Monday, August 28, 2006

In Russia, flags hang you!

A Colorado middle school geography teacher was suspended for displaying flags from other countries.

I repeat. A geography teacher. For putting up flags (the horror!) from other countries.

Eric Hamlin said the flags were part of a world geography lesson plan at Carmody Middle School and refused to take them down. The school's principal escorted Hamlin out of class Wednesday morning after he refused to remove the flags of China and Mexico.

The school district placed him on administrative leave for insubordination, citing a Colorado law that makes it illegal to display foreign flags permanently in schools.

"Under state law, foreign flags can only be in the classroom because it's tied to the curriculum. And the principal looked at the curriculum, talked to the teacher, and found that there was really no curriculum coming up in the next few weeks that supported those flags being in the classroom," said Jeffco Public Schools spokeswoman Lynn Setzer.

But Hamlin said although his curriculum may not speak specifically about those flags, they are used as reference tools for world geography.

"It's much along the lines of a science teacher who puts up a map of the solar system. They may not spend every day and every lesson talking about Mars, but they want the students to see that and to see the patterns of the planets and the order, and the students will observe that and absorb that learning visually," Hamlin said.

Well, I'm off. I've got to anonymously inform the school board that the math teacher actually has the number of The Beast displayed right there in plain sight on his "Numbers from 1 to 1,000" poster. I mean really, someone has to think of the children.
(via Neatorama)

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Makes sense to me

Click the pic to find out.
(UPDATE: Broken link in the picture above now fixed. Sorry 'bout that)
(via The Presurfer)

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Why the Swiss never fight wars

Because it takes them twenty minutes to find the right weapon.

Giant Knife 1.0 has 85 tools, weighs in at a svelte 2 pounds 10 ounces and at price tag of $1200 they actually use one of the larger serrated blades to saw off the arm and leg it will cost you. (via Mookie)

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I'm Bob Dole, and I approved this blog post

Kid solves 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube one-handed in 20.09 seconds

How to cut and shuffle a deck of cards one-handed

Bass player Bill Clements lost his hand in an industrial accident in 1989. Three months later he started playing bass again.

Learn how to count to 31 on one hand.

Exotic-looking one-handed keyboards.

How to tie your shoelaces with one hand.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Everything you never wanted to know

Used FAQs collects items off of the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page of various websites and reposts them, out of context, on their site. The result is odd, funny, a little weird and kind of... Zen. A couple of recent posts:

Do you have a giant stomach inside that little body?

My stomach is really normal size, but over the years it has been trained to stretch quite a bit. As far as capacity is concerned, I believe I can handle up to 16 pounds of food and liquid overall.


How can I use a Barney Fife Impersonator at my next event?

The Deputy can operate in many ways. From a quick surprise “Hit and Run” appearance - to a wandering act all day at a fair or festival. At a company party, for example, Barney may show up during dinner and “arrest” a few retirees. Or he may interrupt the Big Cheese as he addresses the employees. He may help hand out name tags, awards or check ID’s at the door. He’s interrupted bands that were playing “cheesy music” and even improvised a song about the group while the band played back-up! At a fair or festival Fife can emcee the main stage, welcome guests at the gate, remind them to travel safely as they exit, or follow folks around and pose for photos.


(via Boing Boing)

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

New look! Same crap!

You may have noticed there's a new look for Information Nation. I saw that Blogger has put out a beta version of their new template interface, making it a lot easier to add and change the elements of your typical blog (stuff like general look/style, links to other blogs, archives, etc), so I thought I'd try it out. So far I'm liking what I am seeing, how about you?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

License plate motto?

Alabama. Come for the inbreeding, substandard education and abject poverty. Stay for the ginormous scary-ass yellow jacket nests.

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Good trade

Kyle MacDonald is the man behind One Red Paperclip. The idea was simple. Kyle wanted a house. He had a red paperclip. He decided to make a website and try and trade up from his single colorful office freebie until he got himself a house. No money could be exchanged, it all had to be in the form of a trade.

As of July 12, 2006, exactly one year into his quest, Kyle is the proud owner of a house in the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan. All from a little red paperclip.

From the FAQ:
Q: What initially inspired the idea to do what you are doing?
A: A game called Bigger or Better. You start with a small object and trade it for a bigger or better object. Repeat. Usually a kids game. More knocking on doors, less internet.
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The part without the squealing

Perhaps second only to the infamous Ned "Squeal Like a Pig" Beatty moment, the "Dueling Banjos" scene is the highlight to 1972's Deliverance.

The boy who played the inbred banjo picker was Billy Redden, who couldn't really play banjo at all. He couldn't even fake it. Director John Boorman had another child slip his hand through Redden's sleeve to finger the chord changes.

BONUS! Steve Goodie does a tribute to Mr. Beatty's acting chops in this sample from "Ned Beatty Had the Hardest Part"

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Whatsamatter? Cymothoa got your tongue?

These creepy-crawlies won't be the only things squirming after you read about Six Horrifying Parasites.

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Pucker up and lie!

What's the deal with lie detectors? Can you really fool them? The key is to flex your muscles. Well, one muscle at least. Er, maybe you don't want to know more... but if you do, NPR's Emily "The Human Guinea Pig" Yoffe has all the sordid details.

Damn Interesting also has the skinny on sodium pentothal a/k/a Truth Serum.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Information Nation -- It's dot com!

One of the cooler things I found while scrounging around for slogans in the previous post was, which will create a banner for you with an ever-changing custom-made slogan. It will take the place of the old and usually-busted Google/Information Nation search box in the sidebar off to your right. It should change every page load or so. Enjoy!

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Slogans Run

A collection of Presidential campaign slogans, some well-known even decades later (Eisenhower's I Like Ike, Reagan's It's Morning Again in America), some more obscure (Lincoln's Vote Yourself a Farm), some upbeat and positive (Al Gore's Prosperity and Progress), some not so much (Grover Cleveland's negative slogan against his 1844 opponent Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine)

I have always been a fan of the film Wag the Dog (1997), where the incumbent president, floundering in the polls and facing an impending sex scandal enlists the help of a Hollywood producer to "create" a war. I had no idea, however, that the dull-sounding campaign slogan the president was running under in the movie (Don't Swap Horses in the Middle of the Stream) was originally used during Lincoln's re-election bid while the Civil War raged.

Wikipedia has its own list of political slogans, reaching beyond the US presidency and covering world politics, too.

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OK Go Dance Dance Revolution

I would like to see the outtakes for this goofy new video from OK Go. "Here It Goes Again" is done in one continuous take, and took eight days of choreograph preparation. Entertainment Weekly talked with frontman Damian Kulash a bit about the making of the video. (via Mookie)

OK Go also made a dance video a few months back for "A Million Ways" with an even cheaper budget of something like $5 (no treadmills to rent saves $$$!)

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Right before the Fin

The Top 50 Movie Endings of All Time, according to (via J-Walk)

On a similar note, although this guy might not have the cachet of a professional film critic, this write-up of his own personal Best and Worst Film Endings is, I think, really great. But maybe it's just because he and I seem to have really similar taste in movies (you should go rent The Conversation though -- Hackman really is amazing).

I am, of course, aware that this blog doesn't grab many comments. No biggie... I do it mostly to amuse myself, anyway. However, if you would like to share some of your favorite/least favorite movie endings, I would appreciate it! I'm looking for something new to get from Netflix anyway...

Needless to say, SPOILER ALERT. Those who don't want their surprise movie endings ruined best ought to keep moving. On the other hand, Rosebud was a sled and Planet of the Apes was really Earth all along. HA HA! Gotcha!

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Fanfare for the Common Name

Find out where your surname ranks in popularity (at least here in the US). The data comes from the top 55,000 most common surnames culled from the Social Security Index.

Not surprisingly, Smith is top dog of course, but can you figure out the rest of the Top 10?

Amusing factoid proving that Grandma might have been onto something when she told you to stop listening to the soundtrack to Purple Rain because "it's the devil's music":

(via Digg)

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