How do we compare these two countries? Well, there's a new metric offered here to look at the similarities and differences in culture. In South Africa, lesbian marriage is now legal. In the United States, we are doomed by decadence. I'm told. Our mores are helping Al Queda. Mmmmm...
I'll pass on the older Edward Said hatchet job, but Reagan and Arafat are thoroughly Hitchened in slate. Came across these older obits after doing a bit of reading about what has been happening in Hitchens' long strange trip from the left to leftist neo-con. He was always one of the first people I'd read when a new issue of the Nation appeared. It's likely that he was another victim of the September 11 attacks.
No, I didn't forget to link WSB's Great American Thanksgiving poem of praise and, well, thanks-giving. I was just a little bit late. As for Christmas and Chanuka (and Kwanzaa and Saturnalia and Fnord), these holidays get wrapped up in gift giving. And gift can mean weird objects. And weird objects mean weird things made in Japan. For (stereotyped) him and (stereotyped) her. The latter is not really from Japan, but I'd give it the benefit of the doubt.
Ah, Lubbock, not exactly one of my favorite places. Heck, the fact that I've spent any time at all there is intriquing. Here they are, in photographs, for posterity. Former punk venues, and current eyesores of Lubbock.
But at least one statue of him still stands. Thinking about how we view Europe, we really need to also take a look at the Guardian's coverage (by Sid Blumenthal though) of Bush at Clinton's library opening.
Should I say anything about the elections? Here or in the Ukraine? I think the parallels have been made clear to virtually everyone. Two quick links of interest though: an election analysis and what the heck happened to Yushchenko when he was sick?
Anagram poetry, how can you go wrong with T. S. Eliot's classic, Toilets?
In a similar vein...
A paragraph composed of sentences from Thomas L. Friedman editorials in the NYT, compiled by freelance writer Tamar Adler.
"And now for a wild prediction. Real men drill wells. Don't know if they're right, but you gotta root for them. Deep down they all know it and they admit it to each other in private. You have to admire it. Because they are anything but crazy. Normally I wouldn't mind. But perfect isn't on the menu anymore. Think about it. This is dangerous. No really. It's pathetic when you think about it but also sad. Yes, yes, yes. No, no, no. Woo, woo, woo. That's embarrassing. Gotta tell you, it's the darndest thing I've ever seen. But you have to love this figure. It's kind of a two-for-one deal. A plus B equals C, but what will C be? Or does he know that I know that he knows? Say what? You guessed it. Not a bad deal. But guess what? There is a wall. Several actually. And that's the drama. But hopeless? Stay tuned. This is going to get interesting."
Poppy Z. Brite's elegy to William S. Burroughs. Worth reading through to get the second to last sentence.
French Intellectuals to be Deployed in Afghanistan To Convince Taleban of Non-Existence of God
The ground war in Afghanistan hotted up yesterday when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack French existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale of Taleban zealots by proving the non-existence of God.
Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre Brigade, or 'Black Berets', will be parachuted into the combat zones to spread doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy. Hardened by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation of Paris's Left Bank, their first action will be to establish a number of pavement cafes at strategic points near the front lines. There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly about the absurd nature of life and man's lonely isolation in the universe. They will be accompanied by a number of heartbreakingly beautiful girlfriends who will further spread dismay by sticking their tongues in the philosophers' ears every five minutes and looking remote and unattainable to everyone else.
Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke yesterday of his confidence in the success of their mission. Sorbonne graduate Belmondo, a very intense and unshaven young man in a black pullover, gesticulated wildly and said, "The Taleban are caught in a logical fallacy of the most ridiculous. There is no God and I can prove it. Take your tongue out of my ear, Juliet, I am talking." Marc-Ange plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on man's nauseating freedom of action with special reference to the work of Foucault and the films of Alfred Hitchcock.
However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the operation as inhumane, pointing out that the effects of passive smoking from the Frenchmens' endless Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on civilians in the area. Speculation was mounting last night that Britain may also contribute to the effort by dropping Professor Stephen Hawking into Afghanistan to propagate his non-deistic theory of the creation of the universe.
Other tactics to demonstrate the non-existence of God will include the dropping of leaflets pointing out the fact that Michael Jackson has a new album out and Oprah Winfrey has not died yet. This is only one of several Psy-Ops operations mounted by the Allies to undermine the unswerving religious fanaticism that fuels the Taleban's fighting spirit.
Pentagon sources have recently confirmed rumours that America has already sent in a 200-foot-tall robot Jesus, which roams the Taleban front lines glowing eerily and shooting flames out of its fingers while saying, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, follow me or die.' However, plans to have the giant Christ kick the crap out of a slightly effeminate 80-foot Mohammed in central Kabul were discarded as insensitive to Muslim allies.
A winner for the worst campaign journalist? How did this sneak in here?
The Target Corporation is offering wake-up calls for the big shopping days after Thanksgiving. Really. In a bunch of different voices including a construction worker, a woman with a cat, and a baby. Consumerism is its own reward.
The folks that bring you the billboards, lifted from North Korea. Yes, those folks, who do their best to raise concert ticket prices and make commercial radio more bland than ever.
Of Godzilla? Possibly.
Of the MPAA? Only in your dreams.
The Last Place on Earth. A great read. The definitive Antarctic exploration book of the Scott-Amundsen race for 90 South.
It appears that the little-old Mall of America (4m square feet) is no longer the biggest. How does a 6m square foot Chinese mall sound to you? A temple of consumerism. With 20 people (total) spotted during one hour. Papa John's Pizza? 230 escalators and 1000 shops. But no shoppers.
Northwest Airlines could not be reached for comments.
Those being honored by a new memorial include glow worms and other animals that "served and suffered for their country." Especially notable is "One distinguished holder of the medal [named] Rob, the "para dog" who made over 20 parachute drops while serving on top secret missions behind enemy lines in World War II." How did the dog get back to England to be redropped behind enemy lines? Inquiring minds want to know!
A little more info here and here. "ROB (War Dog) No. 471/322. Special Air Service. Awarded the Dickin Medal on January 22nd 1945. 'for taking part in landings during the North African campaign with Infantry and later with the Special Air Unit in Italy'."
When the Dubya announced his "vision" of having NASA go back to the Moon (with people) and then on to Mars (people again), NASA had to quickly change to keep pace. A new plan was drafted, one in which glittering achievements like picking up a rock decades hence would win out over making actual scientific discoveries. The American Physical Society commissioned a study on how this would impact science and NASA's basic functioning. No great surprise, this plan is a disaster. News coverage of the APS study. The critics of the study are fairly predictable, the people-in-space lobby. Don't get me wrong, it'll be great to send folks to the Moon, I have some people in mind, but on fixed (small) budgets it's crazy. Robots, scientific spacecrafts, and remote exploration are the way to do the science until the money is available to send people.
Digression here: the problem of "what is worth funding" is a vexing one. Is my scientific research (think one $100M project, and a couple of $20M projects over a few years) more important than educating children in Minneapolis? Nope. Or treating folks in Zambia suffering from malaria? Again, no way. More important that the $Billions spent killing Iraqi kids? I'd have to say yes. On the other hand, there is no way that the monies that went into these science programs would ever be spent for "humanitarian purposes" or the military money spent on science. Funding entities do not work that way. The local school district can easily spend $250k on consultants to "map the future of their IT developments" at a time when $1000 isn't available to buy art supplies. (Or heck, the "media center" (formerly known as a library) can update its computers every three years while not buying books. (And use much of the library space for those computers.))
Ending rant now...
Bush: "And after Mars, we'll land on the Sun!"
Reporter: "Won't it be a bit too hot?"
Bush: "We'll land at night!"
From the Minneapolis City Pages, a while back, with two different sorts of chemical imbalances... Mad scientist, "mad" scientist, real estate follies, the tension between officialdom and practicaldom, medical woes, Minneapolis microhistory, and a tale of true love. Something for all readers. Thanks for D. for bringing this to my attention. Enjoy!
Do you know that that might be made illegal? It's one aspect of the new legislation governing intellectual property in front of the Congress. Upset? Well certainly anyone who reads that would vote against it, right? Mmmmm...but no one read the Patriot Act, whether they voted for or against it.
Though fast forwarding through objectionable scenes in a movie would be okay.
We all knew and loved Jandek's (click here for an overview from Seth Tisue if you aren't up on it) music for years, remember the thrill of discovering a new record that was available? Well, even if not, there was the thrill of seeing Jandek written up in Songs in the Key of Z (which is a highly recommended written take on outsider music).
Jandek, being anonymous, was an ideal outsider.
Now however, with a documentary film, Jandek on Corwood, and even Jandek playing LIVE in Glasgow, Jandek is no longer anonymous. Heck, he even seemed "happy and godlike" according to David Tibet (of Current 93 etc.).
Very interesting indeed. The musical outsider coming in from the cold, to the love and respect of a very weird bunch of folks.
I know blog-to-blog links are the work of a particularly nasty demon, but anyway, I've been compelled by the awsome oddity of a contractor in Iraq blogging about local conditions and video games.
The first "officially" missing day in my blog releases some amount of pressure. I had been thinking about how I would be able to update my blog daily from the side of Aconcagua when I climb it this Austral Summer. Now I will not have to worry about that. (FYI, the best climbing guide is definitely Aconcagua: A Climbing Guide but you do need to check on updated permit requirements.)
Truly, this can transend language and cultural barriers with great ease. And it's from Belgium. Well, from a Belgian site, some chance this is in the UK actually. No Douglas Adams jokes here.
Or Mike attempting some overarching scheme to allow the following two links to cohabitate this entry? Either way...
Fast food equivalent of a snuff film.
Study of computer voting in Florida indicates a "mistake" of 130k-260k votes. Care to guess which way it goes? Does it matter to you that the companies that make the machines are big Republican donors?
[Brian is writing graffiti on the palace wall. The Centurion catches him in the act]
Centurion: What's this, then? "Romanes eunt domus"? People called Romanes, they go, the house?
Brian: It says, "Romans go home. "
Centurion: No it doesn't ! What's the latin for "Roman"? Come on, come on !
Brian: Er, "Romanus" !
Centurion: Vocative plural of "Romanus" is?
Brian: Er, er, "Romani" !
Centurion: [Writes "Romani" over Brian's graffiti] "Eunt"? What is "eunt"? Conjugate the verb, "to go" !
Brian: Er, "Ire". Er, "eo", "is", "it", "imus", "itis", "eunt".
Centurion: So, "eunt" is... ?
Brian: Third person plural present indicative, "they go".
Centurion: But, "Romans, go home" is an order. So you must use... ?
[He twists Brian's ear]
Brian: Aaagh ! The imperative !
Centurion: Which is... ?
Brian: Aaaagh ! Er, er, "i" !
Centurion: How many Romans?
Brian: Aaaaagh ! Plural, plural, er, "ite" !
Centurion: [Writes "ite"] "Domus"? Nominative? "Go home" is motion towards, isn't it?
Brian: Dative !
[the Centurion holds a sword to his throat]
Brian: Aaagh ! Not the dative, not the dative ! Er, er, accusative, "Domum" !
Centurion: But "Domus" takes the locative, which is... ?
Brian: Er, "Domum" !
Centurion: [Writes "Domum"] Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times.
Brian: Yes sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.
Centurion: Hail Caesar ! And if it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off.
Interestingly, this is a subject that isn't well represented on the web. Only a handful of sites are out there with many of them using the phrase as a code-phrase for Victorian, well heck, Puritan, sexual mores. Going tag sale (called garage sales, or yard sales outside of New England) hopping as a child, I remember running into at least a few antique bundling boards and beds that would accept them. Prolly these have all disappeared from tag sales now and can only be found in the antique-stores-for-the-terminally-hip. Anyhow, if you don't know about bundling, and bundling boards, let me enlighten you.
Back in the day (think colonial times through 1900 plus add in certain Pennsylvania and Ohio modern day low-tech religious groups) beds were expensive and guest beds an unlikely indulgence. To keep unmarried folks of the opposite gender from exploring their human natures while sharing a precious resource (the bed, you with your mind in the gutter), a bundling board could be installed between the partners-denied. As an added complication, there was an entire form of courtship in which the man and woman would spend nights (or at least evenings) together, in bed, under the covers, together, but separated by a healthy slab of dimensional lumber. An article on this practice, within the Pennsylvania Dutch, illustrates the many aspects of bundling. And mentions bundling bags as well as boards. Some even think of it as "racy."
Hmmm...the somewhat modern equivalent was in an old movie I remember seeing. I want to say Cary Grant, but I'm not 100% sure. He's traveling around with this woman that he isn't married to. Quelle horror! They share a hotel room each night with a sheet up between them as a divider. In the end, they marry and the sheet comes down. What the heck movie was this? Quick google searches have been unsuccessful...
Appended: "It happened one night" with Clark Gable, not Cary Grant. Oops! According to imdb.com, "While shooting the scene where he undresses, Clark Gable had trouble removing his undershirt while keeping his humorous flow going and took too long. As a result the undershirt was abandoned altogether. It then became cool to not wear an undershirt which resulted in a large drop in undershirt sales around the country. In response, underwear manufacturers tried to sue Columbia."
"In your re-election, God has graciously granted America — though she doesn't deserve it — a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You have been given a mandate. [...] Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ." - Nov 3 letter, not ackowledged by the White House
Fortunately, it might take a while to get from Texas to Minnesota...
Swedish poetry beamed into space. No comments necessary.
I'm honestly surprised that I was surprised at this. Not sure how much of the beer, aroma of freshly fired guns, and wet feet feel would come through in this system... Am just waiting for the army/Halliburton to catch on.
Step 1: Credit card number
Step 2: Shoot A-rabs
Step 3: Profit
That would be the founder of Coil and member of Current 93, Death in June, Psychic TV, Nurse with Wound, and that general circle of goth-industrial-experimental music. Announcement. Book of condolences. Died after falling down while drunk.
In unrelated news, Bob Dylan was declared to hate our freedoms and want Osama Bin-Laden to win.
News article on a recent book claiming that Dubya and Blair are undermining meaningful uses of the English language. He calls it the "deadly virus of management speak." Enron, Halliburton, the European Union, the mission statements of universities... Check out the management ads in your next airline magazine.
Since the radio stations you listen to run on tube RF power amps, the microwave ovens do as well, and you might even be looking at this on a CRT, the age of the tube (or valve for our Brits) isn't quite over. Now, if someone knows a good source of new-old stock RCA 6L6GC matched pairs at a good cost...
Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie! Perfect for the D.I.Y. crowd, also makes a good school activity, think of it as the bake-sale for a new generation, or, nearly as good, make 'em as holiday gifts for the loved ones in your life.
The shortwave number stations have been in the news a bit recently, making an otherwise obscure topic rather more commonplace. Coverage is in Wired and NPR. The Conet Project has released a 4-cd retrospective of numbers stations as well.
Just as scary, the New York Times covers a robotic hugging device or robo-hugger. Carnegie-Mellon, at the forefront of robotics...
Giant hail in the Himalayas that killed hundreds. The bodies had been discovered in 1942, hundreds of bodies, with no good explanation for their cause of death. Those corpses had always been one of the more Lovecraftian stories of the high plateau.
...on the West Palm Beach butterfly ballots of 2000. Rejected ballot ideas from the Buchanan-voting bloc.
I found this in my blog edit entries page as a draft entry from the 14th of November. Was it funnier then? Not sure, but in the general honor of all that was Suck I'm going to stick it up on the world wide web-o.
It appears that we are subject to laws that we are not authorized to know about. How's that again? We are subject to secret laws? Beautiful.
The New York Times (registration required, etc.) has an interesting article about Wal-Mart's data storage and data mining. A few obviously incorrect "facts" but still an interesting article. (For example, 200TB is a low estimate for the text on the internet, let alone the binary data.)
Strawberry Pop-Tarts will never look quite the same to me again...
Thinking about the origins of web logs such as mine, I think back to the good folks at Suck.com. The old entries are recycled today, so a look there is a trip down memory lane to the heady days of the dot com boom and the Clinton administration. Scarcely knew it when they quit...though they still live on in the Plastic discussion pages.
Pretty soon I think there'll be people who make a living pre-surfing it for you. There's a real need for that -- otherwise it becomes this monster time-sink. You can just sit there forever. Looking. Looking. And maybe not finding anything. Seeing a lot of goofy stuff. - William Gibson, October 1996
And don't forget to check out the dullest blog in the world and the Meme Pool of what the blog world is supposed to be talking about. Hmmm...thinking about that, I'm not convinced that meme is exactly the right word for it, though it does have the cyberpunk via Snow Crash feel to it.
One of the oddities of doing academic physics is the travel. At the moment one of my graduate students is in Argentina attending a meeting and working on one of my experiments, and another of my graduate students is enroute to Antarctica to launch a balloon experiment. Add in the bizarre nature of opening up a Patagonia (outdoor clothing) catalog and finding my picture (about 90% sure) in it...jumping into a waterhole in the Antarctic ice...
"Gaines and Harvey mounted tumble-bugs, and kept abreast of the Cadet Captain, some twenty-five yards behind the leaing wave. It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles, and he felt awkward. A tumble-bug does not give a man dignity, since it is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel. But it is perfectly adapted to patrolling the maze of machinery 'down inside', since it can go through an opening the width of a man's shoulders, is easily controlled, and will stand patiently upright, waiting, should its rider dismount." - "The Roads Must Roll," from The Man Who Sold the Moon
Jon Ronson, one of my favorite investigative journalists (along with Ron Rosenbaum whose "Travels with Dr. Death" is a classic of the highest order), has a new book out entitled "The Men Who Stare at Goats." It examines the weirdness of US new age influences in the military, their influence in Psy-Ops, and how the craziness there led to Abu Ghraib and the other unfolding tales of US military occupation, torture, and psychotic behavior.
The misogynistic and aggressive old chants ("I don't know but I've been told, Eskimo pussy is mighty cold...") would be phased out and replaced by a new one: "Om."
See also the originator of much of this, the folks with the First Earth Battalion. Walking through walls, killing goats with a thought, and blasting Barney music at top volume...
Featuring a jumbo jet headed for the World Trade Center
Crazed fascists in the government
A FOX TV show
Spun-off from the X-Files
But a happy ending
"I'm just going out to the shops to get some bread. Will you keep an eye on the children. Oh, and don't go in the attic." - Genesis P'Orridge
I've been asked repeatly lately about the issue of the number 23. Or as the original questioner asked, "Anyone think it slightly suspicious that Ken Bigley was held for exactly 23 days before being decapitated by those CIArabs? Saddam was in power for exactly 23 years until the Illuminati terminated his contract!" Yes, twenty fnord three is a common sight. How common?
Well, that's tough to tell because the accidental 23s are intermingled with the deliberate 23s. Michael Jordan's jersey number, chosen to honor his lifetime allegience to the Illuminated Elders of Mu, and the fact that the Unibomber killed or wounded 23 people are very different sorts of 23-numerology phenomena.
Burroughs (and friends) and the 23 Enigma
The '23 Enigma', as discovered by William S. Burroughs, presents itself as a good omen for some - disaster for others. Trying to convey the phenomenon to the uninitiated is as easy as describing the night sky to someone who has been blind from birth.
When Burroughs was in Tangiers, he knew a Captain Clark who ran a ferry over to Spain. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he had been doing the route for 23 years without an accident. That day, the ferry sank . . .that evening, while Burroughs was thinking about the incident, a radio bulletin announced the crash of Flight 23 on the New York-Miami route. The pilot was another Captain Clark!
Burroughs began to keep a scrapbook of 23s. When writing about Dutch Shultz, he realized that when the New York City gangster had put a contract out on 23-year-old Vincent 'Mad Dog' Coll, who met his end on 23rd St. Shultz himself died on October 23rd, 1935. As Robert Anton Wilson writes in 'Cosmic Trigger', the same night, Marty Crompier, another gangster was shot, but not fatally. "It's got to be one of them coincidences," he told police.
Speaking of October 23rd, Seventeenth century scholar Archbishop Ussher reckoned that the earth was created on October 23rd, 4004 BC, while the Mayans believed the world will end on December 23rd, 2012.
Hexagram 23 in the 'I Ching' oracle means "break apart." 23 in telegrapher's code means "break the line." Aleister Crowley defined number 23 as "parting, removal, separation, joy, a thread, and life . . ."
Parents each donate 23 chromosomes to the fertilized egg . . .the human biorhythm cycle is generally 23 days, and it takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body.
And so on . . .
This inexplicable fascination with 23 has become a mind-virus, seeping into the music of 'Psychic TV', the art of H.R. Giger, the comics of Jamie Hewlett and Grant Morrison, the literature of Robert Anton Wilson, Arthur Koestler, Umberto Eco, and countless others. The pages of the 'Principia Discordia' supply another feast of 23s. It now reached a point where one has to be sharp to differentiate between the 23s meant as signposts for those in the know, and those which appear for no obvious reason, in the damndest of places. The Internet is these days littered with lists of historical and scientific '23s', some of which are not so ` - i.e. mere coincidence, some mind-boggling - beautiful synchronicity.
The '23 Enigma' has its skeptics - those who say that it's a focusing of attention on just one number. This may be true, but as mentioned above, some folks have fun with 23s - the day-to-day synchronicity that raises a private smile - while for others it can be sheer hell, and we're not just talking about Burroughs' two Captain Clarks. Genesis P. Orridge (his band, 'Psychic TV', released 23 albums on the 23rd of each month for 23 months) told the members of another British band, 'Cabaret Voltaire', about the enigma. They showed interest, but skepticism. Two days later, Genesis received a phone call from them:
"You bastard! . . . We've come to Holland to do three gigs, and in ever hotel we've had room 23, and the gig on the 23rd was a complete disaster. And everywhere we turn, there are 23s. What have you done?"
"Well, I did say you'd start noticing it," answered Genesis.
This 23 shit just goes on and on...... this comes from The Mirror.....
HOW MYSTICAL 23 CHANGED COURSE OF HISTORY Jul 3 2003
By Ryan Parry And Rebecca Smith
IT might be just a squad number to David Beckham fans, but many believe 23 has mystical properties.
Pop stars and writers are among those fascinated by it.
Late author William Burroughs was so gripped by numeric coincidences surrounding 23, he kept a scrapbook of his findings. It is said he was alerted to the number's power when a Captain Clark told him he had run a ferry from Spain to Morocco with no problem for 23 years. Hours later it sank, killing the skipper.
Band Psychic TV were obsessed with 23. They released 23 live albums, each on the 23rd day of 23 months running.
Whether Becks is touched by the number's supposed magic at Real is yet to be seen.
But if he scores 23 goals to help Madrid win the league, no doubt he'll start believing there's something in it.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan wore 23 for the Chicago Bulls. His dad was also murdered on July 23, 1993, during a botched robbery. Real's choice of number is a coup for agency SFX who handle both Jordan and Becks' affairs.
William Shakespeare was born and died on April 23. His first folio of plays came in 1623. Wife Anne died in 1623.
US catchphrase "23, skidoo" is thought to have come from A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. In it a woman counts guillotine victims.
As she says "23" the hero Sydney Carton is beheaded in the last act.
Author William Burroughs kept a scrapbook about 23 and its appearances in history.
He first spotted its power when a Captain Clark told him he had run a ferry without incident for 23 years. It sank and killed Clark hours later. That day Burroughs heard a radio report of a flight 23 which had crashed in the US - operated by a Captain Clark.
World record-breaking basketball boy wonder LeBron James also wears the number 23 shirt.
The 18-year-old recently signed for Cleveland Cavaliers after agreeing a four-year, £12million contract. And the much-hyped star, dubbed the "Chosen One" signed a £60million endorsement deal with sportswear giants Nike.
Car giant Nissan is touched by a numerical coincidence. In Japanese, "ni" is 2, and "san" is 3. So Nissan would be 23.
Writer Burroughs inspired author Robert Anton Wilson. It was from one of his books that the 23-letter name, Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, was taken for the band which later became KLF.
A US police car used in the video for the group's hit Doctorin' The Tardis had 23 painted on the roof, and their final performance lasted 23 minutes. They incinerated £1million on a Scottish island on August 23, 1994.
William Burroughs' final TV appearance was in U2's Last Night on Earth video. The letter U is the 21st in the alphabet and adding the 2 gives 23.
Sesame Street's Bert is a member of the national association of W lovers, the 23rd letter of the alphabet.
When 23 or more people are in the same room there is a better than evens chance that at least two share the same birthday. Class sizes in schools are larger than 23, so more than half in Britain have two pupils with the same birthdays.
The Latin alphabet has 23 letters. The German movie 23 explored an obsession with the number, based on a real-life story.
On average, every 23rd wave crashing to shore is twice as large as normal.
In the disaster movie Airport, the bomber has seat 23.
It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the body.
In the Beatles film Yellow Submarine, The Butterfly Stomper, who destroys all things of beauty, wears a shirt with the number 23.
Weird pop band Psychic TV are so obsessed with 23 that at one point they made the Guinness Book of World Records by releasing 23 albums on the 23rd day of 23 months in a row. They were influenced by the occultist Aleister Crowley who had been convinced of the power of 23.
Parents each contribute 23 chromosomes, pictured below, to start a new human life during reproduction.
On July 23, 1996 the "Mysterious Eyes" of comet Hale-Bopp are first sighted.
The earth rotates on an axis of 23 and a half degrees. Alright, that's not strictly 23, but it's near enough to be considered a numerical coincidence.
Rock star Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 and died in 1994. Both years bizarrely add up to 23 if counted as individual digits: 1+9+6+7=23. 1+9+9+4=23.
ROMAN Emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times when he was assassinated.
The average smoker gets through 23 cigarettes a day.
In Oliver Stone's Nixon, Tricky Dickie's football shirt at Whittier is number 23.
Twenty-three was the shirt number worn by tragic footballer Marc-Vivien Foe when he was at Manchester City. The Cameroon international died after collapsing on the pitch during a Confederations Cup semi-final last week.
In Hollywood blockbuster Die Hard III the train derails in subway station 23.
The human biorhythm is generally 23 days.
The first song on Side A of the Beatles first album took 23 takes to record.
US Cavalry legend General Custer was promoted to the senior military rank at the age of 23. The soldier was the youngest general in the US army at the time.
In the final assault on the Death Star in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is in Red 5. Red 2 and Red 3 start bomb runs at 23 degrees. The cell block holding Princess Leia, right, was AA-23.
Gotta love 23 and you might as well check out Robert Anton Wilson's political party The Guns and Dope Party.
Warning: Extreme ironing is a sport with a high associated level of risk and/or creases, participation can result in physical damage including but not limited to burns, scalds, and icy death. Drowning is also possible. Crashing and burning is not excluded. Please seek professional assistance.
Slashdot discussion on Science and Journalism. The main problem to my mind is the inapplicability of the "two points of view" sort of standard. It's easy to find someone with a random opinion, but opposing viewpoints is not how (most) science is conducted. Add in the fact that the media can legally lie in the United States and you have quite a mess.
Lawrence Krauss has a nice piece in the NYT back in 1996 on the subject:
July 29, 1996
In Defense of Nonsense
By Lawrence Krauss
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Four months ago, when his Presidential campaign still seemed viable, Patrick Buchanan appeared on a national television program and argued in favor of creationism. This, by itself, is not so remarkable, given some of Mr. Buchanan's other views.
What seemed more significant, however, was that the same national media that questioned other Buchanan campaign planks like trade protectionism and limits on immigration did not produce a major article or editorial proclaiming the candidate's views on evolution to be simple nonsense.
Why is this the case? Could it be that the fallacies inherent in a strict creationist viewpoint are so self-evident that they were deemed not to deserve comment? I think not. Indeed, when a serious candidate for the highest office of the most powerful nation on earth holds such views you would think that this commentary would automatically become "newsworthy."
Rather, what seems to have taken hold is a growing hesitancy among both journalists and scholars to state openly that some viewpoints are not subject to debate: they are simply wrong. They might point out flaws, but journalists also feel great pressure to report on both sides of a "debate."
Part of the reason is that few journalists naturally feel comfortable enough on scientific matters to make pronouncements. But there is another good reason for such hesitancy. In a truly democratic society, one might argue, everything is open to debate.
Who has the authority to deem certain ideas incorrect or flawed? Indeed, appeal to authority is as much an anathema to scientists as it is to many on the academic left who worry about the authority of the "scientific establishment."
What is so wonderful about scientific truth, however, is that the authority which determines whether there can be debate or not does not reside in some fraternity of scientists; nor is it divine.
The authority rests with experiment.
It is perhaps the most immutable but most widely misunderstood property of modern science: a proposition can never be proved to be absolutely true. There can always be some experiment lurking around the corner to require alteration of any model of reality.
What is unequivocal, however, is falseness. A theory whose predictions fail the test of experiment is always wrong, period, end of story.
The earth isn't flat, because you can travel around it, period, end of story.
This misunderstanding is at the heart of much scholarly debate in recent months, including the amusing hoax that a New York University physicist, Alan Sokal, played at the expense of the editors of the journal Social Text. The postmodernist journal published a bogus article that Professor Sokal had written as a satire of some social science criticism of the nature of scientific knowledge.
It was aimed at those in the humanities who study the social context of science, but whom he argued could not discern empirically falsifiable models from meaningless nonsense.
The editors, on the other hand, argued that publication was based in part on their notion that the community of scholars depends on the goodwill of the participants -- namely they had assumed Professor Sokal had something to say.
They too have a point.
The great paranormal debunker and magician, the Amazing Randi, has shown time and again that earnest researchers can be duped by those who would have been willing to answer "yes" to the question "are you lying?" but who were never asked.
We must always be skeptical. Being skeptical, however does not get in the way of the search for objective truths.
It merely assists in the uncovering of falsehoods.
Another popular misunderstanding of the nature of truth and falsehood in modern science involves the speculative ideas which often appear at the frontiers of research.
For example, the science writer John Horgan has argued that such speculations are unrelated to the real world around us. But notions such as "superstrings" and "baby universes" are not akin to arguments about the number of angels on the head of a pin, much as they may bear a superficial resemblance.
They are merely the most recent straw men in a longstanding effort to get at the truth. They would not be taken seriously by anyone were it not for the belief that these notions, when properly understood, might in principle one day lead to either direct or indirect predictions which may be falsified by future experiments or else which may or may not explain existing data. The debate among physicists about the viability of these ideas is simply a debate among those who think the notions will be testable and those who suspect they won't.
No physicist I know has ever suggested that unprovable speculation will shine on its own merits, whether or not it can be taken literally, or that it is progress to come up with a theory which cannot be proved false.
Mr. Horgan is absolutely correct to suggest that this approach is impotent.
But his error is to confuse this process with what physicists actually do, and thereby demean the notion of scientific truth.
This whole issue might make for simply an amusing academic debate were it not for the potentially grave consequences for society at large.
If we are unwilling, unilaterally, to brand scientific nonsense as just that, regardless of whose sensibilities might be offended -- religious or otherwise -- then the whole notion of truth itself becomes blurred.
The need to present both sides of an issue is only necessary when there are two sides. When empirically verifiable falsehoods become instead subjects for debate, then nonsense associated with international conspiracy theories, holocaust denials and popular demagogues like Louis Farrakhan or Pat Robertson cannot effectively be rooted out.
When nonsense which can be empirically falsified is presented under a creationist guise as critical thinking, a controversy is created in our schools where none should exist. When the empirically falsifiable supposition that someone was not present at a murder when his DNA is found mixed with the blood of victims at the crime scene is not recognized as nonsense, murderers can go home free.
Nonsense masquerading as truth has been with us as long as records can date.
But the increasingly blatant nature of the nonsense uttered with impunity in public discourse is chilling.
Our democratic society is imperiled as much by this as any other single threat, regardless of whether the origins of the nonsense are religious fanaticism, simple ignorance or personal gain.
Perhaps the greatest single legacy our scientific heritage can bestow on us is a well-defined procedure for exposing nonsense.
We would all be wise to heed the advice passed on by Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times from 1935 to 1961: "I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken
So we have the following people who are unable to attend:
So does this mean that the Bush administration will admit that global warming is taking place? So we can burn the oil and warm the environment so we can drill for oil...
Doesn't look so good at the moment. As mentioned below/earlier, the deadlines are coming up quickly. The Israelis have talked about a mid-November deadline and the IAEA report comes out in two weeks. With Bush re-elected, Arafat about to leave the stage, and the US back on the offensive in Iraq, I could picture an Israeli air-strike in a couple of weeks. With the big questions of what the retaliation would be and whether there's good enough intelligence information on the Iranian nuclear locations holding it back.
Having just gotten back from Portland, OR and being struck (just like every other time I'm there) by the large homeless population, some news stories caught my eye more than usual. Little Rock, AR was named the least friendly (or most hostile) towards the homeless, topping NYC, Atlanta, and LA (all of which are notoriously hostile to the homeless). The report was probably partly aiming at preventing the planned large-scale crackdown on homeless encampments in Little Rock ahead of the Clinton Presidential Library openning. The folks at the National Coalition for the Homeless produced the study. It must be a difficult cause for which to arouse public interest especially for people who have been hit up five or ten times per day for change.
Just do a quick search of the news for homeless and see how much turns up. Political protests, press releases, acts of kindness, criminal acts, and the results of house fires. Remember when homelessness was a big news story? Back in the early 1980s, even Doonesbury was there. Not so much now.
Back to Portland...there are webpages for the Portland Homeless, and here also. The homeless village mentioned in the second site was declared a legal campground earlier this year. Healthcare resources also seem to exist. Local media coverage. Anyway, no analysis here...work it all out for yourselves. Besides, I need to finish preparing my lecture...
In case you were planning on traveling through Fallujah this week, I'd recommend against it. There are plenty of travel websites (like CNN and the New York Times) covering the activities in the town though---this time I'd recommend airchair travel. According to the State Department, everything should be fine by next Tuesday.
Shakespeare Moot. I'm not sure I completely understand this project, but it does have that certain ineffible oddity to it. Thanks L for the link.
"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." - J. Ashcroft, on resigning
We won! This is the best news that I've heard lately. No more crime and no more terrorism. Wait a second, weren't we supposed to be very afraid last week so we'd vote for Bush, but now it's okay? I just can't keep up.
How do you think 638 voters might split between Bush and Kerry? Bush: 4258, Kerry: 260? Think there might have been a problem there? Elsewhere?
If you're single, and unhappy with the election, some folks north of the border have set up a site to help you. Marry an American dot Canada. Look for .nz, .uk, and .iq soon...
Single more Americans believe in the existence of the Virgin Mary than in evolution, perhaps Karl Rove's approach makes sense. An end to the enlightenment.
What is a "pro-life" pharmacist to do? Refuse birth control to you. A number of states are looking at making this legal. Some states also mandate that women seeking abortions be given false information linking abortions to cancer. At least the Supreme Court will protect the people...
And, on a lighter note, not funded by US tax dollars, we have this hat.
Well, I've been good for a whole month. Posted something for each day (though more than once I had to backdate (me bad)) for a month. This is working better than journaling usually does for me. I've done a writing journal for as long as two months, but wasn't able to make web links in it. Hmmmm...actually that journal would have been preweb. Right around the time of early gopher and veronica. Remember those days of the internet?
Anyway, it's been an interesting month. Onwards and upwards.
As you may already know, it is a sin for a Taliban male to see any woman other than his wife naked, and that he must commit suicide if he does.
So, in honor of National Nude Recreation Week, on Saturday, July 10, at 4 P.M. Eastern Time, all American women are asked to walk out of their house completely naked to help weed out any neighborhood terrorists.
Circling your block for one hour is recommended for this antiterrorist effort.
All men are to position themselves in lawn chairs (ed: nude, presumably?) in front of their house to prove they are not Taliban and to demonstrate that they think it is okay to see nude women other than their wife and to show support for all American women.
And since the Taliban also does not approve of alcohol, a cold 6-pack at your side is further proof of your anti-Taliban sentiment.
The American government appreciates your efforts to root out terrorists and applauds your participation in this antiterrorist activity.
It is your patriotic duty to pass this on.
Suicide at the WTC towers site to protest the election results. Someone clearly disagreeing with the statement that we get the government we deserve.
Some numbers on the electroral weirdness in Florida. It's all unprovable though I think. "In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush."
And this, talking about classical music tickets, but apropos to so much more, from "Nick F" on Plastic: "Roughly speaking, patrons allow you to experiment with form (weird, challenging stuff that would put off uneducated people), but not as much with content (you can't offend the taste of the guy funding you). Ticket-buyers allow you to experiment with content (Brad Pitt can blow up Chase Manhattan if we want him to), but not as much with form (there's not enough of a demographic for crushed moth parts run through a projector). And, typically, the artists with the most freedom keep an economic foot in each world--Shakespeare accepted grants from the Queen, and he sold tickets. This gives you the most stability, and therefore the most leave to piss people off."
I like the quote at least partly because I would be interested in watching crushed moth parts going through a projector. Likely only once though...
Creationism, sorry "Intelligent Design," seems to be making a comeback... Legal actions over the following sticker: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."
Loaned sweatshirt, reloaned, then a roommate, followed by an armed robbery. Add in survelliance videotape and the fact that the sweatshirt had a name, number, and high school name on it, and you've got an odd story.
The Canadian imigration web site was hit with a record number of requests for information on moving to Canada on the 3rd of November. News story.
Cringely discusses it and along the way reminds us of some facts of life in post-revolutionary Iran (dating via taxicab and dying via suidical charges at emplaced machine guns) on the PBS website. Young people didn't turn out in large numbers for this election, as usual. Maybe the Onion caught some fraction of the why and wherefore of that.
Oh well, the postmortems will be going on for quite some length of time I suspect. There might even be a (few dozen) book(s) to come out of this whole process.
So, it's been a long strange trip from Dick Nixon to Dick Cheney, and Spiro to Dubya. The good Doctor Thompson has been along for more of the ride than probably anyone would have expected. What could the lifetime of the gonzo journalist archetype on the pages of Fear and Loathing possibly be? Nothing but short, if even that. Transmetropolitan carries the good Hunter into an unlikely future and Doonesbury sends the good doctor to carry the message of hope and freedom to the P.R.C. "And lastly, I have always wanted to drop acid on the Great Wall." So what is his Duke-ness doing writing in Common Dreams? Is this the kinder, gentler Hunter S. Thompson?
Thinking about the personal changes of our writer/journalist/chroniclers/gonzos, also made me think of how much O'Rourke has moved over the years. Could any Republican today write How to drive fast on drugs while getting your wing-wang squeezed and not spilling your drink? I think not.
Remembering also when I saw Hunter S. Thompson, in Atlanta at Oxford Books I think, doing a reading and a signing. And there realizing that the Duke persona is, well, an act, a persona not completely equal to the person, the living being, Dr. Thompson. In a perfect essay, I'd now add a beautiful piece of analysis tying our collective dreams, hopes, and screams and the made-up world to the flesh, blood, spit, and phlegm true world.
We normally think of San Diego as a conservative town. And it is. But sometimes, defying the national trend, something interesting can happen. And this seems to be a story in that direction. Will San Diego have music at intersections? A surfer mayor? We can hope.
Well, not much to post for today, I'm in Portland, Oregon for a couple of talks. But it's important that the world (or at least the tiny part of it which looks at these pages) learns more about Extreme Ironing!!! As the founder states, "Extreme Ironing is an outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an 'extreme' sport with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt." - Steam, EI Founder. What more could I say? Check out the DVD, book, and calendar which are available.
The Aussie Branch also has a good set of webpages, including underwater ironing.
Rules for an official EI record:
Ever since a couple of British climbers claimed the world extreme ironing altitude record by pressing a garment on the Weissmeis in Switzerland, there have been a wave of ironists claiming extreme ironing records. Whilst the EIB, is a fairly laid back organisation, we have had to put together a few "rules" before we can verify an "official" new record.
Board size: A miniature board is ok (although we prefer to see full sized boards wherever possible). However, it can't be one of those tiny boards. It needs to be at least 1 metre long, 30 centimeters at the widest point and have legs.
Irons: No plastic toys irons, they must be real irons. Travel irons are fine.
Garment: Any garment is suitable, but it must be at least the size of a tea towell. It's hardly impressive to iron a handkerchief.
Ironing: There must be visual proof of ironing (a photo or video clip) and it should be at a recognisable and verifiable landmark. For example, there's enough pictures of the top of Everest to verify that one.
Type of record: We've had people ironing near the top of Everest (height) and through the Blue Hole off the Egyptian coast (depth) but there's still plenty of records to go for yet. We'll leave it to your imagination...
Well, the little branch of physics in which I work had a headline on the wires today. The HESS experiment located in Namibia saw the direct evidence for the acceleration of cosmic rays in supernova reminants. Yahoo News.
A welcomed relief from the election news at least.
Hmmmm...I hadn't planned on doing so much on the elections on this page, and now that they're over I think I'm going to need to step away from politics and political links for a bit. I think it's interesting where the exit polls agreed and disagreed with the final election results. Mandatory Diebold reference here. Though I'm not sure I'm willing to ascribe to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity.
So far I've heard Antarctica, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Tanzania mentioned so far today... To be fair, the Tanzania reference came from a primatologist, so there's a certain bias there.
How about some humor? Man biten by lion. Not funny, right? Man biten by lion while trying to convert lion to Christianity and challenging lion to bite him. Funny.
New spam advertising campaign. The "luncheon meat" that is. You can join the Official Spam Fan Club from the Spam website. Hormel's media division also runs the SPAM MUSEUM!!! Which I sadly not yet visited though it is only a short distance from Minneapolis...
`That's right,' said the Queen, patting her on the head, which Alice didn't like at all, `though, when you say "garden," -- I've seen gardens, compare with which this would be a wilderness.'
Alice didn't dare to argue the point, but went on: `-- and I thought I'd try and find my way to the top of that hill -- '
`When you say "hill,"' the Queen interrupted, `I could show you hills, in comparison with which you'd call that a valley.'
`No, I shouldn't,' said Alice, surprised into contradicting her at last: `a hill can't be a valley, you know. That would be nonsense -- '
The Red Queen shook her head, `You may call it "nonsense" if you like,' she said, ` but I've heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!'
I was dreaming in my dreaming
of an aspect bright and fair
and my sleeping it was broken
but my dream it lingered near
in the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognized
and my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry
that the people
have the power to redeem
the work of fools
upon the meek
the graces shower
the people rule
The people have the power
The people have the power - Patti Smith
"Arlene" by the Handsome Family (find it yourself!)
Rennie & Brett's blugeoning murder classic is the definitive Halloween song, IMHO.
(The Cramps, Alien Sex Fiend, Nick Cave, Throbbing Gristle, Masonna, Merzbow, Diamanda Galas, and Tiny Tim were all considered, do be assured of that.)
Best Bush sign I've seen. Sorry, it was a parody.
I enjoy amazon.com. I have purchased music, movies, and books from them. I have purchased the odd kitchen implement. I have even, please don't ask, purchased a four pack of disposible razors from them. (What the heck was I thinking?)
I have purchased none of the following items from them however. These things are strange. Unlike what I have.
Constrict your anus 100 times per day? And be cured of depression?
Hmmm...this author has multiple hit books. Self-publishing at its finest.
Ben & Jerry's, by mail, for $9.00 per pint. Convenience store not convenient enough? Want to wait a week for your ice cream?
Tibetan Yak Cheese. It's actually surprising foul. At least the dried yak cheese curd that was brought back from Nepal was.
Pig feet. Yup, might as well add them to the cart when you buy your copies of Fehrenheit 9-11, An Introduction to Epidemiology, and the latest P.J. Harvey CD.
An elk carcass. At least 225lbs. Farm-raised elk. Okay, so there's a party tomorrow and you forgot to get an elk. Go online and order one up. Have FedEx deliver it before the guests arrive.
Bee scent. There are a whole bunch of weird agricultural products on amazon, and it's likely that I find them weird mostly out of ignorance. All I can picturing using bee scent for is a practical joke...
Fake, indoor wind chimes. No wind required.
Most of the pink lawn flamingos sold on amazon aren't available at the moment. This one is. Depress your neighbors' property values with ease.
If you've ever been told it's impossible to fold a piece of paper (of any size) more than eight times, well, you've been misinformed. This high school student got a twelve-way fold on a piece of paper (very long roll of toilet paper).
In further paper news, there's another Physical Review Letters article on falling paper which is seen to be about twice as slow in descending as due to strictly the parachute effect. There's some mention of the sycamore seed falling mode.