Wolfram|Alpha is racist (wherein I channel Angry Asian Man)

Check out Gizmodo’s post: Wolfram Alpha: A Bit Racist?
Searching for the word “dumb” brings up “results for Racist synonym trees that associated the word dumb with black.”
W|A explained this essentially as follows:
“One thing Wolfram|Alpha gives is synonyms for dumb. An example is “dim”.
…So, “dim” is a synonym of “dumb”. But what are synonyms of “dim”?”
What this doesn’t explain, in my mind, is the results and synonym trees for the “N word.”
n--ger - Wolfram-Alpha_1243753129347.jpg
Better yet, contrast that with the the synonym tree for “honky”:
honky - Wolfram-Alpha_1243754013119.jpg
Now can someone please lexicographically explain the fuck out of that shit?

The Kuj is back

Total damage: 9,400 Baht (about $300 US)
An unwelcome expense but much much better than losing my car. Plus the aircon compressor was replaced and a new fan installed so the cooler works better than even some new cars I’ve been in. And the compressor is now tuned to the engine so it no longer stalls when the RPM suddenly dips like it did before.

Close call (the Kuj, the Kuj, the Kuj is on fire)

Just as I left for work in the Kuj today, not even half a kilometer from my house and still inside our neighborhood, the air conditioner (under dash box unit) cut out and black smoke started pouring out from the dash. I stopped the car and cut the engine, but smoke continued to pour out and I could hear either the sound of something shorting out or the sound of plastic burning from the cable bundles under the steering column that are encapsulated by the dash. Then, through the hole where the original ignition was mounted (it’s now on the steering column like a modern car), I saw flames.
All I could think about was how much it was going to suck watching my car burn… There was nobody around, and no cars were passing by… I couldn’t put out the fire with the water I had in the car because I couldn’t get it directed under the dash…. I could call Nam to bring the big fire extinguisher from the house, but it would take a couple minutes and this fire wasn’t waiting for anybody…
Then I remembered I had a small fire extinguisher in the trunk. I got it out, popped the cap (it’s a little spray can type thing), pushed the spout into the aforementioned ignition hole and pushed down on the top. There was violent hissing as the fire was extinguished, and white steam started appearing with the black smoke. Within thirty seconds of directed bursts from the extinguisher, the fire was out, but there was still something shorting out so I got a ratchet set from the trunk, remembered the nut on the battery terminal as a #10 metric, and successfully pulled the positive battery cable.
The rest of the story is kind of anticlimactic… Nam went to call a mechanic, who came and identified the shorted wire and tied it off. The car was no worse for the wear appearance wise, and still drivable, so I took it to my pal Ot’s sound shop to fix everything (rewiring the lot, replacing broken air con parts/possibly replacing the compressor, replacing a broken brake light switch, isolating the problem air con wiring from the rest of the cable bundles). It should be ready tomorrow, after he determines whether he can make a new part for the old compressor (no spares to be had) or just replace it. I’m just happy nothing really bad happened and that I still have a fucking awesome ride.
Nah seriously, that fire extinguisher saved my ass today, and it was an impulse purchase six months ago. I’ll carry one in every car I own for the rest of my life.

Fallout 3 Trailer

I know this is all backward because you usually watch a trailer before a game is released or you actually play it (and I know I found about about all this so late), but Fallout 3 is so good… The last time I felt even close to this way about a game is when BF1942 was first released.

Firefox bold text problem (that wasn’t actually a Firefox problem)

As the title indicates, I noticed a sudden problem today in Firefox (on Windows XP) when checking Gmail – all of the text was bold. So I fired up Chrome to see if FF was the problem and all of the text in Chrome was in italics… These two problems together indicated a corrupted system font.
If you have ever have this problem, you need to reinstall the Arial font family (TrueType). The executable installer can be found here or here.

Sunday Backup Organization

Max and mommy went to his grandparent’s house so daddy took the time to organize five years of DVD (originally all DVD-R but more recently DVD+R for Improved! Error! Correction!; everything important is on genuine “That’s” brand Taiyo Yuden 16x media, everything else is on TDK or SONY 8x or 16x [end historical optical media note]) backups.
I must say, we are in a fairly sucklical state of backup media at this point in history. Optical media like CDs and DVDs (and presumably BluRay Disks as well) apparently degrades in a matter of a few years in extreme cases, and keeping things on a form of media (HDs) that constantly spins at thousands of rpm and can die at any moment can hardly be considered a safe archival system.

Spark Plug Art

After having the baby, I ran out of money to complete my list of thing to do with the Kujira Crown. Since I reverted to stock tires I alleviated bottoming out problems and can hence wait on any suspension upgrades. She needs to be stripped and repainted, though, before the rust gets too bad. I don’t think of it as overly humid here (compared to Japan or even Bangkok), but paint started flaking off as I used the Kuj every day and rust started appearing in those places as well as under the paint in some spots.
Additional victims to the humidity were my plugs. Behold:
I can’t even believe the car was still running – I noticed sputtering on the low end and suspected the plugs since they were the only consumables I hadn’t changed – but there was no indication that they had degraded this much. This car is a witch. And now she runs so smoothly…

Pond Scum Soup


It doesn’t sound or look appetizing, but it was actually pretty good.

On Sunday we went to an outdoor market in a park downtown where many fresh produce vendors gather. It’s an excellent place to find strange new (to me anyway) fruits and veggies, and sometimes even plants for our garden. This day proved to be no exception and we found a lady selling what looked like Japanese aojiru powder (green juice powder made from barley and other healthy crap) from a bucket. Upon closer inspection the granules were too large to be aojiru and were also quite damp. The old lady didn’t really explain what it was that well to Nam, so we had our nanny go ask. Nanny already knew what it was and said she could prepare a soup with it, so I of course bought some, about a pound, for 15 Baht (45 cents).
It turned out to be some kind of vegetation that grows on the surface of a pond, or as I like to call it, pond scum.
The soup she made was quite good; it smelled pleasant and tasted hearty with a hint of lemongrass, and the texture of the scum was like miniature flying fish roe, or soft grains of sand. Nanny said it would have been better if she’d had pork belly to add to it, but really, what food couldn’t benefit from some pork belly?

Max is almost walking by himself

Although in this photo, he’s just omnomnomnom.
Mommy and I sit on the floor a few feet apart and make him walk alone back and fourth, and he does that just fine… But he’s not quite comfortable walking instead of crawling yet. Friends tell me that any spare time I’ve enjoyed while the baby’s awake will no longer exist after he learns to walk.