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February 2005
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April 2005

Do you have Prince Albert in a can?

Prince Albert in a Can I’d come across the phrase “the infamous Prince Albert in a can” while reading a history of tins and canning. Not knowing why it was infamous, about 10 minutes of Googling later, I found this article. So, apparently “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” is a snicker-inducing question from the early part of the 20th century. Oh, and the appropriate retort to a reply of “Yes” is, “Well, you’d better let him out, then.”

EDIT: added image. Of course, a “Prince Albert” is also a type of piercing.

EDIT: another image. Prince Albert in a can

Listening to Klezmer Tunes from the album “Kalman Balogh & the Gypsy Cimbalom” by Kalman Balogh


Is glass liquid or solid?

Mathematician John Baez addresses the persistent idea that glass flows (at room temperature).

The use of the term "supercooled liquid" to describe glass still persists, but is considered by many to be an unfortunate misnomer that should be avoided.  In any case, claims that glass panes in old windows have deformed due to glass flow have never been substantiated.  Examples of Roman glassware and calculations based on measurements of glass visco-properties indicate that these claims cannot be true.  The observed features are more easily explained as a result of the imperfect methods used to make glass window panes before the float glass process was invented.

I actually had a prof in grad school who also said that glass will flow over a long period of time.


Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

I just saw this link talking about John Perkins’s Confessions of an Economic Hitman. The link includes translations of parts of Der Spiegel’s interview with the author.

In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies.

NB: the link is to the filtered, i.e. safe for work, version of Sensible Erection, the “lad culture” group blog. (Just in case you were wondering about the domain name.)