November 30, 2005

Decent discussion on the future of newspapers

At slashdot. I can see the "local" argument of the original poster, but the experiences of the advertiser (scroll down on it) provide a good counterpoint. Today, there's no way that I'd give up my Sunday newspaper, though I may endlessly gripe about the lack of good news coverage and the crazy right-wing nuts writing editorial (or "culture") columns.

Posted by duver001 at 1:46 PM

November 29, 2005

The real reason Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera

Horribly blatent age discrimination! Dubya stands by people of age.

Posted by duver001 at 4:58 PM

November 28, 2005

Metaphor of the day

SCOTUS facade falls to the ground.

Posted by duver001 at 5:01 PM

November 26, 2005

A rerun of the 1924 Everest expedition clothing

Helping to dispell the myth that Mallory and Irvine were rank amateurs.

Posted by duver001 at 2:10 PM

November 23, 2005

An odd job with, perhaps, no training

Balloon wrangling for the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Posted by duver001 at 11:58 AM

It's Industrial music day in Swaziland!

But they said that there was something that got to them more than the words of the songs. And that was the beat, the beat! Louder and faster, louder and faster, louder and faster...

Posted by duver001 at 11:52 AM

Pinochet and Al Capone?

Tax fraud charges.

Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

November 22, 2005

Audiophilia gone wrong

Is that a $2000 power cord? That has to be burnt in?

Posted by duver001 at 5:52 PM

Iraqi ER

Reported on in the Guardian.

Posted by duver001 at 5:11 PM

On an airliner, don't step outside to take a smoke

Now the little speech before taking off will have to be ammended.

Posted by duver001 at 2:10 PM

Pat Robertson, Satanist?


Well, according to these folks... See that Satanic hand gesture?

Posted by duver001 at 2:07 PM

Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera?

This is, an independent news station, operating out of a friendly country? And was only talked out of it by Tony Blair? I don't know what to say further about the lunatics ru(i)nning our country.

Posted by duver001 at 11:52 AM

"Overheard over S.E. Asia"

Denise Levertov poem, "Overheard over S.E. Asia"

'White phosphorous, white phosphorous

mechanical snow,

where are you falling?'

'I am falling impartially on roads and roofs,

on bamboo thickets, on people.

My name recalls rich seas on rainy nights,

each drop that hits the surface eliciting

luminous response from a million algae.

My name is a whisper of sequins. Ha!

Each of them is a disk of fire,

I am the snow that burns.

I fall

wherever men send me to fall -

but I prefer flesh, so smooth, so dense:

I decorate it in black, and seek

the bone.

Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM

The popemobile (sort of)

And lots of other odd car purchases.

Posted by duver001 at 11:37 AM

November 21, 2005

Last witness to the Christmas truce passed away

At age 109. The Christmas unofficial truce is so often mentioned in connection with the fundamental humanity of conscripted troops. I wonder if such gestures can make it through the modern military programming?

Posted by duver001 at 11:34 AM

November 17, 2005

A fairly thoughtful article on the Chinese military

There's been so much heated rhetoric on both sides of the debate over the future of the Chinese military. The "inevitable" Sino-American conflict (either over Taiwan or trade) has been hyped in the Atlantic and elsewhere this Fall.

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

What rhymes with counterinsurgency?

A review of Here, Bullet from the City Pages.

Posted by duver001 at 11:37 AM

The Beeb on the $100 Negroponte laptop for the 3rd world

Looks like an interesting venture that is only lacking a strong motivation. Sure, it's great for kids to have computer and network access, but we need to make sure that it truly helps their lives. I have been less than totally thrilled with "educational" software in this country.

Posted by duver001 at 10:51 AM

Austria and Herr Doktor Irving

David Irving arrested in Austria for Holocaust Denial. He's a pretty repulsive figure, trying to be the academic while speaking in front of neo-Nazi groups, always claiming to be objective, but the whole Holocaust Denial as a crime thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Posted by duver001 at 10:48 AM

November 16, 2005

Willie Peter in Fallujah

The US military use of white phosphorous munitions in Fallujah is getting a lot of press. Especially as a "chemical weapon" according to the original Italian news broadcast and this Guardian commentary. Others disagree that they are, in fact, chemical weapons. I would have to agree, no matter how repulsive they are, fundamentally it's just a different way of lighting people on fire. In Iraq, the US government lights people on fire with conventional explosives, with napalm, and also with white phosphorous (WP). And plenty of people, civilians and fighters alike, die in other horrible manners. It seems to me that the difference here is that for some interpretations of what "chemical weapon" means, WP might fall within that classification. And the public reason for the entry into the war had to deal with lies about weapons of mass destruction such as chemical arms.

Rather, I think the most disturbing part of the story, also seen in the articles above, is the clear murder of the truth. The use of WP was denied repeatedly until sufficient evidence became public that even the Defense Department had to relent and tell the truth. If WP is okay to use on an Iraqi town, which the military obviously believes is the case, then you have to be willing to admit it in public.

The Iraqi government is also investigating what happened in Fallujah.

Posted by duver001 at 10:30 AM

November 15, 2005

Sony's virus oddity

It appears that not only did they anti-CD-copying software attempt to prevent copyright-infringement, but it was itself a violation of the GNU Public License and a violation of copyright. So, to "protect" a copyright, Sony violated a copyright, infected thousands of computers with malware (heck, a virus essentially) and then made "ammends" by withdrawing the CDs from the market. These are the folks who claim $500,000 in damages for each copied song on your computer. What do they owe those whose computers are infected then? Nothing?

Posted by duver001 at 11:55 AM

Have you heard the politicians saying "even the French thought that there were weapons of mass destruction?"

The web lets one easily show that that is a lie. "He [Mr. Chirac] said France did not have 'undisputed proof' that Iraq still held weapons of mass destruction."

Posted by duver001 at 11:49 AM

Where did US torture techniques come from?

From that benchmark of humanity, North Korea. Yep, North Korean techniques were the basis of the CIA's torture campaign. As long as we keep the moral high ground...

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

Paisley = demon?

Who would have guessed?

Posted by duver001 at 11:43 AM

More on the secret CIA flights

Spain is now investigating the CIA torture flights which landed in Spain. The stories leak out in the end, don't they? We're gradually figuring out the Plame case, the Iraq War deception, and the US-run international torture circuit. It's been a pretty shameful five years. How many decades will it take to restore some modicum of faith in the US?

Posted by duver001 at 11:28 AM

November 14, 2005

Kazakhstan threatens the Ali G show with legal action

You mean you haven't seen it? Run, do not walk, to the video store and rent the DVDs. See here for the "official" website. Granted, it's not as funny finding a dead turtle in your coffee but it is quality entertainment.

Posted by duver001 at 11:24 AM

November 11, 2005

How sick do you have to be to escape the pentagon's call up of reservists?

  • If you're a woman who was four months into chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer?
  • If you are diabetic and require an insulin pump?
  • If it's been two weeks since you receiving a kidney transplant?
  • If you require kidney dialysis?
  • If you are suffering from bipolar disorder?
  • If you suffer from sleep and need medical equipment to help you breath, yet large portions of Iraq and Afghanistan lack the electricity necessary to run the equipment, do you get called up?
Yes, in all cases.
Posted by duver001 at 11:44 AM

A shocking lack of effectiveness in tinfoil beanies

Finally! The study that we've all been waiting for. How effective are tinfoil hats at blocking the government's mind control and mind reading radio frequencies? Not very is the word! Back to the drawing board. Perhaps ferrite plates and absorber foam are in fact required.

Posted by duver001 at 11:35 AM

Some of the best amateur astrophotography that I've seen recently

Pretty darned impressive I think.

Posted by duver001 at 10:50 AM

November 10, 2005

Coolest looking music gadget!

Wow! Too geeky for words.

Posted by duver001 at 4:41 PM

London, just like Rome, seems to have much higher cocaine use than is officially acknowledged

Perhaps 15-16x the governement assumed levels. And 10% of heart complaints at area hospitals have at least a possible coke connection. More popular than X? The 1980s are truly back.

Posted by duver001 at 10:42 AM

The Ambrose collector came through a little late

"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography." -- Ambrose Bierce

In case the reference was vague (aren't I good to my readers?):

"Before I looked into the case of Ambrose Small, I was attracted to it by another seeming coincidence. That there could be any meaning in it seemed so preposterous that, as influenced by much experience, I gave it serious thought. About six years before the disappearance of Ambrose Small, Ambrose Bierce had disappeared. Newspapers all over the world had made much of the mystery of Ambrose Bierce. But what could the disappearance of one Ambrose, in Texas, have to do with the disappearance of another Ambr ose in Canada? Was somebody collecting Ambroses? There was in these questions an appearance of childishness that attracted my respectful attention." -- Charles Fort (Talents, p. 847)

Posted by duver001 at 10:23 AM

November 9, 2005

November 8, 2005

Wired's take on the worst software bugs in history

Windows isn't mentioned at all!

Posted by duver001 at 11:11 AM

Fujimori at large no longer

Though it remains to be seen if Chile can extradite him to Peru, and what will happen to Peru as a result. It's hard to imagine how Japan has gotten away with just a strict "no extradition of Japanese citizens" policy for so long.

Of course Japan has other curious "racial protection" customs as well.

Posted by duver001 at 11:06 AM

Nothing here about CIA prisons abroad

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist." - Winston Churchill (November 21, 1943)

Posted by duver001 at 11:00 AM

November 7, 2005

Evolution?

Taken from Bob Park's excellent weekly newsletter. "What's New."

EVOLUTION: BUSH ASKS FOR $7B TO FIGHT EVOLVING BIRD-FLU VIRUS.

This is the final week of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board trial in a Harrisburg, PA federal court. Back in August, before the trial was underway, President Bush came down on the side of intelligent design, much to the delight of the religious-right. On Tuesday, however, he announced that he would ask Congress for $7.1 billion to prepare the nation for a worldwide outbreak of flu. It's a hedge against evolution. Although a virulent strain of bird flu has killed at least 62 people in Asia, there have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission. The fear is that the H5N1 virus will mutate (evolve) making that possible. Does this mean that Mr. Bush has changed his mind on evolution?

Posted by duver001 at 3:43 PM

One small (American) tale in one small (American) war

And one small tragedy.

Posted by duver001 at 2:10 PM

Just when you thought patent applications couldn't get any worse

Someone goes off to try, in full seriousness (see the middle of the second link), to patent fiction. Perhaps in a stunning turn of events to obvious ridiculousness of this application will cause the Patent Office to also overturn software and genetic patents, and summarily reject trivial "practices" patents as well.

Here's the Patent Application.

And Groklaw's analysis. "They have at last invented a way to destroy all cultural development forevermore. That's an achievement of a sort."

Posted by duver001 at 11:55 AM

Portland, OR

For some Fall travel. Budget plenty of time in Powell's and do take a trip out to the coast.

Posted by duver001 at 11:48 AM

France

Though it's nice to not see the National Guard-induced body counts of Watts or South Central in France, it is distressing to see the extent of France's failure to integrate its North African and Asian populations. Or maybe it's inability to have minorities at all.

Posted by duver001 at 11:44 AM

November 4, 2005

Quotes for today

"Democracy is fine so long as people think the right thoughts." - Pope John Paul II , in the 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae

"Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war." - Richard Nixon, Real Peace, 1983

" I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed." - Mahatma Gandhi, May 1940

"These so-called ill-treatments and torturing in concentration camps, stories of which were spread everywhere amongst the people, and particularly by detainees who were liberated by the occupying armies, were not, as assumed, inflicted methodically, but by individual leaders, sub-leaders , and men who laid violent hands on them." - Here's one for you to look up, is this Abu Ghraib being discussed? Or Guantanamo? Or Auschwitz?

Posted by duver001 at 11:15 AM

Russian holidays (in the sun?)

Only 8% of Russians could name their new holiday. Day of People's Unity. With seperatist movements afoot across the FSU, it doesn't look to be a very popular holiday.

Posted by duver001 at 10:53 AM

November 3, 2005

Ethiopia vs. Eritrea, Part Three (or is it part four?)

There have to be better things to do in the Horn of Africa.

Posted by duver001 at 1:29 PM

Let Steve try foods for you, so you don't have to.

Scrolling down I thought I had seen the worst already, but there's more and more...

Posted by duver001 at 1:05 PM

Skate boarding

Best use of an animated gif all week!

Posted by duver001 at 1:00 PM

November 1, 2005

More Wal-Mart

The Labor Department seems to have allowed Wal-Mart to dictate Labor Department policy in policing, wait for it, Wal-Mart. Sweet, isn't it? Send money to DeLay and the other GOPs, get favorable treatment. Go figure.

Posted by duver001 at 4:09 PM

Michelin's 1st rating of NYC restaurants

Babbo and the Spotted Pig each got a star. And the Union Square Cafe (good cookbook, but I've never eaten there) didn't get one.

Posted by duver001 at 4:04 PM

Globe Shakespeare Company

We saw "Measure for Measure" at the Guthrie Theater here in Minneapolis. It was interesting to see a traditional-style of presentation for the play. Quite funny and definitely reminds one of the Monty Python -> Shakespeare connection.

Posted by duver001 at 3:30 PM

Greenpeace pays fine for damaging coral reef

Due to a bad map! But a funny story anyhow.

Posted by duver001 at 11:31 AM

Dismantling the Albanian Air Force

To museums, the scrapyard, and maybe even to serve as bars.

Posted by duver001 at 11:20 AM

A vignette of wartime London

Piccadilly.

Posted by duver001 at 11:18 AM

Pluto gains two moons

Probably anyway. The Kuiper Belt appears more interesting and complicated than before.

Posted by duver001 at 10:21 AM