Archive for September 4th, 2003

I’ll Have My Sticker by Monday


As predicted here
, my car really only needs
minor work to pass the Mass State inspection. Tony checked it our and
says I can get by with two tie rods, a ball
joint and a fuse. Plus tax and labor, of course. I am planning a bake
sale this weekend to raise the scratch. Now I just need
to figure
put the


Volokh Explores Free Speech in Wartime


Eugene Volokh has just started teaching his Free Speech law class at UCLA. It sounds like a doozy. In the first two classes he is covering incitement law, the Brandenburg v. Ohio test, speech that advocates opposition to war, or encourages desertion or refusal to obey the draft, the strange case of Clement Vallandigham and a letter on the subject by Abraham Lincoln! I hope he blogs the whole course…

from the Volokh Conspiracy

Towel THAT!


Mother Nature took a supersoaker to the US Open this week.
Nearly every tennis match was washed out Monday through Wednesday. By
Thursday, tournament officials were racing to see if enough play could
be squeezed between the raindrops to keep the tournament from running
past Sunday. The last time that happened was 1987.

Among reporters and fans, some grow restless. Didn’t the Mets go ahead
and play baseball at Shea Stadium right next door? Couldn’t the courts
be covered with tented tarps the way the chaps at ever-wet Wimbledon
do it? And isn’t there something more high-tech to dry the courts than
an army of kneeling grounds crew playing wipeout with towels?

the Christian Science Monitor

Wasted Brits Kiting Czecks


In the last few years, a new kind of British tourist, lured
by cut-rate airlines whose flights can cost as little as $25 or less, has
descended on Prague in unprecedented numbers, apparently with one goal
in mind: to drink as much as possible. Wasted and aggressive, in drag or
wearing only underpants, they spend weekends staggering in packs from bar
to bar near Wenceslas Square. Some
places refuse to serve Britons who arrive in large groups. .

the New York Times

Educational Technology WIKI


This is a collaborative and editable website for people
interested in learning and technology. It offers discussion threads, chat
rooms, topic pages and is open to all. EdTech WIKI

Cats Sacrificed in Bizarre Experiment


F.K. in Conway NH has an interesting question for Dr. Knowledge in today’s Boston Globe.  He writes, “Humans can’t fall from much more than one body height without risk of serious injury. How come insects, on the other hand – ants, for example, or spiders or earwigs – can drop from the equivalent of skyscraper heights with impunity?”

First of all, what the hell is an earwig? I’ve been pulling hairs out of my ears for years now and have no desire for additional hair in this area. Perhaps it is a wig which ATTACHES to the ears, so it won’t fall off.

Anyway, Dr. Knowlege goes on to explain that the seeming impunity of insects has more to do with the physics of falling objects than exo vs. interno skeletons.  Something along the lines of if one creature is twice as big as another in all dimentions its weight (mass) would be 2 X 2 X 2 times as much, and since the force of impact is mass times velocity, basically the bigger you are the harder you fall.

The part of his answer that I can’t get out of my mind, however, had nothing to do with insects. Dr. Knowledge writes:

“In a long fall, as from a building, air resistence becomes a factor. The air resistence effect really helps cats a lot, and the chance that they survive a fall from a building increases to 95% between seven and nine stories, and then stays constant.”

Now, I would like to be introduced to the brilliant scientific brain that carried out THAT study! “Okay Isaac, now take them up to the 12th floor and drop the next ten. Nurse Betty, check that Calico over there for vital signs….”

Obviously they couldn’t rely on anecdotal evidence since it would come for such a wide variety of buiding types and landing surfaces, it would be statistically worthess to a major scientist like Dr. Knowlege. An eight-story fall in Oslo is certainly not certifiably the same as in Tegucigalpa. So obviously, in the name of science, some twisted grad students in Dr. Knowlege’s employ have been carrying out these dastardly experiments.

Cite your sources, Dr. Knowlege! I suspect that the ASPCA and PETA would be quite interested!

Dutch Surprise- Noses Smell


[photo from Dutch Inspection Service] Noses reportedly have aphrodisiac

Dutch baffled by Nigerian baboon noses

Dutch authorities are trying to track down who left a foul-smelling suitcase
at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport containing up to 2,000 decomposing baboon
noses. The gruesome discovery was made by security guards during a routine patrol
last week.

"The stench from the luggage drew the attention of the security
staff," Louis Steens of the Dutch Agriculture Ministry’s Inspection
Service told BBC
News Online