Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

April 21st, 2010:

Odd Lots


  • Pete Albrecht sent the above image, and challenged me to characterize it. What would you call it? (Answer at the end of this entry.)
  • The people who created the indie WWII film The Downfall have had enough, and persuaded YouTube to pull hundreds of parodies of the well-known scene in which Hitler freaks out when he learns that the Soviets are closing in on Berlin and the war is lost. The film is in German, with English subtitles. People were swapping in their own subtitles, and whereas the first one (or maybe two) were funny in a painful way, after I watched three or four I had had enough myself. On the flipside, it was a fortune in free publicity for a film I’d never even heard of before people started sending me links to various parodies.
  • Another Web site (following the example of Ars Technica) started banning people for even mentioning AdBlock on their forums. They retreated, defending their position all the way. The problem here is that ads can be malware injectors, and unless Web sites can guarantee clean ads (which isn’t easy, given how current ad systems work) I’m with the blockers here.
  • Assuming that this is legit, it may be our best hope yet for fighting cancer after metastasis.
  • Ditto a new broad-spectrum mechanism for knocking out viruses. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • For people who hadn’t read my earlier entries about it, Fat Dogs (see the photo of their sign in my April 19th entry) is a small chain of gas stations/convenience stores in western Nebraska. They’re so small they don’t have a Web site. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a great sign and motto. (“You Are Nowhere.”)
  • Book publisher Penguin Australia published a pasta cookbook, one recipe of which calls for “finely ground black people” instead of “finely ground black pepper.” Although Penguin hasn’t copped to it yet, this reeks of an instance in which a mispelled form of “pepper” generated the suggestion “people” in the spell checker, and some underpaid knucklehead editorial staffer clicked on “accept all.” I gave that lecture to a couple of my staffers ten years ago. You’d think the publishing world at large would have internalized the danger by now.
  • NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite goes live today, promising the best solar images we’ve ever obtained.
  • Give up? (See first item in this entry.) It’s a…bichon frieze.