Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vienna Fingers as an acceptable substitute for floor columns

From the interesting blog 'Screw Loose Change'
Our regular commenter Chad put up a comment that I simply had to promote to the front page so that more of you could read it. Replying to the "Science Marches On!" post below, Chad commented:

That reminds me of the recent experiment I did to test the beam-weapon theory.

Taking my cues from Judy Wood herself, I constructed two towers out of a combination of Keebler's E.L. Fudge Sandwich Cookies (floor trusses), Vienna Fingers (core columns), and Wheatables Crackers (exterior columns).

I then stole my neighbors Heavy Duty Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac and re-wired it from "suck" to "blow". (Safety Note: If you are unfamiliar with the electrical workings of appliances like I am, make sure the equipment is not plugged into a power source. I received a nasty shock while converting the device and now suffer from a constant buzzing in my brain that suspiciously sounds like Dick Cheney humming "Old Man River".) I then duct-taped a funnel over the vaccuum hose to concentrate the "beam" of "energy" into a more focused stream.

I placed my confectionary towers out on the sidewalk and took my reconfigured beam weapon up to the roof of my apartment building to simulate the distance from space. (Editor's note: I found that roof access was strictly prohibited in my building complex. Undoubtedly, the building is owned and operated by the NWO who had gotten wind of my experiment and were trying to impede my progress. Ironically, the door was unlocked....) I then aimed the hose/funnel at the towers, and turned the vac on.

Approximately five and a half days later, the fudge in the floor trusses started to melt. Ignoring the fact that some asshole Jersey driver drove up onto the sidewalk and ran over my towers, thereby destroying them, I am positive that the buildings were about to instantaneously disintegrate into a fine, pulverized, crumb-like dust.

This is proof positive that a beam weapon was used.

Freud on Seuss

I may never read this to my children again

The Cat in the Hat is a hard-hitting novel of prose and poetry in which the author re-examines the dynamic rhyming schemes and bold imagery of some of his earlier works, most notably Green Eggs and Ham, If I Ran the Zoo, and Why Can't I Shower With Mommy? In this novel, Theodore Geisel, writing under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, pays homage to the great Dr. Sigmund Freud in a nightmarish fantasy of a renegade feline helping two young children understand their own frustrated sexuality.

From Soccer Dad. Thanks a bunch.

Pasty Poem

The happiest day of my life was when this woman said she would marry me.
There was a time when darkness ruled

and light was just a dream

When shadows told of what was there

and nothing was as it seemed.

But through a sprig of hope there sprung

A glimmer of twinkling light

And through the shadows you emerged,

My brave and shinning knight.

Thus to the castle we shall ride

Upon your stead of life

To banish the shadows from my world

And making me your wife.

And so our fairy tale began

and a decade now has passed

But through the days and years I've found

Our love is true and shall last.

Sometimes the darkness finds a way

to enter in our domain,

But a touch, a word, a look, a kiss

From you shall keep me sane.

So through the years I promise you

Whatever mountains we must climb

I'll hold you close and be with you

Until the end of time.

Abide with me


Oh Great Goracle
(All praise be to Thee),
I here pray fervently.

Abide with me
in my 65 degree house.
Illuminate my soul
as I read by the light
of my 20 watt bulb.
Warm me with thy good cheer
as I bask in my cold shower.
Be the wind at my back
as I dutifully bike
20 miles to work.

I have been thy good servant
and done all, nay even more,
than Thou hast asked of me.
Surely I will be rewarded
with your blessings from on high
as you pass over
in your glorious Green Jet.

Oh Goracle (All praise be to Thee)
use your mighty powers
to insure that all we little people
will be forced to contribute
to the great cause of saving Earth
so we may all, each and every one,
suffer equally in this most worthy cause.

All this I ask in the name
of the Great Goracle,
saviour of our globe from the evil CO2.

Amen (or "Apersons" as you may prefer)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fire Brigade

While I'm still on about Korea .. from Soldiers from the Sea: The United States Marine Corps, 1775-1962

“In 38 days the Marine brigade marched 380 miles and fought three major engagements—each a counterattack—the loss of any one of which would have jeopardized the United Nations position in Korea. Marine Air[craft] Group 33 flew 1,511 sorties, 995 of them in close support of Marine or Army ground units; moreover, Marine pilots flew helicopters in combat for the first time in history. Of the Marine air- ground team in the perimeter, one Army regimental commander wrote to Washington, “The Marines on our left were a sight to behold. Not only was their equipment superior or equal to ours, but they had squadrons of air in direct support. They use it like artillery.… We just have to have air support like that or we might as well disband the Infantry and join the Marines.”
Semper Fi.


Simberg linked to this essay
The day the man with the wide-brimmed hat nods over one of our cities, the day our people start to die in numbers comparable to the flu of 1918, the day a dirty bomb goes off in downtown Manhattan, is the day the world gets reminded that this fat, happy country of ours, this cheerfully hedonistic civilization, is also the most terrible engine of slaughter the world has ever seen.
To which Michael Mealing replied
... after WWII I don't think the American people have the stomach for sustained and total war that being "the most terrible engine of slaughter" requires.
I relied there but the best reply was written in 1963
If Americans in 1950 were decadent, so were the rabble who streamed miserably into Valley Forge, where von Steuben made soldiers out of them. If American society had no will do defend itself, neither did it in 1861, at First Manassas, or later at Shiloh, when whole regiments of Americans turned tail and ran.

The men who lay warm and happy in their blankets at Kasserine, as the panzers rolled toward them in the dawn, were decadent, by this reasoning.

The problem is not that Americans are soft but that they simply will not face what war is all about until they have had their teeth kicked in. They will not face the fact that the military professionals, while some have ideas about society in general that are distorted and must be watched, still know better than anyone else how a war is won.

Space is a place

Tell me you don't think we should settle outer space for economic reasons, I get that. Tell me you're against space commercialization because we should change our nature before we venture into the cosmos and start trashing other planets, I get that as well.

But tell me that outer space is not our dominion because the literal word of the Bible doesn't explicitly give dominion of space to Man, and there are demons in outer space?

I don't get that at all.

Space is just a place. Any demons there will be of our own making. And we're going to the stars. If Deity doesn't like that he should not have given us brains to think with and inquisitive minds that want to see beyond the horizon.

Open Congress

OpenCongress brings together official government data with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind each bill.

The tag line above is theirs. Mine would be "Because you can't hack the system until you open up the guts for inspection".

Update: it pays to bitch

The Hyatt charges $10.45 per 24 hours per computer - but they'll credit your account if you bitch about it. No - they're not reading my blog, I wrote the general manager a letter and he responded
Good Morning Mr. Dunbar,

Thank you for choosing the Hyatt Fair Lakes for your accommodations. I would like to thank you for your feedback and I regret any inconveniences you have experienced.

It is unfortunate that our Internet service was not to your satisfaction. As compensation for your inconvenience, I have issued a credit of $20.90 for your Internet charges.
Good Lord. The service was fine, it's the 'paying' bit I objected to. I'm not a hopelessly cheap bastard; I don't mind paying my way but if 'internet' is important to a guest and your competition has it for free ...

Prison Abolition


I have not gotten past the introduction - be interesting to see how they answer the questions that can be summed as "sure the prison system is bad but what is your alternative and what about sticky problems x, y and z?"

Link via Listics.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary

8:00 am Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am Walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm Wow! Watched TV with my master! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and myself are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the floor.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a good little hunter I am. The audacity! There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of allergies. I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded! The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. The captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe for now.

Shoot Only at the Red Airplane

The subject matter isn't terribly interesting to me but the process is sure 'nuff interesting.

SHOOT Only at the Red Airplane is exactly the kind of book that should be self-published. If you're interested in obscure WWII history or aviation, this is something that will interest you. Bill spent his service in WWII working on a target drone squadron. During (and after) the war, various radio-controlled aircraft were used as flying targets for Army and Navy gunners, and Bill's well-researched book provides a lot of first-hand information as to how these craft were developed and used.

Bill's prose is merely serviceable, and the editing and layout is OK, but this is really what historians call a primary source - what you use to write the more formal history of an event.

Self publishing has been around forever but sites like Lulu push more content a bigger audience. More information=goodness.

It doesn't matter

I wish I didn't agree with this - I've got enough drama in my life without getting all involved in a Greatest Generation 21st Century style deal.

After we've gone through it all, once, twice, however many times it takes, they'll still be at war with us. And eventually everyone who balks even a little, at surrender to and dhimmi status within a jihadists state, will be convinced.

And when that day comes, I shouldn't like to be living in any of the countries that supply jihadist recruits and covertly support them. Nobody wages war as cruelly as a pacifist who has finally been moved to violence. (Consider Woodrow "too proud to fight" Wilson.)

The day the man with the wide-brimmed hat nods over one of our cities, the day our people start to die in numbers comparable to the flu of 1918, the day a dirty bomb goes off in downtown Manhattan, is the day the world gets reminded that this fat, happy country of ours, this cheerfully hedonistic civilization, is also the most terrible engine of slaughter the world has ever seen.

And when that day comes the pacifists won't be condemning the slaughter - they'll be the butchers. There is after all, no prude like a reformed whore.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Kelly Tsai February Poem

Last Night

by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai

A whole series of events would be unfolding.

He didn’t say nothing, just boom, boom, boom.
I heard eight shots go as I was approaching the shopping center
We could hear guns going off –
They started to shoot and the soldiers in the white car closed their eyes.
We had no time, no time to gather our belongings,
No time to wash the blood from us

There are no fictitious scene here, nothing staged, only facts.

The woman spoke no words
It was a scream not like any scream coming from a child
It was almost like they were sleeping

We don’t know how many people there are
Where they are, what condition they are in
There’s not enough time to comb
The whole country for mass graves

The waiting is hard
I sure hope it’s not a bad omen
The worst thing is the unpredictability of it all

I still don’t quite believe it
It’s hard to take in that someone you saw
One day is gone the next
It’s like she was stolen

I think about him when I go to sleep.
She has been with me all the time,
Every day, when I wake up,
The thought in my head is him
She is my backbone

I still don’t quite believe it
I have given up violence, but
Do I have an argument for those
Who have seen 800 friends killed since 1996,
What do I say?
There is no way to protect ourselves.
We would have to be in the street day and night.

The future starts to be frightening
Instead of consoling.

He didn’t know the people that he killed.
He didn’t know their families

This was a specific killing
The people did what they were
Intending to do.
There’s never truly a case of spontaneous violence.

I would know my shadow and my light
So shall I at last be whole

They did make choices as they went
They spared some and killed others
He said if he has to suffer other people
Will suffer like the people who put him in this position
He said it will happen when it happens.

If he was so angry, why didn’t he just shoot himself?

It is more akin to a crime carried out by
A primitive caveman than it is of a society
Entering the 21st century.
As long as they are able to kill
I will not use the word weak.

There is a right to obey and a right kill
Young men that don’t care what happens to them
They figure there’s nothing left to lose
Apparently, he is not concerned with
What happened. He is sleeping

I don’t have any regrets
Had to fight for what is right
Talking to you here on the street
It’s hard to imagine putting a gun inside
Someone’s mouth

In our culture,
We do what the father says
The fears of the father are transferred
To the son. It was from my father to me
And from me to my son

When you deal with children
There is a hypersense of reality
A lot of people think the most vicious kids are
In gangs, but that’s not true
They’re on an invisible conveyor belt to
The juvenile hall that hasn’t even been built yet

You know I love my children
More than life itself
They were my light
My heroes

Bring your children into it…
Let them know where they came from.
You have to excavate it

I can’t say
I’m going to stop it
I’m not God
I’m not superman

A lot of people are from both sides of the gun.
On one side is satisfying the vengeance of thousands of people
Whose sons have died
It’s a sense that somebody has to pay

I’m tired of people passing the buck
I want to see him hanged with my own eyes
Those who practice terror must pay the price

God will take care of it
God can do anything
As soon as churches and mosques are burnt
It is almost certain to be 100% war

We need to take all of the
Tools available to us

It could not work, it did not work. It will not work.

We have no power, and we have no control.
The thing is there is no fairness
It just enters your life arbitrarily
There is no reason to sit back and think this is all over
This is a marathon
I beg of you to be wiser than they are.

Until Then

I dare you to to watch this and not weep manly tears.
"Until Then" video presentation
Featuring "Homeward Bound" from the CD The Road Home from The Choirs of BYU

This Flash presentation was created by Todd Clegg of GCS Distributing. Thanks for letting us pass this on.

"This presentation was originally created for and dedicated to a wonderful young lady who lost her husband in Afghanistan who we got to know over the internet. I posted this one for her but also as a reminder to those who live near families whose husbands and wives have given their lives for their country and those who are currently serving. Let's not forget the sacrifice made by our military families."


In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.

When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning,
I’ll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.

If you find it’s me your missing, if you’re hoping I’ll return.
To your thoughts I’ll soon be list’ning, and in the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end.
And the path I’ll be retracing when I’m homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I’ll be homeward bound again.

Celebrity the old fashioned way

Miriam reports that Britney Spears is her favorite celebrity
"Her message seems to be: 'Okay, I'm a low-rent, trashy, rich, famous celebrity with lots of money. Deal with it!'

"Contrast this with the high-minded, hectoring attitude of stars like Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, etc. Britney is not telling anyone what to do. She's not telling us to protest the war, drop our babies, shave our heads, or get tattoos. Nor is she going around spewing hatred and then heading for the rehab. She goes in and out of rehabs as often as I go in and out of my bathroom.

"I find her attitude refreshing."
She's got a point. I'd rather hear about Ms. Spears than be lectured by a guy like Sean Penn any day.


Saturday, February 24, 2007


This is a great t-shirt - it would also make a great bumper sticker.

Knowledge is half the battle.

The other half is violence.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Squiggly lines

Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Macrovision CEO Fred Amoroso’s Response to Steve Jobs’s ‘Thoughts on Music’

Source: “Macrovision’s Response to Steve Jobs’s Open Letter”.


We have been involved with and have supported both prevention technologies and DRM that are on literally billions of copies of music, movies, games, software and other content forms, as well as hundreds of millions of devices across the world.

Remember those squiggly lines when you tried copying a commercial VHS tape? You can thank us for that.

Get some rope. I had a room mate in Okinawa who was enthralled by Highlander. He had a copied tape. He watched it - squiggly lines and all - all the time. Like to drove me crazy. I don't blame the Fred Amoroso for Joe's obsession but if it hadn't been for copy protection movie night would not have been so annoying.

Bruce Schneier Facts

Apply nerdly intelligence to the Chuck Norris is The Man meme and you get (drum roll) Bruce Schneier Facts.

Crytanalysis doesn't break cryptosystems. Bruce Schneier breaks cryptosystems.
Bruce Schneier eats 0s and 1s for breakfast. And snacks on pi.
There are no prime numbers, just numbers Bruce Schneier hasn't bothered to factor yet.
Bruce Schneier can determine if a program terminates just by looking at it. And then the program terminates itself.

The Skipper

Michael Fay is one talented USMC combat artist.
The piece, as I worked on it over the past couple weeks, became a haggard rifle company commander. Over the years I've tended to focus almost exclusively on sergeants and below, the grunts.

But I've also carefully observed the late twenty-something captains who carry the burden of command with weary grace.
The young Marines are lovingly lead and often painfully mourned by their commanding officer, the "skipper". Skipper is a term both respectful, and filled with warmth. It's the un-official moniker for a Marine captain.

Time to reevaluate

If you find yourself having this conversation

Yuppie dad: Dylan, remember when we discussed at-home conversations and outside conversations?

Yuppie kid: Yes.

Yuppie dad: Well, this is an at-home conversation.

Yuppie kid: Okay, daddy. [Sings to herself quietly] Mommmyyy shaves her hoo-hooo...

Black lady: See, home conversating, outside conversating -- that's bullshit. My kid says shit like that, I smack him. He won't say shit like that again.

Yuppie dad: Okay, thank you, but I think our method works just fine.

Yuppie kid: Lady, do you shave your hoo-hoo?

Black lady: Oh, yeah, that shit is workin' just fine. She's all kinds of polite.
It's time to reevaluate your child rearing strategy.

Via .. someone.


This question comes up once in a while: You're a small company, Boeing and Lockheed are huge.  When the space elevator idea is ready for prime time they are going to wake up, take the idea and flatten you into the ground.  How are you going to avoid that?

With people like this.

I’ve been an aerospace engineer for over 20 years.

I just visited friends back at the Kennedy Space Center, (I was laid 5 years ago, just before 9/11) some are still working half were laid off. I say, come on Musk Rutan, and Branson. I am so tired of having to work for only the big boys (Bo-Lockmart) helping them play with meeting their milestone charts and not inventing anything. The more the merrier! Not to mention that it would be great to work for a company that was actualy innovative and not dependent on the government funding cycle.

Welcome to the game boys, I’m warming up my resume. Maybe I can use my Masters Degree for bending metal and not to just push papers!

Being small means we can employ the cream of the crop - we won't (putting this in military terms) employ a conscript army doing scut work but highly motivated special forces ninjas. The trick will be to employ the nimble ju-jitsu thing without letting the lumbering mass fall on us.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

*I don't like the derisive nickname but it is a handy tag

Radio Open Source show is online

The Radio Open Source show 'What to Do in Space' with guests Michael Laine, Elon Musk, Greg Klerlx and Monte Davis is available online here.

ROS is an interesting idea for radio; one of their taglines is 'the blog with a radio show'. Worth a listen.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

In Memory of my Sister, The Epitome of Non-conformity

From my wife - it's been a very emotional month this week.
This week I had to do the unthinkable, go to see my younger sister being buried in Virginia. I haven't truly been able to sleep well since I got the news over the phone. She leaves behind five children, a mother, sisters, and a slew of nieces and nephews and cousins and friends. I wrote the following in her honor. She lived in what we thought was a state of needless confusion looking for the answers of life in places we never would have dared to explore. I don't believe that she found her answers there either. I wish for her a peace in the next life that she never seemed to be able to find in this one.

In Memory of my Sister,
The Epitome of Non-conformity

You were born a white daisy in a bouquet of roses
Not ready to conform to the garden but wanting to grow free.
You pushed and pulled through life wishing to experience it
Without the rules and regulations that most of us follow.
And so you experimented with life denying the rest of us
knew what the hell we were talking about.
Maybe we don't.
Maybe we are clueless.
You enveloped us with a spark that few people will ever show,
A fire inside of you that lit a different pathway.
You never stopped to say hello or goodbye, but kept going
to see what was there for you to find, any new discovery.
You left us standing in the darkest of shadows seeing if we
could see your glimmer seeking an unseeable new pathway.
Maybe we were blind.
Maybe we don't understand.
But you left this world and went to another place where I'm
certain that you will not do death like you never did life.
You will search your way through and insist on the peace that
you never found here because you never stop looking, never settle.
Maybe we didn't say goodbye.
Maybe we didn't have to.
Because strangely a piece of you lives in those of us that you touched
with your wild and crazy ways of doing things, my non-conformist.
You grew too quickly and left us much too soon to really be able to see
the world that existed in your eyes that was too painful for us to bear.
Maybe one day we'll understand.
Maybe we we never will.
But we loved you. We love you. That is one thing that will never change.
You were never a disappointment, just the enigma of a life we never solved.

With deepest love,
your sister Pasty

Memo to Hyatt in Fairfax, Virginia

Memo to Hyatt: your competition has cheaper room rates, free WIFI and a continental buffet on the house. Getting people to pay $10 bucks per computer every 24 hours might seem like a really good idea to someone but can be a huge turn-off to customers.

So . . . thanks for the fluffy comforter and the free newspaper. But we likely won't be back.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rule 29

Luis Cabrera is perhaps unaware of Rule 29 - "The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less."
Luis Cabrera, a military adviser to the president, earlier had questioned the authenticity of the threat in comments published by local media.

He said it was illogical that "al Qaeda, which is against North American imperialism, would go against a state (Venezuela) that is fighting, though in a different way, against that hegemony."
Our homeboy Zarkman speaks from beyond the grave ..
It's not fair, and I swear to Allah the next time somebody tries to link the jihad with these infidel dipshits, I am totally going to snap. And the next time one of you chicken martyrs puts on a keffiya and starts babbling about “solidarity with the resistance,” remember this: just because we are planning to kill you last doesn’t make you our buddy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shut your cake-hole

Excellent advice from the MInister

If I gave a shit about Tim Hardaway (I don’t), I’d certainly say that he should have learned to exercise the governor on his cake-hole, since not every thought that runs across one’s brainpan needs to be aired, on the radio or otherwise.

Good advice but sometimes oh so hard to follow.

Also .. twenty years on it's clear one of the minor joys of being a Marine was being around people who would use phrases like 'cake-hole', 'brain pan' and so forth on a routine basis without a lick of self-referential irony.

Bad Day at the Range

I've watched this twice - it's still funny: this is NOT what is supposed to happen when you pull the trigger.


Bruno - RIP

Chris Baldwin posted his last Bruno yesterday.

2/14/07 - Well. I guess this is it. It felt so weird to set down my pen when I was done with this strip. That's it. Eleven years. There it is.

I wish I had some optimistic vision of a blazing path ahead of me, but even though there are several projects I'm developing, it's hard to see past doing Book#10 pre-press this weekend, then freelance jobs, then taxes, and maybe a breather for my birthday (the 25th) (I'm turning 34 I think).

Again, I wish to mention that I'll be blogging on the 1st of every month as to what I'm up to (here, livejournal or myspace). I also hopefully will clean up this site, including (among other things) fixing the archive, updating my bio page, etc.

For all of you who've patroned for Book #10, please make sure to double-check your name (updated in the list below). Everyone else, today's the last day for your name as a patron in book#10 if you wish.

And lastly, thank you. I know this isn't goodbye for most of you, you'll keep a watchful eye on me, make sure I'm not up to no good. But still, I may have been sailing the ship, but you're all the ones who've kept vigil on the rocks, stormy seas buffeting your view. You've put me up when I was traveling, bailed me out when my finances fell through, and been generous, kind, and supportive when times were bad, okay, and even good.

And you've loved Bruno, as I have.

I can't thank you all enough. And I hope the ending of the strip pleases you. I worked hard (about 7 months lead-up) to make the ending feel good, solid, right, and at the same time, not too precious. Because although the strip is ending, tomorrow Bruno will wake up and her life will continue.

my best,

Bruno is a fascinating character - I've loved reading the strip, wanted to jack some sense into her noggin at times. She'll be missed.

The Invention of Sex

Sex was invented in 1990.
The sex educators had news for this class of 40 people in their 70s and 80s, just in time for Valentine’s Day: Older folks are friskier than ever, and it’s never too late to learn about safe sex.
Sex must have been invented in the last twenty years - why else would they be giving sex education classes to the 'Greatest Generation'?  Health risks associated with Viagra .. that I can see as being useful.  But .. condoms?  KY jelly?  Who in the wide world of sports reaches their 70s and doesn't know about that?
The study concluded that health care providers and patients were in need of sex education.

Indeed, not one of the students raised a hand when Ms. Binford asked who had been to a class before where someone had demonstrated how to put on a condom.
A does not imply B.  I don't really _know_ but I suspect that a graphic demonstration of condom usage is a recent innovation in the sex education biz.


Radio Open Source - What to Do in Space

Follow up from an earlier post - Robin at Radio Open Source notes that the 'What to Do in Space' program records February 15 and adds this note
Update, 2/14/07 6:13pm

Thanks for all your input so far guys. It looks like tomorrow’s show is shaping up to deal largely with the new frontiers of what some people call - private enterprise trailblazing the way forward. So adjust your antennae to think about the role of the market in space exploration.

Personally I am not overly fond of the term but I won't deny it's a handy tag. Thanks to Robin for putting this together - it should be a great hour of radio.

Setting the Bar

I asked her what I should get her for Valentine's Day. "Cannoli" was the answer. I made cannoli.* She said, with utter sincerity and moist eyes,** it was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for her on Valentine's Day.

Mine did not look this good.

I am in trouble; I've set the bar too high. What in the wide world of sports am I going to do next year?

*With the invaluable help of my daughter. Sarah loaned out her kitchen, made the dough when a work obligation kept me late, offered needed advice and shoved the filling into the cannoli.

** if you are a Doubting Thomas then you clearly do not grasp how good cannoli can be. You have my pity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Valentine's Card Ever

Best Valentine's Card Ever - it's from xkcd of course.

Briar Patch

If daily human interaction with other prisoners is a basic human right - and I’m not remotely convinced that it is - why can’t we at least have cramped single-prisoner, locked-in-all-day-with-books cells for those who are desperate for them?

No - don' throw me in the briar patch, Br'er Fox!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Extinction with a lot of blam

A prudent man buys life insurance so his familiy is taken care of. Fire insurance so you can afford to rebuild. Car insurance because it's always the other driver who can't drive. You invest a few bucks a month in AAA for the towing service - cause nothing says 'sucks' like having to pay the full amount for a wrecker.

But bring up the same reasons for getting biomass off the earth and you get funny looks. As if some people can't get their minds around the fact that disaster happens and if all of your species is on the same planet it only takes one really large catastrophic incident to finish the lot of us off for good. If this theory is right we came within an ace of extinction  70 thousand years ago ..
According to the Toba catastrophe theory, a massive volcanic eruption severely reduced the human population. This may have occurred when around 70–75,000 years ago the Toba caldera in Indonesia underwent an eruption of category 8 (or "mega-colossal") on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. This released energy equivalent to about one gigatonTNT, three thousand times greater than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. According to Ambrose, this reduced the average global temperature by 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius for several years and may possibly have triggered an ice age.

Some geological evidence and computed models support the plausibility of the Toba catastrophe theory, and genetic evidence suggests that all humans alive today, despite their apparent variety, are descended from a very small population, perhaps between 1,000 and 10,000 individuals [3].

 Population bottleneck and recovery or extinction

Reduce the effective human population size too far and we end up on the ugly line heading into the celler, and not the perky upward trending line.  Which would be uncool.

Smart People

You will see this meme pop up in the oddest places. Taxis drivers, fellas from Oshkosh (Hi Jesse) language teachers in Japan ..
I don’t disagree with his main point—most of our planet’s surface is covered with water and I do believe the oceans present exciting and valuable opportunities for the future—but I found it extremely odd and disappointing for someone talking about long-term survival to dismiss space exploration, especially using such a simplistic argument.
Colonizing the oceans isn’t going to make a damned bit of difference when the next asteroid hits. Or protect us from nuclear war or a pandemic. It’s still basically keeping all the eggs in one basket. The real frontier is above, not below.
You'd almost think there is something to that - when a guy with no bias for any particular launch scheme or company writes about long-term species survival.

Crazy fuckin' awesome free speech

I am not an Anarchist but it makes me feel all giddy when you see them express thoughts like this.
I tend to think very lowly of the Left in general, especially when it
comes to matters of Free Speech. So many individuals, even those
wearing the mantle of "anti-authoritarianism" among the Left jump at
the first opportunity to apply social coercion. I can't tell you how
many times I've heard activists, even anarchists, talk about how forms
of institutional or collective control of communication are a good
thing, because they're the only way we can win against our overpowered
"enemies." And everyone believes that if Free Speech is actually a good
thing, that its a tertiary triviality, unimportant in comparison to the
starkly physical challenges all around us.

Such sentiments are, of course, fucking ridiculous.
Not that - but it is funny to see Gillis put the smack-down on authoritarians of any stripe - he's pretty good with invective. This
No social element whatsoever is prior to the basic act of
communication. Although not everything that matters is linguistic,
every structure that comprises our society is based on the
interrelation of memetic information. Free Speech is not everything,
but without it we, as a people, have nothing. Furthermore it is a
battle that has already been won in many people's minds. The biggest,
most glorious, wonderful, joyous, gift left us from the American
Revolution (and all that surrounding historical junk). In this one
field, we start out on the defense. That's crazy fuckin' awesome.
Enough people already feel entitled to this freedom that our power
structures face an even steeper uphill battle, and as Anarchists we
should be all about deepening such feelings of privilege.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

MP3 Player Foolishness

MP3 Player Foolishness via

1) What's the most-played track in your mp3 collection, and how many times has it been played?
"Hazy Shade of Winter" by the Bangles. 186.

2) Divide that play count in half and round up. What's the nearest song?
"Piano Bar I" by Yoko Kanno, from 'Cowboy Bebop: Vitaminless'. 97.

3) Divide that play count in half, and round up again.
"Ave Maria" by Bruckner. 48.

4) Care to explain yourself?
"Hazy Shade of Winter" is the first song in the play list I habitually play when I'm working. I really dig Yoko Kanno's anime soundtrack work ... Bruckner is soothing.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Nuke the Whales

Courtesy of mimerki I finally have a rational for why nuking the whales is a good idea*
Me: That 'nuke the whales' thing - I'm still trying to rationalize that ...

Her: If whales are as smart as people claim, it is merely a matter of time before they feel that our increasing impact on the ocean environment is a threat to their way of life and continued survival. At which point, clearly they will attack us. In order to avoid this potential conflict, a series of quick surgical strikes would cripple whale society and ensure our continued dominance on the planet.

*I'm kidding of course.

My representative in action

Jo Egelhoff reads these things so we don't have to. And I thank her for it. From her site ..

Here’s one that really got to me. It was the gazillionth time I’d seen this same news report about a grant to purchase Mink River wetlands in Door County. A wonderful project. The articles all said “Congressman Steve Kagen helped secure the $1 million grant” for the Nature Conservancy in Door County to protect pristine wetland.

I’m interested in just what Dr. Kagen had to do with this grant. It was due back in June, 2006 and reviewed during the summer, with final, objective, scoring done sometime in September or October. Typical of these kinds of grants, letters of support were included in the grant packet, including a letter from Representative Mark Green.

Let’s see, when was Representative Kagen sworn in?

After November, 2006 of course. Way to lower our expectations of newly elected government officials, Doc.

Look to the beam in thy own eye

Bruce Shortt takes Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds to task. That worthy said
"… [Y]ou must realize we all have this moral and ethical responsibility to deal with those situations where clearly it's nothing more than a child abuse situation when parents pull their children out of school, say they're being homeschooled just because parents ... don't want to be involved in the education of their children. ..."
What he's ostensibly worried about are parents who think that dealing with the public school is just too much hassle, withdraw them from school, and let them (I guess) sit on the couch all day. Because that is such a huge problem (rolls eyes).

Shortt goes on to write
Moreover, if Bounds really wants to characterize a failure to educate as "child abuse," then what is to be said of him and his bureaucrats who are responsible for a school system in which a catastrophic failure to educate is the norm? According to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, often known as "The Nation's Report Card," Bounds' bureaucrats have failed Mississippi's children and taxpayers as follows:

1. Reading: 82 percent of Mississippi's fourth-graders cannot read at grade level, with 52 percent not being able to read at even a basic level. By eighth grade, 82 percent of Mississippi's children still cannot read at grade level, with 40 percent being unable to read at even a basic level.

2. Mathematics: 81 percent of fourth-graders are below grade level in math, with 31 percent lacking even a basic grasp of mathematics. By eighth grade, math illiteracy is burgeoning in Mississippi: 86 percent of students are below grade level in math, with 48 percent lacking even a basic understanding of mathematics.

3. Science: 88 percent of fourth-graders are below grade level, with 55 percent lacking even a basic knowledge of science. By eighth grade, 86 percent of Mississippi's children are below grade level, with an amazing 60 percent lacking a basic grasp of the subject.
You've got to work hard in willful ignorance of how kids learn for half your kids to be unable to read 'at a basic level'. It would be less work to do it the right way to begin with.

Disclaimer: My youngest children are not home schooled, they learn at home. The difference is that they are enrolled in a public school, but their classroom is in the house, and my wife and I (and credit to my wife, she carries 99.99% of the load) educate them here. There is a teacher overseeing the process, conference calls and regular testing.

Think of it as working for a mid-sized company from your house.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What to Do in Space - Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Open Source with Christopher Lydon has an interesting take on radio - solicit topics and input via their blog. Selected comments from posters are thrown at guests during the program. It has a nice online community going - nearly all of the regular visitors seem like rational adults instead of poo-flinging monkeys some communities attract.

All that and they make each show available in convenient podcast form.

Today, Robin posted a new thread; What to do in Space.
So maybe this week’s most compelling space story actually has nothing to do with space. But there are plenty of interesting things going on in the final frontier that don’t involve attempted murder or adult diapers.
Nice hook.
You’ve probably heard about the Mars Rover and space weapons a la China, but do you know about plans to build a space elevator? Or to mine asteroids? Do you know about the 181 things scientists hope we can accomplish by returning to the moon?

I know our blog is harboring a secret colony of space enthusiasts, so let’s have a go at this. What should we be doing in space? (And conversely, what should we not be doing?) Is space a future wasteland or a future gold mine? What are the most interesting, innovative, or unconventional projects in the works or on the horizon? What role, if any, should private space exploration play? What should be our motivations for space exploration, and should they be different than they were in the past?

Hie thee to the link and contribute your thoughts. What the show turns into depends on listener feedback.

Rationalized Interstate Highway Map

Rationalized Interstate Highway Map.


Letters to the Editor

The Economist is publishing all the letters to the editor - minus obvious trolls and nutbars. Cool.


Via the excellent Jerry Pournelle
The Honorable X.
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator X,

As a native your-state-here and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year. Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as "in-state" tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.

If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent,

Arthur's Hall of VIking Manliness

Arthur's Hall of VIking Manliness - interesting site. Chew*, heavy metal and firearms of course.
And the Mosin can kill enemies of homeland. The muzzle blast will vaporize green growth within a few feet of the muzzle, and even if you miss, the enemy will be reduced to shouting "WHAT?" to communicate.
But also globalization
And of course the left wing anti globalists never say a word about what a great boost in the standard of living in third world countries that foreign investment provides (they’re brown so they don’t matter, right?) Neither do they take it to account the massive drop in the cost of manufactured goods that comes with foreign trade that increases the buying power of every consumer. They are too busy rioting at WTO conventions and throwing garbage cans through the windows of the local Starbucks to get back on speaking terms with reality.

In regards to right wing anti globalists they are a little bit smarter, but not by much. Their thesis is quite similar to the one the leftists have but the focus is different. Instead of a desire to protect the workers they have a desire to protect the corporations. These are the kind of people who bail out tanking inefficient companies (Chrysler anyone?) and love to pass out corporate welfare with a zeal only matched by the love liberals posses for hand outs to the inner city. What they fail to understand is that if a corporation is collectively dumb enough to start running a constant loss and is in the early stages of collapsing under its own weight then it deserves to. Globalism is a two way street, you do not get increased markets without increased competition, but this is a good thing.
And global warming
First of all, despite the clear evidence to the contrary some conservatives have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and pretend like the Earth is not warming up. The fact is that it is and dramatically. Depending on how and who measures the temperature the Earth has warmed up 2-4 degrees F in the last 150 years. We do not have reliable measurements prior until the mid 1800s and this, of course, is used by denial experts who say that this could be natural and part of the Earth’s cycle.
Which is not what I was expecting to read in that article at all.
The point is that global warming is happening. Here at Arthur’s Hall I am always looking for ways to give you a better idea of how the world around you is full of change and that change, even drastic Earth changing events like Global Warming, are not necessarily reasons to throw your hands up and become a victim. We should all stop pretending that Global Warming is a liberal myth and do what capitalists do…find ways to make money and improve our world. Stop letting environmentalists look smart…embrace global warming. Let’s change the mainstream conservative view of global warming by coming to grips with the fact that what we do effects the Earth…how we choose to LET it effect the world is 100% up to us.
Whoa. A Viking Capitalist.

*No, I don't chew. But neither do I much care if someone else does - God knows there are worse habits.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Things I Did Not Know Until Today

Bristol Channel Floods - 1607
On 30 January 1607 (New style) the Bristol Channel floods resulted in the drowning of an estimated 2,000 or more people, with houses and villages swept away, farmland inundated and livestock destroyed, wrecking the local economy along the coasts of the Bristol Channel, England.

The devastation was particularly bad on the Welsh side from Laugharne in Carmarthenshire to above Chepstow on the English border. Cardiff was the most badly affected town. The coasts of Devon and the Somerset Levels as far inland as Glastonbury Tor, 14 miles from the coast, were also affected.

There remain plaques up to 8ft above sea level to show how high the waters rose on the sides of the surviving churches. It was commemorated in a contemporary pamphlet God's warning to the people of England by the great overflowing of the waters or floods.

Just doing his job

"We're just doing our job." The refrain of the humble man doing a difficult job. Or not.
Gordon Peterson: "What do you think, Evan? Are the mainstream media bashing the president unfairly?"

Evan Thomas: "Well, our job is to bash the president, that's what we do almost --"

Peterson: "But unfairly?"

Thomas: "Mmmm -- I think when he rebuffed, I think when he just kissed off the Iraq Study Group, the Baker-Hamilton Commission, there was a sense then that he was decoupling himself from public opinion and Congress and the mainstream media, going his own way. At that moment he lost whatever support he had."
Hunh. I thought their job was to report the news. Good reason not to subscribe to Newsweek. Okay yes, context matters and perhaps he was kidding ... but still.


metasyntactic variable

I don't even know what a 'metasyntactic variable' is let alone that my ‘Fergenschmeir’ article was one.

" ... the article on ‘Fergenschmwhatever’ has been deleted because, all in
all, it’s just a metasyntactic variable. We don’t have articles on
every tiny little joke that exists. I regret that this disappoints you,
and hope that you will reconsider your decision to avoid participating
in Wikipedia. DS 04:39, 6 February 2007 (UTC)”

Sure. At any rate Fergenscheir is back. Not just because I think it has merit but because by God I am a Wikipedia Editor too and it's my commons just as much as it is his. Or hers. Plus at least one other person enjoyed it and it's a damned shame to throw things away that make other people happy.

We're sorry

Apple gets points in my book for having great customer service. No one is perfect and their hardware will fail. It's how they handle it afterwards that matters ...
I sent it (Macbok) off to get a dead hard drive and a discolored top-half fixed.

It came back with a new hard drive (OSX 10.4 preloaded of course), new top-half (still with the protective plastic cover on it), and a couple of other minor recall issues fixed.

However, I sent the machine off with a single 512M SODIMM installed.

It came back with that 512M SODIMM *and* a 256M SODIMM installed.

In other words - "We're sorry as hell about that. Really. That discolored thing - so embarrassing. Hey - have some RAM. Just a token of our esteem."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Central Planning

Central planning works, Comrade. It is a worker's paradise.

Exemplified in an automobile factory in operation from 1930 - 1985

I have seen the future and it works - Lincoln Steffens

Update: hit the link for the pictures.

Brain Freeze

I walked outside a few minutes ago, breathed in, and got a brain freeze.

Schlock Mercenary's Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates

Go'bless the internet. From the Wikipedia entry for Schlock Mercenary comes "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates", with date the rule appeared in the strip.

1. Pillage, then burn. (2002-02-07, 2003-03-08, 2004-04-04, 2004-07-22)

6. If violence wasn’t your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it. (2005-03-13)

8. Mockery and derision have their place. Usually, it's on the far side of the airlock. (2002-11-21)

9. Never turn your back on an enemy. (2003-03-08)

12. A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head. (2002-11-21…notes section)

13. Do unto others. (2003-03-08)

16. Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth. (2002-11-21)

27. Don't be afraid to be the first to resort to violence. (2003-03-08)

29. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less. (2003-03-08, 2003-09-29)

30. A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go. (2003-03-08)

31. Only cheaters prosper. (2003-05-11)

34. If you’re leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun. (2004-02-29)

35. That which does not kill you has made a tactical error. (T-shirt sold by author)

36. When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support. (2003-10-02)

37. There is no "overkill". There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload." (2004-02-23, 2004-04-06, 2004-06-23…partial)

xx. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he's lucky just to be alive, and he'll figure out how to catch another one for you to take tomorrow. (2004-04-04, no official rule number given)

xx. Just because it's easy for you doesn't mean it can't be hard on your clients.

Think of it as 'The Prince' in Reader's Digest condensed form.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Great FedEx commercial.

Darnell Clayton asked "wouldn't it be great if outer space was this boring?" Well .. that's the whole point of what we're up to.

Yes I know the gravity is wacked for the moon.

Frame the political debate

Claire Evans writes
What's so elegant about the space elevator, to me, is that it draws a clean line of connection between our centuries-old conception of "down here" and the newly approachable "up there," or, as Bucky would have it, "in" and "out," respectively. While space shuttles, rockets, and satellites retain a certain abstract quality -- off they blast, in a florid burst of flame and noise, the mechanics of the whole thing still pretty mystical -- the space elevator is concrete, as though humankind were reaching its own tentative arm into the great beyond, an unknown which will, of course, quickly normalize.

Despite its seemingly implausible nature, the space elevator is totally pragmatic, ultimately much cheaper and more economical than the high-energy rigamarole we're currently faced with every time we need to wrest something from the grips of our planet's escape gravity. The method is simple, like most good ideas are: a tether held taut by the inertia of the planet's rotation, spanning from the surface of the Earth to a point beyond geosynchronous orbit, serving as a sort of cosmic freeway, shuttling "lifters" out of the planet's gravity and into orbit.
Beyond all that she gets where the real sticky bits lie
As James Gardner, complexity theorist and author of The Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos, more elegantly put it, "framing the political debate in a way that will lead to a sustainable political consensus will be as important a determinant of success as the capacity to overcome the formidable technical challenges that confront would-be space elevator builder."

No, he'll be an engineer

He's got ... the Knack.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Stereotypical "Damn it's cold" post

brrrrrrrrr brrr brr brrrrrrrrr

Friday, February 02, 2007

Nice web, Mr. Crack Spider

Seth Godin doesn't hate Powerpoint

But bad Powerpoint slides get his goat - as they should. Seth's five rules for amazing Powerpoint presentations.

  1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
  2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.
  3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions.
  4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never
    use the sound effects that are built in to the program. Instead, rip
    sounds and music from CDs and leverage the Proustian effect this can
    have. If people start bouncing up and down to the Grateful Dead, you’ve
    kept them from falling asleep, and you’ve reminded them that this isn’t
    a typical meeting you’re running.
  5. Don’t hand out print-outs of your slides. They don’t work without you there.

Hack the vote

Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  So has Rush Limbaugh.  What does it take to nominate someone?
Any one of the following persons is entitled to submit proposals:

* members of national assemblies and governments;
* members of international courts of law;
* university chancellors; university professors of social science, history, philosophy, law and theology;
* leaders of peace research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs;
* former Nobel Peace Prize laureates;
* board members of organisations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize;
* present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (committee members must present their nomination at the latest at the first committee meeting after February 1);
* former advisers at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
Seems rather open to social hacking.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Apollo 11 - What might have been

What if Apollo 11's LEM had failed after landing, stranding Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon? William Safire ginned up a speech 'just in case'.
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by the nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
I wonder ... would this never-happened disaster have set back our efforts in space or caused us to advance boldly?



Interesting site.  Chock full of actual data about nuclear energy, threats to survival and sustainability for the long run.
This Web page and its satellites are aimed at showing that human material progress is desirable and sustainable. People have worried about many problems. These pages discuss energy in general, nuclear energy, solar energy, food supply, population, fresh water supply, forests and wood supply, global engineering, pollution, biodiversity, various menaces to human survival, the role of ideology in discussing these matters, useful references. Other problems are discussed in the main text including minerals and pollution.
By John McCarthy,  professor (emeritus) of computer science.  Which does not mean he knows his stuff, but the odds are better that he does than if he was (say) teaching Feminist Theory at USC.

A day that will live in infamy

Yesterday, January 31, 2007 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Mooninite Marauders.

Graphic from that most excellent Geek, Bill.


William M. Arkin
... instead this NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary - oops sorry, volunteer - force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.
Rudyard Kipling - Tommy

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's ``Thank you, Mister Atkins,'' when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Atkins,'' when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!
Whatever. If you're hip to what's going on in 'Tommy' then you understand.