Snippits

Quote of the day

From Bob Park’s What’s New:

Putting astronauts on space stations is like putting little human tellers inside ATM machines.

New fashion accessory?

Seen at The Gap: it’s always nice to have mannequins set up so you can see how clothing will look on you…

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…so long as you don’t mind a little back pain.

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Tips on buying a diamond

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A diamond broker I talked to recently mentioned an interesting heuristic: he never buys diamonds that are exactly 1 carat, because he figures the person cutting the diamond almost certainly sacrificed some quality in order to bring it up to that magic number. and he never guys diamonds that are .98 or .99 carats either, because he figures the cutter was trying to sacrifice quality for the magic number, and then screwed up besides.

The Group Noun

To start your weekends out on a humorous note, I came across this joke in my digital photo shoebox. My Dad cut it out of a magazine several decades ago, and I’ve always loved it:

The Group Noun

Perhaps the story was old, but it was sweeping through academic circles:

Four dons were walking down an Oxford street one evening. All were philologists and members of the English department. They were discussing group nouns: a covey of quail, a pride of lions, an exaltation of larks.

As they talked, they passed four ladies of the evening. The dons did not exactly ignore the hussies — in a literary way, that is. One of them asked: “How would you describe a group like that?”

Suggested the first: “A jam of tarts?”

The second: “A flourish of strumpets?”

The third: “An essay of Trollope’s?”

Then the dean of the dons, the eldest and most scholarly of them all, closed the discussion: “I wish that you gentlemen would consider ‘An anthology of pros.'”

A Google search indicates it was originally printed in the Sept. 19, 1955 issue of Time Magazine, but I think Dad’s copy was a reprint from a few decades later. That or he was a very erudite 10 year old!

Update 11/4/06: An update from my Dad: “Interesting bit of sleuthing you’ve done. In fact, at age 12 (at least approximately), I had to rely on others for my erudition, in this case coming from my father. He was absolutely ecstatic about this particular joke when he came upon it during his reading of Time, and after some explanation, I quickly became appreciative myself and clipped it out of the magazine.”

Obscure bug of the month award

From a 2003 bug report on the Mac OS X Open Firmware utility:

If you used Open Firmware Password utility to create a password that contains the capital letter “U”, your password will not be recognized during the startup process (when you try to access Startup Manager, for example).

How on earth did that bug creep in? (Thanks to Conrad for the pointer.)

Wrong number?

My friend Brygg points out that Arthur C. Clarke’s 1963 two-page short story Dial F for Frankenstein starts with the Net gaining consciousness just two days ago with a baby’s cry on every telephone in the world:

At 0150 Greenwich Mean Time on December 1, 2005 , every telephone in the world started to ring…

I’m still waiting by the phone, just in case…

Sheep

Quote from a coworker:
People will only remain sheep until the grass starts to get sparse.