Ending the year with some random stuff:
"A chicken can be hypnotized, or put into a trance by holding its head down against the ground, and continuously drawing a line along the ground with a stick or a finger, starting at its beak and extending straight outward in front of the chicken.

If the chicken is hypnotized in this manner, it will remain immobile for somewhere between 15 seconds to 30 minutes, continuing to stare at the line. "
More? Of course! See you in 2006!


Oxymoron of the day: "government efficiency"

As if you needed more proof that government-sponsored "help programs" suck:

Federal loans meant for businesses "adversely affected" by the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States often went to businesses barely touched by the tragedy or not at all, according to an audit...

The inspector general sampled 59 of 7,058 loans ... found that 85 percent of the loans lacked justifications or had justifications that were less than convincing.

For example, a $770,000 STAR loan allowed a restaurant in New Jersey to purchase a second location although the borrower said he only experienced a slight dip in business after the attacks and no long-term problems at all.

A real estate appraiser in Oregon received $371,500 to buy land although his financial reports "showed a growing business and an 87 percent increase in revenues," and the borrower said he experienced no adverse affects from the terror attacks.

So, go ahead and be sure to vote for the social-program-loving liberals next election to spend all your money helping other people who often don't need it. Oh, don't like that? Go vote for the conservative bastards, then or the "terrorists will win" or some crap. Yeah, that sucks too.

Ready for a new party yet? Ready to vote out the incumbent idiots? If you want the the government to change, you better vote, cause otherwise, I don't wanna hear crap from you. :)



How fast computers have gotten since I finished high school, way back in 1993:
One stalwart component has survived through all of these innovations: the 3.5" floppy. ...The floppy is the only component that still remains in use today, practically unchanged in its 18 years of service, running at 360 rpm and offering a transfer rate of 34 kB/s. Once again, let's put that in perspective with regard to today's world: Transferring a file to your computer from a server that is 10,000 miles away on another continent is three times or even faster than getting it from your internal disk drive. And despite all this - the floppy lives.

It's a looooong article on the history of CPUs, but a great read for the geeks out there. My cell phone has more RAM than my first PC did (2MB!), and the new system I'm building has a quarter-terabyte hard drive. Wow, that sounds like, futuristing, dude!



Wow, I bet this would have made standing in line at Best Buy for an XBox360 more worth your while (posting ahs since been removed...darn):
...if one Craigslist.org ad were to be believed, two Boston-area women would do just about anything to get their hands on the next-gen console. Under the headline "trade sex for an xbox 360," a person claiming to be a 22-year-old woman said "Me and my roommate are totally hard core gamers, but our desperate (sic) attempts to get an Xbox 360 have gotten us nothing so far."
...while the poster was apparently willing to debase herself to get an Xbox 360, she still had standards. "I'm looking for the PREMIUM system, not the sh**ty watered down one," she said.


Graffiticus romanus?

Ever wonder what Roman graffiti was like? Of course not. Broaden your worldly knowledge with such gems (first on the list is the best, by far):
I.2.20 (Bar/Brothel of Innulus and Papilio); 3932: Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!

VI.16.15 (atrium of the House of Pinarius); 6842: If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend

VIII.2 (in the basilica); 1880: The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian.

Herculaneum (on the exterior wall of a house); 10619: Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here.

Have we really changed much as a civilization (and I use that term loosely) in 2000 years?


Rational discourse?

Winning both the vote for the person I'm least likely to buy a house next to....and the quote of the day:
STORRS, Connecticut (AP) -- Conservative columnist Ann Coulter cut short a speech at the University of Connecticut amid boos and jeers, and decided to hold a question-and-answer session instead.

"I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am," Coulter told the crowd of 2,600 Wednesday.

Boy...that sure leaves her with a small audience, then. :)

No, seriously. You only really learn when you're surrounded by smarter people than yourself. Basically, she's admitting to getting off on bashing people. Can someone please tell her that her 15 minutes are up?


Take that, you extroverts!

Yahoo News is reporting that introverted individuals tend to have more brain activity in general, specifically in the frontal lobe.
Researchers using brain scans have found introverts have more brain activity in general, and specifically in the frontal lobes. When these areas are activated, introverts are energized by retrieving long-term memories, problem solving, introspection, complex thinking and planning.

Doesn't say that said activity is more productive....we could all just be sitting around daydreaming a lot. Hey, that's fine. The extroverts are probably just jealous we have so many free synapses. :)


Paranoia, paranoia....

MIT guys just keep coming up with studies for the strangest things:
Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

Somehow, that wouldn't suprise me. :)


Quote of the day...

Headline We'd Like to See: "Bush Still an Idiot"

"The White House has said it doesn't pay attention to poll numbers and the figures do not affect policy.

"We have a proud record of accomplishment and a positive agenda for the future," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday. "We look forward to continuing to talk about it. I mean, you can get caught up in polls; we don't. Polls are snapshots in time."

...er yeah, and you remember those flip books we had as kids? When you flip through a series of 'snapshots', you can see the downward spiral of your party in motion, Scott. :)


Remember, the 2nd Amendment is only a FEDERAL limit...

The U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from restricting your right to bear arms (notice I didn't say it gives you the right to them...rights are part of all human life, and the Constitution only prohibits infringement of them). However...state and local laws are free game, as we saw yesterday:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Voters approved ballot measures to ban handguns in San Francisco and urge the city's public high schools and college campuses to keep out military recruiters.

The gun ban prohibits the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in the city, and makes it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses.

Only two other major U.S. cities - Washington and Chicago - have implemented such sweeping handgun bans.

Yeah, and it worked great for those two "low crime" cities, eh? Hey, SF...prepare to have your crime rate double, now that criminals know you're unarmed when they break into your house.

Update: Even the SF police didn't want the ban.


In space, no one can...catch your touchdown pass?

Fringe benefits of an astronaut:
SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) -- Two spacewalkers installed a camera on the outside of the international space station Monday and tossed overboard a surplus data-collecting device, sending it spinning off into the void like a spiraling football.

"How's that for a Hail Mary pass?" American astronaut William McArthur Jr. radioed.

"That was pretty impressive," Mission Control responded.


The "F" word?

And in other news....just keep voting for your bloated idiot-filled parties. They'll keep coming up with ways to take your money. Democrats? Social programs out the wazoo. Republicans? Oh, here's a new one....Senator Grassley of Iowa thinks we need to tell the corporations HOW to spend their PROFITS? Sounds like a joke but it's not:
Grassley is now on record as wanting (the rhetorical equivalent of "demanding") that oil companies "donate" 10 percent of their profits to help poor Americans pay their heating bills. Grassley sent letters to oil companies outlining his request; letters he claims to have sent to "embarrass" the oil companies into contributing to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Embarrass? I don’t think so. The right word here would be "intimidate."

When government owns everything, it's tending towards socialism. When private busineeses own with government control....yeah, that's FACISM. Might as well just direct-deposit my paycheck into the US Treasury at this rate. I'm hoping the younger generation has a better grip on free market ideas (and reality).

Fire the "laser"....</DrEvil>

From my friend Joe....new cool toys that Katy would kick my ass for buying:
You, too, could own the weapon of the future with this handheld laser gun from Information Unlimited. With a blasting power of 500 Joules, the Laser Ray Gun can fire 120 to 150 shots on a pair of AA batteries, burning holes in most materials.

For $20, you can buy the plans to build one of these babies in your garage, or you can drop $1,750 on a fully assembled unit. (You can also buy the kit and assemble it yourself to save a couple hundred bucks.) But whichever option you choose, you'll have to return a signed hazardous equipment affidavit before the company will send you any hardware.


Factoid of the day...

I leave you with this for the weekend. Who know that the solution to violence in Israel was to give the Palestinians more room to blow themselves up?
"For the first time since the start of the intifada, more Palestinians have been killed in internal violence since the start of the year than those who have died in clashes with Israel, according to an official report published Thursday."


You have the right to....er, do you?

Not as exciting as my parents protesting back in the day....but hey, could I actually catch a raft of shit from the government for all the political crap on my site? That would be too funny. Apparently possible under that wonderful campaign-finance reform law passed a while back (thank you McCain...I almost thought you were the perfect politician ):

"But bloggers don't necessarily work for a campaign or a political party and thus should not fall under McCain-Feingold, right?

Don't be too sure. Bloggers often endorse candidates or parties in an election. Those endorsements are of value to the candidates and may end up being treated as a campaign contribution, subject to limits and disclosure. Bloggers may also contribute to a campaign by linking to a candidate's website or republishing a candidate's press release."

I'll have to make sure near the next election to put lots of "killbushkillbushkillbushkillbushkillbush" on the website. Oh wait. I just did. :)

Would you like fries with that subpoena?

Finally your over-controlling/protective government is trying to pass a bill for people to be responsible for their own lives, namely eating habits. Whodathunk?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would block lawsuits by people who blame fast-food chains for their
The "cheeseburger bill," as it has been dubbed in Congress, stems from class-action litigation that accused McDonald's of causing obesity in children.
"As one judge put it, if a person knows or should know that eating copious orders of super-sized McDonald's products is unhealthy and could result in weight gain, it is not the place of the law to protect them from their own excesses..."

Waste not, want not?

Random link: Help find fluff in your gov't! List of all the departments and agencies....lets find ones we don't need:

  • "Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements" (er, textile companies can't agree on textile trade w/o these guys?)

  • "Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds" (yeah, like the ones in the White House?)

  • "Institute of Peace" (not working very well, apparently)
  • and finally, the "President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency"(clearly a wasted effort)


Paranoia of the day....

1.) Big Brother is watching you. EFF finally breaks the code in the "invisible dots" that come out of your office printer....so the bad, scary government can track all those emails you print. :)

2.) One of the best simple toys ever made: The Mind Molester (read a review). It beeps. That's it. Hide it, and people will go nuts trying to turn it off. I'm ordering at least 3, I think.


Glad we have 2 of them....

In the "who else can be pissed at us" department...The Guardian is reporting that the EU, obviously unimpressed with the US's refusal to relinguish control of the Internet, will be forming several comittees and forums to look at forcibly removing control of the Internet from the United States:

"Old allies in world politics, representatives from the UK and US sat just feet away from each other, but all looked straight ahead as Hendon explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium. The issue of who should control the net had proved an extremely divisive issue, and for 11 days the world's governments traded blows. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical."

Quick, Al! Invent us another one! :)


"Oops" of the day...

In case you forgot why protecting your "electronic identity" is important....don't let people take pictures of your credit cards:

"Within two minutes of AFP photographer Stanly Honda electronically publishing a photo of Katrina victim Latesha Vinette holding up her Red Cross debit card, Ms. Vinette was paged by the management of Reliant stadium to receive a call from Mastercard asking about cash advances totally $65,237, the attempted purchase of a Ferrari automobile using her card #, along with hundreds of purchases from eBay, including, ironically, camping gear."

And no, the card number isn't good anymore, trust me. :)


Talk about throwing your weight around....well, mass actually.

Weighing in (ha) on the debate with what to call these planet-like objects they keep finding in the solar system, now that the latest one is DEFINITELY larger than Pluto (which should have been demoted...friggin' captured moon):
An Illinois man has added fuel to a furious astronomical debate by officially applying to the International Astronomical Union for status as a planet.
The IAU definition states in part that planets are "objects with true masses below the limiting mass for thermonuclear fusion of deuterium...that orbit stars or stellar remnants are 'planets' (no matter how they formed)".

"I've put on a few pounds these past couple of years, but I'm clearly below the limiting mass for thermonuclear fusion," said Finkelschmidt, while patting his belly. "And I orbit the Sun, obviously. So technically, I qualify."
His two cats, Artemis and Vampira, are listed on the application as "moons."


Slooooow glass?

Scientists getting better at slowing down light....now for up to a whole second (which is forever as far as the light is concerned).
“When we shine a laser pulse at this crystal, it’s normally absorbed. The light doesn’t get through the crystal. Then we add a second laser beam that turns on the coupling between the nuclear spins and the light. This coupling makes the crystal transparent. So when we now fire the first laser beam at it, it gets through, but the odd thing about it is that it takes a very long time to do so.”

Hey, if we can store light, and release it slowly....can I make a cool non-lethal lightsaber for those Star Wars conventions? :)


Relief? Not from Katrina....from HANSON.

Now here's how to raise money:

"Suggested by a few members of the student council, the school is playing Hanson's 1996 hit "MMMBop" through the loudspeakers before classes begin, between periods and during lunch. The idea? Annoy students into donating; have them pay to stop the music. "

Bankruptcy law and Katrina...how convenient.....

Now that your house is gone (oh, and keep making that payment to the bank until the insurance check comes in, unless you want your property confiscated), good luck with the new bankruptcy laws:

The new law requires consumers filing for bankruptcy to jump through numerous hoops including filing mounds of paperwork on a strict schedule, proving they lack the capacity to repay certain creditors, and requiring them to take a credit counseling course before they can even file.

The old bankruptcy law contained a provision that loosened filing rules for people who had been through a hurricane or flood. Early this year, a congressional easing was defeated in a party-line vote to have a similar provision included in the new bankruptcy law, exempting victims of natural disasters from some of its more onerous provisions.

Next up: "Bush created the hurricane" conspiracies. :p


Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out...

UPDATE: Just when I was pointing out the inability of the Bush administration to fire anyone (Rumsfeld, Rove, etc ), Brown has to go ahead and resign. Bush has done worse....where's HIS resignation, hmmm? :)

Trapped in New Orleans....

A great first-hand account of people who tried to leave the city:

We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the six-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans, and there would be no Superdomes in their city. These were code words for: if you are poor and Black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River, and you are not getting out of New Orleans.

...and a summary of the whole mess on the front page of counterpunch.org (although the article will probably move after a few days....do a search, it's titled "Power Grab in New Orleans":

At the request of the Louisiana governor, President Bush declared a federal emergency for Louisiana on Saturday August 27 prior to Katrina's arrival in New Orleans on the following Monday. The declaration specifically authorized FEMA "to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency." However, FEMA took no action until 3 days after the hurricane, delaying the arrival of effective help until 5 days after 80% of New Orleans was under water.


Your government is in denial...

On Hurricane Katrina, conflicting quotes of the day, from CNN:

"The governor and the president let thousands of people die and they let them die on their roofs and they let them die in the water," said Davis, 45. "We got left. They didn't care."

Walking a hurricane-riddled street, Vice President Dick Cheney declared Thursday that much progress is being made in a disaster relief effort he termed "very impressive."

Again, proof that if you put a bag over your head, the world looks perfectly fine, no matter what.

Keep track of your beaver...

Apparently, statues are being stolen from a town in Ohio. Beaver statues. So this brief article about the new tracking devices they've implanted produces what has to be the best quote of the week:

"The electronic gadgets alert police if the beavers are picked up, and enable officers to track them. The devices also give off loud beeping sounds if the beavers are moved."

'Nuff said.


Loving the 2nd Amendment...

Concealed-carry can actually be a good thing, you know:
"ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - A fatal shooting at an Albuquerque Wal-Mart last week was the state's first by someone with a concealed-carry gun permit, authorities said.

Police said Felix Vigil was attacking his ex-wife with a knife near the store's deli counter where she worked when an armed customer intervened and shot him. The woman, Joyce Cordova, was treated for multiple stab wounds and later released from an Albuquerque hospital."


F-bomb of the day...

From a school in the UK....quite unlike any of mine:

"Pupils are being allowed to swear at one Northamptonshire secondary school - as long as they limit their use of bad language to five times a lesson.

A tally of how many times the f-word is used will be kept on the board."

Yeah, I'd just save them all up until the end of class, and let out one almighty tirade just before class is dismissed. :)


Today's tip from Captain Obvious....

On the recent $280 billion-something transportation bill just passed (it was only $20 billion over Bush's limit, so no veto from Dubya, of course):
"The more than 1,000-page highway bill is more costly than he preferred and includes cash to bankroll some 6,000 pet projects for lawmakers in their home districts."

So, make sure you vote for those big, powerful, spend-a-rific parties next time. Yes. That's sarcasm.

Follow up "fun fact":
"Not since John Quincy Adams has a president served a full term without using a veto. "

/fiscal conservative Republicans, my *ass*.


Watch as scientists recreate plasma conditions on the sun.

Next up: creating a singularity that will suck in the entire planet. Hey guys, maybe you should back off a bit and think if this stuff's a good idea first? :)


Space time...."OUT TO LAUNCH"

Shuttle update: finally the first post-Columbia disaster liftoff, no problems so far.

Saturn update: Listen to some eerie radio transmissions from the ringed planet. Shifted down by a factor of 44 for your puny human ears. :)


Can your government ever GIVE UP power, once taken?

Looks like we're trudging towards making most of the "Patriot" Act permanent for the next 10 years. It's passed the House, so WRITE YOUR SENATORS and tell them you don't want to live in a police state where everyone is suspect to numerous violations of your rights, at any time. (good stuff on that last link explaining what exactly the government can now do...search your house without notification, get info on what churches you go to, books you get from the library, any financial records, e-mail and web use....usually WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE.)

We'll see how the Senate vote goes....but if you vote for ANY of the asses in Congress that pass this, we're going to be standing across a wide chasm on our political discussions from now on. :)

Next time you go to vote, remember that lots of Dems and Reps both pass this sort of oppressive crap. (Oh, and I loved the convenient 2nd bomb threat in London that didn't kill anyone, it just *happened* to be the same day that Congress was debating limiting their powers under the Act. Yeah, great coincidence. Scare people, then have the vote.)

Libertarian: No longer voting for the lesser of 2 evils.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House voted by a wide margin Thursday night to renew expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the collection of antiterrorism measures passed after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The final vote was 257-171. The bill makes permanent 14 of 16 provisions in the act set to expire next year and extends two others for another 10 years.


Lawmakers narrowly turned back an effort by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Virginia, to renew the expiring Patriot Act provisions for four more years, rather than making them permanent -- an amendment that drew spirited support from archconservative Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California.

Rohrabacher said he supported the Patriot Act in 2001 because of the threat faced by the country after 9/11, but only under the belief that once the emergency was over, "the government would again return to a level consistent with a free society."

"We should not be required to live in peacetime under the extraordinary laws that were passed during times of war and crisis. Emergency powers of investigation should not become the standard once the crisis has passed," he said, drawing applause from his colleagues.


Boy do I feel dumb....

Proof that it's never too early to take your Microsoft certification exam:
A Pakistani girl has qualified as a Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of 9.

Arfa Karim of Multan has officially become the youngest MCP in Pakistan, and one of the youngest in the world. Karim, now 10, met with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates last week--an experience she later described as second only to visiting Disneyland.


Fireworks for NASA?

Of a different sort: NASA slams an 800-pound copper projectile into a comet to see what's inside. History in the making? Or just grown boys who like to blow things up? :)

Update: Some things never change....a Russian astrologist is suing NASA for messing with the ephemeris of the comet and f*cking up her horoscope.



...redesigned yet AGAIN, and Liebeskind is pretty much out of the picture, but I like this one. Big. Bold. No twisty crap. No smaller towers. Beam of light to shine out the top. Ok, that's something I can learn to like.

The building, which has been dubbed "The Freedom Tower" by Pataki, will remain 1,776 feet, symbolizing the year the United States declared its independence.

It would be almost 100 feet taller than the Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan, currently the tallest building in the world.

It also will retain a spire, containing a 400-foot broadcast antenna which will emit light at night and is intended to echo the Statue of Liberty's torch.

The public observation deck will be at 1,362 feet, the height of old South Tower, while a glass wall will rise 1,368 feet, the height of the old North Tower.

And the fact that it looks a bit like flippin' the middle finger to the terrorists is nice, too.


More SCOTUS goodness....

Well, at the end of this year's session for the Supreme Court, a mixed bag:

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.


Home "ownership"?

Suprise. SCOTUS hits another home run....local governments are now free to sieze your property under "eminent domain" for PRIVATE use now, not just roads and schools (public use things).
The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.

I've got enough "collapse of our democracy" stuff for a whole page on this website. Hey, that's a good idea. That way we're not suprised when the revolution comes. :)


So, what's *your* tax burden?

Not that I'm claiming to be an expert on taxes, but the fact that now a THIRD of Americans owe no taxes under our current system...ya think that might just be part of the problem? (Someone tell the liberals you can't cut taxes any more for the poor...that's called GIVING them money. Cut the rest of us a break!)
Tax Foundation economists estimate that for tax year 2004, a record 42.5 million Americans who filed a tax return (one-third of the 131 million returns filed last year) had no tax liability after they took advantage of their credits and deductions. Millions more paid next to nothing.

I have one thing to say about that. FairTax.


Rock climing....kick ass!

So....first time *seriously* rock climing yesterday, and it was very cool. Think I'll be heading back soon. Remember, kids....I bitch about lots of political stuff, and sure, I'll geek out and stand in line for Star Wars tickets for 3 days....but you gotta get out and LIVE a bit too.

Later this summer: skydiving! (maybe, ha)


Our government is now COMPLETELY OFF THE DEEP END.

(Canada, or anywhere, is SERIOUSLY looking better...but I just finished unpacking in the new house.) In today's "WTF?" category....the guys you voted for (or at least 51% of you did) have gone completely mad. First, they're trying to approve expanded powers for the oft-hated Patriot Act, so the FBI can write their stuff WITHOUT a court.
The FBI would get expanded powers to subpoena records without the approval of a judge or grand jury in terrorism investigations under Patriot Act revisions approved Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

And now today, they "suddenly" decide not to bust the chops of the tobacco industry, without explanation?
After eight months of courtroom argument, Justice Department lawyers abruptly upset a landmark civil racketeering case against the tobacco industry yesterday by asking for less than 8 percent of the expected penalty. [$10 billion of the previously expected $130 billion]

How can you possibly vote for this crap in the next election? Do we LIKE being governed by insane/corrupt/warmongering/idiotic people? I truly hope America can do better than this. Really. Please?

UPDATE: Let's give some more taxpayer money to former Enron executives for a new project! Great idea!


SCOTUS flips the bird to 'checks and balances'. WTF?

So much for states' rights and the 10th Amendment....oh, and all you pothead...er, "medical marjuana" users are screwed too. The Supreme Court has (sadly) ruled that the federal government can override state laws at whim, apparently. Democracy dies more than a little today:

"Respondents... use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything - and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers" - Justice Thomas, dissenting in Gonzales v. Raich


No, I haven't quit blogging yet...

Long time, no blog. I've been wrapping up the year-long project at work, sitting in line for Star Wars tickets, and white-water rafting...sorry, as much as I love the world of technology, I gotta get out and enjoy life once in a while, right? :)

So, a few mobile pics on the right, and I'm wrapping up 2 photo sets: the 2nd half of the Star Wars pictures, and hopefully some ones from the rafting trip. If you haven't been white-water rafting, I *highly* recommend!


De-facto National ID cards, finally?

In today's "overreaching-government-makes-civil-libertarians-cry" department:
Hundreds of civil liberties groups, immigrant support groups and government associations oppose the Real ID Act, a piece of legislation that critics say would produce a de facto national ID card, cost states millions of dollars and punish undocumented immigrants.

Yet despite widespread opposition to the bill, it passed through the House last week and is expected to easily pass through the Senate on Tuesday.

Get ready to product FOUR forms of ID at the DMV now, I'm not kidding. Slipped it into an $82 billion spending bill....I'm sure most of your congressmen haven't even READ the damn thing. Kiss your privacy goodbye. I'm moving to Canada. (I know that's not the first time I've said that. If only it were warmer....)

UPDATE: Just think how fun this will be, with all the identity theft on the rise (I'm assuming you do follow the news occasionally), just think will all your personal info in one database, how easy it will be for, oh, TERRORISTS TO IMPERSONATE YOU EASIER? And I forgot the obligatory "Those who trade their freedom for security deserve neither" quote by er, Thomas Jefferson? Also, a nice discussion/flamewar on ArsTechnica.


Star Wars: Revenge of the Line

Well...I'm back from a sleepless 60 hours of waiting for tickets at the historic Senator theatre for yet a third time. Some pics on the mobile blog to the right, and the full photo set should show up within the week in the photos section. Enjoy!

/off to sleep


Quote of the day...

From a *very* detailed article on tax breaks for business use of your SUV:
"If we were going to devise a formula for wrecking the country, it would be difficult to improve on this one. We might as well call this portion of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 the Osama Bin Laden Support Fund."


When Senators Attack....

23 DAYS LEFT....keep an eye on the countdown on the left. Don't you wish all our political conflicts were solved this quickly and cleanly? :)

Bang-up job of the week....

NASA is at it again:
"An experimental spacecraft designed to show off new autopilot technologies ran into the satellite it was supposed to rendezvous with, NASA confirmed Monday. "

Can't wait for the shuttle to finally go up next month. Heh.




Ok, so it sounds better if you read it in "movie man" voice. Congrats to Lizzy on her new job awaiting her after Towson!


Pork of the day:

...if you still trust your elected boys to keep spending our money the same way they always do, know that some of your $6 billion "Homeland Security" tax dollars are going to buy friggin' Segway scooters:
"...the Santa Clara, Calif., sheriff's department, which purchased four Segways to transport its bomb squad in the event of a terrorist attack on Silicon Valley. They won't get very far at 12.5 mph."


Ceiling fans and the Americay Way?

Ok, I was reading some stupid article about how fan efficency is somehow responsible for our energy waste, reliance on foreign oil, blah blah. Came across this gem:
But Democrats and outside energy efficiency advocates said Deal's measure would pre-empt stronger fan efficiency requirements already approved or being considered in more than half dozen states, calling it a step backward in efforts to curb energy use.

Congress not only "is doing far too little to improve energy efficiency," but also "will pre-empt stronger state standards," said Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, arguing against Deal's measure.

That's just the problem. Federal power under our Constitution was NOT supposed to pre-empt the right of the states to pass their own laws. But since our courts have established a precedent, now we have a backwards system where federal laws undermine any similar state law, even if the state law has more stringent requirements. It's enough to make a Libertarian ill. I have to go lie down now. :)


Eclipse tomorrow!

Annular solar eclipse tomorrow evening for you USA residents. Only 10% viewable from here, but damn if I won't be out with the telescope/solar filter/camera taking pictures.

Today's health tip:

Looking to keep your wits into old age?
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Sex, cryptic crosswords and a good run could help ward off dementia and other degenerative conditions by stimulating new brain cells, an Australian researcher said on Thursday.

Well, I love crosswords and have a nice in-house fitness center in the building I work in. Um....er....Hey, Katy! :^p

(Best quote from the fark.com discussion: "Excuse me miss, I just ran into the bar here to give you these crossword puzzles. Wanna have sex?")


Pic of the day...April Fools to the penguins?

From Yahoo:

Emperor penguins look up at a giant imposter at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, Japan. Zoo director Teruyuki Komiya dressed up for a stint in the penguin enclosure for the annual April Fool event to display a human being at the zoo.


Today's e-dating tip:

Beware creating an online alter-ego to date your girlfriend, she may actually break up with you for "him". End result in this case wasn't too good:
A Taiwanese man who used a different identity through the Internet to double-date his girlfriend, has committed suicide after the girl fell for his email-based alter ego, a Taiwanese newspaper reported on Wednesday.


Where's the $#@*%! alarm?!

Best use of technology EVER. I need one of these so bad, it's not funny. I think I've worn out the snooze button on my clock.
Scientists at MIT's Media Lab in the United States have invented an alarm clock called Clocky to make even the laziest of sleepers, those who repeatedly hit the snooze button, leap out of bed.

After the snooze button is pressed, the clock, which is equipped with padding and a set of wheels, rolls off the table to another part of the room. Each day, the clock finds a new place to hide.


Law "enforcement"?

I know I've probably ranted to some of you in the past how legally, the cops are not required by law to protect you, but now we're in danger of setting the precedent that police are not even accountable for enforcing restraining orders by a court. Scary stuff:
In 1999, a court granted Jessica Gonzales a protective order barring her estranged husband Simon from contact with her and her three daughters, ages seven, nine and ten. The court order also required the police to enforce its terms by arresting her husband if he violated the order.

Simon abducted the young girls a month after the court order, and Jessica immediately called the police. The police told Jessica there was nothing they could do, and said she should call back if the girls did not turn up. Jessica called the police six times that night, and eventually drove to the police station to plead for help in person. The police refused to take action and enforce the court order.


Simple things...

...restoring electricity/sewage/water, and other simple things that are helping improving the situation in Iraq:
3. He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

4. His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this but that cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key factors. He said yes they fought but after they started delivering services that the Iraqis in Sadr City had never had, the terrorist recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up empty.


Squeaky clean on Mars?

You'd think on a multi-million dollar budget, they would have thought of adding a little bottle of Windex and a squeegee arm for the Mars rovers, but hey...you take what you can get:

Mars scientists and engineers are elated about a dust-busting blast that has struck the Spirit rover at its Gusev crater exploration site.

Turns out that a martian whirlwind - dubbed a dust devil - likely zoomed over the robot high up in the Columbia Hills. That fleeting flyby effectively cleaned Spirit's solar arrays, giving the robot a new lease on life.

Engineers report that the rover's power reading quickly shot up to almost as high as when the rover landed on Mars over a year ago.

That just means more cool-ass pictures from the rovers!


Toxic plume?

Ok, I guess I'm blogging another blog now...I sure wish Blogger would figure out how to implement Trackback so you can see who's linking to your blog. Anyway, I'm glad Heather shares my disdain of how how sad the local news is becoming (bowing to those all important commercials):
Yesterday morning we turned on the morning news to find the words BREAKING STORY covering the whole screen. A railcar not too terribly far from our house was leaking acid, potentially life-threatening acid. The reporter said, "Toxic acid is leaking from a train car close to the freeway. We'll tell you which acid it's leaking and how it might kill you, after the break."




You know it's gonna be a good read with gems like "the strange case of the homosexual necrophiliac duck". Those wacky ducks. And for the ladies out there....here's why it's important that you TELL us your thoughts instead of making us guess them:
"When one died the other one just went for it and didn't get any negative feedback - well, didn't get any feedback," he said.

For some reason, "seminal paper" gave me a laugh too. I am clearly warped.


Kodak moment?

From the "Taking-pictures-while-you-should-be-running Department":

Photographs from the camera of a Canadian couple killed in Asia's tsunami include their final shots of a huge wave as it rushed toward them at their beach resort in Thailand.
In a sequence of photos over the course of a few minutes, some curious onlookers are shown wandering onto suddenly exposed tidal flats, a sign of the impending tsunami. In one, a large wave appears to be breaking in the distance.

"I don't know why they didn't run," their son Christian Knill told Global TV in Vancouver. "Either they knew they couldn't or they didn't know the power of the wave."

Their camera was destroyed, but being digital, they got the pics off the memory card. Ah, technology. Mental note: if you're going to die anyway...at least take some cool pics near the end?


Damn kids

You know, I wasn't like this as a kid:
"Apparently playing video games, watching TV and instant-messaging friends isn't relaxing enough. According to a new survey, 71 percent of children say they "need" a vacation. "
The worst part of going on a vacation with mom and dad? Getting up early and riding in the car.

Oh, you have a loooong road ahead of you if you can't handle that, kids. Moving out of your parents' house soon? That light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train, bub. The freight train of mortage, taxes, kids....I could go on. Enjoy your childhood while you've got it and shut up.


And you thought this only happened in Cinemax movies....

As usual, I was not available to assist with the "experience".
Twelve American nuns have been suspended from their convent after going on an alcohol and sex fuelled holiday.

The women, all aged between 22 and 31, went on the Club 18-30 holiday without telling anyone where they were going.
Amazingly the 12 ladies tried to excuse their behaviour by claiming they wanted to experience sin.

This almost reads like a "Dear Penthouse: I can't believe this happened to me...: article:


...and in other news....

I heard that Nikki Cox finally broke up with Bobcat Goldth-whatever-his-name-is. And is now dating comedian Jay Mohr.

Then I realized...if they ever get married, it would be the "Mohr-Cox" wedding, right?

Oh, man that was too easy.


Looking for a new house?

Today's helpful chart: A map of the most devastating weather-related disasters, grouped by state. Just in case you were thinking of moving down to, oh say North Carolina...or anywhere in the southeast, really.

More info here.


That's a load of crap!

The headlines write themselves:
"...Dickinson, who makes his living in the cattle business, has an environmental problem on his hands that is vexing state officials: a 2,000-ton pile of burning cow manure."

And this gem, from the same article:
"...byproducts from the massive operation resulted in a dung pile measuring 100 feet long, 30 feet high and 50 feet wide""

Hey, if that statement resembles the company you work for, time to get a new job. :)


Quote of the day...

From Kim du Toit's blog....he's quite the conservative pro-gun blogger. One of the reason's I can't be a Liberal or Conservative....I relate a little to each group. Anyway, good quote from an article a reader sent to him. Funny AND true!
In Swiss shooting culture, a few accurate hits are superior to lots of "spray and pray" shots. Before World War I, a German general observing Swiss military maneuvers asked a Swiss militiaman what [he] would the Swiss do if a German army, twice the size of the Swiss militia, invaded. The militiaman responded, "Shoot twice and go home."


Pic of the day...

Yahoo just has the best photos. Check out the link...I'm to lazy to upload it. ;^p
"French police arrested four men in southern France after a search of their vehicle revealed a statue of Father Christmas made of pure cocaine"


Inauguration Day...

In case anyone missed the last 4 years....get ready for more of the same crap:

More from David Simpson's site. I hope the people who elected Bush get exactly what they deserve. Incompetent leadership. (Not that the Dems have put up anyone better to run the show). I should just move to Canada...no, too cold. France...no, they hate us. Ah, stuck here...I'll just push the Libertarian agenda as usual. Why people don't go for this, I'll never know. Is SELF-GOVERNING your own life bad? If politics is a game of power, than friggin' take it back! It's ours to begin with, by right.

I guess in a nation with people denying personal responsibility ever on the increase, it's just easier to let power-hungry political asshats run your life for you. You know, that's called "communism" for you kids out there. :^>


In the year 2000....

...anyone working a 25-hour week yet? Have you died of boredom? Check out this article from 1961. Interesting to see how some of it (living to 85+ years old) has come about, while other parts (walls of air) are way off. STILL don't have my TV phone. Or my hoverboard, dammit!

Darth Tater?

More from George "Merchandising-Whore" Lucas. Mr. Potato Head goes over to the Dark Side:

Update: Darth Tater makes the front page on CNN!


My eyes! The goggles! They do nothing!

From the blogosphere: Bill Gates Strikes a Pose for Teen Beat Photospread, circa 1983. Warning....shield your eyes unless you can handle extreme-geek-sexiness. x^p

Hey, I wasn't available for the photo shoot....I was only SEVEN at the time. Didn't learn BASIC until I was 12. Gimme a break.

Someone set us up the bomb....

Don't catch teh ghey:
The U.S. military rejected a 1994 proposal to develop an "aphrodisiac" to spur homosexual activity among enemy troops but is hard at work on other less-than-lethal weapons, defense officials said on Sunday.

"Hard at work"....heh. Full article if you're interested.


Remind me again...

...exactly how Bush got a 2nd term? If this is the future of our presidency, I'm thinking Schwarzenegger isn't looking too bad. Anyway, your quote of the day:
"Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean," Bush said Thursday. "'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case."

Translation: "I'm a wuss"


That's why they call him "Thumper"

HOLLYWOOD stunner Kate Beckinsale has given her daughter's randy rabbit to the family cleaning lady - because it wouldn't stop masturbating.

Full story. I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing if I had to sit in a cage and look at her all day, you know. ;^> Colorful comments abound on fark.com, as usual.

Early bird gets the worm...

...but this is ridiculous:
Jeff Twieden doesn't care that it's freezing outside. He's camping out in front of the Cinerama Theater in downtown Seattle, waiting for Episode Three to open. It's only 22 weeks away.

One problem. He's not even sure the movie theater will be SHOWING the damn thing. <sigh> Check out his ongoing blog, if you're bored.