Monthly Archives: May 2005

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day today, and after five days of laying on my couch, my ankle is finally starting to feel better. At least my toes don’t feel like they’re going to pop off my foot anymore. While I continue to lay about, here’s a few more interesting links.

  • Astronaut Wants Asteroid Mission – Russell Schweickart, former NASA Apollo astronaut, is pushing for a space mission to plant a homing beacon on an errant asteroid. The 1,050 foot asteroid, 2004 MN4, was discovered in late December 2004, and the news that it will pass closer than any other asteroid to earth was quickly swamped by the Asian tsunami disaster. But it is still out there, slowly drawing a bead on our blue green world. The asteroid will skirt the earth by just 23,000 miles in 2029, less than a fourth of the distance to the moon. But Schweickart’s concern is that this close encounter will perturb the orbit of this behemoth, and possibly send the odds of a future impact in 2035 or 2036 soaring. And by then it would be too late. The impact of an asteroid that size would send enormous tsunami rushing around the earth, and release more energy than a dozen Krakatoas. Hence his proposal to plant a transponder on the rock so that further refinements can be made to it’s mass and orbit.
  • Bubble Power – I’ve mentioned it before, but here’s the real deal, straight from the horse’s mouth. The use of sound waves to induce nuclear fusion just might be a viable method of producing energy. The scientists responsible for this ‘sono-fusion’ research explain their work in a fascinating article.

Indy 500

I am certainly not much of an auto racing fan, but I was pleased to here that Newman/Haas Racing got Bruno Junqueira and his Pacificare care, into the Indy 500. Bruno’s quite the hot shot in the rival Champ Car series, winning a number of titles for our company in that car. And last year he finished in fifth place at Indy, so I had high hopes for this year. Alas, it was not to be as Danny Wheldon won the Indy 500. And Bruno?

Bruno Junqueira, who finished fifth in the rain-shortened race in 2004, ran among the leaders and was sixth when he tried to pass A.J. Foyt IV and wound up in the wall. The Brazilian driver, one of only two drivers from the rival Champ Car series in the Indy field, was taken to Methodist Hospital complaining of back pain.

Some are not so politic in meting out blame. Foyt IV has admitted responsibility for clipping Junqueira, and that site called Foyt a ‘rolling roadblock’ in the race. Junqueira was in fifth when the accident happened while Foyt was five laps behind the leaders at the time. Sound like AJ Foyt IV is a weak reproduction of his grandfather.

Oh wait, MSNBC reports that Junqueira broke two bones in his back and is to undergo surgery tomorrow. Guess that means he won’t be finishing his winning season in the Champ Car series for Newman/Haas.

Mars, Bringer of War

Our planet is rapidly Approaching Mars, which means the red planet is getting bigger and brighter in the night sky. Closest approach comes in October, when the two planets will only be 69 million kilometers apart.

This conjunction is the best time to launch spacecraft to Mars, and NASA will launch another orbiter in August. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will bring the most powerful camera yet into orbit around the red planet, along with subsurface scanning radar to seek out water deposits beneath the parched surface of the planet.

Homo Fimbresosis

Shopping Cart
This image released by the British Museum on Thursday May 19, 2005 shows a hoax cave painting of a primitive man pushing a supermarket trolley which was on display in the British Museum in London. The work was planted by an anonymous ‘art terrorist’ called Banksy and museum staff were alerted Wednesday May 18, 2005, after he put a message on his website, saying that the 10in by 6in rock, ‘had remained in the collection for quite some time’. This is not the first time Banksy has stuck fake objects to gallery walls and waited to see how long it takes before curators notice. (AP Photo/British Museum/HO)

Speaking Of Which

I forgot to mention, due to the diligence of a faithful reader, I acquired a copy of that HBO documentary on Air America and finally saw Evan Montvel Cohen on my television with that boom mike strapped to his head. Not much more to comment on about that particular fellow and his pecadilloes. Nothing new there boys and girls, he just managed to snooker a whole new class of schmucks with a lot more money.

The Latest Furor Caused By An Idiot

I’ve tried to ignore this, but today’s front page PDN story forced my hand. People on Guam are hopping mad about this cockfighting article written by a stupid haolie at ESPN. Madeliene Bordallo is upset, Rick Nauta wrote an email, Mike Cassidy is angry. Never mind that Ray Gibson’s been hawking this story all week on K-57. Anyway, this freelance writer apparently came out to visit his sister and her husband in the Navy, and they went to a cockfight in Santa Rita. He promptly starts parroting the moronic misconceptions of the bubbleheads that never get off the base. Two recurring memes that come from this pool of idiots: People in remote villages on Guam will offer you their daughters for ‘devirginization’; and there’s only two kinds of people on Guam, the inbred idiots that were born here, and the poor suffering sailors stationed here by Uncle Sam. This article manages to reference both of these perfectly cromulent tropes. Perhaps the story was meant to be humorous, I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t endear this foolish man to the people of Guam, and I don’t think it will help ease relations between military personnel and locals.

No wonder Jesse Lujan can get away with his diatribes against ‘Statesiders,’ and finds them such a convenient political straw man. Idiots like Mike Ogle do nothing but provide cannon fodder for these attacks. Thanks dude. Y’all come back now, here?

Japanese Stragglers Found In Jungle

Holy Shades of Yokoi Batman: Two Japanese soldiers were found on the Philippine island of Mindanao, stragglers from World War II. Apparently the men, both in their 80’s, are not living in some sort of bubble. They live with Muslim separatists and probably decided to desert and stay in the jungle near General Santos for their own reasons, not some misguided patriotism. Apparently they married local women and have families.

Still More Links Of Interest

I stayed home again today. The ankle is still bothering me, and another day of resting seemed like a good idea. Here’s a few links of interest for those curious enough to follow through:

Still Gimpy

I guess I should have stayed off my ankle longer. After two days of walking around at work, my ankle expressed vehement objections to all this mobility. I could barely walk last night, and by this morning by bad knee (the one I had ‘scoped back in 1990) was also pretty upset with me for all that funny walking and limping around. So I stayed home again today, and enjoyed a wonderful day with my left leg ensconced in bags of frozen peas.

I’ll give work another go tomorrow, but I definitely won’t be camping this weekend as I originally planned. Hiking down to Sella Bay is not an option; Hell, walking to the bathroom is a major production right now.

All The Seats Were Occupied

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seven Trumpets,
The sound of thunder.
Seven Trumpets,
The threatening anger.
Seven Trumpets,
The trembling voice.
Seven Trumpets,
You’ve got no choice.
Seven Trumpets,
The Seven Angels.
Seven Trumpets,
The music… changes!

Classic Lit

Via the ever amusing Bookslut, here’s an interesting article about the booming sales at Barnes & Noble for their line of simplified classics, using simpler words and sentence structures.

I love Ms. Crispin’s remarks about this booming trend: “Wouldn’t you love to have that job? ‘So, what do you do for a living?’ ‘I dumb down the world’s classic literature for the young and the stupid.'”

I am all for making the classics available, but at what point does all this tinkering manifestly change The Adventures of Tom Sawyer into something else? I find this troubling. Our cultural history is already under siege from the rapacious vacuity of television, must literature be watered down as well?

Road Construction Update

Well it’s been a couple years, and I thought I should mention that the Yoña Route 4 road project is still unfinished. No worries, say DPW. It will be done soon, the contractor is a little behind schedule. Apparently that is beaurocratese for the contractor is non-existent on the work site for several months now, because that’s what the real deal is.

Personally I could care less. The road is finished to my house and that’s all I care about. But 300 feet down the road it becomes a mish mash of cones and sawhorses, with no lanes marked or topcoat asphalt laid down. It’s like that all the way down the hill to Ylig Bridge, but since I don’t drive that way, I don’t care.

Convalescence

I sprained my ankle last night, and it is quite painful today. I’m sitting here with a pack of frozen peas wrapped around the ankle, hoping the swelling will subside. I took the day off of work to convalesce, guess I’ll keep it elevated and iced today.

Let me clear off a few interesting links that should keep folks occupied while I am laid up:

  • Free Pascal – hey, this was the first programming language I learned – I mean other than BASIC. Worth a look-see.
  • Planetwalker – I heard this guy’s story on NPR about a month ago. John Francis gave up riding in vehicles in 1972, and spent the next 22 years walking or riding his bike everywhere, even to South America. When he got tired of explaining and arguing about his mode of transport to people, he then abandoned speech in protest of the petroleum economy. For 17 years he communicated through sign language and his banjo, only breaking his silence on Earth Day in 1990. The very next day he was struck by a car.
  • WebElements – Here’s a pretty cool website – an online periodic table of the elements.
  • Archimedes Palimpsest Imaged – Remember that cool NOVA special about the Archimedes Palimpsest? That was the Byzantine prayer book that revealed a hidden lost text by Archimedes, overwritten and forgotten centuries ago. The last few remaining pages of the palimpsest were imaged at Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) using synchrotron light to excite the iron gall ink and cause it to fluoresce. Using this technique scientists were able to image several pages of the palimpsest that were completely painted over with a 20th century forgery.
  • Atlas of the Human Journey – This is another cool site I could get lost in for several hours. National Geographic developed this interactive site to trace the human diaspora from ancient Africa throughout the world, tracking the distribution of mitochondrial DNA in populations around the planet.
  • Teacher Marries Student – Remember the queer tale of Mary Kay Letourneau, the sixth grade school teacher that went to prison for having an affair with her 12 year old student? She bore him a daughter, went to prison for rape and child molestation, and the day after her suspended release was caught doing the nasty with him in a car? Then she went back to prison to serve out her full term and bore him another child? Well Letourneau and her former student, Vili Fualaau, were married this weekend in a secret ceremony outside Seattle. Seems appropriate that the couple gave exclusive rights to film the wedding to Entertainment Tonight. This stuff is supermarket tabloid gold.

Modern Love

You can say that again. Not really surprised at that result at all.


You scored as Modernist. Modernism represents the thought that science and reason are all we need to carry on. Religion is unnecessary and any sort of spirituality halts progress. You believe everything has a rational explanation. 50% of Americans share your world-view.

Modernist

88%

Materialist

88%

Existentialist

81%

Postmodernist

63%

Cultural Creative

50%

Idealist

31%

Romanticist

19%

Fundamentalist

19%

What is Your World View? (corrected…again)
created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday Cookin’

Spent most of the morning cooking today. I’m no great chef extraordinary, but I manage to keep myself fed. This morning I decided to whip up a batch of faux Durkee’s Famous Sauce for sandwiches and whatnot. It’s damn good and surprisingly easy to make.

While I was at it, I busted out the slow cooker and tossed together a little spicy peanut chicken recipe that was in a slow cooker cookbook laying around the house. I’ve never made it before, so I’ll let you know how it turns out in about eight hours.

A Time For War

December 7th, 1941 to August 14th, 1945. 1,346 days. Pearl Harbor to VJ Day. The length of time it took our country to defeat not only Hitler but Japan in WWII.

1,346 days. The biggest, most destructive war ever fought. The forces of fascism and militarism were defeated.

One thousand, three hundred forty six days. This past Thursday marked 1,346 days since September 11th, 2001. What sort of progress has been made in the War on Terror™ in the 1,346 days since our 21st century Pearl Harbor?

Have we captured Osama bin Laden and the other ringleaders of al Qaeda? No, our fearless leader isn’t even interested in him anymore.

Have we captured Mullah Omar and his Taliban cronies? Apparently not, Afghanistan is a disaster area, slipping back into anarchy and Taliban fundamentalism.

The War on Terror’s™ stand-in for Hitler is Saddam Hussein, a pathetic tin plated tyrant who just turned up in his BVD’s all over my television. And believe me, there’s no weapons of mass destruction there.

1,346 days into this forever war of Oceania against Eurasia and no end in sight. It took us 1,346 days to wipe Hitler and Tojo off the map, but we will never defeat terrorism with a conventional war. It cannot be won with bombs and troop deployments; it needs to be won by changing our duplicitous foreign policy and actually promoting peace and human rights throughout the world. But then this War on Terror™ isn’t about victory; it’s about keeping the wool pulled over people’s eyes while Halliburton and the maxi-mega-global corporations loot both the American coffer and the Iraqi resources.

Now that’s a cause worth dying for.

Novel view of Martian spacecraft

Mars Odyssey As Seen From Mars Global SurveyorFrom the BBC comes this cool little picture. Novel view of Martian spacecraft – The Mars Global Surveyor successfully imaged the Mars Odyssey probe in Martian orbit. It is the first picture of a spacecraft orbiting an alien world, taken by another craft circling the same planet.

The two orbiting satellites occasionally come within 15 kilometers of each other, despite having different orbits around the red planet.

The Mars Global Surveyor also imaged the ESA’s Mars Express satellite in orbit around Mars too.

Okay, This Is Pretty Damn Funny Too

From a Washington Post article on An Exotic Evolution:

Flyger devoted himself to studying squirrels because, as he explains it, they weigh less than a deer and don’t bite like a polar bear. He used to smear a tree behind his Silver Spring home with a mixture of peanut butter and Valium and then tattoo the squirrels that he found passed out below.

That Crazy Sophomoric Guy

Here’s a tasty nugget from Jimbo, one of the funniest things I’ve read all week.
Salaried Sophomoric: Don’t Bogart Our Lord

I received in my email a lineup of supposed Darwin awardees. I think it may have been a cheap spinoff because few of the stories ended up with someone actually being dead. Looking past that, I thought this story was pretty damned impressive:

After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

This story is good on so many levels. 1.) A bus driver needs to stop for a drink. 2.) Said bus driver is still on duty. 3.) Instead of picking up some driving booze, bus driver opts to stop in for a quick one at a bar. 4.) But bar is not just any bar, it is an illegal bar. 5.) Bus is full of loonies. 6.) Bus driver forgets that loonies look to exploit any opening and will escape at will. 7.) Bus driver thinks on his feet without regard for the inconvenience of others. 8.) No mention of loonies rounded up and returned to their confinement.