September 30, 2006

What we did while the President fiddled...

Do they think that the Supreme Court has been packed to the point where the Constitution is irrelevant? Just what was in the antiterrorism bill? Meanwhile, Woodward, previous caught up by the Bushite's propaganda (did you read Bush at War from 2002?), has gone in and seen the horror of crazed incompetence of his certainty, of his vision thang. What a mess. And no impeachment in sight.

Posted by duver001 at 7:09 PM

Another peculiar Southern institution

Beating children in school as punishment. Note the biblical justifications. And what of beating wives and slaves, also discussed in that particular book?

Posted by duver001 at 10:38 AM

September 29, 2006

Auto news from Paris and from Texas

There's a new version of Renault's Twingo being shown at the Paris Auto Show. I enjoyed renting these when I was in Europe in the 1990s. Weird interior graphics, oddly curved car. Very chick-mobile in the US parlance, but kinda cool. The new one appears to be pushing ahead the car<->computer connection with USB ports, webcam, internet connection, bluetooth, and socket connections (of what type?) at each seat. Hey Renault, want to try the US market again?

Heading further into "not in the States" car territory, we have what some Finnish students think would make a good city cab. Let me applaud absolutely anything other than a Crown Vic.

Meanwhile Ford has made the F-450 available (in the new model) as a consumer pickup with a new diesel engine. Why? "The trailer builders will be writing us thank-you letters because they can sell trailers with granite countertops and fireplaces." Okay.

Posted by duver001 at 3:27 PM

September 28, 2006

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra

Plays on despite power failures, political and sectarian violence, a culture of anti-music propagated by the religious extremists, and the general lack of security.

Posted by duver001 at 3:26 PM

The hidden iman

Now we know what the Russians must have thought of Reagan's apocalyptic rantings with Iran's president channeling god as well and working towards a Muslim apocalypse.

Posted by duver001 at 1:22 PM

Today's news: Friendly fascism

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air however slight lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." - William O. Douglas, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

If you're not outraged that Habeas Corpus rights are disappearing, and that torture is being legalized, then you must not be following the discussions in Congress this week. Znet. UPI. Washington Post.

It looks increasingly clear that Al Queda's September 11th, 2001 coup of the US government was successful.

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

September 27, 2006

What we value

We value freedom of speech, so so an opera which beheads Muhammad (along with Jesus, Buddha, and Poseidon). "It is a signal to other stages in Germany, or even elsewhere in Europe, to put no works on their programs that criticize Islam." Once again religion gets a free ride due to its threat of violence.

We value reason and rationality, so a report on how the US is failing the war on terror is hidden away, to avoid discussion, or critical voting in November. It seems as though there should be a real discussion here as the "war on terror" has produced two wars that the US is in the process of badly losing. Not to mention setting the state for other wars to come.

Posted by duver001 at 11:52 AM

September 26, 2006

Different schemes for increasing power

The EU is looking at adding Romania and Bulgaria.And the US? Moving ahead with plans for the attack on Iran with possible use of nuclear weapons.

Posted by duver001 at 12:26 PM

September 25, 2006

The broken record of state

Posted by duver001 at 6:58 PM

Turnitin.com in the news

I've never been comfortable with forcing students to turn their papers in to this commercial operation. The company makes money from the intellectual property of students who are assumed to be cheaters. Heck, even if the assumption is right, Unersities are the last entities that should be so cavalierly disregarding intellectual property rights. Washington Post article is here. There's also a discussion on Slashdot. Having caught plenty of plagiarized papers by reading them, and sometimes googling sentences from them, I have to think that this sort of shortcut is perhaps not completely useful.

As the UMN has a license for turnitin, we can test it pretty easily. Send some text you wrote and see the "percent likely plagiarized" score. Oh wait, is testing the engine forbidden under the terms of use?

Posted by duver001 at 10:17 AM

September 22, 2006

Mallory & Irvine replica gear on Everest

It adds to the plausibility of them making it to the summit. I have to admit that the romantic in me has always rooted for them making the summit in 1924.

Posted by duver001 at 3:01 PM

War signs?

I think that The Nation here is being rather premature to write about "war plans" as another US carrier group heads to the Persian Gulf. It would be interesting timing to be in place just ahead of the mid-term elections...

Still, longer-term, it seems difficult to imagine that there will not eventually be US or Israeli strikes on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Negotiations appear to not be really desired either in Tehran or Washington. We'll see how this turns out, but the concept of beginning a third war while losing in the other two seems rather silly.

Posted by duver001 at 2:51 PM

September 21, 2006

What will you say?

Posted by duver001 at 1:37 PM

Torture also worse after Saddam Hussein

Yup, the US helps bring democracy, prosperity, and the rule of law.

Posted by duver001 at 12:55 PM

Top Gear, responsible driving, and global warming

For BBC Top Gear watchers, the hamster is in the hospital after crashing during a British land speed record attempt. If you don't know Top Gear, you should go to youtube and watch some pirated clips from the show. Probably the best TV show on cars ever made, and really quite funny. Some of their previous controversies are outlined here.

In an effort to not be seen as a mindless "petrolhead" let me also mention California's suit against automakers for releasing greenhouse gases. Hmmmm...suing the US government for not improving fuel economy standards would make more sense, but I suppose that is a losing strategy.

Doesn't sound too good, brain damage and all.

Posted by duver001 at 12:28 PM

September 20, 2006

What does second-hand cigarette smoke and global warming have it common?

Some of the same folks bankrolling the "scientific" opposition to them. What a strange world!

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 AM

September 19, 2006

The Zimbabwean disaster continues

It wasn't that many years ago when I visited, camping in the parks, walking through the cities, enjoying the hospitality of the people. This is a country that has been destroyed. The bakers have been arrested for charging more than the governement says they should for bread.

  • Life expectancy 30 years
  • High dependency on food aid (This was the "bread-basket" of Africa!)
  • 20% adult HIV prevalence
  • Shortages of basic foodstuffs (No bread on the shelves now.)
  • High unemployment
  • Inflation 1,200%

It's been a while since I've seen any US coverage, though there are comments from Zimbabweans living in Minneapolis if you click into the BBC's articles, though there isn't much for a full-on genocide in Sudan either...

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

September 18, 2006

How about "no more illegal wars" and "no torture?"

Posted by duver001 at 10:19 AM

September 17, 2006

Darfur deaths underestimated by a factor of ten!

Relative to the US state department numbers.

Posted by duver001 at 5:49 PM

September 13, 2006

Making new history the right-wing way

Don't like history? In this case, want to put all of the blame for 9/11 on Clinton? Make a movie and have Disney and ABC show it for you. "Not a documentary," but how many of the viewers are fooled? Maybe the same ones that thought there was a connection between Iraq and bin Laden?

Posted by duver001 at 10:32 AM

Astronauts playing with nuts and bolts

So many jokes are possible here. Yes, space exploration is a noble goal. Nope, the space station doesn't make much sense.

Posted by duver001 at 10:28 AM

September 11, 2006

New wave college orientation

Suicide prevention, date rape, hate crimes, and getting lost in New York.

Posted by duver001 at 10:16 AM

Guardian angels hit the streets of Minneapolis again

Okay, the article was smarmy but worth a read anyhow.

Posted by duver001 at 10:12 AM

Hmmmm...

Posted by duver001 at 10:03 AM

September 7, 2006

Remembering the Soviet Union

In a little article about how penpals changed lives.

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 PM

September 6, 2006

Brazil in the news

Okay, we can't say the rain forests are regrowing, nor that they aren't being destroyed, but they are being destroyed less quickly than before! Still 17,000 square kilometers per year. Good thing we don't need that forest to stop global warming. Oh, we do?

Rio, city of sex? Perhaps if this City of Sex is built on the Copacabana. Sex pods, artwork, swinger clubs, the Roman Catholic Church. Yup it's all in there.

Posted by duver001 at 3:52 PM

Zoroastrians in the New York Times

One of the things that I love about the Times is that once and a while you get an article on a story that you probably know exists, but that you haven't really thought through completely. Sure, the number of Parsis must be declining these days, but you can read all about it here.

Posted by duver001 at 11:03 AM

What did Valerie Plame do for the CIA?

It's as interesting a tale as the blowing of her cover.

Posted by duver001 at 11:00 AM

September 5, 2006

Fear of war crime prosecution

The Bushites are running scared, trying to remove the War Crimes Act to avoid any possibility of being charged with gross violations of the Geneva Conventions. It's nice to think about, but Henry Kissinger hasn't been dragged to the Hague yet, so Cheney and Gonzales probably have a few decades to go.

Posted by duver001 at 11:19 AM

September 4, 2006

Steve Irwin!

Killed by a stingray? Just bizarre. In Fort Sumner, NM, during balloon campaigns, Animal Planet was one of the few useful channels available. Got a reasonable kick out of Mr. Irwin's antics, and his love of animals.

Posted by duver001 at 7:54 PM

September 1, 2006

SLC mayor vs. Federal Lies

A brilliant speech. Simple and direct.

Posted by duver001 at 11:21 AM

First hybrid vehicle that really makes sense to me

A Mini with electric motors at each wheel. 65-80mpg, plug-in capable, 640hp! I do worry what all of that extra weight (especially the unsprung electric motors at the wheels!) will do to handling. And what the cost of such a car would be. But here at last is some of the promise of a hybrid automobile, a real departure from the norm.

Posted by duver001 at 10:34 AM

How risky is it to serve in the US military in Iraq?

Less dangerous than being young, male, and African-American in Philadelphia.

Posted by duver001 at 10:28 AM

Today's good guy: Wal-Mart!

Who would have ever guessed? Wal-Mart is launching a plan to try to sell 100 million compact fluorescent lightbulbs to its customers. This sort of scale distribution could have a quite measurable energy-use reduction nationwide! (Horrible confession: I have a stack of CFLs that I haven't installed yet. I know, I know, but I just haven't gotten to it.)

Posted by duver001 at 10:21 AM