Category Archives: bizarre

Every letter is powerful

A fun nugget from my new favorite blog, Futility Closet:

Show this bold Prussian that praises slaughter, slaughter brings rout. Teach this slaughter-lover his fall nears.

Grim, no? But remove the first letter of each word and the mood changes:

How his old Russian hat raises laughter — laughter rings out! Each, his laughter over, is all ears.

Check out Futility Closet for more fascinating curiosities tinted with language, math, science, antiquity, puzzles, and amusement. I especially enjoy The Random Item Button.

Merry Chrissstmasss

Alligator Dragon Santa

The black art of online ad placement

This YouTube clip of a CBS News story of the 8-year old boy accused of murdering his father and another man had a disturbing embedded advertisement:

Such a horrible, horrible news story. There is a lot of speculation about whether or not the boy actually killed his OOOH look, a cute bunny!!

At least it wasn’t this bunny.

(more examples of bad ad placements.)

It almost passed the Turing Test

This morning on AOL instant messenger, I got hit with some bizarre messages out of the blue:

kemptcoho: Let's look at the world with respect to theta.

doranchak: ok, let's do that

kemptcoho: what up
kemptcoho: so who is this?

doranchak: i was going to ask you the same thing

kemptcoho: and why am I your fellow prisoner? ha
kemptcoho: and I am Adam...

doranchak: adam who?

kemptcoho: Well now if I give everything away with nothing back then where is the fun?
kemptcoho: remember you sent me a message first...

doranchak: no, i didn't
doranchak: you did

kemptcoho: [06:36] DecayingCoho: Hello, my fellow prisoner!
[06:36] JudgeKaos: what up

What the hell???

So, I start thinking, maybe this was one of those AIM robots. This type of chat robot scrapes messages from blog posts and other online content. The robot then sends one of these messages to a person via AIM. If the person responds, the robot sends the response to some other person on AIM. When THAT person responds, the message is funneled back to the first person. And so it goes, causing all sorts of confusion.

Here’s where I start to wise up on what’s happening:

doranchak: oooh
doranchak: are you a trout bot? (Ed.: A trout bot is a variation of TheGreatHatsby)

kemptcoho: no....

doranchak: prove it 🙂
doranchak: ahh
doranchak: you're a coho bot
doranchak: my mistake 🙂

kemptcoho: and one proves they are not a bot how?

doranchak: that's a good existential question

kemptcoho: so you still haven't given me any indication as to who you are...

doranchak: my mommy told me not to talk to strangers

kemptcoho: or where I would know you from and what would prompt you to message me

doranchak: hey, whoever's on the other end of this: look up "coho bots" on wikipedia
doranchak: there's a bot funneling our responses back and forth to each other

kemptcoho: nice so we were put in touch by a bot how wonderful

doranchak: yeah, these bots are annoying, aren't they?

kemptcoho: very much so
kemptcoho: I was wondering why someone just messaged me outta the blue

doranchak: yeah, i was wondering that too

kemptcoho: I figured it was someone from the overnight forums at crackberry

doranchak: did you post "Let's look at the world with respect to theta." somewhere online?
doranchak: the bot scrapes messages like that to fool people into thinking they are talking to real people

kemptcoho: cant say that I did

doranchak: i wonder where it found that message

kemptcoho: so you are a real person?

doranchak: yeah; "kemptcoho" is the bot. it has two chats going on at once: one with me, and one with you. it's taking my messages to it and passing them along to you, and vice-versa.

kemptcoho: one word
kemptcoho: ANNOYING!

doranchak: agreed. 🙂
doranchak: well, nice chatting with you anyway. have a good day!

What a waste of time. But it was interesting to experience the scam. I think a lot of people get really angry when they experience the bot since it seems like some weirdo is stalking them (this is kind of what I felt at the beginning of the conversation above).

VP debate: It had some words in it.

I couldn’t help but follow up my previous Wordle posts with some new Wordles generated from last night’s VP debate transcript.

As John Hodgman said recently on Twitter during the debate broadcast: “Word salad. Word salad. Word salad. I feel like I’m hearing a spam. So to speak.”

Here, enjoy re-living the word salad:




Last night’s debate gave me a headache. I think I have a hangover. And I didn’t even play the debate drinking game. Or Palin Bingo.

They’re small but they’re smart.

It seems appropriate to follow up my previous post on politics with one about insects. We bought one of those Antworks ant habitats recently. It is filled with a NASA-developed transparent gel compound that the ants eat and tunnel through. I thought it’d be fun to make a time lapse video of the ants tunneling their way through our gel. Here it is, with a few small embellishments:

(youtube link)

This is about seven days worth of tunneling compressed to less than a minute of footage. You can see the daylight come and go in the background.

A high-quality version is available if you click the youtube link and click the “watch in high quality” link under the video.

Start your weekend with some crazy

(youtube link)

iMovie + clips of Mel Gibson from “Who Killed the Electric Car” + a little bit a free time = Mel Gibsanity.

Aquaria Animalia

I got this funny email from Kathryn today:

I forgot to tell you about the weird dream I had last night – dreamt I was fishing at work (don’t ask) and caught several fish – they were “catfish” in the water, and then they turned to plain cats in the water. And then there was a large horse in the water, and other weird water creatures, and I caught and threw back several of those. For some reason I was here overnight, fishing with a lot of other staff.

I think it’s a sign of the apocalypse or something. Fishing for cats isn’t right.

Get your ass to Mars!

Sergey and Larry have released an important announcement:

(youtube link)

The lolbots are coming

From the collective superintelligence of the Internet masses came the lolcat phenomenon, a sign to future anthropologists of the advancement of our species.

Lolcat specimen, circa 2007.

The popularity of lolcats has led to many other similar phenomena, such as the lolrus, lolhamster, loldog, lolcode, even lolthulhu.

And now, even our local grocery store is getting in on the game and expanding the loltaxonomy:


And did you see the cashier name?

Clearly, the LOL phenomenon is a sign that the robot invasion is coming soon.