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Archive for May, 2011

Nectar of the Gods.

All Guinness sold in Ireland, the U.K., and North America is made in Dublin — so the time it takes for a keg to cross the Atlantic puts it at an immediate disadvantage. What’s more, since your average Irish watering hole probably sells more Guinness than its American counterpart, the chances are much higher that a patron there will get a pour from a fresh keg.

In honor of President Obama reconnecting with his Irish ancestry in Moneygall, Slate‘s Maura Kelly explains why Guinness tastes better in Eire. Hey, it tastes pretty good here too.

The Truth Beckons.

As seen on Twitter and speaking of gifts from God: Surely this discovery has some sort of cosmic and spiritual significance, no? (Let’s see the robots pull this one off.)

Not Just Water. Waterlogged.

“‘These things are not consistent with the amount of water that we find,’ he said. ‘I think in its very basic form, the [impact theory] idea is probably still correct, but there’s something fundamental about the physics of the process that we don’t understand.’

A new study of lunar magma returned from Apollo 17 finds even more evidence of water on the moon, calling into question our understanding of how the moon was even formed. “The analysis, reported in Science, has looked at pockets of volcanic material locked within tiny glass beads. It found 100 times more water in the beads than has been measured before, and suggests that the Moon once held a Caribbean Sea-sized volume of water.


When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we would be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot attacks against our country, undetected,’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday…'[Any delay would] increase the risk of a retaliatory terrorist strike against the homeland and hamper our ability to deal a truly fatal blow to al-Qaida.

Honestly, what is this horseshit? In a disturbingly complete 180 from his comments the last time this came up back in 2006 — although, to be fair, he eventually folded like an accordion then too — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dusts off the Cheneyite talking points to call for an immediate, unamended extension of the PATRIOT Act. (It passed the Senate today, 72-23.)

Contrast this with Reid in 2005: “‘We killed the Patriot Act,’ boasted Minority Leader Harry Reid…to cheers from a crowd at a political rally after the vote.” Ladies and gentlemen, our Democratic Senate Majority Leader. And, yet, however hackadocious Reid is being in this instance, let’s remember — this is coming from the top, from the constitutional scholars at the White House. After all, as Mike Riggs notes in Reason: “If the PATRIOT Act lapses, and a sarlacc does not swallow LAX immediately after, it’ll be that much harder to convince Americans that those provisions are necessary.

It’s Time to Play the Music.

Wait…are there muppets in this movie?” Why, yes, yes, there are. In the trailer bin, a dapper Jason Segal tries to court Amy Adams in our first look at the romantic comedy Green With Envy. And it’s not easy being green, fuzzy, or a weirdo when the Fuzzy Pack comes back, in front of The Hangover Pt. II. Either way, movies are better with muppets.

Epix At Knifepoint.

‘Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,’ Liu told the Guardian. ‘There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [470-570 pounds] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.’

Some very troubling news for MMORPG cheats to consider: The Guardian reports that prisoners at Chinese labor camps are now forced to gold-farm for hours on end. “If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things.” Ugh, don’t subsidize this, people. If you can’t farm the stuff yourself, find another hobby. (Arthas pic via here.)

Exx Terr Min Ate?

The machines are being allowed to generate their own words because human language is so loaded with information that robots found it hard to understand, said project leader Dr Ruth Schulz…’Robot-robot languages take the human out of the loop,’ she said. ‘This is important because the robots demonstrate that they understand the meaning of the words they invent independent of humans.’

In the most recent chapter of “Haven’t these scientists ever heard of Skynet?”, researchers at the University of Queensland are teaching robots to forge their own mutually-agreed-upon language. “Slowly, as the robots travel and talk, they narrow down their lexicon of place names until a mutual gazeteer of their world has been generated. The robots generated place names such as ‘kuzo’, ‘jaro’ and ‘fexo.’

Back to the Future?

Douglas Cooke, associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, told reporters the Orion concept, described by former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin as ‘Apollo on steroids,’ is the most capable spacecraft currently on the drawing board for meeting the Obama administration’s ‘flexible path’ approach to deep space exploration.

With the Space Shuttle nearing its end, NASA unveils the prototype for their new deep space exploration vehicle, Lockheed’s Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), and, well, it’s a throwback alright. “As currently envisioned, the MPCV would support four astronauts on short-duration flights of less than 21 days. For longer missions to asteroids or even Mars, the capsules would dock with a larger spacecraft of some sort that would provide more room for the crew while in transit.” “Of some sort”? So far at least, I am underwhelmed.

You are Entering a World of Bane.

On the first day of shooting for The Dark Knight Rises (still a terrible name, by the way), the ingenious promotional games that accompanied TDK have started up again at the official site with some very Lazarus Pit-ish chanting. And, just like the Joker before him, Tom Hardy’s Bane has been revealed, pixel by Tweeted pixel. Well, ok then…not much you can really do for Bane, besides hit the gym. It’ll be more interesting to see where they’ve gone with Ms Kyle.

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