"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.