Congratulations, Doctor Allamby 

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Carl Allamby used to work as a mechanic, troubleshooting problems with cars. At the age of 47, he’ll now be a mechanic for the human body. Well done!

Fixing the Bird Logos in Pro Sports 

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

In the major American professional sports, 12 different teams use a bird as their mascot, and they’re all screwing them up in some fashion. Thankfully, ornithologist Nick Lund has taken care of the problem.

Make a Copy for Yourselves Too

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

The US Postal Service has long been known to have utterly terrible tracking for deliveries:

In 2019, however, there’s a superior way to track packages. Google recently began providing a card showing package status when you search for a tracking number:

The results are quite good. Here’s a screenshot taken this past weekend, of a package in transit:

And here’s that same package today, after the item was delivered on Tuesday:

That’s helpful, and certainly what I hoped to find.

What I can’t understand, however, is how Google is beating USPS at their own tracking game using data USPS is giving them. It says right there, “Data provided by USPS”. And yet, here’s the same tracking number, run through USPS’s tracking page today 24 hours after the package was delivered:

Perhaps USPS provided Google with the only copy of the data.

Harvesting Metals for Medals 

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

When Olympic athletes collect their medals next year in Tokyo, they’ll be wearing recycled electronics around their necks.

Heal Thyself 

Monday, July 29th, 2019

At the age of 21, Doug Lindsay was afflicted with the same mystery illness that had enfeebled his mother and aunt. For over a decade, he used science and persistence to fight back as best he could, ultimately curing his own ailment.

Don’t Be Distracted

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Yesterday, a story broke that Donald Trump had spoken in front of a fake presidential seal while at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit.

This seal featured multiple shots at Trump, included a two-headed eagle alluding to his shady Russian dealings, a set of golf clubs, and a wad of money. While it’s still not clear how this image wound up projected behind Trump (the hosts have blamed it on a now-former member of the A/V team), the creator of the logo is known. Washington Post caught up with Charles Leazott, a former Republican who’s tickled at how this all went down.

This story is certainly good for a moment of levity, but unfortunately, it’s taking attention away from a much more unsettling story out of the very same event. The actual content of the speech Trump gave is disturbing. In short, Trump falsely claimed that he can do whatever he wants as president.

Trump claimed, “Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President.”

“But, I don’t even talk about that,” he added, “because they did a report and there was no obstruction.”

This is, in one word, wrong. The trouble is, the way a president is held accountable is via Congress. Without an independent legislative branch, the power of the American presidency really can go unchecked. That is proving disastrous for our democracy, and it’s the real story we should be watching.

Living That Airport Baggage Carousel Dream 

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Lorenzo Vega is only two years old, but he’s already managed to live one of my life-long dreams, by taking a ride on the baggage carousel. It looks like quite a trip.

Don’t miss the video from CNN, which includes multiple angles, and some great behind-the-scenes footage.1


Footnotes:

  1. As always, the video is archived here. ↩︎

“Economy Acceptable” Would Be More Accurate

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

While planning a recent trip to London, I discovered that Virgin Atlantic has some rather amusing fare types. They have “Upper Class”, their top level, with full lay-flat beds. One step down, they have “Premium”, which offers an “extra-large leather seat”. Though “Upper Class” is a slightly stuffier sounding name for “First Class”, these are generally fairly standard.

Where things get goofy is “Economy”. Virgin offers not one, not two, but three flavors of “Economy”. As of 2019, they are:

  • Economy Light

  • Economy Classic

  • Economy Delight

If you’re skeptical, I understand. Here’s a screenshot from their site:

Given this bizarre set of options, I would dearly love to what didn’t make the cut, because I bet the rejects were amazingly terrible. You know you’re not going to have a great time in “Economy”, period, but the name “Economy Light” leaves me thinking you might well find yourself “seated” in the overhead compartment. There’s also nothing “Classic” about “Economy”, at least not in any positive, “Coca-Cola Classic” sense of that word.

Ultimately, I went with an “Economy Delight” ticket. I wasn’t delighted to pay extra, nor would I describe my travels as “delightful”, but it clearly beat the alternatives.

Recent Snippets

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Today, a brief collection of things I recently read that made me laugh!

That Was the Problem in the First Place, Roy

A short note on Roy Moore taking another run at the Senate in Alabama included this gem:

Roy Moore, the 2017 Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama who lost the race after being accused of sexual misconduct, announced on Thursday he’s running again…When asked what he’ll do differently in his campaign this time, Moore said he would “make more personal contact with people.” Moore was accused of sexual assault and of pursuing sexual relationships with teenagers while in his 30s.

Whether it was intentional or not, props to the writer for placing that quote where they did.

It’s Real, and It’s Spectacularly Awful

While reading some restaurant news, I saw the following quote:

…the owner of dumpling-centered catering business Dumps-A-GoGo

Believe it or not, that is a real business, with a website and everything.

A Rabbit Does Not Need To Fly With You

Finally, in terrible people possibly getting what they deserve, we have the case of Congressman Duncan Hunter. He and his wife appear to have misspent hundreds of thousands of campaign funds. Now, prosecutors have flipped his wife, and she’s testifying against her guilty-as-sin husband. As part of that, we got this headline:

Duncan Hunter’s wife admits she bought plane ride for pet bunny with campaign funds

My initial thought on reading this was that she’d taken the rabbit on a sightseeing trip, possibly for its birthday. A closer reading indicates that the spending was to fly the rabbit on a commercial airliner, at a cost of $500. That would be a goofy use of one’s own money, but when you’re illegally spending campaign funds in that fashion, it becomes one of the stupidest crimes I can fathom.

In closing, the bunny’s name is “Eggburt”.

The Dream Remains Alive

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Since 2012, I’ve been hoping Mike Carp would make his way to the Los Angeles Angels, joining an elite school group of players who share a last name with a type of fish. In 2015, a minor league contract brought Carp close to the right city, but the wrong team. In 2016, he fell out of pro baseball entirely, before his 30th birthday.

However, Google Alerts never say die. A recent email showed me that Carp is now playing for the New Britain Bees, an independent league team, as he attempts a return to the majors.

A Google Alert with news on Mike Carp

Better still, the Alert included news of recent Bees game, where Carp had an RBI base hit. Keep it up, Mike, and hopefully the Angels will come calling soon.