Friday, December 30, 2005

Let me take your hand, I'm shaking like milk

Grasping the meaning of different types of handshakes. This one is The Bone Crusher.

How to throw gang signs, and even more gang signs

Secret handshakes of the Freemasons

Handshakes of the
Boy Scouts (left hands),
Girl Scouts (Girls raise their right hand in the Girl Scout sign and shake using their left hand) and Cub Scouts (Right hands, put your first two fingers along the inside of the other boy's wrist)

Greeting customs in other cultures around the world. Did you know there is a Filipino tradition on Guam to put one's right knuckles against an older person's forehead?

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Metapost: Getting to know you

Some statistics on the average Information Nation reader, according to my hitcounter logs:

You probably use either MS Internet Explorer 6 (53%) or if not, Netscape 7/Firefox (42%)

You're probably a Windows XP user (69%), though 9% of you are Mac users. The other 22% of you are using other versions of Windows such as Windows 2000/ME/98/95 or operating systems such as UNIX, Linux or FreeBSD.

Most of you (61%) have your screen resolution set to 1024x768

Chances are you're from the United States since (75%) or Canada (7%) but a few of you are visiting from the UK (5%), Australia (2%) or The Netherlands (1%). The remaining 10% are the few stopping by from one of over 70 other countries.

If a searchengine brought you here, it was probably Google (78.85%)

The best time to find you here is on a Wednesday, between 4 and 5 PM.

So Dear Readers, how accurate is it?

Technorati tags: , ,

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

'Stached Away

Well, this nine to five routine
It don't agree with me
It makes me oh so mean
It,baby, drives me up a tree
I'm growin' a beard
Yeah, I'm growin' a beard
I'm growin' a beard, pretty mama,
That's all I wanna do

Well people running 'round
They're runnin' here and there
Well, me I can't be bothered I'm just trying to grow some hair
I'm growin' a beard...
"Growin a Beard" - Ben Vaughn

Facial hair link dump

Telling the difference between an goatee and a Van Dyke beard

Senior Yearbook photos are a goldmine of regrettable facial hair and clothing styles

Bad Hair by James Innes-Smith and Henrietta Webb is my next Amazon must-purchase

The Whitworth Archives document hair- and facial hairstyles of the 20th century

Can't keep your soul patch straight from your muttonchops? This series of paintings called Beard of the Month Club will git you all edumacated and such.

Seeing this, I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight. The Beard Experiment.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Lay down your arms

What is going on when your arm/leg/foot falls asleep?

Can you prevent jetlag by shining a flashlight on the backs of your knees?
Q: What do you call a guy with no arms or legs... waterskiing?
A: Skip
Lots of no arms or legs jokes.

Technorati tags: , ,

Flippin' Sweet!

Did you ever make flipbooks as a kid? You take a notepad and draw a little animation on each page so that when you quickly flip through the pages you have your own homemade little cartoon.

FLIPBOOK! lets you do that on the Intarweb, and you don't even have to kill a tree to do it. Anyone can create their own and submit them to the gallery, from a few frames to elaborate works with hundreds of frames. My humble first experiment is called Crashing Waves, Crashing Gulls.


Technorati tags: , , ,

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How do you spell "relief"?

(click picture to see the ad)

Maybe you've seen this Geico TV ad with the spelling bee kid being asked to spell "floccinaucinihilipilification" (which means 'the act of estimating as worthless'. His bewildered deer vs. headlights look cracks me up every time. I didn't know whether the word was made up for the commercial or whether it ws the real McCoy. At 29 letters, it is in fact one of the longest words in the English language, even beating out the old standby "antidisestablishmentarianism".

The Consolidated Word List is a compilation of over 100 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee word lists dating as far back as 1950. It contains over 22,000 words broken down by the frequency used in spelling bees.

And if I ever had the chance to be a spelling bee pronouncer (that's the guy who gives the kids the word to spell) I think it would be funny to do this every time:

Pronouncer: Please spell "floccinaucinihilipilification"

Kid: *gulp* Could you use that in a sentence, please?

Pronouncer: Of course. Please spell "floccinaucinihilipilification", said the pronouncer.
Ha! That kills! I'd better get working on my application to Scrips-Howard right away...

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

So long, sleepyhead!

I came across an interesting article (via Digg) on the benefits of Power Napping and how different nap length times will affect your body. A natural full-length sleep cycles several times a night through five stages. The true Power Nap only includes the first two, which happen in the first 20 minutes of sleep.

The National Sleep Research Project brings us 40 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Sleep, which I found while poking around looking for other sleep-related articles (and yawning more than usual because I was reading about sleep -- does that happen to you, too?)

According to this site, the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.

Another site makes the claim that the record is 11 days (264 hours), set by a a 17 year-old San Diego kid back in 1964 as a science project. Here's an in-depth look at what went on.

The longest of, well, just about anything else can be found at [big breath] [phew!]

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Friday, December 23, 2005

Extending the Three-Second Rule

A photo tour of the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany. Most hospitals probably aren't this clean.
It is here where they handbuild each Phaeton, VW's luxury entry, which starts in the neighborhood of $66,000 USD.

Technorati tags: , , ,

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I buy all my \/1@G®@ from Painful J. Tumescence!

An amusing article called "Joe Jerk's Amazing Offer" on the bizarre names spammers sometimes choose. Inspired, I checked my Throwaway-Go-Ahead-And-Spam-Me-All-You-Want Yahoo! email account, sorted the wheat from the chaff and came up with my own Spammer Names Greatest Hits.

I especially like the guy named Ebola trying to sell me medicine. I mean really, if someone named after a highly virulent disease that can cause your eyeballs to bleed and has a 90% mortality rate doesn't inspire your confidence, then you have some serious trust issues... (via Techdirt)


Technorati tags: , , ,

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Frozen Post


Pics from the 2005 Snow Sculpture Championships held each year in Breckenridge, CO. They take place in late Jan/early Feb so you don't have long to brush up on your snow-carving skeelz. The site also has a short video answering the question How Do They Make Those Big Blocks Of Snow? (thanks for the link, Dave-stee Freez Postma!)

What happens when you pump water up two tubes and out a couple of nozzles for 24 hours a day for 6 months from October 2003-April 2004?

When you live in Texas, I guess you'd get a big lake. Eventually. But if you live in Fairbanks, Alaska and the temp outside is -56°F, what you get is a climbable wall of ice, 140 feet long, 40 feet wide, 80 feet high, and weighing about 45,000 tons. The last of it finally melted by the middle of July 2004.

Addendum: The 2005-06 ice wall is already in production.

Mister Science explains the mysteries of brainfreeze a/k/a Ice Cream Headache, plus why our teeth chatter when we're cold.

Technorati tags: , ,

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Weakest. Link. Ever.

Some of the worst answers given in games show history. Where do they get these people?

Robinson: What insect is commonly found hovering above lakes?
Contestant: Crocodiles.
Robinson: Wh...?
Contestant (interrupting): Pass!

Anne Robinson: In olden times, what were minstrels, travelling
entertainers or chocolate salesmen?
Contestant: Chocolate salesmen.

(via The Presurfer)

Technorati tags: ,

Friday, December 16, 2005

Oxygen Rock

Virtual Air Guitar (with rockin' videos!)

The Official US Air Guitar Championships (with video of US champ Fatima "Rockness Monster" Hoang!)

Philson Air Guitars -- "If it's a Philson, it's gotta be rock and roll"

Air Guitar Aerobics class

This is hilarious. A store that sells products catering to their air guitar-playing clientele: huge rock crowd posters and cardboard cutout electric guitars (the kids call 'em "axes" don't ya know).

The only air guitar you should be playing with after the age of 30

If you happen to be one of the few out there who actually do play rock with an actual corporeal guitar, this handy-dandy guide to posing like a rock star may help you rock your audience's collective face off just a bit harder. (via Memepool)

Technorati tags: , ,


Cute Overload is nothing but pictures of cute puppies and kitties and duckies and squirrelies et al. Like the sun, best viewing is indirectly and only in small amounts. (via Boing Boing)

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Body tricks

Suffer from nighttime heartburn? Try sleeping on your left side. Got first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. 18 not-so-intuitive tricks to teach your body (via Circadian Shift)

20 tricks to Christmas-proof your body

Technorati tags: ,

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How do you spell relief?

You may remember the commercials claiming that Rolaids absorbs "47 times its weight in excess acid!"

Perhaps the artist given LSD and then asked to draw could have used some of that in this 1950's US goverment experiment in the effects of hallucinogens...

Speaking of artists, Louis Wain was an artist who specialized in whimsical paintings of cats and dogs dressed in human clothes, performing human activities (recall the famous Dogs Playing Poker painting and you're pretty close to what Wain did).

However, Louis Wain suffered late onset schizophrenia in 1917 at the age of 57. He continued to draw cats, but the images became more and more disconnected from reality. A fascinating look at how his artwork changed as he fell victim to his illness.

Speaking of Dogs Playing Poker, Wikipedia has the lowdown.

And finally, speaking of 47 (remember? up at the top of this post?), someone has sure been seeing the number 47 everywhere these days...

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

Don't get me wrong
Try getting me right
Your face is okay
But your purse is too tight
I'm looking for pound notes
Loose change
Bad checks, anything
Gimme some money
Gimme some money

Spinal Tap - "Gimme Some Money"
(along with lots of other Spinal Tap mp3s at

Sites like and help people locate unclaimed
  • Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed checks and wages
  • Insurance policies, CD's, trust funds
  • Utility deposits, escrow accounts

If you see something that might be your, you can click through and fill out a claim form. Interesting. As far as I can tell, I personally don't have any loot languishing anywhere but maybe some absent-minded InfoNation readers do??? If so, don't forget that finders fees generally run at least 10%...

------------------------- is another useful service that helps you to keep track of those odious "price after mail-in rebate" offers often run by retailers. From their Welcome page:

Every year, millions of people worldwide make purchases enticed by "price after rebate" promotions. Surprisingly, very few of those rebates are actually mailed in (less than 5%, in fact!). Then, weeks pass and the consumer receives either a check or a rejection notice (or no notice at all!). By the time the rebate check is due, most people have either forgotten about the purchase altogether or have lost track of the relevant contact information and have no way to follow up. Literally, millions of dollars remain unclaimed each year!

This is where comes in. Sign up for an account and enter the relevant details every time you submit a rebate. The web site will organize your submissions, keep track and report on the money you are owed, and will even send you reminders when your rebates are due. Give it a try, it costs nothing, and will likely put a few dollars back in your wallet!

(Both Rebate-Traker and the unclaimed money ideas came the power-to-the-people blog The Consumerist)

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

American Top 40!

No, not the Casey Casem kind.

MP3 bloggers vote for the Top 40 Bands in America Today. Of course, the bottom 90% of the page is whining from readers about why their favorite band wasn't included... (via kottke)

Technorati tags: , ,

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Aren't you a string?

I'm a frayed knot...

Animated Knots has animated you-know-whats, shown in your choice of fast or slow motion to help you better learn how to tie the aforementioned whatchamajiggers. (via J-Walk)

Remember the in Jaws where Chief Brody is on the boat with Quint and Hooper and they're hunting the shark? At one point, before the shark starts eating the boat and crew and whatnot, Brody has a piece of rope in his hands and he is trying to learn how to tie some kind of knot. We hear him mumbling something about "the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree..." Remember?

That knot was a bowline, which is the most useful knot for sailors, since it forms a loop that will not slip or jam, and can be untied easily even after being used for heavy loads.

How to tie a bowline, and what the whole rabbit running around the tree thing is about.

Technorati tags: ,

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Green Mile

Couple months back I posted about the Dead Man Eating Weblog, which tracks last meals of death row inmates, and summarizes the inmate's crime and last words. As a sort of followup to that, and in light of the headlines recently about the 1,000th execution in the US, it seemed like as good a time as any time to bring these up...

A history of botched executions

Last statements (ie. last words) of Texas death row inmates (via In4mador)

The transcript and RealAudio link from a thoughtful and well-done documentary called "Witness to an Execution" is over at, a non-profit that specializes in audio documentaries and is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. They not only have other excellent pieces on this particular subject like "The Execution Tapes" (Real Audio required to listen), but on a whole variety of subjects. does wonderful work. Check 'em out.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey

If you or someone you love has trouble hearing that alarm clock in the morning, here are some stocking stuffer ideas:

  • The Wake Assure alarm clock not only has a buzzer capable of cranking out up to 95 dB (that's louder than a lawn mower), but also features a flashing lamp and a "strong bed shaker"

  • The new Sonic Boom SB300ss not only has their most powerful 12 volt bed shaker and a tone up to 113 dB (louder than a car horn), the LED display also comes with a "hi/low dimmer switch to sleep better at night". (Uh, if you're buying this clock I think you're sleeping plenty good there already, Van Winkle...)

And my personal favorite,

  • The Sonic Alarm --
    Looking like an old-fashioned comedy hand grenade, the Sonic Alarm will wake pretty well anything up. Simply pull the pin, yell an emphatic "fire in the hole" and lob the grenade into the sleeper's room. After ten seconds a very annoying and piercingly loud noise (there are three volume settings) will blast out from the alarm. That's not all however, what makes this especially great is that to stop the alarm the sleeper has to find you so you can put the pin back in.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Got Milk?


Chris over at Cynical-C unearthed an old story from about the Hindu Milk Miracle of 1995.
It all began on September 21st when an otherwise ordinary man in New Delhi dreamt that Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of Wisdom, craved a little milk. Upon awakening, he rushed in the dark before dawn to the nearest temple, where a skeptical priest allowed him to proffer a spoonful of milk to the small stone image. Both watched in astonishment as it disappeared, magically consumed by the God.

Some have explained it as capillary action drawing in the liquid, while others say that explanation doesn't, err... hold water. Or milk. Whatever.

Video available at

Like similar stories of the Virgin Mary showing up in window reflections or on a piece of toast or in a road salt stain on the concrete wall under a highway in Chicago, I myself take all these with a grain of (road)salt.

Technorati tags: , , , , , ,