Friday, March 28, 2008

Waste of taxpayer money - in Yen

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You probably thought it was only the U.S. gov’t that wastes taxpayer money. Japan is trying to show they have what it takes to spend millions on pointless endeavors as well.

Japanese scientists and origami masters hope to launch a paper airplane from space and learn from its trip back to Earth.

It’s no joke. A prototype passed a durability test in a wind tunnel this month, Japan’s space agency adopted it Wednesday for feasibility studies, and a well-known astronaut is interested in participating.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, accepted it Wednesday for three years of feasibility studies and promised up to $300,000 in funding per year.

Takuo Toda, the head of the Japan Origami Airplane Association, had nursed the idea of flying a shuttle-shaped paper plane since NASA in 1977 launched its first space shuttle Enterprise, a craft without an engine or heat shield that was used to perform test flights in the atmosphere.

He spent 18 months figuring out how to fold a perfect origami spacecraft from a plain sheet of paper — without cutting, stitching or taping it — and tested hundreds of designs in the process.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weather, Sam Neill, and

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So here are a couple of recent weather pictures. The snow blowing through the screen last weekend stuck to the window in fairly interesting ways.

The fog this morning was worthy of a Stephen King novella. The first picture doesn’t quite capture how thick it was, but the second is better. It seemed to be much worse on the road, where stop lights appeared suddenly, and right on red could have caused a problem.


I don’t like Sam Neill. He bothers me and I don’t know why. Yet, I can’t seem to get away from him. In the past week I’ve had the urge to watch both Doctor Zhivago and In the Mouth of Madness.

I can’t get that stupid country commercial song out of my head. We get it already!

Customer Service

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To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to encourage the ChapStick brand to return to its original formula for Chapstick All Natural. While it’s clear that 100% Botanical Medley is supposed to take that place of the All Natural product, and the ingredients appear to be the same, it is noticeably not the same. The smell is different (less coconut oil?), and it’s not as smooth on the lips as the All Natural product. Not only that, but the All Natural product was about $1 cheaper. It usually retailed for about $1.99 in the blister pack, so how does putting the (nearly) same product in a box justify the new $2.99 price point?

I have had to resort to eBay to find what tubes are left of All Natural, and have picked up 13 so far. ($2.99/4 is a lot better than $2.99/1.)

Also, why does your company not have a customer service email or web form available on your web site? It’s 2008. I refuse to call your customer service line because I’m not convinced the full impact of my point will be made over the phone, so I have to spend the 41 cents to mail a letter and wait for it to arrive, when every other company in the world (except for Lay’s, apparently) has digital means of serving customers.

Please let me know when you come to your senses and return to the original formula (don’t feel bad, it didn’t work for Coca-Cola, either.) Until then, what do you think Blitex’s Herbal Answer is like?

Mark [Last Name]
[Street Address]
[City], [ST] [Zip]
[email address] (That’s an email address. It’s like mail, but faster.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

LOST Addiction

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Thursday, March 6, 2008


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I just know that one day I’m going to wake up late and find my alarm clock dead, but I can’t bring myself to do anything about it. It’s been running on the same AAA battery for well over seven years. In fact, the battery reads, "Best if installed by Jan. 2002." Now logically, this battery is going to have to run out at some point. More likely it will be sooner rather than later, but if I change the battery now, I’ll never find out how far below the "E" I can go before the car stops, so to speak. Could an Indiglo travel alarm clock be so effecient that I’ll never have to change the battery?