April 14th, 2006

buzzed, B&W

Fun in the MRI

So, it's always amusing what gets done in the name of science . . . such as sex in an MRI. There are even pictures - it's a bit surprising how much deflection the penis is going through . . .
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buzzed, B&W

Caltech vs. MIT

The rivalry between Caltech and MIT is amusing (there's even a webpage, caltechvsmit.com, though it seems outdated).

The most recent prank? MIT students stole a three ton (6000 pounds!) cannon from Caltech, and took it back to Cambridge. Some details are here. The MIT prankster's have a fake moving company page. There's been some media coverage about the Caltech students retrieving the cannon. The cannon was stolen in response to last year's pranks at MIT's pre-frosh weekend:
Caltech students had handed out to incoming MIT freshmen hundreds of T-shirts that said "MIT" on the front — and on the back, "... because not everyone can go to Caltech."

The Caltech squad also changed an MIT sign to read "The Other Institute of Technology," and rigged a laser to spell out "Caltech" on the Green Building.


What's funny is that the Caltech group was so enthusiastic about getting the cannon back, they had researched renting a helicopter to retrieve it, but ditched it due to issues with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The students have a freaking prank fund, which had $8,000 in it . . . which explains some of how they were able to fly students to Cambridge last year for the pre-frosh weekend, give out the shirts, etc etc.

MIT has a nice history of pranking. I really wish I could find the pictures of the shirts they gave out last year . . . I remember having seen them somewhere . . .
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Wal-Mart's influence

How crazy is this? Wal-Mart sells so many video games that game companies seek their seal of approval while making games.

Interesting stats from the side bar? They serve a third of the US population weekly, 8% of all retail sales are Wal-Mart's, and they're annual revenue of over $280 billion would place it 23rd in terms of gross domestic products for countries.

Crazy . . . and exactly the ideas mentioned in this article that I wrote about previously . . .
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More research

While not as stimulating as sex in an MRI, there's this amusing piece about pregaming (drinking before going out).

Imagine that - college students drink before going out, especially for events where drinking isn't allowed. Amazing.

And here's another weird study that said "women who had up to two drinks a day scored about 20 percent higher on the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) than women who didn't drink at all or who consumed less than one drink a week." While it doesn't seem that the study is available online, the obvious questions that come to mind are: What does the MMSE actually test? Besides the fact that these people drink, what else sets them apart? (Mainly since correlation is not causation . . . )

You have to love the sensational headline: Do Drinks Help Women Think?
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Are proms decadent?

It's prom time for high school students. It's kind of interesting that these two Long Island high schools have really scaled back their proms.

I wonder whether this will work. These are private school principals in Long Island. (Tuition at one of the schools is $6,025 annually, more than tuition for a lot of state colleges.) I'm imagining these are some pretty affluent kids, with Beamers. Mercedes, and large SUVs probably pretty common place among the students. Dropping $1,000 or so for prom for some of these families is probably not a big deal. Is it decadent? Probably so, but obviously there's parental help if students are putting down $10,000 for a party house in the Hamptons. So in other words, it's not necessarily the students themselves, but society - it's all about status for these families.

Oh, apparently I was right about the kids and their cars:
Chris Laine, a senior from Rockville Centre, said the cancellation was “unfortunate, but you can’t really argue with the facts they present. ... It’s just what it’s evolved into. It’s not what it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. It’s turned into something it wasn’t originally intended to be.”

Besides, Laine noted, the senior class still has a four-day trip to Disney World scheduled for April.

“We go to all the parks with our friends,” he said just before hopping into his jet-black Infiniti and driving off to meet friends for an after-school snack. “We fly down together and stay in the same hotel and so it’s not like we’re totally losing everything.”


I'm reminded of a story my step-mother told me about a family friend in Chicago, whose daughter's friends were spending $1,000 each to get a limo for prom or graduation or something.