Lasers

For my 19th birthday [a long time ago] my mom gave me a laser pointer which I enjoyed until the batteries died and haven’t thought much more about it.

One of my favourite stories involving that laser is from when I was visiting some teens in their home and we were playing with the laser and the cat. For some reason cats seem to just love chasing the little red dot from a laser pointer.

The room was open between the living room and dinning room with about two or three stairs dividing them. A large corner couch sat in the living room and with a flick of the laser we had the cat running back and forth from the couch up into the kitchen and back down the stairs.

This particular cat seemed a little on the chubby side, but boy when it came to slapping his paws on the red dot, he could really move. He was incredibly fast even by speedy cat standards. He used his claws for extra traction and would chase it all over the room instantly appearing wherever the light shone. We were all cracking up.

One of the kids decided to take it to the next level. They wanted to see how far their cat would go. To get things started, the cat was attracted up into the kitchen where we were all standing. Next they briskly shot the light across the floor with the cat firing itself after it like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner. They shone the dot up on the wall in the very corner just above where the corner-couch sat. In one smooth motion the cat jumped up onto the cushion and then off the back of the couch and up as high as he could reach right onto the red dot on the wall. Then as if time stood still he made a couple of mid air-strides and quickly discovered his lack of flying ability. I’m certain at this point he wondered to himself why in the world he was finding himself six feet off the ground with no where to go but straight down. He dropped silently into the triangular shaped hole between the couch and the corner.

We were rolling on the floor laughing our heads off. Oh and he was mad at us. He jumped out from behind the couch, and looked extremely embarrassed and irritated. His fur was dishevelled and his eyes were red. Nothing was injured but his pride, however, no amount of persuasion could convince him to chase the little red dot.

I was reminded of this story when I came across these interesting videos of some newer lasers. The site claims they are all legal in the United States. They seem a touch too powerful for safe public use, so pets of the world, beware. (Luckily balloons and matches appear to be the main targets of the lasers in the videos).

Alberta’s Debt is Paid Off

Ralph Klein was pleased to announce yesterday that the provincial debt in Alberta has finally been paid off. When questioned about where he got the money Klein apparently responded, “I finally got around to returning my empties.”

Andrew Carlssin – the insider trader from the future

I’ve had quite a few people looking for details about Andrew Carlssin, the insider trader from the future. Here is the low down on the future man:

Andrew Carlssinwwn time traveller

[Collected on the Internet, 2003]
‘TIME-TRAVELER’ BUSTED FOR INSIDER TRADING
Wednesday March 19, 2003

By CHAD KULTGEN

NEW YORK — Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges — and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

“We don’t believe this guy’s story — he’s either a lunatic or a pathological liar,” says an SEC insider.

“But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks’ time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can’t be pure luck.

“The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He’s going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources.”

[Link to Yahoo article ‘TIME-TRAVELER’ BUSTED FOR INSIDER TRADING]

All I need to tell you about this article is that it originated in the Weekly World News an entertainment tabloid devoted to arousing curiosity and to catering to popular superstitions. They often do so with flashy headlines designed to astonish (e.g. Half-man Half-woman Makes Self Pregnant and no I don’t have a link). Unfortunately, as I have learned the hard way, Yahoo!, a primary news source for many people on the Internet, makes it a habbit of reprinting some Weekly World News articles under the heading of “Entertainment News & Gossip,” a title that to me doesn’t convey a strong “bogus” warning to readers who don’t notice the original source is the Weekly World News or don’t know what the Weekly World News is.

Dispite this article’s shady origins I have noticed it reprinted in a variety of newspaper and magazine sites verbatim and published as a “real” news item. Apparently FBI and US Security officials have been inundated with a rash of inquiries from reporters and journalists seeking to confirm this outrageous story.

The spokesman at the US Security and Exchange Commission in Washington has been asked a lot about the mysterious time traveller.

“This story is pure fantasy. There is no truth in it at all,” he says. “This is the kind of story that belongs in the same file as ‘Elvis Shrine Found on Mars.’

“You know something? We have had an enormous number of calls from the media on this one. It has been absolutely amazing. Of course, we had to look into it, but as far as we know, it’s just not true.”

At FBI Headquarters in Washington, spokesman Bill Carter is also well aware of the story. “I had a call about this yesterday too,” he sighs. “When I think about it, the other call came from Britain too.

“Look,” he continues. “I doubt very much the veracity of the story. I am not aware of any individual who has made 350 million on the stock market with an 800 stake.”

In a follow-up article on 29 April 2003, the Weekly World News reported that mysterious time-traveling Andrew Carlssin had been bailed out by an “unidentified benefactor” who ponied up $1 million, then jumped bail before an April 3 court hearing and disappeared without a trace.

“Still, it takes more than cold, hard facts to curb a worldwide fascination with time travel. After all, it was none other than Albert Einstein who, using little more than high-school maths, discovered in 1905 that travelling at fast speeds actually slows down time. To put the theory to the test, in 1971 scientists Joe Hafele and Richard Keating put highly accurate atomic clocks into aeroplanes and flew them around the world. According to Einstein’s calculations, on their return they should have read 59 nanoseconds slow compared with identical clocks on the ground — they did. Rack up the speed to a much more significant level and who knows where it might take you. Just remember, the truth is out there…”

You Know You’re Trailer Trash When Joke

Conspiracy theories aside, here is an email I got today. I realize it’s just a silly forward, but it made me laugh.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE TRAILER TRASH WHEN:

  1. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.
  2. You let your twelve-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.
  3. You’ve been married three times and still have the same in-laws.
  4. You think a woman who is “out of your league” bowls on a different night.
  5. Jack Daniels makes your list of “most admired people.”
  6. You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.
  7. Someone in your family died right after saying: “Hey watch this.”
  8. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.
  9. Your wife’s hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.
  10. Your junior prom had a daycare.
  11. You think the last words of the Star Spangled Banner are: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”
  12. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.
  13. The bluebook value of your truck goes up and down, depending on how much gas is in it.
  14. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.
  15. One of your kids was born on a pool table.
  16. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.
  17. You can’t get married to your sweetheart because there’s a law against it.
  18. You think “loaded dishwasher” means your wife is drunk.
  19. Your toilet paper has page numbers on it.
  20. Your front porch collapses and kills more than five dogs.