Testing Drugs

The current system of testing drugs is seriously flawed:
Nine out of 10 times, the drug made by the company that funded the study came out on top. When Eli Lilly, the maker of Zyprexa, funded five studies of its drug, Zyprexa was found superior in all five. But when Janssen, the maker of Risperdal, ran its studies, Risperdal came out ahead.

Faux News

CNN is reporting that an anchor for Fox News has been asked to become the new White House spokesman. Fox News: now the official mouthpiece of the Bush administration!

They're better at everything!

The Japanese are even better at putting on bandaids than we are! It takes a few minutes, but it's worth watching. This is one tip I can wait to try out.

Math Proves Christ's Resurrection?

This is actually on CNN's Netscape page:
Math Proves Christ's Resurrection?

It is faith, not proof, that makes Christians believe in Jesus Christ's resurrection, the central tenet of the religion. Until now.

Oxford University professor Richard Swinburne, a leading philosopher of religion, has seemingly done the impossible. Using logic and mathematics, he has created a formula that he says shows a 97 percent certainty that Jesus Christ was resurrected by God the Father, report The Age and Catholic News.

This stunning conclusion was made based on a series of complex calculations grounded in the following logic:

1. The probably of God's existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn't.
2. The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
3. The evidence for God's existence is an argument for the resurrection.
4. The chance of Christ's resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
5. Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.

I tried to come up with an explanation or analogy to show how ridiculous this is, but I'm at a complete loss. I'm alternating between depression and hysterical laughter. Oxford certainly isn't the school I thought it was.


Rats in the Temple

It's Funny Because It's True:
One rabbi was complaining to another rabbi about all the mice that had infested his temple. 'They are everywhere! I've tried setting moustraps, and I even called in a bunch pest-control professionals. But nothing worked. I have even more mice than ever!'

The other rabbi replied, 'I had the same problem -- mice everywhere. Moustraps, professional exterminators didn't work for me either. But I finally found a way to get rid of those mice for good. I gathered them together, Bar Mitzvah'd them all, and never saw them in the temple again!

World Record for Typing Numbers in Words

What a freak!
After 16 years at the typewriter, Les Stewart from Mudjimba (Australia) is a millionaire. On 25 November 1998, he reached his goal of typing all numbers from one to one million - in words (not numbers) on his manual machine. A regular entrant in the record books since he started his marathon task in 1982 as therapy following an accident and serious illness. Seven manual typewriters, 1000 ink ribbons, 19,890 pages, 16 years and seven months later, he finished...

Easter turducken

A Cadbury creme egg inside a peep inside a hollow chocolate rabbit. Genius!


Ha ha ha ha .. ha .. .. ha ... *sigh*

TiVo Wins Damages in Suit vs. EchoStar - Yahoo! News

I like my Tivo, but it's ridiculous that they won this lawsuit. "TiVo claimed EchoStar violated its patent for a 'multimedia time warping system' to pause, rewind or fast-forward live TV programs by recording them on a hard drive." What a load of garbage. I'll have to patent the introduction of food and/or liquid to a person's digestive system by way of their mouth. I'll be rich!

The Tyranny of the Alphabet

In fields that require the authors of papers to be listed alphabetically, having a name with an early letter is a significant advantage. I'm glad my field doesn't require that.

The next logical step

If a pharmacist can refuse to provide emergency contraception or birth control pills, what's to stop them from dispensing abortion-related antibiotics? As it turns out, nothing.

Evolutionary Timeline

A graphical history of life on earth with each pixel representing 30,000 years.

Notice Anything?

Well, do you? Nothing? Nothing at all? Ok, I'll tell you: I changed the name of the blog. I thought the title was a little long, so I removed the last word. Now it's much pithier.

Laptop thieves in S.F.

Laptop thieves are targeting wireless hotspots in S.F. Sometimes they steal the laptops while they're in use. One guy even got stabbed in a cafe as they were stealing his laptop.

Freedom Kissing

The French really piss me off. To comemorate my off-pissedness, I will henceforth refer only to "Freedom Kissing".

(This one is from Mrs. T.)

Improving math performance

Is That Legal?
In one study, for example, Shih and her assistants gave a group of female Asian-American undergrads a math test. Before taking the test, some of them had to fill out a questionnaire that highlighted their Asian identity. Some of them had to fill out a questionnaire that highlighted their status as female. And some (a control group) had to fill out a questionnaire about their telephone company. The results: the women whose Asian identity had been highlighted scored significantly better than the control group, and the women whose gender had been highlighted scored significantly worse!
The solution that Mrs. Turtle and I have agreed upon is to raise any daughters as Asian males. This will ensure optimal performance on standardized math tests.


eKantipur.com - Nepal's No.1 News Portal
The birth of a bizarre-looking baby in Charikot, the headquarters of Dolakha district, on Wednesday, drew a huge number of onlookers to witness the astonishing sight.

The neck-less baby with its head almost totally sunk into the upper part of the body and with extraordinarily large eyeballs literally popping out of the eye-sockets, was born to Nir Bahadur Karki and Suntali Karki at the Gaurishnkar Hospital in Charikot.
Click on the link if you want to see the picture. It's pretty disturbing. It's also disturbing that they apparently put the body in a pail and carried it around in a parade.

More Peanut Butter

Plexist wrote:
Also, lately I've been trying to avoid overly commercialized products and peanutt butter is pretty heavily advertized. Perhaps I'm being too much of a long-hair, but when you see the powerful effect that advertizing has on kids, it makes you wonder if you're being manipulated without knowing it.
Mrs. Turtle points out that this is the precise reason for double-blind taste tests! Of course, health benefits won't be picked up by a taste test, but I couldn't discern any health differences by reading the packages either.

The long-hair line reminds me of my cousin's plan for when he went bald. He's a pretty hairy guy, so his scheme was to build up his back hair and use it as a comb-over for his bald spot. Brilliant!


I don't like to update posts, since nobody is ever going to scroll down to re-read old posts and the updates will go unseen. So I'll put up new posts to update old ones.

About taking a single backpack when traveling, Turtle bro writes:
One key thing to keep in mind is that "carry-on size" is not the same everywhere. ... And the need for a safe food supply means I'll probably continue to do a 2-bag approach like that, with the goal of keeping my backpack quite light.
It is essential before any trip to find the size and weight restrictions for all airlines on the internet. Also, they're less likely to check a slightly oversized backpack and they are to check a suitcase. And finally, most backpacks, even those with a suspension system, have some give in them and can be squished down somewhat to meet size requirements. For example, the limit on most airlines is 22" long, but some require 20". My pack is 21", but it can be squished down to 18" or 19".

Second, I always take a daypack and fleece jacket with many pockets when I travel. On a long flight, I put my book and some snacks in the daypack so I won't have to take down my main backpack when I need something. On shorter flights or train trips I put my book and food in my jacket pockets. The daypack is small enough to fit inside my main pack when walking around, and the fleece serves double-duty as a pillow on the plane. In both cases, I always have a backup in case I absolutely can't take my main pack with me.

Finally, if you're going to be driving around and staying in nice hotels, multiple bags and suitcases are fine. When you're going to be walking a lot with your luggage, taking the metro, getting into a strange town late at night and searching for a place to sleep, it's extremely useful to have only one piece of light luggage which you can easily carry on your back. Trust me, it's a pain to wear a 44-pound backpack on a crowded subway, and even less fun to walk up the stairs from a subway car 4 stories underground. Running 2 miles from one international terminal to another with that 44-pound pack is also very unpleasant.

About abortion, Plexist wrote:
I always thought most of the opposition to abortion was due to religious reasons. While many religions [do] want to punish people for sex, I think that's a side effect rather than the motivation.
I'm sure many of these people think that they are anti-abortion because of their religion, but I doubt they are, because there are all sorts of other things that religion bans that they're fine with. I'm sure these same people don't really think that they're trying to punish women for having sex, but they are. I would say that if you pick and choose which parts of your religion to obey, there's something else at work.

And lastly, about an AP article that harshed Bush's mellow, Plexist wrote:
When I saw your post, I thought "Wow, the media is finally, actually reporting the truth without being afraid of sounding shrill." Then I looked at the article. ... but really that's a pretty weak article. It's like writing an article with the headline "Republicans favor rich people." It's true and it should upset people, but it's hardly what I would call news.
That's very true, but it's a step up from, "The administration killed 10,000 terrorist puppies and kittens, who really deserved what they got. Martial law has been declared for Democrats and other traitors. And coming up, the news about Beniffer!" I guess I've consumed too much media and have had my standards dangerously lowered. All it takes is an article that's not groveling to make me happy. Mea culpa!