Fun Timewasters: Google Video

Jazzz says:

Bush and Blair: Read My Lips
Holy Crap! (Colin Vincent are you watching)
Learn English...
Carlsberg Ad, Carmina Burana
Mac Bashing
Have you got a WKD side?
Egg Conveyor
M$ Redesigned iPod Package

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US Declaration of Independence Wallpaper

Declaration of Independence section

My current wallaper, a scanned section from the US Declaration of Independence. [click to enlarge]. I'm no apologist for the Bush administration (or Republicans on general), but I do admire the principles on which the country was founded and I'm a big fan of the US Constitution. Now if only more Americans would read it...

Scan is from the US National Archives website.

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Moonwalking Bird

dancing bird

Kickass little video clip and narration of a tropical bird doing a mating dance that involves moonwalking. Michael Jackson soundtrack. Enjoy. Link.

Shout to Jazzz for sending this in.

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Gratuitous Monkey Photo

Colubus Monkey 005

When the British first began to explore Africa, young monkeys were often captured and taken back on board the ship to entertain sailors. Some were later kept in zoos, many modern captive monkeys in the UK are descended from such Victorian era monkeys. In the Napoleonic Wars, the same practice is thought to have occurred. It is rumoured that one such monkey washed up ashore and, being mistaken for a Frenchman, was hanged in Hartlepool, England this caused the people of Hartlepool to be nicknamed the monkey hangers.

So there. Dont say I neva learned u nuthing. Wikipedia Link

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How do Porcupines Make Love

If I was a horny porcupine.... I guess I could invent some pretty tall tails about how two balls of poisonous spines go about making naughty ju-ju without painful damage occuring. I know know that if I was going to have sex with a porcupine... OK lets stop that train of thought. The reality turns out to be wierder anyway:

When the male encountered the female porcupine he smelled her all over, then reared up on his hind legs, his penis fully erect. If the female was not ready she ran away. If she is prepared for mating she also reared up and faced the male, belly-to-belly. In this position most males then sprayed the female with a strong stream of urine (In one case, urine was measured on the lab floor 6 foot 7 inches from the point of discharge), soaking her from head to foot. (Johnnie, a young male, would charge the female from this position, trying to wrestle her to the ground and make sexual contact ventrally. He was never successful.)

Read the whole story.

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Vintage WW2 Tampon Ads

vintage tampon ad

Duke University Library has an awesome collection of newspaper ads from the early 20th century. Not only are they an old-timey reminder of the culture that defeated the Nazis and gave us Daffy Duck, you can learn about tampons as well. Yay!


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Wikipedia Offline

Seems like the wikipedia's having a problem. Just when I was gearing up to do some scraping... bummer.

wikipedia offline

In lighter news, the classic search engine Altavista was recently hacked. I visited night before last and their portal page had been blanked and replaced with a single heading 'do you yahoo?'.

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Sexbot v2.0

This is genius. Unmitigated freaking genius. Mad props to whoever this is.



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Google based thesaurus

I was thinking today about language and grammar recognition by machines, as used for auto-translating, document rewriting, etc. I need a thesaurus of phrases for rewriting documents. I'm trying work out how a bot could compile one and it occurs to me that google has a huge database of English text from which to derive rules.

Suppose you were to search for ''A banana is a'' (with the double quotes). Taking only the sentences which begin with that phrase. Google returns results containing:

a banana is a banana
a banana is a fruit
a banana is a tropical herbaceous plant
a banana is a good source of water
a banana is a tropical fruit
a banana is a phallic symbol
a banana is a monoecious plant
a banana is a healthy snack

If a bot trims out the rest of the sentences then this can be used to create relationships between nouns.

banana --> fruit
banana --> phallic symbol

If this is done for other nouns we might get:

apple --> fruit
apple --> computer

So having done this for a bunch of words we can make a list of things 'which are' fruit. So far we've got 'apple' and banana', and we can do some text substitutions. 'she was eating a banana' can be substituted with 'she was eating a fruit'. If we substitute 'she was eating a phallic symbol' it's still gramatically correct (and sounds kinda sexy) but we've lost the meaning of the original phrase. Which is no good if we're rewriting document that humans will read. So how's a computer going to know which is the better substitution?

It's a tough. My best answer at the moment is to have the bot see what humans use more often, ie, Google both terms and see which comes up more often.

'she was eating a fruit' => 95
'she was eating a phallic symbol' => 0
'she was eating a snack' => 164
'she was eating a monoecious plant' => 0

Now we have a score for each substituion. To make a general case for each word (so as not to have to search each time, and because many phrases will not exist at all) we could search nouns against verbs for proximity and the number of Google matches will be the score for how appropriate they are to each other.

''eat * banana'' OR ''banana * eat'' => 142,000
''eat * snack'' OR ''snack * eat'' => 269,000

We can also test verb substitutions from a regular thesaurus this way. For example Roget's lists nosh, chow and masticate as alternatives to 'eat'.

'eat * banana' => 124,000
'nosh * banana' => 13
'chow * banana' => 303
'masticate * banana' => 4

So 'chow' is the most likely substitute for 'eat' out of these three (personally I prefer masticate) but it's not a very common switch. If chow and eat had simmilar scores (say within 66% of each other) then that would likely be a better substitution.

Ultimately I'd like to be able to make a bot rewrite text into infinite permutations retainging the original English (human) meaning as well as some of its nuance.

I'm sure it's possible, I'm not sure how. Try 'He attended MIT to study' (remove object from sentence). Googling for 'He * MIT to study' gives:

he was at MIT to study
he was accepted at MIT to study
he came to MIT to study
he entered MIT to study

As well as a buch of bad substitutions, most of which can be filtered out by context. 'he returned to MIT to study' would be harder for a machine to spot as a bad substitution because it changes the meaning.

Thinking.... thinking.... thinking....

Any thoughts or ideas, email me!

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National Gorilla Suit Day

National Gorilla Suit Day, which mysteriously falls on January 31 of each year, is perhaps the important holiday of the year. Every National Gorilla Suit Day, people of all shapes and colors around the world get their gorilla suits out of the closet, put them on and go door-to-door.
That's really all there is to it. You don't have to buy gifts. You don't have to fast, although some Orthodox Gorilla Suiters do. If you want to have a parade, fine. Just make sure all the marchers are wearing gorilla suits and that all the balloons are giant, inflatable gorillas.
– Mark Evanier

Now that's a holiday worth celebrating!

from the Daily Monkey

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The Warlike Percys

I just read something wonderful in the Wikipedia article for the town of Alnwick:

The history of Alnwick is the history of the castle and its lords, from the days of Gilbert Tyson, variously known as Tison, Tisson, and De Tesson, one of the Conqueror's standardbearers, upon whom this northern estate was bestowed, until the present time. After being held by the family of De Vesci (of which the modern rendering is Vasey — a name found all over south-east Northumberland) for over two hundred years, it passed into the hands of the house of Percy in 1309.

At various points in the town are memorials of the constant wars between Percys and Scots in which so many Percys spent the greater part of their lives.

Wars between the Percys and the Scots. I dont know about y'all, when I imagine someone called Percy the picture is of a small, effete man in a tuxedo. Someone with unfashionable glasses, a high nasal voice and a penchant for stamp collecting. Maybe I'm being terribly unfair.

Now imagine them at war. A green field under an overcast Northumberland sky. Stretched out across it is a single line of thousands of Percys, all in their tuxedos and clutching their fencing rapiers or whatever weapons they own. They're nervously singing the Percy family hymn and stuttering.

Charging down the hillside on the other end of the field are two thousand red haired, kilt wearing, half-drunk Scots. They're shouting and swearing in gaelic over the noise of fifty clan pipers on the hill behind them. A muddy, sweaty wave of wildmen sweeping onto the field, armed with rocks and sharpened poles.

It may have been a short battle. AaaarrrrrGH!

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ballot eating

Turns out that it's illegal to eat your ballot card in Canada:

Q: Is someone allowed to eat a ballot?
A: Eating a ballot, not returning it or otherwise destroying or defacing it constitutes a serious breach of the Canada Elections Act.


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one xbox 360


silic0nsilence: So it's black friday at CompUSA.
Slider: Yea
silic0nsilence: We were to open up at 12am. It's 11:58pm and there is a HUGE line of blood-thirsty, hard drive-wanting, maniacs. So my friend dares me to scream we have one xbox360.
Slider: Holy shit.
silic0nsilence: So he gives me $20. I go up to the gate and scream, 'LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE JUST RECIEVED ONE XBOX360!!' Immediatly people are storming the gate, passing me money through the cage to get it. They were screaming and knocked over this old lady. My boss just looks at me with these red eyes. In them, I saw fear and rage.
Slider: Omg you dumb shit!
Slider: Wait a second, it's 12:46A, and it's black Friday. What did this happen minutes ago? Shouldn't you be at work?
silic0nsilence: Yeah..
silic0nsilence: Pretty sure I don't work at CompUSA any more..

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make your own banner

Hey all, after some tinkering I've put the webcams back online. For those who haven't used them before, these are random Panasonic webcams from around the world that can often be controlled (pan/tilt/zoom) from an interface on this site.

I've had a lot of fun with them and you can see some amazing things if you're patient. Figure out where they are in the world, work out the time difference and wait to see sunrises, gridlock, wildlife, etc.

There is now also an option to set this site's banner to a still from any cam, have fun :-)


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Golfland Terrorist Threat

The US Department of Homeland security was put on alert earlier this week as reports surfaced that Al Quaeda, Islamic Jihad and other terrist organisations were planning a major attack on, er, Golfland, in San Jose.

The three acre miniature golf course, described as San Jose's equivalent of the White House or Sears Tower is an obvious target for those who wish to do America lasting, devastating harm.


The Department of Homeland Security's crack squad of anti-terrorist intelligence analysts have been vigilantly guarding a miniature golf course near San Jose, California, having identified it as a prime target for an attack on America. Imagine the symbolism of a miniature windmill in flames -- truly such would be a spiritual blow from which America could never recover.


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Happy Gray Tuesday

Today is Dean Gray Tuesday, a day for angst and the dowloading of free music. So for the next couple hours, I'll be getting to the spirit and sharing with you some illegal MP3s here or you can go to
to find more mirrors of this years album.

Fuck Warner! Up the Revolution!

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Retro Cell Handset

I am so getting one of these! Apparently it's a japanese fashion trend; get a big old handset and have it slung on a belt hook for your cell phone. Wonder if it can be modded into one of those styling 1960s handsets, like with a metal rim. hmmm...


This and other fun peacocking stuff at:

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This was on

Primus521: hey dude the funniest thing happened to me today
Primus521: im at walmart and this chick is buying a box of tampons and they are missing the upc and wont ring up
Primus521: so the cashier tells his buddy to get a price check on tampax
Primus521: the dude looks at him and says, ''the kind u push in, or the kind you hammer in?''
Primus521: lol
Primus521: turns out he misheard him
Primus521: he thought he said thumbtacs
Primus521: you should have seen the look on the chicks face

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Customisable Google Logo is a site which allows users to customise the google logo, like so:


Its freaking genius. The ability to change the logo is so-so as far as cool things go, technically easy, not amazing. As a business idea its totally awesome, here we have a way to take advantage a neat little meme to harvest money from google, simply by putting ads in the same place google does, and charging them for their own adsense :-) or yahoo ads! And its hella good viral marketing, because it takes advantage of poeple's exhibitionism and hubris, they're going to work hard to drive people to your site to see 'their' logo. I absolutely love this site, for sheer chutzpah and business sense. Its technically boring but psychologically brilliant as a get-rich-quick scheme. I need to come up with some ideas like this.


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BBC Documentaries as Torrents has a huge listing of fresh documentaries. This is like finding bittorrent gold :-) Not that any of you good people would download an illegal BBC documentary of course... You'd buy a television, an then buy an ariel and a freeview box, and then pay a licence fee, which is used for god knows what. You wouldn't use the internet to get hold of something your tax money payed for...



UPDATE: May 2007, newnova is no more, however there is now a huge array of downloadable BBC and Channel4 documentaries available on Google Video.

If that doesn't suit you list over 600 files for the phrase 'BBC Documentary'.

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