it must be a sign

One of the many joys of traveling for me has always been foreign signage. Maybe someone can shed some light on what someone was thinking when he/she made this sign. And if you're ever visiting Tikal, you'll want to see the Mayan ruins and all, but be sure to find this sign. So I get the first one, something about not bringing a mace/club with you through doorways that are too small -- it could be misinterpreted by the inhabitants. The third one is also pretty straightforward, don't doodle on the artifacts. Fine.

But the one in the middle must forbid defecating in the wells? Potable water is way more fun. That, or don't sit on the artifacts. But I'd like to believe it's the former. Maybe that's why I'm not an archaeologist. Running around Tikal with my Indy fedora and whip didn't convince many people either...

I still think we'd all be better off taking sign design cues from Guatemala.

a new redditor is born

OK, well, that's not necessarily true, but the world could probably use another geek baby.
Jeremy pointed me toward a comment on reddit yesterday that was from an interesting photo collection of start-to-finish pregnancy -- with triplets.

A redditor named brobak commented:
You know, I couldn't make this up if I tried. I am actually sitting in the hospital delivery room, with my wife. She's been in labor since 5am. Its...10:42pm as i write this. I hopped the hospital wifi, because there's not much for me to do now that she's on the epidural and resting(and yes, I am that much of a nerd that i'd actually post to reddit while in labor and delivery). She's stalled out at 8cm, and we're waiting for the petocin to kick in and see if we can push her over the edge to pushin' time.

We've only got a single in there, so she wasn't nearly that large, but i tell ya, its a hell of an experience. Here's hoping we can finish this up tonight. Wish me luck reddit.
It was a momentous day; the first time a baby was born live on reddit. Probably.

Either way, the response from the community was overwhelmingly positive and laced with a few good jokes.

We got an update from brobak later that night:
EDIT: Just wanted to post a follow up briefly. My son was born at 4:27am on the 8th. After 23 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing, they decided that it wasnt happenening and went to a c-section. It worked out fine, and the kid came out fine, and in good shape. needless to say we're exhausted, but I did want to post a follow up and thank you all for your support. Thank you.
Success! A healthy mommy and baby brobak probably missed today's reddit logo getting some well-earned rest, but hopefully a few other redditors noticed the little babe in blue.

Apparently hospitals here in the States do this kind of newborn sex identification with little hats? I would use nail polish "B" or "G" like on a pet turtle, but that's just me.

Congratulations once again. It's a shame we don't sell reddit baby-tees or I'd send them one for baby brobak. Oh well, hopefully the logo will do. One day, when baby brobak is old enough, he's going to be really confused by all this :-)

2008 will be the year of poetic spam

Here's my obligatory New Year's greeting. I had a rather prophetic start to this year involving a spammer named Ираида, which I believe translates into eer-ey-ee-dah (Russian for "the spam bard"). I interpreted this to mean that all the spam we'll be getting in 2008 will be in iambic pentameter or haikus.
Исай

to a mortgage endowment.
I have contacted various
the documentation

playtime can create
successful children. Above all,
help them excel.

very beginning of
and author of
The superficial emptiness

"we should all buy and read" starbucked

OK, so I've taken P. J. O'Rourke's quote out of context. Nonetheless, it's indeed in his recent New York Times book review, Venti Capitalists. His critique of Starbucked takes a few unorthodox paternalistic turns, but you can't dispute his apparent fondness for the author, Taylor Clark.

Instead of giving an unabashedly positive review (I couldn't help myself) he starts out chiding Clark for some rather random things:
Clark makes much of Starbucks’s discovery that it could put one store close to another and both could thrive. But you can line a street with fire hydrants and dogs will use them all; that’s not necessarily a recipe for wealth, especially if you try to charge the dogs.
Should his analogy lead us to believe that going to Starbucks is like pissing in public? Maybe he's not far off. Nonetheless, the dogs keep paying -- a lot.

Now, Mr. O'Rourke may trivialize the success Starbucks has had with cannibalization, but as far as I know, it was a rather novel (and fruitful) strategy. The company may not have been the first to actively cannibalize its own stores, but it certainly did so with unprecedented success.

Another fun-fact from Clark's book was recounted in his recent Slate article "Don't Fear Starbucks: Why the franchise actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses." And it even made it onto the front page of reddit. Looks like you're about to get the reddit bump, Mr. Clark.

kiwis in danger, but not going without a fight

There are a few key take-aways from this recent IHT article, "New Zealand trying to save the kiwi".

First, New Zealand is trying to save the kiwi. See, you didn't even have to read the article to learn that.

Second, the article doesn't expand on how this will affect Fogbugz -- FogCreek (maker of FogBugz) founder Joel Spolsky has yet to comment on the matter. Third, the kiwi may be the result of cruel dare some creator was taking, but it's not to be taken lightly. The article cites some pretty compelling evidence of the ill-tempered nature of the kiwi:
Some kiwis are more aggressive than others.

"Some of them will charge right up to you and kick you on the leg before rushing off into the undergrowth," McLennan said. "There's plenty of footage around of kiwis chasing possums and kicking them and beating them up."
Maybe they had it coming...


(thanks, Liz!)

redditor vs. alien

A long time back, exhausted of all creativity, I called upon redditAll readers to submit plot ideas for the reddit logo.

Quite a few of them turned into an epic logo storyline that lasted a couple weeks.

The top story on reddit at the moment is titled "Predator vs Alien (pic)". It doesn't have anything to do with today's movie opening.

But this must have reminded one of our users, bobcat, of the plot suggestion I got that featured "redditor vs. alien" -- the reddit alien and a redditor (presumably in cartoon-form) would duel it out in the logo.

bobcat tried to get some submissions with this self post, but the anti-custom-reddit-logo-conspiracy must have all activated their auto down-voting scripts. So we're going to try again with this one now that it's "official"...

searching for the bill of rights

I wanted to refresh my memory about my favorite amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights (the 3rd -- you'll never see British troops being quartered in my home!). So I did what most people do, typed a simple Google query:
bill of rights US
Top search result?
USINFO - Error 404 - Page Not Found
usinfo.state.gov UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. ... USINFO delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture....
usinfo.state.gov/pub/ - 19k
U.S. Bill of Rights not found? I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised...