Archive for April 3rd, 2007


I. Am. Speechless.

Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all. In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father’s ashes mixed with cocaine.

“The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father,” Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

“He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn’t have cared,” he said. “… It went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.”

I am horrified, yet strangely unsurprised.

7 comments April 3rd, 2007 at 09:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Mmm… Sugar Mayonnaise Glass & Dung Mites…

Fun with Science!


Here’s another way [to make glass], as described by Carlos Co of the University of Cincinnati and colleagues in the journal Nature Materials: shake up some sugar, oil and a surfactant that attracts both materials, heat it to about 250 degrees without further mixing, and allow to dry out while cooling.

The new form of glass that results, the researchers report, is an emulsion – like mayonnaise or salad dressing, in a way. But because it contains sugar instead of water, it is solid and hard like candy, and remarkably clear. And it still contains more than 50 percent liquid oil, which can diffuse through it. It’s somewhat like a sponge, Dr. Co said, with continuous solid areas and continuous liquid ones.

The Mitey Incas:

Researchers now have another tiny tool in their arsenal: millimeter-long, dung-eating mites. Alex Chepstow-Lusty of the University of Montpellier in France and colleagues report in The Journal of Archaeological Science that by counting mites in sediment cores in a lake in the Peruvian Andes, they have been able to track socioeconomic changes in the Inca civilization over centuries.

The lake, which has a small pasture next to it, is only a few hundred feet from an Inca road that was a major trading route to and from Cuzco. It would have been a natural watering spot for long caravans of llamas. All those animals would have left behind a lot of dung, which would have been eaten by the mites. And rain and snow melt would have washed some of those mites into the lake.


[Dr. Chepstow-Lusty] and his colleagues compared mite counts from dated sections of the core with known phases of Inca history. They found large numbers of mites in the late 1400s and early 1500s, when the Incas were flourishing. Mite numbers crashed in sediments from the mid-1500s, when the Incas were nearly wiped out by diseases introduced by the Spanish conquerors. They also found spikes in mite numbers in the 1100s, a period of natural climate warming when activity around the lake might have increased as Incas moved to higher elevations.

Dr. Chepstow-Lusty said the technique might prove useful in studying other civilizations. “We have a new tool to play with,” he said. “One that links directly to domesticated animals used in trade.”

Mite spikes! Ain’t Science grand?

1 comment April 3rd, 2007 at 06:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science,Weirdness

Hard Rock-A-Bye Baby

I’m not entirely sure how to react to this…

Metallica may work as a name for a heavy metal band, but a Swedish couple is struggling to convince authorities it’s also suitable for a baby girl.

Sweden’s tax agency rejected Michael and Karolina Tomaro’s application to name their 6-month-old daughter after the legendary rock band.

”It suits her,” Karolina Tomaro, 27, said Tuesday of the name. ”She’s decisive and she knows what she wants.”

Although little Metallica has already been baptized, the Swedish National Tax Board refused to register the name, saying it was associated with both the rock group and the word ”metal.”

In Sweden, parents must get the names of their children approved by the tax authority, which is in charge of the population registry and issues personal identification numbers, similar to Social Security numbers in the United States.

Tomaro, who has appealed the decision, said the official handling the case also called the name ”ugly.”

The couple was backed by the County Administrative Court in Goteborg, which ruled on March 13 that there was no reason to block the name. It also noted that there already is a woman in Sweden with Metallica as a middle name.

On the one hand, I think they should have the right to name their kid whatever they want, as long as it’s not offensive.

On the other hand, it always makes me uneasy when parents use their kid’s name to make some kind of statement about themselves (no, I do not believe that a six-month-old baby is likely to be demonstrating any specifically Metallica-like personality traits other than loudness). It’s the height of vanity, and it’s unfair to the kid. I would also note that considering their fiercely overprotective litigiousness, Metallica is probably the last band you would want to name your kid after, unless you’re a gazillionaire who really likes getting sued.

Perhaps as a compromise, the parents could promise to pay any expenses incurred if the unimaginable occurs, and “Metallica” decides that she wants to change her name…

4 comments April 3rd, 2007 at 05:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Not Everything Is Lost

Perhaps there is still hope for us. Courtesy of my mom:

Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal
by Naomi Shihab Nye

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well — one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew — however poorly used –
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her — southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies — little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts — out of her bag —
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo — we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers —
Non-alcoholic — and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American — ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend — by now we were holding hands —
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate — once the crying of confusion stopped
— has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

Now if we could just expand that sense of shared humanity further than one airport gate…

3 comments April 3rd, 2007 at 11:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness

Can Ye Lend Me 150,000 Bob Until The Weekend? I’m Absolutely Skint.

See, this is why it would be cool to be rich:

KITT, the flame-throwing, river-jumping, talking muscle car from the ’80s TV show “Knight Rider,” is up for sale.

Restored to its debut-season glory, the modified black 1982 Pontiac Trans Am is offered at $149,995 at a Dublin auto dealership. Johnny “Vette” Verhoek of Kassabian Motors has had the car, officially called Knight Industries Two Thousand, on display for about a month.


Although it cannot achieve the 300 mph speeds that KITT reached, soar 50 feet in the air or throw smoke bombs, key features of the star car are intact. Perhaps most important, the red scanner light on the nose glows and makes a humming noise.

The car has two working video screens on the dashboard, and the cockpit features buttons that light up in green, yellow and red: ski mode, rocket boost, micro jam, silent mode, oil slick and eject.

*wistful sigh*

April 3rd, 2007 at 11:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,TV

Oakland B&W Architectural Blogging

More architectural photos:

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More of that glowy-light thing.

* WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *
Not entirely sure what I’m looking at here…

* WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *
One of the dorms at Pitt. There was a nice blue sky, but the building looks better in B&W.

1 comment April 3rd, 2007 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

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