Archive for the 'Whimsy' Category

Talk Like A Pirate Day

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

GAR means Google Answers Researcher, but it’s also a good sound for a pirate to make, so once a year, on September 19, we join millions of other people around the world to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day.

You can join in too! If you’re new to this, check out How To Talk Like a Pirate (including chat-up lines, and sound samples in German, Chinese and Swedish).

Google was asked to show a special logo today. Unfortunately, they couldn’t bring themselves to do so, but they did at least reply in Pirate talk.

The ever-talented pinkfreud-ga has even composed The Google Pirate Song for your reading pleasure:

We are the Google Pirates,
We sails the Seven Seas;
We codes with Seven Sea-plus-plus
To please our parities.

There’s a parity on one shoulder
And a JPEG leg we attach,
And to hide the eye the hook poked out
We wears a software patch.

We has big shiny earrings,
But they makes our earlobes rot;
We thinks perhaps they ain’t real gold
(For a buck an ear they’re not.)

We are the Google Pirates
‘Cuz that is who we are.
We are the Google Pirates. GAR. GAR. GAR.


Artificial Intelligence and the “20 Questions” game

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Think of something! A computer guesses what you are thinking of, usually in 20 questions or less, at


We call this kind of application “Artifical Intelligence“, and yet there's not much intelligence at work here. The computer is simply accumulating and classifying previous responses, then using a neural network to tie them all together. And yet, the results are impressive!

The computer easily guessed fire, frisbee, grass, lover, car, freeway, tennis, etc. But I stumped it with “researcher”, a word not in its knowledgebase. Here's how it went:

  • Is it classified as Animal, Vegetable or Mineral? Animal
  • Can you buy it at a store? No
  • Does it eat leaves? Sometimes
  • Is it very large? No
  • Does it live in trees? No
  • Is it a pure bred animal? No
  • Does it make noise? Yes
  • Can you control it? Usually
  • Is it small? No
  • Is it something you bring along? No
  • Is it outside? Sometimes
  • Is it comforting? Sometimes
  • Is it considered intelligent? Yes
  • Does it perform? Probably
  • Does it play music? No
  • Can it carry people? Rarely
  • Does it have a long tail? No
  • Can you hold it? Maybe
  • I am guessing that it is a family? Wrong
  • I am guessing that it is people? Wrong
  • Is it involved in movies? No
  • Can it be used for recreation? Sometimes
  • Would you find it in an office? Sometimes
  • I am guessing that it is a colleague? Wrong
  • Would you like to be one? Yes
  • Can you find it in a church? Sometimes
  • Do you use it in public? Yes
  • Can you use it with your friends? Yes
  • I am guessing that it is a football team? Wrong
  • I am guessing that it is a jester? Hmmm…

Some of my answers above were a bit dubious. You might get different results with different answers – and you can also play in different languages, with a distinction made between American English and British English.

You can also find this application as the “20Q” child's toy.

(via tlspiegel-ga and pafalafa-ga)

Julian Beever’s pavement art illusions

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Julian Beever is an artist with an incredible eye for perspective – so good that he can mentally invert the perspective, leading to some amazing pavement art.

First, he draws a scene with an intentionally-distorted perspective, like this:


Then, when you view it from the other direction, it appears to jump into three dimensions:


There are many more examples of Julian Beever’s amazing anamorphic illusions on his own website, and you can read more about the artist and his work in Wikipedia.


Friday, July 7th, 2006

Researcher cynthia-ga found this ASCII owl in her web wanderings:


But the genre goes back further than that. is featuring an article from a 1948 issue of Popular Mechanics that shows an owl created with typewriter art:


Here’s another, from (I didn’t hyperlink the URL because some of the other ASCII Art at that site is adult-oriented):


A little Oklahoma humor

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

(via Jean)

A candidate for the US Senate was campaigning in Oklahoma, and he visited Cherokee Nation headquarters to make a speech. “When I am elected,” he said, “I'll have a brand new university built here, just for the Native people.”

The members of the audience waved their arms in the air and exclaimed “Ungya! Ungya!”

“When I am elected, I'll have a new, state-of-the-art hospital built here,” the candidate continued. The audience again responded with cries of “Ungya! Ungya!”

The candidate was impressed with the crowd's lively reaction, and he declaimed, “When I am elected, the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be totally overhauled.” Once again, the audience responded with “Ungya!”

After the speech, the leaders of the tribe took the beaming politician on a tour of the area, starting with a horse ranch. As they neared the stables, the Chief whispered to the candidate, “Watch your feet. Don't step in the ungya.”

diet Coke and Mentos

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Sometimes I wonder how people make discoveries. Sure you will have the famous “discovery by accident” quite often, but this one is really strange.

What happens when you mix Diet Coke and Mentos?

Well, it seems thereĀ“s a rather fast reaction that will make the Coke leave the bottle. Sounds boring? Check out the Diet Coke and Mentos page to see the possible results!


Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Evolution revisited

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

I found this image at Joke of the Day, and I can identify with it:


Of gravity, celery and panties…

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

Every few months I cruise over to for a healthy dose of the absurd.

The site, with the tag line “Humiliating Defenseless Ephemera Since 1996” is a riot. Lileks skewers our strange American culture of decades past with a loving, witty and tender poke in the eye.

Like his exaltation of home decorating disasters (though the best materials have been removed from the site and made into a book…nothing against books, but boo…hiss!) at Interior Desecrations, or the equally, riotously caustic category of Regrettable Foods (also, alas, now a book).

My last visit, I explored some of the nooks and crannies of the site, and lo and behold, here is a tribute to one of America’s greatest but least-known — and certainly strangest — artists, Art Frahm. Frahm specialized in pin-up style works of women with celery whose underwear (the woman’s not the vegetable’s) refuses refuses to stay put.

You may find the paintings amusing, odd, or perverse, but Lilek’s stream-of-subconsciousness commentary is hilarious, no matter what.

What can I possibly say...?

As Lileks himself puts it: “It is unfair to judge Art Frahm by these illustrations. He did many that were much, much worse…”


pafalafaga David Sarokin

Should’ve Been The Perfect Google Answers Logo

Monday, May 22nd, 2006


(Google used this logo on 22 May 2006 to mark the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.)