Sunday August 31, 2003

Rabbits? or Powder Puffs?

A friend sent me a link to Betty Chu's English Angora Rabbits pages, specifically the 2003 All Breed Best In Show & Reserve In Show winners. They are adorable... but are they rabbits? Or giant powder puffs? Or something else again? (stuffy toys? slippers? footstools??)

I sent the link to several friends. Here's one reply:

I regret to inform you that neither of your possible answers were correct. The creatures that are shown in the pictures are the mature form of the common household dust bunnies. Normally they are very quiet and quite harmless unless you are allergic to them.

These however are breeding adults. They are capable of producing thousands of offspring (just pick one up while wearing a dark sweater).

They reproduce 2 ways. Asexually by budding described above and sexually producing 2-8 offspring at a time. Best advice is to avoid them completely and prevent the adult form by frequently cleaning problem areas.

Rabbits? or Powder Puffs? ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sun, 31 Aug, 22:33 Pacific

Friday August 29, 2003

School Daze

The Friday 5 for this week concerns... school.

Given that Tuesday will be the First Day of School for many kids across the country; this seems like an appropriate topic.

  1. Are you going to school this year?
  2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?
  3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?
  4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?
  5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?
...
       Continue reading "School Daze"

School Daze ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 29 Aug, 22:14 Pacific

Saturday August 23, 2003

The last time you...

The Friday 5 for this week is really lame. I haven't decided yet if I'll bother to answer. Feel free to provide your own answers in the comments.

  1. When was the last time you laughed?
  2. Who was the last person you had an argument with?
  3. Who was the last person you emailed?
  4. When was the last time you bathed?
  5. What was the last thing you ate?
The last time you... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 23 Aug, 12:11 Pacific

Friday August 22, 2003

Last week's blackout

[The satellite photo I posted earlier was a hoax :( Sigh. These are real]
Left is approx. 20 hours before the blackout; right is approx 7 hours into the blackout. Click images to enlarge.

I know a couple of people who were within the black-out zone. ...
       Continue reading "Last week's blackout"

Last week's blackout ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 22 Aug, 20:46 Pacific

Monday August 18, 2003

The Ambient Orb

Oooooh. I want a new toy!
The Ambient Orb is a device that slowly transitions between thousands of colors to show changes in the weather, the health of your stock portfolio, or if your boss or friend is on instant messenger. It is a simple wireless object that unobtrusively presents information. ...

The Orb arrives set to indicate the Dow - glowing more green to indicate market movement up and red to indicate movement down... It can be customized to a set of free channels, such as market indices...or weather in select cities. Optionally, you can upgrade to access more premium channels, such as your customized portfolio, local weather, pollen count, or IM buddy watch. There's also a developer interface where any semi-savvy web programmer can control the color of their Orb with a simple http "get" call. Track how full your hard drive is, traffic on your website, Slashdot posts, or your credit-card debt.

I want one of these!

See more at Think Geek

The Ambient Orb ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Mon, 18 Aug, 21:39 Pacific

Saturday August 16, 2003

Close Encounters

Look for it in the night sky - an increasingly brighter, reddish "star" near the moon. That's not a star; it's the planet Mars.

Earth and Mars are rapidly converging. On August 27, 2003--the date of closest approach--the two worlds will be 56 million km apart. That's a long way by Earth standards, but only a short distance on the scale of the solar system.

Between now and August, Mars will brighten until it "blazes forth against the dark background of space with a splendor that outshines Sirius and rivals the giant Jupiter himself." Astronomer Percival Lowell, who famously mapped the canals of Mars, wrote those words to describe the planet during a similar close encounter in the 19th century.

[c.f. Approaching Mars, Science@NASA]

...
       Continue reading "Close Encounters"

Close Encounters ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 16 Aug, 12:10 Pacific

Friday August 15, 2003

Home Sweet Home Page

The Friday 5 for this week is about the Internet

  1. How much time do you spend online each day?
  2. What is your browser homepage set to?
  3. Do you use any instant messaging programs? If so, which one(s)?
  4. Where was your first webpage located?
  5. How long have you had your current website?
...
       Continue reading "Home Sweet Home Page"

Home Sweet Home Page ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 15 Aug, 16:31 Pacific

Thursday August 14, 2003

Gadgets and Gizmos

I've discovered two new gadget sites recently.

The first, Gizmodo ("The Gadgets Weblog") is for techie toys: PDAs, cellphones, cameras, etc. Take a look at the article about the iBOT 3000, a wheelchair that climbs stairs!

The other site is a bit more prosaic. If you're not into computer tech, you may prefer The Gadget Source, ("The Authority for Kitchen Gadgets"). They even have a Kitchen Gadget of the Month Club. Oooohhhh... And me without a steady income :-( ... I found this site while looking for a source for a metal sink strainer I bought a few years ago at a (long-forgotten) store. (The strainer is a most excellent sink accessory. I recommend it highly).

Gadgets and Gizmos ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Thu, 14 Aug, 11:22 Pacific

Tuesday August 12, 2003

Weblogging - The Next Generation

I have begun a weblogging experiment.

I created a private weblog for my family, a kind of Family Bulletin Board. Then I invited 10 family members to join as Guest Authors. So far, 5 of the 10 have accepted the invitation and one is considering the idea. All of the guest authors have posted at least once and several have also added comments.

In addition, my sister has been sufficiently interested to ask me to help her set up her own, personal, weblog. Now that's a success story.

Weblogging - The Next Generation ( in category WebTech ) - posted at Tue, 12 Aug, 22:34 Pacific

Sunday August 10, 2003

Hearing New Voices

One of the best things about the WWW is how much interesting information is available - how many new things you can learn if you keep your eyes open. Weblogs make even more information available, as people share links, news, and personal stories. The WWW is both a community and a community-enhancing tool.
Though there's a lot of talk about newspapers and politicians and celebrities having weblogs, we are continually reminded that the most amazing thing about weblogs is how they let average people share their unique perspectives on life.
...
       Continue reading "Hearing New Voices"

Hearing New Voices ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 10 Aug, 13:20 Pacific

Saturday August 9, 2003

Classic Cars

I've always loved "Classic Cars" - cars from the 40's, the 30's... Model A, Model T. One of the nice things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that the generally pleasant weather allows Classic Car owners to drive their cars year round - sometimes as their regular transportation. ...
       Continue reading "Classic Cars"

Classic Cars ( in category In The News ) - posted at Sat, 09 Aug, 18:35 Pacific

Saturday August 9, 2003

Where did you go? Out.

What did you do? Nothing.

The Friday 5 for this week concerns travel:

  1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?
  2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?
  3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?
  4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?
  5. What's the next place on your list to visit?
...
       Continue reading "Where did you go? Out."

Where did you go? Out. ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 09 Aug, 11:24 Pacific

Friday August 8, 2003

The Forrester Electronic Toy Show

We went to a presentation yesterday at PARC (The Palo Alto Research Center). Daniel Rasmus and Rob Enderle, both industry analysts, provided an amusing presentation of "business and consumer gadgets and toys", from notebook computers, to handhelds, to cases, cameras, power supplies, and things we wouldn't have guessed existed. How about a gadget vest with many many pockets, ala Dilbert? For cooler weather, it has zip-in sleeves. Or, how about a laptop backpack that looks more like a baby carrier; it's so unusual that Mr. Enderle says he's stopped in security check points simply to explain what it is.

Some things were neat, many were... strange. Several gadgets caused us look at each other, raise our eyebrows, and mouth "Why would anyone...?". The one thing I came away lusting after was the Veo Network Camera. Nevertheless, it was a fun presentation, all in all.

The Forrester Electronic Toy Show ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Fri, 08 Aug, 15:04 Pacific

Wednesday August 6, 2003

Bird Brain

We have been putting out sunflower seed for the birds and squirrels, as well as corn and peanuts for the squirrels. Occasionally I put out a walnut or two. Generally I crack the walnuts first. Today I didn't bother.

Our backyard fauna also includes Scrub Jays, a rather intelligent sort of bird, as birds go. Until today, it never occurred to me that Jays might like walnuts. ...
       Continue reading "Bird Brain"

Bird Brain ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Wed, 06 Aug, 14:25 Pacific

Monday August 4, 2003

TypePad registration opens RSN

TypePad registration will open on Monday, August 4 at 11:59 pm (PDT) as a Preview Release. That's less than 2 hours away as I write this... Features will continue to be added and the system will still be considered to be under development, but the service will be open for any user to sign up. Pricing and features at typepad.com home page.

Get it while it's hot! It's not free... but it's very nice and the support is excellent.!

TypePad registration opens RSN ( in category WebTech ) - posted at Mon, 04 Aug, 22:29 Pacific

Saturday August 2, 2003

Is that fruit ripe?

A friend sent me this, from an article called "Ripe Now," by Jeffrey Steingarten (reprinted in "Cookwise," by Shirley Corriher).

  • Fruits that NEVER ripen after they are picked: soft berries, cacao, cherries, grapes, citrus fruits, lychees, olives, pineapples, and watermelons.

  • Fruits that ripen ONLY after picking: avocados.

  • Fruits that ripen in color, texture, and juiciness but NOT in flavor or sweetness after picking: apricots, blueberries, figs, melons (except watermelons), passionfruit, peaches, and persimmons.

  • Fruits that get sweeter after they are picked: apples, cherimoyas, kiwi, mangoes, papayas, pears, sapotes, and soursops.

  • Fruits that ripen in EVERY way after picking: bananas.

So those incredible baseball-sized peaches we get at our local grocery this time of year, that go from hard to juicy in 3 days, were that sweet and nice to begin with?! Interesting.

I wonder if plums and nectarines fit in with peaches... ...
       Continue reading "Is that fruit ripe?"

Is that fruit ripe? ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 02 Aug, 08:07 Pacific

Friday August 1, 2003

Time to Get Up

This week's Friday Five; pretty much a no-brainer this week. :-)

  1. What time do you wake up on weekday mornings?
  2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?
  3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning?
  4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?
  5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?
...
       Continue reading "Time to Get Up"

Time to Get Up ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 01 Aug, 10:08 Pacific