One day Neil DeGrasse Tyson declared “No one can make science more preachy and pedantic than I can!” and Bill Nye said “Hold my beer and watch this”.

— Larry Correia settles the science

Altec Lansing inMotion

I’d love to supply a link to this extremely cool iPod accessory, except that the manufacturer doesn’t list it on their web site, and Apple’s online store generates nonsensical URLs that don’t share well.

Altec Lansing inMotion

Instead, imagine a white plastic brick, about the size of an O’Reilly book, that opens up into a surprisingly good mini-speaker system that doubles as a fully-functional iPod docking station. It’s quite loud for a system with only 2 watts/channel, and distortion is well-controlled at reasonable volumes. It’s compatible with older iPods and other devices through the Aux port (short cable supplied), which I’m connecting to my PowerBook for a significant sound boost.

They claim up to 24 hours of life on four AA batteries, or you can use the supplied wall-wart to run it on AC.

I made the list!

It’s not a very exclusive list, seeing as the FBI bullied every hotel in Vegas into handing over data on who had reservations for New Years Eve, but it gives me a warm glow to be one of the 300,000 new entries in the “suspected terrorist” database.

I’m guessing that the hotel that made the token effort to resist turning over their guest list was The Palms, which is the current hot celebrity hangout. What agent could resist checking out Britney’s travel/marriage/annulment schedule?

Casino poker lessons

How to annoy the guy who’s slowplaying pocket aces: flop a full house with 43 unsuited.

Waiting periods

Most Hollywood celebrities have never seen a pointless gun law that they didn’t like, so I’d like to turn the tables on them.

I hereby demand a ten day waiting period on celebrity marriages.

And Britney, sweetie, next time you want to get married in Vegas, I’ll be waiting for you in the poker room at the Luxor. Kiss-kiss.

Not holding my breath…

It’s hard to take terrorists seriously when they’re reduced to sending out threats by email:

A London-based Arab magazine said on Friday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has vowed to launch a "back-breaking attack" on the United States by February, confirming an earlier message by the militant network.
The weekly al-Majalla said it received an e-mail from Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, a little known al Qaeda member, saying bin Laden would release a video tape in which he affirms his group's determination to fight the United States.

If they were actually in a position to release such a tape, you’d think they’d just do it. Hell, just post the video to a warez site and tell everyone it’s Paris Hilton’s latest orgy. A million people will see it, and while half the viewers will complain about the poor lighting, the other half will be amazed that bin Laden managed to nail her.

A Stargate Christmas

Stargate, the movie. Not what most people would think of as a typical Christmas Eve film, but I’m a bit burned out on anime after the ending of Mahoromatic (although I didn’t feel nearly as betrayed as Steven Den Beste, partially because I’d read the spoilers and they were even worse than the reality. But I digress). After polishing off my traditional Christmas dinner (pizza with pepperoni, onion, green peppers, and extra cheese, with a $20 tip for the delivery driver), I went through my piles of DVDs and picked this one.

Stargate holds a special place in my heart as one of the most godawful big budget science fiction films ever made. Magnificent visuals, but plot holes you could drive a truck through. I am constantly amazed that the producers of SG-1 managed to salvage a mostly coherent backstory out of this turkey.

It was quite a remarkable feat, really. They didn’t just keep the visuals and the names, they managed to use almost every element of the story, jettisoning only the most ludicrous aspects, and subtly tweaked what they kept. Better still, their new material fit in almost seamlessly, creating a rich universe ripe for exploration.

The biggest achievement of SG-1, however, was that it hit the ground running. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another SF series where the actors slipped into character so quickly and believably, and did things that made sense. Even with the occasional weak episode, the on-and-off casting, the rare slip into handwaved technobabble, and the Sci-Fi Channel’s habit of jerking the schedule around, it’s one of the few tv shows I actually look forward to.

I sort of follow Smallville (the first time in history that Lex Luthor has actually had a personality!). I mostly follow Angel (where do they find those women?!?). I usually watch Good Eats. I never miss Stargate: SG-1.

I’m told that the producers of the Stargate film felt horribly betrayed when MGM turned the property over to the people who developed SG-1. They wanted to make a feature-film sequel, taking the story in a completely different direction. To that, I can only say, “thank you, MGM”. I can’t shake the feeling that their sequel would have had all the charm of a flashback to the planet Zeist.

[much like the final episode of Mahoromatic; guess I can’t stop that digression after all. I suspect I’ll be gathering and extending the comments I’ve been exchanging with Steven on this one; I think I can beat his 5700 words and explain why I initially told him that the last five episodes “didn’t suck” :-)]

Epicenter imagery

Quote from someone who ran a business in the Paso Robles building that collapsed during the recent quake:

“My roof basically jumped onto the street and landed on cars with people in them.”

You’ve been in California too long when…

…your reaction to an earthquake is disappointment that the USGS Shake Map hasn’t been updated yet so you can submit a report on how it felt.

Biggest quake in the last four years, just in time for my sister’s birthday!

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”