Monthly Archives: July 2013

We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny the Existence of A Vacuum Cleaner

The CIA allowed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to design a vacuum cleaner. Why? To keep him sane. Something they were not allow to achieve with PTSD sufferer Ramzi Binalshibh, nor schizophrenic / psychotic Abd al Rahim al Nashiri.

It sounds ridiculous, but answering this question, or confirming or denying the very existence of a vacuum cleaner design, a Swiffer design, or even a design for a better hand towel would apparently expose the U.S. government and its citizens to exceptionally grave danger,” Mohammed’s lawyer Army Captain Jason Wright said.

Dutch Tool Chests

Christopher Schwarz is a big fan of tool chests. He’s such a big fan, he built a single chest, and then sold off all his tools that didn’t fit in the box and wrote a book about it. I certainly admire the discipline involved. He now makes all his furniture by hand using preindustrial tools. I only recently discovered him, but he’s apparently somewhat well known in the woodworking circles.

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The Princess Better Save Herself

Every so often, Nintendo gives modern gamers a famicom, Super Mario Bros, and the original instruction booklet, and let them go at it. This year 90% failed to finish world 1-1.

We watched the replay videos of how the gamers performed and saw that many did not understand simple concepts like bottomless pits. Around 70 percent died to the first Goomba. Another 50 percent died twice. Many thought the coins were enemies and tried to avoid them. Also, most of them did not use the run button. There were many other depressing things we noted but I can not remember them at the moment.

I know it’s depressing, but playing SMB on the emulator just now, I sucked just as hard. I have also never beat it. What type of king sends a couple of plumbers to rescue his daughter instead of sending in the Royal Marines? Maybe one that’s in with goombas?

I understand why the gamers skipped over the instruction manual. Modern “manuals” are worthless. They’re pretty much two pages of disclaimers and an incomplete picture of a controller. Mandatory tutorials are much better. I also shed no tears for having to draw your own maps. However, complaining about lack of weapons, and bottomless pits are just stupid. We live In a world where video games are full of dubious “achievements”, purchasable overpowered power-ups, and games where you autoheal. It’s kind of depressing.

Previously.

UPDATE: Wed Jul 10 04:39:19 CDT 2013
Play me off, Keyboard Cat.

Nirvana, Soundgarden, Special Forces

Then in the midst of all the confusion in his life, he came to the realization that he had to make a change. He knew he didn’t just want to be a guy in his 15th band, the guy talking about his time in Nirvana and Soundgarden 20 years later. He wanted to do something, he said, something impossible. “I was in the cool bands,” he told me in the cabin. “I was psyched to do the most uncool thing you could possibly do.”

Jason Everman, the man that paid the $606.17 to record Bleach, became US Army Special Forces

Henry O. Studley’s Toolchest

I’ve looking at toolboxes recently, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Henry O. Studley’s toolchest. Built in the 1920s, and designed to hang on the wall, it is 40 inches square and 4.5 inches deep when open (39 x 20 x 9 closed). Made of mahogany, rosewood, walnut, ebony, and with ivory and mother of pearl accents, it features fitted slots for each tool, and multiple lifting trays to store even more tools. (See video below for a better idea on how the tools fit inside.)

The part of me that loves secret panels and unfolding compartments, but I can’t help but think that it’s a bit cumbersome. To get to some tools you have to move three panels just to reach them. It’s more “art” than “tool”, but that does not diminish craftsmanship or beauty of the piece.

Let Them Take Uber!

BART Strike Shows Privatization’s Dark Side:

Just compare these two reactions to the BART strike. One is from an executive of a ride-share company called Avego, which allows drivers to open up their cars (for a fee) to strangers looking for a lift:

“All you need to do is book a trip from San Francisco to wherever you’re going home for tonight or every day this week there’s a strike,” Paul Steinberg, director of Americas for Avego, said in an interview on “Bloomberg West.”

And another is from a working-class Oakland resident who uses BART to get to work every day:

Ilysha Kipnis of Oakland expected limited BART service, not zero service. Because buses and ferries were jammed, she decided to take a bus back home to wait out the traffic.

“We’re so reliant on public transportation,” said Kipnis, who works at a salon in San Francisco. “Hopefully, (BART directors) understand how much we need the trains to run. … I really need it.”

Notice the split here. The tech executive assumes that people who are stranded by BART can simply arrange for an alternative way of getting to their destination. (Incidentally, his company is also the one running a helicopters-for-commuters promotion to take advantage of the BART strike.) But the Oakland resident doesn’t work at Google or Facebook, where free shuttle service is provided, and she can’t easily get herself around by car. For the tech executive, a BART strike is an annoyance. For the salon worker, it’s a threat to basic existence.