Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wow, the base is frightening!

Check this out for more gems. A Ultra-Conservative group setup a "debate" so that whomever thought it politically feasible, could answer questions like this one which would be presented to Rudolph Guliani (had he not refused to appear):

Question for Giuliani, asked by a teenage girl with an apparent speech impediment:

"Eighteen years ago, an abortionist was hired to kill me, but he failed. Nuns came and rescued me and took me to the hospital, where I stayed for two months. My heroic parents then adopted me. Mayor Giuliani, your position on abortion would have left me dead. Now that you see me, Mayor Giuliani, do you honestly believe that an abortionist had a right to kill me?"

You killed me, Rudolph Guliani!!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Republican Black Friday

Salon points out that there were some gloomy headlines for Republicans on the day that Rove will be leaving his post.

Evolution must be wrong

Here is an interesting Slashdot post. They found that somehow a parasitic bacteria had injected its DNA into the host species. Most DNA injection happens because of sexual/asexual transfer. But if this is borne out, there is a third way that DNA can be passed on. Also interesting is the notion that in the past, scientists that found "foreign" DNA sequences in fruit flys tended to reject that as contamination when, in actuality, they actually may be a part of the fly's genome.

Fascinating. Evolution must be wrong.

Obama's Theology

I am an atheist. However, I do have a fondness for some of what I would call enlightened theology. Here is an interesting post about how Obama's faith affects his views on human nature and the its state. I have gained some respect for Obama given this, although I am still leaning towards Edwards, mainly because of Obama's stance on Iran gives me the creeps.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wow. Printing a bone?

This post talks about a printing process that actually creates formed pieces of polymer that can be used to replace missing bone in any part of the body. Just ingenious.

Timothy Williamson on vagueness

Interesting Philosophy Bites on vagueness or the Sorites paradox. The notion is simple: when does a man become bald? Is there a point where the man having one hair means he is not bald and when he loses that one extra hair, he then can be classified as 'bald'? Well, of course, the concept "baldness" is vague: there is no quantifiable amount of hair or a sharp line between being bald and not being bald. We just apply it to cases where it seems to fit.

This can put some philosophers in fits because one stated goal of semantics is to find the exact, specified conditions that make up the truth conditions of the application of a concept. "is a firefighter" is an easy one. "is bald." or "is a heap of sand.", not so much.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

62nd Anniversary of Hiroshima

More then you ever wanted to know about Hiroshima.

A good question

"Where is everybody?" was a question famously asked by Enrico Fermi. A post here outlines the Fermi paradox, the notion that in a universe the size (trillions and trillions of galaxies) and age (billions of years) as well as our increasingly better science, it is improbably that we would not have had some evidence of extra-terrestrial life.

Nietzsche Blog starting up

Brian Lieter, a philosopher who is at UT-Austin, I believe, has a Nietzsche blog that he will be posting to, "starting soon". He is an analytically-inclined philosopher with one foot in the "Continental" world (if only to use it to kick Continental philosophy's more confusing aspects in the ass).

Anyway, might be a good way to access Nietzsche's very complex thinking.

Success smells sweet

Or how not to win a war.

How long have we been winning this war again?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Art in a rice paddy

Check this out:

Wind and beauty

The Japanese have a strange superstition streak. From not having a fourth floor on some buildings (one of the Japanese word for '4' is 'shi' which also means 'death') to strange explanations which seem to have no bearing on what is being explained.

A recent example is a Gunma Prefecture official who tried to explain why a Japan survey ranked Gunma last for beautiful women:

“Gunma is famous for its really strong winds, so when people are outside, they have to talk in very loud voices or nobody can hear what they’re saying. The big, booming voices needed just to talk are probably the complete opposite of aspects generally regarded as ladylike,” [a] government official tells Shukan Shincho.
Now that is just strange.

Note I am not suggesting that other countries are more or less superstitious then Japan. My impression is that the Japanese are more superstitious then people in the US, but then again, a majority of people in the US do not "believe in evolution".

Hello Kitty for the horsey set

For those who make too much and love them some Hello Kitty.

Via Japundit.

Women and assertiveness in the workplace

This is an interesting post. Researchers have believed that women are less likely to be aggressive when demanding higher wages, etc. And this has been part of the accepted explanation for why women do not get equal pay.

However, new research suggests that women who are more aggressive in leadership style, or when negotiating salary, benefits, etc., are also less likely to be rated highly. Part of a rather nasty Catch-22. But as the poster points out: if more women were more aggressive about pay, this might mitigate the penalty aggressive women receive now.

There is a lot more good stuff in the post. The bit about philosophy is interesting as well. Being a male in grad. school for philosophy, I cannot tell what might happen to aggressive woman. My adviser is female and is quite the superstar. I would not call her style as aggressive. But I do not know how much or how little she has had to be agressive to get where she is now.

Drinking from the toilet

And you thought only dogs do it. In Hiroshima, they have routed water from the waste system into the drinking water system. Yum.

Via Japundit.

Wireless competition

Wow, a good bill coming from Congress related to telecom. This one would overturn any impedance to creating municipal wireless networks and ensure competition.

Bets on whether Bush is loading up the ink on his veto pen?

So you think you are Buddha?

This is a strange one. Seems the Chinese government must approve all who claim to be living reincarnations of Buddha. Seeing that Tibet is closely aligned with the requirement, this is not so much a surprise. If you are a Buddha AND a political dissident, I wonder what your chances are of getting the approval?

Monday, July 30, 2007


Example # 84,948 that George Bush is a really crappy Christian. Talks to God my ass.

It been a while - Impeaching cabinet members

First off, I know its been a while since I posted. Let's just say that real life can be a bitch. But things are clearing up and one of my "things to do" is to do regular postings.

On that note, here is an interesting post on TPM about the history of impeachment and its use against wayward cabinet members. Turns out it has only been used once in the last 220 years. I am beginning to come to the realization that we need some other check on executive power in the place of impeachment. It is too prone to political machinations (see Clinton impeachment) or has such a high bar that it is almost impossible to accomplish. The fact that Bush, Gonzales, and Cheney have not been ridden off on the rails is a sad aspect of our current government.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Greatest/Worst Military in the World

This post makes a great point: if the US, allegedly, has the "greatest military in the world", why have we lost THREE (count 'em 1.2.3.) wars in a row? Here, I am thinking Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq 2. Really, can you honestly answer the question? The point is, I think, you either have to be in for amoral, wholesale slaughter or you are in for a loss.

A determined, insurgent force can fuck you up.

And our troops are paying the price for the stupidity of the ruling elite.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Unleash the Dogs of War - Bush is a dog catcher

If this is true, it is another example of the non-declared war that Bush is so fiendishly good at. Will his depravity and amorality know no bounds?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Death Toll by Katrina, err, Malfeasance

Interesting estimate of the death toll related to Katrina; that is, excess deaths, not deaths directly caused by the Hurricane. The number: 4000+ excess deaths estimated by a doctor in Now Orleans.

Some horrendous quotes:
The number of doctors has been reduced by 70% and the number of hospital beds in Orleans Parish has been reduced by 75%.
What makes this figure all the more shocking is that the population of New Orleans is about 1/2 of what it was before the storm - from 450,000 pre-Katrina to 230,000 post-Katrina. That over 2,000 excess deaths should be reported in a population that has already been reduced by 50% is amazing. Thanks to Ezra Boyd of Louisiana State University for sending me this information.

Lord help us - and everything else alive

Scandal-a-rama # 456: head of Fish and Wildlife a partisan hack who leaks private agency documents and combines specie populations to keep them off the Endangered List.

Go here for a good job at "fake news" a la Daily Show.

John McCain - Unfit to Lead

This is just disgusting. There is a special place in Dante's Inferno for John McCain (that is, other then the Republican party).

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The "Jif" objection to evolution

Oh man, is this the biggest crock of nonsensical bullshit you have ever heard? No? Then you need to find a new circle of friends.

Really, because matter + energy = life and peanut butter is matter and energy (well, potential energy, but we can gloss over the obvious ambiguity), then why isn't new life springing forth from the peanut butter? And since it doesn't, evolution must be false.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Can of whoop ass....with fish jaws

Oh man, this is disgusting.

Via the hilariously named Majikthise.

Therein lies the rub

This post by Josh Marshall asks the $64k question: why is it that all of the US Attorneys ignominiously fired for "performance reasons" (or whatever the "reason du jour" is) are in swing voting states (plus California...oh wait, that US Attorney was prosecuting the Cunningham bribery case against...wait for it: Republicans)?

Usually one wants to give someone the benefit of the doubt; there must be some other explanation that does not posit ridiculous, corrupt behavior, that is, does not assume that the USAs were fired because they were not prosecuting "voter fraud" cases?

I can post background info on anything above if anyone wants it, but since I am the only one who READS this blog, I do not have the motivation.:-)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

With a heavy heart

Ralph Nader and I go way back. Well, anyway, my one-sided relationship with him does. Like long-term relationships generally, they can fall apart hideously. When that happens, I at least try to be the one who took the high ground.

The year was 1990. I was an idealistic youth who was two-fisting progressivism: in one had was "Animal Liberation" by Peter Singer. In the other was seeing Ralph Nader speak at a local community college I was attending. The subject was factory farming; it was disgusting and funny and persuasive. And it was that day that led me to become a vegetarian. Ralph will always have a special place in my heart, as does Peter Singer (though I have grown wary of his ethical reasoning).

That was then. This is now. I have repressed the memory of Ralph Nader making a ridiculous spectacle of himself during the 2000/2004 presidential elections. This article reminded me of it, as well as this post by Eric Alterman. I unofficially divorced myself of my infatuation with Ralph in 2000. Now the repressed anger has come back, as white-hot as ever. Oh, how the mighty have fallen so far...

I am still a vegetarian. Not a saintly one, but I never claimed to be a saint.

Buy why did you change, Ralph?


Another winner Engrish:

Distilling it down

I have been following the US Attorney scandal closely and have not had much to say about it, except that it is despicable. Then I came across a post from Hunter at DailyKos:

You know, I imagine somewhere it might be considered funny that the entire Department of Justice can't figure out why the hell a handful of U.S. Attorneys were fired when they themselves fired them, after spending over a year arranging for it, and that they must continually revise their statements on the matter because their past statements keep being demonstrated to be bullshit. But in that the entire premise of the Bush administration is that the entire American population is made up of morons who would actively believe that aforementioned lying bullshit, I'm not exactly sure where the joke is.
Enough said.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

DMCA - someone fights back

Great article here: Law Prof posts the NFL's "legal disclaimer" saying that rebroadcast of NFL games are strictly prohibited, which is actually wrong. "Fair use" provisions allow their use for such things as "educational" use. The professor posted it on YouTube and linked to it from her blog which is used for teaching purposes. Sweet.

The money quote:
This is where the saga starts to get messy. Seltzer's counter-notification—which was forwarded to the NFL from YouTube—clearly described her use of the clip as fair use: "an educational excerpt featuring the NFL's overreaching copyright warning aired during the Super Bowl." As Seltzer outlines in her blog post, the NFL's only option in response to her counter-claim would be to force her to remove the clip via court proceedings. This obviously did not happen, and instead, the NFL chose to ignore her claims completely. After receiving her counter-notification claiming fair use, sending another takedown notice over the same content is considered a knowing misrepresentation that the clip is infringing, according to DMCA section 512(f)(1). Under the DMCA, the NFL would be liable for all legal fees incurred by the alleged infringer, along with damages.

I can see....the color of cheese rinds!

You may not know this, but mice are color-blind: they cannot see the red side of the spectrum, so things that are red are not seen as red (from what I have heard, they see shades of gray). In this article, scientists were able to change one gene present in humans and not it mice that enhances their ability to see the red side of the spectrum. From an evolutionary point of view, this is really an interesting point as it seems to suggest human vision of the color spectrum was a rather trivial mutation of this one gene.

A good quote:
Most mammals, including mice, are dichromats, possessing only S and M cone pigments. As a consequence, they can distinguish only a fraction of the wavelengths that can be distinguished by humans. John Mollon at the University of Cambridge has suggested that the evolution of trichromacy could have permitted primates to discriminate between unripe fruit, which is typically green, and ripe red- and orange-colored fruits. Reciprocally, the colors of ripened fruits may have coevolved with primate trichromacy, since animals that could recognize and eat the ripe fruit would have assisted plants by spreading their seeds.

Check out the link to the sidebar for a good illustration of red-green color blindness.

They are out there

Check out this: a hexagonal shape on the surface of Saturn gets passed by the Cassini probe. Great pictures. Cool quote:

The hexagon is nearly 25,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) across. Nearly four Earths could fit inside it.

This is great

Look: if you use someone's creative work that is offered for free but requires credit, give it. Especially if you are a candidate for the President of the United States. Like John McCain. I mean come on.

The site has been /.'d, so it may be slow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I had called this years ago: the Bush administration would go down in a pool of scandal. The latest one is the US Attorney purge which will most likely lead to indictments at most and at least, the resignation of that a-hole Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

See here for the latest.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cursor transport: Japanese guys in their underwear

From Japundit, a site I post on periodically:

  1. Go here.
  2. Allow the page to load.
  3. Move your mouse around the circle that appears.
  4. Be totally amazed.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Vote for John Edward's wife

I know the canard: you vote for the candidate, not his/her spouse. But I like Elizabeth Edwards. When she is not facing down Chris Mathews, she is sticking up for her right to be uncensored by her hubby's campaign. She makes Hilary look like a wussy.

I like Elizabeth Edwards the more I read about her. It makes me like John as president also. Let's face it: you know John respects and utilizes Elizabeth's counsel.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Google Reader and clippings

I hate baskets. I got lots of eggs. So, why not put all the eggs in one basket? I use gmail and calendar. Lately, I came across Google Reader. Nice aggregator. One tidbit that will surge the number of posts I will make is that there is a one-click publish feature that will post articles I find worthy of posting without having to login to Blogger and doing a post!

Less baskets and I can be lazy. That's a twofer.

Look at the sidebar on the right. It will be updated very often as I note articles that I think are interesting but I am too lazy to write about.


Cheney is a real cutup. As noted here, Cheney's office invented out of whole cloth a fourth branch of government completely encapsulated by the VPs office.

What a douche.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Nancy Pelosi - Breaking Barriers

This post by mcjoan at Daily Kos underscores something that has flown under the radar of most people, mainly the so-called "journalists" that are allegedly on our side: Nancy Pelosi is the first woman to reach speaker of the house and is second in line for presidential succession. Wow.

Truly a first for women that seem never to happen. As she said, she has broken through a "marble ceiling"; much harder then the normal glass ceilings women must face everyday.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thomas Jefferson - Terrorist Sympathizer

Why I am a liberal, reason #245: duly elected congressperson Keith Ellison made a fatal mistake, according to Rep. Virgil Goode (VA). He is muslim. And now "they" are going to overrun Congress. Rep. Ellison's other mistake: he wants to swear in on the Koran rather the the bible. The right would not have it.

So someone from Goode's district donated a Koran for the ceremony: one owned by none other then Thomas Jefferson. Of course, the right wing had a spin on that one: Jefferson was a terrorist sympathizer. Jeebus on a freakin' pogo stick.

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!

2006 blew chunks of fetid toast (at least for yours truly). Might 2007 blow slightly less?

Finally, a real Democrat!

Via Daily Kos, a rundown of Eliot Spitzer's first speech laying out his very ambitious agenda, from health care for all to an publicly financed elections and pre-kindergarten for all 4-year olds. Wow.