05

2004-05 posts.

  1. 2004-05-01t07:58:10Z. RE: Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Design. Elections. Engineering. Faith. File. Food. Fun. Green. Health. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Israel. Martial Arts. Math. Media. Money. Politics. Science. Sex. Terrorism. US. Words. World.
  2. 2004-05-13t18:21:51Z. RE: 9/11. Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Elections. Engineering. Faith. Food. Fun. Green. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Martial Arts. Media. Medicine. Money. Music. Parenting. Politics. Prisoner Abuse. Programming. Science. Sex. Show Biz. Space. USA. World.
  3. On Vacation. RE: Travel.

2004-05-01t07:58:10Z | RE: Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Design. Elections. Engineering. Faith. File. Food. Fun. Green. Health. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Israel. Martial Arts. Math. Media. Money. Politics. Science. Sex. Terrorism. US. Words. World.
2004-05-01t07:58:10Z

Bush

  • HouseOfBush.com.
    • 'House of Bush, House of Saud begins with a single question: How is it that two days after September 11, 2001, even as American air traffic was tightly restricted, a Saudi billionaire socialized in the White House with President George W. Bush as 140 Saudi citizens, many immediate kin to Osama Bin Laden, were permitted to return to their country? A potential treasure trove of intelligence was allowed to flee the country-- including an alleged al-Qaeda intermediary who was said to have foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Why did the FBI facilitate this evacuation, and why didn't the agency question the people on the planes? Why did Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of most of the hijackers, receive exclusive and preferential treatment from the White House even as the World Trade Center continued to burn?'
    • book cover of House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger Available at Amazon
  • Bush reaping the benefits of journalistic professionalism: Covering an inarticulate president
    • ' Why is the Democrat-loving, Republican-hating, pond scum-swilling, lower-than-the-rug-on-the-floor, biased, liberal [curl upper lip when pronouncing] press protecting George W. Bush? ... If the press were not protecting Bush, you'd have read in your Chicago Tribune--or Washington Post or New York Times or Wall Street Journal or USA Today--that he delivered one of the most confusing, inarticulate public addresses since ... well, some people would say since his press conference a week earlier. As it was, those hopelessly biased reporters who cover Bush overlooked the mangled syntax, penetrated the rhetorical fog and extracted some usable lines from the dross and manufactured stories that had the president sounding, if not quite statesmanlike, then at least intelligible.'
    • ' Bush has benefited from this journalistic professionalism throughout his presidency. In a column almost two years ago, in July 2002, I quoted the complaint of a reader who claimed we had misquoted the president's statement in a press conference denying any " 'malfeasance' in his business dealings prior to becoming president."

      "The word that he actually used ... sounded to me something like 'misfeance'--something which is not a word in any dictionary I've ever seen," the reader, Sean Barnawell of Chicago, wrote. "I feel the Tribune should not be in the business of 'cleansing' what the president says in order to make him sound more articulate than he is."

      I replied thus: "Ideally, we would have a president so articulate that we would never be in doubt as to what he said. In reality, we have one who regularly mispronounces. ... This confronts us with the question whether our purpose is to transmit to readers what the president means when he speaks out or to simply relate what he says. I have always felt that transmitting meaning is paramount. .."

  • Bush 'Seizure' Answer to his Awful Press Conference Performance?
    • ' "At some time in the past, according to both [redacted] and [redacted] the President suffered what one of his aides called "a very minor seizure" and as a result of this, the President has a very difficult time following any unscripted conversations. For this reason, his staff carefully and aggressively protect the President from "unexpected" questions that he is not capable of answering."  '
    • I assume that this is supposed to be some sort of humor piece. I'm assuming it because although it explains a lot of things, it's a pretty big claim.
    • Related links:
  • The MisInformation Clearinghouse.
    • ' ALERT! Over the past few years, vital data has been deleted, buried, distorted, or has otherwise gone missing from government websites and publications. The National Council for Research on Women has begun to document how these changes and exclusions affect women's lives in a new report, entitled MISSING: Information About Women's Lives. '
    • More 1984 stuff.
  • The Bush-Cheney interview with the 9/11 Commission is a total non-event. It was closed to the public. It was unrecorded. It was  in the White House. It was done with the 2 together instead of separately.
  • In Front of Your Nose
    • ' We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." That's from George Orwell's 1946 essay "In Front of Your Nose." It seems especially relevant right now, as we survey the wreckage of America's Iraq adventure. '
    • ' All the information I've been able to get my hands on indicates that the security situation in Iraq is really, really bad. It's not a good sign when, a year into an occupation, the occupying army sends for more tanks. Western civilians have retreated to armed enclaves. U.S. forces are strong enough to defend those enclaves, and probably strong enough to keep essential supplies flowing. But we don't have remotely enough troops to turn the vicious circle around. The Iraqi forces that were supposed to fill the security gap collapsed -- or turned against us -- at the first sign of trouble. '
  • http://www.bushflash.com/unb.html [see the video].
    • ' During a commercial break on the David Letterman show, producer Maria Pope was on stage and discussing something with Letterman, and while she was standing there in front of Bush, George leaned forward, grabbed the back of her sweater and used it to clean his glasses. '

Comic Art

  • 24HourComics.com.
    • 'Comics leading theoretician Scott McCloud came up with the 24 hour comics challenge about a decade back. Simply put, a cartoonist tries to write and draw an entire 24 page comics story in 24 consecutive hours. Since then, hundreds have tried, ranging from a 9 year old girl to some of the biggest names in comics. '
    • Hey if it's by McCloud, it's got to be good.
  • My Marvel Years
    • Wonderful piece on adolescence, the 1970s, and Marvel comics, esp. Kirby. Excellent writing, each paragraph is a powerful panel.
    • ' In Marvel's greatest comics, Lee and Kirby were full collaborators who, like Lennon and McCartney, really were more than the sum of their parts, and who derived their greatness from the push and pull of incompatible visions. Kirby always wanted to drag the Four into the Negative Zone - deeper into psychedelic science fiction and existential alienation - while Lee resolutely pulled them back into the morass of human lives, hormonal alienation, teenage dating problems, pregnancy, and unfulfilled longings to be human and normal and loved and not to have the Baxter Building repossessed by the City of New York. Kirby threw at the Four an endless series of ponderous fallen gods or whole tribes and races of alienated antiheroes with problems no mortal could credibly contemplate. Lee made certain the Four were always answerable to the female priorities of Sue Storm - the Invisible Girl, Reed Richards's wife and famously 'the weakest member of the Fantastic Four'. She wanted a home for their boy Franklin, she wanted Reed to stay out of the Negative Zone, and she was willing to quit the Four and quit the marriage to stand up for what she believed. '

Computers

  • Internet speed record set
    • ' The record, announced Tuesday at the Spring 2004 Internet2 member meeting in Arlington, Va., was for transmitting data over nearly 11,000 kilometers at an average speed of 6.25 gigabits per second. This is nearly 10,000 times faster than a typical home broadband connection. The network link used to set the record reaches from Los Angeles to Geneva, Switzerland. '
  • A Quiz Designed to Give You Fitts. 'So you think you are an interaction designer? Not if you cannot answer all the following questions quickly and with authority. ... These questions and answers assume that you have total control over all screen real estate, the OS, etc. Just pretend you are chief designer for Microsoft and Apple (after the big takeover).'
  • LIpsum.com.
    • 'Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.'
    • This site can generate Lorem Ipsum for you.
    • Related link: The Straight Dope on Lorem Ipsum.
  • Bush: Broadband for the people by 2007
    • ' To make that happen, Bush on Monday ordered federal agencies to streamline the process of granting broadband providers access to federal land. The White House stressed in a fact sheet that Bush was backing the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to deregulate fiber-optic connections, as well as the U.S. Department of Commerce's development of specifications for broadband over power lines and a Senate proposal to curb taxes on Internet access. '
      • I've mentioned BPL (Broadband Power Lines) before and it will have a huge effect on the entire US.
    • ' Adam Thierer, a telecommunications analyst at the free-market Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., said he wasn't sure why it took Bush nearly four years to gather his thoughts on broadband. "I guess better late than never is the theme here, although one wonders why it took him this long to get more specific." '
      • Hey! Bush does so few things that I appreciate, so I'm thankful for those few good scraps.
    • Related links:
  • How many Google machines. Estimates on Googles hidden supercomputer.
  • American Business Computers Catalog, about 1981

Cyber Life

  • Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials
    • 'As a result, some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what's reported in some blogs is questionable. '
    • 'At least one nation, China, is actively tracking blogs. It's also reportedly trying to block blogs. Several press reports earlier this year said the government shut two blogging services and banned access to all Web logs by Chinese citizens.'
  • "www.terror.net- How Modern Terrorism uses the Internet" [PDF]
    • It is impossible to stop or decipher international messages. A terrorist group, or any group, can make a web site that may appear to have no relation to their true aim.
    • Related link:
  • Computer Student on Trial for Aid to Muslim Web Sites [NYT ]
    • ' As a Web master to several Islamic organizations, Mr. Hussayen helped to maintain Internet sites with links to groups that praised suicide bombings in Chechnya and in Israel. But he himself does not hold those views, his lawyers said. His role was like that of a technical editor, they said, arguing that he could not be held criminally liable for what others wrote. '
    • ' Civil libertarians say the case poses a landmark test of what people can do or whom they can associate with in the age of terror alerts. It is one of the few times anyone has been prosecuted under language in the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, which makes it a crime to provide "expert guidance or assistance" to groups deemed terrorist. '
    • ' Idaho, one of the most Republican states, has become an unlikely home of opposition to the act. The state's senior senator, the Republican Larry E. Craig, and Representative C. L. Otter, also a Republican, have sponsored bills to amend the act, which they have called a threat to civil liberties. '
    • ' "It's an illustration of how much power the government can bring against somebody," said John Dickinson, a retired professor of computer sciences who was Mr. Hussayen's doctoral adviser at the University of Idaho. "It should scare anybody." Mr. Dickinson said he was interviewed by the F.B.I. for several hours after Mr. Hussayen's arrest in February 2003. "They kept saying his Ph.D. program was a front and that the person I knew was only the tip of this monstrous iceberg," he said. "But I've yet to hear one thing the government has said since then that has made me question his innocence." '
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Blogged

Design

Elections

Engineering

  • 'Laser vision' offers new insights
    • ' US firm Microvision [MVis.com] has developed a system that projects lasers onto the retina, allowing users to view images on top of their normal field of vision.'
    • ' The first generation product, called the Nomad Expert Technician System, consists of a wireless computer and a hi-tech monocle, costing around $4,000. The monocle is worn in front of the eye and reflects scanned laser light to the eye allowing mechanics to view car diagnostics and instructions superimposed on their field of vision. '
    • ' Honda has found that technicians are saving about 40% in terms of the time spent working on engines, saving the company an estimated $2,000 per month per technician. Surgeons have also tested a version of the system which gives them vital patient data, such as heart rate and blood pressure, as they operate. Already 100 of the see-through laser-based displays have been shipped to Iraq for use by the US Army's Stryker Brigade. '
    • Borgify me baby! Or maybe do some long term studies first.
    • Laser vision in use
  • Robotic traffic cones swarm onto highways
    • ' The self-propelled markers take the form of robotic three-wheeled bases for the brightly coloured barrels that are set out to demarcate road repair zones. Farritor says they can open and close traffic lanes faster and more safely than humans. The markers are delivered to the roadside by a specially equipped truck, from which an operator controls their deployment using a laptop computer. Each fleet of robots is made up of a lead robot or "shepherd", which is equipped with a Global Positioning System satellite navigation receiver, plus a number of less expensive "dumb" units. '
    • Hey! They stole this idea from Toy Story 2.

Faith

File

Food

  • Coca-Cola C2 coming this summer. At first I thought "how stupid". But then I thought about it. If it has half the sugar and none of the artificial sweetners, but tastes good, then I might be interested. Come to think of it I'd like half the caffeine too. Or... never mind! I'm just going to drink water.
    Coke C2
  • FoodMuseum.com. Well, why not? We all eat don't we?
  • Raising the Humble Chicken. I wonder if we can raise chickens in Chicago?

Fun

  • http://ferryhalim.com/orisinal/. A bunch of gentle, pastel-flavored Flash games.
  • The biggest moving mountain ever surfed and the Qucktime Video of it. ' "HOLY crap, Pete ... that was a bomb!" Those were the exact words used by surfer Pete Cabrinha's jet ski tow-in driver, Rush Randle, after the revered Hawaiian waterman rode a 70 foot (21.5m) giant. Randle was right, almost. It was more than a bomb. It was big enough to get Cabrinha into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest wave ever ridden.'
    photo of surfing record
  • 50 Worst Songs Ever. Here's all 50 via Worst song ever. Of course this list only covers pop music of recent times. I'm listing them here in case the links become defective.
    • 1. We Built This City Starship ... 1985
      2. Achy Breaky Heart Billy Ray Cyrus ... 1992
      3. Everybody Have Fun Tonight Wang Chung ... 1986
      4. Rollin' Limp Bizkit ... 2000
      5. Ice Ice Baby Vanilla Ice ... 1990
      6. The Heart of Rock & Roll Huey Lewis and the News ... 1984
      7. Don't Worry, Be Happy Bobby McFerrin ... 1988
      8. Party All the Time Eddie Murphy ... 1985
      9. American Life Madonna ... 2003
      10. Ebony and Ivory Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder ... 1982
      11. Invisible Clay Aiken ... 2003
      12. Kokomo The Beach Boys ... 1988
      13. Illegal Alien Genesis ... 1983
      14. From a Distance Bette Midler ... 1990
      15. I'll Be There for You The Rembrandts ... 1995
      16. What's Up? 4 Non Blondes ... 1993
      17. Pumps and a Bump Hammer ... 1994
      18. You're The Inspiration Chicago ... 1984
      19. Broken Wings Mr. Mister ... 1985
      20. Dancing on the Ceiling Lionel Richie ... 1986
      21. Two Princes Spin Doctors ... 1992
      22. Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American) Toby Keith ... 2002
      23. Sunglasses at Night Corey Hart ... 1984
      24. Five for Fighting Superman ... 2000
      25. I'll Be Missing You Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112 ... 1997
      26. The End The Doors ... 1967
      27. The Final Countdown Europe ... 1987
      28. Your Body Is a Wonderland John Mayer ... 2001
      29. Breakfast at Tiffany's Deep Blue Something ... 1995
      30. Greatest Love of All Whitney Houston ... 1986
      31. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Crash Test Dummies ... 1994
      32. Will 2K Will Smith ... 1999
      33. Barbie Girl Aqua ... 1997
      34. Longer Dan Fogelberg ... 1979
      35. Shiny Happy People R.E.M. ... 1991
      36. Make Em Say Uhh! Master P featuring Silkk, Fiend, Mia-X and Mystikal ... 1998
      37. Rico Suave Gerardo ... 1991
      38. Cotton Eyed Joe Rednex ... 1995
      39. She Bangs Ricky Martin ... 2000
      40. I Wanna Sex You Up Color Me Badd ... 1991
      41. We Didn't Start the Fire Billy Joel ... 1989
      42. The Sounds of Silence Simon & Garfunkel ... 1965
      43. Follow Me Uncle Kracker ... 2000
      44. I'll Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) Meat Loaf ... 1993
      45. Mesmerize Ja Rule featuring Ashanti ... 2002
      46. Hangin' Tough New Kids on the Block ... 1989
      47. The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You Bryan Adams ... 1996
      48. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da The Beatles ... 1968
      49. I'm Too Sexy Right Said Fred ... 1992
      50. My Heart Will Go On Celine Dion ... 1998
  • American Muscle Cars of the 60's and 70's.
  • Ha ha! It's 2004-04-29t02:51:00Z or 9:51 pm here in Chicago and we just came in the door after getting our FREE SCOOPS OF ICE CREAM compliments of the new Shrek2 movie coming out on May 21. Thanks Shrek and Baskin-Robbins! The place was packed and there was such a good feeling in the air. People loved getting free stuff and the workers seemed like they loved giving away free stuff.
  • The classic "The Good Wife's Guide" from the 1955-05-13 issue of Housekeeping Monthly is worthy of archiving. My wife may have problems with "Be happy to be seen with him". It starts out reasonably then turns into a horror flick! Related links: Snopes  and StepfordWivesMovie.com.
    'The good wife' made to look like an actual scan
  • Mario Brothers, a tragedy, part 4 [see video]. Still very good but it's not done yet! Related links: 1, 2, and 3.
  • TRON Lightcycle [game]. I've never been good at this but someone else might.
  • Yetisports 4 [game]. Simple but surprisingly fun and fresh. Basically a click has a yeti toss a penguin at seagulls. Then subsequent clicks make the seagull who caught the penguin flap its wings. The goal is to take the penguin as far as you can. You get 3 tosses.

Green

  • Groups Criticize Bush Earth Day Visit
    • ' "This administration has undertaken a concerted, systematic, very vigorous effort to undermine or repeal every important environmental law protecting the people and the environment of the United States," said Brownie Carson, executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. '
    • ' "I don't think since Sen. (Edmund) Muskie wrote the Clean Air Act that there has been a worse record by a president on air," said Conrad Schneider of the Clean Air Task Force in Brunswick. '
  • The idea of "oil from garbage" has been around for a while now. Here are a bunch of links related to it from MetaFilter.com:
  • 2004 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, 9th Edition by Steven F. Hayward [PDF]
    • This report presents data but I'll have to view it with a grain of salt because it's brought to us by PacificResearch.org (PRI, Pacific Research Institute) and AEI.org (American Enterprise Institute), both of which are corporate sponsored Right-wing think-tanks. It's authored by Steven F. Hayward, an anti-environmentalist heavy of the 2 think tanks mentioned.
    • The earth has shown some improvement but this is due to the efforts of environmentalists watch-dogging corporations. If US corporations didn't have the environmentalists looking over their shoulders, the US environment would look more like the brown parts of China. Hayward in his green-colored lenses, implies the absurd: As if relaxing environmental controls would actually improve the environment; As if scientists with no financial ulterior motives don't know how to do studies better than corporate paid heavies.
    • I can see through this man and his arguments. What scares me is that this man and this report are the sort of blinders that the corporations uses to soothe and calm voters and politicians. Or possibly to massage the consciences of its CEO and employees. What a despicable anti-Earth Week report to contort good news for evil purposes.
  • Satellites act as thermometers in space, show Earth has a fever
  • End of the Wild: The extinction crisis is over. We lost.
  • Rate of Ocean Circulation Directly Linked to Abrupt Climate Change. ' The study, reported April 22 in the journal Nature, suggests that when the rate of the Atlantic Ocean's north-south overturning circulation slowed dramatically following an iceberg outburst during the last deglaciation, the climate in the North Atlantic region became colder. When the rate of the ocean's overturning circulation subsequently accelerated, the climate warmed abruptly. '
  • NASA battles buzz from disaster movie
    • Here's stuff from the stupid memo handed out by the Bush administration to dozens of scientists and officials at NASA:
      • ' Urgent: HQ Direction ... No one from NASA is to do interviews or otherwise comment on anything having to do with [the film] ... Any news media wanting to discuss science fiction vs. science fact about climate change will need to seek comment from individuals or organizations not associated with NASA. '
    • 'A copy of the message was provided to The New York Times by a senior NASA scientist who said he resented attempts to muzzle researchers. '
    • ' "It's just another attempt to play down anything that might lead to the conclusion that something must be done" about global warming, one federal climate scientist said. He, like half a dozen government employees interviewed on this subject, said he could speak only on condition of anonymity, because of standing orders not to talk to the news media. '
    • That fucking evil, anti-environment administration. I'm definitely going to see that movie now.
    • Related link: The Day After Tomorrow. Release date: May 28. Movie about what if we had a modern climate collapse. Trailer.

Health

  • Michigan House Bill No. 5276
    • 'Sec. 2. (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a health facility may withdraw or withhold from providing a health care service, or may refuse to provide or participate in a health care service, on ethical, moral, or religious grounds as reflected in its organizational documents, charter, bylaws, or an adopted mission statement.'
    • The bill goes on to make exceptions for emergencies, but still the attitude is astonishing.
    • Related links:
      • Michigan Preparing To Let Doctors Refuse To Treat Gays
        • 'Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House. '
      • Hippocratic Oath -- Modern Version
        • 'I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.'
  • British socialized medicine seems to be struggling with Caesarean v vaginal births
    • 'After years of keeping us legs akimbo in the lithotomy position, our rulers now want us to jump down and push'. ' The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has finally noticed that British women are having too many caesareans. They are having way too many hysterectomies, too, but so far Nice hasn't objected. '
    • Cut it out. ' Behind the latest controversy lies a bigger issue. The rising rate of caesarean births is an international phenomenon. America and Britain have a high rate of more than 20% of all births, but there are other countries which are much higher, such as Brazil (35%) and Puerto Rico (31.4%). At the same time, some northern European countries such as Norway and Sweden have brought their caesarean rates down to below 10%, apparently without any damaging consequences for child or mother. It is absurd to suggest that the driving force behind these patches of medicalised childbirth all over the globe is the boardroom mum.'
  • Answer, but No Cure, for a Social Disorder That Isolates Many [NYT]
    • ' As Mr. Miller learned from the article, autism is now believed to encompass a wide spectrum of impairment and intelligence, from the classically unreachable child to people with Asperger's and a similar condition called high-functioning autism, who have normal intelligence and often superior skills in a given area. But they all share a defining trait: They are what autism researchers call "mind blind." Lacking the ability to read cues like body language to intuit what other people are thinking, they have profound difficulty navigating basic social interactions. The diagnosis is reordering their lives. Some have become newly determined to learn how to compensate. '
    • ' Some Aspies interviewed asked to remain anonymous for fear of being stigmatized. But with the knowledge that their dysfunction is rooted in biology, many say remaining silent to pass as normal has become an even greater strain. "I would like nothing better than to shout it out to everyone," a pastor in California whose Asperger's was just diagnosed wrote in an e-mail message. "But there is so much explanation and education that needs to happen that I risk being judged incompetent." '
    • ' Often the new diagnoses involve people who for years have been deemed rude, clueless or just plain weird because of their blunt comments or all-too-personal disclosures. They typically have a penchant for accuracy and a hard-wired dislike for the disruption of routine. Unusually sensitive to light, touch and noise, some shrink from handshakes and hugs. Humor, which so often depends on tone of voice and familiarity with social customs, can be hard for them to comprehend. Although many have talents like memory for detail and an ability to focus intently for long periods, Aspies often end up underemployed and lonely. Unlike more severely impaired autistics, they often crave social intimacy, and they are acutely aware of their inability to get it. '
    • ' Researchers say autism spectrum disorders are a result of a combination of perhaps 10 to 20 genes, plus environmental factors, that seem to cause the brain to exhibit less activity in its social and emotional centers. Unlike people with classic autism, which is often accompanied by mental retardation, those with Asperger's have normal language development and intelligence. First identified in 1946 by the Viennese physician Hans Asperger, the condition was little-known until it was added to the American psychiatric diagnostic manual in 1994. Only in the last few years have mental health professionals become widely aware of it. The degree to which someone is affected may correlate with how many of the autism genes he or she has, some researchers say. About one in 165 people are thought to be on the autistic spectrum, although estimates vary. '
    • ' "She'll say something about how terrible her clothes look," Mr. Jorgensen explains. "I'll say, 'Yes, honey, those are terrible-looking clothes,' when really she's wanting some affirmation that her clothes don't look terrible." At those moments, Ms. Jorgensen now tells her husband that he is acting like an "ass burger," a running joke that defuses anger on both sides. But such exchanges have mostly disappeared because Ms. Jorgensen knows that she is unlikely to get what she wants that way. '

Images

Interesting

Iraq

  • Honduras Follows Spain, Pulls Out of Iraq. Spain had 1300 and Honduras 370.
  • Why would any Iraqi, even Iraqis that are not insurgents or rebels, ever want to give up their arms? It's a freaking dangerous country. They should have the right to their arms. The Iraqis are outside of the US but shouldn't the NRA be sympathetic for the Iraqi right to bear arms? Isn't their motto "The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed"?
  • Getting us out of Bush's adventure: War through the eyes of a child
  • Iraq expenses are more than expected, Pentagon warns
    • ' Another senior committee member, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), said he smelled election-year politics. "The administration would be well-served here to come forward now, be honest about this, because the continuity and the confidence in this policy is going to be required to sustain it," Hagel said. "And that means be honest with the Congress, be honest with the American people.

      "Every ground squirrel in this country knows that it's going to be $50 billion to $75 billion in additional money required to sustain us in Iraq for this year."

      The White House budget director, Joshua Bolten, said earlier this year that the administration will eventually need more money beyond the $87 billion Congress authorized for this budget year, which ends Sept. 30. But Bolten said the administration would not request it this year, meaning such a multibillion-dollar appeal would come after the November election. '

    • All tip of the iceberg. This Iraq occupation will go on for years. At some point the price price tag will be fractions of a trillion dollars but it's not real money is it?
  • Two U.S. Soldiers Killed in Baghdad Blast [2004-04-26]. I'm putting this post here primarily because of the picture. The picture is of an Iraqi celebrating on top of a burning US Army humvee. The US is the richest, the mightiest nation on the Earth, but the people fighting the US believe they can win. They are the underdogs: they are poor, tired, and hungry. Their weapons are shoddy and often merely improvised. Their innocents, their women and children are killed on a daily basis and they know it hardly gets any press in the US. They believe they are fighting a fundamentalist Christian US President but they believe they have Allah on their side. The US is well supplied but they are intimate with the heat, the sand, the language, the culture, the people. The US is well trained but they have lived with violence and death for generations. They are surrounded and besieged but they are on their land, their waters -- this is where their ancestors have lived for thousands of years.
    photo of Iraqi celebrating over a burning US tank
    Did it have to be this way? Before Iraq we were perceived as the good guys.
  • Freed From Captivity in Iraq, Japanese Return to More Pain (lots of quotes cuz articles disappear in the NYT)
    • Fascinating insight into Japanese culture: the harsh hierarchy, the demands of conformity, the insistence on not inconveniencing others. BTW, I am personally painfully aware of this culture.
    • ' "You got what you deserve!" read one hand-written sign at the airport where they landed. "You are Japan's shame," another wrote on the Web site of one of the former hostages. They had "caused trouble" for everybody. The government, not to be outdone, announced it would bill the former hostages $6,000 for air fare. '
    • ' Beneath the surface of Japan's ultra-sophisticated cities lie the hierarchical ties that have governed this island nation for centuries and that, at moments of crises, invariably reassert themselves. The former hostages' transgression was to ignore a government advisory against traveling to Iraq. But their sin, in a vertical society that likes to think of itself as classless, was to defy what people call here "okami," or, literally, "what is higher." '
    • ' Dr. Satoru Saito, a psychiatrist who examined the three former hostages twice since their return, said the stress they were enduring now was "much heavier" than what they experienced during their captivity in Iraq. Asked to name their three most stressful moments, the former hostages told him, in ascending order: the moment when they were kidnapped on their way to Baghdad, the knife-wielding incident, and the moment they watched a television show the morning after their return here and realized Japan's anger with them. '
    • ' To the angry Japanese, the first three hostages -- Nahoko Takato, 34, who started a nonprofit organization to help Iraqi street children; Soichiro Koriyama, 32, a freelance photographer; and Noriaki Imai, 18, a freelance writer interested in the issue of depleted uranium munitions -- had acted selfishly. Two others kidnapped and released in a separate incident -- Junpei Yasuda, 30, a freelance journalist, and Nobutaka Watanabe, 36, a member of an anti-war group -- were equally guilty.'
    • ' The Foreign Ministry, held both in awe and resentment by many Japanese, was the okami defied in this case. While Foreign Ministry officials are Japan's super elite, the average Japanese tends to regard them as arrogant and unhelpful, recalling how they failed to deliver in time the declaration of war against the United States in 1941 so that Japan became forever known as a sneak-attack nation. '
      • O come on! The translations just took too long.
    • ' Defying the okami are young Japanese people like the freed hostages, freelancers and members of nonprofit organizations, who are traditionally held in low esteem in a country where the bigger one's company, the bigger one's social rank. They also belong to a generation in which many have rejected traditional Japanese life. Many have gravitated instead to places like the East Village in Manhattan, looking for something undefined. '
    • photo of relatives of kidnapped Japanese bowing deeply
    • Related links:
  • http://www.ryano.net/iraq/. Add any message you want to this Iraqi photo that was known for being doctored.
  • Pictures from Iraq. I am quietly unbelievably pissed that my kid brothers in the Army will have to personally live through crap like this because of Bush is an ass hat. It's one thing to hunt down criminals and terrorists, but it's another thing to invade Iraq on unqualified pretenses.
    photo of Iraqi mother with injured child
  • "Tankers Rule!" [1.3 min video].
    • They gave some army dudes some guns, a tank, and loose orders to police the area. The video is a pretty obvious result. (Stupid locals don't understand what we're saying.) I don't blame the soldiers: I blame the leadership.
    • The tape's funny 'cuz while the taxi cab driver's livelihood was destroyed, no one actually got killed. It would have been funnier if we got to see the pissed off look on Joe Muhammad's face. Saturday Night Live couldn't have done it better.
  • I wonder how our E:I ratio (enemy-kills to innocent-kills ratio) compares to that of the terrorists. I'm sure we don't intend to kill innocents but we do.
  • How to Get Out of Iraq
    • Nice piece with details and specifics backing his claims.
    • ' Much of what went wrong was avoidable. Focused on winning the political battle to start a war, the Bush administration failed to anticipate the postwar chaos in Iraq. Administration strategy seems to have been based on a hope that Iraq's bureaucrats and police would simply transfer their loyalty to the new authorities, and the country's administration would continue to function. All experience in Iraq suggested that the collapse of civil authority was the most likely outcome, but there was no credible planning for this contingency. In fact, the US effort to remake Iraq never recovered from its confused start when it failed to prevent the looting of Baghdad in the early days of the occupation. '
    • ' During the war in Kosovo, the Clinton White House was criticized for insisting on presidential review of proposed targets. President Bush, notorious for his lack of curiosity, seems never to have asked even the most basic question: "What happens when we actually get to Baghdad?" The failure to answer this question at the start set back US efforts in Iraq in such a way that the US has not recovered and may never do so. '
    • 'The Bush administration's strategies in Iraq are failing for many reasons. First, they are being made up as the administration goes along, without benefit of planning, adequate knowledge of the country, or the experience of comparable situations. Second, the administration has been unwilling to sustain a commitment to a particular strategy. But third, the strategies are all based on an idea of an Iraq that does not exist.'
    • ' In my view, Iraq is not salvageable as a unitary state. From my experience in the Balkans, I feel strongly that it is impossible to preserve the unity of a democratic state where people in a geographically defined region almost unanimously do not want to be part of that state. I have never met an Iraqi Kurd who preferred membership in Iraq if independence were a realistic possibility.'
    • ' In my view, Iraq demonstrates all too clearly the folly of the preventive war doctrine and of unilateralism. Of course the United States must reserve the right to act alone when the country is under attack or in imminent danger of attack. But these are also precisely the circumstances when the United States does not need to act alone. After September 11 both NATO and the United Nations Security Council gave unqualified support for US action, including military action, to deal with the threat of international terrorists based in Afghanistan. After the Taliban was defeated, other countries contributed troops--and accepted casualties--in order to help stabilize the country; and they have also contributed billions to Afghanistan's reconstruction. Because the US so quickly diverted its attention to Iraq, many acute problems remain in Afghanistan, including warlordism and the deprivation of basic rights. International support for helping Afghanistan remains strong, however, and the effort can be revitalized with a new administration. '
  • Iraqis Say Council-Approved National Flag Won't Fly
    • ' "When I saw it in the newspaper, I felt very sad," said Muthana Khalil, 50, a supermarket owner in Saadoun, a commercial area in central Baghdad. "The flags of other Arab countries are red and green and black. Why did they put in these colors that are the same as Israel? Why was the public opinion not consulted?"  '
      • The Bush administration is clueless.
  • Broadcaster pulls plug on 'Nightline'
    • ' The Sinclair Broadcast Group will yank "Nightline" from its seven ABC affiliates Friday because the show is to be devoted to reading names of the hundreds of U.S. service members killed in Iraq. Sinclair officials say that is intended to damage support for U.S. actions. '
    • BULL SHIT. There  is nothing wrong with memorial services for soldiers killed in the line of duty. There is no way to spin it to make it wrong. This is a sheer political movement by the pro-Bush Sinclair Broadcast Group. "Contrary to public interest" my ass.
    • This show will air locally in Chicago on 2004-04-30 Friday at 10:35 p.m. on WLS-Ch.7.
    • Related link:
  • US Army Abuses POWs
    • More shit done by our soldiers. Come on! Where's the fucking leadership! At least the leadership's been quick to answer (EG: Bush Expresses 'Deep Disgust' at Abuse of Iraqis) but it's amazing that it got this far. It makes you wonder about the stuff doesn't become public.
    • There is no good reason to treat POW this way. We know it isn't right when US POW get treated wrongly so why the fuck do we allow ourselves to do the same sin? I'm for killing the enemy as absolutely needed but never for dehumanizing the enemy.
    • Abuse Of Iraqi POWs By GIs Probed
      • ' It was American soldiers serving as military police at Abu Ghraib who took these pictures. The investigation started when one soldier got them from a friend, and gave them to his commanders. 60 Minutes II has a dozen of these pictures, and there are many more -- pictures that show Americans, men and women in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners. There are shots of the prisoners stacked in a pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English. In some, the male prisoners are positioned to simulate sex with each other. And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing, or giving the camera a thumbs-up.'
        • There's a lot of people involve here. This didn't just happen overnight.
      • ' Frederick also says there were far too few soldiers there for the number of prisoners: "There was, when I left, there was over 900. And there was only five soldiers, plus two non-commissioned officers, in charge for those 900 -- over 900 inmates." '
      • ' But the Army investigation found serious problems behind the scenes. The Army has photographs that show a detainee with wires attached to his genitals. Another shows a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. Frederick said that dogs were "used for intimidation factors." Part of the Army's own investigation is a statement from an Iraqi detainee who charges a translator - hired to work at the prison - with raping a male juvenile prisoner: "They covered all the doors with sheets. I heard the screaming. ...and the female soldier was taking pictures." There is also a picture of an Iraqi man who appears to be dead -- and badly beaten. '
      • ' "The elixir of power, the elixir of believing that you're helping the CIA, for God's sake, when you're from a small town in Virginia, that's intoxicating," says Myers. "And so, good guys sometimes do things believing that they are being of assistance and helping a just cause. ... And helping people they view as important." '
        • That's no fucking excuse.
      • ' Frederick says he didn't see a copy of the Geneva Convention rules for handling prisoners of war until after he was charged. '
        • That's no fucking excuse.
      • ' Frederick told us he will plead not guilty, claiming the way the Army was running the prison led to the abuse of prisoners. "We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things...like rules and regulations," says Frederick. "And it just wasn't happening." '
        • That's no fucking excuse.
      • ' Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinsky ran Abu Ghraib for the Army. She was also in charge of three other Army prison facilities that housed thousands of Iraqi inmates. The Army investigation determined that her lack of leadership and clear standards led to problems system wide. Karpinski talked with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft last October at Abu Ghraib, before any of this came out. "This is international standards," said Karpinski. "It's the best care available in a prison facility." '
      • photo of Iraqi prisoner wired up
      • "If we don't tell this story, these kinds of things will continue. And we'll end up getting paid back 100 or 1,000 times over," says Cowan. "Americans want to be proud of each and everything that our servicemen and women do in Iraq. We wanna be proud. We know they're working hard. None of us, now, later, before or during this conflict, should wanna let incidents like this just pass."
        • Damn straight this story needs to be told. Enough of this Bush secrecy.
    • Related link:
  • Poll: Growing Doubts On Iraq
  • A City That Lives for Revenge
    • ' It didn't have to be this way. Had the United States taken more time to understand the city -- a place where even Saddam Hussein ventured cautiously -- it might have been able to avoid the current showdown. Part of the misunderstanding can be seen in the way the Pentagon talks about the situation in Falluja, describing those holed up there as either die-hards of Saddam Hussein's regime or foreigners promoting the ideology of Al Qaeda. What the Pentagon is neglecting is a third group, one that could prove more deadly to the occupation: the tribes of central Iraq. They are a tough lot with a long history of resistance to any outside authority. '
    • ' Falluja is tribal territory, one that functions by tribal rules. There are expectations of hospitality, practices for settling disputes and obligations of revenge against anyone committing an offense against a member of the tribe. The last -- revenge -- poses a big problem for the United States if negotiations with the insurgents fail and the military steps up its assault on the city. The holdouts of the old regime may be killed or captured. The foreign fighters may be dispersed. But for every tribesman who is killed, the kinship group remains, obligated to avenge his death. '
  • Poll: Iraqis out of patience and Key findings: Nationwide survey of 3,500 Iraqis
  • Rumsfeld's War, Powell's Occupation: Rumsfeld wanted Iraqis in on the action -- right from the beginning
    • The Conservatives are sticking it to Powell again but even more disturbing is that this is another Right-wing piece where not only do they blatantly change the story but they Bizarro reverse things. Geez point the finger anywhere but at Bush.
    • ' None of this happened, however, because State and CIA fought against Rumsfeld's plans every step of the way. '
    • ' Putting a U.N. stamp on an Iraqi government will delegitimize it in the eyes of most Iraqis and do great damage to those who are actively striving to create a freer, more progressive Middle East. '
    • ' It is not yet too late for us to recognize these facts and act on them by dismissing Brahimi, putting Secretary Rumsfeld and our Iraqi friends fully in charge at last, and unleashing our Marines to make an example of Fallujah. And when al Jazeera screams "massacre," instead of cringing and apologizing, we need to stand tall and proud and tell the world: Lynch mobs like the one that slaughtered four Americans will not be tolerated. Order will restored, and Iraqis who side with us will be protected and rewarded. '
  • Iraq congress members under investigation
    • ' Members of the Iraqi National Congress and its leader Ahmed Chalabi were airlifted into southern Iraq the day Saddam's government fell. Chalabi was President Bush's guest at the State of the Union address. Even today, the INC gets $340,000 a month from the Pentagon to feed the United States intelligence information. But NBC News has learned that members of the group are now under investigation by Iraqi police in Baghdad -- allegations of: abduction, robbery, stealing 11 Iraqi government vehicles, assaulting police by firing on them during a search. '

Israel

  • 'Arafat could be target' - Sharon
    • 'Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he no longer feels bound by a promise to the US not to harm veteran Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.'
    • Of course. Sharon is pushing his current favor with Bush to the max. Well perhaps Israel and Palestine will finally start open war. And of course we and other countries would get dragged into it. Does that sound familiar? Does WWI  or WWII ring a bell?
  • The Day That Bush Took Gaza: Israel's Exit Plan Will Mean a U.S. Entrance
    • ' Sharon's radical initiative would evacuate all Israeli settlements and military positions, unilaterally, within the next 18 months. His purpose is to end the Israeli occupation of Gaza and thereby absolve Israel of responsibility for the Palestinians there. Indeed, one of the articles of Sharon's disengagement plan declares that it will "obviate the claims about Israel with regard to its responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip."

      But who's going to take over that responsibility? Not the tattered Palestinian Authority. Not cautious Egypt, which once ruled Gaza. Instead, de facto responsibility for what happens in Gaza once Israel withdraws will fall to the United States. That's the hidden meaning in the president's letter of assurance to Sharon saying that the United States will lead an international effort to build the capacity and will of Palestinian institutions to fight terrorism and prevent the areas from which Israel withdraws from posing a threat. '

    • ' Since Bush has already opened the final status issues by assuring the Israelis about borders and refugees, backers of the Palestinians can now demand elaboration of the U.S. positions on other final status issues. They will ask questions such as: If the United States is ready to recognize border adjustments for Israeli "population centers" in the West Bank, will it also endorse "territorial compensation" for the Palestinians?

      Then Bush will confront his ultimate political dilemma: In an election year, can he afford to water down his support for Israel for the sake of ensuring the international involvement that he needs in order to prevent a failed terrorist state from emerging?

      Welcome to Gaza, Mr. President. '

  • Border Police used Palestinian kid as human shield: Three other human rights monitors arrested at protest also used as human shields to prevent jeep from being stoned

Martial Arts

  • Army Scientists, Engineers develop Liquid Body Armor
    • ' "During normal handling, the STF is very deformable and flows like a liquid. However, once a bullet or frag hits the vest, it transitions to a rigid material, which prevents the projectile from penetrating the Soldier's body," said Dr. Eric Wetzel, a mechanical engineer from the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate who heads the project team. To make liquid armor, STF is soaked into all layers of the Kevlar vest. The Kevlar fabric holds the STF in place, and also helps to stop the bullet. The saturated fabric can be soaked, draped, and sewn just like any other fabric. '
    • ' "The sky's the limit," said Wetzel. "We would first like to put this material in a soldier's sleeves and pants, areas that aren't protected by ballistic vests but need to remain flexible. We could also use this material for bomb blankets, to cover suspicious packages or unexploded ordnance. Liquid armor could even be applied to jump boots, so that they would stiffen during impact to support Soldiers' ankles." '
    • ' "Prison guards and police officers could also benefit from this technology," said Wetzel. "Liquid armor is much more stab resistant than conventional body armor. This capability is especially important for prison guards, who are most often attacked with handmade sharp weapons." '
    • Freaking good stuff! It's like a super-hero costume!
  • Recit du Combat de Camerone. It's April 30th and thus time for the annual Recitation of the Battle of Camerone in the French Foreign Legion.
  • AlexanderJason.com. 'Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst'
  • The Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the US Civil War in words and animated military maps. 23,000 deaths.

Math

Media

  • A tribute to Bob Edwards. 'As he leaves Morning Edition, where he has been host since the show's debut in 1979, NPR recognizes Bob Edwards' 30 years on the public airwaves. After nearly 25 years of waking up at 1 a.m., Edwards assumes new duties as senior correspondent for NPR News.'
Money
  • The Wal-Mart Myth
    • ' In other words, hundreds of citizens who had initially signed a petition to qualify the measure for a vote ultimately voted no. The simple reason was the coordinated opposition campaign waged by a coalition of labor, elected officials, clergy and small business owners. Each had a stake, whether it was the threat of Wal-Mart's horrendous labor practices or Wal-Mart's attempt to undermine the authority of elected officials. In other words, despite Wal-Mart's almost unimaginable economic power, it is possible to defeat the corporate giant with a broad and somewhat non-traditional coalition. '
    • 'Costco, surprise, has a lower turnover rate and a far higher rate of productivity: it almost equaled Sam's Club's annual sales last year with one-third fewer employees. Only six percent of Costco's employees leave each year, compared to 21 percent at Sam's. And, by every financial measurement, the company does better. Its operating income was higher than Sam's Club, as was operating profit per hourly employees, sales per square foot and even its labor and overhead costs. Here's a quote to emblazon for corporate America: "Paying your employees well is not only the right thing to do but it makes for good business," says Costco CEO James D. Sinegal. '
  • Losing Our Edge?
    • 'I was just out in Silicon Valley, checking in with high-tech entrepreneurs about the state of their business. I wouldn't say they were universally gloomy, but I did detect something I hadn't detected before: a real undertow of concern that America is losing its competitive edge vis-à-vis China, India, Japan and other Asian tigers, and that the Bush team is deaf, dumb and blind to this situation. Several executives explained to me that they were opening new plants in Asia -- not because of cheaper labor. '
    • 'The bottom line: we are actually in the middle of two struggles right now. One is against the Islamist terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere, and the other is a competitiveness-and-innovation struggle against India, China, Japan and their neighbors. And while we are all fixated on the former (I've been no exception), we are completely ignoring the latter. We have got to get our focus back in balance, not to mention our budget. We can't wage war on income taxes and terrorism and a war for innovation at the same time.'
    • 'And what is the Bush strategy? Let's go to Mars. Hello? Right now we should have a Manhattan Project to develop a hydrogen-based energy economy -- it's within reach and would serve our economy, our environment and our foreign policy by diminishing our dependence on foreign oil. Instead, the Bush team says let's go to Mars. Where is Congress? Out to lunch -- or, worse, obsessed with trying to keep Susie Smith's job at the local pillow factory that is moving to the Caribbean -- without thinking about a national competitiveness strategy. And where is Wall Street? So many of the plutocrats there know that the Bush fiscal policy is a long-term disaster. They know it -- but they won't say a word because they are too greedy or too gutless.'
  • http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1288776/000119312504073639/ds1.htm.

Politics

  • You Decide. An interesting part of a California NPR station that let's you vote on an issue multiple times, but depending on your vote it presents you with specific arguments to make sure you see other sides of the issue. A very creative and interesting way to educate people about the issues. The question then is whether you trust that the radio station is sufficiently neutral, honest, informed, and insightful about the issues.
  • Is It Another Country? Or a Place to Stow National Problems? A Yankee Journalist Gets Lost and Found in the South
    • ' To try to understand the southern identity in historical terms is to quickly realize that over time there have been many Souths: the sunny South, the savage South, the agrarian South, the Jim Crow South, the violent South, the cracker South, the frontier South, the antebellum South; H.L. Mencken's Old South, populated by "men of delicate fancy, urbane instinct and aristocratic manners -- in brief, superior men -- in brief, gentry," the suffering South, the moral South, and the list goes on. Even now, when interviewing astute observers of the region, it becomes rapidly clear that to talk about the South is to speak with southern mythologizers, southern debunkers, southern redeemers, and southern reinventors. Running clear through most of these narratives, however, is the theme that in some fundamental sense the South sits apart from the rest of the country. '
    • ' "It's good that the South makes concrete so many of the issues in this country that are veiled," she told me near the end of our conversation. "The downside is that because they are so concrete, the press turns it into the grotesque. So instead of seeing the South as representative, we see it as freakish." '
  • America in Red and Blue. A very insightful series of 3 articles on the deep political segregation and polarization in the country. Read this stuff regardless of your party.
    • Political Split Is Pervasive: A Nation Divided.
      • 'Clash of Cultures Is Driven by Targeted Appeals and Reinforced by Geography'
      • ' As it becomes more difficult to reach across the party line, campaigns are devoting more energy to firing up their hard-core supporters. For voters in the middle, this election may aggravate their feeling that politics no longer speaks to them, that it has become a dialogue of the deaf, a rant of uncompromising extremes. '
      • ' Some political scientists add another factor: simple political self-interest. According to the influential economic analysis known as "game theory," logic may compel the parties to aim for the narrowest possible victory margin. "In a democracy, to win you need a majority," UCLA's Noel said. "But you don't want a lot more than 50-percent-plus-one, because if your majority gets bigger, you have to share the spoils with more supporters. That's no good. So the natural process is to produce division." '
    • For a Conservative, Life Is Sweet in Sugar Land, Tex.: Living In A Red World
    • A Liberal Life in the City by the Bay: Living In A Blue World
    • Related links:
  • Claims vs. Facts Database
    • ' The Center for American Progress has launched this new database project to chart conservatives' dishonesty -- and compare it with the truth. In this database, each conservative quote will be matched against well-documented facts, so that users can get a more accurate picture of the issues.  '
    • This can grow to be a really huge database. According to recent trends though, the Conservatives will make a comparable database. What we really need is a neutral database that covers lies from any party.
    • Related link: Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq
  • Cheney Praises Fox News Channel: Vice President Calls Network 'More Accurate' Than Others. This is so funny!
  • The Truth Is.... The truth is I'm wary of guys who claim to know The Truth.

Science

  • J. Robert Oppenheimer Centennial at Berkeley
  • TOLWeb.org.
    • ' The Tree of Life is a collaborative web project, produced by biologists from around the world. On more than 2600 World Wide Web pages, the Tree of Life provides information about the diversity of organisms on Earth, their history, and characteristics. '
    • Very nice exploration into taxonomy, phylogenetic trees and relationships.
  • Study: Neanderthals Grew Up Much Faster
    • ' If you think your kids grow up fast, consider this: A new study suggests that Neanderthal children blazed through adolescence and on average reached adulthood at age 15. The finding bolsters the view that Neanderthals were a unique species separate from modern humans, since the time for humans to mature to adulthood grew longer over the course of their evolution, said paleontologist Fernando V. Ramirez Rozzi, who led the study. '
    • ' For his study, Rozzi spent about 18 months examining growth patterns on the crowns of incisors and canines from 55 individual Neanderthals, comparing them with corresponding patterns from early modern humans and ancestors to both groups. Like rings on a tree, the time it takes for a tooth to grow can be measured by counting visible lines that form about every nine days on the enamel. On average, Rozzi found Neanderthals developed teeth 15 percent faster than modern humans. Therefore, a Neanderthal's physical development, which mirrors tooth growth, must have been faster as well, he said. '
  • Finding the Speed of Light with Marshmallows-A Take-Home Lab. ' This works in my physics class, often with less than 5% error. Then the students can eat the marshmallows. '

Sex [Assume NSFW]

Terrorism

  • Fears rise anew over homegrown terrorists: With focus abroad, militias may thrive
    • ' "If you look at the cycle of rebirth of these movements over the last century, each cycle is more and more extreme," Levitas said. "Now we have William Krar in Texas building a fully functional chemical weapon. You've had paramilitary activists produce ricin. It's only a matter of time before one of the more hard-core remnants of the militias decides to one-up Timothy McVeigh. '
  • Militants in Europe Openly Call for Jihad and the Rule of Islam
    • 'On working-class streets of old industrial towns like Crawley, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester, and in the Arab enclaves of Germany, France, Switzerland and other parts of Europe, intelligence officials say a fervor for militancy is intensifying and becoming more open.'
      • All thanks to Bush's stupid leadership.
    • ' "Iraq dramatically strengthened their recruitment efforts," one counterterrorism official said. He added that some mosques now display photos of American soldiers fighting in Iraq alongside bloody scenes of bombed out Iraqi neighborhoods. '
    • ' Mainstream Muslims are outraged by the situation, saying the actions of a few are causing their communities to be singled out for surveillance and making the larger population distrustful of them. ... "I think these kids are being brainwashed by a few radical clerics," said Akhbar Dad Khan, another elder of the Central Mosque. He wants them prosecuted or deported. "We should be able to control this negativity," he said. '
  • Russia: WMDs Abound In Russia, But International Interest Fades. Oh so that's where some WMDs are! Unfortunately Bush is too busy destabalizing Iraq which had no WMDs and no real al Queda connection.
  • Doomed to failure in the Middle East: A letter from 52 former senior British diplomats to Tony Blair
    • ' We the undersigned former British ambassadors, high commissioners, governors and senior international officials, including some who have long experience of the Middle East and others whose experience is elsewhere, have watched with deepening concern the policies which you have followed on the Arab-Israel problem and Iraq, in close cooperation with the United States. Following the press conference in Washington at which you and President Bush restated these policies, we feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment. '
  • Think Again- Al Qaeda
    • This article is explores a lot of misconceptions about al Qaeda. It is very important to understand the enemy and the problems, which, obviously, Bush does not.
    • ' The mere mention of al Qaeda conjures images of an efficient terrorist network guided by a powerful criminal mastermind. Yet al Qaeda is more lethal as an ideology than as an organization. "Al Qaedaism" will continue to attract supporters in the years to come--whether Osama bin Laden is around to lead them or not. '
    • ' However, if countries are to win the war on terror, they must eradicate enemies without creating new ones. They also need to deny those militants with whom negotiation is impossible the support of local populations. Such support assists and, in the minds of the militants, morally legitimizes their actions. If Western countries are to succeed, they must marry the hard component of military force to the soft component of cultural appeal. There is nothing weak about this approach. As any senior military officer with experience in counterinsurgency warfare will tell you, it makes good sense. The invasion of Iraq, though entirely justifiable from a humanitarian perspective, has made this task more pressing. '
  • Robbers Die Trying to Hold-Up Suicide Bomber. Ha ha!

US

  • MarchForWomen.org.
    • 1,115,000 people marched for women's civil rights. Sad that such an event got so little attention.
    • Related links:
  • Waist Case: Staking out the high moral ground, a bill would punish those wearing low-riding jeans
    • ' Even plumbers could get canned under the draft law that state Rep. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, said he filed because he was tired of catching glimpses of boxer shorts and G-strings over the low-slung belt lines of young adults. House Bill 1626 would punish anyone caught wearing low-riding pants with a fine of as much as $500 or as many as six months in jail, or both. '
    • 'Joe Cook, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Louisiana chapter, said the bill is unlikely to pass because it probably does not meet a long-standing U.S. Supreme Court standard for the prohibition of obscene behavior under the First Amendment. ... "What about a woman who is wearing a bathing suit under her garment or she has something like a sarong wrapped around her and it's below her waist," he said. "I can think of a lot of workers, plumbers, who are working and expose their buttocks and the beginning of the crack of their anus." '
    • How do idiots like this and Bush get elected?
  • Days of Infamy Live On Through Conspiracy Theories
    • ' Thomas Kean, chairman of the federal commission examining 9/11, said he hoped the probe would dampen some of the wilder conspiracy theories, rather than encourage them. ... But some of his efforts to debunk conspiracies and correct the record appear to be making little headway. '
    • ' Contrary to popular opinion and many news reports immediately following the attacks, the commission said box cutters were actually on the list of items the Federal Aviation Administration forbade to be taken on aircraft, and nine of the 19 hijackers received extra screening at the departure gates. But knives with blades less than 4 inches long were not on the list, and a review of purchases some of the hijackers made in the days before 9/11 suggests Leatherman-like knives with blades that can be locked into place were likely the weapons. The staff report said the hijackers carefully selected their seats in advance so they could be in first class or business sections near the cockpits, and that the hijackers probably used Mace or pepper spray to keep passengers in rear sections after the planes were hijacked. Cans of pepper spray were found in luggage that a hijacker inadvertently left behind. '
  • Patriot Act Suppresses News Of Challenge to Patriot Act. Amazing.

Words

  • The Zompist Phrasebook. Phrases "ugly Americans" would use in French, Spanish, and German. EG:
    • ' It's better in the States.
      • C'est mieux aux Etats-Unis.
      • Es mejor en los Estados Unidos.
      • In den Staaten ist es besser. '
    • 'What a stench.
      • Ça pue.
      • ¡Qué olor, por Dios!
      • Mein Gott, stinkt das hier. '
  • OPDS.org. The Online Dictionary of Playground Slang.
  • Foetry.com. ' One of the most common ways American poets publish a book is through open competition at some of the best-known presses. Many publishers require an entry fee, usually $20 to $25 per manuscript. With hundreds or even thousands of entries, a lot of money is involved. And then it's a fair competition, right? Wrong. Over and over again, judges often select their own students and friends, even when manuscripts are read "blind." '
  • ASL Browser
    • 'Welcome to Michigan State University's ASL Browser web site, an online American Sign Language (ASL) browser where you can look up video of thousands of ASL signs and learn interesting things about them.'
    • Excellent, wonderful, useful site! Bravo! (I personally know a thing or 2 about deafness)

World

2004-05-13t18:21:51Z | RE: 9/11. Bush. Comic Art. Computers. Cyber Life. Elections. Engineering. Faith. Food. Fun. Green. Images. Interesting. Iraq. Martial Arts. Media. Medicine. Money. Music. Parenting. Politics. Prisoner Abuse. Programming. Science. Sex. Show Biz. Space. USA. World.
2004-05-13t18:21:51Z

9/11

  • F.A.A. Official Scrapped Tape of 9/11 Controllers' Statements
    • WTF?!?! This stinks of deliberate deception.
    • ' At least six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, made a tape recording that same day describing the events, but the tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it, the Transportation Department said in a report today. '
    • And while we're at it, why haven't we heard more about the contents of the 9/11 black boxes? We've heard more about various aerial accidents.

Bush

  • Without apology, Bush leaves regrets to others: President omits personal mea culpa
    • ' Just as he declined the easy chance to apologize to families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks during a prime-time news conference, so too did he stop short when addressing the issue of Iraqi prisoner abuse in two interviews on Arab satellite television. '
      • What an asshat. Yet more evidence that he isn't what he claimed to be: a "compassion conservative".
    • ' Presidents who accept direct responsibility--John F. Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs and Ronald Reagan after the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon, for instance--have reaped clear benefits. '
  • President Bush's Secret Meeting [Flash video].
  • http://www.andyfoulds.co.uk/amusement/bushv2.htm [interactive Flash]. This is fun! See Bush's or Blair's nose stretch to follow your cursor.
  • Protecting the System. ' THE BUSH administration still seeks to mislead Congress and the public about the policies that contributed to the criminal abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Yesterday's smoke screen was provided by Stephen A. Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Mr. Cambone assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that the administration's policy had always been to strictly observe the Geneva Conventions in Iraq; that all procedures for interrogations in Iraq were sanctioned under the conventions; and that the abuses of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison were consequently the isolated acts of individuals. These assertions are contradicted by International Red Cross and Army investigators, by U.S. generals overseeing the prisoners, and by Mr. Cambone himself. '

Comic Art

  • Hirschfeld Archieve.
    • ' For almost 75 years in The New York Times, Al Hirschfeld's line drawings captured the vividness of American theater. A self-described "characterist," Hirschfeld (1903 - 2003) said his contribution was to take the character, created by the playwright and portrayed by the actor, and to reinvent it for the reader. His drawings, which often appeared before a show opened, gave many readers their first look at Broadway's newest offerings. This archive is a selection of works published in The Times. '
    • Hirschfeld renders My Fair Lady
    • Related: Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon

Computers

  • BASIC hits 40
    • 'Forty years ago, at 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, two Dartmouth College professors -- with the help of two of their undergraduate students -- made computing history. '
    • Whee! My brother Alan used to program BASIC on our old Atari computer and save code onto an audio cassette tape.
    • Related:
  • Google Influence on VB v VB .NET
  • Why Steve Jobs is still important
    • ' In the 1990s the Macintosh suffered from a dearth of software. Apple had to cajole, push and plead with software makers to support the Mac. Few did, and the Mac withered. When Jobs arrived back at Apple, he said, "Screw the software business--let's build our own great applications!" This old computer business stratagem, dating back to the minicomputer industry, yielded the ease and elegance of one computer, one architecture, one software set--openness and interoperability be damned. Without standards and third parties to worry about, you can tune your software for maximum integration and seamlessness--no bulky APIs (application program interfaces) or open drivers to file, rub and sand the cool edges off your systems. And if the software is good enough, consumers have to buy your computers to run it. It's not open, and it's not industry standard or industry certified. It's just better. '
      • As much as we love open source, there's nothing wrong with really good proprietary stuff: whether its hardware (EG: Apple) or software (EG: Apple).
    • ' Jobs is digitizing the consumer world. This isn't about helping large companies clear checks, run supply chains, or manage inventory. Jobs has never understood the use of computing in large companies. '
  • Common OS Myths Debunked. Very arguable, but here they are according to the article:
    • Linux is the operating system that "just works"
    • Windows is insecure
    • Windows has better hardware support
    • Linux does a few things and does them well
    • Windows is bad for the server
    • Mac is the best since it is as easy to use as windows, and has the stability of UNIX
    • Linux is ready for the desktop
  • Large Scale Data Repository: Petabox.
  • The new desktop contender
    • ' The Sun Java Desktop System, Release 2, the latest version of Sun's low-cost desktop client, delivers extraordinary functionality and unbeatable value. '
    • Get real. JDS has even fewer apps than Windows, Mac, Linux, or even Sun's own Solaris. Why would anyone switch over?
  • Poison and Profits. Why do corporations have to be so ugly. People Planet Profit.
  • Ignalum.com.
    • ' Ignalum Linux OS version 9 is an intuitive graphical environment that works right out of the box and offers unrivaled compatibility with Microsoft Windows. This new release is one of the most advanced and powerful Linux systems currently available, with industry-leading usability features such as single sign-on authentication for a mixed Unix-Windows environment and Ignalum's advanced Internet-sharing and IPv6-over-NAT capabilities. '
    • Related:
  • It's Really Big: New 400GB Drive. Wow! 0.4 TB for only $400!

Cyber Life

  • Sick of Spam? Prepare for Adware
    • ' The biggest threat to personal computing is neither spam nor viruses. Rather, it's the proliferation of a new category of deceptive software that takes over unwitting victims' computers for the purpose of gathering their personal information and bombarding them with unwanted advertising.

      Dubbed spyware, adware, sneakware or malware -- depending on who you talk to -- these programs embed themselves deep inside a computer's operating system and spawn windows full of advertising messages, preventing users from accessing any other application. Or, they hide in the background, secretly transmitting information about the user's Web-surfing habits to a server somewhere on the Internet. If the user tries to delete the programs, they act like a cancer and replicate themselves over and over.

      The fast-growing phenomenon is already responsible for more than 12 percent of all technical support calls in Dell's consumer hardware division, the biggest category of complaints this year, company representatives said. And they are not alone -- Microsoft claims half of all computer crashes reported by its customers are caused by spyware and its equivalents. The support calls are costing the company "millions," said Jeffrey Friedberg, Microsoft's director of Windows privacy. '

      • Damn straight! I find spyware much more than annoying than either spam or viruses.
    • ' Unfortunately for consumers and the technicians that try to help them, ridding computers of spyware without reformatting the hard drive can be downright impossible in some cases. "A lot of these programs will do a covert reinstall," said Microsoft's Friedberg. "The software pretends to uninstall, but it leaves behind a trickler" -- a small program that downloads and installs new spyware files when the computer isn't being used. '
    • ' Both Friedberg and Davis recommend that consumers use a third-party anti-spyware program if they suspect that their computers have been infected. Microsoft's online spyware and deceptive software help pages link to Spybot - Search & Destroy and Lavasoft's Ad-aware as possible solutions. Dell's spyware help page adds PestPatrol to that list and also encourages customers to upgrade their Norton or McAfee antivirus programs. '
  • RFC 1855: Netiquette Guidelines.
    • Much of this some of us know by experience but it's actually very important to pass this sort of knowledge to others.
    • ' Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software), you should assume that mail on the Internet is not secure. Never put in a mail message anything you would not put on a postcard. '
    • ' A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages (we call these "flames") even if you are provoked. On the other hand, you shouldn't be surprised if you get flamed and it's prudent not to respond to flames. '
    • ' Limit line length to fewer than 65 characters and end a line with a carriage return. '
      • People will argue about this one.
    • ' Read all of a discussion in progress (we call this a thread) before posting replies. Avoid posting "Me Too" messages, where content is limited to agreement with previous posts. Content of a follow-up post should exceed quoted content. '
    • ' Send mail when an answer to a question is for one person only. Remember that News has global distribution and the whole world probably is NOT interested in a personal response. However, don't hesitate to post when something will be of general interest to the Newsgroup participants. '
    • ' In groups which discuss movies or books it is considered essential to mark posts which disclose significant content as "Spoilers". Put this word in your Subject: line. You may add blank lines to the beginning of your post to keep content out of sight, or you may Rotate it. '
    • ' When providing information, make sure your site has something unique to offer. Avoid bringing up an information service which simply points to other services on the Internet. '
  • Sextillions of ways to spell 'Viagra'. O what fun spammers have. This article was obviously written by a geek but I'm surprised that he was unaware of L337.

Elections

  • How Kerry Earned His Decorations.
    • A review of each of John Kerry's medals and ribbons.
    • ' Kerry is one of the Senate's most decorated veterans -- though he has far fewer medals than friend John McCain -- and his record is impressive for an officer who spent just 10 months in Vietnam. Each of the medals below came with a matching ribbon. Kerry wore his ribbons when he testified before a Senate committee in 1971; the next day, joining hundreds of other vets, he lobbed them at the Capitol. '
    • The chicken hawks in Bush's administration had better shut up about attacking Kerry on his military service.
  • Bush approval rating hits lowest point
    • ' "For an incumbent to be at 46% job approval at this point in an election year has historically always spelled defeat" for presidents since 1950, says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. '
    • ' Bush's decline did not produce new support for Democratic candidate John Kerry among likely voters. In a hypothetical matchup, Kerry fell 2 points since last week -- from 49% to 47% -- and remained in a dead heat with Bush, who was steady at 48%. '
    • ' The continuing inability of either candidate to open up a decisive lead suggests the unusual intensity of feeling on both sides. Few changes are expected until the conventions and debates that focus voter attention on the race. '
    • ' But according to Newport, other parts of the poll provide some encouragement for Kerry's campaign:
      • Kerry improved his standing with registered voters, a larger group than likely voters. He leads Bush 50%-44% among them.

      • Kerry has a 14-point lead over Bush on who would better handle the economy, up from 8 points last week.

      • Bush's margin on handling Iraq shrank from 15 points to 3. '

  • Complex Process

    • ' Bush's answers impressed her. Not because he convinced her that Iraq had posed an imminent threat--she didn't say whether she thinks this or not--but because, under pressure, he demonstrated a cumulative, as opposed to a merely declarative, thought process. He said the word "and" a lot. (Cason circled thirteen "and"s in the transcript from just one of his responses.) Many of Cason's colleagues in the field of Requisite Organization Theory had believed that Bush was strictly a declarative kind of guy, but she had always suspected otherwise, and she felt vindicated. "Bush is not stupid," she said. '

    • ' In the recent history of Presidential politics, the list of declarative thinkers includes, frankly, a lot of losers: Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, Gerald Ford. Cumulative types (Bill Clinton, Walter Mondale, Richard Nixon) are more of a mixed bag. There are two more categories on Cason's complexity ladder. Moving up, we get serial, or conditional, processing (lots of "if"s, "or"s, and "because"s), and, finally, parallel processing (employing multiple serial constructions simultaneously). Serial minds, wouldn't you know it, belong to natural-born winners like Reagan and J.F.K. '

    • ' So it may surprise few people to learn that John Kerry, the master of nuance and gray shading, has demonstrated serial/ conditional processing on the campaign trail. (To illustrate, Cason diagrammed a Kerry debate transcript: "If their property tax went up, and if other taxes have gone up, because of the tax cut for the wealthy . . .") Kerry was not the sharpest of the Democratic candidates this year (Wesley Clark scored in the parallel stratosphere), but he rates ahead of Bush, and he is not substantially older, so Cason is prepared to make a scientific prediction, on behalf of the institute: John Kerry will beat George Bush. How confident is she of this? "One hundred per cent." '

    • Bah! I think it's more complex than that. Logical constructs are cheap, good evidence and the honest usage of evidence and logic are harder to come by. Plus other factors beyond "smartness" are important such as emotional appeal, history, etc.

  • "The Election Is Kerry's To Lose" By John Zogby

Engineering

Faith

  • On 2004-05-02 Sunday, I was at a special mass. It was the 100th anniversary at St. Gregory the Great Church, a church that my parents, many of my relatives, and I have been involved with since 1978. His Eminence Cardinal Francis Eugene George, O.M.I. Archbishop Of Chicago very humanly struggled up the few steps to deliver the homily. However, once he got on top, his voice was strong and sure, his earnest faith, intelligence, and dedication were just as strong and sure. He spoke of a number of thing but I will review the parts that struck me.

    In one part of his homily he started by talking of an excellent sheep dog who minded the sheep but more importantly kept his eye on the shepherd who had the bigger picture. The idea is that there are different roles in the church, such as sheep, sheep dog, and shepherd, and they are all important.

    Then he went on to discuss "Who was most important?". He went on to give the example of Pope Innocent III, who he said was not a very good Pope, but that this Pope knew enough to put St. Francis of Assisi ahead of himself. Cardinal George said that it is the saints, like St. Francis and Mother Teresa, who as beacons of faith, are the most important in the Church. Then he went on to say that everyone from Pope, to Cardinal, to Pastor, to Deacon, to the everyday Catholic, all have roles in the Church.

    I was born and raised a Catholic, and I prefer that I and my children go through the exercises and rituals of Catholicism. However, I am an agnostic, and I acknowledge sincerity and earnestness regardless of its manifestation. The saintliness, the raw spiritual power, that some people have is undeniable. The Catholic Church is right to acknowledge its Saints, but as a humanist I must also acknowledge others such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Fred Rogers, Albert Einstein, etc. I think it is important to acknowledge and appreciate saintliness and not just Saints.

    His Eminence also surprisingly briefly discussed politics. He said that there are those on the Left who disagree with some of the interpretations of the Bible, and that there are those on the Right who insist on a very literal interpretation of the Bible, but that both sides need to work together. This sort of talk is extremely important during these politically divided times in America. We need 2 things: we need to communicate and we need to focus on simple faith, the basic formless goodness manifested by saints of all walks.

    I'm ashamed to end this little piece on a Right-biased note but I'm compelled to do so. Both the Left and the Right seek synergy but the Right seems so self-centered, selfish, xenophobic, close-minded, rigid, and living in a bubble. The Christian Right uses Jesus but their Jesus is really Supply Side Jesus. The Left is more other-centered, generous, cosmopolitan, open-minded, adaptive, and living in a complex world. The Christian Left has a compassionate Jesus that cares for the poor, the sick, and the needy.
  • Buddhist Art and the Trade Routes

Food

  • Katzer's Spice Pages
    • ' On these pages, I present solid information on (currently) 117 different spice plants. Emphasis is on their usage in ethnic cuisines, particularly in Asia; furthermore, I discuss the history, chemical constituents and etymology of their names. Last but not least, there are numerous photos featuring the live plants or the dried spices. '
    • Very nice. Good things can happen when you follow
    • ' Leaves of several different basil varieties: From left to right Mediterranean ("sweet") basil, African Blue, lemon basil (O. americanum), spice basil, Thai basil (Siam Queen) and tree basil (O. gratissimum), upper and lower sides. '
      photos of a variety of basil leaves
  • GodeCookery.com
  • VerticalFarm.com.
    • The concept is good: Skyscrapers that grow food in urban areas so cities can feed themselves. There are many improvements that can be made though. For one thing, I saw that they had overhead sprinklers but drip watering would be much more efficient.
    • artist's rendition of a vertical farm
    • Related:

Fun

Green

  • Arnold's 'Green' Hummer Stalls.
    • ' Labeled an environmentalist-come-lately as a candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger answered his critics by announcing plans to retrofit one of his gas-swilling Hummers to run on eco-friendly hydrogen power. ... But seven months later, the high-tech Hummer has yet to hit the road. For the moment, the project has produced more talk than torque. '
    • ' There was no mention of his Hummer on Tuesday, when Schwarzenegger directed state agencies to work with private companies and research groups to develop a statewide network of stations offering hydrogen fuel within six years: "Your government will lead by example," he said in announcing the initiative. '
  • Greenspan: High oil prices here to stay
    • ' Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday the likelihood of persistently high energy prices would probably help keep U.S. energy use in check and influence energy-related business investments. '
    • So high energy prices is good for the environment if it spurs investing in sustainable resources. We environmentalists all know this, but we keep pushing it because we'd like the transition to be smooth instead of rough. Plus if we're going to switch to sustainable resources, eventually, we'd like to make sure that corporations and consumers don't rape the earth (and screw ourselves) while waiting for the oil to absolutely run out.
  • Nation's thirst for gas reaching the limit
    • ' We already burn more of this precious but cheap commodity than U.S. refineries can make. For the past two years, imports climbing toward 1 million barrels per day have kept supply in step with consumption. But within three years, we'll be extracting as much from foreign suppliers as they can spare. At that point, demand cannot continue to grow at the current pace. It cannot exceed supply. '
      • Note that this is not the usual statement like "in 50 years we'll be in deep trouble with oil shortages", this is about THREE SHORT YEARS!
    • ' Let me stress an essential point. We must not pretend that a supply increase can save us. Even if public opposition and economic impediments to refinery expansion should disappear today, the oil industry could not install new equipment fast enough to prevent a shortage two or three years from now. No company can order the major process hardware to make gasoline -- pipe stills, catalytic crackers, alkylation units, cokers and reformers -- off the shelf. It takes three years to build and install those big, costly, complex units. Add another year for design, engineering, bidding and funding. In the real world, securing operating permits would entail anywhere from a year to as long as it takes for one to lose hope. '
    • ' In one way or another, consumption is going to stop growing. The only thing we can control is how hard we hit the supply barrier. We can strike it head-on or at an angle. An early warning could allow people of moderate means to buy efficient vehicles instead of gas guzzlers in time to make a difference in their mobility and personal finances. Whether they have to pay $3 per gallon or carry their ration books to the filling station, they'll thank whoever gave them timely advice. '
  • Is Saudi Arabia Still the King of the Oil?
    • ' So it's almost official: World oil production is in trouble. The secret has been slipping out of late, with reports of Royal Dutch Shell and other oil producers downgrading their reserves, but it now seems that Saudi Arabia may also be in crisis mode over its reserves. '
    • ' Now there are growing voices inside and outside the oil industry warning that with world oil discovery having peaked in the 1960s, it has been nearly a quarter century since we found more oil than we used. They remind us that exactly forty years after US oil discovery peaked in 1930, its production peaked. In other words, the world is now where America was in 1970. Since an unexpected decline in world oil production is generally regarded as a catastrophe, no government or official institution has yet admitted it. Signs of oil peak therefore have to be found indirectly. '
  • The 25 richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth. The National Geographic does stuff like this all the time but you just have to beat the drum on some themes.
  • "Rising tide of micro-plastics plaguing the seas" and " Plastic fibre a 'major pollutant' ". Well it's not surprising that micro-plastic is ubiquitous but what does it mean?
  • The looming oil crisis will dwarf 1973. Ha ha ha! Suckers! We've been telling you for years.

Images

  • The latest works. Some nice optical illusions.
    this optical illlusion looks like it is moving
  • BadAssMovieImages.com. Hot shit mama!
    scenes from Black Belt Jones
  • The Rasterbator. ' a web service which creates huge rasterized pictures out of relatively small image files. The pictures can be assembled into extremely cool looking posters up to 5 meters in size! Enter the gallery to see what the images look like. '
  • True hero athlete Day's theme: Challenge yourself
    • ' Just when we thought we had a pure and simple hero, a millionaire athlete who gave up wealth and fame to become the ideal patriot, to make the ultimate sacrifice, his friends and family complicated everything. They turned Pat Tillman into a human being Monday, showing us what was really lost during that ambush in Afghanistan, insisting that we question every assumption we've made since he died an icon on April 22. '
    • ' Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides. "Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.'' '
    • ' Tillman talked about everything, with everyone. According to the speakers, he had read the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and he underlined passages constantly. Garwood recalled how he'd mail articles to friends, highlighting certain parts and writing in the margins: "Let's discuss.'' '
  • Interview with Professional Photographer Joe Decker. Nice little tips for a photography novice like me.
  • Bereskin.com. Wildlife photos by Ken Bereskin.
  • Fire Season Roars to Life in Central Africa. Amazing that we can see this from space.
    Congo fires as viewed from space

Interesting

  • Bizarre Nail Gun Accident
    • ' A Lancaster construction worker who slipped on the job, triggered a nail gun that shot six of the long projectiles into his head and neck, will join his doctor today to discuss his recovery. '
    • Ow! This guy is as lucky as Phineas Gage.
    • x-ray of nail guns in head
  • The Worm Within
    • The tale of man who's discovered that he has a beef tapeworm in his intestinal tract.
    • ' Once within a locked cubicle, trousers down, in position, I relaxed and thought pure thoughts. Upon completion, I leaned over, gathered some toilet paper, reached down and under in order to wipe myself clean, as usual. But for the first time in my life, when I wiped, not everything wiped away. Something remained. Dangling. '
    • Eeewwww!
  • AgeProject.specialsnowflake.com. Anyone can post their picture and age. Then visitors see random pictures and are asked "How old do I look?"
  • Smile! [Flash video]. Disturbing in an interesting way.
  • More [Quicktime video]. Morose.
  • "A Report on Mesopotamia" by T.E. Lawrence August 2nd, 1920
    • ' Our government is worse than the old Turkish system. They kept fourteen thousand local conscripts embodied, and killed a yearly average of two hundred Arabs in maintaining peace. We keep ninety thousand men, with aeroplanes, armoured cars, gunboats, and armoured trains. We have killed about ten thousand Arabs in this rising this summer. We cannot hope to maintain such an average: it is a poor country, sparsely peopled '
  • This-Wonderful-Life.com.
  • Business in Japan. Related:
  • WTC groundbreaking set for July 4 [2004]
    • ' Gov. Pataki announces date for the "Freedom Tower," due to be the world's tallest building'
    • ' The 1,776-foot skyscraper -- designed by architect David Childs and WTC master planner Daniel Libeskind -- has been dubbed the Freedom Tower by Pataki, who said, "America and the world will witness as our plans go from paper to steel." '
    • ' The tower's height, symbolic for the year of American independence, includes a 276-foot spire. A broadcast antenna will bring the structure's total height above 2,000 feet.  '
    • ' The Freedom Tower glass and steel design, unveiled in December, calls for 70 floors to be topped by wind-harvesting turbines that designers predict will provide 20 percent of the building's energy. The tower will contain 2.6 million square feet of commercial space. More than 60 floors will contain offices, capped by an indoor observation deck, a restaurant and an event space. The tower is supposed to be ready for occupancy in 2009. Rebuilding officials estimate construction will cost $1.5 billion, or $1 million per 500 square feet. '
    • Cool!
  • Mexican Air Force pilots film unidentified objects
    • ' Mexican Air Force pilots filmed 11 unidentified objects in the skies over southern Campeche state, a Defense Department spokesman confirmed Tuesday. '
    • ' The lights were filmed on March 5 by pilots using infrared equipment. They appeared to be flying at an altitude of about 3,500 meters (11,480 feet), and allegedly surrounded the Air Force jet as it conducted routine anti-drug trafficking vigilance in Campeche. Only three of the objects showed up on the plane's radar. '
    • ' The video was first aired on national television Monday night then again at a news conference Tuesday by Jaime Maussan, a Mexican investigator who has dedicated the past 10 years to studying UFOs. "This is historic news," Maussan told reporters. "Hundreds of videos (of UFOs) exist, but none had the backing of the armed forces of any country. ... The armed forces don't perpetuate frauds." '
    • Either these are UFOs or the U.S. military trying out "black" technology on unsuspecting Mexicans.
    • UFOs filmed via infrared by Mexican military

Iraq

Martial Arts

  • My Sword Arrived [2004-05-05]
    • Finally! After nearly 4 months my rapier finally arrived from Darkwood Armory. My sword has a Del Tin blade and a cup hilt that extends down to cover the fingers.
    • Blade measurements
      • Ricasso to Tip 100 cm
      • Ricasso to Cup 2 cm
      • Ricasso to Grip 8 cm
      • Ricasso width 22 mm
      • Tip width 8 mm
    • Other measurements
      • Grip length 9 cm
      • Pommel 5 cm
      • Balance Point 4.3 cm from Cup
      • Center of Percussion approximately 30 cm from Tip
      • Cup diameter 15 cm
      • Cup height 6 cm
      • Cross Guard 27 cm
    • Full view of my rapierThe hilt of my rapier with my logo etched in
  • Possible space weapons of the future. I like "Rods from God" but "Thor" would have been excellent name too.
  • The war of words over war in space Terminology touches off Pentagon test tempest
    • ' Is the United States really on the verge of putting weapons into orbit? Careless usage of provocative terminology appears to have converted a fairly routine upcoming military space test into a cause celebre for international arms control, and a potentially hot topic for the presidential race. '
      • Ha ha! I'll be the whole planet assumes that we already have weapons in space.

Media

  • Media Revolt: A Manifesto
    • ' How do we fight the war on terror? (Other than buying an SUV and being a good consumer and keeping your head down and voting Republican, that is.) Well, have you heard anything in the way of serious national dialogue about this point? I haven't, not to any great extent, and for a simple reason: The media have declined to facilitate that discussion. '
    • ' The obvious aspect of this discussion is the way the entire framing of the debate -- as a question of "character" as opposed to such boring details as policy -- heavily favors the party that relies more on imagery and jingoism, wrapping itself in the flag and pounding its chest about moral superiority: in other words, conservatives. But even beyond the bias is the way this framing really corrupts and trivializes the national debate, so that we find ourselves constantly arguing about the "morality" or "character" of politicians, an issue that is by nature a product of spin and propagandizing. This has never been more clear than in the current election, when the "character" of a pampered fraternity party boy who couldn't be bothered to serve out his term in the National Guard and who went on to fail miserably at every business venture he touched is successfully depicted as that of a sincere and patriotic regular guy, while that of a three-time Purple Heart winner who voluntarily left Yale to serve in Vietnam, and whose ensuing three decades of public service have been a model of principle and consistency, is somehow depicted as belonging to a spineless elitist. '
      • Yes, this was a big issue in the 2000 election. Bush was perceived as having character but I knew that we really knew nothing about him. I was more concerned about the rationality, and the past performances of the candidates.
  • Reading With the Enemy
    • Amazing experience. Much like how it was when I was actually trying to talk politics with my Right-winged friends. Insight into how a liberal could just give up and let himself become a conservative out of weaknesss.
    • ' Looking for a challenge and a little affirmation, Oliver Griswold tests his die-hard liberal beliefs and goes on an all-conservative-media diet for one month. Life on the Right side of the dial doesn't turn out the way he expected. '
    • ' The second-guessing started to get to me. Rupert Murdoch was shaking my ideological foundations. I began to realize I was living the official Five Stages of Loss: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Despair, and Acceptance. I hurtled through the first two stages quickly, feeling cheerful and optimistic in my Denial and also through Bargaining, which was done not with God but with myself, budgeting for more éclairs than usual just to balance the horror of withdrawal. Anger sprang from self-doubt about my worldview, and then it hung around for a while. '
    • ' The anger would have been easier to manage if another stage, ignored in the psychology books, had not reared its head: Exhaustion. As I pulled further away from my routines, I began to erect defenses to preserve my view of the world. I found myself negotiating each word I read or heard. Every sentence was suspect, so my brain went on overdrive, matching the talking heads' assumptions and agendas with all I thought to be true -- usually the opposite. After listening to Mike Rosen's radio show, my head ached from the effort of comebacks, rhetorical dissections, dismissing logical fallacies both obvious and subtle. At the end of a typical day, I felt as if I had boxed 12 rounds with Lennox Lewis. Or, more accurately, with a dozen white, privileged, whining Lennox Lewises. '
    • ' The final week of the project proved easy. The boredom returned, and I hardly read, watched, or listened to much of anything. I taught middle school, went for a few nice runs, paid some bills, loved my girl. I became 90% of America, and cared little about national and international news. I had food, shelter, water, oxygen, a comfy bed, and a few beers in the fridge. Life in a bubble was nice compared to life with the wolves. I turned off people like the Journal's Gigot, and people like the Journal's Gigot didn't bully me any more. '
    • ' I have reached the Acceptance level on the Stages of Loss chart. But I don't feel any sort of loss. I satisfied an itch I had, some curiosity about whether I could do it. I dived in. I did it. And as Morgan Spurlock told CNN a few months after eating McDonald's for 30 days, 'I feel a lot better now.' '

Medicine

Money

Music

  • Fifty Years of Pop. ' Rock'n'roll has come a long way in the half-century since Elvis first stepped up to the microphone at Sun Studios. Here we choose 50 moments that shaped popular musical history - and in the process changed our lives. '

Parenting

  • SigningBaby.com. ' Teaching children Sign or signs before they learn to speak can inspire them to learn spoken language earlier, which is a blessing for many parents. Apparently the use of signs gets many children to enjoy communication, and take it to another level - the spoken word. '
  • Natural-Wisdom.com.

Politics

  • Book review of The Anatomy of Fascism by Robert Paxton [Amazon]
    • ' Nobody knows on which day of the week the Renaissance started, or in what month the Dark Ages came to a halt. The origins of fascism, however, are surprisingly well documented. As Robert Paxton informs us in this lucid, engagingly readable study, the movement began on Sunday morning, 23 March 1919, at a meeting called by Benito Mussolini's supporters in Milan "to declare war against socialism". That, at least, was when fascism acquired its name. Its murky political roots run further back in time; but, as Paxton points out, it remains a much younger phenomenon than liberalism, socialism and conservatism. It was, he claims, the major political innovation of the 20th century, which does not say much for the inventive powers of our recent forebears. '
    • ' Fascism is an anti-political kind of politics, which elevates national unity over class distinctions, gut prejudice over ideological debate, and race over reason. Its leaders tend to be grubby lower-middle-class yobbos with unstable mentalities and criminal records. They are the kind of uncouth bruisers whom cultivated patricians allow into their drawing rooms only with reluctance, and only when they need to use them to smash the socialists. '
    • ' The assumption that the free market and political democracy go naturally together was always pretty dubious, and fascism is one dramatic refutation of it. But we might now be moving deeper into a world where the two go together like a horse and cabbage. '
    • Related:
  • Casualty of War: Four years into an embattled Bush administration, Colin Powell is hard at work at something he's never had to worry about before: salvaging his legacy. Amazing: A black man gets almost as high as anyone can but then he get fucked over by The Man personified, George W. Bush.
  • Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes Bush
    • ' The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives at both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday. The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis -- including the family of Osama bin Laden -- and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. '
    • ' Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor. '
    • ' A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company had the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films if it deemed their distribution to be against the interests of the company. The executive said Mr. Moore's film is deemed to be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film, which does not have a release date, could alienate many. "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle," this executive said. '
    • This is odd because they can expect Fahrenheit 911 to make money, so why should they care if it's controversial? I smell the long arm of Bush in this one.
    • On the other hand, it's good publicity, Disney will sell the distribution rights to someone else, the film will eventually be distributed, and it'll sell big.
    • Once more, another clear case countering the lie that the media is "Left-biased".
  • AmericanAssembler.com. Lots of good anti-Bush evidence and arguments. Topics include the following: Bush Facts, 9/11, Iraq-Gate, Vote Theft, Foreign Policy, Peak Oil, Economy, Environment, Globalization, Neo-Crimes, Healthcare
    table of job losses or gains by President and Party
  • In Denial: Historians, Communism, & Espionage by John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr
  • Here's the average IQ by state according to the Ravens APM.
                                  AVG IQ      AVG Income       '00 Electoral
    (1) Connecticut..................113      $26,979          Gore
    (2) Massachusetts................111      $24,059          Gore
    (3) New Jersey...................111      $26,457          Gore 
    (4) New York.....................109      $23,534          Gore
    (5) Rhode Island.................107      $20,299          Gore
    (6) Hawaii.......................106      $21,218          Gore
    (7) Maryland.....................105      $22,974          Gore
    (8) New Hampshire................105      $22,934          Bush
    (9) Illinois.....................104      $21,608          Gore
    (10) Delaware....................103      $21,451          Gore
    (11) Minnesota...................102      $20,049          Gore
    (12) Vermont.....................102      $18,834          Gore
    (13) Washington..................102      $20,398          Gore
    (14) California..................101      $21,278          Gore
    (15) Pennsylvania................101      $20,253          Gore
    (16) Maine.......................100      $18,226          Gore
    (17) Virginia....................100      $20,629          Bush
    (18) Wisconsin...................100      $18,727          Gore
    (19) Colorado.....................99      $20,124          Bush
    (20) Iowa.........................99      $18,287          Gore
    (21) Michigan.....................99      $19,508          Gore
    (22) Nevada.......................99      $20,266          Bush
    (23) Ohio.........................99      $18,624          Bush
    (24) Oregon.......................99      $18,202          Gore
    (25) Alaska.......................98      $21,603          Bush
    (26) Florida......................98      $19,397          Bush
    (27) Missouri.....................98      $18,835          Bush
    (28) Kansas.......................96      $19,376          Bush
    (29) Nebraska.....................95      $19,084          Bush
    (30) Arizona......................94      $17,119          Bush
    (31) Indiana......................94      $18,043          Bush
    (32) Tennessee....................94      $17,341          Bush
    (33) North Carolina...............93      $17,667          Bush
    (34) West Virginia................93      $15,065          Bush
    (35) Arkansas.....................92      $15,439          Bush
    (36) Georgia......................92      $18,130          Bush
    (37) Kentucky.....................92      $16,534          Bush
    (38) New Mexico...................92      $15,353          Gore
    (39) North Dakota.................92      $16,854          Bush
    (40) Texas........................92      $17,892          Bush
    (41) Alabama......................90      $16,220          Bush
    (42) Louisiana....................90      $15,712          Bush
    (43) Montana......................90      $16,062          Bush
    (44) Oklahoma.....................90      $16,198          Bush
    (45) South Dakota.................90      $16,558          Bush
    (46) South Carolina...............89      $15,989          Bush
    (47) Wyoming......................89      $17,423          Bush
    (48) Idaho........................87      $16,067          Bush
    (49) Utah.........................87      $15,325          Bush
    (50) Mississippi..................85      $14,088          Bush
  • Cold Turkey
    • ' But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America's becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas. '

Prisoner Abuse

  • There are many, many related stories.
  • What the fucking kind of army is Bush running here? The way Bush is running things is not representative of how I and other good American believe things should be run.
  • Bush and Rumsfeld have known about this for months. Why is it that the public and Congress had to learn about this thru the media? That is totally unacceptable.
  • Given Bush's history in Guantanomo Bay, Cuba, the U.S. now lacks total international credibility on this issue. We are not officially at war (although the administration keeps saying "war") so we have "enemy combatants" and not prisoners of war covered by the Geneva convention. How fucking legalistic and morally corrupt. This is so typical of Cheney's shit like "executive privilege".
  • The hypocrisy is practically tangible.
  • Bush somehow manages to create even more terrorists yet again. The Middle East is a culture of vengeance. A mis-grievance of one results in a retribution of a thousand.
  • This is on of the largest stains on U.S. honor and no heads are rolling? Where's the accountability?
  • It is irrelevant that others have performed atrocities and have not apologized about it. I am only concerned about my conduct, my name, my honor.
  • U.S. Army report on Iraqi prisoner abuse
    • ' Executive summary of Article 15-6 investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba ... The report was prepared by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba on alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad. '
    • The official report, with gory details.
  • Excerpts From Prison Inquiry. Shorter version of the official report.
    • ' I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:
      • Punching, slapping and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet.
      • Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees.
      • Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing.
      • Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time.
      • Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear.
      • Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped.
      • Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them.
      • Positioning a naked detainee on a box [of meals ready to eat], with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes and penis to simulate electric torture.
      • Writing "I am a Rapest" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year-old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked.
      • Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture.
      • A male MP [military police] guard having sex with a female detainee.
      • Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee.
      • Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.
    • In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses:
      • Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees.
      • Threatening detainees with a charged 9-millimeter pistol.
      • Pouring cold water on naked detainees.
      • Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair.
      • Threatening male detainees with rape.
      • Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell.
      • Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick. '
  • Prisoner abuse: What about the other secret U.S. prisons?
  • Why was pattern of abuse ignored for so long?
  • Inhuman and degrading
    • ' As each successive layer of concealment is stripped away from the US military prison system in Iraq, the picture emerges not just of regrettable isolated "abuses" by a few bad guys - the excuse offered by defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld - but of a much wider system of degradation and torture which has been deliberately exported to Iraq with an imperial contempt for the coalition's own proclaimed values. '
  • Kerry Says Iraq Lies at 'Moment of Truth'
    • ' "A year ago I did give the speech from the carrier saying we had achieved an important objective, accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)," Bush said. "As a result, there are no longer torture chambers or mass graves or rape rooms in Iraq." '
  • George Bush as Saddam Hussein Abuse Photos Prompt Comparison to Former Iraqi Leader
  • Bush to Speak to Arab TV on Iraq Prisoner Abuse
    • ' McClellan said Bush first learned of allegations of abuse at Iraq prisons sometime after the charges were elevated to top military officials in January. '
  • Red Cross Was Told Iraq Abuse 'Part of the Process'
    • ' The Red Cross, which has special access to war zone prisons under international treaties, said mistreatment of prisoners "went beyond exceptional cases and might be considered as a practice tolerated by the CF (Coalition Forces)." '
  • Jailed Iraqis hidden from Red Cross, says US army
  • U.S. Troops Said to Mistreat Elder Iraqi. ' U.S. soldiers who detained an elderly Iraqi woman last year placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey, Prime Minister Tony Blair's personal human rights envoy to Iraq said Wednesday. '
  • Analysis: Was there reason for the abuses?
    • ' When examining the trail of events, the fact that most of the abuses have reportedly occurred during the period between September and December 2003, ultimately leading to the capture of Saddam just before Christmas, one could deduct that the ill treatment and humiliation of prisoners did not happen haphazardly, but that rather, with systematic reason, orchestrated by a small group of people eager to obtain quick intelligence. '
  • Restoring Our Honor
    • ' We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom "Friends" right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving. '
    • ' Let's not lose sight of something -- as bad as things look in Iraq, it is not yet lost, for one big reason: America's aspirations for Iraq and those of the Iraqi silent majority, particularly Shiites and Kurds, are still aligned. We both want Iraqi self-rule and then free elections. That overlap of interests, however clouded, can still salvage something decent from this war -- if the Bush team can finally screw up the courage to admit its failures and dramatically change course. Yes, the hour is late, but as long as there's a glimmer of hope that this Bush team will do the right thing, we must insist on it, because America's role in the world is too precious -- to America and to the rest of the world -- to be squandered like this. '
  • New Prison Images Emerge Graphic Photos May Be More Evidence of Abuse
    • ' "It is clear that the intelligence community dictated that these photographs be taken," said Guy L. Womack, a Houston lawyer representing Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., 35, one of the soldiers charged. '
    • In this photo, isn't it evident that this type of abuse was not an "isolated case", but systematic?
      hallway in Abu Graib
  • Inside Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison [via Fox News]
    • ' O'REILLY: All right. But there's a difference between being a poor administrator, as this -- your -- and knowing about torture and looking the other way.

      Now, I grant you and I challenged the general. I said look, in these pictures, these soldiers didn't look like they had any fear of anybody coming down on them. I mean, they looked like they were having a rollicking good time. And that tells me there was a problem in management, whether it's middle management or upper management, I don't know.

      Now I also know that the general, as you do, was not a trained jail warden. She's a reservist and got thrown in there into this position. But I think for the country's sake, we need to know if this scandal is going to get any worse because we're taking a beating worldwide, And if so, who is the evildoer here?

      HERSH: First of all, it's going to get much worse. This kind of stuff was much more widespread. I can tell you just from the phone calls I've had in the last 24 hours, even more, there are other photos out there. There are many more photos even inside that unit. There are videotapes of stuff that you wouldn't want to mention on national television that was done. There was a lot of problems.

      There was a special women's section. There were young boys in there. There were things done to young boys that were videotaped. It's much worse. And the Maj. Gen. Taguba was very tough about it. He said this place was riddled with violent, awful actions against prisoners. '

    • ' HERSH: The problem is that it isn't my contention. It's the contention of Maj. Gen. Taguba, who was appointed by General Sanchez to do the investigation. It's his contention, in his report, that more than 60 percent of the people in that prison, detainees, civilians, had nothing to do with the war effort. '
  • Limbaugh on torture of Iraqis: U.S. guards were "having a good time," "blow[ing] some steam off"
  • Bush Apologizes for Iraqi Prison Abuse. About freaking time! Why didn't he have the instinct to apologize immediately? Especially since the asshat has known about this for months?
  • Bad Show: Bush's Appearance on Arab TV. An American Muslim woman's perception of Bush on Arab TV.
  • Rape Rooms: A Chronology What Bush said as the Iraq prison scandal unfolded. Including his various statements like "Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."--President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003.
  • Statement by the President United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture [2003-06-26]
    • ' The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. ... Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime. '
  • Mistreatment of Prisoners Is Called Routine in U.S.
    • ' The experts also point out that the man who directed the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year and trained the guards there resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time. '
    • ' In a case that began in 2000, a prisoner at the Allred Unit in Wichita Falls, Tex., said he was repeatedly raped by other inmates, even after he appealed to guards for help, and was allowed by prison staff to be treated like a slave, being bought and sold by various prison gangs in different parts of the prison. The inmate, Roderick Johnson, has filed suit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the case is now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, said Kara Gotsch, public policy coordinator for the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Mr. Johnson. '
  • Pentagon Approved Tougher Interrogations
  • The Price of Arrogance In a war that could go on for decades, you cannot simply detain people indefinitely on the sole authority of the secretary of Defense
  • Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels
  • Video Seems to Show Beheading of American
  • Military Personnel: Don't Read This! How a Pentagon email sought to contain the prison abuse scandal
  • Leaking self-doubt
    • " They have gone 'to the ends of the Earth', says one American writer, 'and have painted brilliantly and indelibly an image of America that could remain with us for years, if not decades' "
    • " The Washington Post has announced that, thus far, it has only published 10 of 1,000 shocking photos from Abu Ghraib in its possession. On 13 May, US Congressmen and women given access to the as-yet unpublished torture photos said they are 'sickening', 'heartbreaking' and 'worse than expected'. Little wonder that US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld has tried to brace world opinion by declaring: 'There is worse to come….' "
    • " This discontent between the military and civilian leaderships in the Pentagon - between generals and officers who prefer to fight straightforward wars for a clear national interest and Bushies who launched a self-serving war in Iraq for political ends - has been brewing for two years. Military figures have criticised Rumsfeld's war strategy and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz's vision of a 'domino' effect in the Middle East, where bringing democracy to Iraq would apparently allow democracy to flourish across the region. For commanders who prefer quick and clean, and preferably small-scale, military ops, the Bush administration's political stunt in Iraq has grated. Some military figures have described Bush officials' plans for Iraq as 'grandiose and unattainable' and as requiring 'way too much fairy dust' "
  • Female GI In Abuse Photos Talks
  • General Asserts She Was Overruled on Prison Moves. ' Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, head of the 800th Military Police Brigade, spoke of her resistance to the decisions in a detailed account of her tenure furnished to Army investigators. It places two of the highest-ranking Army officers now in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, at the heart of decision-making on both matters. '

Programming

  • Extending Your Page Names with ASP or ASP .NET. This is a common trick. The essence of it is to catch 404 errors, find what they're looking for, and then use Server.Transfer instead of Response.Redirect.
  • A new era of agreement. Basically Sun and Microsoft are doing more smooching. The most notable item here is that Microsoft renewed its licensing agreement for the Sun JVM (Java Virtual Machine).
  • Programming as if Performance Mattered
  • Closing the Gap Part 1 and Part 2. More about selling software than programming but a programmer's got to eat too.

Science

  • Zuse's Thesis: The Universe is a Computer
    • ' Konrad Zuse (1910-1995; pronounce: "Conrud Tsoosay") not only built the first programmable computers (1935-1941) and devised the first higher-level programming language (1945), but also was the first to suggest (in 1967) that the entire universe is being computed on a computer, possibly a cellular automaton (CA). He referred to this as "Rechnender Raum" or Computing Space or Computing Cosmos. '
    • Related:
  • Charred remains may be earliest human fires
  • Synthetic Life. 'Biologists are crafting libraries of interchangeable DNA parts and assembling them inside microbes to create programmable, living machines '
  • The Institute for New Energy. ' The INE is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching and reporting on the development of advanced energy conversion devices. Such devices include charge cluster technology, "free-energy" machines and "over-unity" devices, where new or novel "potential energy" sources can be identified as new energy sources. Several such devices have been developed in the past, including the dry-cell battery, fuel cells, dams, nuclear fission reactors, and cold fusion cells. '
  • EvilScience.net.
    • ' Dr. Vulture's Laboratory of Evil Science. Evil deserves more than an educated guess '
    • Bwah-ha-ha!
  • VisLab.ucl.ac.uk. Laboratory of Neurobiology.
  • The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore & Richard Dawkins  [Amazon].
    • The meme is a powerful subject. Not only does it shape the direction of our ideas, but it may have effected our evolution.
    • Related:

Sex [assume NSFW]

  • Book review of O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm by Jonathon Margolis [Amazon].
    • O my! Lots of hot and heavy descriptions!
    • ' "The desire for intercourse is the genius of the genus," wrote the 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. But what a complex genius it is. By virtue of a series of devilishly clever evolutionary tricks, or perhaps due to sheer happenstance shaped by cultural factors, women and men have quite different sexual desires, different sexual experiences and different sexual aims. And they probably always have done. '
    • ' All of this has a good deal to do with oxytocin, the "hormone of love" as it has been called. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter synthesised by the hypothalamus at the base of the brain and stored in the posterior pituitary, from where it pulses out when required, which is during sexual activity and in childbirth, after which it prompts the desire to nuzzle and protect infants. Oxytocin induces feelings of love and altruism, warmth, calm, bonding, tenderness and togetherness, of satisfaction during bodily contact, sexual arousal and sexual fulfilment. It is during orgasm in both men and women that oxytocin floods through our bloodstream. Oxytocin released by female orgasm helps women lie still for a while afterwards. This increases the likelihood of conception, as well as making it probable that women will seek further coitus because they enjoyed it so much. '
      • They should sell oxytocin at the grocery store!
    • ' Men, moreover, are virtually assured orgasmic climaxes, but more often than not, the male mechanism is far too swift and efficient to give a female partner even a slender chance of a "classic", penetration-induced orgasm. As a result of the clitoris being sited in the wrong place to be adequately stimulated by straight reproductive intercourse, orgasm for women is nearly always produced by a masturbatory mechanism. But as if to compensate for this rather unfair-seeming physical mismatch, nature has intriguingly made the female orgasm produced by masturbation far and away the more intense. '
    • ' In the few decades that such matters have been a suitable subject for serious discourse, three distinct theories have been put forward to explain the central problem that Gould articulated. The first, classical theory, advanced by Desmond Morris, is that the female orgasm has evolved to enhance the monogamous pair bond and make family life more rewarding. ... The second theory, advanced by many feminists, also holds that the female orgasm is an evolutionary adaptation, but that it is triggered by nothing more elaborate than straight intercourse; if it is not, there is either something abnormal about the woman - or inadequate about the man. ... The third view of the female orgasm, proposed by the postmodern voice of Symons and heartily backed by Gould, is that a whole nexus of anatomical, social, cultural and emotional factors make female orgasm the subtle phenomenon it is. '
    • ' "It is important to realise," Mead concluded, "that such an unrealised potentiality is not necessarily felt as frustration." Or, as Symons noted acidly: "The sexually insatiable woman is to be found primarily, if not exclusively, in the ideology of feminism, the hopes of boys and the fears of men." '
      • I'm scared!
  • For parents, peace of mind is seconds away.
    • The Sex Offender Registry provided by the Illinois State Police was easy and fast to use. I was able to very quickly 3 pages of sex offenders in my area code. Geez. Does that give me peace of mind? Heck no!
    • A search eventually gives you the option to look up more information on individual offenders by using the "Inmate Search" at the Illinois Department of Corrections. BTW, you can also do an Inmate Search at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Both sites are also chock full of interesting statistics.
  • OrigamiUnderground.com. 'It is the place to find erotic origami on the web. It's all free, and it's all for you!'
  • "Pakistani council approves honour rapes" and " Police probe into 'revenge rape' "
    • ' Sikander Javed, a lawyer for the women, said the influential landlord, Ghaffar, had complained to the council that his honour had been sullied when the son of a poor farmer began a relationship with his daughter. The council members, all of them landlords themselves, ruled that Ghaffar, who uses only one name, could avenge his honour by having sex with the farmer's daughter, who is 16, and daughter-in-law, who is 22. '
    • ' Human rights organisations in Pakistan have mentioned hundreds of honour killings and cases of rape as an act or revenge. '
    • Related:
      • Laws victimising Pakistani women seen as 'divine' by hardline supporters
        • ' An estimated 80 percent of women prisoners in Pakistan are in jail because they failed to prove rape charges, and found themselves locked up on adultery convictions, according to a 2004 report by the National Commission on the Status of Women. Under the Hudood laws, anyone unable to prove rape, but equally unable to disprove extramarital sexual intercourse, can be convicted of adultery. A push is underway by women's and right groups to repeal the laws. But they are meeting stiff opposition from powerful Islamic conservatives, who see the laws as "divinely inspired" because they are based on teachings of the Quran. '
      • Rape & Incest: Islamic Perspective
    • Divine my ass. These are just raping pigs who are abusing religion.
  • BeautifulAgony.com. The face during you know what.

Show Biz

Space

USA

  • "Our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia" by David Brooks
    • This article is an attempt to explain and justify sprawl from a cultural perspective. There is nothing wrong with working hard and dreaming big, the problem is the sustainability of this lifestyle and ignoring America's integration with the planet and other people on the planet. (LOL! Green and Progressive people sound so negative and parental when they react to Conservatives)
    • This is a Conservative article from the New York Times, which is supposedly "Right-wing biased".
    • ' The population of Atlanta increased by 22,000 during the 90's, but the expanding suburbs grew by 2.1 million. ... ' Mesa, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, now has a larger population than Minneapolis, St. Louis or Cincinnati. It's as if Zeus came down and started plopping vast developments in the middle of farmland and the desert overnight. '
    • ' Throughout human history, most people have lived around some definable place -- a tribal ring, an oasis, a river junction, a port, a town square. But in exurbia, each individual has his or her own polycentric nodes -- the school, the church and the office park. Life is different in ways big and small. ... Robert Lang, a demographer at Virginia Tech, compares these new sprawling exurbs to the dark matter in the universe: stuff that is very hard to define but somehow accounts for more mass than all the planets, stars and moons put together. '
    • ' They have more choice over which sort of neighborhood to live in. Society becomes more segmented, and everything that was once hierarchical turns granular. ... You don't have to travel very far in America to see radically different sorts of people, most of whom know very little about the communities and subcultures just down the highway. '
    • ' American standards of living surpassed those in Europe around 1740. For more than 260 years, in other words, Americans have been rich, money-mad, vulgar, materialistic and complacent people. And yet somehow America became and continues to be the most powerful nation on earth and the most productive. Religion flourishes. Universities flourish. Crime rates drop, teen pregnancy declines, teen-suicide rates fall, along with divorce rates. Despite all the problems that plague this country, social healing takes place. If we're so great, can we really be that shallow? '
    • ' Nor do the standard critiques of suburbia really solve the mystery of motivation -- the inability of many Americans to sit still, even when they sincerely want to simplify their lives. Americans are the hardest-working people on earth. The average American works 350 hours a year -- nearly 10 weeks -- more than the average Western European. Americans switch jobs more frequently than people from other nations. The average job tenure in the U.S. is 6.8 years, compared with more than a decade in France, Germany and Japan. What propels Americans to live so feverishly, even against their own self-interest? What energy source accounts for all this? '
    • ' Finally, the critiques don't explain the dispersion. They don't explain why so many millions of Americans throw themselves into the unknown every year. In 2002, about 14.2 percent of Americans relocated. Compare that with the 4 percent of Dutch and Germans and the 8 percent of Britons who move in a typical year. According to one survey, only slightly more than a quarter of American teenagers expect to live in their hometowns as adults. '
    • ' Americans -- seemingly bland, ordinary Americans -- often have a remarkably tenuous grip on reality. Under the seeming superficiality of suburban American life, there is an imaginative fire that animates Americans and propels us to work so hard, move so much and leap so wantonly. '
    • ' The historian Sacvan Bercovitch has observed that the United States is the example par excellence of a nation formed by collective fantasy. Despite all the claims that American culture is materialist and pragmatic, what is striking about this country is how material things are shot through with enchantment. '
    • ' This Paradise Spell is at the root of our tendency to work so hard, consume so feverishly, to move so much. It inspires our illimitable faith in education, our frequent born-again experiences. It explains why, alone among developed nations, we have shaped our welfare system to encourage opportunity at the expense of support and security; and why, more than people in comparable nations, we wreck our families and move on. It is the call that makes us heedless of the past, disrespectful toward traditions, short on contemplation, wasteful in our use of the things around us, impious toward restraints, but consumed by hope, driven ineluctably to improve, fervently optimistic, relentlessly aspiring, spiritually alert and, in this period of human history, the irresistible and discombobulating locomotive of the world. '
  • Lesser Evils
    • A fine look into the compromises in civil liberties that the US has made in the past and is making now. Also insights on what to do now and in the future.
    • ' A democracy can allow its leaders one fatal mistake -- and that's what 9/11 looks like to many observers -- but Americans will not forgive a second one. A succession of large-scale attacks would pull at the already-fragile tissue of trust that binds us to our leadership and destroy the trust we have in one another. Once the zones of devastation were cordoned off and the bodies buried, we might find ourselves, in short order, living in a national-security state on continuous alert, with sealed borders, constant identity checks and permanent detention camps for dissidents and aliens. Our constitutional rights might disappear from our courts, while torture might reappear in our interrogation cells. The worst of it is that government would not have to impose tyranny on a cowed populace. We would demand it for our own protection. And if the institutions of our democracy were unable to protect us from our enemies, we might go even further, taking the law into our own hands. We have a history of lynching in this country, and by the time fear and paranoia settled deep in our bones, we might repeat the worst episodes from our past, killing our former neighbors, our onetime friends. '
    • ' We can confidently expect that terrorists will attempt to tamper with our election in November. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said in a recent television interview that the Bush administration is concerned that terrorists will see the approaching presidential election as "too good to pass up." '
    • ' But thinking about lesser evils is unavoidable. Sticking too firmly to the rule of law simply allows terrorists too much leeway to exploit our freedoms. Abandoning the rule of law altogether betrays our most valued institutions. To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war. These are evils because each strays from national and international law and because they kill people or deprive them of freedom without due process. They can be justified only because they prevent the greater evil. The question is not whether we should be trafficking in lesser evils but whether we can keep lesser evils under the control of free institutions. If we can't, any victories we gain in the war on terror will be Pyrrhic ones. '
    • ' While some aspects of the Patriot Act were vexatious and ill conceived -- for example, giving federal agents the power to force librarians and bookstores to divulge what their customers are reading -- other parts of the act (and the antiterrorism measures in general) are right-minded. Giving the F.B.I. the same powers to wiretap terrorist suspects that they already use against the Mafia and drug traffickers seems reasonable, particularly because the taps are controlled by court order. '
    • ' A war on terror that succeeds tactically -- taking out this potential terrorist, breaking up that potential cell -- while failing strategically, further enraging the Arab populace, is not a success. So we need rules in a war on terror, first of all to keep free institutions intact and second so that we don't fail in our strategic objective, which is to make America some friends instead of numberless new enemies. '
    • ' Only if our institutions work properly -- if Congress reviews legislation in detail and tosses out measures that jeopardize liberty at no gain to security, if the courts keep executive power under constitutional control and if the press refuses to allow itself to become ''embedded'' with the government -- can the moral and constitutional hazards of lesser evils be managed. '
    • ' Clearly, there need to be rules to govern detention, and the key rule -- one that defines democracy itself -- is that no one, citizen or otherwise, should be held without access to public review of his detention by independent judicial authorities. Where they are held, whether offshore or at home, should be immaterial. If they are detained by Americans, they are America's responsibility, and basic due process standards should apply. '
    • ' It ought to be the rule that no detainee of the United States should be permanently deprived of access to counsel and judicial process, whether it be civilian federal court or military tribunal. Torture will thrive wherever detainees are held in secret. Conduct disgracing the United States is inevitable if suspects are detained beyond the reach of the law. '
    • ' So far, the basic rules for regulating a war on terror look relatively simple: first, make sure all measures are subjected to review by Congress and the judiciary; second, make sure the law keeps watch over detainees and suspects. In a word, we need to ensure that we wage a war for the rule of law and not a war against it and that we wage it by means of democratic consent rather than by presidential decree. We have enough of an imperial presidency as it is. '
    • ' The president's power to make war is supposed to be balanced by Congress's power to declare it, but in practice, since Vietnam, Congress has not been able to rein in a president bent on the use of force overseas. A war on terror, declared against a global enemy, with no clear end in sight, raises the prospect of an out-of-control presidency. As we learned in the run-up to the war in Iraq, the case for a pre-emptive war is always bound to be speculative, based on doubtful intelligence that will be hard for either an electorate or its representatives, let alone the bureaucracy, to assess for credibility. In the pre-emptive wars of the future -- Iraq will not be our last exercise in this moral hazard -- our leaders will try to secure our consent by alternately threatening and reassuring us with the phrase ''If you only knew what we know.'' But as we have found to our cost, this is not nearly good enough. '
    • ' Above all, we need to keep faith with freedom. When terrorists strike against constitutional democracies, one of their intentions is to persuade electorates and elites that the strengths of these societies -- public debate, mutual trust, open borders and constitutional restraints on executive power- are weaknesses. When strengths are seen as weaknesses, it is easy to abandon them. If this is the logic of terror, then democratic societies must find a way to renew their belief that their apparent vulnerabilities are actually a form of strength. '
    • ' The chief ethical challenge of a war on terror is relatively simple -- to discharge duties to those who have violated their duties to us. Even terrorists, unfortunately, have human rights. We have to respect these because we are fighting a war whose essential prize is preserving the identity of democratic society and preventing it from becoming what terrorists believe it to be. Terrorists seek to provoke us into stripping off the mask of law in order to reveal the black heart of coercion that they believe lurks behind our promises of freedom. We have to show ourselves and the populations whose loyalties we seek that the rule of law is not a mask or an illusion. It is our true nature. '

World

  • A conversation with Marianne Pearl [hear the audio]. ' A French journalist and practicing Buddhist, Mariane Pearl is the widow of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan four months after the September 11 attacks. During this time, she was pregnant with their first child. '
  • Rethinking Zionism
  • Aging Or Sex Ratio Bigger Demographic Problem For China?
    • ' In Europe, the elder share of the population passed 10 percent in the 1930s and will not reach 30 percent until the 2030s, a century later. China will traverse the same distance in a single generation. '
    • ' The biggest problem, however, is that most of today's workers--and hence most of tomorrow's retirees-- have no pension or health-care coverage at all. The great majority of Chinese continue to rely on the traditional form of old-age insurance: children. But as birthrates decline and urbanization breaks up extended families, this informal safety net is beginning to unravel. In China, demographers call it the "4-2-1 problem," a reference to the fact that in many families one child will be expected to support two aged parents and four grandparents. '
    • ' "In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause," says Ms. Hudson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University. '
      • This one is pretty scary.
  • Global IQ: 1950-2050 [animation]. O, so we are dumbing down.

2004-05-14t04:58:05Z | RE: Travel.
On Vacation

Here in Chicago it is 2004-05-13 Thursday, and one minute to midnight. This is my last post before my long awaited trip to the Philippines. While there I will log my trip by taking photos with film, and writing notes with pen and paper. After I get back in June, I will gradually transfer my log to my blog.

Exploring odd subjects including myself. GeorgeHernandez.com
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