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Lyle Zapato

Life Inside The Belgium Simulation

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-19.6000 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy | Entertainment

A typical day in 'Belgium'.

Three people trapped in the Belgium Simulation have managed to create a documentary on the plight of so-called "Belgian Citizens" as seen from inside the simulation. While it is likely that they are not fully aware of the truth of their film due to the intense Belgian programming they are receiving from their captors, it nonetheless lets the outside world see just what is really going on in the heads of those who are forced to believe they are in Belgium. Download it quick before the Brussels Beast reconfigures itself.

Lyle Zapato

GPM #12: Dr. E, Mysterious Monkey Scientist

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-12.6950 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots
Dr. E

Most GPMs are, well, rather lame and obvious (yeah, I'm talking about you, Billabill). But then there's Dr. E.

Dr. E, notorious G.P.M. for the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy division (did I mention they're involved with energy?), is one enigmatically cool simian scientist. Whether typing on his solar computer; pondering the controls on the geothermal boiler; attacking an engine with a stalk of corn; or making sweet, sweet love to a turbine prop, Dr. E exudes a style that none of his peers can match. And yet, instead of being the engaging character he should be, there's an odd detachment to him.

Very little information is given about Dr. E. We gather that his outdoor "Energy Lab" is hidden on some tropical island where he works alone on his many energy projects, trying to generate power from what natural resources he can come by. Does he work for the D.o.E.? Is he held captive by them? Are they forcing him to develop energy technologies so radically alternative that only a monkey brain can control them? We don't know since Dr. E doesn't have much to say for himself, apart from entreating us to help him "protect the earth" -- from whom or what we are never precisely told.

After inviting us to look around his lab and giving short, perfunctory overviews of various alternative energy sources, he's quick to usher us off to someone else's site. "These sites will tell you more," he snaps, before going back into the jungle to watch the giant monitor array, leaving us to wonder why we were ever invited to his Energy Lab and just what he is hiding.

Lyle Zapato

Belgium-Doubters Likened to Dimwitted Shar Pei

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-09.3900 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy | Entertainment
Lyle Zapato

Victorian 3D Scientific Imaging

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-08.0310 LMT | Kelviniana | Technology | Retro

Looking for some content for your iPod-Stereoscope? Here's an illustration from Lord Kelvin's 1894 paper "On Homogeneous Division of Space":


Stereoscopic photo of an orthic tetrakaidecahedron, constructed out of soldered wire.

Cross your eyes to see cutting-edge 19th century scientific imaging technology! I have exchanged the images left for right from the original since I find crossing my eyes easier than forcing them apart. The original presumably would have been viewed using a stereoscope, a common gizmo for the Victorian-era techno-hipster...

Victorian stereoscope advertisement, as filtered through Apple

Since it took an inordinate amount of time to make the above image, I'll have to put off retyping Kelvin's paper till later. It's an interesting one, with some nice illustrations of tessellations. Until then, busy yourself with making your own tetrakaidecahedra. See how many rooms of your house you can fill!

UPDATE: "On Homogeneous Division of Space" is online.

Lyle Zapato

Lord Kelvin And Global Warming

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-06.3100 LMT | Kelviniana

An interesting letter from Lord Kelvin to John Clarke. In 1860, Kelvin proposed that an increase in CO2 emissions from coal-burning would raise global temperatures much like how a greenhouse works. What's even more interesting is that he considered doing this intentionally to "provide a very comfortable living environment" for the people of Glasgow.

In the end he decided better of it, considering both the havoc it would cause for non-Glaswegians and, more importantly, the potential danger of introducing malaria to a more tropical Glasgow. "We have quite enough pestilence here, I contend, without inviting another!"

UPDATE: The above letter is fiction. Disregard.

Also, while making the Lord Kelvin library a little more respectable looking (still a work in progress), I found this:

La Bibliothèque nationale de France (that's French for "the French National Bookatorium") has a large collection of scanned books, etc. in PDF format (available one excruciating page at a time). The collection is searchable ("search" in French is "recherche,") by author, title, subject, and full text contents. You'll probably find something to interest you there. There's certainly lots of Kelvin stuff, from a seemingly complete collection of "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London" to his various reprint volumes. There's no way I'm going to retype all that (although I did manage to partially patch up one of the incomplete papers I had), so just go there and look for yourself.

Lyle Zapato

GPM #11: The Terrible Secret Of State

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-03.6100 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots
Mayor Anthony Williams

Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams and his friends, anti-segregationist Mary Church Terrell and 1920's baseball pitcher Walter "Big Train" Johnson, welcome you to Kids' Capital! Kids, be sure to click the shield on the top of the screen to learn the terrible secret of what lurks beneath the U.S. Capitol Building. Perhaps it is waiting FOR YOU!


BONUS GPM #11.5: POMBO FOR KIDS

Richard Pombo

This doesn't really fit with the normal GPM thesis, as it doesn't involve a unique mascot pushing a discernable agenda, but U.S. Congressman Richard Pombo (daguerreotype to the right) of the 11th Congressional District of California has created a kids page on his Government-allotted website so godawful that it deserves attention.

The actual content of the page isn't noteworthy or unusual -- mostly some "fun" "facts" about Congress, a few simple games, and links to other Government kids sites. However, this banality is turned into a sublime crime against all that is decent by the gratuitous use of stolen animated GIFs (including a dancing hillbilly critter band), embedded WAVs ripped from the Hampster Dance page and the incidental music from The Brady Bunch, and other examples of blatant copyright infringement and/or bad taste. To top it off, he includes one of those Javascript elastic mouse-trail things that are popular on GPM sites, only his seems specially engineered to trigger seizures. The only thing the site's missing is a voice in the background continuously saying "Welcome to POMBO!!!"

Lyle Zapato

Belgian Identity Theft

Lyle Zapato | 2005-02-01.6930 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy | Cascadia

Person undergoing eID Belgification process.

The Belgian Conspiracy has a new scheme to further their agenda of Global Dominion through the Belgification of humanity. Since April of 2003, their "citizens" have been programmed to believe that they are carrying electronic identification (eID) cards that contain data on a person's identity stored in an onboard chip and digitally signed by the Belgian government for use in both physical and online transactions.

It's now being reported that noted Cascadian businessman Bill Gates has "traveled to Belgium" and consequently has stated that he will be integrating the Belgian eID card with his Cascadian systems. As many of you already know, people "traveling to Belgium" are actually exposed to knock-out gas on the plane and flown to a secret hanger under Eurodisneyland where their memories are rewritten to suit the Belgian agenda. Mr. Gates has clearly had this procedure done to him and his new found approval of the Belgian eID card scheme is an opinion implanted by the Conspiracy.

But why are they doing this? The Conspiracy's goal is to get their eID technology used by all people in all nations and having Microsoft under their control will help them achieve this. Once your identity is transferred into their cards, it will be verifiable only by the Belgian Conspiracy, giving them final veto over who you are. They can then begin converting people into Belgians by simply changing the nationality field of their databases and issuing new cards (the cards will be valid for only a 5-year period). You will have no choice but to accept your new Belgianity since all transactions and interactions must be approved through their system and your old non-Belgian card won't be verified anymore. If they say you are Belgian, you officially are and no one will have any means to contradict them.

ZPi is taking steps to thwart this scheme. We have contacted Sasquatch Militia who have dispatched a Special Forces unit to Medina to kidnap Mr. Gates upon his return to his home. He will be taken to ZPi HQ for deprogramming and to learn the TRUTH about Belgium. Hopefully we can protect Cascadia -- and the world -- from Belgian identity theft.

Lyle Zapato

GPM #10: Kidd Safety

Lyle Zapato | 2005-01-31.5530 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots

The Further Adventures of Kidd Safety from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). I'll let Kidd introduce himself:

'Kidd Safety'

Hey everyone! I'm Kidd Safety! I know what you're thinking... oh my goodness, he's a goatboy! Yeah... it's kinda cool.

I'm 11 years old and live in Goatlahoma. Don't try to find it on a map. It is in the middle of nowheresville. I'm on my school soccer team - and I love to yell "SCORE" after a goal.

I love sports, but I'm no dope. I know how to play it safe. I always wear my safety gear before I play so I don't get hurt. My mom is such a nag about that, but I know she is right. I want to avoid getting hurt and having to go to the veterinarian.

Since you're here, stop by my safety house. After you visit my house, take a spin with the safety club. Take a look at my trophy, and for an extra surprise, check out the "K" on my shirt. Woo Hoo!

[Audio version here.]

Oh my goodness, he's a goatboy! But hey, don't worry about that. In fact, it's kinda cool. Wouldn't you like to be a human/goat chimera too? When you get sick, you get to go to the veterinarian, which is much cheaper than those uncool human doctors. Think of the health care savings! Woo Hoo!

They may have been created in a secret lab in Goatlahoma, Nowheresville -- don't bother looking; much like Area 51, it's kept off the maps -- but human/goat chimeras are no dopes. They know how to play it safe by wearing Government approved helmets, not those homemade aluminum things. Remember: Wear the helmet flat atop your head so the sensors can properly read your brain waves.

Of course, being a goatboy isn't all fun and games. You still have to go to school and listen to your nagging mother. Plus you have to monitor playground surface conditions for the Government and let agents of Industry harvest spider silk from your udders. But that's a small price to pay to be as cool as Kidd Safety.

Lyle Zapato

Commie Linux Wallpaper 2.0

Lyle Zapato | 2005-01-25.8100 LMT | Art

This is an updated version of a wallpaper that I made a long time ago. Someone named Mib emailed me a link to his improved version a while back, but I was having server probs at the time and lost the email. (So that's why I didn't email you back, Mib.) I've implemented his two ideas -- adding the RMS-compliant GNU prefix bisected with the flagpole and using И instead of N -- in the re-done versions, and have released the SVG source code.

Lyle Zapato

Aluminum Superatoms

Lyle Zapato | 2005-01-23.1850 LMT | Aluminum | Technology

Aluminum-iodine superatom.

A research team has discovered that clusters of aluminum atoms can impersonate the chemical properties of single atoms of other elements. They have dubbed these clusters "superatoms." In experiments with polyiodides, they've found that a superatom of 13 aluminum atoms (Al13) behaves much like an iodine atom, while an Al14 superatom behaves more like an alkaline earth atom such as beryllium.

Joint head of the research, Shiv N. Khanna of Virginia Commonwealth University: "The flexibility of an Al13 cluster to act as an iodine atom shows that superatoms can have synthetic utility, providing an unexplored 'third dimension' to the traditional periodic table of elements. [...] Applications using Al13 clusters instead of iodine in polymers may lead to the development of improved conducting materials. Assembling Al13I units may provide aluminum materials that will not oxidize, and may help to overcome a major problem in fuels that burn aluminum particles."

ZPi Research Labs will be following this discovery for application in Superatomic AFDB (SAFDB) technology that may provide better corrosion protection for Cascadian users.