I'm listening to… Chumbawamba?

Trust me, I’m as surprised as the next person. After getting linked to The Suburbs Are Killing Us (likely via The Mystical Beast), I wound up on Chumbawamba’s web site. They have a ton of music available for download (around 35 songs) and, listen to this, it doesn’t suck. If you were burned out on Tubthumping, I completely understand (it wasn’t that bad of a song, really). But, as many people say, Chumbawamba is a great pub band and actually have something to say.

Be sure to at least get the MP3 Mix of Pass It Along, We Don’t Go to God’s House Anymore, and Get Off My Cloud.

Aw, hell, since the song literally begs to be shared, I’ll post Pass It Along (the F U Metallica version).

van Allen Asks Why We Keep Exploring Space

James van Allen, who discovered the radiation belt (and then had them named after him by the scientific community), posed a question to Issues in Science and Technology: Why do we keep exploring space?

His big concern (at least from the linked article) is that we may just be doing it for the adventure, climbing the mountain because it’s there, so to speak. My question is, what’s wrong with that? How man wonderful or essential things have been discovered in the world because someone was just doing something for the hell of it? Never mind that often the point of further our abilities in one area (say, space exploration) leads to huge advances in other areas (like aerospace or Velcro).

I know he’s a very well-respected scientist, and deservedly so, but he’s off on this one. Even if we never find anything more than a microbe on Mars, getting there and back will have brought so many more things to the everyday person, the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

Link [via Slashdot]

Ann Arbor Idiocy – Now They're Banning Grills

We got a nice notice today that we have to get rid of our gas grill within two weeks. Why? Because of something called the International Fire Code of 2003 (sounds very official, doesn’t it?). The book, if you’re looking for it, is available from Amazon for $63.00, or it’s ISBN: 1892395606. Note, this is not a local ordinance, but a book of codes published by the International Code Council, a group which requires paid membership and, as far as I can tell, has no authority to enforce any of their codes.

Of course, in Ann Arbor, things like this are done in the summer, so as not to invoke the wrath of students. See, students tend to show up at council meetings, planning commissions, and the like to protest idiotic changes like this.

Other states have tried to enact this same code and have decided, after the public got a chance to offer their opinion, not to enforce the code. See Nebraska, Ohio, Alabama and Washington.

So, get on the phones, write a letter, do whatever. Tell the city to stay off your porch. Again.

UPDATE: Thanks very much to Arbor Update for the mention and link. Hopefully someone wiser than I can help all of us non-house owners out.

I should mention that this isn’t just for renters. If you own a condo, but have more than one unit per building (like the nice units going up on Eisenhower), you’re affected as well. The ban isn’t on the grills, but on the propane tanks. Anything over 2.5 pounds cannot be stored or used within 10 feet of “combustable construction”. I know someone will be splitting that hair if we ever get a chance to comment, but the effect is the same.

According to the Ann Arobr Fire Department, this code has been in effect since April 1st. I wonder why property managers weren’t notified until very recently about this?

AAFD – (734) 994-2772

AA Housing Inspector – building@ci.ann-arbor.mi.us – (734) 994-2678

Mayor John Hieftje – JHieftje@ci.ann-arbor.mi.us – (734) 994-2766 (guess who’s up for re-election this year, too?)

Contact your City Council member

Saying what things really are

Someone I know has a habit of making up words when the real word to describe a thing is lost in the rush to get it out (much like this sentence). The list that follows are just some of the gems that will eventually lead to a (hopefully) lucrative book deal

  • Pokery (adj.) – 1. Sharp 2. Able to poke.
  • Chocolate Mouth (regional slang) – 1. Sweet Tooth
  • Turning Place (locational term) – 1. An intersection or corner
  • Underneathness (locational term) – 1. The position from which things waft (with a long “a”, no less).
  • Pee Hole (locational term) – 1. The fly on pants (surprisingly, this was never a biological term).
  • Scrumbly (adj.) – 1. Rough, as in unshaven. 2. Scruffy, plus stubbly.

To this person, sorry, I had to put this somewhere or the paper I had noted these on would get lost. You, for now, remain anonymous.

Update: Had to add “scrumbly”


Sorry for the hiatus, but I’ve moved. Now residing in the reality-surrounded land of Ann Arbor, MI. (It’s an old joke; “Ann Arbor?” “Yeah, you know, the six square miles surrounded by reality.”)

I’m back to technical writing, not that I’d left for long. I’m still working through the first week newness and computer policies (no admin rights!?!?) and a Dell laptop I’m pretty sure pre-dates the written word.

I’m being a little harsh obviously, and a new computer is on it’s way, but I wanted to be witty and all that for the returning post.

Stunt Pilots Last Line in $300 Million Space Project

How’s this for pressure? You’re a Hollywood stunt pilot on contract to NASA to catch a 500-pound canister returning from a three-year, two-million-mile mission containing particles ejected from the Sun. The project cost NASA $300 million and, in order to preserve the samples, you have to catch the parachuting canister with a helicopter under any weather conditions possible. Fun, eh?

The project is called Genesis, and is due to arrive back on Earth on 8 September.

“The pressure will be on to do a perfect capture,” Mr. [Dan] Rudert said. “When you’re on live television and you are catching something that cost $300 million to make, you are either going to be a hero or a goat.”

Good luck to Dan Rudert and the second pilot, Cliff Fleming.

Link (NYT) [via Boing Boing]