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


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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

Atlanta weightlifter's plight over Islamic attire gets international attention �|
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:56 am EDT, Jun 10, 2011

"No athlete should be forced to choose between faith and sport," CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in a letter to USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun. "Muslim women seek to participate in all aspects of American society, including sporting activities, and should not face artificial and arbitrary barriers to that participation."

Ironic that the hajib can be viewed in exactly these same terms.


Atlanta weightlifter's plight over Islamic attire gets international attention �|

Cellphones aren't a cancer threat. Why do people always freak out about it? - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:16 am EDT, Jun  3, 2011

When it comes to cancer, you likely face more danger going out into the sun than you do on a cellphone.

This reminds me of my now ex-eye doctor. Every time I saw him, he warned me to contact him if I ever saw flashes of light which weren't actually there. "It's a symptom of a detached retina," he said. When I pressed him, he'd said he'd only seen one in his entire 20-year career, in a third-world prostitute who'd recently been beaten up. So what is my actual risk of developing a detached retina? Well, my lifetime risk of breast cancer is 2,300 times higher than my risk of a detached retina, and that's considering that I'm 28 now and there's never been a single incidence of breast cancer in my entire family.

So, here's an honest plea from a smart, rational person to a lot of irrational sheep: If we could just ratchet down the hysteria for a minute and pay attention to what's actually important (e.g. wearing sunscreen), I think life for all of us would be measurably better.

-janelane, SPF 15

Cellphones aren't a cancer threat. Why do people always freak out about it? - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

Relax: China’s First Aircraft Carrier is a Piece of Junk | Danger Room |
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:47 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2011

“Our Navy can carry twice as many aircraft at sea as all the rest of the world combined,” outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed out last year.

Really? Then why does...

..."the U.S. Navy [spend] an average of $15 billion a year on new airplanes"


I know we need some planes to patrol the quagmire in the desert, but aren't there about 15 better ways to spend a billion dollars a year (or, not spend, as we seem wont to do)?


Relax: China’s First Aircraft Carrier is a Piece of Junk | Danger Room |

Former WNBA player Dydek dies after heart attack �|
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:36 am EDT, May 27, 2011

The 7-foot-2 Dydek was once said to be the tallest active professional female basketball player in the world.

!!! I wonder if her heart failed because of her size.

-janelane, 5'3"

Former WNBA player Dydek dies after heart attack �|

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 -

Slate's "Choose Your Own Apocalypse"
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:41 pm EDT, May 20, 2011

In honor of the Apocalypse tomorrow, I give you Slate's list of the most likely apocalyptic scenarios with some recommended watching.

6. Abandonment: After a series of devastating attacks, Washington admits it can no longer protect large swaths of the nation. The United States contracts to a smaller core that's easier to defend.

I kind of extrapolate this one to Escape from LA/New York or District B13 (the last is highly recommended and comes at you courtesy of Netflix streaming).

11. Information War: A rogue state, terror organization, or group of malevolent hackers takes down America's infrastructure by infiltrating every system that's controlled by computers: television stations, traffic signals, telecommunications, the stock market, the power grid. As seen in Live Free or Die Hard.

Well, we're all fucked if that's our muse for survival.

"Sir, they're taking our Internets!"
"How many of them?"
"All of them, sir!"

13. Peak Oil: Petroleum production reaches terminal decline. Oil becomes too expensive to extract, and alternative energies can't maintain our fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle. The developed world goes kaput, with gas-happy America leading the way to the gutter.

The Mad Max series goes along way to survival training for when we run out of oil. (That's right, I said "when"!)

18. Obesity: One of the fattest nations in human history keeps getting fatter. An increasingly sedentary society beset by health problems can no longer compete with the world's fitter nations.

I picture the fatties in Wall-E for this one.

21. End of English: Chinese economic power combined with an influx of non-English-speaking immigrants to the United States leads to the decline of anglophone American culture worldwide.

This one is sorta captured in Serenity.

27. Intelligent Design: Creationists succeed in getting evolution pushed out of textbooks. Scientific illiteracy dooms America to second-class status.

No movie comes to mind, but it definitely starts in Texas or Georgia.

33. Drug Boom: Americans turn to advanced, hyper-addictive recreational drugs that are tailored to each individual user's body chemistry. Civilization dies in a drug-induced haze.

Add masturbation theaters and you've settled in a Brave New World.

42. Synthesized Super Virus: In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman suggests one scenario for the end of humanity: "a psychotically obsessed, biochemically trained terrorist creatively splice[s] something together that evolves faster than we develop resistance—maybe by clipping genetic material into the versatile SARS virus, which could spread both sexually and via the air." ... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Slate's "Choose Your Own Apocalypse"

Fearing Industrial Destruction, Researcher Delays Disclosure of New Siemens SCADA Holes | Threat Level |
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:35 pm EDT, May 19, 2011

It was a vulnerability in a PLC belonging to Siemens’ Step7 control system that was the target of the sophisticated Stuxnet worm. Stuxnet was discovered on systems in Iran last year and is believed to have been designed by a nation state aimed at destroying uranium-enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran.

Thanks to Decius trying to educate us environmental engineers, I'm a little closer to understanding how totally fucked Siemens' SCADA is. Thanks, Decius!


Fearing Industrial Destruction, Researcher Delays Disclosure of New Siemens SCADA Holes | Threat Level |

Senator Tom Coburn Withdraws From ‘Gang of Six’ -
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:56 am EDT, May 19, 2011

Yet Mr. Coburn’s involvement was always seen as fragile given his reputation as an independent thinker with little experience at compromise.

Just what you need in a inability to compromise. Perfect...what else?

Colleagues in recent days had wondered whether he would withdraw after a report from the Senate Ethics Committee on the conduct of former Senator John Ensign of Nevada implicated Mr. Coburn, a friend of Mr. Ensign’s, for helping to arrange controversial payments to the husband of Mr. Ensign’s former mistress. One controversy was enough without inviting more by reaching a bipartisan budget deal, the thinking went.

So, this guy and his constituents are such immoral assholes that a budget deal with the evil democrats is seen as just as bad as bald-faced corruption?

Ah, the GOP...where's your lowest low? Just when I think we're there...


Senator Tom Coburn Withdraws From ‘Gang of Six’ -

Ghostly ‘Winged’ Octopus Caught on Camera
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:47 pm EDT, May 10, 2011

Ghostly ‘Winged’ Octopus Caught on Camera



Ghostly ‘Winged’ Octopus Caught on Camera

Stray pit bull attacks 6-year-old boy �|
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:29 am EDT, May 10, 2011

Animal control officers have taken custody of a stray pit bull that attacked a 6-year-old boy in southwest Atlanta Monday, police said.

And this is why I will never refer anyone to Forgotten Paws pet adoption agency in Atlanta. The adoption coordinator had the gall to tell me that pit bulls have an unfair reputation. Neutered, not neutered, male or female, when is it excusable for a "domesticated" animal to attack a tiny and defenseless child?

She also told me I was unfit to rescue one of the 3.7 MILLION animals put to death EVERY YEAR in this country because I didn't have a fenced in yard. Somehow, leashed walks and potty breaks seem like a small price to pay for BEING ALIVE.

Of course, if you want to adopt a dog or cat, I can't really recommend any adoption agency since the coordinators are all similarly insane. Least insane was Second Chance from which we obtained our dog.


Stray pit bull attacks 6-year-old boy �|

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