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Wednesday, December 17 12:00 AM ET

BBspot Mailbag

Now you too can enjoy my Inbox without the annoying spam. Every week I get some amazing e-mail. Some amazing because of the sheer cluelessness of the sender, some because of the time and energy that went into crafting them and some are just simply amazing.


BBelievers

From the comments on the Linux on a potato story...

I don't get it - How the f**k do they do that??? Its awesome though!

And...

WTF?!?! That is seriously the only thing that comes to mind.

And...

Is this for real? N how do u know if linux is running or not?

There are some other humorous comments from nonBBelievers as well that you can check out here.


More PPain

I'm not the only one who hurts himself. A BBspotter writes in with a geeky project that caused injury as well. If I did this project, I'd probably be missing a finger...

From: Tim
Date: Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 2:33 PM
Subject: Geeky Injury
To: briggsb

After reading many stories about your injuries doing seemingly safe activities I decided to tell you about my own experience this past weekend.

This year I got my first own Christmas Tree and knew I had to put some geeky decorations on it. I remembered a couple of old processors I had sitting in a box and thought that they make great ornaments. I found preparing them to be hung on the tree dangerous and much more difficult than I had originally thought. The difficulty comes in drilling a hole through old ceramic processors. The ceramic tile bit I bought was barely able to put a divot in the processor. I found a diamond coated bit that came with my Dremel and was able drill a hole in two processors. The danger came when I removed the pins. I did this before drilling or I might have lost enough blood to need a transfusion. After trial and error I found a safe and easy way to remove the pins. The first way I tried was to use a pocket knife to break the pins off; surprisingly the knife is not what caused the injury. Something slipped and somehow I received a 4 mm slice into my finger from one of the pins. The next option was to use small wire cutters, this worked well and was much safer, but required me to put my finger over the wire cutters to keep the pins from flying accross the room or into my eye. The third thing I tried that was quick and did not cause injury was to use the cutoff disk for my Dremel. This will be how I do it next time. I also recommend using the grinding wheel to smooth down the bits of pins still stuck to the processor. As I didn't have any hooks at the time, I used on of the processors for a key chain for a couple of days and have attached some pictures.

PS: I recommend wearing safety glasses for projects like this.

Keyring Processor

 


The Earth Stood Still

I didn't get a chance to see The Day the Earth Stood Still, but one BBspotter wrote in with his impressions of it...

From: Guy
Date: Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 11:57 AM
Subject: "The Day the Earth Stood Still" review
To: briggsb@bbspot.com

I went to see the movie last night in one of AMC's new IMAX theaters. I'm glad I had the extra big screen because a lot of the effects were really stunning.

Keanu Reeves was a dead-on choice for Klaatu, though I don't think they used him to his full potential. I'll discuss that after the "Spoiler Alert" below. Fans of the original won't be terribly disappointed (though, of course, some is inevitable). The movie does try to pull in the same sense of "the end of the world could really happen" scariness.

I'd recommend that BBGeeks go see the movie, though not with the highest expectations. Overall, a sound basis of sci fi themes are there, but without much depth. There's plenty of eye candy, some thrill, and a little bit of message, too. Worthy of seeing on a Saturday afternoon, but not worth obsessing over.

********SPOILER ALERT SECTION*********

Despite how little Gort is in the trailer, he does play a HUGE part in the movie, though I think his presence for the first half of the movie is more as a plot mover than an actual concept. He again tries to destroy life on Earth, though this time using nanotech powers (Geeks will immediately recognize the standard "they're too small to contain" and "grey goo" themes of nanotech lit).

The film has been translated to modern audiences by replacing the threat of nuclear war with the threat of global environmental catastrophe. It seems that Klaatu's people are concerned about the waste of such a precious life-supporting planet by human destruction, and want to restart it without humans. Of course, Klaatu is eventually convinced of mankind's worthiness to live.

This is where the movie starts having problems. First, Keanu is great at the wooden persona, but there's no apparent moment of understand (a la the scene in Matrix I where he sees everything in binary). He just continues to seem dull. The other problem with the character is that they decided to give him an array of basically supernatural powers for no good reason. He has mind control, miraculous healing, computer access through his fingers, and generally control over energy.

Another problem is that they don't delve into the argument of why mankind is worth saving. John Cleese makes an appearance as an aging scientist who argues that man must hit a precipice before he can adapt, but no sooner has he said this than the argument is interrupted and chase scenes resume. This is, of course, followed by Klaatu literally saving a human antagonist falling over a precipice, and the antagonist learning to accept Klaatu. This is as close to a "eureka" moment as you'll get.

And since that theme isn't explored, you can also expect that the theme of environmental catastrophe isn't explored either. It's assumed that everyone knows that man is destined to destroy all life on Earth.


Weekly Limerick

The winner of the 2003 and 2006 Geek Limerick contest has volunteered to write a weekly limerick for BBspot. Seth also has a new book out that you should take a look at...

Also, Seth has also translated the entire Torah, line by line, into verse. You can read a sample on his new site www.GodToVerse.com.

Seth has been sending over limericks for many weeks without any Mailbag. Thanks to him you've got many to enjoy now...

From: Seth

NASA has announced that they'll employ
Russia to get some shuttles deployed.
Once we raced to keep pace

With them in outer space,
Now we're hiring them; Bozhe Moi!

In the UK, they censor their media,
To stop surfing to sites that are seedier.
But the guards that there are
Have been taken too far
If they're starting to block Wikipedia

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