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Thursday, August 24, 2006

How on earth is Pluto not a planet?

Poor Pluto. Demoted after all these years. Age discrimination?!

Pluto's not a planet anymore?
When did that happen? And why? Some mumbo jumbo about its "oblong orbit."  So, it's a celestial free spirit that plays by its own rules "is that so wrong? I don't recall Neptune complaining. I learned in school that there were nine planets. It was public school, and I was out sick a lot, but nine was the number. If I ever go on Jeopardy! and the number of planets comes up, I'm going to say, "What is nine, Alex." It's so easy to remember: "Nine is fine."  "Nine's divine." Now I've got to think up words that rhyme with "eight." By the way, does Mr. Trebek qualify as a planet? He meets at least two of the revamped criteria. He circles the sun, and he "clears the neighborhood around [his] orbit," at least in terms of game-show ratings. Worst of all: Pluto's been reclassified as a "dwarf planet." So Disney still wins.

Public mourning for Pluto, the former planet and current huge lonely chunk of ice, continues with a "Save Pluto" Photoshop contest over at Worth1000.com. Fine print on this entry reads, "Paid for by the friends of Pluto."

categories: Humor
Other Stories according to Google: SPACE.com -- Astronomer Responds to Pluto - Not-a-Planet Claim | SPACE.com -- Museum Suggests Pluto Not a Planet | SPACE.com -- Controversial Proposal Would Boost Solar System's | NPR : Dwarf Planets May Finally Get Respect | CNN.com - Pluto on the chopping block - Aug 15, 2006 | Astronomers meet to define ' planet ' - Yahoo! News | Pluto Is Not a Planet - Explore the Cosmos | The Planetary Society | Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | When is a planet not a | Dave Jewitt: Pluto Not a Planet | When Is a Planet Not a Planet ?

4:51:07 PM    

Monday, August 21, 2006

For What it's Worth;  No Iraq War

Anti war video to the beat of Buffalo Springfield

Rove was speaking to the Associated Republicans of Texas, and ticket prices started at $200. He was not in the Renaissance Hotel lobby during the reception.

"I want him arrested. He planned the war that killed my son," Sheehan told officers guarding the door. Sheehan's oldest son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

"Pat, did you get her check before she left?" Rove quipped to the GOP group's executive director, Pat Robbins, as the crowd of 300 laughed, the newspaper reported.

"I don't question the patriotism of our critics. Many are hardworking public servants who are doing the best they can. Some of them are people looking for a free meal," Rove said, drawing more laughs.
And Karl Rove is a scum-sucking bastard who cheerleaded on an illegal war that has killed tens of thousands of people and which harmed every fucking thing it could, including this nation's long-term and short-term interests...all in the name of getting a moron reelected President.

Who's getting a fuckin' free lunch here?

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: President Addresses Nation, Discusses Iraq , War on Terror | AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish | Iraq | Whether This War Was Worth It | Thoughts on War with Iraq | ABC News: Bush Will Watch What He Says in Second Term | Baghdad Burning | Radio Blogger | "We Think the Price Is Worth It " | LIVING WITH WAR TODAY

1:06:56 AM    

Saturday, August 19, 2006

New Terror Alert:  "Snakes On A Plane"

There's no fascism like naked fascism!  Seriously, if this is what the world has come to, scared shitless of bras because the British don't know how to have a sense of identity not based on racism, isn't it time for Britain to just give up as a country?

Authorities Warning Women Not to Wear Gel Bras As Worries of Possible Female Bombers Increase 

How many more terror alerts will it take before we’ll all be flying nekkid?

It's lookin to me like full body cavity searches are just over the horizon... Oh boy, flying is just continuing to look like it's headed to a whole new level of entertainment.

That's just the market forces at work folks... Any business that messes with it's customer base without a clue to what they really need to focus on will usually end up going out of business at some point.. Maybe the business class will put up with increasingly draconian terrorist preventive measures to ensure your average fat cat CEO gets from point a to point b in a timely manner for the latest board meeting... But the commercial air industry will not survive without the recreation travelers of the world....Profit margins, I don't think, will work out right to the bean counters in the home offices without that recreation money coming in.

Those stupid infotainers on the "news" were talking about X-RAYS AT AIRPORTS, SHOWING our private parts and that we have an option of placing a steal plate over our privates, about a 5 x 8 plate.
The first thing anybody with a half a brain could notice, you can hide anything in the crotch area, if you have a steal plate in front of the x-ray, it could conceal something.

Did you know that a detonator is as small as and roughly the same shape as a tampon? Do I really need to go any further along this train of thought...?

It's futile, stupid, ridiculous, insane, ludicrous, assinine windowdressing, designed to do nothing except scare the shit out of people and make them compliant. The real security lapses are not where passengers normally see them - the catering staff, the ground crew, the baggage handlers, the airport grounds security, a million and one holes that Homeland Security don't have the time, money or resources to cover adequately.

So they take the easy route, and the one this administration likes, piling on the fear, cranking it up another notch, like a sadist killer who just can't get enough gratification and spirals into madness...

And that group of travelers folks, is exactly who is going to get fed up with this shit first and start taking trains, or boats or cars to more local vacation spots... I don't know for sure what the answer is, but these latest security measures ain't it...Well, actually I take that last back.. I know what I think the answer is, but the first step to fix this isn't at the airport. The first step to fixing this shit happens at the ballot box.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Yahoo! UK & Ireland | Miss Cellania - Miss Cellania - Snakes on a Plane ! | Sorting It All Out : Snakes on an Invisible Plane | nbc4.com - Video | nbc4.com - Video | nbc4.com - Video | nbc4.com - Video | The Notion | Plane Terror Plot 'The Real Deal', Bush: Thwarted Plan Is Reminder | popular thinking: Do we even need to see Snakes on a Plane ?

2:21:43 AM    

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Is Bush An Idiot? Dah!

If Dear Leader isn't the idiot we've been calling him for the last 7 years, he's an actor without equal.

I suspect the old drunk is as much a patsy for his "base" as Ronald Reagan ever was. But he's far more arrogant and far less affable. Now that Cheney and Rumsfeld seem to be increasingly at odds over the next step, his rudderless behavior shows.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Results for ' Idiot ' animated avatars, buddy icons, Talking Heads | I'm ablogging: June 2005 | Madeleine Begun Kane, Humor Columnist, Notables Weblog , Political | Eject! Eject! Eject!: TA- DAH ! | Eject! Eject! Eject!: Comment on TA- DAH ! | Think Progress » Kristol: Conservatives Believe The Bush | NanceGreggs's Journal: Nance Rants - Pssst! GOP! (Act Like You Don | Irregular Goods: Progressive Political Activism : CafePress.com | Political Animal: Comment on Bush's Baldies | BAGnewsNotes: Your Turn: Second Row Center

11:15:41 AM    

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jackson Brown's 'Lives In The Balance'

This is a very powerful song and video. It's hard to believe that this song was originally written in the'80s and was about the war in El Salvador, but it still applies to the war in Iraq today.

"War, we have come to believe, is a spectator sport. The military and the press ... have turned war into a vast video arcade game. Its very essence- death - is hidden from public view." -
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for New York Times

It's time. Bring our troops home NOW and take care of them when they get here.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Jackson Browne | The Jackson Browne Fans Page | Lives In The Balance (Exclusive Video) | WORKING CLASS HERO John Lennon | The Original BRO-Log: Minister Faust Telling it Like it Is | Amazon.com: Lives in the Balance : Music | Amazon.com: Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1: Music | Jackson Browne's Lives in the Balance | Jackson Browne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | Lives In The Balance by Jackson Browne on Yahoo! Music

1:17:00 PM    

Thursday, August 10, 2006

When Torture Isn't HARD Enought

This is what America stands for in the 21st Century: the torture of innocent children to make their fathers confess.

Some of you may recall reports from Iraq which described the egregious tactic of US troops kidnapping the family members of detainees in order to "assist" the interrogation process. At the time we were informed this was a only a limited effort, and that all such family members detained were people who were known to be guilty of aiding the insurgents.

As we know all too well by now, such "official" remarks are often a flat out lie to cover up systematic abuses. Salon's David Benjamin has a story up that reveals the use of kidnapping family members of detainees in Iraq by US forces is the standard operating procedure for many interrogations:

July 14, 2006 | Congress has demanded that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hand over a raft of documents to Congress that could substantiate allegations that U.S. forces have tried to break terror suspects by kidnapping and mistreating their family members. Rumsfeld has until 5 p.m. Friday to comply.

It now appears that kidnapping, scarcely covered by the media, and absent in the major military investigations of detainee abuse, may have been systematically employed by U.S. troops. Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects’ families. After he was thrown in prison, Cpl. Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader at Abu Ghraib, told investigators the military routinely kidnapped family members to force suspects to turn themselves in.

Yes, there's nothing like the threat of having your daughter or wife raped by American soldiers to loosen one's tongue. Why, I'd say anything they wanted me to say, I'd sign any confession put before me, if my wife or daughter was in the hands of foreign troops who had occupied my country. It might not bear any relation to reality, but at that point I could care less. Protecting my child or wife would be all that I cared about.

And what works with daughters and wives can work equally as well with sons:

In a hearing before Shays' Government Reform subcommittee last February, Provance testified that the Army had retaliated against him. Provance also made the disturbing allegation that interrogators broke an Iraqi general, Hamid Zabar, by imprisoning and abusing his frail 16-year-old son. Waxman was shocked. "Do you think this practice was repeated with other children?" he asked Provance. "I don't see why it would not have been, sir," Provance replied. Zabar's son had been apprehended with his father and held at Abu Ghraib, though the boy hadn't done anything wrong. "He was useless," Provance said about the boy in a phone interview with Salon from Heidelberg, Germany, where he is still in the Army. "He was of no intelligence value."

But, Provance said, interrogators grew frustrated when the boy's father, Zabar, wouldn't talk, despite a 14-hour interrogation. So they stripped Zabar's son naked and doused him with mud and water. They put him in the open back of a truck and drove around in the frigid January night air until the boy began to freeze. Zabar was then made to look at his suffering son.

I really don't have much to add. This is despicable, and a deep stain on our nation. Yet, can anyone argue that this step was not inevitable once George Bush declared his "War on Terror?" When you vow to fight the "terrorists" with the "gloves off" this is what happens: you begin to emulate the worst despots and the most criminal regimes on the planet. You view even the most heinous measures as necessary to combat your enemy, even those that were previously considered beyond the pale. You violate every law and standard of decency in pursuit of of an ever more nebulous victory. In short, you become the evil you first meant to oppose.

If someone is so angry or whatever that they will kill themselves in a suicide bombing of say my family, how could you/I every prevent this when that actual bomber is willing to die.  Well, what if you made it blanket policy that the family of a suicide bomber would be ___ (fill in some heinous action such as killed, tortured, imprisoned forever, etc.)  I know it sounds extreme in a casual conversation, but if the survival on one's society or even one's own family was at stake.  Would such actions maybe be justified as a preventative measure toward other suicide bombings/bombers?? 

I mean even if the suicide bombers don't care about their lives, they might care about their family members' lives.  What kinder, gentler alternative is available to deal with suicide terrorist bombing prevention??

There is a very simple alternative to threatening a "suicider's" family and thereby multiplying the number of 'suiciders.' Oddly enough, it's a method from the hated BIBLE. Love your enemy, turn the other cheek and do unto others as you would have others unto you. In policy terms, this would have translated into a 'Marshall Plan' for the Middle East, including building a school system to rival the Madrasas, infrastructure building, etc. It would have meant passing up the opportunity to become a police state after 9/11 and reserving the many hundreds of billions of dollars we have spend so far in hunting the wrong countries for a few extremely naughty people in caves. It would have meant passing up a world war. (When has a Bush passed up starting a world war?)

Now that our great Christian President has ignored even the basic tenants of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we are basically in the position your thought experiment speaks of. The problem with the 'blanket' policy of threatening families is that it moves more people into the realm of the desperate and homicidal. The desperate tend to be able to take their religious beliefs more seriously when it comes to laying their lives on the line. Systematically removing all the bread winners from a village is not going to help the next generation come to different conclusions vis-a-vis the value of life. Especially when you grab and torture the wrong 12-year old.

Might I suggest that we all take a brief moment to steal ourselves against a suicide bomb attack (bearing in mind that the odds of your being directly, mortally effected are, well as zero as zero gets in predicting the future), take more personal responsibility for your own family's safety (Goverment is good at bombing clean up, not complete prevention), and above all else, love your enemy by providing an alternative, any alternative, to desperation. Otherwise you are just multiplying the number of people who have reason to die just to kill you. Family by family. Systematically, as a blanket policy.

Sorry, there is just no way to eye-for-an-eye your way our of this. There is just no way that you are minimizing the threat to your family by intimidating and mistreating the families of those who do. There is no path to safety or peace can be articulated that starts here. There are many paths if we take our lumps for the blowback for the cheap energy we've already enjoyed and begin the process of buying a reasonable increase in our safety with good will.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Beep! Beep! It's Me. Cogito Ergo Sum. Sorry, I can't hear you. I | THE BELGRAVIA DISPATCH: Torture Isn'ta Laughing Matter--It's | The Belgravia Dispatch: Torture Isn'ta Laughing Matter--It's | Asymmetrical Information: It must be awfully hard to be a senator | Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Sound Off | Arms and influence: July 30, 2006 - August 5, 2006 | Arms and influence: Proportionate to what? | Amazon.com: Reviews for Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth, Book | News Hounds: Condoning Torture | QCTimes.com - The Quad-City Times Newspaper Opinion

11:13:31 PM    

Friday Cat Blogging

categories: Humor
Other Stories according to Google: Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging ~ on Sunday | Carnival of the Cats | Schussman.com: Friday cat blogging | Friday Cat Blogging | Review - Technology - New York Times | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging

10:23:26 PM    

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What Does Melting Greenland's Glaciers Mean?

The Greenland glaciers that cover the island contain enough water to raise sea level twenty feet, or seven meters. It was once thoughts (and that was only six years ago) that the glaciers would be self-sustaining even in a warming world because of size and so on.We now know that this is not true.

Not only are the edges melting fast, but the surface melt is seeping through the ice to lubricate the junction between the ice and the rock underneath. This is the unexpected factor that has turned scientific attention onto this escalating problem.

It appears that the Greenland ice is shot through with crevices, tunnels and faults through which the melting upper surface can penetrate right through the glacier, and threaten to break the attachment between the ice and the rock base.

When this happens much of this mountain of water will flow into the sea. Already twenty-one of the great glacial masses are moving seawards eight times faster than ten years ago. It would seem we are on the verge of a major tipping point in climate change, if we have not already reached it.

It is important to be aware of the consequences. The five most urgent are

1. Most coastal cities would become uninhabitable for many, for metros would be flooded, sewage and stormwater flows would be overwhelmed, and most cable infrastructure would be affected. More drastically, most docks would be underwater so that food and oil could not be landed, even if it could be loaded into the ships in the first place. And in any case, without oil, how would food be transported?

2. Enormous areas of the most productive agricultural land would be underwater. One thinks immediately of Bangladesh and the North Sea farms in Holland and Anglesea.

3. The alteration in the cold water flow that drives the great deep-sea currents of the world would have a profound impact on the Gulf Stream, with completely unpredictable results. The eastern US and Europe may become hotter or colder or more storm-ridden. No matter which, the outcome spells disaster for some of the most advanced cultures on earth.

4. Removing the weight of the ice cover from such a large land-mass will have an impact on the earth on quake and, considering how close Iceland is, on volcanic activity.

5. Lastly, and most significantly for a world that is now awash in guns, people, in their millions, will be on the move for survival.

This is the future that we are bequeathing our children, and ourselves if any of us are younger then 65. This is happening in our times, to our families and loved ones, and is no longer a distant scenario. It would appear that it is here.

The latest US Navy survey suggests there will be no sea ice left in the Arctic summer by 2016. Is this the date we have to look forward to?

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: RealClimate » The Greenland Ice | RealClimate » Worldwide glacier retreat Recul mondial des glaciers | Slashdot | Xen Hacker Interviewed | The Last Final: More detail on melting Greenland glaciers | PhysOrgForum Science, Physics and Technology Discussion Forums | PhysOrgForum Science, Physics and Technology Discussion Forums | A Global Warning, Scientist Says Global Warming Intensifies Storms | USATODAY.com - Melting polar ice threatens worldwide sea-level rise | Greenland ice sheet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | NOVA | Descent Into the Ice | Vanishing Into Thin Air | PBS

5:42:33 PM    

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Geek's Book List

Well, I was tagged by Glenda to answer these questions!
(1) One book that changed your life?

It's really a shame that I can't recall this book. I read it in my small school's library and unlike any other textbooks, it was breath-taking and exciting.

As I remember it, young men were invited to a mysterous place to do some big-game hunting. After a fancy meal and a good night's sleep, they were awakened and told that they were going to be the big-game being hunted. The story then told of their experiences and how they survived.
I don't think it was the book, just the experience of learning that books don't have to be like textbooks - Reading can be fun! I've been a friend of books ever since.
 (2) One book you have read more than once?

This is a little sad, but the book I read a little bit everyday is "HTML for the World Wide Web by Elizabeth Castro."
 (3) One book you would want on a desert island?
This one is a little funny, I would want "The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker". It would be even greater with a CD player to also be able to look at the 68,647 cartoons ever published in the magazine.
 (4) One book that made you laugh?

The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams
 (5) One book that made you cry?

Big boys don't cry, but a book that shattered my belief in technology is "The Day The Phones Stopped" by Leonard Lee. Human error or computer malfunction? January 15, 1990 nearly half of AT&T long distance lines around the nation were disabled for almost nine hours. In 1988 the USS Vincennes accidently shot down an Iranian airliner killing 290 passengers on board. On Dec 3, 1990, eight people died when a Northwest DC-9 wandered onto the wrong runway. In 1986, two cancer patients at a Texas hospital were killed when they accidently received lethal doses of radiation. And so on...
(6) One book you wish you had written?

That would have to be "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Cliff Stoll a story of a unbelievable ingenious astronomer who trapped a spy ring, that was reporting to the KGB, and had been hacking US missile bases and satellites, using a simple teletype connected to his lab's computer.
 (7) One book you wish had never been written?
I'm not one to censor books, but I would have to say Mein Kampf by Adolph Hilter
 (8) One book you are currently reading?

I have a few started, but Fiasco by Thomas Hicks the American Military Adventure in Iraq is first in line.
 (9) One book you've been meaning to read?
The Pretext For War by James Bamford a fearless account of the failures of America's intellengence agencies and the Bush's Administration's calculated efforts to sell a war to the American people.
And tag five bloggers to do this, too.

I won't tag any bloggers to do this, but I invite all readers to give it a try

That's my list!  Not a beauty contest, just books - I like that.

categories: Mind
Other Stories according to Google: Top 20 geek novels -- the results! from Guardian Unlimited: Technology | The Geek Nature Preserve » Book List | Homo Sum » Blog Archive » Geek Book Meme | KhmerAK* | a Phnom Penh Geek | Oyce's LJ - Bits and pieces | Paul Glen - Improving Technical Leadership | Wired News: 2005's 10 Sexiest Geeks | Geek News Central Revealing Technical News and useful links | Amazon: Listmania! - View List " Geek books " | Amazon: Listmania! - View List " Geek Books "

8:42:48 PM    

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Yes, feed me!

categories: Humor
Other Stories according to Google: Carnival of the Cats | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Schussman.com: Friday cat blogging | Review - Technology - New York Times | Friday Cat Blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging | Bibi's box: Friday Cat Blogging

10:53:17 AM    

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Breast-feeding Image Freaks Out Readers

This just in: An exposed lactating breast is causing a bit of a stir. The offending breast, shown in all its glory on the cover of this month's Babytalk magazine, is attached to a blissfully contented babe to illustrate the cover story, "Why Women Don't Nurse Longer."

Many readers took issue with the cover art. One mother was concerned about her 13-year-son seeing it. "I shredded it," says Gayle Ash of Belton, Texas. "A breast is a breast - it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that." Amen, Gayle. God, if he'd seen that, the next thing you know, he'd be robbing convenience stores for the Playboys and Penthouses. While you're at it, Gayle, you'd better take away his computer and any other device that could connect him to the outside world. Oh, and forget cable, as well as any NFL halftime show.

Babytalk editor Susan Kane says the mixed response to the cover clearly echoes the larger debate over breast-feeding in public. "There's a huge Puritanical streak in Americans," she says, "and there's a squeamishness about seeing a body part - even part of a body part." "It's not like women are whipping them out with tassels on them!" she adds. "Mostly, they are trying to be discreet." Kane says that since the August issue came out last week, the magazine has received more than 700 letters  -  more than for any article in years.

The editors of Babytalk tell MSNBC they were surprised at all the fuss. Not sure I believe that. More likely they figured, put a bare tit on a magazine cover, and it's going to get noticed. Smart thinking. Better than showing a mother cradling her bundle of joy with circles under her eyes the size of doughnuts from four months of midnight and 3 a.m. feedings. I remember asking my wife why she stopped doing it after what seemed like a relatively short time, and she said something like, "If the critter was chomping at your breast five times a day every day, you'd know why, you idiot. It hurts!" Not a pretty picture.

Via The Consumerist, who have their own complaint: that the breast isn't big enough. The religious right is at it again. I believe that they mentioned that it is a breast, and all references to breasts are sexual in nature. Really? I'm sorry that whenever you (Christian Republican prude) see a child breast-feeding, you (Christian Republican prude) assume that both the mother and the child are getting sexual satisfaction out of it. Just because you (Christian Republican prude) somehow get moist thinking about a child suckling at your (Christian Republican prude) breast doesn't mean that the rest of the country feels the same way.

I find it absolutely disgusting that our culture is SO detached from the true nature of the human being that we now find cutting open breasts and putting in saline packets to make them look larger acceptable, yet using and showing them for their intended purpose is wrong....I just don't get it. Are women that self-loathing? Do they think those sacs of flesh are there to be boxed around, or stuffed into cute sweaters?

You know what? Even if it WAS a nipple showing - so what? The milk can't come out without an OUTLET, aka "The Nipple." It is not your personal erotic object with no other meaning. It is simply a valve, a physical means to keep the human race alive, to keep the human child fed, to be as proud of as your nose, or your lithe and nimble quality, or your hair, or your leg. Why is everyone so afraid of themselves? And of human sexuality, to boot?

The only boobs that offend this family are the ones that are running our country.

categories: Body
Other Stories according to Google: BAGnewsNotes: Any Boob Can Tell You | Fear of the boobie at Pandagon | Blogging Baby | Naked breast on magazine cover causes uproar - Blogging Baby | Breastfeeding cravings different than pregnancy cravings | Little Liberals » Blog Archive » Reader Survey | My toddler hates having his portrait taken | Letters: Hide that breast! - Salon | Lactating Blogger Says Boob to Fred Meyer | BlogHer | Full Circle

11:06:00 AM    

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Last update: 8/24/2006; 5:04:06 PM.

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