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Uncertain Principles

Physics, Politics, Pop Culture

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Self-Parody Answers

For those who care (and to prove that I aten't ded), the answers to last weekend's silly post:

And that's about enough of that.

Posted at 8:41 PM | link | follow-ups | 5 comments

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Press Release

We interrupt our struggling with graphics file formats (I love LaTeX for text, but getting figures into it is always a damn nightmare) to bring you this Important Announcement:

The Deppeller family (Don Deppeller, Toni Jannelli and Louise White) had made claims that they had been harassed and kept under surveillance because of their awareness of highly-classified US gov’t. projects, and in a remarkable turn of events, their claims were actually corroborated by one of America’s top scientists who worked on these projects. – one Dr. Dan Burisch, Phd., H-6196-Maj-E-(ret.), who admitted to certain facts that have been withheld from the public for over fifty years.

Now, you might be the tiniest bit skeptical about these claims, given that the site linked is just a post-your-own-press-release service. But just look at these revelations:

In a body of nine facts, and an accompanying transcripted conversation, Dr. Burisch states that yes, as a retired scientist who previously worked for Majestic 12 as badge #H-6196-Maj-E(ret.) that worked on the very important projects "Preserve Destiny", "Aquarius", "Lotus", and "Preserve Mother", he was at the center of efforts to help protect Earth and humanity under the shadow of a Catastrophe that will allegedly occur "in the 2012 time frame", that yes he was made aware by co-workers in Majestic of the surveillance of the Deppeller family home in Washington, DC, and that indeed there is a treaty between present human authorities and extraterrestrial peoples called the "Tau-9 Conference for the Preservation of Humanity".

Hey, if you had someone to swear to this information, you'd do a press release, too. Of course, many of my readers would probably headline it "Retired Nutbar Will Sign Anything," but, you know, it's, um, news.

You might be saying "Well, this sounds fascinating, but where are the details? What were these interestingly-named projects about?" I've got your details right here:

Dr Burisch, who as one of the top negotiators for MJ-12 of this treaty, also admits to working on the following projects:

"Project Preserve Destiny", which goes back to before 1960 and which is concerned with efforts to prepare at least some segments of the human population for the cataclysms expected in the 2012 time-frame.

"Project Lotus", which is concerned with developing a model to utilize the miraculous Ganesh Particle to heal everything from earthly ecosystems to the human body, including cancer.

"Project Aquarius", which is a Top Secret project that was started in 1953 and was set up to accumulate as much data as possible about alien life forms and to distribute the collected information to the relevant authorities. This included Dr. Burisch’s work with one EBE, or alien, in helping to find a cure for a neurological degradation suffered by it.

"Project Preserve Mother", which involved the deployment of the Ganesh Particles in the polluted waters of Cabrillo Bay outside Los Angeles, CA in an effort to clean up the ecosystem there.

I've long thought that alien particles in the water near Los Angeles could explain a lot. At last, I've got evidence to back up my irrational prejudices.

But it gets better-- what was the purpose of the Majestic organization, you ask?

Ever since the formation of MJ-12, this organization has worked to arrange funding and distribution of movies, films, television series, specials and even commercials that have brought the message to the public over the past fifty years that not only are we are not alone, there exists the reality that interstellar and time travel does occur, that wormholes or ‘stargates’ do in fact exist, and that there are cataclysmic scenarios that have a basis in historic and scientific fact.

Yes, that's right, space aliens have traveled billions of miles to visit Earth and suborn our governments, in order to push schlock sci-fi movies and tv shows. It does make a certain amount of sense-- if you think about it, alien financial backing is as good an explanation as any for Event Horizon. If only they'd thrown their weight behind Firefly, it might still be on the air...

How do I know all this, you ask? People send me unsolicited email.

I think I was happier when they just tried to sell me illicit Chinese lasers.

Posted at 8:11 AM | link | follow-ups | 4 comments

Monday, May 09, 2005


I've switched over to full-text RSS feeds. I'm not sure yet what this is going to break, but there's bound to be something.

Apologies if this results in every single post in the last six months being marked as new, or whatever.

Also: Windows Update is the bane of my existence. Can some CS type please explain to me why installing security updates for the OS requires changing my monitor resolution?

Posted at 8:31 PM | link | follow-ups | 7 comments

Singles of the Moment

I bought a bunch of new stuff from iTunes recently, and have set up a playlist for songs added in the last 30 days, which the Party Shuffle feature has been dealing from for the past week or so, with a few other songs mized in here and there. I thought I'd offer a slightly more serious pop-culture thread by highlighting some of the tracks that are in particularly heavy rotation in Chateau Steelypips at the moment.

I'd provide MP3's of these tracks, but I don't want to get sued. Anyway, they're all available from iTunes at a buck apiece, even if you're not likely to find them in your local record store.

"Tiny Spark," by Brendan Benson a chugging guitar riff, heavy layers of synthesizers, and rich harmonies (or at least lots of overdubs) on the vocals. Power-pop gold. The rest of the album (Lapalco) is pretty solid, too.

"Soft Machine" by By Divine Right. Not only is it a dumb band name, they win the Hoppus/ DeLong Award for Most Juvenile Lyric of the Year ("I got a non-dairy creamer in my jeans, I'm happy to see you if you know what I mean." Yes. We know exactly what you mean. Please stop.). Still, it's a ridiculously catchy little fuzzed-out pop song. If the Eels decided to play to the frat-boy demographic, this is what it would sound like.

The album is pretty uneven, and I only bought a handful of tracks. "The Slap" and "I Can't Do This by Myself" are good, too.

"Just to See You Smile," by Chuck Prophet. I only bought one track off this one, but this song has been in heavy rotation on the "Adult Alternative" channel of our digital cable for a good year and a half now. A sweet and dopey little song, with the riff behind the chorus lifted from "Penny Lane." (Not really, but that's what it reminds me of.)

"Catch My Disease," by Ben Lee. This one's been getting some radio airplay-- a silly little toy piano line, nonsensical lyrics, and a great pleading chorus. Weirdly, my brain has decided that this is what the band fronted by Dominic Monaghan's character on Lost would sound like. The rest of the album, not so much, but this song, yes.

The other highlight from the record (Awake is the New Sleep, which is pretty good all around) is "Into the Dark," which sounds just like "Hey, Julie" by Fountains of Wayne, only with an Aussie accent.

"White Russian Galaxy," by the Crimea. Another power-pop gem. I have no idea what it's about, but it's hard not to sing along with the chorus. The album (Lottery Winners on Acid-- more of an EP really) is kind of uneven (there's one song with really dreadful Streets-style spoken-word verses), but it's cheap.

"The Bucket," by Kings of Leon. OK, this isn't all that obscure, as it's the first radio single from their new record (Aha Shake Heartbreak), but I like it a lot. I can't understand a word the lead singer is saying, but it's a great tune. Imagine the best 70's era classic rock song in the world being played on the other side of a foot-thick concrete wall, and you've got the basic idea.

"Lockjaw," by the Rugburns. This is available from iTunes as part of a different album than the one I have (Taking the World by Donkey, which was a gift from my sister). This is a deeply frustrating band. About half of the tracks are so ridiculously sophomoric that they make Blink-182 look like Bob Dylan, so it'd be tempting to dismiss them as just crap. But mixed in with the terrible songs are some really excellent little pop songs. This is the best of the lot-- a sweet little song about a guy who can't talk to the girl he likes.

"It Makes No Difference," by Solomon Burke. This is a cover of a song by The Band. There aren't a lot of people who can match Levon Helm's voice for desperate pleading, but Burke does a good job of it. It's off his follow-up to Don't Give Up on Me, which is pretty good on the whole, and not as uneven as the previous record.

"Pickin' It Up," by Hot Hot Heat. Their last record had a couple of really good songs and some undistinguished crap, but this one (Elevator) is much more solid. If the Strokes gave a damn, they might sound this good.

The other two albums I bought were the new Springsteen (Devils and Dust) and the new Al Green (Everything's OK). Both are very good, but I haven't listened to them carefully enough to really pull out single tracks (the song that cries out to be picked is Green's take on "You Are So Beautiful," but that's not really representative, and while he does a nice job with it, it's still schmaltz). I may or may not have more to say about them later.

Posted at 8:29 AM | link | follow-ups | 2 comments

Sunday, May 08, 2005

RSS Query

Patrick at Ad Astra Per Aspera says mean things about me and a bunch of other people, over the lack of full-text RSS feeds on our sites.

I could easily set Blogger to generate full-text RSS feeds, rather than the short summaries I've got it doing at the moment. When I set it up originally, I opted for the summary format instead, for two reasons.

First, I occasionally post huge long articles about fiddly little details of physics things, and it seems impolite to inflict that on people reading via RSS aggregators, in the same way that it's sort of impolite to put gigantic image files directly on the front page. This is probably a non-issue with good RSS readers, as you can configure things on your own machine to give you whatever you want, but it still seems vaguely rude.

Beyond that, I like getting comments on my posts (real comments, that is, not "Play online poker"), and I think people are more likely to comment if they come to the actual site, rather than reading via Bloglines or whatever. I base this on the fact that I'm much less likely to post or even read the comments on sites offering full-text RSS feeds, simply because I can't do it directly from Bloglines. If I've already had to open a separate window to read the site, I'm more likely to look at the comments as well.

When you get down to it, though, I'm not really strongly attached to either of these positions. It wouldn't cause me much pain to switch over to full-text, if that's generally preferable.

Is there a general Internet consensus on this? I know Scalzi had a post on this a while back, but I can't recall what the outcome was, and I'm too lazy to look for it. Comments? Suggestions?

Posted at 9:35 PM | link | follow-ups | 12 comments

Song Lyrics Post, Special Self-Parody Edition

You know the deal.

(One of these, I don't actually own, but looked up on the Interweb. And #1 is a transcription found on a web site-- I'm not sure about the last three, um, words (the rest fits well with what I hear), but they add a certain something.)

Posted at 10:02 AM | link | follow-ups | 8 comments

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