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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


From underpaidgenius (with my emphasis and my links—mouseover for commentary):

The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare … but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people.”

Maureen Johnson Books » Blog Archive » MANIFESTO (

via steph

Wait, DON’T shove yourself into a brand?  Actually, that goes completely against human psychology—I spent most of my life pledging allegiance to brands—Coca-Cola, Star Trek, Chef Boyardee.  I know they’re full of shit, but it’s instinctual to become loyal to brands.  It has to do with relying on patterns that simplify our lives and provide security.  Sure, I don’t like Starbucks, but I know what I’ll get when I go in there.  Just doing what ever you feel like doing as an artist may sound good, but ultimately won’t help your stuff get seen since people won’t know what the hell to make of somebody who seems to be saying and doing something different every day.

This whole attitude essentially encourages us to be a scatterbrained mess.


I mean, all this hippie shit is great, but what about feeding myself?  I can’t eat the warm fuzzy feeling I get from creating something or consuming something someone else has created.  Selling yourself is what keeps you alive and, in a country like ours with very little original production going on here, selling our intellectual property is what keeps our economy going.

Jesus, we’re screwed.

In the end, can’t we just agree to not take wicked advantage over each other?  It’s not charging for our content that’s bad it’s charging too much.  My goal is not to get rich. My goal is to tell stories that change the world—but I can’t do that if I’m starving to death.

A big machine for making tunnels....

A big machine for making tunnels.  It looks CGed to me. I think I’ve watched to many movies when real looks fake to me.

Wired: Going Deep With NYC’s Second Avenue Subway Project

I just can’t quite get my head around the idea that this is a real photo…

Proof David Tennant speaks American

Proof David Tennant speaks American—all right—he *knows* American. ;)

Found via glasgow-effect:
Tennant’s American Accent Atrocity Angers (tv) Accountants
“David Tennant fans have had their first glimpse of his scrapped US TV show - and they weren’t impressed by his American accent. The Doctor Who star hoped to make it big in the States with Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, a comedy about an attorney too scared to appear in court. David gave up the chance to film a movie about Edinburgh bodysnatchers Burke and Hare to take his chances across the Atlantic.”

Daily Record, 31 Aug 2010

Huh… that bodysnathers movie sounds much more interesting than another TV lawyer show.  Hell, “The Deep” sounds more interesting than another TV lawyer show.

Spoken word video from post 911, but the message resonates before and after. Take six minutes and watch/listen.publicradiointernational:peoplenevernoticeanything:We, as a nation, have the same recycled arguments decade after decade. They evolve, they find new scapegoats; but when somebody has the eloquence and strength to articulately shatter worn out rhetoric, nobody ever seems to listen. This was in response to 9/11, but the same beautiful reposte is maybe even more coherent today with almost 10 years of experience for it to sink into. Especially when you read about a certain religious center in a certain neighborhood of a certain city.“There is no poetry in this”Just listen.Wow. I don’t know when this is from, but it’s good.First thing I did was listen to it again.Best lines:“I have read too many books to believe what I have been told.”“You’re either with life or against it.”Yeah, that last one is powerful and downright challenging since so much of what we do in the First World exploits people in the Third. Sadly Hammad’s piece comes from a place of ignorance of her own effect on the world but a place of love, nonetheless. Hopefully, since she wrote that piece, she’s kept on reading books and has learned more.

14 “Early Warning Signs of FASCISM” in an easy to read list!

Found via friendlyatheist:





(via -tabularasa)

Sounds familiar….

But I LIKE rampant sexism! ;)

Ironically, the US birthrate is down.

Also, I’d add “shitty economy” to that list, too. If we’re all broke at the grass-roots level, we can’t mobilize to do much to fight fascism. We’re kinda paralyzed down here. :

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Onion Calls Out our Imaginary Economy (I wonder how often this'll get RT'd)

Screengrab source.

I guess it’s fine that our economy is entirely a symbolic, mutually shared illusion, so long as we can laugh at it. ;P

…but seriously, I doubt we’ll see this Onion story reblogged and retweeted all over the tuberwebs.

SEE THAT, Anti-Mosque-at-Ground-Zero Protesters? You’re HELPING THE TERRORISTS! (seriously)!


“By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor… It’s providing us with more recruits, donations, and popular support.”

Taliban operative Zabihullah, on how the mosque controversy is benefiting the Taliban

If we respect people’s freedom (even their freedom to be insensitive to people’s feelings about 911) the terrorists DON’T win. Why do you anti-mosque-types not get this? Maybe you just WANT to hate? That could be…

(Blogged this on my lifestream by accident so here it is where it belongs on

The Glasgow Effect: Warning! Topspot-Promotions Scam!

The Glasgow Effect: Warning! Topspot-Promotions Scam!

Warning to all bloggers… Today I received this email:

… …

This is a scam! Topspot-Promotions give no phone number and only a skeleton website. Do not fall for this scam… You will not be paid for any work you do. Worse, you risk having malware links on your blog/site.

Do not reply to mail…

A scam???  ON THE INTERNET??


Actually, this is good to know.  Not that I would ever hire anyone else to do website design or promo work.  It’s far too much “fun.” parody viral video that reminds us why we’ll miss what little journalism we had.Found via jesseellison:newsweek:For some reason, this has been sent around the office all day todayNewZweek is gonna be so much better.I can’t believe I missed this when it was first going around… must’ve been when I was shooting that wacky web video instead of writing my novel. ;(Incidentally, if “context” was all that the MSM is supposed to give us, I’m really not going to miss it all that much. :

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Politics, Religion, Glenn Beck and the Art of Not Telling the Truth (they're all connected)

So, I generally try to stay away from even mentioning Glenn “I’m a Loser Baby” Beck, but thanks to his exceptionally disrespectful event today, there really is no point in not helping him with free publicity.  Along those lines, here’s a reblog from friendlyatheist:

Beck talks faith in rally coinciding with anniversary of King’s speech

In a speech Friday night, Beck said he feels like “God dropped a giant sandbag on my head. My role is to wake America up onto the backsliding of principles and values most importantly of God. We are a country of God.”

Usually, I don’t get to political in this blog. But the fact of the matter is that conservatism and theocracy go hand in hand. There is no doubt about it. The historical revisionism, the lies, the propaganda, and the exclusion from public and political life of those who do not share their religious delusions cannot go unchallenged. If there is a time to be outspoken in favor of reality, truth and fact it is now. It is most needed here.

Come out as atheists, donate to secular and skeptical organizations, go cast your vote against the theocrats. Do something. It is your own liberty to live and think freely that are at stake here.

In reason, and in hope…

But, FA, you’re political whether you want to be or not. Religion is a political issue whether you practice one or not.  Don’t forget one of the predominant reasons for people to come to America in the first place: to be free of oppression.  One type of oppression is religious.  Religious freedom is supposed to be guaranteed in the Constitution—it’s every politician’s job to protect your right to worship as you please (which, for many of us is: not at all).  So, in speaking out in favor of Atheism, you’re asserting your politics.  It’s OK, though.  Politics (the way they should be practiced) are good.  Alas, most folks think of politics as “the art of spinning the truth to get what you want from people” (silly politicians, that’s advertising).  What’s sad is that Beck’s followers are simply not cynical enough.

We atheists are already this cynical, because most of us have left a faith after realizing it was all made up.  Believers are just that: Believers. They’ll believe anything you tell them, assuming you also include some stuff they already believe, like Beck does.

I would mind it much less if what Beck was saying was, at least, historically accurate, but he spouts off his own version of history all the time.  People are being miseducated by Beck and that harms America, as a whole. 

Honestly, I had hoped Beck would come out today and re-enact the climax from the  “The Wave” and point out that they were doing just what so many Germans did in WWII.  Blindly follow one man’s leadership just because it felt good—so good they didn’t bother questioning him. 

But alas, that lesson is still left unlearned by his minions. 

So no one should worry about “being political”.  These days expressing your opinions on anything outside of popculture is being political because so many politicians seem to be interested in hacking away at our ability to think what we want while so many other politicians seem oblivious to our right to do just that—think freely.

There is no such thing as wrongthinking and America is not a country of God, it is a country of citizens with rights.

Friday, August 27, 2010

If you're not an expert STFU. Apparently.

Got this from contrararian, who, normally, I agree with, but militant orthodoxy of any kind is dangerous, IMHO:

Would You Like Fries With That Theory? | The BioLogos Forum

“Anti-Darwinists love to ridicule the concept of “scientific orthodoxy,” suggesting that it represents the unsupported collective opinion of many scientists who are basically just “voting” on things. Going against it is considered to be evidence of independent thinking and even courage.

< snip>

To confront scientific data “on our own” would imply that we have scientific training and experience in whatever area we are looking at. If you say you can interpret fossil data on your own, for example— as biochemist Duane Gish and legal scholar Phillip Johnson tried to do—I would like to give you a brief quiz on fossils: Where might you find a fossil if I asked you to go fetch one? How much of a fossil skeleton is typically present? How do you figure out the age of a fossil? What exactly is a fossil? What parts of a skeleton are most likely to be missing or incompletely fossilized? How do you decide if bones found together are from the same organism?

If you cannot answer simple questions like these then you cannot confront fossil data “on your own.” And fossils are the simplest part of the evolutionary picture. Interpreting genomic data, with its complex biochemical, statistical, and historical underpinnings is not remotely possible without the relevant expertise.”

But what if I can answer those questions but haven’t had any actual training?  What if I’m not, a moron and read books and learn things?

Because I don’t have a degree and “scientific colleagues” or “peer reviewed papers,” my opinion should be ignored?

Trusting financial “experts” hasn’t seemed to help our economy at all—in fact—it’s what got us here.

How is trusting science (or any other single discipline) completely any different from trusting the high priests of an ancient religion?  In their day, they were the experts.

I’m not saying we should trust everything any moron without a degree says, but either side of the above argument is in the wrong.  You can’t summarily dismiss the opinion or judgment of a religious zealot or a scientific one.

It’s all about the provable facts and short of those, it becomes about the most logical explanation (if there is one). Isaac Newton was definitely not an atheist (in fact, he was kind of a nutbag for God) but do we blow him off just because he thought he was chosen by God to decipher the true meaning of scripture?

To suggest all issues boil down to “it’s a science thing, you wouldn’t understand.” is just as bad as saying “because God works in mysterious ways.”

I think Pons and Fleischman would have been big fans of this attitude.


Thankfully, other scientists questioned them—but if they hadn’t, would it have been OK for someone else to?

"Without scientific progress the national health would deteriorate;" Interesting words from a man you've probably never heard of.

Found this while looking for information (ANY INFORMATION) on Ponds and Fleischman*:

Without scientific progress the national health would deteriorate; without scientific progress we could not hope for improvement in our standard of living or for an increased number of jobs for our citizens; and without scientific progress we could not have maintained our liberties against tyranny.

— Vannevar Bush, presidential science adviser in Science: The Endless Frontier, 1945


I’m sure I could write something huge about how unbridled capitalism/free marketeering actually stymies the progress Vannevar Bush said is so necessary—what with Apple, lauded as a hub of innovation, consistently hobbling their mobile products, seemingly as part of a plan to give us something else to buy next year.

Yeah, I could write something huge. ;)

Of course, Vannevar Bush was one of the minds behind the Manhattan Project and he also envisioned one of the earliest versions of the Internet.

And no, he’s not related to George W, George HW, or Prescott Bush—I looked hard for a connection, I really did but ironically only discovered a family connection of my own to one of his best friends.  Yep, a distant cousin of mine was involved in the bomb. :(  I would have so given him crap at the next family reunion… you know, if he was alive and if I went to family reunions.

*UPDATE: yeah, I figured out that the reason I couldn’t find anything on “Ponds and Fleischman” was because it’s actually “Pons and Fleischman” but when I Googled the first phrase, Google didn’t ask me if I meant “Pons and Fleishman”.  GOOGLEFAIL!

I ended up digging through old Time Magazine cover stories to find an article I remember reading back in 1989 to find out how B. Stanley Pons spelled his name.

911 Conspiracy Theorists: Don't believe the hype (on either side)


Truthers,” left-wing conspiracy theorists who believe (among other things) that 9/11 was an inside job, that no plane hit the Pentagon, that Ted Olson did not receive a call from his wife, Barbara, shortly before she perished in the crash of Flight 77, that the anthrax scare was also a government hoax (although the anthrax was real and deadly), and that hurricane Katrina was the result of weather manipulation by racists or profiteers or both.

This makes for some truly chilling reading: otherwise average-seeming Americans who sincerely (?) believe that 9/11 was created by the US government to control us. Yikes.

Nah, what’s scary is how much of what they believe is reasonable.

It’s easy to point at a bunch of people and yell “FREAKS! YOU BELIEVE WEIRD STUFF!” but much harder to consider what they say and admit that some of it seems reasonable.  I’m not saying all of it or even most of it is reasonable.  There’s evidence for almost none of it and what evidence there is is not proof. 

The thing is, trusting the government story, or anyone’s story is tantamount to letting down your guard. We need to keep questioning and keep challenging.  Writing these guys off like they believe aliens are controlling our minds is wrong and it does the truth a disservice.  The government, on the other hand, lies all the time and has done so to get us into war, too.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Remember the Maine” (OK, so we don’t know for sure the USG lied, but then we don’t know for sure that Spain sank the Maine, either.)

Pearl Harbor was a surprise (ok so there’s still some debate about this, but really?)

Hell, George W. Bush’s granddad (who went on to be a US senator) was a banker for a guy who financially supported the Nazis.

Do I believe 911 was an inside job?  I’m an atheist in most things.  I’m not sure what I believe, but I know what’s possible.  So, no, I don’t believe 911 was an inside job, nor do I know if it was.  All I do is look at the evidence and, of all of it, my biggest problem with 911 is Payne Stewart.  Yes, the late golfer.  Google “Payne Stewart crash” and read about the circumstances surrounding his death (or just check out the NTSB’s report here).  14 minutes after air-traffic controllers lost contact with his plane  F-16s were flying along side it.  From a WaPo article reporting on the October 25, 1999 crash:

The military aircraft were not armed with air-to-air missiles, and Pentagon officials said they never considered shooting down the Learjet.

“The [Federal Aviation Administration] said this thing was headed to a sparsely populated part of the country, so let it go,” a senior defense official said.

Contrast this with fighter aircraft taking more than twice that amount of time to reach any of the planes less than two years later on September 11, 2001.

The areas of Washington DC and New York City are minutes from Air Force bases. Yet three hijacked planes were allowed to crash—two of them into populated areas.

This is what I’d like to see investigated.  So far, I’ve not heard an explanation for this inability of the military to do its job.  

I’ve got other problems with what is the official explanation for 911, but that’s the biggest.  Because if the plane that crashed into the WTC had been shot down, more than two thousand people wouldn’t have died that day and, more importantly, as a result, it would have been much harder to justify invading two countries with only a few hundred dead.

So, don’t assume everyone who questions the official story, or even the apparent facts, of 911 is a wing-nut who listens to Alex Jones.  I don’t.  I just look at what I’m told are the facts and ask questions. Which, you know, is what we should all be doing more often.

I could go on and on about “conspiracies.” In fact, I already did in the 666cast a couple weeks back.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

HA! As if SCIENTISTS never made a mistake before!!

From sierrarein:

Phew! RT @AMNH: Neil deGrasse Tyson assures us there will be no apocalypse in 2012 @neiltyson

Satoshi Kon art. (RIP)

Satoshi Kon art. > sniff <

From error888:
????????? | ????

Joker and Lex

I’ve seen one Calvin & Hobbes parody that was better. But this one’s pretty awesome.

Found via piratekitten:

(I do wish the original artist did the lettering a bit better—my eyes were crossing trying to read such narrow letters.)

Glenn Beck rewrites civil rights history (and regular history, too--but it's his effect that is the most scary)

Does this freak anyone else out as much as it does me?

They see studying U.S. history as a powerful reconnection with their youth. Waiting for Beck’s “American Revival” show in Orlando, Florida, in March, 70-year-old fan Joseph Cerniglia told me he was way too busy for civics lessons when he was raising kids and working as a stockbroker and then cider-maker. “I have learned more from Glenn Beck — learned more about American history and government, from Glenn Beck — than in the previous 40 years of my life,” the retiree told me.


That last bit is NOTHING TO BRAG ABOUT, SIR.   Don’t get your information from a single person: ESPECIALLY GLENN BACK. The moron doesn’t know how to spell “oligarchy” for crying out loud!!

The “they” mentioned in the above quote from the Will Bunch opinion piece at refers to followers of Glenn Beck—mostly retired, mostly with loads of time on their hands to “re-learn history”. Of course, as Bunch points out, they’re getting it entirely wrong.

And that’s what is more scary than everyone listening to this wind-bag (and the very first EFFYOU recipient from my site See, they’re not only listening to his every word but learning from them, too—it’s amazing what you can do with the power of fear. And it’s the incorrect information that they are learning that is the scariest part of all of this.

When you’re inaccurate, the sky is the limit for how bad you can screw things up. And these fools think Beck is 100% trustworthy.

Let me tell you—history books aren’t 100% trustworthy.

I hope, at Beck’s little MLK rip-off event this weekend, Beck comes out of the closet and admits he’s just been playing everyone all this time.

I would breathe a sigh of relief if that happened…

And don’t forget, when Beck quotes Thomas Paine, he’s quoting a guy who thinks all religions are a crock.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Thomas Paine, (1737-1809), The Age of Reason

Good stuff…

Read more Thomas Paine quotes and see how much Beck ignores so that Paine can fit Beck’s narrative.

Screencaps: Trying out the new Netflix Instant Watch App for iPhone on my iPhone 3G (Verdict: it rocks!! Well, so far.)

When I saw the Endgadget post on the new Netflix App for iPhone this morning, I knew what had just been bumped to the top of my task list: upgrading my iPhone AGAIN.  You may recall that I recently downgraded from iOS4 back to 3.1.2.  Well, wouldn’t you know it? The new Netflix app isn’t compatible with 3.1.2.  THANKFULLY, it’ IS compatible with 3.1.3, so I don’t have to upgrade to iOS4 again and relive the nightmare hellscape of my iPhone 3G choking and crashing just because I like wallpapers and multitasking.  ANYWAY, the funny thing is that I had never heard there was a 3.1.3, but that didn’t stop me from Googling it and getting a copy of it and then DLing a copy of PwnageTool 3.1.5.  Needless to say, it’s all done and while I do have to reinstall all my fun Jailbroken apps (I love Activator!!) it’s all worth it to be able to use Netflix in the palm of my hand.  Here are some screencaps:

Obviously ya gotta turn it sideways:


Here’s a cap from a show I’ve been watching a bit of. It’s fun but not brilliant.


And here’s what the UI looks like while playing.  Controlling is smooth enough, and playback is pristinely smooth.  I’m VERY happy with the Netflix app!!

I’ve only noodled around a bit with it, so I have yet to have a chance to stumble across any bugs.  Still, this is truly a useful app and one I’ve been looking forward to ever since I started streaming Netflix.

Life with an iPhone without a data plan (GPS thinks I’m on the holodeck).Why does A

Life with an iPhone without a data plan (GPS thinks I’m on the holodeck).

Why does Apple have to be so lame? I would gladly sacrifice a couple gigs of space on my iPhone for all the maps of NYC stored locally.  Lame, Apple. Lame.

Luckily, I’ve Jailbroken, so I can download the Maps Enhancer which allows me to cache maps.  This is cool, but it still means I need to plan ahead and find the places I plan on visiting in gMaps before I visit them IRL. I always forget to do this. :

Want this on my wall. May have to just print it out and put it there…

Want this on my wall.  May have to just print it out and put it there…

(via wanglydang)

I need to rewatch that show one of these days…

RIP Satoshi Kon

I know I already posted a RIP for Kon-san on my lifestream, but it’s still too sad to not reblog…

I want to cry.. R.I.P Satoshi Kon!!!!

(via killjackie)

Yeah, so sad…

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Damn… so very behind on my J-media caps posts. :( I’ve been watching loads of anime,

Damn… so very behind on my J-media caps posts. :( I’ve been watching loads of anime, just haven’t had time to post the screengrabs. Will do soon!

Doctor Who produced by Disney? DO NOT WANT. Good news!

Doctor Who produced by Disney? DO NOT WANT. Good news! It’s fake! Relax kids, it’s not even just a show. ;)

This is why we can’t have nice things, America.

What is this fuckery?


WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOA. hold up. what the shit is this supposed to be?!


I don’t even watch Doctor Who and if this is true then WTF! it’s got that alice in wonderland font though so i call fake. but just think of what they WOULD DO! ugh…

no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no. no! this cannot be true. fuck this shit. if this is really true, omfg i’m boycotting hollywood for good.


i really DO NOT agree with this

Seriously, it’s fake, kids.  Time to chill and keep the childish homophobic insults to yourself.  Do thirty seconds of research and you’d find this io9 post explaining it all.

It’s not like it could be much worse than the Master doing a dance number. >_<

Besides, it would be “In Disney 3D” I think.  They own everything, right?

Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, speaks on why we don’t act against Global WarmingFrom fredericguarino:Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, speaks at Harvard Thinks Big 2010 on the psychological impulses that make it difficult for humans to confront the threat of global warming.This is a great talk (I wish they didn’t cut off the very end!) and it’s something I spoke a bit about in the most recent 666cast (and I’ve spoken about this a few times before that in the 666cast), but I think Gilbert got something a little wrong.He says that we humans look for humanity in other things—it’s why we “see faces in clouds but not clouds in faces.” Well, actually, that’s not true—with the right face, you’ll see all sorts of other things because it’s not about anthropomorphizing everything we see, it’s about seeing patterns in everything we see. The same instinct we have for seeing faces in clouds is the same instinct we have for seeing a chair, as opposed to the molecules that make it up.The reason we don’t act against Global Warming is because we can’t see the problem closely enough to recognize it as a threat—we can’t see the threat pattern. It’s too far off.My point is that it goes much deeper than just an interest in seeing humanity everywhere. It’s a much more basic thing—something every living creature has, too.

Episode 20 of the 666cast! This week’s rant is all about how we waste time focusing on useless things. Yep, another shade of the Absurd Disconnect. Please subscribe to the feed.

Episode 20 of the 666cast! This week’s rant is all about how we waste time focusing on useless things. Yep, another shade of the Absurd Disconnect.

Please subscribe to the feed.

NEW RSS FEED FOR The 666cast!! We're no longer using

Hey, just an FYI here for anyone who was subscribed to the 666cast’s feed and not the official Feedburner feed.  Some of you may have subscribed via website666’s page (which will no longer feature new 666casts), but I was having trouble with their feed, so I switched to  If you are subscribed to the Feedburner feed, you shouldn’t have to do a thing.  If you are subscribed to the feed, please resubscribe with this URL:

Thanks! Sorry for any confusion! 

Oh and I should probably change the Feedburner feed since I haven’t called it “webcast666” since about episode 2 or 3.  Ah well.  Some other time!

I’ll be posting links to the original mp3s just in case dumps them for whatever reason.  I just need to find a good place to host ‘em.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

iPhone 3G iOS 4 woes being dealt with... by downgrading... but what next?

After being tired of the sluggish crashiness of my 3G iPhone running iOS4, I downgraded to 3.1.2 today. Thanks, Apple, for finally adding so many basic features to your latest phone, but making the OS so bloaty it won’t run smoothly on the 3G iPhone :

At least under my Jailbroken iPhone running OS 3.1.2, it’ll run reasonably well with all the features it should have come with in the first place.  Too bad some (paid!) apps have been updated to the point they won’t run on 3.1.2.  Luckily, there are sites like that keep old versions around (a site I feel I am perfectly justified in using so long as I’m just trying out apps or finding old versions of apps that have been updated beyond my current phone’s ability—I’m lookin’ at YOU Joby Gorillacam!).

The next thing I’m pondering is what to do for my next cell phone.  Sure, I want to upgrade to something with more storage, but the question now has become, do I go with the iPhone 4 (the predictable route) or the Dell Streak, which seems to give me almost the exact form factor I’m looking for.

The pros of the Dell Streak:

1) It’s a tablet—5 inches is perfect for e-books and watching videos.

2) It’s still a phone, which means I wouldn’t have to carry this and a cell phone, like I used to do when I still hand my Kindle 2. (I don’t worry about the ludicrous suggestion of looking like a dork with a giant handset, since there’s this little device called a “Bluetooth headset” that’s been around for a while.)

3) Logitech makes a Bluetooth keyboard that would almost perfectly fits the Streak, making it an almost perfect replacement for my eee pc 4g netbook, which would then be another thing I wouldn’t have to carry around with me.

4) expandable/swapable storage: unlike the iPhone, the Streak has a miniSDHC card I can dump stuff on at my whim (no iTunes required!!)

5) It’s an Android device which means I can drag-and-drop and enjoy all of the other benefits of a mostly open system

Pros of the iPhone 4:

1) THAT GORGEOUS DISPLAY. I am pretty much mad about this display—it’s so impressive that it looks amazing even in photos and videos.

2) I’m a Mac guy and until I read about the Streak, I had pretty much given myself over to the mercy of iTunes (as much as I resisted for years), ready to sacrifice freedom for an easier life (much like a Christian critical of the Bible).  When you use Apple products the way His Steveness wants you to, they’re actually pretty awesome.  Of course, when you use them the way *I* actually want to, you ended up with all sorts of hell (how DARE I what to use my gadgets the way I want to!  Really!  Free will? AS IF!)

3) The World of Apple backing up the damn thing.  This is pretty important to me—when I have trouble with the Dell Streak, where do I go?  I’m sure there’s someplace I can go for help (aside from the ‘net, I mean) but with the iPhone I can just go to one of four Apple stores within a 30 minute subway ride from me.

4) the iPhone finally has all the features it should have had all along, great battery life (Engadget claimed their i4 lasted 38 hours of regular use on one charge), HD video, cut-n-paste, front facing cam, video conferencing, camera flash and—well, no 4G connectivity.  But hey, Apple’s got to give us a reason to buy the NEXT iPhone, too, right?  You don’t think they didn’t call it the “iPhone 4G” by accident, did you?

Cons of the Dell Streak:

1) Display is big, but not as gorgeous as the iPhone 4’s.

2) When/if I have trouble with it, no easy place to go for help/repair.

3) battery life is not as impressive as the iPhone 4—and when I’ll be using it for as much stuff as I’m planning (phone, e-reader, email, light browsing, word processor), it needs to have a good battery.  Granted, I can always bring an external charger or an actual replacement battery, but not having to shut down and swap out is nice.*

Cons of the iPhone 4:

1) Small screen—too small for browsing, really, or word processing, or reading.

2) iTunes. I’ve always hated it and always will.  Fine, Apple, don’t let us DnD OFF of the device, but just integrate access to dump things onto the device into Finder/Explorer.  Why do we need a whole separate app just for throwing a couple of extra tracks onto our Phone/iPods? But no DnD is actually a big deal to me—dragging and dropping may seem like something that isn’t that big of a deal, but while you’re waiting for your iPhone to sync (even though you’re adding one album or one video) is annoying as hell, when you’re already running late.

3) Closed system.  Even after jailbreaking the iPhone won’t do *everything* I want it to.  Close, but there will always be things that are just impossible to run in any practical way—like Flash or Android. ;)

So, it’s a pretty even fight, huh?

I’m not sure what to do since they’re the same cost.  I may choose neither since neither is exactly what I need (the Streak would be if the screen was higher rez and had a real “big boy” keyboard).

Which would you choose?

*UPDATE 20100822: I found a review of the Dell Streak that describes the battery life as being superb—apparently it will go a full day with regular use and could even last a weekend if you use it a little less.  Engadget had the iPhone 4 at 38 hours—but really, I’d just need the Streak to go 24 since it’s convenient to charge it every night.  Buy an extra battery for $40 from the Dell website and I’ll never worry again.  In short: that’s one less “con” for the Streak.

Guy who pissed off the USG wanted for rape for all of 30 seconds, but we'll never hear the end of it


“WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “no longer wanted” and not a rape suspect, Swedish prosecutor says on website”

— Huh?? .. CNN headline .. Confusing day..

Confusing day? Confusing MORNING. That’s how fast this story broke and unbroke—for me, anyway.

I woke up to this story this morning and since I woke up early, I took a nap and when I woke up, the arrest warrant had been dropped.

This is one of those ridiculous stories that pops up, distracts the crap out of us for days or weeks and then goes away forever. Sure, it’s already obvious the charges had no connection to reality, but will that stop TV’s idiot-pundits and repulsive Republicans from casting aspersions on Assange for the next week or two just to give their True Believers something to be hateful of?

I always wonder about these sorts of “Flash in the Pan” “news” stories.  They always seem so incredibly concocted and contrived that I imagine they were completely planned in order to distract from some other story that someone doesn’t want getting out.  Sure, it’s just my imagination, but these stupid stories come up and even though they’re obviously useless, the Mainstream Media makes sure that they’ll distract us for several days.  What are we missing in the meantime?  Even if this Assange/rape story wasn’t cointelpro by the USG, the time lost to this story will cost other stories face time.  What if one of those other stories was really important?

Thanks to our wonderful newsmedia of shitheads, we may never know.

It’s not like this is the first time a story like this has come along, either.  Remember that time that creepy dude claimed to be the murderer of JonBennet Ramsey?  It was fodder for all the headlines for about a week.  If you believe the MSM, everyone wanted to hear about this transgendered guy in Asia who had suddenly decided to admit his guilt. Then, as quickly as he had appeared on the national scene, he was gone.

While I don’t imagine Assange will disappear as that creepy dude has, I believe these accusations will hang around for a week or two and then disappear—just long enough to serve as another useless distraction.

it’s like a pop-up on my computer asking me some irrelevant question I don’t really care about.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Computers can ID you and 30-50 other folks as you mind your own business in public

From “Who Will Watch The Watchers?” via underpaidgenius:

Who Will Watch The Watchers?

The city of Leon, Mexico, is installed real-time eye scanners that can identity 50 people per minute in motion, without any participation on their part. These can be set up in public places to identify anyone whose retinal prints are on file.

Jesus Diaz, The End of Privacy: Entire City to Track People With Public Eye Scanners

There are different kinds of machines being installed across Leon, from large scanners—capable of identifying 50 people per minute in motion— to smaller ones—like the EyeSwipe in the video above—that range from 15 to 30 people per minute. These devices are being installed in public places, like train and bus stations, and connected to a database that will track people across the city.

City officials and proponents of the system are hoping that public retinal scans will stop crime and fraud. According to Jeff Carter, CDO of Global Rainmakers:

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, in essence, this will act as a digital scarlet letter. If you’re a known shoplifter, for example, you won’t be able to go into a store without being flagged. Certainly for others, boarding a plane will be impossible.

< snip >

The usual arguments in favor run like this:

People that are law-abiding have nothing to fear from this surveillance. It only finds out those that are criminals or people breaking laws. It increases security for all of us. What’s not to like?

But if you worry about government omniscience and the ways that such tools can be misused by the state and its functionaries, you start to have a dull ache in your stomach.

Also, I firmly believe that the gray areas of life need to be conserved. Prostitution — for example — is illegal in the US, but exists, and serves a social function. It should be legal (like many other things) but isn’t. I believe that anonymity in public places is a cornerstone of a broader understanding of society, one that is larger than what is on the law books, or preached in church on Sunday.

Wearing sunglasses will be a subversive act.


Yeah, pretty fricken lovely, huh?  They claim retinal scans from dozens of feet away.  Your retina is in the back of your eye—how lasers/cameras have gotten so accurate as to be able to hit the back of your eye at all, let alone ID you by it, is beyond me.  I’m guessing that there are a lot of false positives and that these things are really easy to fool.  Like sunglasses, as Stowe Boyd, from, suggests or I’m thinking colored contacts would be more subtle but just as effective. 

Either way, this is truly messed up.  I mean, the whole reason America was founded was to get away from big government abusing its power.  If this becomes legal/commonplace in the US, I say we GPS-chip every elected politician in the country and see how they like being tracked every minute of every day.

Hell, we should already chip them and force them to have Foursquare accounts so that they tweet every time the go from their desk, to the Senate floor (or where ever they go to do their job), to the bathroom, to a cheap motel with their mistress.

I don’t think this sort of thing is good, but if it’s going to happen, it should happen to our leaders, first.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where were YOU on June 6, 2006? Worshipping Satan?


Sardonica Majora: Attention Shoppers…

Just because your total today is $6.66 does not, I repeat, does NOT mean that Satan is going to rip through the floor and drag you back down into Hell with him unless you give me an extra fucking cent to make it $6.67.
One day last week, my first customer of the day came up with a $6.66 total….

This would have been great if today was 6/6/06.  To the time machine!

That was my birthday. Of course, I AM Satan.  Why else would I have named my site

#WTFObama: #DontBelieveTheHype: US Mil "withdrawal" from Iraq just a rebranding--56k will stay.

US Withdraws Last Combat Brigade from Iraq, But 56,000 Troops Remain

The US has officially withdrawn its last designated combat brigade from Iraq, two weeks ahead of a deadline for the withdrawal of some 14,000 troops. In a surprise announcement, the Pentagon said the last combat brigade crossed over into Kuwait earlier today. Although the withdrawal has been hailed as a major milestone in the Iraq war and an end to combat operations, most of the remaining 56,000 US troops are still trained in combat and will continue to carry out armed attacks. The Obama administration also plans to double its private military force in Iraq to an estimated 7,000 contractors. According to the New York Times, the bulk of the private military force will be deployed at five compounds across Iraq, where they’ll perform duties including operating drones, deploying reaction forces and operating radars to detect militant attacks. In an interview on Democracy Now! earlier this month, independent journalist Jeremy Scahill said the Obama administration’s withdrawal plan amounts to a rebranded occupation.

Jeremy Scahill: “What is essentially unfolding here is a downsized and rebranded occupation, Obama-style, that is going to necessitate a surge in private forces. The State Department is asking for MRAP vehicles, armored vehicles, for Black Hawk helicopters and for these paramilitary forces. So, yes, you can say that officially combat has ended, but in reality you’re continuing it through the back door by bringing in these paramilitary forces and classifying them as diplomatic security, which was Bush’s game from the very beginning.”


Sadly, this is what I was expecting.  I’m sure anyone paying attention isn’t surprised by the fact that we’re leaving a huge stack of troops behind.  What’s next from the O-man? A giant “Mission Accomplished” banner and an aircraft-carrier-based photo-op?

Finally, someone else proposes that one size will not fit all in our future energy supply system

How to Decarbonize the U.S. Power Grid

A new proposal by AMO, the thinktank arm of architect Rem Koolhaas’s firm OMA, has a plan to make the United States carbon-neutral by 2050. The plan calls for a shift to renewable energy that takes advantage of U.S. geographic diversity—solar for some areas, hydro for another—in other words, no one-size-fits-all solution. This proposal has been entered into GE’s Powering the Grid Ecomagination Challenge, which is awarding $200 million to the best ideas for a next-generation power grid.

(via Good)


YAY!  It’s like the proposal was designed by ADULTS!!  Rational ones, even!!


Um, but I had to snicker during the part of the video where they refer to how we need a “politically agnostic” energy policy.  Yeah, right, like that will happen! 

No, what we need is a ban on lobbyists.  Return the right of free speech to individuals only. No more Chatty Cathy for corporations! (Especially since they’re so good at pulling the strings coming out of their own backs… )

What also worries me about their proposal is the excessive use of biomass.  Doesn’t the creation of biomass energy require a lot of oil-based energy first?  I need to read more about this. I also would have assumed that along the oceans we’d have wind farms. 

Regardless, I applaud their efforts for putting this proposal together.  We all need to grow up and face the reality that there won’t be a single, “one-size fits all” solution to our energy needs.  Oil doesn’t have one replacement, it has many.

I just hope we can make these changes before it’s too late (2050 for Europe? Yikes!)

I think, for that, we will need an Apollo-like program to reach our goal.

Um, I think someone's a little fuzzy on the definition of "failure"....


“There is no failure for the man who realizes his power, who never knows when he is beaten; there is no failure for the determined endeavor; the unconquerable will. There is no failure for the man who gets up every time he falls, who rebounds like a rubber ball, who persists when everyone else gives up, who pushes on when everyone else turns back.”

Orison Swett Marden

That’s great for a greeting card (though a little long), but for the real world, failure is always an option.  And, really, in most cases you can’t have success without failure.  Pretending “The Indominable Human Spirit™” is somehow all-powerful is to live in a fool’s paradise.

And YES, it still counts as a failure if you fail once and succeed the next time you try.

Why? Because when you fail, you learn.  If you get it right the first time you don’t need to learn more. Therefore, you’re not as prepared for future problems.

Failure is also an important part of humility and confidence.  If you never fail, you think you can do anything.  Which is great until you run into something you truly can’t handle. Which is no big deal, unless you’re risking other people’s time, effort, money, livelihood or their lives.

This kind of “never say die” attitude also forgets the sacrifices that are often required along the path to success.  It speaks nothing of the friends lost along the way, or the loves lost.  It ignores a basic human need—to *be* human.  You know what I mean—when you’re so busy working your ass off that you realize it’s been months since you’ve just sat and read a book or watched a TV show, or had quiet time with a loved one.  You find yourself working so hard that you discover you’ve forgotten a good chunk of what makes life worth living: pleasure, joy, learning.  One time I had a very quick deadline—I worked my ass off and had a medical issue come up in the middle of the project.  It suddenly became an issue of taking care of myself or finishing my play. So, I finished the play and risked my health.  Luckily, I got better on my own (I didn’t have insurance, so there’s not much I could have done about it, anyway).

Speaking of health, there’s also the reality of fate.

What do you do when you work your ass off your entire life on something only to see it wiped away by an earthquake, a hurricane or some other natural disaster? What if you get cancer?  How do you “get back up” after you die of cancer?

Suddenly, the advice “NEVER GIVE UP!” means exactly nothing.

Backing away from that, what if someone just wants to be a dick to you?

We all want to feel so powerful—like we can do anything we set our minds to.  For some of us, it’s downright debilitating.  We sacrifice so much because we are raised to think anything was possible.  We shun friends, family, loves, and just focus on our goals and dreams, thus sacrificing much of what our lives seem to be meant for.  And for what?

Well, look around you, kids!  We can fail at plenty.

Hell, we can’t even get along with our neighbors these days because we’re too busy sticking our nose in their business—worried about what sexual/political/religious orientation they are, rather then just trying to learn from them and help them learn from you.

No, the only true path to success is failure, preparation and luck.  You need the first to get to the second and that is only worth it if you trip over the third and only then are you good to go.

The vast majority of people are not “successful” the way most of society seems to define it.

Of course, every one’s life is littered with failures and successes depending on how you define both words.  So… ignore everything I just said! ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Farscape: Best Final Moment in a Series Finale Ever

I’d have warned for spoilers, but this really doesn’t give anything away. I know, since I saw this shot in a DVD extra before I watched the finale.

Ironically, thanks to this awesome ending, I’m worried the Farscape movie (what would have been the 5th season if the SciFi Channel, now “SyFy,” had a fricken clue) is going to ruin it for me.  Ah well.

Oh and in case you’re considering watching Farscape, I HIGHLY recommend it—however, you should know that the only kind of ending I like better than happy endings are endings where the hero is totally fucked.  So, you might not like the series ending as much as me.

If you’re on the fence about the show here’s a pretty much spoiler-free, but INSANELY COOL montage they cut together for the “previously on Farscape” segment in front of the final ep.  See if it makes you want to give the show a try.

How Twitter does its part in the intricate process of evolution...


“Dr. Frank Ryan, plastic surgeon to Heidi Montag and other celebrities, was sending a Twitter message about his border collie just before his fatal car accident…”, 18 August 2010

Darwin was wrong: it’s survival of the least stupid.

The number of times I’d have to type “HA” to express my laughter upon seeing this screengrab is too high. :)


Awkward. « Jackfruity

Oh, Google.

I’m sure Americans would *like* to think they’ve saved the world… O_O

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Must listen: George Steiner on the history of Literacy via

Must listen: George Steiner on the history of Literacy via

Incredibly fascinating lecture from George Steiner about the comparatively tiny history of literacy. There’s a lot I agree with here but there’s a bit a difference I’d take. Definitely worth…

GOP missing their own Absurd Disconnect: WTC = hallowed ground but 9-11 1st Responders?

Well, I couldn’t let a day go by without pointing out at least one example of The Absurd Disconnect, could I?? ;P

“Isn’t It Ironic?” from underpaidgenius:

The GOP has no self-awareness, and neither do their constituents.

Carl Hulse, G.O.P. Sees Mosque Near Ground Zero as Campaign Issue -

Democratic campaign officials accused Republicans of exploiting the Sept. 11 attacks, noting that their outrage over the Islamic center came just weeks after many House Republicans opposed a new medical program to monitor and treat emergency workers and others suffering ill effects from exposure to hazardous materials at ground zero.

All the horseshit about ‘hallowed ground’ is posturing. The real story here is xenophobic hatred, not love of America and its ideals.

Sadly, I think it’s worse than that—it’s not about xenophobic hatred or “fear of the other” but about inspiring that xenophobic hatred/fear of the other in the American people. 

This is how you keep your citizens in line.  If you cite a threat and convince people it’s real, you look like someone who knows what’s going on, so those people who fall for the threat trust you to keep them safe.  This makes it much easier for Republicans and Democrats, alike, to keep their jobs and explains why the Democrats don’t pull out the metaphorical big guns to end the Republican party once and for all.  The Dems enjoy this kind of power, too.

Of course, how they’re all getting away with it is something I’ve wondered, too. I think it boils down to a media that has decided it doesn’t need to do it’s job.  Which is a shame since a free press is the most important tool to guarantee democracy.  I can’t find the quote now, but I think Ben Franklin once admitted that he’d rather have a strong independent press and no government at all, rather than the other way around. 

“Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right.”

(via shawnandthecity)

Excellently put and speaks to the very core of why I am an atheist and not in a political party.  Before you have an allegiance to someone else, you should have allegiance to your morals first.

So there. ;P

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scientists say 80% of the oil is still in the Gulf. Holy Fuck we've been lied to! Who saw that coming?

Another gem from

Ga. scientists: Gulf oil not gone, 80 pct remains

The Associated Press

Georgia scientists say their analysis shows that most of that BP oil the government said was gone from the Gulf of Mexico is still there.

The scientists say as much as 80 percent of the oil still lurks under the surface. The Georgia team said it is a misinterpretation of data to claim that oil that is dissolved is actually gone. The report from University of Georgia and other scientists came from an analysis of federal estimates.

Earlier this month federal scientists said that only about a quarter of the oil remained and the rest was either removed, dissolved or dispersed.



…or our government told us something that wasn’t true.


No, seriously, Jesus, Son of God, explain this to me: HOW CAN OUR LEADERS BE WRONG???? 


Now, 10 to 1 says someone doesn’t get the sarcasm and leaves a comment telling me just how our leaders can be wrong. ;P

Ever wonder what happened to the original Flipper? Well, at least she didn't end up in a tuna can... ;(

AMY GOODMAN: What happened to the dolphin that you named Cathy, that we knew as Flipper?

RIC O’BARRY: Cathy committed suicide a couple of days before Earth Day, which was April 22nd, 1970, the first Earth Day.


Hit up that DN link above to learn how Flipper committed suicide and also learn about a documentary exposing serious cruelty to dolphins in Japan (yes, I know, Japan isn’t perfect!). I usually don’t care one way or the other about movements to “save the whales” or whatever. I prefer to focus on “saving the humans” first and then the whales. However, these dolphins are pretty intelligent creatures and if it weren’t for humanity’s excessive ability to be cruel, they’d not be killed for their meat. This is also a good example of “the great economic war” we’re all fighting—capitalism and the free market taken to the nth degree. Where cruelty, exploitation and morals aren’t an issue.

Just make the most damn money you can…

Education--I bet you wish you had a better one, now! ;)

Education is a field hospital, where the little troops are patched up and turned round and sent back to fight in the great economic war that seems to be all that’s left of life.


The above comes from an interesting opinion piece in the Guardian about how a lack of language teaching makes us less interested in growing as people, as a people and as a culture.  Essentially, the author describes a self-fulfilling prophecy—where you cut a program that actually encourages participants to learn.  Therefore, they are less interested in learning. So, not only do they not learn the subject that was cut, but they learn less, over all.

I agree—this is why I’ve been studying Japanese on my own for ten years.  I still suck at it, but I feel like I benefit from it as an artist and as a person even if I haven’t gone there yet and have no friends who speak it, as a native.  I feel that it has helped me want to learn more in general, too.

But this post is filed under “the Absurd Disconnect” once again (it’s tAD day at ws666, apparently), since the author of the Guardian piece points out the sadly and painfully obvious—that all that this world has left is a “great economic war.”

I’m not slamming the author, Michael Hoffman, for “only now” figuring this out, since it hadn’t fully occurred to me, either—but the evidence is all around us.  We’re barely going into space, we’re barely exploring the oceans, we’re not creating brilliant works of art, curing cancer, or going after world peace—most of us are just plugging along (or trying to), making our money and having lives that range from “not that sucky” to “pretty sucky.”

The Absurd Disconnect comes in with all of us for ignoring this sad reality and going about our business.

Gah! This OneHelloWorld post made me cry… feelings!! MUST… SUPPRESS… FEELINGS!!! From glasgow-effect: ONE HELLO WORLD - Such A Better Place Leave a voicemail and OneHelloWorld will write music behind your narrative. Call it a soundtrack to your thoughts. Call (direct to voicemail): +1 (316) 247-0421. No emotions, we discussed that!! SIGH… OK, I feel better… er, I feel less emotional… aka better… This one was pretty good, too: 198 Plays I’m sorry mom, I don’t believe onehelloworld: Our conversation made me realize I’m not bitter, terrible, awful or a menace for having these views. No you’re not. Hope you get that welcome at home you deserve. Thanks for relaying the experience. Leave OneHelloWorld a voicemail and they will write music behind your narrative. Call it a soundtrack to your thoughts. Call (direct to voicemail): +1 (316) 247-0421 Wow. Fantastic stuff. Link of the day… via OneHelloWorld sounds like a brilliant idea, though I’m nervous to check out the site since I know I’ll just sit there and listen to it all day.

Gah!  This OneHelloWorld post made me cry… feelings!!  MUST… SUPPRESS… FEELINGS!!!

From glasgow-effect:

ONE HELLO WORLD - Such A Better Place

Leave a voicemail and OneHelloWorld will write music behind your narrative. Call it a soundtrack to your thoughts. Call (direct to voicemail): +1 (316) 247-0421.

No emotions, we discussed that!!

SIGH… OK, I feel better… er, I feel less emotional… aka better…

This one was pretty good, too:


198 Plays

I’m sorry mom, I don’t believe


Our conversation made me realize I’m not bitter, terrible, awful or a menace for having these views.

No you’re not. Hope you get that welcome at home you deserve. Thanks for relaying the experience.

Leave OneHelloWorld a voicemail and they will write music behind your narrative. Call it a soundtrack to your thoughts. Call (direct to voicemail):  +1 (316) 247-0421

Wow. Fantastic stuff. Link of the day…


OneHelloWorld sounds like a brilliant idea, though I’m nervous to check out the site since I know I’ll just sit there and listen to it all day.

Absurd Disconnect much?

From coalspeaker:

President Obama attemps to convince everyone it’s safe to swim in the Gulf by not swimming in the Gulf but kind of pretending he did..

But, as the article Coalspeaker links to reports:

Yet it soon emerged that the private beach on which it was taken, off Alligator Point in St Andrew Bay, north-west Florida, isn’t technically in the gulf.



And here’s another gem from CoalSpeaker:

Tell us what you NOAA

Now we knowa this: Seafood from the Gulf not being tested for dispersants..


Yummy!  Coalspeaker links to a C-SPAN video that features Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, and Larry Robinson, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), testifying on the Hill about the use of dispersants in response to the BP Oil Disaster.

I’m sure we can trust BP and our government 100% that dispersants aren’t bad for our health!

…we’re all gonna die!

The Absurd Disconnect Continues: noticing greedy employers

If you’re not familiar with what I call “the Absurd Disconnect,” in a nutshell, it’s when people look at the sky and tell you it’s green—or when someone tells you it’s safe to go swimming in a part of the ocean that just had millions of gallons of oil dumped in it—like that.  There’s been a lot of this kind of thing going on lately and it’s continuing.

In this instance, I saw a link on Newsweek’s Tumblr to an article on Newsweek’s main site claiming to be “What the JetBlue Guy Says About the Economy” well, it wasn’t that. I was hoping to literally hear Slater’s take on the job situation, but alas, I got some reporter-guy’s opinion of it. Part of his opinion was based on USG docs.  Yeah, yeah, let’s trust USG docs.  They’ve never been wrong before.  Anyway, so here’s the part of the article that pissed me off the most (italics are mine):

For the past year, the U.S. economy has been whipping roughly the same number of workers to do more, produce more, serve more, with each passing week, without much assistance, and without much of a raise. Over the past four quarters, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, “unit labor costs fell 2.8 percent as output per hour increased faster than hourly compensation.” But when the BLS reported the second-quarter productivity numbers on Tuesday, Aug. 10, the results were a little shocking. For the first time in several years, productivity actually fell—at a 0.9 percent annual rate. Workers put in more hours, but output didn’t keep up. They simply can’t run any faster.


OH, REALLY? Just the past year?

Since college, I can’t name a single boss I’ve ever worked for who didn’t hire me for one thing who didn’t then pile on extra responsibilities.  Sometimes those responsibilities were tenuously related to the work I was paid to do (so I dealt with them) but *every* time I didn’t get a raise to make up for the extra work.  I finished college in the early 90s, right when the downsizing trend was kicking into high gear.  Shortly thereafter, it stopped being a trend and became business as usual.

Seems like some folks never noticed that. I remember Paul Krugman, not too long ago, saying something about how he was worried high unemployment would stop getting apologized for and would just be assumed to be part of the system.  He hadn’t noticed that it’s already part of the system. But that’s what he gets for being one of those people that base their reality almost entirely on what they are told by “authorities” and not what they’ve experienced or heard from other “grunts.” 

I worked for a company from 1999 to 2006 and held two positions. In that time, the first position never saw a raise. Not for the 7 years I worked there.  In the other position I only got a 75¢/hr raise after I demanded $1/hr.  This was after they tried to get me to become the receptionist for the entire company, sort the company’s mail AND do my original job of running my department (which was something I did only because my boss, the actual head of the department, wasn’t doing it).

That’s just one example. 

It’s amazing to see the media just now catching on that employers are greedy.  What’s next? Choice words for executives for this “new trend” of owning expensive luxury cars and wearing expensive suits?

Yes, that op-ed will no doubt be written by Sherlock Holmes—for only someone as brilliant as the fictional detective would be able to make such profound observations on humanity today.


Why is the media so slow to do it’s job?  Why are we so willing to put up with being shit on by our bosses?  The last time I had an office job where my boss tried to dump more duties on me, I put my foot down and they survived without me having to do work I didn’t sign up to do.  The work I was not willing to do was absorbed by other employees whose job it already was.  Later they laid me off when all of my duties got folded into other folks’ jobs (d’oh!).  They offered to hire me elsewhere in the company but couldn’t tell me how much more I’d be making but that I’d be working directly for the top executives at the company.  Bleh—not for me.  So, I turned it down.  Turns out the woman who got the job ended up being forced to work 6 days a week without OT. Yep. She felt compelled to not risk the gig because she was a single mom. 

This was three years ago—before the recession.

Well, it was before the officially recognized recession, anyway.

That’s the other falsehood that the media and other “authority” types haven’t noticed yet.  Thanks to a number of factors, our economy is on a downward trajectory and has been for some time.  It was just easier to ignore before.

Shame we can’t all just face reality and do something about it.

What are those factors?



a money system not based on anything tangible

lousy regulation

corporations having the “right” to “give” as much as they want to campaigns

These five factors, I believe, are behind every problem facing America, and the western world, really.

New footage from the original Star Wars Trilogy? WHO CARES? Show me New Prequel Footage! (6hrs worth!)

I would like to see new footage from the Prequel Trilogy!!  You know, footage that would make it SUCK LESS.

Come on, George!!  You keep trotting out your old cash cow every year with new, cheesy gimmicks spun from 30+ year-old good ideas.

WHO CARES ABOUT DELETED SCENES FROM THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS???  Seriously—Luke Skywalker activating his lightsaber in a cave??  Dude—I’ve read Campbell, that’s just a metaphor for masturbation!!

I don’t want to see Luke alone in a cave with his saber!!

What do I want to see?

New footage for the Prequel Trilogy.

In fact, I’d like to see at least SIX HOURS OF NEW FOOTAGE FROM THE PREQUEL TRILOGY!!!


Come on, George!!  You want to make EVEN MORE money off of us suckers fans?


You could call it a “Director’s Master Cut” and pretend it’s the same trilogy of movies but with LOTS of new footage!  Lots of new footage you just shot with new actors and new script pages you “found” laying around the back of your brain!

COME ON, GEORGE! DON’T YOU WANT MORE MONEY??? (And wouldn’t we all like to see a second try?)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It’s the Conspiracies Episode of the 666cast! Ep 19—are conspiracies real? Here’s my take! Please subscribe to the feed.

It’s the Conspiracies Episode of the 666cast! Ep 19—are conspiracies real? Here’s my take!

Please subscribe to the feed.

Fat Man and Little Boy not "the Bombs" we think they were? Seems so. (More fodder against atom bombs ending WWII)

Two Fridays ago, I wrote about how and why the atom bombs dropped on Japan were not justified acts.  The arguments I included in that post were moral ones.  What follows are factual arguments against the conclusions that the bombs ended the war at all.  Today I came across an article from the AP that reports on a new book detailing a tremendous Russian presence that seems to have had a far greater effect on Japan than the bombs, believe it or not:

Historians rethink key Soviet role in Japan defeat

As the United States dropped its atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, 1.6 million Soviet troops launched a surprise attack on the Japanese army occupying eastern Asia. Within days, Emperor Hirohito’s million-man army in the region had collapsed.

But following the German surrender on May 8, 1945, and having suffered a string of defeats in the Philippines, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Japan turned to Moscow to mediate an end to the Pacific war.

However, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had already secretly promised Washington and London that he would attack Japan within three months of Germany’s defeat. He thus ignored Tokyo’s plea, and mobilized more than a million troops along Manchuria’s border.

Operation August Storm was launched Aug. 9, 1945, as the Nagasaki bomb was dropped, and would claim the lives of 84,000 Japanese and 12,000 Soviet soldiers in two weeks of fighting. The Soviets ended up just 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Japan’s main northern island, Hokkaido.

I’ve never heard of Soviet troops being so numerous or so close to Japan.  30 miles is nothing—that’s practically a walk from my apartment in Washington Heights down to Wall Street and back.  The NYC subway would let me make the journey in two hours.

So, that’s how close they were to invading Japan (yes, I know the A Train doesn’t travel between Gornozavodsk and Hokkaido, but you get the point).

On top of that, there’s the part where in May, 1945, Japan tried to talk peace with Russia.  They were interested in an end to the fighting two months before and if Stalin had been more interested in peace, perhaps the end of the war would look very different to us now.

Regardless, this is proof that the atom bombs were not necessary to ending the war. Plain and simple.

Can we please BAN the use of relative dates? They seem entirely use-free to me.

You know what I mean, right?  It’s when, instead of a date/time-stamp on a blog post or article it says “3 hours ago” or worse “3 months ago”.  It’s useless in so many ways and I’ve never heard an argument for the use of relative dates.

“They’re perfect for people who don’t really care when something was posted!”

“Relative dating, for when specificity doesn’t matter!”

“Who wants a cold, in humanly precise date and time on an Internet post? Give me warm, human vagueness any day!”

I’ve tried really hard to come up with a good reason for relative dating to be better than absolute dating.

Isn’t it ridiculous that we even have a phrase for that?  “Absolute dating.”  Funny how that just refers to “putting the actual date down.”

Imagine if we tried to use relative dating on formal documents.  You sign your tax return “4 months ago.”

I guess you can avoid being late that way.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

#WTFObama: Does Obama (or any other politician) Know How They Look to US (or care)?

I’ve been wondering for years how Republicans can be the way they are so shamelessly.  These so-called “Christians” who hate gays and think invading countries is a good thing, being so incredibly, amorally pro-business, and now going on about responsible spending after 8 years of two wars and an absurd expansion of government the likes of which we never saw during all of the Cold War—not one of them seems to understand how horrible they’ve made themselves look. 

Before Obama was in office, it was hard to tell if the Democrats were the same way.  They always said that they were against torture, that they’d be transparent, and all that, but since Obama took office, we’ve seen just how shameless the Democrats are, as well.  Why is no one from BP, Transocean or Haliburton in jail after the BP Oil Disaster?  Hell, the USG, itself, was negligent in the disaster, too—I thought the Dems were going to deliver accountability.  And now, Obama has his “Ground Zero/the Air is Safe To Breathe” moment by saying the water in the Gulf of Mexico is safe to swim in.  Then how come we can’t watch you go in?

This isn’t about your privacy—this isn’t about you getting a day off.  This is about you proving to us that you aren’t lying to us.  See, because you told us offshore drilling in the Gulf was going to be cool.  You also told us you’d close Gitmo.  OH and you think it’s OK to detain people indefinitely and then there’s that American citizen you think it’s cool to assassinate if you have the chance. (Read more about some of this here.)

Who do any of these lying leaders think they’re fooling?

Screengrab source.

Suck on this, Solar Naysayers: Solar is now Cheaper and more Efficient

Solar is now cheaper than nukes:

Solar Power Is Cheaper Than Nuclear for the First Time
by Cameron Scott, 07/29/10
filed under: Renewable Energy, Solar Power

solar power, solar energy, solar technologies, nuclear power, nuclear energy, energy costs, duke university, renewable energy

Here’s bright spot in the news of the day: energy from new solar installations has, for the first time, become cheaper than energy from new nuclear plants, according to a new Duke University study. Thanks to cost-saving technologies and economies of scale, price can no longer be an excuse to invest in nuclear power rather than solar.

Solar power efficiency may double:

Photon enhanced thermionic emission could double efficiency of solar cells
By Laura June posted Aug 3rd 2010 8:25PM

Engineers at Stanford have developed a process which can harness the light and heat of the sun simultaneously, which could lead to solar cells that are twice as efficient as those currently available. Called photon enhanced thermionic emission — or PETE for short — the process differs from traditional cells which lose efficiency as temperatures rise, and the materials needed to build the cells are cheap and widely available.

Heeeey, I should demand a royalty! That’s my name, too!!


The point here is that solar is making headway.  In fact, this also supports my theory that if we’d only been supporting solar all this time, we’d be even further along on the path to using solar power regularly, even commonly.

But NOOOOO, whiner solar naysayers have to climb up the butts of traditional power companies and cling desperately to old technology, rather than trying innovate.  Essentially, anyone who discourages development of solar energy is anti-innovation.  Any excuse to NOT try to use the power of sun to provide energy for our lives is absurd.  Any problems we’ll run into we’ll surmount.  Simple as that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Absurd Disconnect: Global Warming Edition

Back on August 2nd, I posted about how America imprisons 1% of it’s citizens while leaving another 10% of them unemployed and commented that the rhetoric promising to end this situation is just that, rhetoric—not actual promises to change things.  This morning I came across “Why Even Bother With Science?” from underpaidgenius:

Tom Toles, Friday Rant — Heat Exhaustion Version

This will be my last rant about the climate. Cartoonists sometimes look just like the archetypical cartoon character crawling across the desert. Gary Larson did a cartoon about two guys crawling across a desert, dying of thirst. They have come upon a drinking fountain. One is letting it run without drinking and saying he’s going to let it run until it gets cold. That’s about as sensible as the debate on climate change.

We are apparently going to let the debate on the science run until hell freezes over. If you can’t accept the conclusions of 98 percent of the scientists whose FIELD IT IS, then why even bother with science? If that high a percentage of field of study is to be discounted ENTIRELY, then we are in deep trouble, which, of course, we are. It would be so simple if it were just a matter of ignoring the yelping commenters hereabouts: “Move on, Mr. Cartoonist! Chill out Tommy! There are more important things to worry about!”

Really? Which would those things be? This may be the only political issue whose results could be catastrophic PERMANENTLY. But the deliberate dust storm thrown up by fossil-fuel-centric interests has succeeded in contaminating and paralyzing the American response. Quite a victory for the deniers! It looks like mass-suicide to me. And so, my final rant on climate. Except not really. There has to be a drinking fountain out there somewhere.

In the latest edition, episode 18, of the 666cast, I talk about “The Absurd Disconnect”.  This is what I call the difference between our beliefs and our reality.  Tom Toles provides a wonderful example of this kind of thing in action—we see the reality but we refuse to accept it.  Paul Krugman in my above linked post from August 2 also provided a great example, though, unlike Toles, was unaware he was doing it.  In that post, I suggest Krugman should wake up and smell the bullshit he still believes is honesty from our leaders. To Toles, I say: you SHOULD chill out, but not because there are more important things to worry about, but because humanity isn’t doing a great job of paying attention to the threats facing them.  The more upset you get, the more crazy people will think you are—even if you have the facts to back you up.  That’s The Absurd Disconnect.

What’s really sad and frustrating is that there’s not a whole lot that seems to be effective in changing the minds of enough people to make a difference.  When given the choice, most folks seem to choose the more fearful path over the logical one, even if the logical one is easier (like hating gays—isn’t just easier to leave them alone?)

Of course, people like Toles and Krugman being worried that things are going to get worse, even though things are already worse, is just another example of The Absurd Disconnect—where the symptoms you’re concerned will appear at some point in the future are erupting all around you but you just choose to ignore them.

In the end, a lot of what we criticize about our leaders and ourselves has become, for me, one giant “DUH!” moment.  I look backward at the last 400 years (essentially, since the invention of the first immortal corporation) and see the logical end game of capitalism/free market/the greed-is-good mentality.

I also see a world too bamboozled, too willingly distracted by their own greed, to change this path that humanity is on.

But no need to despair! Take a lesson from Hollywood actor, Slim Pickens (ironic name!):