Category: "culture/news"

Polyphasic sleep

I've always been intrigued by the stories about guys like Thomas Edison (oops, I guess the stories about Edison's sleep patterns are just legend) who slept only a few hours a day in short naps. I don't know if there's much scientific research on the subject, but I just read the journal of a guy who set out to try it for 30 days. He started taking six 30-minute naps per day. He's pleased with the results and said he doesn't plan on going back to normal sleep. He's gone almost 90 days now. The first week is pretty hard, but after that your body is trained to enter the all-important REM sleep almost as soon as you fall asleep. Interesting read.

(via Digg)

Wedding Crashers

Wedding CrashersAnd the award for most overrated movie of 2005 goes to . . . Wedding Crashers. We heard this was one of the funniest movies of the year, but it's more like a 2 hour snooze fest. We laughed out loud maybe 7 times in the whole movie. Most of the time it felt like they weren't even really trying to be funny. Even an appearance by Will Ferrell in the third act couldn't save this thing. I've never thought Vince Vaughn was funny, but I expected better from Owen Wilson. I guess he doesn't have what it takes to carry a picture without the likes of Ben Stiller.

The State

The State rock musicI got an email the other day announcing the web site for a Columbia rock band called The State. Joe, the lead singer, is a good friend of mine. He was the leader of the small group where Sara and I met. He's always been in one band or another as long as I've known him (Yellow #5, SPF30, Walking Dust). We've seen him perform on the Truman campus and at the Blue Note in Columbia. I hadn't heard from him in a while, so it's good to see that he's still playing. Check out their website. You can listen to a couple of songs and you can buy their cd.

60 Percent Crap

Bill O'Reilly, 2001 (emphasis mine):

The late-night program hosted by David Letterman is the toughest interview show on television. That's because Mr. Letterman is a smart guy who can spot a phony with telescopic accuracy and expects his guests to bring something to the table. If a guest begins to sink on this show, the bottom is a long way down.

Dave Letterman to Bill O'Reilly, 1-3-2006:

I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap.

In that same interview, O'Reilly repeated some bogus story about a school changing the lyrics to the song "Silent Night." Turns out the school was doing a Christmas play were one of the characters sings a song to the tune of Silent Night. And the play was written by a church choir director.

100 things we didn't know this time last year

BBC News has published a list of 100 trivial facts that they reported on in 2005. Here are my favorites:

41. Tactically, the best Monopoly properties to buy are the orange ones: Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street.

65. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty, created the Klingon language that was used in the movies, and which Shakespeare plays were subsequently translated into.

71. Jimi Hendrix pretended to be gay to be discharged from the US Army.

76. The day when most suicides occurred in the UK between 1993 and 2002 was 1 January, 2000.

78. One in 18 people has a third nipple.

88. A single "mother" spud from southern Peru gave rise to all the varieties of potato eaten today, scientists have learned.

89. Spanish Flu, the epidemic that killed 50 million people in 1918/9, was known as French Flu in Spain.

99. The Japanese word "chokuegambo" describes the wish that there were more designer-brand shops on a given street.

100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

(via Digg)

Earthcore, the podcast novel

Earthcore coverEarthcore by Scott Sigler is a novel that was originally published via podcast. I subscribed to it in iTunes and I've been listening to it. It's not a great novel, but it's pretty fun. For me it's been worth the free download. The author reads it and releases a new chapter (or group of chapters) every week. Actually he finished podcasting Earthcore and ended up getting a publishing deal. So now there's a print version and another podcast novel on the way. If you have some time to kill in a commute or something, subscribe, download the episodes and give it a listen. Find out more at

Highlight video of the semifinal game

I just posted the highlight video for the semifinal game. Adrian lost to West Platte, 32-23. One of the slow motion replays in the film does show that West Platte fumbled when they were ruled down. I actually thought the ground caused it, but the video shows the ball coming out before he hit the ground. Anyway, both teams played very well and Marionville will have their hands full in the dome next weekend. Congratulations on a great season, Blackhawks.

Update: I was watching the play again, frame by frame to see if I could capture an image to post. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe his knee does hit the ground before the ball comes out.

Top 20 geek novels

Top 20 geek novels - The Guardian Technology Blog did a survey to find the favorite novels amoung geeks. I've read six out of 20 if you count Dune, which I just started this morning. I've put the books I've read in bold.

1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams 85% (102)
2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell 79% (92)
3. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley 69% (77)
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip Dick 64% (67)
5. Neuromancer -- William Gibson 59% (66)
6. Dune -- Frank Herbert 53% (54)
- Just started it this morning.
7. I, Robot -- Isaac Asimov 52% (54)
8. Foundation -- Isaac Asimov 47% (47)
9. The Colour of Magic -- Terry Pratchett 46% (46)
10. Microserfs -- Douglas Coupland 43% (44)
11. Snow Crash -- Neal Stephenson 37% (37)
12. Watchmen -- Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons 38% (37)
13. Cryptonomicon -- Neal Stephenson 36% (36)
14. Consider Phlebas -- Iain M Banks 34% (35)
15. Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein 33% (33)
16. The Man in the High Castle -- Philip K Dick 34% (32)
17. American Gods -- Neil Gaiman 31% (29)
18. The Diamond Age -- Neal Stephenson 27% (27)
19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson 23% (21)
20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham 21% (19)

(via Digg)

Country music

See if you can tell, from these excerpts, which country music song is satire and which is real.

Exibit A:

I hear people saying we don't need this war
I say there's some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground
We didn't get to keep 'em by backing down
They say we don't realize the mess we're getting in
Before you start your preaching let me ask you this my friend

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

Exhibit B:

What would you do
If you were asked to give up your dreams for freedom?
What would you do
If asked to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Would you think about all them people
Who gave up everything they had?
Would you think about all them War Vets
And would you start to feel bad?

The answer, of course, is that they're both satire. No one could possibly sing that first song with a straight face. At least that's what you would think. But Exhibit A is "Have You Forgotten?" by Darryl Worley. You might recognize the second song, "Freedom Isn't Free," from the funny and irreverent Team America: World Police. When I first heard the Worley song on the radio in my dad's pickup I thought it must be a joke. But this guy's for real. Not so real that I would dignify the song with a refutation of its shaky logic, but real enough that he didn't write the song just to make people laugh.

Adrian v. Gallatin video

Adrian wins another one, 39-29. Watch the video at

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