October 31, 2005

Gulf of Tonkin, revisited

By a NSA historian. Deliberate coverups of faulty intelligence which helped push the US into the Vietnam War. Any comparisons to the Iraq War?

Posted by duver001 at 1:36 PM

Creationism? Intelligent design?

It's certainly the same thing for the people who push it. And lie about their motivations.

Posted by duver001 at 11:59 AM

Now the Pentagon is willing to do body counts

And estimate the number of civilians killed by the insurgents. Will they calculate how many have been killed by US forces? Not too likely I'd think. An appalling body count all around.

Posted by duver001 at 11:54 AM

Mr. Scalito

Well, it's the lunatic right-wing fringe being represented. Probably not too much of a surprise to see a Scalia clone being brought it. The New York Times is about the same as the Beeb on this one.

Posted by duver001 at 11:51 AM

This year's official DuVernois Halloween entry

Vampire Watermelons!!! "People have little fear of the vampire melons because of the creatures' lack of teeth." And other acts of supernatural nature.

Posted by duver001 at 10:36 AM

October 30, 2005

Even Anne Rice is getting swept up in the religion thing

As religion, or psuedo-religious hysteria, sweeps the US, Anne Rice launches a new novel of a young Christ. Drinking the blood of heathens?

Posted by duver001 at 6:46 PM

Blue Gene/L supercomputer in the news

Top 500 lists are now covered in the BBC news!

Posted by duver001 at 6:35 PM

October 27, 2005

Computers in school

Scroll down for the top selling educational software. Though there are plenty of other discouraging stories as well.

Posted by duver001 at 4:20 PM

Corruption index

I would have said Finland to Nigeria, except this year it's Iceland to Chad. The surveys are interesting to take a look at by themselves as well.

Posted by duver001 at 3:37 PM

Guns and laws.

The Gun Industry is the only industry with lawsuit immunity? What a strange path from the 2nd ammendment.

Posted by duver001 at 3:16 PM

October 26, 2005

Sweet blond twin white power musicians?

Prussian Blue. In another few years. .. "I struggled with alcohol and meth until I found my Lord Jesus. My life changed that very day, and I left my hatred behind me forever. Praise the lord." And what horrible music!

Posted by duver001 at 11:34 AM

Another liberal bashing the crazed war in Iraq, the ridiculous nomination of Harriet Miers, and the fiasco of Katrina

Oh wait, it's Pat Buchanan. "2000 dead - and for what?" Darn it, it hurts to agree with Pat.

Posted by duver001 at 11:31 AM

Wal-Mart wants to save some money

An amusing memo from the HQ.

Posted by duver001 at 11:25 AM

The FBI abusing its Patriot Act powers?

Just shocking!

Posted by duver001 at 11:21 AM

An end to the mini-nukes program

Perhaps at least partly because the scheme doesn't work?

Posted by duver001 at 11:16 AM

October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks

The Nation's Obit is the simplest and most straightforward one out there that I've seen. There's also a tantalizing mention, in the comments, about the Highlander Folk School within whose tradition and teachings Rosa Parks acted.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

Coleman vs. Galloway, round 2

Minnesota's embarassing senator is pushing ahead with a his fight against the UK Labour Party's most embarassing refugee. "They have been cavalier with any idea of process and justice so far, but I am still willing to go to the US and I am still willing to face any charge of perjury before the senate committee ." - George Galloway

Posted by duver001 at 10:33 AM

Hurricane Wilma

Posted by duver001 at 10:28 AM

October 24, 2005

And that's a no to Archimedes' death ray

With television money they went ahead and demonstrated that it wouldn't work.

Posted by duver001 at 7:25 PM

One in three people...

...in the UK have bought books to appear more intelligent. It's cast as a slightly negative story, since it is shallow and many of those books don't get read. Still, I'd take it as a good sign overall. Reading and books, it's not just for terrorists and the French any longer.

Posted by duver001 at 6:28 PM

How accurate is the wikipedia?

The Guardian asks some experts. It's an interesting article, I think, because the limits of wikipedia need to be made clear. It's sort of like Consumer Reports, if you really like cars, you'll hate their car reviews as much too shallow, if you're an audiophile, the stereo reviews grate, but we all appreciate the toaster reviews.

Posted by duver001 at 6:24 PM

Ahhh...my childhood in Connecticut

The 25th anniversary of the Preppy Handbook is being celebrated. Weirdly enough I'm wearing an L. L. Bean sweater today. Well, I think it is, as a physicist I don't pay too much attention to the clothes I put on and with my office door open I'd feel weird pulling my sweater off to look at the label.

Posted by duver001 at 2:29 PM

The digital dump

Our old, donated computers are filling landfills in Africa. I also noticed that the US hasn't signed the Basel Convention which seems to be focused on the trade in hazardous materials. Will have to look into that a little...

Posted by duver001 at 2:22 PM

Crack squirrels from the Sun

Yup. A big problem.

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

Making the Patriot Act permanent

Now in conference committee. Wait, you haven't been hearing about it on the news? What a surprise!

Posted by duver001 at 11:33 AM

The best Katrina conspiracy page

All the other conspiracies must take a back seat to the word of the Captain. Hyperdimensional physics? Weather terrorism? It's here for your enjoyment.

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 AM

Price of gold

The environmental price that is.

Posted by duver001 at 11:26 AM

DeLay makes first court appearance...

...to answer charges of using corporate money in his political campaigns by traveling in the R. J. Reynolds corporate jet. Irony is so dead and buried.

Posted by duver001 at 11:23 AM

A new concept in software distribution!

Shonenware!

What a good idea.

Posted by duver001 at 11:18 AM

And now, spam blogs

Splog? What an awful term. Anything to increase your Google ranking I suppose...

Posted by duver001 at 11:11 AM

October 23, 2005

The year that was

An interesting year for sure. Was just realizing that I had missed the one year anniversary of my blog. October 7th, 2004. First few entries were weirdly self-conscious, but I think since then I've pursued a path of many links with only a few comments. This is probably because I work for a living and do not have unlimited time.

Lots has happened though since I started this. A summary you will not find here though. Sorry, I know that blogs are supposed to detail our struggles with the inner demons, but that's my business. Now speculating about whether the outer demon of Karl Rove gets indicted early this week or late this week and whether or not Mr. Halliburton joins him...

Posted by duver001 at 8:29 PM

October 21, 2005

Gore Vidal talking about the Junta

Article at The Nation.

Posted by duver001 at 9:55 AM

David Copperfield immaculate conception

Not one of the standard seven tricks is it?

Posted by duver001 at 9:52 AM

October 20, 2005

What's happening to Lake St. (Minneapolis)?

The street was obviously torn up, but I didn't know that $190M was headed into that old Sears building! When I first moved to the city I wondered why that building hadn't been taken over for cheap loft-space... Instead it's going to be expensive office space.

Posted by duver001 at 11:36 AM

A loving god

AKA a 1950's cartoon version of revelations.

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 AM

Antibacterial soaps

I think we all knew it was a dangerous and misguided product, but the FDA's review panel now agrees.

Posted by duver001 at 10:48 AM

October 18, 2005

Last Australian World War I veteran dies

At age 106. He enlisted when he was 14 years old in the Australian Navy.

Posted by duver001 at 11:27 AM

Stalinist laser printers

In the bad old days of the Soviet Union, everyone who owned a typewriter was required to submit a typed page from it. That way the authors of subversive litrature could be tracked down.

Today, the US government has made a quick and simple automation of the process in order to track "counterfeiters." Color laser printers hide their serial numbers in prints. Bought it with a credit card? Filled in the registration card? Downloaded an updated driver? Congrats, you're entered in the database.

Posted by duver001 at 11:18 AM

October 17, 2005

A test of the web's connections to an individual blog.


So, after seeing web hit statistics for a particular music website, I've been curious as to how many (non-commenting) folks click through my blog entries. As they once said, curiousity did kill the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Here are some thoughts:


  • Was Osama bin-Laden killed in the Pakistan earthquake? Were his deputies?
  • If that happened, would we ever be able to live down the George Bush talks with Jesus Christ and orders up the natural phenomena type of paranoia, or faith depending on beliefs?
  • In that case, was Katrina a punishment for the sin and depravity of New Orleans and the girls gone wild videos?
  • In Brazil, there's an all bondage television channel.
  • Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. Will they be indicted this week?
  • What are other good keywords that will make search engines happy? Fnord.
  • Hurricane Wilma, the Bigfoot Conference, Dubya, GM and its unions, and bird flu spreading around the world in the news today.

And here are some music links:

Posted by duver001 at 2:49 PM

Lester Bangs en francais?

From this French website, you can download an mp3 of a French translation of Lester Bang's classic bit (from Psychotic Reactions...) Iggy Pop, Blowtorch. This whole thing sets off so many weirdness buttons, it isn't funny. But of course it is funny.

Posted by duver001 at 2:45 PM

Warnings from the UK

On the dangers of the new security laws. Likened to Nazi ordinances, though that of course limits possible discussion, unfortunately, by a group of judges, lawyers, and politicians.

And we're reminded, in the 40th anniversary of the start of the Indonesian civil war/genocide/internal troubles/political extermination of 1/2 -2 million people, of the dangers of democratic government support of mass murder. Few such massacres enjoyed as much tacit support from London and Washington as the Indonesian extermination of the local communist party, and anyone else they felt like getting rid of.

Indonesia. Chile. Argentina. Guatemala. Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Uganda. Iran. Ethiopia. It's a long, and sad list, of the failures of the "civilized" western democracies to oppose what we claim to despise.

Posted by duver001 at 11:50 AM

Long a favored topic amongst slashdot and plastic readers/writers, computers in school

Here's the current discussion on plastic. For a bunch of computer geeks, it typically runs quite anti-computer use in schools. At least for young kids. From my twins' school experiences, private Montessori preschool (no computers), public urban Montessori kindergarten (computers in the "media center" (formerly known as the library back when the money went towards books) with some pretty insipid software, those some of it was fun, and the gals do know about the apple menu...), public suburban 1st grade (computers in every class for student as well as teacher use), I have yet to see any useful use for them in their classes. On the other hand, teacher email! Wonderful stuff, instant responses, quick emails with funny stories.

Posted by duver001 at 11:22 AM

October 14, 2005

Big, bomb-proof trucks

I almost titled this entry "new SUVs now available for suburbia" but decided that I genuinely wanted a non-humorous look at these vehicles. Such trucks have been around for years, starting from South African anti-landmine trucks, in use for demining. They continue in that role. As IED protection in Iraq, they're going to be only of temporary utility. Hamas moved to truly large IEDs to defeat Israeli Merkava tanks, and if these trucks become more common in Iraq, the resistance will just up the bomb size correspondingly.

Posted by duver001 at 11:04 AM

It's a slow news day...

So, why not just discuss the effects of the Coast Guard restrictions on the number, type, location, and coverage fraction of tattoos and body piercings. Go ahead, voice your opinions.

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 AM

October 13, 2005

Nobel Literature Prize

Harold Pinter. It comes as a minor relief to me that I have, finally, actually heard of the winner before the prize. Looking back at the list of Nobel Laureates in Literature I'm reminded of the controversy this prize generates.

Look at those early winners, who do we remember other than Kipling? Then the 1930s-1960s seem reasonable---some of those folks are not as esteemed today, but still, they are sensible if somewhat anglophile choices. Then the prize branches out, but Patrick White? Odysseus Elytis? Novelty factor? Then again in the 90s, Gortimer? Saramago? And the controvery over last year's winner, Elfriede Jelinek, and her truly difficult work. Anyway...

Posted by duver001 at 11:57 AM

Zimbabwe opposition and the upcoming election

There's a strong split developing over whether or not to boycott the elections. The elections are likely to be fair, but should one then chose to not vote? It's not too clear.

I'll also refrain from talking about Diebold and a statistical analysis of the 2004 presidential election. You're welcome!

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

Fruitcake listings

Nope, it's not that time of year yet to swap the (semi-)food-like item called fruitcake. Instead, we have some great theological excursions into the weird. Jesus as an alien love child? Sounds almost plausible, though we can talk about the ahistorisity of Christ at some other point. But the giant M statue to celebrate Mary's defeat of Communism? That's just strange.

Thanks Jill for the link. Ammunition being used...

Posted by duver001 at 11:41 AM

October 12, 2005

Spanish Wines

With apologies to Joe Strummer.

The City Page's Wine and Dine issue has a good primer on Spanish wines. Click through to other articles and advertisements.

Posted by duver001 at 2:25 PM

Implosion World!!!

Beautifully filmed destruction. Sort of like a Republican-friendly Survival Research Labs performance. Sort of.

Posted by duver001 at 2:19 PM

Poverty and women's health

From the BBC. The lack of real investment in the health of women in many of the world's most populous nations has serious economic consequences. Yup, like most news, it needs to have an economic spin on it. What about the misery? At least here we're agreeing on what the problem is.


The figure is obviously of considerable import, though not discussed in the article except in the context of HIV/AIDS. Something to think about...

Posted by duver001 at 11:28 AM

October 11, 2005

Your phone number copyrighted

Just how silly can copyright get?

Posted by duver001 at 11:07 AM

Anatomy of megachurches

Some good pictures in this study of megachurch architecture.

Posted by duver001 at 11:03 AM

Attempts at reform...village by village...

And the reformers being beaten. China's very slight democratic changes.

Posted by duver001 at 10:50 AM

October 10, 2005

Good Pravda story

How wedding rings produce impotence. Ah yes, how the mighty Pravda has fallen.

Posted by duver001 at 1:57 PM

Nobel counts

How different schools count Nobel Prize winners for their advertising. This jumped out to me due to the University of Chicago connection. As a grad student there, the Chicago Nobels were mentioned many a time.

Posted by duver001 at 1:53 PM

The Arctic treasure race

The New York Times has an excellent article on the current economic interest in the Arctic. Much of this interest is due to the loss of Arctic pack ice which makes access in the far north much easier. The environmental implications are discussed a bit as well.

Posted by duver001 at 1:43 PM

DARPA Grand Challenge

The autonomously driven vehicle in the desert race (ADVITDR) has been successfully completed. Remember last year's race with no one gettting anywhere at all? Anyway, check out some of the details:

Discussion at slashdot.org.

And the DARPA website for the challenge.

Or here for a non-flash version.

Posted by duver001 at 1:40 PM

October 8, 2005

Tasting notes from the Saint Paul Humane Society Wine Tasting Benefit (2005)

Well, I always get a kick out of this wine tasting. There's a mix of "Riesling-only" wine drinkers and serious folks (some of whom are in the business), and everything in between. I'll put myself into the "in between" category. Mostly I tasted reds, but there were a few beers, sparkling wines, and whites that made it into my mouth. The Cellars Wine and Spirits sponsored the show. I have no connection with them.

Beer:

Viking Brewing Company had six of their different beers (found locally, Minneapolis/St. Paul) refrigerated only. I tried the Big Swede and the Whole Stein stouts. The former was an amazing piece of work. As thick and dark as a Guiness but without the bitterness, and also without the sweetness I often associate with such stouts. The Whole Stein was pretty decent, but not as extreme (in a positive sense) as the Big Swede.

Chisago Lakes Distribution had a few options from Arcadia, Avery, Schwelmer, and the Sammiclaus (which is described as the strongest beer in the world, 14 some-odd percent alcohol). Well, the Sammiclaus is a novelty to me. I can now say I've had the strongest beer in the world. No need to do that again. The Schwelmer Berstein was excellent as was the Arcadia Scotch Ale.

Wine:

Chateau Plaisance Bordeaux (2000), $17. This represented an excellent, balanced Bordeaux, one of the few being tasted at this show, at a reasonable price. Rated 88+ by Parker, I'm told. Moderate tannins, a little smoke, and a fair amount of fruit.

Matthieu de Brully Pommard (did not record the year, 1999?), $32. Wonderful, full and balanced wine. Out of my normal price range though.

Chateau Beauchene Les Sens Syrah (2000), $10. Dark, bloody wine. An excellent Syrah, more of a fruit vs. tannin balance than a lot of the California Syrahs. Probably over-priced compared to Aussie Shirazes, but it is French...

Fort Simon Pinotage (why didn't the folks who made the brochure didn't include the vintage!), $13. One of the more obvious food-wine pairings. Wild game. Yup, you'd need to get some ostrich or venison in order to drink this wine. Good stuff, but the food is required.

Sirius Bordeaux Red (????, probably 2000), $14. Well, this is a hard one. It tastes like Bordeaux. Decent Bordeaux even. It's priced like it, but is a new attempt at a regional wine in mass production. That's not what Bordeaux has traditionally been about. (Chateau Sirius?) Well, it is a serious wine, and quite good, but I think I'd leave it for the restaurants. Buy something for yourself with more character.

Walnut City Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (????, maybe 2001), $16. Spicy Pinot from Oregon. (Will-om-met Valley) Hard to fault, except maybe price now that Pinot is the hot wine. "If anyone opens a Merlot, I'm leaving."

Georges Buboeuf Beaujolais-Village (last week), $7. The flower labels are classic and instantly recognizable. These were some of the first reds that I ever drank and liked. So I do have a bit of a soft-spot for these Gamays, but they taste thin and pale compared to the great wines of France.

Yellow Tale Reserve Shiraz (????, does it matter?), $10. No, no, this is the Reserve. Yes, you had the non-reserve at any number of gallery openings and picnics recently. I wish I had had the chance to taste the reserve back-to-back with the non-reserve, as I couldn't pull up any differences in my mind. Still, it's a respectable, inexpensive wine choice. Good with a wide variety of food, and a colorful label.

Montecillo Crianza Rioja (????, probably does matter), $8. I was told that this was produced in the old-fashioned manner. Very rustic, the pourer said. Well, sometimes progress is good.

Turkey Flat "The Turk" (2002 or 2003?), $16. A nice blend of spice and fruit. The name was intriquing, especially for an Aussie wine. Cotes du Rhone attempt from down under I do believe. Definitely interesting, but perhaps not as much bang for the buck as one would hope.

Castano Solanera (darn it, I'd really like to know!, probably the 2002), $14. Amazing wine. Definitely my choice at the moderate ($10-15) price range. Cherry, tannins, very dark, full body. Never have had a better Spanish wine.

Hess Select Cabernet (2002), $14. Tobacco and fruit (blueberry?) balance very nicely. It was especially prized as I tasted it right after the Beaulieu Rutherford Cabernet (see below) and the Hess seemed quite a bit better in the finish especially. Very silky smooth.

Beaulieu Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet (????), $22. A disappointing, though intense, Cab. Had an almost medicine-like finish to it. Very astringent.

Cain Cuvee (NV), $20. A cabernet-based blend. Seemed like a distinct approach aiming not at the biggest, boldest thing of all times, but a more subtle wine that would work with food. I liked it quite a bit. Seemed a lot like other "Meritage" attempts at Bordeaux from California.

Mestre-Michelot Bourgogne (2001?), $20. A very fruity blast of Pinot from France.

Trinitas "Old Vine Cuvee" (2003), $14. Zinfindel blend that was quite good. Plenty of fruit and some vanilla. My second choice in the mid-price range.

Lelia Garnacha (????), $7. My notes say "interesting." But I also remember a lot of fruit (Garnacha is Grenache I do believe) and a soft finish.

Clos du Bois Marlstone (2002 probably), $38. Coffee was the first aroma. After that came blackberry and then the tannins, with a slight bit of oak on the finish. A fine Meritage and my fave in the pricey range (>$15).

Schramsberg Cremant Sparkling (????), $33. More flavor and less pressure than true Champagnes. A bit of residual sugar and lots of melon flavors. I'm not much of a sparkling wine fan, but this stuff was fantastic. Wish my taste buds had been in better shape at that point.

Posted by duver001 at 8:35 PM

October 7, 2005

Bush hurts himself with his base!

Denies that God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by duver001 at 3:07 PM

Malcolm McLaren is still in the news?

How can this be?

Posted by duver001 at 2:31 PM

Cervical cancer (well, HPV actually) vaccine

Appears to be 100% effective, but is already getting tied into conservative identity politics. Might be quite a fight in the states to get this as a normal childhood vaccine. Though I don't know much about the Hep-B vaccination politics, was that contentious? Vaccinating small children against a STD.

Posted by duver001 at 1:59 PM

Serbia will try the "video executioners"

The five members of the Scorpion police unit whose video of Bosnian murders shock up Serbia this past year will be tried. It's a small step. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are still at large.

Posted by duver001 at 1:51 PM

October 5, 2005

Do they know it's Halloween?

The parody. With Beck and Thurston Moore? A novelty record for our times. Hmmm...make that a novelty CD.

Posted by duver001 at 2:15 PM

Hudson, Wisconsin

Not quite as lurid as Jordan, Minnesota, but if Big Black were still around, there probably would be a song. The City Pages' article is called Sins of the Father. It's a good summation of the story so far.

More news: (10/7) Bishop apologizes..

Posted by duver001 at 1:44 PM

The British Iranian problem

The long-rumored connection between the Iranian-trained Hezbollah and the Shia fighters in Southern Iraq is made public. As the article notes, Iranian-British relations are at a pretty low point anyway.

Posted by duver001 at 1:29 PM

October 4, 2005

Meanwhile...in the Netherlands...


There is a three-way wedding. Unfortunately, this is going to be mainly looked at in terms of same-sex marriage in the states. Offer an opinion? Me? The three of them appear to be adults, they should be able to what they want as long as they don't hurt others. Now, on the hurting others front, we'll have to think a bit about the consequences. Insurance and all.

Posted by duver001 at 2:57 PM

The Tobacco Subsidy

Will smoking kill a billion people over the next century? Well, we can see the extent of math in the media in this article... Nothing more subtle than 10*100 here.

Posted by duver001 at 2:50 PM

The Ulcer Prize

Nobel Prize for discovery of the bacteria that causes most ulcers. I remember when the accepted wisdom changed for ulcers, from "lifestyle" to "bacteria."

Posted by duver001 at 2:47 PM

October 3, 2005

Making plans for Cuba

Given how our other democratization programs have gone...how much faith do you have in this? Or do we just call it the Give-Cuba-Back-to-the-Dole Corporation Act?

The Posada Carilles case seems to illustrate the US stance. Our terrorist, good! Your terrorist, bad.

Posted by duver001 at 2:23 PM