Archive for April, 2007

The Babelfish game

My Fu is BestYou absolutely have to try this. It is the most fun ever. Seriously.

Babelfish is an altavista tool for translating phrases between languages. This is cool in and of itself. However – translating back again can be an endless source of amusement. Do the following:

Step 1: Open two browser tabs/windows to Babelfish. Click here twice for simplicity.

Step 2:  Set one window to translate English to Japanese. Set the other to translate Japanese to English.

Step 3: Enter a phrase in the English to Japanese window and translate it.

Step 4: Cut and paste the resulting Japanese characters into the Japanese to English window.

Step 5: Translate that in all it’s glory. Try and make sense of it. Laugh arse off. Rinse and repeat until cheerful.

For example…

English phrase:
“Richard is awesome. He is the sexiest guy in the world who is not Brad Pitt. I want him so bad he makes my loins ache. More than that I want him to link me. I want him to link me so bad. I’ve been very naughty and I need to be hit by a deluge of  links to be taught a lesson. Signed, blog fangirl.”

Result:
リチャードは驚くばかりである。彼は貝折れ釘Pitt の世界の最もセクシーな人である。私は彼が私の腰部の痛みを作る悪い状態従って彼がほしいと思う。それより多く私によっては彼が私をつないでほしい。私に よっては彼が悪い私をそうつないでほしい。私は非常にいたずらであり、レッスンを教えられるリンクの大洪水によって当られる必要がある。署名される、 blog のfangirl 。

Engrish Back-translation:
“Richard it keeps being surprised. He is the sexiest person of the world of shellfish hooked nail Pitt. Bad when I him have made the pain of my hip you think therefore that we want him. To be more than that depending upon me we want him connecting me. Depending upon me so we want connecting me where he is bad. I am very mischievous, it is necessary to hit by the large flood of the link which can teach the lesson. You sign, fangirl of blog. “

Woah – I think I might have been channeling raincoaster, or maybe nursemyra or stillettogirl, for a minute there.

Try it – it’s tremendous fun. If anything you get is that funny, post to the comments or your own with a link. If there’s a good enough response I might do a highlights package in a week.

Hat tip to I Can Has Cheezburger for the inspiration. This is my stripped back version. Theirs has a lot more steps to LOL-Kitteh it. If that makes any sense…

Buy Your Friend a Drink

Via the inimitable raincoaster comes this little gem.

buyyourfriendadrink.com!

Regrettably this service appears to only be available in New York or New Jersey, and then only if your friend has a cell phone on them.

But Still! I commend the idea. I regret that I don’t know anyone in those areas. The people that I would use the service for are based in either Asia or Europe.

After you purchase a drink on the service, the system sends a text message to your friend with a code. Friend shows the code to the bartender, who enters it into his/her till and dispenses said beverage.

For those of you who do have friends in NY, expect to see the following on your phone around four in the morning:

dood iz got no mony by me drinkz im at da blu rm
or
cmon man its ur rnd lol

Also, on viewing this website, why is everyone depicted there obviously so much hotter and cooler than me? Maybe my grin isn’t cheezy enough. Do they think only hot people drink?

I recommend you use the ‘lo tech’ version of this today!. Please make cheques payable to ‘Richard’s Fun Vessel Experiment’ c/o Her Majesty’s Royal New Zealand Pub. They know how to reach me.

PS, we don’t tip in NZ, but I’ll gladly accept that as a ‘finders fee’ for the booze. After all, buying it is the easy bit: finding, drinking and processing it is the tricky side of things!

Not an incentive…really.

Aw sweet

Your Life Is Worth…


$1,019,500

How Much Is Your Life Worth?

Not so encouraging:


Your Cat’s Life Is Worth…


$991,000

How Much Is Your Life Worth?

I’m only worth 2.8% more than my cat? It’s a good thing my confidence isn’t easily shaken…

Digital Valium?

Just tripped over a particularly impressive and interesting post over at Raincoaster.

Don’t have time to express my thoughts on it, except that I think it’s very interesting, and anyway it’s fairly complete in and of itself. I doubt I could add much to it that I haven’t already said in the comments.

If you haven’t already you should definitely check it out.

A friendly dig in the ribs

swagman.jpgThis one’s for Archie. Since ANZAC day is coming up next week, I thought a bit of trans-tasman sledging might be in order. Also, I have no doubt whatsoever of New Zealand’s impending victory at the Cricket World Cup.

As a red blooded Kiwi, I’ve been taking the piss out of my Antipodean neighbours across the ditch for as long as I can recall. In Archie’s case there is not just a ditch in the way, but miles upon miles of burning empty sand too. Unfortunately I’m a lot more frightened of Sydney-siders than the likes of curmudgeons such as him, and they’re a lot closer. I’d be quite happy if some deity would simply flip the whole continent over across its North-South axis.

My dad originally settled in Perth on emigrating from Scotland in the 70s. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Anyway, I felt like lightening the mood after the unusually epic and heavy post that precedes this one, so here’s  something I stumbled across in my travels in the tubes.

That Immortal Right

constitution.jpgI wasn’t going to weigh in on the Virginia Tech shootings. I figured enough people had already done so. I sympathise deeply with the victims and their families and friends. Innocent deaths need to be mourned in a way like no other. Mourned with more than just grief.

No doubt that it’s a miserable business. Understandably people, victims and others alike, are attempting to come to terms with it and are looking for answers. I didn’t see a need to throw my two cents in the pot and cloud the internet with my ramblings. Then I saw this and this. And now, laid back guy that I am, I am pissed. This is a rare thing indeed.

Why is the answer to guns more guns? Wouldn’t it be better to have no guns? As metro pointed out, you don’t see headlines like ‘workplace baseball-batting kills 29’ very often. And who can honestly suggest that it is the fault of someone in the University Administration that this maniac killed so many?

I live in a country where it is no more a right to own a gun than it is to drive a car. In fact it’s less of a right. You have to be licensed to own a firearm here, and it’s not that easy to pass the test and ‘sound character’ assessment. That seems sensible to me. I lived in the states for a while. The sight of guns and ammo on sale in Walmart was unnerving to say the least.

I’m not clear on why it is necessary for the right to bear arms to be constitutionally protected in the US. I have heard arguments ranging from simple self protection to being able to bring down the government. If ever there was a US government in history that cried out to be removed by the armed force of its own citizenry, this is it – and it hasn’t happened. I have yet to hear one of these arguments that I didn’t consider either impractical, unrealistic or outmoded.

The price of having this constitutional protection of arms is that nutjobs can go and get weapons if they want to. It’s that simple. Putting the checks and balances in place after the point of sale just can’t work. The US cannot have their cake and eat it too on this one. If their citizens want to reduce the number of these massacres, they need to remove or restrict the right to bear arms. They seemed fairly willing to let the Bush Administration curtail or completely remove their rights to fair trials, privacy and free speech, among others, by way of the Patriot Act. Why not guns? Of all the rights to give up, why not guns? Wouldn’t you be happier to give up guns than free speech?

I have a legal suggestion. Bear in mind I’m not a lawyer. Pass a bill defining anything more dangerous than a nerf dart as a ‘weapon’ and ban the carrying or ownership thereof. Define anything nerf dart or less as an ‘arm’ and therefore you have not removed the right or tampered with the constitution. This is why I’d be a better President than Bush.

I feel like I shouldn’t even mention it, but there’s a disparity here. 33 violent deaths is 33 too many, but how many others died needlessly in ones and twos around the US on that day? I don’t know the figures, no doubt someone could quote them, but are they less innocent? If not why didn’t they get equal billing on the news? Just because they died apart rather than all in the same place? Are they acceptable sacrifices to the right to bear arms? On a different level entirely, how many died in Iraq or Somalia, or any number of other places, on that day from the proliferation of weapons? If the US wants to show genuine world leadership, a good place to start would be taking a good hard look at themselves, and having the courage to make the changes.

I ask a lot of questions without providing real answers. That’s regrettable, but it’s not my place to provide them anyway. The answers will have to come from the people of the US. The truth is I have no idea how to implement the changes I suggest, or even if they would work at all. I do think they give the best chance for success, as I define it, however. In the meantime, this was mainly food for thought. In the meantime, I think people need to step back and take a breath. I know I do.

It’s time for some tolerance and fresh thinking.

Mechanics of The World – Magic 8 Ball

8ball.jpgBehold the Magic 8 Ball!

If you’re like me, you like pulling things to pieces to find out how they tick. Chances are that none of you are like me, because I’m a snowflake, precious and rare, with a frightening interest in mechanical things. One might blame the piles of lego I was bought as a child. Why else would I have become a mechanical engineer? Actually the truth is that that was mostly accidental, but in a very fortunate way.

Luckily, the advent of the internet (another mechanical device, constructed from tubes only a few microns across – you may be familiar with it) has provided all kinds of information on the insides of various things, meaning I no longer need to dissect them myself! This has saved me a lot of time and expense, and possibly prevented me sticking a fork in my toaster, particularly after seeing this, at an inopportune moment.

Picked this up off fark: the inner workings of the Magic 8 Ball! Where is your ironic wit now?!

Here’s an idea for a comments post: most ironic/funniest 8 ball prediction. Points go up the more general the sentence.

As a side note, I subscribe to the school of thought that says that if something is broken, and you pull it to pieces trying to fix it, it is no less broken than it used to be. The chances of you fixing it have definitely improved though, and if you irretriveably break it, you just made the decision to get a new one sooner and more decisively. This means you are more of a man (or tomboyish girl – not that there’s anything wrong with that, I dig freckles). This is the Zen of homehandymanship.

Man, did that go off on a tangent.

8 ball line: “Answer hazy, have you been drinking? – Is that a mallet?”

Beat it in the comments.