antipaucity

fighting the lack of good ideas

fact of the week

From the `fortune`-powered, motd on my server this morning:

Here is the fact of the week, maybe even the fact of the month. According to probably reliable sources, the Coca-Cola people are experiencing severe marketing anxiety in China.

The words “Coca-Cola” translate into Chinese as either (depending on the inflection) “wax-fattened mare” or “bite the wax tadpole”.

Bite the wax tadpole.

There is a sort of rough justice, is there not?

The trouble with this fact, as lovely as it is, is that it’s hard to get a whole column out of it. I’d like to teach the world to bite a wax tadpole. Coke – it’s the real wax-fattened mare. Not bad, but broad satiric vistas do not open up.

— John Carrol, The San Francisco Chronicle


whose phone is it, anyway?

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function and begins to talk. Everyone else in the room stops to listen.

MAN: Hello?
WOMAN: Honey, it’s me. Are you at the club?
MAN: Yep, sure am…..
WOMAN: I’m at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat. It’s only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?
MAN: Sure, ..go ahead if you like it that much…
WOMAN: I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2010 models. I saw one I really liked.
MAN: How much?
WOMAN: $85,000
MAN: OK, but for that price I want it with all the options…
WOMAN: Great! Oh, and one more thing . The house we wanted last year is back on the market. They’re asking $950,000…down from $1.500,000
MAN: Well, then go ahead and give them an offer, but just offer $900,000.
WOMAN: OK. I’ll see you later! I love you!
MAN: Bye, I love you, too. The man hangs up.

The other men in the locker room are looking at him in astonishment.

Then he smiles and asks: Anyone know who this phone belongs to?”

the. killer. business!

I’ve figured out what to do with the more than 6 billion people who will need to be buried after they’ve passed-on.

And how to make a handsome profit on the whole operation, too.

That’s right: subscription burials!


Good morning, and welcome to DeathEx, your friendly, local, death experts. We provide a full-service, personalized, and streamlined funeral experience.

For the low price of $19.95 per month*, your loved ones can be interred in our state-of-the-art burial vaults.

Our staff of morticians, burial consultants, and grief guides are here to help you in your time of loss. For the complete duration of your loved ones’ interment, you can contact our staff at any time with questions, to schedule a visit, or to upgrade burial facilities.

Our mourning chambers allow you the privacy you need when grieving over family and friends. We provide flexibility in supporting multiple group sizes, from 1 to hundreds. Whether you come alone, or are a part of the funeral crowd, DeathEx will ensure your complete comfort throughout the process.

For more information, please call us at 800 DEATHEX, or feel free to peruse our website: http://deathex.com.

PS. Don’t miss our bereavement buffet where you can partake in a remembrance meal for your departed friends and family^.


*Some additional terms and conditions may apply. $19.95 service is representative only. Other service levels are available. Please see your certified burial subscription consultant for further details.

^Buffet costs and contents subject to change.

yes, i’m a dork

Certainly you’ve all seen Chuck Norris Facts.

And some of you who may be on Stackoverflow have seen Jon Skeet Facts.

But have you seen Bruce Schneier Facts?

“The nuclear launch codes held by the President of the United States are secured by an unbreakable system: a plain brown envelope with a picture of Bruce Schneier on the flap.” “Bruce Schneier doesn’t have a chin under his beard – just more ciphertext.” “Bruce Schneier once broke AES using nothing but six feet of rusty barbed wire, a toothpick, and the front axle from a 1962 Ford Falcon.”

Ahh, the joys of memes.

univacky

an oldy, but a goody… http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/univac/univacky.html

(For proper rhythm, the symbol “@” is pronounced “at” and “$” is pronounced “dollar”.)

‘Twas BRKPT and the I/O queue
Was SYMMING FASTRAND like the wind.
All idle was the CAU
As the last run had just FINNED.

“Beware the UNIVAC, my son,
Its FASTRAND and its high-speed drum,
And FIELDATA, and listen for
The CTMC’s hum.”

He quickly dialed a low-speed line
And then keyed in his SITE-ID.
He typed @RUN and then sat back
To wield his CRT.

NO ACTIVE RUN, it answered back,
And WAITING ON FACILITY;
BAD STATUS WORD FROM CSF,
And then just SYMB 03.

“I’ll fix you now,” he shouted out,
“You’ve finally got me ired.
I’ll use a systems terminal:
1200 baud, hard-wired!”

“I’ll write a loop in SSG
To make your ferrite holler
1000 runs, and in each one
Ten ER’s to FORK$.”

“Each fork,” he smiles, “@ADDs 10 files,
Each file starts 10 runs more.
Each run contains 10 COBOL jobs
To grind along in core.

“Each job will write 10 9-track tapes,
And then rewind and read them.
Each tape, of course, is punched to cards,
For backup, if I need them.”

As fast as light his fingers write:
@SETC, then @TEST, @JUMP,
@XQT, and then for spite,
A full post-mortem dump.

He wiped his hands upon his shirt
And then he FINNED his run,
And scurried to the console
To sit and watch the fun.

MEMORY FAULT, the system cried,
And PARITY-07 ADG,
And PANIC DUMP IMPOSSIBLE,
And ERROR 53.

“Oh frabjous day, callou callay;
I’ve made the system stall.”
He tore it from the PAGEWRITER
And hung it on the wall.

‘Twas BRKPT and the I/O queue
Was SYMMING FASTRAND like the wind.
All idle was the CAU
As the last run had just FINNED.

the planet is doing great!

Full transcript – again, Mr Carlin, you are missed.

You got people like this around you? Country is full of them now! People walking around all day long, every minute of the day — worried about EVERYTHING! Worried about the air, worried about the water, worried about the soil. Worried about insecticides, pesticides, food additives, carcinogens; worried about radon gas; worried about asbestos. Worried about saving endangered species.

Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control Nature! It’s arrogant meddling! It’s what got us into trouble in the first place! Doesn’t anybody understand that? Interfering with Nature! Over 90 percent.. over… way over 90 percent of all the species that have ever lived — EVER LIVED — on this planet are gone. Whissshht! They are extinct!

We didn’t kill them all.

They just… disappeared! That’s what Nature does! They disappear these days at the rate of 25 a day, and I mean regardless of our behavior. Irrespective of how we act on this planet, 25 species that were here today, will be gone tomorrow! Let them go… gracefully! Leave Nature alone! Haven’t we done enough?

We’re so self-important. So self-important! Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees; save the bees; save the whales; save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all, “Save the planet.” WHAT? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. Tired! I’m tired of fucking Earth Day! I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists; these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference! The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what? A hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles; hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors; worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages… And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet… the planet… the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet will be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

You wanna know how the planet is doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, “How the planet’s doing?” You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

The planet will be here for a long, long — LONG — time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself; it will cleanse itself, because that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover; the earth will be renewed; and, if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the Earth plus plastic! The Earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the Earth. The Earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the Earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old philosophical question, “Why are we here?” “Plastic! Assholes.”

So! So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that it has already started already, don’t you? I think, to be fair, the planet probably sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And I am sure the planet will defend itself in the manner of a large organism, like a beehive or an ant colony, and muster a defense. I am sure the planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet trying to defend against this pesky, troublesome species? “Let’s see… What might… Hmm.. Viruses! Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.”

Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron.” The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish; it doesn’t reward; it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.

Thanks for being here with me for a little while tonight!

Thank you!

retirement party

My goal is to retire by the end of the year. To make sure I reach that goal, I’m requesting donations from friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and outright strangers.

If you’d like to contribute to my retirement fund, please send me an email: retire@warrenmyers.com. Donations of any size are accepted, but I don’t give tax receipts.

My goal: $1,570,796.33 by the end of the year. I have $3.14 as of today.