Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If Atheists Ruled The World

We can dream, can't we? Barring that unlikely eventuality here's the next best thing: dramatic readings of actual text from online Christian fundamentalist forums. Scarily hilarious:

Picture Of The Day

How much cholesterol do you think is in this thing?

A man held up what is alleged to be the largest egg in the world for photographers in London Wednesday. The egg, priced at $7,340, will be sold at the Chelsea Antiques Fair. It was laid in the early 17th century by the now-extinct Great Elephant Bird of Madagascar.

SoS Clinton's Magical Blooper

Secretary of State Clinton made an apparent faux pas during a recent visit to our southern neighbors:

The Catholic News Agency reports that on her recent trip to Mexico, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She left flowers on behalf of the American people.

The Basilica is the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world, and the Lady of Guadalupe is one of the principal symbols of the Mexican nation. The Basilica houses a cloak that belonged to a 16th-century Indian, on which an image of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared. In the intervening years, no scientific explanation of the image has been forthcoming. Among Catholics (and many others), this is one of the most famous of all miracles...

...The Catholic News Agency says that after viewing the cloak, Clinton turned to the priest who was showing her the Basilica and asked, "Who painted it?"

This is one of those stories that seem like it can't possibly be true. Could America's Secretary of State really be ignorant of a central cultural symbol of a country next door? It is as though a foreign minister came to Washington, was shown Stuart's portrait of George Washington, and asked, "Who was he?" It is hard to imagine how Clinton's staff could have prepared her for her visit without making sure she knew the story. So for now, I'm reserving judgment. It will be interesting to see whether CNS's story is confirmed and whether the State Department has any comment.
As stated above, this is an unconfirmed story that only exists for now in the blogosphere but let's say for the sake of argument that it is true. It's admittedly a diplomatic blunder on her part and I agree with the sentiment above that her staff should have made her aware of the paintings significance but the analogy about Stuart's portrait of Washington is a horrible and frankly misleading one.

This situation is much more akin to aliens landing on Earth and asking a fundamentalist Christian how long it took the forces of nature to form our planet. Now you can say that it would be bad form for them to not have known about that person's religious beliefs but would you really blame them for assuming that the Earth wasn't formed in less than a week by an invisible magic man? Again, I'm not saying that this wasn't at least a minor screw up (if it's at all true) but I really don't see how you can criticize her for assuming that the painting had been created in the same manner as pretty much every other piece of art made since we became a species, i.e. by human hands. I'm sure she'll make other mistakes in her time as Secretary of State but let's reserve our criticism for the actually important blunders.

[Update: It turns out that Clinton was asking about a framed reproduction of the relic and not the one supposedly created with pixie dust. That's the word, anyway.]

Kinetic Wave Sculptures

Otherwise known as cool moving art:

Reuben Margolin, a Bay Area visionary and longtime maker, creates totally singular techno-kinetic wave sculptures. Using everything from wood to cardboard to found and salvaged objects, Reubens artwork is diverse, with sculptures ranging from tiny to looming, motorized to hand-cranked. Focusing on natural elements like a discrete water droplet or a powerful ocean eddy, his work is elegant and hypnotic. Also, learn how ocean waves can power our future.
I've posted about kinetic sculptures a few times in the past but these are almost hypnotic in their movements and lightness:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Quote For The Day

"Several months ago my ex-wife (divorced 7 years ago) decided she wanted to modify our child-custody arrangement. She had no basis whatseover to do this. For seven years, I have exercised joint custody responsibly. (More responsibly than she has, I might add.) I have met all my obligations. I am a solid citizen. I adore my children and they love me back. Her lawyers had a plan, however.

They concocted a phony tale (that I threatened her) in order to get me into Court. I came to court without a lawyer because their story was so outrageous that I knew the charges would be thrown out. When I got to Court, they served me with "new" papers which alleged drug abuse and the need for a drug-court intervention. I was summarily sent for a drug test. I tested negative for the real drugs (meth, coke, opiates, etc) but the test revealed traces of marijuana.

I stepped back into court only minutes later to greet a hostile judge who stripped me of all parental rights. As I write this, I have not seen my children in almost three months. Of course I will win back my children eventually, but this has been a bloodbath for the entire family. I was outed by my ex-wife in her efforts to gain a legal advantage and it has worked.

I also know that she did this to hurt me, but something strange has occurred. I suddenly feel the benefits of being out of the closet. It feels good. It feels right. It feels like me. Funny thing about stigma. Stigma is only real if you think it is. Of course, I haven't smoked pot in several months because I have been faced with a choice between my children and my meds. Since New York lacks a medical marijuana statute, I go without the meds. I sleep a couple of hours at a time, usually on the couch. It is after 4:15 AM as I write this. Insomnia anyone?" -A reader at The Daily Dish, on coming out of "The Cannabis Closet"

Neuroses In D

I've definitely had days like this:

Redecorating And Spring Cleaning

As you no doubt noticed when you arrived I've finally decided to make some design changes to keep this place feeling fresh after over a year of continuous blogging. So far it's just been the title header and increased width of the body to better showcase pictures and videos but I'll be making other aesthetic improvements as I teach myself more about graphic design and HTML and free time permits, of course. If you have any thoughts or suggestions I am entirely open to any and all opinions. Hope everyone likes it and as always thanks for taking the time to visit.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quote For The Day

"This morning, the first lady, Michelle Obama, celebrated spring by breaking ground on a new vegetable garden at the White House. She said she did it to help educate children about healthy, locally-grown food, and to help her own family survive the coming economic apocalypse.

Not only is it the first time they have had a vegetable garden since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House, it's also the first time that a hoe has been used at the White House since the Clinton administration." -Jimmy Kimmel

The Flyak

A kayak with hydrofoils. This is an inspired bit of engineering:

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 7

Day 7 of my atonement for missing my sister's birthday ends the week with her flying high above Metropolis whilest fighting for truth, justice and the miniskirt way. I hope you enjoyed this week-long tribute Shannon and I promise not to forget the fact that you continue to age ever again because frankly, these were a lot of damn work! I'm no Photoshopping master by any means so they were fairly time consuming but I did have fun making them and I learned a lot in the process, and isn't that one of the best reasons to do anything creative? Now it's back to the Batcave to reload my artistic utility belt.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Picture Of The Day

Worship him, and bring unto him great tidings of marinara sauce!

March Of Shame

The timeless dance continues:

[Update: On a related note, I think Morgan Freeman should voice every documentary made from now on until he dies of old age. Hopefully by then we'll have a sophisticated enough computer program to take over for him.]

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 6

As we near the end of my atonement for missing my sister's birthday day 6 takes Shannon back in time as sharpshooter Annie Oakley, when women knew how to shoot and (I assume) lived on a diet consisting mostly of whiskey and squirrel meat. I would actually be quite surprised to learn that Shannon has ever fired a gun before but to her credit she has surprised me in the past.

OK sis, there's only one day left: if you have a request send it in now. If not, we're going to be going with an entirely fictional setting for tomorrow's finale.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Quote For The Day

"'Republicans propose a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10 percent and 25 percent for any income thereafter.'

So, Bush/Cheney lowered the top rate from 39.6% to 35%, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and helped create the largest budget deficits in American history. Now, the very same GOP lawmakers want to send the top rate from 35% to 25%, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, all in the name of deficit reduction.

How much would this cost? The "detailed budget" doesn't say. What it would do to the deficit? The "detailed budget" doesn't say. What would Republicans cut to pay for this massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans? The "detailed budget" doesn't say. How much would Republicans raise or spend over all? The "detailed budget" doesn't say." -Steve Benen, The Washington Monthly, on the Republican party's "Road to Recovery" budget proposal released yesterday

Reading From The Script

Really? The Harvard graduate who was the editor of the Harvard Law Review, author of two books and hundreds of speeches delivered across this country and the world can't speak without a TelePrompTer? The fact that the right is even trying to push this blatantly false talking point after the last eight years of Bush tripping over his own made-up vocabulary words would be stunning if I didn't already know their history of such things. Take it, Dave:

Earth View From The International Space Station

Continuing with the space theme by pure coincidence, a look at what you'd see looking out the window of the ISS:

This movie starts out with opening the port shutter in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and then switches with time lapse view to Endeavour's left window looking at the JEM showing one orbital day pass with solar array motion and shadow motion. The solar panels rotate relative to the ISS so that they track the sun. One image taken every 15 seconds and played back at 5 frames per image.
Hell of a view, huh?

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 5

It's day 5 of my atonement for missing my sister's birthday and Shannon has now taken one small step for a woman and one giant leap for womankind. She'll eventually find six old landers up there from the Apollo project of the late 60's and early 70's along with three lunar rovers and a plaque with *shudder* Richard Nixon's signature engraved on it from the first manned landing. Plus she only weighs 1/6 of her normal weight, so it's dehydrated sweets city! Try the moon pies, they're out of this world.

What? You know what? Fuck you guys! It's hard coming up with puns for each of these things. Jerks...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Iron Man vs. Bruce Lee

Because why not, right?

The Science Of Little Red Riding Hood

One of the coolest versions of this fairy tale I've ever seen:

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 4

Day 4 of my atonement for missing my sister Shannon's birthday last week finds her visiting the Taj Mahal in India, which is basically just a big shiny grave for some dead dude's wife. India is famous for having the most college graduates per capita despite having a population of over 1 billion, providing most of America's tech support and being the setting for the backwards, Memento-esque episode of Seinfeld. I also hear that they grill a mean hamburger. Mmm, sacrilicious.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama Hits The AIG Spot

Emanuel's Temple of Doom shtick is great but Biden's crazy, hair-plugging ass steals this entire bit:

Picture Of The Day

Ever wonder what the galactic credits that built both of those Death Stars look like? Well, wonder no more. I guess the slang term for these things would be star bucks, huh? Yeah, yeah, horrible pun, I know.

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 3

So it's day 3 of my atonement for missing my sister Shannon's birthday and the day finds her this time hulaing her brains out in a tropical island paradise, replete with umbrella-adorned drinks, fire-walking natives and boy oh boy, the poi. Save me some roast pig and he mea iki, sis.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tea Parties And The Right's Echo Chamber

This letter from a reader at The Daily Dish accurately sums up exactly what has been wrong with the mindset of those on the right during the last two elections and why I don't foresee the Republican party emerging from their self-imposed wilderness anytime soon:

I think you're underestimating the echo chamber effects on the right. It's not that they've perceived what has gone wrong over the last 8 years, been forced to bottle it up to preserve their hack jobs, and gone nuts as a result. Rather, they did NOT perceive what has gone wrong, but did perceive that their side lost two elections. For years these folks have been exposing themselves only to their own media; any criticism made of Bush by anyone who is vaguely "liberal" is attacked and dismissed.
At best they might find a blog post quoting and criticizing a piece of liberal opinion mediocre enough in its execution to serve as a straw-man, and ignore that liberal's response to it.

So what you have is a conservative movement that spends 8 years dismissing any criticism based on income inequality as socialism, any based on the limitations of military power or blowback as defeatocrat treason, and any based on corruption or incompetence as Bush Derangement Syndrome. Then this movement gets smacked in the face by reality - two straight massive electoral defeats.

Their response to defeat is to attempt to reform their party, but that reform is built around the only criticism of Bush they view as legitimate: that he spent too much money. This is why we have tea parties, and rejection of stimulus, and the obsession with earmarks.

Socialism, defeatism, and BDS: if you've been listening to conservative talk radio or watching any of the commentators on FOX News lately this is exactly what you've been hearing, and you'll continue to hear it over and over and over again because they have nothing else. It's why after crushing defeats in the last two elections the solution arrived at by the party leaders is that they need to become more conservative and veer farther to the right, as if America just didn't understand what their positions were and that's why they've been losing elections. It's also why we've seen the precipitous rise of socially conservative, incurious dullards like Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.

So the one meme they're now all clinging to with a death grip is fiscal responsibility. Now I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, and we'll have to wait and see if President Obama's own economic plans pan out for the country (and anyone who has already dismissed them as failed is both a liar and a fool), but I'm trying my damnedest to remember having seen the small group of rabid conservative "tea party" protesters holding up signs lamenting their children's futures I now see many Friday evenings at the intersection outside where I work when Bush was spending and borrowing like a college kid with his dad's new credit card and I just can't seem to recall any of them.

And this is why the Republican party will remain in the wilderness for the foreseeable future, because the American people can smell this brand of hypocrisy from a mile away: "Any criticism of our guy was blatantly partisan and far off the mark (and therefore easily dismissed) and it will take many years for the country and the world to see what a great job he did. And your guy? Well, he's a Marxist/Socialist/Communist who will take away our guns and our fetuses while surrendering our nation to his secret Muslim masters during a presidency that has so obviously failed after its first few months that there's no point in even trying to debate this with us. Have we mentioned his fake birth certificate yet?"

So do me, the rest of the country and the entire world a favor Republicans and keep your fingers in your ears while you continue to chant, "Palin in 2012! Palin in 2012!" Obama's definitely going to need a second term if we're going to get ourselves back on the right track and your unceasing, mindless groupthink as you bang your collective heads against the wall is what's going to get us there. Stumble on...

Kill Bill 1 & 2 In One Minute, In One Take

I don't think this really embodies Tarantino's original vision but come on, that thing is almost four hours long! This will give you the gist:

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 2

On day 2 of my atonement for missing my sister's birthday, Shannon finds herself in sunny and mysterious Egypt, home of ancient ruins, ruinous ancients and several bad Brendan Fraser movies. On the other hand, it also gave us some great scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Funky Tut and camels. Be careful though: they spit.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cross On Why They Hate Us

I've posted comedian David Cross' stuff before (you can hear his bit on mindless patriotism here) and while this bit about a gourmet dining experience he had in New York City was recorded well before the current economic crises I still think that it's a perfect example of why, while most of the world does love America, there's always going to be a significant and diverse minority who think that we're all just a bunch of assholes:

Picture Of The Day

While I am an avowed atheist I have to say that this picture of Jesus riding a velociraptor from an evangelical coloring book for children is pretty kick ass. In fact, the only thing I can think of that's cooler would be a picture of Robocop on a unicorn. Oh, wait...

(via: The Daily Dish)

My Sister's Birthday: Atonement, Day 1

I'm not proud of what I'm about to confess but here goes: I forgot to call one of my little sisters on her birthday a few days ago. There, I said it. Yeah, I'm a forgetful bastard of a big brother. When I made the realization I was informed that a big make-up present would be in order, to which I replied, "Anything within my power; you name it." The answer was almost instantaneous: "Worship me for a week on Brain Rage!" As was it requested, so shall it be done.

So today marks the first of a seven day whirlwind virtual vacation around the world (and perhaps to worlds as yet only dreamed of) for my favorite middle sister, Shannon (some of you may remember Shannon from this post about her record setting performance in the Dallas White Rock Marathon last year). First stop: the pristine and picturesque Swiss Alps, home of cheese, steak, army knives and Misses who like to make hot chocolate. Man, breathe in that mountain air, huh? Invigorating.

So the atonement commenceth. Shannon, if you have any favorite photos you want me to use or requested vacation destinations send them by email posthaste because once the week is over, it's over. And happy belated birthday, sis.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Picture Of The Day

A game of hi-resolution Tetris left running for two weeks. With some hard work and a little luck, I'm sure I could flatten this thing in a month, easy.

(via: Boing Boing)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quote For The Day

"The fact is, the marijuana law in the U.S. is a big lie. It's racist and classist. White rich people can smoke marijuana with impunity and poor black people get a record, can't get education, can't get a loan, and all of sudden go into a life of desperation and become hardened criminals. Why? Because we've got a racist law based on lies about marijuana.

There's 80,000 people in jail today for marijuana. We arrested 800,000 people in the last 12 months on marijuana. Even in my rich little white suburban community of Edmonds, Wash., 25 percent of police action is marijuana-related. Everybody knows it's silly. I'm not saying I'm pro-drug. I'm just saying it's parallel to alcohol prohibition. When they rescinded the laws against alcohol, nobody said booze is good, they just said it was stupid to make it a crime, that you're creating organized crime and people are dying," - Rick Steves, broadcaster and travel guru.

In my time doing p.r. for a company that owns and operates medical cannabis dispensaries I attended the NORML conference in San Francisco several times. On one occasion I was surprised to see Steves sitting next to me during a lecture. I had no idea that he was such a vehement supporter of medical cannabis. I spoke with him a bit and told him how much I liked his travel shows on PBS; he was a really nice guy. And no, we didn't smoke together.

Picture Of The Day

Alien vs. Predator. This is gonna get messy...

Pope Visits Cameroon, Still Denies Science

Proof that adherence to religious dogma does not increase intelligence:

Since stepping off the papal plane Tuesday, attention to Benedict's pilgrimage has been largely focused on the Vatican's refusal to advocate condoms as a way to help stop the spread of AIDS, which is ravaging Africa in a pandemic that affects millions.

Benedict's declaration on the plane that distributing condoms "increases" the AIDS problem has drawn international criticism from governments and organizations that fight the disease.

Increases AIDS? Really, Pope? Really?! Stupid bastard. Yeah, I said it. Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. We're talking human lives here. Jesus...

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm Afraid Suzanna Logan Might Not Like Me

Again. From earlier today:

Because I expect to be super busy lazy today, I’m going to let y’all do the talking for me … via the best google searches that led to my page this week. Plus, you guys are much more entertaining than I’ll ever be...

...Top three searches:

1) "Fox News Megan Kelly legs"

2) "Woman hate me because I’m beautiful"

3) "I love Logan"

...3) Finally, for “I love Logan,” I have two guesses:..

[Guess which one I don't care about?]

- Last and certainly not least, the "idiot liberal guy":

If the photoshopped picture isn’t bad enough. Trust me, it gets worse.
Ouch Sweetits, very ouch. I responded thusly:
Oh Suzanna, you wound me, girl (your use of the vernacular "ya'll" aside).

I know you quit checking out my site when I mentioned your daily tresspasses but I never suspected such a frontal assault (oh, that sounds hot, doesn't it?).

Is it because I don't have a clever sounding net-handle? Or because I upset your wrinkled "mentor"? Or because I pwned one of his elderly, sycophantic fanboys? It had nothing to do with you Sweetits, they both came after me unprovoked.

And while I do enjoy your little posts, I take it personnally that you have such animosity towards me. Do you not enjoy the attentions of the unfairer sex? You're not really that way, are you? It's cool if you are; I can work with that (I most definitely have in the past).

Take my affections as a compliment darlin, as they're sincerely intended. Don't sully your pretty visage with bitterness. It most certainly does not become you.

And you don't have anything to prove by ignoring my comments as you have in the past. I know that it diminishes your neocon cred with the circles you run in but isn't that what makes being bad fun? Take care, sweets.
Now some might take this rebuke as a subtle hint, but I don't do subtle when I see something I like. It only says one thing to me: this girl's still thinking about yours truly. And it's true, someone in Birmingham was visiting my site daily until I gave her a little shout out in an update. But full disclosure, darlin: it wasn't me Googling you (that sounds hot too, huh?) with "love". It's OK, you're not the first girl to mistake my attentions in that manner. I just hope that your heart is stronger than the others'...

The Cajun Crawler

This thing is both fascinating and creepy at the same time:

If the Segway's current movement mechanism and cast of characters astride them wasn't keeping you up at night, the Cajun Crawler should seal the deal. Based on the work of kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen, the Cajun Crawler holds up a Segway-style platform with a scary collection of steampunk-like mechanical legs, which can scurry across a floor with surprising agility. The project was built by a team of folks at the University of Louisiana, who do not know the meaning of fear.
Skip to 1:00 to see the machine in action:

I posted a video of Theo Jansen's hauntingly beautiful kinetic sculptures on this site over a year ago.

Picture Of The Day

From "Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog It":

The reference in the image above is to the 2012 Doomsday prediction, based on the Mayan calendar.

A poll released today suggests that based on current opinions, a 2012 Obama/Palin election would be no contest:
Obama leads Palin 55-35 in the hypothetical contest. He has an 89-7 advantage among Democrats. Among Republican he trails 66-17. Last year exit polls showed Obama winning only 9% of the Republican vote, so it appears Palin would lose a lot more voters within her party than McCain did.
It's kind of silly to be doing such polling now; I guess pollsters have to do something to justify their existence.
Have I already mentioned how much I'd love to see the Republicans run her in 2012? I have? Well, I really, really mean it.

Tilt-Shift Video: "Bathtub IV"

I've posted Keith Loutit's video work in the past and it just keeps getting cooler every time I see a new one:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Jobs Americans Won't Do

I know I said I didn't have time to blog today and I don't but I was just watching Neil Cavuto on FOX News while I was eating lunch and his guest said something that caught my ear. I missed the beginning of the segment but the gist of the piece was that Cavuto was claiming that ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids were good for American workers based on a new study that just came out. Now I didn't catch the name of the study so I can't address it here but Cavuto offered up this softball comment to his guest at the end of the segment, "Alright but the argument is that American workers won't take the jobs that illegals had and do, you find at least judging by this, to be specious."

And here was his guest's reply, "Yes, that is an argument frequently made, that American workers won't do these jobs so these industries must be allowed to depend upon an unauthorized illegal work force. We not only found that to be not true but the Congressional Research Service found it not to be true. They said that Americans will not do jobs if they're poorly paid and they have to operate under miserable conditions. They said that if these industries would improve the pay and the conditions American workers would do these jobs."

Full disclosure: I've known many illegal immigrants who were in this country to work and they are some of the hardest working people you'll ever meet; every one of them had at least two jobs and many of them had three. Also, I am a big supporter of worker's rights and would never advocate unsafe working conditions nor unfair wages. That said, it seems to me that people like Cavuto who are anti-illegal immigrant in their sympathies while also pro-laissez-faire capitalism want to have their cake and eat it too.

Now as I said, if these jobs are paying unfair wages or have unsafe working conditions then one would assume that the federal government would step in and enforce the specific laws that are being broken. But if we are to assume that everything about these jobs is above board then it's safe to say that American workers will indeed not do these jobs. Example: an illegal Mexican worker goes to a dish washing job that pays six dollars an hour in which he has a steady stream of dirty plates coming at him for a six hour period with the minimum amount of breaks allowed by law. That's a shit job no matter how you look at it (well OK, compared to not working at all in Mexico it's actually not so bad).

Now I come along as a legal American worker and say, "Hey, I'll do that Mexican's job as long as you pay me forty dollars an hour, increase the number and duration of my breaks and set a limit on how many dishes I have to clean per hour." We're both still washing dishes for a living but it's hardly the same job and that's the point: if you're going to allow the Invisible Hand of the free market to determine what a job should entail and how much that job should pay you are going to consistently have millions of jobs that Americans simply will not do. Yes, you can make just about any job desirable to almost any American if you pay enough money and make the working conditions comfortable and easy enough but as I said, it is then hardly the same job and people like Cavuto who ignore this fact are being either ignorant or dishonest when discussing this issue.

Keeping Busy

No time for blogging today. I'm taking one of my uncharacteristic breaks to run errands and pay some bills before I head out to the city for dinner and drinks with some friends visiting from Texas. Our regularly scheduled broadcast will resume tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IndigNation! Populist Uprising '09-The Enragening

I was watching the newscast when that guy talked about teabagging the White House and laughed my ass off because he obviously had no idea what he was saying but as we've recently seen a lack of knowledge about modern pop culture can be quite embarrassing.

Picture Of The Day

A shark's egg case. Cool, huh?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paul Debates Baldwin On Cannabis Legalization

Is it just me or do Baldwin's arguments not have a valid leg to stand on?

You can read some of my other extensive posts on the need to legalize cannabis here.


If you liked the Nano Journeys post from last week you'll probably dig this as well:

Nanobliss is a gallery of visualizations of small-scale structures of carbon nanotubes and silicon, created by John Hart and collaborators. The dimensions of these structures range from nanometers to millimeters. The visualizations and the underlying fabrication techniques are new media for art, science, and architecture; and for promoting popular awareness and education about nanomaterials and related technologies. Forms under development include museum/gallery exhibitions and laboratory experiments, and advertising and informational pieces in scientific and popular literature.
The little symbol (┬Ám) at the bottom right of the image above stands for micron, which is one millionth of a meter. Each of the Obama faces is made of approximately 150 million tiny carbon nanotubes; that's about how many Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election.

(hat tip: Intrepid Californio)

Dolphins Blowing Bubble Rings

There is just something inherently magical about this behavior:

I have a strong feeling that these creatures are much more intelligent and complex than we've given them credit for thus far.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints." -The Boondock Saints

The Internet: An Observation

I've been getting dozens of hits over the last few days from French and Italian search engines looking for this particular image of elderly Japanese porn stars that I posted back in June 2008 about a Time magazine article discussing the rising popularity of *shudder* elder porn in Japan. I have no idea why this is happening but it's starting to creep me out (and is still doing absolutely nothing to turn me on). I still love the Internet though; this place is crazy weird.

[Update: A thought just occurred to me: perhaps it has something to do with my latest post on pwning the elderly? Or boning the elderly, as it were? This is me, still shuddering...]

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quote For The Day

"It's a long term problem, starting well before Obama took office, and it's going to take long term solutions, and perhaps a little patience, to get the ship righted, again. If Turdblossom sez we need to take The Long View in judging his boss, Bush 43 (perhaps our kids or grandkids will know the "truth" about him), than surely we can give 44 a year or two before making those same kinda snap judgments that Karl said are likely so wrong about the guy who was actually in office when all of this got started... Just something to consider..." -Blogger repsac3, in the comment section of a conservative blog on the current state of the economy

How To Destroy The World With Nanotechnology

I recently borrowed the Michael Crichton novel "Prey" from a buddy, so I'm hoping that this video will put me in the mood to start it. This whole plan sounds like a lot of work but if destroying civilization is what I have to do to be amazing, then I'm in:

(via: Andrew Sullivan)

Geek Cred: Pwning The Elderly, Ctd.

It looks like my "esteemed" colleague William A. Jacobson has now become completely unhinged (those just tuning in can catch up on my exchanges with the old coot by reading this post first). I really expected a little more from a professor of law:

UPDATE No. 2: Someone Get Him A Life

Did you ever meet one of those people who have to have the last word? The people you just can't hang up on, because as you are putting the phone down you hear they still are talking? (Only people of my generation or older would know about that, because the Real World generation never used a real phone.)

So what's his name, you know, the one McCain doused with a Rule 4 shower, has posted something in response to my Update:
Here's some history: according to his Wikipedia page, McCain was born in 1959. I can't find a definite birth date for Jacobson but according to his Cornell bio page he completed his undergraduate degree in 1981. If we assume a standard matriculation period of four years that would also put his date of birth in 1959 as well. I was born in 1974. That means that when Star Wars came out in 1977 McCain and Jacobson were both legally classified as adults, and I was three years old.
Before I digress, please note that proper grammar requires an initial capitalization after a colon. Didn't they teach that to you in your Stanley Kaplan SAT review course?

And you were 3 when Star Wars came out. Did you watch it then, or only when you got Star Wars toys forced upon you? Perhaps you should have played with Legos and learned to build things and use your imagination.
There are boxes full of action figures, an AT-AT imperial walker, several TIE fighters and many other toys I haven't seen for years in a storage facility back in Texas with my name all over them. I had Star Wars curtains in my room as a kid, for Christ's sake.
Someone please get him a childhood.

And talk about being "Pwned" (yes, I had to look it up on Wikipedia, at least I admit to it). I don't stay up late on a Saturday night drafting posts about you, but you posted your latest screed at 11:34 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2009, and posted a comment on my blog at 1:47 a.m. the next morning. What's the matter, can't sleep without thinking about me? Nothing better to do on a Saturday night than worry about me? And thanks for linking to my Cornell Law School bio page; are you having it framed and putting it over your computer for inspiration? Someone please get him a life.

And I don't keep checking your SiteMeter like you do mine (don't even think of denying it). But I thought you didn't judge your worth as a blogger based on hits. Hmm, having second thoughts? Call McCain when you get 30,000 visits, if you can remember next year. Someone please get him the conscience of a liberal.

And someone tell him I'm hanging up the phone.
My buddy repsac3 has already fisked this 2nd update from old man Jacobson in the comment section of the post this one continues from, so I may pluck a bon mot or two from him as well. Did you ever meet one of those people who can never admit when they've been proven wrong? People you just can't reason with because they refuse to accept logical arguments that constantly refute their previous assertions and accusations? *sigh* OK, let's do this.

Really, Jacobson? Are you telling everyone that you think cell phones became ubiquitous when you were fifteen, so therefore the "Real World generation" (me, apparently) has never used them? Cell phones weren't even really in widespread use when I was fifteen. I remember in high school a friend's mom had a portable phone: it fit into a carrying case the size of a car battery with a strap on it and weighed around twenty pounds. Two questions: 1) what the hell kind of an insult or point is this guy trying to make with that comment? Is not having ever used a land line (that's what we're all calling them now, not "real phones", dude) something to suddenly be ashamed of? And more importantly 2) why the hard-on for the Real World? Bad roommate experience in college? Let me guess: you were Felix, right? You certainly sound uptight enough. I used an older reference there so as not to confuse you with anything broadcast in this century, guy; you're welcome.

Now you can tell when someone is running out of reasoned arguments and debatable points when they start saying things like "what's his name" and they suddenly become a stickler for proper grammar. This is a blog. I'm not submitting it as my senior thesis. And apparently I had Star Wars toys "forced upon me" as a child and that's how I came to know about the movie. Yeah, because what kid would want to watch an FX packed, shoot 'em up, sci-fi action flick without all of the attendant marketing to entice them first, right? I also apparently have no imagination now and who didn't play with LEGOS when they were a kid? repsac?:
And when did this become a question of anyone's intelligence or imagination? Looks to me like our lawyer friend is trying to change the subject, employing classic ad hominem--the heart of "rule 4," from what I've seen from these clowns--in the process.
But you can see now where his arguments start to flounder as he has pulled these suppositions about how I discovered the movie and my level of imagination out of the same anally-shaped (Oh no, is that even a word? Kaplan, where are you when I need you?!) filing cabinet from which he extracted his earlier definitive claim that I looked up the spelling of "padawan" on Wikipedia. Oops, I almost forgot that I also have no childhood because...to be honest, I have no idea what he's trying to do here. Accusing me now of not having a childhood? So what, I bought all these retro toys on eBay, boxed them up and shipped them to Texas on the off chance that someone would someday accuse me of not having grown up watching Star Wars? To what, cover up the fact that instead of playing with toys and watching movies I worked in a sooty, Dickensian child labor factory as a kid?

And talk about being pwned (sorry Reppy, you got your numbers a bit jumbled here as well but not nearly as badly as Jacobson), let's have a short primer on the movement of celestial bodies and how we as humans measure the passage of time based on these movements, shall we? You see, as the Earth orbits the Sun that fiery orb appears to be in a different position in the sky relative to where any one person is standing on the planet at any one time. In order to keep a relative sense of the passage of time around the world we divide the planet up into 24 different zones all with different relative times; let's call these time zones. Still with me, old man? Cause this is where it gets tricky.

I posted my "latest screed" as he calls it around 5:00 pm PST (the screed being the update to the original post on this topic below; there is no documentable proof of time because it was an update). Now what Jacobson is referring to is not my original update but this follow up post in which I called attention to that update because it had moved further down the page where others might miss it (that's why this one is a new post) and yes, it was indeed at 11:34 pm PST. Now what codgers like Jacobson can easily forget is that Blogger lets you set the time zone from which you are blogging and every time stamp (comments included) on your site are recorded as such. So the comment I posted on his site (in the Eastern time zone) actually posted at 10:47 pm PST, 47 minutes before my follow up post (I wanted to talk some shit to his old ass).

He's right that I don't sleep well but it's not because I can't seem to get a certain wrinkled pentagenarian off my mind, I just have insomnia. And I linked to his bio page because I have this really bad habit of backing up any assertions I make online with this little thing I like to call "evidence". As he lacked a Wiki page like the other McC, I used the next best thing to extrapolate his age and then documented my source; that's something else I like to call "research". It doesn't surprise me that these are foreign concepts to you Jacobson but you must have heard the other more competent lawyers discussing them while you were writing down what everyone wanted for lunch.

And yes, I checked your Site Meter (should I deny that? Nah, better not even think about it; imagine the consequences!). Of course, the only reason I even checked out your meter (does that sound gay?) was because I remembered this specious claim from a little while back on a comment thread by some old guy I'd never heard of at the time when I was having fun teasing my special blog lady:
William A. Jacobson said...

Link to me, I can throw you more traffic than McCain (please don't look at my sitemeter, it's not functioning properly; I really get a lot more traffic, but the vast leftwing conspiracy is playing games with my blog).

Now doesn't that sound suspiciously like, "I swear, this never happens when I'm with other women..."? I just figured that maybe you were trying to be ironic. To his credit, McCain did send hundreds of hits my way when he attempted to talk some shit about yours truly so you can imagine my utter surprise when nothing even close to that happened when you tried to do the same. Hell, I got more hits when my own blogging mentor (he doesn't know he is) linked to me a few days ago than I got from you two old coots combined and that was just an indirect link to give me credit for the site I pointed out to him. Anyway, Reps?:
Sorry... Not only don't we judge our worth by blog hits, we don't even judge your worth by blog hits. A trained monkey can get hits, as RSM so ably proves... Don't mean he can write, though... (I know, Grammerman... It's intentional... Put away your super hero cape.)
I never said that I don't look at my or even other people's Site Meters, just that I don't judge my own self-worth based on those numbers. I mean, what's the point of even having a meter if you never check it? I look at it to see where my hits are coming from when someone else links to me and I look for family and friends; when I see Dallas or San Leandro or Walnut Creek or Redmond or even Birmingham I know who those people are and that they're reading my stuff. If anything I'm more of a digital voyeur than an insecure old man sizing up my own dick (you must feel sick when you watch pornos, huh?).

The last line is great not only because, as repsac3 pointed out, you've already taken another shot at me in an update to another post but also because only a fogey like yourself would think that a phrase like "And someone tell him I'm hanging up the phone"would translate in any way to a back and forth on the Internet. You can't hang up this phone Billy boy because you're not the only one I'm talking to; what you've done here is the online equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming like a child who doesn't want to face reality. And the best part is that everyone reading this on my site and coming here from yours will now know that the dickless lawyer (see how I squeezed two unnecessary insults in there?) just took his little ball and went home.

[Update:I just sprayed my chocolate milk all over my keyboard. I'm seriously:
UPDATE No. 3: He realized his 15 minutes of fame are over.

This is what happens when someone realizes that his 15 minutes of fame are over:
And the best part is that everyone reading this on my site and coming here from yours will now know that the dickless lawyer (see how I squeezed two unnecessary insults in there?) just took his little ball and went home.
And he posts a silly photo-shop of my head on a chicken in front of Cornell Law School -- must have stayed up all night working on that one.

Wow, some people don't even know when they have been played. My post that I was "hanging up the phone" brought out the best in you, as I knew it would. Apparently it always was there, just needed a little prodding to shake loose. Too bad, I was hoping you had a sense of humor. But then again, you do brag that you "supported Barack Obama before it was cool to support Barack Obama" so there is a sense of humor in there somewhere.
Oh no, my fame! I need that to be famous!! I guess that phone was harder to hang up than he thought it would be; maybe arthritis is kicking in (the old fart won't even link to me anymore). But let me just repeat that one line again:
And he posts a silly photo-shop of my head on a chicken in front of Cornell Law School -- must have stayed up all night working on that one.
Maybe I should use one of Jacobson's rhetorical techniques to get this through to his addled brain: Someone under fifty please tell him who's body his head is on in that silly photo-shop. Remember what I said about pop culture, old man? And talk about no sense of humor. How exactly did I get played here? Screw this guy, I'm going home.]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"How My Legs Give Me Superpowers"

I watched this short speech last night and really liked what she had to say:

Athlete, actor and activist Aimee Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs -- she's got a dozen amazing pairs -- and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height ... Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be...

...A record-breaker at the Paralympic Games in 1996, Aimee Mullins has built a career as a model, actor and activist for women, sports and the next generation of prosthetics.
This speech continues the theme of body modification that this blog has explored for some time now as well as the question of what is and is not fair in the realm of athletic competition as well as in society itself:

Picture Of The Day

Holy Ghostbusters, Batman! See, this is what happens when you cross the streams.

If You Watch Jaws Backwards...

I have watched Memento backwards (it's still fairly confusing) but these are great:

From a thread on Reddit, that said: If you watch the movie Jaws backwards, it's a movie about a shark that keeps throwing up people until they have to open a beach.

Over 1000 comments followed. Here are just a few of my favourites:
If you watch Scarface backwards, it's about a man who gives up cocaine and crime to follow his dream of becoming a dishwasher to earn enough money so he can visit Cuba.

If you watch the Matrix backwards it's about Neo saying 'fuck it' and leaving the resistance to go work in an office.

If you watch Heroes backwards you realise that it's been getting progressively better over time.

If you watch Memento backwards, it's... Um. I forget.

If you watch Fight Club backwards, you see Ed Norton turn from a crazy streetperson into a successful productive member of society.
What is your favorite movie about if you watch it backwards? Mine is about the United States government unpacking the Ark of the Covenant from a non-descript warehouse and then giving it to the Nazis before Indiana Jones buries it in the desert and makes his way to South America to return a golden idol to a jungle temple.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Geek Cred: How Pwned Can One Old Man Get?

My latest back and forth with old man Jacobson continues in the update to the post further down the page, taking up the previous ongoing skirmish where the other McC left it hanging like so much loose, liver-spotted skin. Feel free to head on over to his senior rest center and talk some shit on my behalf if the mood grabs you. Now get off my lawn!

Watchmen Review

So I finally saw Watchmen the other night. What can I say other than: fan-fucking-tastic. And yes, I stand by this review, as opposed to others. I won't waste time going over the extensive plot here (you can read that at the Wikipedia article) and the reason you can do that and know pretty much what you'll get in the theatre is because this film stayed truer to the original source material than almost any other project currently coming out of Hollywood.

The look of the film was taken straight from the graphic novel, at times recreating entire panels from the book down to the smallest detail, and the casting was spot on: from the roughed up visage of the man who played Rorschach to the milquetoast fellow who played Owlman Nite Owl, the characters from the novel came alive onscreen (I have to be honest though: I heard Doctor Manhattan's voice at least half an octave lower in my head, although Crudup did a fair job imparting the character's indifference towards human affairs; and yes, he is naked and swinging some blue pipe in several scenes). My one complaint was the music: it seemed a bit obvious and ham-handed to me. From the use of Dylan's "The Times They are a-Changin" over the opening historical montage to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" used in the Vietnam battle sequence, the soundtrack felt like it was overreaching and at times all too obvious.

There were a few essential changes from the original story that I disagreed with but I understand why they were made. While Dr. Manhattan does retain his ambivalence about most things human several of his lines from the graphic novel were changed to make his character appear slightly less cold and indifferent and a significant plot point in the ending was exchanged for something that seemed more believable and contemporary but for the most part the movie remains very true to Alan Moore's original vision. I was surprised that they left out Manhattan's explanation for the symbol upon his forehead (it represents a hydrogen atom, something he respects more than the cheesy atom cloud the government PR people try to force on him) but I will say that I was entirely OK with the removal of the pirate novel The Tales of the Black Freighter, the novel within a novel that I found rather tedious to read but a trailer before the movie tells us that it will soon be coming out on DVD if you're interested.

One caveat: when I say that the movie remains true to Moore's original vision I'm not kidding. This is not your standard, watered down, PG-13 comic book movie; it's a movie for adults that seeks to challenge what you think you know about the genre and the world we live in and it does it violently, even gruesomely at times. What I'm saying is do not bring young children to this flick, partly because it's not appropriate for them and partly because I don't want them talking or crying in the same theatre as me when I'm watching it. Take them to see The Pink Panther 2 or the Jonas Brothers 3D Experience, there's no way we'll cross paths at those shows.

On the parody front, we have the Futurama mash-up of the original theatrical trailer (you can watch them side by side at the link), a graphic novelization featuring syndicated comic strip characters in the same vein as Frank Miller's Charlie Brown and a hilarious animated spot portraying the novel as a mid-eighties Saturday morning cartoon (and if you don't know why the line "Rorschach's friends to the animals" is so hilarious you really need to see the flick first). And as I said above, reading the Wikipedia article before you go to the theatre will definitely help you keep the plot straight in your head. I hope you like this one as much as I did.