My Favorite Bizarre Links
Presented for your pleasure, education, and entertainment by
Bob Beeman

Remember, these are Satire.
Don't take them seriously (or personally)!

Annals of Improbable Research
Dubious achievements in scientific research.

ASCIIMATION: "Star Wars" as it was meant to be seen!

             | |       ______
          / \| |      /&@&&@&\
         /   \ |     /#@&**&@*\
        /     \|     |%#*&**&*#|
       /       \     \#@&*&@*#/
       |   __  |      \&@&&@&/
       |  |  | |        | |
       |  |  | |        | |

         House and Tree            
           by Bee-man
Remember when people used to draw pictures using typewriter characters? No? Well, I do (but of course I'm a grandpa, so I remember a lot of old things). I have provided a modest sample to the left, which illustrates the concept, but pretty well exhausts my artistic abilities. Simon Janson of New Zealand has carried this to an insane extreme with his "Asciimation" version of "Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope" from 20th Century Text.

Supposedly, George Lucas nearly fell over laughing when he saw this. But his lawyers told him he had to pursue it as a copyright violation. So Lucas, who reportedly loves parodies of his movies (like "Hardware Wars" and Weird Al's Star Wars-related song parodies) told Simon Janson he would have to shut the site down - but only until Lucas' lawyers could draw up a free licensing agreement and Janson returned it signed. All of this took a couple of weeks, during which the site was down. Even though Janson has been working on this for years, it is still a "work in progress". But the result is great.

Give this at least a couple of minutes after the applet loads - it grows on you.

FBI Eyes
The FBI's new technology for tracking terrorists - and maybe you too!

Fightin' Whites.
Some Native American and other students at the University of Northern California formed an intermural basketball team and decided to carry the whole ethnically-named teams thing (Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, Fighting Illini, etc.) to its logical conclusion. And so were born "The Fightin' Whites".

Flat Earth Society.
The name says it all.

Ig® Nobel Prizes
The Nobel Prizes go to those who have made great contributions to human knowledge and progress. On the other hand, the Ig® Nobel prizes honor those whose achievements are somewhat more dubious, but which make people laugh and think. A few of the winners (but very few) are soreheads and refuse to accept their awards. The vast majority accept them at the awards ceremony and have a good time.

From the same great folks who brought you the "Annals of Improbable Research" (above).

Mozart's Musical Dice Game
Did you know that Mozart invented a scheme for composing minuets by throwing dice? Well, he did. Lloyd Tarr and I (mostly Lloyd, actually) implemented this algorithm to create copyright-free "Music on Hold" for a PBX system sold by GTE Automatic Electric back in the 1970s. Lloyd extended the rules to make music that was reminscent of Scott Jopplin and several other composers.

Of course in this "internet age", somebody had to put this on a web page. John Chuang was up to the challenge! Mr. Chuang explains some of the theory on his Musical Dice Games web page.

Terrorism, and How to Deal with the Menace of Poison Gas.
The geniuses at the Department of Homeland Security told us we could poison-gas proof our homes with Duct Tape. Too bad they didn't talk to air-conditioning experts first.

US Patent number 6293874
This is Way better than any of mine. Have you ever regretted something and really wanted to kick your own butt? Now, exciting new technology allows you to do this. A valuable insight into just how well the patent office is reviewing patent applications. For a really great website featuring "Totally Absurd Patents" click here.