Medical jargon II

More medical jargon you didn’t realize you needed to know:

  • emesis - vomiting
  • pandiculation - yawning and stretching
  • singultus - hiccups
  • rhinorrhea - runny nose
  • borborygmus - stomach growling
  • eructation - burping
  • sternutation - sneezing
  • epistaxis - nosebleed
  • horripilation - goosebumps


I Don't Get It

Would I be embarrassing myself if I admitted I didn’t get the notorious xkcd make me a sandwich comic? (Now being made into a t-shirt, due to its popularity.) As I read it, there are a number of possible explanations for the punchline, but the ambiguity is (I think) what’s contributing to my lack-of-getting-it.

  1. The seated character (lets call her Alice) uses sudo to make the request as root. Bob follows the request, since, well, you always listen to root. So does this mean that Bob is an executable? In that case, his first response of "make it yourself" seems out of place; something simpler, like "no" would have been more accurate. I think that this is the most likely explanation, but the first line is what throws me off.
  2. The comic leaves off a "-u bob" argument from Alice's sudo command. In this case, at the end, Bob thinks he's making a sandwich for himself. Alice plans some sort of future sandwich-stealing action. Maybe she hopes chown will be as effective.
  3. Alice is telling Bob to use the sudo command to make her a sandwich. (In this case, "sudo" is an adverb that modifies "make". Replace it with the word "quickly", and you'll get what I mean.) Bob realizes that with different permissions, he'll be able to make any number of sandwiches and escape responsibility for purchasing more jelly. Bob's wily, and Alice's laziness backfires.

Like I said, it’s probably #1, but Bob’s first response is poorly composed. Part of the allure of xkcd is the off-the-cuff style, evident in the stick figures, but in this case, I think spending a few more minutes considering the dialogue would have been worth it.

Mil Millington

Way back in August 2004, I posted about Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, an amusing list of petty arguments. As you read the tome, it becomes less of a bullet list and more of a pithy British comedy. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see that Mil Millington, the author, turned the website into a novel roughly based on his real-life life. And then he turned that into a career as a novelist.

His latest book, Love and Other Near Death Experiences is quite high on my to-read list.

Free (as in water)

I’m at Red Hat training this week in Westford, MA. The water bottles here have the logo on them, along with the following in tiny print: “Free (as in water)”. Geek humor at its best. (Read about Gratis versus Libre for an explanation of the joke.)


My wife just sent me an email with a file called "ANUS.doc" attached. It wasn't quite as hilarious as I was expecting:

The dentate line- location of anal crypts and draining of glands
Superiorly visceral afferents, therefore non-painful; columnar epithelium
Inferiorly somatic afferents, therefore painful; stratified squamous epithelium

Doctors have to talk about funny things like anal crypts and gland drainage, but they have to be all clinical about it. It's sort of a shame. Arena

The operators of FleetCenter in Boston decided it’d be a good idea to auction off single-day rights to rename the stadium and give the proceeds to charity. Honorable idea. Unfortunately for them, the winner of Monday, February 28, was the crude news site They held a competition this afternoon to decide what the name should be. The winning entry: “ UFIA Arena”.

(This post cross-posted to Metafilter as my first Front Page Post)

Update Feb 16: Both Waxy links and Kottke linked to my Mefi post. And no one was really anti-Fark in the thread, which I expected from the Mefites. I consider my first FPP a success! Hurrah!

Fun Medical Terms

Medical terms for parts of the body that don't really otherwise have a name:

  • Antecubital fossa - Elbow pit
  • Popliteal fossa - Knee pit
  • Philtrum - That groove in your upper lip
  • Natal cleft - Buttcrack

Okay, that last one doesn't entirely belong, but I like that it has a technical unoffensive name.

Fark Photoshop: Goofus and Gallant

“Satirize a Goofus and Gallant strip” Fark Photoshop contest. Possibly one of the best ever.

Sushi pants

Do not buy a portable breathalyzer and bring it with you on a night on the town. It will be your undoing.

WoW Waiting Dance

Someone has been considerate enough to put a flash-powered working World of Warcraft demo online. Realistic!

Filtering Vodka

Oh My God It Burns, a humorous science experiement. Can a Brita filter turn vile cheap vodka into Ketel One™? This is the ideal science experiment. Repeatable, organized, funny, and most importantly the scienticians get drunk!

Improv Anywhere

I’ve mentioned them before, but after Waxy Links mentioned another recent conquest, I’ve been revisiting the Improv Everywhere website. Seriously, some of the things they’ve done are brilliant. My favorites so far: the Moebius and synchronized swimming.

Dangerfield and Saget

Scoffing at Dangerfield, an interesting story about dear ol' Rodney judging a contest for people to make up jokes in his own style. You can listen to the phonecall yourself. Wait for the twist ending!

Red Sox and the President

Red Sox World Series victories predict incumbent presidential defeat with 100% accuracy!

Cockeyed Terrorism Poll

Results of a terrorism poll, courtesy of

How many foreign-born men or women, with the intent and the will to carry out a suicide-attack plan, do you think live in the United States right now, in October of 2004?

Check out the results

Inefficient sort algorithms

Flashback with me to my CompSci days (and realize how much I’ve forgotten, and how easy it is to remember) with this inefficient sort algorithms analysis. Check out the O(n! ^ 2) code at the end!

Improv Everywhere

Improv is only one step removed from theater dorks in my book (not a judgement, just a fact). But this story made my day: Improv Everywhere at Virgin Megastore. Via cockeyed.

You Forgot Poland

Now you, too, can forget Poland with this new You Forgot Poland Bumper Sticker!

(What the hell is this about?)

Microsoft sends 150 SP2 CDs

This would make a good “This is Broken”: some guy was able to order 150 Windows XP SP2 CDs from Microsoft, and they sent them all, and in individual envelopes. Microsoft should put in a little dupe checking in that script of theirs.

Tim Wilson - The Nascar Song

The Nascar Song by Tim Wilson - This song is funny, my dad especially will get a kick out of it. If you haven’t had enough experience with Nascar to recognize the names, though, you probably won’t find it amusing.


I was thinking of protesting at the RNC this week, since how often do you get a chance to protest something so big and so close? I was trying to come up with something vaguely nerdy but also political. This protester outdid any hypothetical alternate-universe me.

Should NYC Secede?

“If New York were its own country, its army, the New York City Police Department, would be the twentieth-best-funded army in the world, just behind Greece and just ahead of North Korea. Its GDP, $413.9 billion, would be the seventeenth largest, just behind the Russian Federation and just ahead of Switzerland. With more than 8 million residents, it would be more populous than Ireland, Switzerland, or New Zealand; roughly half the countries in the Middle East (including Israel); most of the former republics of the Soviet Union; and all the Scandinavian countries besides Sweden.” Should New York City Secede?

L. Ron Hubbard + Elrond

L. Ron Hubbard + Elrond = Elrond Hubbard (Thanks, Nomad)

Sage investment advice: $1000 of

Sage investment advice:

$1000 of Enron stock one year ago is worth $16.55 today $1000 of Worldcom stock one year ago is worth $14.50 today $1000 of Sam Adams beer one year ago is worth $40 today (5 cent deposit)

In the break room here

In the break room here at Priceline, the basket that the ‘hot cup’ lids are in is apparently where the tea bags used to be, and it’s still labelled “regular” and “decaf”. Every time I go in there to get a lid, I think of making the joke “Damn, they’re out of decaf lids again!” But no one I know is ever in there at the same time, so I never have the opportunity to make the joke.