Friday, February 23, 2007

Boing Boing gets a bit silly

I love BoingBoing; they often have some interesting articles, and usually make fun of people and things I think ought to be made fun of. In particular, in this article, they mock the police in Santa Fe for blowing up two CD players that were spewing profanity in a church during Ash Wednesday, but kept the third to check for fingerprints and the like. I mean, how stupid is that-- they'd no way of knowing they picked the only one that didn't have a bomb in it, and if they knew none of them did, then why blow them up? Did they have some explosives that were too close to their use-by date? Wouldn't more evidence against the people who did this juvenile stunt be a good thing?

"Nah," thought the police, "let's just blow stuff up."

But then BB just gets downright stupid. They cite a new story about a tape dispenser found outside a railway station in Northern Ireland that was blown up:

The Army carried out a controlled explosion on the object which was declared safe. Traffic in the town was severely disrupted for several hours while the operation took place. A police spokesperson said: "As with any object that cannot readily be accounted for, we have a duty to be wary in order to ensure the safety of all in the vicinity," they added.

For some reason, BB editor Mark Frauenfelder apparently thought this was silly. I mean, really! Who would expect an unknown object left in public-- in Northern Ireland, no less-- to contain a bomb?

Who, indeed.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nifty papercraft Link from Zelda

I found this papercraft link elsewhere, but the one I found didn't have the assembly instructions you can find here:

It's extremely cool! Here's a couple of pictures of the one I made:

Papercraft Link (front view)
Papercraft Link (side view)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Longest alphabetical word in English

Inspired by a list of 50 bogus "facts everbody should know" I found on what turned out to be a spammer's site, I decided to find the longest word in the English language where all the letters are in alphabetical order (the site claimed it was 'almost'). I whipped up a quick Ruby program:

#!/usr/bin/ruby'/usr/share/dict/words') { |f|
f.each do |word|
ordered = true

last = ''
word.split(//).each do |letter|
last = letter unless last.length
if letter > last
ordered = false
last = letter
puts word if ordered and word.length > 6

It's been a while since I wrote Ruby, so originally I had "ordered = 1" and set it to 0, instead of false, in the if statement in the middle. This is wrong, because Ruby distinguishes between the number 0 and false, unlike C and many other derived languages (Perl distinguishes between them, but allows 0 to mean false in a conditional).

Anyway, as it turns out, the answer is 'billowy', at least according to /usr/share/dict/words. In case you were curious.