch), it seemed only fair to see how the names of the withbootsers score on the NQ. (Some images in these links EXTREMELY unsafe for work.)

"Richard" has a negative NQ. Though that David Hasselhoff as Night Rider motorcycle guy has some kind of quotient going.

"Christopher" is also ranking pretty low on the NQ, but gets some minor half point for having an image from

"Gavin", surprisingly, has a NQ of 2, plus there's a marching duck toy and I'm not sure how to score that.

"Kelly" is nearly off the NQ meter, with possibly an 8, possibly a couple less or a couple more depending on whether naughty looks with extreme chin pointiness count or not.

"Karen" ranks a 7, plus a picture of a golden shoe.

"Alan" has nil on the NQ, but Alans appear to have more fun.

"Ted" is also clean and clear, though I suggest you go see the cool eye patch guy! (Possible extra pirate points?)

"Gwenda" has a NQ of 1, plus lots of pictures of hurricanes and one lovely horse.

"Barb" seems to score a solid 5, though one of those pics is a headless person and I'm not sure that counts.

"Kristin" turns out to be the name of really pretty, flirty girls the world over -- more teasing than naughty, but the latent naughtiness in some of these pics would put "Kristin" around a 3 in my opinion.

(Yes, I know a couple of these people haven't signed on yet, but I am an optimist and NQs are fun. They're already with us in spirit.)

Feel free to quibble, as the NQ is an inexact science as practiced by me.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Tru naymz

Regarding the post Gwenda mentioned about names ... sadly, some folks never get past that eighth grade impulse: "I'm so special, I must make my name special too!" Usually by exchanging i's for y's and vice versa. But that's not why I'm posting. I'm posting because Alan and Kelly and Barb and I have been discussing the Naughtiness Quotient of various first names. The Naughtiness Quotient for most names is zero. You determine it by going to Google Image Search and turning off the content filtering ("SafeSearch") and then searching on a first name. Count the number of risqué pictures on the first page of results, and you have your Naughtiness Quotient.

let's get meta

John Klima's posting about talking about movements and the other group blog has raised the issue of funny/awful/sad/beautiful names. Surely, we have a rebuttal for these things at the ready, no?