My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

8 Articles Tagged with “random stuff”

  1. A vexing matter of great concern

    I have discovered something extremely disturbing today, which I cannot let go unremarked and uncorrected. I have discovered that I don't know the term for a group of groundhogs!

    Wikipedia has a very nice list of animal names, which includes the collective nouns for each animal. Groundhogs, and even marmots, are noticeably absent from that list. A quick Google search reveals that I'm not the only crazy person out there. Now what do I do if I come across a ___ of mafia groundhogs who attempt to "make me an offer I can't refuse" and barely escape with my life? How am I supposed to recount such a tale if I don't know the correct collective noun to use?!

    I mean, is it just because groundhogs are largely solitary? But they still live together in burrows. So do we call them "burrow groups"? Families? Or, if you look at the list of animal names, a group of squirrels is called a "dray" or "scurry." Since groundhogs are marmots, and marmots are a type of ground squirrel, do these terms apply to groundhogs? Can you apply hypothetical syllogisms to collective nouns? So far it's the best lead I've got.

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  2. Deal of the 20th century?

    Did I promise there would be more blogging? Silly me.

    My friend Vivike came over today, and among the various things we discussed during our Frisbee tossing expedition was the "deal of the century." The purchase of Alaska from Russia was perhaps the deal of the nineteenth century. But that was, like, so 151 years ago. It remains to be seen what the deal of the twenty-first century will be. But what, do you think, was the deal of the twentieth century?

  3. Contact

    You're scanning a room full of people. Suddenly, there it is. Your eyes have caught those of another person, maybe someone far across the room. For a moment, you stare at each other. You wonder: is he staring at me? Am I staring at her? Which one of us started this? Then, just as quickly, you lose focus. You resume your scanning. The moment you shared collapses in on itself, and the night goes on.

    In other news, Harper is suing the Liberal Party for libel. Only in Canada, eh! :D

  4. Contents may catch fire

    We've got this bottle of whiteout in the drawer at the front desk of the art gallery. Regular whiteout or whatnot. I was bored one day and read the tiny printing on the back of the label. After resting my eyes from the strain of trying to read the subatomic type, I considered the implications of this warning: "Contents may catch fire." :huh:

    It's very ambiguous. What do they mean, "contents may catch fire?" So this liquid might just decide to spontaneously combust while it's sitting in the drawer? o_O Or does it mean that if I expose it to a heat source then the contents might catch fire, but on the other hand, they might not. I half-expected the brand name to be Schrodinger's Whiteout.

    I could expand my reading of the label to create even more interpretations. For instance, prior to the warning about quantum flammability, it says, "Keep out of reach of children". Let's concatenate that. "Keep out of reach of children; contents may catch fire." Let me get this straight: the whiteout company is implying that today's average child is some sort of pyromaniac who will light whiteout on fire at any chance he or…

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  5. The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything

    Millions of years ago, a race of hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional beings who manifest in our dimension as white mice built the second-greatest computer ever to exist. It was called Deep Thought, and it was given the task of calculating the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Deep Thought, after 7.5 million years of computation, discovered that it was, in fact, 42. The problem, however, was that no one really knew what the Question was, so the answer was out of context.

    Of course if you've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy you already know this. If you haven't, then you are a worthless strag and should read it, because it's a pretty good book. ;)

    Lately I have been meditating upon the meaning of life and why we're here. If you think about it, our mundane life is pretty much meaningless. Why do we go to school? To get educated so we can get a good job. Why do we get a job? So that we can make money. Why do we make money? So that we can spend money on things we need to survive. Why do we survive? Well, because it's what…

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  6. When people tell you to

    ...don't bother asking for directions.

    Muwahahaha. No, it doesn't bother me that I spend my spare time mapping out directions to Hell using Google Maps. Or that Hell is in Michigan, only 1721 km away.

    Wouldn't it be neat to visit Hell and then when people say, "Go to Hell", you can truthfully tell them that you've "been there, done that"? :w00t: And for residents, it would be amazing to be able to say, "I live in Hell" or, for former residents, "I'm from Hell."

    For those more interested in Hell, you may want to check out the Wikipedia article or its fairly superior (eg; humorous) BBC counterpart.

  7. We surrender

    Dear Kellogg's:

    On behalf of the People of Earth, I hereby formally surrender to you. Your evil scheme, as much as it pains me to admit it, has worked. We solemnly promise to purchase as much All-Bran cereal as you command, oh master, on the sole condition that you stop using William Shatner in your commercials. Usage of Shatner as an All-Bran spokesperson represents reckless endangerment of society, civilization, and The World As We Know It.

    Thanks.

  8. Can you follow directions?

    Time yourself. Three minutes only. - Read everything carefully before doing anything. - Open a new tab (or window for those of you unfortunate enough to be using Internet Explorer) - Go to Google - Think of an animal, any animal, and type it in - Take the first result on the second page. - Go to Yahoo! and type that result in. - Take the fourth result on the first page and write down the first word in the title on a piece of paper. - Below the title, write your name. - Circle your name. - Think of a number between 2 and 65. - Think of another number between 2 and 65. - Flip the paper over and add the two numbers together. - Go back to Google - Type the number into Google followed by the words "I am slowly going crazy" (in quotations) - If you reach this point in under three minutes, congratulations. Post a comment on this blog entry that says "I HAVE REACHED THIS STEP IN UNDER THREE MINUTES. I AM AN UBER-INTERNET USERoRZ!!!!" - Go to your favourite message board. - Randomly choose a topic title. - Paste the title into…

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