Friday, September 30, 2005

[geek] It's cyberpunk Friday!

For whatever reason, that's the theme today. Not that anyone should be surprised by this, but yes - I am a geek. Moving on... Mitch Ratcliffe points out something I'd missed in the news about Google's new campus: it's an arcology. Kinda creepy... Though honestly, I can't say I'm too surprised - the way housing prices are soaring in the Seattle area, even on the Eastside (the formerly 'cheaper' part of town), it's kind of surprising that Microsoft hasn't explored doing this. Workers who don't have to commute for hours are going to be better workers. And there's a long (if not entirely spotless) history of company towns.

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[geek] Cosmonaut Keep

No, not Ken MacLeod's fine book... There were a couple of space-related items that caught my eye this morning, not the least of which is this look at the state of Russia's space program: Russia thriving again on the final frontier:
Russia's 10-year plan for space What a difference four years makes: In 2001, when Mir plunged out of orbit, it looked as if Russia's space program was going down with it, scraping by on a budget of less than $200 million a year. Today, boosted by Russia's oil revenue, the government has committed to a 10-year plan for space exploration, funded to the tune of $1 billion a year. That's far less than the price tag for NASA's 13-year, $104 billion plan to return to the moon. But while America's space effort is struggling with safety issues and tight budgets, Russia is now seen as having the world's safest, most cost-effective human spaceflight system.
While apocryphal stories of the differences between NASA's approach to space vs. Russia's abound, the Russians do seem to take a view of space that is somehow both more pragmatic and sweepingly dramatic than anything we've managed to keep hold of. Wired also has a look at the upcoming X Prize Cup, the successor to the Ansari X Prize. Personally I think they're doing a (small) disservice to the broader space community by focusing too much on the participation of Armadillo Aerospace, but hey - this is Wired we're talking about, and I understand the editorial impulse... And I suppose if DOOM legend John Carmack can help increase public awareness of (and enthusiasm for) private-sector space endeavors, so be it.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

[random] It's official...

...chez protected static is now semi-prepared in the event of an earthquake or other calamity. I still have other stuff to get before I'll feel like it's a totally adequate stash, but we certainly have enough stuff for our family to make it on its own for at least three days. If all of us can make it back home, we've got enough stuff for five or six days - I bought one large kit for the house and 2 smaller kits, one for each car. I opted for the 'go-bag' style instead of something more fixed. I figured that this would give us the most flexibility: if we need to boogie on out, it's mostly portable; if we're hanging tight, it isn't like we can't/won't use the stuff because we aren't on the run...

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[politics] heh, heh... he said 'indicted'

BREAKING NEWS AP Updated: 1:35 p.m. ET Sept. 28, 2005 WASHINGTON - A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post. DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay’s national political committee.
Happy dance...

2 Comments:

Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Corruption in high office. Shock.

I turned it around - if Russ Feingold were indicted would I be happy? Naw.

He (Delay) broke a law and laundred campaign money and generally tried to game a byzantine system. This is news, sure but it's just politics.

Now if Delay is indicted for dwarf tossing or diddling a nubile but minor child .. then we've got news.

Which is not to excuse corruption of course. It happens, it shouldn't, the guilty should be punished. But there are bigger fish to fry.

9/28/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

Yeah - it's pure schadenfreude on my part. But still - cracks in the facade and all that...

9/28/2005 06:02:00 PM  

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[geek] TIME interview... *bounce* *bounce* *bounce*

Actually, make this uber-geek: TIME has an interview with both Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon. At the same time. In the same interview. Am I babbling yet? Oh yeah, the linky-thingy... It's here. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to squeal like a schoolgirl. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! *ahem* Thank you, I'm much better now. I think. But enough about me: both Gaiman and Whedon have movies opening this Friday... Gaiman's MirrorMask isn't coming to Seattle until next week, and even then it'll be playing at one of the art houses; Whedon's Serenity is opening in lots of venues and is probably the best-marketed film for a failed TV show I've ever seen ;-) I can't wait for either of them...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

[geek] Happy Birthday!

To E=mc2, of course! Yeah, it's showing its age, but still - 100 years! Not bad, not bad at all... (Picture found here, though it's pretty iconic... More on Einstein to be found here.)

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[geek] DIY.MP3

Heh. Take one circuit board, an old Nokia display, some chips and a circuit board, some solder, some duct tape, a project case, and some skull sweat, and voilá: an MP3 player. His geek fu is strong...

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Monday, September 26, 2005

[geek] 30-second science blogging - the beanstalk comes closer

This has been sitting as a 'draft' item for a couple of days now, but seeing it listed in MSNBC's 'Clicked' column goosed me to finish it... Space elevator passes critical 1000ft test Space elevator? Yup, space elevator, also popularly (as the value of 'popularly' approaches the value of 'among hard science fiction geeks') called a 'beanstalk'. The first time I read about the concept was over two decades ago in a novel by Arthur C. Clarke, something he discusses here:
WHEN NEIL ARMSTRONG stepped out onto the Sea of Tranquillity in that historic summer of 1969, the science fiction writers had already been there for two thousand years. But history is always more imaginative than any prophet: no one ever dreamt that the first chapter of lunar exploration would end after only a dozen men had walked upon the Moon. Neither did anyone imagine, in those heady days of Apollo, that the solar system would be lost — at least for a long while — in the paddy fields of Vietnam.

Yet it was not the first time that ambition had outrun technology.

[...]

The space elevator was the central theme in my 1978 science-fiction novel The Fountains of Paradise (soon to be a Hollywood movie). When I wrote it, I considered it little more than a fascinating thought experiment. At that time, the only material from which it could be built — diamond — was not readily available in sufficient megaton quantities. This situation has now changed, with the discovery of the third form of carbon, C60, and its relatives, the Buckminsterfullerenes. If these can be mass-produced, building a space elevator would be a completely viable engineering proposition.
As for 'why', there's one very compelling answer: cost. Once it's built, the per-ounce price of getting stuff into space should plummet. And the folks who are trying to make that happen are here in Seattle. Actually, there's a lot of space-related activity taking place here in Seattle, and I don't mean Boeing. There's LiftPort, the elevator folks; there's Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, striving towards making inexpensive space flight a reality; sharing that goal is Space Transport Corporation (okay, they're out on the Olympic Peninsula, but still...). That's 3 major, well-financed space companies that I'm aware of. Over a century ago, Seattle grew tremendously as the result of its location: it was an ideal jumping-off point for Alaska and the Klondike gold rushes. At some point in the not-too-distant future, Seattle could reprise that role - as a jumping-off point for space. And there are a lot of very bright (and very well-funded) people here working with all their hearts to make that vision reality. Okay, longer than 30 seconds. But still - how cool is that?

6 Comments:

Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

I think it's pretty cool, but I am biased.

I would question that Liftport is a major company. We are not yet a major company, but we've ambitions in that direction.

9/27/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger protected static said...

I guess 'serious' would have been a better word choice - that's more of what I was getting at.

Thanks for stopping by!

9/27/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ariel Boekweg said...

We are getting closer and closer to an actually space elevator. Even if it is still far away. Here at LiftPort we are working hard to make it come true. You can sign up for our newsletter to keep updated on the happenings of LiftPort at http://liftport.com/lists.php. Also, we have a book coming out in january you can look it up on amazon. The name of the book is LiftPort Opening Space for Everyone. Thanks for you interest and support, Ariel Boekweg

9/30/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Interesting idea...

I wonder if they'll build one to send up "space tourists"? I can see people paying a lot of money for a brief spacewalk.

10/16/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

That's certainly one application that's been discussed.

10/16/2005 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

Oh, and it wouldn't be brief - this'd be along the lines of a week-long voyage, so you could have a ton of time in low-to-zero g. (I'm talking off the top of my head here, and I don't feel like looking my facts up, so if anyone more authoritative feels like chiming in, by all means - go for it.)

10/16/2005 03:42:00 PM  

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

[geek][politics] The War On Terror Pr0n

I'm sure anyone who keeps at all on top of the news has read about FBI agents criticizing the new AG Gonzales' decision to ramp up the war on the greatest threat facing America today. Terror? No, smut. Consensual, legally protected pornography. As one anonymous FBI agent remarked sourly, "I guess this means we've won the war on terror.". There - don't you feel safer now? Will it make you feel any safer to find out that these bastards aren't wasting any time - to protect us from the punk-porn/erotica site, SuicideGirls (punk porn/erotica == NSFW, for the clue-free out there). Aren't you sleeping better at night, knowing that the FBI is paying their agents to surf the web looking for consensual bondage pics?

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Friday, September 23, 2005

[geek] News flash! Hell frozen over! Satan with frostbite!

Palm is set to announce a new version of the Treo - that runs on Windows.

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[random][geek] Snarge?

Yup, snarge: the bloody glop left behind when a bird and a plane try to share the same physical space. Evidently, there are labs that specialize in ID-ing these smears to help pilots avoid catastrophe; the Smithsonian Instition's Feather Identification Laboratory gets a dozen or so snarge samples from the FAA and US military every day. Who knew? Who also knew that sometimes, things aren't quite what they seem in this world of bird-goo? From the above article:
And its not just birds. Sometimes jet-stream encounters can take a page from the X-Files. "We've had frogs, turtles, snakes. We had a cat once that was struck at some high altitude," said the Smithsonian's [head of the Feather Identification Laboratory, Carla] Dove. She says birds like hawks and herons will occasionally drop their quarries into oncoming planes. "The other day we had a bird strike. We sent the sample to the DNA lab and it came back as rabbit. How do you explain to the FAA that we had a rabbit strike at 1,800 feet?"
Yick. Snarge. Now you know. Isn't your world a better place now?

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[politics] The rumor mill churns apace...

From firedoglake, we find these little gems tagged on to Jane's commentary re: W's odd "Bianca" behavior:
Froomkin in the WaPo: "Will any member of the White House press corps risk scorn from McClellan -- and maybe even mockery from colleagues -- by asking the press secretary to set the record straight about what appears to be an utterly scurrilous report in the National Enquirer that Bush is hitting the booze again? Some brave soul should." From Democratic Underground: "Ed Schultz just interviewed an editor with the National Enquirer. The editor said the paper stands by its story "150%" and would go to court over it if they had to. He said that they have 2 different sources for the story, and that the sources had been informing the National Enquirer about this story for about the last month or so.Notably, the editor said that a "highly respected" newspaper has also been working on the story and could well publish something on it in the next week or two. On edit: He also said to expect Laura to be traveling alot more with Bush so she can keep a close watch on him."
I think this one's also going to gain some legs... we'll see. Hey, I know - maybe the whole 'Bianca' thingie means W's been hanging out online with too many trolls. (Boy, that puts me into the Wayback Machine...)

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

[geek][politics] Perspectives

Whilst tracking down some links for the previous post, I came across this BBC article describing the efforts of a Nigerian woman to provide an African voice for (among other things) gay and lesbian issues:
[Sokari Ekine] has worked as both an academic and an activist, focusing mainly on feminist issues and gender issues. Ekine's also taken an interest in the violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. [...] Ms Ekine started a blog called Black Looks, the Musings and Rants of an African Fem. "There is nothing in this blog that says this is about Africa, or African women, but that's where I'm focusing," she explains. She pulls no punches, especially when it comes to posts on violence in Nigeria, or gay life on the continent. "I think it's important to talk about gay and lesbian issues in Africa," she says. "I do know that there are a lot of gays and lesbians active in Africa, and a lot of straight people working with them. Having said that, Africa is a very homophobic continent." Black Looks has struck a chord among those hungry for news and comment about such issues in Africa. Many bloggers around the world now link to it, and readership has grown.
Let's face it: to most Americans, Nigeria means criminal spam, if they know anything about it at all. Voices like Ekine's are of the utmost importance to the health of the blogosphere, helping to provide a deeper, richer portrait of corners of the world about which many of us know little. Her blog can be found here; I'm going to have to add it to my RSS reader... You can learn more about her in this interview here.

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[geek][politics] A how-to guide for dissident bloggers

While many here in the US feel that we're moving towards an oppressive regime (if we haven't crossed that Rubicon already), let's face it: Myanmar (Burma) or North Korea we ain't. Iran? Not even close. Belarus? No way. Still, this comes as good news:
A Paris-based media watchdog has released a free guide with tips for bloggers and dissidents to sneak past Internet censors in countries from China to Iran. Reporters Without Borders' Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents is partly financed by the French Foreign Ministry and includes technical advice on how to remain anonymous online. It was launched at the Apple Expo computer show in Paris on Thursday and can be downloaded in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, English and French.
You can download the guide here. The Electronic Frontier Foundation publishes a similar guide here, though their aim is geared more towards keeping your blogging butt from being fired rather than, oh, arrested and tortured. These are excellent resources for those concerned about their online privacy - and good information to spread through the blogosphere wether you fear for your safety or not, since this technology only works if people know about it. While I personally think we have much to be leery about, we do still enjoy an enormous freedom of expression here in the US. Disseminating information like this makes it easier for others to express themselves in a manner that all-to-often we take for granted.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

[politics] Inquiring minds want to know

Or so their old TV commercials went... The National Enquirer reports that Bush has fallen off the wagon because of Katrina. I'm sure this news will do nothing but boost Bush's favorables. </sarcasm>

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[random] Disaster triage how-to

There's a very enlightening post on Making Light titled "Triage for Fun and Profit". Go. Read. Make a laminated copy of it, or Google "START triage" (with quotes) to find a reference card you can download and/or purchase and put it in your 'jump bag'.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

[politics] Fareed Zakaria blows a gasket

Wow:
Whatever his other accomplishments, Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible chief executive in American history. [...] To govern is to choose. And Bush has decided not to choose. He wants guns and butter and tax cuts. People wonder whether we can afford Iraq and Katrina. The answer is, easily. What we can't afford simultaneously is $1.4 trillion in tax cuts and more than $1 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next 10 years. To take one example, if Congress did not make permanent just one of its tax cuts, the repeal of estate taxes, it would generate $290 billion over the next decade. That itself pays for most of Katrina and Iraq.
In case anyone's missed this, Zakaria isn't exactly a flaming liberal...

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Friday, September 16, 2005

[random] Best idea I've heard all week...

I don't always see eye-to-eye with Dan Savage, but in this posting to The Stranger's blog, SLOG, he's dead on:
But if we really want to follow through—if we really want to make New Orleans whole—then we’ve got down there and drink just as soon as the city re-opens for business. I think a group of Seattle’s hard-drinking do-gooders should start working on a package tour to New Orleans once it’s booze & boobs & business as usual. Let's charter a couple of flights to New Orleans, book a couple of floors of a hotel, and head down there with money to spend, livers to abuse, and tits to flash.
*sigh* There are times when I hate being a responsible adult... ;-)

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

[random][politics] If a man will begin with certainties...

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. - Sir Francis Bacon
This was served up to me by my personalized Google page yesterday morning - for me, it encapsulated perfectly many of the dynamics derailing our country today. The people in charge are all too certain; their followers are all too certain. Those of us more comfortable starting from a position of doubt are pretty much SOL these days...

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[random] Okay, so...

...I have my duck taped. Now what? (Clicking on the duck will take you to the site where I found the image - the image itself had no attribution or copyright info) Seriously - I spent some of this morning shopping for earthquake kits/"jump bags" online. I'm looking for a 4-person kit, plus extra water, lightsticks, and a gas/water shutoff tool. I'll probably also add some cheapo ponchos, a pry bar, a folding shovel, a multitool or other knife, a manual can opener, a saw, and probably some kind of Sterno-type stove. I'm also going to get at least one car kit (maybe 2).

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Monday, September 12, 2005

[geek][random] It ain't 1999...

...but it ain't 2001 either. There are definitely some signs in the air that the tech economy is starting to heat up here in Seattle. First, recruiters are hiring people to walk the sidewalks at the entrances to Microsoft's campus wearing sandwich boards advertising positions. Second, while I'm very happy at my current job, I've kept half an eye on the classifieds just to keep a sense of where things are at: while I'm not seeing a huge volume of ads, the size of the high tech section has gotten bigger and has stayed there for a while. Also, there are intermittent ads for startups, there are ads for hardcore programmers, and I'm finally seeing some of the first blanket 'looking for skill X/job title Y/skill set Z' ads by techincal recruiters that I've seen in a while. Third (and this is the one that really sent up flags), King County just a.) reclassified their IT workers jobs and job titles, b.) gave everyone an across-the-board raise, and c.) made the raise retroactive to January 2003. How do I know this? For a mercifully brief period, I was an "Analyst/Programmer" for the county. How brief? Let's just say that excluding short-term contract work, it was a "personal best". It sucked, I hated it, I left, life got substantially better. Well, this weekend I got a letter from King County HR containing a check for my pay raise (even though I haven't been there for 2 years), and notifying me of my new job title of "Senior Applications Programmer" (which is much more accurate). They made this decision in June, so my guess is that they're having problems attracting and retaining IT people. Can you imagine getting a lump sum for 2 years' worth of a pay increase all at once? I wasn't there very long, so my check wasn't huge, but it wasn't entirely insignificant either. And I wonder... would that kind of lump sum be an incentive to stay, or would some see it as a windfall to be exploited? Sort of "Woo-hoo! A 2 or 3 month cushion! I can quit now!".

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

[politics] The lord protector

This op-ed piece comes closest to capturing the feelings of disgust and rage I feel towards this Administration:
Slipstreaming behind the annual rituals of sorrow and reverence for 9/11, George W Bush has decreed that, five days later, on the 16th, there is to be a further day of solemnities on which the nation will pray for the unnumbered victims of Hurricane Katrina. Prayers (like vacations) are the default mode for this president who knows how to chuckle and bow the head in the midst of disaster but not, when it counts, how to govern or to command. If you feel the prickly heat of politics, summon a hymn to make it go away; make accountability seem a blasphemy. Thus has George Bush become the Archbishop of Washington even as his aura as lord protector slides into the putrid black lagoon, bobbing with cadavers and slick with oil, that has swallowed New Orleans.
Damn, I wish I could write like that. I have nothing to add except go read the whole thing...

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[politics] Jesus. H. Christ. On a crutch.

So, we've finally gone and done it: we've officially embraced a first-strike nuclear policy:
The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
I guess calling it 'preemptive' doesn't scare as many people as calling it 'first-strike'. This takes 50 years of nuclear policy and turns it upside down - it removes nuclear weapons from the category of 'last resort' and potentially makes them the most immediately available tool in the tool chest. Folks, the likelihood of seeing US nuclear weapons being used on a target in the next 10 years just approached 100%. There's more on this depressing decision here; GlobalSecurity.org has a copy of the actual document here, but I personally haven't had the heart to go and read it.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

[politics] Small victories

Whilst perusing Roger Ailes' blog, I noticed that I missed this entirely... Remember that bogus case in Cupertino where a wingnut teacher was suing the school district, claiming that he wasn't allowed to teach the Declaration of Independence? Remember how the wingnut press flocked to it? Hannity made it a pet project, the freepers went apeshit (not that this should surprise anyone). Remember how it was complete and utter bullshit (not that this should surprise anyone...)? Well, apparently the court case left no doubt, with the Left Coaster reporting that it is now a matter of court-certified record: complete and utter bullshit.
Last week [on or about August 11] Stephen Williams and ADF dropped the lawsuit entirely, which serves as a clear acknowledgement that Stevens Creek Elementary Principal Patricia Vidmar and CUSD did nothing wrong. The only thing that was a negative for Cupertino residents, with the "settlement" of this lawsit (see PDF), was that CUSD agreed to pay for the costs of their legal defense in this extraordinarily fake and frivolous lawsuit, rather than have ADF billed for this to make them pay the price for the chaos and hate they inflicted, jointly with Far Right media personalities.
I'll take 'em where I can get 'em. Too bad the outcome didn't make the MSM. Full details of the case here.

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[random][geek] The venerable art of... mixology?

Apparently, the cocktail is some 5000 years old:
The first cocktail ever was made in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago, using wine, beer, apple juice and honey. Patrick McGovern defined the mix as "grog", an archaic drink in the United States is sold as the "Midas Touch". McGovern, a University Professor at Pennsylvania, one of the most important authorities in chemistry applied in archaeology, presented the results of a research on the banks of the Tigris between Iran and Iraq. This was said at the first day of the international convention on the archaeological study of wine organised in Scansano (Grosseto), land of the Morellino, by the City of Wine National Association and the University of Siena.
Who knew those Babylonians partied so heartily? That's what I call research! (How do I get a grant to go to a booze conference?)

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Friday, September 09, 2005

[politics] Days too late

and dollars too short: 'Brownie', he of the 'fabulous job' heading FEMA, has been sacked. Update: Still not sacked, just sent back to his desk in DC. WTF will it take to get these bastards to learn the meaning of the word 'accountability'?

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[politics] More on the Pentagon's so-called Freedom March

It's sounding more and more... totalitarian:
The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense. The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford. What's unusual for an event on the Mall is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest. [...] One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall.
WTF? This is what we're fighting for in the so-called Global War on Terror? The 'right' to assemble peaceably on the National Mall while being restrained by fences, surveyed intently by the cops, and forced to register our names and addresses? Oh, and all the while denying the media access? These idiots really have forgotten their oath: "...I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same..." [Thanks to Chris at AMERICABlog] Updated to include press reference - I'd missed that before, then I saw it on Atrios

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[geek] 30-second science blogging - Human brains still evolving?

I seem to remember reading this hypothesis a few months ago: that there are measureable evolutionary changes in human brains that occurred as recently as 6000 years ago:
The human brain may still be evolving. So suggests new research that tracked changes in two genes thought to help regulate brain growth, changes that appeared well after the rise of modern humans 200,000 years ago. That the defining feature of humans — our large brains — continued to evolve as recently as 5,800 years ago, and may be doing so today, promises to surprise the average person, if not biologists.
The whole article is well worth the click, presenting the arguements in favor and against this theory pretty well. The article also does a good job of noting that such a finding, if true, could pretty quickly play into eugenicist and rascist rhetoric. Still... we may not be at any kind of static pinnacle; how cool is that?

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

[random] How I spent my summer vacation, part 3: The kids

And our kids had the best time... The 3 Musketeers in Seaside, OR: All for one! Our valiant young stalwarts protect us from The Invasion of the Robot Crabs: The crabs! They're everywhere! Run away! Run away! Yeeeeaaaarrrrgh!!! Oh yeah... The dogs liked the beach, too... Woof!

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[random] How I spent my summer vacation, part 2: Trees

More Arch Cape - as previously mentioned, Owsald West State Park marks the south edge of town. Our rental house was as close to the park as one could get without having to build on the mountain that forms the cape part of Arch Cape: The bridge leading into the State Park: So... Coastal rain forest: Shhh... PoMo still life: I call it... Banana slug with Garmin! Still Life: Banana slug with Garmin

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[random] How I spent my summer vacation, part 1: Beach

I must whole-heartedly recommend Arch Cape, OR as a vacation spot: near Seaside and Cannon Beach but secluded enough that you might think it was your own private beach (and forests - Oswald West State Park marks the south end of town). In no particular order, we have: Arch Cape (looking South). You can't see it when the JPEG is this size, but there's a creek at the base of that hill/ridge that forms the cape itself; this creek ran through the backyard of the rental property. Arch Cape (looking South) The sole remaining arch of Arch Cape (looking South) - evidently as recently as the 1940s there were 3 or 4 such arches, some of them quite large. My impression is that the little 'haystack' rock on the right in the picture above was the base of an absolutely huge arch, while today we're left with this comparatively tiny (but still way cool) one: Arch looking South Aforementioned arch, looking North: Arch looking North Really great tidepools - these were south of the Arch, and were only accessible at low tide. It took us a couple of days to figure out a.) that they were there, along with this whole other 'hidden' beach and b.) how long we had before the tide came back in. We wouldn't have been cut off entirely, but it would have been a looooong walk back either along Hwy 101 and through a hightway tunnel or over some pretty steep hiking trails through the State Park: tidepool #1 tidepool #2 Heading back through the arch (for a sense of scale...): (I must confess that I took none of these pictures - all of these in all 3 pieces were taken by our friends, the Spencers...)

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[politics] No kidding...

I'll let the picture speak for itself...

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[politics] I stand corrected...

So the Governator will stand on principles and veto California's gay marriage legislation. Too bad they aren't his own principles, but those of the whack-jobs of his party. He must figure he hasn't anything to lose... Is anyone else getting tired of the so-called 'moderate Republicans' who say one thing but do another if it means crossing their party leadership?

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

[politics] West Virginia, South Carolina; what's the difference?

Apparently none, according to FEMA. Hey, a Charleston is a Charleston is a Charleston, right? Could someone please remind me what these jokers have been doing these past four years? Oh, that's right - collecting cushy patronage jobs and obscene no-bid contracts; silly me! [thanks, John]

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[politics] Governator in favor of letting activist judges decide the law

At least, he favors it when it comes to... uh... gay marriage?
A spokeswoman for the Republican governor said Schwarzenegger believes the issue should be decided by the courts, not by his signature on legislation.
Niiiiice... Talk about having your cake and eating it too - this way Arnie can still mouth platitudes about supporting gay rights without actually having to do anything about it. Or without having to do anything that might distress the wingnuts that make up the GOP base these days. How... Republican of him. [thanks, Siva!]

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

[random] Things you don't see every day...

This headline from Editor & Publisher:
Anal Porpoise Assault Leads to Second Version of Today's 'Dilbert'
Discuss...

2 Comments:

Blogger Kristina said...

Did the headline actually have "Anal" in it? Because it doesn't anymore.

9/07/2005 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

That is an exact cut and paste of the headline that was on E&P. I shoulda taken a screenshot.

9/07/2005 03:05:00 PM  

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[politics] Army Times calls Katrina victims 'insurgents'

From Boing-Boing, via Making Light:
"This place is going to look like Little Somalia," Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard's Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. "We're going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control." Jones said the military first needs to establish security throughout the city. Military and police officials have said there are several large areas of the city are in a full state of anarchy. Dozens of military trucks and up-armored Humvees left the staging area just after 11 a.m. Friday, while hundreds more troops arrived at the same staging area in the city via Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters. "We're here to do whatever they need us to do," Sgt. 1st Class Ron Dixon, of the Oklahoma National Guard's 1345th Transportation Company. "We packed to stay as long as it takes." While some fight the insurgency in the city [emphasis mine], other carry on with rescue and evacuation operations. Helicopters are still pulling hundreds of stranded people from rooftops of flooded homes.
Fellow citizens, referred to as 'insurgents'. Parse that one for a while...

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Monday, September 05, 2005

[politics] The 4th Estate reclaims its voice

The BBC has an excellent article on the effects of Katrina on the too-long-cowed American media. There's something in the air... or is it in the water? Could it be that in amongst the shit and sputum in the waters covering NOLA, the press is beginning to catch the faintest whiff of blood? David Brooks:
"Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield."
George Will:
Thoughtful conservatives—meaning those whose conservatism arises from reflections deeper than an aversion to high marginal tax rates—are conservative because they understand how thin and perishable is the crust of civilization, and hence how always near society's surface are the molten passions that must be checked by force when they cannot be tamed by socialization. [...] So Katrina has provided a teaching moment. This is a liberal hour in that it illustrates the indispensability, and dignity, of the public sector. It also is a conservative hour, dramatizing the prudence of pessimism, and the fact that the first business of government, on which everything depends, is security.
Michelle Malkin:
This is not the time to give a weak performer the benefit of the doubt. The FEMA director's role in the ongoing recovery effort is too important to be entrusted to a clueless political hack with such poor judgment. Rather than praise Michael Brown, Bush should fire him.
And today, a fired-up White House Press Corps, here:
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan had not had a full-length press briefing in Washington, D.C. for weeks, and after today, may have wished he had postponed this one. With almost unprecedented vigor, the press corps attacked and probe the federal response to the hurricane disaster, the president's personal responsibility and failure to fire anyone who failed in his or her mission.
Not even Poppy is willing to cover for Augustus Bush I:
Appearing on the Larry King show on CNN Monday night, former President George H.W. Bush defended his son against criticism for his response to the hurricane disaster, suggesting it was mainly media-generated. Goaded on by King, he eventually backed off [emphasis mine], saying if he kept talking he would be hearing from "Mr. Sulzberger," apparently referring to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of The New York Times.
Read my lips: What the fuck took y'all so long? And now that the right-wing pundits are sharpening their own knives, don't just stand there! Do something!

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

[random][politics] And so we return...

...as we must. We return to harsh reality after a mostly blissful week spent on the North Oregon Coast with friends. After a day on the beach or in Seaside or Cannon Beach, we would return to our rented house and, after dinner, once the children were in bed, find ourselves at least momentarily sucked in to the images of death and horror and despair on CNN. We shook our heads in dismay, watching a city we'd all been to and loved fall apart at Nature's hand. We ranted in anger and disgust at the lack of response from the Feds. And as best we each could, we blotted those images out of our minds each day. We would leave that anger behind, and play on the beach and in the arcades, pretending that all was well. And still we would return to the glowing oracle in the living room, however briefly. And all of us wondered in our own way what this meant for the future for our nation. Is this what the end of Empire looks like? Did the Toltecs know their end was at hand? The Anasazi? The Khmer? Will New Orleans be our first ghost city, returned to the Delta from which she was carved? At this time, things are looking better than they were a couple of days ago, but still... I fear that this wound runs deeper than we realize. Than we can realize. And so we return. And we wait.

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