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Funny | Don Hopkins

Funny

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AJAX Special Hazard Precautions

Anyone who tries to tell you that AJAX is a "new approach to web applications" is just rebranding old technology and hyping buzzwords, not engineering software in the real world. Because of browser and DHTML incompatibilities and limitiations, AJAX is like cocaine: it seems glamorous until you actually start using it, then the unintended consequences totally fuck you up.

Special Hazard Precautions for AJAX:

INGESTION: NAUSEA, VOMITING, AND DIARRHEA. EYES: EYE IRRITANT UPON DIRECT CONTACT. SKIN: MAY CAUSE SKIN IRRITATION UPON PROLONGED CONTACT. INHALATION: NONE UNDER NORMAL USE. PROLONGED INHALATION BY UNORTHODOX USE (NON-WETTED) OR ABUSE (SNIFFING) COULD PRODUCE LUNG DISEASE (SILICOSIS). N/K

Emergency/First Aid Proc: INGEST: IF EATEN/DRUNK--YOU MAY THROW UP. DRINK SIPS OF WATER/MILK. IF VOMIT CONTINUES, CALL POISON CTR/DR. EYES: IRRIT. FLUSH W/WATER 15 MIN. IF IRRIT PERSISTS, CALL POISON CTR/DR. SKIN: IRRIT. REMOVE WET CLOTHES. FLUSH W/WARM WATER 15 MIN. IF IRRIT PERSISTS, CALL DR/POISON CTR. INHAL: IF INHALED, MAY COUGH. TAKE SLOW DEEP BREATHS OF FRESH AIR, SIP WATER. IF COUGH PERSISTS, CALL DR/POISON CTR.

Here's the entire Ajax information sheet, with more warnings and hazard precautions.

Funny Stuff

This is Stuff that's Funny. Or not.

Should the Government Treat Video Games like Alchohol and Tobacco?

USAToady wrote an article about the "Battle over violent video games heating up".

First of all, to address the lame-assed attempt at a pun in the article title: I wish USAToady would just stop trying to be mildly but non-offensively funny, or else hire some real stand-up, knock-down, drag-out comedians like Al Franken to write their headlines.

The battle over violence. Ha ha ha not. The only thing they've been able to demonstrate so far, is that video games cause foolish violence and heated battles between fully grown politicians, who should know better. So stop selling video games to politicians.

"Those who favor laws restricting the sale or rental of violent videos to minors say government should treat the games like alcohol or tobacco."

Now there's a great idea: the Government should treat Violent Video Games like they do Big Tobacco.

Price support and production controls for violent video games: The computer game industry could really use the shot in the arm that would bring!

Should the government pay video game developes NOT to produce violent video games? They could keep their employees busy writing harmless cruise missile guidance systems and tactical nuclear warfare simulations for the war on terror, instead of developing violent games for kids.

Would Jesse Helms have mounted a filibuster, to prevent a video game tax hike, and protect the video game industry in his state? Will Texas Senator John Cornyn sell lawsuit protection to the Texas Violent Video Game Industry, just like he protected the Big Tobacco Industry from being sued for killing their customers?

Laszlo Koosh Ball Generator

For fun, and to test out Laszlo's rendering speed with lots of lines, I rewrote the classic NeWS "Koosh Tool" koosh ball generator in OpenLaszlo.

It's amazing how many colored lines Flash can animate on the screen at once!

Laszlo Koosh Balls Demo

Laszlo Koosh Balls Source Code in Laszlo


AIML: Artificial Intelligence Marketing Language

Stanislaw Lem writes wonderful satirical introductions and reviews of imaginary books in his real book Imaginary Magnitude. Here's an actual review of a fictional introduction of an imaginary book that I'd really love to read, A History of Bitic Literature:

Un Valor Imaginario (Imaginary Magnitude) by Stanislaw Lem

The introduction to A History of Bitic Literature brims over with startling ideas. The work introduced is a multi-volume survey of literature written by artificial intelligences, such as an extrapolated work of Dostoevsky's that Dostoevsky never dared to write himself, revolutionary books on physics (in this case the content is, I am afraid, rather less shocking than Lem intended it to be--I've read weirder things in orthodox textbooks--the last chapter of Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's Gravitation comes to mind), and a mathematical work revealing that "the concept of a natural number is internally contradictory." Mentioned in passing is a procedure that can transform great philosophical systems into graphical representations that ultimately end up sold as mass-produced knickknacks.

Here's is an actual review of Lem's real book, A Perfect Vacuum, which fictionally reviews the imaginary book, Non Serviam:

Vacio Perfecto (A Perfect Vacuum) by Stanislaw Lem

The best two pieces, though, are the last, "Non Serviam", and "The New Cosmogony". "Non Serviam" was reprinted in Hofstadter and Dennett's book "The Mind's I". It is supposed to be a paper by a researcher into "personetics", the science of creating artificial personalities inside worlds inside the computer. The researcher has absolute power over his creations; he can bring them into existence, destroy them, and change their world at will. He is to these creatures as God would be to us. His main interest in them, therefore, is having them argue theology. Most of the paper is a debate among the personoids on what should be their proper attitude towards their creator. Their conclusion: "we shall not serve".

Stanislaw Lem inspired me to write some parodies of web pages promoting XML applications that didn't exist at the time. But now they actually do exist, by one definition or another: AIML and BSML!

At the time, I was just making fun of VRML, and the people who push and hype useless standards for questionable political reasons instead of practical technical reasons. But as I read through the contraversy surrounding RSS, RDF, Atom and other syndication formats, somehow I'm reminded of AIML and BSML...

AIML: Artificial Intelligence Marketing Language

BSML: Bullshit Markup Language

I received this request to take down my BSML web page, but I would rather have my constitutionally protected right to free speech, than the appreciation of a company that would seriously use the name "BSML". Are there a lot of people named "Gene" working in the Biological Sciences industry?

From: Gene Van Slyke gene.vanslyke@labbook.com
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001 10:37 AM
To: don@toad.com; dhopkins@maxis.com
Subject: BSML Trademark

Don,

While reviewing the internet for uses of BSML, we noted your use of BSML on http://catalog.com/hopkins/text/bsml.html. While we find your use humorous, we have registed the BSML name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and would appreciate you removing the reference to BSML from your website.

Thanks for your cooperation,

Gene Van Slyke
CFO LabBook

http://catalog.com/hopkins/text/bsml.html

BSML: Bull Shit Markup Language

Things That Happen When You Say 'X Windows'

An actual X-Windows XCalc screen snapshot (after resizing several times)I was digging through some old papers, and ran across a 15 year old "XNextEvent" newsletter, "The Official Newsletter of XUG, the X User's Group", Volume 1 Number 2, from June 1988. Here's an article that illustrates how far the usage of the term "X Windows" has evolved over the past 15 years. (Too bad The Window System Improperly Known as X Windows itself hasn't evolved.)

Someone on slashdot asks, "Why is it still called X-Windows?". Predictably, the first reply says: "It isn't. It's called 'The X Window System.' Or simply 'X'. 'X Windows' is a misnomer."

He didn't ask why it is "X-Windows". He asked why it's called "X-Windows". You're wrong that it isn't called "X-Windows". It is! It's just that it isn't "X-Windows". Being something is independent of being called something.

The answer to the question 'Why is it still called X-Windows?' is: It's still called X-Windows in order to annoy the X-Windows Fanatics, who take it upon themselves to correct you every time you call it X-Windows. That's why it's called X-Windows.

The following definitive guide to the consequences of saying "X Windows" is from the June 1988 "XNextEvent" newsletter, "The Official Newsletter of XUG, the X User's Group", Volume 1 Number 2:

Things That Happen When You Say 'X Windows'

50% (F) for Epicurean Excess

Here's an interesting Christian interpretation of The Sims from christiananswers.net. One of the reader comments makes a great point about Epicurean Excess! I wonder what people of other religions think about its "subtle teachings"? (Like reinforcing the "Urine Is Blue" myth!)

Sometimes a game comes along that catches you off guard. "The Sims" proves just such a game. I had read about it in the gaming press for some time. Being from the developer and producer of the famous "Sim City" games, the completion of "The Sims" was hotly anticipated. I was skeptical, as the premise of the game involved players developing simulated characters and controlling and manipulating their life. To me, that left too much room for the developers to work in worldly concepts and gratuitous situations. I'm glad to say for the most part my fears were unfounded.

[...] Comments:

"...This game is very subtle in what it teaches and probably a lot more dangerous than a blatantly occult or violent game. Because it is presented as such a normal suburban lifestyle simulation, kids can come to believe that astrology, materialism, and unrestrained sexuality are normal adult behaviors. This Trojan Horse packs a lot more deceit than any other game I have played to date and earns a 50% (F) for Epicurean excess."
--John Gocke, Al Menconi Ministries

What are the Cows so Mad About?

Cow caught using cell phone

I don't approve of Bush's handling of the Mad Cow Disease problem.
He should get to the bottom it, and solve the real issue that's the root of the problem:

What are the Cows so Mad About?

Congress needs to jump in and take decisive action!
Like the time they passed a bill that made it illegal to get brain tumors from cell phones.


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