Google files for an IPO


"Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served- as shareholders and in all other ways - by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company."


Dear Ndugu,

My name is Warren R. Schmidt, and I'm your new foster father. I live in Omaha, Nebraska. My older brother Harry lives in Roanoke, Virginia, with his wife Estelle. Harry lost a leg two years ago to diabetes. I am 66 years old and recently retired as Assistant Vice President and Actuary at Woodmen of the World Insurance Company. And god damn it if they didn't replace me with some kid who; all right, so maybe he's got a little theory under his belt and can plug a few numbers into a computer but I could tell right off he doesn't know a damn thing about geniune real world risk assessment or managing a department for that matter, the cocky bastard! Anyway 66 must sound pretty old to a young fellow like yourself. The truth is, it sounds pretty old to me, too. Because when I look in the mirror and see the wrinkles around my eyes and the sagging skin on my neck and the hair in my ears and the veins on my ankles, I can't believe it's really me. When I was a kid, I used to think that maybe I was special, that somehow destiny would tap me to be a great man -- Not like Henry Ford or Walt Disney, or somebody like that -- but somebody, you know, semi-important. I got a degree in business and statistics and was planning to start my own business someday. Build it up into a big corporation, watch it go public, you know, maybe make the Fortune 500. I was gonna be one of those guys you read about. But somehow it just didn't work out that way. You gotta remember, I had a top-notch job at Woodmen and a family to support. I couldn't exactly put their security at risk. Helen, that's my wife, she wouldn't have allowed it.
But what about my family, you might ask. What about my wife and daughter? Don't they give me all the pride and satisfaction I could ever want? Helen and I have been married 42 years. Lately, every night, I find myself asking the same question. "Who is this old woman who lives in my house? Why is it that every little thing she does irritates me?" Like the way she gets the keys out of her purse long before we reach the car. And how she throws our money away on her ridiculous little collections. And tossing out perfectly good food just because the expiration date has passed. And her obsession, her obsession with trying new restaurants. And the way she cuts me off when I try to speak. And I hate the way she sits and the way she smells. For years now, she has insisted that I sit when I urinate. My promise to lift the seat and wipe the rim and put the seat back down wasn't good enough for her! No!
But then there's Jeannie. She's our only. I'll bet she'd like you. She gets a big kick out of different languages and cultures and so forth. She used to get by pretty good in German. She'll always be my little girl. She lives out in Denver so we don't get to see her much anymore. Oh sure, we stay in touch by phone every couple of weeks and she comes out for the holidays sometimes but not as often as we'd like. She has a position of some responsibility out there with a high-tech computer outfit so it's very hard for her to break away. Recently, she got engaged, so I suppose we'll be seeing even less of her now. The fellow's name is Randall Hertzel. He's got a sales job of some sort. Maybe Jeannie's a little past her prime but I still think she could have done a heck of a lot better. I mean, this guy's just not up to snuff, if you ask me, not for my little girl.
I'll close now and get this in the mail. Here I am rambling on and on and you probably want to hurry on down and cash that check and get yourself something to eat. So, take it easy and best of luck with all your endeavors.

Yours very truly,

Warren Schmidt


The Drafting Pencil Museum

This online museum includes galleries, histories, technical essays, and an exhaustive database of leadholders.


The Page 23, 5th Sentence Meme

Grab the nearest book at hand. Find the fifth sentence on page 23 and quote it on your blog or journal along with these instructions.

Here are the books equally near at hand at my desk at work:
"Connectors, Dossert ........................ 108" (Mayer Electrical Supply, Master Reference Catalog of Electrical Apparatus and Supplies, No. 80, 1979)
"Governor Sundquist received not one but two standing ovations from a crowd assembled to hear this news last year" (EnviroLink Handbook Southeast, Volume 2, 2003)
"arc doubleau: An arch, usually very massive, carried across a wide space, to support a groined vault or to stiffen a barrel vault." (Cyril M. Harris, ed. Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, 1975)
"affect: 2. to impress the mind or move the feelings of. (Random House Dictionary of the English Language, College Edition, 1968)
Hobbit Holes

"The immediate future looks 'greener' than it ever has for earth sheltered curvilinear architecture."


Come and Get It!

Your once in a lifetime opportunity to own an entire country music wax museum including wax figures of your favorite stars, authentic wardrobe items, props, instruments, sets, photographs, autographs, and much much more! (Thanks, David)

creepy Ernest Tubbs
A People's History of the Florida Panthers

"Respect to the organization! Submitted below for the edification and amusement of the Party, a brief history of the National Hockey League team the Florida Panthers as seen from a revolutionary perspective."


Zero Gravity Toilet


1. The toilet is of the standard zero-gravity type. Depending on requirements, system A and/or system B can be used, details of which are clearly marked in the toilet compartment. When operating system A, depress lever and a plastic dalkron eliminator will be dispensed through the slot immediately underneath. When you have fastened the adhesive lip, attach connection marked by the large "X" outlet hose. Twist the silver coloured ring one inch below the connection point until you feel it lock.

2. The toilet is now ready for use. The Sonovac cleanser is activated by the small switch on the lip. When securing, twist the ring back to its initial-condition, so that the two orange lines meet. Disconnect. Place the dalkron eliminator in the vacuum receptacle to the rear. Activate by pressing the blue button.

3. The controls for system B are located on the opposite wall. The red release switch places the uroliminator into position; it can be adjusted manually up o down by pressing the blue manual release button. The opening is self adjusting. To secure after use, press the green button which simultaneously activates the evaporator and returns the uroliminator to its storage position.

4. You may leave the lavatory if the green exit light is on over the door. If the red light is illuminated, one of the lavatory facilities is not properly secured. Press the "Stewardess" call button to the right of the door. She will secure all facilities from her control panel outside. When green exit light goes on you may open the door and leave. Please close door behind you.

5. To use the Sonoshower, first undress and place all your clothes in the clothes rack. Put on the velcro slippers located in the cabinet immediately below. Enter the shower. On the control panel to your upper right upon entering you will see a "Shower seal" button. Press to activate. A green light will then be illuminated immediately below. On the intensity knob select the desired setting. Now depress the Sonovac activation lever. Bathe normally.

6. The Sonova will automatically go off after three minutes unless you activate the "Manual off" over-ride switch by flipping it up. When you are ready to leave, press the blue "Shower seal" release button. The door will open and you may leave. Please remove the velcro slippers and place them in their container.

7. If the red light above this panel is on, the toilet is in use. When the green light is illuminated you may enter. however, you must carefully follow all instructions when using the facilities during coasting (Zero G) flight. Inside there are three facilities: (1) the Sonowasher, (2) the Sonoshower, (3) the toilet. All three are designed to be used under weightless conditions. Please observe the sequence of operations for each individual facility.

8. Two modes for Sonowashing your face and hands are available, the "moist-towel" mode and the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaner mode. You may select either mode by moving the appropriate lever to the "Activate" position.

If you choose the "moist-towel" mode, depress the indicated yellow button and withdraw item. When you have finished, discard the towel in the vacuum dispenser, holding the indicated lever in an "active" position until the green light goes on showing that the rollers have passed the towel completely into the dispenser. If you desire an additional towel, press the yellow button and repeat the cycle.

9. If you prefer the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaning mode, press the indicated blue button. When the twin panels open, pull forward by rings A and B. For cleaning the hands, use in this position. Set the timer to positions 10, 20, 30 or 40 indicative of the number of seconds required. The knob to the left, just below the blue light, has three settings, low, medium or high. For normal use, the medium setting is suggested.

10. After these settings have been made, you can activate the device by switching to the "ON" position the clearly marked red switch. If, during the washing operation, you wish to change the settings, place the "manual off" override switch in the "OFF" position. You may now make the change and repeat the cycle.

- from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick


Grave Error:

[Carnegie Mellon Sudent Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Alex] Meseguer has fired cartoonist Bob Rost, who drew [a] strip in which a goat uses a racial slur to brag to a mouse that he had hit a black person on a bike. Meseguer said he and Managing Editor Jim Puls, who signed off on that page, are considering resigning. All are white.

The April Fool's Day edition of The Tartan also includes graphic depictions of female genitalia, as well as poems about raping a teacher and mutilating a woman with an ice skate.

Meseguer explained to the crowd yesterday that the racial slur had been allowed into print accidentally because fatigue had impaired the editors' judgment. He promised he was taking measures to prevent anything similar from happening again.

But the demands of the campus community, black students said, go beyond an apology or even Meseguer's resignation. They want to reform the stigma and ignorance on campus that once prompted a student to ask Tommy Taylor, an African-American senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering and public policy, whether he could properly pronounce the word "ask."

[...]To review the accuracy, relevancy and effect on the campus of future editions of The Tartan, Meseguer and the administration plan a content review board that includes Dean of Student Affairs Michael Murphy, journalism professor Thomas O'Boyle, Vice Provost for Education Indira Nair and Gloria Hill, director of the Carnegie Mellon Action Project, a support service for African-American, Native American and Hispanic students.

The Tartan also will appoint an ethics manager to oversee general operating procedures and to act as an ombudsman, or representative to the community, Meseguer said."

I find it hard to comment on this story.The cartoon doesn't sound very funny to me, though I'll never see it. It seems to me there are some misplaced priorities and hypersensitivities inflating to distortion a case of run-of-the-mill poor judgment. The proposed "content review board" and "ethics manager" sound like an absurdly heavy-handed reactionary intervention. And is nobody upset about the teacher-raping and mutilating-women-with-ice-skates poems? It's just the n-word?