Browsing the archives for the WTF? tag.

Best way to enhance comment writing: a poll


This poll is about the interface for adding a comment to a post. (It is not about comment threading. We'll deal with that separately.)

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start_date 02/10/2013 12:30:00
end_date 31/10/2013 12:30:00

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Which is preferable if we cannot have both?



It lies just beyond the River Double Hockeystyx


The Prague High School Red Devils

File this under "noteworthy": apparently, KFOR in Oklahoma City is not an affiliate of The Onion. And this means that when Kaitlin Nootbaar, valedictorian at Prague High School— home of the Red Devils— employed the word "hell" in a quote during her valedictory speech, David Smith the principal of Prague High School— home of the Red Devils— decided to hold her diploma hostage until she had composed and submitted a letter of apology.

The actual logo of the Prague School District, employer of said principal….

This crisis is apparently still underway. Superintendent Rick Martin is reportedly holding his tongue, lest he inadvertently mutter imprecations seldom heard in mixed company.

Please tell me this is a hoax.

(Via BoingBoing.)


So Then Why Is The Expression "On the Lam"?


The African War on Goats continues with a new arrest:

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

"We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat," he said.

We know that evidence of flight from the authorities is generally admissible to prove consciousness of guilt, given a sufficient nexus between the crime and the flight. Therefore I submit that evidence of turning into a goat to elude capture would also be admissible, and would be quite powerful evidence. I would want to voir dire the jurors quite carefully, though, to see if any had any particularly strong feelings for or against goats.

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An Elegant Weapon for a Less Litigious Age


Patrick, in guest-blogging at Overlawyered, alerts us that aWoolworth's in the UK will only sell toy lightsabers to adults, as they might be mistaken for guns and thus lead to some sort of unpleasantness. But it's not entirely clear what sort of unpleasantness the shopwarn clarks over in those green and pleasant lands have in mind. Are they worried that someone might rob their local with a lightsaber? If so, couldn't that fear apply to nearly any piece of plastic? Perhaps they are worried that a constable might mistake the saber in little Trevor's hand for a weapon, leading to a tragic police shooting. But if that's the case, they will have to start restricting the sales of all sorts of seemingly innocuous objects, from wallets to hairbrushes to cans of soda, wouldn't they?

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There are no answers to some questions


TJIC points us to the list of questions to Slate's "Explainer" that, tragically, were never answered.

They range from the scientific:

If someone with DNA from the Stone Age were born today, would they be normal?

…to the cultural….

Can men eat the Activia yogurt that is advertised exclusively to the modern woman in khakis? Will it have the same internal regulatory effects on the male system that are promised for the female bowels? If not, why not?

…to the legal….

I have been accused of assault in Ohio. The woman fell over a box in the hall backward, and my brother opened the door, saw her lying there, and started hitting me. I got him down and held him down. It was all over a fight concerning my niece. What do you think will happen?

…to the psycho-social:

Why does some music make you want to shake your butt?

Remember — these people walk among us.

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Apparently Planck's Constant is "I Like Strippers"


The Max Planck Institute — a prestigious research group in Germany, named after the famous physicist — wanted the latest issue of its journal to focus on China. So its graphic designers picked some attractive Chinese characters for the cover.

This is how those characters translated:

With high salaries, we have cordially invited for an extended series of matinées
KK and Jiamei as directors, who will personally lead jade-like girls in the spring of youth,
Beauties from the north who have a distinguished air of elegance and allure,
Young housewives having figures that will turn you on;
Their enchanting and coquettish performance will begin within the next few days.

Yep, that's pretty much what you think it is.

Clearly this is an advertisement for some kind of burlesque business. I did find quite a few references on the Web to a "KK Juggy" from a group called "Machine Gun Fellatio," and apparently the KK in her name stands for "Knickers" and "Knockers."

The resulting "apology" is delicious:

In its apology, the institute – which is named after the German physicist credited as the founder of quantum theory – said the Chinese text "had been chosen by our editorial office in order to symbolically illustrate the magazine's focus on China".

"Unfortunately, it has now transpired that this text contains inappropriate content of a suggestive nature," the apology states.

"To our sincere regret, however, it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker."

Meaning "our graphics department copied the sign at that hootchie bar totally not knowing that it was suggestive."

Methinks someone is going to be looking very closely at this month's expense reports from that editorial department.

Via and via.

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Ex Purrte Communication

Humor, Law

Knowing that all and sundry before them are captive, judges tell the damndest stories sometimes.

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My Broker Is A 70th Level Tauren Shaman. And He Says . . .

Geekery, WTF?

It's getting increasingly difficult during busy weeks like this one to resist the temptation to abandon original content altogether and just copy and paste stuff from my co-blogger Patrick's increasingly great new blog Social Services for Feral Children. Case in point — Patrick takes the story of the rise and fall of the CEO of a company that sold imaginary gold and items from online role-playing games, and unerringly plucks the most fascinating and appalling element from it: not the fact that a child star developed a company that sold imaginary gold that could be used only in games in which buying such imaginary gold was against the rules, but the fact that Goldman freaking Sachs invested a large amount of money in the business.

I'm thinking that Goldman didn't quite comprehend the gold-farming business, or for that matter online games. I'm at least hoping that they didn't understand that they were investing tens of millions in a product made by Company A (IGE) that could only be used on the premises of Company B (Blizzard), despite the fact that Company B forbade the use of the product on its premises and had the will to use its substantial war chest to fight against use of that product through both programming and litigation.

In their defense, they might have run out of the kindling necessary to simply set that much money on fire. Plus, smoke is bad. Global warming. You know.

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The French Concept of Dignity Is Elusive

Irksome, Politics & Current Events

You know, I find other cultures fascinating, and do my best to puzzle them out, moving my lips and rubbing my increasingly hairless brow in confusion. It's like a sudoku or something, you know?

Today, let's try with the French.

Continue Reading »

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Gun Safety Is Just a Way For the Man To Keep The Working Folk Down

Effluvia, Irksome, Law

This country has a strong gun culture.  Fortunately in the case of most people serious about guns, it is accompanied by an equally strong gun safety culture, characterized by the level of caution and professionalism and respect you should use towards any deadly tool.  Unfortunately, America is also choked with slobs, Travis-Bickle-wannabees, and nimrods who think that hold-the-pistol-sideways-like-a-ganga thing looks cool.  Many such people are careless about gun safety.

Now, carelessness is not a uniquely American trait.  But I am beginning to suspect that proud, defiant carelessness — and sympathy for the same — are. 

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The Law Is A Fatass

Irksome, Law

I am not svelte. However, I do not yet require two airplane seats to fly. People with a penchant for algorithmic progression who look at pictures of me circa 1991 and then 2008 may conclude that I will reach that stage sometime in the next decade, though. If that happens, and the traveling spirit strikes me, I ought to go to Canada. Because there, apparently, I would be legally entitled to two airline seats for the price of one, if I can't fit into just one.

Because clearly, in some cosmic sense, it is the airlines' fault that I can eat an entire large pizza in one sitting.

No word yet if legal norms in Canada require the airlines to bring me a steady stream of peanuts and cream sodas and wipe my enormous mouth with hot towels from First Class while I go NOM NOM NOM NOM.

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When Borat Meets "And Justice For All"


Where was the judge when the shit hit the fan? On the bench.

"The judge said, 'Is your name Cornell Tyler?' " Lagerwall said. "He said, 'My name is Self Destruction, but you can call me Smitty—well, I mean [expletive].' "

Tyler then quickly reached down the front of his pants and pulled out the baggie but the deputies beside him pounced on him.

"In that scuffle, he did throw the excrement toward the front of the courtroom," Mateck said. "The judge was not injured, but unfortunately our deputies were . . . adversely affected."

"Adversely affected." I'm sure that's just the term they used.


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I made you a business plan, but I eated it


Did someone strike it rich off of "All Your Base Are Belong To Us?" Does Godwin's Law pay dividends? Does rickrolling generate an income stream? I'm beginning to wonder, because apparently someone is making money off of lolcats, or at least pretend internet money.


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M – I – C —- See you in Hell, Mickey! — K – E – Y — Why? Because you're unclean!


Mickey Mouse must die. Says who? Oh, come on, you can guess this one.

Sheikh Muhammad Munajid claimed the mouse is "one of Satan's soldiers" and makes everything it touches impure.

But he warned that depictions of the creature in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney's Mickey Mouse, had taught children that it was in fact loveable.

The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.

Mr Munajid was asked to give Islam's teaching on mice during a religious affairs programme broadcast on al-Majd TV, an Arab television network.

Harsh. But, apparently, just as Tinky-Winky taught teh gay and Murphy Brown taught people to hate fathers, cute mice teach tolerance for filth:

"According to Islamic law, the mouse is a repulsive, corrupting creature. How do you think children view mice today – after Tom and Jerry?

Actually Jerry made me think that mice are assholes.

I eagerly await a fatwah on truly irritating cartoons, though. Where's the death threats for the freakishly proportioned Family Circus children? The pathological Cathy? That unforgivably unfunny neocon duck?

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Your Caprinae Update For the Day


1. If you are a lawyer, or forced to speak with one, you might have heard of the concepts of in personam and in rem. In personam denotes an action against a person, whereas in rem denotes an action against a thing, in as United States v. Bitchin' Yacht We Seized From A Drug Dealer and Now Want To Sell To Help Fund The War on Drugs..

Of course, there's a gray area between person and thing. I give you in goat.

Deputy Justice Minister Claude Nyamugabo said he was on a routine visit to the Kinshasa jail recently when he was surprised to find a herd of goats in one of the cells. Prison officials told him that the goats had been charged with "being sold illegally by the roadside" and were due to appear in court to answer for their crimes. Outraged, Nyamugabo ordered the goats released immediately. (The goat-sellers themselves apparently are still incarcerated.) He said that local police apparently had "serious gaps in their knowledge" and would be sent for retraining, suggesting that the Congo Police Academy has a course that covers whether or not to put goats in jail.

Which raises the eternal question that faces us with many warning labels, training courses, and cautionary statements: if someone is stupid enough to do it in the first place, what makes us think he'd understand or heed a warning?

2. And speaking of goats — I assure you we were — please visit me in the City of Angels, where goats are expected to work for a living.

Leaders of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency hired 100 goats to nibble away thick weeds on a steep slope at the corner of 4th and Hill streets, next to the Angels Flight funicular.

Agency officials said the goats were cheaper and more environmentally friendly than two-legged brush-clearers armed with gasoline-powered weed-whackers.

I would like to believe that the L.A. Times is using the word "hire" in its slightly archaic sense of "rent", as in "I hired a car for the day." However, I actually read the L.A. Times, so I'm pretty sure the word is being used as part of a PETA-driven agenda. Anyway, whether chattel, at-will employees, or independent contractors, the goats are perhaps not as cheap as you might expect:

An electrified fence helps corral the goats and keeps them from falling over a retaining wall at the base of the slope. Security guards will be on duty when he is not there to watch over the herd, said Gonzales, 71, of Chino.

You can't really blame the goats for demanding these benefits. If I were hanging out in a vacant lot at 4th and Hill I'd want an electric fence and a security guard too.

But you thought your boss was harsh about goofing off on the job? Check this:

Most of the South African Boer goats are female, Gonzales said. To keep them focused on their eating, males in the herd have been castrated, he said.


I may walk past there tomorrow on my way to lunch. I suspect it will be the biggest collection of smelly, scruffy, rude weed-seekers I've encountered since my sophomore dorm.

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