It’s easy to get depressed reading ecological journals these days.
Oh, heck. It’s easy to get depressed reading just about anything these days. But ecological news just seems to be one bummer after another. Global warming, obscene nuclear pollution in the sea near Japan, rhinos being hunted to extinction for their horns, the list just seems to go on and on.
So that’s why it’s nice to read about a little something different now and again. Like how the former “death strip” which divided East and West Germany during the Cold War has a very good chance to become a really unique game preserve.
You can read about it here. Anyone want to say “swords into plowshares”?
Yes, yes, I know. It’s been a LONG while since I’ve last posted. I’ll blame it on Facebook.
But now on to Belly Armor.
When I saw this in my email inbox, I was hoping it was about some kind of shrapnel-resistant clothing. Since there are a lot of explosive personalities in the office these days, I could use something like that.
Well, boy was I wrong. Especially in regards the “boy” part.
According to the press release, “Belly Armor by RadiaSheild has recently launched in Washington state with a maternity line that shields pregnant bellies against radiation from laptops, cell phones, wireless towers and other electronic devices.”
This is done via “a conductive silver-based textile, has the same shielding effectiveness as a quarter-inch thick sheet of aluminum. `It is machine washable and soft to the touch, allowing us to create versatile products that pregnant women are excited to wear,’” explained Aileen Chen, Belly Armor CEO.
I’ll confess, as a single guy I’m not real “up” on maternity issues. But I think I would have noticed if ladies who are in a family way nowadays were sporting quarter-inch thick aluminum sheets around their baby bulges.
And why should they? That’s what aluminum foil is for. If a mama-to-be is worried about radiation, a few sheets of good, old heavy-duty Reynolds Wrap (secured with duct tape, of course) ought to block out not only that nasty cell phone radiation, but the mind-control signals from BOTH the aliens and the government as well.
(Of course, mom is going to have to remember to fashion herself a nice aluminum foil hat to protect her own noggin from those nefarious signals. Many fine designs can be found online by simply Googling “Aluminum foil hats”.)
I also discovered a new word, “mompreneur.” According to the release, this is a title Babble.com bestows on people like Ms. Chen for designing stuff like radiation-resistant clothing.
Unfortunately there’s no word on whether Belly Armor is any good if you find yourself in the vicinity of a leaky nuclear power plant. For men (and non-pregnant women) in that situation, there’s always the potassium iodide martini, but that’s not an option for pregnant ladies. I guess those mompreneurs need to get back to the drawing board.
Well, it’s good to know the machines of our dreams (or nightmares) are not quite there yet.
Although a computer named Watson beat its human competition on “Jeopardy” recently (read about it here) it was comforting to hear the artificial intelligence guys all say us carbon-based lifeforms still trump silicon. For now anyway.
Best quote from the story? “Bart Massey, a professor of computer science at Portland State University, quipped: ‘If you want to build something that thinks like a human, we have a great way to do that. It only takes like nine months and it’s really fun.’”
This just in from a good friend who works at a local hospital.
“Do you have a guilty conscious? There’s an app for that! This is from USA Today …” reads the e-mail. And this is what follows:
The U.S. Catholic Church has apparently given its blessing to an iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession, Reuters reports.
The $1.99 “Confession: A Roman Catholic” app guides Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the developer describes as a “personalized examination of conscience for each user.”
It is not designed to replace going to confession but to help Catholics through the act, which generally involves admitting sins to a priest in a confessional booth. Catholics still must go to a priest for absolution.
Among the features:
-Custom examination of Conscience based upon age, sex, and vocation (single, married, priest, or religious)
-Multiple user support with password protected accounts
- Ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience
- Confession walkthrough including time of last confession in days, weeks, months, and years
- Choose from 7 different acts of contrition
- Custom interface for iPad
- Full retina display support
“Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology,” says Patrick Leinen of the Indiana-based Little iApps.
The company says Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne in Indiana officially authorized the app for Catholics to use.
The firm says the content was developed with the help of Rev. Thomas Weinandy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Rev. Dan Scheidt, an Indiana pastor.
Well, all I can say is I hope people don’t start confessing too loudly in public. It would get a little embarrassing.
Given the popularity of our recent moose episode, what follows is a scenario we in the news business can only dream about.
It involves not only a moose AND a squirrel, but also formerly endangered gray wolves, stereotypical foreign bad people and comical government bureaucrats.
Personally, I don’t see how it can miss.
WALLA WALLA — A playful moment involving a wayward moose and cute squirrel nearly turned tragic today.
The incident unfolded as the unlikely pair gamboled across a local golf course, amusing a crowd of Walla Wallans who flocked to the location to see the spectacle.
Suddenly, as the horrified onlookers watched, a slavering pack of gray wolves (drunk with power over their recent de-listing as endangered species) attacked with bloodthirsty ferocity.
Witnesses said the heartless carnivores were released from a van driven by a short, leering man wearing a black trenchcoat and matching fedora. He was accompanied by a tall, extremely thin woman with black hair and dark eyes. Both reportedly spoke with thick, eastern-European accents and chortled gleefully as they contemplated wreaking havoc on “moose und squirrel.”
Fortunately, just as the vicious lupines were about the catch the duo, the attack was rudely interrupted by an out-of-control riding lawnmower driven by a Capt. Peter “Wrongway” Peachfuzz, a retired ship’s master rumored to have worked in intelligence.
Piloting the mower in a erratic manner people described as “cheerfully suicidal,” Peachfuzz headed off the wolf pack and sent them scurrying, actually driving over several of the brutes and leaving them comically splayed out flat on the ground with their backs painfully (but amusingly) shaved by the mower blades.
The moose and squirrel were last seen fleeting towards a small, little-known town in Minnesota.
Well, we can hope, can’t we?
Well, as we battle our way through our post-holiday depressions (“the long, dark tea-time of the soul” to quote Douglas Adams), it’s nice to know there are people out there hell-bent on giving us heart attacks.
I offer the (food) court the following exhibit from today’s New York Daily News. (Hint, just click on each picture to bring up the next artery-clogging sensation.)
There is, of course, the infamous KFC Double Down sandwich, which could qualify as “a heart attack on a bun” except it doesn’t even HAVE a bun. Instead it consists of cheese, bacon and a special sauce sandwiched between two deep-fried breaded chicken patties. Yum.
I honestly thought this was a joke when I first heard about it, but it’s true, which just goes to show how far ’round the bend this world has gotten. The folks at The Onion were probably kicking themselves and saying, “Why didn’t WE think of that first?”
And speaking of The Onion, once you have finished glazing your eyes on the stomach-popping delights pictured in today’s edition, then go here for the faux follow-on comments from the FDA….
So yesterday was Blue Monday.
According to a friend’s post on Facebook, the day was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year because the holidays are officially over and most people have broken their New Year’s resolutions by then.
I argued that Mondays in general are always depressing, so the third one in January isn’t any worse than any other. All Mondays are like that. Two days off on the weekend are just enough to let you get in full-blown relax mode and then, WHAM!, it’s Monday and you have to go back to work. If that isn’t depressing, I don’t know what is.
As for reason number two, just don’t make New Years resolutions. There, problem solved.
So the next question is if yesterday was Blue Monday, what’s next? Red Tuesday? Turquoise Wednesday? Pinky-Russet Thursday?
Personally, I think color-coding days is a bad idea. Sooner or later you are going to hit black and the next thing you know you’ve triggered the next Great Depression or some other national disaster. And does anyone really want to deal with a pinky-russet Thursday?
I didn’t think so.
It’s National Oatmeal Month.
This revelation, contained in an e-mail, caused my brain to seize up for several minutes.
I mean, why oatmeal? A meal made of oats is something for horses. Is there a National Wheatmeal Month? How about branmeal? And there certainly has to be a National Cornmeal Month! (There isn’t, damn the injustice.)
This is why it’s dangerous to look at your e-mails before the coffee kicks in. And while we’re at it, is there a National Coffee Month? After all, there’s a National Burger Month and even a National Indian Pudding Day (Nov. 13), during which, I guess, everyone is supposed to enjoy “an old-fashioned dessert made from spicy cornmeal-molasses pudding which may be served with whipped cream, hard sauce, or cream,” according to one recipe.
No wonder the nation is in the grips of an obesity epidemic. Our entire calendar is filled up with food-related events.
Actually, though, the Indian Pudding stuff sounds kind of tasty, although I have to wonder about the “hard sauce” business. Just what is “hard sauce” and does it have anything to do with “getting sauced” or “hitting the sauce”?
And is there a National Hard Sauce Month?
OK, enough of the deep questions. The editor is looking in this direction. Back to work.
Here’s hoping you have a few good friends, as in “people willing to tell you ‘That is a really stupid idea and you should just drop it now.’”
Unfortunately this was not the case of the university professor who is the subject of this story.
I’m not sure if this will qualify as the first truly stupid idea of the year, but I think it ought to rank right up there.
First off, I apologize for the long break between this and the last post. December wasn’t much of a month for blogging.
Anyway, I got this call from my brother just before Christmas. It seems he’s become a tank commander.
And he doesn’t just command one tank, but two. So naturally I’m envious.
His armored force consists of a brace of state-of-the-art M1A1 Abrams tanks. He discovered them at Fry’s Electronics in Phoenix, Ariz. (where he lives) and he’s been having a lot of fun with them ever since.
I guess I should reveal at this point the tanks in question are 1:24 radio-controlled scale models, but that doesn’t make them any less cool. They can scoot around at high velocity, the turrets pivot 360 degress and both even come with working cannon that can spit Airsoft BBs at a considerable velocity.
Seriously. Effective range on those suckers is about 30-35 feet and inside of about eight feet the BB just slices through a paper target. This made me think they would be an ideal remote-controlled weapon for my colleague, Sheila Hagar, in her ongoing battle with the wild turkeys.
Could you imagine the shock and awe those feathered hooligans would feel in their pea-sized brains when one of these babies comes charging at them, spitting multicolored Airsoft BBs in all directions? The only thing better would be to get the 1:16 scale German Tiger tank, which comes complete with a smoke and flash accessory attachment.
So, if you want to check these things out, just go here …