Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Crystal Snow

Crystal Snow

The snow is a mysterious thing that sheds it's true beauty by night
when the moonlight hits it's surface it's real sparkle takes flight.
In the day it seems just plain white, while at night it's crystals gleam
Some things, like snow, can be much more beautiful than they seem.

A. Gordon

Eye Roll

My eyes rolled so hard you could hear the click in the next room when I read this.

Posted by on January 31 at 10:02 AM

According to the editors of Reuters, this is one of the “best pictures from the last 24 hours”:


Beyond the echo of Roland Barthes’ famous essay “Myth Today” (1954), this image of a U.S. soldier—from the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment—patrolling eastern Baghdad yesterday, Jan 30, is deeply sad. There is no greatness, no nobility, no hope here, just a nothingness stemming from the fact that the unfortunate black man and the unfortunate Arabs could by now, by today, Jan 31, be as dead as that flower.

Italics mine. Merde.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


We're all adults - we know this much: it's not a matter of if an accident will happen but when. It gives me no sense of glee to see a rocket blow up on the pad - for each successful launch leaves the industry as a whole better off. It's a 'rising tide lifts all boats' deal. This
A commercial Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket disintegrated in a fiery catastrophe aboard its oceangoing platform Tuesday, destroying a sophisticated telecommunications satellite payload in a dramatic launch pad explosion reminiscent of the space program's early days..
does not make me happy.

Still ... once (if we get say the realists) we get a space elevator up and running you won't see too many dramatic explosions like this.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Link via Transterrestrial Musings.

Washington's Farewell Address

Washington's Farewell Address - translated (or dumbed down, you decide) into everyday speech.
You’ve gotta be Americans before all else. You’re for the most part the same religion and culture, and you’ve got the same goals, and you’ve only got what you do because you all worked together.

But even though this sounds good, when it comes to crunch time it’s easy to forget that in favor of stuff that seems more immediately important than sticking together.
May God protect and guide these United States.  Amen.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Incorporating Space into Our Economic Sphere of Influence

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin at the World Economic Forum, January 26, 2007. The entire speech is worth reading - with your indulgence I'll skip to the conclusion ...
I would like to leave you with a final thought as to what might happen if we do not explore space, if we do not follow the cap we tossed over the wall in the 1960s. Last month in the journal Science, researchers examining the primordial material returned by NASA's Stardust space probe found that some of that material could not have come from the Kuiper Belt in the outer reaches of our solar system, but instead could only have come from our sun's core. Some of that material was even older than our own sun. The history of life on Earth is the history of extinction events, with evidence for some five major such events in the history of the Earth. The last of these occurred approximately 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs that dominated the Earth for over 160 million years suffered a catastrophic extinction. It is believed that this event was caused by a giant asteroid which struck Earth in the Gulf of Mexico, triggering tsunamis, tectonic shifts and radically changing Earth's climate.

The brief history of humans is next to nothing compared to the history of other life on Earth, and even less so compared to the age of our solar system or of the universe. Our species hasn't been around long enough to have experienced a cataclysmic extinction event. But they will occur, whether we are ready for them or not.

In the end, space exploration is fundamentally about the survival of the species, about ensuring better odds for our survival through the promulgation of the human species. But as we do it, we will also ensure the prosperity of our species in the economic sense, in a thousand ways. Some of these we can foresee, and some we cannot. Who could claim that he or she would have envisioned the Boeing 777, after seeing the first Wright Flyer? And yet one followed the other in the blink of an historical eye.

For this and many other economic and scientific reasons, we must explore what is on the other side of that wall, walk in the footprints of Neil Armstrong, and make that next giant leap for mankind.
Inspiring words. Yet words are useless without action. Have patience, settle down, do what you can where you can. The future is built in incremental steps, paying attention to details, and doing what needs to be done.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Minor aside - SpaceRef decorated their post with this graphic


If the future looks like the lobby of a mainframe computer center I'm going to be cross.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Vietnam Shenanigans

I call shenanigans on Francis Hamit. Here he writes ..
Jerry, in the Mekong alone there were more than 30,000 (Viet Cong). We killed 3,000 in one night setting up for an attack on the airfield. Took two passes by Huey Cobras. You see this is the problem. No one knew what the real numbers were because the reporting was changed for political reasons. This is what Sam Adams found out and what ultimately killed him.
An interesting assertion given that Hamit was in MI i.e. supposedly the smart guys. 3,000 KIA from two passes by a flight of Cobras?

That would be three or four of these. I'm just a dumb former Marine but I don't know if they even carry enough ammunition to kill that many people.


Interesting reading from Base Line Magazine - Inside

Booming traffic demands put a constant stress on the social network's computing infrastructure. Yet, MySpace developers have repeatedly redesigned the Web site software, database and storage systems in an attempt to keep pace with exploding growth - the site now handles almost 40 billion page views a month. Most corporate Web sites will never have to bear more than a small fraction of the traffic MySpace handles, but anyone seeking to reach the mass market online can learn from its experience.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Rockin' the cat box

Hey this song rocks. And it was the first song played on Armed Forces Radio in Saudi Arabia in 1990 ... so I turned it up.

The shareef dont like it

Rockin the casbah

Rock the casbah

The shareef dont like it

Rockin the casbah

Rock the casbah

My son said "Rock the cat box? That makes no sense."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Space Elevator Journal

Patrick Boake has been blogging at the Space Elevator Journal for two months (and there was much rejoicing).

Congratulations! It's an impressive effort and it's very much appreciated. I keep saying this but only because I feel it's true - public support alone can't build a space elevator - but it can't be done without it.

Keep it up - if it can be done, you'll help us get there.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How not to be a cultural knucklehead in a global business world

Tips for living in a global business world. Some good stuff - mostly common sense if you're not a completely insensitive dolt.

Given what I do I don't travel much but I interact with people via blog, email etc so these are the bits are the ones I keyed in on.
Include your time zone in your email signature in the form of "GMT +/-" Here in the U.S., we are used to using time zones such as Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern. But outside the U.S., not everyone is as familiar with which states fall in which time zone.
Good point. Especially when you don't live in the same time zone as the company you work for.
Include a salutation (with your email).
I have been cautious about doing this with people outside the States but a reminder never hurts.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar


Blogger Test

Test of posting to the 'new' Blogger with Performancing.

Discovery Channel - 'The World'

This looks pretty good - even if they don't have Neil deGrasse Tyson ..
DSC — 2057
The World

An invisible soldier? A space elevator to the stars? Transmit the Library of Congress via laser beam in seconds? What are the real fuel sources of the future? Learn about today's scientific breakthroughs that will shape our planet in fifty years.

Very pretty footage.  Next air dates are (times are Eastern / Pacific)

JAN 28 2007
@ 10:00 PM

JAN 29 2007
@ 02:00 AM

FEB 03 2007
@ 04:00 PM

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Via The Space Elevator Blog and others.

Man vs Kzin

Gibbon hassles a pair of tiger cubs. Features ear and tail pulling, frustrated carnivores, and primate tomfoolery.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sex in Space

Outside Online assigned Michael Behar to investigate sex in space or more specifically micro-gravity. It's a good news bad news deal.
The effects of weightlessness on a human fetus could be equally devastating. A successful nine-month space pregnancy could very well produce a child who misses developmental milestones. The poor tyke might never be able to return to Mother Earth for fear of literally being crushed to death by gravity.
That's bad news - or at least for the crowd that wants to live in micro-gravity habitats. The point of sex is procreation after all. Also sex might be awkward and messy what with fluids flying hither and yon. The wet spot replaced with wet everything. From a sex-as-fun good news perspective?
Bonta assured us that man's insatiable libido will spur ingenuity. "Love will find a way," she said, adding that, eventually, all spacecraft will be sex-proofed in a manner that prevents shagging couples from destroying their ship.
The author and his wife did fool around with the mechanics of the thing aboard a vomit comet (with clothes on)
So exactly what does it takee to have sex in space?

AK: Female leg strength. The only way we could get into the old missionary position, was for me to really wrap my legs around Michael and wrap them together because our bodies touching together creates a bounce-off, so I kind of had to keep my legs tight to keep us together.

sex in space


Submitted without comment: The logo for Black Line Ascension.

Details matter. Which is yes, a pot-kettle thing I admit.


Mavericks at Work

Quotes are no replacement for a sound business plan but they are fun. Nivi posts a few from Mavericks at Work. My favorites?
“We didn’t get here by playing the rules of the game. We got here by setting the rules of the game.”
– Chris Albrecht, CEO HBO

“I’ve never wanted to be like everybody else. I don’t want DPR to be like everybody else. We wanted to create a new culture, a new way of doing business in this industry.”

– Doug Woods, President and Co-Founder DPR Construction Inc.


Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

hmm yeah

Not safe for work.  But funny as hell.

Cyber Sex, hmmmmm yeah



But what games will they play at the L-5 Hilton? Ping-pong.


Space Video Archive

Interesting site.
You are visiting non-commercial, non-profit web site with the biggest ever collection of Russian and World Wide produced documentaries and video clips on Space Explorations. The purpose of this web site is to give access for a general public, as well as for professionals to World Space Explorations video for self-education and informational reasons. Most of the videos are encoded in avi format with encoding bitrate 300 kbps. This format is preventing commercial usage of the video from our site.


Dr. Diana Blaine is a PhD philosopher, writer, adventurer, bon vivant and buttkicker. She said so her very own self on her website. She also wrote

What's it like to live in a culture so obsessed with individuality that someone (Oprah Winfrey) could consider herself entitled to billions of dollars just by being a talking head?

Don't know the lady but I suspect that when Oprah says she's earned her success she's not engaging in academic wordplay but means what she says. If you mosey to her website and look at her bio ... the woman has a lot going on. Hard work will generally get you ahead.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rockets are wrong

I've been interviewed ...
These developments in materials science put a working beanstalk in sight.  And one company has formed to pursue the creation of a space elevator.  I ran into Brian Dunbar of the Liftport Company in the comments section over at Murdoc Online, and asked him if he’d do an interview.  He graciously agreed, and below, part one of our interview.
Click the link and see my babble.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Friday, January 19, 2007


Once you've been asked a question often enough it's time for a FAQ. Not because I don't like talking to people or because I'm being grouchy .. it's a nerdly desire to save other people time and frustration.

Q: Are you the Brian Dunbar who works for NASA?

A: Nope.  I'm not him, don't know him. Surname aside we're not related, or if we are it's so far back in the family tree that it doesn't matter.  Given the company I'm associated with it's a funny coincidence that we share a name.


Heard on the car's radio tonight on the way home
And in the Fox Valley it's .. 10.
I could climb into my deep freezer and warm up.

We're doomed (NOT)

Gillis is writing a series of Anti-Primitivist Essays. Very deep stuff (or so superficial it masquerades well) and I’m not generally interested in the topic. A prole, that’s me. I generally skid past them in my RSS feeder.

- space bar - “We do not live in a closed system” (ya ya) “Although its certainly true our current mass infrastructure” - eye skid - “Stop doing your fucking around in an infinitely complex non-linear dynamic system you don’t yet understand. In 2020 there’s an asteroid that’s going to swing by the Earth’s doorstep carrying Twenty Trillion Dollars worth (today’s market) of precious metals vital to our advanced electric circuitry based technology.” - hey pay attention - And it’s a perfectly reasonable possibility that humanity, or even mammals, will not survive such. - what?

Oh. An essay that says “hey we’re not doomed to a primitive life and misery”.

Although grinding into the Earth’s crust for specific resources is a progressively harder and harder zero-sum game, the plain and simple reality is that we have the capability to reach huge swathes of resources in an extremely productive, cost-effective manner (far more efficient, in fact, than any previous process available us in history). Whatsmore, in an unprecedented (and probably unreasonable) act of forgiveness on behalf of the universe, we don’t have to completely destroy our rotting civilization in order to start acquiring them. We can implement this new process of acquiring resources and use the proceeds to gradually fluidly abolish the horrific structural cancers of our civilization. All the while giving us footing to develop more dynamic and integratable technologies. And, if that weren’t enough, the rigid structures we utilize in this process don’t inherently replace biomass. Because we won’t be mining our resources from within a dynamic biosphere.

Where, then, Brother Gillis?

We’ll be chewing up God’s little bit-sized gifts and breathing in the source of all energy on Earth, finally allowing us to bypass the middlemen and stop fucking things up for them.

Asteroids and solar energy.

It’s a real simple and practical solution.

Well of course it is. Getting there is a problem of course - but we might have an (PDF link) idea to help that along.

We can reach out, explore, learn and we can invent. We can choose connection rather than isolation and we can choose to see the externalities of our actions clearly. We do not yet live in a closed system. There is still hope.

Respectfully Submitted,

Brian Dunbar

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Things I probably knew but preferred not to think about

2. To engage in sexual intercourse; prob.: from the expression ‘bouncing the mattress’, but influenced by Roo's psychosexually loaded “Try bouncing me, Tigger!” from the Winnie-the-Pooh books.
Ye great gods and little fishies. I'll never read 'Pooh' in quite the same way.


Heartless Bastards

I was accidentally reading The Stranger blog ..
The owner of an antiques store in New York City is suing four homeless people for $1 million in a misguided attempt to get them to stop defecating, spitting, and sleeping around his shop.
With the money he is paying his lawyers for this lawsuit, he could probably afford to put these guys up in some low-income housing. He says he just wants the city to deal with them—why doesn’t he just deal with them himself, by helping them out? What a fogey.

The heartless bastard - wanting to conduct his business without a crowd of homeless wretches using his store front for living space.  And note that living space means toilet in at least this case.  The real gold is on the comments section.

* Fogey is far too kind. I'd say heartless motherfucking prick.
* And he wonders why they shit on his doorstep?
* I would LOVE to shit on his doorstep.

I don't know but it's likely that none of the respondents have to worry about anything so mundane as meeting a payroll or attracting customers.  Just a guess.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

'Gerald R. Ford' arriving

It's a done deal.
Speaking today at the Pentagon naming ceremony for the ship, Cheney joined Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter and other officials and servicemembers in naming the first of the new CVN-21 class of aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford.
Of course you realize this means that ships assigned to the task force built around the first CVN-21 will be called Ford Escorts ..


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Disappearing Into the Code - Ellen Ullman

Soon the programmer has no choice but to retreat into some private interior space, closer to the machine, where things can be accomplished. The machine begins to seem friendlier than the analysts, the users, the managers. The real-world reflection of the program -- who cares anymore? Guide an X-ray machine or target a missile; print a budget or a dossier; run a city subway or a disk-drive read/write arm: it all begins to blur. The system has crossed the membrane -- the great filter of logic, instruction by instruction -- where it has been cleansed of its linkages to actual human life.

The goal now is not whatever all the analysts first set out to do; the goal becomes the creation of the system itself. Any ethics or morals or second thoughts, any questions or muddles or exceptions, all dissolve into a junky Nike-mind: Just do it. If I just sit here and code, you think, I can make something run. When the humans come back to talk changes, I can just run the program. Show them: Here. Look at this. See? This is not just talk. This runs. Whatever you might say, whatever the consequences, all you have are words and what I have is this, this thing I've built, this operational system. Talk all you want, but this thing here: it works.

Days of our Lives

Excuse me, Days of our Lives?

It's about details, and it is not hard to do. Your character is a PFC. He doesn't get to wear blood stripes on his trousers.

Good GOD that's been bugging me for months. Thanks for listening.

Singularity -- we don't need no stinking singularity

I ran across this thanks to the marvel of RSS feeds

We don't need the singularity from our technology. We need privacy, good health, free clean energy, renewable resources and a space elevator.
Mark von Schegell is right but I'm biased. The goal is cheap access to space. A space elevator system seems like a reasonable thing to accomplish that goal.

But I'd take magic swans if they worked cheaply enough.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I'd suggest these guys skip the bad stuff (small pox, war, Trail of Tears, decimation) and jump right to the casino and tobacco store parts.

Making money by selling smokes and gambling has got to be more fun than getting your butt kicked by a bunch of women.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hilarity ensued

He decided to break into the liquor store.  And then, as they used to say, hilarity ensued.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Mr. Insincere

Say it ain't so ..

It's hard to read Alan
Dershowitz's denunciation
of former President Jimmy Carter without getting a
sinking feeling. Dershowitz summarizes the huge sums which investigative
now say Jimmy Carter received from Arab and Islamic sources. And
they are considerable. The Saudis bailed out his peanut farm in 1976. The
infamous BCCI and Saudi billionaire Gaith Pharaon actually helped with the
startup funding of the Carter Center. Carter himself is quoted fulsomely
thanking Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the long time ruler of the UAE,
for donating half a million dollars. From what is known Carter has received tens
of millions of dollars from Arab and Islamic sources. And that, argues
Dershowitz, is behind the former President's tireless campaigning against
Israel. He says so in the most brutal and accusatory terms: "Carter ... has
been bought and paid for by anti-Israel Arab and Islamic money." But it is
one of Dershowitz's sources, Dr.
Rachel Ehrenfeld
, who provides the most food for thought: "seems that
AIPAC's (American-Israel Political Action Committee) real fault was its failure
to outdo the Saudi's purchases of the former president's loyalty". The
sinking feeling is the realization that this is what political viewpoints might
come down to.

No kidding. My take on Jimmy Carter was always that he was a sincere guy, had the best of intentions, 'too nice for the job of President' and all that jazz. Illusions die hard, and leave bitter feelings.

Unitek Update

Complain about lousy service in a restaurant you might get a meal comped.  What happens when you complain about bad IT training?

Received a call yesterday from M____ T_____, head of training for Unitek of Fremont California.  He expressed how sorry he was for my bad experience and offered to make it up by offering a free course, on the house.

Which is extremely decent of him.  I have to note that it (probably) wasn't the linked blog entry that generated that offer.  I'd sent a longer and more polite copy of the excised text to my manger, who'd forwarded it to the vendor rep who sent it to the appropriate people at Unitek.  Where it landed like a mortar round in the corporate office judging by the looks and the hallway conferences it generated.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fred Correction

I noted that Fred Reed had fallen hook, line and part of the dock for the 'George Bush was astounded by a bar code scanner' myth. In his latest post he wrote
Apologetic Note: Last week I mentioned the story about the grown-up Bush going into a supermarket and being astonished by the check-out technology. A reader informs me that this didn't happen. Since I have spent a lot of time grousing about scuh fables, as for example the $600 toilet seat, I am embarrassed to have done it myself. With luck, you won't have read this far.

Heading Out

A big "heh ya" to Mondolithic Sketchbook.

Some people feel that our priority should be solving our problems here on Earth. I think that's an admirable idea. Hop to it then! While you're doing that, we'll just colonize the solar system.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


One group of guys with Power Point slides, some hardware and outsize dreams is an isolated datum.  A second group with Power Point slides, some hardware and outsize dreams .. man that's a trend.

Black Line Ascension is the culmination of work by various entities and individuals pushing the technology required for eventual construction of the space elevator.  The new public outreach of Black Line Ascension is the result of a desperate need by the community for a full-fledged effort to lead development of the technology and infrastructure that will be required to build the space elevator.  Black Line Ascension is an umbrella LLC with sub entities working on materials development and basic engineering and research.  On this site you will find information on the space elevator and on some of the sub entities of Black Line Ascension.  Black Line Ascension will be distributing recent news.

Excellent.  The more the merrier.

Web geek warning - the site is heavily Flash.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Vista considered annoying

Pournelle does these things so you don't have to ...

I need to assign lpt1 to a printer. I can do that in Windows XP. I have a program, DOSPRINT, that did that in XP. Now when I try to assign lpt1, I get a message that access is denied. I am sure Vista is protecting me from something. Unfortunately what it is protecting me from is something I want to do, namely pay my bills. I can't print my checks.

Harsh pretension

I read this mockery
My latest book is an account of old American popular culture. I am writing it because I think for an American citizen there is nothing more important than to lecture Americans on something I see and assume no one else does. The idiots. I am not anti-American. I cannot stand the American prejudice against America. I consider myself a scanneur terrible – a man who digitizes pictures at much higher resolution than required. I like to think I manage to change things, like the sheets, which come to think of it are still damp. Like any successful scanner, I’m 99% someone else’s work and 1% photoshop tweaking. That’s enough.
And thought "Wow - that's pretty harsh. No way Bernard-Henri Levy is that pretentious."
My latest book, American Vertigo, is an account of a journey I took through the US. I wrote it because I thought that for a European intellectual there was nothing more important than to understand what was happening in America, to go and tell the Americans what was wrong with their society.

I’m not anti-American — I can’t stand the French prejudice against America.

I consider myself a philosophe engagĂ© — a philosopher who gets involved. I like to think I manage to change things. Like any successful intellectual, I reckon I’m 99% misunderstood and 1% understood. That’s quite good. For instance, I think I helped to persuade Jacques Chirac to bomb the Serb positions around Sarajevo and thus stop a massacre.
I was wrong!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We're this close to being famous

The elevator doors (no, not the ones in the Space Needle, the other ones) that Neil is using for the intro in the Space Elevator segment on Nova | science NOW?

Those are ours! We're yay close to being famous. Go us.

Oh and don't forget the bit that was excised from the final cut featuring one of our older lifters with Tom and Michael.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Anti Memory Hole

The value of a blog? We get to remember things that happened a few months ago - an ad-hoc diary if you will. In July 2006 Tom blogged about the video that NOVA ScienceNow has on their website ...
Max, Jasper, Nyein, Joe, Michael and I were all present, preparing in the morning (cleaning the office, testing the robot, setting up the rig, etc.) and then working different parts of the demo and discussion in the afternoon. As I mentioned before, a chain broke right before they got there, but we were able to repair it quickly, thanks to Nyein. Jasper and Nyein handled the bottom end of the ribbon plus the robot while Max handled robot control from the roof.

I won’t go into detail on all the filming, but it’s always interesting and amusing to see the ways in which TV shows are created. We did a few takes on having Neil walk up to Michael and I on the roof holding the robot, and start talking about the space elevator. It starts with Michael and I holding the robot and looking like we’re discussing work on it. Of course, we always work on the robot in our shirt and ties on the blacktop roof in the blazing sun, right? :-)

And what is this emotion you humans call 'wuv'?*

It's not all about space elevators. Sometimes you have to take a break and appreciate nature.

On three - one .. two .. three: "awwwwww".

From - Via

*Obligatory 'Futurama' reference

real women i know by kelly zen-yie tsai

real women i know
by kelly zen-yie tsai

real women i know have flaws
not just cellulite or acne scars
or body odor or bad musical taste

but serious flaws

flaws like cheating on their partners
or stealing their best friend’s lovers

flaws like looking for what’s the best inside
of them, inside of someone else

assuming crisis
assuming miracle
or assuming nothing at all

real women i know
never knew how they grew up
so fast

holding fists out with eyes closed
we become mothers, divorcees,
widows, we become addicts, abusers,
liars, we become all that we didn’t
understand about the adult world
shocked that the little girl in us
hasn’t yet disappeared

real women i know keep no
good friends on the couch for months,
don’t bug them about their hustling,
let them back in when they come back
knocking on the door

real women i know are in therapy,
and madly in love with their shrinks, happy to
talk about the sad parts, sad to talk
about the happy parts, sick of
going on medication

real women i know think about destroying
themselves either through starvation
or television, work or people who refuse
to treat them well, we are persistent in this effort
and yet, we cannot refuse the invitation to continue on

real women i know have wounds on
their bodies from when they were
jumped in front of everyone they know
on the block or raped as a child in the bathroom

real women i know carry these as they fade

real women i know rarely
forgive themselves
for any of these things

real women i know laugh in bed while
eating girl scout cookies and smoking
weed, shave their heads when its weight
became too much, reinvent themselves
with wardrobes, careers, locations, and partners

real women i know work thousands of miles
away from their families, collect barrettes in a
chest of drawers, pack cardboard boxes full
of candy, shampoo, and soap to send home,
real women i know support the economies
of entire countries

real bio women i know aren’t women at all
but tranny bois, genderqueer, or genderfluid
with short hair and button-down shirts
genitalia only one tiny part
of the gender puzzle when the world
offers so much more

real women i know keep a diagram
of how to give oral sex properly by the bed,
line the dildos up along its edge. real
women i know have given up sex to find love.
real women i know are just now teaching
themselves how to masturbate

real women i know feel like
they don’t have anyone to kick it
with anymore, like they are the only
ones in the world even in cities like
Chicago, New York, Los Angeles,
with millions of souls to mirror
their loneliness

real women i know
joined sororities to learn
how the white girls do
to live in this society as
a colored girl

real women i know have
uterine fibroids and limited
healthcare. they speak
in hushed tones, smartly and clinically
of its growth, with one palm pressed
over the abdomen

real women i know are mothers
unexpectedly, the babies come,
and teach them to stand with
two feet on the ground, arms spread
wide, legs pushed apart
ready for whatever comes

real women i know fall in love
as far away as cuba, philippines,
new zealand, south africa, india,
foolish and brave enough
to trust what the heart wants

real women i know drive themselves
into the ground eternally, don’t allow
themselves rest, take on everyone else’s
burden—don’t allow themselves to give up

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Postcards from the Future

The question that remains long after you're gone
whether your life was of any value to future generations.

'Postcards From The Future' sounds like it has potential for a great movie. CGI is bringing a kick-ass level of movie-making to the little guys. All you need to do is add talent.


Friday, January 05, 2007

NOVA ScienceNOW Space Elevator

Excellent news from Brian Turner (thanks, Brian!)
Nova Science Now will be airing a piece on the space elevator on Jan 9th. This could help us a lot, so spread the word.
The site includes

Why Build It by Brad Edwards

An Elevator to Space - video featuring Michael, Tom and Neil de Grasse Tyson. Neil - stay skeptical. We need skeptics to keep asking us the hard questions.

Ask the Expert - send Brad Edwards questions.

Hit the main link January 10 to see the segment.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Wisconsin Public Television broadcasts this episode on January 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Blue Origin flight test

Hey, Blue Origin

You guys seriously rock.  And I love the device painted on the side.  'Gradatim Ferociter' indeed.


Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Enron's Last Victim

This NYT editorial claims the last victim of Sarbanes-Oxley are American markets.
The section of the law requiring companies to perform internal audits has turned out to be far more costly than proponents projected, especially for smaller firms. These costs have led some small companies to go private, hardly a victory for public oversight, and some foreign firms to withdraw their stocks from American exchanges ... the average “listing premium” has declined by 19 percentage points since 2002 ... the percentage of worldwide initial public offerings on our exchanges dropped to 5 percent last year, from 50 percent in 2000 ... The overall price-earnings ratio for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, however, has declined continuously since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was being drafted in the spring of 2002 ... One big problem is that the act nationalized the rules for corporate governance, reducing the value of the competition among the states for setting such rules. In addition, the act failed to resolve the major conflict of interest created when auditing firms are paid by the companies they audit.
Naw. American markets aren't the last victim. We've met the last victim and the last victim is us.


It’s almost like this Wicca s*** doesn’t even work.

This is funny (read the whole thing)
It’s almost like this Wicca shit doesn’t even work. I’ve spent so much money on goddamned candles and incense and all other kind of whatnot. The worst was the dagger and silver plates, not cheap. Not to mention the cuts and other injuries sustained from sacrificing cats and shit. I just don’t undertand, I got all the instructions from one of those girls who dyes her hair black and listens to metal. I mean, she would know right?

I hope so, because this is the third time I’ve been to her and she keeps giving me more and more things to do.
The comments are funnier.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Screechy Monkeys

This is why Scalzi is a writer, and I am a computer monkey.
Best-selling author Laurell K. Hamilton borrows Anne Rice's crazy hat and unloads, at length, on some detractors on a message board.

Now, why you, as an author, shouldn't follow Ms. Hamilton's example:

It makes you look like an asstard.

Here's the thing. Some people won't like your books. If these people also have access to the Internet, the chances are good that they might tell other people how they don't like your books. Sometimes, they'll tell people they don't like your books, even if they haven't read your books, because some people are crazy screechy monkeys.

Now, when you encounter a crazy screechy monkey, there are many things you should not do, and one of the things not to do is go up to it and jab it repeatedly with a stick. Because all that does is enrage the crazy screechy monkey, who will then hoot and hop and call to all his crazy screechy monkey friends. Then suddenly you've got a whole colony of crazy screechy monkeys hooting and flinging their poo at you, and all you have is a stick. You can't poke them all. They move too quickly, and eventually their poo gets into your eyes. If you try, everyone watching you is going to say "look, that person is trying to fight an entire colony of crazy screechy poo-flinging monkeys with a stick. What an asstard." Then they'll laugh and point at you.

Eventually you'll have to retreat; declare moral victory if you like, but the fact is, the colony of monkeys is still screeching crazily at you, people are pointing and laughing at your asstardery, and you're covered in monkey shit.

Leave the crazy screechy monkeys alone.

It's too late for Laurell K. Hamilton. It's not too late for you.

Because he puts into words - exactly, with precision and humor - what I've known since I started the gig at Liftport. Be nice to people and don't unload on your detractors.

Replace author with 'guys who want to build a space elevator' and 'book' with 'project' and you've got one of our guiding principles in dealing with the public.

With one exception - we don't talk about monkeys, much.

Respectfully Submitted,
Brian Dunbar

Corruption in the House

Hey Michael?
We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.
Ready, aim ...
Rooks and two other staffers have filed complaints against their former boss (Conyers) with the U.S. House of Representatives' ethics committee. In 2004, one of those complaints initiated an informal investigation, but a senior congressional aide said that the probe was stopped abruptly.
Go get him, tiger! Let me see your war face!

Michael Moore

You call that a war face?! I want to see sweat, blood and mean! C'mon, say ARRRRRR!

Michael Moore

Sigh. Well this is the 21st century - we fight the war with what we've got. Good luck and God speed.

Edelman - besmiggled

Hurray for David!
Paul Goat Allen of Barnes & Noble Explorations has just announced that Infoquake is Barnes & Noble’s Top Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel for 2006. Says Paul: “David Louis Edelman’s debut novel — the first installment of his Jump 225 Trilogy — is equal parts corporate thriller, technophilic cautionary tale, and breathtakingly visionary science fiction adventure.” You can find the full list here.
David was gracious enough to send me a copy to review.  I'm late getting it out - and in truth I've not yet finished reading it.  I am 2/3 of the way in and it's pretty damn good.

Monday, January 01, 2007

George Bush and OCR

Fred is a darn good writer. I liked him just fine when he was writing a column in the Navy Times* and I like him just fine now as an ex-pat living the good life in Mexico. His latest is pretty good and the nit I'm about to pick does not detract from the main point which is
It doesn’t matter whether an investment banker has seen a barracks or a pair of work gloves. It bothers me to have policy made, and wars started, by those who have never seen the country they rule, or the world they play with, who have never had to make a living, to carry a rifle or worry about snipers, who have never run the back alleys of Taipei or anywhere else and, god help us, can’t serve their own potatoes.
However he launched his column thusly
Two incidents come to mind, of no shattering import but serving as windsocks. First, a politician I barely know, but of import in the making of national policy, told me recently that he had never been in Washington’s subway, though he lives in Washington. Second, there was the astonishment of the senior Bush on observing the technology of a checkout line in a supermarket, into none of which had he apparently been. He didn’t know how to buy groceries.
That last didn't happen the way it was reported. It really bugs me when people just accept urban legends and report them as fact, when fact checking is so damned easy.
In 1992 President George Bush went to a Florida trade show. A gentleman showed him the latest development in scanner technology for supermarket checkout lines; it could read and reconstruct the information on torn labels — a pretty big deal for optical-recognition technology and for people like me who get stuck behind customers who like to buy 35 cans of potted meat from the marked-down bin.

How big a deal it really was is irrelevant, President Bush was polite and made a big deal out of it nonetheless. Still, Gregg McDonald, of the Houston Chronicle, the print reporter in the pool covering Bush that day, didn't even mention the event in his own coverage. But that didn't stop Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times from writing up the story. He used two paragraphs from McDonald's pool report and a misleading photo of Bush looking surprised at what seemed to be a normal check-out scanner. They ran the article on page one as a sign that George Bush was not a man of the people. The event quickly became shorthand for Bush's aloofness.

Soon, the story was completely debunked by — among others — Brit Hume, then with ABC. Writing in The American Spectator , Hume wrote that even though the story was "almost wholly untrue….[it] became part of the legend of a President who just didn't know how things were out there in the real world."
Why am I bothering? With luck the power of google might bring this post up and help debunk a myth.

*I don't just like him because he's a Marine - but it helps