Illegal prime – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you think that our intellectual property laws make a whole lot of sense, try keeping a straight face as you read this.

Illegal prime – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An illegal prime is a prime number which contains information forbidden by law to possess or distribute.

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Alcohol Breath Test Pen

The Only Pen a Drunk Could Ask For – Gizmodo

So you’re at your favorite sports bar watching the big game with your friends. Before heading out and driving home, perhaps it’d be a good idea to make sure you’re not legally intoxicated. At this point, it’s just a matter of whipping out the Alcohol Breath Test Pen, blowing into the top and hoping that the green LED doesn’t turn red. If it’s red, hail a taxi, buddy, because you’re in no condition to drive. Also included in the pen is a UV indicator, letting you know whether or not you should be wearing sunscreen. Yes, this $35 little pen can help save your life and prevent a nasty sunburn.

What you really need is such a pen which prevents you from writing checks, signing contracts, or most importantly, posting to your blog when drunk.

Gutenberg Gem: The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved by William A. Williams

Well, “gem” is perhaps not the right term. Perhaps I should start a new category: Gutenberg Coal.

I’ve been interested in (and have from time to time posted here about) the seemingly never ending conflict between science and creationism. I found this book to be an interesting glimpse 80 years into the past, to see how people argued against evolution even before the famous Scopes trial.

The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved by William A. Williams – Project Gutenberg

It contains gems like this exchange:

The population of the world, based upon the Berlin census reports of 1922, was found to be 1,804,187,000. The human race must double itself 30.75 times to make this number. This result may be approximately ascertained by the following computations:

At the beginning of the first period of doubling there would just be two human beings; the second, 4; the third, 8; the fourth, 16; the tenth, 1024; the twentieth 1,048,576, the thirtieth, 1,073,741,824; and the thirty-first, 2,147,483,648. In other words, if we raise two to the thirtieth power, we have 1,073,741,824; or to the thirty-first power, 2,147,483,648 Therefore, it is evident even to the school boy, that, to have the present population of the globe, the net population must be doubled more than thirty times and less than thirty-one times. By logarithms, we find it to be 30.75 times. After all allowances are made for natural deaths, wars, catastrophes, and losses of all kinds, if the human race would double its numbers 30.75 times, we would have the present population of the globe.

Now, according to the chronology of Hales, based on the Septuagint text, 5077 years have elapsed since the flood, and 5177 years since the ancestors of mankind numbered only two, Noah and his wife. By dividing 5177 by 30.75, we find it requires an average of 168.3 years for the human race to double its numbers, in order to make the present population. This is a reasonable average length of time.

Can you spot the problem? Let’s imagine that he’s right. 5077 years ago, there was only Noah and his wife. It takes them 168.3 years to produce two children, and double there numbers. If we allow for 3000 years to pass, bringing us roughly up to 2000 years ago, around the time of Christ, the world population would have almost 18 doublings, bringing the total world population to about 260,000. Worldwide.

Inappropriate extrapolation is one of the silly errors that creationists use to argue using mathematics. But as they say, creationists use mathematics like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, rather than illumination.

Read the entire thing, it’s really quite astounding.

LEGO Technic Difference Engine

Lego Difference Engine

Need I really say more? An implementation of Babbages Difference Engine, capable of evaluating 2nd and 3rd order polynomials with two or three digits of precision. Needs some video demonstrating it in operation, but wow.

Bonus links:

Double bonus: my favorite Babbage quotation

On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Triple bonus coverage: The British Museum of Science and Industry manual on setting up their Difference Engine to do real calculations.

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Warning! Do not proceed if you are a complete idiot!

This is a few years old, but still…

Because I had completely sealed the PC case the only opening near top was the DVD drive. So I opened that and put the small hose I had purchased specially for the job into the DVD drive as far as it would go. With what I can only describe as great excitement and anticipation, I turned on the water.

Kramer and other members promoting water cooling- you have alot to answer – AV Forums

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Addendum: From one of the comments in the digg thread it appears that this was a hoax.  Too bad.

Currency goes Bananas!

The famed

Check this out! Collectors go ga-ga over any bill which has a printing mistake, and this one is a doozy: a Del Monte banana sticker got stuck on a $20 during printing, before it was stamped with the seal and the serial number. Crazy, crazy. They estimate it will be worth $20,000, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will go for a lot higher. Bizarre stuff.

Dad sells son’s XBOX 360 Xmas Present for 100 Bucks.

Didn’t we see this story last year, and the year before, and probably the year before that? I mean it was a Nintendo DS, or a PS/2 last year. It probably goes all the way back to the stone age, where the new ovoid wheels were all the rage, and Grog sold his son Unk’s new granite wheels to teach him a lesson.

Honestly, can’t we all pretend this story doesn’t exist?

Additional: what’s really amazing is how seriously all the comments on DIGG are. “He deserved it!” “No way he deserves it!” Have IQs dropped sharply while I was away?

Cuff him! He might get angry!

In today’s installment of “I Kid You Not”, 42 year old Donald Pirone was cuffed and cited when he handed a fellow passenger who was having difficulty with a subway token one of his, and the person responded by handing him the $1.75 that a token costs.

The most telling part of the story?

As for the handcuffs, [Transit authority spokesperson] Baker said the officer felt they were necessary.

“Our officers do that for their own safety,” Baker said.

Hey officers, here’s an idea: you’ll be a lot safer if you don’t piss people off by citing them for performing a courteous act. I think if he tried to cite me in similar circumstances, he damned well better cuff me for his safety.

I had a cop pull me over for failure to wear a safety belt. Yes, it’s the law, yes, I should have been wearing one. He seemed kind of surprised that I would be angry at his attempt to save my life. I patiently pointed out that he could have done that quite simply without charging me for the warning.

That apparently never occurred to him.

WorldNetDaily: California homicides dwarf Iraq deaths

Sigh. Idiocy.

WorldNetDaily reports that recently released crime statistics show the homicide rate in California is 265 percent higher than the death rate suffered by U.S. and British military personnel in Iraq.

No, they don’t. There are probably between 200,000 and 225,000 troops deployed in Iraq. There are 36 million people in California. In 2004, they reported 905 coalition deaths, which makes a death rate of about .4% (assuming 225,000). The death rate in California due to murder was about 0.0067%, or about 60 times lower.