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We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of mankind.


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From User: Decius

If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people's vanity and foolishness.
--Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus p151

The Facts (and Fiction) of Tornadoes -
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:28 pm EDT, May 26, 2011

How bad has this year’s tornado season been, relative to other years?

A: Extraordinarily bad, even by historical standards.

Great article! More highlights:

The [2011] death toll, now at more than 480, is the highest since 1953, when an outbreak of twisters across the Midwest and the Northeast claimed 519 lives.


The tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, with its death toll now standing at 122, is the deadliest since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records in 1950.


In 1995, researchers at the University of Oklahoma wanted to study the pattern of debris carried long distances by tornadoes...Most of the objects landed fairly close, 15 to 20 miles from where they started. A few traveled more than 60 miles. The farthest an object traveled was more than 150 miles.


Normally, forecasters can place a tornado within about five miles of its touchdown point, Mr. Ferree said.


People who live in trailers or mobile homes are 15 times as likely as those in permanent housing to be killed by tornadoes.


While there has been some debate about whether it is safe to remain in a car — one study in 2002 suggested it might at least be safer than remaining in a mobile home — most experts say that it is practically impossible to outrun a tornado and that remaining in a car is dangerous. It is best to get out and seek shelter — in the basement of a building, if possible, or in a ditch or other low-lying area away from trees. Experts say that the idea that huddling under a highway overpass will provide a measure of safety is also false. The high winds can just as easily blow under the overpass as over it.


The Facts (and Fiction) of Tornadoes -

Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:56 pm EST, Dec  9, 2010

I've changed by profile picture to support EFF's anti-censorship campaign, and I have donated $100 to their cause. This is a protest and I urge you to participate. We are protesting the use of political pressure by American politicians to shut down a website.

If you believe in due process of law and the right to freedom of expression you should join us in taking a stand. It is important that we take a stand right now.

It doesn't matter whether or not you support what Wikileaks is doing. If I were handed such a rich trove of private information I might have moral qualms about dumping the whole thing on the Internet. That is totally irrelevant.

In the United States of America we are a country of laws. If Wikileaks has violated a law than the appropriate way to respond to that is through the use of the legal system. In fact, like it or not, it is most likely the case that Wikileaks has not violated the law. Therefore, senior politicians in this country have taken it upon themselves to use their personal influence to shut the website down, and a number of corporations, large and small, have obliged them.

In a free country with a strong legal system and a tradition of upholding the right to freedom of speech, this sort of thing is not acceptable. Life, liberty, and property should only be taken away through due process of law and not simply because some powerful people desire it and present thin arguments in favor of it.

As The Internet Society recently stated in their newsletter:

[Wikileaks] must be subject to the same laws and policies of availability as all Internet sites. Free expression should not be restricted by governmental or private controls over computer hardware or software, telecommunications infrastructure, or other essential components of the Internet.

Unless and until appropriate laws are brought to bear to take the domain down legally, technical solutions should be sought to reestablish its proper presence...

Anger about these events runs deep. Right now, many of the companies who assisted in cutting off Wikileaks have been subjected to distributed denial of service attacks. While I share the anger of those who are launching these attacks, I cannot condon... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Taking a principled stand on Wikileaks

If you can't beat a dead horse, join him.
Topic: Business 1:32 pm EDT, Oct 14, 2010

“According to the RIAA, the Pirate Bay has stolen about 46 times more dollars than actually exist on Earth.”

If you can't beat a dead horse, join him.

American Red Cross: Haiti donations
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:44 am EST, Jan 14, 2010

You can help the victims of countless crises, like the recent earthquake in Haiti, around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need.

The death toll is estimated at 100,000, and they haven't even begun cleanup. Donate now, donate anything.


American Red Cross: Haiti donations

xkcd - A Webcomic - Nachos - HOSTED BY GEOCITIES
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:45 am EDT, Oct 26, 2009

Don't miss XKCD's temporary redesign to commemorate the end of GeoCities. Such fond memories of the mid-90's...

Holy shit, that takes me back. Good times, good times.


xkcd - A Webcomic - Nachos - HOSTED BY GEOCITIES

RE: Healthcare "debate"
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:43 pm EDT, Aug 18, 2009


Slate looks at how Obama can kill the death panel rumors.

PolitiFact debunks each fabrication of the crazies point-by-point.

The Kaiser Family Foundation compares each proposal side-by-side.

What a breath of fresh air after all the pollution of the town hall meetings!


RE: Healthcare "debate"

Why the Doninger decision is dangerous and Sotomayor must not be confirmed.
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:50 pm EDT, May 29, 2009

This post links to the Doninger decision, joined by Obama Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor. I think its a very dangerous decision that represents a view of the Constitution which runs counter to its intent.

Great post! You perfectly explain the case, results, and ramifications. All I learned about laws and legal jargon I got from Law and Order, so needless to say there are some deficiencies in my education. :-)

Hey, have you seen this case of her's? Seems there are also concerns about her persuasiveness.


Why the Doninger decision is dangerous and Sotomayor must not be confirmed.

How the financial collapse killed libertarianism. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:58 pm EDT, Oct 21, 2008

Those outside of government at places like the Cato Institute and Reason magazine are just as consistent in their opposition to government bailouts as to the kind of regulation that might have prevented one from being necessary. "Let failed banks fail" is the purist line. This approach would deliver a wonderful lesson in personal responsibility, creating thousands of new jobs in the soup-kitchen and food-pantry industries.

-janelane, personally irresponsible

How the financial collapse killed libertarianism. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine

10 Most Amazing Ghost Towns
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:02 pm EDT, Jul 23, 2008

As no repairs have been carried out for 34 years, all of the buildings are slowly falling apart. Nature is reclaiming the area, as metal corrodes, windows break, and plants work their roots into the walls and pavements.

Fascinating! Interesting that people will loot even under the threat of nuclear contamination.

Reminds me of two great books on the subject. :-)


10 Most Amazing Ghost Towns

Muppet Patriotism
Topic: Arts 12:57 pm EDT, Jul  2, 2008

Muppets rule.

Muppet Patriotism

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