Archive for November, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving

November 27, 2003

I am thankful for many things — an intelligent, caring, and beautiful wife who is my life partner in every way; three healthy, energetic, and smart kids who challenge me to be a better role model at every turn; a rewarding and interesting legal career; good health; freedom; and this amazing Internet, just to name a few.
Go read Glenn Reynolds‘ and James Lileks‘ Thanksgiving entries (yes, I am thankful for them, too).
And I am thankful that this President is leading the war against terrorism.

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Requiem for All Creatures Great And Small

November 25, 2003

I apologize in advance for this: I am not Lileks, who I am sure could do this subject more justice than I. I don’t usually share much of my domestic circumstances here, but tonight is such a “perfect storm” of pet misfortune that I have to type a few words.
Background: my wife has asthma and is very allergic to cats; somewhat to dogs. But we are both animal lovers and want our kids to learn to be as well. Therefore, we keep a few small pets — a hamster, fish, and a toad. Our main pet is a hamster, Perky, who just passed away after seeming to recover from a brief bout of wet tail.
I wonder now if it was actually wet tail or just old age, as she was approaching the two-year-old maximum lifespan of hamsters. You don’t know sorrow until you have three kids under the age of 10 experiencing this kind of loss for the first time. This comes on the heels of my killing of my second son’s two about-to-metamorphose tadpoles last week by using dechlorinated city water instead of the bottled “drinking water” we had been using. Add to that the fact that his wild toad hasn’t eaten for the last two weeks, and things look pretty glum in the
Lanius household.
Oh yeah, one of my first son’s neon tetra fish (which we just got a couple of days ago) is having major equiulibrium problems (swimming nose-down or upside down) and I am concerned that his days are also numbered.
Arrgh.

[Not the B-24] Liberator

November 25, 2003

Jeff Foust has an update to his earlier report on High Altitude Research Corporation’s (HARC’s) X-Prize entry, the Liberator, today. This past Saturday, HARC invited selected guests from the media and investor communities to view actual hardware (engineering test models at this point, not flight-ready articles). Jeff also provides a neat gallery of images from the event.

Outsourcing Meme Spreads

November 25, 2003

Regular readers of Instapundit have probably noted his continuing focus on the outsourcing of “white collar” jobs (software support to India, for example) as a potential campaign issue next year (representative posts here, here, and here).
Scott Adams, who has already lampooned the outsourcing fad in Dilbert with his fictional country of “Elbonia” spreads the meme further in today’s strip.

First Biologically Self-Assembled Nanotransistor

November 22, 2003

More science fiction becomes science fact, as a team at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have built a nano-scale transistor using a DNA molecule as the “assembler.”
According to this article, the team started with a long strand of DNA to use as the template for the device. They coated graphite nanotubes with antibodies that caused them to bind to the DNA strand in the desired locations. Then, the team turned the remainder of the DNA molecule into a conducting wire by adding a solution of silver ions that chemically attached themselves to the phosphate backbone of the DNA, “condensing” as silver metal after the team added aldehyde to the solution. With the addition of gold (which, according to the article, “nucleated” on the silver), the team produced functioning carbon nanotube transistors with gold and silver leads.
I am certainly not a molecular biologist, so I hope I properly summarized the technique used here. This sure seems like big stuff for small stuff.
(Via Geekpress).

Another Optical Illusion Page

November 20, 2003

This page has more fun illusions.
And they are annotated to explain how they work. Enjoy.

Chemistry Humor

November 20, 2003

Form Arsole to Clitorin, you’ll find your funny molecule names here.

Get to Work

November 20, 2003

You aren’t being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.
(Lots of other cynical twists on the “motivational poster” genre here).

Trinity of Trek Tunes

November 20, 2003

Lileks has completed his mp3 trilogy of the three great Star Trek:TOS characters.
First, it was Doctor Poppycock (McCoy).
Then, Captain Clanton (Kirk).
Now, Spock gets his turn in Your Agonizer Please.
Enjoy.

Thanks, Mate

November 19, 2003

Tim Blair demonstrates the true Australian virtue of “mateship” in this response to an idiotarian emailer who gloated about the impact of the recent loss of 17 of America’s finest in Iraq on their families.
Thanks, Tim. Next time you swing through North America, be sure to make it down to Texas. I’ll be glad to introduce you to some true Texan hospitality (lots of BBQ, real TexMex, grande steaks, and good local beer!)