Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This means war (well, it could...)

According to the Wall Street Journal (whose personal motto is '5 articles free or as much as you can read from google'), The Pentagon has decided that computer attacks can be considered an act of war. That's right fellow bloggers, think twice before rallying the troops for a cyber protest (or heist). You never know when the stealth B-52s are gonna shake that cosmic thing and drop a love shack on you.
image via wpclipart.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

Believe it or not, it's just me

Panic in Streets USPD As a boy of 8 years, I was severely injured while trying to be a hero. My morning began, I suspect like any other Hero's would, by opening my eyes and squinting at the bright sun as it slipped in through the window slats. It was summer time in Florida. A time filled with trips to the beach, TV, and the recklessness of youth. The later being brought about by the bane of every kids existence: boredom. Thus began my brief flirt with heroism.

I went down a mental checklist of what was required to look like a hero, and realized I was lacking height, strength, super powers, and curly hair. Only the later of those could be fixed, so I did what any young boy would do. I pulled out mom's curling iron and began carefully applying heat to my bowl-cut locks. I sang along with the soundtrack playing in my head - "I never thought I could feel so free-heee-heeeee...!"

It was on my third trip trough the chorus that I unwound the last strand of hair and admired my work. I posed in front of the mirror, legs spread in my red pajamas, arms out at my sides, and screamed, "FLYING AWAY ON A WING AND A PRAYER, who could it BEEEE.... "

Believe it or not, it was my dad. I heard him coming in for lunch. It occurred to me that while The Greatest American Hero had curly hair, little girls also have curly hair. I carefully considered which of the two I looked more like. Embarrassment rose like two bright spots of blush on my cheeks. I batted my eyelashes in shock. I was just making matters worse.

I made like any sensible hero and lept into into the shower - plunging my head under the faucet as I turned it on. Or at least, that's what I would have done had I not slipped on the still-wet floor and split open my chin.

As we sat in the doctor's office some hours later with a fourth blood soaked towel tucked securely under my chin, my curly bangs limp with sweat, I knew I had failed. The doctor patted me with reassurance and offered, "Let's be a brave young lady and have a look at it."


Today, I'm grateful that others have a better understanding of heroism than I ever have. They know it is not about how you look, but what you do. And they do it without trying. For anyone who has ever fought to defend those who couldn't - all the while giving me the freedom to be a moron - I thank you.

New Linux Kernel

Linux Kernel 3.0 rc1 goes official today. In the words of Torvaldus:
"I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can no longer comfortably count as high as 40."
What major changes can you expect? Absolutely none besides the shiny new number.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If you're happy and you know it don't ask her out

A new article in Emotion (APA DOI:10.1037/a0022902) reveals what we all have known for ages: Nice guys get stepped on, spit at, and generally hated by women everywhere finish last. In this study, individuals from several sample groups (including undergraduates and members of social networking sites) were asked to rate the sexual attractiveness of the opposite sex. The end result? Men like their women happy, and women like their men to have some pride. We at the village are sure this has nothing to do with the fact that the photos of prideful men are mostly shirtless. Read the full story at the UBC press release.

(update 2010-05-28): Thanks to a friendly tip, we are happy to report this story has made the front page of the American Psychology Association. Look for the May 24th Article "Brooding Men".

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Village Pheasants are Revolting

Our home is under attack. No, not by marauding Vikings. The 32 stickers indicating our home is protected by an alarm system and "instant death" have seen to it that they stay away. Instead, we have our very own cardinal. Meet Mr. Cardinal:
crazy birdMr. Cardinal first made his presence known by rapping on the window pane while The Candid Counselor was hard at work. Initially, this development was thrilling. There may even have been exclamations of "How cute!", "Lookit him ruffle his feathers!", and "Awww... he thinks we're playing a game of Peck-a-Boo!"

Several thousand pecks, a life-time's supply of Asprin, and multiple return visits later; he was not quite so cute. We began to notice the little mannerisms - how he would center himself in the window and flap at us when we came closer to inspect and shoo him away. We watched in awe as his little head bobbed back and forth and twisted side-to-side, glaring at us with one beady eye or the other. A simple truth slowly dawned.

He wants to eat our souls. And our little dog's too.
evil cardinalNow, when I moved into my office at work, there was a contraption left behind. After inquiry, it was determined the intention of this contraption was to deter birds from perching along the roof of our building. It looked something like this:
spikes of deathA plan began churning. Several puncture wounds, a trip to the doctor's, and one tetanus shot later, the bird-impaling spikes of death the bird deterrent was brought home and placed outside on our window sill. We sat back in satisfaction and waited. Any normal creature would surely be scared away. But Mr. Cardinal? In response, he has demonstrated a high aptitude for humming-bird-like agility while flapping mid window and pecking away.

Considering it may be best to find a coping mechanism, I have decided to imagine this little bird is up there telling his idea of hilarious jokes.

Cardinal: Peck peck peck?Angry Bird Very Angry Bird
Me: Who's There?
Cardinal: Robin.
Me: Robin who?
Cardinal: Robin' your soul tonight and EATING IT FOR DINER!
Cardinal: SquackSqauckSquackSquack!! (<-that is how they sound when laughing)

Editor's note: The above may also be how it sounds when a grown man is strangling a little bird's half-inch-wide neck. Just saying -

True, it's entirely possible this little bird is just confused. Maybe he saw our delicious dinner one evening and thinks he's a swallow; thus deserving a bite... Or maybe he's lonely and thought the 'chick peas' looked hot... I only know for sure that he has left me in a fowl mood. What I can do is guarantee you this - if he keeps it up - he will soon be a poultrygeist.

Quoth the Cardinal, 'PeckPeckPeckPeckSQUACK'!
spikes of death image was shared from here

Saturday, May 21, 2011

By Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain

The CDC wants YOU to be prepared for the oncoming Zombie Apocalypse. No, seriously. Sure they say if it happens. But we all know it is just a matter of when it happens. Now, despite their best efforts at laying out an action plan, the best course of action is still to take Pete's car, drive over to Mum's, take care of Philip, grab Mum, pick up Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for it all to blow over. And above all else, remember to not get any red on you.
image via CDC

Friday, May 20, 2011

Linux in your browser

Earlier this week, Fabrice Bellard released a JavaScript PC emulator using our favorite operating system, Linux. The emulator is running kernel version 2.6.20 with an ash shell environment (sorry, no xorg). Once booting up, you will find support for copy'n'paste from outside sources, your favorite text editor (vi) and a few other goodies. The emulator will run in Firefox 4.X, Chrome 11, Opera 11.11, and Internet Explorer 9. However, performance is best on Firefox and Chrome due to their support of W3C typed arrays. If you have one of those browsers, hit the link above and start having a ball!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ABC News is Going To Hell

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Friday Funny to bring you this breaking story. According to Dr. Alan E. Kazdin, director of Yale University's Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are going through a personal 9/11. As we all take a moment to weep at this travesty, allow me to introduce you to Dr. Kazdin:

(Please Click Pic to Enlarge [CC-BY-NC-SA])

Also, just because you put "Experts Say" in the title of your story, it does not make you any less of a horrible person for using that quote as a sensational tidbit to bolster ratings. Yes I'm talking to you Ms. Susan Donaldson James.

(Update 11:00 AM) Since the time of writing this, ABC News has removed "personal 9/11" from the title of their story and replaced it with "trauma". The quote from Dr. Kazdin is still there, though it's now a little further down in the text.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Poking your humerous humerus (Updated to fix APA link)

Mental Health Blog Party BadgeThe 18th of May marks the day of the official Mental Health Blog Party. Which is tomorrow, today, or sometime way in the past, depending on when you are reading this. To do my part, we below share good humor in the form of my favorite jokes.

Q: How do you make Holy water?
A: Get 1 Cup water, boil the hell out of it.

Q: Why was the village idiot at the zoo tugging on a cheetah?
A: He's always trying to pull a fast one.

I once sent ten of my favorite puns to my friends hoping to get a few laughs. The end result? No pun in ten did.

These two guys walked into a bar. You would think at least the second guy would've ducked.

Q: What's blue and fluffy?
A: Blue fluff

Now see, doesn't your mental feel healthier already? If these didn't suit your fancy, you may want to click over to the Candid Counselor for her contribution to the blog party, or visit the APA Party Page to browse others.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Technical How-To: Evaluating the Size of your 'Thing'

big SUVHere in Texas, we say that bigger is better. And if you're talking about Ice-cream Sundays, I can see the merit. But after being blocked into a parking space by the rear axle of a vehicle that was (apparently) designed for relocating entire herds of African Elephants, I thought I might provide some help in determining if your Stupendously Uncouth Vehicle (SUV) is a tad on the large side.

Step 1:
First, you will want to note the distance you need to lean out of the window to see if there is a car under your front bumper. Measure this in inches.

Step 2:
Determine your rear storage capacity. If you find that you have more storage than, say, the entire state of Alaska, we can stop here.

Step 3:
Still calculating? Ok, let's keep going. Next I'll need you to take your "lean distance" and multiply by your IQ. Don't panic if you got a negative number. We'll deal with that in a minute.

Step 4:
Now add up the number of pull-in / pull-out attempts you require to park crooked in a parking space (Still covering the lines on both sides? Keep trying!)

Step 5:
Multiply the result of step 4 by the results from steps 1-3 and take the absolute value of that number. Keep reading to see how your score stacks up!

Answer guide:
0.003 - .999: Really, your IQ was a fraction?
0.0: Great! You didn't have to lean out the window. Your either driving a reasonably sized vehicle (RSV), or you just don't care!
1-85: You're pushing it buddy...
85-783,129,435,948,701: You are actually using a cargo plane for transportation.

Let's say you've made it this far? You've scored under 5000 and are on the fence with regards to the size of your SUV. The next test is to hop in and hit the road! The first thing you will want to check once inside your SUV is whether or not the rear of the vehicle exists. To perform this test, you will want a pair of high powered binoculars, a dear stand, and a three weeks supply of water. Mind you, if you have not yet rolled-down the windows, you will begin to feel fatigued and experience an effect that many scientists call Global Warming.

Now, once you've determined there is in fact an end to your vehicle, crank it up and back out of your parking space. Take care to ensure you do not accidentally run over a garbage can or a small dog in Africa while doing so. Once you have pulled out, get out of your SUV and leave insurance information with the vehicles that were on either side of you. Now proceed to the freeway and do your best to resist all temptations of giving "the finger" to every economy sedan you encounter en route. (I will explain this phenomenon in a later article)

Once on the freeway, you're ready for the final test! Pay careful attention to the cars around you during turns. If you find they are inexplicably drawn to you, don't panic! It is simply that your SUV has generated its own gravity and is, in fact, what we like to call "not smallish enough".

But don't be discouraged! And for sure don't get rid of that SUV. What "they" don't want you to know is that the earth is veering ever so slightly from its orbit. By the year 2025, NASA, (in cooperation with the NSA) will need four SUV owners to simultaneously drive north from their main office for a distance of about 4 feet... Thus correcting our orbital drift. But sorry, if you bought one of those puny crossovers, you're out of luck.later suckas

The comprehensive guide to ssh on your android device

Want to play your android like the server you wish it was? Thanks to xda-developers member Adam Outler, gaining root access to your android smartphone in your favorite terminal can be just a few clicks away. Click on through to read the tutorial and start hacking away.
image via wpclipart.com

Samsung demos foldable smart phone screens

If you've ever wished you could just fold your smartphone in half and tuck it in your pocket, Samsung may have the answer for you. Samsung's folding AMOLED screen technology, debuted at CES earlier this year and employing hyperelastic material (i.e., silicone rubber), has recently been put through the rounds. After 100,000 folds and unfolds of this new screen, only a 6% loss in brightness was observed. Researchers note that this loss was not detectable to the human eye. These results were accomplished using a 1 mm folding radius, which is pretty reasonable for a practical application. However, it is not clear from the report if these 100 K fold cycles were accomplished with a "full closed" fold or a 90 degree fold. Feel free to check out the article and try and figure that out for yourself. And let me know if you can make any sense of it or if, like me, it just makes you want to swear a bit at reviewers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pardon me, I think my blog is showing

Don't mind the disappearing posts. Or the disappearing comments. Pay them no attention at all. Just be glad you currently have your website somewhere besides blogger.com. What's that you say? You didn't? Yah, I feel your pain.

image via wpclipart.com -but will probably dissappear in a few minutes anyway.

Critters: The Grammar Natz-Bee

grammar naz-bee(Click to enlarge - CC-BY-NC-SA)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I can read you like a book... Or can I?

beckerAlthough I've often considered myself to be a top-notch people reader, The Candid Counselor poses an interesting perspective on how snap decisions can influence the way we perceive others when we are interacting with them. Although I still think "reads" are important, it does make me wonder how beneficial my reliance on first impressions may actually be.

image subject to international copyright - used with permission

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Killer Music App for Android?

tricky Android logo hot doggingIf you have spent much time browsing YouTube, you've probably come across the all-iPhone rendition of Atomic Toms "Take me out." Jumping off from there, you can find a slew of other folks making amazing music with just their iPhones.

But have you wondered why you don't see the same sort of awesomeness with android phones? The reason is quite simple. It is because Google hates music awesome music programs do not exist in the android market. Or any of those other markets. Here is where it gets interesting; there is a reason for this absence. Your first thought might be that it's simply a matter of time. iOS has been around longer than android and it'll just take time for developers to port their applications over. On the other hand, maybe developers evaluated the market and decided there wasn't enough interest to warrant the time required for a port. Unfortunately, both of those assumptions are wrong. The truth is that there is a kernel-level issue with the android operating system that results in extremely long delays between touch input and returned sounds (referred to as "latency"). Even worse, this latency is often inconsistent from one touch-sound event to the next.

What all of this means to you and me, the end-users, is that we won't be getting that awesome guitar app on android any time soon.

If you happen to have a hankering for music-making on your android device, at this point you're probably wishing that little skateboarding android up there would just crash and burn. But there is hope. A number of developers have started an issue thread requesting that the problem be resolved. What does that mean? It means there are actually lots developers just waiting to port their awesome guitar, drum, and synthesizer applications over to your favorite mobile platform. What's the bad news though? Google has yet to so much as acknowledge the issue.

It is also worth noting that the horrible sound latency in android also has a negative effect on games like guitar hero and really any game that returns sound after you touch the screen.

How can you help? If you would like to play around with music programs on your android device, or just generally have the opinion that this problem is important, head over to the issue thread, log into your gmail account, and give that thread a star. The idea here is that if enough people point out that it is an problem, the gods of Google might actually pay attention and do something about it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

These three things make me very mildly displeased

1) Guest-Bathroom Hand Towels: You know what I'm talking about. They're the size of a dinner napkin and have the absorbency of a single sheet of toilet paper. When you place these in your guest's bathroom, it's like you're telling them, "Here, I'd like you to have moist hands." That makes me wonder if you just have some affinity for moist things, or if you just don't like me. The later I can understand, but the former? That's just creepy. There should never be more than two things in your house that you can describe as moist. One of them is chocolate cake. The other should not be my hands.moist towelette2) Slide Shows: Calling your sweetheart over to look at that "cute picture of the dog" and having it switch over to a picture of her as she gets there is not cool, Mr. Slideshow; not cool.slide show rules3) Blue-Ray and DVD Players: Just once in my life I would like to push the 'eject' button on one of these contraptions and relax in confidence knowing it is going to open. I do not want to push the button; wait, wonder, listen, wait; push the button, see it finally start to open then snap back closed because I just pushed the button again; push it again; wait, wonder, wonder, wait; rip it out of the entertainment console; smash it to the ground and beat it with a baseball bat; wait, wonder, wait, wait; stream a movie from netflix. -This is not my idea of fun.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Creepy Vowels and H2O

(click to enlarge)
creepy vowels
(image shared via creative commons license BY-NC-SA)

"i" before e except after "c" and when sounding like "a" as in neighbor and weigh, and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May, and you'll always be wrong no matter what you say!"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How did I miss that? (AutoCAD for your Mobile)

Straight from the desk of Autodesk, Autocad WS has made it to the Android platform... And it's Free. So get out of here and go get it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May is for mental health

Despite a heated argument in which I carefully laid out my points, counter-points, and cross-stitches, Dr. Becker insists that your score on the stoopid test is not an accurate assessment of learning disabilities. To prove me wrong, she wrote a very smart post delineating just what learning disabilities actually are. And no, we at The Village do not know what "delineating" means. But we saw it on a comment from that post and thought it sounded very smart. In related news, May is Mental Health Month. So do your brain some good and think about how to unwind. And though the light tone, we here do take mental health seriously. Seriously.
image via wpclipart.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pass The Roach, Man

The Village Idiot is back to discuss and hopefully shed some light on a particularly odd phenomenon associated with the common holly-freaking-cow-that's-huge cockroach. But first, I would like to dispel what appears to be a popular misconception. Roaches do not have ears. I am convinced that many of you think otherwise judging by the shrill, piercing scream you emit that makes neighbors think you have just lopped off your toe.

No matter what you may think, simply trying to scare the diddley-filth out of the cockroach in hopes that he will flee back to Congress a very dark place actually has little effect on said roach. Sure, he may stop to take the previously-mentioned diddley-filth, then smoke a cigarette... But after that he will carry on with business as usual.

At best, the sonic vibrations from your scream will cause the poor fella to think there is an earthquake, panic, and run for the first safe place he can find. This will likely be up your pant leg, which leads to a situation where you have your neighbors coming over to help reattach your toe, and they find you laying face-up on the floor, flailing your leg, stripping off your pants, and muttering profanities. If at this point you are considered to be either, (a) one of 'those' people, or (b) having a seizure, you have only yourself to blame.

In truth, cockroaches are rather timid little creatures and always do their best to accommodate you. If you don't believe me, consider how they scurry to get out of your way when you open a door or flip on a light. Consider their frantic nature as they scuttle around, hurrying to get off you when accidentally dropping from the ceiling. Clearly, they wish you no real harm.

For the most part, roaches are a lot like men; they hang around the kitchen looking for food - or in the bathroom doing who knows what- and only scatter when the housework begins.

However, the one aspect that is contradictory to their general good will (cockroaches, not men) is that they seem to have an overwhelming compulsion to crawl out into the middle of the kitchen floor to die. You see, doing this is unnatural. Cats, for instance, will crawl to the deepest, darkest part of the underside of your house to die in the moist, solitary darkness. In fact, any attempt to remove a not-yet-dead but dying cat from the confines of their "resting place" will progress about as pleasantly as a woman giving birth to an elephant.

If you don't believe me, try it. After you retrieve your fingers from their Wolverine-sharpened claws and accept that you will never use that hand again, don't say I didn't warn you.

There must be some reason, then, that a holly-mother-of-crazies-I-didn't-know-they-could-be-that-big cockroach chooses to die in the open. And the reason is quite simply arrived at by pushing our "roaches are like men" analogy a bit further.

Like men, they simply get a kick out of grossing you out. Now pull my finger!

image shared via a creative commons liscence (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)