This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Another Russian Cow Spill

Posted by: James Lileks under Gripes, Outstate, Technology Updated: June 5, 2013 - 12:42 PM

This is the best Russian Dashcam video in existence. It sums up the entire genre as succinctly as possible: an opening moment of ordinary life quickly altered by incompetence or liquor or a combination of the two, resulting in something you’ve never seen before in your life. In this case: Cow Spill.

 

 

Via this piece in the Daily Dot, which has links to sites that curate and review other works in the dashcam genre.

 

WEB From the country that brought you Big Ben:

The BBC Trust has upheld a complaint that the clock on the BBC homepage was "inaccurate and misleading".

The complaint from a user of the site said that although readers assume the clock is correct, it merely reproduces the time on the user's computer.

The Trust said having a clock which does not state it derives its time from a user's computer is not consistent with BBC guidelines on accuracy.

Question: don’t most people use the internet to automatically set their computer’s clock? What are the complaining people using, sundials?

Here's how the BBC's own page assembles other news organization's stories on the subject, with the headlines reflecting the paper's biases:

 

In related BBC news - i.e., clicked on a link on the page about the BBC clock - there’s this: “In 1950s, the authorities decided to turn the island into a maximum-security prison, believing that the poisonous snakes would deter inmates from any escape attempts.” It’s a photo tour of an abandoned Colombian Prison Island. A Sandals resort this is not.

WHOA More storm-chaser OK tornado video. One of these days they will be spontaneously narrated with droll English accents that remark upon the events with a wry chuckle. For now, it's all overamped young men cursing and encouraging the driver to go as quickly as possible, in case the gravity of the situation was no apparent to him.

OH, SURE  This would be funny if it didn’t involve public money and an agency some people dread because it has the power to make your life miserable and put you in jail. Other than that, it’s all fuzzy-bunny. You’ve probably heard this part:

Another hearing slated for Thursday will examine the damning report on conference spending, which included $32,000 the IRS paid so 24 of its employees could make "planning trips" to the conference site ahead of the convention.

The conference featured 15 speakers at a cost of $135,350, including one man hired to paint the portraits of Jordan, Bono and Albert Einstein as IRS employees looked on. An additional $50,000 was spent to produce videos, including one in which IRS agents were instructed how to line dance and a training video that replicated the set of "Star Trek."

The line-dance video’s amateurish quality is reminiscent of that other convention scandal from a few years ago. The GSA. Remember? They had a big shindig in Vegas on the taxpayer dime, and skits were also involved. As Time reported:

Western Regions Conference Catering: $146, 527

• $5,600 for three semi-private in-room parties

• $79, 511 for light refreshments and breakfast

• $31,208 for a “networking reception”

• $44 per head for daily breakfast $30,208, or about $95 per person, for reception and dinner

Also, “an investigation led by Inspector General Brian D. Miller found 115 missing Apple iPods meant for an employee-rewards program.” Either you look at that and say “this sort of waste must stop,” or “I’d better get myself one of those jobs, because that looks pretty sweet, what with the expensive breakfasts and poorly-secured iPod storage system.”

 Anyway, that’s blown over, and no one’s talking about it, so whatever draconian rules were put into place - say, the maximum cost of vacation breakfast was set at $39 - have probably been loosened. Here’s the best part of the IRS Conference Story, as recounted by the Washington Examiner.

The IRS did not keep adequate records or receipts for the conferences, and nearly $200,000 in spending is unaccounted for. Conference spending at the IRS was cut by 80 percent since 2010, the Treasury Department said. A total of $11 million was spent on IRS conferences in 2011 and 2012.

They IRS can’t find the receipts. Honestly, they were in a shoebox on the shelf, and now it's not there. 

 

GAMES BuzzFeed has more on Zynga’s woes, a company described on Valleywag as an operation that made millions “selling virtual hay bales on Facebook.” They’re laying off almost a 5th of the staff and closing two offices. They spent $180 million on OMGPOP, which made Draw Something, and has since come up with  . . . Draw Something 2, which hasn't done as well.  Kids, let me tell you something, based on decades of experience. I remember Asteroids. And I remember Asteroids Deluxe. I remember Centipede. And I remember Millipede. The second version is never better. Ever. 

The exception is 8-Ball Deluxe, which was better than 8-Ball. Yes, the rule also applies to pinball. (See also, Pinbot, and Bride of Pinbot.)

 

Highlights of a reddit AMA with a laid-off employee is here. Words to remember: once the free Redbull stops, you know the company’s in trouble.

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