Grab bag: just because it’s interesting

Physics Misconceptions: Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. Mostly.

Bigelow launches its second inflatable space module: This is definitely rocket science.

Did you know Chef Boyardee was a real guy?

According to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, playing chess and “black gammon” (backgammon) are forbidden for a Muslim. For what I can gather, this is because they were used for gambling. However, horse racing is OK.

Run, Dhileepan, run!

Thanks to hawkeye* reader Allen for letting me know about this story:

The Indian government, not unexpectedly, has decided to arrest the teenage surgeon and his parents on multiple, assorted charges. (I’m wondering where the “concealing evidence” charge comes in, seeing as they made a videotape of the operation for all the world to see.)

While the cops managed to nab the parents, the aspiring surgeon was apparently too quick and wily. If the kid’s smart, he’ll go to northeast India to start his own coin-melting operation. And he’ll videotape it so he can get into the Guiness Book of World Records as the youngest person to head up a coin-melting ring.

*ie, reads news stories during work hours

Chess Widget

Thanks to my co-worker Greg for sharing this Opera widget: Chess+.

It’s a neat little program, not bug-free (you should see how people whine about a free product not being perfect). Being Javascript-based, it’s not especially strong objectively (maybe 1100?), but certainly not bad.

I’ve thought about creating a chess program from time to time; just never really seem to get around to doing it.

How not to make currency

Indian Rupee

Have you ever wondered how much money is worth? I mean, the materials in it. Obviously, for paper money, the value printed on it is worth far more than the materials (except for possibly in Zimbabwe).

Some enterprising Indians have figured out the metal in rupee coins is worth much more than the coin’s declared value. Millions of coins are melted down and being created into stuff like razor blades. One guy claimed that the one rupee coin (about 2.5 US cents) was worth 35 rupees to him before the cops busted him for coin-melting.

The coin shortage is so acute in some areas, shopowners have resorted to measures like:

  • Asking people to buy more to make the sale a round figure.
  • Buying coins from beggars at a loss.
  • Creating their own “currency” to be used at their shop.

The mint has responded by reducing the metal content of coinage, but it’ll take a while for them to catch up.

People reacting to the Benoit situation

One sentence recap: Chris Benoit killed his wife and 7-year-old son over the weekend, then killed himself.

I find it very strange that some people seem to think that killing his son was more heinous than killing his wife. Isn’t it the same crime?

The strangest matchups you’ve never imagined

Battle #1
Battle #2

Chewbacca vs Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law?
Teen Girl Squad vs Teen Titans?
The Punisher vs France?
Albert Einstein vs Bambi?

This is the world of CBUB, Comic Book Universe Battles. People set up “battles” between various, mostly fictional characters and the world votes on them. Obviously, the matchups have now ranged well outside the world of comics (unless Albert Einstein has his own comic book, which would be a very sorry thing, indeed).

Looks like one of those “could easily spend a couple hours hopping from link to link” site.

(UPDATE: a very sorry thing, indeed.)

The perfect name for a sister website

98% Eggs!

One feature of humanity’s improved knowledge of chemistry and biology is the ability to create edible substances which technically count as food, but probably shouldn’t. Juice cocktails are a great example. Containing 5-10% juice, they are mostly sugar water. The best you can say about those things is that they usually add Vitamin C, so you at least you won’t get scurvy.

Yours truly, the Liquid Egg Product, is a substance that sounds worse than it is. It’s basically eggs that have gone through some or all of these processes: separation, pasteurization, mixing, or dehydration and rehydration.

This article gives a bit of information on American “cheese”. The thought that’s kept going through my head is the term “process cheese food”. What a great name for a sister website! And there’s a processed cheese food already (it’s a 1995-style personal page even more insipid than this one).

Hmmm…maybe the time has come for one of those “webrings” (talk about mid-90’s style) for pages with domain names that are artificially created edible substances.