I knew those damned Teletubbies were up to no good. For whatever reason (that we are truely grateful for) Olivia never picked up the TT's. She's picked up everything else though. To think all this time I never knew the words to "Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes".
Jim over at Jimspot made a rather startling discovery about his pool recently:
So, out to the pool I go... it's an ARROW!!! ... Not a toy, mind you, an honest-to-goodness, real arrow shot from a bow. It was embedded in the side of the pool, too, so it must have been shot over the fence.
The ultimate culprit: teenaged boys. Which should surprise absolutely no-one. I'm amazed any male manages to get through the ages of 12-22 alive. Myself included.
So where does your favorite Sci Fi show come in on this "top 50" countdown? I saw familiar faces all the way through the list.
No, I'm not a nerd for clicking through all 50 pages. Now give me back my pocket protector.
They won't have to worry as much about false starts either. All kidding aside, pretty darned amazing that a guy with no legs is out there hustling for the ball. Since Dan Snyder seems to hire anything that can carry a football, I'm expecting him in gold and burgundy any day now.
BBCnews is reporting the long-suffering Japanese probe Hayabusa is about to make its scheduled encounter with an asteroid. If everything goes well (a first for this probe) it will make two brief touchdowns, collect some samples, and then return them to Earth in 2007.
Pat gets a no-prize in a bucket for bringing us news on scientific research about Olivia's favorite beach item... sand castles:
Anyone who has built sandcastles learns they hold up best if a little water is mixed with the building material. But until now scientists couldn’t agree why.
Water holds grains of sand together by forming “liquid-bridges” between the contact points of the grains, a new study finds. The tension forces of the bridges creates an attractive force between the grains that is absent in dry sand.
The article also includes the "magic formula" for the best castle-building sand.
So, after spending three months wheedling management to get us a new server to host a mail group system on, then three days tinkering to get it all set up, guess what I found out?
Mailman, a sophisticated and popular mail list management software package, has a user interface that is an absolute horror. Absolute horror. My 2 year old could do better than that. I can do better than that. I would too, except the developers, as almost all open-source developers are wont to do, spent far more time building an elegant engine than they did an elegant UI. You can't change it without delving deep into a code base written in a language I don't know (Python). Utterly absurd.
But that's what you get when you mess with open source. Unfortunately, this is considered a "best-of-breed" list manager. I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any better.
I'm going to beat the next person I catch touting the beauty of open source software.
Landers just sit there and rovers move too slow. How about something that literally flies over the surface:
Global Aerospace Corporation of Altadena, CA proposes that the Mars exploration vehicle combining the global reach similar to that of orbiters and high resolution observations enabled by rovers could be a balloon that can be steered in the right direction and that would drop small science packages over the target sites. The concept being developed by the Global Aerospace Corporation is funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC).
Balloons as planetary explorers is an idea that's been around awhile (I seem to recall plans for a balloon-tethered "snake probe" making the rounds when I was in college more than a decade ago). It's not the concept, it's the implementation, and so far I haven't heard of any of these things going further than paper studies.
Still, it would be awfully neat if they actually managed it.
Roadside speed cameras will be redundant eventually because vehicles will automatically cop themselves for speeding.
This is the plan of the Department for Transport, which has commissioned companies to develop aircraft-style black boxes for cars.
This one just bursts with alternate headlines:
Statist interference at its finest. Hey, at least it's not our tax dollars at work.
Jason over at Countercolumn got a letter that uses a simple number to illustrate just what a mammoth effort is involved in Katrina relief:
I tried to explain what a massive undertaking it is to move the National Guard into the Katrina affected area to my wife. I had very little success until I broke it down to one number. 8 pounds. It is a magic number. The planning weight for a gallon of water. Times two gallons per person per day minimum. Times 40,000 personnel for the National Guard to support itself. The number gets pretty staggering really quick. 320 tons a day. And that is just for the water.
Meanwhile Instapundit links up more evidence showing it wasn't just the feds who had structural problems.
Slashdot linked up yet another list of cool patents. I personally like the rocket blimp.
While not exactly the seal of King David, this is still nonetheless interesting:
Archaeologists have revealed they have found a Jewish seal from the period of the First Temple, according to Professor Gabi Barkay. The seal was discovered in debris which was taken from the Temple Mount six years ago and is the first time a Jewish artifact from the First Temple has been found, he added.
This being Jerusalem, the article can't help but go on to mention the political shennanigans that surround any attempt to dig in the Temple precincts.
I have found my team: the Anerobia Nationals. With names like Barfolini, DeBonque and Upgegaven driving for them, and a motto like "Veni, Vidi, Vomiti!", how could I possibly go wrong? I'm certain my 14.7 mph avg. legs will be an asset to the team. As long as, you know, they don't throw any hills at me or anything.
Yeah, right, whatevah. You and me, on a trail. Let's go, let's go. Yeah, didn't think so.
Instapundit linked up this "de-urban-legend-ization" (hey, one of the advantages of English is its flexibility) of hurricane Katrina. Might provide a counterpoint to the more vapid watercooler assertions you encounter. Then again, considering the intelligence of those who believe such idle chatter, maybe not.
Sentencing for a Colorado woman who had sex with high school boys has been postponed. She's been hurt in an auto accident that could land her in even bigger trouble.
Police say she was a passenger in an SUV being driven by a 14-year-old girl.
I think I can smell the booze on her breath from here. At least nobody got killed. This time at least.
Pat gets a jackpot of a no-prize for bringing us news of a gamble with one helluva payoff:
The city of Biloxi, home to a dozen floating casinos smashed by Hurricane Katrina, took a gamble that paid off.
Two months before the storm struck Aug. 29, the coastal town of 50,000 secured an insurance policy against a catastrophic event like a hurricane disrupting its stream of gambling revenue.
If it had been anything else... say, fire insurance, or maybe a stock sale, there'd probably be a whole lot of noise about corruption. As it stands, all the busybodies and opposition leaders can do is sit back and wonder.
An Australian man has told how he narrowly escaped being crushed to death inside a rubbish lorry after he fell unconscious following a night out.
CCTV footage shows a group of men tipping Wayne Griffin into a bin which hours later was collected by a compactor in Perth.
In Australia drinking seems to be treated as both a science and an industrial project. Before she left, our lone Australian employee would regale me of various Amusing Incidents and even detailed her purpose-assembled "drinking outfit" (t-shirt, sweat pants, special flat-soled sneakers). Makes me wonder why this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
Making the rounds: After decades of trying, a live giant squid has finally been photographed. In 3600 feet of water no less. Creepy!
Note how Olivia is brushing my hair, rather painfully, with a cat brush.
New Scientist is featuring this article summarizing the discovery of what's thought to be a 27,000 year old burial of two human infants. Located on a hillside overlooking the Danube in Austria, the remains are part of a much larger ice-age settlement site.
Ever wonder what happens to your comment cards? Well, ok, no, I didn't either, but the results are amusing nonetheless. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever filled one of those things out.
Interbike, which is to bicycling what CES is to gaming, kicks off this week and Bicycling is carrying these highlights. I thought the bike shoe with a titanium shank wrapped in carbon fiber was pretty damned nifty, at least until I looked at the price.
The famous "ten codes" used by law enforcement all over the US are being phased out. The replacement? "Plain language." What defines plain language? Hey, they're beauracrats. Their job is to come up with replacements for things, not to make sure they actually work.
A German flasher's lewd antics backfired when he leaped naked out of a bush and exposed himself to a woman, only for the off-duty police officer to call for back-up and send him scrambling back into his clothes.
Slashdot linked up news of a European Space Agency project to see if we really can deflect asteroids away from Earth. It doesn't seem to have gotten past the paper stage, but if everything goes well they should be bashing an asteroid by 2007.
Has the tomb of Odysseus been found? The Madera (CA) Tribune seems to think so:
The tomb of Odysseus has been found, and the location of his legendary capital city of Ithaca discovered here on this large island across a one-mile channel from the bone-dry islet that modern maps call Ithaca.
This could be the most important archeological discovery of the last 40 years, a find that may eventually equal the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann’s 19th Century dig at Troy. But the quirky people and politics involved in this achievement have delayed by several years the process of reporting the find to the world.
Yet visitors to Kefalonia, an octopus-shaped island off the west coast of Greece, can see the evidence for themselves at virtually no cost.
The reason nobody else has heard of it? Well, according to the article, it's all about the greatest Greek invention of them all... politics.
Those who keep a close eye on Middle Eastern news reporting will have read occasional references to potential stage-managing of the events breathlessly reported from that region by the western media. I can recall such things briefly spoken of at least as far back as the 1979 revolution in Iran. But I've never seen any real investigation of the practice, any serious attempt to uncover cynical efforts to ensure the facts never get in the way of a good story. Far more important are vibrant, powerful images. Far more important are the unsupervised stringers used to ensure western media personalities remain safe, far away from conflict. The Second Draft, with this 18-minute documentary attempts to rectify that situation, if only a little.
While I'm not completely convinced every instance they show actually is stage-managed, I am very convinced at least some of them are. Which then forces me to re-consider the weaker segments a little more thoughtfully. If nothing else, it certainly shows in quite graphic detail how our own popular media outlets oversimplify complex stories to the point of utter confusion, just to get some good pictures.
Niel over at Armor Geddon is at it again, this time giving us a look from the tank loader's seat:
I slapped the clip that retains the round and the back end of a HEAT round squeezed out a few inches. I grabbed the end and pulled it out. Somewhere along the way, I gashed my right index finger open. It was a blunt injury so it was numb as the skin peeled and bled everywhere. I shoved the round in the tube and popped the lever up.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed as I made myself as narrow as possible. It was the longest, loudest “UP” in the history of tanking. And if someone saw me in the loader’s station, it would like Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon trying to hide behind a little wooden beam as he was getting shot at in the church. I was straight up and down with my arms pinned to my sides and my chin in my chest. Go ahead, laugh. The gun fired, the afcap dropped with the sound of a pot falling to the ground, and the breech dropped. I opened the ready rack door and repeated my mission. By the third round, I was dripping with sweat from my forehead. My CVC was feeling extremely humid and my hand started to hurt finally. This continued for 9 more rounds. It was exhausting. While Stoker was going to town with the main gun, SSG Terry was letting loose with his machine gun still. And it’s typically the loader’s job to refill the ammo on the TC’s gun(even though I do it myself on my own tank). .50cal ammo isn’t heavy but it is by no means light. And replacing can after can in the middle of loading main gun rounds was making me break a sweat.
I respect those guys, but don't think I could ever do their job. I can't even repair a bicycle without getting my hands caught in the spokes.
The Washington Post today ran this nice article providing a sort of "executive summary" of evolutionary theory. Definitely a must-read for those needing a few more arrows in their quiver for fighting intelligent design.
Space.com is carrying this report on the premiere of what should be a really nifty IMAX film, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D. Since it's showing locally, I might even get to see it!
BBCnews is carrying this report on new developments in whale shark research. By using advanced radio tags, researchers from Belize have made startling discoveries about the world's largest living fish, and hope the information will allow them to create a tourist operation that does not harm the fish themselves.
... Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
Not frikken lasers, but close.
Fark linked up this collection of really neat photos from a recent Kansas storm chase. Again, definitely a vacation Ellen will be doing solo some day!
Each day, the Smithsonian Institution's Feather Identification Laboratory receives about a dozen packages from around the country, each containing tissue swabs from bird/plane collisions.
The lab's scientists have dubbed this bloody goo "snarge," and it is usually all that is left when bird meets plane. Scientists are analyzing snarge DNA to track airplane bird strikes, with the hope of decreasing hazardous collisions.
Read entire article here.
Paul Cannon and Jonah Spear of the Trapeze School New York were being hailed as heroes Friday after making a daring leap into the Hudson River to rescue a man who appeared to be drowning.
Read entire article here.
I learned that, no matter how much she complains, you should not let your 2 year old daughter take a nap with a giant chocolate chip cookie.
Those of you saying, "DuH!!!" have not seen a class 4 meltdown. Now shaddup and tell me how to get chocolate out of these sheets...
Probably the last set of vacation pictures you'll see. Well, at least this year.
Olivia also got a new hat whilst on vacation. This was the last day; note the seriously "browned" girl in the 2nd picture. Ellen was spitting nails at both of us for getting so tan so fast:
She liked the one with the broken back that was just part of the pool gear much more than the new one we bought the next day. I think she was better able to balance on it. Class 4 meltdown when we left without taking it with us!
Me: "I'm not sure there's a pot big enough to boil that one in."
Ellen: "Oh I'd find one, I sure would."
He moved away from that side of the tank shortly after, I think because he noticed Ellen casting about for a bib and a pair of hammers.
Fark linked up news that the Indy Racing League is switching to 100% ethanol fuel over the next two years. Since they currently use methanol, there's not much of an engineering challenge involved. While it's certain to give the alternative-fuels crowd a warm-n'-fuzzy, it still doesn't get around the fact that, without subsidies, ethanol is far more expensive to produce than oil-derived fuels. Well, it was about four years ago, which is the last time I read any studies on it. Now that oil is well over $50 a barrel, this may not be quite as true.
Personally I'd have no trouble with it if they'd repeal the hefty subsidies (in effect, causing us to already pay for ethanol production) and let the market decide. Otherwise it's simply an interesting publicity stunt from a racing series that, until this season, has done little more than turn left very very fast.
Instapundit leads us to an article those who are on the mall today will probably wish they'd read before they left:
Now, I mentioned earlier this week that pointing out the dumbest arguments made by extremists on the other side of the political divide is neither an enriching nor an intellectually substantive activity. However, since ANSWER is one of the main organizers of the protest tomorrow, I figure I should provide all y'all with some information about what the group believes.
Here are some highlights:The global anti-war movement must be a movement of international solidarity against the U.S. empire. (Page 2)
From its inception in 1948, Israel has been a colonial state based on "ethnic cleansing"...[Israel] launched devastating wars against Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
[The Cuban] revolution remains strong and is a source of inspiration for people throughout the hemisphere.
ANSWER has been a front for various Marxist loons since (as I recall) even before Vietnam. Saying this usually causes anti-war folks in the room to sigh and roll their eyes, but the truth hurts. The Vietnam anti-war movement failed largely because of its association with such (indeed, the same) left-wing extremist groups. This movement will founder and fail for the same reasons.
But by all means go have a good time. I'm sure the music will be great!
Being fat, lazy slugs would seem to no longer be a US-specific problem:
A staggering one billion of the world's population of 6.45 billion is overweight, warns the World Health Organization. And rates of overweight and obesity are rising dramatically in poorer countries, not just wealthy nations.
If the current trend continues, by 2015 there will be 1.5 billion overweight people in the world. Being overweight or obese greatly increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
While the New Scientist article largely echoes the alarmist tone of the press release it's based on, there is an alternative interpretation. It would seem, for the first time in humanity's 1.5 million-year history, that famine has finally been defeated.
Oh there are still famines to be sure. Africa is quite famous for large numbers of hollow-eyed children and skeletal adults wandering like zombies across the landscape. But what is largely ignored by the media and the various NGOs for whom famine is a reason to exist is that these famines are essentially human-caused. Revolution, civil war, government bungling, cronyism, and misguided social engineering are the primary causes of starvation in this modern world, not crop failure. And, unlike locust plagues or hail or draught, human-caused problems have human-caused solutions. We have learned to protect ourselves from forces we cannot control. The trick now is to get a handle on the forces we can.
Stasists, technocrats, and various PC busybodies may bemoan the "impropriety" of being fat. Yet they seem to sometimes ignore that a fat, happy child can be taught to change their diet. A starving one can't be taught anything at all.
We hope #18 didn't hurt rising out of your body when 19 sqeezed in!
Today's "confused woman drives car into swimming pool" story brought to you by Kokomo, Washington. This lady gets bonus points for using a car she didn't even own.
Jason over at Countercolumn has much better headlines than your newspaper:
Americans breathe a sigh of relief as Texans stop bragging for 5 minutes...
Louisiana residents still cursing lack of electricity... "This is the storm we've been hoping will hit Texas for years, and I can't enjoy it," says diehard LSU fan...
Floridians count blessings... Dems demand recount...
Crabcake is the resident jail-breaker. She is only 2 inches across, but drags around a mean dust bunny!
I don't know what you'd call this for sure, but we might pick one up. Olivia likes pizza, but the slices are a little too big for her. Plus there's that annoying tendency for the kitchen to undercut the pie, forcing you to tear it apart.
The only real decision, of course, is whether Ron or Joshua should get this for a Christmas present. Considering the vodka bong is already heading J's way, I think this one'll end up as a great housewarming present for the soon-to-move Ron-man.
The whole site is a scream. The Grammas will be appalled, which is just a bonus.
2005 Halloween candy, get ya 2005 Halloween candy here! This'll probably be the last year we sit at home and hand out candy. Expect yet another cat-themed Olivia this year. Then again, she's becoming a huge fan of dress-up, so there's a decent chance of a looming wardrobe battle. We'll see!
Getting rid of illusion of time, reaching the state of integrated singularity type IV advanced alien civilizations travel instantaneously
Well, duh, of course getting rid of the illusion of time will do all that. Don't you guys watch the sci-fi channel?
Pat gets a cloistered no-prize for bringing us this detailed look at a new exhibit hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art:
"Prague: The Crown of Bohemia, 1347-1437" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an adventure. It's one of those shows you go to not at all sure what you're in for, and when you find out, you're floored, because it's so beautiful, and so familiar, and so strange.
The title sets out the exhibition's coordinates. Prague puts us in Central Europe; the dates put us in the Middle Ages, specifically the High Gothic period. And that's where the adventure starts, because we can see at a glance that Gothic in Bohemia is not the Gothic we find elsewhere.
Two high-class brothels hoping to attract racers and pit crews in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix were shut down after they posted sexually explicit advertisements on 30 billboards around South America's largest city.
The billboards showed a photo made to look like a scantily clad woman was performing fellatio on a man in a racing uniform. Captions on the advertisements said in both Portuguese and English: "Do you know what happens after the (winners') podium?."
Apparently they've been doing this for years, although I'd never heard as much as a comment about it while watching the race.
Ron gets a spectacularly fast and ridiculously expensive no-prize for letting us know today's wikipedia main page is all about Formula One racing. It's all there, from the history to the teams to the drivers and everything in between. Don't just sit there, learn something!
BBCnews is carrying this report on new techniques that could allow scientists to extract much higher quality DNA samples from much older fossils. It is hoped this will allow scientists to recover chromosomal DNA from, for example, fossilized human remains to get a better fix on when various Homo species separated from each other.
Alternate title: Paging Little Big Man, white courtesy phone please.
No, I will not comment about the center cut-out.
I'll leave Ron for that.
Well, except for the "I *heart* Republicans" T-shirt we bought you months ago, you'll also get this:
Bong Spirit Imported Vodka is a designer spirit beverage envisioned by a group of contemporary artists to fuse together a new wave of progressive fashion and designer attitude with an age-old Dutch product of exceptional quality.
"Contemporary artists" is to "smelly pot-smoking hippies" as "compassionate conservatives" is to "wild-eyed Christian fanatics with suits on." Meh... he'll drink it all the same. And so will we!
Hey, as long as it's not grapefruit-flavored, at least everyone will keep their clothes on!
none of my [college] students was alive, for example, when Ronald Reagan was elected president... a quote from a review of this book.
Nobody said the 1980s would become more than 20 years ago! I am not supposed to have a 20 year high school reunion next year! I did not vote for this! You! Ticking clock! You stop that, right now!
When I was little I was amazed that my mom and dad could remember a time when there was no such thing as TV. Amazed. But they were kids, little kids, when The Great Couch Potato Creator made its debut. I can't even begin to count the number of technologies Olivia will take for granted that didn't exist when I graduated high school.
Oh shut up. Shut up. You're catching up with me. And don't worry, I have your walker right here...
Fans of Homo floresiensis, the so-called "hobbit" of Flores island, should find this update of interest. Seems a few more scientists have come forward claiming the find is merely a microcephalic but otherwise fully modern human. Unfortunately for these "debunkers", other fossils of the same species were found that would seem to seriously undercut this deformed human hypothesis. And the beat goes on...
The idea of this project was to create a fully-automated sentry gun, capable of picking out a human target and accurately tracking and shooting him or her in the heart. Really, the idea was to find a cool robotics project for the summer while I was working at an advertising agency, and I'd only ever seen sentry guns in movies (like Congo) and video games (Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress Classic).
So what if the list of useless guy-projects I have is getting long? Building this stuff is half the fun!
Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb, authorities said Wednesday.
Considering Lousiana's and New Orleans's well-deserved but mostly unreported reputation for spectacular corruption, I can only think this is the tip of a gigantic graft-driven iceberg. Personally, I'm expecting about 1/3rd of our heard-earned and well-intentioned donations and tax dollars to end up lining various politico's pockets*. It's the only way to make sure the other 2/3rds get there as fast as possible.
Really, it's a no-win scenario (for honest people at any rate). The only way to make sure relief gets where it needs to go is audit, audit, audit. However, audits take time, and pretty much define bureaucratic red tape and slow government movement. It only takes one soft-headed bleeding heart (or heard-headed political machiavellian, both of which the Democrats have in abundance) to start screaming, with a megaphone only our sycophantic "anything-to-stick-it-to-the-president" national media can provide, "faster! Sooner! Only racists are this slow!" to force their hand.
Keep your eyes open folks, this is just the beginning.
* They'll be Democratic pockets, but that's mostly a coincidence. Shoving this much money down the throat of any government this fast, really anywhere in the world, will always lead to endemic corruption. I am continually amazed that people are amazed by this.
Instapundit linked up this interesting dissection of the Democratic problem nobody's talking about, their continued reliance on unions: (emphasis original)
But the real problem with laws like Davis-Bacon isn't that they make a few government buildings, highways, and levees, etc., a bit more expensive. It's that--in combination with similar laws that apply to services, and with the civil service laws, and with misguided court decisions that impose special procedural obligations on government (e.g. before workers can be fired or public housing tenants evicted)--they make the private sector more efficient than government at virtually anything both of them do. The result is a pervasive public cynicism about government efficacy that has done more to undermine the case against government action than union lobbying can ever do to support it.
In spite of the gallery's perception of me as a slathering Bush fanatic, I would actually be quite happy if the Dems could field a group of leaders who wouldn't drive the country off the rails as soon as they got their hands on the controls. Unfortunately, if the current "New Orleans writ large" state of modern liberalism is any indication, that's not going to happen any time soon.
Pat gets a no-prize in the shape of a hand axe for bringing us news of a new development in Neandertal research. By examining a broader range of modern human teeth, scientists have contradicted previous findings that Neandertals matured at a faster rate than modern humans. Instead, it would seem they matured at essentially the same rate as we do. While it doesn't exactly solve the "where'd they get off to anyway?" mystery, it does at least remove one factor from the equation.
Japan has found its richest man, and he's a florist. With a TV show. This Washington Post article takes an in-depth look at Shogo Kariyazaki and the changes which he seems to be the harbinger of. With picture!
VERY COOL! Do not pass it up!
Apparently this are Thomas Edison movies!
Catch the entire Wikipedia article here.
Something tells me Amber will need to put duct tape over Ron's mouth to get him to stop giggling after he reads this headline. Whoever wrote the headline has the coolest copy editor ever.
Boy, those Asians sure do know how to party. Note: Contains one mildly not-safe-for-work picture.
Man, when some folks talk about how bland US TV shows are, they're not kidding:
A television presenter on a new Dutch talk show plans to take heroin and other illegal drugs on air in a program intended to reach young audiences on topics that touch their lives, producers said Wednesday.
The show, scheduled to premier on late-night television Oct. 10, is called "Spuiten & Slikken," or the "Shoot Up and Swallow" show.
I especially like the fact they plan on the host doing LSD while under the supervision of his mom. And all this time I thought my mom offering to buy me a beer when I turned 18 was liberal!
One of the real advantages of having long-term space probe missions is we're finally beginning to see changes in planetary bodies over time. Specifically, after 8 years of scanning, the Mars Global Surveyor has recorded some remarkable changes. From sliding boulders to moving trenches to every greeny's favorite global warming, MGS has seen it all. With pictures!
Don't just sit there, buy some socks:
Upland Sports Group, Inc. (USG) announced today the launch of their custom Cycle + Rebuild Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund socks. 100% of profit proceeds from the sale of these socks will be donated to the Victims of Hurricane Katrina through legitimate organizations that are active in ongoing relief efforts.
Hell I think socks are the only bike-specific bit of clothing I don't have. Time to get out the credit card...
Long-time gallery member Joshua inadvertently spent his vacation getting a really up-close look at the insides of a hurricane. He wrote this "so calm it's scary" account:
Due to the music playing, with brief pauses while we tuned in TWC for updates, the roar of the wind and rain was mostly drowned out. Come 9:00pm the music stopped. The power decided to head to the main land for the rest of the storm and left us dark and musicless. We lit the candles and lantern, kept the flashlights next to us and continued to play our game. Without the music going the roar of the storm was amazing, almost deafening at times, and altogether over powering. When all you can hear and feel is the wind pounding the house you get a greater respect for nature and all that it can throw at you. Watching the glass doors warp because of the pressure was an awesome sight to see.
Apologies and all that to you guys, but I'm actually rather glad we ended up in VA Beach. Hurricanes and toddlers do not a fun mix make!
A funny story about a cat and his bad breath.
Yes, vets will talk to clients that way!
There are a lot of dead people in that building.
Part of the marquee of a strange/funny haunted house thing that was part of the VA Beach strip.
A kid on a bike is a wish fulfilled and a promise still in the making.
-- Bill Strickland [Bicycling Magazine executive editor]
We at AMCLGTD would like to wish our friend Carrie a very Happy Birthday!
Video makers notorious for filming women flashing their breasts said they will donate revenues from "Girls Gone Wild" episodes tied to Mardi Gras to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims.
"Mardi Gras is synonymous with New Orleans and 'Girls Gone Wild' is synonymous with Mardi Gras," Bill Horn of Mantra Films, the southern California company behind "Girls Gone Wild," told AFP.
"See honey, I'm not a pig watching naked college co-eds... I'm a philanthropist watching naked college co-eds!"
Reason #324 not to visit Antarctica: hungry glaciers:
Fears are growing over the fate of two Argentines who fell down a deep crevasse in Antarctica on Saturday.
The two - a scientist and a member of the navy - were crossing the Collins Glacier, on King George Island, on a snowmobile when they disappeared.
Sarlaac unavailable for comment.
I guess it's sort of like the adult version of the "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?" So come, gentle reader, and explore how many condoms one can fit on a penis:
We set about to examine the results of our work in detail. First we measured the length of the finished specimen, which now measured 17” from base to tip. The condoms added 9 ½” of length, more than doubling the dildo’s original length, and representing an increase of more than 125%. Measuring around the thickest part of the condom-wrapped dildo, we found the girth was now 10 ¾”, an increase of 5 ½” over the original circumference of 5 ¼”. Again this represents an increase of over 100%.
If a picture of a fake plastic wang would get you in trouble at work, leave this one for when you get home. Blogging on vacation rocks.
The headline says it all: Police powerless on outdoor orgies:
Dutch police and park rangers have admitted they are powerless to stop a growing trend of outdoor sex orgies.
In the latest incident, a large group of people were found romping naked on a beach in the Bussloo area of the country.
Then again, a perusal of just about any "voyeur" or "creative nude" site tends to reveal the people who most want to be seen naked are (in general) those who really should put some clothes on. Rrrmm... so I've been told. Yeah, told.
The decline in frogs and other amphibious species has been used as a warning of imminent environmental collapse for at least the past twenty-five years. What often gets lost in the propaganda is that scientists to this day aren't really sure what's causing it. Now a new group has come up with a startling suggestion:
A disease threatening amphibians worldwide may have spread because of the use of frogs in pregnancy tests.
The theory is being debated at a summit in Washington DC where scientists hope to produce an action plan to conserve frogs, toads and salamanders.
Just when you thought science couldn't get any weirder...
An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.
I always grab a doorknob or metal bit forcefully when I know I'm carrying a charge, seems to take the sting out of it. Otherwise I tend to throw arcs across three inch gaps at times.
Making the rounds: NASA has officially "previewed" its plans for upcoming lunar and martian missions. Regular readers will find nothing suprising, but it does make for a nice confirmation/summary of what NASA wants to do. Unfortunately, since Katrina there's a lot more "if the money's there" talk. NASA watchers will understand this tends to be codespeak for "has become a pipe dream. Again."
Still, they are retiring the shuttle, so it's not as if they can just pretend alternatives never happened. But when it comes right down to it, alls I can say is "Go Rutan! Go!"
Because only over-sensitive PC holdouts would have a problem with this thing:
The undershirt the white student wore had a confederate flag on the front with the words "Keep it flying."
"Well Scott, that might be a bit tacky, but it's not too bad."
On the back, a cartoon depicted a group of hooded Klansmen standing outside a church, waving to two others who had just pulled away in a car reading "Just married."
Two black men in nooses were being dragged behind.
Good thing it happened in Florida. If this idiot had pulled a stunt like this where I grew up, getting hit on the head would be the least of his worries. And it wouldn't just be the black kids he'd be running from.
The Religious Policeman (who regular readers will remember is actually neither) has this look at "booze culture" in Saudi Arabia:
The article in the Khaleej Times is a classic expose of the alcohol trade amongst our Third World guests. Entitled "Saudis shocked at discovery of wine factories", (which is like "Kansas shocked at discovery of cornfields" or "French shocked at discovery of vineyards"), it makes for fascinating reading.
In the "only vaguely related because I need to finish cleaning the garage" category, our other cultural ambassedor Azrael has this look at what Japan is like when typhoons are near:
Japan occasionally gets hit by typhoons. Some areas can get hit pretty badly, which sucks. The thing about typhoons though, is that if one is coming or even looks like it's coming to the area, a typhoon warning is issued. If the warning comes out, then school is CANCELLED for that day. Even if you're already in the middle of the day, school is done, everybody go home. So, while typhoons are usually a bad thing, the prospect of school getting cancelled is a VERY GOOD THING.
Remember that Japan employs a near-suicidal workforce, one that prompted Ms. Americanized to wish for her country to be bombed back to the stone age, as it just might get her a day off. In that context, Japanese people won't sweat a little wind and rain if it gets them an early day off work.
Hey man, sometimes a book cover is just a book cover. Then again, sometimes it's not. That's the trick with subliminal messages... you're never quite sure if they're intended.
New Scientist is carrying news of the strongest evidence yet for oceans on Saturn's moon, Titan. By using synthetic aperture radar, the Cassini probe has imaged what appears to be distinct flow channels and a coast. However, unlike Earth, Titan's seas are thought to be a soup of methane and other hydrocarbons. No boogie boarding there!
Therapists say it helps release endorphins — “feel good” chemicals.
So to get the benefits without the calories, women and men are opting for the Belgian Chocolate Body Wrap using melted dark chocolate buttons.
I've got other ways to spend $125. Then again, being male, I'm not sure I'm qualified to judge the efficacy of anything related to chocolate.
Unlike New Olreans and Lousiana, whose official response to Katrina seems to have consisted mostly of mugging for various news cameras trying to cover asses and salvage careers, political and civic Mississippi rolled up their collective sleeves and decided that, if the feds couldn't do it, they would:
Hurricane Katrina has transformed Mississippi's mayors into car thieves, and senators into blockade runners. Isolated by the initial hit of the storm and failed by the slow federal response, citizens have fended for themselves in some original and not entirely legal ways. Brent Warr, the Republican mayor of Gulfport, even ordered his police chief to hot-wire a truck.
While no-one in the article mentioned the collapse in Louisiana and New Orleans, some quotes quite plainly reference Mississippi's "I actually have to do something?" neighbor:
"We were literally fending for ourselves," Warr says. "Sitting in a well complaining because no one will throw you a rope is not going to get you anywhere. Instead, you climb out. You hope someone gives you a hand and pulls you. But either way, we're getting out of the well."
"I take my hat off to her [Mississippi's first lady Marsha Barbour]," says Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran. "She's not sitting around sipping tea and serving tomato aspic."
"Poor people know how to survive," [college professor and Turkey Creek MS native Derrik Evans] says. "These are low-income African Americans. We certainly weren't a jackpot tax base. But we've been here for 139 years, and been through one Reconstruction. This community is about as up-on-our-feet as anyone. We're not running around looking around for something to eat and drink."
Nice to see "the other side" finally getting their story told.
Every morning I do "pet rounds." Pet rounds includes: feeding, changing boxes, brushing, handling etc...
This morning was different. Something was amiss. My hermit crabs were missing. Not dead, not deceased, not "ex-crabs", but flat missing. My new hermit crabs, in their expensive "hermitat". NO CRABS! S*%T!
So the search begins. Bookshelves were checked. Nothing. Shoes were checked. Nada. Then I hear Scott tapping up the walkway in his bike "stilettos." [Road bike shoes. They have cleats. You're not supposed to walk in them. Is it my fault walking in them is like walking in backward high heels? Chicks are weird. -Ed.]
Me:"Hi!" *scaring Scott at the door in the process* "Guess what happened?!?"
Scott, with the deep sigh of one long used to living in the "land of the misfit pets": "Who died?"
Me: "Err... no one. My hermit crabs are gone!"
Scott: *blink, blink* "Okay... have you checked the washroom?"
Eureeka! The washroom! No... damn! No crabs there.
Then I see Magrat sitting in front of the coat closet. "YeerRRAwOOww!! BrrYarrow!!!"
Me: "WOOHOO! Mags! The closet!" As I opened the door, I saw a seashell suddenly tuck down and wobble still. Like a quarter "wop-wop-wob-wob-wobwobing." You could almost hear this tiny voice peeping, "Crabs? No, no crabs here, just us seashells! Just us quiet, still, unassuming seashells... ah, crap, frikken cat!" One down, one to go.
Three hours later...
Scott: "Find your other crab yet?"
Me: "Nope. Magrat is not doing her job. She's being lazy, watching birds in the window again. I'll have to check late tonight when they're active and see if he comes out."
An hour later and I'm hanging my purse on the coat rack and happen to look down. Again, suddenly I'm confronted with what, on the beach, would be the ultimate in stealth craft, a simple empty seashell. But nature never equipped hermit crabs for tile floors. If they did, the little buggers would look like self-propelled beer cans or something. As it stands, I was once more looking at something desperately trying to become part of the scenery. "This is Not the Crab You Are Looking for," I swear I could see a tiny claw extending out of his shell, waving vaguely in the air, "You Can Go About Your Business. Move Along, Move Along."
The tank has gone from a minimum security dormitory to a maximum security prison. No unscreened air holes. No unmasked power cords (for lights, heaters, etc.) No ladders, and all spoons have been taken from the crabs to ensure they cannot dig their way out.
Anyone who thinks crabs are dumb has never owned one. I'm half tempted to put a combo lock on their door, but since they have nothing else to do, I'd not be at all surprised to find they'd figured the combination some day. Better to simply overpower the problem.
Now to find some bricks for the lid...
Hey, wheels are wheels:
A bicyclist was arrested on drug possession charges this week after a police officer caught sight of him pedaling away with three uprooted marijuana plants under his arm.
Ellen would be wheeling behind me, sniffing the air and sighing.
Did I say that? Me? No no no... Ellen's pure as the driven snow, never done anything illegal. Evah!
Note the short tail.
NEWARK, N.J. - Three mice infected with the bacteria responsible for bubonic plague apparently disappeared from a laboratory about two weeks ago, and authorities launched a search though health experts said there was scant public risk.
Read entire article here.
Mid-Hudson School Study Council's Award for Excellence in Support Staff Service is awarded to Mrs. Suzanne Hichak
Congratulations to Mrs. Suzanne Hichack as she has been selected by the Mid-Hudson School Study Council to receive this year's Award for Excellence in Support Staff Service. Suzanne will be recognized at an Awards Dinner at Anthony's Pier 9 on October 19, 2005.
See entire announcement here.
Notice how they are lined up brown-green-brown-green. OR you can say: lumpy-smooth-lumpy-smooth.
Yes, this snake is in the corn snake family.
We also highly recommend the Aquarium here at VA Beach.
We'll be taking a photo-blog break so I can make two predictions in this post-Katrina world:
Death toll: less than 1200. If I were to put an exact number on it, 853. That's for everywhere, not just NO.
New Orleans dry again: less than 2 weeks from today.
Political histrionics, duly regurgitated by our credulous "the Democrats deserve another break today" MSM, always add at least two zeros to any disaster number. Likewise, initial estimates are exciting but always wrong (remember five years to put out the Gulf War fires? 35,000 dead at the WTC?). It may have taken them a day to fix the first pump, but the lessons learned usually mean it'll only take three hours to fix the next, and half that for the one after it, and so on.
The hysterical tantrums thrown (and still being thrown) by the New Orleans and Louisiana administrations had to me just a whiff of ass-covering even before the storm completely blew through. Once the truth about city and state ineptitude began to be made fully clear, that whiff turned into a rancid reek. Democratic spinmeisters and their MSM lackeys are going through heroic efforts to pin the blame on the federal government (which, we should all remember, can't even move letters from one place to another in less than three days), if they try hard enough, they may even obscure the truth, at least for awhile.
Unfortunately Katrina came at the wrong time in the election cycle for this strategy to work well as a road back to power. Had a category-4 hurricane drowned hundreds of Democratic constituents on national TV in the September before a national election the entire liberal-left establishment would (rightly) need to wear underwear protection to keep their ecstasy from becoming a wardrobe problem. As it stands now there will be plenty of time for ponderous federal machinery to slowly and for the most part effectively clank into place to provide relief. There will also be plenty of time for even the most gung-ho Democratic apologists in the media to get bored and start asking what really happened to all those buses.
Anyone actually paying attention can already tell they won't like the answer one bit.
The entire time she is calling the kitty. "C'mere! Psss...Psss...Pss..."
He just shed a few moments before the pix was taken!
You didn't think I would forget about snakes did you?
We went to the Virginia Zoo today. Prepare for lots of pixes!
Between nearly every cross street on the boardwalk is some sort of sculpture. We have not found a horse or elephant yet. But this is close. And yes, we have 2 live hermit crabs going home with us.
Yes, another rare photo. I'm usually behind the lens.
The after dinner icecream incident.
Apparently chlorinated pool water from a boat is pretty good!
Tonka is the Sunspree's mascot. She is a 12 year old African Leopard Spotted Tortise. And a very upbeat and friendly one at that. She cannot seem to get enough attention.
Sometimes you're the boogie board, sometimes you're the wave.
Note to The Grammas: Olivia is fine. Since she is our child, she proved quite capable of having a "feet-in-air" wipeout in just six inches of water. She rolled upright on her rear less than a half a second later sputtering salt water and sand.
This was the only thing that washed up on the beach this morning.
Note the "Legendary Hard Slick"on the board.
While at the (what turned out to be) C+ barbeque shop we stopped in for lunch, Ellen gave Olivia one of her hushpuppies, just to see what she'd do with it.
Ellen: "Here ya go O, have a hushpuppie. It's good! Eat it!"
Olivia, looking at it suspiciously: "wha dat?"
Ellen: "It's a hushpuppie! You eat it!"
Olivia, dubiously: "Eat puppy?"
Ellen: "No, it's a hushpuppie."
Olivia, paused, looked around, then in an emphatic whisper asked, "eat puppy?"
From that point on, until we left the place, she would tap my shoulder and whisper conspiratorially, "hush puppy daddy! hush puppy! Eat it!"
Which she did, and in the process proved it is quite possible to make a splatterific mess with something as simple as a fried dough ball. Sort of like our very own Mcguyver in diapers.
They are building a HUGE statue of Neptune down near the pier. It is well over 26 feet high, and (according to the tourist guide) is made up of 26 tons of bronze.
We at AMCGLTD just want to let our readers know that we did not forget that it is the anniversary of 9/11. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the readers that lost family and friends in that event.
Yes, this hotel (Holiday Inn Sunspree) has an indoor power pool that floats you around a cave with waterfalls.
Of course I went through all the trouble of digging a two foot hole, and built a few sand castles just to get this shot. What kind of photographer doesn't build props? :)
This parrot was being strolled on his walker this morning with his human companion.
We made it to the beach! And the beach is a hit! Sand tickles ("teekoos!") and feels funny ("fee funny!"). Waves are amazing and beautiful ("byoo'ee'ful!").
Can you tell Olivia is having fun?
The hotel is cool. 3 pools, 1 with a bridge over it and an indoor one with a cove complete with waterfalls. There's even a basketball-sized leopard spotted tortise named Tonka who lives here. She just walks about the main lobby and hits up tourists for a pat on the head and some money.
At some point this evening, we're pretty sure someone got sucked under the waves and out to sea. The rescue crews are still out there looking. 3 boats, 1 jetski, 1 helicopter, 1 beach truck, 3 cop cars and a slew of people have been going back and forth on the beach for the past 3 hours. Hopefully they'll find whoever is missing. Of course this happens after the lifeguards leave.
We'll keep you posted on the beach fun. It's windy, but what do you expect with a hurricane out in the Atlantic?
Pixes will be posted tomorrow sometime.
This time, instead of vacationing in the remote (and broadband-less) wilds of Arkansas, your intrepid duo is heading down to Virginia Beach. Since our equally intrepid blogsitters are ass-busting busy prepping for a big move, we've decided to take our laptop down with us so as to keep you plebes happy with bread and circuses*. Or, if you will, keep The Grammas happy with various pictures of a cavorting grandchild. Regardless, posting will be sporatic, then (probably, depending on how cheap wine is down there) relatively steady once we settle in. See you there!
* The fact that the laptop also has a DVD player which will be
inflicted with used to play various Barney, Wiggles, and Elmo DVDs is merely a bonus. Yeah, bonus.
That's what I think the illustration accompanying this BBCnews article on pterosaurs looks like. Turns out recent discoveries are indicatiing they may have been even bigger than the biggest fossils we've found so far. Recently discovered "Pterosaur trackways", whatever those are, seem to indicate these critters could end up with wingspans of over 60 feet!
In retrospect, perhaps a different course title would've been more appropriate.
Then again, hey, even gangsters gotta learn somewhere, right?
Two genes involved in determining the size of the human brain have undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say, suggesting that the brain is still undergoing rapid evolution.
The discovery adds further weight to the view that human evolution is still a work in progress, since previous instances of recent genetic change have come to light in genes that defend against disease and confer the ability to digest milk in adulthood.
The claim appears to already have set off a storm of controversy, and pretty much everyone seems to be admitting this is just one of several different interpretations of the data. The truth is, nobody's completely sure just what these genes actually do.
What I want to know is, where are you supposed to put the gigantic "old school" handset for your cell phone? I seem to recall we featured something like this years ago, but that was in Asia. Seems to be spreading. Like, you know, a tacky pink bakelite plague or something.
Ron gets a no-prize that could take out Oregon for bringing us news of a rather startling development in the beaver state:
A recent survey of a bulge that covers about 100 square miles near the South Sister indicates the area is still growing, suggesting it could be another volcano in the making or a major shift of molten rock under the center of the Cascade Range.
Recent eruptions at nearby Mount St. Helens in Washington state have rekindled interest in the annual Sisters survey and its findings.
It would seem the consensus is if this thing blows it'll just spew a little ash and rock. I still don't want to be anywhere near it if I don't have to be.
Hrm... there is bike stuff for sale there... just... can't... spot it...
Oink oink oink.
An inebriated Belgian woman died in a freak accident when she ended up beneath a heavy grave stone at a cemetery, local news agency Belga said Wednesday.
Now if that's not a gothic way to go, I'm not sure what is.
When the last shuttle mission returned I got a little wistful thinking Olivia won't be old enough to appreciate them before the last mission is over. Now it looks like, at the rate they seem to be launching them now, she'll be 17 before the last one goes:
As NASA continues to assess the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the future of the shuttle program, at least one official is warning it could take up to a year before the next flight takes off.
The space agency grounded future shuttle flights after a fuel tank insulation problem was found during Discovery's mission a month ago. The pre-Katrina hope was for a new shuttle flight in March 2006, but after NASA’s Michoud facility in New Orleans was hit during the hurricane, analysts expected that mission to slip into May. That now may turn out to be overly optimistic — and not just because of the hurricane damage.
The article does, eventually (gotta have a little hysteria to keep your attention, donchaknow), get around to mentioning even more launch delays are just a preliminary idea, and not official by any means. Still, it would definitely seem they are taking their time with this thing.
Whatever brings us a startling look at what being poor really means. Definitely brings back some memories for me, I can tell ya that.
It's a funny thing about hyper-elitists. Sometimes they forget the rest of us have memories. It's all well and good to try and be as mean and shameless as the other guy. The trick is to try and not be as stupid. They obviously still have some learning to do.
Finally Fark leads us to the people who are really responsible for hurricane Katrina:
A meteorologist in Pocatello, Idaho, claims Japanese gangsters known as the Yakuza caused Hurricane Katrina.
Scott Stevens says after looking at NASA satellite photos of the hurricane, he’s is convinced it was caused by electromagnetic generators from ground-based microwave transmitters.
Dammit, those Japanese just keep getting more and more clever!
Those on the left who've yowled from their bellfries about how Republican budget cuts are directly responsible for the devestation in New Orleans are pleased to be sitting down and shutting the hell up now:
In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.
Oh don't worry, I'm sure the Democrats have already figured out new angles to blame this mess on the federal government. They can move pretty fast when their conventional wisdom turns out to be neither. Which is to say, most of the time.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll sound an alarm when he picks it up for bringing us this story of a most unusual crime wave:
Beavercreek [Ohio] officials knew they had to do something when their 250-pound fiberglass beaver statues started going missing from the streets.
So they embedded tracking devices in the six-and-a-half-foot-tall sculptures, which are being displayed to celebrate the city's 25th anniversary.
Time to start checking e-bay!
New Scientist is carrying this quick round-up of three patent applications for some pretty nifty gear. That is, if any of it makes it into production.
Making the rounds: analysis of NASA's deep impact probe reveals comet Tempel 1's composition is very different from previously studied comets. Most interesting is a much higher-than-predicted level of organic compounds, which help bolster the theory that comets helped seed the Earth with the stuff required for living things.
A west Devon couple are baffled by how their nine-year-old white cat turned pink after a weekend stroll.
Mrs Worth said: "He was pink - Barbie pink. His head, ears and right down his body, although not underneath, had gone a quite brilliant pink.
Read entire article here.
You've probably never seen him. His name might not ring an immediate bell. But chances are you've heard this man speak more than any other actor on the planet. Why? Because he owns the deep, sonorous and impossibly solemn voice you hear almost every time you've watched a movie trailer.
Interview seems to be a year or two old, but I'd never seen it.
Workers sorting through party rental costumes at a London fancy dress shop have discovered the original Obi Wan Kenobi robe worn by the actor Sir Alec Guinness in the film "Star Wars", the shop said on Tuesday.
The robe was stored for years in a warehouse by film costume company Angels and Bermans before ending up with a batch of old monks' outfits in the company's high street party rental shop, manager Emma Angel said.
I wonder if Olivia's big enough to be a Jawa for Halloween?
Astronomers have spotted the fastest moving stellar corpse to date – and it appears to be headed straight out of our galaxy.
A team from the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, clocked the dead star at 1100 kilometres per second.
The object, called B1508+55, is a rotating neutron star, or pulsar. It is the superdense core of a massive star that exploded as a supernova about 2.5 million years ago.
The discovery is important because at this time astronomers don't have a computer model that predicts this sort of object can be ejected during a supernova with this much force. Back to the drawing boards with you!
All those things I said about my mom buying crazy stuff on e-bay? Hey, at least she pays attention to what she buys:
he Carter-Kaiser household doesn't know what to do with its newest member.
The 1m-long photograph of a penis cost Auckland MP Chris Carter $130 at a Rainbow Labour charity auction last Sunday.
But the conservation, local government and ethnic affairs minister claims that he wasn't sure what he was bidding for at the time."I was getting a hard time from the audience who were saying I was a rich MP and I should contribute, so I hadn't even really looked at the picture," says Carter. "Now that I've got it, I'm not quite sure who I can give it to. But I don't think I'll be hanging it in my ministerial office."
Claims not to have paid attention... yeah, that's the ticket. Claims.
This was something even I had completely missed in all the hyperventilated coverage over New Orleans. Why haven't we heard similar histrionic coverage about Mississippi? They were the ones who got bullseyed by the hurricane, not Louisiana. Why aren't we hearing about even more disastrous incompetence there?:
The buildings in New Orleans are still standing; the Gulf Coast of Mississippi basically has been scrubbed, like God took out a pencil eraser and just erased it.
I really don't like to find fault at times like this, but one thing that was missing was a quick recognition that in such a situation the potential for civil collapse is nearly 100%. Once the weather settles, you need to immediately declare marshal law and send in the MPs. That's basically what Haley Barbour did in Mississippi - there were a few early problems but very quickly the MPs were patrolling what was left of Biloxi and Gulfport and keeping a lid on things. Back on Tuesday when I put on the news and we all saw Kathleen Blanco bursting into tears, I knew that was the wrong message and would bring trouble. Louisiana and New Orleans basically have those touchy-feely, "I'm okay, you're okay" soft-leftie types in charge. Their education took a few days and has been expensive.
Actually, I don't chalk up this blind spot in the MSM's coverage to any sort of political bias. "If it bleeds, it leads" has been and always will be a bulwark of popular media. Devastated but otherwise quiet streets patrolled by competently-lead troops just don't have the same sass as corpses floating down Borboun street and boat-borne shootouts below the Pontchartrain levee, don't ya know?
There's also the "hammer" problem*. Since the national media have taken over the story, they see it as a national problem which needs a national solution. I really believe it has simply never ocurred to them to ask why state and local authorities, the people who must be on the ball in the first three days of any crisis of this magnitude, have so publicly dropped it in such a spectacularly disastrous fashion. We hear constantly about Bush administration failures without anyone even once asking why, for example, a city with a comprehensive and well-regarded public transportation system (as New Orleans has had for decades) had apparently no plan whatever to use it as an evacuation tool. Or why the governor, who is explicitly responsible for commanding national guard troops within state borders, was quite patently unable to do so effectively within any sort of reasonable timeframe.
Disasters aren't just federal problems. As much as the "controls everything, must control everything, proper to control everything" popular center-left perception of the federal government is, there are normally at least three other types of government authority out there to assist: state, county/parish, and municipal. When properly run, they will be both faster and more effective than anything a ponderous national entity can manage, especially in the short term. When they're mismanaged and poorly run? Well, the other thing I continue to find amazing is how the MSM seems to have turned a blind eye to Louisiana's and New Orleans's well known and deserved reputations as the most corrupt and poorly managed governments in the country.
I think the contrast with Mississippi is indeed quite instructive, and the comment "So I hope you're Watching Mississippi. Highly recommended - we may have found our next President out of this (you heard it here first)" quite intriguing indeed. Nice to see a state better known for keeping Arkansas off the bottom of most lists getting things right when it really counted.
Via Jason, who also has several good articles you should check out before you ask the "obvious" questions here.
* "When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Often mis-interpreted by those who have never held one.
The Washington Post yesterday carried this in-depth look at recent discoveries regarding the Y chromosome. By comparing the human Y with its chimpanzee cousin, scientists have discovered that far from being well on its way to evaporating into oblivion, the human Y has barely changed at all in at least 6 million years. This in spite of the fact that the Y chromosome can't "fact check" itself the way X chromosomes can. Let's hear it for the boy!
Hope [Arkansas] watermelon weighs in at record 268.8 pounds.
The watermelon, tended and turned throughout the season, topped the scales at 268.8 pounds, breaking the listed record of 262 pounds, said Betty Jo Odom, a bookkeeper at the Farm Store. "It’s been 20 years since we had anything in this range," said Bright, speaking by phone from his father’s home in Hope.
The family has grown large varieties of watermelons since 1973. Bright, a retired school administrator who lives in Arkadelphia, will try to contact the American publishing company for Britishbased Guinness World Records this week to make an official filing of the weigh-in.
I don't like the stuff at all, but the gene seems to have passed on from Ellen to Olivia. "Melon" was one of her first words.
*Ring Ring*... The phone rings at 9:30 P.M. No one calls us after 8. They all know better.
Mama [aka "momma smurf", aka Scott's mom, the recently retired critical care nurse]: "I just wanted to call you to tell you that I am leaving tonight" [ah jus wanned ta tell yoo thah ahm leavin tanaht] "to go to..." life is all a blur, I can't believe what this woman who watches CNN all day and was looking forward to lazy days bugging us for Olivia pictures is telling me... "help the refugees from Louisiana who've been placed in Texas. I cannot believe no one is helping and they need medical personel so I am going." ["so ah ahm goin'!" .. it works better when you can actually hear the accent.]
Me: "You're WHAT?"
Mama: "I just wanted to let you know so if you didn't see me comment on the website, you'd know where I was."
Me: "What about your cats? Do you have a cell phone?"
Mama: "The cats have the sitter and no I don't have a cell. I haven't figured how to turn it on yet." [laughing]
Me: "Well, ya gotta do what you want to do. Glad you're getting out to help."
Mama: "All right! I'll call you whenever I get back, I get picked up in a half hour." HALF HOUR!?! What, did she make this decision tonight?!?
Me: "OK! Good luck!" [click] "Scoooooooottt!"
Scott: "Who the hell was on the phone at 9:30?"
Me: "Your mom, you won't belive what she is doing..."
Good Luck Mama! We know you'll make a difference! Be careful!
Olivia: Teeka vai mah! [shakes your hand vigerously]
Translation: "Thank you very much!"
We live around her pretty much 24x7, and we're still building our lexicon. Lord only knows what our friends make of it.
One of the many Maine Coon kittens that pass through the clinic doors.
Yes, it's a true story. You just have to read it.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who quietly advanced the conservative ideology of the Supreme Court under his leadership, died Saturday evening. He was 80.
The justice, diagnosed with thyroid cancer, had a tracheotomy and received chemotherapy and radiation as part of his treatment.
Read entire article here.
Lone Watie: I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender. They have him pulling a wagon up in Kansas I bet.
Maybe we should call her "Rocking Little Horse" instead?
That's right, not excuses, explanations:
Nobody in their right mind is going to take loads of gasoline and fuel oil into a city controlled by unfriendly folks carrying automatic weapons. A tank truck loaded with 8,000 gallons of gasoline can produce a very impressive fire...
It took about a week before the "national tragedy/disgrace/incompetence" headlines started to appear, but they're definitely out there now. To which I can only say... "Hello sparky?!? WTF part of 'category 4 hurricane', 'city built in a bowl', and 'interstates floating out to sea' doesn't your retarded mind understand?"
Upset over Andrew I could understand. Those folks were next to a huge airbase, located on tabletop land accessible from both directions by sea. Not to discount the suffering people in Katrina's path are experiencing, but those who have decided to score political points manipulating credulous cabbage-head reporters desperately need a reality check.
A decade ago the blogosphere didn't exist. Maybe now we'll be the ones providing that counterweight.
Why yes, in fact, we do still have two functioning rovers on Mars, still producing science, thank-you-very-much:
The US space agency's robotic rover Spirit has sent back a partial panoramic view from the summit of "Husband Hill" at Gusev Crater on Mars.
Spirit was still sending down data that makes up the colour 360-degree picture when Nasa held a news conference.
As with Apollo, there's more than a little humor to be found in the fact that, when we could send anything at all to another planet, the most successful thing we explore with there is...
Joshua gets a slowly manifesting no-prize for bringing us this nifty "how it's done" bit of virtual painting.
Special no-prizes will go out to the first who identify the stuff missing on this otherwise extremely snazzy bike.
Viewed from any position the idea that a very small number of troops could in anyway have had an impact on the aftermath of Katrina is laughable. It is doubly laughable because it ignores the 10,000+ out of state National Guardsmen who began arriving in Louisiana on Wednesday and the thousands of out-of-state police officers who have also been loaned to Louisiana, a team from Loudoun County, Virginia is departing as I write this.
Read the whole thing, then come back and tell me I'm wrong.
Pat gets a helpful no prize for bringing us news that our neighbors up north are doing what they can to get us through this energy crunch.
Meanwhile, Instapundit linked up news of yet another nail in "peak oil's" coffin:
The United States has an oil reserve at least three times that of Saudi Arabia locked in oil-shale deposits beneath federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, according to a study released yesterday.
The trick, of course, is that it's expensive to get at. However, with prices this high it's apparently quite possible to make a profit on the stuff. Doing so while pleasing the enviro-weenies is another matter.
What do you get when you give a clever sea mammal nothing much to do for most of the day? A seagull's worst nightmare:
An enterprising young killer whale at Marineland has figured out how to use fish as bait to catch seagulls — and shared his strategy with his fellow whales.
First, the young whale spit regurgitated fish onto the surface of the water, then sank below the water and waited.
If a hungry gull landed on the water, the whale would surge up to the surface, sometimes catching a free meal of his own.
Probably tastes like chicken.
As noted in the comments (and over at Lair's site IFOC), animals in the path of the hurricane also need your help. The Humane Society has a special disaster relief fund to help support their "Disaster Animal Response Teams".
So don't just sit there, donate something!
While these offers are certainly commendable, there does seem to be an unexamined problem here. New Orleans has been without power since the storm, internet access is almost certainly problematic at shelters, and relief workers probably don't have time to check on their own. Perhaps a donation or two would be more in order? Some sort of relief organization dedicated to this sort of thing?
Ok, I'm a meanie. You haven't figured that out by now?
A parasitic worm that makes the grasshopper it invades jump into water and commit suicide does so by chemically influencing its brain, a study of the insects’ proteins reveal.
The parasitic Nematomorph hairworm (Spinochordodes tellinii) develops inside land-dwelling grasshoppers and crickets until the time comes for the worm to transform into an aquatic adult. Somehow mature hairworms brainwash their hosts into behaving in way they never usually would – causing them to seek out and plunge into water.
Includes creepy "worm pulling out of bug" picture. *shudder*
It might be a hobby, but Steve Lee really knows how to spot a diamond in the rough. Lee's most recent find — a 1.22 carat, gem-quality diamond — turned up during a recent visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro.
We visited the place last year just before Olivia started walking. It had rained hard that morning but the sun came out to treat us with 90+ degree heat and 80%+ humidity. The "mine" is actually a shallow sandy pit, say about 200 yards to a side, that gets plowed several times a day. If you ever decide to go (or if Ellen ever wants to return), bring some sort of mud-boot gear, and don't wear anything you want to keep. That mud was some sticky stuff!
Slashdot linked up news of mice that can regenerate just about any damaged tissue:
"We have experimented with amputating or damaging several different organs, such as the heart, toes, tail and ears, and just watched them regrow," [research leader, Ellen Heber-Katz, professor of immunology at the Wistar Institute] said.
"It is quite remarkable. The only organ that did not grow back was the brain. "
Sucks to be that mouse, but remarkable for just about everyone else. The gene combinations that create this effect are "almost certain" to exist in humans. Of course, finding them and then activating them without creating horror-movie side effects are different things. But you have to start somewhere.
Citing credible evidence of price gouging, Governor Sonny Perdue Wednesday afternoon signed an executive order authorizing state sanctions against gas retailers who gouge consumers.
Perdue said he does not believe there is an energy emergency and that the state will not tolerate citizens being fooled by exorbitant gas prices.
"Does not believe", in spite of widespread credible reports of, you know, a giant hurricane ripping through a central refinery location. So now instead of people who really must have fuel to function, folks who drive ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, public-transport busses, and the like being able to get gas while those who don't require it do without for awhile, we get hoarders and shortages.
The press are already reporting huge lines at gas stations in that area, all the while never making the connection that, due to the artificially lowered price and a market panic, everyone in the metro Atlanta area has decided to fill up every single car, motorcycle, lawnmower, and gas-guzzling SUV they own along with every can, jar, and bucket they stuff inside them with gasoline. Regular supplies couldn't keep up with such a sudden spike in demand, let alone those strained by destruction and panic, so shortages are inevitable. In cases like this price spikes are the only way to bring sense to the masses in a way that still ensures a supply is there for those who really need it.
Some price spikes does not equate to an entire city's worth of gas stations setting their prices that high all at once. In a competitive market, if the price is too high at one station you go to one with a lower price. If there really isn't a drop in supplies, if the guy down the street really is just profiteering, then your cheap station won't run out. If it does, you go find the next-less-expensive station, and then the next, and then the next, until it's just too expensive and you walk, buy a bike, take a bus, carpool with the guy who owns a hybrid, or just stay at home and fix dinner instead of going out tonight. What happens then? Why, due to high prices reducing demand, supplies catch up, prices go down, and everything goes back to normal. This is how it's supposed to work. This is the only way it ever works.
But since nobody in America really likes walking or biking or riding a bus or carpooling, they find the nearest reporter and start raising hell about how they "must drive" and "can't survive" and "won't get paid" if they can't fill up their car. Reporters, being the "critical thinking is hard" types they are, will then dutifully report this to the politicians, who, being the "like my job" sorts they are, will obligingly jigger up some laws that hold the price down. Which causes hoarding. Which creates shortages. And around the wheel goes again.
Well, that is unless you're an ambulance driver, or a cop, or a bus getting ready to carry a hundred people who can't pay what gas already costs. Instead of doing their job they'll be sitting in a line with the rest of the grumbling masses, waiting on the next gas shipment to arrive.
"Hell with you! Do you have any idea how fat the profits everyone is making on this are? The oil companies are swimming in cash!"
Do you think they're sticking that money under a matress somewhere? Digging a hole in their back yard and burying it? Hiding it under rocks? Listen up sparky. Yes they're making huge profits, and then they're taking those huge profits and dumping them in banks. Our banks. Money follows supply-and-demand curves just like gasoline, and when there's lots of it the cost of lending it out to other people, people who need it to do things that make even more money, goes way down. They in turn can build more things cheaper, or build fewer things with more risk, creating jobs and opportunities and even more cash, which goes right back into the banks, who then lend it out again. And around that wheel goes.
Let's put it another way. Do you think the ability to get a great mortgage or a near-zero interest car loan or a zero interest credit card is an accident?
I used to think this sort of thing was how I'd quickly collect on Ellen's life insurance (via panic-induced heart attack):
A 12-year-old boy awoke to an unpleasant surprise this week when a python bit him in his bed. Michael Rodriguez discovered the 4-foot snake clinging to his right arm early Monday morning. He flailed his arm, flinging the snake to the carpet.
Now I know it'd be all I could do to keep her from adopting it. Thing is, these people don't even own a snake!