Strange Human Labor

Humans working for other humans is nothing new, but Amazon Mechanical Turk is. As a programmer, you could write an application that requires a human’s touch. For example, if part of your application required identifying if a particular image had a slice of pizza present, it would be much easier to have a human perform this task than to write some crazy pizza slice image recognition system. Mechanical Turk allows you to programmatically create a mini job description on, and someone with the time will eventually perform this task and receive in exchange a few cents’ worth of payment.

This really freaks me out.

IRS loses 30,000 checks, including mine

So, I’m a little miffed that the IRS apparently lost a check I sent in on time. Quoted:

On Sunday, Semptember 11, 2005 an accident occurred on the San Mateo Bridge near San Francisco, California involving a courier transporting payments to an IRS Payment Processing Site. A truck carrying tax payments overturned, causing approximately 30,000 Form 1040ES quarterly estimated tax payments to be ejected into the San Francisco Bay.

No joke. This is from their letter which basically said, sorry, we lost your check, send a new one.

  1. Hopefully all involved are alive and well.
  2. I have to pay $30 to stop payment on that check they dropped in the water, not to mention another stamp!

Well, that’s not entirely true… I can get reimbursed for the bank charges if I promptly file a Form 8546, Claim for Reimbursement of Bank Charges Incurred due to Erroneous Service Levy or Misplaced Check. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like I’m a character in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

Mmmm… Pasta Para Duros

I like Pasta Para Duros. But what the heck is in this stuff?

Pasta Para Duros

Quoted, from …

These cute little wagon wheels are a very popular Latin snack food, very low in fat, and can be microwaved for about a minute or deep fried for a delicious snack. Served with hot sauce, salsa, or try with fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of Pico De Gallo seasoning powder. Prepare them by microwaving or frying them for approximately 2-3 minutes until they “fluff” up. They will look like a Cheeto without the cheese.

Buy some, if you dare.

Crazy Stunt Pilots

I put this in the “Odd” category because it is entirely random given my usual content. If you’re seeking a diversion, check out the video linked from this post’s title. It’s from a 2002 airshow in Japan. The cameras aimed at the pilots’ faces are priceless. I’ve wondered what the heck goes on in the head of a stunt pilot, and if watching their face while they are flying is any indication, they’re absolutely crazy. Thanks to coworker Perry for the link.

Since I started work at Boeing last week, I’ve been thinking about planes a bit more than usual. Yes, it’s a great job! I’m working on cool Linux stuff, including the Electronic Flight Bag.

He didn’t really use cats. But he could have!

As much as the media wants it to be true, Christian Koch doesn’t make biodiesel with dead cats. Not that it matters–as someone on Slashdot wrote–we’ve been using dead animals to run cars for years.


A spokesman for Bild told Reuters the story was meant to show that cat remains could “in theory” be used to make fuel with Koch’s patented method.

This topic is also elsewhere in the blogsphere.

Slashdot has also covered this story, with some pretty hilarious comments resulting, like: “How about fuel from dog farts? I know a Labrador Retriever who could probably fuel a moped with his daily output.”