Want to buy Uranium Ore? Go to Amazon. No kidding.

You can buy Uranium ore on Amazon. New from $29.95, used from $2499. It will be shipped to you. And it is compliant with the NRC.

We are always in compliance with Section 13 from part 40 of the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and regulations and Postal Service regulations specified in 49 CFR 173.421 for activity limits of low level radioactive materials. Item will be shipped in accordance with Postal Service activity limits specified in Publication 52.

If that isn’t funny enough, you have to read the customer reviews. They are hilarious.

138 of 142 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I don’t have to buy this from Libyans in parking lots at the mall anymore., January 21, 2009
By Kyle J. Von Bose “Kyle von Bose” (Anchorage, Alaska) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
I bought this to power a home-made submarine that I use to look for prehistoric-era life forms in land-locked lakes around my home town in Alaska. At first I wasn’t sure if this item would (or could) arrive via mail, but I was glad to see it showed up with no problems. Well, almost no problems.

Unfortunately my mom opened my mail, because she does not respect people’s privacy. She was pretty upset to see Uranium Ore. After a long argument and me running away from home again, she finaly stopped being such an idiot and I was able to get back to work.

The quality of this Uranium is on par with the stuff I was bying from the Libyans over at the mall parking lot, but at half the price! I just hope the seller does not run out, because I have many projects on my list including a night vision sasquatch radar, an electromagnetic chupakabra cage, a high velocity, aerial, weighted Mothman net and super heated, instant grill cheese sandwhich maker.

You can shop for it here: Uranium Ore

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One Star Pound. Optimized voice mail manipulation.

I love this article, not just for the geeky calculation of how much cell phone companies make annually by adding in the 15 second instructions to leave a voice mail, but also because it uses D.O.T. D.O.T are Desi Optimization Techniques. Many (not all) of my desi friends love to optimize their lives, their chores, their spending, their time, to make for a seemingly smarter way of life.

Examples:

  • Walking to and waiting at the optimal spot on a subway platform so that when you get out, the exit is right there. The time saved from walking to the exit at the destination adds up over the course of the year.
  • Finding the optimal driving / walking path to work everyday.
  • Figuring out whether to buy a monthly pass, a weekly pass, or an unlimited pass for travel by working out the optimal number of trips required to break even.

Now desis are not the only ones who optimize, obviously, but I know a very high percentage of desis who do. It’s ingrained into us to get around the system, or use the system to its fullest.

Anyway, enough generalizations. Here’s David Pogue’s optimized voice mail pain reliever. Perhaps D.O.T also stands for David’s Optimized Techniques. But he does claim to have gotten it from another source. That source might very well be a desi.

pogue_main
How to Bypass Stupid Voicemail Instructions

Increase in store vacancies in Manhattan

Perhaps I’m blind (or biased) but some how I don’t see the sort of crisis being talked about in this New York Times article when I walk around the city.

The storefront vacancy rate in Manhattan is now at its highest point since the early 1990s — an estimated 6.5 percent — and is expected to exceed 10 percent by the middle of next year, according to data gathered by Marcus & Millichap Research Services, a national real estate investment brokerage based in Encino, Calif.

And those numbers do not capture the full story. Some of the more desirable shopping districts are littered with empty storefronts. For example, Fifth Avenue between 42nd Street and 49th Street, the stretch just south of Saks Fifth Avenue, has a vacancy rate of 15.3 percent, according to the brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

In SoHo, from West Houston Street to Grand Street and Broadway to West Broadway, among the high-end boutiques, art galleries and restaurants, 1 in 10 retail spaces are now empty or about to be.

Stores Go Dark Where Buyers Once Roamed

The story of the US credit binge (it’s shorter than you think)

Came across this very good analysis by Jeffrey Grundlach, Chief Investment Officer from TCW, on Barry Ritholz’s blog The Big Picture .

The analysis is written for people reasonably unfamiliar with finance. There’s just a lot of common sense lines in the story. If we ran our own finances like the US govt, we’d be in debt for our lifetime and a generation more perhaps, and still borrowing. The govt debt is at 350% GDP right now and growing. I don’t even want to know how many multiples it might be of US revenue (such as taxes). From reading the possibilities of US monetization of debt and the resultant inflation, one understands why the emerging countries are beginning to clamour for a new global currency standard.

What some of us may not realize is that the debt burden of the country, and the individual, really began from the 80s with Reagan’s administration. So the story is a lot shorter than you think. Jeffrey’s theory is that the US credit story is a tragedy in 3 acts. And we’re just beginning Act 3.

No, it’s not over yet.

Letter from Jeffrey Grundlach

Poem of the week – July 19

Adrian Mitchell may have been known as “British Poetry’s Voice of the Left” for his pacifist anti-war poems, but to me, he was a writer first about human nature, and then about war. His anti- Vietnam poem, To Whom it may Concern also called Tell Me Lies made him an international figure. A couple of lines from the poem

To Whom It May Concern

I was run over by the truth one day.
Ever since the accident I’ve walked this way
So stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.
..
..
..
You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out,
You take the human being and you twist it all about
….

My personal favourites, including the banner poem on his home page, are below

Celia Celia

When I am sad and weary,
When I think all hope has gone,
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on

For his daughter

Beatrix is Three

At the top of the stairs
I ask for her hand. O.K.
She gives it to me.
How her fist fits my palm,
A bunch of consolation.
We take our time
Down the steep carpetway
As I wish silently
That the stairs were endless.

For the great jazz musician Charlie Parker

He breathed in air, he breathed out light
Charlie Parker was my delight

And from his home page

SONG IN SPACE

When man first flew beyond the sky
He looked back into the world’s blue eye.
Man said: What makes your eye so blue?
Earth said: The tears in the ocean do.
Why are the seas so full of tears?
Because I’ve wept so many thousand years.
Why do you weep as you dance through space?
Because I am the mother of the human race.

Poem of the week – July 12

About 10 years ago, I came across a story about a famous Tamil poetess and saint called Avvaiyar. The famous Indian writer and Tamilian R.K. Narayan wrote an essay The Cold Fruit in a collection called A Story-Teller’s world , in which he shares a story about Avvaiyar that he had heard in his childhood days.

In the story, Avvaiyar is resting, tired form her travels, under a tree containing the Jambu fruit. A young boy on the branches of the tree engages in wordplay with her on “hot” fruits and “cold” fruits. Avvaiyar, herself an adept at wordplay, finds that the child gets the better of her. In an instant, she recognizes him as the lord Subramanya Himself and bows with humility. The boy, continuing the fun, asks her

“Granny, I will ask you a question. Will you answer it?”
“I will try,” replied Avvaiyar with trepidation, wondering if he were going to lay a trap for her again.
“Which is bigger than the biggest?”, asked the boy.
Avaiyar recited a song.

The universe is biggest,
Bigger than that is the four faced Brahma

Brahma’s support is Vishnu
Vishnu rests on the wavy ocean

The wavy ocean is but a little water
on the palm of the microcosmic sage Agastya

Agastya came out of a pot
The pot is but a handful of mud out of the earth

The earth is but a load on one of
the thousand heads of the mighty snake

The mighty snake is a ring adorning
the little finger of Parvati

Parvati is just half of her spouse Shiva
who resides in the heart of the true devotee.

Is there anything to measure the expanse
of a devotee’s heart?

(From The Cold Fruit, by R.K. Narayan)

More on Avvaiyar here
Avvaiyar – A great Tamil poet saint

Is this America? Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny

Just watching a rerun of Bill Clinton’s appearance on Elvis Costello’s superb music show “Spectacle” and it ended with a wonderful and thoughtful piece by the great jazz musicians Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny called “Is this America”.

Thanks to Aman who introduced me to Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny. Forever indebted, bud.