The Government Is Testing a Fish Cannon, Because Reasons

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm


No, we haven't gone full Monty Python with our tax dollars...yet. The purpose of this cannon, which fires live salmon through the air, is to get them over Washington state's hydroelectric dams that otherwise block their swim upstream.

The fact that the prototype makes it look like you're pushing the fish through a giant vagina is surely just a side benefit. And I can't be the only person thinking there are humans who'd want to ride in something of this sort.

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Contact in the Desert: Luke's Mother-in-Law Reports From the UFO Show

Monday, August 11, 2014 at 8:00 am


When we heard that our weekly advice columnist and favorite ex-cop/crazy cat lady was volunteering at a convention of UFO-buffs, we couldn't resist asking her to send in her thoughts, and pictures. People paid big money to get in, but now you can hear one person's account for free.


Hello all. I made it through the first day of Contact in the Desert. The event runs until Monday, but I only volunteered for Friday and Saturday. It was HOT, and I feel so sorry for the people who came who were not used to the heat. There is no shade at the event and some of the speakers were in the amphitheater. One of the big speakers, Erich Von Daniken, was moved from a room to the wide outdoors for this first talk. The poor man is in his late 70s and was melting. I have attached a photo of him on the outside stage. Sorry the pics are not very good as I was near the rear for the morning welcome. and then for the inside ones the lighting was not the greatest and speakers tend to move around a bit.

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The Tick Bites That Will Turn You Vegetarian

Friday, August 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm


On TV and in the comics, the Tick would attempt to stop the Man-Eating Cow. In real life - and most ironically, in Texas - ticks are now preventing men from eating cows. Just like their big blue namesake, they seem to have misinterpreted the script.

Here's how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat -- beef, pork, venison, rabbit -- and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.

But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.

Doctors have no idea if the newly created meat allergy is permanent or not, but smartasses like me would suggest that if there is a God, He couldn't have delivered a more ironic pestilence upon Texas unless there were somehow a way to be allergic to football.

h/t Broos Campbell

Luke's Mother-in-Law Reports in From UFO Convention "Contact in the Desert"

Friday, August 8, 2014 at 10:00 am


As you may have gleaned from her recent columns, Luke's mother-in-law is volunteering this weekend at the big UFO convention out in Joshua Tree. As time and Internet allows, she may file the occasional update - this is the first. If you have questions specific to Contact in the Desert, she may also answer them in comments below.

Well, we made it through orientation and registration. We have the volunteer badge and assigments. It is getting so close. I start work on Friday from 9:45 to 3:45 at Friendship hall. This is where the George Noory lunch on Saturday will be held and is also some of the properties retreat rooms for visitors. The location is the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.

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Geek Apparel of the Week: Lechal Smartphone-Enabled Shoes

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 10:00 am


When it comes to enabling things with smartphone technology, it's time to admit da feet. Why, today's product was a real shoe-in for Geek Apparel of the Week. It turns easily finding your destination into a walk in the park. It's the sole reason for...

Okay, I stop now. But I would like to own shoes that basically play their version of the "getting warmer/colder" game by buzzing your feet in the direction they need to go. I bet blind people would too.

Though I hate to think what some of you would do with a vibrating piece of footwear. Check out Lechal in action below.

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ThinkGeek Shows off the Star Trek Phaser Remote and More

Monday, July 28, 2014 at 10:00 am


We got the folks at the ThinkGeek booth to show off their new products, including the amazingly detailed phaser remote that requires the reflexes of a young Shatner to fully do it justice.

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Weekend Hangover: From Doctor Who to Fart Odors, 18 Stories You Might Have Missed

Monday, July 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

Ian McKellen
Whatup, Holmes?

Ian McKellen as a 93 year-old Sherlock Holmes may see long life as a benidiction, but we have to wonder if he still wants to cum a batch. This was but one of the weekend thread stories you might have missed, compiled with the aid of Kyle LeClair, and now it's time for the rest. Tipsters this week include skrag2112, Gallen_Dugall, Citrus King, CobraCommander, NOT.DrAbraxas, brownkidd, Anyone00, scockery, DrAbraxas, SlyDante777, fury_cartoon, donnaryoko,andre_morelo

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Guided Bullets Can Change Course in Flight

Friday, July 11, 2014 at 11:30 am


Don't tell Gene Simmons, but the futuristic bullets he fired in Runaway are nearly ready.

The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.
It also has a cute nickname: DARPA is calling it EXACTO, a sort-of acronym for Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance. And yet another obstacle for people with poor aim to become lethal snipers is broken down.

Check out footage from a recent test...

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The 14 Coolest Things on the Harry Potter WB Studio Tour in London

Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 6:00 am


Although the primary purpose of my trip to England was to see family, my wife and I had a special incentive too - as a birthday present, my cousin managed to procure us tickets to the UK Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford, just outside of London. Now, unlike studio tours here in Hollywood, this was a show-and-tell with exactly one topic: Harry Potter. But on that one topic, it had every damn thing you can imagine short of a personal greeting from Alan Rickman. The studio isn't allowed to have anything that be considered a "ride" - that would infringe on Universal Studios' exclusive international rights to same - but it does have as many props, costumes, miniatures, wigs, effects and other doodads as could presumably be secured, and it presents them in a way that puts most collections of far more acclaimed artworks to shame.

You can probably picture some of what's there already. But I'm here to show you the best things you might not have expected...

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Ask Luke's Mother-in-Law: Robots, Revivals and No More Reboots!

Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 8:00 am


Luke's mother-in-law is former LAPD, a licensed property appraiser and a self-described crazy cat lady. None of which has prepared her for TR readers. All questions and answers are real.

Well, while you all were not looking, I went out of town and back to Mexico. Stayed again at the Melia resort in Puerto Vallarta. I will have to say things have improved since the comments I made in March 2014. This time we had a clock and coffee-maker in the room, better ocean view and my mom had rice pudding restored at the desert table. She was very happy this time.

Anyway, I want to give a shout out to the Activities staff at the resort. They work so hard and are very friendly and helpful. You should see the smile on this one guy named Raul. Raul reads Topless Robot and likes X-Men. The regular staff was training high school kids on summer break and all seemed to be going well. While at the resort, I got to meet Dino the Dino from The Flintstones (above) - he is the big purple one and I'm the big yellow one (no, I'm not Big Bird).

So now let's see what my minions have come up with for questions this week.

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