Link Dump

Yet more things I've found interesting on the internet recently:
  • The Lock Pickers by Tom Vanderbilt - Fascinating article about locks and lock picking:
    Hobbs produced a few small tools from his pocket-"a description of which, for obvious reasons, we fear to give" a correspondent for the Times wrote—and turned his attention to the vault's lock. His heavy brows knitted, Hobbs' hands flitted about the lock with a faint metallic scratching. Twenty-five minutes later, it opened with a sharp click. Amid the excited murmur, the witnesses asked Hobbs to repeat the task. Having relocked the vault, he once again set upon it with deft economy. The vault opened "in the short space of seven minutes," as the witnesses would testify, "without the slightest injury to the lock or the door."
    Interesting stuff...
  • It was on Wikipedia so it must be true. - Hilarious discussion of McDonalds' mascots.
    me: I can’t understand you when you’re mumbling like the Hamburglar.

    Victor: The Hamburglar didn't mumble. He said "Robble-Robble."

    me: Yeah. And that’s incoherent mumbling.

    Victor: No. It's him saying what he's doing. He's robbing you. Of hamburgers.

    me: Oh my God.

    Victor: You just now got that, didn't you?

    me: I thought he was just saying nonsense words. Why would he use "robble" as a verb? Why wouldn't he say "burgle, burgle"? That way it makes sense and also the word "burger" is almost in it. That's just basic marketing.

    Victor: Maybe because he's not a burglar. A burglar robs you when you’re not home. A robber is more like a mugger. More violent.

    me: Huh. The Hamburglar was made of burgers, wasn't he? Doesn't that make him a cannibal?

    Victor: No. You've confused the Hamburglar with Mayor McCheese, haven't you? Classic error. The Hamburglar was the only human in the group.

    me: And Ronald McDonald.

    Victor: No. Clowns aren't human.
    Hahah. And after you read that, check out this retrospective on McDonalds playlands...
  • EA Gaffe - So EA recently launched the most recent version of SimCity with a DRM requirement that you be online at all times... and because of high volume at launch, were not able to support all the people (i.e. legal, paying customers) wanting to play their game. As per usual, consumers are out in full force, poorly rating the game on amazon and generally complaining about not being able to play the game they bought. This screenshot captures a pathetic attempt to counter all the negative comments. Sometimes I wonder why I don't play video games as much as I used to. Then I see stories like this and I realize that companies like IE don't really want me as a customer, and I go read a book instead (note: not a justification for piracy or anything, I just want to, you know, make sure that I can play the games that I buy - apparently that's not possible with SimCity, a series I love, so I won't buy or play the game. Sad state of affairs.)
  • The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble - Wacky story:
    How Frampton, who holds an endowed chair at the University of North Carolina and has been an adviser to the Department of Energy, ended up in Devoto appears at first to be a classic tale: a brilliant man of science gets into trouble as soon as he tries to navigate the real world. Since his arrest, he has certainly cultivated this notion, burnishing his wacky-scientist profile with lines like "That's my naivete" and "My mind works in a strange way."
    Heh.
And crap, I just found out Google Reader is shutting down in a few months. Gotta figure out how to transition off of all Google services from now on. What a clusterfuck.