semiotic_pirate: (Juicy Oranges)
Get ready for an after the movie monologue. There may be spoilers; I am not sure. )

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NOTE TO LIVEJOURNAL STAFF: PLEASE MAKE IT SO I CAN HIGHLIGHT A WORD WHILE IN INITIAL WRITING OR EDITING MODE AND ALLOW ME TO DO A QUICK DEFINITION OF THAT WORD SO I CAN KNOW I'M CHOOSING THE CORRECT WORD FOR THE CONTEXT AND WHAT I MEAN TO SAY RATHER THAN MAKING ME NEED TO GO TO ANOTHER WEBSITE TO LOOK UP SAID WORD. THANKS IN ADVANCE. MUCH APPRECIATED.
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Note to people local to me: I never realized the shit traffic you guys experienced on the night of fireworks at MCC until I tried to get home the usual way from the above movie and hit the roadblocks. Had to go SO far around to approach from the other side. In my case, at least we were going where no one else wanted to so we didn't hit any traffic once we got out of the general flow. That poor cop who couldn't just let us through... He was helpful though. It was either sit tight in a nearby parking lot for an HOUR at 10:20pm, meaning we wouldn't get home until midnight... Or working our way around somehow b/c the roadblocks were only set in one direction forcing everyone to go through M and away from the neighboring one, EH. That's right. In all the years we'd lived in the area we have never encountered this. Always either away from town or staying in for the night. Always. Cop was shocked but didn't disbelieve me on that point.
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
Tomorrow night, as part of "Fuck Yeah, It's A Three Day Weekend" celebration DH and I will be going to that great All-American pastime, the drive-in movie theater. First up will be Inside Out which, if you haven't seen it... GO SEE IT IT IS FANTASTIC IT MADE ME CONTINUOUSLY CRY IN A CATHARTIC WAY AND SADNESS STOLE THE SHOW. The second movie, the one I suggested the drive-in for (two movies for the price of less than one at an indoor theater) was - you guessed it - Terminator: Genisys. Although I mocked their choice of titles, I am pretty open minded about what I'll be presented with in the movie.

I told DH when I suggested this line-up that I'm going to go in thinking about The Matrix (a never ending cycle) and Star Trek (with all of its long history of complicated, temporal messiness.)

Then I decided to go look and see what the critics thought over on Rotten Tomatoes. It. Got. A. 24%. Splat.

This is part of a “splat” rating but it sounds like a “fresh” one to me:

“Terminator: Genisys feels like a VHS cassette that's been rewound and recorded over for 21 years. It's haunted by ghosts of old movies, a cyborg whose entire DNA is déjà vu.”

People, and by people I mean critics, can’t seem to wrap their heads around temporal anomalies, shifts, and the reframing/rebuilding of an entire universe and timeline due to small, basic changes (or goddarn big changes) made in the past trickling into a roaring rush of changes in the “present day.” And this is AFTER they were able to marvel at it being done in the first of the Star Trek reboot movies.

The whole point of Terminator is a temporal battle, right? It's been like that since the first time we saw Sarah Connor meet up with Kyle Reese and encounter the T-800. Or do I have that backwards? Well... There was an "encounter" with Reese... Never mind; I digress.

This next one is from an actual “fresh” rating that sounds like a backhanded compliment:

“Terminator Genisys​ prospers in sublime action and special effects, but they are outweighed by too many plot holes and erroneous events in the new timeline.”

Seriously?

Anyway. When we see this tomorrow night, I’ll know if these people are just dense or if the reviews are accurate. *goes off humming the Back In Time song from another temporally-based movie series*

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Update: Here's my possibly spoiler filled review.
semiotic_pirate: (ExhibitA)
Remember yesterday, when I told you all about my attempt to get advanced tickets for the Hobbit movie being released 12/14? Remember yesterday, when I said that after all that trouble I finally had the tickets I needed for the time I wanted to go and located in my preferred seat range? Remember yesterday, when I seemed so certain I had won?

Yeah. Having three sets of tickets (one for the new Bond movie, one for the final Twilight movie - to which I plan on wearing my Team Helsing shirt, and one for the Hobbit) I decided it would be best to make sure each set was properly paperclipped and labeled. Lo and behold me hearties, I discovered that the replacement tickets I had so laboriously procured were for the WRONG TIME (10:30am for pity's sake; what, am I supposed to take the bloody day off?). Yeah. So I popped online and paid yet again for the tickets, this time for the right time, and thank goodness my preferred seat range was still available.

I have yet to get back to the theater box-office and get the tickets I finally got yesterday refunded. I figure I will just go early before the Bond film and do it then. I'm going to want to grab someone by the lapels and shake them till I hear their brain rattling about and blood begins to ooze from their ears and nose... but I will resist that impulse. However, I will insist that they refund me both sets of online fees/surcharges that I paid for the convenience of ordering online given the fact that I had to come into the theater to actually finish/fix the total transaction/experience. Because they really smeared the walls with poop on that one.

Ugh.
semiotic_pirate: (Equally Large Boa)
NYClean – put it in the toolbar to eliminate the pesky wall

Economy: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/opinion/krugman-the-secret-of-our-non-success.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/business/global/chinas-slowing-economy-puts-pressure-on-american-exporters.html?hp&pagewanted=all

Farmland prices: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/us/across-corn-belt-farmland-prices-keep-soaring.html?pagewanted=all

Farming Techniques: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/big-smart-green-farming/

Really, it’s all about the ability to combine multiple crops (integrated agriculture and aquaculture, what was it called again?) and whatnot to not only feed the land/water, but to squeeze the most productivity with the least amount of industrialized inputs.

Fertility: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/opinion/we-need-to-talk-about-our-eggs.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fopinion%2Findex.jsonp

Snark: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/flu-season-health-precautions/

More Snark: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/tattoos-for-the-terrified/

Is it creepy to anyone else how closely condemnation of this personal decision ranges to other personal, bodily decisions, such as abortion? If you don't care to do it, who cares? But why do I have to hear about it?

Hanta virus in the Adirondacks of NY State (around Mount Mercy, how’s that for irony?): http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/10/22/us/ap-us-travel-brief-adirondacks-rodent-disease.html

Have you become a carrier? Living near to Livestock will increase the probability: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/proximity-to-livestock-raises-a-mrsa-risk/
If you are a carrier – does that mean that you won’t be infected in the bad way? Doesn’t this, technically, qualify as a self-mediated vaccination?

Don’t hate the chickens: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/nyregion/chickens-threaten-to-divide-park-slope-community.html

OMGZ! Salmon that eat ducklings, mice and muskrats!! http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/protecting-a-wolf-of-a-salmon/

Global Fisheries Meetup & TURF reserves: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/opinion/how-to-catch-fish-and-save-fisheries.html

And THIS is why I like to go for long, slow walks in the forest: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/23/science/david-haskell-finds-biology-zen-in-a-patch-of-nature.html?hpw&pagewanted=all It reminds me of a scene from Diane Duane’s “So You Want to Be a Wizard?” book, where the trees tell Nita that they spend long periods of time creating the perfect mosaics of leaves on the forest floors surrounding them. Haskell’s calling them “forest mandalas” because he includes everything around him and things that impact all of our senses. Very cool. His blog: http://davidhaskell.wordpress.com/

Yeah. Evernote has it right. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/us/in-silicon-valley-perks-now-begin-at-home.html?hpw&pagewanted=all When a company makes things more convenient for their workers – by providing laundry facilities on site, or using a house cleaning service twice a month for its employees, etc… These things make life simpler and less stressful for the worker, and enables them to concentrate MORE on work, when they are at work.

Note to Self: Must find out if the Munsters reboot, Mockingbird Lane will appear on HULU. It has a few people in it that I have loved in other stuff in the past…

One last article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/nyregion/pathways-in-technology-early-college-high-school-takes-a-new-approach-to-vocational-education.html?pagewanted=all&gwh=4BF55B5F6D4E4CF03122EDDBA4F026B8

Just amazing. Wish they implemented this everywhere; wish they’d had something more like this when I was coming through school at that age. With vocational/personality testing by guidance counselors so that a student growing up can have their interests and abilities tracked through elementary and junior high so that they are placed on the right track for them to be both productive and happy in life.

Mmmnn. Can you see that, for a little while today, I didn't get much work done?
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
Some of the following was a comment to a recent post by Ginmar. Between my recursive and fascinating internal dialogue about my experience watching Looper today to catching up on Glee... A toggle was switched on in my brain and I got to thinking about the state of things. I saw this article interviewing Michael Dorn (famously known as Worf on Start Trek Next Generation) and his thoughts about needing a new Trak on TV. He was saying something along the lines of all the stuff we are seeing in the media about science fiction these days is dark, distopian, without hope for a better future. Without some type of bright story to inspire us, as ST OST and ST TNG and all the other iterations did, we'll possibly start believing too much in the darker possibilities.

A recent episode of Glee I was watching last night (catching up on the new season, yes I guess I am a bit of a Gleek) began a new story arc for the show. I love that there's been a return to a show similar to what Fame was for me earlier in life. Some things are good when they come around again.

Back to the episode: there's this ultra-bitch new cheerleader type character called Kitty (I think). She's got this thing for getting her little popular crowd to mercilessly make fun of everyone she takes a dislike to - and she starts this new after school club called Left Behind. Do I have to go into details about the whole "left behind after the rapture" mania about the end times and the series of books (describing what happens to the people that are left behind, very distopian and full of righteous fear mongering) that the fundies are probably using to bankroll a lot of the shit they're doing? I hope we are all on the same page at this point - use the Google if you need to.

So this club of hers. They decide to meet at the local diner, with a bunch of people that they dragged in as potential members and/or targets. This poor asian-american "nerd" girl with giant glasses ended up being that night's target... Poor girl gets tricked into leaving the room and all of a sudden Kitty's like "everybody out!" They left bits of clothing similar to what they were wearing in each of their places and watch from the windows outside as the girl comes out and has a mental breakdown b/c she thought she had gotten left behind. Fear! Be afraid! Do what we tell you and conform to how we think you should think/feel/act. That was so telling to me about the way Mittens and all his right wing fundie folk operate. That and the way they railroad people into becoming followers by shaming them, after having gotten them to do something that they can turn around and say "you can't walk away now, look at what you've already done, we are your only path to salvation" and further bullshite. The techniques of mind washing and such where they talk at someone for so long that they get their head turned around and they can't even see that the sky is blue. That a wall is just a wall and a window is just made of glass.

Why can't they get it through their heads that "free will" means you need to let me make my own decisions, my own mistakes, to be autonomous in my thinking and in my actions? The sky is blue. I am a person. My friends are people too.
semiotic_pirate: (boat on land)
I was unhappily surprised yesterday by the discovery of yet another chemical allergy - something that, upon contact with my skin, will make me break out in the most unholy itchy raised bumps. I wonder if its the same thing that's included in most commercial sunscreens.

Ugh.

Let us tally the various known list of things that my body refuses to either come into contact with or allow me to digest/consume safely.

1. Gluten
2. Casein
3. unnamed chemical one
4. unnamed/unknown chemical two
5. unknown chemical three

Once I figured out the first two, and eliminated them from my diet and the products I use (lipstick, shampoo, lotion, etc.) I felt much better. As a matter of fact, when I got rid of the second item (recently) I started getting completely out of the feeling of occasional foggy brain, etc.

Since my last physical I have almost completely eliminated my use of analgesics. Huzzah!

The unknown chemicals are the worst, because the products potentially containing these chemicals aren't required to list their ingredients.

I still am of the opinion that the food allergies related to proteins was probably triggered by a five year period where I was drinking city tap water that was heavily laced with chlorine.

Wastewater Treatment Process


immediately followed by

Drinking Water Treatment Process


Apparently, the apartment I was living in at the time was located relatively close to either of the treatment facilities (at least that was the reasoning that people I talked to then were using) and that was the cause of such high chlorine levels. Maybe the two facilities (pictured above) were back to back and the "effluent" from the waste treatment facility literally poured into the drinking water treatment facility. Look, none of the facilities were so close that I can recall either seeing or smelling them from where I lived, but this was just a supposition that people had. And maybe our treatment facilities over-treated with chlorine at the disinfection stages. Who knows?

BTW: Anyone else notice the overlapping and recurrent use of chlorine in the process? The water I was drinking all through that time period pretty much smelled like pool water when it first came out of the faucet; and there is only so much off-gassing that will occur when you leave jugs of water uncapped on the counter for 48 hours before consumption/refrigeration.

Before anyone can pipe up with "you could've drank bottled water" - those were the "destitute student years" and I couldn't even spare the petrol to go a couple of towns over to fill up drinking containers from the local/free spring water spout. In addition, I know for a fact that my area doesn't have any of the fancy, more expensive technologies in place like reverse osmosis filtering that removes the chlorine before the water is put into the outgoing pipes. Nor are we an area that is serves by rainfall fed reservoirs.

Chlorine denatures proteins - and the molecules can bond into stuff and make it more poisonous as well as doing other free-radical-like damage at the cellular level. Maybe, just maybe, it can trigger stuff that people are genetically disposed to by creating certain conditions when bodily homeostasis is disturbed by its presence. I remember chlorine having a lot of deleterious effects in my organic chemistry and biological science classes.

Right now, I am just glad that my primary source of drinking water is from my own well. And I am thankful that I am no longer a destitute student; that I can afford the kinds of food that I need to eat to sustain my life. Melodramatic much? Really, on the food front, I am pulling myself out of the bear pit trap that most people find themselves in when they first discover they need to go GFCF: eating all the fatty stuff without realizing it is fatty, those Glutino pretzels for instance (combined with much too many scoops of hummus. Too many eggs as a protein source (I was hooked on the convenience of eating about 3/4 of the Protein Bistro Box at Starbucks for a while: HB egg, red grapes, apple slices and PB). Not enough veg. The list goes on, really.

I am learning though. The whole "required lifestyle change" situation can be taxing for any individual - and I am experiencing the typical amount of the agita.

Well, that's enough blathering. I have some mango mahi mahi to put in the skillet and sauté and some random veg to prepare to go with.

LLAP LJ People!
semiotic_pirate: (OMG!  OMG!  OMG!)
To start things off, I wanted to talk about the following NYT article, its comments, and some speculation of my own.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/science/dogs-and-humans-speculation-and-science.html

Reading through the comments and I realize that the relationship between humans and the various companion animals are symbiotic in nature. Each of the creatures provides a specific group of traits and abilities to the whole that the other creatures cannot or cannot easily do for themselves. This is especially true of animals that have been working partners in various professions and livelihoods: cats, dogs, horses, hawks, geese (the guarding type), etc.

Just as an example, a comment on the article started with “The presence of a wolf track alongside that of a child DEEP inside France's Chauvet cave to me constitutes powerful evidence of domestication 25,000 years ago.” Fire, and those that can carry it with their clever paws (hands) would be useful to dogs in certain places and situations.

Additionally, I think that we didn’t domesticate them… we domesticated each other by learning how to communicate without them speaking a human language and without us speaking canid or feline or what have you.

As one commenter put it: “The naturalness that dogs and humans share in social interactions had to have developed through mutual evolution. Watch people let their dogs sniff their babies; the trust had to have evolved.”

Another good comment on the usefulness of speculation and daydreaming about all the “what-ifs” in the world:

“Even if the author doesn't have a useful test for his hypothesis, someone else may. By publishing an interesting speculation, scientists give other scientists the opportunity to devise means of testing the theory.

Observation gives rise to questions, experiment ratifies or rejects hypotheses. But we shouldn't forget the importance of the process in the middle, that of theory formation, because it is there that the most brilliant and important work is done. The notion that science is just a matter of empiricism is wrong. Any naturalist could observe birds in the Galapagos: it took a Darwin to tell us what they meant.”

The speculator in question: http://www.patshipman.com/about/

The article causing all the chatter: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/do-the-eyes-have-it
Single page – printer friendly version: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/id.15294,y.0,no.,content.true,page.1,css.print/issue.aspx

And now, a handful of links I found interesting earlier in the day:

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/05/35-star-wars-pop-culture-tributes/?pid=7077&viewall=true

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LosAngelesNeedlework

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/star-wars-blaster-speed/

Oh good lord… The following article link is about how Facey Space is going to synthesize all our data (which belongs to them, remember) into easy to use data models representing the connections betwixt all the users in existence (and all their stuff, services, habits, etc). “Little snippets of your online behavior are streamed into the Facebook Newsfeed and onto your Facebook Timeline, and ultimately, this feeds the habits of your online friends.”

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/facebook-open-graph/


TOWEL DAY!
http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/05/etsy-guide-galaxy/

http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/05/42-in-pop-culture/

http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/05/hitchhikers-live-onstage/

http://www.hitchhikerslive.com/

http://www.hitchhikerslive.com/tour-dates.html

OMG! OMG! OMG! – how I WISH I could be in Edinburgh for the show on July 21 when the Voice Of The Book is Neil Gaiman! Gaaaaaaahhh!
semiotic_pirate: (Kiki's Gigi at Bakery)
Wherein there is some discussion about an article and mathematics, then I go into personal example and perhaps… just perhaps, the land of TMI.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/science/a-mathematical-challenge-to-obesity.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

It isn’t that all of the really tasty and or affordable foods are very bad for us… No. It is that there is a “glut of food in America” – that we have too many choices. That there is an overproduction of food in the United States. I really don’t think that it is that simple. There is a whole industry formed around setting up a supermarket, in which food segments go where, which items go on which shelves and how to get people to traffic as much of the store as possible before they get to the checkout area so that they are sucked into impulse buying. There’s even some work being done (as elsewhere, like malls) of which sounds and smells should permeate the air in order to induce higher buying levels.

And don’t forget about all the advertisements pushing us to go out and dine at all the restaurants – whatever you do, do NOT look up how many calories go into your favorite dishes. Because it contains a horrendously, disgustingly level of fat and calories.

Should we even mention the idiocy of misleading labels regarding portions sizes? I buy this package of whatever, and think that the single package (since it seems to be sold as single serving sized packages) is one serving… but NO. It is in fact, around 2-3 servings.

No wonder we call it CONSUMPTION; it isn’t just about internally consuming something to turn it into energy to fuel our bodies.

Is this another of capitalism’s psychopathic/sociopathic symptoms?

Does anyone want to make an argument that color television and marketing of food products plays any part in the rise of obesity? From a television history wiki:

” By the late 1960s and early 1970s though, color sets had become standard, and the completion of total colorcasting was achieved when the last of the daytime programs converted to color and joined with primetime in the first all-color season in 1972.

By the mid-1970s, the only stations broadcasting in black-and-white were a few high-numbered UHF stations in small markets, and a handful of low-power repeater stations in even smaller markets such as vacation spots. By 1979, even the last of these had converted to color and by the early 1980s B&W sets had been pushed into niche markets.”


From the article linked to above:

” Between 1975 and 2005, the average weight of Americans had increased by about 20 pounds. Since the 1970s, the national obesity rate had jumped from around 20 percent to over 30 percent… You’ve been programmed to eat more.”

I also found this statement by Mr. Chow to be fascinating – in that it is something that we all intuitively KNEW but had never had the facts to back it up:

” That the conventional wisdom of 3,500 calories less is what it takes to lose a pound of weight is wrong. The body changes as you lose. Interestingly, we also found that the fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight. An extra 10 calories a day puts more weight onto an obese person than on a thinner one.”

The mathematician goes on to say that he thinks that we should stop marketing food to children. Maybe, we should take it one step further and stop/limit the marketing of food? It is still going to be there in the supermarket for us to buy – why do we need to have it marketed to us? We all still need to eat. Right? What would change?

A while back, I made a deal with myself. If I started “craving” a food around the time I saw a commercial about that food (whether it be an item picked up at the supermarket or for a particular restaurant) I would consciously refuse to eat that food or go to that restaurant for 24 hours from the time the craving started. That has done wonders for my self-control of impulsive behavior, especially as regards to food consumption.

The other two things that I’ve recently “implemented” that have helped to cut down on my personal consumption?

One is that I “cut the cord” to the cable company. I don’t see as many commercials as I used to. And most of the commercials that I do see pertain to durable goods or services. Which, to me, are easier to resist.

The second thing that helps is that a LOT of the foods and dining experiences that are advertised these days are no longer on my list of foods I can safely eat. Gotta love that gluten intolerance. You lose weight from the decrease in overall inflammation as well as from the period where you have to adjust your mindset to what you can eat.

There’s a little correction down at the bottom of the article that confuses me slightly. I read it that, on average, out of three Americans, two of them will be overweight and one of them will be obese. Am I getting that right? I mean, when I look around at all the normal, average folk that surround me in day to day living – this seems about right. And that is truly scary. That the fit people are the outliers.

Another factor, that I touched on yesterday in the life satisfaction rating the United States has in comparison to other industrialized nations, is the time crunch issue. As a nation, our work/life balance sucks. Let’s looks at the life of an average individual: I drive a long way back and forth to work, (or deal with traffic that makes it seem like a long way) put in at least 8 hours at the office (because lunches and breaks aren’t paid I actually spend a minimum of nine hours at work, if I am honest), I go home and sit on the couch and veg out b/c I need to feel like I’m “relaxed” and it really doesn’t feel like I have the time to do much of anything else because, hell, I have to try and squeeze in 8 hours of sleep. I live primarily in a commuter culture, with no sidewalks for convenient and safe walking around my neighborhood and have no access to adult community playgrounds (like in China; you know you’ve seen them in Karate Kid). My average allotted annual vacation time is miniscule when compared to other industrialized nations.

Let’s see what my time crunch is, typically, on a daily basis:
0.75 hours getting ready (some people use more time)
1.50 hours round trip travel time to/from work (with traffic)
9.00 hours average per day at office
0.75 hours to get ready for bed
8.00 hours minimum sleep

That adds up to a total of 20 hours. This doesn’t even count the time taken to occasionally get things done on the way to or from work, say I want to stop at Starbucks in the morning (I hardly ever do that anymore, thank goodness, and my wallet thanks me for that fact) or fill up the gas tank and pick up the fixings for dinner on the way home… And don’t forget about meal prep and eating time – for dinner at the very least, yeah? And if, IF, you want to do any type of activity/exercise, this typically involves changing clothes and potentially having to drive wherever it is you will complete that activity. A maximum of FOUR HOURS of potential leisure time per day IS NOT ENOUGH. Most people sacrifice sleep, and we all know that isn’t a good idea. A great majority of people use weekend hours to get housework and other chores done, I am one of them.

Here’s a bit of information most women won’t share: According to my BMI results, I am 9 pounds into the “overweight” zone. The Human Weight Simulator linked to in the below article, based on a very complicated mathematical formula didn’t seem to tell me anything I didn’t already learn from my “Lose It” app on the iPhone… and a nutrition class taken about ten years or so ago. The app is based on how many fractions of a pound you want to try to lose in a week (½, 1, 1.5, 2) and your goal weight: the time it would take to do that isn’t explicitly stated.

According to the app (after some math is done), based on losing ½ pound per week, it would take 470 days to lose 33.6 pounds. I could consume 2085 calories per day and would have to walk a slow 2.5 mph for 30 minutes a day. The kicker of this program, though, is that as you lose weight, and enter that new weight in the tracker, the number of calories you can consume is modified. So it really isn’t as cut and dried as the results from the HW simulator.

According to the super-efficient mathematical equation, based on losing 33.6 pounds in 730 days, I could consume 2019 calories per day and would have to do some light walking for 30 minutes a day. That’s it.

The time it would take, according to the HWS, is 55.3% more than what the app calculated (though in truth, the app doesn’t calculate how long, it is just an approximator that allows you to easily track food consumed, activities done, and tracks changing weight… with pretty statistical graphs). One and a third years or two years, with two years seeming more likely. To me, that isn’t that bad and is probably a healthy and sustainable time frame in which to lose that amount of weight.

Why, if I claim I am only 9 pounds into the red zone do I feel like I need to lose 33.6 pounds? Because I don’t want to be on the edge of a “healthy” weight, as that is figured using the Body Mass Index.

http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

According to the BMI categories:

Underweight = < 18.5
Normal weight = 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight = 25 – 29.9
Obese = >30

According to this, my BMI is 26.4, and I would have to lose nine pounds to edge me down in the normal range. My “goal” weight, however, would put me at a BMI of 21.4. Neither too close to under or over, approximately in the Goldilocks zone of a normal BMI.

As a closing point:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/business/pepsi-and-competitors-scramble-as-soda-sales-drop.html?hpw&pagewanted=all

Let us not forget about soft drinks and other “fortified” beverages a.k.a. American Champagne.

Well… I’m off to go do that 30 minutes of walking.
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/dell-mads-christensen/

Read about this yesterday via Twitter. Spot on about Dell’s idiocy quotient. Nice example of exclusionary… and psychotic, corporate behavior.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/china-happiness/

Money only brings happiness (i.e. life satisfaction) up to the point when all basic needs are met and you have just enough excess to enjoy some vacations, etc. Definitely a sharp case of diminishing returns after that point. This and the article above truly are addendums to the capitalistic/corporate psychopathy that I touched on yesterday.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/05/republican-navy-biofuel/

*BOGGLES* What are these Republicans thinking? There is going to be a LOT of angry grain farmers and altfuel corporations up in arms if the House Armed Services Committee gets away with banning the DOD from making or buying alternative fuels. Not that I wouldn’t mind a decrease in grain commodity volatility that’s been occurring ever since those grains’ pricing has started to be linked to petroleum oil and other fuel sources. However, the case about products that are more expensive the closer to the R&D side of things they are and that the prices have a downward trend over time the longer they are available to be purchased and the more readily they are available to the general public. And to (pun) top things off… don’t they realize that once they STOP using altfuels, the price of petroleum based fuels is going to go up b/c demand will be up – and we all know about the status of the supply and control thereof. Sheesh.

As far as the invisible hand of capitalism aka “the market” being allowed to guide our use and support of alternative fuels… Do we really want a mindless psychopath in charge of that kind of thing?

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2012/05/onstar-billboards/

In other news… I am sooo glad I don’t have a vehicle with OnStar right now. Really, really glad. Use of in-vehicle cameras? Really?! Um. Invasion of privacy aside (because we all know no one reads the fine print in user contracts) this is scary stuff. And just because implementation of this isn’t going to happen this year, or even the next… That the patent exists at all indicates that someone has the bright idea of eventually, inevitably implementing it.

Let’s go one step further: I personally know people that work at advert type companies that have databases full of handy information that could be coupled with this patented product idea to create targeted ads that could (gasp) be flashed on those handy nav screens whenever you come to a complete stop. At every stop sign, light and every scenario of stop and go traffic of any kind you could be bombarded with targeted ads. A lot of us have already been preprogrammed to put up with this type of behavior on the internet. Why not real life?

Where’s my opt out clause? I want to preemptively file one somehow, somewhere (like registering on the Do Not Call list) so I don’t have to deal with this asshattery when it finally gets to rollout phase.

And the DH wonders why I questioned his decision to save a few dollars up front in order to buy the cheaper advert version of the Kindle?

Silliness:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/jeff_pearlman/05/09/jetman/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

OMG! It’s a real life Buzz Lightyear! People are comparing him to Evil Kineval but really, he’s Buzz Lightyear. I seriously would like to see him appear on SNL and say “To Infinity, and Beyond!” That. Would. Be. Fantastic. And: I want my own kerosene jetpack powered rigid deployable carbon-Kevlar wing… Do you think, if I started a Kickstarter in order to buy one of these things, people would help me make that dream come true? Nah. I didn’t think so either.

Elsewhere? Insanity:

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/15/iranian-rapper-faces-death-threats-bounty-over-song/?hpt=hp_c3

Anyone who insults the sanctity of Islam, any one of the great prophets, the Imams, and Sadigheh Tahereh (the prophet’s daughter) should be executed – according to Iran’s Penal Code, Article 513. Death to artists!

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/15/justice/mississippi-highway-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

People in Mississippi are getting pulled over by an individual posing as a police officer and getting shot. Death to motorists!

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/15/killings-lead-to-question-can-you-wait-before-pulling-over-for-a-cop/?hpt=hp_t3

People are being encouraged to dial 911 if they are pulled over and other actions to take in order to avoid being killed by the random wacko.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/15/european-union-forces-attack-pirate-targets-on-somali-shore/?hpt=hp_t3

Not really insanity on behalf of the EU Naval Force, but rather on the targets of their attacks. I don’t take this personally as a pirate as I am more in line with the Pirate Party than with the slaughtering and looting kind of pirates… Death to pirates!

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/15/us/california-missing-fbi/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

Okay. A guy in the FBI, working in the counterterrorism arena… missing. What if it isn’t a case of suicidal tendencies and more a matter of being kidnapped and squeezed for information? Anything is possible, and I am rife with speculation about this for some reason. Some of the details of the search set off some red flags in my subconscious and proceeded to bubble up into my conscious brain.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
http://fairfaxcity.patch.com/articles/us-ranks-as-25th-best-country-to-be-a-mother

Not sure if anything needs to be said about this article that isn't obvious to those reading it. How can we make it better in the U.S. for people to be parents? You constantly hear the right wing making innuendoes and speeches akin to how the decline in the birth rate is making it easier for immigrants to come in and so forth, and of course the whole anti-abortion stance... After reading this article, one has to wonder how they can sync their need for American women to pop out more kids when the environment to do so in is so much worse off than in ALL the other industrialized nations.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/05/14/new-obama-ad-seeks-to-undercut-romney-record-on-jobs/

Wouldn't it be interesting to make a connection to the “Greed is Good” Wallstreet film… Gecko = Mittens?

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/05/obama-newsweek-cover-gay-president-/1?csp=34news

Misleading title and magazine cover may create a bit of hoopla and mixed feelings for both supporters and detractors of the president. I get where the author of the article is coming from but Newsweek is putting this image on its cover for the sensationalist reaction that it will engender and not because it is a good representation of the content of the article.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577392261536405038.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

No. Dads are the new “co-parents” you misleading idiotic title makers. Seriously?! Did the WSJ just proceed to denigrate women and their role as mothers… lemme guess, on Mothers Day? I guess the “stay-at-home Dad,” Dad/Father monikers aren't sensationalist enough? Oh, and Universality forfend that the WSJ might even contemplate a situation where it is a gay couple that either adopted or surrogate-sourced a child… It almost seems like they are attempting to say that a majority or average amount of men do more than women in the parenting role (in their opinion) but refrain from saying so because it would be an outright lie; some men DO do more than their partner/spouse, but it has been negotiated that way in the relationship. The fact is that each couple has to learn what works best for them as individuals, and that each couple also can’t assume current status quo is going to work for them for the life of the relationship. The breakdown of who does what (chores, etc) occurs according to preference, ability and negotiations when it is something both abhor to do. And let’s not stop there – what about the relationships that are made up of more than two people?

This was the best quote from the article, IMHO: “As men adjust to contemporary family life, Mr. Coltrane speculates that American culture may be on its way to phasing out the gendered roles of "husband and wife" and "father and mother" and replacing them with the functional roles of "spouse and parent."” I thought this was the best part of the article because it actually touched on the fact that spouse and parent can be functional roles without having a gender or sexual orientation attached to it. Wonder when people will start discussing renewable term marriage contracts as a replacement for the "till death or divorce" setup we have currently.

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/05/alt-text-scams/

Interesting and relevant.

http://www.wired.com/design/2012/05/identity-protection-wallpaper/

Tinfoil hat for your HOUSE! Sweet. They should make it industrial strength for house “wrapping” underneath the siding (like something you can layer on underneath the insulation layer). But this is not going to affect WINDOWS and what about people who like to sit on their deck? Somewhat useful…

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/opinion/a-better-pro-bono-plan.html?_r=1&hp

This should be changed to say Minimum, 50 pro bono service hours PER YEAR by all licensed lawyers. I mean, really, how can he even think about setting up destitute clients with unlicensed legal representation? For shame! However, a pro bono tax credit with a cap might be a really good incentive to get the entire profession in the mood to do some good for their communities. Of course, there will be caveats about not representing wealthy people for free or any of their normal client base, etc.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/business/media/audiences-now-rarely-drawn-to-live-television.html?ref=business?src=dayp

This is the reason I rarely watch things on SyFy or CBS… or any other channel that doesn’t make it easier for someone to watch their programming without having to have a cable subscription. I love my HuluPlus – and as long as their commercials don’t cut into the programming too much (BTW HULU, pay attention here: for each block of commercials, they should only last a total of 3 minutes, TOPS, and three blocks is enough for a ½ hour show, five blocks for a 1 hour show… and stop putting ads at the END OF THE SHOW, I AM NOT GOING TO WATCH THEM {it only started a week or so ago, they stick a block of commercials into the space between the end of the show and the show’s credit roll} bad enough you put them at the beginning of the show). Both of the mentioned channels have onerous online streaming experiences and do not offer their content to services like HuluPlus.

Anyone know if HBO or any of the other “pay” channels have subscription by show services? That might be a good idea for them to bring in more subscribers. Maybe networks should serve themselves ala cart to consumers directly, through “aggregater services” like HuluPlus or even on the device itself (like my Roku). That – would be great.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/logic-and-neutrality/

This article caught my eye b/c it has a great drawing of Spock talking to Sherlock Holmes. When reading through it, I was impressed by the erudite nature of the article itself. Good thought provoking stuff, something for the mind to chew on slowly in order to savor the taste of all those cool words.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/opinion/backward-on-domestic-violence.html

Getting mixed feelings about this… should it just get passed and then amended later? No. Looks like the current version as approved by the Senate should get passed. What the hell is the House thinking? *disgust* Why rip out all the wonderful stuff the Senate put into the bill... AND remove a list of currently protected people? IDIOTS!

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/fables-of-wealth.html?src=me&ref=general

Wow. Just wow. So corporations are sociopaths/psychopaths and about 10% of the people who work on Wall Street are psychopaths… does capitalism encourage/reward socio- and psycho-pathic behavior? I've had discussions with people about the corporate personhood claptrap but hadn't heard the capitalist argument before. Very interesting. Glad I work for a cooperative.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/the-amygdala-made-me-do-it.html?src=me&ref=general&pagewanted=all

Final article of the day for me was this little tidbit. I had a flashback to Adam Sandler's Waterboy film when I saw the title. Now I am waiting for someone to site these various books in a legal defense... Perhaps put forward by a lawyer, representing someone pro bono ala my above argument, in NYC?

What say you mateys?

Posty Post

Dec. 26th, 2008 06:39 pm
semiotic_pirate: (BattlePrincess)
The Netherlands' Delta Committee rocks. Click through to read an amazing article about the Dutch 200 year plan to protect their country from rising sea levels on account of global warming. Amazing diagrams and interesting pictures. Now that is prudent and rational planning. Now this makes me want to visit Amsterdam and the surrounding countryside of the Netherlands even more.

risk = (probability of failure) x (projected cost of damage)

Maybe if they had actually USED this equation for New Orleans, the damages and horrifying results of Hurricane Katrina wouldn't have occurred. This equation has been in used by the Dutch and for high-end engineering risk analysis since the 1950's, by the way. Other than the Dutch, it is usually only used by fields like nuclear power, aerospace, and chemical manufacturing.

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In the never-never land of created wants, enter the Mitsubishi LaserVue 65" Black DLP HDTV - L65A90 which is a laser-powered television with a starting price of $7K. Yowch! But it is capable of producing a 3D image… and it's got the best color, clarity, high contrast, etc. of any television out there… and it runs on 1/3 the energy of an LCD, 1/4 that of a plasma television… Maybe I'll be able to talk myself into the purchase of one of these someday, after the price drops considerably. With a 10.1" screen, 12.6" in depth with the stand and 136 lbs… Wow. Would need to upgrade the furniture too. At least other flat panel television prices are plummeting.

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Ummmm… What?! What's that you say? Pay especial attention to the comments below the article [livejournal.com profile] ginmar; maybe you can use them on the various stereo people you encounter in your life. *no hugs here* There are also a lot of insightful comments about the use, misuse, and worth of torture further down in the comment stream.

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Gives another layer to the meaning of the term kissing cousins, doesn't it? Dispassioned analysis of the genetic affects of intermarrying with your cousins as well as a handy-dandy figure showing where first-cousin marriage is outlawed. Very interesting. Genetically, I think it becomes a problem when the intermarriage of cousins happens multi-generationally. Meaning the first set of cousins' children marrying and then their children, etc. When the gene pool is limited by locality, this can be the outcome because the offspring tend to stay close to the epicenter of their birth, and their choices are narrowed further by having intermarriages between cousins above them in the family tree. Of course, all this reminds me of discussions of family trees in the Harry Potter novels. There are implications of everyone being related to someone, somehow, over the centuries. But, the most interesting comment in the article itself comes very quickly: "laws against the unions are a socially legitimized form of genetic and sexual discrimination." Who's the finger of blame going to be pointed at when the neochristians hear this tidbit? I bet they (as well as all the middle-aged couples looking to get their sprog on) get severely tweaked over the comment that it is comparable to restricting women over the age of 40 from childbearing because of an equivalent risk of birth defects.

I find it interesting that some of the articles linked to below this one are: Women, Trust Your Nose: Inbred Men May Smell Bad. And Calling Jerry Springer: Embryo Mixing Could Make Three-Parent Children where the term (new to me) trinogomous relationships is used. I think, in the case of the latter article, the more genetic mixing the better… Look at what it could do for mitochondrial based diseases! Are we on the edge of the reproductive freedom forefront? Between all of the above and gay marriage - I would say a resounding yes. I also would say that any child that is born wanted and is well cared for should be welcomed. Not as many commentors in this one, but the few ignorant dissenters are thoroughly trounced by the intelligent folk.

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Did anyone on my f-list know that you could auction off this little Monopoly rule:

"The main rule that tends to get ignored is the auction. If you land on a property and don't want it, it goes to auction. That's what tends to slow things down and put a lot of people off. If you don't get houses built it will go on forever."


Interesting BBC article about board games, where Monopoly is touted as a game that takes social interaction to "new heights" by placing a premium on negotiation. Hell. I didn't realize you could make deals to waive interest, exchange property, or form strategic alliances. Well maybe the latter… Tactics that are said to be common in multiplayer games. Maybe I just never played a game with enough people. Another game highlighted, Diplomacy, is touted as a game requiring the playing of the opponent as much as the game which is finding favour outside the home as an "educational tool." Interesting. I didn't know that a game that's central attraction lies in the negotiations, alliances, betrayals, poker faces and backstabbing… where you are expected to lie at every turn and constantly second guess your opponents intentions would be used as an educational tool. Yeah. Who am I kidding? Sounds a lot like life in the worst circumstances - circumstances that all of us must face at one time or another. For the unlucky, they face those circumstances constantly. The final sentences of the article separate the skill sets acquired nicely. Soft skills that games teach us:

"How to win and lose with grace, how to play nicely with our families; and how to dissemble, cajole, and gull our way to victory."


----------------------------------------

Earlier today, I met with CoB, his brother and nephew - and they were laughingly teaching the toddler Chinese phrases and joking about preparing for our "Chinese overlords" a la Firefly universe beginnings. I was reminded of the conversation, over lunch I might add, when reading the following article, especially when I hit this part:

"In hindsight, many economists say, the United States should have recognized that borrowing from abroad for consumption and deficit spending at home was not a formula for economic success."


Can't everything be seen in hindsight when you are looking for it? Hrmphf. Now it is being said that Chinese Savings Helped Inflate American Bubble… No. Us greedy grubs did it to ourselves, you blighter.

On another Chinese note: a traveler's perspective of feeling like going from the Jetsons' to the Flinstones' when coming back o Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong. No kidding. Time to reboot our infrastructure indeed.

"My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover."


---------------------------------------------

Thought provoking article about for-profit charitable aid companies in the sin of doing good deeds. When they get more done for the charity in question, I applaud them. When they defraud the people donating to the charitable cause, this is when I have a problem. Hell. I loved it that Barnes and Noble did the "buy a book to be donated to needy children drive" this year… LOVED IT. I hope whoever gets the copies of The Hobbit and Ramona Quimby - Age 8 enjoy their first reading of them as much as I did. When businesses do things to help other people, when they (and no, I don't know if B&N fits into the whole category here) make it a point to act in ethical, sustaining, world/community building ways - while reigning in the business propensity for over-compensating the upper echelons of the business - good things happen. Businesses can do good even as they do well. That should be drilled into our children throughout their lives. Every person's actions have an effect in the world that can ripple out and affect people half a world away. Just because you aren't aware of that consciously does not mean it doesn't occur.

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Goo Goo! May B.H.O. go the way of F.D.R.

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Wish I had been able to be around to give the service people (mailman, firehouse, police station, the mechanic, etc.) boxing day gifts. I've done it a few times in my life. Usually it is a tin of home-baked goods or something like that.

"It is on Boxing Day, after all, on the “feast of Stephen,” that “Good King Wenceslas” looked out and saw the snow, “deep and crisp and even.” The cold was notable not for its beauty, but for the hunger that it brought with it. The king calls for food, wine and “pine logs” not for his own feast, but that he and his page may “bear them thither” to give to the poor… In the 19th century, the “boxes” of Boxing Day were either literally boxes of gifts or money, given by employers to staff and servants."


However, boxing day isn't just about giving to the poor, it is (I gather) about giving to those who work for you - either directly or indirectly. I got a bottle of wine from my manager before he left for holiday vacation. Yay! Just remember, today, your "servants" are out-sourced workers. The housekeepers, the dry cleaners, recycling and garbage collectors, delivery people and so forth… It is also a time for what is termed "duty visits" where you go and visit that obnoxious relative that you would never usually go and see. Ha! Don’t just keep “the Christmas of the belly: keep you the Christmas of the heart. Give — give.”

Must remember as well when Maundy Thursday rolls around. It is supposed to have a similar purpose - giving alms to the poor.

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Gorgeous house in the background, neh?

The article that it is associated with, however, has a stupid title that is contradicted throughout by itself. Oh noes! You have to clear off the solar panels! You knew there would be a trade-off during the changing of the seasons when you installed the darn things, and no amount of poo-pooing in an article can make it seem like no one would know that days are shorter during the winter in the northern hemisphere. And, no, ice is not flung like javelins from spinning wind turbines. Sheesh.

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More cheers for the Kindle and the beginnings of the passing of the "early adopter" phase of the e-book craze. Bring it on! Go paperless, people! Someday, the only books people will own on paper will be their ultimate favorites - or maybe even those won't need to be paper anymore. The easiest way to turn fetishist bibliophiles on to ebooks would be to start making/selling book/paper scented candles to burn when reading so you can elevate the ambiance of the moment.

In related news, and my last bit of writing… Finally... Crowdsourcing your tech support needs. It is something that I've done more and more often over the last few years. In addition to all the sites mentioned in the article I would like to applaud the advent of YouTube and the helpful how-to videos have helped immensely as well as being able to use Google to search for help using a short description of the problem. Way cool. Keep it up, internetz!

And now… I go cuddle with CoB. Huzzah!

Posty Post

Dec. 19th, 2008 07:19 pm
semiotic_pirate: (BattlePrincess)
Amish are Ultimate Early Adopters of Solar Energy: Read about it here. Totally not surprising.

Solar Company - Provide Power to 90% of Grid and Cars: Article here.

DOE Report: Wind could power 20% of US Grid: At the very least.


Grid diagram from the article below.

Stanford study: PDF of Stanford study cited in the below article.

Latest study says the electric grid could support far more wind and solar: Yeah baby.

NYT article linked to in above article: First page here.

New theory on why the housing bubble burst: Fingers are being pointed at the Clinton Administration.

Bonuses versus Profits: Where a lot of the money all these now near-bankrupt screwed companies flushed

It's a Pitiful, Dreadful Life: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/movies/19wond.html?em Looking at "It's a Wonderful Life" through a new filter and finding an asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams… that and its prescience on the perils of trusting bankers. In the real world, George would have still faced prosecution and possible prison time. Interesting how the article also points out George's consistent cruelty toward Mary. Interesting take on this Holiday classic.

It's a Narnia Christmas: A very good article about the melange of traditions and myths that are contained in the universe that C.S. Lewis created. Though I have to reiterate that I was so upset when, in the latest movie version, Father Christmas doesn't have any presents for the Beavers… Talk about dehumanization of the talking animal population… The premise of the article, though, reminds me of a scene in the Hogfather - how gods and myths are retooled over the centuries to fit the current needs of society.

Seven Pounds - http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/movies/19seve.html - A flop… I think.

Home Births: An interesting development in the whole childbirth arena. Not surprising considering the ease of catching a deadly disease or infection in most hospitals these days.

Finally: three articles about your closest relative: chimpanzees and bonobos:

One

Two

Three
semiotic_pirate: (foamy french fry assault)


Antidythera rebuilt by a British museum curator! I think CoB and I watched the history channel about this thing at some point not too long ago. And, in actuality, the article reports lower down that the rebuilder, Michael Wright, is a former curator at the Science Museum in London. Maybe he got a little obsessed with recreating the gadget?

Meanwhile… why do I think they should've covered the "solar hybrid" prototype in photovoltaics instead of just the roof? The "PV Prius" (and "PV Highlander") would only get a solar-power range of *gasp* 5-8 miles. Waste. Of. Effort. It is a kit, put out by Solar Electric Vehicles for $3,500, and the company openly admits that "the kit will probably appeal only to hard-core greenies." Expected cut in CO2 emissions - over the LIFETIME of the vehicle is around 9,000 lbs.

An insightful melange of comments posted for the article state: Read more... )
Elsewhere…

Bush Shoe-Toss Immortalized in Games and Animations - including a Matrix like animation where Bushneo bends over backwards to avoid the oncoming shoes. There's purportedly a WoW version, LOLcats and lots of other animated GIFs below the article on Wired. I am particularly fond of the Three Stooges clip.



Sock and Awe lets you toss shoes at the Prez. Sure to be popular with millions.

Meanwhile, al-Zeidi, a journalist based in Cairo, Egypt, is well on his way to becoming the international hero of Bush haters. A Facebook group dedicated to al-Zaidi — who capped his shoe-toss with the soon-to-be-immortal words, "This is your farewell kiss, you dog!" — already shows hundreds of fans.

However, that self-same Iraqi journalist is facing up to seven years in prison for his actions.

Durgham al-Zaidi (the man's brother) said Muntazer had been taken to Ibn Sina hospital in the heavily fortified Green Zone after being badly beaten by security guards and suffering a broken arm and ribs, as well as injuries to an eye and a leg. It is unknown at this time (and, really it doesn't matter because police abuse is police abuse) whether the injuries were sustained while being overpowered during Sunday's protest or after his arrest (when it is reported that he was interrogated by Iraqi officials).

More here.

In other news:

"I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system," Bush told CNN television, saying he had made the decision "to make sure the economy doesn't collapse."

*headdesk*


Oh, and Mr. Bush better not grant this pardon request.

Is anyone out there surprised with the news that the CIA is full of MASSIVE FAIL? This is beyond blue screen proportions people.

Bad Reuters… The following pun would have been better if they had just said "to pay" properly and let us snicker at the implied word play rather than bludgeon us like we are idiots who would not get the pun without the flashing red arrow pointing at the wig-snatching offending word.

And, yet another reason I'm glad I never made the move to Facebook - which dropped $13MM… And what is this "informal market" where public investors can buy stock from employees? Wake up SEC, why are you allowing this workaround to the "free-market" system?

In closing:

Scientists say they now have unambiguous evidence that the warming in the Arctic is accelerating.

That's right….


That's pretty unambiguous, isn't it?

See also this article for further global warming insanity.

It wasn't a pyramid scheme, Mr. Gallacher, it was a ponzi scheme. Do your research people.

Oh! Ancient City Unearthed in Peru… which shows evidence of human sacrifice. Yipes! Maybe when Antarctica is finally unearthed from the melthing ice we will find a bunch of ancient cities there too. Because, you know, it is pretty much the same as if we were down there actively digging down through the ice to get to the ground. That, and we will end up having to live in what is now polar regions, as far away from the super-hot equator as possible, in order to survive in the future.


--------------------

Now... I am being tortured with Jerry Seinfeld episodes. But there is a bright light on the horizon - there's a NEW holiday Muppet movie on NBC tonight that I'm looking forward to. Yay!
semiotic_pirate: (Juicy Oranges)
Went to a training seminar today - it was a lot of fun. I'll write it up in a separate post at a later date because I'm pretty tired right now. Gah. And it is only almost 6 pm too... Too many early mornings to be able to feel like staying up late anymore.

One of the highlights was being able to go into the Old Sturbridge Village gift shop and pick up this book while waiting for my carpool passenger to get out of the last session. It is called The Concise Guide to Self-Sufficiency and it is a most amazing find IMHO. I've only read through part of the introduction, the TOC and I am impressed, highly impressed.



I love the way amazon.com allows you to look inside the books.

It caught my eye especially because of having been doing research in the same vein for a while and my recent discovery of a collection of house plans under 1000 square feet. I even found a favorite design already. Well, a starting point for a design at least.

And, maybe because I have a fascination with built-in and concealable furniture, I really like Murphy beds and bookcase doors and strange, appealing, convertible furniture... Although, I probably wouldn't go this far even if I appreciate the idea. However, I'd probably jump at the chance to have a Yin Yang Kitchen.

Choice

Oct. 15th, 2008 07:52 pm
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
A quote of a quote from a live-journal that shall remain nameless out of respect for [livejournal.com profile] ginmar because, although I wish to comment on this, I don't want to garner this nameless user more attention.



“When a female determines she is pregnant, she has the freedom to decide if she has the maturity level to undertake the responsibilities of motherhood, if she is financially able to support a child, if she is at a place in her career to take the time to have a child, or if she has other concerns precluding her from carrying the child to term. After weighing her options, the female may choose abortion. Once she aborts the fetus, the female's interests in and obligations to the child are terminated. In stark contrast, the unwed father has no options. His responsibilities to the child begin at conception and can only be terminated with the female's decision to abort the fetus or with the mother's decision to give the child up for adoption. Thus, he must rely on the decisions of the female to determine his future. The putative father does not have the luxury, after the fact of conception, to decide that he is not ready for fatherhood. Unlike the female, he has no escape route”.


This was found in a commentary on "female privilege" which was quite, quite misguided. Most of the list and commentary actually appeared to be coming from a recently divorced man who maybe liked to beat on his now-ex-wife. Yeah. I love, also, how the quoted text above calls the woman a female, in the way a scientist studying animal behavior would, especially when she deigns not to become "humanized" by becoming a mother. Whereas the man is referred immediately as a father, and one which is to immediately also to be seen as a helpless victim.

What about the decision to... Hrm... not have procreative sex? Seriously. If this pregnancy occurs outside of a relationship that, between the two parties, has decided that if a pregnancy were to occur what they would do about that pregnancy (to welcome it or not) then it is indeed the woman's choice. Because outside of those circumstances, the man is making no promises, and the woman is not looking for any, of the joint responsibility of child rearing. Hence, therefore, the decision would be the woman's. Yes. That is me saying that if a man allows his sperm to leave his body into that of a woman without having provided a pregnancy-friendly agreement with said woman then he has no right to say what occurs to that sperm once it does leave his body. That includes her choosing to continue with said pregnancy and expecting help or refusing help - it is her choice.

Any arguments otherwise?
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
Sparked off of a recent post by [livejournal.com profile] crabbyolbastard I decided to start doing some digging. Being a person who has been personally affected by someone close who chose suicide over life, I wanted to make a go of understanding the mind-set of a person contemplating suicide. I realize that it is highly influenced by the societal, cultural, and religious underpinnings to each individual situation... But I also wanted to explore what was out there.

As a recovered Catholic, and especially after watching Religulous at the theater the other day, I don't need anyone pouncing about the sacredness of every life and how suicide is a sin, etc. Who wrote the Bible and every other "holy" book out there? Men. Not mankind either - men. For Christian doctrine has by and large held that suicide is morally wrong, despite the fact that no passage in Scripture unequivocally condemns suicide. Didn't Christ commit suicide? What he did is very reminiscent to what we refer to today as suicide by cop. Was that going a bit too far? Anyway.... on with the discussion on suicide.

I did a Google search for suicide rationale because when I used reason for suicide I got a bunch of speculation about suicide bombers, suicide terrorists, etc.

I found this interesting treatise on rational suicide that seems to have been published in the Washington Post back in 2004. The whole rationale behind this movement (pun intended) reminded me of an episode of Star Trek TNG, Half a Life where Lwaxana Troi falls in love with an (alien, yet humanoid species) scientist who is due to commit ritual suicide.

This article from Stanford University is also pretty interesting. The very long article addresses a gamut of questions and indeed begins by stating: For philosophers, suicide raises a host of conceptual, theological, moral, and psychological questions. Among these questions are: What makes a person's behavior suicidal? What motivates such behavior? Is suicide morally permissible, or even morally required in some extraordinary circumstances? Is suicidal behavior rational? Okay, I had to resort to skimming after a while, it is a very, very long article. The only thing lacking is that it focuses specifically on western, Christian philosophy. Even though some of that is obviously based upon ancient, classical (Greek) thought, it is at its heart, ethnocentric.

There's this article about a documentary from 2005 about a man named Stearn who, with a series of fatal diseases & conditions brewing in his body, when he committed suicide coined a term, self-made death, where death by your own hand is made out to be a choice like any other in life.

If people are legally allowed to put a Do Not Resuscitate order in place, (not that they are always followed) create Living Wills that delineate what they want (which are sometimes ignored) - why can't they choose death? Would the people who insist on denying people who choose DNR or who order via Living Will that they do not want to ever exist on life support in turn to be accused of being selfish in prolonging the suffering of an individual? Death With Dignity is described in the latter portion of this article.

There is The Hemlock Society - which in the United States (which can't understand the Socrates/Plato reference) is called Compassion and Choices and Death With Dignity as resources about End-of-Life situations and decisions.

This wikipedia article has some non-western, cultural opinions of suicide. New to me terms: Shame suicide, Heroic suicide (though I have read of examples of both, this is the first time I'd heard it called this.) A wiki on the philosophical views of suicide. Antoher on religious views. More on the "right to die" movement.

Hrm. Interesting: "Philosophical thinking in the 19th and 20th century has led, in some cases, beyond thinking in terms of pro-choice, to the point that suicide is no longer a last resort, or even something that one must justify, but something that one must justify not doing. Many forms of Existentialist thinking essentially begin with the premise that life is objectively meaningless, and proceed to the question of why one should not just kill oneself; they then answer this question by suggesting that the individual has the power to give personal meaning to life."

I am undecided. About whether I can accept another person's suicide as a rational act. I don't deny people the choice to lead, or end, their own life, as long as they do not harm another in their actions or inactions.

In my particular case; Yes, I grieved. Yes, I was angry. Yes, I thought for a very long time that they had taken "the easy way out" of life and were cowardly in self-annihilation. They couldn't cope with a situation that life didn't prepare them for. Just because I was able to live through it, and then their suicide, doesn't mean another would or could. I can't say I understand entirely, but I've made my peace with it.

Posty Post

Oct. 3rd, 2008 04:05 pm
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Plant Tweak Could Let Toxic Soil Feed Millions - an article about detoxifying the affect poisonous aluminum has on crops.

Follow that up by reading this article: Tweak Human Behavior to Fix the Economy

A podcast about The Living Roof. From native species to natural air conditioning and motion detectors, this roof combines beauty, symbolism, utility and science.



The Honda Insight is planning on Bringing Hybrids to the Masses by moving its starting price down to $18,500 - and no more than $20,000 - when it rolls into showrooms next spring. Toyota Prius is said to be starting at $22,000. Wasn't it around $40,000 not too long ago?

An interview with the writers of the new Star Trek film with Wired in Star Trek Writers Brace for Impact. At least they're both long-time fans.

GeekDads and Homeschooling Moms are participating in a 100 Species Challenge; here's an article titled
Alien Pods in Our Neighborhood, or The 100-Species Challenge. After reading the rules of the game why don't you all join in and do like some (other) people who are posting the results of their (parent-child) search. That link is also where people are going to report that they are accepting the challenge. It is all very interesting.



Another post by Wired's geekdad tells about (and has super cool pictures) of More Geeky Cakes Than You Can Shake A Stick At. Top of the page pictures reveal a Death Star birthday cake that made me think of [livejournal.com profile] kadath and an exact (if not full sized) replica of the Star Trek TOS bridge out of cakey goodness bits which made me think fondly of [livejournal.com profile] crabbyolbastard. Warning - "Whoever made it wasn't a real classic Trek fan. They've got Scotty next to Sulu (where's Chekov?) and Uhura's totally on the wrong side (at Engineering rather than Communications)!"



Want a better look at those cakes and all the others? Go here. There's a Jabba, R2D2 and the Millennium Falcon! Look at that smirk on Kirk's face! I can… almost hear him… talking…

GeekDad kindly links to what may become an addiction for some: the Ace of Cakes, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10pm/9c on the Food Network. If you follow the link - you will see some cake creation - of a (Hawaiian) VOLCANO! Cake. Umm. Anyone who's been to the Rain Forest Café knows where I'm going with that exclamation. Never mind Magnum P.I. and the Brady Bunch Goes to Hawaii. Kind of me not to include links there, huh?

For those of you wondering about what to do about the possibility of portable, dirty bombs, know that there exists mobile, networked radiation detectors that help the law find dirty bombs. Question is: Is the network secure? Oh, and physical security? Nil. Since they decided to use a photo of the vehicle for the article where not only can you deduce the make and model… They show the freaking PLATE! California plate 4WJE669 to be exact. What kind of idiots are these people. Oh wait, it gets better. Second sentence of the article: "A mobile, and wirelessly networked, radiation detector jammed into the trunk of a Chevy Suburban called the Rad Truck." Albeit, it is a test vehicle for Testosterone Defense Systems… but they also identify and show a picture of the nuclear chemist who developed the thing (Howard Hall, from Livermore) who could… What? Be kidnapped? Compromised? Mkay. Nice.

OT: The pictures of the laser test systems on Textron Defense remind me of Prickly Pete, an old friend of mine. Hi Prickly Pete!

Oh… and I guess we don't have to worry too much, if we consider that terrorists are highly ineffective.

And if the credit and financial market situation isn't scary enough for you: Bush Administration May Open Its Wallet for Amtrak. Well, it may be federal funding plans, but at least it is for something useful. Infrastructure improvement for mass transit. First two paragraphs go as follows:

"We're not sure what happened. Maybe George Bush swung by the Tiger Mart one day for some Cheetos and noticed that gas is $3.50 a gallon. Maybe Cheney freaked out when he found out how much it would cost to gas up the F-150. Whatever it was, it must have been a big deal, because suddenly the Bush administration is willing to spend some money on rail.

Bush plans to sign legislation that will double Amtrak funding to $13 billion over the next half decade. It's an about face for an administration that's been committed to whittling away Amtrak's budget and replacing it with "private sector funding," the Bush/Cheney answer to everything but defense spending. Democrats aren't fans of this idea, and the Senate passed the funding bill, which also requires that Amtrak and other rail companies equip their trains with collision avoidance technology, by a 74-24 vote."


This is interesting. I was at a conference yesterday about the future of timber resources with respect to timber production, primary usage decrease, biomass potential and increasing demand, etc. It was a wonderful event with six different speakers from a wide array of perspective, state and local agencies, and industry. I, unlike most of the (large group that included many top people from my company, including my food chain and the CEO) rest, asked a lot of pertinent questions. One of those questions was about the possibility of utilizing more rail services for timber and timber-product transportation as the price of diesel continues to rise. This was partly brought out when the speakers were mostly concentrating on the trucking industry effect on the timber industry. There's supply, there's demand… but it is the how it gets between the two that is one of the limiting factors of growth. That and the fact that loggers aren't quite ready to cut just for biomass, regardless of the increasing demand… doesn't pay enough. I asked questions about the links between integrated harvesting techniques and the new, biomodeled (my word, which they then parroted) mechanized machinery and how that impact of new technology and techniques is going to recreate a strong market for small, nimble, modular, mobile mills and production manufacturers. Those ones had a doozy of an effect on the room and it was heartening to hear the speakers refer back to my various questions and the points they rose during the rest of the day. Yes. Mightily pleased is this accountancy pirate. Yaaar!

And now? Off to see Religulous!
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] ginmar's discussion about the book Twilight, [livejournal.com profile] saoba said:

Twilight is Romantick, artificial romance with all that icky person-hood removed from the female. And it sucks.

Romantic, on the other hand involves awareness.

Romantic is remembering what day the trash goes out and not making a big deal about it. Romantic is calling when you know she's going to be on her way home from a rough meeting or appointment to ask how it went. Romantic is telling your boss you need to leave early to do laundry for a business trip and seriously not getting it when a co-worker asks if your partner can't just do it for you because you've never thought it was someone else's job to keep track of whether or not you have clean shorts. Romantic is getting the on-call schedule swapped so you aren't on-call the week of her birthday without being prompted. Romantic is taking 30 minutes out of a 14 hour day at work to swing by the store and drop off more juice and soup for your partner who is coming down with a cold.

The Twilight stick figure character wouldn't know romantic if it ws dropped on him from a great height- nor would his lust object.


Statement: The rest of the post is a jumble of emails I sent to myself from work with an idea of posting... running backwards in time over the last few days. So if it seems jumbled... Er, yeah, it is supposed to seem that way because it is an assortment of unassociated emails.

------------------------------

Ode to the C-words - Bank Director (Magazine) 1Q2003: Here; it is rather prophetic in a doom shall fall upon us if we don't change the way we do things kind of way... (why do we never learn?)

Great article from Wired about rewilding the world.

----------------------------------------------

I am contemplating using the pro version of this software to improve my efficiency. Neato for multi screen users. It's already been quite helpful.

To more expensive hard-core geek hardware… Like when they say pot is a gateway drug, Peek is a gateway device. Used to lure unsuspecting people into the use of mobile devices. First you get this to check your email occasionally, then you upgrade to the harder stuff so you can browse the web, do Google searches, read the news, make phone calls, listen to music, sync and check your calendar, find your way around town, take pictures, text, chat, blog… the list is endless.

Wall Street Journal review here.



Hell… I am actually contemplating getting this for CoB's Mom for Christmas. What do you think? Twenty a month isn't bad, compared to cell phone rates. If you communicate better in the written word rather than the spoken? This is an excellent option. Grapevine says wait until the second generation version comes out in November.

The New York Times' article is titled Nontechies, This One's for You. HA!

Mobile Devices Today mentions that this product is being aimed at a different demographic than your typical uber-gadget-geek.

A review on Wired by the Luddite had this to say (in its first paragraph):

"Sometimes, Freud said, a cigar is just a cigar. In an industry that offers an endless supply of tarted-up gadgetry as phallic substitutes for Freud's cigar, the Peek handheld represents a refreshing, if puzzling, exception to the rule that says, the more crap you can cram into a small device, the better."

Speaking of the Luddite: I love his reference to the Speaker's Corner

Sent to myself with a subject line "More techie goodness" was this article.

-----------------------------------

Campbell's FFA Donations made by clicking on the Red Barn

Starting September 29, you can visit this site and click on the red barn to help support the future of American farming. Each time that you click the red barn, Campbell Soup Company will donate $1* to the National FFA Organization, which is dedicated to developing our future leaders through agricultural education.

---------------------------------

Note to self, upload one of the rat icons to use for this post:

Using this interactive graphic, test your intuitive number sense. After taking the test 25 times to get the "good estimate" they mention, I was correct 92% of the time, much higher than the 75% average of most adults. Cool. If you intend to take the test, realize that it is conducted on Adobe Flash, emphasis on the flash. The test is a series of slides with varying numbers of yellow and blue dots flashed on a screen for 200 milliseconds each — barely as long as an eye blink. You are given less than a second to assess the situation. Capish? Reminds me of a scene from The Fifth Element where Bruce Willis's character peeps around the corner onto the bridge and correctly determines how many of the aliens are and where they are positioned around the room. The related article can be found here, though for the link averse I have it below the cut. One excerpt: "One research team has found that how readily people rally their approximate number sense is linked over time to success in even the most advanced and abstruse mathematics courses…" tests are showing that "your evolutionarily endowed sense of approximation is related to how good you are at formal math." That must be the explanation for my string of A grades in calculus...

Here there was to be a screen capture of the results I refer to above... No dice, it didn't come through.

Read more... )

If you do follow the link to the test, let me know what you get as a score!

----------------------------------

This is a great article about how you can get "smoker's mouth" from drinking constantly out of sport's top bottles, camel-backs, and from straws constantly throughout the day for, um, years.

Interesting website that attempts to address the seemingly limitless source of scams out there about electronic gadget bait and switch sites.

A great NPR story... about what? I have no idea now - follow the link and let me know!

The Locust Principle: Described here.

Pirate Week - link inside article to a cool pirate story.

Hybrids & Motorcycle Rally (American made only).

Run Mac OS X on and Eee PC.

Effects of fearmongering? More political conservatives.

Yay! DarkMarket goes dark. I love me my white hat hackers but don't really appreciate the malicious types.

The origination of the emoticon - send to Steve (with a LOL): http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/09/dayintech_0919
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
First, I would like to start out saying that I have finally gotten the chance to start reading the news again in earnest. So far, all of the articles that I'll be either posting below or linking to are from the New York Times. They publish a lot of the stuff that I consider thought provoking even though I know I must keep in mind the fact that depending one source of news can lead to a myopic view of the world.

That said, let us get on to the articles, commentaries, and (hopefully) conversations.

-------------------------

My favorite part of the following article is the bit about 401K plans and the importance of employer matching contributions. Calling those contributions "in effect, an instant 50 or 100 percent “return” on your savings" and "Consider this an optional raise. Turning it down would be a real shame. Nor will it cost you as much as you think. Saving 3 percent out of an annual salary of $36,000 amounts to roughly $20 a week." which made me go make a calculation: $2,750. Nice. I am surprised that he didn't mention the possibility of more of the benefits package premiums being taken out pre-tax. It made me appreciate even more what I know to be a very well set-up and extremely generous benefits package. As Crush would say: Righteous!



June 14, 2008
Your Money
A Primer for Young People Starting Their First Job
By RON LIEBER

To the hundreds of thousands of young people who have landed entry-level jobs that come with health insurance and a retirement plan, I offer my congratulations. Things are tough out there right now, so you must be doing something right.

To the employers who are about to put them to work, however, I urge you to take another look at the pile of employee manuals that detail all your fabulous benefits. They’re boring. They’re confusing. And they start in the middle instead of defining things from the beginning.
Read more... )
----------------------------------

This also makes me very thankful that life has turned out the way it has and that I came out of college as a "returning adult student" who has a completely different situation than the typical graduate. I have CoB - that is the most important of the differences (he's my rock) - and I already have a wealth of experience in the "Work Force" (as the Pitt of Hell would call it).

Another resource that I think might've been a good addition to the article would have been a link to the Motley Fool personal investment and retirement sections.

On another note - which may also be applicable to recent graduates - is this amazing, and very long article about the concept of "shared-care-parenting" where the model for relationships and parenting styles morphs into a form where the couple "would create their own model, one in which they were parenting partners. Equals and peers. They would work equal hours, spend equal time with their children, take equal responsibility for their home. Neither would be the keeper of the mental to-do lists; neither of their careers would take precedence." This is IMHO one of the primary reasons that the women's movement was created. In actuality, this whole situation seems to epitomize the ideals that the women's movement was founded on. The only caveat is that the article (I am assuming, I haven't read it in its entirety yet) doesn't address those couples (regardless of gender or sex, pairings or groupings) who decide not to have children but who also embrace the relationship of equals standard.

This is an article that I had mentioned to a coworker the other day (oooh, I love being able to say that) after being told that the company considers annual leave a mandatory event. They must have done their own research, or just used common sense. Just like the reason they based their decision on getting the dual monitor set up for their credit analysts, it results in an increase in productivity and happiness in the workplace environment. So here's to increasing evidence of the importance of the "respite effect" - which does not involve butterflies causing tornadoes, hurricanes, or any other form of natural disaster.

June 7, 2008
Shortcuts

Vacations Are Good for You, Medically Speaking
By ALINA TUGEND
Read more... )vacations are not simply a luxury. There is increasing evidence that they really are necessary for good health.
Read more... )

---------------------------------

This article got me to thinking just how scary, end of the world like scary, a McCain presidency could be. It also made me think of the need for a change in POW training. You could be given two options as to how you would act in the situation: 1) Name, rank, serial number, silence. Refusal to cooperate. Stoic. and 2) Cooperate in some ways and covertly gather information so that when you are released you can then brief your superiors about what you learned. and finally, an option only the masochistic will choose 3) Bitterly resist and taunt your captors so that you are tortured night to death, hoping that while you are enduring this crap you are increasing the morale of the men and women who have to hear you scream through the night during those "sessions" with the torturer.

I have listened to many stories and watched many television shows and movies about different POW situations, and I say the above with the utmost respect to any who have had to endure a brutal hostage situation. We can not all be John McClain's nor should we be expected to. And I think McCain's 'veiled' hints of brainwashing as training rather than teaching different methods according to disposition is appalling. I'm not surprised that many parents across the nation are considering the different ways they can get their children out of the country to safety if another draft is initiated. Hell, and those adults, too, who are now affected by the increased age limit that was slipped in a while back. *Nods to CoB* (If this article becomes unavailable, I do have it saved as a PDF.)

That article has direct bearing on the two Op-Ed article that I found at the same time. One is about the rumors being spread by the neocon talking heads concerning Senator Clinton's supporter being bitter, angry bitches and taking a stereotypical self-defeating revenge upon the Senator Obama candidacy by planning on voting for McCain... The other is an article detailing how by electing Senator Obama, we as women would be making strides toward gender equality. Because he refuses to conform (or contort) himself into an image of the macho-manly-man stereotype in order to be seen as electable.


June 15, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Angry Clinton Women ♥ McCain?
By FRANK RICH

TEN years ago John McCain had to apologize for regaling a Republican audience with a crude sexual joke about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno. Last year he had to explain why he didn’t so much as flinch when a supporter asked him on camera, “How do we beat the bitch?” But these days Mr. McCain just loves the women.
Read more... )

------------

June 15, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

Think the Gender War Is Over? Think Again
By SUSAN FALUDI

San Francisco

FOR months, our political punditry foresaw one, and only one, prospective gender contest looming in the general election: between the first serious female presidential candidate and the Republican male “warrior.” But those who were dreading a plebiscite on sexual politics shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Hillary Clinton may be out of the race, but a Barack Obama versus John McCain match-up still has the makings of an epic American gender showdown.

The reason is a gender ethic that has guided American politics since the age of Andrew Jackson. The sentiment was succinctly expressed in a massive marble statue that stood on the steps of the United States Capitol from 1853 to 1958. Named “The Rescue,” but more commonly known as “Daniel Boone Protects His Family,” the monument featured a gigantic white pioneer in a buckskin coat holding a nearly naked Indian in a death’s grip, while off to the side a frail white woman crouched over her infant.

The question asked by this American Sphinx to all who dared enter the halls of leadership was, “Are you man enough?” This year, Senator Obama has notably refused to give the traditional answer.

The particulars of that masculine myth were established early in American politics. Read more... )
---------------------------------

Progress is measured in small steps not big leaps. And another measure of progress for humanity (notice I did not say women, because the shaping of our society is made up by all members of our species) is the story of how rape is slowly becoming a more important issue on the global stage than pirated DVDs. At least for some of us... Finally.

Warning - content may be triggering.

June 15, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Weapon of Rape
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

World leaders fight terrorism all the time, with summit meetings and sound bites and security initiatives. But they have studiously ignored one of the most common and brutal varieties of terrorism in the world today.

This is a kind of terrorism that disproportionately targets children. It involves not W.M.D. but simply AK-47s, machetes and pointed sticks. It is mass rape — and it will be elevated, belatedly, to a spot on the international agenda this week.
Read more... )
Painfully slowly, the United Nations and its member states seem to be recognizing the fact that systematic mass rape is at least as much an international outrage as, say, pirated DVDs. Yet China and Russia are resisting any new reporting mechanism for sexual violence, seeing such rapes as tragic but simply a criminal matter.

On the contrary, systematic rape has properly been found by international tribunals to constitute a crime against humanity, and it thrives in part because the world shrugs. The U.N. could do far more to provide health services to victims of mass rape and to insist that peacekeepers at least try to stop it.
Read more... )
--------------------------------------


On a slightly lighter note (compared to the previous article): Whoever says that "Freedom Isn't Free" should take a page out of the new book internet providers are trying to write. In which they are running test programs to see how receptive people are to getting metered internet access.

“As soon as you put serious uncertainty as to cost on the table, people’s feeling of freedom to predict cost dries up and so does innovation and trying new applications,” Vint Cerf, the chief Internet evangelist for Google who is often called the “father of the Internet,” said in an e-mail message.

The companies who are proponents of the caps say that their actions are only fair and are using this as an end run on those who engage in file-sharing. Yeah. I wonder if RIAA is sponsoring any of these ideas? With all of the online content that is being pushed on consumers, there is no way any of THOSE companies will allow the ISPs to start this crap. Because it would limit people's interest and usage of the internet. Because when it comes down to brass tacks, the people who are band-width hogs are far outweighed by the people who just use the internet to check their email and browse the internet for information. Even now, with usage rates going up because of more content offering live, buffered feed of their favorite show... Well. They aren't going to offer DOWNLOADS because then they can't control their product. Sheesh. Maybe the content providers should be the one paying the ISPs for clogging the lines?

Note: I started this post at around 8 AM, took off for a Father's Day brunch, went to see the Hulk, and am now finally finishing up the final touches. It's been quite a day. So, please, talk amongst yourselves if you have to here because I may be going to bed early tonight.

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