Archive for June, 2008

The Danger of Alcohol, 1913

One of my weirder weaknesses is a fondness for old text and reference books – the older and more outdated the better. This is because nothing – nothing – helps illustrate the advances in science and general knowledge over the last twenty, thirty, fifty, eighty, or hundred years better than seeing the state of knowledge way back when. At the same time, though, it’s shocking how many “old things” have “become new” again – that is, how many recent “new” discoveries were known decades ago, but fell out of favor for whatever reason over time.

I recently picked up a 1913 textbook – intended for students in “intermediate grades”, whatever that means – on “General Hygeine”. Over the next couple days, I’ll be scanning and posting some of the more interesting and/or entertaining bits from this volume, which contains much that is dubious, or, to be charitable, merely outdated.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on June 23rd, 2008 | No Comments »

Clues For a New Generation

Growing up, Clue wasn’t my favorite board game – that was Scrabble – but it was still a rather fun way to pass a rainy day with family members or friends. What struck me then – and still strikes me today – is the curiously dated character of the game – a bunch of well-off white people in a mansion, accusing each other of having committed murder with the crudest and most basic sorts of tools. What surprises me most is that though there have been “new” editions of the game over the years, they’ve all – with one or two quite forgettable exceptions – kept the dated feel. The premise is sound, and the game is fundamentally enjoyable, but I think the whole setting is just too alien for today’s kids. As such, I’ve got some ideas for new editions of Clue, which should appeal to a younger and more hip generation:
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on June 23rd, 2008 | No Comments »

Half of Military Prisoners in USAF

I stumbled across an interesting presentation from earlier this year recently; a “command briefing” for the Navy’s Consolidated Brig Charleston. As the “consolidated” in the name suggests, the facility serves all branches of the military, as well as housing a few of those oh-so-plentiful “enemy combatants”. The presentation includes some interesting statistics about the prison population:
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on June 19th, 2008 | No Comments »

UFOs 1, Obsolete Jets, 0

I don’t know what to make of this – according to various news reports, last October, a MiG-21 fighter jet belonging to the Romanian Air Force was struck by unidentified flying objects while flying over Transylvania. Why it wasn’t reported until this past week, I have no idea, but it appears the Romanians are stumped as to the causes. While they have reportedly turned matters over to an investigative body that neither Google nor Wikipedia have ever heard of (cue X-Files music), other folks have been all too happy to speculate about the cause of the peculiar incident.

Remember, folks: the truth? It’s out there – but you can’t handle it!

Published in: Geekiness, General | on June 18th, 2008 | No Comments »

From the Bucket and Pail to the Fields of Wheat

Last week, Wired’s Threat Level posted a list of slang used by gang members, compiled by law enforcement officials down in Texas. Much of it is easily deciphered, or feeble attempts at being clever – your typical attempts at forging comaraderie through specialized jargon. But a couple bits jumped out at me, because I was already familiar with them – and not in the context of street or prison gangs, either.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on June 16th, 2008 | No Comments »