Oct 06 2014

Shack time

Category: humorsardonicwhiner @ 10:19 am

We all know about various physical and mathematical constants. The natural log e, pi, Planck time, etc. Here’s a link to a bunch more.  That’s a lot of constants for a post-modern world.

Having said that, I would like to propose a new constant, which in fine scientific tradition I will name “Shack time.” Because we’re all post-modernists now, Shack time has no particular value, although it is not too long and not too short. Shack time is:

1) The time between getting in the elevator and realizing you’ve pressed the button for the floor you’re already on.

2) The time between trying to put your office key in the door and realizing you’re using your house key…. or vice versa.

3) The time you spend looking on the dash for the power button of your other car that isn’t a Prius. This is closely related to the time you spend trying to put your other car’s key into the steering column of the Prius.

4) The time between the beginning of a Faculty Senate meeting and your brain’s beginning production of deep theta waves.

5) The time between a conductor’s downbeat and the first note from the viola section (sorry…. couldn’t resist)

6) The time it takes to try both possible ways of inserting a USB cable before realizing you were right the first time.

7) The time you spend looking over your three computer screens trying to find the mouse. (Although lately I’ve been using something called Mouse Locater that really helps. This has resulted in a new Shack time interval, the time you spend admiring the neat graphic surrounding your mouse position.)

8)  The time between placing a Coke Zero near the cold air vent in the freezer (because you didn’t plan ahead) and the eventual explosion of the Coke Zero can because you forgot about it.

9)  The time it takes to discover that you’ve been trying open the electronic lock to your classroom door with your ATM card.

10) The time you’ve wasted reading this.  (Note that there is no implication that reading *all* of this was necessarily a waste…. but surely at least one of the items was. You pick.)


Mar 16 2014

Hot water bottles and youth

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 1:14 am

So, I went to CVS pharmacy to get a hot water bottle. (Don’t ask.) Two young clerks up front. Clerk #1: “Well, sir, we don’t have hot water bottles, but you can get chilled water bottles on aisle 20.” Dumbfounded look from me… I turn to Clerk #2 with the same question, who says, “She’s right, sir, we only have chilled water bottles on aisle 20.” So I give up, and go find the hot water bottles back in the section with heating pads and such.

I return to the front, and this time there’s a nice middle aged lady behind the counter, a manager, I think, with the two young clerks. So I smile big and drop the the hot water bottle on the counter in front of Clerk #2, and say, “THIS is a hot water bottle.” He looks at me, suspiciously, like maybe I snuck it in just to make him look bad.

But manager lady immediately gets it, we make eye contact, and both break out laughing. She says, “He just wasn’t born yet.”

We laugh harder.

In the meantime, Clerk #1 has joined the party, and is reading the box, mystified, as if such a possibility had never occurred to her, and she’s mumbling, “Soothes pain. Relieves muscle aches. Latex free. One water bottle and stopper.”

We laugh even harder.

Jan 01 2013

Small sigh of relief

Category: humoramuzikman @ 6:12 pm

After seeing a wedding performed during the middle of the Rose Parade this morning I will have to admit to some trepidation about what might happen at halftime during the Rose Bowl, when I discovered the newlyweds planned to attend the game.


Aug 17 2012

Prehistoric Human Brain Found Pickled in Bog

Category: humoramuzikman @ 10:07 am


Someone get the Vice-President on the phone.  Tell him we may have found a solution…

Jul 30 2012

Learning from experience… the hard way

Category: election 2008,election 2012,government,Group-think,humor,media,Obamaharmonicminer @ 10:44 am

Jul 21 2012

The real first chapter of Genesis

Category: economy,freedom,funny but sad,God,government,humorharmonicminer @ 3:42 pm

Deep in the bowels of the third basement level of the Sears Tower in Chicago, a heretofore unknown manuscript has been discovered, a scroll believed by Keynsian scholars to predate the earliest known copy of the book of Genesis by at least two centuries.

It is now available for public viewing on the internet.

You only THOUGHT you knew the real story of Creation.

Dec 01 2011

Well…. I didn’t think it happened ON PURPOSE

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 8:17 am

Man is accidentally shot by his own dog |

And strangely enough, that’s what really happened to a hapless dog owner in Brigham City, Utah. The man in question–a 46-year-old hunting enthusiast who is not named in local news reports on the incident–got a behind-full of birdshot courtesy of his loyal canine companion when he was out duck hunting over the weekend.

KSL.com reports the man and his dog were traveling in a canoe-like boat when the man stepped out into a shallow marsh to set up some decoys. His left his 12-gauge shotgun resting across the bow of the boat, according to Box Elder County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Potter.

That’s when the dog “did something to make the gun discharge,” Potter said. “I don’t know if the safety device was on. It’s not impossible the dog could have taken it off safety.”

Apparently excited to join his owner in the marsh, the dog jumped up on the boat’s bow and stepped on the gun. The gun was fired, hitting the man in the buttocks with 27 pellets of birdshot.

UPDATE: The man lived, so no Darwin award here…. though I assume he won’t be doing much sitting for awhile.

UPDATE II: You don’t suppose his last name is Cheney, do you?

Nov 10 2011

Communication with the comatose

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 2:04 am

Test Shows Awareness, Consciousness for Brain-Damaged Patients

New research using a portable electrode test suggests nearly 20 percent of those previously determined to be vegetative state may be consciously aware of their surroundings and even able to communicate through easily detectable brain signals.

I could have told them that. I go to faculty meetings.  I’m certain there are some broccoli in the English department.

Oct 07 2011

Down with Evil Corporations

Category: economy,humor,media,societyharmonicminer @ 10:22 am

Sep 29 2011

ET coming to eat us?

Category: humor,illegal alien,national security,science,technologyharmonicminer @ 9:55 am

If ET exists, we may or may not want to make contact.

Here’s more on the topic:

Hoping to Contact Extraterrestrials? Think Again

Astronomers who have been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence for decades are suddenly saying such an encounter might not be a happy one.

Aliens might destroy life on Earth or plan to eat or enslave humans if they sense our civilization was expanding too rapidly and could harm others, according to a latest study.

The scenario was brought up in a joint study by Seth Baum, Jacob Haqq-Misra and Shawn Domagal-Goldman.

Researchers say extraterrestrials might behave the way we humans have behaved whenever we have discovered other previously unknown intelligent beings on Earth, like unfamiliar humans or chimpanzees and gorillas.

“Just as we did to those beings, the extraterrestrials might proceed to kill, infect, dissect, conquer, displace or enslave us, stuff us as specimens for their museums or pickle our skulls and use us for medical research,” according to the study, which was published in the journal Acta Astronautica.

Why should we worry about aliens? The simple reason is that if they can find us, they would be more advanced than humans.

“A core concern is that ETI will learn of our presence and quickly travel to Earth to eat or enslave us,” the study says.

The authors speculate that extraterrestrials might try to spread their beliefs through evangelism or to use humans for entertainment.

Just because an ETI civilization holds universalist ethics does not mean that it would never seek our harm. This is because ETI may be quite different from us and could conclude that harming us would help maximize whatever they value intrinsically.

For example, if ETI place intrinsic value on lives, then perhaps they could bring about more lives by destroying us and using our resources more efficiently for other lives. Other forms of intrinsic value may cause a universalist ETI to seek our harm or destruction as long as more value is produced without us than with us.

Aliens also could harm or destroy us if they believe we are a threat to other civilizations. Rapidly expanding civilizations may have a tendency to destroy other civilizations in the process, just as humanity has already destroyed many species on Earth.

Though this scenario might seem unlikely given the likelihood of our technological inferiority relative to other civilizations, we would be at the receiving end if ET thinks that our resources could be used more efficiently to generate or retain other civilizations.

Perhaps ETI is observing rapid and destructive expansion on Earth and could become concerned at our trajectory.

ETI might prefer that our civilization change its ways to survive, but if it doubts that our course can be changed, it may seek to preemptively destroy us to protect other civilizations from us.

A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilization may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand.

“Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere (e.g. via greenhouse gas emissions), which therefore changes the spectral signature of Earth,” the study’s authors say,

Human civilization affects ecosystems so strongly that some ecologists have begun calling this epoch of Earth’s history the anthropocene, a new and unprecedented phase in the planet’s history.

If the goal is to maximize ecosystem health, then perhaps it would be better if humanity did not exist, or at least if it existed in significantly reduced form. Since at least some humans believe so, invoking universalist ethical principles, then it is likely that ETI might agree.

But since we don’t know what kind of aliens we will end up meeting, there are certain steps humans should take when making contact, the authors urge. Those steps include not sharing details of our biology and DNA structure, and not appearing as if we are rapidly expanding off the Earth.

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