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The old Red Lion hotel on Jantzen Beach caught fire about 3AM Sunday morning, and quickly turned into a larger problem than the fire department could handle. Luckily, no nearby buildings were engulfed (I'm sure the large parking lots helped), although Interstate 5 is reported as "affected" by the huge fire right next to it. The local KGW TV station has footage here, and a fuller article.

I'm still getting irregular reports from KumoriCon, the anime convention currently being held across the river, on account of not being there myself. (See the river view in the video? The building at the right holds KumoriCon.) As several people have commented already, at least the fire burned the con hotel without any fans in it.
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Oh, you may think your government is full of crazies and drunkards but...um, you know, never mind. The point is you're not alone. (Okay, if you've been following our Republican primaries you already knew that.) But did you know the State of Arizona sold off its own capitol building?

Now, I'm not sure how it occurs to somebody to think this is a good idea. For that matter, I'm not sure who'd buy such a thing. What would you do with it? Rent it out to a new and upcoming state government? Haul it off to another state so they can have two capitol buildings? In Arizona, the answer was to lease it back to the original tenants - you know, the people who'd been there in the first place, only now the government had to pay money to occupy the building they'd constructed for themselves. Arizona now wants to buy it back, and if I'm reading the article right someone's pocketing over twenty million dollars in this little caper, and it's not the taxpayers.
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Okay, so we all know there are stupid people on the internet. But sometimes we hear about exceptional folks like this guy, who upon being caught with naughty pictures on his computer claimed, "My cat downloaded those!" So far no humans have believed him.
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According to this and this, we've gotten a proof-of-concept prototype on the contact lens display already.

It's not ready to go yet. The rigid lens form factor is a minor concern. Also, the prototype is fitted on rabbits; it's not clear that they've built one that can be tried by humans. The fact that the display only has one pixel is the real problem - we're a long way from a usable HUD at this point.

I admit I'd expected to see a wearable HUD in a pair of glasses well in advance of contact lenses (if you've missed this idea, watch DennĊ Coil for an example); the ones on the market now are a long way from the convenient glasses we've been hoping for. Maybe the age of wearable computing will skip past the glasses stage more quickly than we'd guessed.
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Damn. It seems Dennis Ritchie passed away the other day.

* "Usenet is a strange place."
* "UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity."
* "C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success."
* C has "the power of assembly language and the convenience of... assembly language."
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That's the title of this article, found in a discussion of the recent articles about a circulation scam at the Wall Street Journal. If you're not into math it may make your eyes glaze over, but take this to heart: after a report of the Wall Street Journal lying about money, this is worse.

Not as immediate, though, and there are no fingers to point at specific malefactors. Rather, it suggests that there are a number of people doing tricky things in the corporate world, and the numbers presented to the public are not always good representations of what's really happening.
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According to this article, CERN has measured a neutrino beam at a whisker above lightspeed. However, this is the media, which does not have a good track record for accuracy, particularly when the implications are large. As pointed out in the comments, a 0.00246% measurement error may be all that is needed to explain this, although no such error has been found yet. Stay tuned.

PS: Also reported on Livejournal by seawasp and James Nicoll.
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Okay, this is a pleasant surprise. Apparently a high school student confronted with a banned books list decided to open a library, turning an ordinary hall locker into a secret library for contraband literature. Names are redacted from the story for obvious reasons. This gives me great hope for our future.

Quipped a friend of mine, "The school doesn't exist to prevent illiteracy, the school exists to preserve illiteracy."
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Apparently China's latest cruel & unusual punishment is...online gaming? What?

Charles Stross relays a report from The Guardian about prisoners drafted into gold farming on MMORPGs, for the benefit of the guards. This is apparently a new variation on the much older scam of drafting them for grunt labor.

It seems prisoners are forced to stay at the computer nonstop for 12 hours a day, a torture completely unlike my life in that I don't speak Chinese.
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BBC: It is with much sadness that we can announce Elisabeth Sladen, the much-loved actress best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and CBBC's The Sarah Jane Adventures, passed away this morning. She was 63.

Today we lost Elizabeth Sladen, known to Whovians as Sarah Jane Smith. The BBC reports she had been fighting cancer some time. (Her recent work certainly didn't show it.) She traveled the universe with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as one of the Doctor's longest running and most popular companions, and in later years met the 10th and 11th Doctors, and got her own spinoff show, the Sarah Jane Adventures.

You can also read reports at io9, the Tardis Wikia, and elsewhere.
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It seems the Brits found a Do-17 that they put into the Channel back in 1940, substantially intact. Read more... )

Cat Island

Mar. 19th, 2011 10:32 pm
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Tashirojima, Japan's 'Cat Island,' came through the recent earthquake and tsunami fine. See here or here for news; both include video of way more cats than you really need.

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