Archive for the 'Pop culture' category

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Dec 26 2009 Published by under Passing thoughts, Personal, Pop culture

... once my fingertips holler "Uncle!" and tell me to take a break from my new ukulele.
To help you pass the time, some uke players who are way better than the n00b that I am on day 2 of my musical odyssey:

5 responses so far

An open letter.

To the young people wandering around Casa Free-Ride singing Christmas songs (not just the refrains but all of the verses):
None of the canonical reindeer is named Connor. And Santa does not have a reindeer named Nixon.
Dr. Free-Ride
P.S. The last batch of cookies will be out of the oven in one minute. But you need to let them cool before you sample them -- just like the other batches.

6 responses so far

The elder Free-Ride offspring breaks into song.

Possibly related to the last post. The lyrics are original.
(For this, you need to imagine the younger Free-Ride offspring humming in the background as the elder sings.)
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
We're sorry that we killed ya.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
At least we didn't grill ya.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Our only Christmas casualty.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Be thankful we don't "nil" ya.

2 responses so far

Friday frivolity: let's write a three-toed sloth sex joke.

Whereas the commenters on this blog have on numerous occasions proven themselves to be whip-smart and very funny, and whereas this humble blog comes up near the top of Google searches for "three toed sloth sex jokes", I propose that we write some worthy three-toed sloth sex jokes.

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7 responses so far

Friday Sprog Blogging: Here Comes Science!

The Free-Ride family got its copy of the new CD/DVD set Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants this week. The sprogs, who have been listening and watching, offer something kind of like a review.

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6 responses so far

Pitching an idea for a new show in the Star Trek franchise.

Sep 05 2009 Published by under Passing thoughts, Pop culture

Like a good nerd, I love me some Star Trek. I will confess to having a strong preference for the original series (TOS), on account of that was what my parents watched with us when we were wee young nerds growing up. (My dad had a freakish ability to tell within the first few words of Kirk's "captain's log" at the opening which episode it was going to be.)
Something I didn't realize until I was a mature nerd was just how regularly, in TOS, Kirk and/or the rest of the crew of the Starship Enterprise violated the Prime Directive, which, as Wikipedia tells it:

dictates that there can be no interference with the internal development of pre-warp civilizations, consistent with the historical real world concept of Westphalian sovereignty. It has special implications, however, for civilizations that have not yet developed the technology for interstellar spaceflight ("pre-warp"), since no primitive culture can be given or exposed to any information regarding advanced technology or the existence of extraplanetary civilizations, lest this exposure alter the natural development of the civilization. Although this was the only application stated by Captain Kirk in "Return of the Archons", by the 24th Century, it had been indicated to include purposeful efforts to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret.

From the point of view of plotting a gripping episode on a strange new world, you can kind of see where breaking a non-interference rule would come in handy. (It also increases the damage for those drinking along at home.) But we viewers hardly ever saw any official repercussions from these Prime Directive violations.
Here's where the idea for a new show in the Star Trek franchise comes in.

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14 responses so far

Dem's fightin' words!

It was decided that the Free-Ride offspring are maybe, kind of, old enough to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark without having nightmares. Even though they haven't seen it before, they seem to have picked up at least some general information about Indiana Jones as one of the canonical figures in American pop culture.
Dr. Free-Ride: So, what do you know about Indiana Jones?
Younger offspring: He's a hero.
Dr. Free-Ride: Actually, he's an archaeology professor at a university.
Younger offspring: No he's not!
Dr. Free-Ride: Yes he is! He's a professor just like me! Maybe I'm a hero, too.
Younger offspring: You're not a hero or a professor! You're a philosophist!
Dr. Free-Ride: Oh no you didn't!
* * * * *
We're watching it now, less than an hour in. The sprogs were unconvinced that the guy in the suit and horn-rimmed glasses writing stuff on the chalkboard in the classroom was actually the same guy with the bullwhip who defeated the booby-traps in the opening sequence.
Meanwhile, I'm now wondering whether his collection of artifacts falls within the bounds of international treaties and professional ethics. And I kind of hate that traitorous monkey.

10 responses so far

A conference paper I didn't see coming.

Jun 20 2009 Published by under Conferences, Philosophy, Politics, Pop culture

I thought I'd share a snapshot of my morning with you. For some reason, the internet seems like a good place for it.
The paper promised to be about the evaluation of evidence in understanding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. What follows are the notes I took during the approximately 25 minute conference presentation, edited to clean up typos. I'm not naming names; Google will provide if you really need to know.

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15 responses so far

Postcards from the Maker Faire.

Jun 01 2009 Published by under Engineering, Environment, Personal, Pop culture

On Saturday, the Free-Ride family went to the Maker Faire.
The place was abuzz with things to do and see and hear (and taste and feel), so we'll just give you the snapshot.

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Ethics and the 'Oprah effect'.

May 28 2009 Published by under Communication, Ethics 101, Medicine, Pop culture

There's an interesting piece in the Chicago Tribune on the "Oprah effect". The upshot is that products or people who Oprah deigns to grace with airtime tend to find enormous public acceptance.
While this is well and good if the product is a novel or the person is a television chef, it's less clear that the Oprah effect is benign in the case of people without medical expertise offering medical advice.
From the article:

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8 responses so far

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