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Precision Soup

Written solely for the author's amusment

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April 21st, 2009


. . . was the word I couldn't think of about three months ago when I was writing my final paper for Public Law/Public Policy. "By this time, the case law surrounding the decision to withdraw life support from an incompetent patient had solidified into a five part test." It just came to me a few minutes ago.

Um, anyway, that all I had to say. That had apparently been bothering me for three months. So I thought I'd share.

March 18th, 2009

So, I saw Watchmen this weekend. The reviews I'd seen had been really mixed, with some people saying it was a good, faithful adaptation, and some reports of mass walkouts. I thought it was pretty good, personally. I'm not sure how much sense it would make to someone not familiar with the comic, though. Even at nearly 3 hours long, the movie had to stick to the main plot, with most of the backstory and sidestory just hinted at, mainly in the opening credits*. Also, I didn't see anyone walk out, except the guy who brought a little kid. They left pretty early.

The movie was incredibly faithful, with many of the scenes recreating the comic panel exactly, and if you are familiar with the comic book, you could probably walk in at any point and know exactly what was going on. My biggest complaint would be the guy who played Ozymandias. I always pictured Ozymandias as a guy with a really powerful commanding presence, and the guy playing him just couldn't pull that off. And the movie is more action-y than the book, but for the most part it was well done action, so I'm not too bothered by that. Except, the movie has Laurie kill at least one of the muggers who attack her and Dan in the alley. In the book, I got the idea that most of the Watchmen didn't just kill people like that, especially when the people weren't really a threat (Except Rorschach, natch). And the ending changed, I suspect because "giant psychic teleporting squid monster" seemed a little too far-fetched. The basic idea was the same, though.

Oh, and despite the quote at the top, Tales of the Black Freighter never comes up.

Other than seeing a movie, I've been working at my new internship, working for a public health law advocacy place. For actual money, this time. And doing research and working on policy questions, something I actually enjoy doing. So that's been going pretty well.

*The opening credits, incidentally, were unreservedly wonderful, and did a nearly perfect job of showing the backstory if you knew it already. If you didn't, they had to be confusing.

February 4th, 2009

Coming to the End

Next week is the last week of classes, then a week of exams, then a week of vacation, then my next internship. I'm looking forward to it, partly because it'll be nice to have a regular schedule again (having morning classes at either noon or 8 am, and evening classes until 8 pm is no way to develop a normal sleeping pattern), and partly because I got a paying internship this time around, doing public health research. If we assume I got the job because of the interview, then I was hired based on my impressive knowledge of magicians, which is what I wound up talking about.

I'm hoping to get my next job based on my ability to argue that video games can be a serious art form.

January 1st, 2009

Random Thoughts

I got Fallout 3 for Christmas, and today was the first day I got a chance to play it. I'm not sure how long I played, but I do know that when I finally stopped, I had been curled up in one position for so long that my lower legs had gone to sleep completely, and I could barely stand up. So, Fallout 3=good game.

I spent most of the rest of the day in bed, because my apartment is at about 60 degrees. Which, while well above freezing, and I'm sure very economical for the building managers, isn't exactly toasty. I may go buy a space heater.

Other things I got for Christmas are the books: Them!: Adventures With Extremists, Death From the Skies!, and Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies. I am now ready to start my own extremist separatist group, that believes that the World Ruling Conspiracy is trying to destroy the Earth with a black hole, and brainwashing the masses with movies filled with shoddy history research.

I wonder if you have to move to Montana or Idaho to start an extremist group. Because from what I understand, those places are even colder than Boston.

December 20th, 2008

Lobster, Disambiguation

Lobster can refer to:

An actual lobster.

A tree lobster, which is actually a type of bug that, as it turns out, isn't extinct.

A furry lobster, which isn't actually a lobster either, but a furry crustacean of some kind.

A furry old lobster, actually a kind of extinct and fictional sea otter.

A Rock lobster, actually a song by the B-52's and not a lobster of any kind, even a fake one.

I bought Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation today, and have been listening to it for hours. I think it might have done something to my brain.

December 11th, 2008

Extreme Google Searches!

At first, I was just bored. After a while, though, I really wanted to find a "extreme (noun or verb)" that didn't turn up any hits on Google. So here is a list of how extreme things are, ranked by Google hits:

"extreme knitting" - 8,440 hits
"extreme croquet" - 8,210 hits
"extreme sitting" - 4,280
"extreme listening" - 4,210 hits
"extreme extremes" - 3,480 hits
"extreme socks" - 3,190 hits
"extreme ballet" - 2,640 hits
"extreme dinosaur" - 1,430 hits
"extreme kittens" - 982 hits
"extreme quilting" - 861 hits
"extreme pirate" - 803 hits
"extreme rice" - 672 hits
"extreme cyborg" - 527 hits
"extreme bidet" - 384 hits
"extreme soup" - 357 hits
"extreme filing" - 307 hits
"extreme grammar" - 281 hits
"extreme beekeeping" - 233 hits
"extreme swan" - 217 hits
"extreme coffin" - 209 hits
"extreme carrot" - 173 hits
"extreme giraffe" - 162 hits
"extreme anteater" - 8 hits
"extreme wind chimes" - 5 hits
"extreme lion taming" - 1 hit

. . .And I gave up looking for something with no hits. ("extreme giving up" - 178 hits)

November 4th, 2008

Election Night - 7:19 pm

I only have basic cable, so I'm listening to the radio feed for CNN. Which means I just finished listening to Wolf Blizter talking about holograms, but didn't actually see it. Although I will say, the hologram sounded like it was really in the room with Wolf. I also have two pages of constantly updating election results up, as well as a few liveblogs. I feel. . . a bit overstimulated. Too much stuff to look at/listen to at once. And everything's happening too slowly. I need a TARDIS, so I could just find out who wins.

Wolf is very excited about holograms.

EDIT, 10:10 pm: And Obama wins. There's no way McCain can win at this point, barring the sudden appearance of God himself interfering with the votes. So I can stop listening to CNN, and just check the votes occasionally. Huzzah!

I'd celebrate more, but I don't know the Senate/House outcomes yet, and everything hasn't really sunk in.

October 28th, 2008

One the one hand, today was wet and rainy and generally miserable.

On the other hand, leaving work at 5, there was an amazing double rainbow.


Also, I mailed my absentee ballot off today. So I have now officially voted for Barack Obama.

I have no other news.

October 6th, 2008

Story Time

venture bros
So, today I got back half my evaluations for summer classes. You would think that the fact that my school uses a pass/fail system instead of grades would make this process less stressful, but, as it turns out, that is not the case. Still, I've passed everything so far, and I haven't had a heart attack while checking the evals, so everything is good.

I haven't posted in a while, and my current job does not make for dramatic storytelling, so, for the sake of having something to post, I decided to post a story I found. The Massachusetts Court System has a 150th anniversary of something coming up, so when I'm not busy with other things, I've been doing some research to find historically significant cases. Two cases I found do not fall into that category, but both stem from the same interesting event. And by "interesting" I mean "it contains a giant explosion."*

So, In 1903 in a small town in Massachusetts, there were two warehouses, owned by two different groups, that shared a wall. One of these was rented to a cartridge company for the storage of gunpowder, and one was rented to a powder company for the storage of dynamite and gunpowder. I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea. The judges writing the decisions seemed a little puzzled by this as well. Anyway, as the town had no fire department, and no laws regarding the storage of gunpowder, no one with any authority was aware of this situation. One day, in the summer of 1903, the manager of the cartridge warehouse noticed some stains on the floor. After some investigation, he concluded that the stains were nitroglycerin leaking from the dynamite in the next building. He complained, and after a few weeks (no reason to hurry), the powder company agreed to clean up the nitroglycerin and replace the floor.

On the morning that the clean-up was to begin, three trucks were hired to move the gunpowder away from the cartridge company's warehouse. The trucks were loaded, and were about 200 feet away from the building. The powder warehouse was still full. At this point, an employee of the powder company entered the cartridge warehouse, poured a liquid on the nitroglycerin stains, and scrubbed at the stain. Which promptly began to smoke, and couldn't be put out. The heat from this soon reached the other warehouse, causing everything in that building to explode. This explosion set off the gunpowder in the trucks, which also exploded. I'm not sure how large the explosions were, except that a house about 700 feet away was described as "badly shattered".

The cases arising from this, unfortunately, aren't all that interesting. Suffice to say the court found for the parties suing the powder company. Actually, in the early 20th century, courts were pretty pro-business and would allow companies to get away with a lot, but large explosions caused by stupidity was apparently where the line was drawn.

*If anyone really wants to look the cases up, they are: Oulighan v. Butler, 189 Mass. 287 (1905) and Flynn v. Butler, 189 Mass. 377 (1905)

September 8th, 2008

Things I've been reading

First The Null Device, which today has a post about scientists an experiment to see how useful a chocolate teapot would be (answer: kind of melty, but works better than you would think).

Second, I recently finished Mary Roach's latest book, Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. It's her third book, the other two being Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. If you haven't read them, I recommend all three. Mary Roach is an excellent writer and the books are funny and easy to read. And full of truly strange information that would be hard to find anywhere else. For instance, there is only one animal besides humans that is known to fondle breasts. And that animal is pigs. Also, Edison designed, but never built, a machine to talk to the dead. And electrocuted Topsy the elephant in order to prove that DC current was better than AC (I think we all know how that battle turned out). He also wrote in his diaries that memory is made up of little men who remember things for us, and work in shifts, so remembering is a matter of getting in touch with the right shift. (I have to wonder, do these little men have their own little men, or do they remember things some other way?). Anyway, how can you not read books that contain this kind of information?

Finally, I've been working my way through the Y: The Last Man series. I'm up to 6 out of 10 books, and so far it's a great series. I bought the first book in the series on a whim, and wound up buying the first three books in three days. After that I had to slow a bit, to a book every week or two, because I can't really afford to buy a book every day. When I finally finish it, it'll be the first comic book series I've read. (I've read Watchman, of course, but the paperback version is just one book. And I read the first Sandman, but didn't like it enough to buy any others, despite the fact it's Neil Gaiman. And a few others.)

Oh, I also read Ender's Game for the first time recently. Because the next Futurama movie is called Bender's Game, and I heard rumors there might be references to the book, and I didn't want to miss them. It's a good book.
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