Toy Cup or Million-Pound Antique?

May 29th, 2008

Nifty story:

John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 5.5-inch (14-centimetre) high mug to play with when he was a child, back in 1945.

He assumed the golden cup, which is decorated with the heads of two women facing in opposite directions, their foreheads garlanded with two knotted snakes, was made from brass.

But he decided to get it valued when he was moving house last year and was told it was actually a rare piece of ancient Persian treasure, beaten out of a single sheet of gold hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Link.

The American Press: A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the GOP

May 28th, 2008

And if you need still more evidence, consider the fact that the front page item on all the major corporate media outlets is not "Former White House Press Secretary Reveals Comprehensive Lying, Media Manipulation" but rather "White House Officials Denounce McClellan". That's right, they all line up with their masters yet again.

To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

May 28th, 2008

Ah, the problems of hazardous environment plumbing:

On 14 April 1945, only 8-10 miles off the British coast line, the boat was safely cruising at 200 feet when the commander, Schlitt, decided to use the toilet without the help of a trained specialist...

From uboat.net.

Obama and McCain on Technology

May 27th, 2008

There's a short piece over at Ars Technica where representatives from the McCain and Obama campaigns respond to questions about their candidates' positions on technology issues.

I think the clearest statement comes not from the reponses, but the responders. For McCain, there's "Chuck Fish, an attorney for the McCain campaign and former Time Warner executive" - for Obama, "Daniel Weitzner, an MIT computer scientist" and, if you didn't know, one of the key engineers behind the WWW.

Witty Floorers

May 27th, 2008

I read Brad DeLong's blog daily; although I enjoy his calling out of corporate media shills, and his economic analysis, and various other content, it's really the unexpected moments of perfect phrase-turning that keep me coming back:

One of the things that middle-aged white people do is that they gradually, room by room, pay someone to replace the 1980 wall-to-wall carpeting that came with the house with stained oak floors. And then they have to buy oriental carpets to put on top of the new oak floor to render the overwhelming bulk of it invisible.

"Why not just put oak down around the edge of the room?" I asked. "And leave plywood where the rugs are going to go?"

"You think you are funny," said one of our floor guys, "and I laugh because you are paying me. But if you ever buy new construction, check--especially it the rugs are tacked down, and especially always check if there are runners on the stairs."

Now, was it the floorer that was particularly witty in this instance, or Brad? The world may never know.