Sometimes, in order to get famous, people alter their names. Here are a few such changes that might surprise you:
Alicia Keys — Alicia Augello Cook David Copperfield — David Kotkin Demi Moore — Demetria Guynes Jon Stewart — Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz Jonah Hill — Jonah Hill Feldstein Larry King — Lawrence Harvey Zeiger Miley Cyrus — Destiny Hope Cyrus Nicholas Cage — Nicholas Coppola Reese Witherspoon — Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon Tiger Woods — Eldrick Woods Tom Cruise — Thomas Cruise Mapother IV Winona Ryder — Winona Laura Horowitz Woody Allen — Allan Stewart Konigsberg Whoopie Goldberg - Caryn Johnson
I commonly listen to NPR during the morning commute. Each Fall and Spring they raise money for their operating expenses by soliciting donations. Today is day one for KUER’s (90.1 FM) Fall Fund Drive. I’ll not be giving them any money.
First, here’s why I listen– NPR is smart. They provide in-depth coverage of global events. They pick stories that are interesting. They make me think. Other news sources just don’t do that. CNN is boring. Fox News is full of (sorry Mom) retardation. Local news is rife with wacko Republicans warning against the dire encroachment of the United Nations. NPR is a breath of intellectual fresh air.
EXCEPT, NPR isn’t honest. My issue isn’t that they’re not fair or balanced (they’re obviously not– they have a strong liberal agenda– and they’ve admitted it openly.) The problem is their disingenuous tactics that border on propaganda. For example, one way to win a debate is to convince your opponent you’ve already won. For example, NPR will frequently have commentators on the program saying things like, “The struggle for Gay Equality is at last finished; few Americans really want to deny committed homosexuals their civil rights.” What? Polls continue to show the country is equally split over that issue AND many black Americans chafe over the (mis)equation of civil rights with gay marriage. Sadly, NPR lets such deception pass WITHOUT QUESTION.
NPR, stop the cunning duplicity and I will gladly help fund your programs. Be liberal– I enjoy hearing the other side– but BE HONEST — report facts and opinions; don’t knowingly conflate the two.
It’s Tuesday, and that means a new engineering mini-challenge. Today’s challenge might be the most involved of any we’ve done so far, but the time limit is still the same: ten minutes for both design and construction. Here are the rules, followed by some video footage of the results:
Mouse Trap Car Distance Contest
Build a vehicle powered solely by the energy of one standard-sized Victor brand mouse trap (1 3/4″ X 3 7/8″) to travel the greatest linear distance. By definition, a vehicle is a device with wheels or runners used to carry something.
1. The device must be powered by a single Victor brand mouse trap (1 3/4″ X 3 7/8″)
2. The mousetrap can not be physically altered.
3. The device cannot have any additional potential or kinetic energy at the start other than what can be stored in the mousetrap’s spring itself. (e.g. CO2 Cartridge, batteries, elastic strings, rubber bands, etc.) This also means that you cannot push start your vehicle.
4. The spring from the mousetrap cannot be altered (e.g. cut, bent, over-wound) or heat treated.
5. The spring cannot be wound more than its normal travel distance or 180 degrees.
6. Vehicles must be self-starting. Vehicles may not receive a push in the forward direction or side direction.
7. The vehicle must steer itself. Measurements of distance will not measure the total distance traveled only the displacement distance.
8. Distance will be measured from the front of the tape at the starting line to the point of the vehicle that was closest to the start line at the time of release.
9. The contest will take place in the warehouse
10. No outside materials can be used. All construction materials will be provided. Vehicles must be constructed in 10 minutes.
11. Construction material: 2 sticks of hot glue (glue gun provided), roll of tape, 4 12″ dowel rods (two different diameters), 6 rubber bands, 1 mouse trap, 4 2″ wooden disks, 2 3″ wooden disks, 5′ of string and a block of Styrofoam 3″x3″x8″. A small pocket knife is provided as well.
RUNNING THE CONTEST:
1. Each contestant will be given two attempts. The winner will be the car which has obtained the greatest distance on any one of the two attempts. Any ties will be decided by a single run off between the racers which tied.
Rach and I were at the McKay* Events Center Friday night watching a little mixed martial arts action, when, to our surprise, two girls came out to fight. In case you didn’t know, MMA traditionally features dudes beating the snot out of each other. It’s good clean** fun.
The crowd favorite, Tandi “Tandilion” Schaeffer, 5’6″, 130 lbs, hailing from Pleasant Grove, Utah, I came to find out, is something of a hometown legend. With disarming girl-next-door looks contrasted by her “I-mean-business” hair packed in tight corn-rows and her impressive equine build, Tandi used her Muay Thai kickboxing to fiercely and swiftly pound her contender (Melissa Moore) into a broken, bloody pulp. Once it was over, the soft-spoken Mormon housewife demeanor returned to Tandi and she comforted and cradled the beaten, bruised opponent.
At the end, Tandilion took the mic to thank her Heavenly Father, I suppose, for giving her the strength to kick the crap out of the other girl.
Here are some quotations attributed to her:
I live to punch. I love elbows; I love knees, so that’s what I threw.
It’s very empowering, especially for women
It’s the best feeling in the world
[Getting hair and nails done and finding a good-looking outfit for a fight are important] to make a point that we’re girls but we’re gonna come and kick some serious butt, we want to let everyone know that we can still be cute, and sexy and sweet, but we can also fight.
It’s that love, that support that lifts me up and gives me the energy.
If you’re like me (you probably aren’t), you’re simply way too handsome/beautiful*. Now there’s an inexpensive way ($50) to take your beauty down a few notches. According to hotornot.com, I’m a 9.7, but with the help of this product, I’ve dropped THREE POINTS! Watch and be amazed:
* The research staffers are hard at work, incidentally, on an expose of the philosophy of American beauty. Stay tuned.
I once knew a man named Christophe who was born in England but moved to France. “Howya doing, Christophe!”, I’d say. He remarked on many occasions how oddly American that question was. “People in Europe don’t go around asking others how they’re doing.” It’s true it’s an unusual custom, particularly when it’s perfectly normal for Americans to ask that question and expect it to be REPEATED BACK verbatim:
Q. “How are you?” A. “How are you?”
That’s weird. Another typical American question is asking someone what they do for a living. Beware of how you answer, because you will forever be labeled (and pigeonholed) with your response: “So, what do you do (for a living)?” “I’m in construction.”
If your name is Dave, you have just been labeled Dave-the-construction-worker. This effectively limits your ability to speak with authority on anything other than house building. The next time you’re talking about high finance, someone will likely lean over and whisper (“don’t mind Dave, he’s just in construction.”)
This all comes from our culture of respect of “experts.” When we want medical advice, for example, we ask a doctor because they’re supposed to be biological experts– specifically, we believe have been taught that experts have access to information we don’t have. That was once true, but now with the Internet, anyone can “come up to speed” on a topic quickly, and with persistence, take a “deep dive” into the core of subjects.
But we fear the self-taught. Somehow we think that “certified” institutions of higher education are the sole bearers of true knowledge, this despite the evidence to the contrary. The archetypal numskull, President George Bush, graduated from HARVARD, for example, whereas the genius founders of Microsoft and Google all dropped out of school.