30 November, 2006

ID pictures conspiracy!

As a subject of more than one government, I quite often need ID pictures, and ususaly I need more than two, so the standard package of two passport photos you can get at Walgreens & such does not work for me. They can make more than two, sure, but that's rather expensive.

What I used to do: get a few snapshots of myself and my wife with a digital camera, then go to a grocery store where they have a Kodak picture machine, and get 6 ID pictures for about 30 cents. The machine has (or at least used to have) an option to tile 6 identical pictures on a 4x6 sheet.

Not anymore! These nice machines are turned off at all three locations I've visited. And there's a newer model machine at a Wolf camera nearby, but this new beauty seems to want $14.95 for any collage printout.

Out of despair I've tried a couple of those mail/notary/fingerprints/etc. locations -- they want $10 per two pictures, with 10% discount at most, if I want more than two at a time.

That's the end of an era for me!

28 November, 2006

living off the wire

It's amazing how fun it is to leave without watching the local news or listening to local radio stations! That's what I've been doing for a couple of weeks and now even weather surprises me. Because, while I do get "global" news from Google news and Fark (mostly, Fark ;)), I'm completely disconnected from local traffic and weather announcements.

So when it suddenly started raining after days of mild sun, and then stopped again, I was all like: "Whoa! What else Mother nature is going to throw at me!"

21 November, 2006

Water cheats itself!

Water is known for its fluidity, so it can infiltrate through the smallest of holes and fark up whatever is behind the holes (like, a mother board). Very sneaky substance, water is!

But today I've noticed how this smartness plays against water: I've boiled some veggies (peas, loose corn, small carrots, etc.) and was distributing them by into dishes by sliding them over the top of the pan with a spoon, trying to not let water to get into the dishes. And since the veggies are quite small, water easily flows between them, cheating itself! Because instead of causing mess in my dish, as water likes to do, it stays in the pan!

Stupid water!

17 November, 2006

On Languages of Man*

*Or, should I say, "languages of person" -- but that sounds rather strange :p

Anyway, as everyone knows, all nouns (i.e. words that denote things) are capitalized in German -- e.g. Beer, Automobile, etc. And it comes as no surprise that Germans do make great things.

But, to my amateurish knowledge, there are no languages where verbs (i.e. words denoting actions) are capitalized. And, applying a sort of a negative anthropic principle, if there was such a language, it's carriers would take over the world. Very action-oriented people, they would be!

To increase productivity even further, adjectives should be abolished! That's right, adjectives should be replaced with participles and adverbs, e.g. instead of saying "red car" we should say "painted with paint made from [whatever the red paint is made from] car". As a result, technological processes would be embedded in the language, so as they learn to speak, children would also learn that

a) cars don't become red by themselves, they are painted red by someone/something
b) red paint is made from [whatever that stuff is]

Most nouns can also be also replaced with participles, except for the most basic ones -- "a gas-powered vehicle", or, rather, "an oil-derived-fuel-powered vehicle", or "an ancient-flora-liquefied-humus-derived-fuel-powered vehicle". Yeah! That's the word!

16 November, 2006

Full ahead!

Indonesia is to buy some Russian military toys, among which there's a couple of submarines.

Submarines are cool things, but they should be very careful, since the archipelago structure of Indonesia may tempt them to drive the shiny new U-boats within the country -- a feat that not many countries can accomplish. Sure, there are some deep rivers in, say, Russia or the U.S., but sailing a submarine in a river is like driving a Porsche along a railroad. Definitely you can achieve some acceleration, but you don't have any control on where to turn!

So in Indonesia they have lots of channels and outright small seas between the islands -- a fabulous playground for U-boats but a very dangerous, too, especially since they're getting two subs: start racing each other, get absorbed in the race and booom -- you've just hit the island!

And I don't think Russia will replace the subs just because the manual says "no racing between the islands!"

15 November, 2006


I've just realized one thing about life insurance: the reason they don't ask you to pass a medical exam is that they're using only the age in their statistics tables. So as they know the probability of a person of each age group dying, they can base their insurance premiums solely on that.

Which means, of course, that people with serious illnesses get "better" deals than those with perfect health, but I doubt "better" is the right word here. "Less profitable" for insurers is probably a better (hehe) choice.

So perhaps the "cutoff" age, after which most insurers demand a medical exam, is a good indicator of how long a person is going to live. Because it won't be too good a life, health- and general well-being-wise, after the point when the insurance companies consider it to be too risky to insure you without a medical exam. And since the insurers are balancing between making money and competing with each other for new customers, this criteria should be quite accurate.

14 November, 2006

Dumping rarity prices

It's being reported that someone had mailed an absentee ballot using an "Inverted Jenny" stamp. Since the envelop didn't have a return address, the vote is invalidated and the enveloped is stored in a sealed box, along with other invalid ballots, until the year 2008, when the government will take possession of the stamp (along with the ballots, envelopes, and regular 37c (or is it 39 already?) useless stamps).

Now, it is said there are just about a hundred of those stamps in existence, and apparently collectors are constantly trying to get their hands on one of those. So, if it is now believed there's one more stamp going to be available in 2008, the current price for such a "Jenny" should get down, and an interested party can get one... cheaper!

06 November, 2006

a beaten analogy

That's a funny thing how all ideas suddenly evaporate once you finally decide to express them on paper (or on the server hard drive). Like if you have a pool of water and go around for months thinking about building a channel to let the water out, then one day you finally build one, but oops! Water is gone -- such an elusive continuum, it! :)

05 November, 2006


This is a test...