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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The most amazing thing to do with an HD cam: put it in space and bring it back. Video player

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.


The most amazing thing to do with an HD cam: put it in space and bring it back.


Video player not working? Head over and watch it on Vimeo.

Found via spaceandstuffidk:



itsfullofstars:




Dad uses HD Camera To A Weather Balloon & Gets 19 Miles Into Space.




Do you think I could convince my job to let me do this with one of their HD cameras?


(no.)



What an INCREDIBLE project!!  To say I’m envious would be an understatement!


One of the best bits of the clip is at the end, in the credits, where it refers to the 2010 Brooklyn Space Program.  Where do I sign up? I’m in Manhattan, just a subway ride away!


In case you’re curious, he says the cam he used is a Go Pro Hero HD.


The really crazy thing here is that this guy and his kids can put an object into space at a point in time when the USG is seriously cutting back the NASA budget. So sad that this is where our national priorities are.  It’s like that old saying about how schools should get the military-sized budget and the military can hold a bake sale.  Well, the Brooklyn Space Program could fund it’s next space shot with a bake sale!


Go leave the guy behind this video a comment telling him what a great thing he’s done: http://vimeo.com/15091562


Subscribe to his videos: http://vimeo.com/user3539560


Hire him as a DP and fund his next space mission (or whatever else he’s got going on): http://www.lukegeissbuhler.com


THIS MAN DESERVES FUNDING!!



All right religious folks, time to start editing your holy books! We found another Earth-like planet!


From the friendlyatheist:



So much for the fine-tuning (teleological) argument. Our world is just one on a scale of many, many varying degrees. Nothing magical about it.



Well, it IS magical, but like Steve Jobs uses the word—sure, nothing spiritual about it, but FUCK dude, we should stop all this bullshit fighting with each other about religions (you know, Israel/Palestine & terrorism in general) and focus on BUILDING A LIGHT DRIVE!!


This planet is surprisingly close.  Check out this cutting from the MSNBC article Friendly Atheist links to above:


Astronomers say they’ve found the first planet beyond our solar system that could have the right size and setting to sustain life as we know it, only 20 light-years from Earth.


“My own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” Steven Vogt, an astrophysicist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told reporters today. “I have almost no doubt about it.”


So, LET’S GET TO THAT TRANSLUMINAL ENGINE GOING!!


Don’t you get what this means?  It means we no longer have to share this planet with each other!!  Assuming we can get off of this planet to that planet, if we have major strife with each other, we can JUST LEAVE!!


SWEET!!


But, I swear, if anybody tries to name this planet “Pandora” I’m going to kick them out the airlock on the way.

Democracy Now: federal appeals court rules US corporations can no longer be sued for human rights violations abroad under the longstanding Alien Tort Statute

Democracy Now: federal appeals court rules US corporations can no longer be sued for human rights violations abroad under the longstanding Alien Tort Statute

Weeeee! Now corporations are impervious to lawsuits for doing bad things abroad!


I also found this at atstoday.blogspot.com:



Judge Pierre Leval concurred in the dismissal of the case, but expressed concern about the scope of the ruling. “The majority opinion deals a substantial blow to international law and its undertaking to protect fundamental human rights,” he wrote. “According to the rule my colleagues have created, one who earns profits by commercial exploitation of abuse of fundamental human rights can successfully shield those profits from victims’ claims for compensation simply by taking the precaution of conducting the heinous operation in the corporate form.”



Yikes.


Well, humanity had a good run!  The new dominant life form on planet Earth is definitely shaping up to be the corporation.



OOPS—and this from the original DN blurb I link to above—the same judge also said:



So long as they incorporate, businesses will now be free to trade in or exploit slaves, employ mercenary armies to do dirty work for despots, perform genocides or operate torture prisons for a despot’s political opponents, or engage in piracy—all without civil liability to victims.”



Double yikes.

High fructose corn syrup: A sugar by any other name

High fructose corn syrup: A sugar by any other name

The industry that produces high fructose corn syrup wants to change the name of HFCS to something more “accurate,” saying that people think HFCS is high in fructose when it isn’t.  Well, it’s actually a mix of fructose and sucrose, from what I recall. 


So, perhaps it should just be called something like “fructose sucrose syrup”?  No? You want it to simply be called “corn sugar”?  But won’t people assume there’s something natural about it and not get the idea that it’s got to be processed in a lab using chemicals that are too dangerous to make in, say, your kitchen?


>_<


Go check out the documentary King Corn, if you haven’t already and learn how completely effed up the American corn industry is.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get your own 1966 Batmobile!

Authentic 1966 Batmobile® Replicas

Wouldja look at that baby? She’s gorgeous!  It’s one of the few cars I’d want to own if I actually wanted to own a car.

SIGH…!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lego MST3K Bots!



parttimeheroine:
OMFGZZZZZZ! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!! ?

Dude. Crazy clash of two of my favorite things ever.  I want the instructions for these!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Who is more evil? The evil or the evil that inspired it? (Google vs Capitalism)

Found this via falconieri:



“The essential problem with Google is that it no longer considers itself primarily a search engine. Instead, Google believes it is an advertising company whose search results are mere fodder for commercial messages. This is the crime Google has committed. It is not in violating the principle of neutrality, an ideal that never existed in the history of knowledge organization. Google’s crime is against human culture. Google has stolen our common knowledge and commercialized the library. The long-term cultural consequences of this deplorable criminal act are unclear. But Google’s loathsome introduction of advertising into search results is travesty that must be investigated. Now is the time to begin a substantial inquiry into Google’s practices, not because they violate “search neutrality” but because they violate the human need for commercial-free learning.”


Google’s Flaw (via azspot)



I feel like blaming Google isn’t fair.  We’ve commercialized WAY more than just knowledge. In fact, we’ve pretty much commercialized everything in our lives. 


There’s a great moment in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, where an astronaut is trapped outside a spaceship by a computer gone psychotic.  As the astronaut uses his forearm-mounted computer interface to try to work out a way back inside, we see, right next to the text display, a giant IBM logo.  This joke made the audience laugh out loud the last time I saw it in the theater.


When you brush your teeth, there’s likely a logo on your toothbrush.  When you drive down the street, not only are their billboards that you drive past, but there are about a half-dozen (or more) logos right inside your car—the car-brand, the brand of radio, your GPS’s brand’s logo, your cell phone, soda can/coffee cup, etc.


I remember in high school (way back in the last century) one of the school clubs ran a candy and soda shop in the cafeteria, where they’d buy candy and soda cheap and then mark it up to sell it to their fellow students.  I’ve since heard that some schools accept sponsorships from major corporations in exchange for ads placed around the school.  I recall one instance where competitors’ vending machines were banned from the school in favor of the sponsor’s.


Have you watched children’s TV lately?  I haven’t. I stopped years ago because (get ready for it) it was just too commercial for me.  The disgustingly unhealthy food they try to sell kids is shocking and the methods they use to do it, equally so. Loud music, “wacky” animation, and effective lies insist that Cocoa Puffs are part of a nutritious breakfast (they only say that because they have to admit that you shouldn’t try to survive on Cocoa Puffs alone).


Google isn’t doing anything we haven’t already done to ourselves.  They’re just doing it in a new way.  Does that make them evil?  Well, only if you consider ourselves evil for accepting so many other examples of commercialism into our lives and drawing benefits from it, as well.  You think Google should allow us to search without ads? How are they supposed to survive?  You benefit from their service, so they should benefit from you using their service.  Seems fair enough to me.


Personally, I think it’s about capitalism more than any one entity practicing it.  I mean, you can’t blame a tiger for feeding on prey.  The whole structure of capitalism demands exploitation—of workers and of customers. 


Right there is where the true evil lies, in my opinion.  Well, there and in the banks.


(And yes, the title of this post is my paraphrasing Obi-Wan’s “who’s the bigger fool” dialog from the original Star Wars movie.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Very puzzling video—can anyone please explain to me how 12 year-old girl can be the solution the world needs right now? According to this video, I mean. Because I don’t get it.Found via poptech:The clock is ticking… See how a 12-year-old girl could be the solution the world needs right now.(via Girl Effect)And even poptech’s explanation doesn’t help.I’m all for helping kids in poverty but there doesn’t seem to be anything logical in this video that explains why girls are victimized anymore than one would expect them to be. Usually videos like this bring to light a problem people don’t really think about. I don’t think anyone would say they weren’t aware that teen-pregnancy hampers the careers of girls. And, tell me what the problem is that the 12 year-old girl in the video solves?And, on a side note, exactly *how* does she go from *maybe* surviving childbirth to maybe being forced into prostitution? I’m sure it happens, but does it always happen? And I love how the worst thing that comes of her after she is forced into prostitution is that she might get and spread HIV. Jesus Christ, this is supposed to help us care for little girls in poverty? I can avoid HIV by being monogamous with someone else who is monogamous. Luckily, I have a soul and understand child prostitution has psychological effects on the girls. BUT IT’S OK: We can go back in time to when she’s 12 again! We can inexplicably make sure she goes to the doctor! And that she stays in school! Where nothing bad can happen to her! And at 18, she uses her education to smash down all the walls and glass ceilings that have held woman back for centuries!! Oh. I mean, she earns a living (because really, that’s all a girl from poverty should expect to do—aim high, little poverty girl!)Now she’s calling the shots! AndItLooksSomethingLikeThis:She can avoid HIV (unless she is raped by someone with HIV). She can marry (like all good women should want to do).And have children (again, like all good women should want to do).And her children are healthy, like she is (because nothing ever goes wrong once you’re earning a living!).Now imagine this continuing generation after generation. Um, I can’t. Well, I can, but I’d have to use my imagination since that’s just not reality.Nah, I don’t get the picture.50 millions 12 year-old girls in poverty equals 50 million solutions.REALLY? So, we should keep them in poverty?50 million girls in poverty is the power of the girl effect?Maybe I don’t get this video because an adult male?Also, do 12 year-olds have boobs at all? I don’t know these things, but it seems like the pig tails would have been enough of tip to know she was a girl.Also, also: WHAT’S WITH THE YELLING? IS YOUR CAPS LOCK BROKEN, MR. CAPTIONING VON YELLYPANTS?Also, also, also: this whole thing reminds me of this pro-Obama video that Demi and Ashton did where they and a stack of other pro-Obama celebs pledged their allegiance to Barack Obama. Much like many Republicans did for Bush, which was much like what many Hitler Youth kids did for Hitler.Sigh…

Unemployed Workers Come Together - Common Security Clubs

Unemployed Workers Come Together - Common Security Clubs

underpaidgenius:




For people among the ranks of the unemployed, underemployed and those who love them, we need new strategies to face the changes.


One approach has been to form unemployment groups and common security clubs for the purpose of overcoming isolation, providing mutual aid, and taking action together to work for policies that increase economic security and create the jobs of the future.


Breaking out of the isolation that often accompanies unemployment is the first step. “The jobless in the United States lose far more than their paychecks; they also lose precious social support,” wrote sociologist Arlie Hochschild in the Los Angeles Times in article about common security clubs that serve as a lifeline for the unemployed. “Research has found that the health of those who lose jobs is likely to decline and the risk of dying rises. Many not only lose daily contact with factory and office friends, they also retreat from other social interaction.”



I think we should be taking to the streets, but meeting together is probably a first step.



Huh. I’ve not had stable/continuous employment for years and I don’t have any of those problems. Why, just ask my friends—??


ohhhhhhhhhh….


;(


All right, where do I sign up?

Stephen Colbert, in character, testifying in a House Committee regarding migrant farm workers. Found via officialssay.My favorite part: at 4:32 when Ms. Jackson Lee is caught tweeting on camera. >_

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Obama claims the world has dodged a depression

Obama claims the world has dodged a depression

coalspeaker:



And anyway, the pesky recession ended a whole summer ago! …right?



Good point—and Obama should tell that to the >10% of America who are out of work, like… —>me<—


sniff-sniff… smells like the Absurd Disconnect again.

NICE: Polaroid film is BACK in the form of Impossible Project instant film!From



NICE: Polaroid film is BACK in the form of Impossible Project instant film!

From photojojo:
Have you heard of The Impossible Project? They’re the guys that saved Polaroid (yay!).

Today we’re announcing two new fresh Impossible Project instant films that you can find in the Photojojo Shop! We’re the first and only shop to sell them, so check ‘em out!

The PX 600 Silver Shade and the PX 70 Color Shade Films

TOO COOL!

Alas, this film is even more expensive than when it was when it was still called Polaroid. $22 for 8 pics?? ????

Obama finally makes the change and begins telling China a bit of what's what.

Another important post from underpaidgenius:



“Our trade relationship has to be fair. You can’t just sell to us and we can’t sell to you. […] And so we have been bringing more actions against China before the World Trade Organization. We are going to enforce our trade laws much more effectively than we have in the past. […] I’m pro-trade. I just want to make sure that it is fair for American businesses and for American workers.”


Obama — and the US — starts erecting trade barriers to protect US business, and slow the trade imbalance with China.


Let’s not quibble about whether these are new barriers or just old ones finally being enforced: the shift in policy is clear.


via Reuters



The shift in policy is definitely clear, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough.  Forget protecting US businesses—we need the US workers to be protected.  Outsourcing needs to be banned (if a job *can* be done here, it MUST be) and international corporations should have a minimum number of employees inside the US before they should be allowed to have overseas offices/facilities if they make above a certain amount of money.


Damn right, it’s protectionist! Compared to not protecting the American worker at all, I think a little protectionism is just what our economy ordered!  And don’t tell me this won’t create jobs.


It’s not enough that China buy our stuff—it’s that we have stuff to sell, which we really don’t. 

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record



Wait, so it’s ME that’s been wrong to expect religious tolerance?


WTF!


This is totally like the Twilight Zone—so it was me who wasn’t learning from history all along!! I never saw it coming…


I’d rather have been seeing dead people. >_<

Facebook ?????Holy DNS Failure! Does this mean they're getting nailed by a DDOS attack?



If Facebook can get taken down… NObody is safe!! O_O

Arianna Huffington combats the Absurd Disconnect (aka states the obvious)

Another cogent post from fredericguarino this one has Ariana Huffington bridging the gap that occurs when what we think is so different from what the reality really is (aka the Absurd Disconnect):



“we also need to recognize that we all have a responsibility to do our part and rebuild our communities and rebuild our lives, beginning with rebuilding our own financial literacy so we can move our own family onto safer financial ground. Because this is financial warfare. The credit card companies, the mortgage companies that have been offering us, supposedly, a ticket to the good life, are really filling their contracts with tricks and traps, charging usury rates, 28, 29, 30 percent on our credit cards, and basically undermining the very idea of the American dream.”


Tavis Smiley . Shows . Arianna Huffington . September 20, 2010 | PBS




I’ve always been a fan of Arianna Huffington (even if I hate her website) and once again, she speaks the truth, even if it is a pretty obvious truth to anyone smart/cynical enough to look past the wishful thinking all of us did when signing up for a credit card.  Her mention of interest rates made me think of something I heard Robert Scheer say on Democracy Now yesterday:



So, you know, something that the Bible scripture calls for, whether you’re Hebraic, Christian or a Muslim tradition, usury is condemned. It’s condemned far more than anything else in the Bible. And yet, you know, if you dare suggest we not charge 35 percent interest to somebody on their credit card, my God, no, that can’t be.



Yeah, I always forget about how, if you’re a good Christian, Jew or Muslim, you should never charge interest or be willing to pay it, really.  That’s what usury is—or at least, that’s what it was.  Once greed kicked in and money became more important than the Bible or God, usury became excessive interest.  So, imagine if “thou shalt not kill” became “thou shalt not kill, very often.”  It’s sort of like that—ridiculous.


But now our entire economy is based on usury.  The Federal Reserve loans money to the US economy and the US economy has to pay it back with interest.  That money is then loaned out by banks to us with interest.


Huffington is right, but it’s not just with credit card contracts and mortgages. It’s with all money period—every dollar in our pocket or digit in our bank account represents money borrowed ultimately from the Fed for a fee.


And we are never taught this growing up. Well, I know I wasn’t.  We didn’t have so much as a section in Home Ec class in how to balance a checkbook.  I can, however, make a killer egg-in-a-frame, to this day.



New Television “Journalist” Barbie—she looks ready for her stint on Fox News!


Found via timeoutnewyork:



urlesque:



amyvernon:



Mattel introduces new Journalism Barbie


blerg.



Now with side bangs!



This is pretty much the opposite of what we wear to work. But then, this is “news anchor” Barbie, not “magazine writer who treats every day like casual Friday” Barbie.



Actually, scratch that—I don’t think she’s hot enough for Fox.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

EFFYOU.org says: EFFYOU REPUBLICANS!

Yesterday, I posted this over on effyouorg:



Grand Old Party, INDEED.


What a bunch of whining, obstructionist, hypocritical, anti-American, intolerant assholes. The qualities that make the Republicans worthy of the EFFYOU for this week were detailed in last week’s EFFYOU (that one was aimed at the Democrats) so there’s no need to go over those again.  However, on top of all of the other stuff the Republicans are guilty of, they added a couple new items to their list of anti-American obstructionist bullshit recently.  Check it out:



GOP Halts Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
By NAFTALI BENDAVID, JULIAN E. BARNES and ADAM ENTOUS

Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military, likely pushing back any attempt to overturn the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law until after the November election.



Most of these idiots who blocked this from happening haven’t even served and McCain said years ago that he would repeal DADT in a second if generals told him to—which they did—from WaPo, back in February of 2010:



A former war hero, McCain said he would support ending the ban once the military’s top brass told him that they agreed with the change.

“The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it,” McCain said in October 2006 to an audience of Iowa State University students.

That day arrived Tuesday, with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen testifying to senators after President Obama’s announcement that he would seek a congressional repeal of the 15-year-old policy.



But now he helps block it. So much for free speech and being able to live in a free country!  (Not if you want to serve in the military, queers!!) >_<


OH and there’s this:



Republicans Filibuster ‘Dream Act’ for Children of Illegal Immigrants
By Craig Wall, FOX Chicago News

Immigration reform supporters suffered a setback in Washington on Tuesday as Senate Republicans blocked a bill called the “Dream Act.”

It would have given undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children a path toward legal status, as long as they served in the military or went to college.

Democrats say the Defense Department supports the plan as a way of getting good recruits, but Republicans unanimously opposed the bill. They filibustered it, and kept it from coming up for a vote.



Yeeeeah, so they block a new route for illegal immigrant kids to stay in the US permanently AND make them immediately useful to America in the process.  What the fuck ever happened to “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” anyway???


So for all this crap and a whole lot more, this week’s EFFYOU goes to the Republican party.


May you all be outed as the gay, greedy-as-sin, racist, homophobic, atheists you must really be on the inside (because if you weren’t all those things, why would you behave like you do?).



Got any suggestions for the EFFYOU for next week?

Atheists need to be hated, too!

Found via thereisnogod:



Atheists are People, Too


ih8religion:



“A site aimed at stopping hatred of the godless.”




Haaaay! If nobody hates us, how will we define ourselves??


Do you know how hard it is for atheists to get attention these days? 

Why do our governments hate us?

I don’t have AIDS/HIV, but I am puzzled as to why governments on both state and federal levels seem so disinterested in resisting greed and passing laws that benefit the rich or vetoing them if they don’t.


From NYC’s housingworksbookstore:



This week Gov. Paterson vetoed a bill that would have addressed an outrageous injustice.


Thousands of poor New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS in government-subsidized housing pay up to 75 percent of their income toward rent. In some cases, this leaves New Yorkers to live on just $12 a day.


The vast majority of people in government-subsidized housing pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. It’s no wonder, then, that the State Senate and Assembly voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that would offer the same benefit to poor HIV-positive people in subsidized housing—and no wonder Paterson promised to sign it.


If passed, the bill could have helped stabilize housing for at least 10,000 struggling New Yorkers.


But the governor broke his promise. He vetoed the bill.


Join our Fight the Veto! Twitter and Facebook campaign asking state representatives to override that decision. (via Housing Works: Join Our Facebook and Twitter Campaign to Fight Paterson’s Rent Cap Veto!)



I feel like it’s useless to fight this trend. Money talks and corporate money talks LOUDLY—the Supreme Court made sure of this and there are very few individuals who can compete with the finances of mega-corporations.  Also, there seem to be no ways to become that powerful/rich without compromising your morals on some level or another (or several).


We can protest as much as we want, retweet and “Like” on Facebook as much as we want, and the powers that be can simply ignore us.  Largely like they’ve been doing for the last ten years.

Wearable display that projects video onto your retina—wow. Too cool and a little too scary&

Wearable display that projects video onto your retina—wow. Too cool and a little too scary…

Found via photojojo:


MUST READ THIS: Because, frankly, it’s insane.

These glasses project images into your retina!! YEP. The effect is a 16 inch transparent screen that appears to float 1 meter in front of your eyes.

These glasses also take photos. (Check out our You Vision Glasses if you’re into crazy photo-taking glasses!)

via notcot

WANT! But only after I get assurances from several eye doctors that this is safe. Also, if they can project onto the retina, why can’t they project onto eyeglasses?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Space Battleship Yamato live-action trailer



Trailer arrives for anime adaptation Space Battleship Yamato - Den of Geek

That looks SWEET!! Can’t wait to see this!  My only problem is that the ages of the leads don’t look right. In the original series everyone looks early 20s. That’s what makes Kodai’s character arch so ironic—if he’s in his 30s, it’s OK, but not as interesting.  Ah well.
And I don’t get people who criticize the adaption of the costumes to live-action—I don’t think the body-hugging (OK, they hugged Yuki) jumpsuits from the series would look very good in real life—unless you think the costumes look great on Power Rangers. >_<

Monday, September 20, 2010

There are "Microblogging Wars" now? Aren't we being a *little* overdramatic? Also: here's how Tumblr sucks.

“Microblogging wars?” Really?

From the usually well-balanced underpaidgenius:
Microblogging Wars Escalate: Posterous Claims Tumblr Blocks Its Autopost Feature

soupsoup:
I think this is a smart move by Tumblr.

Not as a strategic way to make Posterous less useful, but because I don’t want content auto-posted from one social network to another anywhere, be it Posterous, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Auto-posting, link dumping, are the worst things to ever happen to social media besides social media “experts”


Since Stowe hasn’t added any commentary here, I assume he agrees with the soupsoup post.  This doesn’t make him unbalanced, but usually he throws a little something in to let UnderpaidGenius readers know what he thinks.  Since he didn’t assume is all we can do. In that case, then I disagree with both of them. The worse thing to happen to social media is the idea that people can decide what’s right for everyone—even *saying* that a particular use of a particular site or function should not be allowed is a downright douchey thing to do. Who are you to decide what things are used for? Who cares? Don’t like how someone uses something? Don’t follow them or don’t use the site.  One site being deliberately jerky to another, regardless of the reason, has one effect that matters—the users being inconvenienced.

But no, no, it’s much more important that these “Microblogging wars” continue, for they are just wars!  WAIT—no they’re not.  Posterous and Tumblr are both pretty good at being douchey.

In fact, from my first experience with Tumblr I felt that Tumblr cornered the market on uber-controlling, doucheyness in that it has a few odd limitations that almost turned me off the site, entirely.  For starters, Tumblr tells you exactly how to post what you post.  Want to post a picture?  No title allowed. The same goes for video and audio posts, too—Sure, you can add a title to a text post, but it is “optional,” which always feels like discouragement, to me.  When I email a picture directly to Tumblr, it only accepts the email’s subject as the caption (rather than the title, unlike Posterous, which logically does this) and Tumblr ignores any *actual* caption you include in the body of the email (also, *unlike* Posterous).

Then, when you do post a pic, depending on how you do it, it may show up in full-size *only* on your blog and as a thumbnail to any Tumblr users who follow you or possibly, to them, not at all.  See, if you only visit a Tumblr-user’s main page, you see everything they want you to see—which is fine. But if you take advantage of Tumblr’s largely AWESOME Twitter-style dashboard (which displays your stream of Tumblr blogs you’re following), all bets are off.  Tumblr will either display a seriously tiny thumbnail of your image or not at all, putting a tiny rectangle icon in its place. I don’t care why Tumblr does this—it is intensely frustrating.

Tumblr does a few things really well, however.  The previously-mentioned Twitter-style dashboard is completely addictive.  I *love* it and it’s really why I continue to use Tumblr.  It’s the single easiest way to keep up with blogs you care about.  I wish every other blog service would rip it off because every time I come across a blog I love that isn’t on Tumblr I get frustrated because nobody makes it easier to follow you than Tumblr.  In fact, I just walk away from blogs on other services for that reason :(

Tumblr also makes it SUPER easy to run multiple blogs.  I run over a dozen of them.  Their theme system is straightforward and incredibly simple to use or customize.  Their tags work incredibly well (even as categories) and you can provide RSS feeds for each tag if you want to.  I love that Tumblr will allow you to import feeds. However, like regular posting, there are rigid guidelines the imports must fit into—which I don’t like.

One other thing I like about Tumblr is that they let you include Google Adsense in your theme.  Letting you make a few pennies off of your own content—imagine that!  This was my main motivation for moving all of my online blogging to Tumblr and to put up with their other limitations, in the process.  It’s been worth it, but I wish they’d improve—loosen up their absurd posting rules—I was using Posterous to crosspost to Tumblr just because it was more flexible than directly posting to Tumblr—but since Tumblr doesn’t allow for crossposted images to display to Tumbr-users in their streams, I’ve stopped doing this.  So if Tumblr could allow for images to be displayed, that’d be great, too.

See, I love Posterous for it’s flexibility of posting but hate it for everything else.  It’s themes are hard to use, it’s interface is cumbersome and clunky, and their recent “Tumblr is for high school kids” post made them look like a bunch of dickweeds and inspired me to block anyone from seeing my content on their site.  In fact, it looks like they’ve just been targeting every blog site known to man and talking about how Posterous is better—it’s like they’re really desperate or something.

But of all the blogging services I’ve tried out, Posterous does have the most potential.  It is truly mobile and is as easy to post to as sending an email.  Of course, anything beyond that and it’s a horrible pain in the ass.

Imagine combining the best of both worlds from Tumblr and from Posterous! It would be the perfect blog host!!  Uber-flexible posting and incredible back-end and following ability!  It would be heaven!

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Rejection letter from Disney discourages girls from applying for jobs in the animation department. Funny, it doesn’t say anything about women applying, though.


Found this via piratekitten:



damn.



Mary should be lucky she wasn’t Jewish!


KIDDING. (Well, kinda.)


But “seriously,” isn’t it easier to take this kind of bad news since it comes from another “girl”?


OK, SERIOUSLY, check out how ironic the layout of that Disney stationary is—Miss Mary V. Ford is backed up by Snow White. Meanwhile, Mary Chase (sp?) has the witch and her poison apple in her corner.  Of course, the Seven Dwarfs stand idly by, letting the rampant sexism continue—clearly they’re distracted by what they are imagining Snow White to be wearing under that sexy princess outfit.


What’s ironic about this kind of sexism, and any kind of discrimination really, is that it would eventually end due to fact that women can be just as good at animation (or almost anything else) as men.  In fact, even today, companies get away with paying women less than men for the same work, so Disney could have saved a bunch of money—stupid Disney! 


And by the time I started working in animation back in the 90s, there were loads of women around. I even knew some that worked at Disney—they did everything from storyboards, to models, to BGs and colors.  In fact, at one company I worked at, their overseas cell-painting division in the Philippines was staffed with almost all women (at least that’s what the pictures made it look like).  So, if Miss Mary V. Ford had really wanted to get into animation, all she had to do was move to Asia and wait a few years. :(

Juan Cole/TomDispatch on something I talked about in the last 666cast

No sooner do I post episode 25 of the 666cast which encourages us all to turn off the TV news to avoid it’s stupifying effects, than do I stumble across a post on Frederic Guarino’s tumblr linking to “Tomgram: Juan Cole, The Media as a Security Threat to America” on TomDispatch.com.  In part Juan Cole is quoted in the post as saying:



The great Pakistani deluge did not exist, it seems, because it was not on television, would not have delivered audiences to products, and was not all about us.  As we saw on September 11, 2001, and again in March 2003, however, the failure of our electronic media to inform the public about centrally important global developments is itself a security threat to the republic.



Earlier today, Frederic also reblogged this:




further proof US media is insular to the point of being ridiculous


notnadia:



Wow.




All right, so I guess I should have said turn off ALL mainstream media in the US, instead of just TV. :


Jesus, (if we can’t learn what’s really going on in the world) we’re fucked.

666cast episode 25 from website666.com says: TURN OFF YOUR TV! Specifically your TV news! Listen to find out why!Please subscribe to the feed!Thanks! Be sure to let your thoughts on the 666cast be known by commenting or @replying on Twitter to @website666!

666cast episode 25 from website666.com says: TURN OFF YOUR TV! Specifically your TV news! Listen to find out why!

Please subscribe to the feed!

Thanks! Be sure to let your thoughts on the 666cast be known by commenting or @replying on Twitter to @website666!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

About Piracy and Why It Won't Always be Piracy... (because it can't be)

Piracy will eventually evolve…


I found this post over at streetvisuals.posterous.com that brings up a great point about piracy. But before I get to it, I’d just like to point out that what piracy literally is has always existed in some form even if it was legally allowed (via libraries or just borrowing/gifting books from/to friends) and will never go away as long as tools exist for making it possible. That said, what can IP (Intellectual Property) owners do about it? Street Visuals suggests we all just chill and treat it as reasonably in expensive advertising.


The blog post mentions a guy called Markus Persson, developer of the game Minecraft who doesn’t like piracy, but understands that: things, they are a’ changin’.


From StreetVisuals:


Persson says in a blog post that the digital world simply doesn’t mesh with an economic system that was designed around physical goods that can only exist in one place at a time, and can’t be easily copied. “We’ve got an amazingly effective way of distributing culture that is extremely beneficial for humanity, but it clashes with our current economical models,” he writes. The ability to quickly and easily make identical copies of movies, books, games and other content is something we don’t want to give up, Persson says, but “to people who want to get paid for their digital works, myself included, that is a bit of a problem.”

On Persson’s original blog post he even says:


All of society and economics is based on an old outdated model where giving something to someone would rid the original owner of their copy, so everyone who wanted a copy had to buy one from someone else who would lose theirs, and the only source of new copies was you.

I love that he calls it an “old outdated model” because, of course, it is—for exactly the reasons he cites.


But what can we do about it? Neither Persson’s post or the post on Street Visuals really suggests any solution to this problem aside from ignoring it—which is essentially what you do when you treat it as advertising. The only thing you need to do, actively, is make sure there are benefits to buying the legit copy—like extra trinkets that come with the DVD or things you can do online only by registering a legit copy. However, this doesn’t begin to approach the bigger problem facing society:


What do we do with this “old outdated model” of economics that we still practice?


The fact that no one has really gotten farther than this point in the discussion (and most folks aren’t even aware that this discussion is taking place) speaks to our sad and near complete lack of cultural imagination.


The only thing I can think of is something like a UK-style NHS but instead of providing national health services, it’ll provide income for content creators. The system would go like this:


The creator produces the content without compensation to start with. After a certain number of downloads they can apply for government sponsorship. From there, tax money gets shunted to the creator.


Sure, lots of folks would be annoyed that their tax dollars are going to pay for someone to make content that offends them, but the way I see it, they should shut up and grow up since, for ten years, my tax dollars have been helping pay for two wars that I morally and logically object to. Everything is a trade-off when you live in a world with adults. I pay for your content, you pay for mine. We may not agree, but we both agree we should all be able to feed ourselves and our families.


And that’s ultimately the point: we all agree that movies, shows, music, games, books, and software applications are important and useful to humanity as a whole, so why don’t we just agree that this is an industry that absolutely needs to exist and support it with our tax dollars?


The idea that this antiquated old system just went through a massive upheaval should give us a big heads-up that shit needs to change. I mean, banks are too big to fail, but thanks to a lack of money, our creative industry is too big and is failing. We’ve got to do something, kids.

Friday, September 17, 2010



**UPDATED AGAIN *UPDATED


writer-a:



I’M SO THERE. 



Yeah, I think we may need to hold a mini-fund-raiser to get Jay and Kay down to DC for this.


*UPDATE: Oh and this occurred to me while reblogging this to my lifestream:



Crap, it’s a Thursday! Why couldn’t they pick a Saturday for this so more folks could avoid missing work to go to this?


More info:


http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com/


http://www.keepfearalive.com/



So we all miss work while they still get their weekend :


*UPDATE: I’m dumb. Was looking at September instead of October. It IS on a Saturday. >_<

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Earth's Hottest Year just might explain Sharpest Drop in Oldest, Thickest Arctic Sea Ice

Earth's Hottest Year just might explain Sharpest Drop in Oldest, Thickest Arctic Sea Ice

underpaidgenius:



paulmalouf:



Exclusive: Scientists track sharp drop in oldest, thickest Arctic sea ice: 2010 melt season ends, likely setting the record for lowest volume @ National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) via Climate Progress


NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far: Summer 2010 the second warmest on record; hottest August in RSS satellite record* @ NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center via Climate Progress


Environment correspondent Richard Black @ BBC News ~ ‘Rapid’ 2010 melt for Arctic ice - but no record




Just more evidence to be ignored by those in power.

Bill Maher apparently thinks there are two Americas--um, yes, but wait, WHAT?

falconieri:



“We do have two Americas. We have the America that’s living in reality. The people who understand that Obama is a centrist liberal from Hawaii who is trying to dig us out of the hole we’re in. And then we have this other FOX/Matt Drudge/Rush Limbaugh reality where he is a Muslim sleeper cell, Manchurian candidate who was sent over by his Kenyan father…”


Bill Maher (via azspot)



Um, Bill, one of those Americas is COMPLETELY FICTIONAL.  So, while I agree we do have two Americas (John Edwards got that much right), ONE OF THEM IS NOT FICTIONAL.


Dude. Did you think about that before you said it?


The two Americas:


America #1: For the rich folks.


America #2: For everyone else.


One guess as to which America laws really matter.

EFFYOU.ORG: EFFYOU Democrats! Why Do You Suck so Bad??

EFFYOU.ORG: EFFYOU Democrats! Why Do You Suck so Bad??

From effyou.org:




Oh, Democrats! What’s wrong with you? The Republicans are so amazingly corrupt, hypocritical, obstructionist and imbecilic, and yet, the media has you pegged as being under serious threat in November.


WHY IS THAT?


Seriously, Dems, you guys could TAKE THEM DOWN if you just started calling…



If you’re a registered Democrat, I’ve got to ask: why are you a registered Democrat?

Are people stupid enough to vote stupid? YES: Grist.org reports "Now all GOP Senate candidates deny global warming"

Are people stupid enough to vote stupid? YES: Grist.org reports "Now all GOP Senate candidates deny global warming"

“Brad Johnson noted earlier this week that all but one of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate “dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming…

Monday, September 13, 2010



My iPhone fits: infographic details how everything trapped miners need must fit inside a 3-inch container lowered down a tiny shaft.


Found via alittlespace:



newsweek:



sarah-ball:



Amazing. Click to enlarge.


[Newsweek]



This week’s Back Story. 



Pretty incredible.



I had to stop reading this halfway through due to this being a big fear of mine.

Today in Why America is Over: Newt Gingrich, John Boehner and everyone else.

From officialssay:



“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anticolonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior… This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.”


Newt Gingrich, a Republican and former House speaker, giving National Review Online his take on President Obama.



From CSMonitor.com reported on why Boehner may let tax cuts for the wealthy expire:



“I don’t think that’s going to help our economy,” said Boehner on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday.


Republicans have long insisted that keeping taxes low on those at the top of America’s income scale is the best way to help the private sector generate new jobs.


That said, why would Boehner vote for a tax approach he still believes to be flawed? Several political theories come to mind.


He’s getting ready to be speaker of the House. With many polls showing it likely that the GOP will make big gains this fall, it’s possible that Boehner will become speaker in the next Congress. That’s a very different job than the one he now holds. The speaker has more responsibility for governing the nation – and that means more responsibility for actually getting bills passed.



SIGH. Example #1 shows us how the Republicans are still accusing others of what they, themselves are guilty of.  Not to mention, they’re also racist, xenophobia-mongers, happy to point out “the other” even if that “other” got elected into office by an overwhelming majority. Gingrich looks like a fool doing both this and when he accuses others of being out of touch (oh and the mostly white, male, suit-wearing, Republicans are in touch?) and also by clearly being out of touch himself.  However, the moderate Republicans (if there are any) and the Democrats (I’m pretty sure there are some around) both let these loudmouth A-holes get away with it.  Then there’s the media, I’ll get to them in a second.


Example #2 of why America is over is Boehner’s bonehead machinations. He’s caving not because he wants to, not because he thinks it’s the best thing to do for America, he’s doing it to protect his chances for being SoH when the Republicans take over.


“Fuck America, it’s about my job,” he seems to be saying and it’s obvious to anyone paying attention.


Meanwhile, the media is only encouraging him by doing a truly horrible job of holding the USG’s feet to the fire.  It’s the media’s responsibility to challenge everything the government does. How often do you see this?  These polls that point to a Republican win in November exist only because we are an almost completely misinformed public.


If most of us knew the truth, third party candidates would sweep the country since both parties are killing America with their petty, stupid, back-biting and infighting.  America is dying for several different reasons and so far no one is willing to face this reality.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Leaders blaming the followers. The state of America today.

Stowe Boyd has a great post up on underpaidgenius.com. it’s all about how Tom Friedman, the Grand Wizard of Globalism Justification, is blaming We, The People (you and me) for everything that is wrong with our country today.  Hit up that post—it’s definitely a good read.


What you need to hear from me is that Friedman is employing his typical tactic of brown-nosing the establishment here. He’s been doing it for years and it’s what has kept him writing books and articles and has allowed him to keep going on TV, even when the facts conflict with what he is saying.


There is no logic in blaming the American People when it is the job of our leaders to lead us.  How can you blame us for doing what we’re supposed to do???  We elect them to lead US. Why are we suddenly responsible when Obama starts doing the same shit Bush did? We’ve protested, we’ve written letters to our representatives, we’ve voted with our dollars, but none of it has worked. And Friedman somehow thinks it’s our faults for letting all those banks go bad and those wars get fought and our world crumble around us.


Yet, Friedman is a leader, too—and since he failed us, as well, he’s not about to come clean (the Earth will never be flat, Tom—they come up, we go down). Instead, he’s going to keep playing the same game that every other leader is playing—“the lie and hope things get better” game. 


This is the state of America today.


We have no leaders.  We just have a bunch of petty children more interested in swinging their power around like a huge penis, rather than spine-ing-up and taking the responsibility that great power requires.


This includes Tom Friedman and anyone else in the media, too.  And in case you haven’t noticed, save for a couple of exceptions, they are leaders who aren’t leading us any more than those in government.


Now go read Stowe’s piece.  It’s got some great commentary and he’s exactly right.


My favorite part his post is this:



These kids aren’t stupid. They know that the American dream is manufactured, pre-fabbed, and that the role that they are supposed to play is a dead-end. They don’t want a split-level ranch in the suburbs, a mortage, braces on the teeth of 1.7 children, and a dog named Rex in the yard. They are immune: inoculated by the used needle of the econolypse and the vaccine of fallen America.



Pretty good, huh? There’s plenty more. Go read.


Funny how prophetic the movie Fight Club was in some ways.  Shift a few of the characters around and you’ve still got the end of the American Way.

Episode 24 of the 666cast is the 911 episode! Featuring Koran burning (or not), ghoulish “celebrations” of 911 and other commentary from me, ThePete, the guy behind website666.com. LISTEN! Please subscribe to the 666cast feed. Thanks!

Episode 24 of the 666cast is the 911 episode! Featuring Koran burning (or not), ghoulish “celebrations” of 911 and other commentary from me, ThePete, the guy behind website666.com. LISTEN!


Please subscribe to the 666cast feed. Thanks!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Crap... the morbid 911 "celebrations" have already begun.

Just saw this in my Tumblr stream (minus the blurring on the names, of course):



That top part is an animated gif of a handful of frames-worth of one of the towers falling. The bottom part is where Tumblr users react, either in sadness or in recalling “where they were when”.


I get that people are still freaked out by this event. I understand.


It’s one thing to mourn quietly at Ground Zero in NYC.  It’s one thing to quietly light a candle to remember those who died.


But animated gifs of the towers falling?


Blog-based confessions of sad-feelings?


Yeah, let’s keep things in perspective kids.  911 was nothing compared to, oh, say, what we dropped on Japan.  Not just the atom bombs (which killed tens of thousands the *instant* they were dropped), but also the firebombing of Tokyo, too. 


What we did, as a country, to Japan not recent enough for you?  Then consider the 106,000 Iraqi dead—most of which would still be alive if we hadn’t invaded their country unprovoked (which only happened because 911 happened). 


Oh, no—let’s pour over pictures and videos of the day we lost a whopping 3k people—better yet, let’s give it the same treatment we’d give a LOLcat pic or a gif from that blog that features 2 frames of a movie. 


Mourning should be done on a personal level—somber, respectful.  Doing it on Tumblr practically requires a lack of respect for the dead.  So, please, it’s been 9 years—you don’t have to be over it, but can we chill with the ghoulish replay of videos and uber-emotional remembrances of “where we were when”?


I *hope* you weren’t expecting tolerance for this sort of crap from the guy who runs Website666.com.  I may be a puppeteer, but I also draw Ballpoint Adventures.

Sorry, Obama, I don't call God anything. My country's under the sky.

friendlyatheist:



“We are one nation under God. We may call that God different names, but we are one nation.”


President Obama


Tolerance is a good idea. But Obama has just divided the nation, forgetting all of his previous brief, superficial mentions of non-believers, into those who are part of his one nation under God, and the rest of us, who are…what? Not part of the nation?
-PZ Myers


I don’t quite follow PZ Myers’ wording there, but I think I get what he means—and I agree.  Way to exclude the only folks in the country who are willing to face facts. 


All I can say to Obama is this:


Nah, I don’t call “Him” anything because “He” doesn’t exist and you can’t prove he does.


I love how if I talk about Star Trek or some crazy scifi thing, I’m branded a loser with my head in the clouds, but the President of the United States of America thinks there’s some all-powerful-all-seeing guy in the sky who created everything in the UNIVERSE but cares about what we do and think and say. 


Yeah, that’s the guy I want in charge.


>_<

This Week's EFFYOU goes out to Terry Jones and everyone at the Dove World Outreach Center (UPDATED)

effyou.org:




This handsome man is Dr. Terry Jones in a screencap from a propaganda video available for viewing on YouTube and http://doveworld.org. Dr. Terry Jones is the man who runs the Dove World Outreach Center.  They’re the group of Christians who have called this Saturday, the 9th anniversary of the 911 attacks, “International Burn a Koran Day(that links to the event’s page on Facebook, btw.)


However, these people aren’t just about burning the holy books of religions they don’t agree with (OK, Islam), they’re about rampant paranoia, calling anything they disagree with a threat to America.  That propaganda video on their website suggests abortions, gay marriage and Islam are “very serious issues” that will “shape America’s future in a negative way” and that Islam is “a political force” with “a vision of world domination” (that has no resemblance to Christianity, we have to assume).


Apparently, they don’t think copyright infringement is a problem, though, since they use music from a Hollywood movie (Braveheart, I think?) to add drama to Jones’ words—like they need drama—AMERICA IS UNDER ATTACK! ISN’T THAT DRAMA ENOUGH?


Ahem… 


Terry Jones is so intolerant of Islam that he wrote a book called Islam is of the Devil and even sells T-shirts and coffee mugs with the phrase “Islam is of the Devil” on them so you can proudly display your own intolerance while hanging out with friends or drinking your morning coffee at the office.


It’s a shame that this idiot and his idiot followers don’t get the whole “Golden Rule” thing going—you know, that “Don’t do unto others that which you wouldn’t have done unto you” thing?  I guess it’s OK for them to take away from Muslims the very thing they’re enjoying by preaching hatred of Muslims—aka, the right to practice your religion of choice freely.


Talk about unAmerican.


For being so intolerant of another religion it has set aside the anniversary of a terrible day in American history to pee all over one of the main principles behind America’s very founding, the Dove World Outreach Center and all of its supporters gets this week’s EFFYOU.


Hell, these guys should just get this week’s EFFYOU, they should get the hell out of America. We’re about freedom here—not religious harassment.


PS, as an atheist, I have a WHOLE mess of problems with these guys, but my biggest problem (explained above) happens to have nothing to do with religion—it’s all about tolerance.  Read a more unbridled take on this on Website666.com.


*UPDATED 20100910: OK, well, it looks like Terry Jones has actually seen the light after having chats with the FBI, another pastor, a local Florida imam and even US Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  So, he’s canceled the Koran-burning.  HOWEVER, he’s still an interminable douche who is really just an attention whore with a gas station mustache.  To take this as far as he has shows much more intolerance than any American should be willing to put up with.  It also shows a level of ignorance and pettiness that seems as deep as the Mariana Trench.


So, Terry Jones and any of his followers who have yet to disassociate themselves from this man still get a big EFFYOU from EFFYOU.org.



It’s not like, aside from the Koran-burning, this was a decent guy, or anything.

Modern Secret-Keeping, USG-Style!

housingworksbookstore:



“Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.”


Pentagon Plan - Buying Books to Keep Secrets - NYTimes.com


Totally not kidding — we were wondering why 4 people tried to buy this book for $250 last night.



Whoa. Is there an e-book version of this thing?


Because that would be perfect a horrible horrible thing for the USG. ;)



HUGE news in a post from unknownskywalker:



Laws of Physics Vary Throughout the Universe, New Study Suggests


A team of astrophysicists based in Australia and England has uncovered evidence that the laws of physics are different in different parts of the universe.


The report describes how one of the supposed fundamental constants of Nature appears not to be constant after all. Instead, this ‘magic number’ known as the fine-structure constant — ‘alpha’ for short — appears to vary throughout the universe.


After measuring alpha in around 300 distant galaxies, a consistency emerged: this magic number, which tells us the strength of electromagnetism, is not the same everywhere as it is here on Earth, and seems to vary continuously along a preferred axis through the universe.


The implications for our current understanding of science are profound. If the laws of physics turn out to be merely ‘local by-laws’, it might be that whilst our observable part of the universe favours the existence of life and human beings, other far more distant regions may exist where different laws preclude the formation of life, at least as we know it.


The researchers’ conclusions are based on new measurements taken with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, along with their previous measurements from the world’s largest optical telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.


The Keck telescopes and the VLT are in different hemispheres — they look in different directions through the universe. Looking to the north with Keck a smaller alpha is seen in distant galaxies, but when looking south with the VLT a larger alpha is detected. It varies by only a tiny amount over most of the observable universe, but it’s possible that much larger variations could occur beyond our observable horizon.


The discovery will force scientists to rethink the understanding of Nature’s laws. The fine structure constant, and other fundamental constants, are absolutely central to our current theory of physics. If they really do vary, we’ll need a better, deeper theory. While a ‘varying constant’ would shake our understanding of the world around us extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This finding is extraordinary, no doubt about that.


Image: Illustration of the dipolar variation in the fine-structure constant, alpha, across the sky, as seen by the two telescopes used in the work: the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the ESO Very Large Telescope in Chile.


[Science Daily]



In short, from what I could understand of the above explanation, there seems to be variations in the laws of physics—where, if the Earth was the universe, if you walk along the equator, you might way 100 pounds, but if you were to walk north you’d get lighter but heavier if you went south. What this means, in a nutshell is that there may be no way to conjure a universal theory of physics—aka figure out exactly how the universe works.  On the plus side, Star Wars just got more realistic! ;)


You may now return to worrying about whatever petty shit you’re dealing with in life (which completely fucking pales in comparison to this new problem facing life in the universe).



Why Neill deGrasse Tyson is one of my favorite people on the planet. Thanks @neiltyson!


Here’s a text version for easy copy/pasting:



Likely source of all conflict in world: believing what you want or what feels good, rather than what is objectively true.



@neiltyson


Neil deGrasse Tyson




I’d go gay for Neil deGrasse Tyson.



Can we get a Neil deGrasse Tyson auto-reblog going?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

THAT'S how bedbugs procreate? So, uh, what's up with that, God?

Don’t let the bedbugs bite? That’s not the only thing we want to stop them from doing!


So, I saw this post and thought it provided a nice example of an argument I’ve been making for years:


“Another Resons To Avoid Bedbugs: Traumatic Insemination” from underpaidgenius:




Scientists discover new weapon in fight against bedbugs


Bedbugs are swiftly becoming the bane of humanity, plaguing homes, offices, movie theaters and malls alike. But the fight against the red and brown bloodsuckers has gained a new weapon. E! ScienceNews reports that researchers in Sweden have discovered immature bedbugs release a pheromone to dissuade adult males from mating with them. Scientists say the findings can be applied towards a solution to the bedbug dilemma.


When bedbugs mate, they do so by “traumatic insemination.” As the female lacks a genital opening, the male pierces her abdomen with his hypodermic genitalia to leave his sperm in her abdominal cavity. And because male bedbugs don’t discriminate between partners, they will climb on top of the nearest comrade — be it male or sexually immature. In these situations, they fatally wound the unsuspecting recipient of their amorous advances.


Luckily for bedbugs, nature has developed an alarm system to defend against unwanted embraces. When a male bedbug approaches a sexually immature nymph or male bedbug, the insect releases pheromones to let the male know he should find another friend.



Man, animals like this shouldn’t exist in the first place.




That last comment there is from Stowe Boyd, the “Underpaid Genius” behind UnderpaidGenius.com.  I agree with him—but hey, God works in mysterious ways, right?  The thing is, this isn’t just mysterious—this is downright fucked up.


I remember the exact moment I became an atheist. I was about 12 and was in Sunday School.  My teacher was telling us how God was “all around us.”  I thought about that for a moment and then pointed to the middle of the table I was sitting at and asked “God is there? In the middle of this table?”


“Yes, of course!” replied the teacher.


“But that’s stupid,” I said.


But God being in the middle of a table is just the tip of the “stupid” iceberg.  Look at how bedbugs reproduce for Christ’s sake ;)  Their males have sword penises that wound their mates with sperm.  And check it out homophobes!  There are GAY BEDBUGS, TOO!


So much for homosexuality being “unnatural,” but I digress…


The point is, there are too many seriously twisted things in nature that are just too illogical and, frankly, messed up, to think a “just” god would allow them to occur. 


So, rather than give the female bedbug a nice, identifiable orifice for sex, it gives the male a stabbing tool for a penis. 


WHAT A DICK—and I’m not talking about a male bedbug’s reproductive organs.  Why is God a dick? “Because He works in mysterious ways.”


Orrrrr, God doesn’t exist and the “process” of evolution, the hit-and-miss style of life’s random attempts to work, yields some pretty bizarre results.


What’s both scary and heartening is that the “evolution” argument seems much more rational and suggests the universe is much more stable than the “God” argument.


According to believers, if I piss off God I could end up with cancer or dead. 


I’ll try my chances with random fate, thanks.


Just keep those fucking bedbugs away from me, though—those things are MESSED UP.



From thedailywhat:



Good News of the Day: Pastor Terry Jones calls off controversial “International Burn a Koran Day,” remains a grade-A douche while doing so.


[bbc.]



SWEET!


But wait… the article linked to says:



Terry Jones said he was calling off the event after the group behind a planned Islamic centre near Ground Zero in New York agreed to relocate it.



But the cultural centre’s organisers said they had no plans to move it.



Is he just a loon???  Did he imagine the folks behind the “Ground Zero Mosque” (aka a Muslim community center 2 block from GZ) called him and said they’d cave?


He does believe in God and that burning the Koran was a good idea in the first place, so it’s hard to figure out where he draws the line between fantasy and reality.


Either way, it’s a shame he didn’t see/can’t admit the error of his ways—the idea that burning someone else’s holy book is a kind of harassment and a clear form of intolerance doesn’t seem to be an idea he can grasp.  There’s no “negotiating intolerance.”


Building a mosque right on Ground Zero isn’t an affront to Christianity, it’s just insensitive to some of the 911 families.  Declaring a day “International Burn a Koran Day” is an affront—not just all Muslims, but to all religiously tolerant people.


People are such idiots.

Hey, Pakistan is in some serious, serious shit. If you can, definitely help. Here's how:

“Tell my Mum that I’m donating money to the Pakistan Flood relief via text message.” from alexleefitz:



She answers back, “There was a flood in Pakistan?”



Text SWAT to 50555 to donate $10 to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide tents, clothing, food, clean water and medicine to Pakistan.



Isn’t it sad that our governments can’t do this for us? You know, keep us safe and have plans for disasters like this?  Not that I blame Pakistan’s government—they’ve been in a world of hurt over the past few years.  Let’s hope help gets to them soon, because right now it seems like God hates them more than New Orleans.

Special midweek 666cast! Episode 23 of the 666cast features my rant against the Dove World Outreach Center—the folks behind “International Burn a Koran Day”. You’ll understand if I sound a little more angry in this special mid-week edition of the 666cast. Please subscribe to the feed.

Special midweek 666cast! Episode 23 of the 666cast features my rant against the Dove World Outreach Center—the folks behind “International Burn a Koran Day”.  You’ll understand if I sound a little more angry in this special mid-week edition of the 666cast.


Please subscribe to the feed.



Religion is like a penis. It’s true.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Earth *not* hit by asteroids today...

“We’re still here ” from coalspeaker:



For better or worse—depending on the day you’re having—the asteroids whizzed by earth without incident.



Damn, and I had such high hopes.



The single most depressing pic you’ll see all day followed by the most depressing text story. Pakistan isn’t getting the help/attention it needs. Serious fucking human suffering is happening here folks.


Found via stfuglennbeck:



jeffbernat:



nare-bear:



myinnermee:



karmahasutra:



Yes. Those babies are lying on concrete.


Yes. That bottle is empty.


Yes. Those are mosquitos swarming their little bodies.


Yes. This is the condition of Pakistan, at the moment.


A couple of weeks have gone by since the floods in Pakistan have flowed and the number of people effected by this are staggering & record breaking.


Over 20 MILLION PEOPLE.


That is MORE THAN THE COMBINED TOTAL of the 2004 Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the American Katrina disaster.


How many of you knew about this? It’s a shame at the extreme lack of coverage on this horrific disaster. Pakistan is getting MINIMAL help.


Ignorance never ends, a recent poll was taken in America on whether if they would donate or have donated to Pakistan or not. 67% DO NOT wish or want to help Pakistan. 67%.


And as for the donations that are being sent… 60% of aid needed now, has not been delivered. Who has them & why haven’t they reached the public?


I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. My city is located in the south region of Pakistan (Sindh province). I can not fathom the words….The amount of hurt I am feeling.


No one is helping.


I try to blog about it daily…only getting a few notes or so..I post a picture of myself and income the notes and comments. What I’m trying to say is, Please…take note of this. These people are innocent and now they are homeless and sick. Children are dying quickly due to the lack of care. People have drowned, crops are ruined..animals are dead, & homes are gone. It is being speculated that my city will eventually drown since it’s already low. The floods haven’t hurt my region yet but they have affected my friends & families home and so many other innocent people.


This picture breaks my heart..I want you all to look at this picture. What do you see?


Do you see terrorists? Do you see future killers? Do you see another plot against America? Do you see that in those mosquitoes that can possibly and most likely have left diseases such as malaria? Do you see harm in that empty bottle?


Extremists are the ones to blame, not Muslims. Why should we be left hopeless? We didn’t do anything.


And as for the Qu’ran burning this weekend in Florida, I believe….


The thought of that night makes me cry. Do you all understand the severity and ignorance of that act? Why isn’t anyone stopping them? My religion, my faith didn’t hurt you. EXTREMISTS DID. They are NOT religious. My faith is NOT a cult.


I don’t know what to do. I honestly don’t know. I’ve never felt this helpless. No one is helping, no one cares. Fuck neither do my own best friends know much about this.


Just look at this picture and think about what you’ve just read.


Help. Please.


If you can…I’m not asking for a shitload of cash. But please, try to donate. Donating to UNICEF will send aid to children. Donate to the Red Cross & the UN Foundation. I trust the most in these three foundations, they’ve actually managed to send and successfully help the victims. 


One-fifth of the country is under water; 20 million+ people are homeless. All I ask if for you to help a little and spread awareness.





reblog and spread the word.



If you guys don’t know the history of Pakistan, I suggest you look it up. Everyone, and I mean everyone, not just these little babies, could use whatever help you can give.



:(



I’ll look into doing what I can. I wish I had money and not just stuff. Shipping stuff is expensive.



Um, can’t we just let the Free Market fix it?  Maybe tell those kids to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit?


/ stephencolbertmode


Seriously, though. Where’s International Rescue when you really need them to be real.

What do they say about doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result?

Back on August 30, 2010, I came across an article at NYTimes.com that reported “Japan Plans New Steps to Curb Yen.” Here’s an excerpt:



Japan promised a host of measures on Monday in a bid to ignite its faltering economy and temper a punishingly strong yen.


Prime Minister Naoto Kan proposed new stimulus steps, while the Bank of Japan, under pressure from the government, further eased its already easy monetary policy.



The phrase “already easy monetary policy” reminded me of an article from Reuters.com that I had been meaning to write about since August 28, 2010, when I first found it. That article was called “Analysis: The uncomfortable mathematics of monetary policy.” Here’s an excerpt:



The prospect of a renewed effort by the U.S. central bank to drive down already super-low borrowing costs raises the issue of whether such measures can help stimulate a recovery that is faltering due to a lack of consumer demand.



Sound familiar?


The article goes on:



The sorry state of the U.S. economy, despite all the monetary and fiscal firepower the Fed and the Treasury have deployed, already befuddles the experts.



Yeah, so between our government’s economic choices and Japan’s, I’m starting to wonder if anyone with a brain is at the helm of either country’s economic ships.  I mean, they both seem to be trying the same solutions over and over again and nothing’s worked yet.  Or is this like the Japanese movie Bubble Fiction (spoiler alert: they did it to get rich)?


In fact, I’d go so far as to say we’re both screwed if new ideas don’t get introduced (or new people don’t get put in charge) soon. 


The whole irony is magnified when you consider Japan’s “Lost Decade.” They went through the popping of an almost identical economic bubble (part of this is discussed in Bubble Fiction) as we did just recently and it seems like no one knows how to learn from mistakes and, you know, evolve.  We need some seriously fresh DNA in the form of new ideas and new blood.


Who wants to bet we get neither and that both governments keep on truckin’ right into a ditch?

Underpaid Genius: Why We Can't Prepare For Disasters: Lack Of Imagination

Underpaid Genius: Why We Can't Prepare For Disasters: Lack Of Imagination

underpaidgenius:



We are politically and psychologically unable to prepare for disasters, like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes, despite a growing understanding that these disasters are causing increasing damage in the US and elsewhere due to population growth and our continued determination to live in flood…



No imagination, you say?



I can’t imagine!



D’OH!



OK, joking aside, this is absolutely no surprise to me. In fact, I’d even be tempted to say: DUH.


Look at our media, for crying out loud. America’s national hero is Homer Simpson and our mainstream media puts more swooshy graphics and conflict into their broadcasts than they do actual research. 


We’ve forgotten how to imagine as a culture.


Someone hire me so I can help combat this!

Education is a Ponzi Scheme, the Bailout is a Ponzi Scheme does anyone believe in Democracy Still?

fredericguarino:



Why higher education is like a Ponzi scheme



Ph.D. students competing for fewer and fewer jobs, and one professor believes the academic marketplace is turning into a Ponzi scheme.



in other positive developments….



In the Planet Money podcast’s Deep Read from a couple of weeks back was an interview with Nassim Taleb (the Black Swan guy) and in it Taleb described the bailouts as a giant Ponzi scheme, too.  I can’t find a transcript, but the gist of what he said was that the corporations that were “too big to fail” were Bernie Madoff. The taxpayers were Madoff’s victims.  Seems to make sense to me.  Well, in a really sad way.


The interview with Taleb is definitely worth listening to, though I did disagree with a couple of things he said.  Mainly, I found his idea that no one predicted the 2008 economic crisis completely inaccurate since people did.  Danny Schechter made a movie in 2006 predicting that our reliance on debt (and specifically sub-prime mortgages) would be our doom.  But that’s beside the point.  Taleb says some pretty smart things, otherwise.  Like (I’m paraphrasing) “don’t have any debt” and “don’t fly in a plane with pilots and crew who have crashed one before, in fact, bet on their plane to crash again.”  What he means is: don’t expect our economy to get better with the guys who caused it to crash in charge of the recovery.

Avengers Spotlight #23



mockingnerd:
If you’re wondering what’s great about this cover, the answer is everything.

I had this issue! (Mailed to me… I had a subscription… I’m old… :)

Can you still subscribe to comics?

Doctor Clooney



mockingnerd:
I want George Clooney as Doctor Strange so bad I made it happen myself. He even had the Strange ‘Stache in the original (black and white) photo! It is meant to be!

I’d be down with a Dr. Strange movie if Clooney played him. But the last live action Strange film was a made-for-TV monstrosity which was a complete yawner.

Globalism Destroys America: 10 Reasons Why The World Trade Organization Is Bad For The United States Economy - Street_Visuals

Globalism Destroys America: 10 Reasons Why The World Trade Organization Is Bad For The United States Economy - Street_Visuals

“In 2010, education has been so “dumbed down” in America that most Americans don’t even know what the WTO is, and even fewer understand why the WTO is important. The truth is that the World Trade…

Underpaid Genius - The Water Wars Are Coming

Underpaid Genius - The Water Wars Are Coming

“What happens when you have high population growth in an agricultural region with rapidly diminishing water? War.

The US is working to stave off the inevitable in Pakistan, as Himalayan icemelt is…

Smaller cities' shrinking populations--but where do they go?

fredericguarino:



“Over the last 50 years, the city of Detroit has lost more than half its population. So has Cleveland. They’re not alone: Eight of the 10 largest cities in the United States in 1950, including Boston, have since lost at least 20 percent of their population.”



How to shrink a city




Are they fleeing to the suburbs?  Or to homelessness?  I feel like in these uncertain times the cheapest, safest place to be is a major city.