Mr. McGroovy’s

I was talking on Thursday night about how the Internet is enabling “The Long Tail”: Disintermediation is allowing small, specialized producers to deal directly with their far-flung customers.

Today I tripped over a perfect example: Mr. McGroovy’s sells “box rivets”. These are small plastic fasteners designed to hold cardboard together in building projects. You know, fire trucks, castles, submarines, etc. for kids to play in :-).

Now this is a specialty market! But his website doesn’t just have the product; he has free plans, and details on how to easily get large cardboard boxes (and how to load them into your car!). Very well done, and an excellent example.

posted at 10:31 am on Sunday, November 05, 2006 in Links, Odd | Comments Off on Mr. McGroovy’s

climate change

I know my priorities are messed up.

My biggest nagging worry about global climate change is that Americans are going to flee northwards. Into Canada. Bringing their ideology (and idiocy) with them.

Wouldn’t that keep *you* awake at night?

posted at 12:37 pm on Thursday, July 07, 2005 in Current Events, Odd, Random Thoughts | Comments (1)
  1. Greg says:

    Actually, I’m more worried about the polar bears coming south… ;-)

The Forehead Ticket Trick

What a fabulous idea! Works for airplane tickets and passports and similar items, too…

bq. So, you’re going to a ticketed event, like a concert or a ball game. It’s out of town. You’re carpooling with four other people. How do you ensure that everyone in the car has their ticket with them?

bq. The car doesn’t move until each person takes out their ticket and holds it to their forehead.

(quoted from 43 Folders: The Forehead Ticket Trick)

posted at 10:51 pm on Monday, January 03, 2005 in Favourites, Links, Odd | Comments Off on The Forehead Ticket Trick


A “mesmerizing animated gif”: for your enjoyment…

(via “defective yeti”:

posted at 10:11 pm on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 in Links, Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Reid says:

    Actually: (a) it’s an animated JPEG (huh?), and (b) it’s from Board Game Geek, which is cool, as I play Tigres and Euphrates on there a lot. [See our game, already in progress] […as of this writing].

pessimist optimist realist

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist waits and expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.”

(Seen at adventure journalist : the notebook)

posted at 11:31 pm on Sunday, June 13, 2004 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. gina says:

    that is a spot on saying…or whatever it is. SPOT ON! Could’t be better!

More Stuff That Every Gamer Needs

Just in case you ever wanted to know, “The Straight Dope”: brings us:

When the zombies take over, how long till the electricity fails?

bq. How long the power supply would last in the most critical zombie situation depends on two key factors %u2013 first, how long a given power plant can operate without human intervention, and second, how long before enough power plants fail to bring down the entire transmission grid. I’ll ignore the side issues of whether the zombies would want to try to run the power plant themselves, or if they would be a union or non-union shop.

(If you’re lazy, the answer appears to be that:

bq. within 4-6 hours there would be scattered blackouts and brownouts in numerous areas, within 12 hours much of the system would be unstable, and within 24 hours most portions of the United States and Canada, aside from a rare island of service in a rural area near a hydroelectric source, would be without power. Some installations served by wind farms and solar might continue, but they would be very small. By the end of a week, I’d be surprised if more than a few abandoned sites were still supplying power.

posted at 8:33 pm on Sunday, June 13, 2004 in Gaming, Links, Odd | Comments (1)
  1. David Brake says:

    My favourite part: “…cease power delivery altogether to areas of highest zombie density. After all, it’s not like the zombies need light to read or electricity to play Everquest…”

    (I dunno about that – mightn’t Everquest be the reason they became zombies in the first place?)


My MP3 player on shuffle mode just played “Don McClean – American Pie”: and “Weird Al Yankovic – The Saga Begins”: back to back…

posted at 1:44 pm on Thursday, February 12, 2004 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    I practically circled around a local square and met a quadratrix at one of the trisections.

Matrimony Mod

I’m not entirely sure what to think of this:

* [H]ard|Forum – Matrimony Mod

He built a computer to propose to his girlfriend; the case (and interior!) are decorated in a bridal theme. It’s actually pretty cool as a craft project, but a _computer_? I dunno…

I guess the important part is that she said yes :-)

posted at 10:05 am on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Debbie says:

    swoon, talk about technonerdboy romance! :-)

Documentation is never accurate…

In a wide ranging discussion about Genesis, M. comes up with:

bq. that doesn’t mean God didn’t _create_ gravity, it just means He didn’t _document_ it!

posted at 8:36 pm on Thursday, January 08, 2004 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    Genesis 1:2 “And the spirit of God was hovering over the waters”. I guess you didn’t make it past the 2nd sentence in the Bible? ..because the 3rd sentence of the bible says there was morning the first day, so therefore God must have then been sitting somewhere on the Earth otherwise there would be no point of reference, and therefore between sentence 2 & 3 in Genesis, gravity was created.

    Oh okay, so I tried. It’s not much of a techincal reference, it is true.

    However, I like that bit about God saying “Let us create man in *our* image”. Now *there’s* a point of discussion. shipping

So the package tracker says I should expect to receive my shipment between the 8th and 14th of January.

It was sitting in my mailbox when I got home today.

I’m off to (finally) watch the Firefly pilot… <grin>

posted at 9:29 pm on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 in Odd | Comments Off on shipping

Beer: Truly a Blessed Beverage!

I’m a beer drinker, and I love bocks. So when I received this in an e-mail message, I loved it, and I have to share:

bq. Monks in Germany began brewing bock beers back in the 1500s’. They used the full-bodied libations to fortify themselves while fasting during Lent. But along with calories… bock beers contain a lot of alcohol.

bq. One abbot was concerned that the merriment caused by the potent brew might be sacrilegious, and sent a barrel to Rome, asking for guidance.

bq. The cardinals – wine drinkers all—found the bitter brew unappealing. They not only decided the monks could continue to make their beer… they commended them for being willing to drink such awful stuff as a way to pay for their sins.

(forwards lost to antiquity, sadly).

posted at 10:11 pm on Monday, November 03, 2003 in Odd | Comments Off on Beer: Truly a Blessed Beverage!

Macs are Tough, Too!

From ryochiji’s blog:

bq. I accidentally ran over my PowerBook with my dad’s SUV today.

bq. It’s not very often that someone gets to say that. But perhaps what’s even more surprising is the fact that I’m writing this on that very same PowerBook. Hold a 12″ PowerBook G4 and you can just tell it’s sturdy. It’s thin, but not flimsy, and the aircraft-grade aluminum case makes it feel like a lump of metal, rather than a sophisticated high-tech gadget.

If I ran over my Acer, there’d be a pile of pieces on the ground. While the lid is wrapped in metal, the rest of the system is plastic case and layers of circuit board…

posted at 3:47 pm on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 in Humour, Links, Odd, Personal | Comments Off on Macs are Tough, Too!

Rubber Ducky, You’re the One

Critters’ Journey a Lesson in Currents”:

bq. Back in 1992, a violent storm tossed 20 containers of rubber duckies off the back of a cargo ship halfway between China and Seattle, and they were quickly presumed lost at sea. Instead, it appears the castaways embarked on an epic 11-year swim across three oceans and half the globe.

A couple of researchers have taken the opportunity, and are using duck sightings to update their computer models. Cool!

[ Title and link shamelessly swiped from Brian Dickson. ]

posted at 11:51 am on Sunday, August 31, 2003 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Just shows that scientific experiments can be conducted with a minimum of resources — and lots of creativity & pragmatism.

Zombie Infection Simulation

The “Zombie Infection Simulation”: would normally go in the sideblog, but it’s just so cute that I had to put it here instead. Go play with it.

(There’s a version where the humans fight back, which seems just as inevitable but leaves lots of dead bodies lying around :-)

posted at 11:29 am on Thursday, August 28, 2003 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Paul says:

    Cute little simulation, interesting dynamics of infection.


This is a stellar practical joke

posted at 4:36 pm on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 in Odd | Comments Off on Hair


Evil image

Mark Pilgrim is evil. (or is that E-Ville?)

My eyes hurt.

posted at 3:15 pm on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 in Odd | Comments Off on Matchmaker

The Monty Hall ‘Paradox’

“The Blog of Jvstin”: → “Ones and Zeros”: → “Nail Tinted Glasses”: → “Dean’s World”:

The Monty Hall problem is simple:

bq. You find yourself on a game show called “Let’s Make A Deal.” The game is very simple. There are three doors: door #1, door #2, and door #3. Behind one door is a million dollars. The other two doors contain worthless joke prizes. All you have to do is pick which door you want to open, and you get whatever is behind it. But you only get to open one door. By simple math, then, you obviously have a 1 in 3 chance of picking the correct door and becoming an instant millionaire.

bq. You pick a door. As soon as you tell Monty (the gameshow host) what door you want to open, he stops and says, “Okay, you’ve made your choice. Now, I’m going to do what we always do here on this game. I’m going to open one of the other two doors for you that I know has a booby prize.” And he does so. Then he asks, “Okay, now, would you like to stay with your original guess, or would you like to switch to the other door that’s still closed? You only get one shot, so do you want to stay with your original choice, or switch?”

bq. Here’s the question: is there any compelling reason to switch doors?

The answer is surprising!

posted at 1:39 pm on Thursday, April 10, 2003 in Odd | Comments (9)
  1. Reid Ellis says:

    I just think of it this way: the first choice you made had a 33% chance of being correct. Switching to the other door increases your chance to 50%. Pretty simple, really.

  2. Claudia says:

    You can look at it a much simpler way.

    Suppose you chose door one. Monty opens door three and there is a goat. So you swap to door two. YOU WIN!!!

    Suppose you choose door two. Monty opens door three. You swap and YOU LOSE!!!!

    Suppose you chose door three. Monty opens door one you swap and YOU WIN!

    These are the only possible senarios and in 2 of them you win.

    Just forget everything you know and it makes sense

  3. Big Bob says:

    There are two scenarios:

    1. Pick the correct door(1/3 of the time). Monty opens either of the other doors. You switch, you lose.

    2. Pick an incorrect door (2/3 of the time). Monty opens the only other losing door. You switch, you win.

  4. Michael says:

    Here’s the way I look at it (it’s sort of a before/after point of view):

    If there are three cards to choose from we know that there is a 33% chance of winning. But, when big Monty reveals a goat door, that eliminates one possibility from the scenario, because the contestant knows not to pick that door. So then there are two doors left. Forgetting all context, one knows that 50% of all those two doors wins – switching or no, thats the new probability of winning. – but this isn’t my point of view, because this alone still doesn’t seem right to me.

    I view it as an equation, if you will, in which a variable, the door chosen by the contestant, is to be identified as winning or not. In the beginning, there are three possibilities: losing door A, losing door B, and winning door; therefore, we are 33% sure of the door’s identity. When Monty reveals a losing door (A or B, like we care), there are only two possibilities left – we’ll say losing door B and the winning door. Now the equation is simplified a step and we’re 50% sure of the door’s identity. Finally, Monty reveals the chosen door (simultaneously eliminating the other door, making only one possibility), and we know (100% sure) that it’s either the winner or loser B. No switching is required because that doesnt change the number of possibilities available, it just kinda symbolizes that one of the two possibilities was chosen.

  5. James in LV says:

    This paradox is great…but Claudia’s post shows how a person walked right into it’s trap. After Monty has opened one of the doors, you have a new choice to make. Therefore, all odds are reset to the new decision at hand. It really isn’t a matter of *switching* doors either because you can simply say you haven’t even selected a door at all yet. Since a new choice has to be made among two doors, it’s simply a 50% chance. The trap is assuming that you have to *swap*, in which case Claudia’s analysis above appears correct.

  6. Michael H. says:

    James’ comment reflects the common intuition, that after Monty opens a door to reveal a booby prize, the two remaining doors are equivalent (i.e. there’s a 50% chance with either door). That intuition is wrong, which is why this is called a paradox.

    Big Bob had it right. Your original choice is only right 1/3 of the time, so it makes sense to switch after Monty opens one of the other doors. The odds are 2/3 that the money is behind one of the doors you didn’t pick. Monty gives you some really useful information by eliminating one of those doors. The odds are still 2/3 that the money is behind one of the other doors, but now one of those doors has been eliminated for you.

    Consider this: if it were equally good to switch or stick with your original door, then you could stick with your door and be right 50% of the time. That means that, presented with 3 doors, you can pick the right one 50% of the time. Nice work, Kreskin!

    Or consider this: Instead of 3 doors, there are 100. You pick one, then Monty opens 98 of the remaining 99 doors, to reveal nothing but booby prizes. Would you stick or switch to the other unopened door?

  7. Michael H. says:

    There’s a very nice explanation of this paradox — and even a chance to play the game — at:

  8. Harald says:

    Thanks for the link!

  9. T. Bishop says:

    Consider the possibility that Monty is malicious, and only gives the option of switching if the original guess was correct. (He’s lying when he says “I’m going to do what we always do here on this game.”) In this case, it’s always a mistake to switch.

I’m not the only one playing with technology

In “Bits and pieces [dive into mark]”: , Mark writes that he has installed an OpenLDAP server and software to manage his contact lists, “For fun”.

bq. (In 1995, my dog had an e-mail address and a home page; in 2003, she was the first entry in my LDAP directory. This we call progress.)

Sounds exactly like something I would do. is primarily an excuse for me to play with technology, after all. (In fact, stay tuned; LAMP ganglist software is currently undergoing a security audit on my laptop :-)

posted at 12:21 pm on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 in Odd | Comments Off on I’m not the only one playing with technology


It’s snowing. A lot. The roads are treacherous.

Happy April Fool’s Day…

posted at 9:13 am on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. James says:

    It’s snowing alots? Watch out, because those things bite!

Billing System Confusion

From “Jim O’Halloran’s Weblog”: :

bq. In March, 1999, a man living in Kandos (near Mudgee in NSW) received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away. In April he received another bill and threw that one away too.

The story has a happy ending, which surprised me until I realised that it occured in Australia. I wonder if the outcome would have been as positive if the situation had occured in the United States or Canada?

posted at 11:36 am on Friday, March 28, 2003 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Mariann says:

    That’s hilarious.

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