luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
And here's the proof:

(Not quite my favorite shade of purple, but I'll still take it.)
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Topic: Jayus, "from Indonesian, meaning a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”

Physics students and physicists tell jokes. I don't know why it took Hollywood and the television industry so many decades to figure this out.

Physics students get a special thrill out of telling preciously esoteric jokes that make no sense to anyone without advanced training in higher mathematics.

For example, take one joke whose author has been lost in the mists of time: How do we know where Cauchy walked his dog? Because he left a residue at every pole. If you don't know that Baron Augustin-Louis Cauchy was a French mathematician who studied complex numbers, that a "line integral" adds up the numerical values along a curved path, that a "pole" is a place on a data field where the values suddenly become infinitely huge and stick out like a telephone pole on a flat plain, then all you see is the scatological side of the double entendre.

So, if you see one half of a double entendre, do you laugh? Or do you hear the sound of one hand clapping?

During the World Year of Physics in 2005, somebody at the local community cafe, the quirky little storefront that functions as a third space for residents of our suburb, organized an open-mike night for "physics comedy." This was not as much of a mental stretch as one might think, since our community has its secret stash of space-telescope hardware and scientific-programming tomes routinely top the local bestseller lists. So, as a good little holder of a B.S. degree in physics, cum laude and all that, I did an Internet search for "physics jokes" and compiled crib notes for my first-ever standup routine.

That night, I had my small but fervent audience chuckling until I came to the saga of e to the power x. Now, e is an irrational number: 2.718281828459 blah blah blah... it goes on forever without repeating. If you raise e to the power x, meaning you multiply e by itself x times, you get a mathematical function that remains the same no matter how many times you integrate and differentiate it. (Think of integration and differentiation as virtual machines that gobble up one equation and spit it out in a different version. Kind of like Google Translate, but for the universal language of science instead of our imperfect human tongues.)

So, with minimal glances down to my crib notes, I recounted the joke, again written originally by someone long forgotten:

There was a patient in a mental hospital who kept scaring all the other patients. He would go up to people and shout at them, "I differentiate you! I differentiate you!"

But there was one patient who wasn't bothered at all. He would just sit there and smile calmly as the guy yelled at him, "I differentiate you! I differentiate you!"

Finally the calm guy replied: "You can differentiate me all you want, and it won't change anything. I'm
e to the power x."

Most folks in the audience tittered, but one guy with a face weathered as the granite of New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain angrily rose to his feet. He shouted, "This is not funny! It's wrong to make fun of people in mental hospitals!" The laughter faded, and my face felt hot. I hastened to finish up my set and sit down again.

The weathered-skin guy didn't say anything else to me that evening, but I later learned that he was the town "weirdo," so to speak. Eventually the cafe banned him because he would disrupt performances. Occasionally I saw him on the subway, yelling random thoughts against both ends of the political spectrum. Once I was sitting at an outdoor cafe with a date, and we were deep into a speculative conversation about alternate histories, and started shouting that we were unpatriotic. I wish I knew what to say, but sometimes there isn't anything to say.

A few months after the open-mike night, I dared to tell the joke again, this time to a few friends from my church. One of them screamed with laughter until the tears ran down his face. "I don't even know what it means and I think it's funny!" he howled. He no longer goes to my church, but I wonder whether he watches The Big Bang Theory.
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Today I actually went digital with a small "d" (as opposed to the former Digital Equipment Corp., which seemed to be oh-so-important when I was growing up in Massachusetts during the 1970s). Today was FiOS installation day.

The technician was a personable young man with an unusual first name (Dontois, I think). The boy toy offered him a tall glass of ice water. When clearing out the top shelf of the closet near the front door so that the tech could run the new cable through the exterior wall, the boy toy found a box of his belongings that he forgot he'd stored years ago. He bestowed upon me a copy of a reference book on medieval folklore that includes Baltic and Slavic lore as well as the usual European stuff. Joy!

The Internet and TV stuff started right up when the switch was flipped on. The technician had to fuss around a bit to get a dial tone on the phone, but that seemed to be an issue with this model of cordless phone. (Around dinnertime R. called and talked to me for almost three-quarters of an hour, so, yeah, I have phone service.)

Before the technician showed up, I watched a short YouTube video about Richard Feynman. After the first few seconds, the video paused for buffering, buffering, buffering (as usual with DSL). I watched the same video after the fiber installation and, yay, no buffering! I watched a couple of other favorite music videos, and the same thing!

So ... new toys to play with (i.e., the new remote controls), new channel numbers to learn. At least when I download iTunes onto my new external hard drive, it won't take forever to do so.

In other news ... I've really got to kick butt and get going on this freelance article (for money) that's due at the end of the month. And I got a smile out of another freelance project, which involves converting a software manual from one kind of structured document format to another. The unlicensed version of the converter software randomly inserts words from a classic poem into the text that is being converted -- obviously, the goal is to get users to pony up the cash for the licensed version. That classic poem happens to be "Jabberwocky." So, the small bit of document conversion I've done so far has generated such highly technical phrases as these:

When in doubt, the jaws refer to the online document.

This is a his vorpal sword agreement between you, the end user, and [name of company].

...and the recipient agrees to the terms of this Uffish thought.

The software is fully functional for 45 slithy toves, after which it will be code limited for an unlimited did gyre.

Good thing the customers are fannish friends of mine!
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Are you a dweeb, dork, geek, or nerd??

(I need a *snerk* after reading a dozen revisions of an open letter to the congregation about our budgetary issues.)
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
So, what cool April Fool gags have *you* seen today?

Gmail Motion

Keith Watch

Why I Am Leaving Paganism

Yarn Preview: PurrFect Yarn

Any other good ones?

EDITED TO ADD: My LinkedIn account suggested the following "people I may know":

Sherlock Holmes -- Detective at 221B Baker Street
Albert Einstein -- E=mc^2
Werner Heisenberg -- This *may* be Heisenberg's profile
the Hatter -- Riddler at 6 o'clock productions
Wizard of In -- Wizard at LinkedIn
Groucho Marx -- Comedian


Feb. 9th, 2011 09:08 pm
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
The other day I was standing second in line at the credit union. The woman in front of me was maybe in her 40s, probably on her way home from work, definitely more stylishly dressed than I. In front of her, at the teller window, was a young, skinny guy. It definitely did not take a detailed knowledge of male anatomy to deduce that his belt was about the same level as his butt crack.

While looking at him, the woman leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Am I just old, or am I the only one who doesn't want to see someone else's underwear?"

I smiled and whispered back, "No, we are just classy and have taste!"

And we both chuckled.

Today's LOL

Oct. 9th, 2010 07:29 pm
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
I was just reading this article about "why you shouldn't diet like Gwyneth or detox like Demi."

Gotta love the first comment that popped up at the end of the story:

If I were famous I would tweet that I was on the dog crap and mop water diet just to see how many people would then go out and eat dog crap and chase it down with mop water.

:-P :-D
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Ooo nooo! Facebook is down for the second time in as many days.

Already there are fabulous tweets going around:

Facebook Down, Like Buttons Vanish, Internet Implodes

BREAKING NEWS: Facebook is down. Worker productivity rises. U.S. climbs out of recession.

Facebook is down. We can't tell who's hungry or tired.

Facebook users are roaming the streets in tears, shoving photos of themselves in people's faces and screaming 'DO YOU LIKE THIS? DO YOU??'

Since Facebook is down, I decided to write what I'm doing on an ACTUAL WALL

Facebook shut down so they had to use Twitter to notify everyone.

#Facebook down; over 230 million acres of Farmville crops and special animals die from inattention.

(Note: I didn't make any of these up. I'm just cutting and pasting.)

And my personal favorite:

Lord_Voldemort7 I shut down facebook. That'll teach The Social Network for trying to steal attention from the Deathly Hallows Trailer. Take that, Zuckerberg

And then there are comments on the Faster Forward blog:

I can see The Onion headline:

The GOP forgot to include Facebook in its Pledge to America. Priorities, people, priorities!! Fix Facebook first, then we'll deal with health care.

Facebook went down because alien beings from a far away world intercepted a frequency asking the aliens if they would like to "accept Earth's friend request" One by one, the aliens added Earth as their friend and the sheer number of new ,alien, users trying to play farmville and win a ninja/pirate war caused the Facebook system to crash. Sooo, It was all Earth's fault, go figure.
...and, yes, that is how bored I am without Facebook haha

I can't wait to see the "Facebook-down baby boom" 9 months from now...

Anyhow, since [personal profile] cz_unit doesn't use FB, I just wanted to let him know, in case he was wondering why everyone else was getting so much work done today. :-)
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
The kinds of things I get in professional e-mail ... this is actually about some U.S. Postal service regulations:

But it certainly can be taken two ways, can't it? ;-)
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
I found this "death-ray baby" image (obviously Photoshopped) here and just had to make it into an icon. I have no idea of the provenance of this photo beyond that website.


May. 1st, 2010 07:32 pm
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
I don't remember what the hell I was dreaming, but I woke up with the notion that I should teach a class on "speaking forsoothly." (For those of you not in the SCA, "speaking forsoothly" is trying to use the vocabulary of Elizabethan England instead of the vocabulary of 21st-century American gadget geek.)

I'm certainly not ready to teach that right now, of course, but I felt like reading the two chapters in the old Known World Handbook on the topic, plus I came up with a list of online links.

Cut for those not interested... )

Now, I once mentioned to a guy who attends my church semi-regularly (I don't know his name, but he seems to be an awkward fan type) that I am active in the SCA, and he replied that he didn't like the SCA because people in it are all appearance and no substance. As he put it, we spend all this time looking medieval on the outside and make no attempt to speak medieval languages or get into the medieval mindset. I responded that if we spoke twenty different languages, nobody would understand anybody else, and THAT wouldn't be fun. But he didn't get my perspective. Oh, well.

I can't help wondering, though, if SCAdians currently make less of an effort to "speak forsoothly" than they used to (like, pre-1990 or pre-Internet). Certainly I hear lots of modern conversations at events, and since we do so much of our business over the Internet, sometimes it can't be helped. Still, it might be nice if more people put a little more effort into changing their speech from "Hey, how's your Mom doing?" to "M'lord, is your lady mother well?"

And, perchance, the next time somebody exclaims, "That sucks, man," I might respond, "Yes, that dost suck the mighty teat of despair."
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
Stumbled upon: It's "John Hopkins" now.

(Baltimore, April 1, 2010) The Johns Hopkins University announced today that it is bowing to the inevitable and officially changing its name to "John Hopkins."

"We give up," university President Ronald J. Daniel said. "We're fighting a losing battle here. And we strongly suspect the extra 's' was a typo in the first place."

Since its establishment in 1876 as America's first research university, Daniel said, anyone and everyone has stumbled over "Johns Hopkins," omitting the seemingly superfluous "s" altogether or dropping it randomly into the name anywhere but where it belonged.

"It's not just 'John Hopkins,'" Daniel said. "We've heard 'John Hopskins.' We've heard 'John Shopskins.' One flustered high school kid in an admissions interview the other day actually called us 'Bob Hoskins.'"

... Squads of staff members fanned out early today over the university's campuses throughout the Baltimore-Washington area; in Bologna, Italy; and in Nanjing, China. They employed screwdrivers, chisels, spackle, spray paint - whatever it took to remove the annoying surplus sibilant from residence halls, lab buildings, buses and trucks.

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