Jan 7, 2012


four FSMs
The great Flying Spaghetti Monster appears miraculously on toast.  (Source)

Toast is a favorite medium of deities for communication to the mortal world. It is also a delicious breakfast food. And lunch food, and dinner food, and snack food. 

But I can never seem to get the toaster to cooperate. Especially if I'm using an unfamiliar toaster, I have to hover over it and poke at it constantly to catch my toast in the 1 second stage between "cold" and "ashes." Fortunately, poet Piet Hein has come up with a solution for me, and for anyone else who has this problem.

There's an art to knowing when.
Never try to guess.
Toast until it smokes and then
twenty seconds less.

Forget about killing Hitler; when time travel is invented, it's most popular use will be toast.

So how do you like your toast? Just warm? Black and crispy? What toppings? Or are you a toast hater?

Jan 6, 2012


Those of you who remember the Kittens post, fear not. This is not a repeat. I want your opinions on a different topic.

I know everyone loves kittens. (Anyone who doesn't love kittens doesn't deserve to be counted.) But what about CATS? The grown up, grumpier versions of kittens?

They're fat and lazy and haughty and aren't nearly as wittle and adorable and playful as kittens. But for some reason (it's probably the fluffiness), I can't help but love them. I want to be friends with even the meanest, coldest, evillest of cats.

So your thoughts. Do you prefer them when they're little or big? Hate grown cats, or love 'em? 

Jan 4, 2012


(img source)

Today's topic is showers! Everyone (almost) takes 'em, but everyone takes 'em differently.

Do you scrub from top to bottom or bottom to top? Do you face the shower head or keep your back to it? Do you use bar soap, body wash, or some all-in-one super x-treme manly goop?

Share your thoughts, don't be shy, it's for science!

Jan 2, 2012

2012 xkcd

Well, I think this sums the next couple of years up pretty well, so I'm just going to leave this perfect comic from xkcd.com here for your enjoyment.

Clicking takes you to the large version on xkcd.com. 

Jan 1, 2012

The Calendar

Can we stop with this glasses thing already? It only made sense in the 200Xs.

Since we're celebrating our need to go out and buy a new calendar today, I thought I'd do a quick post on how our system of numbering days evolved to make this day such a significant one. Most of the world uses the Gregorian calendar, which is a revision of the old Julian calendar, which was a revision of earlier Roman calendars.

The first Roman calendar was probably a lunar calendar. It was made up of 10 months, each lasting the length of a lunar cycle, and a few non-organized winter days were added between each year.

Numa Pompilius organized those winter days into January and February. Did you ever wonder why our months with numeric prefixes - Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec = 7, 8, 9, 10 - are actually our 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th months? The names and numbers used to correspond, until Numa stuck those two new months at the beginning of the year, throwing everything off.

The Julian calendar was the result of Julius Caesar's reform, designed to line the months up with the solar year. It was 365 1/4 days long - 365 days with an extra day every four years. 2012 is one of these leap years with the extra day in February.

That sounds remarkably like the Gregorian calendar, doesn't it? What did Pope Gregory do to change that? It turns out that the solar year is actually about 11 minutes shorter than 365 1/4 days. This meant that over time, the solar season and the calendar would shift slightly, so that solar landmarks like the Spring equinox would have different dates as that 11 minute discrepancy added up each year. Because the Spring equinox was tied so closely to the celebration of Easter, Pope Gregory didn't like that the date would change. To account for this 11 minute error, Gregory proclaimed that instead of every four years being a leap year, leap years would come every four years EXCEPT for century years, but that every fourth century year would remain a leap year.

Confused? Yeah, I just trust my calendar makers to know what's right. Here's to hoping you have a wonderful 2012 - all 366 days of it!