Navy Dolphins on the Lamb

It turns out the US Navy has been training dolphins to help protect ships and kill terrorists. That the military has been doing this is news to me and I think it's incredibly keen, albeit ethically questionable. On top of the keenness of trained dolphins, apparently some of the dolphins have been outfitted with toxic dart guns; how metal is that? Now, you might be asking where the lambs come into this whole thing, and to get into that we need to ask where the Navy's been doing this research? Turns out the research was being done in good old Southern Louisiana. What with all that Hurricane Katrina stuff going on down there, there's some concern that some of the armed dolphins might have escaped and might accidentally shoot unsuspecting divers and surfers. Escaped military dolphins with toxic dart guns; this is almost as good as "sharks with friggin' laser beams on their heads".

The wonders of plastic

A skewered plastic bag Skewered plastic bag, angle two

The joys of work have presented me the opportunity to discover the wonders of plastic. These are two photos of a plastic shipping air bag that I skewered with all the sharp writing implements I could find around the office. The bag managed to maintain its air pressure and ability to stay inflated even with all them pencils and that pen in it. I was quite surprised overall.

Agog I Tell You, Agog

I don't know whether to get on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 bandwagon and it's not because they both look great, it's because neither of them stands out. I swear, it's like a modern election. I'm pleased by my Xbox because of its incremental graphical improvements since my Dreamcast and because of some of its wonderful games but I don't think there's been anything terribly revolutionary since the NES. The video game industry has been stuck in a rut of incremental improvements and minor new gameplay features. The Xbox 360 is turning more into a PC, which aggravates me because I already have a PC and I don't like the idea of a modular console. The PlayStation 3 makes me think of a movie industry parallel, sequels tend to turn out great, sometimes better than the first but the third in a series usually tends to go downhill: ignoring a few decent trilogies, look at the Terminator, RoboCop, Predator and other movie series; why don't you do something new instead of the same thing again. However, looking at Nintendo, a company I've ignored for years, we see something kind of interesting; I just watched the teaser trailer for the new Nintendo Revolution controller and I was completely wowed. The Nintendo Revolution controller looks like a completely new approach to video games; during the first few moments of the video I thought it was just another cutesy thing like most of what they've been doing but by the end I was completely agog. The segment of the video where a guy seemed to be using the controller as a sword practically had me drooling. I've got to say, if Nintendo can pull off the sorts of things that trailer suggests, I may become a die hard Nintendo guy like Sherv and Sam.

Lucky 33333 Fever

My truck's odometer hits 133333

Last Tuesday my truck's odometer read 33333 as it hit 133,333 miles (it has no hundred thousands digit) and I took a photo of it. Sure it probably wasn't safe taking a photo of my dash while driving, but I'm ok and with 3 being my favorite number, it was worth the risk. I have included the photo for your pleasure, the thumbnail links to the full image. It would have been nice if I could have gotten 133,333.3, but there was too much glare and the photo didn't come out. I'm pretty surprised at the quality my phone put out on this one and completely unsurprised that the photo 0.3 miles later didn't turn out at all.

Also the post title is a Final Fantasy VII reference.


I'm a big fan of the board game Go. It's a game that I learned how to play from my father many years ago. Like Chess, Checkers, etc. there's no element of chance in the game so it's entirely about strategy and skill. Go has very simple rules but an incredibly high level of open-endedness (Wikipedia's Go page estimates there being about 10^[number of possible Chess games] possible Go games). The level of incredible open-endedness and abstract nature of the game makes it very hard to write computer programs capable of playing Go any better than an amateur (as opposed to Chess programs, which are comparable to grandmasters). However, the inability of people to make good Go playing programs doesn't bug me much because I am an amateur and so it serves as a good way for me to practice. One such Go playing program is the freely available GNU Go. GNU Go is currently better than me by a decent bit but I'm slowly working down my handicap and increasing the board size. GNU Go is text based, so if you prefer graphics, you might want to get PANDA-glGo, which can be used as a GNU Go frontend or an internet Go program. Anyway, Go is an excellent game and GNU Go is a decent program.

Truck + Acetone Science Problems

On Friday, I came to discover that one of my truck's spark plugs was disconnected and, likely, had been for the three months that I've owned the thing. I reconnected the spark plug and it's been running smoother and without the backfiring that I'd grown accustomed to. Needless to say, adding another cylinder is going to change the fuel consumption characteristics of my truck so now I've got two independent variables contributing to my mileage, which will change the way my science works. I will figure out a way to account for this and get back to you eventually when I figure out what, if anything, the acetone does.

What surprises me most is that I'd been driving the truck for about 3 months and the disconnected spark plug had gone completely unnoticed by me.

Happy Birthday Dreamcast

Today is the 6th birthday of the Sega Dreamcast. The Dreamcast, which I have often hailed as one of the best video game systems of all time (probably second only to the SNES), was released in the USA on 9/9/99. So, Happy Birthday Dreamcast, you'll always hold a special place in my heart.

Acetoning up the Truck

Earlier today, I read on the internet that you can use acetone as a fuel additive and get better gas mileage from your car. Now, since everything on the internet is true or, at least, I don't really care if I accidentally break my truck in the name of science, I dumped about 3oz. of acetone into my mostly full tank of gas. I'll let you know how things turn out after a tank or three for statistics. According to, who seem to have looked into it a bunch, adding 1-3oz. Of acetone to 10 gallons of gas will give you up to 30% better mileage. I'll keep you posted.