Category Archives: space shuttle tiles

Top Ten Ways To Kill With The iPad 3 And iOS 6

iPad: It’s what’s for dinner. Don’t forget your appkin.

Tonight’s top ten list straight from the home orifice in the green room below the only functional outhouse in downtown Abyss:

Top Ten Ways To Kill With The iPad 3 And iOS 6

Here we go…

10. Hurled (as if like a shuriken) directly into the temple.

9. Used to prop up 50-gallon drum of ACME Goo above front door at Road Runner’s house.

8. Slideshow of Lindsay Lohan’s face using Photos app.

7. Replace home button with trigger to AK-47.

6. Cover with catnip, load “exotic cats for sale” page on Craiglist and offer to any lion tamer at work.

5. Mix up a smoothie containing mango, kiwi and iPad.
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Oh Willard! Where Art Thou?

Age of presidents when assuming office approximately follows a bell curve (mean age marked by red line). Source: Wikipedia

Psst. Don’t tell anyone, but I know a little something the Mitt Romney campaign doesn’t want a lot of people to know. And, unlike them, I have no scruples about sharing it.

The cat is old.

I don’t mean “old” in the sense that it’s time for the rockin’ chair. I mean “old” in presidential terms.

Willard Mitt Romney was born March 12, 1947. He’s 65 years old.

Look at the clues. Fact #1: His name is Willard. Normally at this point I’d say, “I rest my case.” But I want to blather on for a bit more.

Exclusive: Abyss scientists have calculated that the first name “Willard” ranked 124.8 in popularity in the United States during the years 1880 through 1946. Mitt’s parents, by selecting the name Willard, simply went along with a trend of the times.

Since Mitt was born, however, the name has taken a beating. The first name “Willard” has dropped in popularity to a whopping rank of 491.2. (Based on years 1947 through 1989, the last year for which data is available.)

No wonder he goes by the name Mitt. He single-handedly made the name uncool. (See below for the graph I made. The higher the bar, the less popular the ranking of the name.)

Keep reading for much much more exclusive presidential election coverage from the Abyss. Did I mention this coverage is exclusive? No one else would think up shit like this.
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Sentimental Journey


I woke up this morning and watched a video of the space shuttle Atlantis landing for the last time. The shuttle landed at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Strangely this event has a big impact on the Taker household. It means there will probably a lot less NASA channel which should translate to less disagreements about programming on the TV. Henceforth our home shall be known as Tranquility Base.

As I listened to the official NASA broadcast, there was a lot of talk about “30 years.” 1981 – 2011. That’s how long the shuttle program flew.

It was all very sentimental. That’s a feeling I can understand. I grew up with the things, too.
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The Challenger Disaster

Back row (L-R): Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik. Front row (L-R): Michael J. Smith, Francis "Dick" Scobee, Ronald McNair.

STS-51-L Mission insignia

I’m not always that bright. We were playing Trivial Pursuit and someone (not me) got the question: “How many people perished in the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster?”

As my opponent took an interminable period of time to ponder their answer, I couldn’t contain myself. “Holy shit! Come on! I can name all seven!”

Well played. I just gave my opponent the answer and another little wedgie piece for free. Dammit.

Then I did name all seven, from memory: Smith, McNair, Jarvis, Resnik, McAuliffe, Onizuka, and Scobee.

I’ve heard that most people remember exactly where they were when they heard the news about JFK being shot. That was slightly before my time. But I grew up with the NASA quest for the moon. The Mercury missions, then Gemini, then Apollo. And the Space Shuttle program.

For me, Tuesday, January 28, 1986, is my JFK moment. I remember that day vividly. Shortly after sleeping in, I found my roommates in front of the TV. We sat and watched the coverage for hours. Continue reading →

The Abyss 2010: Year in Review

Click image to buy your own Geek Alarm Clock

2010 was much like any other year. Like many others in the media today, we now endeavor to “review” the year.

This is an appropriate activity that is seemingly enjoyed by humans when our most favorite planetoid has completed yet another circuit around our most favorite star.

Depending on IQ, if it is low enough, most will celebrate by crashing pots and pans at what they incorrectly deem to be “midnight.” Others will blow things up and shoot their guns in the air.

Because I’m cursed with intelligence all I can do is write this post and be in bed by 8:30.

2010 started like most any other year. Jan. 1, 2010 at midnight (GMT) was the first second of the year. In “epoch time” that is also known as 1262304000.

Epoch time, also known as Unix time, is a system of used by computers to keep track of the date and time. It counts the number of seconds that have elapsed since midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of January 1, 1970, not counting leap seconds. (If you really want to blow your mind you can read the Wikipedia article on Unix time. It will make your head feel funny.)

A “second” is a unit of time most of us are very familiar with. It was originally defined as 1/86400 of a “solar day.” There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours a day. So if we multiple those values, 60 x 60 x 24, we get 86,400 seconds. Viola! Therefore, 86,400 is the number of seconds in a day. Don’t believe me? Count to 86,400 and see how much time has gone by. Go ahead, try it! It’s fun!

But wait. It turns out that the rotation of the Earth, known as a day, is not always exactly 86,400 seconds. It turns out that the solar day is 1.7ms longer every century due mainly to “tidal friction” and “glacial rebound.” I don’t know about you but that scares the shit out of me. Our planet is getting slower!

The year will end on December 31, 2010 at 11:59:59 pm (GMT). This is 1293839999.

Now that we know the starting and ending epoch times of 2010, we can do the math. Simple subtraction on those two time values shows there were 31,536,000 seconds in 2010. That translates to 525,600 minutes, 8,760 hours and 365 days.

Wow, when you look at it that way, what an exciting year! I hope you all enjoyed those 31.5 million seconds as much as you possibly could.

Kitchen sink technology

Space shuttle tileThis post launches a new category on the Shouts from the Abyss blog. I’m pleased to introduce the Space Shuttle Tiles category.

Around my house,  you’ll often find me saying things like, “Goddamn, if they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they do XYZ?!?!? This XYZ should have been made out of friggin’ space shuttle tiles.” Because we all know that a space shuttle tile can do anything.

This category will be used to document such phenomenon.

Our starter post concerns the kitchen sink:

If they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they make a kitchen sink that doesn’t get permanently stained if you live a food can sitting in it overnight? It seems to me that kitchen sinks should be made out of space shuttle tiles!!

Grrr!