Mike Beversluis

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The bottom keeps rushing towards me

And yet, I never reach it. I thought Crocs were bad (and they are), but then I stumble on these:

Nasty, and a clear warning sign to stay far away.


Home Concrete-Pit Home

Murals Make Beavers Feel at Home. Let me tell you, they don't work at all. Also, it looks like zoos sucked in 1936.


Funny picture of the day

Via the four winds and the void.


Friday, June 29, 2007

The giants are gone

Sos bentos de levante
in sa marina frisca
sun carrigante d'oro;
sas carreras sun tristas
como non est prus Nugòro
ca mancan sos gigantes.

The easterly winds
from the fresh seaside
are loading gold;
sadness in the roads
Nuoro is not anymore the same
because the giants are gone.

As usual the connection between the two parts is weak. The second part refers to an episode in which the law came down hard on the city of Nuoro, in order to repress banditism - I think it was around 1870. Of course the view of the person that composed the verses was not the same as the view of the authorities.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Unquote Quote

The blog of unnecessary quotation marks.


Passive Aggressive Notes

Like, it would be really great... If you could read this blog.... about passive aggressive notes. When you have a chance, okay?

It wouldn't hurt if you commented once in awhile, either.



Monday, June 25, 2007

Hey Louie, the man is dry.

Adam Savage writes a Valentine to his favorite F/X movie, Blade Runner.

For better or worse, Blade Runner was a big influence on me. I knew it the minute I saw it, and in fact, I was bewildered that it had flopped. Certain things, certain bands or songs or cars or girls, you just know, right away. 25 years ago this year.

1982 also featured E. T., The Thing, TRON, Conan the Barbarian, and Star Trek II (Khan!) (also Tootsie, if you're my Mom). What an excellent year for nerds, even if I only saw most of those films much later. Anyway, Mr. Savage is right that the old fashioned composition effects in Blade Runner are better than the CGI that prevails today. Ironically, the ability to render anything has reduced the realism, or at least it is overused to the point where it breaks the spell. E.G, when actors and cameras move unphysically. (The camera work is always jarring to me - it's too showy and it's a fashion I hope dies out. See also oversaturated colors and choppy video-like editing. Also I am old. Harrumph.)

PS, skip the model Blade Runner gun and get the Korean Blade Runner Umbrella.

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Anti-Sex* T-Shirt

Click to see them in their full animated glory, if you think you can withstand it. BCG's ain't got nothing on these.

*with others.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Take That, Windows

Microsoft Windows Big Ass Table.

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So Unfair, But True

Research Finds Firstborns Gain the Higher IQ. In related news, they tend to die first.


Friday, June 22, 2007

I think I had not yet given this

Po sant'Anna avogada
coi su muscareddu
po unu piscadoreddu
s'arruga avvoluttada

For the feast of Saint Anne
the muscatel grapes are ripe
and because of a young fisherman
mayhem on the street!

The two parts are connected only through rhyme. The second pair of verses means that the young fisherman just arrived on the street with his day's catch, and people are clamoring and contending the best pieces.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

When I was a kid, I wanted to build exactly this. I'm not kidding. I drew up plans and everything. Except that it was the USS Arizona, I guess dorks think alike.

PS. " While William Terra cruise the lakes of Maine he enjoy listen to Wagner." Of course!


There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals Chuck Norris allows to live.

Chuck Norris: If I am elected president


I Stand Corrected

"Stick shift" foils car thieves
Wed Jun 20, 2007

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Two U.S. car thieves failed to make their getaway in a car they had just stolen because they couldn't figure out how to use its manual transmission, a witness said on Wednesday.

Like Feynman said, there's always room at the bottom.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Dumbest Thing Ever?

Pardon me, that's a rhetorical question.

Man gets sick benefits for heavy metal addiction
Published: 19th June 2007

A Swedish heavy metal fan has had his musical preferences officially classified as a disability. The results of a psychological analysis enable the metal lover to supplement his income with state benefits.

Roger Tullgren, 42, from Hässleholm in southern Sweden has just started working part time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant.

Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life, the Employment Service has agreed to pay part of Tullgren's salary. His new boss meanwhile has given him a special dispensation to play loud music at work.

"I have been trying for ten years to get this classified as a handicap," Tullgren told The Local.

"I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against."

Excepting the 50% odds that this is a hoax, discrimination against him is not wrong. Sweden deserves him. PS, he's very open minded.


Presented Without Comment

Tuesday, June 19, 2007



It is months that I have had almost no time to go to the movies, but the fact that this movie of Alberto Lattuada with Alberto Sordi (who is an actor well-known in Italy) has been re-released in theaters made me curious - so now you get my comments.

The idea below the movie is original, the sort of originality which could become oddity or weirdness if it is not kept in check, but the screenplay writers knew how to manage it well. I don't feel like putting in spoilers, so for giving an idea of the plot I shall say that Sordi, sicilian, works as a middle-level manager in a factory in the North, and has a family there, with a wife from Milan, I believe; the first time that our hero brings his family to Sicily for a vacation the contact with the mafia will reserve some surprises.

The movie is not consistently good, in my opinion it does not move itself well between social comedy (which some time becomes asomewhat caricatural) and drama. I should say that putting comedy and drama next to each other is a quite difficult task and the authors of this movie succeed only partially, and I think a big contribution to the success is given by Sordi's acting.

I don't feel like spoliering but I do feel like talking about cinema and here you are what I liked. First of all the magic of cinema that I have been able to enjoy once more (I feel like being sentimental as well); for example in my opinion the iamges of the happy family that arrives in the village on a small car are spectacular and really "cinematographic". If we want to talk about transposing a story into images here there is a lot of it (yes, I feel like writing down vague concepts as well, and I don't bother to clarify them even to myself).
The opening shots, moreover, of the factory in Milan, with camera movements that wind around objects and carry the spectators inside the fast-paced work activities are masterful.
As a third scene I would cite the conversation between young sicilians on the beach; I found it excellent both because it reproduces quite faithfully the kind of arguments that one can find in such discussions (society and work in Sicily), and because it re-creates the feeling of slight dimming and confusion of the intellect and reflexes that catches me and I believe other people as well when a social space can be filled up only with dialectics and there are many people that want to occupy it with the same ideas.

I come briefly back on the pairing of comedy and drama and I say how it works in my opinion; it works when feelings of being care-free (that are represented through comedy, I really think I ought to clarify) and threatening shadows (drama, since comedy was the other thing) live together in the same person. This for the reason that to me and I think also to others has happened to realize having been making mistakes in following comfortable thoughts but at the same time feeling the attraction of the old thoughts just because theyare comfortable and then because following those thoughts it is possible to live well as long as it is possible not to look around and beyond. And what happens to Sordi in this movie is not exactly this but captures similar feelings.

Duh Duh Na Duh Duh Na Da Da DA!

Long Term Test: 1984 Ferrari GTSi Quattrovalvole
Edmunds Inside Line

This cracks me up:

Why We Bought It
Because everyone should own a Ferrari once. Because life is too short. Because it's a Ferrari for Camry money. Because most soups are better served hot. Because it's Tuesday. Who cares why we bought it? It's a Ferrari. The car that makes women swoon, children point and women swoon.

But there is a method to our madness. Zima Citrus and foie gras may be delicious, but our motivation isn't all about living the P. Diddy lifestyle. We want to know if a $28,000 Ferrari is a dream or a nightmare.

Will the 308 leave us stranded? Will the maintenance costs bury us alive? Is the affordable exotic really affordable? Will women actually swoon? These are the questions we will answer over the next 12 months as we use the 23-year-old Ferrari as basic transportation. Heck, we've already had it detailed for $200 and bought a Ferrari key fob for $11.95, so the bills are already piling up.
A+ for expensing your mid-life crisis. Well played Edmunds, well played. Full marks.


Monday, June 18, 2007

The Prius and the Damage Done

Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage
By Chris Demorro, March 7, 2007

Hybrid manufacturing uses much more energy than you might have believed, and so integrating over the total energy use, they have more impact on the environment than any conventional vehicle. His example with a Hummer is unrealistic (300k miles), but the comparison with an Aveo (or Yaris or Fit), is absolutely right. If you are truly interested in reducing oil use, drive a very small car during off-peak traffic hours to a nearby job.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nifty Photos

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Knocked Up

Knocked Up: C+. Basically, the trailer has all of the funniest bits. Occasionally raunchy, but mostly unbelievable. The characters are too unlikeable. Harrumph!


Country _and_ Western


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Breakfast Tacos

Somewhat of a non sequitur, but here's Robert Rodriguez on how to make breakfast tacos.




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Monday, June 11, 2007

Oxymoron of the Day



Is there life before death?

Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.
William Goldman

Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men.
Kin Hubbard

Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now blue-green meat, THAT'S bad for you!
Tommy Smothers

Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.
George Bernard Shaw

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.
Jeff Valdez

The days of the digital watch are numbered.
Tom Stoppard

In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
Johann von Neumann

Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.
Dorothy L. Sayers


Science Demotivators

Saying your paper has been cited 100 times is equivalent to saying that approximately 6.5 billion people haven't read it... and don't really plan to.

Via Biocurious, here are Demotivators for Scientists. As if scientist's exuberance and enthusiasm were problems. Also, citations, like blog links, follow power laws, and 100 citations is a lot.

PS, it could be worse. A lot worse.

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PS, this one totally cracked me up too.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Life in North-Eastern US; the qualified statement

I am extremely uncertain of the truth of what I am going to say here because of a curious phenomenon that both I and an American guy that works in our lab have noticed in our experience with foreign languages (my experience with English and his experience with German). It happens to me quite often to find an American expression quite weird, and after I reflect on it a little bit I realize that it is almost word by word the same as the equivalent italian expression.
So now that I am writing about something that I found a bit remarkable in the English used by Rochesterians, the same phenomenon could be at play.

American society is quite complex and sophisticated, and has to deal every day with complex and sophisticated technology. In order to operate correctly technological tools that are essential for veryday life, it is necessary to be precise when communicating information about them; therefore, many statements need to have qualifications inside them. For example we would need a qualified statement to indicate which pesticides can be used on which produce and when and under which conditions. It seems to me that the use of qualified statements has passed on journalism and to ordinary conversation even when there is no need of it. When I will meet a clear example of what I mean, I will post it here. For the moment be happy with something taken from the "Campus Times" at UofR: I want to show that too much caution can lead to mistakes; it is a "Security update".

"A student was treated for a bloody lip after being attacked on the bus ride home from Senior Night early Friday morning, according to UR Security Investigator Dan Lafferty.

The victim stated that another person had punched him on the bus after an unidentified person called the attacker's girlfriend a derogatory name.

The suspect evidently believed that the victim had made the comment and initiated action. The victim was punched more than once."

There is in particular one detail that irks me a bit, and I do not say which one because I want to see whether other people find it wrong too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


How can you not have a picnic this weekend? Easily. But in case you do, here's an easy measure for steak doneness. I'll take mine extra medium rare, please.

And here's an alternative to potato salad:

Rice, Asparagus, and Cucumber Salad

  • 1.75 c water
  • 1 c rice
  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1.5 c diced cucumber
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 0.5 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 0.25 c chopped fresh dill
  • s & p
  • Butter lettuce and fresh dill sprigs
This can be made one day ahead, but keep the salad and dressing separate until you serve them.

1. Make the rice, and let it cool to room temperature.
2. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes until crisp-tender.
3. Drain, and then rinse with cold water until cool.
4. Mix the asparagus, cucumber, green onions, and rice together.

5. Combine the Dijon mustard, sugar, vinegar and dry mustard together.
6. Gradually mix in the oil.
7. Add the chopped dill.

Mix the salad and this dressing together, season with salt and pepper, and mound the salad into a bowl lined with the lettuce leaves. Gar-nish with the dill, and there you go.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh My

Via the void.


Light stuff, of no great import

A list of the light side of the differences between life in Rochester, NY and life in Cagliari, Sardinia.

1) Ceilings in Rochester homes are low, I can touch them
2) Milk lasts ten days in the refrigerator, versus two in Cagliari
3) The size of the refrigerator in Rochester is immense
4) Full size beds do not exist in Ca
5) Rochesterians do not know how to walk; they throw their feet really sideways and agitate their hands a lot: maybe they were doing power walking?
6) You can find grass and see squirrels, rabbits and even foxes around Rochester. In Ca, you can find palms with bananas and dates, but they don't get ripe because it is not hot enough for long enough.
7) In Rochester it rains far more, but it thunders far less. Actually it is quite a long time I have not been in a nice thunderstorm.
8) I add now, Levi's jeans in Rochester cost less than $ 40, and in Cagliari above 100 Euro. A shop attendant in a well known Cagliari shop, after I had asked him for Levi's 550 because of their relaxed fit, stated me that "Levi's 550 are not manufactured anymore". That shop has generally speaking good merchandise at reasonable prices (keeping in mind that Cagliari is an expensive place for clothing), but I have become somehow a bit wary of that shop attendant. In any case one year later I showed up wearing Levi's 550, and asked him for "something relaxed, like Levi's 550". He must have a keen attention, because he told me that "unfortunately they don't carry Levi's 550 in the shop" that time.

And that is enough. I do not want to be systematic :-)


Via the BBC, here's the bow of a new sub rolling through town.

PS. It was nice of the Subway guy to lend them his old transporter.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Obsession Continues

As obsessions are want to do, of course. Via Autoblog, here's the story of someone down under who decided to stuff a twin turbo Supra motor into a Volvo 244.


Monday, June 04, 2007


I can't quite believe that this Reason article about a bunch of ultra-libertarians who moved out to the ass-end of nowhere to start their own do-as-thou-wilt paradise is as unintentionally funny as it seems to me, but I think this sentence gives it away:

The local culture defies easy stereotypes. "Going into this community with this traditional mainstream liberal ideology," Jeremy says, "we realized all our preconceived notions were bullshit. These people were extremely into their Second Amendment rights, and they were also into marijuana legalization. They don't fit into these molds."

Actually, pot-smoking anti-social misfit gun-nuts is pretty much exactly the stereotype I had in mind. So there.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Question of Etiquette

So I went to pay for a DVD and fished a tenner out, which happened to be one of the older, small-portrait tens. The young woman at the check stand then looked at it closely. She rubbed it between her fingers and held it up to the lights. She looked at me suspiciously:
"So, this must be one of the old ones?" She asked as if I had just handed her a Confederate Dollar.
"Uh, yes," I replied with my usual eloquence. This didn't seem to be the right answer, as more finger rubbing and pursing of lips ensued.

I laughed, because (A) while I hadn't seen one in awhile, that bill was circa 1999, which isn't yet ancient history and so now I felt old, and (B) how is one supposed to respond to the implication that you are trying to pass counterfeit money? Anything I could think of to say seemed like the wrong answer (I am sure laughing hadn't helped), so I just stood there until she finally accepted it and I walked out.

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