HTML House of Horror: Markup… from the FUTURE!

Last year’s HTML House of Horror brought us the Page of the Damned, and was probably instrumental in bringing support for the MARQUEE element to Safari. What horrors will this year’s page unleash? If ye do doubt yer courage or yer strength, look nae further!

As some of you might know, my career as an experimental condensed-matter physicist ended rather abruptly in 1998. A garden-variety case of grad-school burnout… or at least, that’s what everyone was supposed to think.

The truth is that I was thrown out. When my innovative theories on the nature of spacetime came to the attention of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, the scientific orthodoxy moved quickly to silence me. I was turned out on the street, with naught but a spare cryopump and a broken dilution refrigerator to my name. They called me mad, mad! Fools! I’ve showed them all!

As anyone with even a passing acquaintance with quantum mechanics knows, probing the structure of events at the Planck scale requires tremendous power. Back-of-the-envelope calculations estimate that such experiments would require an accelerator the size of the galaxy, but such old-fashioned “reality-based physics” is no match for faith-based physics, physics forged by pure Strength and Will.

My first, failed experiments in early 2001 did have noticeable effects on the California power grid, and for that temporary inconvenience, I apologize. Despite those early setbacks, I managed to steadily lower power consumption and increase the sensitivity of the device. By the summer of 2003, I was able to probe the seething quantum foam itself. And I managed to confirm my theory that the foam resonates weakly in the wake of electromagnetic disturbances… electromagnetic disturbances from another slice of spacetime.

After another year of tuning, and the development of signal-processing algorithms the likes of which would make grown IEEE Fellows weep, I was able to detect actual electronic signals from the future. It has taken weeks of calculation, but my poor, aged G4 PowerMac has finally succeeded in decoding a fragment of an actual HTTP packet exchange. Look upon the works of the future, ye markup geeks, and despair.

GET / HTTP/1.1
Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, */*
Accept-Language: en-us
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.3; Windows NT 6.1)
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 20:39:26 GMT
Server: Apache/1.4.1 (Unix)
Last-Modified: Thu, 04 Oct 2007 11:18:11 GMT
ETag: "2f51cd-924-381e1af6"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-length: 4211
Connection: close
Content-type: text/html

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 2.0//EN" "TBD">
<BODY background=bassfish.gif leftmargin=0 rightmargin=0 topmargin=0>
<CENTER><b><BLINK><font size=7>Grandpa Henry's Fishin' Page!</b></font></CENTER>
<LI HREF="fishing.htm">Fishing main
<LI HREF=rainbo1.htm>Rainbow Trout
<LI HREF=rod.htm>Rods and reels
<LI HREF=spots.htm>Best fishing spots
<LI HREF="grandkids.htm">Cody and Gavin!

Well I'm back from taking little Cody & Gavin fishing, and we had a blast! We've got new pictures and more, including little Gavin's <font color="RED">FIRST TROUT</font>!<p>

<BIG href="/troutpics.html">CLICK HERE FOR PICS!

Happy Halloween!

Beer and Baseball

Every Wednesday, we all assemble at a local bar before our weekly poker game. Usually the bar is busy, but tonight it was packed. How packed? Packed enough that our regular waitress was nowhere to be seen, and we had to settle for a random server and… ordinary service. The indignity of it all! It’s probably worth mentioning that on only slightly less hectic nights, our regular waitress has been known to greet new arrivals at our table by smiling and immediately setting down a beer from her tray. Someone else’s beer, that is. Now that’s service.

Now, the patrons of this bar are not the most rabid sports fans in the world. Just your typical 25-45ish Silicon Valley types in jeans and khakis and polo shirts. No ‘Sox paraphernalia in sight. And yet… everyone was going wild after every big Red Sox play. Three thousand miles from Boston. Heck, the South Bay is not exactly thick on the ground with people who even pay attention to the American League at all.

Is there anyone outside of New York and its environs who doesn’t despise the Yankees?

Flotsam: The Most Important Political Commentator, Ever

Congratulations to Marissa! M’ris has finished her draft of Sampo, also known as the “Not the Moose Book”, also known as, “the one about Finnish mythology, vacuum-tube computing, and Cold War spies.” Ha, let’s see the reviewers try to slap the Harry Potter label on that one.[1]

Rachel reports that her husband Ben has enrolled full time in the University of Minnesota’s Food Sciences department. He now has labs such as the fudge lab and the angelfood cake lab. Clearly, we are all in the wrong professions. (“Now, titrate the cookie dough with chocolate morsels…”)

Russ calls our attention to… The Freezerator! Quite possible the best garage refrigerator, ever. Jeremy tries to rain on the parade a bit, pointing out that the Freezerator is “…truly the SUV of refrigerators. Anybody else take a look at the ‘Energy guide’? Comparable models span a range of 511-572kWh/year. This one comes in at 770kWh/year.” But that’s Jeremy for you — Mr. Liberal P. McLiberal who is also very liberal. Whatever, Jeremy.

I saw Primer last night. I think the 22-year-old version of myself could have untangled all the causality loops the first time around, but my current brain just couldn’t hold the whole thing together at once. Stupid rusty brain. I don’t feel too bad, though — I saw a couple of middle-aged gentlemen exiting the theater, gentlemen who fairly reeked of “Stanford physics professor”, and they looked pretty dazed too.

Finally, via Wonkette:

Jon Stewart to Crossfire and all other “debate” shows: “Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.” History will show that Jon Stewart was the greatest American political commentator of the early 21st century. No pundit on any op-ed page or on any television show comes close.

STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.

BEGALA: We’re 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that’s like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.


CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I’m sorry. I think you’re a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.


CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.

STEWART: Now, this is theater. It’s obvious. How old are you?


CARLSON: Thirty-five.

STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.



CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.

STEWART: So this is…

CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You’re a…


STEWART: So this is theater.

CARLSON: Now, let me just…


CARLSON: Now, come on.

STEWART: Now, listen, I’m not suggesting that you’re not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie.

Full video available.

1. Although there’s another school of thought that says that if reviewers aren’t trying to slap the Harry Potter label on Sampo, M’ris really ought to be firing her publicist.

2. Also, frist post with MarsEdit!!!1!! MarsEdit is the first Mac weblog editor I’ve ever thought was worth using. Nice work, Brent.