It’s Actually Pretty Impressive 

Friday, March 24th, 2017

In the first few seconds of this video, you’ll see a tractor-trailer spinout during a recent winter storm here in Boston. Fortunately, no one was hurt, so you can enjoy the Austin Powers-esqe many-point turn the driver makes to get moving.

Joe Biden the Politician Meets Joe Biden the Dog 

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

It’s National Puppy Day in America, so here’s a story about an adorable golden retriever pup meeting the former Vice President.

Tractor Hacking 

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

In what is certainly one of the weirder instances of hacking I’ve seen recently, farmers are using software cracks in order to be able to repair their own tractors.

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America’s heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that’s cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

This sort of DRM is a pox upon the entire world.

Looking at a Book 

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Donald Trump attempts to read a book.

They Finally Made a Real Barvd Emoji 

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Relatively recently, emoji were updated to include modifiers. This functionality enables multiple emoji to be joined into one, thus making it easier to have multiple genders and skin tones for people. Now, XKCD suggests a new modifier.

World Baseball Classic Eligibility

Friday, March 17th, 2017

The World Baseball Classic, a rather pale imitation of the global event that is soccer’s World Cup, is now being contested for the fourth time. Countries from around the globe send teams to square off in a series of baseball games to determine who will be world champion. Say, that’d make a good name — the “World Series”. It’s catchy and accurate!

Anyhow, the rosters for these teams are not as nationalistic as you might expect. Many players compete for countries other than the one in which they were born, and it’s clear that these “national” teams don’t have strong qualifying requirements. Most egregious in this regard is the 2017 Israel roster, which features 35 players born in American, and a single lone pitcher born in Israel.

I’ve done some research to discover the minimum requirement a player must meet to play for various countries, and collected my findings below:

A Sampling of the Minimum Requirements for Each Country’s National Team in the World Baseball Classic

To play for these teams, a player must have:

  • Australia: Seen a Crocodile Dundee movie, or at least the Australia episode of the Simpsons featuring the classic line “That’s not a knife, it’s a spoon”.

  • Canada: Apologized at least once in the past year

  • Cuba: Recently uttered the phrase “close, but no cigar”

  • Greece: Been a member of a fraternity in college

  • Israel: Called someone a “putz” and/or schmuck

  • Italy: Played a Mario game on any Nintendo platform

  • Japan: The abiity to sing the chorus of The Vapors’ hit song “Turning Japanese”

  • Mexico: Dined in a Taco Bell in the past decade

  • Poland: Ever used a can of lemon Pledge

The 2017 tournament is nearly finished, but the above list may help you find a team to play for in the 2021 event.

For Want of a Comma 

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Ambiguity caused by the lack of an Oxford (or serial) comma has led to legal wrangling for dairy delivery drivers in Maine.

Maine law provides an overtime exemption for employees whose work includes “canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment and distribution of” certain perishable foods.

Because there’s no comma after the word “shipment”, it’s not clear if “distribution” is part of the exempted activities or not, causing this dispute to wind up in court.

Let’s Not Go Back 

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Shortly after its creation in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency documented the state of America’s environmental problems, before the EPA helped to clean them up. Popular Science has a selection of compelling photographs.

Get Plowed 

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Snow forecasts have called for 12 inches or more, but one website is helping clear the roads in the Boston area.

Ingenuity in Snow Removal 

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Winter’s not quite done with Boston yet, but thanks to the ingenuity of one machinist working for our local transit agency, the train tracks should be clear. During the brutal winter of 2015, Michael Haywood devised a new snow blowing machine that’s now in use throughout the commuter rail system.