Ripping Yarns...
Thrilling adventures at the frontiers of pop culture

"The very finest selections from Mr Berners-Lee's Electric Interweb, hand picked and presented for the more discerning browser."


Complaints and compliments to Stuart Houghton


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

There is a Kate Bush song about this, y'know...

"US troops are to be armed with a stun gun that uses a baby's high-pitched scream to bring the enemy to its knees.

The gun, which will be issued to marines in Iraq this month, fires "sonic bullets" that can be targeted like a torch beam.

Anyone hit with a full blast would suffer excruciating pain, permanent deafness and some form of cellular damage. A prolonged blast could kill."

That Kate Bush reference in full...

Posted by: Stuart / 1:28 pm ::link to this entry

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Sloganator Memorial

Some of the best slogans entered into the Republican Banner Generator.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:52 pm ::link to this entry

The Attack of the Giant Red Octopus

Insane French/Japanese anime pastiche that requires your imediate attention. (flash)

Posted by: Stuart / 4:08 pm ::link to this entry

A Home User's Security Checklist for Windows

My addendum to the checklist...

[x] I have uninstalled Outlook and now react angrily to suggestions that I should use it

[ ] I have erased my Windows partition entirely and am now running Linux and/or BSD Unix

Posted by: Stuart / 2:45 pm ::link to this entry

Exploding Head Syndrome

Not quite as bad as you may have feared, but still sounds unpleasant.

Posted by: Stuart / 1:39 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, March 26, 2004

Japanese for Nerds (II)

More from kuro5hin's Japanese For Nerds series:

We will introduce a stack-based Japanese computer language, the notion of keyword parameters in Japanese, and give a BNF description of Japanese. We will also present two of the key recursive grammar rules which make Japanese so easy for nerds.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:28 pm ::link to this entry

In other news, Klan seeks to secure crucial black votes

"After years of promoting intolerance and bigotry through legislation (section 28) and rhetoric (speeches about the sanctity of the nuclear family), the Tory leadership has renounced its old ways. On Monday, Charles Hendry, shadow minister for young people and Conservative party deputy chairman, is to host a summit for young gay men and lesbians called the Way Ahead. In the Gothic surroundings of the grand committee room at the Commons, Hendry and some 100 representatives from gay support organisations will get together to discuss what the Conservatives can do for gay people (and, given the potential dividend at the ballot box, what gay people can do for the Conservatives)."

Posted by: Stuart / 10:22 am ::link to this entry

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Removable Media For Our Minds

"What if we could rewind to yesterday? What if we could watch our entire lives flash before our eyes with the click of button? The possibility is not as far fetched as one might think. "

Posted by: Stuart / 10:53 pm ::link to this entry

Life imitates Onion, part umpteen

US Army sends mentally ill troops to iraq. Compare and contrast with what was previously an amusing article in The Onion.

Posted by: Stuart / 5:44 pm ::link to this entry

HTML needs a cynicism tag

Tony Blair will today pave the way for blue chip British companies to cash in on Libya's multibillion pound defence and oil industries when he pays a historic visit to the former pariah, Colonel Muammar Gadafy, in his tent on the outskirts of Tripoli.

Within days of today's meeting, which will mark the symbolic ending of three decades of isolation for Tripoli, the oil giant Shell is expected to sign an agreement to allow it to drill for gas off the Libyan coast.

Phew! Thank goodness Tony & George are working so hard to rid the world of terror and make it safe for honest-to-goodness capitalism. Three cheers, etc. etc.

Posted by: Stuart / 10:56 am ::link to this entry

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

'Life of Brian' to take on 'Passion'

Yes! This is exactly what is needed at this difficult time. :)

Adverts will challenge Mel Gibson's blockbuster with the lines "Mel or Monty?", "The Passion or the Python?"

Posted by: Stuart / 2:08 pm ::link to this entry

Monday, March 22, 2004


The Online Magazine for CISCO professionals, featuring

Gary Coleman on Priority Queuing
Agent Smith Explains Syslog!
Alicia Silverstone on ISDN
Charles Manson On Static Routes
Don King on IP Access Lists
Juliette Lewis Troubleshoots Frame Relay
Cisco Psychic Helpdesk
Robert Downey Jr On Ethernet
Denise Richards On the PIX Firewall

Posted by: Stuart / 1:33 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, March 19, 2004


Among the special effects used in the making of The Passion of The Christ was a $400,000 robot jesus.

...which is the best news I have heard today.

Posted by: Stuart / 5:13 pm ::link to this entry

Canine heatsink

Hot dog? Try the Canine Cooler. - a heatsink for your dog. The same people also make the Chillow (a cooler for your pillow) and the Mouse Bungee, which sadly is not what you would imagine.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:33 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Jack Chick - the motion picture

Those nice Chick Tract people have released a DVD called 'The Light Of The World'. It's about Jesus.

I particularly liked this quote from the promotional site, in light of Mel Gibson's Vanity Project -

In a day when many Christians are producing watered-down, politically-correct films, The Light of the World provides exactly what you would expect from Jack Chick-a straightforward, biblically accurate, no-punches-pulled presentation of the gospel with a compelling salvation appeal."

Posted by: Stuart / 4:22 pm ::link to this entry

A Muppet Wizard Of Oz

Yes! All things become good automatically once you add Muppetry into the mix. It's a simple equation, people :


That is all. Now, where did I put that rainbow connection...

Posted by: Stuart / 3:34 pm ::link to this entry

Which science fiction/fantasy hero/villain is George W Bush?

Well, he isn't Brainiac, I'll tel you that much for nothing.

Posted by: Stuart / 10:26 am ::link to this entry

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health

Of all the things to have grabbed the '' domain name, this was not even among the top 100 of what I expected.

Posted by: Stuart / 2:14 pm ::link to this entry

Buy cool merchandise from Mel Gibson's vanity project. Surely if The Jesus was still around he would be busting into the offices of this outfit and looking for some tables to overturn, moneylender-smiting style.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:43 pm ::link to this entry

Monday, March 15, 2004

New RSS feed

BlogMatrix is dying and I have had to create a new RSS feed using BlogStreet. Link up at the top.

Posted by: Stuart / 1:07 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, March 12, 2004

The Rasterbator

Brilliant Flash app that takes an image and turns it into a (PDF format) file of A4 pages that you can assemble like a jigsaw. Check out the gallery to see what I mean.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:10 pm ::link to this entry

Thursday, March 11, 2004

London Riot Re-enactment Society

Poll Tax riots, 1990
Re-enactors dressed in authentic 1990 clothes (start searching in cupboards, attics and charity shops now) will assemble in Trafalgar Square for a demonstration that turns into an all-out riot. The next day, most of the self-appointed leaders will condemn the riot.

Posted by: Stuart / 2:26 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Nobody saved the Widow's Son

A man was killed during a Masonic initiation ceremony when another member fired a gun loaded with real bullets instead of the expected blanks and shot him in the face

Posted by: Stuart / 10:58 am ::link to this entry

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator

The simulator uses haptic technology which allows the user to interact with a virtual environment through their sense of touch. While using the Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator the student palpates virtual objects resembling parts of the reproductive tract inside the rear-half of a fibreglass cow. The teacher can visualise the student's actions on a screen and therefore provide training and guidance. The project uses the PHANToM force-feedback haptic device.

Posted by: Stuart / 10:14 pm ::link to this entry

FTP search engines

Making it easier to search FTP sites for files, etc.

Posted by: Stuart / 4:00 pm ::link to this entry

Monday, March 08, 2004

Ian's Shoelace Site

"It was just over 21 years ago that I invented a super-fast way of tying my shoelaces. I named this technique the Ian Knot, the World's Fastest Shoelace Knot, and have been sharing it with the world in a variety of ways ever since."

There are no words.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:50 pm ::link to this entry

The Exorcist in 30 seconds with bunnies

Does exactly what it says on the tin - absolute genius. (flash)

Posted by: Stuart / 12:06 pm ::link to this entry

Friday, March 05, 2004

Ok, who made Chris Morris Home Secretary?

"Government plans to set up a sophisticated tracking system to keep tabs on every child in England could lead to parents being falsely accused of child abuse, child welfare experts warned today."

Posted by: Stuart / 12:32 am ::link to this entry

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Passion composer offers Satan out in car park

(scroll down page past the Janet Jackson anti-news)

John Debney, who wrote the score for Mel Gibson's 'historically accurate' version of the passion of the Christ claims that Satan himself visited him via the medium of his computer - a transgression which provoked the composer to step up and offer to go toe-to-toe with Old Nick. In other news, Debney reports ownership of giant marshmallow which, in the cold light of day, had vanished ...along with his pillow.

“Once I got over the initial shock of that, I learned to work around it and learned to reboot the computers and so I would start talking to him. . . . The computers froze for about the tenth time [one] day and it was about nine o’clock at night and so I got really mad and I told Satan to manifest himself and I said, ‘Let’s go out into the parking lot and let’s go.’ It was a seed change in me. I knew that this was war. I am not a physical person, but I was really angry on this occasion.”

Posted by: Stuart / 4:02 pm ::link to this entry

There's no place like Door/Floor mat

Cute, uber-geeky, accoutrement from ThinkGeek. Strictly speaking, though, shouldn't it be "There's no place like ~/" ?

Posted by: Stuart / 1:56 pm ::link to this entry

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Gene Wolfe's rules for writers

(via Making Light)

Give the reader small surprises: moments of humor, delightful metaphors, something that jolts.

Understand your characters. No one is a villain to him/herself. No one is clinically sane if you know them well enough.

Advice from Jack Kerouac: "When you get stuck, don't think about the words. Imagine it better and keep going."

Posted by: Stuart / 1:29 am ::link to this entry

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Genius FARK photoshop contest - Surprise ending to 'The Passion'

Much photoshoppy goodness, combining God Jnr with a variety of films, etc.

Posted by: Stuart / 3:58 pm ::link to this entry

But they will NEVER take our YUB NUB!

An English translation of the Ewok 'victory song' from the end of Return of the Jedi.

we got freedom
and now that we can be free
come on and celebrate

In summary, then - Ewoks are no longer merely dead-eyed, irritating merchandise-fodder... they are also terrible, pedestrian lyricists.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:14 pm ::link to this entry

Now that is a compression rate, you PKWare buffoons

Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne reckoned that any information passing into a black hole would cease to exists as it became compressed into the singularity. John Preskill disagreed - and it looks as though he might have won their bet.

This sort of reminds me of the old USENET hoax about the ultimate file compression utility that could compress megabytes of data into a single byte. I remember seeing a program that looked as though it actually achieved this claim - in actual fact it simply hid the 'compressed' files away in another directory and replaced them with a single-byte 'archive' file.

You must understand that this was before mp3s and we had to make our own entertainment.

Posted by: Stuart / 12:17 am ::link to this entry

Monday, March 01, 2004

Handy Aramaic phrases

The Guardian presents a useful list of Aramaic phrases that you may find useful when seeing The Passion Of The Christ II - Electric Boogaloo

Etheeth l-khubeh 'almeenaayaa d-Maaran Yeshu Msheekhaa, ella faasheth metool Moneeqaa Belluushee!
I came for the everlasting love of our Lord Jesus Christ, but I stayed for Monica Bellucci.

Posted by: Stuart / 2:53 pm ::link to this entry

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