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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

Manfred von Richthofen Shot Down 90 Years Ago Today
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:07 pm EDT, Apr 21, 2008

In common with most Allied air officers, Major Blake, who was responsible for Richthofen's remains, regarded the Red Baron with great respect, and he organised a full military funeral, to be conducted by the personnel of No. 3 Squadron AFC.

Richthofen was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles, near Amiens, on 22 April 1918. Six airmen with the rank of Captain — the same rank as Richthofen — served as pallbearers, and a guard of honour from the squadron's other ranks fired a salute. Other Allied squadrons presented memorial wreaths.

Truly, a different era.

Manfred von Richthofen Shot Down 90 Years Ago Today

Absolut Ad Redraws Mexico-U.S.A. Border
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:01 pm EDT, Apr  6, 2008

The latest advertising campaign by Absolut Vodka for Mexico, created by Teran|TBWA, is causing controversy online. The creative for the campaign returns the lay of the land in the Americas to what it once was. The map depicts the whole of California as still part of Mexican territory, sporting its former name of Alta California - higher California.

Although the campaign caused no ripples south of the border, many in el Norte have found it offensive. Follow the story as it unfolds at

Thank you to the ad agency for providing the image, which is running as part of a campaign in Mexico currently.

Alta California (Upper California) was formed in 1804 when the province of California, then a part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain, was divided in two along the line separating the Franciscan missions in the north from the Dominican missions in the south. The southern part became the territory of Baja California (Lower California). The two territories were also alternatively called Nueva California (New California; Upper California) and Vieja California (Old California; Lower California).

Mexico lost control of the territory as a result of the Mexican-American War.

I prefer Stoli Elit and Imperia, anyway.

Absolut Ad Redraws Mexico-U.S.A. Border

Google Earth Hour
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:42 pm EDT, Mar 29, 2008

Google users in the United States will notice today that we "turned the lights out" on the homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. As to why we don't do this permanently - it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display. However, you can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

Given our company's commitment to environmental awareness and energy efficiency, we strongly support the Earth Hour campaign, and have darkened our homepage today to help spread awareness of what we hope will be a highly successful global event.

At least the temporarily black Google page matches my Firefox skin.

Google Earth Hour

Creating driver converters for various operating systems?
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:17 pm EDT, Mar 25, 2008

John C. Dvorak

Therein Lies the Rub Dept.:
What I constantly hear regarding a new OS is the issue with drivers. People can't get the drivers needed for a new OS. Why not? This is the computer age; can't something be done to automate driver development? How about compatible drivers—the plug-compatible idea that was thrown at the IBM mainframes in the 1970s? Let's say I have a new OS that uses the highly universal W2K drivers to communicate with peripherals. You want to add your weird scanner? You download the W2K drivers, and it works. Is this impossible to comprehend or do?

I cannot see how licensing restrictions would apply to this idea since the peripheral makers usually provide the drivers. In terms of talking to the OS, I'm sure Microsoft has some patented tricks. But who can't circumvent those nowadays?

Complaining about drivers makes no sense. Has anyone seriously tried to do computer analysis of existing drivers to create an original driver? Let's say you have that weird scanner. You can get a Linux driver, a W2K driver, and an XP driver for it. These drivers act as middlemen between the scanner and the OS. They follow rules to do their job. Dissect these rules and create a new set for a new OS. Automate it.

There may be some sketchy DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) strings to this, but at least develop the code. If you are worried sick about getting sued, throw the code into the public domain and see what happens. I'm baffled as to why someone hasn't created a driver converter for Linux. Is it impossible? Or just too much work?

Creating driver converters for various operating systems?

Outerz0ne 4 - Thanks To Everyone!
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:10 am EDT, Mar 24, 2008

On behalf of the OZ4 staff, thank you to everyone who attended the con! This year, we had enough speakers to extend Outerz0ne to a two-day event, and we had enough attendees to keep the conference room full throughout the schedule. We appreciate all of the time and effort that went into the presentations.

We also thank those of you who offered donations and bought T-shirts, because you prevented SkyDog from taking a bath on the con! This means we'll probably do it again next year. :)


p.s. Rattle beat out dc0de to win the auction this year. Thanks to everyone who placed a bid!

Outerz0ne 4 - Thanks To Everyone!

District of Columbia v. Heller
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:14 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2008

Gura & Possessky, P.L.L.C. has an archive of the relevant documents in the U. S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller. The amicus curiae brief filed by the U. S. Dept. of Justice for the petitioners is quite interesting, especially in light of the amicus curiae brief filed by Vice President Cheney, 55 Senators, and 250 Members of Congress for the respondent.

It's strange, what reading the briefs of a Second Amendment case can do for one's attitude. I haven't felt this giddy in a long time. It's comparable to realizing that you're falling in love... you're hopefully excited, yet terrified at the same time. I'll be a nervous wreck until this is over.

District of Columbia v. Heller

Chess - Linares Round 12: Carlsen mates Topalov, closes gap to Anand
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:34 pm EST, Mar  6, 2008

Summary by Dennis Monokroussos 04.03.2008

Carlsen,M (2733) - Topalov,V (2780) [A28]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 04.03.2008

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nb6 7.Be2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a4 Be6 10.Be3 Nd7 11.d4 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 c6 14.a5 Nc5 15.Qe5 Nb3 16.Ra4 Bd6 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qh6 Be5 19.Bg5 Qc7 20.Be3 Nxa5 21.f4 Bg7 22.Qh4 Bb3 23.Rd4!?

This second sacrifice probably could have been accepted, but Topalov’s safe 23...Rad8 sufficed for an advantage as well. 24.e5 Rxd4 25.Bxd4 c5 26.Be3 f6 27.Nb5 Qd8 28.f5. 28.e6 would have been interesting (28…Qe7 29.f5 gxf5 30.Rf3 is one possible continuation), but Carlsen’s move leads to complex play as well, again sacrificing material for activity and headhunting prospects. 28...fxe5 29.Bg5 Qb6

White is two pawns down and struggling to show what he has for them. Magnus Carlsen goes on the attack: 30.f6 c4+ 31.Kh1 Qxb5 32.fxg7 Rxf1+ 33.Bxf1 Topalov could have avoided perpetual check with 33…Qd7, though after 34.Bh6 Nc6 35.Bxc4+ Bxc4 36.Qxc4+ Qf7 37.Qc1 Black will have a hard time creating real winning possibilities. His move 33…Kxg7?! was safer – or should have been. 34.Bd8 Nc6??


Incredible: this allows a forced mate. 34…Qd5 more or less forces White to take a perpetual check: 35.Bxa5 Qxa5 36.Qe7+ etc. 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.Qe6+ Kf8 37.Bg5 threatening 38.Bh6#, so 37...Kg7 38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.Bh6 followed by 40.Qg7 mate. 1-0.

While that loss was Topalov's fault, Carlsen has been a machine this year!

[EDIT] Linares Tournament Home Page

Chess - Linares Round 12: Carlsen mates Topalov, closes gap to Anand

Python Stalked, Then Ate Family Dog in Front of Children
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:12 am EST, Feb 27, 2008

BRISBANE, Australia — A 16-foot python stalked a family dog for days before swallowing the pet whole in front of horrified children in the Australian tropics, animal experts said Wednesday.

Throughout the world, cats are laughing.

Python Stalked, Then Ate Family Dog in Front of Children

Bobby Fischer Has Died At Age 64
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:55 am EST, Jan 18, 2008

British Chess Magazine
January 18, 2008

We have just heard from the press room in Wijk aan Zee that former world champion Bobby Fischer has died, aged 64. There is a news report (in Icelandic) at He died of kidney failure, having been hospitalised with this condition for quite some time. More news when we have it.

More at Fox News and CNN.

Bobby Fischer Has Died At Age 64 - Reviews
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:07 pm EST, Jan 14, 2008

Each wine put forth some stiff competition, and the judging was difficult. The bottom line: these wines are all horrible. We did the research so you can stay away from them.

[Wild Irish Rose] The thorn in your hangover is a wild rose from Ireland. Bottled by Canandaigua Wine in Chanadaigua, NY, the same company as Cisco. Like its brother Cisco, "Wild I" definitely has some secret additives that go straight to the cranium. Another web page claims that this foul beverage is a conspiracy by the republicans to kill the homeless.

[Thunderbird] If your taste buds are shot, and you need to get trashed with a quickness, then "T-bird" is the drink for you. Or, if you like to smell your hand after pumping gas, look no further than Thunderbird. As you drink on, the bird soars higher while you sink lower.

WARNING: This light yellow liquid turns your lips and mouth black! A mysterious chemical reaction similar to disappearing-reappearing ink makes you look like you've been chewing on hearty clumps of charcoal.

[Cisco] Known as "liquid crack," for its reputation for wreaking more mental havoc than the cheapest tequila. Something in this syrupy hooch seems to have a synapse-blasting effect not unlike low-grade cocaine. The label insists that the ingredients are merely "citrus wine & grape wine with artificial flavor & artificial color," but anyone who has tried it knows better. Tales of Cisco-induced semi-psychotic fits are common. Often, people on a Cisco binge end up curled into a fetal ball, shuddering and muttering paranoid rants. Nudity and violence may well be involved too.

In 1991, Cisco's tendency to cause a temporary form of inebriated insanity led the Federal Trade Commission to require its bottlers to print a warning on the label (above right). The FTC also forced them to drop their marketing slogan, "Takes You by Surprise," even though it was entirely accurate.

[Night Train Express] The night train runs only one route: sober to stupid with no roundtrip tickets available, and a strong liklihood of a train wreck along the way. This trainyard favorite is vinted and bottled by E&J Gallo Winery, in in Modesto, CA. Don't bother looking on their web page, because they dare not mention it there.

[Jeppson's Malört] ...the flavor is a mixture of tussin, nail polish remover, gasoline, bug spray, varnish remover, and metal with a hint of herbs. The taste powerfully lingers for at least ten minutes.

[Buckfast Tonic Wine] Buckfast was thick, with a strong taste of molasses. There was also a hint of some type of herb reminiscent of oregano, and a soapy aftertaste.

[White Ace] Our reporter brought a 3 liter jug of "White Ace" cider back to the states, which is 7% alcohol per volume and only about $3.50 US for the whole 3 liter jug. When the test subject drank the whole bottle of "White Ace," in Las Vegas, the effects were severe. He got kicked out of 4 Queens casino for washing his hands in a urinal, then fell asleep for 3 hours and woke up soaked in his own urine. He woke up and got into a 6 year old's pirate costume, ran around slapping gamblers in the gut, got kicked out of The Imperial Palace, and became so obnoxious that his friends put him on a plane and sent him home early. - Reviews

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