Friday, October 29, 2004

Observed Instances of Speciation

The Russian cytologist Karpchenko (1927, 1928) crossed the radish, Raphanus sativus, with the cabbage, Brassica oleracea. Despite the fact that the plants were in different genera, he got a sterile hybrid. Some unreduced gametes were formed in the hybrids. This allowed for the production of seed. Plants grown from the seeds were interfertile with each other. They were not interfertile with either parental species. Unfortunately the new plant (genus Raphanobrassica) had the foliage of a radish and the root of a cabbage.

AdSense is too damn smart!

Google AdSense placed this ad on this blog:
Broccoli - Made Fresh
Processed in one 1 business day. You pick capsule type & bottle size.
I had not mentioned "broccoli" anywhere. At first I thought that AdSense must have picked up "Brassica oleracea" and actually figured out that it was the botanical name for (among other things) broccoli. Wow!

Then I figured out that the page being advertized actually contains the phrase "Brassica oleracea". So Google isn't as smart as I thought.

It reminds of a party at that house that John Ellis and Will Richardson and JV rented off of 10th street. Someone brought was a bottle of PGA, and Pat Pace was drinking it straight. Several people were also having fun pouring the PGA into ash trays and such and lighting it on fire. At one point someone used the (plastic) cap from the PGA bottle to hold the fire, and the heat from the fire burned/melted a tiny hole in the cap. Everyone was too drunk to notice, so the cap was placed back on the bottle, and the bottle was for some reason placed in the refridgerator at the end of the party. Sideways in the fridge, that is, so that the PGA slowly leaked out through the hole in cap. The next day when Will opened the fridge and found PGA all over everything, his first thought was that the PGA was actually so powerful that it had melted the plastic just by being in contact with it. When the incident with the lighter was explained to him, I'm sure his disappointment in the potency of PGA was something similar to what I just experienced with regards to the potency of AdSense.


Sisters!, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Zinnia with pacifier

Zinnia with pacifier, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

S5: A Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System

S5 is a slide show format based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With one file, you can run a complete slide show and have a printer-friendly version as well. The markup used for the slides is very simple, highly semantic, and completely accessible. Anyone with even a smidgen of familiarity with HTML or XHTML can look at the markup and figure out how to adapt it to their particular needs. Anyone familiar with CSS can create their own slide show theme. It's totally simple, and it's totally standards-driven.

Zinnia Robertson

A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Born October 25, 2004.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

eBay item - 2 invitations to a wedding I don't want to go to

This seems to be making the rounds.

Not sure what this is either..

.. but we've already been eating some of the larger leaves for a couple of weeks. Turnips maybe?

Maybe this is the collards..

If this is the collards then that other stuff must be... what, mustard?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Brassica oleracea?

Brassica oleracea?, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Not sure what this is, actually. We sowed all kinds of green leafy vegetable seeds and now that they are sprouting we can't remember what we planted where.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Eric Longman :: Self-Signed IIS SSL Certificates using OpenSSL

People a work think I know how to do this. I don't, I just know where to look. (see also here)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Household Cyclopedia

The genesis of this site was a book published in 1881 called the Household Cyclopedia of General Information. Many of the articles are from that book and are fascinating from a historical perspective and for research purposes.

Monday, October 18, 2004


G33K, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Not actually a TLA, and not random either... but somebody on Flickr seems to like it.

171 NFS

171 NFS, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Here's another one.

6975 AWK

6975 AWK, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

There are only 17,576 possible 3-letter acronyms, but millions of cars in the state of Georgia. This means that the chance of seeing a random TLA from the unix/hacker/internet culture on someone's license plate is pretty high.

The power of table-oriented programming


Thursday, October 14, 2004


If you ever listen to "classic rock" radio, you've probably heard Ram Jam's rendition of Ledbelly's "Black Betty". The song is so stupid, even by my standards, that normally I switch stations when it comes on. But yesterday they played the full album version, and I happened to tune in right in the middle of it. Apparently the "radio edit" of the song you normally hear was really just the warmup for several minutes of ultra-70's excessive guitar soloing over the maddest double-bass-drum pounding you can imagine. Wow. My ears are still smoking.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Style is Substance

Yup. I'm really saying that. I'm saying that, for example, the next ANSI C update should define the standard K&R C programming style into the language grammar. Programs that use any new features should be required to be in K&R style or be rejected by the compiler as syntactically illegal.

Retro hair products, pt.5: Top Brass ZP-11 Anti-Dandruff Hairgroom

This is it! In a couple of months, this stuff ended the dandruff problem that had been the bane of my existence for years. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

It is rarely seen in stores, so I almost resorted to ordering it online. I actually found it at a small store near my house that specializes in "ethnic" hair care products. I'm not sure what ethnic group normally buys it. The store owner said that for a while she could no longer get it from Revlon, but now it appears to be back in production.

Do not confuse it with the normal Top Brass in the red box, which actually turns up quite often at drug stores. Only the one in the blue box has the ZP-11 (pyrithione zinc, just like Head and Shoulders and the elusive anti-dandruff version of Brylcreem).

Top Brass is basically in the same genre as Brylcreem, although the texture is slghtly less oily and more like toothpaste. Possibly related to this, it is less shiny, particular after the hair has dried. The label promises "no medicinal odor" but this is an out and out lie. The smell is hard to describe by any word other than medicinal.

"Unlike wash away shampoos, full medication clings to your scalp hour after hour, day and night." This is damn true. And it works. There are other leave-in dandruff treatments, including one by Aveda and one by Head and Shoulders themselves, but those don't have the added benefit of retro hair styles or pseudo-military packaging. Top Brass doesn't just cure dandruff, it probably also kills Nazis or something.

Warning: wash your hands thoroughly after use and keep them away from your hair during the day! This is for two reasons. One, if it gets on your hands it might get into your food, and the taste is unpleasently bitter and hard to get out of your mouth. The worst, however, is if you get it in your eyes. It burns like fire. I got some in my eyes while driving, and I almost had to pull the car over to the side of the road because it was so difficult to keep my eyes open with the Top Brass eating away at them.

Another disadvantage is that you really don't get a lot of it each tube, so you run through it pretty quickly if you use if everyday like I did.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Retro hair products, pt.4: Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing

The original upon which the entire "VO5" product line was based, this is a truly unisex product. The ads are apparently aimed at women, and it comes with a little instruction sheet that illustrates it's use by a woman. Women apparently like it for dealing with split ends and other damages. Supposedly it was invented to tame the frizziness of Hollywood starlets' hair, possibly even Marilyn Monroe. That is why it qualifies as "retro" even though it is apparently not regarded by anyone as being in the same class of cultural artifact as Brylcreem, etc. However, places like Walgreens actually stock it in both the men's and women's hair sections. I can only assume guys are buying it because they want a big ole mess of grease in their hair.

This stuff doesn't mess around. The label says it all "super-concentrated". "Contains no alchohol or water". I've also seen it referred to as "organic", which I guess is literally true in the sense of the word "organic" that you learned in chemistry class.

In fact the two main ingredients are mineral oil and petrolatum (ie., petroleum jelly). In other words, it is very similar to what you can get by mixing those two, as I described previously. Ignore the directions that tell you to squeeze an eigth-of-an-inch blob. Squeeze out enough to seriously grease it up. Or better yet, buy it by the tub.

Your hair (and scalp) will stay very shiny, very slick, and very greasy all day long. You will be able to drive with the window rolled down on the freeway and your hair will not budge. It apparently has all kinds of wacky uses, although most of these could probably be accomplishd cheaper with plain petroleum jelly. If your lips are ever chapped, just run a finger through your hair and rub some of it on your lips. Why didn't Suzie Chapstick think of that?

The main disadvantage of this product (assuming you don't consider the inherent greasiness to be a disadvantage, which I obviously don't), is the smell. It somehow manages to smell more petroleum-jelly-like than petroleum jelly does, and worse things on top of that! To many people (including my wife) it quite frankly stinks, and the smell doesn't go away.

Brylcreem official website

Brylcreem's current website looks like some kind of a fashion shoot. I can tell you that the guy in this picture is using a hell of a lot more than a lil' dab. Some of the other brands on this same site actually border on being not safe for work.

Looks like a young Paul Clemmons, doesn't he Hatch? :: the induce act and the cartel

Connects the current fight over the INDUCE act to answering the question of "why does radio suck?".

Monday, October 04, 2004

Incontinents... only $3.34, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

This is the aisle where the Brylcreem and Wildroot are sold at a Wal-Mart.. what are they trying to imply about the customers of those products?

marketing and branding article - My Excellent Brylcreem Adventure

Nice article about Brylcreem, Wildroot, etc.

Retro hair products, pt.3: Brylcreem

Brylcreem is so retro-chic that it is almost mainstream. People who've never heard of Vitalis or Wild Root recognize the phrase "a little dab'l do ya". You can find Brylcreem at every drug store, supermarket, and sometimes even convenience stores.

So much information about Brylcreem is already available on the Net that I won't waste too much space on it here. I won't bother describing its history or cultural impact, etc. You know how to use Google.

Many people think that Brylcreem was "greasy kid stuff". Actually depending on what sources I consult, it was either Brylcreem or Vitalis that used "no more greasy kid stuff" as an ad compaign. Compared to pomades and products containing petroleum jelly, Brylcreem is indeed non-greasy. Sort of an evolutionary step towards modern hair gels, I guess.

Like the Vaseline Hair Tonic discussed last time, it doesn't offer much in the way of "hold". Not in the usual hairspray sense of the word. If you follow the slogan and use a lil' dab, your hair will be shiny and good-smelling and easy to manage, but don't expect to be able to have a pompadour or 80s-cartoon-punk-rocker spikes. (If that's what you want then you should be using a pomade of some sort.) Using a big dab will allow you to comb just about any normal-looking hairstyle and your hair will stay put, and the smell will be even more pronounced.

So what does it smell like? To me it smells like a lotion that you would normally expect to put on your hands. (Looks and feels like it, too). So you will walk around smelling like you have a head full of lotion. Which is not neccessarily a bad thing.

Since the reason I started looking into these kinds of products was dandruff/dry-scalp, I was very interested to learn that there is a special version of Brylcreem that contains pyrithione zinc (the same thing as Head and Shoulders). Unfortunately I cannot find this at any store.

Because I couldn't find the dandruff formula, I actually stayed away from Brylcreem at the start of this project, and only went back to try it as an afterthought after having essentially solved the dandruff problem (oops.. spoiler!).

Friday, October 01, 2004

We do not validate

We do not validate, originally uploaded by jeff_robertson.

Not what you want to see at the front desk of a company that makes web applications.