Monday, November 09, 2015

My Runaway JLENS Blimp Costume, Halloween 2015

Although I'd made significant progress on my dad bod, I didn't really have a costume for Halloween this year. Getting down to the wire, I was resigned to buying something off-the-rack.

Then, on Wednesday, October 28, a JLENS sensor blimp got loose.

Inspiration struck. But could I do a costume in less than three days?

The Planning
I didn't have a lot of time to plan. Initially, I thought about using a balloon (and in retrospect, I should have tried harder to go this route), but I couldn't find the right shape, so I decided to make something with paper mache.

I looked at some reference images, and just needed a rough teardrop shape, with fins, and a bulge on the bottom for the sensor pod. I tried making a model out of aluminum foil:


The structure would be chicken wire, though I decided to add some supports, using round foam core discs hot-glued onto a dowel:

Next, came the chicken wire, which was a pain to work with. I eventually got it into a teardrop/bomb/whale shape -- since it was a runaway blimp, it didn't need to be perfect. And it wasn't:

I decided I would wear it on my head. For the mount, I wrapped chicken wire around the bike-helmet-in-a-box mount from last year's Speed Hump sign costume, and then wired the "sensor pod" to the bottom of the blimp.

The chicken wire, painful as it was, was the easy part. Next came the paper mache, which I haven't worked with since... I'm not sure. It was messy. I laid it down in neat rows, instead of criss-crossing all around, so the bottom parts wouldn't stay on and there were lots of gaps. I started about 8pm Friday night, and kept going for about 10 hours, before taking a 2-hour nap.

Eventually, by early afternoon on Saturday, it looked like this. I used white duct tape to patch some of the bigger gaps, and used a heat gun to dry off the dampest spots. (If you look closely, you can see scorch marks.)

The fins were easy -- I made 3 out of foam core, and hot-glued them in place. Then it was ready for painting.
It's a lopsided oblong shape, so if I ever need a whale or Super Guppy cargo plane, I'm set.

Because I built it on the floor, I didn't really get a look at the underside. This would be a problem, because I didn't see what the gaps looked like, and since I'd be wearing it on my head, people would be looking up at them. But it was too late to really do anything about it, so I painted it:

The paint was dry to the touch in about 30 minutes, so that was about it.

The Wearing
To test it, I hoisted it onto my head and buckled the strap. It was a lot heavier than I expected, and wasn't balanced particularly well. But I was stuck with it.

Ultimately, I only lasted about 10 minutes under it -- it was unstable, I had a hard time walking indoors with it, and it wasn't very much fun wearing it. So I switched to a backup costume for the rest of the evening.

Like I said, since the aesthetic was "crashed runaway blimp," I could live with the imperfections (and there were many). But if I had to do it again, I wouldn't do paper mache -- it was too heavy to support with just my neck -- I'd just find a regular balloon, or even just tether a helium balloon to my head. And while I can't say I enjoyed the build process, I did find the experience educational.

Materials list:
* 5-pound bag of white flour (for making paper mache)
* Newspaper
* Foam core board (for fins and internal support)
* 5/8" dowel (36" long)
* Roll of chicken wire
* One can of lacquer-style white glossy spray paint
* Hot glue gun
* Heat gun
* "Bike helmet in a box" mounting system
* Pliers and tin ships for cutting and bending wire.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Greek Way: Fraternities at Duke, 1989-1990

This is kind of random; I'm trying to incrementally declutter my house, which in this case means reluctantly going through things I haven't touched in over 25 years (like I said, incremental), when I found something that I've had since my p-frosh days. (Incidentally, it seems that "p-frosh" is a Duke-exclusive take on "pre-frosh.")

Actually, I don't remember if I received this before setting foot on campus or after, but that's not important. It's a booklet entitled, The Greek Way - Fraternities at Duke, 1989-1990, and it was given to all the freshman males to introduce them to the fraternity system at Duke, the rush and pledging policies, and descriptions of all the fraternities.

I never rushed, so I don't know why I kept it all these years (lie: pack rat), but I decided to scan it and share it so I could throw out the hard copy. It's a forty-page PDF file, complete with advertisements, embedded for your perusal:

Consider it an artifact for the archives, a historical document in an era before Facebook, Snapchat, and email. The pictures in the scan are only slightly more terrible than the actual photos in the booklet (such was the state of printing back then).

I didn't really read for detail, but the most interesting part was the fraternity descriptions, submitted by the fraternities themselves. Some play it straight and dull; others go wacky; some try for a bit of edge. A plurality bemoan the impossibility of capturing the diverse, mold-breaking, stereotype-defying essence of their fraternity in words (so come by kegs, meet some of the brothers, and judge for yourself etc.)

And then there's the stuff that would never fly today (at least not in a publication that features an introduction from the Dean of Students), the standout being this little tidbit from Delta Kappa Epsilon in response to the question, "What is the best thing about being a Deke?" "Beautiful little sisters with no tolerance." (Page 12.)

Anyway, now I can throw out the hard copy. Yay for infinite bits!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Vital Update on My TV Viewing Habits

I was cleaning out space on my DVR (the modern digital analog of the VCR, which as Douglas Adams so deftly noted is a labor-saving device that "watched tedious television for you"), so here's where I am with the summer TV lineup. (May contain nuts. And spoilers.)

"The Last Ship" (TNT) -- Silly as all hell, and enough plot holes to sink the USS Nathan James, but the close-combat fight scenes are very nicely done. Status: Still lasting, but only half-watching until the fight scenes.

"The Strain" (FX) -- Also pretty silly, but still watchable. I like how the show's New York City has gone from complete vampire-denial, to the stringing up of decapitated corpses on Staten Island. I was about to make a similar comment on how much son Zach has grown, even though only a few weeks have passed on the show, but I see he was replaced after season 1 with another actor. He seems older, more sullen, and irritating. Carl, is that you? Get in the house! Status: Still watching, but not straining. Goes good with meal prep.

"Tyrant" (FX) -- I like it, even though I'm still hoping that Barry wins power, then gradually turns heel and becomes a tyrant himself. (I mean, the parallels with Bashar al-Assad weren't exactly subtle. But maybe having an Americanized protagonist break bad like that doesn't work, even on basic cable.)

The latest episodes pretty suddenly introduces the show's version of Islamic State/Daesh, then turns Barry into an insurgent. We'll see how that goes. And when will Barry's daughter get some plot lines? She's like the female version of Bobby Draper from "Mad Men." Status: Still watching, usually while editing photos.

"Killjoys" (Syfy) -- I tried. Really, I tried. But I just couldn't care anymore, and if I wanted to watch "Firefly," I'd just watch "Firefly." Status: Killed joy.

"Dark Matter" (Syfy) -- I tried. Not as hard as with "Killjoys", but I still tried. Not even Agent Curtis could save my interest in the show. (He's still on "The Strain," though.) Status: Doesn't matter.

"Hannibal" (NBC) -- (Boy, not a lot of network TV shows here.) I'm not caught up, mostly because you actually have to watch the show when you watch the show. Status: Still watching. Still cancelled.

"Defiance" (Syfy) -- This is a show that I'm still watching, and I'm not sure why. (Also, see below.) A lot of turnover in the cast since last season. And while I like Lee Tergesen in his scenery-chewing turn as a marauding general, they're really dragging out this season's impending invasion of the town. Status: No wordplay, no idea why I'm still watching. But I am.

"Falling Skies" (TNT) -- This show has been on for five seasons. Five. I've been half-watching since almost the beginning (I still haven't seen the first episode, which annoys me), and I haven't stopped watching. I think it's because I just want to see how it ends, but I'm not sure if that's because of or in spite of the soapiness of the writing. (Blonde arch-nemesis! Brother love triangle! Pope's heel turn!) Oh, and Mira Sorvino seemed perpetually confused that she was on the show. Status: Watching for the fall. Or the fold. As in "while folding laundry."

"Humans" (AMC) -- I almost skipped this show. I'm glad I didn't, it's much better than I expected. Status: Still watching.

"Mr. Robot" (USA) -- Technically, I'm not watching "Mr. Robot" yet, because it's piling up on my DVR. But I'm hoping I'll get to it. Status: Planning on watching.

"Married" (FX) -- I think this is the only sitcom I watch right now. And it's not really a sitcom. I mean, it's more comedy than a dramedy. Maybe it's a "com-a." No, that won't work. Anyway, it's a pretty easy lift and low commitment, since it's only a 22-minute half-hour sitcom. (Fun fact: I think I'm older than everyone on the show except Paul Reiser. Actually, that's wrong -- John Hodgman has me by a year.) Status: Watching.

Anyway, after writing this, I see I could pretty much cut the cable cord if I could get FX, USA, AMC, Syfy, and TNT. (Add in Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, and FXX, and that would pretty much be it, outside of PBS, which I could get over the air.) I'll have to see how that might work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fringe Festival Saturday, 2015

Last weekend was the first weekend of the 2015 Fringe Festival at its new locations (Trinidad, near H Street; Brookland; and Gallaudet). Unfortunately, it was also a weekend of scheduled track work on the Red Line, which meant a lot more bus-hopping than usual.

I took the train in, switching to the free shuttle to get to NoMA, then walked to the Logan Fringe Arts Space (the new location of Fringe HQ) for the first show, War and Peas. Actually, I had to run the last few blocks (didn't want to miss a show, unlike last year).

The show itself was mostly dance and puppets; it was okay, but the show is really meant for kids, and there weren't that many of those at the 2:30pm show (even including the one kid who had to leave due to meltdown issues).

I also didn't have time to hang around on H Street (a short walk away), or even at the new Fringe Bar, since I had to catch the Fringe shuttle to get to the next show in the Brookland neighborhood.

I'd never been to Brookland -- its a very suburban-feeling neighborhood, one that's seeing a lot of new, hip construction around the Brookland Metro stop.

The second show was really good: Tammy Faye's Final Audition. The lead actress was great (also, as the play started, I was in the front row of her "studio audience" and she greeted me), but I was also impressed by her co-star, who portrayed four characters, including Jim Bakker and Jim J. Bullock.

Afterwards, I did have some time (though, as it turned out, not as I thought) to grab a beer and a catfish po' boy at the Brookland Pint, at the Brookland Arts Walk:

Brookland Arts Walk sign
My third show of the day was out-of-the-way, at the DC Arts Center in Adams-Morgan (not too far from Amsterdam Falafelshop... my original plan was to get a falafel there, but the po' boy put a stop to that). I got on Metro, but after the mandatory switch to the Metro shuttle, I knew I wasn't going to make it in time, so I got out at Metro Center and cabbed it the rest of the way. Wasteful, I know, but I wasn't going to miss out on another show due to mass transit delays.

As it turns out, I probably could have saved the cab fare (though we'll never know), since the showing of Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom started a little late. The show itself was creepy and I think I missed a twist or two, but it also had a nice use of bloody wound makeup.

So that was my first round of Fringe shows. I have three shows left on my current pass, but I think I'll spread them out a bit more, especially so I can spend some more time on H Street this weekend.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I Held on to AOL Stock. Which Proves I'm an Idiot

I am stupid and I enjoy throwing away money. This is the only conclusion a reasonable person could make upon hearing what I'm about to post. (It's also the ultimate justification for the name of this blog).
Did you know that AOL was acquired by Verizon for $50 a share? I did. Did you know the deadline for accepting the share purchase offer was midnight Monday, June 22? I didn't. (Seriously, who would have thought? The deal closed in 42 days, making it the 11th-fastest acquisition deal over $1 billion this year.)

Apparently, I still owned some ESPP shares from way back that had been converted from AOL to TWX and back again. And by not responding to the letter in that funny-looking envelope, I missed out on the $50/share buyout offer.

That basically means that I now own shares in a company that no longer exists, and left a bunch of money on the table, because I didn't read my snail mail.

How much? In raw terms, it was... enough to cause flinching and moderate psychic pain. However, as they were ESPP shares, it means some of them were underwater, and the rest just represented years of blood, sweat, and tears. 

In the final accounting, I'll say it cost me more than a modern big-screen TV, and less than a moderately-priced used car. 

Call it a tangible reminder that stupid should hurt (or at least cost).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Update: I Got Burgled, Got Jacked Up, Got a Job

I Got Burgled 
I woke up extra early on a Saturday morning to drive out to an event, and was so bleary-eyed that it took me a few extra seconds to notice that my driver's side car door was already ajar.

At first I thought, geez, I wasn't that bad last night, was I? Then I saw that the driver's interior light was on, illuminating a mess of junk on the seat and a hole in my dashboard where my ashtray/change holder used to be:

Apparently, I'd left my car unlocked Friday night, and sometime between midnight and 6am, some miscreant took advantage of that fact. I lost a pocketknife and about ten bucks in quarters and small bills. Oh, and the bastard took the damn ashtray, which will run me at least $30 to replace. (I'm sure he -- I'm assuming it's a he -- didn't keep the ashtray to feed the thriving underground market trafficking in 2002 Mazda Protege ashtrays, but I didn't see it laying around nearby. Maybe he kept it as a trophy. You know who else keeps trophies of their crimes? Serial killers.)

Fortunately, the thief didn't get any of the other items in my car that are of nontrivial value, and didn't break anything (unlike that time in Baltimore), so I guess it's just a reminder to be more careful.

I did file a police report online, though it didn't make the police blotter.

Got Jacked Up 
Another Saturday, this time at the gym. Like I posted to Twitter, I hurt my back (again) doing exercises (this time, kettlebell swings) that I was specifically doing to keep from hurting my back again. Textbook irony.

The instant *twinge* let me know that it happened. It didn't feel as bad as I've done it before, so I didn't even have to hobble out of the gym. I stayed most of the weekend in, took a few Advil, and thought I was okay.

Then I woke up Monday morning, and my back was so tight I could barely get up. I had to take a work from home day, and spent all day flat on my back, popping NSAIDs, with my laptop perched on my stomach.

By Tuesday, I was back on my feet, though I'm glad my Thursday kickball game got rained out (controversially). I would have been pretty useless.

Got a Job
Did you notice that bit about taking a "work from home day"? As a freelance consultant for the past few years, that was pretty much every day. But I started a new job on June 8 -- I'm a Senior Digital Strategist (read: Associate) at Booz Allen.

Talk about burying the lede. I've held off on announcing it, and in fact, I haven't yet updated my LinkedIn profile. Partly it was to make sure they didn't change their minds... NO TAKEBACKS! Kidding, as we know, of course, Virginia is an at-will employment statement. Though right now, I'm still feeling my way around and learning the ropes.

It's funny: when I was at Deltek, I had to learn a lot about government contracting, but since I'd never done it, it was all theoretical, abstract knowledge. Now, I am one (well, I'm not on a contract yet), so I'm seeing how things actually work.

Including managing and writing proposals. Wow.

This also means that I'm wearing an RFID-equipped leash again, sporting the worst ID picture I've ever taken, and I'm even wearing it on a lanyard around my neck (which I refused to do when I was at AOL, preferring the pull-starter at waist level).

I'm also commuting to Tysons, just like I did when I first moved down here to work for AOL.

One other mildly amusing thing I've found so far: Most of the internal company sites are subdomains that live off of When they have to pronounce these URLs, employees actually do say "BAH." As in "Bah, humbug."

I haven't yet taken the Metro to work, but I'll have to give that a try soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Turning 43 Is Trivial

I turned 43 this week. 43 seems nondescript. It's not a recognized milestone of any sort. It's not even a particularly interesting number. Basically, 43 seems... trivial.

With that in mind, this year, my Facebook birthday greeting response theme was: "43 TRIVIA." For every birthday greeting on my wall, I replied with a hand-curated, randomly selected piece of trivia involving the number 43.

Initially, they all came from the 43 Wikipedia page (e.g. "43 is the 14th-smallest prime number."), which is why the first batch are math-y and not particularly interesting. That vein got tapped out quickly and I had to hit Google. Eventually, I got desperate, and started using any appearance of "43" that I could find, then "forty three."
  1. Forty-three is the 14th smallest prime number.
  2. The previous prime is forty-one.
  3. 43 is the smallest prime that is not a Chen prime.
  4. 43 degrees Centigrade is 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 316.15 Kelvin.
  5. In the year 43 CE, the Roman conquest of Britain began.
  6. 41 and 43 comprise a twin prime.
  7. Movie 43 (2013), is a film consisting of a series of interconnected short stories, featuring some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, which make up the insane storylines a washed-up producer is pitching to a movie company. (It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 4, which is... bad.)
  8. 43 is the maximum number of cars participating in a NASCAR race in the Cup Series, and, through the 2012 season, the Nationwide Series.
  9. 43 is also the third Wagstaff prime.
  10. Number 43, in Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), is one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's most famous poems
  11. 43 is the Saros number of the lunar eclipse series which began on August 27, 1482 BCE and ended on March 15, 70 CE. The duration of Saros series 43 was 1550.5 years, and it contained 87 lunar eclipses.
  12. The chemical element with the atomic number 43 is technetium. It does indeed have has the lowest atomic number of any element that does not possess stable isotopes. Also, its melting point is 2430 Kelvin (2157 degrees Celsius, 3915 degrees Fahrenheit)
  13. 43 is the smallest prime number expressible as the sum of 2, 3, 4, or 5 different primes
  14. +43 is the code for direct dial international phone calls to Austria.
  15. The website 43(dot)com is a parked domain. Facebook deems it a security threat, and wouldn't let me include a link to it.
  16. Over in Asia, during the year 43, Vietnam was designated a province of China.
  17. In the US's National Football League, the number 43 was worn by Jim Norton of the Houston Oilers. The Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) retired the number.
  18. 43 is the largest natural number that is not a (original) McNugget number.
  19. 43 is a centered heptagonal number.
  20. Joey Savatgy will run the number 43 in the 2014 250MX and 250SX series and is sponsored by Armswag
  21. 43 in binary is 101011.
  22. The New General Catalogue object NGC 43, a barred spiral galaxy in the constellation Andromeda.
  23. 43 is the designation of Interstate 43, a freeway in Wisconsin.
  24. "43" is a song on the album Level 42 by Level 42
  25. 43 was the number used by Jan Alston (ZSC Lions, Zurich, Switzerland) from 2001 to 2010
  26. Messier object M43, a magnitude 7.0 H II region in the constellation of Orion, a part of the Orion Nebula, and also sometimes known as de Mairan's Nebula.
  27. 1/2 oz. of Camembert cheese is 43 calories
  28. The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Coral Sea was CV-43
  29. Psalm 43 begins "Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked."
  30. At the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2001, Steely Dan's Two Against Nature took Album of the Year.
  31. Dennis the Dachshund lost 43 pounds, going from 56 to 13 pounds in January 2015.
  32. 43 is the fourth term of Sylvester's sequence, one more than the product of the previous terms (2 × 3 × 7).
  33. Now That's What I Call Music! 43! (a.k.a. Now 43) topped the Billboard 200 in August, 2012, and featured Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," and Maroon 5's "Payphone."
  34. Cafe 43 is the restaurant at the George W. Bush Presidential Center:
  35. 43 in Morse Code is ....- ...--
  36. Acetylcholinesterase, with the symbol ACHE, has a gene ID of 43. (I have no idea what anything on that page means)
  37. According to Pro Football Talk, as of Tuesday, NFL teams have traded 2015 draft selections 43 times.
  38. 43 million streams of “Happy” on Pandora earned Pharrell Williams $2,700 in royalties.
  39. A serving of 6 medium raw oysters is 43 calories.
  40. Celebrities who died at 43 include: John Candy, Natalie Wood, porn star John Holmes, and Lisa Robin Kelly of That '70s Show
  41. Article 43 of the UN Charter says that member nations should make available to the Security Council armed forces, assistance, and facilities.
  42. 43 is a Heegner number.
  43. WPMT FOX43 is Central Pennsylvania’s FOX station serving Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Lebanon Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas.
  44. Oban 14 (a single malt scotch whiskey) is 43% alcohol (86 proof)
  45. 43 is a repdigit in base 6 (111).
  46. In 2009's Super Bowl XLIII (43), the Steelers defeated the Cardinals 27-23.
  47. The Federalist #43 was written by James Madison and contains the only reference to the Copyright Clause in The Federalist Papers.
  48. The Mark 43 Iron Man armor will appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron
  49. Route 43 is a DC Metrobus route that serves the Mount Pleasant Line
  50. Fairfax County does not currently have a Fire Station 43. (Its newest station is station 42, Wolftrap.)
  51. 43 is the number for Richard Petty's race car when he won his seven Winston Cup Championships. He also won 200 races in his career, 95% of them in the famous #43.
  52. The parallel 43° North forms most of the boundary between the State of Nebraska and the State of South Dakota.
  53. 1⁄2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt with 1 tsp sugar-free strawberry jam (43 calories)
  54. Windows Error Code 43: Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems
  55. At the 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards in 1991, Cheers took Best Comedy and L.A. Law took Best Drama.
  56. 43 is the Saros number of the solar eclipse series which began on April 29, 1513 BCE and ended on June 5, 233 BCE. The duration of Saros series 43 was 1280.1 years, and it contained 72 solar eclipses.
  57. 43 was used by Patrice Brisebois (Montreal Canadiens) from 1991 to 2004
  58. Washington Redskin Larry Brown wore 43; the number has not been used since he retired.
  59. Federalist #43 also deals with the Treason Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
  60. George W. Bush was the 43rd President of the United States.
  61. The Mark 43 torpedo was the first and smallest of the United States Navy light-weight anti-submarine torpedoes.
  62. WASP-43b is an exoplanet discovered in 2011.
  63. Idaho became the 43rd state in 1890.
  64. "43" is a song by Mushroomhead on the album Mushroomhead.
  65. NASA's X-43 was an unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft using a scramjet engine.
  66. Expedition 43 is the 43rd and current expedition to the International Space Station. The second part of the expedition began with the launch of Soyuz TMA-16M on Friday, March 27, 2015.
  67. STS-43 was the ninth mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
  68. At the 43rd Academy Awards in 1971, George C. Scott became the first actor to reject an Oscar. His Best Actor Oscar was for his role in Patton, which also took Best Picture. 
  69. In September 2014, 43 males students in the Mexican state of Guerrero disappeared, presumably kidnapped and killed by a crime syndicate.
  70. Part 43 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations references Contract Modifications.
  71. 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014  
  72. Here is the episode list for Sesame Street season 43
  73. 43 is the number worn by Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics (MLB), and has been retired.
  74. 43 is the number used by Ken Block on his rally cars. 
  75. 43 calories is 179.9 joules
  76. Part 43 of the Federal Aviation Regulations covers Maintenance, preventitive maintenance, rebuilding, and alteration.
  77. Duke basketball player Mike Gminiski's jersey, #43, was retired.
  78. The next prime after 43 is 47.
  79. The most recent Washington Nationals player to use #43 was Ross Ohlendorf in 2013.
  80. Licor 43 (or Cuarenta y tres) is a popular Spanish liqueur, which is distilled with 43 different herbs and spices.
  81. On the Washington Capitals, number 43 is worn by right wing Tom Wilson.
  82. In Mac OS X, error -43 is "The operation cannot be completed because one or more required items cannot be found." 
  83. 43 was the jersey number of Brad Daugherty, ESPN NASCAR analyst and retired American basketball player. It was retired by the Cavaliers on March 1, 1997.
  84. 4:3 is the standard television aspect ratio (1.33:1)
  85. The Russian GM-94 grenade launcher fires a projectile 43mm in diameter.
  86. Federalist #43 references a desire that the national government be given exclusive jurisdiction over a new national capitol and provides the rationale for what later became the District Clause of Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
  87. This week, Glock announced its Model 43. The Glock 43 is a single-stack 9mm handgun.
  88. Mark43 is a police records management system
  89. Brad Daugherty's #43 jersey was a number he picked as a tribute to NASCAR legend Richard Petty (whom Daugherty lists as his favorite sportsman)
  90. This is Edvard Grieg's Six Lyric Pieces, Opus 43
  91. In the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game, card number 43 is the Manipulator of Souls
  92. In the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 43 deals with Social Services.  
  93. The Price Is Right is currently in its 43rd season
  94. Chapter 43 of the Texas Penal Code covers public indecency, with subchapters on prostitution and obscenity  
  95. Huckleberry Finn has 43 chapters  
  96. The GBU-43/B is the MOAB, officially known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, commonly known as the "Mother Of All Bombs"
  97. Title 43 of the United States Code outlines the role of Public Lands
  98. On the Dublin (Ireland) bus system, bus 43 runs from Talbot St. towards Swords Business Park
  99. From June to November 2014, Kim Kardashian's mobile game made $43 million
  100. The 43 Bar & Grill is a sports bar in Sunnyside, NY
  101. On the Fortune 500 2014, PepsiCo is 43
  102. The Code of Virginia Title 43 deals with Mechanics' and Certain Other Liens
  103. 1:43 scale is a popular size of die-cast model cars in Europe, Asia and the US.
  104. The week ending February 6, 2015, the TSA discovered 43 firearms in carry-on bags. Of those, 40 were loaded and 17 had rounds chambered.  
  105. The Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 43 deals with Infants and Juveniles
  106. Property sales in Ireland rose 43% in 2014  
  107. 4/3 or Fourth Thirds is a standard created by Olympus and Kodak for digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) and mirrorless camera design and development.
  108. The world record for data transfer is 43 terabits per second, set by researchers at the Technical University of Denmark in 2014.  
  109. In physical cosmology, the Planck epoch (or Planck era) is the earliest period of time in the history of the universe, from zero to approximately 10−43 seconds (Planck time).  
  110. In 2013, The Monty Python reunion performance at London's O2 Arena sold out in 43 seconds.
  111. 43 Years With the Same Bird is a book written by Daily Mirror columnist Brian Reade. It documents his lifelong following of Liverpool F.C.  
  112. Reportedly, Converse sells a pair of Chuck Taylors every 43 seconds.  
  113. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans has twice hit his career-high of 43 points, most recently in a March 9, 2015 game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
  114. In an English Premier League game last week, Liverpool's Steven Gerrard was red-carded 43 seconds after entering the game as a second-half substitute for stamping on the leg a Manchester United player.
    Liverpool player Steven Gerrard, with a heat map showing his movements in the game where he was ejected after 43 seconds.
  115. The Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the crew of the B-29 bomber Enola Gay was set to detonate 43 seconds after release
  116. Section 43 of the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants ends with "Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen."
  117. The height of a stack of 100 one-dollar bills measures .43 inches. (Presumably, a stack of 10,000 one-dollar bills would be 43 inches high.)  
  118. 43 is the smallest prime that is not the sum of two palindromes
  119. There is a blog, Interstate Forty-Three, dedicated to the number 43. It was last updated in 2008, and I didn't find it until this point, which probably would have made this whole exercise much easier.
  120. 43 is the smallest prime formed from reverse concatenation of two consecutive numbers
  121. According to the Mayo Clinic, men with a waist circumference of 43 inches were at 52 percent greater risk of death than men with a 37-inch waist.
  122. 43 is the smallest prime that is not the sum of two palindromes
  123. This is the translation of poem 43 of Roman poet Catullus:
    "Greetings, you girl with neither a little nose, handsome feet, black little eyes long fingers, a dry mouth, and truly tongue not exceedingly elegant. Sweetheart of a Formian debtor, does the province say that you are beautiful? Is our Lesbia compared with you? Oh insensible and coarse generation!"
  124. 43 West 43rd Street in New York City houses a law firm.
  125. 43 is the smallest prime whose index (14) is divisible by the sum of its digits (4+3)
  126. The 43-star flag became the official United States flag on July 4th, 1890. Five stars were added for the admission of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho. The flag lasted for just one year.
  127. Division 43 of the American Psychological Association is the Society for Family Psychology.
  128. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 43 covers the Syracuse, Utica and Oswego areas of New York.
  129. When polled, 43% of Americans over the age of 18 replied "what." (Note: not an actual fact.)
  130. 43 is the smallest non-palindromic prime which on subtracting its reverse gives a perfect square (i.e., 43 - 34 = 32)
  131. The 3M Steri-Drape Fluoroscope Drape 1012 measures 35 inches x 43 inches
  132. The 43rd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army was active from 1925-2967.
  133. Forty Three Seconds is a song by the band Swing Kids
  134. 43 in German is "dreiundvierzig"
  135. The top-rated Urban Dictionary entry for 43 claims that the number stands for "LOVE YOU", representing the numbers in each word. A competing definition claims it stands for a similarly structured but less polite two-word phrase.
  136. Latitude 43 is a full-service restaurant and bar located on the harbor in Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts.
  137. In February 2015, the UK's Daily Mail tabloid reported on model Robert Paulat, who has had 43 cosmetic surgery procedures.
  138. Atkin Guitars' "The Forty Three" is an acoustic guitar designed to pay homage to Buddy Holly's 1943 J-45 guitar.
  139. The Urban Dictionary entry for "forty three" would seem to be of incredibly limited usage.
  140. The Gewehr 43 or Karabiner 43 (abbreviated G43, K43, Gew 43, Kar 43) is a 7.92×57mm Mauser caliber semi-automatic rifle developed by Nazi Germany during World War II.
  141. The USS S-43 was an US Navy S-class submarine used in World War II. Its designation was SS-154, not to be confused with SS-43, which was the USS L-4.
  142. The Circle Jerks' song Live Fast Die Young has the lyric, "I don't want to live / to be forty-three / I don't like / What I see going on around me." The song is 93 seconds long:
  143. This is the entry for "forty-three": adj. being three more than forty
  144. A Metafilter post from 2014 lists 43 Werner Herzog films available for streaming.
  145. This is a book: Cop - Forty-Three Years in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  146. US Supreme Court case 108 U.S. 491 is UNITED STATES  v.  FORTY-THREE GALLONS OF WHISKY
  147. 43 in French is quarante-trois
  148. According to this indubitably authoritative web site, forty-three would represent trial and testing with some divine goal in mind.
  149. The World Socialist Web Site says that more than 43 million US households pay excessive shares of income for housing according to The State of the Nation’s Housing 2013, released last week by Harvard University’s Center for Housing Studies.
  150. 43 Brown Street is a sensational boutique development positioned on the northern side of Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
  151. Forty-three patients who had been managed with rotationplasty for the treatment of a femoral or tibial bone tumor were evaluated clinically and functionally.
  152. Forty Three is a poem by Wayne Visser.
  153. The 43 Assembly of God Church is in Van Buren, Arkansas
  154. If you want to know how to make the Coffee Forty-Three mixed drink, you should click this link
  155. This is the Unicode Character for "Circled Number Forty Three":  ㊸
  156. Table Forty Three is a restaurant in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
  157. Here's the Pandora page for the band Cold Forty Three
  158. FDNY Fireboat Three Forty Three (Marine 1) was completed in late 2009.
  159. Tibetan Folks Tales: Forty-Three is "The Wily Poor Man."
  160. This is the Shutterstock image search results page for "43"
  161. Here is Confessions Forty Three from the blog Diary of a Zulu Girl
  162. This is how you say 43 in American Sign Language. (It's pretty straightforward):
  163. The First-Person Narratives of the American South project includes the full text of the book The Experience of Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years, printed in 1862 
  164. "Why the Average American Dies at Forty-three" is an article in Scientific American, Volume 116, Issue 14, published April 7, 1917
  165. American Airlines Flight 43 flies between Detroit Metro Wayne County (KDTW) and Dallas/Forth Worth International (KDFW). Flight time is 2 hours, 15 minutes. 
  166. In 1876, the US Supreme Court tried a case, United States v. Forty-three Gallons of Whiskey (I accidentally included two references to this case.)
  167. Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls has 43 chapters
  168. Wesley Lee Fox, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, retired from the US Marine Corps as a colonel after 43 years of service. (Also, he was born in Herndon).
  169. The Web site at is a gallery of stencil work
  170. 170 is the limit of how many bits of 43 trivia I'll dig up.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Why are we so fat? An updated list

The data and my photogenic memory show that we are much fatter than we used to be. Why? Taking the blame this week... emulsifiers:

 What else is making us fat? I did exhaustive research:

Emulsifiers join a long and distinguished list, which also includes:

Antibiotics in people.

Antibiotics in animal feed.






Salt Sugar Fat.



Diet soda.

Regular soda.

Screen time.



Note: Not actually smartphones.



Lowfat food.

Portion sizes.

Yes, this is a shoop.
Cheap food.

Roof pudding.