Mislabeling the Almighty

NY Gen. Business Law Sec. 349 is about Consumer Protection. Sec. 349-A is Observant consumer protection. To wit:
§ 349-a. Observant consumer protection
law. 1. No person selling or exposing for sale any
mezuzah or tefillin which, to the
seller's knowledge, does not satisfy orthodox Hebrew
ritual requirements shall represent, by direct or implied oral or
written statement, that such mezuzah or
tefillin is kosher or meets orthodox Hebrew
religious requirements.

2. No manufacturer, fabricator or importer of mezuzahs
or tefillin shall sell or transfer for
sale any mezuzah or tefillin unless the following truthful consumer
information is printed legibly upon the
article itself, upon its packaging, or upon a label securely
attached thereto: (a) the name and address of the
manufacturer, fabricator, or importer; (b) in the
case of any mezuzah or tefillin that,
in the form reasonably expected to be
sold at retail, is not in accordance with orthodox Hebrew ritual
requirements, the word "non-kosher."

Not too pluralistic, is it?


Helo-stic Medicine

I bought a the Bullet RC Helo from Woot. This was, it should be no surprise, an impulse buy. That is really rare in my house. Which is why this is not at my house, it is at the office. There is a long standing office toy hierarchy. There is the inaminate but pliable. Into this category fall my magnetic kennex-style toy and my poker chips (5, $1, Borgata). Second, there are the power-hungry, but stupid. I don't have any of these, but they include things like USB cup warmers and mood lamps. Perhaps they include digital frames, but we'll leave those solidly in the "remind my why I am doing this again?" pile. Finally, there are the animate and controllable. USB nerf rocket launchers, air-burst canons, and, of course, anything remote controlled. If it flies all the better.
Surprisingly, 5 minutes with this is incredibly relaxing. It is so much the opposite of everything else I do that it really helps clear the mind. Of course, there is some discretion involved. The sound of a very small leaf blower lets those walking down the hall know exactly what's going on.
Here is it in action:

For a more ridiculous experience, add a camera:

Woot Apache Helicopter Fun - Click here for funny video clips


It's Not Over, So There's Shouting

The Pats. 10-5 and, currently, out of the playoffs even if they beat Buffalo next week. What they needed this week was for the Jets to lose, causing an angry Brett Favre to stomp the Dolphins next week, putting the Pats at the top of the AFC East. That's wishful thinking, until one considers that Miami has won 8 of their last 9 over teams like Buffalo, SF, SEA, STL, Oakland, and Denver. The one loss: NE. The other divisional loss this year? The Jets...and Favre got better. I am not Pennington did.

Dare I hope?

Wireless Idea Balloons

Space Data wants to bring cellular to the stix with weather balloons toting wireless cells. Launch, track, recover, repeat. Using metereological data, they can keep a balloon in place by adjusting altitude to take advantage of better/opposing wind direction.

And the New Touch Paradigm Goes to...

Microsoft. Wait. Really? This is a great idea. Then again, so was the tablet PC. I hope this idea doesn't follow the trajectory of that one. Check it out:

White Knight 2 Takes Off.

Virgin Galactic - a lofty moniker if ever there was one - is once-again demonstrating that it may be well-deserved. (There, that should be enough hyphens for one sentence). Building on the model used to win the Ansasi X-Prize, the company has made White Knight larger and has finally flown it on its dedicated runway in the vast desert of the Western U.S.

Here's the eye-candy = short videos of the flight. Now, where did I put my $250K for a ticket?



Baking soda. Water. Egg. Deep Breath. Awesome.



Get In Mah Belleeh!

It isn't sick that this beast packs a sports-car tote in its belly. Oh now, what's sick is that has jacks to life the whole thing of the ground so these is enough clearance to unload the sportster. Look closely.

More photos here: http://gizmodo.com/5113751/luxury-caravan-has-sports-car-parking-dock-in-its-belly


Will It Blended, The Blendeds' Revenge

I, for one, think "Will it Blend?" is even stupider than "ICanHasCheezburger," even though the former at least makes some sense at first blush. But, of course, that was before they released a super slo-mo of blended lighters, fuel included:

HT: Gizmodo.


Global Gag Rule Be Gone!

We may finally see the end of the "global gag rule" with the Obama administration. Bush 43 put the rule in place, which prohibits global organizations from spending their own money on abortions and family planning eduction that permits abortion if they accepted U.S. money. Bush figured that, if he couldn't prevent abortions for the goose because they violated a constitutional right, he'd prohibit them for the gander.

Regardless of your position on this issue, this contradiction between domestic and foreign policy is clearly unfair and is long overdue for the axe.

Things You Already Knew Because You Are Smarter Than Me

I have always thought this word was "teatotaler" and referred to foppish male analog to a flibbertigibbet, bouncing from tea party to tea party sharing childish giggles over whispered gossip dotted with the clink of glasses.

Turns out the "tea" part is correct, but not for the reasons I thought. Teetotalism is the religious or principled refrain from all alcohol. The "T" stands for "temeperance," so the movement is actually one of "total temperance."

You're Getting So Bigot!

Shoprite refused to decorate a cake of a 3-y-o boy three days ago. To his mother, "That's sad." Of course, she and the father named the 'lil tyke Adolph Hitler Campbell. Boy, I wish I was making this stuff up.

From a purely academic point of view, can you refuse to put a name on a cake? Sure, you could refuse to put a 'bad word' on a cake citing decency, but here the refusal is based on an objection to the beliefs associated with the name. It is a service offered to the public, so Shoprite can't discriminate ... of course, whites - including white supremacists - aren't a protected class. Or perhaps they post somewhere that they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Maybe that's the easy out.

HT: Dan


BCS in 3D

Normally, I don't care who is crown king of the controversial hill that is the BCS, but this year, 3ality is broadcasting the game, live, in 3D to theaters across the country. Tickets: $18-22. The did a test run with an NFL game earlier this year. Who is interested?

Sports Roundup

Jim Zorn of the 'Skins says he might be the worst coach in the league. There is falling on your sword and then there's just asking to get canned after your first year in the head coach slot. Seriously, a lot of coaches are getting fired. Humility might serve you well. This might make it tough to keep you on. Oh, and I don't think he's the worst coach. You'd have to look to Detroit, where they seem to be running a Barney special mixed in with an ashram:

"It's the invisible, I guess. No, that's what I'm saying. I believe in the
invisible. I do. I think you go out and you have faith in what you do. If you
don't have it, you're nothing. You're not a man.

Speaking of good feelings, it is not surprising to me that Sean Avery has anger issues. I am surprised that the NHL and the Dallas Stars want him to resolve them. You hired the most obnoxious bruiser on ice. What did you think you were getting? And the icing on the cake is that the Stars won't take Avery back after the suspension for his misogynistic remarks. Wait. What? Since is "sloppy seconds" considered so risque that it requires indefinite leave? He was trash talking an opponent for chirssakes! Hockey, what have you done with my sport?

And finally, the Pats. It annoys me to no end that the AFC East has proven so good that the 8-5 Broncos may make the playoff while 2/3 9-5 teams, the Pats, Jets, and 'Fins, will have to stay home. The Broncos don't have what it takes to make the post-season, and here I am, hoping for a miracle. (grumble)


I'd never own it, but it looks cool.

Neat! Of course, it's Japanese.

Arena Football. You've Never Heard Of It. Now, You Never Will.

The Arena Football League has voted to shutter its doors for the coming season. They claim that, rather than sounding the death knell on the League, the move will shield it from doom. I am one of the very few Americans who know that there is a team called the Philadelphia Soul, that Ron Jaworski has an ownership stake in that team, and that it has won the Arena bowl several times. Catch me a year from now, and I might not even remember that. I am not sure that disappearing is the best tactic for sticking around.


GMail now has an internal PDF reader so you don't have to "View in HTML" or "Download" and then use the usually-resource-heavy Acrobat Reader to view them. This could have a significant impact on Reader's install base. Of course, it won't make PDF's any less useful. Also - I doubt Gmail's reader will let you fill out interactive forms, etc.

Still, it is a big change. That is, unless you use Mac's "Preview," which opens like a breeze. Durn Mayc Usehrs! [with apologies to my schitzo mac mini.]


What Would Michelle Obama Wear

Michelle is seen by many as the second coming of Jackie O, who was to straight women what (without too much irony) Marilyn Monroe was to gay men. Thus, she is expected to take up the torch of fashion and set the White House ablaze in taste once more. Of course, she'll likely have an agenda and staff, and, thus, do a lot more for America than Jackie O did as First Mom. But that hasn't stopped designers from taking a conceptual whack at her possible inaugural ensemble.

Some are amazing. Others explain why I see what I see on the racks of some purportedly reputable retailers.

[In other news: I was surprised to find out that I have an established "fashion" tag on this blog. Who knew?]


Corvid C6W

Yes, that's real. What is more, it is going into production. Could it change the way Le Mans series cars are designed and built?

HT: Gizmodo.

Veritable or Viral?

An awesome video. Real or viral?


Wall Street and Main Street Bypass K Street to Capital Street

American Lawyer has compiled a chart of lobbyist spending by the nation's largest companies. They all use both in-house and out-house lobbyists, but - surprisingly - they spend twice as much internally as they do on those bigshot firms.


Haxagonal Water

The description (in part):
Water is a network of hydrogen-bonded molecules. It can form numerous
structures, depending on how the individual molecules bond together. The most
recent scientific findings indicate that biological organisms prefer the
six-sided (hexagonal) ring-structure, found naturally in snow water. This
Hexagonal Water forms a liquid crystalline lattice that is involved in cellular
communication, intracellular water movement, enzyme function and many other
metabolic processes. The amount of Hexagonal Water in the body has been
correlated with aging. It has also been found to form the initial layer of water
surrounding healthy cells. On the other hand, unorganized water has been
described surrounding diseased and abnormal cells. Hexagonal Water is composed
of six individual molecules of water, held together by common hydrogen bonds.
This unique water structure is capable of rapid penetration within the cells of
the body. Most tap water and bottled water is composed of large water
conglomerates which are too large to move freely into the cells. It must be
re-structured within the body to penetrate the cells (a time-consuming and
energy-consuming process). For many years, Dr. Mu Shik Jhon has known that the
regular consumption of Hexagonal Water could provide innumerable health
benefits. ...

Hexagonal water is otherwise known as snow. This device does not purport to freeze water, nor, to my knowledge, is there any evidence that the crystaline structure of water has any effect on health. Of course, even that seems to be giving the product too much credit. My first reaction is: Should this even be allowed to be sold? The answer to that might be yes, just to support a free market - the consumers for this product landing on the intelligence curve as it tails out way to the left. But here is a more interesting question: Should Amazon permit the sale of this product? If a product make claims that appear to be blatantly false, is it ethical to sell that product just because people will buy it? While there is demand for it, that demand is uninformed and unproductive. It will, in effect, perpetuate a product that, by objective measures, can't benefit anyone. [And, no, I don't think the placebo effect is justification enough.]



How Important Is It To Get On Law Review?

And how important is it that you got on law review? Important enough that when you get shot in the chest by your dominatrix's jealous client, the entirety of your bio is this:

Madelaine Miller, a Paul Weiss spokeswoman, confirmed to the Philly paper that
Ottaviano started working for the firm on Sept. 11, 2006, and that he was a 1997
New York Law School graduate who worked on law review.

- ABA Journal

There are a lot of non-attorneys who read this blog, so here's a crash course in law school job hunting. To be a summer associate after your second year in law school, you have to interview at the very beginning of your second year. The only things you have on your resume are your first year GPA, some summer experience (I was a research assistant), and - if you could get on one - a journal. The holy grail of journals is the school's Law Review.

If you want a big firm gig, you work your butt off in your first year through two semesters, staying up day and night for a month each finals season. I was in school 6.5 days a week then, 8:30 to midnight S-F + Sat. night. With all first years on the same schedule, the end of finals whips open like a pressure cooker valve, streaming students to bars and beds. Then, without recovery time, there is a writing competition to get on a journal the next year. Again, day and night, for a week. Some people never finish; about half the class does - 150 people. Our law review accepted about 17 with the remaining 5-6 journals taking 10-20 each. The other half of the applicants shoot for moot court, client negotiations, clinics, etc. But you can be damn sure those won't merit mention if they are ever shot by the S&M queen's whack-job stalker.

[p.s. This is a really sad story. This is more a commentary on the legal communities obsession with journal membership. See e.g. Obama's leading the Harvard Law Review.]


"New" DSLR

My father in law has put up his 8MP Canon DSLR for inheritance. We snagged it; we were looking at buying our own. My FIL is a god.

Retail. Backwards.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler - perhaps the most beautiful 10 miler in the country - just sent me an email asking if I'd like to order merchandise for holiday delivery. Now, I am not one to wear fleece trophies of races where I have managed to finish a wopping 1,000th, but that - as it becoming a pattern here on the blog - not the reason for the post.

You see, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler hasn't even opened for registration yet. Getting one of the 10,000 slots for this race is really hard. You basically have to be online at 8 a.m. on December 16th when reg opens and pray that your registration won't hang or fail. I had to try 10 times the first year and last year I had to send an email to race officials the next day to confirm that I had been registered. I had not, but they were kind and bumped someone - I don't know who, but I suspect it was a paper entry - to let me and several dozen others in.

Which leads me back to the email. If I won't buy shwag for a race I have run, and certainly not for a race I have not yet run, why in the name of all that is holy would I buy shwag for a race I don't even know if I'll be allowed to run?

and, in tribute to my geek-squad: /EOR



...is going away. I am sad. They were great.

Before they go, they have this shirt to bestow upon the masses. It sums up everthing they stand for:

iPod Touch Impressions

I caved and bought the iPod touch (2g). Seems a little decadent, but it is actually the result of a long search for a tablet pc or e-reader. I wanted to be able to do three things:

1. Read materials to and from work without printing it out needlessly.
2. Read documents at work
3. Take notes electronically.

Turns out that the tech to let you do this is really pricey and unreliable.
  1. Amazon (Kindle) and Sony (e-Reader) don't permit note-taking.
  2. More importantly, to get a doc onto those units, I would need to sync them to my work machine. I cannot install software on my local machine, so that would be impossible.
  3. iRex makes an e-Reader [NOTE: e-readers are different from tablet PCs because they have e-Ink displays that are B+W and really, really low power]. That unit is $650+
  4. A tablet PC, even used, is heavy, large, and well over $500. Not to mention the fact that most handwriting OCR is OK at best.

Why the iPod Touch:
  1. www.instapaper.com . I find something I want to read at work, copy the link to my instapaper account (which is bookmarked), and I am done. I just update the app on our public wifi before I leave the office and I have all the content offline.
  2. $200. Cheap. Relatively.
  3. There is a lot of free wifi. I have it at home and office - the two place I spend the most time, and I am finding it in a lot of places I would not expect.
  4. I carry an iPod shuffle anyway, so this would replace that unit and allow me to download more podcasts - which are all I listen to anyway - without having to sync to iTunes. I have to sync to delete them, but that can be done once in a blue moon.
  5. It's an iPhone without the phone. I don't need games, but I like them, and, thanks to black friday, I got two games that would have cost $19.98 together for $1.98. Then I got some free games. Why not?
Verdict: Amazing little toy. It really is a small computer.


I am slowly losing touch.

Of the top 10 Yahoo searches this past year, I searched one - or perhaps not even one. I don't think I actually searched for "Barack Obama." As a semi-literate netizen and newshound I think I would have had more luck searching "not election" to add some variety to the coverage.

But that's not what prompted my post. What prompted my post is that I had never even heard of two of the top 10 searches. Here is the list with the holes in my knowledge highlighted:
  1. Britney Spears
  2. World Wrestling Entertainment
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Miley Cyrus
  5. RuneScape
  6. Jessica Alba
  7. Naruto
  8. Lindsay Lohan
  9. Angelina Jolie
  10. American Idol

Source: Yahoo viz. BBC.

Runescape: A massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). It's killer app: It doesn't have to be downloaded. You can the full 3D game in your browser (one assumes the implied ... at work) without a single download. Oh, and that other barrier to entry - paying - they did away with that too. You can have a limited free account.

Naruto is more excusable. It is a manga comic. I don't know why the romanized version of the name was such a big hit this year. Perhaps it wasn't, and Yahoo is just aggregating from all languages. Who knows.