Archive

Archive for September, 2010

“You Get Woody Playing With Software Like It’s a Sex Doll” – a MySQL vs NoSQL Funny Video

September 6th, 2010 No comments

If you are fairly tech-nerdy, and enjoyed the “iPhone 4 vs HTC EVO” and “Social Media Guru” XtraNormal videos, you’ll love this MySQL vs NoSQL video.

Scroll down to -4:00 if you want to jump straight to the funnies.

Labor Day Gun Pr0n

September 6th, 2010 No comments

Hello Kitty AR-15

Hello Kitty AR-15, customized by Drew at Armory Airbrush. Via 2DayBlog.com.

Does anybody know what Labor Day really celebrates? Guns! Weapons! America! The Second Amendment! The Can-Do Spirit of Heavily-Armed American Workers! The God-given right, written by Aaron Burr into the Constitution, to mutter obscenities under your breath in your cubicle secure in the knowledge that even if the beancounters in Accounting confiscated your stapler, they can’t take your Baby Eagle!

And if Jim one cubicle over is stockpiling shotgun ammo for his workplace flip-out? When he finally cracks he’s going to find himself facing a well-armed workforce of equally disgruntled workers who haven’t gone postal yet — but, oh nellie, Jim just gave ‘em an excuse — and a target! Ooops! Sorry, Jim!

So as you laze about recovering from whatever life-affirming Labor Day ritual you spent last night involved in (no, don’t tell me! I don’t want to know), do your friendly neighborhood blogger a favor and indulge in some holiday gun pr0n. What could be more laborious than a Glock modified to shoot in fully automatic mode, its double thirty-round drum looking oddly like a pair of…look, I’ll let you work it out on your own.

But as you know if you’ve ever looked for gun videos on YouTube, just one is never enough. You can find more fully automatic Glocks if you want, like the same guy endeavoring to run 298 rounds through his Glock in full auto, presumably by way of proving that the things don’t jam — a pretty major accomplishment if you’ve ever fired a Thompson. (The first comment on that Thompson clip, by the way is “lol tommy gun, don’t smoke blunts and shoot tommy guns” — really good advice, I’d say. It’s hard to clear the Thompson’s frequent jams when you’re baked off your shizzle, fer realz.)

While we’re in on the Glock mania, check out this video of a Glock shooting full-auto with a 33-round straight magazine, and this talented Chow Yun Fat fan. And furthering our journey into the Glock Circus Acts Department, This audacious shooter also proves once and for all that you can shoot a Glock 19 underwater.

All you Glock-lovers and 9mm snobs aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a fine drum magazine. Unfortunately, purveyors of the Ruger P90 .45 ACP are apparently not quite as trigger-happy as the Glocksters, but just like to fondle. On the other hands, non-Hello-Kitty-loving AR-15 owners apparently love to abuse their weapons, as seen in this video where an AR-15 is fired at full auto until the gas tube catches fire (get comfortable — it takes about 3 minutes).

Happy Labor Day!

Iconic Artist Banksy Interviewed (and Photographed!)

September 5th, 2010 No comments

The cover of Banksy's new DVD, releasing Monday.

Laughing Squid alerts me to a momentous interview with iconic guerrilla street artist Banksy, in today’s issue of UK Tabloid The Sun. The interview includes the first-ever photographs of Banksy working in his studio. No, this isn’t one of the signs of the Apocalypse; his face is pixelated or turned away.

If you’re unfamiliar with Banksy, read this. But the short version is that he’s at once the Godfather, Patron Saint and Lord High Executioner of art pranking and street art, a graffiti artist whose iconic use of stencils and opportunistic street elements has made him one of the biggest influences in contemporary art. One of his recent pranks included replacing 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s new album with 500 copies of his own. Banksy is famously reclusive, in part because his entire style of art is mostly illegal, but in part, I’m sure, just to fuck with people.

The interview precedes the release of his DVD Exit Through the Gift Shop, which comes out Monday.

Times Square Ads Out Google CEO Schmidt as World’s Creepiest Ice Cream Man

September 3rd, 2010 No comments

In case you were wondering, the original version of Google’s motto:

“Don’t be Evil”

was

“Don’t be evil. Be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO-OOOOOOOOOOOPER evil!”

It should be said while rubbing your hands together. And, for the record, the correct spelling is “Muahahahaha,” thought “Mwahahahaha” will do in a pinch.

A great short CNet article hips me to the fact that consumer advocacy group ConsumerWatchdog.org is running paid video ads in Times Square depicting Google CEO Eric Schmidt as a creepy ice cream truck driver handing out free sweets and conducting full-body scans. The one posted on CNet is absolutely mind-blowing. Rendered with all the Pixar-worshipping relish of a machinima editor, it is the creepiest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. It makes Rosemary’s Baby look like a fanvid remake of Brigadoon starring chihuahuas in hand-sewn costumes.


And just how much do you love the fact that you’re watching it on YouTube, a Google subsidiary? See, the system works, right? My favorite part is when Schmidt tells the (curiously all-minority) children that while Mommy doesn’t know Daddy surfs “sports” websites, Daddy doesn’t know Mommy’s been Googling old boyfriends.

Ummmmmmmm…kids? I’ve got way worse news for you. Daddy’s not surfing sports websites. That’s what he tells Mommy he’s surfing. And “googling old boyfriends”? Um, yeah, well, colloquially speaking, that’s one word for it, I suppose, but to find out the more common term, you have to turn off Safe Search.

What reason could Consumer Watchdog possibly have for lighting a Google Bomb with Eric Schmidt’s name on it?

Why should they need one?

Schmidt’s famously Goebellsian opinion that “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” has been bullhorned back to him a thousand times, a syllable at a time through the opposite orifice he first used to spew it — but just because we’re all sick of hearing it doesn’t mean such idiocy shouldn’t carry the PR equivalent of the death penalty. The sentiment is particularly cheery to people in places like Iran and China, where doing something that pisses people off isn’t generally quite as much OMG-I-was-so-drunk-did-I-really-make-out-with-that-guy-from-B-Dorm? as it is in the United States, and for that matter doing things that might jeopardize a U.S. teen’s social standing on the girls’ swim team can actually get your face splashed with acid.

And to be fair, in that quote, Schmidt was sorta talking about terrorism…right?


Well…he was and he wasn’t. Far more troubling is Schmidt’s suggestion to the Wall Street Journal, lovingly mocked in Chris Matyszczyk’s post, that kids change their names to get away from any mistakes they made under Google’s watchful bug-eyes during their teen years.

I couldn’t agree with him more; in fact, women being stalked by ex-boyfriends should also change their names constantly to avoid infringing Google’s rights. So should people who witness violent crimes or testify in criminal cases. So should jurors…

Otherwise, where would the rest of us get our free ice cream?

All-Girl Funeral Scam Ring Hired Actors as Mourners, Cremated Cow Parts

September 3rd, 2010 No comments

Photo courtesy of TombstoneBuilder.com

The FBI website has a story today on the conviction August 2 of 67-year-old Jean Crump of South Los Angeles, a former mortuary employee and the fourth and final member of an insurance fraud ring that filed $1.2 million in phony life insurance claims. The group’s scheme featured forged death certificates and funerals staged by paid actors, as well as coffins that were buried with no bodies in them.

Interestingly, all four of those charged were women: Crump, mortuary operator Lydia Pearce (35), Phlebotemist Faye Shilling (61) who assisted with filing the insurance forms and Notary Barbara Ann Lynn (64), who faked the documents in the case. Financial assignment companies — which advance mortuaries money for funeral and burial costs against a share of the decedent’s insurance payments — figured prominently in the scam.

In one example, Crump’s band purchased life insurance policies for one “Jim Davis” (whose corpulent cat was surely bereaved), naming a fake nephew and niece as beneficiaries. When Mr. Davis “bought the big tamale,” a forged death certificate was produced, as were forged documents for inflated charges to the mortuary operated by Pearce. The fictitious Mr. Davis’s fictitious “nephew” received $230,000 from the insurance company. As the site explains, the arrangements then got far more elaborate:

The criminals went so far as to purchase a burial plot for Mr. Davis and bury him, without a headstone. But despite the extravagant funeral described on paper for the financial assignment companies—including an ornate casket and elaborate floral arrangements—the funeral was a simple affair, attended by several phony family members recruited to play the part of mourners in case anyone was watching.

…Two insurance companies began looking more closely at the claims and hired an investigator to ask questions. The con artists were so unnerved by this that they had the coffin supposedly holding the remains of Jim Davis unearthed. They filled the casket with a mannequin and cow parts to ensure the proper weight and then sent it to a crematory. Then, they filed phony paperwork stating that he had been cremated and had his ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

The FBI press release on the case says that while Crump’s jury could not reach a verdict on two mail fraud charges on a related 2004 case, the charges she was convicted of carry a combined statutory maximum of 90 years in prison. All three other defendants pleaded guilty; the only one to be sentenced so far was Lynn, who got a year of home detention within three years of probation.

Don’t Know What Email to Read? Let GMail Decide!

September 3rd, 2010 No comments

As if they read my post on Eric Schmidt and wanted to mess with me, GMail just gave me a pop-up promoting GMail’s new Priority Inbox, wherein Google gets to predict what emails I want to read. That’s right! As we turn more and more of our lives over to the fleet of chugging diesel trucks that form the Internets, Google is here to help with the congestion on I-95!

The interface is simple; emails are assigned priority based on which senders’ emails one reads and replies to. The Priority box shows up at the top of one’s inbox, and one clicks a box for anything that’s in priority that shouldn’t be, or vice-versa. There’s even a snappy video to explain things, complete with cleverly-retro animation and music right out of a Woody Allen movie:

Garett Rogers at ZDNet writes that this — and the Call Anyone allows users to make phone calls to landlines or cell phones from GMail — “have really taken this service to another level.” But after having Eric Schmidt hand me an ice cream cone while telling my Dad surfs sports websites…I confess to feeling a little Winston Smith this afternoon.

The fact is, however, that because I use GMail, Google already decides what I’m going to want to read, because it’s got the best damn spam filter going. I check my spam box once every two or three days; I only occasionally run across anything that shouldn’t be in there, and I get spam in my actual inbox only once in a blue moon.

“This service” doesn’t really need to be “taken to another level” in order for it to become something I can’t live without. Spam long ago rendered all my other email addresses useless. Google has me by the short ones because of the “quality of its product,” to put it one way. Or, to put it another, because any other solution is likely to result in my death by a thousand cuts. The weapons? Rolexes and low-priced Bulgarian Viagra. GMail remains indispensable to me only because its abusers haven’t figured out yet how to make it as useless to me as Yahoo or Hotmail.

Honestly, it’s almost enough to make one only want to contact people through MySpace — don’t you agree?

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Fun With Ferraris

September 2nd, 2010 No comments

Photo from WreckedExotics.com

All right, everybody, I’m sorry to break it to you, but that sexy car your cocaine-dealer sugar daddy bought you so you wouldn’t testify against him in his Utah trial for possession of an unlicensed firearm? Mister Speedy a has to go back to the dealer, at least for a while. Unless you want to pull a Richard Pryor.

Ferrari is recalling its 2011 458 Italia, a 4.5-liter, 8-cylinder, 7-speed, 570-horsepower, 200-mph, $230,000 penis of a car because “>it might burst into flames. Reports from the company are that the heat shield on this model was secured by cement rather than bolts, and can degrade against the exhaust system until, potentially, the cement explodes. This results in what Jalopnik (which added a “ferrari-flambe” tag this week) quotes the company as calling a “thermal incident.”

This followed a weekend of “under-the-table recalls,” called that in another Jalopnik post where they reference “at least four fires in three months,” which thermal incidents Speedlux informs me were in fact not in identical cars, but included both the Ferrari 458 Italia sports car and the Ferrari 458 Italia sedan.

If this all makes you squee, or start making jokes about “Italian mixed grill” and “wienie roasts,” or talk about how the Ferrari 458 Italia is “one hot car” or “smokin’” or how it “sizzles,” then you are a son of a bitch. It is wrong — wrong, I tell you! — to laugh at peoples’ misfortunes, especially on the highway where we’re all just meat hoping we don’t hit the grinder any time soon.

Then again, when those people are driving $230,000 cars, it sure is tempting to slap that vein and mainline a little schadenfreude, huh? Perhaps that’s the logic behind WreckedExotics.com, which collects post-incident photos of some of the most expensive cars or, rather, twisted hunks of metal that were cars before they became future 50%-recycled corrugated metal siding.

If you prefer indulging your consumer lust to delighting in the flaming misfortunes of rich people, why not build your own Ferrari? Ferrari.com lets you go interactive on its ass and configure your own Spaghetti Rocket, though if you want to detonate it you’ll need Photoshop. I don’t think they have one-click ordering yet, and neither sports car nor sedan version of the Ferrari 458 Italia are yet available for the Kindle.

Are You Old If You Can Still Facebook Someone?

September 1st, 2010 1 comment

Gertrude Baines, the oldest person in the world from January to September of 2009. Photo by John Rabe

I try not to let the moderately right-leaning U.S. News and World Report tip me off to anything other than where to go to school, but today it hips me to a new study from the Pew Research Center that says social network use doubled among Americans aged 50 to 64, from 25 percent about a year and a half ago to 47 percent now. 86 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds have an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, or (people still use that shit?) MySpace.

Unfortunately, USNWR tells me that represents an increase in social networking use among “Senior Citizens.” Now in my early 40s, I’d like to smack any in the face any schlub who calls a 50-year-old a “senior citizen.” No discredit to senior citizens — God love you and that Jack Nicholson cats you all seem to dig so much — but if you’re not cashing a Social Security check and you can’t get a discounted meal at Denny’s, you’re not a senior citizen, are we all, as old fogies, agreed on that fact?

A “related post” tag brings up the publication’s defense of the idea that nobody knows WTF a senior citizen is, the same tired-ass crap that says “you’re old when you feel old,” by which argument I would have been a senior citizen in 1988, the first time a college Freshman asked me who the Velvet Underground was. Thanks douchebags, you just shaved about fifteen years off my life and now you’re shrugging. That’s really helpful.

The good news is that Gertrude Baines, pictured above, who died at 115 in September, 2009, has a cryptically-weird Facebook page that sounds utterly bot-generated. Cruz Hernandez, the Salvadoran woman believed to be 128 when she “ate a tamale, drank some milk, went to bed and never woke up” back in 1997, probably did not. But Eugenie Blanchard, currently the world’s oldest verified person at 114, has exactly the same type of bot-tastic Facebook page as Ms. Baines.

The question is: If you die, but still have a Facebook page, have you really died?

More importantly, if you’re alive, but you have a Facebook page, are you really alive?

The answer, in both cases, of course, is that it’s up to Facebook. They just bought you, so you better hope they don’t pull the plug.

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New Predatory Dinosaur Found in Romania

September 1st, 2010 No comments

balaur bondoc

Photo from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

AFP reports that a new species of predatory dinosaur has been discovered in Romania.

Related to Velociraptor, Balaur bondoc is a very late dromaesaurid that “has given researchers a window into what European predators looked like in the final years of the Age of Dinosaurs.”

It lived about 90 to 65 million years ago, when southern Europe was a series of small islands. Standing about two meters tall, Balaur bondoc had atrophied hands and used huge claws on its lower limbs to disembowel prey.

Bits and pieces of Balaur bondoc were found ten years ago, but researchers weren’t sure what dinosaur they belonged to.

The findings were reported in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

French Riviera Overrun With Organized Crime

September 1st, 2010 No comments

Cornish Road, Marseilles, France. From the Library of Congress.

Marseilles has long been considered a hotbed of organized crime, but as The Telegraph reports, mobs from the former Soviet republics are so endemic to Southern France now that detectives in the region “expect an eastern connection to almost every crime.”

Said to control prostitution, money laundering, and burglary, the eastern organized crime figures come from Georgia and Chechnya as often as from Russia. Mobs from both countries tend to have strong military and paramilitary roots because of conflicts in the region, from Georgia’s free-form battle with Russian-supported separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Chechen separatists’ almost twenty-year war against the Russians, in recent years supported by Al Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalist groups.

The Telegraph article quotes French criminologist Alain Bauer as saying, “This is one of the best structured criminal organisations in Europe, with a quasi-military operation.” The eastern groups are said to be involved not just in running prostitution rings in the high-end resort towns of Cannes and St Tropes, but also “gassing tourists in their villa and stealing everything they’ve got.”

The Italian/Sicilian mafia is also alive and well in southern France; 40-year-old Sicilian mob boss Giuseppe Falsone was arrested in Marseilles after ten years on the run from Italian law enforcement. He was said to still be coordinating the Agrigento faction of the Sicilian Mafia.

Sixty-nine reputed Georgian mobsters were arrested in southern France in March.

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