Halfway there

So halfway there generally makes sense when you’re talking about distance or time in regards to traveling, but I was just thinking, it doesn’t work the same way for exercise.

When I need to drive 400 miles, I’m halfway there at the 200 miles mark, or if I need to sit through a 2 hour lecture, I’m halfway there when an hour goes by.

But when you’re doing 80 sit-ups, you’re not really half way there after 90 sit-ups because the last 45 sit-ups take twice as much effort as the 1st 45 sit-ups. If the twice as much effort holds true, you’re really only halfway there when you complete 2/3 of the alloted amount. In other words, you’re really only halfway there when you complete 60 out of the 90 sit-ups.


Random Crap:

Today’s Japanese terms are:
可笑しい (okashii) – strange; funny; amusing; ridiculous; (the kanji literally translates to “worth laughing”)
変 (hen) – change; incident; disturbance; strange; flat (music); odd; peculiar; suspicious-looking; queer; eccentric; funny; (the kanji literally translates to “change”)

Both mean weird/strange/odd and can be used interchangeably. 変 (hen) is also used in 変態 (hentai) which can mean transformation; metamorphosis; abnormality; pervert; but mostly pervert. The kanji literally translates to “change personality/attitude”.

PvP The Series (from Digg) – It is with great pride that we announce the first season of PvP: The Animated Series. Starting in February 2007, PvP will be offered as an animated feature via the web. Each month, via a subscription service, we’ll be delivering a new 4-6 minute episode. This is not your typical flash animation. These are traditionally 2D animated with professional voice actors all collaborating to bring the staff of PVP magazine to life for the first time. Similar to CTRL+ALT+DELETE, PvP is now producing an NON-FREE animated series. It’s currently $20 for 12 4-6 minute episodes, which like CTRL+ALT+DELETE, I think is a rip-off.

One Picture Every Day Spoof (from Digg) – This guy has created a hilarious spoof of those videos where people take a picture of themself every day for a year then combine them into a flip book like montage. His facial expressions are rather funny.

Duct Tape On A MuthaFcukin’ Plane! (from Digg) – I dug up this video I shot back in December ‘04 when I was aboard an Air Deccan flight from Bangalore to Mumbai. Looked out my window and what did I see, A group of guys repairing the wing with some sort of muthafcukin’ duct tape. There’s some more repairs to the left of the one they are working on with what seems to be the same technique. Crossed my fingers, tossed back a shot of Black Label, and stayed on the flight.

Scientists Levitate Small Animals (from /.) – Scientists have now levitated small live animals using sounds that are, well, uplifting. … Xie and his colleagues employed an ultrasound emitter and reflector that generated a sound pressure field between them. The emitter produced roughly 20-millimeter-wavelength sounds, meaning it could in theory levitate objects half that wavelength or less. After the investigators got the ultrasound field going, they used tweezers to carefully place animals between the emitter and reflector. The scientists found they could float ants, beetles, spiders, ladybugs, bees, tadpoles and fish up to a little more than a third of an inch long in midair. When they levitated the fish and tadpole, the researchers added water to the ultrasound field every minute via syringe. Someone made a funny comment on /. saying why the heck would a ladybug need to be levitated? It can already fly!

The Making of a LEGO Brick (from /.) – Let’s hear it for LEGO! Forty-eight years after they were introduced, LEGO toys are still much beloved by children and parents alike for their bright colors, durability, and the amount of imagination they inspire during play. Compared to the high-tech toys of today, LEGO bricks look exceedingly simple. But their precise production process is nothing to scoff at. Each LEGO brick must have that perfect grasp — strong enough to hold onto another brick but easy enough for a child to pull apart. The production of LEGO bricks is so accurate that only 18 out of 1 million LEGO elements produced is considered defective. It’s an astonishing number, considering that 15 billion LEGO components are made every year. We take a look at how classic LEGO bricks are made.

Top 10 Naked People on Google Earth (from Digg) – (NOT SAFE FOR WORK!) You’ve all seen the original Google Sightseeing Topless Sunbather already, but did you know that the Hague is in fact completely overrun with naked and semi-naked Dutch men and women? Yes people, it’s time to get your magnifying glasses out, because here comes the Top 10 Naked People on Google Earth!

You’ve probably heard of Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) blasting off his guests using the N-word and how he later went onto Letterman’s to apologize. National Lampoon pieced together clips from the incident, the apology, and Seinfeld episodes and made this rather funny video: Seinfeld – The Lost Episode

Court says U.S. discriminates against blind with currencyThe U.S. government discriminates against blind people because American currency is not designed to be distinguishable to visually impaired people, a federal judge said on Tuesday. … “Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and colour in all their denominations,” he wrote. I always wondered why other countries used different sized paper bills.

Innovative supermarket in China (from Digg) – What do you get when you merge a roller coaster with a supermarket? Well, see for yourself. I wonder if it makes shopping longer or shorter (for the men of course).

Street Fighter: The Later Years – Part 2 (from RayAlome) – CollegeHumor returns to the lives of the Street Fighter characters 1 day later. But, like, 1 day later than 10 years later or whatever. Another episode in this amazing series! Though… M. Bison doesn’t really look like M. Bison.

Scientists say trained bees can sniff bombsScientists at a U.S. weapons laboratory say they have trained bees to sniff out explosives in a project they say could have far-reaching applications for U.S. homeland security and the Iraq war. I wonder how much bee is worth.

Impeachment

I just had a horrible thought. If President Bush does get impeached and is convicted, guess who becomes our next President… *shivers* I think I’d rather have Bush stay as President for 2 more years.


Random Crap:

Following the same line of a previous Japanese term, 耳飾り (mimikazari) means earrings, but in modern day, it’s more commonly known as ピアス (piasu) which was derived from the word pierce. For the finger ring, you’d think it be yubikazari, but unfortunately this breaks the rule and is actually termed as 指輪 (yubiwa) – ring. However, modern times has also used another familiar term for those who’ve seen the movie: リング (ringu).

LineRider ZaDa (direct link to swf) (from Digg) – The new and improved Line Rider with advanced and much needed tools such as the eraser and the accelerating lines.

Heroes: Non-US Promo Clip (from Digg) – (WARNING: SPOILERS) Although the title says it’s a promo, I believe this is a preview for episode 10. I didn’t particularly get what following comment referred to: Pay particular attention to a painting with a certain type of dinosaur and the little guy next to it.

heroes - promo clip - dinosaur

What about the dinosaur and the little guy? Hiro is going to travel back in time and fight a dinosaur? Is Hiro going to take the exploding man back in time and coincide it with the meteor hitting earth? Or is it really the exploding man that cause the extinction of the dinosaurs?

Coin In Plate With Water (from Digg) – here is a cool scientific way to take a coin in a plate with water without wetting your fingers. I was thinking instead of of complicated candle and glass setup, can I just put on some waterproof gloves and pick the coin up without wetting my fingers?

China urges pre-flight toilet training to save fuelA Chinese airline has calculated that it takes a litre of fuel to flush the toilet at 30,000 feet and is urging passengers to go to the bathroom before they board. … “The energy used in one flush is enough for an economical car to run at least 10 kilometres,” Captain Liu Zhiyuan, who flies regularly between Hangzhou and Beijing, was quoted as saying. Citing a survey by the company’s logistics department, Liu said carrying one kilogram of items such as blankets and pillows by air for one hour uses 0.2 kg of fuel. Interestingly enough, pee and poop weighs a lot too. If everyone took a dump or a piss before boarding the plane, the less weight would also save fuel.

Tony vs. Paul (from Esca) – A stop motion battle between two friends turned enemies. A point and shoot animation done frame by frame. Pretty neat actually. The sand movement animation totally reminded me of Gaara’s move in Naruto: Desert Funeral.

Wii Have A Problem… (from MS newsgroup) – “Wii have a problem” is a blog focused on bringing you the latest trend in gaming violence. That of damaged electronic loved ones caused from Wii related activities. Why? Because we’re fanboys that’s why. Someone questioned how this is different then throwing an Xbox 360 controller at the TV (I assumed jokingly). However, he then made a comment about saying it’s the users fault, how you don’t really need to use all that force to play with the wiimote, people are releasing the controller instead of holding it like they’re suppose to, and how after many hours of playing, the wiimote never slipped from his hand. At this point, I chimed in and said there is a difference. Normally, you wouldn’t take a bat or a tennis racket inside the house to practice your swing, especially not your living room with your TV and tons of other easily breakable items. If I do practice my swing in my living room and it slips my hand and crashes into my TV, then I can really only blame myself for being *cough*. However, the wiimote was intended to be used in front of your TV, so there’s no avoiding that. I also didn’t see a problem with using a lot of force with the wiimote. When you get into a game, often times you start button mashing really hard and really fast, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Playing with little activity is one way to play it, but playing the Wii with real swings vs wimpy swings should be perfectly fine. There are multiple ways to decrease accidents like these. Of course everyone’s mentioned the thin strap. A better gripping material would also help, like the stuff they use on the handles of tennis rackets and bats.

Piro

Piro the Siamese cat from Kanon is just too cute!

From Episode 7:
piropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiro

From Episode 8:
piropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiropiro

Spoilers: (Show)

Cascada?

What’s with my Cascada post?!?! It’s received almost 2,500 viewings so far, while 2nd place hasn’t even reached 200. I have been getting a lot of spam comments on that particular post and my stats are showing “Cascada” as one of the main keywords from search engines coming to my site, but I don’t particularly see anything special about that post. I wish there was a feature in search engines that would let you do a query and pass in a link and it’ll tell you which result # you are. That’d be neat!

I think I found out why so many people are visiting my page searching for “Cascada”. Apparently Google’s image search returns me as result #19 on page 1.


Random Crap:

Today’s Japanese term is 首飾り (kubikazari) which means necklace.

Body-wired headphonesThe new system uses the listener’s body as a capacitor that carries a tiny electrostatic charge. A music or video player sends a fluctuating signal to a conductive cloth pad – such as a wrist band – and this slightly charges the wearer’s body. A pair of conductive ear pads in the headphones pick-up the signal and rapidly convert it back into sound. Neat!

Streamick (from Digg) – Streamick.com provides the largest broadband internet TV service of the web. Thousands of users use Streamick.com every day to connect to the major internet broadcasters and watch free live internet TV in the easier way possible. Pretty neat service. Quality is actually decent.

13 things that do not make sense (from Digg) – 13 phenomenons that science can’t seem to explain.

Man seeks record for arm hair lengthJon Sanford takes good care of his hair, washing it regularly and conditioning it occasionally. Now he might break a record for that hair — on his arms. One particularly long strand measured 4.1 inches. If the measurement is ruled official by Guinness World Records, Sanford will have topped the previous record of 3.96 inches

101 Things you do NOT want your System Administrator to say. (from Digg) – Pretty funny. Really seems to be more like 97 things.

Eight Things You Should Never Say to Your Bartender (from Digg) – It seems I’ve already violated rule #1.

Whiteboard music (from Digg) – pretty cool whiteboard animation.

Stokke Gravity Chair Leans Back and Forward: We’re Stoked (from Digg) – Further proving you don’t have to be in orbit to be weightless, the Gravity Chair from Norwegian baby products maker Stokke can sit upright as an office chair, function as a rocker, and lean way back for that serious contemplation your boss told you to stop doing. See it in its variety of unusual permutations, after the jump.

Get a Laptop (from Digg) – pretty funny commercial.

Top 20 replies by Programmers to Testers when their programs don’t work (from Digg) – another funny list of things to read. The #1 response: It works on my machine. Haha. Neat! haha = 哈哈 (accidentally switch my IME).

Food Network: “There’s much penis going on here” (from Deadlock) – haha. I guess there’s a word such as pea-ness.

Mitch Hedberg Random Quote Generator (from Digg) – I still laugh. What would be neat is if they provided some code that you could add to your site and you can put Mitch’s Random Quote: ____________________ on your website.

Drunk Fails Sobriety Test (from Digg) – This is hilarious. This dude fails the sobriety test before it even begins. The cop asks him to hold a tape and place it on the ground and he passes out and lands on his head.

Megadeth’s “Gears of War” Song Available for Download (from Digg) – Heavy metal band Megadeth has made available as a free download its “Gears of War” song composed exclusively for Epic Games’ third-person shooter.

Body mod – Turn your pee blue! – Haha. By congesting a bunch of “supposedly” harmless blue food dye, you can turn your pee blue! That’d be neat!

So much SNOW!

Driving home was sort of a pain today. Cars were going really slow. Took me about 10 minutes to go 2 blocks. The average freeway speed was about 40MPH.

Then there was the hill. I live somewhat on the side of a big hill and the drive back was somewhat scary where my tires sometimes lost traction and turn left/right didn’t really respond. That probably means I’ll need to get some chains for my wheel. The closer I got to home, the more snow there was (due to the fact less people drove there, so less snow got rubbed away). Anyway, I get to about 10 yards from my house and my wheels get stuck. No matter what I try, it wouldn’t go up anymore. I had tried scooping the snow away from the front of my wheels, but that didn’t seem to help. A couple friendly neighbors came and help. We tried putting cardboard underneath the wheels and that helped somewhat, but still didn’t really get much further.

They ended up helping me push my car in front of another neighbor’s driveway for now and hopefully the snow will melt away soon.

Turns out my trip home wasn’t as bad as my fellow colleagues. It took them 6 hours and a couple near death encounters compared to my mere 45mins. Looking at the weather, it looks like it’ll be warmer tomorrow. People are already sending in WFH (work from home) emails.

Global warming? Haha.


Random Crap:

Today’s Japanese phrases are 大切 (taisetsu) and 命 (inochi) which means important and life respectively. Together 命は大切 (taisetsu ha inochi) means well, life is important.

Free Services to Inspire Your Cellphone (from Digg) – Here, for your gratitude-generating pleasure, is a rundown of some of the most exciting and powerful services awaiting your cellphone at this very moment. Better yet, at the moment, they’re all free. So interesting story. I was on my way to get my eye examined, but I forget which plaza the doctor’s in. I know the general area it was in, but this being my visit, I was too 2 blocks from my house already and it was too far to go back. I called 1-800-FREE-411 and listened to a 10-15sec advertisement and got the the phone number, despite me saying “overlake eye center” vs “overlake eye design”. Do note, someone mentioned if you mix up the FREE and 411 (e.g. 1-800-411-FREE), you get connected to an adult server. The free international calls is interesting. I wonder if you really have to use a cell phone for that.

Science a la Joe Camel (from Digg) –

The producers of former vice president Al Gore’s film about global warming, myself included, certainly agreed. So the company that made the documentary decided to offer 50,000 free DVDs to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for educators to use in their classrooms. It seemed like a no-brainer.The teachers had a different idea: Thanks but no thanks, they said.

In their e-mail rejection, they expressed concern that other “special interests” might ask to distribute materials, too; they said they didn’t want to offer “political” endorsement of the film; and they saw “little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members” in accepting the free DVDs.

Gore, however, is not running for office, and the film’s theatrical run is long since over. As for classroom benefits, the movie has been enthusiastically endorsed by leading climate scientists worldwide, and is required viewing for all students in Norway and Sweden.

Still, maybe the NSTA just being extra cautious. But there was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp.

Sigh… when the educational system fears to distribute knowledge because of repercussions by their supporters turning off the money tap, that’s when you know how bad our educational system has gotten.

Speaking of which, someone submitted this letter on Digg:
teacher is wrong but still gives detention

April 20th, 1994

Dear Mrs. _____,

You may already know this, but in case Alex has neglected to tell you, I am assigning him to detention for one hour this Friday, April 22nd. The reason is as follows:

Alex consistently defied me. During class he contradicted me numerous times when I insisted that the length of one kilometer was greater than that of one mile. Every other student in class accepted my lesson without argument, but your son refused to believe what I told him, offering such rebuttals as, “You’re lying to the class,” and commanding other students to challenge my curriculum.

Although he was correct, Alex’s actions show a blatant disregard for authority, and a complete lack of respect for his school. In the future, Alex would be better off simply accepting my teachings without resistance.

Please see to it that your son understands this.

Regards,
Adam Hilliker

I have a feeling it’s a fake, though Friday, April 22nd, 1994 does exist. Though that last sentence seems awfully forceful and the fact that a student was commanding other students to challenge her curriculum is something you hear in college, not elementary or high school (which it sounds like). Then there’s the fact a 1994 email just popped up on the internet in the year 2006. Though if it’s true… MY GOD!

Was reading Foxtrot and the iguana is so cute!!!
foxtrot iguana

Special one-time federal excise tax credit in 2006 rebates tax overpayment on phone bills.

From SD:

SPECIAL ONE TIME TAX CREDIT ON YOUR 2006 TAX RETURN

When it comes time to prepare and file your 2006 tax return, make sure you don’t overlook the “federal excise tax refund credit.” You claim the credit on line 71 of your form 1040. A similar line will be available if you file the short form 1040A. If you have family or friends who no longer file a tax return AND they have their own land phone in their home and have been paying a phone bill for years, make sure they know about this form 1040EZ-T.

What is this all about? Well the federal excise tax has been charged to you on your phone bill for years. It is an old tax that was assessed on your toll calls based on how far the call was being made and how much time you talked on that call. When phone companies began to offer flat fee phone service, challenges to the excise tax ended up in federal courts in several districts of the country. The challenges pointed out that flat fee/rate phone service had nothing to do with the distance and the length of the phone call. Therefore, the excise tax should/could not be assessed.

The IRS has now conceded this argument. Phone companies have been given notice to stop assessing the federal excise tax as of Aug 30, 2006. You will most likely see the tax on your September cutoff statement, but it should NOT be on your October bill.

But the challengers of the old law also demanded restitution. So the IRS has announced that a one time credit will be available when you and I file our 2006 tax return as I explained above. However, the IRS also established limits on how BIG a credit you can get. Here ‘s how it works.

If you file your return as a single person with just you as a dependent, you get to claim a $30 credit on line 71 of your 1040.

If you file with a child or a parent as your dependent, you claim $40.

If you file your return as a married couple with no children, you claim $40.

If you file as married with children, you claim $50 if one child, $60 if two children.

In all cases, the most you get to claim is $60 – UNLESS you have all your phone bills starting AFTER Feb 28, 2003 through July 31, 2006 (do not use any bills starting Aug 1, 2006.), then you can add up the ACTUAL TAX AS IT APPEARS ON YOUR BILLS AND CLAIM THAT FOR A CREDIT.

Now if you have your actual phone bills and come up with an ACTUAL TAX AMOUNT, you cannot use line 71 on your tax return. You have to complete a special form number 8913 and attach it to your tax return.

Individuals using the special from 1040EZ-T will have to attach this form 8913 also.

One final point – this credit is a refundable credit. That means you get this money, no matter how your tax return works out. If you would end up owing the IRS a balance, the refund will reduce that balance you owe. If you end up getting a refund, the credit will be added and you get a bigger refund by that $30 to $60, depending on how many dependents are on your return.

Feel free to pass this on or make copies for family and friends who don’t have computers.

Even Snopes is saying its true and not just a random internet chain mail: Special one-time federal excise tax credit in 2006 rebates tax overpayment on phone bills.

You can find more information on the IRS website:
Telephone Excise Tax
Telephone Tax Refund Questions and Answers

At first when reading the chain letter, it sounded like you need to be currently subscribed to a long distance service through the phone company, but according to the Q&A: Who is eligible to request the telephone tax refund? In general, any individual, business or nonprofit organization that paid long-distance tax for service billed after Feb 28, 2003 and before Aug 1, 2006 is eligible to request the refund. I’ve definitely paid for long-distance service between 2003 and 2006. Looks like I’m eligible for $40 too!

Casino Royale

As mentioned awhile, we went to see this movie as part of our morale event. I was quite impressed with this new James Bond played by Daniel Craig. It’s true there’s less tech and gadgetry, but this being the initialization of James Bond, I can see that being the case. Plus it wasn’t without any technology. There was that tracing bug and the medical condition transmitter attached with anti-venom producer. Then there’s the really hot girl, Eva Green.

Official Site
IMDb: 8.1/10 (18,688 votes)
Yahoo! Movies: The Critics: B+ / Yahoo! Users: B+
Rotten Tomatoes: Rating: 94% / Average Rating: 7.9/10
Apple Trailer
Amazon.com Soundtrack
MY RATING: 8.5/10

casino royale postercasino royale postercasino royale poster

Spoilers: (Show)

Miami Vice

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the original Miami Vice. My only memory about is probably at Universal Studios when they had that stunt show. Given that, I was just expecting a bunch of explosions in this movie. Didn’t turn out that bad.

Official Site
IMDb: 6.2/10 (15,102 votes)
Yahoo! Movies: The Critics: B- / Yahoo! Users: C+
Rotten Tomatoes: Rating: 47% / Average Rating: 5.6/10
Apple Trailer
Amazon.com HD-DVD
Amazon.com DVD
Amazon.com Soundtrack
MY RATING: 6.5/10

miami vice postermiami vice postermiami vice postermiami vice postermiami vice poster

Spoilers: (Show)

Highlander

So I finally decided to watch this movie as I’ve heard it many times. Initially I thought it was something Braveheart (also another movie I have not fully watched), where it’s about Scottish swordsman and the Highlander was a hero defending them. Turns out I was semi-right, but it really mixes into modern day. I was somewhat disappointed by the movie, but given it was made in 1986, it might’ve been great for its time.

IMDb: 7.1/10 (23,033 votes)
Yahoo! Movies: Yahoo! Users: B
Rotten Tomatoes: Rating: 71% / Average Rating: 6.1/10
Amazon.com DVD
MY RATING: 6/10

highlander poster

Spoilers: (Show)

View Count

So I’ve installed a new plug-in called View Count by Michael O’Connell. Was pretty simple. Getting the view count was the 1st step in what I was trying to accomplish. I wanted to add a list of the top viewed posts in my sidebar. Installing the plug-in was pretty simple as I just dropped the folder and file into my WordPress wp-content\plugins directory.

Once activated, there was a new column in my wp_posts table called view_count. The default value is 0, but this’ll change once this plug-in is ran for some time.

So the next step was to create the MySQL query to get the x most viewed posts. Turns out executing the query was easier than I thought:
$results = $wpdb->get_results("SELECT ID, post_title, view_count FROM $wpdb->posts ORDER BY view_count DESC LIMIT $limit" );

Then for each result in the array of results you got back, I did the following which links to the post with title and displays how many views it has:
echo '<li><a href="' . get_permalink( $result->ID ) . '">' . $result->post_title . '</a> [<strong>' . $result->view_count . '</strong>]</li>';

And that’s basically it!

I did notice 1 problem with with the plug-in’s instruction. It states to show your posts sorted by view count, to just add this link: ?ordrby=view_count, however, the correct link according to the code does have the ‘e’ which is ?orderby=view_count.

Apparently, it’s also counting when I’m writing/editing the post. I frequently save due to times in the past when I lost complete essays by accidentally closing the tab or if my browser crashes and each reload counts as 1 view. I’ve changed it so it ignores my views, so it seems like a good workaround for now.