February 26, 2007

Discoveries in Antarctica

Not physics, but good stuff anyway. :) Track down the pictures online and you'll be pretty surprised and impressed at the odd forms of life. Revealed by global climate change.

Posted by duver001 at 9:21 PM

January 18, 2007

The insanity of college athletics

Well, it seems apropos that this article in The Nation lambasting the spending frenzy that is college athletics appears as the University of Minnesota hires on a $1M+ (on the books) per year new football coach. This is a university in which trash collection is a questionable proposition, I'm teaching nearly 200 students in a peeling lecture hall before they go off to lab to study the wonders of the universe with broken lab equipment. Ah...priorities.

Posted by duver001 at 5:35 PM

January 2, 2007

Snapshots of casualties in Iraq

No comment needed.

Posted by duver001 at 3:05 AM

December 28, 2006

December 21, 2006

"Big black nemesis"

Parthenogenesis observed in Komodo Dragons. Shriekback's rhyming of parthenogenesis improved my zoological vocabulary...

Posted by duver001 at 4:10 PM

December 6, 2006

Pimp my nutcracker!

Make 'em all.

"So, cast thine eyes in my righteous bag and see/What insane object I shall lay on thee!" - From the Be-Bop Santa Clause

Posted by duver001 at 3:55 PM

December 3, 2006

Swedish holiday traditions

Nope, not the Swedish Chef! Destroying a public sculpture of the Christmas-tree protecting goat. Last year with flaming arrows? Shot by people dressed as Santa and the Gingerbread Man?

You can watch the live webcam of the goat as well to see if it really is fireproof. If you look up the Galve Goat on wikipedia you'll see what has happened previous years.

Posted by duver001 at 5:30 PM

November 16, 2006

35th anniversary of the Cannonball

Brock Yates is still reveling in his 15 minutes of fame. But it was a great moment. "At no time did we exceed 175 mph." Hopefully they'll figure some way of pulling off a 2007 version of the race...

Posted by duver001 at 11:44 AM

November 9, 2006

Munchen synagogue rebuilt after 68 years

Kristallnacht to today.

Posted by duver001 at 1:41 PM

November 6, 2006

"The Intrepid stands for everything we believe in ... our freedom and our values."

It then got stuck in the mud. What more fitting tribute to what this country believes in and the state of our freedom and values. Stuck in the mud. Maybe tomorrow will bring some relief.

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

Bush's antiproliferation strategy success stories!

Six more Arab states join the race for nuclear weapons.

Posted by duver001 at 10:25 AM

November 4, 2006

More on climate change denials and deniers and their tactics

Questionable tactics, ad hominem attacks, and corporate polluter money.

Posted by duver001 at 1:24 PM

November 3, 2006

Another day, another hypocritical fundie Republican

Head of the National Association of Evangelicals, a man who frequently rants about the evil of gays and drug addicts, wait for, yep, regularly pays for gay sex and methamphetamines. Oh well, it's not as if his followers would have learned anything from previous examples.

Posted by duver001 at 11:43 AM

November 1, 2006

"The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

That was Martin Luther King talking about his country shortly before his murder. Still true today with Iraq in a state of chaos, at least 300 000 dead Iraqis (best estimate of over 600 000), 90% of Iraqis reject the presence of the US "liberators." The war must be ended and the damage to this country undone. And we must resolve to create no more killing fields.

Posted by duver001 at 10:42 AM

October 30, 2006

It's the environment stupid

Yeah, I know, we're losing two wars at the moment, our rights are under constant threat, and we're dearly hoping that there will be a fair election in the United States, so we're a bit distracted. But, there are some other serious matters to consider...global climate change in particular.

The UK government report from today indicates that we have only a slight chance of avoiding dangerous levels of greenhouse gases in the near future. The economic benefit of dealing with this problem sooner rather than later are also detailed. The Brits are also looking to see why the environment isn't a big issue here at the moment. It's the wars. Let's also note the effect of global climate change on the severity of Atlantic hurricanes and the fact that the world is as hot as its been in 12 000 years.

Posted by duver001 at 8:54 PM

October 29, 2006

So here's just about the weirdest thing I've seen recently

Dubya's new ranch of 98,000 acres in Paraguay. Okay, here is where it gets weird. Is that his little hiding spot to avoid prosecution for war crimes? Of does the 2.2 mile long runway (look on google earth) mean he's moving full-time into the cocaine exporting racket? Weirder still is the connection with the Moonies and their purchase of land in the same area. Okay, and then the Jenna connection? Too strange for words.

Posted by duver001 at 9:42 PM

October 23, 2006

New popemobile and new London cabs

New popemobile.

White cabs in London?

Posted by duver001 at 4:08 PM

Top Gear followup

The Hamster appears to be recovering well.

Posted by duver001 at 3:48 PM

October 17, 2006

What's the difference between the Sunni and the Shia?

Most of the foreign policy and security folks in Washington can't answer correctly! Okay, we've got a problem here.

Posted by duver001 at 11:34 AM

Bad truck name

That would be the "Cervix Lord (Lawrd)?"

Posted by duver001 at 11:28 AM

October 15, 2006

October 11, 2006

The North Korean nuclear problem timeline

Rather than let get away with saying "Clinton did it," go ahead and read Jimmy Carter's description of the course of events.

Posted by duver001 at 4:46 PM

Shocking new estimate of the Iraq War deathtoll

Nearly 2/3 of a million people. This was calculated from comparing prewar and current death rates. The statistics are certainly complicated, but if this is true then about 2.5% of the population of Iraq has died as a result of the invasion and subsequent breakdown of all institutions.

It would be interesting to read through the full paper and try to evaluate it. Since the final number of 655 000 additional deaths comes from multiplying a small number (derived death rate) by a large number (the population of Iraq), relatively small errors in the former introduce large numbers of missed or excess deaths. Very similiar to estimates of Chernobyl casaulties---small number (chance of death) multiplied by large number (exposed people). In physics, these are called Fermi Problems referring to Enrico's habit of asking students the (easily estimatable) question of how many piano tuners there are in Chicago.

In any case, there's some evidence here that the total number of deaths is very high. Perhaps more than a factor of ten above the documented death totals. Though we do need to be careful since these are measuring different numbers. The 655k number is "how many people died in Iraq since the US invaded minus how many people would have died in Iraq if the death rate were unchanged" during the same time. The 50k number is "media reported deaths of civilians due to US, anti-US, or sectarian forces committing violent acts."

You can read the full report online. I just now realized that these are the same folks who prepared the Darfur analysis that US State Department uses to condemn the Sudanese regime. 200 000 deaths in Sudan. That's genocide according to most reasonable observers (and even the state department). What is 655 000 deaths in Iraq? It's a civil war at least.

By the way, you can see a rebuttal of supposed problems in the earlier cluster analysis story and continued here. It's worth noting that cluster sampling tends to UNDERestimate rare (like death) effects, not overestimate them. But read the article for yourself.

Posted by duver001 at 12:03 PM

Continuing the NYT religion-based legal preferences

Tax breaks on paychecks, housing, books, and many more things. Just the housing provision shifts $1/2 billion dollars of taxes onto the rest of us. "The power of religious entities 'is at its apex.'"

Posted by duver001 at 11:51 AM

October 9, 2006

The other half of the Iraq story

We hear about the tortured and mutilated bodies of 30-60 Iraqi men being found each day after being abducted by rival militias. (And how the Shiite militias appear to be very fond of using power tools as torture devices.) What of Iraqi women? Many who dare to have jobs are murdered. Rape and kidnapping are endemic. And clerics are blessing "pleasure marriages" (rape) that had long been uncommon under Hussein's rule.

Posted by duver001 at 11:29 AM

Religious institutions in the US...

...have long had special rights. No property taxes, non-profit status even when they build theme-parks, salons, and bookstores. They aren't subject to OSHA, state child protection, EEO, or EPA guidelines. Recent iterations of the federal government have funnelled more money to the churches (under the banners of "stop abuse of xtians" and "faith-based initiatives) and given them additional right beyond those of individuals, non-profits (that are non-religious), and corporations.

The New York Times is running a series of articles on these issues. The first two have appeared already.

Why shouldn't churches pay property taxes? They receive fire protection, police protection, and are connected to city water, gas, and sewers where applicable. Here in Minneapolis, they run apartment buildings, a nightclub, and bookstores and repay nothing to their community. A sorry state of affairs.

Addedon October 10th: The third part of the story, with a focus on property taxes and tax breaks for those with religious affiliations.

Posted by duver001 at 11:09 AM

October 6, 2006

The religious right worries that their children won't follow them

Some of the discussion in abstracted in this New York Times article. Do note the t-shirts that the girls in the photo are wearing. Electrical outlets. There are corresponding electrical plug shirts for boys...

Anyway, I think this highlights again the oddity of indoctrinating children with theology. Christianity (or Islam or Hinduism or Jainism) is right because your parents happen to be members of that cult? And everyone else is wrong? I think the time will come (and not soon enough) when the concept of "catholic child" or "jewish child" can only have a cultural meaning. Theological indoctrination of the young by authority figures will come to be regarded as no more acceptable than other forms of child abuse.

Posted by duver001 at 11:37 AM

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

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 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

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 25, 2006

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 21, 2006

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 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

September 1, 2006

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

August 31, 2006

When all else fails, crackdown on "crime" online

Zimbabwe plans to use Chinese technology to monitor telecommunications. It does seem to be the refuge of failed dictatorships and nascent ones perhaps as well...

Posted by duver001 at 9:29 AM

August 25, 2006

Havre, MT and the war on terror

That Amtrak stop has become the base for the "northern patrol" of the Border Patrol. But the real story is how there is now a zone a hundred miles deep inside the US border where the constitution doesn't apply. Probably cause? Not needed. ID? Needed. Remember when this nation criticized the former Soviet Union for requiring internal visas? Passports required to travel and all. We now have the same phenomena within our country.

Posted by duver001 at 1:34 PM

Global warming in easy units

Spring is arriving 6-8 days on average earlier than it did 30 years ago and Autumn about 3 days later. I think those are more striking figures than the 1-2 degrees of temperature change. We have a week's work of change at the beginning of the summer and 1/2 a week at the end.

Posted by duver001 at 11:02 AM

The continuing struggle of science & education against theocrats & ignorance

Lawrence Krauss has a decent, albeit brief editorial in the New York Times after the Kansas School Board skewed back towards reality. I'm not sure in what forum his disagreement over "scientifically inappropriate attempts by some scientists to discredit the religious faith of others" appeared. Will have to take a look. Though I can see tactically why scientists might feel that, I think that it is hypocritical to argue for a reasoned, scientific approach in all matters other than other people's theology. The logical holes are there along with the incoherence of major religions, their ahistoricality, and their pernicious nature in practice (and perhaps in theory). I see little benefit in doing this, but little harm either. Deeply-held beliefs, whether sensible or not, are not likely to be changed by simple logic.

Just the other day, we see an evolving piece of the religious attack on reason and science. Due to a "clerical" (hmmm...that has two meanings...) error, evolutionary biology has disappeared from a federal list of university majors approved for federal student grants. Yup, follow the link and you can still (8/25/06) see the missing line, a blank line, for 26.1303. What a coincidence.

Posted by duver001 at 9:16 AM

August 23, 2006

What college athletics are all about

Cash!!!!

Posted by duver001 at 12:04 PM

August 21, 2006

Interesting little bit in the NYT on Devon Avenue

When I lived in Chicago I thought of it mostly as a place to find good Indian food. The article discusses how this Pakistani-American neighborhood differs from the terrorism incubators similar neighborhoods in England have become.

Posted by duver001 at 9:09 AM

August 19, 2006

Low-end Ferraris

Having been thinking about Magnum, PI recently (don't ask!)...I just came across this excellent history of Ferrari's low-end mid-engined cars. You can ask me about my Maserati experiences. :)

Posted by duver001 at 8:06 PM

August 2, 2006

Internationalist republicans, Abe Ribicoff, Lowell Weicker, and the CT senate race

It will nice to see no more of Joe Lieberman and his Forbes buddies. A compromised and desperate Lieberman indeed.

Posted by duver001 at 10:15 AM

July 31, 2006

For the hottest day in Minneapolis...

Let's read HST's classic, "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved." Enjoy!

Posted by duver001 at 11:44 AM

July 27, 2006

Cycling and drugs

The "winner" of the Tour de France might not be so for long. What a mess!

Posted by duver001 at 5:13 PM

July 26, 2006

The Lebanon online

Is a portal that seems to allow one to send information on Hizbollah to Israeli intelligence! It's a site called "All 4 Lebanon." Similar language has appeared on air-dropped pamphlets.

Posted by duver001 at 11:03 PM

Public opinion now and during the Second War

I had no idea, but FDR conducted secret polling of the American public during the war. What does it show? People knew what the war was about, setbacks had little affect on their views, and support was high. Compare and contrast... It's also interesting seeing that the public correctly saw Stalingrad and the other coincident events as the turning point. I hadn't realized that it was obvious at the time.

Posted by duver001 at 8:56 AM

July 25, 2006

For some reason these two articles worked well together

Okay, maybe it seems weird, but here goes:

Posted by duver001 at 11:19 PM

July 19, 2006

The iPod's iOddities

I think we've all heard about the iPod-connected vibrator.


Business week has a whole batch of odd iPod accessories. Actually, some aren't terribly odd in my opinion.


Other interesting/odd items include the Tune Buckle, Goatse.cx skin, and there are probably plenty of others to find, but I need to get back to work.

Posted by duver001 at 1:57 PM

July 18, 2006

How easy is it to steal a bike in NYC?

A blowtorch would have been a bit too much I guess.

Posted by duver001 at 2:43 PM

June 29, 2006

James Fetzer interview in the City Pages

If you don't know him, he's the UMD professor and local master of conspiracy theories. He is sort of the unofficial dean of the Minnesota conspiracy theory folks (okay, guys, as there aren't too many gals into that particular business) and a compelling argument for the humorlessness of public access television.

On the conspiracy theory news front, as long as we're there, I just finished reading The Letters of Wanda Tinasky. If you remember, she's the "bag lady" who wrote the Pychonesque letters to the editor of various papers around (the California) Fort Bragg area while Pychon himself was in the area researching Vineland. Anyway...the whole story sounds so much better in theory than when actually read, the letters are rather pedestrian and remind me more of the weird letters to Savage Love or Creative Loafing than anything Pychon would author. Anyhow...just my random thoughts to send you off to google.

Posted by duver001 at 12:23 PM

June 28, 2006

Al Gore's presidential moment

Okay, truth be told, he's had several presidential moments and we all know that's a few more than the current occupier of the oval office. Still, what to say about An Inconvenient Truth? I saw the movie over the weekend and came away with a string of opinions and a fear that someone would note that I had driven to the movie theater rather than walked...

  • The science looked accurate. Scientists in the relevent field agree with a few minor caveats. Still, it's an interesting experience to hear a politician get facts straight.
  • The animated bear and frog are just ridiculous.
  • Not a bad powerpoint (or Keynote) presentation. I suspect that the interns/staff has a lot to do with it.
  • Apple advertising! (Thanks Anne for the thought.) If this movie gets the US working towards lowering carbon emissions, someday Apple will use it in an ad.
  • The bear and frog? Drop them in the director's cut.
  • The whole human interest bit with Gore's son, hit by a car, reeked of cheap manipulation. The story of his sister (who died as a smoker of lung cancer while the family farm grew tobacco) was much more effective.
  • There's a decent review of what's happening here from the New Haven Advocate.
  • And the NYT talking about geoengineering "solutions" to ameliorate the global climate change.

Posted by duver001 at 11:06 AM

June 27, 2006

Katrina waste and corruption

"Breathtaking" says the article. Just wait until we're evacuating Florida from the rising ocean waters.

Posted by duver001 at 10:43 AM

The Egg of Columbus

Oddly enough I had never heard this story before.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

June 26, 2006

Who's really screwing America?

A little exerpt from The Nation. I like the non-obvious nature of some of these listings. Dan Brown and Dick Cheney together at last.

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 AM

June 8, 2006

Uptown criminals are no match for superheroes!

Way to go, Galactic Pizza! Their pies are really good as well! Their CSA pizzas in the summer can be pretty impressive, depending on what's fresh in the gardens at the time.

Posted by duver001 at 5:38 PM

June 7, 2006

Emergency frog rescue

One of the more interesting, and utterly cool, examples of "emergency" science. Rescuing frog species ahead of a lethal fungus infection. And bringing them back to the states in carry-on baggage...

Posted by duver001 at 12:33 PM

EU complicit in the CIA prisoner torture network

BBC

Retuers

Posted by duver001 at 12:30 PM

June 6, 2006

"Turning the corner"

Or not exactly. Iraq is in worse shape than ever:

Posted by duver001 at 12:00 PM

June 5, 2006

$1000 per month rent in NYC

Though not in Manhattan...

Posted by duver001 at 1:06 PM

June 1, 2006

Cthulu Chick Tract

Do you remember those hilarious little Chick Tracts? The ones telling you that you needn't pack sweaters for the afterlife? It seems inevitable, now that the stars are right, that the Cthulu Chick Tract is now available. I want to be eaten first!

Posted by duver001 at 10:43 AM

May 31, 2006

Silly patents

At Patently Silly dot com. The cordless jump rope (why bother?) and the "cylindrical object" (rock) skipping on water are my current favorites. Another beautiful demonstration of (some) failures of the patent system.

Posted by duver001 at 10:21 AM

May 30, 2006

Marianne Faithfull as Ophelia?

Probably not a wise choice. One reviewer commented, "not convincingly virginal." Thanks Leni!

Posted by duver001 at 12:10 PM

The EU finds that the sharing of personal airline passenger information with the US is illegal

Maybe this will strengthen the resolve of the US Supreme Court to also find such abuses illegal. We can hope, can't we?

Posted by duver001 at 11:50 AM

Not exactly peak oil, but perhaps peak HIV infections

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

May 25, 2006

Technical details on the AT&T/NSA spy gear

Follow the little links...

Posted by duver001 at 4:24 PM

May 24, 2006

Edmund Hillary on the ethics of climbers ignoring the dying

About 40 climbers (mostly paying clients of guides) ignored a dying fellow climber on Everest.

Posted by duver001 at 12:53 PM

May 22, 2006

May 18, 2006

Searching for Jimmy Hoffa

And not under the end zone of Giants' Stadium.

Posted by duver001 at 5:07 PM

May 16, 2006

Words that matter: Truthiness?

It's as current as the regime in Washington, more recognizable than "double-speak" and less risque than "bullshit." Truthiness.

I especially liked the line "Speak truthiness to power" as an explanation of Colin Powell's failure as SoS.

Posted by duver001 at 11:18 AM

May 10, 2006

An odd lack of bird flu

In returning European migratory birds.

Posted by duver001 at 2:35 PM

May 1, 2006

Bush challenges to the rule of law

Bush has claimed that he is above more than 750 laws. That they do not apply to him. ''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper [Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term] said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."

And more than 3500 Americans were illegally spied on last year by the FBI following the contention of Bush that domestic spying laws could be completely ignored. I really think his best chance in the long term is to resign and let Cheney give him a pardon. Unless Cheney is forced to resign first...

Posted by duver001 at 2:09 PM

Get past the difficult (and less than exciting) title

..."The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal" and you'll find an elegant (if overly simplistic) essay on the roots of the Dubya Conservative take on the cold war and a contrasting liberal version of the cold war. The author argues that that liberal cold war vision of America building democracy at home and as an example overseas can be used in the post-9/11 world by a democratic party interested in regaining power.

Posted by duver001 at 12:00 PM

Zhou Tiehai: China's answer to Thomas Kincaide

Well, sort of. Zhou has underlings do his actual painting, but his satire on the art scene is being purchased by "serious" art collectors. Kincaide's brilliant parody of art is bought by suburbanites with no appreciation of the irony of their purchase.

Posted by duver001 at 11:47 AM

April 28, 2006

April 27, 2006

Darfur & Biafra

Been thinking about the big rally being held this Sunday, April 30th at the State Capital. "What did you do to try to stop the Darfur Genocide?" Been thinking about Biafra in light of what is happening now (and heck, for years now) in the Sudan. Got a book on the Biafran War a few days ago. Hadn't thought about it in quite some time. Anyway...there's not a lot of good material (at least that I could find quickly) on Biafra online, but you can try these to start:


So, what to do?

Another take on Darfur, from two years ago.

Posted by duver001 at 8:39 PM

Best of the Twin Cities

Best local website. Cursor.

See all of the listings online.

A special thrill was seeing Outsiders and Others be selected as best Art Gallery. My little ones have had their art hung there and they just held a most excellent sale and silent auction there last Saturday. Darn it, it looks like I wasn't the high bidder though...

Posted by duver001 at 2:31 PM

Peak Oil

The Economist has an interesting piece arguing that Peak Oil is quite a ways away. I thought one of the more interesting bits was the estimate of the prices at which alternate fuel technologies would be cost compeditive. Biodiesel was the highest priced option at $80 per barrel (oil equivalent). We're just about there.

Posted by duver001 at 2:23 PM

April 26, 2006

Build your own Iraqi police/death squad

It's pretty cheap, and the cool mullahs are doing it. Guns, uniforms, bulletproofed cars. All available for cash transactions.

Posted by duver001 at 12:35 PM

Standing room only airlines

As seat pitches decline again on many airlines, my 6' 6" body is bound to face more abuse from the airlines. But standing on flights?

Posted by duver001 at 12:21 PM

April 25, 2006

A pyramid in Bosnia?


Well, I have to admit I was initially excited about this possibility. A buried pyramid in Bosnia? Built perhaps 1200 years ago? There was a bunch of uncritical news coverage:



The archeologists have a website here where they post updates on the pyramid. Okay, fair enough, the project seems to be led by a Semir Osmanagic who is a resident of Houston, TX, and an amateur archeologist. Looking further, we find that this is a controversial claim and professional archeologists are greatly concerned about damage that this excavation will produce on real archeological sites:

Ouch! What to make of this? Well, let's look at a summary online. Looks like pros and cons. Investigating a little further, we find that this "archeologist's" book on the Maya is available online in English translation. It's called The World of the Maya and it's a ridiculous pile of pseudoscientific babble. Let me quote:



  • "The Maya are creatures of the light. And the cosmic expressed through sacred codes in geometry, color, musical notes and alphabet."
  • "Maya is a key Hindu philosophical term meaning “creation of the worldâ€? and “the world of illusionâ€?. In Sanskrit “Mayaâ€? is connected with the concepts of “greatâ€? “measureâ€? â€?mindâ€? and “motherâ€?. For this reason, it may not surprise us to learn that Maya was the name of Buddha’s mother. The Veda tell us that Maya was the name of a great astronomer and architect."
  • "And the Galaxy can be described as a vast unending flow of energy… in which sets of numbers are pulsating and radiating."
  • "The Maya were informed about the Cosmos. Wherever they went they carried this information with them. Throughout the planets they were able to establish a two-way flow of galactic information."
  • "When the “heavens openâ€? and cosmic energy is allowed to flow throughout our tiny Planet, will we be raised to a higher level by the vibrations… to overcome the age of darkness which has been oppressing us?"

Shoot! I had been hoping that this would be a cool story. A new pyramid, in Bosnia of all odd places. An old civilization that built bigger things than people thought they had. Instead it's a desecration of actual archeological sites by someone on a higher mission. A mission to sell books with kooky ideas in them. Cosmic consciousness and Vedic this and that, not an actual dig for discovery. The coverage appears to have been especially uncritical, according to this report, in Bosnia itself where a nationalistic furvor over the "discovery" has obscured the problems.

Posted by duver001 at 1:29 PM

Computer upgrades...

Don't go to the big box store! This link is a funny cartoon, but has sound, so don't do it at work...

Posted by duver001 at 12:12 PM

April 24, 2006

The United States of Prison

In 1980 there were 1,118,097 on probation; 183,988 in jail; 319,598 in prison; and 220,438 on parole.

In 2004 there were 4,151,125 on probation; 713,990 in jail; 1,421,911; in prison; and 765,355 on parole.

The numbers of people on parole, in jail, in prison and on parole are all more than 3 times what they were, while the population has increased less than 30% over the same 24 year time period (from roughly 228 million people in 1980 to 293 million in 2004).

Posted by duver001 at 2:09 PM

Condi leaks classified information

The junior Pentagon official who did the same was sentenced to twelve years in prison. What fate for Ms Rice?

Posted by duver001 at 12:27 PM

April 21, 2006

Hard drive historical pricing

The commercial history of desktop computer hard drives on one page. The first hard drive I had was a 5MB Radio Shack castoff (when the 20MB drives became available from Corvus.) My first PC hard drive was an 80MB (when 40MB drives were more common). It was an MFM drive as the RLL interfaces (which gave about a factor of 1.5 in storage space) at that time were flakey. The last drive I bought was a 250GB in a firewire enclosure.

Posted by duver001 at 11:56 AM

Bush, the nuclear blunders

It's clear now how the Iraq distraction has harmed us in the pursuit of bin Laden, with North Korea's nuclear weapons, and now with the standoff with Iran. The US is immeaurably weaker today than when Bush decided to launch a war of aggression with Iraq.

Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM

April 18, 2006

Lost Japanese soldier from World War 2 turns up...

...in the Ukraine? Interestingly enough, he was only declared dead in 2000.

Posted by duver001 at 11:55 AM

April 14, 2006

DEA agent shoots himself in foot

...while demonstrating gun safety to kids. Now he's suing the DEA for making him a target of laughter by leaking the video to the web. Just to help the laughter at this idiot continue, you can download the video here. Or watch it online here. Read more about it here in Snopes's urban legend department (NB: It's a true tale, not an urban legend.).

Posted by duver001 at 11:49 AM

On the flip side of memoir...

Colton Simpson is looking at prison for life, in part for the details in his memoir of jewelry thefts. "During a jewelry heist in 1986, he grabbed a $30,000 ring and shot a man who grabbed him from behind. He remembers the incident in his books: 'Yeah, some good citizen turned a simple theft into an armed robbery with attempted-murder charges. Gonna cost the citizens of the state a pile of money. Got himself put in a wheelchair. Stupid people complicating my life.' " Yep, sounds like a quality individual.

Posted by duver001 at 11:41 AM

April 13, 2006

Iceland is the broadbandest country in the world

The top countries for fast internet connections are all around 25% broadband connection. That seems like an interesting level. For about 1/4 of households, a fast connection is worth the money and available. I'd guess the available fraction of people in Iceland would be very high. Small country with the population concentrated in the city. But we get the same fraction elsewhere too.

Posted by duver001 at 12:38 PM

April 12, 2006

Interesting thoughts on the medical prayer study

Faith-based medicine in the NYT.

Posted by duver001 at 12:46 PM

How Ronald Reagan invented gangsta rap

By illegally funding the Contras through cocaine imports into the US which funded the labels and on and on...
It's a beautiful figure. The interconnectedness of politics, drugs, and rap.

Posted by duver001 at 12:27 PM

Lied to again by the felon-in-chief

Two days after the secret intelligence team reported to the White House that those nasty Iraqi trailers had nothing to do with bioweaponry, Dubya announced "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." It was not only incorrect, it was a bald-faced lie, known at that point to be incorrect. The lies that got the US into the war continued in (mostly failed) attempts at justifying the growing debacle.

Posted by duver001 at 12:22 PM

April 11, 2006

Vampire killing kit?

For sale on ebay.

There are some more modern ones for auction as well.

Posted by duver001 at 4:33 PM

April 7, 2006

April is National Poetry Month & Math Awareness Month!

Comining the two...Fibonacci Poems!

Posted by duver001 at 12:13 PM

April 6, 2006

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan fully and truly skewered in Vanity Fair. "Press Secretary Scott McClellan's mangled sentences, flat-footed evasions, and genial befuddlement have made him the butt of a thousand blogs, as well as of an increasingly savage press corps."

"Every day, he's pulped, pummeled, spit upon for speaking White House untruths—or for not speaking them well enough.

It is so bad, and so constantly public—every misspoken word, every stutter, every repetition, repeated mercilessly across the information universe—that he can only hope that it's gotten bad enough for him to get a sympathy vote."

Wow!

Posted by duver001 at 7:04 PM

April 4, 2006

Patent craziness

Wow! The mug with an artificial horizon is kinda cool, but, yeah, they're all crazy. Patent reform really soon now, please!

Posted by duver001 at 6:59 PM

April 3, 2006

The Taliban college experience in Pensacola

An unaccredited college for the looniest of the loons. Get expelled for "making eye babies!" That is, looking at a member of the opposite sex.

Posted by duver001 at 7:40 PM

The pirate fishing fleets

It's a visit to the bizarre world of decaying Chinese ships, Russian resupply, and desperate lives. All aimed at stripping the ocean of its valuables.

Posted by duver001 at 11:32 AM

March 24, 2006

I haven't kept up with Hitchens that well since he left the Nation

But I definitely enjoyed his spirited defense of Denmark, the free press, and democracy. And I think we can safely ignore his praise of the Iraq War. I am impressed that he's remained steadfast in his opinions, hmmm..., despite evidence that they're wrong?

Posted by duver001 at 11:56 AM

Nature & Encyclopedia Britannica

The Nature study which compared the Wikipedia and Britannica is criticized by the latter party. It's an interesting business, was looking at the pdf's from both organizations attacking and defending the study (follow links at the Beeb site to find this bits). No conclusions from me exactly, but there certainly looked like an intellectual divide as much as anything else. See what you think.

Posted by duver001 at 11:09 AM

March 22, 2006

Further consequences of the Patriot Act

You need to report to the government if you take your chicken to the vet. Huh? This is smaller, less intrusive government? And it's weird!

Posted by duver001 at 12:22 PM

ETA calls it quits

The Basque separtist freedom fighters/terrorists have called a permanent ceasefire. The Islamist bombings in Madrid have essentially made future ETA bombing campaigns untenable. Over eight hundred people have been killed by ETA over the four decades of its operation.

Posted by duver001 at 11:51 AM

Child "bride" in Afghanistan

One of the more painful stories that I have ever read. Married off at age four, beaten, starved, scalded, abused for years. Finally escaped.

Posted by duver001 at 9:53 AM

March 21, 2006

Outsourcing to North Korea?

Ick! South Korean firms are moving some manufacturing across the DMZ to employ North Korean workers who officially get 1/10th to 1/20th the salary of South Koreans, but the money goes to the North Korean government, not the workers. And the factory owners want to have the products labeled as made in South Korea.

Posted by duver001 at 11:22 AM

March 20, 2006

Welcome to the brain of the Don

The Donald Rumsfeld that is. Plastic has an excellent resume of web links from his halcyon days in the Nixon and Ford administrations to leading two failed wars (see what sort of freedom and democracy has brought to Afghanistan?) for Dubya.

Read his own words, justifying what has been accomplished in the past three years in Iraq. Believe any of it? Like Rummy's $50 billion dollar and 5 week estimates of the war costs and length? And what's up with his comparisons of very and sundries with Hitler? Do we really fear that a 1000 year Venezualan Reich is right around the corner? Or is he projecting a bit?

Going back to the resume, we have to reflect on his successful running of the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon and his back-room efforts to help get the US out of the Vietnam War. For that he was shuffled off to be NATO ambassador. Then triumph as chief of staff and defense secretary under Ford, fighting against the whole nastiness of detante. Off to the private sector until Dubya decides to bring the Nixon crowd all back to the White House. The epic Shinseki-Rumsfeld fight seems now to be a footnote in the story, but certainly marked part of the White House team's decent into unreality.

Afghanistan. Iraq. Some investigations into what Rumsfeld has wrought.


Posted by duver001 at 11:39 AM

In a war based on lies...

...we have the "largest air assault since the beginning of the Gulf War Part 2" a so-called Operation Swarmer. We're still being lied to. This was merely a propaganda operation timed to coincide with additional bad news from Iraq and with the 3rd anniversary of the start of US offensive operations. Even Time magazine concludes "not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed."

Posted by duver001 at 9:27 AM

March 17, 2006

The debt

Well, it now stands at about $27,000 for each person in the country. Or about 65.7% of the GDP. Over $8 trillion. What's going to happen when the Baby Boomers retire? It's rather a mess that those spend and borrow (not tax) Republicans have gotten us into financially.

Posted by duver001 at 3:25 PM

March 7, 2006

Aviation leak on a possible two-stage-to-orbit military spaceplane

One would need to take it all with a grain of salt, but the chronology would make some sense. Might this also be Aurora?

Posted by duver001 at 4:38 PM

File an FOIA request to see if you've been illegally spied on

Do read the FAQ and all before doing anything with this. And be aware that the NSA isn't likely to respond, but the FBI might.

Posted by duver001 at 4:19 PM

March 6, 2006

A roll of 100 stamps and some wasted time

Just about breakeven without accounting for time used. Or the domain name...

Posted by duver001 at 3:16 PM

Car popularity by how long it sits on the lot

Okay, I admit it, one of my most stereotypically guy traits is a unhealthy interest in cars. No, no, no, I didn't mean like Rachel in V. I mean, in reading car magazines and the like. A Maserati? What sort of insanity is that. I've deliberately not had a car section in my blog also, but here's an entry that would fall into that, if I had such a category.

Cars that sell right off the delivery truck, and cars that sit for 302 days on average! (A crossfire sounds like a mechanical problem with an engine rather than something one might want to own IMHO.) Some surprises, common Honda Civics sell off of the lot very quickly while the very cool Mazda RX-8 takes months to sell. Interesting little article.

Posted by duver001 at 1:05 PM

Barnard Park music

Ah, news from near where I grew up. Beautiful Barnard Park in Hartford, CT. Drugs, prostitutes, and now a proposal to use classical music to reduce crime. Play Bach and soothe the inner beast. Beethoven and reduce the need for ultraviolence. There's also the beginnings of a discussion of this on plastic.com.

Posted by duver001 at 12:59 PM

Nuclear power redux

NPR devoted an hour recently to nuclear power, though it wasted some of that time with a cold fusion bit. Got to have that "on one side" and "on the other" thing going.

I'm certainly in favor of sensible ways of cutting back greenhouse gases which would include nuclear power, but a British panel looking into this concluded that building new plants would not yield a significant carbon dioxide benefit to outweigh its risks. It's an interesting argument---the risks included not only the obvious, and vexing, long-term waste problem but also the rigid hierarchical power-distribution structure from nuclear power at a time when micro-generation seems to be increasing.

Posted by duver001 at 12:30 PM

March 2, 2006

Mine safety violation penalties? Being reduced.

With the mining deaths in the news, you might think that the government would follow up on mine safety. Or make companies pay the fines they've been assesed. You'd be wrong. In the interests of corporate subsidy, fines for violations of the law are being reduced and not collected. Makes sense to me. If the mine owners continue to contribute to the GOP, heck, they can have Iraqi slave labor working in the mines before long. Ooops! Did I give them any ideas?

The Seante is looking into it. Well, some senators are questioning it anyway.

Posted by duver001 at 2:32 PM

Bill of Rights

Wow! 20% of surveyed Americans thought pet ownership was enshrined in the 1st Ammendment. Only one of the one thousand respondants could name all five liberties listed there. No wonder we're losing them.

  • Freedom of/from religion
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Right to court process

Let's see...yup, all of them are under concerted attack.

Posted by duver001 at 1:59 PM

Breaking the last undeciphered Nazi German naval coded transmissions

They aren't especially significant transmissions, but there still something quite cool with finally deciphering these M4 Enigma transmissions. Let me also note, that since I went through a phase a year or two ago when I did quite a bit of reading on the U-Boat operations during World War II, that the "knife-edge" of victory over the German submarines is a myth.

Even when the Germans were winning, they were barely able to sink ships faster than they were being built, and they never were intercepting more than a percent or so of the ships bound for England. Clay Blair's two volumes (Hunters (1939-1942) and are certainly the definitive works on the Battle of the Atlantic. No knife-edge. No near thing. The U-Boats were suicidal operations by 1942 and even when they were most successful, were a small effect. There never were enough submarines to have a serious effect on British transport. And with the radar and cipher advantages, and by 1942 with the US also in the war, the contest was extremely uneven.

March 1, 2006

"By the time I get to South Dakota"

The already famous "Molly Saves the Day" blog entry for the women of South Dakota. And much of the rest of the country pretty soon now.

Posted by duver001 at 12:27 PM

As Gore Vidal pointed out, there was more to Timothy McVeigh than met the eye

Though parts of the story here seem off-topic, it is worthwhile to note how many oddities remain in the OKC bombing story. Though some parts are being declassified.

Posted by duver001 at 12:21 PM

February 27, 2006

Falklands 2.0

The Argentinian sabre-rattling is starting to get British attention. Isles Malvinas may once again be a useful distraction for the Argentine government faced with domestic problems.

Posted by duver001 at 12:34 PM

Today's Iraq update

There are no, as in zero, nip, nada, Iraqi battalions are ready to do anything without US support.

Wait a seond! There is something they can do! They can act as death squads and kill up to 900 people per month (July figure). Bodies found with cigarette burns, and mutilated with power tools. These guys went to a cruder torture school than the US torturers. Maybe to the School of the Americas?

Want a different perspective? You can read the defense department's "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq" for lots of statistics. No comments in there about the near civil war situation, the death squads, or the growing power of the mullahs.

Remember the Freedom Tower? 1776 feet of pure freedom in lower Manhattan. Well, you may have to submit to iris scans and thumbprints. Additionally, the building seems to exempt from inspections. So, freedom means no privacy and being above the law?

Posted by duver001 at 12:09 PM

February 24, 2006

A new threat to freedom!

Morrissey? Interviewed by the FBI and British intelligence? "Hang the DJ!"

Meanwhile, we have Iranian mullahs explaining how the US blew up some religious buildings in a country we invaded because we lied and said that they were involved in blowing up some buildings here.

Posted by duver001 at 4:24 PM

Black box voting update

Palm Beach County voting machines have had their error logs examined. Votes cast ahead of the election, powered off many times during the election day, and plenty of other headaches. Let's see, there are trillions of petro- and military-dollars at stake, would people make an attempt to defraud the American public and alter the election?

Posted by duver001 at 4:05 PM

Unigoogle words

Use google to search and you find only one website. How often does that happen? You can try "jonenpaar" as a unigoogle term. Others?

Posted by duver001 at 3:11 PM

February 23, 2006

The Nation on the Torino Olympics?

Well, I cared about the biathalon and the cross-country skiing, though not really skeleton (scary as it looks). Otherwise I think the Nation did a good job highlighting the horror that was the television coverage of the games and the bizarre spectacles that have eclipses even the curling competition. Who indeed came up with the Bode Miller concept? Fired, I trust.

Posted by duver001 at 2:55 PM

February 22, 2006

February 21, 2006

Bikers drown out fundamentalist protesters at military funerals

So, these fundamentalist Christians from Westboro Baptist Church are going to the funerals of American victims of the Iraq War to harass the mourners. Why, you ask? Because the deaths are God's punishment on America for "tolerating" homosexuality. Huh? Okay, stay with me now, so bikers come out and run their engines and show their support for the victims and their families by drowning out the offensive Baptists. Got it? Yeah, it's weird. Read all about it in the Army Times this week.

Posted by duver001 at 12:45 PM

In secret, previously declassified documents are being reclassified

It's a pretty bizarre back-attack on Bill Clinton's 1995 declassification order. That was supposed to speed the declassification of materials that had no need to remain secret.

Documents that have been reclassified range from bizarre to embarassing:

  • "The CIA's assessment on 12 October 1950 that Chinese intervention in the Korean War was 'not probable in 1950' - two weeks before Chinese troops crossed into Korea."
  • "A 1962 telegram from the then US ambassador to Yugoslavia containing an English translation of a Belgrade newspaper article on China's nuclear weapons program."
  • "A 1948 memorandum on a CIA scheme to float balloons over countries behind the Iron Curtain to drop propaganda leaflets."

If you made a copy of them while they were public, you may now be in violation of the Espionage Act. Heck, pretty soon owning a copy of the Constitution is likely to be illegal, so a coverup of CIA misdeeds of 60 years ago may be the least of our troubles.

Posted by duver001 at 12:14 PM

February 16, 2006

Bush PR campaign costs taxpayers $1.6B

In addition to the cost of lunatic policies, Bush has been charging us for propaganda to support his policies. $1.6 Billion dollars worth of legally questionable propaganda. Some bits seem sensible enough, boater warnings and National Park paperwork, but there are also partisan campaigns to sell the regimes war in Iraq, gutting of environmental laws, and Medicare fiddlings.

Posted by duver001 at 12:34 PM

UN asks for Gitmo to be closed

Due to torture, inhuman operating conditions, and an abusive use of power. You can read the report here. And see the news articles here (Yahoo News).

The US regime refuses to consider this. And claims that the torture and abuse is, in fact, humane. And that the torture center houses "dangerous terrorists." Well, if so, they could be charged with crimes and their cases put before a judge and jury.

Looking further at who is actually in detention at Guantanamo Bay reveals an interesting story. Most of these people were Arabs arrested in Pakistan (for reward monies) and are not accused of hostilities toward the US. Though after four years of torture and confinement, it's hard to not imagine them wanting some payback now. Only eight of 132 studied are even accused of planning or being involved with potential terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan. Many are just accused by one other person of having some association with the Taliban.

"If you think of the people down there, these are people, all of whom were captured on a battlefield. They're terrorists, trainers, bomb makers, recruiters, financiers, [Osama bin Laden's] bodyguards, would-be suicide bombers, probably the 20th 9/11 hijacker." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld lying on June 27, 2005

Look at prisoner #032 for a case study. Someone who is not one of the "most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth" as Rummy put it, and is neither an enemy nor a combatant.

The "important" prisoners disappeared into CIA custody, and are not in Cuba. They've been ferried in and out of various torture centers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East instead.

Posted by duver001 at 11:54 AM

February 14, 2006

Theology for evil and for not being ignorant (two separate links)

These folks might be promising you $1000 if you prove, to their satisfaction, not yours, that the Earth goes around the Sun.

And many churches are addressing the validity of Darwin without "deliberately embracing ignorance." Three cheers for them. "A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all." More here on evolution Sunday.

Posted by duver001 at 12:58 PM

February 13, 2006

Lawrence would have done better in Iraq

Wait a second! He did do a lot better in three days than the US administration did in three years. Peter O'Toole, where are you?

Posted by duver001 at 5:25 PM

February 7, 2006

You know how sometimes you go click on a link...

...and, presto, there it is. And it's really quite strange. And you scroll down, and it gets stranger. And it reminds you that Joy Division was a really long time ago, though I suppose not as long ago as Hank Williams. Senior. So, you click on the mp3s and listen while, oh my god!, the music plays and you read of Tuva and stolen passports. Then you look around on the site, reviews of Captain Beefheart in a Tuvan style. Feynman pretty much has to be to blame for making Tuva hip again. Kyzyl! The throat singing is amazing stuff, but covering the Rolling Stones? They just did the halftime show at some Bowling match or other. And got censored. Painted black. Black as black. The link already!

Music for today, tomorrow, and last Tuesday.

Sample lyrics from KAMGALANYR KUZHU-DAA BAR (We have protection force.):

Yenisei river's banks are full of natural richness, our amazing country has protection force.

Yenisei runs and kicks his banks by his waves, if an enemy invades we have a lot of power to destroy him.

In taiga there is a lot of gold and other richness, in the north and south we have brother countries.

In the south and north parts of taiga there are a lot of minerals and furs, -- we have the powerful USSR giving a happy life to us.


KALDAK-KHAMAR

music - trad arr. A. Kuvezin

lyrics - Salchak Toka

"The name of a mountain pass through Tannu-Ola range at the south part of Tuva. In 1933-1934 the road from Kyzyl (capital) to region on Mongolian border was built; and on this pass for one year people were digging using only simple tools like picks, spades, hand-trolleys and enthusiasm. Now it is road of state importance connecting Siberia, Tuva and Mongolia. The lyrics written by first General Secretary of Communist Party of then-independent state of "Tannu Touva". Salchak Toka, leader of the Government and also one of the great writers of classic Tuvan literature - a Soviet Union State Prizewinner. This song about wish and striving to dig out Kaldak-Khamar pass, to build a smooth road and to rush by an iron devil-car like a kite."

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 AM

February 6, 2006

Iraq war hoax

Lawrence Wilkerson is so far the highest ranking former member of the Bush intelligence team at the time of the Iraq War planning to speak out. "A hoax on the American people."

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: It makes me feel terrible. I've said in other places that it was-- constitutes the lowest point in my professional life. My participation in that presentation at the UN constitutes the lowest point in my professional life.

I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council. How do you think that makes me feel? Thirty-one years in the United States Army and I more or less end my career with that kind of a blot on my record? That's not a very comforting thing.

DAVID BRANCACCIO [interviewer]: A hoax? That's quite a word.

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Well, let's face it, it was.


You can read Colin Powell's speech of lies at CNN but it's really just a let down. It's not only been proven to be a bunch of lies now, but was known as such at the time.
Posted by duver001 at 2:28 PM

Roadside memorials

Proliferating and being regulated. I'll have to post some photos I have of interesting and odd ones from Pennsylvania and Argentina.

Posted by duver001 at 11:32 AM

February 2, 2006

Zimbabwe clothing spat

Traditional costume = public indecency.

Posted by duver001 at 12:46 PM

February 1, 2006

Arsonist tale from Northeast Minneapolis

Near Lowry and Central? Sully's bar? Anne, do you know the guy?

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

January 31, 2006

Google fight!

I guess it works as a judge of truth as well. And "cosmic rays" beat out the singular. And it looks as though it'll be a good year.

Posted by duver001 at 11:41 AM

January 30, 2006

"Beaver" on Wikipedia

No, no, no! It's safe for work. We're talking about the rodent here.

Take a look at this, since fixed, entry on the second largest rodent. I especially liked the "citation needed" bit.

Posted by duver001 at 5:38 PM

January 27, 2006

An excellent bit on myths of Challenger (20 years on)



The myths article appears here. And the top level 20th anniversary stories are here.


So, I was walking home from school, we had had exams that day and I was finished for the day. When I got home my mother had heard it on the radio. I remember the next day watching the footage again and again in school and noticing when someone decided to add the explosion sound to the tape. It wasn't delayed at all. You saw the explosion and heard the bang. I remember that faking of the news video almost as much as the whole tragedy at NASA sort of thing. Columbia bothered me a lot more---probably by being closer to NASA and the space program at that later date, and also understanding it as the end of the era. (Or maybe of the error of the shuttle.)

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

January 25, 2006

Best companies to work for...

Some interesting choices in there...

Posted by duver001 at 8:28 PM

Katrina tales from the White House

are being hidden by the White House. Figure they don't look all that good to the public?

Posted by duver001 at 11:29 AM

January 24, 2006

The outsourcing of torture

European governments knew about the CIA's torture flights. These were criminal acts violating European human rights laws. Consequences to be determined later... EU governments have been reluctant to release information to the investigator.

Posted by duver001 at 12:21 PM

January 23, 2006

Ford "restructuring"

Looks like the St. Paul, MN plant dodged the bullet. Maybe Ford could sell cars that people would be excited about, say the European Focus ST (compare to the US one here), or bringing back the RS models, rather than the Excursions, Expeditions, and Explorers clogging our suburbs (and sometimes wallowing through our cities).

Posted by duver001 at 11:48 AM

Halliburton provides contaminated water, and hides it

And a bunch of folks got sick. Who exactly is aiding the "enemy" again?

Posted by duver001 at 11:40 AM

January 17, 2006

Earwax removal

Me, I often have quite a bit of ear wax buildup though I do clean my ears on a daily basis. (Was that too much information?) Anyhow, this Canadian Medical Journal article details the emergency removal of earwax with a supersoaker loanded by a local four year old. It was "an off-label use" of the device. Not generally recommended, but something to add to your emergency medicine knowledge...

Posted by duver001 at 8:37 AM

January 15, 2006

Ashkenazi origin

From DNA testing.

Posted by duver001 at 9:45 AM

January 12, 2006

Continuing on the car theme...

Take a look at Top Gear's comparison of racing the NSX on a game machine and in real life.

And comparing modern road cars to race cars of the past.

Great videos. And why doesn't the US have either good car magazines or video magazines like the Brits? Check out Evo, Car, or Top Gear and compare them to the waste of paper that is the US auto magazine industry.

Posted by duver001 at 1:46 PM

The automatic braking fiasco

Well, it turned out that the much-publicized test failure of the Mercedes automatic brake system was rigged. It wasn't a test at all.

Posted by duver001 at 1:35 PM

January 10, 2006

January 3, 2006

Bio-Willie!

As the first news item I wanted to pass along for the new year...Willie Nelson is promoting biodiesel. BioWillie Diesel in fact. And a good starting place for those of you who wonder what the heck biodiesel is. Cheers!

Posted by duver001 at 12:19 PM

December 20, 2005

Back to the J. Edgar Hoover era

As it appears that nearly every US "security" agency has been involved with spying on Americans. Activist groups targetted included environmental groups, animal cruelty (prevention) groups, Greenpeace... It sort of makes sense since we know that Greenpeace was involved with the OKC bombing, and PETA funding the WTC attacks. No wait, someone else was involved in those...

Posted by duver001 at 12:10 PM

December 19, 2005

Though Dubya can't understand what the law is...

...we are quite a bit smarter. Here it is. It's a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison to order surveillance without court approval. The President is claiming to be above the law. This is not supposed to be the case in a country ruled by law. Follow some of the fumblings here.

Posted by duver001 at 3:21 PM

Maybe they weren't so dangerous after all?

Remember those "Most-Wanted" Iraqis? They're being released.

Posted by duver001 at 2:51 PM

December 15, 2005

To get through common voice mail systems...

Save some time.

Posted by duver001 at 3:39 PM

I hesitate to post this...

...since several of my friends who are religious will take this link as a statement of my thoughts on the subject. However, let me make the link to Harris's atheist manifesto with the proviso that some of his backing evidence as to how religious nations are more violent, etc. is not completely solid. The notion of the lack of sensibility for the label "atheist", likening it to the terms "non-astrologer" or "non-alchemist" is especially interesting, and, in my experience, novel.

Posted by duver001 at 3:16 PM

December 13, 2005

The Bush regime still has trouble telling lobbyists from journalists

As a Oil Industry shill goes to the Climate Change conference as a journalist. Credentialed by the Washington Times.

Posted by duver001 at 10:50 AM

Wikipedia entry on Seigenthaler revisited

Looks as though it was a practical joke on a coworker. They didn't know that anyone treated the wikipedia's accuracy seriously.

Posted by duver001 at 10:31 AM

December 12, 2005

Minnesota school program

Although it appears that only 4% of students take advantage of it, high school students in the state can take free college classes. Interesting program...hadn't known about it before.

Posted by duver001 at 11:53 AM

December 1, 2005

"Cyber Monday"

This appears to be a new made-up phrase, probably created by those who wish to hype internet sales. A marketing ploy.

"Cyber Monday" : All results from the past week.

Contrast it with:

"Black Friday" : With links going back to 1993. Such as this one.

Posted by duver001 at 11:41 AM

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

November 22, 2005

Iraqi ER

Reported on in the Guardian.

Posted by duver001 at 5:11 PM

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 15, 2005

Paisley = demon?

Who would have guessed?

Posted by duver001 at 11:43 AM

November 9, 2005

November 1, 2005

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

October 31, 2005

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 27, 2005

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

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

October 24, 2005

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

October 20, 2005

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 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

October 13, 2005

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 10, 2005

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

October 5, 2005

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

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

September 30, 2005

Today's scare story

Though the risk is very real, it's not clear what reaction the "150M possible deaths from bird flu" should or will elicit. Fear that converts into positive action? Blind fear of an additional threat in the world? (Lock up the cat, pull the shades, and hide under the SUV.) Or just a dismissive glance? (If the Club of Rome got their predictions wrong...)

Posted by duver001 at 10:22 AM

September 29, 2005

Osama's air force captured!

By the Pakistani military.

Posted by duver001 at 2:53 PM

September 27, 2005

Continuing on religion...

Though perhaps not with the best thought-through correlation-causation standards ever seen...a study shows the correlation higher religious rates with increased rates of homicide, child pregnancy, abortion, and STD infection rates. The author discusses the results online. "By dysfunctional the author means that the 'prosperous democracy' is unable to convert its wealth into raising the living standard for the populace." By that standard, the US is shocking inept at converting historically unprecidented wealth into the betterment of its citizens.

"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors." - Thomas Jefferson

Posted by duver001 at 2:26 PM

September 26, 2005

Project Censored

Always one of the most important links of the year. The end of open government, the civilian deaths in Iraq, the Diebolding of the election, 1984 cameras, and the purpose of "Homeland Security." Makes you feel proud to be an American.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

Superdome carnage? Myth.

Murder and rape of children? Myth. I think we can pretty easily understand the reason for the fake stories, but it remains critically important for us to read the truth and mentally cross-off the stories intended to produce hatred of the poor.

Posted by duver001 at 10:35 AM

September 21, 2005

How the practice of bringing commercial drugs to market has failed

Who would have guessed? A profit motive? The only motive?

Posted by duver001 at 2:49 PM

September 14, 2005

How Curious George escaped the Nazis!

Interesting little article in the Times.

Posted by duver001 at 11:35 AM

September 12, 2005

Tunes of late

What has Mike been listening to lately? What music has he been enjoying? Well, in a fit of U2 bashing, I listened to Negativland and their take on I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (see also, the Letter U and the Numeral 2) along with U2's Boy and War. Putting those old cassettes on the stereo reminded me of how low-fi cassettes are/were and also that U2 didn't suck initially. They may never have been good musicians, but the band that put out War and Boy was a quality act.

Swell Maps, what should I say about Swell Maps? Been listening to Jane in Occupied Europe all morning today. (Discography of Swell Maps, from Nikki Sudden's webpages.) Good quality stuff. The CDs are back in print...

The Clash and Duran Duran in the same magazine...

If you missed some of the great post-punk acts, there are two indepensible resources for you. (Well, there are probably more than that, but who is counting?) Trouser Press zine and their published guides, which are now available online, and Rip it Up and Start Again (Guardian review, PR from the publisher, order it from amazon.co.uk (find your own link), or wait for the US edition which is rumored to have sections deleted from it) which is an amazing piece of journalism.

Should I praise the Mila Vocal Ensemble again? They'll be back on Praire Home Companion pretty soon and appeared on stage with Garrison at the St. Paul Labor Day Picnic. Will post an update when the PHC appearance is confirmed.

I should also put in a pitch for CD Baby. It's a resource for distributing independent CDs inexpensively. Good stuff, good folks, deserving of our business. They have audio samples for most tracks.

Also visit Rogaria, home of the Orkerstar Bez Ime.

Schoenberg Concerto for Cello has been sort of an intriguing classical highlight recently. It's very different from the serialism you would expect from him. Catchy somehow.

And the Cassandra Complex...In Search of Penny Century... Satan, Bugs Bunny, and Me. Other than the discography there isn't much info out there on the web. I suspect that there may not be all that many fans of Moscow, Idaho.



Posted by duver001 at 2:40 PM

September 8, 2005

How do delivery aid

Steal a press pass and drive a Hyundai. Pretty shocking that the organized folks couldn't do what these guys did.

Posted by duver001 at 11:53 AM

September 7, 2005

A Katrina report from New Orleans on the evacuation

Interesting take on the evacuation...

"...Next morning, Katrina has blown up to a 5. Call for mandatory evacuation. Nagin pulls in every bus he can find, he signs an order allowing him to commandeer any vehicle or property he needs. They have buses running through the streets trying to pick people up. People are showing up at the superdome. This is 24 hours to landfall. Not much time at all, especially when this MONSTER HUGE storm will be affecting New Orleans by that evening and the bridges will have to shut when winds reach 40 mph..."

Posted by duver001 at 2:19 PM

September 6, 2005

August 31, 2005

Palestinian Authority funds frozen in the States

Due to a lawsuit. It seems like an interesting way of holding governments (or the vague similarity of a government in this case) responsible. The article in the Atlantic Monthly (September 2005) on the failures of the PA is especially good.

Posted by duver001 at 10:25 AM

August 29, 2005

The tenth anniversary of suck.com!

Never heard of them? Assumed it was a porn site? Nope, Suck was the original daily updated humor and deep thoughts website which had sadly come to a close many years ago now. The legacy runs deep however. I refuse to link to their most famous alumnae (wonkette) and instead offer for you the Rabbit Blog.

Posted by duver001 at 5:47 PM

August 28, 2005

Gus Grissom's space suit back in the news

The article has a good amount of the back story if you haven't followed it.

Posted by duver001 at 7:03 PM

August 23, 2005

Religion and science in America today


The continuing story of how we define this country. Whose country? Whose ideas? Which freedoms? Which path? The BBC reporting on the growing number of scientists concerned about the anti-science being pushed by the religious leaders of the US. There's so much back material to this. What happens when I mention that I do physics for example. Comments of "I did badly in math" or the like are really the most typical connection. Add in a virulently anti-modernist agenda from the right-wing theocrats-in-waiting, and you have the current situation in the States. (Don't believe that the Intelligent Design and related attacks are a planned afront to rationalism? Read their own "Wedge Plan.")

Does it make sense to quote the "founding fathers?" Of course one could find rival quotation I suppose.

"It is owing to this long interregnum of science, and to no other cause, that we have now to look back through a vast chasm of many hundred years to the respectable characters we call the Ancients. Had the progression of knowledge gone on proportionably with the stock that before existed, that chasm would have been filled up with characters rising superior in knowledge to each other; and those Ancients we now so much admire would have appeared respectably in the background of the scene. But the christian system laid all waste; and if we take our stand about the beginning of the sixteenth century, we look back through that long chasm, to the times of the Ancients, as over a vast sandy desert, in which not a shrub appears to intercept the vision to the fertile hills beyond." - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man. They are still so in many countries and even in some of these United States. Even in 1783, we doubted the stability of our recent measures for reducing them to the footing of other useful callings. It now appears that our means were effectual." - Thomas Jefferson, 1800

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." - James Madison, 1785

"As I have now given you my reasons for believing that the Bible is not the Word of God, that it is a falsehood, I have a right to ask you your reasons for believing the contrary; but I know you can give me none, except that you were educated to believe the Bible; and as the Turks give the same reason for believing the Koran, it is evident that education makes all the difference, and that reason and truth have nothing to do in the case. You believe in the Bible from the accident of birth, and the Turks believe in the Koran from the same accident, and each calls the other infidel. But leaving the prejudice of education out of the case, the unprejudiced truth is, that all are infidels who believe falsely of God, whether they draw their creed from the Bible, or from the Koran, from the Old Testament, or from the New." [...] "It is often said in the Bible that God spake unto Moses, but how do you know that God spake unto Moses? Because, you will say, the Bible says so. The Koran says, that God spake unto Mahomet, do you believe that too? No. Why not? Because, you will say, you do not believe it; and so because you do, and because you don't is all the reason you can give for believing or disbelieving except that you will say that Mahomet was an impostor. And how do you know Moses was not an impostor?" - Thomas Paine, 1797

Posted by duver001 at 8:18 PM

Outlawing lip syncing?

Turkmenistan's president bans lip synching. This follows bans on opera, ballet, gold teeth, and restrictions on long hair and beards. Saparmurat Niyazov's cult of personality has always been a bit weird, but seeing lip synching as a threat is sure evidence of deep thinking about the future direction of his nation. All hail Kibo!

The fearless leader has also banned recorded music on TV and at live events. I'm starting to see a trend here! In fact, "radio and television programmes are dominated by performances of his own poems and philosophical writings set to music." Must be a fun country.

Ah yes, there are ongoing efforts to Turkmenify the population. They recently celebrated Melon Day and the fearless leader had a 300 square meter rug commissioned entitled "The 21st century: the epoch of the great Saparmurat Niyazov." That's ego! (Of course, by writing this, I have virutally eliminated the possibility of visiting Turkmenistan without getting to visit a finely crafted prison cell for a couple of days. Darn!) On the other hand, they granted citizenship to 16,000 refugees from neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan so they are at least responsible in that way.

Are there other good Saparmurat Niyazov stories? Post them here!

Looking at the Wikipedia, there's also the closure of libraries and hospitals, replacing doctors with army constripts, building an ice palace in the middle of the desert, the statues of himself, the super-expensive mosque, and banning makeup for TV announcers. Sounds like a lower-rent, maybe somewhat friendlier, version of North Korea.

Oh yeah, and from the opposition website some English language news on Turkmenistan including banning converted LHD vehicles.

The government site is pretty interesting as well. The Visa application form is available online.

Posted by duver001 at 10:56 AM

Where is Tony Blair?

The English papers have been asking the question. We know that Dubya spends most of his time snorting coke and on vacation in Texas, but the Brits aren't used to their leader disappearing.

Though there is a rumor that Blair is in the Caribbean on holiday, we know better! He's taking some time off in Vancouver, BC to learn how to skate.

Skateboarding that is. Reliable reports indicate that Tony Hawk and Tony Blair are practicing some phat moves in parking lots and the stairs of government buildings across the Hong Kong of the West. The Tonymeister was last seen wearing a "Skateboarding is not a crime" cutoff and demanding that The Urinal's first 7" be played louder.

Downing Street had no comment, but unnamed sources in the government confirmed that the Blairster had indeed taken up a new "recreational activity" and would be training the best experts in the world. Earlier reports that this activity was bicycling were proven wrong when Lance Armstrong showed up in Crawford, TX to ride with Dubya and ask for some political cover. The French have finally proven his performance-enhancing drug use, but we know that just starting to call that certain food item "Freedom Fries" will shut them up.

We now speculate that skateboarding is intended as a second occupation for Bliar. He had noted that he would not stand for PM in the next elections, so what would be a more natural job than as a professional skateboarder? He would be the clear front-runner in the "former leader of a nation" skate class/category.

Posted by duver001 at 10:35 AM

August 22, 2005

"Operation Whalers?"

Where do they get these names? Whaler is the current let's-kill-some-Taliban-supporters operation in Afghanistan. Remember that war?

Posted by duver001 at 10:57 AM

August 18, 2005

While Rome burned...

Bicycling. On vacation. Hiding.

Posted by duver001 at 2:24 PM

$220 Million to build a bridge to an island with fifty people!

Taken from a plastic.com discussion of this issue:

"I live in Ketchikan, Alaska, the city which will be getting the now-infamous bridge, and I'd like to tell those of you who have never visited Ketchikan a little bit about the area so you can judge for yourselves what a flagrant and shameless waste the bridge project is.



To start with, a short list of facts.

  • Ketchikan is located in the extreme southeast corner of the state of Alaska, on an island just off a narrow strip of coastal land which belongs to the USA, bordered on the interior by the Canadian province of British Columbia.
  • The City of Ketchikan has about 8,000 residents, as mentioned above, but it is probably more accurate to include the people living outside the city limits in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, another 5,000 or 6,000 people who share schools, library services, post offices and a number of other infrastructure services with the city and generally consider themselves to live in Ketchikan.
  • Virtually everyone who lives in either the city of Ketchikan or the Ketchikan Gateway Borough live along a long narrow strip of coastal land along the southwest edge of Revillagigedo Island for two reasons: (a) because of our climate and terrain, very little land here is suitable for building, and (b) virtually all of the rest of the land around us belongs to either the US Forest Service, the State of Alaska, or Alaska Native corporations that represent the interests of their tribal shareholders.
  • Ketchikan is located in the Tongass National Forest, the US portion of a vast coastal rain forest that spreads over hundreds of miles and thousands of islands of varying sizes.
Now for a few specifics about the bridge. Here are two pictures of the area where the bridge is scheduled to be built. The pictures are taken from a spot north of the bridge site, looking southeast down the Tongass Narrows. The first shows the east channel of the narrows, the second shows a better idea of the setting. The small island in the middle of the channel is Pennock Island, which will connect the two spans of the proposed bridge. This article includes a nice overview map showing the proposed bridge route and should help put the route in perspective.


Having established a bit about the location of the bridge, let's look at a map of the road systems that it will connect. Notice how, apart from the airport, there's no road system on Gravina Island for this bridge to connect to. That's because the only development on Gravina Island to date consists mainly of (a) the airport, (b) about 30-40 homes and cabins scattered along the shoreline, accessible only by boat. Return for a moment to the Google map above and click the "Hybrid" button to overlay a satellite image of the area on top of the street map. Notice all of the small bodies of water on the portion of Gravina Island where the bridge will connect. That's muskeg, a common terrain type here in the north — treacherous soft bog, particularly unsuited for development or road construction. Here in Ketchikan we receive about 160 inches of rain per year. Ground that is level is practically never dry, and ground that is dry is practically never level. Ground that's already soft and boggy to start with is just a disaster to try and build on; it can swallow houses, roads, anything you try to put on it.


Why would you build a bridge to an island with no people and almost no developable land under private ownership? Only a few convincing reasons come to mind:

  • You might be motivated to do so if you were the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and didn't measure success except in terms of dollars delivered to your district.
  • You might want a bridge if you wanted to log currently-roadless areas of state and federal timber lands on Gravina Island.
  • Or you might want a bridge if you were one of the few property owners with substantial chunks of buildable property on Gravina Island.
  • And, though it shames me to say it of my neighbors, you might want a bridge if you saw it as $220 million dollars of federal money that was coming into a community still reeling economically from declines in the timber and commercial fishing industries and rather conflicted about the growth of cruise-ship tourism.


None of which strike me as adequate reasons to ask the rest of the country to pick up the tab for a $220,000,000 bridge.. But I guess that's (one of many reasons) why I'll never be an Alaska Congressman."

Posted by duver001 at 2:12 PM

Weird patents (phantom car)

At New Scientist. Some interesting back articles there...

Posted by duver001 at 1:46 PM

August 16, 2005

South Africa fears for a "failed state" in Zimbabwe

Not that they've been doing too much constructively there in Harare.

Posted by duver001 at 3:35 PM

August 15, 2005

Stray elephants in Zimbabwe

At least the elephant population is doing well.

Posted by duver001 at 9:41 AM

Global warming tipping point?

Though I think the scientific catch-phrase du jour is overused and probably overrated, this article in the Guardian points to an excellent example of where the concept of 'tipping point" comes from. Global warming is melting the Siberian Tundra which hosts a huge stockpile of methane (perhap 70 billion tons, 1/4 of the world's ground-stored methane). The release of the methane (a greenhouse gas) will then speed the heating of the atmosphere.

Posted by duver001 at 7:49 AM

August 12, 2005

New web site discovery!

How much is inside?

The same guy has some pranks.

Home page.

Posted by duver001 at 6:32 PM

August 7, 2005

Canadian VC winner passes away

Once every six months, I'll promise you, dear reader, something about actual heroes.

But no more often than that!

Posted by duver001 at 7:41 AM

July 30, 2005

Reinvestigating Yuri Gagarin's death

the first man in space died in a poorly understood airplane crash in 1968.

Posted by duver001 at 10:14 AM

July 28, 2005

"...where the teletubbies might live, with Barbarella as a frequent houseguest."

The Futuro prefabricated (plastic) house. Spacecraft-shaped house. Playboy pad from the '70s. Web site devoted to them. Thanks Paul!

Posted by duver001 at 2:19 PM

July 26, 2005

July 25, 2005

Slate (and Nation) fest

I used to be pretty consistent in reading Christopher Hitchens in The Nation and now have to admit to reading a bit of his work in Slate as well. In fact, I have a slew of interesting Slate articles to link to here. Can't say I agree with all of them, but there's some good Bosnia and Zimbabwe articles here.

Posted by duver001 at 12:13 PM

July 20, 2005

July 19, 2005

25,000 violent deaths of civilians in Iraq

About 1/3 of them due to US military action. More deaths in the second year post-invasion than in the first.

Posted by duver001 at 2:43 PM

July 18, 2005

Aristide in exile

An interesting interview by Naomi Klein as the news of UN killings of women and children gradually leak out of Haiti.

Posted by duver001 at 11:21 AM

We might as well keep hoping that this will bring the little thugs down

Though it hasn't been running above the fold...

Posted by duver001 at 11:13 AM

July 14, 2005

Civilian toll in Iraq seems to be about 800 per month

And that appears to include just victims of the insurgents, not the US military. Total Iraqi deaths are not incompatible with that 100,000 number propagated a few months back.

Posted by duver001 at 2:26 PM

July 9, 2005

Another try at single-payer?

At the state level. It might even pass in Vermont and California.

Posted by duver001 at 2:39 PM

July 8, 2005

Sheep or lemmings?

Suicide sheep in Turkey. 450 dead sheep.

Posted by duver001 at 12:51 PM

July 7, 2005

Some London pictures

Okay, since I've left the BBC playing on my computer all day, I might as well put something up here.


Amazing that only two people died in that bus. The other photo is, presumably, a mobile phone picture from the Kings Cross evacuation. (BBC)

Personal photos of the explosions. Also from the BBC.


Burn victim being led away.


Emergency services.

Witness stories.


The bus bombing took place right in front of the British Medical Association headquarters. Patient being treated and blood on the wall of the building. (BBC)


UK flag at half staff over Buckingham Palace.


Blitz pictures. But don't get me started on the fascism thread.

Posted by duver001 at 8:20 PM

July 6, 2005

Somalia and Iraq

The "president" of Somalia is leading his followers south through the country to a showdown with the warlords in Moggie. Sounds like a bad plot idea for Mad Max 7, in 3-D.

An LA film-maker finds himself imprisoned, without charges, in Iraq. Due process? Habeas corpus? What's all that liberal talk...

Posted by duver001 at 11:00 AM

July 5, 2005

Former Mugabe ally decries "callous" raids

With a little bit of a look into the ruling elite in Zimbabwe.

Posted by duver001 at 6:40 PM

Gradually the Plame Affair opens up

Karl Rove did it. Is anyone surprised? It's hard to picture the trial that Ted Rall would love to see though. Any action at all this late in the pusch seems unlikely, still, wish-fulfillment is a powerful urge.

Posted by duver001 at 6:27 PM

July 4, 2005

What Forbes thinks it costs to live well in the Midwest

$262,000 per year in Minneapolis. That includes a $1.2M house and a $700k vacation house in Ely or Brainerd. Plus two luxury cars, $17k in private school charges, and $1500 in savings. Cheaper than Batman at least (see earlier entries).

Posted by duver001 at 7:31 PM

July 1, 2005

"Coalition of the willing" fatalities animations

You can learn quite a bit from this little animation. Well done little bit of data processing.

Other Iraq links for today:
Op-ed, NYT, "Dangerous Incompetence"

Another op-ed piece, "America held hostage"

Report on the ground in Iraq. Fight for an area and then leave it to the insurgents. Sound familar?

Posted by duver001 at 10:42 AM

Bye, bye freedoms

She was on the correct side of more 5-4 votes than I'd care to contemplate right now. A bit of a surpirse since I figured Rehnquist would step aside first. With the two of them leaving, we can expect a big fight in Congress over whatever lunatics Bush picks. My suspicion is that he'll pick one total lunatic (a la Scalia or Thomas) and one anti-choice "moderate." But Karl might veto a move that looks even slightly like compromise.

Posted by duver001 at 10:35 AM

June 30, 2005

Make tens of thousands of dollar threatening to kill a bunny rabbit?

It used to have a June 30th, 2005 deadline. Looks semi-successful, doesn't it?

Posted by duver001 at 1:25 PM

June 29, 2005

Ethanol takes six times as much energy to produce as it yields

According to a recent study. Sounds plausible, Brazil gets by with ethanol fueling by using traditional, labor-intensive farming of the sugarcane to make the ethanol.

Posted by duver001 at 3:36 PM

June 26, 2005

Google maps

Although we always knew they were cool, the available satellite imagery has dramatically increased lately. Check out some of the following:

The Pentagon.
The White House, note the censored roof of the White House so you can't count the surface to air missiles.
The Abu Ghurayb torture center.
A flock of geese.
Lots more collected here.

Posted by duver001 at 2:37 PM

June 25, 2005

Continuing armor problems in Iraq

Rumsfeld doesn't ride in armored Humvees, he takes a better-armored private vehicle. Looks like a good business to get into though, armoring vehicles...

Posted by duver001 at 2:09 PM

June 24, 2005

Language difficulties at universities

There's a good, balanced, article in the NYT on problems students have with foreign professors and teaching assistants. Though the largest number of language complaints that I ever had for one of my TAs was for a person who spoke better English than I do (accented differently than my midwestern students were used to I think).

Posted by duver001 at 1:19 PM

June 23, 2005

Two additional loss of rights, just in the news today

The SCOTUS ruled that it's just fine for local authorities to sieze your property for commercial development. That's right, if your town or county wants to demolish your house for a shopping mall, it's within their rights. Remember, corporations are more important than people.

And those state's rights loving congress-slugs decided that states (say environmentally friendly ones?) have no right to have a say on where liquified natural gas facilities go. The biggest conventional bombs in the world can be sited by the federal government, read that as wherever the industry wants them since we do know who writes legislation these days...

Posted by duver001 at 12:17 PM

June 22, 2005

Let's do the math...

Norm Coleman gets $45,000+ in campaign contributions. The citizens of St. Paul lose $50M. And the contributor nets $30M. Looks like politics as usual. The taxpayers send their money to multimillionaires who own the politicos. It's a beautiful little self-contained scam repeated many times.

Meanwhile, publically-funded "town-hall" meetings are open only to political supporters of the Dubya and the House thinks the biggest issue is protecting the physical flag of the US. Yup, New Zealand is looking better all of the time.

Posted by duver001 at 4:40 PM

Being a superhero

"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad." - Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

From Forbes Magazine, the cost of being Batman!

And just how rich are those fictional characters anyway?

Posted by duver001 at 12:31 PM

June 21, 2005

Who pays for military gear?

In this case at least, the father of the marine sent to Iraq. A professional, well-equiped army? We do pay more in taxes for our military than all the rest of the world combined... Oh, that's right, that money goes to Boeing, Hughes, and Halliburton, not to equiping the poor kids who volunteer to defend big business from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Posted by duver001 at 10:42 AM

June 20, 2005

Citgo gas

I never knew it was a Venezualan concern! An interesting proposed anti-boycott.

Posted by duver001 at 6:46 PM

June 19, 2005

June 18, 2005

June 17, 2005

And the US blocks a probe of the killings in Uzbekistan

Note also that $18 million in military aid was cut off. Just to be followed by a "different" $21 million in aid. Nothing to see here. No one will notice. It was only a few hundred protesters.

Posted by duver001 at 8:26 PM

A short review of the press coverage of the Downing Street memos

The Christian Science Monitor does a good job quickly reviewing the media coverage (in the States!) of the Downing Memos.

Posted by duver001 at 8:20 PM

June 16, 2005

The FBI's hunt for Deep Throat

Was headed by Deep Throat.

Posted by duver001 at 3:33 PM

June 11, 2005

Zimbabwe general strike...

...doesn't seem to be accomplishing anything. The authorities have announced that they will "deal ruthlessly" with any street protests. Oddly enough, the state-controlled media didn't report on the general strike. Funny that.

The Beeb has the best coverage that I know of. Click on the link above and follow links there to quite a bit more coverage, including video and some photos. Including the one to the right.

A cobbler from Harare, and many web visitors, comment on the news.

Posted by duver001 at 2:25 PM

June 10, 2005

Zimbabwe's "cleanup" continues...


...with no real resistance. It looks like some sort of enforced ruralization to eliminate the urban poor pockets of opposition to Mugabe. Not quite Pol Pot, but we'll see how those people make up.

I keep being saddened by the Zimbabwe disasters. A country I didn't quite fall in love with when traveling there, but one that I appreciated and hoped the best for.

Posted by duver001 at 10:54 PM

June 9, 2005

While the emperor fiddles

We get our climate change. Conservative bastions like the Financial Times see the problem as clearly as the "crazed environmentalists." They identified the main obstacle to action: the White House. And the details of how the Petroleum Institutes editted the US government statements on greenhouse gases.

Posted by duver001 at 3:37 PM

And sadly, Mugabe's rampage continues

Possibly leaving as many as 200,000 person homeless after burning shantytowns, destroying informal businesses, and continuing to silence opposition. This time there is even CNN coverage.

Posted by duver001 at 3:22 PM

Syria next?

It worked so well in Iraq, after all.

Posted by duver001 at 3:19 PM

June 7, 2005

Planes, trains, and automobiles

After spotting an Amphicar at the gas station on the corner of 47th and Nicollet, I got to thinking about web sites and blogs devoted to spotting interesting transportation objects.

Planes. This site is very clear on plane spotting, and the post-9/11 risks of it.
Trains. I couldn't find one special site, so just chose a representative sample site. Train spotting (distinct from the movie) is worldwide, but does seem to have a particularly European resonance to it.
Cars. Well, the web site is named just right, but it's a little different than just a "spotted" listing.

Let me mention some odd car spottings of mine then...

June 6, 2005

Diesel test

Interesting little test run of the new Mercedes diesels. In Texas of all places, 100,000 miles at speed.

I've had a long-term soft spot for diesel automobiles, back to the old VW Rabbit diesels and the Mercedes 220D and 240Ds. Never have owned one though. Maybe if Audi brings their V6 TDIs to the states after September 2006 (when we get the low sulfur diesel fuel at long last)...

Posted by duver001 at 10:46 PM

Olympic options

Paris, London, or New York City. The European options seem to be the leaders.

Posted by duver001 at 3:31 PM

June 5, 2005

June 1, 2005

Solve violence by banning kitchen knives?

Just plain weird. Here's the editorial in the British Medical Journal.

Posted by duver001 at 12:52 PM

May 31, 2005

Deep Throat revealed

W. Mark Felt, then the number two man at the FBI, was Deep Throat. The story came out in a rather odd way. The Washington Post was going to posthumously name him, but he revealed himself to the press. The Post confirms the story. Oh well, it would have been too poetic for it to have been Al Haig or Pat Buchanan.

Posted by duver001 at 8:25 PM

May 30, 2005

Social Security solution to the "problem"

Well, we completely ignore the real healthcare problem and focus on the fake social security problem... Someone with a lot invested in the Social Security system is offering up his solution. Mild tax increases and small benefit reductions. But I fear logic is being used where it does not apply.

Posted by duver001 at 8:49 PM

May 29, 2005

Asia's missing women

For quite some time, population surveys have shown that there are as many as about 100 million missing women in Asia. By missing, we mean that they do not show up as adults. They may have, in recent years, been selectively aborted, or, as has been going on for centuries, killed at or shortly after birth. However, some new work may offer a less hateful explanation of at least some of the missing women.

Posted by duver001 at 8:50 PM

May 27, 2005

The continuing Cross Lander story

I had seen articles about these Romanian trucks coming to the US about 3-4 years ago. Course I never saw an actual truck. A little about why this is the case is here. I wish those guys good luck, even without air bags, since my antipathy towards SUVs is directed towards ones that aren't needed. These really do sound like the trucks that people will take off-roads. Anyway...

Posted by duver001 at 8:44 PM

May 26, 2005

Bud Foote, RIP

One of my favorite professors from when I was an undergraduate, Bud Foote, has passed away. He taught the relatively infamous English Lit class on Science Fiction and is one of the promoters of Science Fiction within the academy. When he retired he also donated his 8000 volume collection of books and magazines to the university library.


"Never argue with a man who is convinced the earth is flat. You have thought about why it is round for maybe five minutes. He spends every waking minute thinking up arguments that it is flat, and he believes if only he could convince everyone, then the problems of the world would be solved" - Bud Foote

Posted by duver001 at 5:31 PM

North America originally populated by 70 persons

...who crossed over the land bridge from asia as measured by DNA tracings of modern Native Americans and modern Asian populations.

Posted by duver001 at 12:28 AM

Too wild for Zurich

Here in the Twin Cities, we've had various Peanuts characters on display around St. Paul. Snoppy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and did I miss one?

Anyhow, Zurich was going to do the same with a kinda generic bear (unless the bear is deep symbol for numbered bank accounts) with various paint jobs. But, one of the bears was a bit too much. Best part, the "first class service" label on it.

Did Linus have a year of statues as well? Darn it, my memory is fading.

Posted by duver001 at 12:03 AM

May 24, 2005

May 23, 2005

As there is once again sunlight in Minnesota...

Sunshine may (indirectly) reduce some cancer risks.

Posted by duver001 at 9:27 AM

Major police action in Zimbabwe

It appears as though street vendors are a serious threat now to Mugabe. 10,000 arrests since Wednesday though sounds even more serious. Look near the end of the article also for what Morgan Tsvangirai has to say. Wonder if Wal-Mart is starting to think about wiping out flea markets, garage (and tag) sales, and ebay as well?

Posted by duver001 at 9:24 AM

May 18, 2005

Masoud's killers convicted

Four more of the logistical support people behind Ahmed Shah Masoud's assasination were convicted in Paris. Seems like short sentences for murder.

Masoud would have been the ideal post-Taliban unifier in Afghanistan, and it's hard to not assume that his murder was intimately tied to the 9/11 plot. He would have been the clear US-backed leader to go after Bin Laden and the Taliban after the attacks.

Posted by duver001 at 12:02 PM

May 16, 2005

Bush, believe it or not, positively compared himself to FDR

Afer everyone finished laughing, they thought about the old right's fascination with rethinking the Yalta (and Tehran (and Atlantic)) Conference(s) of World War II. I'm not convinced Slate did a strong enough response to this Dubya historical revisionism, but it's a good read. Will the States survive these lunatics? Stay tuned and find out.

Posted by duver001 at 5:49 PM

Good NYT graphic on How Class Works in America

It's kinda scary where I live on this plot. No further comments.

Posted by duver001 at 3:39 PM

Good discussion on gay gay-bashing politicos

On Plastic.com. James West, mayor of Spokane, WA has been infamous for his anti-gay initiatives. But guess what? Most recent in a long line...

Posted by duver001 at 3:32 PM

May 15, 2005

Article on escaping from disasters

Interesting piece on the "freeze" reflex and how it is unsuccessful in critical situations. The big examples are 9/11 WTC evacuations (much slower than predicted, many people sat around for 30 minutes or more before trying to leave) and the Tenerife air disaster (commercial airliners are supposed to be evacuatable in 90 seconds (even with some exits destroyed and debris inside the plane) but only 60-70 out of 370 escaped in one minute in that disaster).

Thinking about this further, it's probably not that much of a surprise, and on my next airline flight I promise to spend some time thinking about what an evacuation would look like. 90 seconds to get everyone off of the plane?

Posted by duver001 at 4:54 PM

May 14, 2005

Try this self-referential quiz

Ouch!

Posted by duver001 at 3:37 PM

May 13, 2005

More on the Pope's days in Nazi Germany

I have mixed feelings about the article from the Chronicle. It seems to raise both serious and minor issues without distinguishing between them, but it does make clear the lack of de-Nazification in this person's case.

Posted by duver001 at 7:36 AM

MOVE anniversary

Twenty years ago now, the Philly police dropped a bomb on the MOVE group/cult/movement/whatever, killed adults and children, and burned the neighborhood down. Probably a bad idea, but of course no one has been imprisoned for murdering those kids. This article claims that the police fired 10,000 rounds into the building during the standoff, seems high to me, but I'm tired so I'll let someone else google the details.

Posted by duver001 at 12:01 AM

May 11, 2005

The slavery theme

Millions are still in slavery around the world. And it looks as though the profit in trafficked people still is made in Europe and the States. $31B annually!

Posted by duver001 at 7:34 PM

May 10, 2005

May 9, 2005

Cargo cults

Just something I was thinking about the other day...

Cargo Cult Science.

Discussion of the "John Frum" cult.

Posted by duver001 at 11:48 AM

May 6, 2005

Ugly kids get less care

At least in one study. In the supermarket. But without socioeconomic effects removed. Obviously such a study gets a lot of press.

Posted by duver001 at 4:55 AM

May 5, 2005

Electric car to make world record attempt

Though I wish the state of Nevada would close roads for me as well! Built by a couple of Brits using home equity loans! They're aiming for 300mph.

The previous record holder appears to have been powered by AA batteries---do a search and all, but I'm guessing it was a commercial-connection for one of the battery companies. Still, the energy density of batteries that you can get at the store is getting pretty high. Check out how light the lithium primary cells are. I use them in my camera flash and it lightens the whole unit significantly compared to NiCad cells.

Posted by duver001 at 8:37 AM

April 29, 2005

Another good ambassador choice

Bush's choice for the next US ambassador to Canada has only been here once before, three decades ago for a weekend trip to Niagara Falls. It does seem as though he is able to find the US's largest trading partner on a map, according to the story.

Posted by duver001 at 1:04 PM

April 28, 2005

Fortunately, some are prospering in the new Iraq

Those in the death business anyway.

Posted by duver001 at 12:44 PM

April 25, 2005

The Numbers Racket

Still going on... I had it associated with a distant time in the Northeast, back before state lotteries and legalized gambling in most places. An interesting article on the current version of the numbers game.

Posted by duver001 at 2:34 PM

Humvee armor in Iraq...still in the news

I think for less than $33k per vehicle I could have delivered some armor already, but I guess I have not donated enough money to the right causes. New York Times story on Marines without vehicle armor. Seems to lay at least twelve deaths in this unit at the hands of missing armor.

Posted by duver001 at 12:51 PM

April 23, 2005

New EU flag possibility?


From Ananova news, this Koolhaas design, based on the colors of the EU flags is being promoted as part of a new image. Yup, the focus groups agree, bar codes are the way to go.

Posted by duver001 at 1:31 PM

April 20, 2005

Of Obelisks

You've probably heard the news of the Ethiopian Axum Obelisk being returned to Axum from Italy. It had been looted by Mussolini during the Ethiopian conquest. Anyway, you can find a complete listing of the 30 obelisks and their histories (as far as they are known) here.

Posted by duver001 at 12:36 PM

April 19, 2005

New pope

He runs the current incarnation of the Inquisition, so I guess he wasn't expected to be elected pope-dude. Looks to be another step in making the Catholic Church irrelevent for the modern world. Less favorable comments can be found too... Darn, that's a scary picture!

So, Hitler Youth, Grand Inquisitor, papal infallibility doctrinaire, and now pope. It's truly an opportunity-filled world.

Posted by duver001 at 12:51 PM

April 16, 2005

Dubya & Condi defeat terrorism

Oh! I meant to say, defeat the publication of a report which shows that terrorism is skyrocketing as a result of the stupid US foreign policy. Is that close enough?

Posted by duver001 at 2:46 PM

April 13, 2005

The news article titles included "hunting pussy in Wisconsin"

Discussion on Plastic. Or check out the news story on WI efforts to legalize the hunting of feral cats.

Posted by duver001 at 12:10 PM

April 12, 2005

Minneapolis, tech city?

Minneapolis is looking at city-wide Wi-Fi service.

And didn't Popular Science call Minneapolis the top tech city in America?

Posted by duver001 at 11:12 AM

April 11, 2005

The UAE's robots...

At least they're being better about child labor.

Posted by duver001 at 6:42 PM

April 7, 2005

They take their football seriously in Texas

I thought the scariest bit was the woman who claimed that the athletics department had problems and the situation could get worse. Hey, it's football. That's a game. People getting shot is less of a game.

Posted by duver001 at 9:29 PM

Daylight savings time

Okay, we all know that the whole DST thing is fundamentally silly, and the new proposed Congressional law (extending DST by two months) is even sillier, but did you know that DST has saved lives from terrorist attacks (lots of other weirdnesses in there too)?

Posted by duver001 at 4:00 PM

Two NYT articles on grim situations

The last surviving single, older male residents upstairs from a trendy NYC bar and gallery. Watching their old neighborhood turn into Yuppiedom.

Honoring the dead pope, while ignoring the deaths in Darfur? Genocide. I could have sworn that the rallying cry was never again. Cambodia? East Timor? Bosnia? Rwanda? Sudan?

Posted by duver001 at 12:42 PM

April 6, 2005

Deliveryman stuck in elevator for three days

No one noticed his cries for help in the broken elevator. Though his employer was concerned and there was a missing person search on for him.

Immigration status mentioned here. (Added 4/7/2005)

Posted by duver001 at 1:29 PM

April 4, 2005

Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes

Sure it's a little late, but it is pretty funny. From the Museum of Hoaxes, man, some people have too much time on their hands. The spaghetti harvest hoax is one of the ones I had heard about as a kid. Truly classic.

Posted by duver001 at 12:50 PM

It took a tough man...

...to raise a tender chicken. Frank Perdue, Poultry Magnate, dead at age 84. Why am I doing obits on this blog? Oh well, at least I'm not talking about the JP2.

Posted by duver001 at 12:48 PM

April 3, 2005

April 1, 2005

Beware of counterfeit Mini Coopers!

See here if you can spot the counterfeits!

Posted by duver001 at 3:38 PM

March 30, 2005

Craig's list take on being a vegetable

Use it as a legal document, avoid the Terri...

Posted by duver001 at 3:03 PM

March 28, 2005

What hurts the British?

Lots of weird stuff! Like accidents with their nightwear, rat bites, and extended weightlessness. Huh? It's funny anyway, unlike the idiot British woman who followed me around the parking ramp this morning complaining that I had driven fast on the highway! Oh my goodness, next thing you know the Royal Family will be exposed as buffoons! To catch my attention previously she had stopped in traffic three times. I had just assumed it was another random idiot in a white Audi, not the same person blocking traffic repeatedly. Silly me.

Posted by duver001 at 6:12 PM

Tom DeLay removed life support from his father

Oh! That's different, right? It's a personal matter, not trying to make a political point. Just like abortions for the children of anti-abortion leaders. It's just different.

Posted by duver001 at 1:07 PM

TSA lied to, well, pretty much everybody about their databases, its uses, and (lack of, ha ha!) abuses

Story in three parts. One. Two. And three. From Aero-News Network.

And the TSA still has no answer to how their system, shown to be worse than random, can work at all. Perhaps its purpose is not airport/airplane security?

Posted by duver001 at 12:30 PM

March 23, 2005

Al-Qaeda and oil?

Leonid Shebarshin, former head of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service (FSB), claims that Al-Qaeda is a notion, a myth tiec to Islam, to get at the oil in former Soviet muslim states. Here.

It's easy to see that the massive, monolithic AQ proposed shortly after 9/11 was a fiction, but what is there to the AQ story? Pure myth? A loose federation with some Osama and Pakistani Intelligence Service contacts? We were told a lot of fictions, of underground bases and nerve gas and plans to attack most everything. But where is the truth? How do we even find it out?

Posted by duver001 at 2:08 PM

March 21, 2005

Bobby Fischer gets Icelandic Passport

Hey! I could use one too to get away from the fundies. How are jobs in Iceland?

Posted by duver001 at 3:33 PM

March 17, 2005

While I was gone...

So, I travel out of the country and look at the news from home?

Over one hundred prisoners have died in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why, that's worse that a Turkish prison!

Bush's budget cuts are nicely targetted at Blue States. See here for the discussion of Oregon's fate under the budget.

And the Senate votes to open the ANWR to oil drilling. The oil companies don't care too much since there isn't much oil there, leading us directly to the ANWR Development Act of later this year which will pay the companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and pay Hummer owners to leave their engines idling.

Wolfowitz heads to the World Bank... Darn it, Bono was a reasonable choice.

We don't have to worry about Social Security because obesity will reduce life expectancy far enough to save money.

Okay! Enough on this topic.

Posted by duver001 at 5:16 PM

March 13, 2005

Pravda

Soviet army fought the UFOs! Yes, that old standby of the Communist Party has fully transformed itself into a tabloid. But one with a world-recognized name.

Posted by duver001 at 12:30 PM

I swear that these came up in a work context search...

Two odd wikipedia entries: Lenna, the digital imaging test photo and John Titor, aka Time Traveller Zero.

Posted by duver001 at 12:22 PM

March 11, 2005

I couldn't beat their title on this one

Typing error causes nuclear scare.

Posted by duver001 at 11:15 AM

March 10, 2005

Habitat for Humanity woes

Continuing... The sexual harassment issue hits home. Okay, bad pun. Anyway, my dad did quite a bit with Habitat for Humanity in Hartwell, GA for a few years. It seems like a good bunch of folks overall, and it's sad to see the organization getting tightly connected with any individual, even the founder (or Jimmy Carter), if they need to be removed from their office.

Posted by duver001 at 1:23 PM

March 9, 2005

Decaying US infrastructure

As per the quote, "tax cuts don't repair bridges."

Posted by duver001 at 1:21 PM

March 8, 2005

Happy International Women's Day

The whys and wherefores are at the UN's site. Locally, here in Minneapolis, KFAI is leading the celebration with 24 hours of women's voices. They're also hosting a program/concert Many Women, Many Voices at the Cedar Cultural Center tonight. Check it out!

Posted by duver001 at 12:49 PM

March 4, 2005

The continuing struggle in Ukraine

The former interior minister dies before he can be interviewed. Meanwhile, the Gongadze murder investigation continues and the Ukrainian secret service seizes uranium at the airport. A busy news week in Kiev. New western European investmens are also headed to Ukraine. Seems like things might be improving...

We'll see, but it feels good to watch countries change for the better.

Posted by duver001 at 10:27 AM

March 3, 2005

Tom Ridge and duct tape

Remember Tom Ridge and the duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect against terrorists thing? Well, where is Tom off to work now? Home Depot? Poetic justice or cynical profiteering?

Posted by duver001 at 12:50 PM

Top news from Europe

Wolves in for a Shock

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish wolves with a taste for domestic dogs could soon be in for a shock as an electrified dog-coat could soon be on sale in Helsinki shops.

The dog-coat sends 1,000 volts of electricity through a predatory wolf when it bites into the outer layer, but is designed to ensure the pampered pet feels no pain from the jolt.

Inventor Jussi Aro has already applied for a patent for the battery-powered device. He hopes it will be available in shops by autumn for dog lovers in Finland, where 20 to 30 dogs are killed each year by wolves.


Boy Sets Off for School at Dead of Night

BERLIN (Reuters) - Astonished German police picked up an 8-year-old boy at 3 a.m. who had accidentally set off to school thinking he was late, authorities said Thursday.

"He seemed to have got into a panic he was late and went off to school by himself with his rucksack," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Aachen. "You'd think the parents weren't looking after him, but that wasn't the case here."

Police found the boy as he was heading home after he discovered the school was still closed.

Posted by duver001 at 12:16 PM

February 25, 2005

Annoying facts

Taken from the (oddly) rather tepid "No. 1?" article in the Minneapolis City Pages. As in, the US is #1 in which ways? Some of the items are so apalling as to demand repeating though. (Many of the others in the article reflect more on the author than the status of the US, in my opinion.)

  • Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)

  • Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).

  • Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

  • The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).

  • Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.

  • As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

  • "Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (Rifkin, The European Dream, p.28).

Posted by duver001 at 7:21 AM

February 24, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson Appreciation Day

Shotgun Golf! The final article...

And the archive of his ESPN work.

"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die" — HST

They might just shot his (cremated) remains from a cannon. Fireworks!

HST on Dubya.

Although HST's work is done, others take up the slack. Jewish journalist infiltrating a neo-nazi hate group? That meets at Applebee's? Yup, hilarity ensues. Gonzo continues. Film at 11.

Will Duke pass away now? Go not quietly into the night unless you have a huge wad of case, night-vision goggles, and a drug-filled date with a pair of Madonna look-alikes.

Nixon always brought out the best in HST. Especially the RN Obit.

From the Doonesbury FAQ:

Q: What kind of relationship, if any, does Mr. Trudeau have with Hunter S. Thompson? --H. Delano R., Long Beach, CA

A: Non-existent. The two have never met, although there was a brief but acrimonious exchange of letters in the mid-70s. Since that time, Thompson has uttered numerous public threats against Trudeau's person, threats Trudeau takes seriously.

There are a pathetically large number of HST fan site out on the web, but some of them have really good content. Like this one. Well, mainly this one.

Bill Murray met Hunter S. Thompson in the late 70's, prior to portraying him in "Where the Buffalo Roam." He was driving a car back from the coast for Lorne Michaels (I believe) and met Thompson in Las Vegas.

They were sitting around a pool. Murray got tied to a chair (horsing around) and was thrown in the pool. He figured, no sweat, he could stand to his full height (6'1") and extricate himself from the socks that tied him to the chair. One thing though, when you are strapped in a chair, you are in a seated position and not able to extend to your full height. After momentary panic by the ever cool Bill, Thompson saw that Mr. Murray was floundering and hauled him out.

(This story was broadcast on "Focus with Bill Murray" hosted by critic Elvis Mitchell, and repeated last year by Bill Murray at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Film Festival devoted to him, 4/13/04). On the GettyWire Image page if you type in Bill Murray and scroll to all images within 12 months, and go back to April 13, 2004, you will see the photographs of the re-creation.

MsGeek.org thoughts on HST's death.

Longer quotes and stuff below...

"Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism--which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful." - HST, Nixon Obit

No relevance whatsoever for America. In 2005. Under the Dubya-crowd.


"This talk of sincerity, I confess, fatigues me. If the fellow was sincere, then so was P. T. Barnum. The word is disgraced and degraded by such uses. He was, in fact, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany without sense or dignity. His career brought him into contact with the first men of his time; he preferred the company of rustic ignoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him in Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that he had been a high officer of state. He seemed only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by a childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning, all human dignity, all beauty, all fine and noble things. He was a peasant come home to the barnyard. Imagine a gentleman, and you have imagined everything that he was not. What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition — the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes. He was born with a roaring voice, and it had the trick of inflaming half-wits. His whole career was devoted to raising those half-wits against their betters, that he himself might shine." - H. L. Mencken, on William Jennings Bryon (not Dubya believe it or not)
Posted by duver001 at 2:13 PM

Anything into oil...

"If a 175-pound man fell into one end , he would come out the other end as 38 pounds of oil, 7 pounds of gas, and 7 pounds of minerals, as well as 123 pounds of sterilized water. While no one plans to put people into a thermal depolymerization machine, an intimate human creation could become a prime feedstock." Read all about it here.

Keeping in mind Negroponte's work with the Central American death squads and his new promotion, let's not mention the person into oil business again, okay?

Posted by duver001 at 1:31 PM

While we once again ignore the horror: Genocide in the Sudan

East Timor? Nope, the Indonesians were our friends. Cambodia? Bad commies, but what could we do? Rwanda? Just Africans killing each other. Bosnia? A European problem. The Congo? Which one? Good thing that we've been preventing genocides since learning the whole "never forget" lesson.

The Sudan.

Posted by duver001 at 1:25 PM

February 17, 2005

CNN nuclear plant pictures...was that Iran or North Korea?

Turns out that the photos of the Iranian and North Korean reactors are the same picture. Seems the government sources of the pictures aren't sure where this reactor is. The replacement picture has snow, so that probably is from Idaho or North Korea.

Posted by duver001 at 7:41 PM

Do the math

A Bush-plan Social Security calculator. Figure out how much better you'll make out once the Bushites spend an extra $4.5 trillion on SS. Oh, you'll lose money? What a surprise!

Posted by duver001 at 7:36 PM

February 15, 2005

Scott Ritter on NMD

Scott Ritter on NMD. Though he is approaching it mostly from a Russian-watching perspective, commenting on the SS-27 which is laser-hardened, solid-fueled, and carries decoys. The North Korean rocket might be very different.

The "missile defense" system, which has mostly been a corporate welfare system, has any number of other problems. Including not working. Not making a whole lot of sense, and fueling an arms race. Take a look at the APS report on boost intercept missile defense as well.

Posted by duver001 at 3:33 PM

Russia vs. Soros

I haven't linked MosNews lately, but Soros's statements on the loss of Russian democracy are pretty strong. He's advocating removing Russian from the G-8 and supporting the new Serbian, Georgian, and Ukrainian "revolutionary" governments.

Posted by duver001 at 9:50 AM

February 14, 2005

No dirty gold

For Valentine's Day, a campaign to remind folks of how dirty the whole gold mining enterprise is. The focus was mostly on the environment, but a lot of the arguments about the social and economic impacts of mining in the 3rd world could also be made. Of course, it's nowhere near as dirty politically as the bloody African diamond enterprise.

P.S. The article notes that Wal-Mart is one of the three largest (maybe largest?) gold dealers in the U.S. Kinda scary!

Posted by duver001 at 11:08 AM

February 13, 2005

Southern Poverty Law Center on the Washington Times

Favored by Republican presidents, that good old mix of Sun Myung Moon and white supremacists. Mix in a hatred of immigrants (kinda weird considering), worship of the British National Alliance, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Holocaust Revisionists, and generally dodgy characters.

Not to mention the fnords.

Posted by duver001 at 6:00 PM

Plame Leak Timeline

Follow the twists of turns of Karl Rove and his legion of paid hacks. All because someone told the truth about one of the Bush lies about the war with Iraq...

A not-work-safe link to more information about Jeff Gannon's gay prostitute by day/white house shill by night jobs.

Posted by duver001 at 5:53 PM

February 12, 2005

The missing Los Alamos hard drives

Never existed. A $5.8 million fine. People fired. Disciplined. A witch hunt. Turns out that the "missing" hard drives never existed so they probably weren't actually missing. And let's not even talk about the Wen Ho Lee debacle.

Posted by duver001 at 6:03 PM

February 11, 2005

Rumsfeld in Iraq

Posted by duver001 at 11:27 AM

The science-humanities divide, carefully described, by The Onion

Snow's two cultures, for Valentine's Day.

Posted by duver001 at 11:19 AM

February 10, 2005

Fake reporter, with a fake name, reporting for a fake new organization outed

In more than one way... Gay-porn purveyor by night, conservative "reporter" for "Talon News" by day. And maybe even involved in the Plame Affair.

Will this news even last a week? Note that he had white house passes with his fake name on it even though there's a Secret Service background check. Looks like just another paid shill for the White House. Even the NY Daily News coverage is pretty funny.

Just remember, the Republican leadership have no moral sensibilities at all. They killed a hundred thousand Iraqis just so their cronies could profit. Your life and death mean less to them than the setting on their office thermostat.

They will do anything they think they can get away with, and at the moment, they own the government. The only hope we have is that they have managed to alienate the military to the point where they can't get support for a coup. - Jimmy Havok

Posted by duver001 at 7:39 PM

Why digital music players may not be for everyone

Don't eat the iPod!

Posted by duver001 at 7:21 PM

February 9, 2005

Deep Throat speculation renewed

You can check out the discussions on plastic.com or look at some news stories pointing to Bush Senior as the Deep Throat. More speculation can be found on Wikipedia along with the mention that Deep Throat is sick. William Rehnquist is an interesting possibility as well---very sick, assistant attorney general under Mitchell and then put up for the SCOTUS by Dick in 1971. That would make for a complicated story...

Posted by duver001 at 3:32 PM

February 8, 2005

Zogg?!?

Yeah...well, it's, ummm, special.

Posted by duver001 at 6:57 PM

A scalping in Idaho

16 year old gal scalped! Thanks Kelley for sending me this! Remember, if you're tied up and someone comes after you with a knife...hair pretty much grows back, but most other body parts do not.

Posted by duver001 at 4:04 PM

February 7, 2005

Soldier who took the cyanide to Goering

One of the historical oddities of WWII---where did the poison come from? A former soldier reveals what probably did happen.

Posted by duver001 at 3:22 PM

Should we worry when the American Conservative warns us of the Fascist threat in America today?

Another reminder that political labels are just labels. The American Conservative is antiwar. The map is not the territory.

Posted by duver001 at 12:21 AM

More on the Presidential Bulge

Though the most interesting parts are on the limitations imposed on the press, mostly by themselves, to not stir up trouble. A good article from the FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) folks. It could have been a huge story, the President, unable to do a debate without a cueing device.

Or maybe it's just bad blood at this point, so far after the election?

Posted by duver001 at 12:15 AM

February 6, 2005

Rumsfeld uneasy about visiting GErmany

For fear of being prosecuted as a war criminal. Has Henry Kissinger been able to leave the country in the last few years?

Posted by duver001 at 12:48 AM

February 5, 2005

The most expensive Super Bowl advertisement

The Defense Department's overflight with an F/A-22. The program is in cost trouble, since the Soviet Union did disappear a few years back, and is explicitly using the Super Bowl publicity to try to convince the public/congress to give it more money. Like $15.5 billion. Or so.

Posted by duver001 at 7:39 PM

Remember that giving your neighbors cookies can get you fined by the courts!

In Durango, CO. Nice place actually. Lesson? I can't come up with a good one.

Posted by duver001 at 7:14 PM

Something in the "never thought of that before category"

A sherry enema? And death? And a burned will?

Posted by duver001 at 11:16 AM

February 4, 2005

The Weekly Standard strongly advocates totalitarianism here in the States

Yuck, yuck, yuck! "(Senate Democrats) could undermine the president's entire second term agenda. Stronger countermeasures will be needed, including an unequivocal White House response to obstructionism, curbs on filibusters, and a clear delineation of what's permissible and what's out of bounds in dissent on Iraq." No questioning of Dear Leader will be allowed?

Posted by duver001 at 11:58 AM

February 3, 2005

West Antarctic ice might be in worse shape than we thought

When it collapses we're looking at a 16 foot sea level rise. That will be fun.

Posted by duver001 at 5:47 PM

January 31, 2005

S.I.

Library of the Sits online. Fun to be had by all!

Posted by duver001 at 10:46 PM

High-school students and the first ammendment

Surprising or not. High school students know little of the erroding freedom of speech, and many do not support the underlying ideas. A scary survey.

Posted by duver001 at 4:56 PM

Neocons and greens together at last?

Agreeing to try to cut gasoline usage, to save the environment or to not support terrorism. Your choice.

Posted by duver001 at 1:07 PM

January 30, 2005

And what was your high school experience like?

There are some interesting stories buried in the topology.

Posted by duver001 at 11:30 PM

Congressional Budget Office deficit predictions

Makes it clear where the social security money is headed. To rich folks with the permanent tax cut on the richest Americans. Another good article on the taxes business. "Everything you know about taxes is wrong." I learned quite a bit in fact. Maybe it's the clearest statement of what the Bush supporters are doing with the economy, your money, and their wealth.

Posted by duver001 at 1:06 PM

January 29, 2005

RIP Roe v Wade

The Bushites are sure it's finished.

Posted by duver001 at 1:08 PM

January 28, 2005

Children arrested for a drawing made in school

Believe it or not. Really serious criminals, aged 9 and 10. Look at that scary drawing! I know I won't let the police see Sylvia's vampire drawing...

Posted by duver001 at 12:26 AM

January 27, 2005

Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.

Untangling the mercenary, private army, soldier-of-fortune, businessman, or international terrorist identification. English public school boys aren't terrorists, naturally.

Posted by duver001 at 12:48 PM

Do the bush folks know what their own EPA is saying?

The few folks in the Federal Government willing to say that global climate change is real. And really serious.

Posted by duver001 at 12:45 PM

January 26, 2005

Geeky machines

Arthur Ganson's kinetic sculptures. With names like machine with artichoke petal, how could you go wrong?

There just are not enough good kinetic scupltures out there. Have I mentioned yet how disappointed I am that the one in the Children's Museum in St. Paul is out of action at the moment?

Posted by duver001 at 12:57 PM

Jesus is accepting of Spongebob!

Well, the United Church of Christ is accepting of the Spongebob anyway. News story at the UCC website. You know, sarcasm does have its limits I'm afraid. Will accepting Spongebob, Clifford the Red Dog, Tinky-Winky, Barney, and Big Bird help the United Church of Chirst? Help them recruit kindergarteners? Gay people? People sick and tired of the fascist loons who normally "represent" Christianity?

Posted by duver001 at 12:50 PM

Fifty most loathsome people

From the Buffalo Beast! Over the top? Why certainly!

Posted by duver001 at 12:37 PM

January 25, 2005

Since human troops haven't been doing too well in Iraq...

Robots! I'll pass on making any Kraftwerks jokes. Feel free to use to comments to make them...

On the radio this morning, some random MN Republican, pro-war, gets the following question "Since the invasion was illegal, the occupation is illegal, and the resistance is justified, why do you not support negotiating with the Iraqi people?" Parked the car so I didn't get to hear the answer. Oh well...

And the Bushites want another $80B for the war. That'll bring it up to about $300B so far. A bit higher than the "Iraqi oil will pay for nearly all of the costs" estimate. Another estimate which seems a bit far off, the claim that there are about 120k Iraqi troops trained and equiped. It appears that the actual number is somewhat less than 10K. Ooops!

Posted by duver001 at 12:45 PM

An interesting twenty questions implementation online

It got post-it notes and the periodic table, albeit it in about 28 questions each.

Posted by duver001 at 12:41 PM

January 24, 2005

Chains of affection

Interesting article on high-school sex linkages (small town version). This has gotten a lot of press today. Odd topology problems.

Posted by duver001 at 5:50 PM

In a further loss of rights...

The SCOTUS claims that drug dogs sniffing your car, without any probable cause at random checkpoints, once again with no need for probable cause, is "constitutional." Fun, fun, fun!

Posted by duver001 at 5:29 PM

January 21, 2005

Weird sect campaigned for Bush

No, not Republicans in general, but the Exclusive Brethern. They might be banned from reading the paper, voting, or having political opinions, but they can spend $1/2M on TV ads. Tres strange.

Posted by duver001 at 3:25 PM

January 20, 2005

Something (nasty) to do with a rental Neon

I am definitely not endorsing doing bad things with rental cars.

Posted by duver001 at 1:51 PM

Engrish of the day

Every day, another featured Engrish sign or shirt. Good archive as well. But ouch! The for sale items!

Posted by duver001 at 12:40 PM

January 18, 2005

DuPont and Teflon, maybe worse than we thought

The really serious problems seem to be with drinking water and DuPont & 3M employees (and their kids). But ScotchGuard, plus microwave popcorn bags, my lightweight raincoat, and french fry boxes?

Posted by duver001 at 12:48 PM

January 17, 2005

The "free" and "democratic" elections in Iraq

The number of problems is just stunning. Over half of the population is in areas definited as probably too dangerous to vote. Free elections? Like in South Vietnam? And my favorite, most of the candidate names are not on the ballot. It's a form of secret balloting to try to keep more of the candidates alive. But how do you vote for a slot without a name? Maybe just let Diebold do the election counting.

Posted by duver001 at 4:05 PM

January 15, 2005

The city of tomorrow

Available today. Reminds me of the Gernsbach Continuum, the great short story of William Gibson. Some info here. And Miami Beach's Gernsback Continuum here. See also this old slashdot discussion and its links.

Posted by duver001 at 12:49 AM

January 14, 2005

Anarchism Triumphant

Subtitled: Free software and the death of copyright.

Posted by duver001 at 10:39 AM

NYC, Olympics, and the World Fair of 1964

It didn't get a lot of press for the 40th anniversary, did it? The future didn't turn out quite the way it was planned.

Posted by duver001 at 10:36 AM

January 13, 2005

James Forman Obit

I thinks it's fitting that his obit that I'll link is an active blog. James Forman and James Farmer always seemed to be forgotten alongside MLK, Roy Wilkins, Malcolm X, and the later generation of Jesse Jackson and company. Farmer's autobiography (Farmer, James. Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement. New York: Arbor House, 1985) helped frame the post-war socialist/Jewish/antifascist/antiracist movement as a whole, rather than merely "the civil rights movement."

Posted by duver001 at 9:51 PM

January 12, 2005

Iceland headed towards a zero-oil economy

One step at a time...

Posted by duver001 at 10:36 PM

Courts claim that the police can put a GPS tracking device on your vehicle without a court order

Who would have guessed that our rights are being erroded?

Posted by duver001 at 7:17 PM

Other links that are unexpected

I guess to continue the theme for today of linking to things that I wouldn't normally link to, here goes:

  • A NY Post link?!? These raving lunies remind me most of a rabid doberman, but this editorial (is there non-editorial content in the NY Post?) goes directly to the matter of who is not sending money to help the tsunami victims. Something I had not seen other, more reasonable, publications highlight.

  • Where to start? This bothers me on multiple levels. Yet my sick fascination has me clicking through. Seeing that many of these folks have checked their score within the last 12 hours!

  • This site is defunct. The Dubya Scorecard of Evil must have just been too much effort to keep up to date. Someone out there should take up the banner and go with it.

  • Grating cards? Can't think of who I'd send any of these to, but they are funny.

Posted by duver001 at 10:48 AM

January 11, 2005

The coalition of the "willing" loses Ukraine

And the other Iraq news is so thrilling to the Bushites as well.

Posted by duver001 at 5:27 PM

January 10, 2005

An interesting little bit on the economics of art

University of Chicago professor, perhaps naturally. Warhol's famous example of the quarters used in the photobooth to make a multimillion dollar piece of art is a cornerstone of the article.

Posted by duver001 at 6:26 PM

Tsunami relief efforts: Where are the people?

A very profound question that ties into what the final death toll will be. Not that we'll likely get an even vaguely correct answer, but it does appear that there are whole vanished towns which do not appear in the correct figures.

Posted by duver001 at 12:14 PM

British postal service glitch

Ascention Island mail being sent to Ascunsion, Paraguay and to Guyana? Though objectively, how many people can point to all three locations on a map? Okay, maybe everyone reading this can.

Posted by duver001 at 11:29 AM

January 9, 2005

Success in Iraq!

Good news on all fronts in the Iraq war. Victory is certain! Bad news? Nonsense, there's no such thing. Fair, democratic elections in almost half of Iraq will show the world. Elections! Guess we'll get a second Shiite fundamentalist state in the region. But without Judeo-Christian values? Will it matter?

At least the US is planning on using death squads in Iraq. Oh! Oops, guess they are. Negroponte is on the job!

Furthermore, there is justice now in Iraq. Murder an Iraqi civilian and get six months in prison. Plus a pay cut!

Posted by duver001 at 4:11 PM

January 8, 2005

120 year old tortoise adopts stray hippo


Okay, it's overly sweet, so sue me...

Posted by duver001 at 9:50 PM

How the education department wants to educate

By making up the news. Not helping schools or anything like that. That would be namby-pamby liberal stuff. Seriously, spending a million dollars on illegal astroturfed news in favor of No Child Left Behind has got to be more useful that say, spending it on the schools that are "failing."

Posted by duver001 at 8:14 PM

January 7, 2005

And what does a gift to Clarence Thomas get you?

Some people have theories on that front. Or what does buying new car tires for Clarence earn you?

Posted by duver001 at 12:50 PM

January 6, 2005

Could this be the way to reducing anti-American feelings in the Islamic world?

Could US aid to survivors alter anti-Americanism among Muslims? That's what the story asks. Well...let's see, what's better received, blowing people up, shooting them in the streets, imprisoning them without trial, and torturing them, or helping people in need? Darned if I can figure it out.

Posted by duver001 at 2:28 PM

Crime and the primal instincts

Adult store clerk murdered over a Jenna Jameson doll. He then attempted suicide at a Taco Bell.

A service station robbed by a rock-wielding criminal. Getting in touch with the caveperson in each of us. Seems very new agey in fact.

Posted by duver001 at 12:36 PM

January 5, 2005

Tsunami conspiracy theories begin already

Let me admit that I had a momentary thought while in the coffee shop that maybe sumatran coffee bean prices might be affected. I know I'm going to burn for that though, so here are some worse ones (from other people):

First is the foreknowledge theory. The bad guys, that would be the US government, knew the tsunami was coming but didn't let the good guys, poor third-world folks, know.

The link to oil is explored here. Coincidence or a corporate oil tragedy?

Next is the Iman Falwell theory, that is, the victims were sinful in not following the Koran closely enough. Or bible, or something.

Some religious fanatics in the US praise the tsunami and the Swedish deaths there.

The official "George Bush created the tsunami" web pages.

And this grim photo note from the fnord illuminati in Sumatra.

Lots of possible conspiracy theories here...

Including the New York/Wall Street/Zionist use of nuclear weapons.

And don't forget the bovine illuminati! Obvious connections to the tsunami.

In an interview with the Independent newspaper in Britain, Stephen Tindale, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree." Speaking to the same newspaper, Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper pressed the argument home: "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions." Yup, climate change causes earthquakes...

Or maybe the "terrorists" have earthquake weapons?

Good tsunami data---good starting point for data on the physical quake and waves.

Posted by duver001 at 12:10 PM

January 4, 2005

A continuing crisis

Laura Bush, satanist? Other top urban legends.

Softcore robot porn. Actually work-safe, but a mite bizarre nonetheless.

Bulgarian man admited to the hospital with a blood-alcohol level of 0.914! About twice the usual lethal level...

FEMA's tsunami warning comic for kids. Their "stack up the dead bodies and burn them" game has been removed due to bad taste. Really.

Posted by duver001 at 11:14 PM

Tsunami relief funds = 1.5 Days of Iraq War


Though these sorts of equations have their limitations. The biggest science experiment I've ever worked on costs the same as a new fighter plane, or enough to immunize all of the unimmunized kids in the States.

But the money is never movable.

Posted by duver001 at 12:36 PM

$175 Billion for a bunch of roads in Texas?

Privately owned and tolled. But $175B? Very weird vision of future travel. Quarter-mile wide strips of pavement, with train lines, and power/gas/oil lines. I would think that a back-of-the-envelope calculation would show the number of lines to be silly, but I'm kinda busy at the moment...

Posted by duver001 at 12:26 PM

January 3, 2005

Wikipedia debate continued

The Tea coverage on the wiki I think shows the very best of what is possible with the open source encyclopedia. Some folks have been having luck with other wikis, including wikitravel. Larry Sanger, who I briefly worked with on Nupedia, the peer-reviewed (failed) precursor to wikipedia, has a critical article up on the problems with wikipedia. Check out slashdot for some additional discussion on the subject.

"If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." - William Gladstone

Posted by duver001 at 9:01 PM

Dubya's church funding

Dubya wants to send more money to faith-based "charities." Already five federal agencies send their cash directly to religious organizations...

Posted by duver001 at 4:27 PM

January 2, 2005

British gal's school lesson saves at least 100 folks at a Thai beach

School lessons can save lives, maybe even 100 lives.

Posted by duver001 at 2:48 PM

December 29, 2004

Cars for tall people

As a 2m tall person, the topic of cars for people of my height comes up on occasion. I drive a 1998 Volvo wagon, but have been successful driving cars as small as a Fiat Uno and a Ford Ka (in Europe and Argentina respectively). And been totally unable to drive a Ford Tempo (sun visor blocking forward view) and had a lot of trouble with a Honda Civic (1st and 2nd gear being inside of my right leg). I'll probably add a bit to this later, but there is some dimensional information available at Edmunds and elsewhere.

2003 Top 10 list by dimensions.

2004 Top 10 list with some comments.

Some headroom data.

Notable used cars would include Saabs, Volvos, BMWs, and Mercedes in general, and the VW Passat, Toyota Avalon & Cressida (going way back), Nissan Maxima, and Mitsubishi Diamante.

Posted by duver001 at 6:39 PM

A creative commons for the sciences

If it catches on, it would be a major step in freeing academic science from the for-profit journals. In physics, xxx at Los Alamos has essentially freed the preprint "industry" for a decade. Other fields?

Posted by duver001 at 11:45 AM

Sri Lanka landmine update

From Tim Horner in Sri Lanka:

Dear Mike et al
The situation in Sri Lanka is indeed quite bad. The current death toll here from the half a dozen or so tidal surges on Sunday morning, stands at over 13,000 and will no doubt rise. However, the relief effort is surprisingly well coordinated and efficient (I say surprisingly because I did a Masters at Cranfield in Disaster Management and we studied the confusion that generally follows the onset of a rapid disaster).

The Government structures have taken charge and UNOCHA has sent 6 personnel in to act as a coordination centre for international aid in support of the Government. The UN and NGO's are working as one, focused on the clear job in hand. The initial local response has been excellent so far with political problems
put aside, UNHCR / ICRC type support for the displaced was in the field hours after the onset.

One area of interest for our forum to learn from is the media stories about
minefields being lifted and swept across the landscape by the wave action.
This has put constraints on the response agencies because people are
concerned about going into various areas for the fear of "displaced minefields".
A Sri Lankan Brigadier told me that minefields around a military base on the
beach in Batticaloa (SE Sri Lanka) have been washed away, but he hasn't seen
them and his information is third or fourth hand. I have a team here in Jaffna (Northern Sri Lanka) looking for specific cases of mine or UXO movement. After 3 days of focused investigation we have found only 2 Type 72s laying among the debris of a village. We have found a few UXO and some lost munitions but no mines other than those 2 T72s where we weren't expecting them. The media is portraying displaced mines as a significant obstacle to relief and rescue workers. They aren't.

There may be isolated cases of mines and certainly ammunition moved from
army OP's on the beaches (the army lost many soldiers who were manning beach bunkers and sentry points). But I can verify the fact that significant mine
migration in Jaffna due to Tsunami's is more media rhetoric than reality.

One last thing, although the death toll is so high, to my knowledge there were no deaths or injuries to any of the mine action expats in Sri Lanka. The local staff will be a different matter with many living in isolated villages but we won't have a clear picture until the dust settles.

Best regards
Tim
PS for regularly updated official information you can access the National Disaster Management center website www.lk.undp.org/ndmc.

Posted by duver001 at 11:41 AM

December 28, 2004

RIP Susan Sontag

All of today's news is bad. Back to playing with the kids...

Posted by duver001 at 2:20 PM

More problems in Sri Lanka

From The Scotsman

Land Mines Add to Sri Lanka's Misery

Tidal waves that hammered Sri Lanka have uprooted land mines that threaten to kill or maim survivors trying to return home while endangering relief workers, a Unicef official said today.

The tsunami have scattered mines and destroyed warning signs, said Ted Chaiban, the aid agency’s Sri Lanka chief.

“Land mines are posing a new risk to Sri Lankans, and to relief efforts,” he said. “Mines were floated by the floods and washed out of known mine fields, so now we don’t know where they are and the warning signs ... have been swept away or destroyed.”

The greatest danger will come when survivors begin to return to their homes, not knowing where the mines are, Chaiban said.

More than 1.5 million mines have been planted across Sri Lanka by the army and Tamil Tiger rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland since 1983.

Posted by duver001 at 10:34 AM

December 26, 2004

Disaster video

Here.

Posted by duver001 at 10:51 AM

December 22, 2004

Working for free at Apple

One of the more interesting geek stories that I've heard recently. Laid off, but comes to work and develops new program which goes on to be incorporated into every copy of the OS. Very weird. Very geeky.

Posted by duver001 at 3:30 PM

December 21, 2004

Self-heating lattes on their way

With Wolfgang Puck's name on them. Since he's already broken into the frozen pizza market, what sensible choice for expansion remains? Let me predict the failure of this product, mostly because it's 10oz in size! Starbuck's smallest is 12oz and large is 20oz (Venti means twenty ounces in Italian). Too small. Too dainty. We're Americans! 10oz is about right for our four shots of espresso, not for our milk drinks.

Posted by duver001 at 12:31 PM

December 20, 2004

But our main lesson for the day is to use your truffles before they go bad!

$52k, locked in a safe, rotted, now returned to the Earth with the hope of spawning more next year.

Posted by duver001 at 7:21 PM

The Love Shack!

Burned down! Down, down, down...

Posted by duver001 at 7:08 PM

December 19, 2004

Mine detection

Using rats! These are really good folks, doing a great job, but the pictures definitely have some humor value.

Posted by duver001 at 9:08 PM

December 16, 2004

A US Caterham experience

While Caterham Super 7s are "normal" cars in the UK, purchasable and registerable in the same way as any other automobile, they're in a bit more complicated of a state in the States. Here we have state-to-state variations in the registration laws and how kit cars are treated. Also a patchwork of emission laws. Heck, driver licensing, voter registration, etc.

The full story of purchasing and registering a Caterham a few years ago (2000) in North Carolina. Interestingly, it was his second Lotus 7 derivative. And things have gotten somewhat easier since then, Caterham USA has been launched and I've even spotted a seven in Minneapolis (in the summer!).

Anyway, the SV model has given hope to 6'6" shoe size 13 people everywhere that they too might someday own a seven.

Posted by duver001 at 12:01 PM

December 15, 2004

What is humor?

Is it a posed picture claiming to be a Saudi beauty contest? The 2008 Genocides scheduled? Or does it have to be real, like 1999's Christmas Lost Salamander? Or real and connected to subjects we find, for cultural reasons, to be touchy? Well, if this were a treatise on humor, perhaps Aristotle's lost volume (remember The Name of the Rose?), or Nietzsche's rants after the syphillis crossed the blood-brain barrier, we could find the Truth. Here instead, you'd have to put up with my version of the dog, brick, cigar, airplane, and house construction shaggy-dog story. Take one. Take two. Annie Dillard's version. Let the love flow like honey...

Posted by duver001 at 6:21 PM

A very-special edition iPod for the holidays?

Special editions for all tastes.

Posted by duver001 at 5:55 PM

Holiday gift guide

  • Caffeinated soap? You absord the caffeine through the skin while you lather up.
  • From Japan, the boyfriend arm pillow. Snuggle up with a real, authentic, pillow that looks like an arm. Not to be confused with the nipple scarves which are so 2002.
  • In a similar, Japanese vein, here's the girlfriend lap pillow. Wearing a tight, red (or black) removable miniskirt. We're heading into PG-13 territory here... More news coverage indicates that it's about $90, comes with both red and black skirts, and is selling well!
  • As always, the kindly folks at National Lampoon have provided a safe toy shopping guide for 2004. Highly recommended as an alternative to common sense.
  • An oldie, but a goodie, the vibrating Harry Potter broomstick.
  • Sushi air fresheners make GREAT stocking stuffers!
  • Canned animals might be even worse...
  • The More DVD from the Despair Folks. You can also watch the six minutes of joy online clicking from that link.
  • Monthly Doos 2005: The dog poop calendar.
  • A blog listing of the worst gifts a bunch of folks had ever gotten.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:06 AM
  • Nancy, Mr. T, Frogs, Nixon, and Elvis



    Somehow it all fits together. Too well. Also check out the best 404 page I've seen in a while.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:03 AM

    December 14, 2004

    Is it a continuing crisis, or just the same old news, repackaged for a new day? I may never know, but here are some little tidbits for you, hot off of the wire services, preselected for your viewing pleasure.

    Bad sex writing award for Tom Wolfe. "But the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns -- oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest -- no, the hand was cupping her entire right -- Now!" Ouch!!!

    The old "nude photo" trick.

    Man bites dog. No, really!

    Posted by duver001 at 7:08 PM

    Ooops! Minnesota electoral votes: 9 Kerry, 1 Edwards

    Probably a mistake... First faithless elector in Minnesota history. Certainly an auspicious day.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:32 PM

    December 12, 2004

    Dioxin vs. Sushi

    Yushchenko's poisoning is officially a massive dosage of dioxin. We normally think of long-term, lower-dose exposure (Agent Orange, Love Canal, etc.). Interesting and weird effects. Karl Rove is no doubt laughing at how ridiculously blunt those Russian-speaking Ukrainians have been---no crowds on the street in this country to protest the election.

    Sushi? Oh, that's what the government had claimed Yushchenko's problem had been due to. Bad sushi.

    Posted by duver001 at 7:01 PM

    December 11, 2004

    Everything you needed to know about the marines

    Given a choice of losing his finger or having his wedding ring cut... Well, now he has nine fingers, the doctors lost the ring anyway, and probably violated the Hipocratic Oath in the process.

    Posted by duver001 at 9:42 PM

    December 10, 2004

    International Space Station runs out of food, film at 11pm

    I refuse to connect this story to any sort of science, since science is the last thing that the space station is useful for. Well, unless by science, you mean middle school science fair projects, in which case there are a few options.

  • The news story.
  • Slashdot discussion.

    I know April is still quite far off, but just look at it:

    ``NASA and the Russian Space Agency were stunned to learn last week that the astronauts had begun digging into the 45-day food reserve -- which exists to protect against a delayed supply shipment -- in mid-November.''

    Do they seriously mean that:

    1. The astronauts weren't supplied with enough food
    2. The situation was so bad they had to dig into the reserves
    3. They didn't tell Earth about this?

    If this is how seriously the people involved take their mission, I say we cut the funding right here, right now.

    I've never been able to see space flight as anything but a waste of time, energy and money, but I've been okay with it; other people have lives and opinions too. But time and time again it turns out they don't do it properly. Exploding rockets and space shuttles, confusing metric and imperial units, failed Mars missions, and now this.

    Looks like they have one Mr. H Simpson aboard!

    Mmmmm space doughnuts... Woohoo! I've lost 95lbs!

    Woohoo! Mmmmm freeze dried christmas cake... mmm...
    Woohoo I'm still 0lbs!

    Just don't let him get at the ant colony.

    Posted by duver001 at 1:11 PM
  • December 9, 2004

    Free Speech and Intellectual Property

    The Negativland-U2 business has been covered before here, see music links, but the Negativland iPod for sale on eBay was removed for violations of IP protections. Irony at its best. Perhaps the Negativland folks didn't want their images used for the sale? Or U2 was upset? Or Apple?

    Furthering the wonderful IP developments in the US is the new policy that US free speech only applies to Americans. Books banned by a foreign country can no longer be published in the US!!! Dr. Zhivago is the mentioned example of a book, banned by Soviet Russia, that under the current rules would not be publishable in the states. Best guess is that this is a Saudi Arabia concession. Though our government might be sponsoring the interests of the Chinese, Burmese, or Pakistani dictactorships instead.

    Society had become divided into two ideologically hostile camps, and each viewed the other with suspicion. - Thucydides

    Posted by duver001 at 7:34 PM

    December 8, 2004

    Iraqi Ducky

    Posted by duver001 at 3:26 PM

    December 7, 2004

    Continuing threads

    Sharing the headlines along with the Ukrainian democracy struggle are the following gems...

    Chinese suicide hotlines overloaded and most "customers" get a busy signal, and unfortunate hitchikers in Zimbabwe are forced at gunpoint to rob a grave. Of its casket. The casket is needed due to the high rate of AIDS deaths and the resale value of a gently-used coffin. Would I be able to make this up?

    Posted by duver001 at 1:44 AM

    December 6, 2004

    Lucky Ducky votes!

    Posted by duver001 at 7:21 PM

    The Ukraine, in music

    It's been interesting following the protests in Kiev over the stolen Ukrainian election. Beautiful seeing democracy coming peacefully to this part of the world. A lot of folks have mentioned the hip-hop song of Ukrainian protest in the news. You can listen to the song here. Without speaking any Ukrainian, I think I can understand a good fraction of it.

    On a local note, the Mila Vocal Ensemble performed this weekend at Unity Church in St. Paul, playing the folk music of the Ukraine, among other nations/cultures. Worth checking them out...

    Weirdly enough, the wikipedia coverage of the Ukrainian "Orange Revolution" is worth checking out. Current affairs in an encyclopedia? I think some of the strengths of the wikipedia are being shown here.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:21 AM

    December 5, 2004

    The war goes well, if you watch Fox

    Radical Christian Cleric Jerry Falwell noted that CNN and Fox differed a bit. On Fox, the war in Iraq looks like it's going well. Imagine that?

    Posted by duver001 at 11:03 PM

    Postmodern boy adventurer

    The Adventures of Billy Dare are one of the recurring Ruben Bolling featurettes that I really enjoy. I remember looking at the pictures in Tintin as a kid (Tintin en Francais that is) and later reading the English translation. So, boy adventurer is probably not a genre that has much cache unless Tintin (or similar) was part of your childhood. Still...the postmodern literary device has the ability to ruin the innocence of any childhood book. Happily so in my opinion.

    Or for something more in the holiday spirit, check out the economic analysis of the 12 days of Chirstmas song with bricks and mortar compared to the internet purchasing.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:34 PM

    December 4, 2004

    Free Speech Zones

    Posted by duver001 at 12:23 PM

    December 3, 2004

    What's New

    There's a weekly column, called What's New which comes out every Friday from Bob Park at the University of Maryland and the American Physical Society. "Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the University of Maryland, but they should be." It's an institution among physicists with the news covering the intersection of physics with politics, culture, theology, and education. Highly recommended.

    From this week's as a taste...

    3. PRAYER STUDY: COLUMBIA PROFESSOR REMOVES HIS NAME FROM PAPER.
    We have been tracking the sordid story of the Columbia prayer study for three years http://www.aps.org/WN/WN01/wn100501.cfm . It claimed that women for whom total strangers prayed were twice as likely to become pregnant from in-vitro fertilization as others; it was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. At the time we were unaware of the background of the study, but knew it had to be wrong; the first assumption of science is that events result from natural causes. The lead author, Rugerio Lobo, who at the time was Chair of Obstetrics, now says he had no role in the study. The author who set up the study is doing five years for fraud in a separate case, and his partner hanged himself in jail. Another author left Columbia and isn't talking. The Journal has never acknowledged any responsibility, and after withdrawing the paper for "scrutiny," has put it back on the web. Nor has the Journal published letters critical of the study. Columbia has never acknowledged any responsibility. All of this has come out due to the persistence of Bruce Flamm, MD. The science community should flatly refuse all proposals or papers that invoke any supernatural explanation for physical phenomena.

    Posted by duver001 at 2:41 PM

    Future passed

    Fax machines from the distant past...

    And in the I-wish-I-had-nvented- it category, but this time for the weirdness and not for the profit, here's the Banana Guard!

    Posted by duver001 at 3:24 AM

    December 2, 2004

    The continuing crisis

    What fraction of Britons know what Auschwitz is/was? Nearly half had never heard of the place.

    Do you eat iceberg lettuce? Know much about environmental perchlorate? Remember anything about the solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle? Or how the heck this got into organic milk from Maryland? Stay tuned to the FDA, the folks that brought you concrete-fed cows, milkshakes made with polymerized foams, and genetically-enhanced organic whole foods.

    Posted by duver001 at 11:37 PM

    What if the mars rover were a dissaffected goth teenager with a LJ blog?

    Wonder no longer.

    Posted by duver001 at 11:10 PM

    Extreme Accounting?

    A skeptical note from the Extreme Ironing folks.


    Posted by duver001 at 7:28 PM

    100 Science-related Things to-do Before Dying

    100 Scientific Things To-Do Before Checking Out. The original article is in New Scientist, but I haven't found a link online, it looks to be available only, gulp, in print!

    Some of these are interesting, some useful, but some are a bit bizarre or even nonsensical.

    Addendum:

    The description of the Choctaw facts in this article are misleading.

    Choctaw does have two past tenses, but they are not differentiated in the way claimed. The regular past tense, written -tok (or -tuk in older orthogrophies) is used for completed events ranging back about a year. The other suffix -ttook is for events that were completed more than a year ago. Furthermore, events that happened within the past few minutes and are still relevent for the current situation are often marked as "present" (-h).

    Choctaw, and a huge number of other languages in the world, also have what are called evidentials. These are suffixes that indicate how you know the statement is true. In Choctaw, there is a first-hand knowledge suffix -hlih, used when you have direct evidence of the claim (you saw it, heard it, smelled it, etc). There is also the suffix -ashah which indicates that you are guessing that it is true -- you have some indirect evidence, such as hearsay, or very circumstantial evidence.

    Tense and evidentiality are definitely distinct, as you can find tense and evidentiality marked at the same time on the verb.

    Checkout the papers by a Choctaw expert: Broadwell at Albany

    Online Choctaw classes are also offered.

    Posted by duver001 at 2:38 PM

    Anticommunist cartoon book (approved by the FBI)

    I found it funnier to think Republican every time it mentioned Communist. Instant update to the naughts (zeros? what the heck is this decade called?).

    Posted by duver001 at 8:43 AM

    December 1, 2004

    Landmine detection by plant

    I first spotted mentions of this a few months ago. The picture is pretty impressive. There's a short mention here and a link to the company that makes the plant. Guess where the mine is?

    Posted by duver001 at 10:45 PM

    Out-LaRouching the LaRouchites (tinfoil beanie meme)

    This is a mandatory tin-foil beanie link. A bunch of folks in Seattle out-weirding the LaRouchites.

    Posted by duver001 at 8:41 AM

    Eigenradio, statistically optimal music

    Eigenradio at MIT. Check out their Christmas album for an extra special taste of statistically generated music. Generated by analyzing scads of Christmas music. Maybe next year a Chanuka album?

    Posted by duver001 at 8:21 AM

    The transition from 1960s radical to Green, but interventionist, establishment politician

    Despite the long, and dull title, let me highly recommend thisi (relatively long) piece of journalism. The Passion of Joschka Fischer. I found it to be an extremely interesting piece which connected strongly to me with the matter of humanitarian action (which typically has some military guise to it) for the Left. Kosovo? Heck, Rwanda which is heavily in the news these days for the 10th anniversary of the genocide. There certainly would have been antiwar protests had the US gotten involved there. Afghanistan? Bosnia? Fischer belonged to a European generation which was radicalized far beyond the crowd that Bill Clinton hung out with (it would be hard to picture a senior SDS person in the Senate, let alone on Pennsylvania Avenue).

    Also of note in the article is the dividing point for these radicals taking place at Entebbe. Realizing that the "noble PLO" was not so different from their parents' and grandparents' SS in either goal or method. If the article is interesting to you, I'd also recommend The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (movie) and Televisionaries (book) as interesting, but by no means complete, touches on the subject of the urban terrorists of early 1970s Germany.

    Posted by duver001 at 4:36 AM

    November 30, 2004

    Recent Hitchens Obits

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 2:34 PM

    November 29, 2004

    Holiday season!!!

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:17 AM

    Punk rock venues of Lubbock, TX

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:10 AM

    November 28, 2004

    In Breaking News, Gen. Franco is still dead!

    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?

    Posted by duver001 at 9:58 PM

    November 27, 2004

    Newspeak awards

    Dubya wins again! See also the past winners.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:28 AM

    November 26, 2004

    November 24, 2004

    Mall of America, whipped by those capitalists in Beijing

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 1:23 PM

    The Finest British (Animal) War Heroes?

    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'."

    Posted by duver001 at 12:29 PM

    November 23, 2004

    Chemical Imbalance

    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!

    Posted by duver001 at 1:02 PM

    November 22, 2004

    Taxidermy the way it should be done

    Are any additional words truly needed?

    Posted by duver001 at 2:22 PM

    November 21, 2004

    A very weird blog

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 5:41 PM

    November 19, 2004

    The other red state-blue state divide, federal taxes paid

    PDF article here, from Fortune Magazine.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:56 PM

    Serious and silly, light and heavy, dark and light

    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?

  • Posted by duver001 at 11:46 AM

    November 17, 2004

    Hunt via the internet (aka the information atv trail)

    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

    Posted by duver001 at 11:00 AM

    November 15, 2004

    What the US military is using for a counterinsurgency manual in Iraq.

    From the New York Times and the Federation of American Scientists.

    Posted by duver001 at 8:31 PM

    Numbers stations, robotic hugs, and giant hailstones

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:33 PM

    November 14, 2004

    Another old suck article...

    ...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.

    Posted by duver001 at 10:45 PM

    More on the "abortion and cancer" linkage

    Including some of the text from the state statements.

    Posted by duver001 at 8:31 PM

    CIA being purged of "liberals"

    You know, that hotbed of liberalism, no, not The Nation, the CIA! Gotta get rid of them!

    Posted by duver001 at 7:08 PM

    Laws, secrets, secret laws

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 7:03 PM

    Evil store

    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...

    Posted by duver001 at 3:34 PM

    November 13, 2004

    "We are ice where once we were fire."

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 4:35 PM

    November 12, 2004

    A new age military ("The Men Who Stare at Goats")

    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.

    Exerpts have been appearing in the Guardian: the road to Abu Ghraib and part two.

    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...

    Posted by duver001 at 2:02 PM

    How to tell if you're French, by my 17th cousin Nicholas

    French culture!

    Posted by duver001 at 12:20 AM

    November 11, 2004

    More on Extreme Ironing (EI)

    EI Wiki

    Extreme Ironing links

    Ironing while hang-gliding!

    Australian Extreme Underwater Ironing.

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 7:51 PM

    Global warming will make it easier to drill for oil in the Arctic...

    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...

    Posted by duver001 at 1:54 AM

    November 10, 2004

    Status of the Iran-EU nuclear talks

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:32 PM

    Interesting project at McGill

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 8:00 AM

    November 9, 2004

    Politics

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 7:08 PM

    November 8, 2004

    Political news

    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."

    Posted by duver001 at 1:31 PM

    November 7, 2004

    The six degrees of sweatshirt separation

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 10:00 PM

    Oh Canada!

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 9:55 PM

    Though the "cell phone" theory of polling didn't work out on this election...

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 8:51 PM

    November 6, 2004

    Hunter S. Thompson

    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?

    Nope!

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 11:22 PM

    November 5, 2004

    San Diego mayoral race

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:37 PM

    November 4, 2004

    Extreme Ironing

    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...

    Iron on
    Steam

    Posted by duver001 at 12:33 PM

    November 2, 2004

    November 1, 2004

    Oddly enough, oil speculators are betting on Kerry

    Though the Saudis, and Iranians, are firmly in Bush's camp, the oil future prices fell with the Kerry victory speculation. Maybe it'll all be determined tomorrow?

    Best Bush sign I've seen. Sorry, it was a parody.

    Posted by duver001 at 8:59 PM

    Amazon weirdness

    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.

    Posted by duver001 at 2:34 PM

    October 31, 2004

    Happy Halloween (All Hallows Eve)

    Thanks to Catharine for these links...related to the torture and execution of "witches" in medieval Europe. Spent most of the day doing Halloween things with the twins...Orchestra Hall, swim class, lunch, costume trials, and trick-or-treating.

    Court Records Vs. Individual Experience: A Trial at Bamberg

    The Damnable Life and Death of Stubbe Peeter

    Medieval Sourcebook: Witchcraft Documents [15th Century]

    Posted by duver001 at 7:42 PM

    October 30, 2004

    Scottish court pardons witches

    It might be a little late, but the execuated witches and their cats are being pardoned. To me, part of the oddity is thinking about 1735 law which only made it a crime to pretend to be a witch. Hmmmm...

    Also, try the following "advertisement." WARNING: Not necessarily work safe. I'd adjust the volume down.

    Posted by duver001 at 11:11 AM

    October 28, 2004

    The continuing crisis...

    Seems that the Department of Homeland Security is right on top of the Rubik Cube knockoffs being sold in small shops. It appears that they've cracked down on all of the terrorists out there, arresting Cheney and Osama bin Laden, and are now valiantly defending America from knock-off Rubik Cubes. Though the patent protection had expired... Slashdot has picked up on it also.

    I'm allergic to most cats, except for some short-haired, outdoor-dwelling felines, and in some cases QUITE allergic to them. On the other hand, I won't be one of the first to order Allerca the Hypo-Allergenic Cat. A mere $3500 will buy one of the first available transgenic pets. I'm guessing that the animals will be sold sterilized. Would the hypoallergenic gene supression breed true? Not sure about that.

    And former detainees at Gitmo have been turning up back in Afghanistan, something that wouldn't have happened had they been treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. They would be held until the end of hostilities and a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. What a mess...

    Posted by duver001 at 8:49 PM

    Couldn't resist a little more politics...

    A Florida man imprisons his girlfriend. To prevent her from voting for Kerry. A lock on the vote?

    Bush's ghostwriter alleges that Bush was planning the Iraq invasion in 1999, before being selected president. This and other accusation appear on GNN. Would be nice to see if this leads anywhere, but with less than a week left before the election, all sort of oddities slide out of closets and out from under doors.

    Posted by duver001 at 6:29 PM

    Iraq death rate study: Perhaps 100,000 civilian deaths since the war began

    Been sick again today, but this sort of news item seems important.

    There's a lot of coverage out there, but I'll go with my basic AP News on Yahoo. As a physical scientist, the procedure for coming up with these numbers has obvious flaws, but it seems to have a history of working relatively well. Doubling the national death rate of a country is far from a humanitarian success. Hard to figure out what else to say other than noting the 57 deaths per 1000 live births child death rate! Ouch.

    Another link.

    Link to the Lancet article, registration required.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:56 PM

    October 27, 2004

    Semipolitical news of the day

    Well, I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I'll keep it short. Just two links for your amusement today...

    Our first is an warning, a gentle reminder that running over Katherine Harris is not protected political speech. Even trying to run her over could get you into a fair amount of trouble. Though the number of Death Race 2000 points you'd earn...

    And in further Florida news, Diebold doesn't have to go it alone. Okay, that was too cynical, let's try again... 58,000 absentee ballots have disappeared. They were destined for a county that went Gore by a landslide. Question, who benefits from this loss of absentee ballots? Hmmmm...

    Seeming less like humor is the Onion's coverage of the "Get out and vote on November 3rd" campaign for minorities.

    Posted by duver001 at 7:32 PM

    October 26, 2004

    Automobile technologies not for US consumption

    The New York Times has a piece on automobile technologies not likely to be coming to the states anytime soon. It's a short article and focuses largely on the legal environment of the US as the technology limiter---mentioning only things like TV in cars, web & email, and self-parallel-parking modes.

    Seeing this article made me think about the actual important technologies that haven't made it to cars in the US...fuel-efficient diesels, fuel-efficient anything, gasoline direct-injection engines, the common European rain-sensing wipers and roadway hazard radio modes, navigation systems that work, heck, even lots of good car models fail to make it to the states. Check out a copy of Car magazine (British general sort of car magazine, available at Barnes & Noble and the like) or Evo (for the higher performance crowd, similar availability) and see some of the examples. I think there's more at work than just lawsuits. Are the profit margins on cars very different here and in Europe? Japan? I'm not sure.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:54 PM

    Today's entries, by popular demand!

    The final pie-fight scene in Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove was filmed, but cut from the release of the movie. On the other hand, those wild and crazy Taiwan politicos let it fly, live on TV (and in print coverage here) while discussing the military budget. Though the (fantasy) thought of our congress-slugs with lunchboxes does have a certain appeal. (Clash of the Titans lunchbox in Once Upon a Time in Mexico?)

    Probably not as a result, Colin Powell strongly stated The One China Policy(TM) in unusually blunt terms. Could it be that after Putin's endorsement of Bush, they're also looking for a Jintao boost?

    British experts have found that tea can prevent symptoms of something or other, I forget what. On the more serious side of brewing tea, there seems to be a problem in California. A horrible drug problem sure to create a new genre of warning films. Kava Abuse!!! The highway patrol is cracking down on those driving under the influence of Kava. "Drunk" on herbal tea. They said that they would even arrest those under the influence of a "good merlot." Egalitarian to the end.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:16 PM

    October 25, 2004

    Newspaper endorsements

    I'm not sure I've ever completely understood the newspaper endorsement of presidential candidates game. It seems strange to me that these endorsements, from normally staid, middle-of-the-road papers which attempt to be nominally apolitical, are important and, furthermore, eagerly awaited.

    The current tally of newspapers has some real oddities, I think. Chicago Tribune and Harford Courant for Dubya? The Trib must have a lot of suburban readers? Connecticut needs to support the Shrub for what reason exactly? Another promised Seawolf sub? Hadn't heard about that. Rich voters? Darned if I know.

    Another surprise is the Idaho Statesman endoresement of Kerry. To be true, a lukewarm endorsement, but I can understand that. This is in a state which is likely to go Bushie by perhaps as much as 20 percentage points.

    Speaking of the Chicago Tribune, they have an excellent article on the Turkish state control of Islam within the country. A fascinating read on how a fundamentally undemocratic agency helps maintain the secular, and indeed democratic, aspects of Turkish society.

    And the New Yorker broke with tradition and made an endorsement of Kerry, or more accurately, an anti-endorsement of the current regime.

    Posted by duver001 at 4:32 PM

    Human abduct alien, in Roswell

    The UFO museums, yes plural, in Roswell, New Mexico are quite a sight, a must visit if you happen to be in the area for some unknown reason. The drive between Roswell and Lubbock has a special place in my thoughts about the abuses of police powers, but that's really another subject entirely. As I haven't been following the local Roswell paper well enough, I had missed the news from July when an alien was abducted right off the street by people in a pickup truck. Shocking! Oh, an alien mannequin. In a wheelchair. I guess cow-tipping has gotten to be old and dull.

    Posted by duver001 at 2:39 PM

    October 24, 2004

    Final pre-election report from the Minneapolis Committee on Political Links

    With just over a week before the November 2nd elections, it's difficult to imagine that there are any undecided voters, so listing the evils of the Bushites (PDF version here) may not be all that useful. Want to make some predictions? Well, try any of the electoral college map websites. I like this one in addition to the Boston Globe site mentioned earlier.

    Lest we think November 2nd is our only goal, we're reminded of what we lose regardless of the election outcome and the importance of rededicating our efforts come November 3rd. So, finding little humor in the presidential election, we dare to ask the question, Is New York City's water supply kosher? A vexing problem.

    Posted by duver001 at 4:31 PM

    October 22, 2004

    Ventura endorses Kerry?

    Hmmm...well, maybe he's endorsing Kerry, but he's not talking. For the full odd details, turn to the AP newswire. Maybe they were afraid Jesse was going to say something about being reincarnated as a bra.

    As an addendum, Jesse now speaks out against Bush.

    Posted by duver001 at 5:55 PM

    More LA Times coverage of the Israel-Iran nuclear confrontation

    Here.

    Posted by duver001 at 10:51 AM

    When universities act like corporations

    Got a letter in email (along with everyone else at the UMN as far as I know) pointing me to this website for a "Strategic Positioning" statement, whatever that is. As L. said when asked whether this was still a university or a corporation, "Yes - an intellectual community run by corporate bastards. If they have 'Town Hall' sessions, then everyone has a chance to be 'heard,' and no one gets to complain that their ideas weren't taken into account when the university/corporation does something that makes monetary but not intellectual sense." Oh yeah, that's right. That's how it all works.

    The notion that this Strategic Positioning (a university needs to position? what about teaching and research) is essentially copied directly from the Enron and Halliburton mission statements is hardly reassuring. That was a deliberate, ironic ploy, right? Has to be!

    Posted by duver001 at 10:49 AM

    October 21, 2004

    A good article on the Iranian nuclear program

    From the LA Times, comes this longish newspaper story on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The emphasis is a bit different that the "November is the decision time" sort of stories I had previously linked, but still makes the case that time is short. One of the great unwritten (since I think a lot of it isn't understood fully at this point) stories of the 20th century must be the Pakistani, North Korean, Libyan, Iranian, and others (???) underground nuclear deals. A very odd business which has gotten buried in the "Pakistan is war on terror ally" propaganda.

    Posted by duver001 at 2:14 PM

    October 20, 2004

    Pat Robertson clarifies...

    ...something or other about the war and George Bush's upcoming victory. So, did Bush really think there would be NO casualties in Iraq? Anytime we need to invoke Pat's name, we know it's going to be a weird tale.

    Posted by duver001 at 5:38 PM

    October 19, 2004

    Google usage

    What google is used for in other parts of the world. Thinking about this web log, I might be in a world of trouble if I were 'napped.

    Posted by duver001 at 5:25 PM

    October 17, 2004

    Six things you didn't know about Minnesota

    Located here. See also several other states. Contribute your own favorite.

    Posted by duver001 at 10:46 PM

    October 16, 2004

    Pierre Salinger

    Pierre Salinger, JFK White House staffer and long-time news correspondant passed away. The obit does mention his work with the TWA flight 800 business. A strange business indeed. Early indications of the cause of the crash centered on a missile impact to the 747. The ultimate NTSB verdict was an explosion of fuel vapors in one of the fuel tanks. This explanation was widely criticized and most of the weblinks out there remain focused, as Pierre Salinger was, on the role of a missile. Quite possibly a US naval practice missile. A quick starting point for looking at this is the TWA800.com site or here.

    I reserve judgement on this as it seems difficult to believe that any such coverup could be successful for long. We'll see if eventually it becomes common knowledge that a missile was responsible.

    Posted by duver001 at 10:07 PM

    October 14, 2004

    Links for the day

    Direct brain to computer interfaces being tested. Right out of a cyberpunk novel.

    An interesting study on the quasi-military pseudo-government "private security firms" that have played such a large role in the Iraq debacle.

    If you don't get The Nation you may have missed the latest scandal. What, it hasn't been topping the news, at Fox or GE?

    One last one, in full bitterness mode. Don't forget to look at The Onion's Darfur coverage.

    Posted by duver001 at 12:40 PM

    October 13, 2004

    Good car pictures (special for today)

    Hmmmm...Jaguars are warm weather animals. Which reminds me of a great story about how I tracked on foot a mountain lion across the hills in Argentina while it hunted sheep. It's a good one, I promise.

    I should put a picture of my car up on the web at some point, but this is the same model and year. (Here's one in Japan.) 1998 Volvo V70R AWD. Good geek-mobile. Plus the twins like it when when cornering fast. What do the Aussies call it? Scoring on the curves I think it was.

    And the car that I would build if I had the time. That's right, build. You buy the Caterham as a kit and assemble it in your garage. How's that for geeky? There's a book called roadster about the author's construction of a Caterham Super 7. Links here and here (amazon). Oh yeah, there's also the cost. These things are affordable in the Uk, but really pricey in the states. Maybe that would be a good excuse to take a couple month car-construction-holiday in Leeds (or Hull).

    Posted by duver001 at 12:27 PM

    October 11, 2004

    Today's links of truth, happiness, and the Homo Sapien way

    Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, turns out ot have some eccentric ideas on AIDS. Deliberately created in the lab. To wipe out Africans.

    Was chatting with some colleagues today about the great Sokal Hoax, and decided that you, kind reader, needed some links in case you didn't catch it the first time around. The Science Wars. Wikipedia---Sokal Affair.

    There's a domain dedicated to the eternal (well, hopefully just dealt with in November) question Is Bush Wired? See also Plastic's coverage entitled What's the frequency, Dubya? While on the subject, you might as well look back and read about Dan Rather's Kenneth incident. I'll let you do the relevant searches. Cheers...

    Posted by duver001 at 5:57 PM

    October 10, 2004

    Links de jour

    Proof that one can sell anything, even nothing. It's not on my holiday wish list, thank you very much. Of course, George Dubya isn't on my list either and we may yet end up with him as first paperweight. My gals were excited when they saw this comic parody of Curious George. They realized it wasn't "their George" from the first panel though. "Drinking from a glass?"

    There's an interesting discussion of the difficulties that Russia is facing (declining population, AIDS crisis, brain drain, alcoholism, declining lifespan, quality of life, etc.) on Plastic which is typically a good read. The discussion comes out of a recent New Yorker article "The Devestation." A sad business all around. There are some links in the articles to the grim business of Russian Mail-Order Brides as well.

    Posted by duver001 at 3:24 PM

    The Great God Pan is Dead

    Success will write apocalypse across the sky. There's a particular thrill in understanding, appreciating, and reaching an understaning with the darkness. Who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits. It needn't be a friendship, indeed, it had best not be. Lonely here and I think you knew and I'm waiting; And I wait in vain. A terrible logic is difficult to deny though and probably most of us thought up some large fraction of it ourselves---only later to find it had a name, a book, and a graffiti mark on the wall. Our contention is rather that it has been created, will be created, and is being created. This world or the make-believe one, and without a doubt ours is a lot more interesting. You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. On the other hand, there is entertainment and routes between the worlds. Choose the darkest colour you can find as the cardboard must be opaque to the light of a 100 watts bulb.

    Posted by duver001 at 1:11 AM

    October 8, 2004

    Commercial space flight

    There's a decent discussion on plastic.com of the possibilities of space tourism, etc. after Dick Rutan's success with the X-Prize flights. The discussion seems to be a bit too much on money since this country, when the leaders feel like it, can borrow $1.1 billion dollars per day (true figure) and spends $20,000 per second in Iraq (also a true figure).

    On a tangential subject, the Canadians might sue the Brits over the condition of the (former) Upholder subs they bought. Check out the story for some details. "Bought under warranty." Sorry, this weapon of destruction did not meet my requirements?

    Posted by duver001 at 1:17 PM

    October 7, 2004

    Recent links of joyous interest

    Betting on the Novel peace prize...
    https://secure.centrebet.com/?compList[]=73090&sptid=6
    Dubya is 26:1. Milosevic is 501:1. As is Willie Nelson. WTF!

    (Wangari Maathai seems to be a better choice overall.)

    The best pictures of Mount Saint Helens current, hmmm..., troubles
    http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/volcano/
    wish I were flying into PDX soon. (Thanks to for this link.)

    Coke's problems in England
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1174127,00.html
    oops!

    US Elections...looks like here in Minnesota the suicide bomber threat is finally being appreciated as election officials will be checking you as you vote. Is that bulging waist due to Busch, pregnancy, or C4? That belt? Is it made in the West Bank? (A subject that always crosses my mind when I see the UMN exits...East Bank, West Bank.)
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usatoday/20041007/ts_usatoday/electionwarningcausesanxiety&e=4

    How scripted are the debates?
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4052162


    If you can't find a bandname you like in here, you're pretty much going to have to play the laptop by yourself.
    http://web.media.mit.edu/~bwhitman/10000.html

    Posted by duver001 at 2:15 PM