May 27, 2008

Yeah, I Know It's Freakin' Sand! So What?

You need to check out this picture taken by the Phoenix. It's not that pretty; in fact, it just looks like a big desert.


How cool is that?

May 21, 2008

Hold the Pickle, the Lettuce, and Whatever Else You Got!

I don't suppose I'm giving anyone any new information when I tell you that those "healthy" (or otherwise) meals you're ordering at your local restaurants aren't quite living up to their claims, but you might be surprised at just how far off that nutritional information is:

Chili's Guiltless Chicken Sandwich has a published total of 490 calories and 8 grams of fat. The lab-tested sandwich had 566 calories (not too bad) but a whopping 23.3 grams of fat.

Applebee's Italian Chicken & Portobello Sandwich advertised 360 calories and only 6 grams of fat. Once again, the lab results were fairly close in calories (395) but three times the amount of fat grams (18.6)

I'm not sure if you're that worried about the nutritional content of food that you should be eating at these restaurants, but still...there's something to be said for truth in advertising.

May 20, 2008

Rundll32.exe Problem

If any of you have upgraded your XP system to service pack 3 AND happen to be using the free version of Spyware Doctor included with the Google pack you need to listen to this:

There seems to be a MAJOR SNAFU with PCTools Spyware Doctor that's causing it to give a false positive for a trojan. Running a scan indicates that the file rundll32.exe is infected with trojan-spy.Pophot.WX it also includes a number of other files related to rundll32.exe. Over at PCTools, they're dragging their heels on this one. This slow response time is alarming and unacceptable. Seriously, I would have thought they would have checked compatibility with SP3 long before this. I really liked Spyware Doctor, and even recommended it to friends, but this enough of an issue to make me reconsider.

This is almost certainly a false positive, as the version of rundll32.exe seems to be the official version. I've seen this on four machines so far, all running XP(home or professional) and it only occurred after the upgrade to SP3, so either someone's infiltrated the Windows update site and is distributing a wonky file, or (most likely) it's a false positive.

If you do have this problem, and you don't want to uninstall the spyware program, here's what you can do:

1) Go to settings in Spyware Doc, and select Global Action List.
2) Click on Add, select "file on disk" from the "data type" drop-down list
3) where it asks for the file name, click on the browse button. (The one that looks like three periods)
4) Browse to your windows/system32 folder, and select rundll32.exe. Click open.
5) Make sure the global action window says to "always allow." Click "Add."

If you've already "fixed" the file, thinking it was actually a trojan, you can go to settings, then quarantine, and restore the problem files. (Or use the system restore function.) Then go to number 1 above and follow the rest of the list.

If you have already deleted/quarantined these entries, you'll notice some problems, most noticeably problems running items in your control panel. The above remedy should take care of it until PCTools can update their program.

UPDATE: To its credit, it looks like PCTools has an update to take care of this.


The bad news: One of the sites I link to, Cox & Forkum, is no longer putting out editorial cartoons. The good news is that several of their books are available for free download through something called Wowio. It's actually a pretty cool site: you can d/l a whole buttload of free books (which is actually a good way to sneak them into prison) in .pdf format. I've got a whole bunch waiting in my queue. You have to sign up for an account, and you are limited to three downloads a day...but like I said--it's FREE! Actual books. To download.

Did I mention it's free?

Onward Rode the 32,000!

I'm sure you won't see many mainstream media sources covering this:

Using a subset of the mailing list of American Men and Women of Science, a who’s who of Science, Robinson mailed out his solicitations through the postal service, requesting signed petitions of those who agreed that Kyoto was a danger to humanity. The response rate was extraordinary, “much, much higher than anyone expected, much higher than you’d ordinarily expect,” he explained. He’s processed more than 31,000 at this point, more than 9,000 of them with PhDs, and has another 1,000 or so to go...

I think what's important here is not so much who believes what, but that the "consensus of opinion" that we hear so much about doesn't really exist.

For my money, I'm not sure that the scientific world should ever feel comfortable saying "the debate is over." They certainly shouldn't feel comfortable saying it about man-made global warming. It just seems antithetical to the scientific process.

Hey, I'm a Product of My Generation!

I hate to do back to back television posts, but I always find this time of year to be a sad time for television. I hate hearing which shows have been cancelled--it's like losing old (or new) friends. "Shark," for example. Not the best show on television, but I do like James Woods. Actually, I think "Shark" has fallen prey to the Paula Marshall curse. I love her to death; I really do. I watch all her shows. But the girl is the female Ted McGinley. Any show she is on seems to take a nose dive. (And some of them I really liked, like "Cupid," with Jeremy Piven.) "Snoops," "The Weber Show" (appropriately enough also known as "Cursed"), "Hidden Hills," "Miss Match," "Veronica Mars," and now "Shark."

Anybody hear what other shows have gotten the axe?

*sigh*...I do hate reality shows. Maybe we could get rid of "The Amazing Racing Dancing Survivor Stars in the Big Brother House" and get back to some scripted shows?

May 12, 2008

What Writers' Strike?

My god...just cancel the Emmys right now and give every award you've got to "House." Before the writers' strike, after the writers''s by far the best thing on television. It's one of those whip smart programs that makes you realize just how bad everything else is.

And I'm not just saying that because Dr. Lisa Cuddy is the smoking-hottest (yeah, I made it up; we need it) administrator I know.