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Friday, September 30, 2011

On Tumblr, Animated Gifs, Fandom and Creating



Going to have to unfollow a bunch of people who insist on posting animated gif after animated gif.  Tumblr makes it waaaay too easy to post mindlessly, without considering what you're doing.  It makes it even easier to repost things other people have posted mindlessly without considering what they were about to do.  I try to follow people who post interesting, thought-provoking things, but so often, folks are just lazy or too busy to post their own thoughts.  I don't mind the occasional reblog, but when your stream is nothing but someone else's photomontages or graphics with sayings on them (I CAN HAS 2 MUCH TIME ON HANDZ) or the bane of my existence...animated gifs, I feel like you're missing the point of having a blog.

A blog is for self-expression.  It's one thing to find someone else's content, repost it and add commentary.  That's cool. That's a discussion.  But to repost someone else's shit and just add "This."  ARG. WHY AM I FOLLOWING YOU???

And those animated gifs!!!  What is this? 1997?  WE HAVE VIDEO NOW.

And what's with all the shameless (shameful?) gushing over scifi shows? I hate animated gifs from scifi shows more than any other kind of animated gif.

Why is it that people are so excited by a show or a movie that they grab some frames of it and make an animated gif rather than using that show or movie as inspiration for their own damn content!?!

Back, before the Internets, fandom would write their own fanfics--short for Fan-written Fiction (aka, fiction written with characters and settings by someone else--who usually got a paycheck while you don't).  They'd even print them out (or have them printed out at a real printing service!) and try to sell them at scifi conventions.

The whole thing just seemed so sad to me.  I mean, come on, man, take yourself seriously! Don't just be a fan, take that inspiration you are feeling and DO something with it!  Create something OF YOUR OWN.  OR: have some balls and submit your own story/script for XYZ franchise directly to the company that makes your show/movie.  Why do you expect people to take time to read your stuff if you consider yourself only a fan?

This is one reason I don't go to conventions any more and really don't like hanging out with my fellow fans most of the time.  Fans who are just fans and have nothing else going on are kinda boring.  I don't want to be a fan.  I want to be a colleague.

It's easy to write a fanfic, it's easier to make a half-dozen stupid animated gifs of David Tennant looking goofy and it's even easier to just reblog someone else's content.  But why not challenge yourself and create something on your own? Of your own invention?  Or just examine your own feelings and then express them in a blog post?

Life is short. Create something now.



WTF! This guy lived 101 years ago and is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers America has ever produced!


Why are there so many Believers still!?!?

An Act of Futility? (Killing an American citizen suspected of terror links)

newsweek:



An article in the Apr 12, 2010 issue of Newsweek argues the killing of radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki would do more harm than good, as his links to attacks on American targets are speculative (at the time, administration officials today would likely disagree) and it’s not even known for certain if he is a member of al Qaeda.



As the lawyers and judge who will try Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab move this week to outline the contours of his hearing, the Obama administration is trying to prevent a repeat attack. The White House announced last week that the CIA will try to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, the Qaeda-linked American citizen living in Yemen who tutored Abdulmutallab. Awlaki will be hard to find—he is currently hiding in southern Yemen, protected by his powerful tribe—but if a drone operator has a shot, he will take it.



Today, a drone operator took that shot. Awlaki was killed. In the coming days, the Obama administration will have to defend its decision in taking out an American citizen by a drone-fired missile.



The rationale here seems self-evident. First, Awlaki has already been linked to two recent attacks in the U.S.: Abdulmutallab’s attempted bombing and also the Fort Hood rampage, where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a shooting spree at his home base, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. (Hasan was advised over the Internet by Awlaki.) Second, Awlaki’s ability to speak English and recruit Westernized Muslims poses a continuing threat: just last month, he called on Muslims living in the United States to carry out similar strikes in the coming months. Eliminating him now, the White House claims, will do much to prevent a third attack. And third, the optics are great: Obama is a president who has promised to bring the fight to Al Qaeda.


Unfortunately, the administration’s argument is based more on frustration and assumption than real strategy. Killing Awlaki will do little to disrupt Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Inside that organization, he is a nobody—at best, a midlevel functionary in a local branch. There are dozens of men who could do more harm to the United States, and killing Awlaki would only embolden them and aid in recruitment. For an organization as resilient and adaptive as AQAP, his death would be a minor irritant, not a debilitating blow. The futility of such a strike should give Obama pause before he greenlights the assassination of a fellow citizen.



Read the rest of the piece. Do you think his killing is justified?



Unless that guy had a gun to someone’s head and refused to drop it, killing him was absolutely unjustified. This is disturbing to no end.  The American Founding Fucking Documents explain that all humans are created equal and that we all get certain rights—like the right to a trial.  Awlaki, to the best of my knowledge, never had a trial.  To the best of my knowledge, he never killed anyone either.  


You know, Timothy McVeigh once said that the reason he used violence to send a message to the USG was because he felt that violence is the only language the USG understands.  I don’t know if that’s true, but violence is certainly the language the USG likes to speak in.



newsweek:



What’s amazing about this photograph (by David Shankbone, Mr. Coolest Last Name Ever) is the ‘Charging Bull’ sculpture was initially installed without the consent of the authorities. It’s guerilla art!


The rest of the Occupy Wall St. photos from ‘In Focus’ are equally fascinating, go check ‘em out. (And hey! There’s a rumor Radiohead might be performing for the protesters at 4pm. Woah.)



MUST PROTECT THE BULL.  (Typical establishment types!)

Ron Paul: US-born al-Qaida cleric 'assassinated'

Ron Paul: US-born al-Qaida cleric 'assassinated'

thestealthblogger:



Memo to Jon Stewart: Shit like this is why the media doesn’t take Ron Paul seriously.



Because the media thinks executing Americans without trial is a good thing?


OH, duh—of course they do. The media loves death and destruction. #StupidMe


For the record I don’t like Ron Paul. I agree with him on a vast number of issues but disagree with him on quite a few, as well. The whole “assassinating American citizens because we don’t like them” is one of the things I agree with Ron Paul as it goes to the whole “protecting human rights” thing—you know, that’s the stuff the US Constitution guarantees all humans.  Cuz like, we’re all supposed to be created equal and stuff.


Or does that not apply to some folks?



motherjones:



A Terror Plot Wile E. Coyote Might Love


Seriously, MSM? You all freaked out about a dude with a BS in physics, a model airplane, and big dreams? Yeah, here’s why that wouldn’t have worked.



NEWS FLASH: even Mother Jones doesn’t get that nearly every “terrorist” arrest on American soil involved suspects that had the want to harm America but no means to actually do it. The vast majority of the people the USG is keeping us safe from inside the US are just pissed at the government and these days who can blame them.


Funny thing is, I was going to blog about this (and probably still will at thepete.com) but it’s so much easier to just reblog someone else’s setup :)


My main point is that we really need to step back and get a sense of scale here. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: during the Cold War we didn’t have a Patriot Act. We weren’t searched before we got on an airplane, we didn’t have cameras on every corner, we didn’t torture anyone and we didn’t arrest people without trial.  And all that was when we were up against “The Evil Empire”.  Al Qaeda is a handful of guys (thousands—maybe) and the Soviet Union was millions.  Why are we so fucking scared of a few people who don’t like us?  


OH NO, A MODEL AIRPLANE MIGHT GET ME! QUICK! FEEL MY BALLS, THAT WILL KEEP ME SAFE!


OH WOW, SOMEONE FORGOT A ROLLER BAG IN TIMES SQUARE FUCKING SAVE ME GOD!! (Oh, it’s just a bag of clothes forgotten by some tourist? Oh.)


OH MY GOD, THAT MAN HAS DARKER SKIN THAN ME! AND HE’S SPEAKING IN TONGUES!! (Ah, that’s President Obama and he’s talking about the economy, ah…)


HOLY SHIT! THERE’S A SCARY, FEARFUL PERSON STARING AT ME FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF A STRANGE GLASS PORTAL IN MY BATHROOM WALL!!


(Oh, that’s me, in  the mirror… oh…)


GROW UP, AMERICA.  YOU FUCKING PUSSIES.

Thursday, September 29, 2011



thereisnogod:



redditlove:


(via rivsay0810)



Cheh! Then depression doesn’t exist! Because:



Please watch “The IT Crowd”. It is awesome.



allicette:



I Believe in Good People



Yeah, I love fictional characters, too!!

China starts the Second Space Race without US

Found this via UnknownSkywalker:



According to an article at physorg.com, China is beginning work on a space station starting with this first module.  Now, this doesn't mean China will be conquering space before Christmas.  This first module is just for practice. The real station goes up in 3 parts starting in 2020.

Yeah, it seems like a pretty unimpressive start to the Second Space Race, but hey, the First Space Race started with the Russians tossing a 2-foot-diameter mirror ball into orbit in 1958. Consider that the first serious attempt at a space station, Skylab, wasn't until the 70s and Mir didn't go up until the 80s.  So, 8 years to launch the first third of a space station is actually pretty damn fast.

Of course, Americans won't have anything in space in 8 years because we put our economy in front of the advancement of human kind and, apparently, the spread of communism into space.

I swear, if, in 2030, we've got Space Commies to deal with, I'm blaming Obama!!


friendlyatheist:



Classic.



You know, after seeing this montage, I feel like all of us atheist bloggers can probably just post this and then stop.  Hell, we can’t logically argue against an irrational belief anyway, so I wonder what the point is.

"The second some jerkoff hits a computer key, he thinks he’s a journalist..."

The second some jerkoff hits a computer key, he thinks he’s a journalist. These clowns put out stuff every day to damage people.
Roger Ailes, Fox News Channel president, on bloggers. (via newsweek)(via newsweek)




HA!  Come on, Roger! Everyone knows journalists don't need TRAINING.  Just look at all those idiots on Fox Ne--OHHHH...

AHEM...

< puts hands in pockets and wanders off, whistling >



delirium-trigger:



MY ARGUMENT EXACTLY. 



But they have an “out” for that—God works in mysterious ways. You can’t explain everything the mind of God conjures!  


To that I always say: well, that’s all conjecture as there is no evidence that there is a god to be mysterious in the first place.  And if there is a God, he’s a fucking asshole and I’m not going to worship a prick who gives children bone cancer.

My Wife Blogs about her Adventures in Connecticut rehearsing for "City of Angels"

So, I'm lucky enough to have spent the last 14 years of my life with the incredibly talented actress and singer, Sierra Rein.  She's spent the last month in East Haddam, Connecticut, rehearsing for "City of Angels" which just began performances this week at the Goodspeed Opera House.  After spending four weeks learning lyrics and music and rehearsing and surviving Irene and travelling back to NYC one day a week to visit her lonely hubby she finally has the time to blog about it now that the show has gone up.  Go check out the post along with some pics of her at rehearsal and in costume and info on how you can get tickets if you're in the neighborhood before the end of November when the show finishes.

You can also follow Sierra on Twitter or Facebook and she even posts sometimes on Tumblr.  For those of you who have seen my Jay ThePal videos, Sierra performs Kay ThePal :)

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost (via cheesegasm)


Um, no it doesn’t. Not for all of us.


I really dislike glib sayings like this. They’re meant to make us feel better but really you’re just treating the symptoms with this sort of pithy crap.  The reality is that for some people life does *not* go on and ignoring that fact gives Mr. and Mrs. Hallmark a hard-on because they know they can sell more cards with useless drivel to people like YOU who can’t think for themselves.


I say this as someone who’s come close to death more than once, had friends who have died, other friends who almost died and hey, I know someone who *is* dying, someone very close to me, actually. So, do me a favor Glibby Von Piths-a-lot and go take a long walk off a short pier—I bet that death will be contrived and cliche enough for your tastes.

Frank Miller: Great Writer and Great Fear Monger? Yeah, probably.

Frank Miller, the man who wrote some of my favorite comic stories ever, has a new graphic novel called "Holy Terror".  If you're familiar with his previous work "300" and his politics, you'll not be too surprised that this new book is about super-heroes going up against jihadists. Spencer Ackerman has reviewed it negatively (understandably) for Wired.  Toward the end of the review, Ackerman explains:
And following 9/11, Miller himself had a sophisticated, complex reaction, intolerant of anyone’s easy pieties. As David Brothers at Comic Alliance reminds, Miller contributed to a volume called 9-11 Artists Respond by offering a scathing, stark series of captions — “I’m sick of flags. I’m sick of God. I’ve seen the power of faith.” — over a haunting illustration of the World Trade Center wreckage.

But it wasn’t God who knocked down the Towers. It was fanatics who believed themselves to have deciphered His true message. Miller doesn’t realize that by portraying them as true disciples of Islam, he’s giving the murderers what they want most. That’s the real terror of Holy Terror, the real lie, and the real naïveté.

Absolutely right.  However, Ackerman glosses over the real truth behind what brought those towers down.  Here's the comment I left on the review:
I never read "300" but I saw the movie and found it to be racist, xenophobic and very much a reflection of Bush-era foreign policy. So, Ackerman's take on "Holy Terror" doesn't surprise me at all. But I think it's an important thing to note, that, while a Believer would defend God and say "God didn't knock down those towers, it was fanatics," an atheist would point out that it's the belief in that god, itself, that did it. Of course, then you put every major religious belief system on the hook (which is why you never see it taken that far). We can't challenge all religions everywhere, now, can we?

But I don't think planet-wide atheism would solve things, either.  Fear-mongering isn't always about religion.  Sure, it was for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the colonization of North and South America ("Convert or die" was the option given to many natives), but often it's about whatever the fear-mongers can get their hands on.  The Soviets were, according to President Reagan, literally, "The Evil Empire" when 30 seconds of thought would have reminded us that they have spouses and children and homes and hopes and dreams *just like us*.  And we all know that the human tendency toward the fear of "The Other" goes back much further than the Soviets and so does said fear's exploitation by humanity's "great" leaders.

That's really what brought the Towers down ten years ago--fear.  Those extremists were terrified of what would happen to their culture, their beliefs, their loved ones if America wasn't stopped.  Likewise, Frank Miller is terrified what will happen to his culture if Islam isn't stopped.  What's worse is that it seems like he wants us all to feel that way, too.  And that is really really sad and kind of scary.

Sorry for the long comment.

I'm just glad Frank Miller has an outlet for his fears!  After watching Thomas P.M. Barnett's "The Pentagon's New Map" seminar on C-SPAN a couple times, I think I truly understand why terrorism happens.  In that seminar Barnett concludes that the majority of the violence in the world comes from regions of low connectivity.  In other words, the people committing the violence don't feel connected to the world around them.  They feel powerless and out of control.  Connected people feel that their voice is heard.  Frank Miller's voice is heard by a lot of people.  I wonder what he would do if suddenly his audience and book deals vanished.  As a writer, myself, I know firsthand that it takes an impossible amount of passion and belief in/for a story to see it through to the end.  Now imagine all that passion and belief with no where to go.

As much as I wish Miller would stop writing, I'd definitely prefer literary terrorism to the literal kind.  Then again, he could just get a blog like the rest of us.

That seminar from Barnett is really quite excellent. I highly recommend you watch it either at the Google Video link above or here on C-SPAN.

UPDATE 16:45:

Someone commented on the above-mentioned Wired article and basically put forth the idea that some of Miller's fears are true, saying in part:
Certainly many Muslims and Arabs are very much the peace loving types that Bush espoused, and that you seem to think all non-Al Qaeda-card-carrying Muslims are -- but it's telling that a few cartoons will get Muslims protesting in the streets about offending Islam, while the bombings carried out in the name of their prophet around the world seem to mostly go unmentioned. The "Not in our name" protests are far and few between.

Ugh... I hate this kind of disguised racism, so I had to say something:
I don't think anyone is saying Islam is a perfect religion with believers who are flawed, just like the rest of us. I think the point is that painting them *all* (or even most of them) as violent people willing to kill for their beliefs is unfair and a mistake. The "connections" you describe are pretty tenuous. I have a good friend who is Muslim and I dated a Muslim, as well. I'm an atheist. They both knew this and they never tried to kill me. Not once! I even had my friend play Jesus in a web video I shot. Does it sound like they have connections to terrorism? Are they acting like extremist Muslims? I don't think so.

As for moderate Muslims not speaking out against extremist Islam, I agree, but then again, how many moderate Christians do we hear speaking out against the extremist Christianity that denies global warming, hates gay soldiers and is somehow simultaneously both pro-life and pro-war at the same time? Hell, while we're at it, I'd love to hear from moderate Jews who are against the occupation of Palestine. However, I also understand why it doesn't happen. How would you like it if I asked you to prove you're not an ethnocentric, paranoid racist? Wouldn't you mind me demanding that you prove your innocence to me?

That's the key, by the way, to know whether you're being unfair to someone else.  Point your judgment or accusations back on yourself.  Do they fit? Or not? And why?

In this commenter's case, he was demanding Muslims prove they aren't supporters of terrorists and aren't terrorists themselves.  But when a similar question is put to him, how would he like it?  He'd probably make excuses about how no group he is affiliated with is responsible for the death of thousands.  To which I would say: "Oh, you're not American then? Because they killed A LOT of people--half-a-million in Iraq, alone!  Probably billions if you go back to the Native Americans during the time of western expansion!  So, go ahead, prove you're not a genocidal maniac like so many other Americans throughout history. Or maybe you don't like someone demanding you prove you're not like other people of your kind since you're pretty sure you're not."

????????????????????????? -Nietzsche

From my tumblr:

nemoi:
sntr:
gkojax:
uessai-text:
2009?8?25???????? ?????????



(via uessai-text3)

?????????????????????????

????

???????????????????????????????

"I am not a man. I am dynamite."

Nietzche

A bit more context:

"I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful, of a crisis like no other before on earth, of the profoundest collision of conscience, of a decision evoked against everything that until then had been believed in, demanded, sanctified. I am not a man. I am dynamite." -- FW Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.

Basically, I think he was saying: "History will make me out to be way worse than I really was, and in that sense, I'm not just a man, filled with positives and negatives, but as something with the power to challenge everything."

I feel like he is both recognizing his own limitations while accepting that society will take those limitations away, but in a way that isn't very controllable.  As a commenter says on the page I link to above, in Nietzsche's time, dynamite was a new, fearsome explosive that would have been the atom bomb of its time.  So, that's why I interpret the original quote including the idea that the power society gives him is uncontrollable.


I love seeing western quotes translated into Japanese because of the words the translator uses.  The original quote, taken literally, uses the word "man".  However, in the Japanese translation the word "ningen" is used, which means "human".  Interesting since the word "otoko" is the literal translation of the word "man."  What this does, for me, is focus in on the meaning Nietzsche was getting at--he wasn't just saying "I'm not a man," he was saying "I'm not a member of the human race, I'm a monster, a force of nature."

I'm a writer! Of course, I'm going to get off on little things like this :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For my fellow Ghost in the Shell fans: I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those...NYAN!


"I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those cute, fuzzy cats,
asleep on a cool anime pillow."

This is my older cat Ecks, asleep on my custom Laughing Man throw pillow. :)

Pic taken by my lovely wife :)

Drawing Every Day: the NW Corner of 32nd and 8th from the NW Corner of 31st and 8th.


I was sitting on the steps of the old post office while drawing this, but looking at the finished product, it's like I was drawing it while floating 20 feet in the air. Ah well. I'm sure I'll get better... right? O_O

Starved for Attention interactive exhibit heading to Philly!




On Friday, NY1 featured two clips on the Starved for Attention interactive exhibit. The exhibit drew more than 2,000 visitors during its run in New York, and will be heading to Philadelphia this weekend. Sign the petition there or online to help us rewrite the story of malnutrition.

Definitely go sign it. I already did.

thereisnogod:christiannightmares:Christian heckler calls Obama the Antichrist (For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/995097248/tea-party-sign-the-antichrist-is-living-in-the)Fuck your god.While I didn’t hear in there the specific accusation that Obama is the anti-Christ, I’d like to just come out and say it:I’m anti-Christ.…But I’m not THE anti-Christ. I feel that while some of his alleged teachings sound great, I think you’d be better off reading the words of Superman or Spider-Man to look for wisdom. They’re just as reality-based as Jesus, in fact, I think modern super-heroes are more relavant than some ancient super-hero who fictionally lived 2000 years ago. It’s sort of like when people tell me I’m going to go to hell or that I won’t get into heaven both because I’m an atheist. I usually respond “Ok, I guess.”“But aren’t you afraid?”“Um, of something that doesn’t appear to exist? No.”

Looks like the days of 99¢ bags of Fritos are over.


Food is getting more expensive before our eyes...

Is "The 404 Restaurant Cafe" a good name for place? Doesn't instill much confidence in me as a lover of cafes.


Honestly, I'm too afraid I'd go inside only to find the place empty but for
a sign saying "the restaurant cafe you are looking for is missing and may
have been removed from the building. Please check the URL and try again."

HA!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.

Carl Sagan (via ageofreason)


#Indeed.


It’s also common in the media, schools, social situations, and more!  In fact, humans don’t like uncomfortable ideas, period.  


Huh, I guess that’s why it’s called “UNcomfortable”.  

My Take on the latest Facebook Mess (The one where it tracks you even if you're logged out)

I posted a variant of this post earlier on Website666.com. Check it out if you want more context, but my commentary is more meaty here.

So, even if you log out, Facebook can still track you through the magic of cookies--those little "bread crumbs" that websites leave on your computer with info about your behavior on that site or other sites.

Well, this doesn't surprise me too much.  After all, every one of us should be aware that we're not Facebook's customers. Facebook's customers are advertisers.  We are Soylent Green fed to the advertisers--aka, what advertisers pay Facebook for is made of people. Our eyes, our traffic, our behavior patterns are what Facebook customers pay for.  This is how big brother really works.  It follows you where ever you go and knows whatever you do (online).  But it's not government watching your every move, trying to control you and manipulate you, it's big business.

If you don't mind having your every move tracked and exploited by Facebook, they'll be happy to provide you with a place to connect with friends and family and a place to post links, pictures and video that you can share with said friends and family and play really stupid, time-wasting games.

I hate to sound jaded, but I don't know if Facebook being all KGB on our asses is that big of a deal.  I mean, so what? We're being exploited.  So?  I mean, it's lame we don't get a bigger piece of Zuckerdouche's financial pie (we just get the services Facebook offers, which are easily found elsewhere), but in the end, what are we losing?

I'm not saying we're not losing anything, it's just that I'm honestly not sure what it is.

I know I don't like the feeling of being exploited, but capitalism already does that to us.  When we buy a $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks, we're not just paying a mark-up, we're paying a HUGE mark-up that has allowed Starbucks to expand around the world and its executives to get very rich.  I don't blame vendors for mark-ups to cover costs and salaries, but Starbucks (and many other companies) don't charge what they need to, they charge MUCH more.  How do you think Apple ended up with so much cash laying around?  Because they only charged you for what that iPhone in your pocket cost to make?  Hell no.

We're all being exploited every day.  Personally, I don't like it.  But what can I do? Capitalism is everywhere.

Ha! I almost typed "capitulationism" just then.  Well, I guess that sort of fits. :

Speaking of business, buy my book, wouldja? Thanks!

Facebook is tracking your online activities at all times even when you log out.

Facebook is tracking your online activities at all times even when you log out.

podcaster:





The most ridiculous brand of human being, in my opinion, is the one who responds to online privacy concerns with “Everything on Facebook is public. I don’t have anything to hide.” I’m interested in what these people say when they realize that Facebook automatically sends certain purchases to your profile without your permission, and that its cookies track and record every Web site you visit on your browser even when you’re logged out of Facebook. But hey, it’s all public, right?



That’s it. Game over. Just deleted my Facebook account.


Check this out - Yes Facebook tracks you even when you’ve logged out ? http://nikcub-static.appspot.com/logging-out-of-facebook-is-not-enough




youngmanhattanite:



moorehn:





Seriously?


Well, this doesn’t surprise me too much.  After all, every one of us should be aware that we’re not Facebook’s customers. Facebook’s customers are advertisers.  We are Soylent Green fed to the advertisers—aka, what advertisers pay Facebook for is made of people. Our eyes, our traffic, our behavior patterns.  This is how big brother really works.  It follows you where ever you go and knows whatever you do. If you don’t mind having your every move tracked and exploited by Facebook, they’ll be happy to provide you with a place to connect with friends and family and a place to post links, pictures and video that you can share with said friends and family.


I hate to sound jaded, but I don’t know if Facebook being all KGB on us is that big of a deal.  I mean, so what? We’re being exploited.  So?  I mean, it’s lame we don’t get a bigger piece of Zuckerdouche’s financial pie (we just get the services Facebook offers), but in the end, what are we losing?  


I’m not saying we’re not losing anything, it’s just that I’m honestly not sure what it is.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why I should really stay away from random online discussion about protests or politics

Ugh. I've been to my share of protests.  I gave up on them because they're ultimately useless in a world where leaders are so far removed from every day people that they can ignore any of us at a whim.  But before I came to this conclusion, I took part in waaaay too many online debates about politics and protests.  Now I remember why I stepped away.  Earlier today I saw a video on Google+ that started immediately with violence committed against protesters by NYPD.  I replied to it, asking for context--where was the footage shot? When was it shot?  I then explained that posting a video like this without any context of any kind just riles people up without informing them.  He replied and just made me frustrated, so what follows is my reply (the bits inside quotes are his reply):
You illustrate my point exactly.
"Saturday 9/24 @ 3PM EST. Not sure the street location. But obviously NYC."

NYC is a big place. There have been protests elsewhere on other days, months and years ago.  During the big mess in Iran a couple years back police-violence videos from other countries were being linked to on Twitter.

"As far as riling people up. I'm not doing anything to you, if you got riled up, then that was all internal."

So, when Fox News misinforms, partially informs and only shows footage of rabid protesters, you think that's not riling their conservative viewers up?  It's called misinformation and it's wrong regardless of whether you're for or against the protesters.

"But I would agree, its brutal what the cops are doing."

Who are you agreeing with?  I didn't say what they were doing was brutal, I didn't say it wasn't brutal.  It seems brutal from the footage, but often the footage only tells part of the story.

"The crowd was not being overly disobedient or anything."

So, you know that how?

"The cops instigated the whole thing from what I saw on this video and several others from the past two weeks."

And that is clearly illustrated in which of these videos? All the videos I've seen cut to the cops being brutal. No or little context. The footage is enough to be concerned, but before you let yourself get riled up, think about what you are and are not seeing.
"The cops are supporting wall street. That is all that needs to be understood."

Really? That's it?  Don't you think that's an overly simplistic viewpoint?

"The cops are not supporting the people's right to assembly."

You really think it's that simple? There's so much more going on here. Cops have to follow orders or they could lose their jobs.  If their orders are to enforce the law then that's what they're going to do.  If the laws are unfair, then that's something different. As unjust as it seems, there are laws against assembly without a permit.  Get a permit, and everything's cool. If they can't get a permit, then don't blame the cops for arresting people when they're ordered to arrest people.  The real problem isn't cops doing their jobs it's that the laws are bought by corporations and bankers.  Cops on the ground think they're protecting their communities.  They're not, of course, but it's very likely that they don't understand that.  They're victims just like the rest of us, so posting partial info about police brutality and painting cops as bad guys is doing just what Fox News does, only about the opposite types of people.

"How does that degrade your view of 100% support of the protesters."

Because I can't trust what I'm seeing.  Liars (even unintentional liars) live on both sides of the political spectrum.  I don't want to support protesters who are breaking laws (even unjust ones).  I don't want to support brutal cops, either.  Of course, if I don't get context or as much information about the incident as I can, I don't have enough information to go on.

We all have our points of view and we need to make sure those points of view don't bias us against the truth.  When you witness violence first hand, it's easy and natural to see threats.  But to be sure, we need a bigger picture.

"If anything I'm even more invested in supporting the people now. Does anyone have a different experience viewing this live unedited video."

Which is why you shouldn't trust videos like this, because clearly they're enough to get you riled up without providing the entire picture.  Hence my point.

I don't know how he'll reply back and honestly, I don't have the time to care. I've got things I'm trying to do with my life that will hopefully make the world a better place.  I don't have the patience to deal with people who think about everyone else's behavior much more than they think about their own.

It's just like I posted on Website666.com earlier today.  People who just spout off about things before knowing the full picture do everyone a disservice.  I've been down this road before and have been misled about protests, online videos and more, and I've been misled by people who I've trusted and who honestly did have my best interests at heart.  But good intentions don't guarantee accuracy.

Only questioning the conservatives isn't enough.  Only questioning liberals isn't enough.  Question everyone, always and often.  Yes, question even me.  Does what I'm saying make sense to you? If it doesn't, then please ignore it.

Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers,” he said. “Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world. It trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?

Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers,” he said. “Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world. It trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?

Protesters Are Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim - NYTimes.com


Or how today’s young protesters are less knowledgeable, a true shadow of social activists from decades past.



(via friendlyatheist)


Actually, them using Apple computers *is* smart.  Faulting them for it isn’t. I mean, what’s the alternative? Using virus-ridden, craptops with a 10+ year-old version of Windows on them?  Seriously, it’s this kind of cynicism that really pisses me off.


“Ohhh, look how hypocritical they are! They hate corporations but they’re drinking Starbucks.”


Right because I’ve got a thousand things going on AND I’m trying to help the world be a better place by going to a protest and YOU’RE pissed because I didn’t have the time to find a non-corporate coffee house when there’s a fracking Starbucks on every goddamn corner of NYC.


“Oh, look at those idiots—they’re protesting oil drilling yet, how did they get here? By their car, right? HA! HYPOCRITES.”


Right, because it was clearly the choice of every car owner that the overwhelming majority of cars have internal combustion engines in them.  Why, the last time I bought a car (well over ten years ago) I walked RIGHT into the car dealer and let my demands be known: “I WANT A CAR AND I ONLY WANT ONE WITH AN INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE IN IT! NO OTHER KIND OF ENGINE WILL DO, DAMMIT!!  YOU HEAR ME!?!?!  NO OTHER KIND!”


I remember years ago, when I went to see “The Corporation” at the Nuart theater in Los Angeles, I went to pay for tickets and the guy in the booth was like “Ohhh, you’re using a credit card to buy tickets to see ‘The Corporation’? Shame on you.”


I furrowed my brow and said simply: “Um, what?”


He shrugged and just handed me my tickets and my credit card back.  Of course, I didn’t tell him what I was thinking which was this: “Using cash is no different, sir.  The Federal Reserve is pretty much the same thing as a corporation and along those lines, I would ask you this: what would you have me pay for my tickets with, shells like on the Flintstones? Should I transfer my cash into another debt-based currency like the Euro or something? Or should I trade you some fucking cattle?” 


The next time you’re about to say something glib that would end in the phrase “oh, the irony,” STOP.  JUST… stop. Then, think for a moment and realize what you’re doing:


1) you’re being stupid and judgmental.


2) you’re looking for a reason to write the person off and not trying to understand who they are, what they want or where they’re coming from (only then can you legitimately write them off).


3) being a douchebag. I’m sure I wouldn’t approve of all of the choices you made today, either, but you don’t see me going around saying “OH, LOOK AT THAT GUY, HE’S BEING CRITICAL OF SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET. WHAT A LOSER!  I’M SO MUCH BETTER THAN HIM BECAUSE… um… because… I’m BEING IRONIC ABOUT IT.  HA!  SEE?  I’M STILL BETTER THAN HIM!”


OH, THE IRONY.

Taxpayers Subsidizing Junk Food?

Taxpayers Subsidizing Junk Food?

natalia-saves-the-world:




From 1995 to 2010, the government handed $16.9 billion in farm subsidies to people involved in making four common junk food ingredients: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils. Over the same time period, $262 million went to subsidizing apples. ”


CALPIRG did some math: “If these agricultural subsidies went directly to consumers to allow them to purchase food, each of America’s 144 million taxpayers would be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and 11 cents with which to buy apples each year,” CALPIRG said in its statement. That’s “enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple.”



Yet another one to file under “No Shit, Sherlock.”


And we subsidize these assholes directly by buying this unhealthy food.


I’m so happy to see a slow but definite emergence of a kind of “common sense.”  We’ve still got a long way to go, but perhaps one day we’ll all be able to understand how any system taken to the extreme (like capitalism) is a bad thing (sure, you and I know how obvious this is, but most folks? CLUELESS).  For years I’ve been hearing about how companies have a right to do what ever they want because they’ve got to earn a living.  


“Hey, the government is giving handouts to farmers? They should take ‘em! I’d take ‘em!”


“Outsourcing jobs and salaries to other countries? Good for them! Companies need to make as much money and save as much money as possible!”


“Companies can give as much as they want to political campaigns?  Why not? They’ve got as much a right to representation as we do!”


I could go on, but I really really don’t want to. :(

Obama (O-bomb-a?) OKs the sale of bunker-buster bombs to Israel #SIGH #WTFObama?

From a 9/23/11 article at Ynetnews.com:
'Obama sold special bombs to Israel'
New report claims US secretly approved transfer of 'bunker buster' bombs that could be used in attack against Iran just months after Barack Obama took office, even though Bush administration had previously blocked deal

Well, at least we're not going to war against Iran ourselves.  And I suppose using bunker-busters against Iran is better than using them against Palestinians.  Regardless, I'm getting tired of this whole "war" thing.  Remember the 90s?  There was almost no war that we were directly involved in.  Our economy was booming and the worst thing going on was Monicagate.  Seems like war doesn't always help the economy.  Maybe, once again, we should give peace a chance? ;)

Still, I'll never understand the whole Israel thing. I'm not against the country existing, but I'm just completely confused at how it's policy of occupation and continuous need for support from the US is acceptable to so many.  I mean, how long have they been a country?  Can they not stand on their own by now? And what the hell are they doing with Palestine? What's their goal?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't Need to Experience *that* Again... (or why sometimes having cats isn't fun)

The nutshell:

My cat has an abscessed tooth (there's a "C" in "abscess"? I had no idea) and he's spending the night at the vets where they will operate on him and charge us a lot of money.  The good news: he's going to be fine.  The bad news: we've got two cats. >_<

The long version:

Nothing reminds you of how much of a wuss you are than living a nice cushy life in the biggest city in the First World only to find yourself having a minor heart attack at the sight of infected blood dripping from a wound in your younger cat's face.

I was a Boy Scout. I used to hike and camp when I was a kid. I skinned my knee and got all sorts of scratches, cuts and even a couple of honest to goodness wounds and never have I gotten queazy from the sight of blood.

Actually, not true--when I went for my pilot physical in ROTC in college, I did have a very minor internal freak-out while seeing my own blood squirt out of my arm into a clear vial.  While I did get really tense, I didn't get dizzy or nauseous.  I did get both today, though.  My younger cat, who has never lost his kitten-fur (aka he's still adorable as a little kitty), has been acting all sulky since my wife left to do a show in Connecticut about four weeks ago.  He's been hanging out in corners of rooms, behind doors and has generally not been as energetic or sociable as he used to be before Sierra left for three months.

Then yesterday I notice a big scab on his face--on his right cheek just above his mouth.  It was a little swollen and I'd never seen a cut like this on a cat in my lifetime's worth of having them as pets (I've had 8).  I cleaned the scab a bit and then put Bactine on it. Then today, around noon, I picked him up again to check on his scab and it was covered in blood--purplish blood.

I could feel myself kick into panic mode and tried to force myself out of it.  My stomach got instantly tight like bricks and I got short of breath as I dabbed the blood off of his face with toilet paper and then got some more Bactine.  By the time I had the Bactine, there was more blood.  Then he shook his head, sending tiny droplets of blood onto the white tile floor of my bathroom.

I Q-Tipped the Bactine onto the wound but quickly the Q-Tip turned a weird shade red some somehow looking more like a mix of purple and orange.  I wet some toilet paper and dabbed at the wound and more blood soaked into the TP.  I had a distinct concern that I wasn't going to be able to stop the bleeding.  The only answer was to take him to the vet, asap.

Turns out he's got an abscessed tooth that had poked right through the little guy's cheek flesh :(  The vet said this is very common, but I've owned plenty of cats and have never seen this happen (and I don't think I've ever heard of this happening either).  But the sad truth is that he wasn't acting sulky because my wife has been gone, he's been in pain and doing what all animals do when they're in pain, run and hide in places they feel less open to attack.

The weird thing is that it's obvious (now) that the abscess began, uh, abscessing around the time Sierra went off to begin rehearsals for her show in Connecticut.  The weirder thing is that just days before she left we took both cats to the vet for a check up.  One of the things the vet said they needed was a teeth cleaning, but we couldn't afford it and the vet said it wasn't absolutely necessary, so we told them not to do it.  There were other medical issues that had come up, unrelated to teeth, so we had to pay for those and figured we'd deal with the teeth later.  Turns out they didn't feel like waiting.  But weird that the abscess would come so close to when we brought them in.  Now I'm worried about my older cat's teeth.

Like we can afford another grand after this >_<  I swear I don't remember vets being this expensive.  And I *just* put some money in the bank. :(

Anyway, so as I mentioned at the top, the poor guy is spending the night at the vet where they will drain the puss (!), remove his abscessed tooth and then stitch him up.  They said I should call after 11am tomorrow to see how he's doing.

After all that, my stomach isn't bricks, but does still feel tight.  Thankfully, I'm not dizzy or nauseous.  But what a shitty Friday.

I usually don't do this, but...

thereisnogod:



abaldwin360:



If you agree with the petition to remove tax exemption from churches and allow them to apply like a non-profit organization, please re-blog it.


This is something I am very passionate about and even if it can’t get passed, I’d love it to come to the public eye more so than it is presently.


I also have a thread on reddit about it, it you’re a redditor, please give it an upvote.


Thanks in advance for your time!



Just did this also.  This is more important than “Under God”. Churches need not have a free ride any longer.



Seems only fair that religious orgs pay their fair share. I mean, I have to pay my taxes and I spend most of my day drawing life lessons from fiction.  Captain Kirk is my version Jesus.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Download NASA Sound Clips and Ringtones!

Our tax dollars at work! But don't blame NASA. I'm sure they would spend our taxes on going to Mars if the government would give them enough money instead of paying for wars all the time. Meanwhile we can show our love for the space program by using these cool sound clips as ringtones and computer sound FX. We're all nerds, here, right?

Go here:

http://www.nasa.gov/connect/sounds/index.html

HUGE NEWS IF TRUE: Speed of Light Breakable if You're a Neutrino



Kind of huge news, assuming it can be reproduced by other scientists.  What's the huge news? Turns out the speed of light may not be the speed limit of the universe after all.

What happened was that some guys at CERN in Switzerland shot a neutrino beam at a sensor panel 700KM+ away and it got there in less time than it would take light to get there.  They replicated this 16,000 times.

Read more in the article capped above at Nature.com.

I'm reeeeally hoping this is true.

 

 

Save Derrick Mason! Contact Governor Bentley by PHONE: (334) 242-7100 or FAX: (334) 353-0004

dumbthingswhitepplsay:



yepdeesaidit:



dumbthingswhitepplsay:



I know everyone is exhausted, but please call/email/fax if you can.



Put all your anger, disgust, and sadness into the fight for justice. It didn’t die with Troy last night. The battle marches on.



Reblogging just to reblog and for the commentary.



Why is America so obsessed with killing? We’ve been killing since before we were even America! 

Dumb Things White People Say: thetart: White kids? I need y’all to listen. We are not all Troy...

Dumb Things White People Say: thetart: White kids? I need y’all to listen. We are not all Troy...

thetart:



White kids? I need y’all to listen.


We are not all Troy Davis.


This would not happen to us.


No, cork it and let that settle in for a second. This would not happen to us in this country and in this “justice” system and in this white supremacist culture that lets us think it’s the…



Um, no. When one person is put to death “legally” it harms all of us. I understand whites have it easiest because it’s supposed to be “our society” but the reality is that if the system wants to let you fall between the cracks, it can.  Period.  


Talk statistics all you want, but statistics don’t mean shit when it’s *you* on trial. So as long as any human can be put to death by accident, we need to fight the death penalty. 


We’re all potential Troy Davises, regardless of our ethnicity. End. Of. Story. 

ThePeteCastFM: Reflections on the execution of #TroyDavis and interacting with disrespect

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Breaking News - US Supreme Court denies request for stay of execution for Georgia inmate Troy Davis - wire services

Breaking News - US Supreme Court denies request for stay of execution for Georgia inmate Troy Davis - wire services.

Well, that's fucking absurd.

Why is legally killing people legal?

Why are we so thirsty for blood and revenge?


dumbthingswhitepplsay:



jesus fucking christ



Yeah, America is so full of shit it’s not funny. We spend trillions on war but refuse to pay for everyone’s health care.  We invade two countries and kill hundreds of thousands to prove how great a country we are.  And now people protesting the execution of a black man convicted of killing ONE cop (possibly unjustly convicted) are having their freedom of speech suppressed by being arrested.


GOOD PLAN, AMERICA!


Oh and don’t forget: 


Troy Davis is Still Alive—let’s keep it that way! Call 404-656-5651

The United States is a country symbolically founded on the ideas of liberty and justice for all. Yet it is also founded on the practice of ethnocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of African peoples and their descendents, the removal of Spanish speaking citizens and a harsh and unjust policy to Asians—including exclusion acts.

The United States is a country symbolically founded on the ideas of liberty and justice for all. Yet it is also founded on the practice of ethnocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of African peoples and their descendents, the removal of Spanish speaking citizens and a harsh and unjust policy to Asians—including exclusion acts.

Daily Kos: Race and racism: barriers and bridges (via notime4yourshit


The truth of the USA is ugly.



(via digitalmeowmix)


Here’s another one to file under No Shit, Sherlock.


Seriously, go buy yourself a copy of “A People’s History of the United States of America, 1492-Present” by Howard Zinn, because if you haven’t read it, you’re just not smart enough.

Troy Davis is Still Alive--let's keep it that way! Call 404-656-5651

Reblogged from DigitalMeowMix:
GA Parole/Pardons Board: 404-656-5651 has been regarded as STILL WORKING as of about 5 seconds ago. CALL THIS NUMBER. I dialed 0 at the first machine and 2 at the second!

I did and got a busy signal.  I'm going to keep trying off and on for the afternoon and see if I can leave a voicemail or talk to anyone.  What will I say to them? This:

"Please let Troy Davis live. There is too much doubt regarding his case. Please stop this from happening.  Thank you."

Just Sent this to Amazon's "Prove Your Address is What You Say It Is" Department.

As a bit of a pop-culture fanatic, I love movies, TV shows and books. I've been known to link to many over the years and I've used Amazon's affiliate program to try and make a couple of bucks off of said links. So when Amazon's affiliate program banned all California residents, I was disappointed but not worried, since I haven't been a California resident since 2008. Of course, because Amazon keeps affiliate accounts separate from regular Amazon accounts, I didn't realize that my affiliate address hadn't synced with my Amazon shipping and billing addresses. So, they shut down my account. I complained and they said "Well, we'll reinstate your account but we may need you to verify your address" and I just blew off the request when it came a few weeks later. Then I get an email saying my affiliate account has been shutdown because I never proved that I lived where I said I lived.

I then sent them a 5 megapixel photo of my New York State drivers license. They replied pretty quickly saying my account had been reinstated. But I was already too annoyed to keep my digital mouth shut. Here's the email I sent them just now:
When I initially signed up for my Amazon affiliate account I don't remember having to prove that I wasn't lying to you regarding my address. While I understand that you need to make sure I don't live in California, you can assume I'm not lying to you for two reasons: 1) I haven't given you any reason to not trust me and 2) because I've ordered and paid for items to be delivered to my current address in New York and have received them *every one of them* (including a Kindle!). This is true with various products I've bought through the Amazon.com website and via CreateSpace.com where I am self-publishing a novel and have order four different proofs of my book.

The fact that one Amazon hand doesn't know what the other Amazon hand is doing doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence in Amazon as a company. The fact that you think I'm lying to you (why else would I need to prove my address is what I say it is?) makes me question your intelligence as well, since, to date, I am not aware of making a *single penny* on my affiliate account. So, *why* would I lie to you about my address? It makes no sense.

I encourage you to implement a single-account model, like Google has. This way, when I need to change information on my account I don't have to do it three or more times. Also, you shouldn't need me to send you a photo of my drivers license in order to believe that I live where I say I live. If I have ordered multiple items from multiple services over the span of many months and UPS has said they've been delivered to me, you shouldn't even need me to change my address. Your site should notice the difference and ask me if this is my new residence and then that new address should reflect across all of my accounts (or my one account).

The amount of hoops I have to jump through just to make no money at all, is absurd. I know, you, the person reading this, probably has no say over policy, so I hope you'll forward this to your boss and that they will forward it up to their boss, as well. I'm sure many people just *look* at these hoops and don't bother to jump through them. I'm sure many people consider the number of logins and passwords they have to keep track of and just throw up their hands at using Amazon at all. I know you guys are huge and probably feel like you don't need to worry about "the little guy" but think of it this way: you're missing out on a lot of revenue because people are frustrated with the complexities of using Amazon.

I know I'm frustrated.

Thanks for reading.

So there ya go. I think that covers things.  I know Amazon doesn't give a shit about me because they don't have to.  But I had to say something.  I'm just getting tired of crappy customer service from companies that make money and traffic off of me.  I know I'm not Chris Brogan or Seth Goden or whomever, but give me a break here.  They shouldn't need me to update three different accounts.

 

OK, venting done.  I feel (somewhat) better.

Sign this petition to help Doctors Without Borders fight malnutrition. Please.

I posted this on Website666.com which I reblogged from DoctorsWithoutBorders:

doctorswithoutborders:<br/><br/>The island of Bhola at the mouth of the Meghna River in southern Bangladesh suffers from one of the country’s highest rates of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In the Starved for Attention film, “Terrifying Normalcy,” Ron Haviv captures the resignation with which Bhola’s malnourished mothers and children accept a chronically meager food supply.<br/>This is one of 195 million stories of malnutrition. Sign the petition to help us rewrite the story.</blockquote/><br/>I dare you to give a crap about these people a world away.  Can you do it?  Prove it and sign that petition. I did. With my real name even. 

doctorswithoutborders:

The island of Bhola at the mouth of the Meghna River in southern Bangladesh suffers from one of the country’s highest rates of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In the Starved for Attention film, “Terrifying Normalcy,” Ron Haviv captures the resignation with which Bhola’s malnourished mothers and children accept a chronically meager food supply.

This is one of 195 million stories of malnutrition. Sign the petition to help us rewrite the story.


I dare you to give a crap about these people a world away.  Can you do it?  Prove it and sign that petition. I did. With my real name even.

It's true. I did. So go do it, too, will ya?


doctorswithoutborders:



The island of Bhola at the mouth of the Meghna River in southern Bangladesh suffers from one of the country’s highest rates of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In the Starved for Attention film, “Terrifying Normalcy,” Ron Haviv captures the resignation with which Bhola’s malnourished mothers and children accept a chronically meager food supply.


This is one of 195 million stories of malnutrition. Sign the petition to help us rewrite the story.



I dare you to give a crap about these people a world away.  Can you do it?  Prove it and sign that petition. I did. With my real name even.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

newsweek:In what may be the most documented arrests ever, at least five Wall Street protesters were detained on Tuesday to the chants of “what’s your name!,” “fucking cowards,” and the like. A spokesperson for the protesters writes via email:The first arrest was a protester who objected to the police removing a tarp that was protecting our media equipment from the rain. The police said that the tarp constituted a tent, in spite of it not being a habitat in any way. Police continued pressuring protesters with extralegal tactics, saying that a protester on a bullhorn was breaking a law. The protester refused to cease exercising his first amendment rights and was also arrested. Then the police began to indiscriminately attempt to arrest protesters, many of them unsheathed their batons, in spite of the fact that the protest remained peaceful. One of the protesters received a large gash on their leg, another lost a tooth. Multiple police tackled a protester and sat on him as he continually warned them that he was experiencing an asthma attack. One of the medics on site informed the police that they needed to call an ambulance because this was a potentially fatal circumstance. They ignored him. We have no current information on this protester, but we hope that he hasn’t been murdered by the police.One fascinating police tactic of note: the presence of officers with video cameras recording the arrests, likely to be used to defend against the inevitable accusations of brutality.More quality reporting from Newsweek!As someone who has been to his fair share of protests, I know first hand that cops have been shooting video of protests for years. This is less for “defending” against accusations of brutality (come on, is there a defense against batons vs. unarmed protesters?) and more for documenting who the protesters are. What I’ve read over the years about this tactic is that they want to be able to spot the career protesters and develop profiles on them over the span of many protests.Of course, if Newsweek would stop treating their Tumblr like it’s not a legitimate method for disseminating facts, they would have done their research and known that this isn’t about defense but instead about offense.And dig that crazy pro-government, anti-protester bias when the Newsweek Tumblrer refers to the “inevitable accusations of brutality.”The tone of this suggests that said accusations are guaranteed to be groundless. Do these guys even try to be unbiased anymore? It’s as if they’re quietly saying “Why don’t these protesters stop their whining about corporate corruption of government and just go home?!? Why, I’m a reporter paid by corporate media and I’m not corrupt! What are these people crying about?!?!”#irony



likeproust:



curiousgeorgiana:



littleorphanammo:



thecurvature:



writteninmysoul:



Too Much Doubt To Execute!!



Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a Georgia police officer in 1991. Nearly two decades later, Davis remains on death row — even though the case against him has fallen apart.



The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state’s non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony.


Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.


One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester “Red” Coles — the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

An execution date for Troy Davis is scheduled for September 21, 2011.



Tomorrow. They’re going to kill him tomorrow.



This makes me feel so helpless. What can we even do? I mean, no really. What can I do?



http://action.naacp.org/page/s/petition-larry-chisolm


The DA is basically the last hope.  Sign petition above. 


I am sitting in my law school in the Innocence Project office.  Our faculty advisor has been in tears all day.  I can’t even imagine what Troy’s family is going through.



Signed. It takes all of thirty seconds.



This kind of thing should be banned. Period.  By killing killers we become, YOU GUESSED IT: killers.


Masking our murdering under the guise of “justice” is jut lying to ourselves. There is no justice for the innocent dead so killing the killer only serves our base need for vengeance and solves nothing.  And shouldn’t their be some sort of parity between the crime and the punishment? Davis gets death for killing a single person and that’s fair?  That’s “Justice”?  I understand cops are heroes for taking the life-risking job they’ve taken, but surely life in prison is adequate.


And all of the above assumes Davis is actually guilty of killing that cop.  What if he isn’t? What if flawed humans reached a flawed conclusion?  Would you be OK with trusting the system if it were *you* on trial?

Republicans pretend to loathe judicial overreach. They rail against activist judges who “make law” and pound their chests about original intent, but the truth is that since the 2000 Bush v Gore decision, there has been an ever accelerating wave of radical judicial activism from the right. Conservative judicial decisions have overturned two hundred years of rules designed to prevent just what we’re now seeing, ownership of both the media and political system by a very wealthy few. The greatest pretense in American politics is this: that our politicians can be utterly dependent on money given to them by contributors, but not be influenced by the source of those funds. It’s not true. It’s never been true. Now that the judicial takeover of our electoral system is complete, there’s not even any reason to hide it. This is a bribe-based system—an oligarchy all the way to the core.

Republicans pretend to loathe judicial overreach. They rail against activist judges who “make law” and pound their chests about original intent, but the truth is that since the 2000 Bush v Gore decision, there has been an ever accelerating wave of radical judicial activism from the right. Conservative judicial decisions have overturned two hundred years of rules designed to prevent just what we’re now seeing, ownership of both the media and political system by a very wealthy few. The greatest pretense in American politics is this: that our politicians can be utterly dependent on money given to them by contributors, but not be influenced by the source of those funds. It’s not true. It’s never been true. Now that the judicial takeover of our electoral system is complete, there’s not even any reason to hide it. This is a bribe-based system—an oligarchy all the way to the core.

- Mark Sumner, Rick Perry is for sale, but he’s not cheap


(via azspot)



File this one under:


No Shit, Sherlock.


Now what do we do about it?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is Netflix's plan to divide their service/brand in two just a clever way to discourage DVD use?

From thepete.tumblr.com:

"Netflix doesn’t want you to remember “Qwikster”, it wants you to forget DVDs."

-theMattSmith

You could be on to something. However, I don’t think Netflix is as clever as you seem to think they are. It’s muuuuch cheaper to just start ignoring their DVD service and focus on their streaming.  Trademarking a new brand, separating out their DVD service/website from their current website/service and confusing the crap out of their customers and potential customers is not cost-effective at all and is also a huge risk.  If this theory is correct, and they are trying to get us to forget about DVDs, I think Netflix is still damned because they are spending way too much money on this whole thing and pissing a lot of people off in the process.

If it were me, I’d just:

1) rename the two services to “Netflix DVD” and “Netflix Now” and give them both their own department.

2) slowly drop resources/staff/titles from the Netflix DVD service and increase resources/staff/titles to the Netflix Now service.  This would happen over the span of years.  This would minimize the “drama” aspect of these changes (along with any negative interpretation to these choices) and ease customers and potential customers into the idea of only streaming.

3) keep prices as stable as possible. In today’s economy changing costs (whether up or down) can be confusing and difficult for a growing number of people who are being forced to consider where they spend every penny.

These days it’s hard for me to accept that stupid-looking choices are anything but stupid choices.  There’s a distinct lack of creative, imaginative and legitimately clever thinking in the world today and I just can’t give people who make these stupid-looking choices the benefit of the doubt since there is no evidence of these choices being anything but stupid.

Just my ¥2, but I just don’t have much faith in these guys or corporate types in general.

The real mistake Netflix is making here is that they look like idiots.  If there was a reasonably priced, reasonably stocked alternative to Netflix I would switch to them right now, rather than waste my time with a company that doesn't seem to know what it's doing.  So, even if there is some sort of cleverness behind their apparent lunacy, along the way, they may hemorrhage so many customers and investors as to damage their business beyond repair.  Why stand by a company that is behaving in this way?

Again, just my ¥2, but I think messing with how the public perceives you as a company is a huge mistake.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Did anyone else notice this name on the Colbert Report Donor Ticker Wednesday night?

I'm actually a little surprised "URA & IMA SHI THEAD" got by them.  I took a look at the donation form on the website and am wondering just how they Mr. and Mrs. Shi Thead were able to enter in a name that isn't theirs since a credit card is the only way to donate.  Hm....

 


onearth:



This is the world’s most authoritative atlas. It’s published every four years. This edition is full of changes that the editors were forced to make because of climate change — shrinking lakes, changing coastlines, and whole new islands exposed by melting glaciers. Find out more.



YES, BUT GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX!  It’s clearly a made up scare tactic to force a carbon tax on the world and to make us all buy new maps!  IT’S SO OBVIOUS!


Come on, tell me you see the conspiracy!


>_<

The New Yorker Magazine asks: "Is it worth half a million pounds to save Roald Dahl’s famed writing hut?"

newyorker: Is it worth half a million pounds to save Roald Dahl’s famed writing hut? http://nyr.kr/oAiVgQ YES!


newyorker:
Is it worth half a million pounds to save Roald Dahl’s famed writing hut?http://nyr.kr/oAiVgQ

YES!

It sure would be nice if we could save this thing and show respect to one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. Roald Dahl wrote all sorts of stuff from the classic kids book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the Bond movie, You Only Live Twice.  Seriously, we need to start respecting the artists who have helped shape our culture.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What we should really be worried about (no, it's not terrorism)

CoalSpeaker recently mentioned that I should keep calming his nerves.  To that I replied that I'd do my best but that some things made *my* nerves uncalm (*not really a word).  Then, what do I see today but the above article in the NYT.  Let's examine a bit of it:
Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it.

To anyone watching the decay in value of the USD and the export of American jobs, this is not a surprise at all.  Actually, what is a surprise to me is that it took us quite a bit longer to get here than I expected.  Of course, if our leaders in government had been paying attention as closely as people like me, they might have tried to avoid such a result.  Instead they were effectively paid to turn a blind eye to corporations putting profits above the welfare of American citizens they allegedly service.  Now, even they are suffering since their customers (us) have no money to spend on their products.

I mean, seriously, you don't pay the salaries of American citizens and you're surprised when they have no money to buy your stuff?  Seems like our leaders in government aren't the only people who haven't been paying attention.  Imagine if Apple paid Americans some of their huge pile of cash to make iPods instead of Chinese laborers?
And in new signs of distress among the middle class, median household incomes fell last year to levels last seen in 1997.

There's still a middle class?
“This is truly a lost decade,” Mr. Katz said. “We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”

Notice he used the word DECADE.  So no blaming Obama for this shit. This is Bush and the Republican's fault and even Clinton's fault, to a certain degree, since anyone looking forward could have seen this coming.  When my dad got laid off from a major broadcaster's R&D department back in 1992, that should have been a sign of decline (no Research and Development means less innovation which means less new stuff to sell which means less jobs for people making and selling).
The bureau’s findings were worse than many economists expected, and brought into sharp relief the toll the past decade — including the painful declines of the financial crisis and recession —had taken on Americans at the middle and lower parts of the income ladder. It is also fresh evidence that the disappointing economic recovery has done nothing for the country’s poorest citizens.

This "recovery" hasn't done much for anyone, even for the rich, as the article goes onto explain a bit further down:
Median household income for the bottom tenth of the income spectrum fell by 12 percent from a peak in 1999, while the top 90th percentile dropped by just 1.5 percent.

So, even rich folks are getting hurt by this--even if only a little.
Overall, median household income adjusted for inflation declined by 2.3 percent in 2010 from the previous year, to $49,445. That was 7 percent less than the peak of $53,252 in 1999.

So, even in 1999, the tail end of the Clinton Era, things were not great for most American families.  I mean, I remember when I was a kid hearing from my parents that teachers generally didn't get paid much--$30k or so. That was in the 1980s.  So, if a two income household is making $7k less than twice that in 1999, that's some pretty crappy income right there.  Of course, eleven years later in 2010, households made just under $50k and that's worse than it looks, compared to the 1999 and 1980s number once you think about inflation.

So, sorry CoalSpeaker, while creepy/bizarre sounds and solar flares aren't bad things to be concerned about, my nerves don't like news like this.  Especially since it's been a while since I've seen a paycheck. :

 

 

 

 

Strip Mall in Japan. ????????????????

_IGP0677_78_79_80_81 by Kato Takafumi
_IGP0677_78_79_80_81, a photo by Kato Takafumi on Flickr.

What do they sell at Yoru 11:00 Made? I looked up the word "??" (yoru) and found it meant a few different things, including "evening, night", "due to, caused by", "to choose" and a few other things. While "??" (made) and found it means "until" or "as far as". So, the store seems to be called "Choose until 11:00." Maybe it's a conbini (convenience store)?

StateBicycleCompany.com wants to bring bikes to market "at the lowest price possible" Sounds great? It's not...


On their "about us" page, they say: Our goal is to bring the most attractive, high quality, and smooth riding fixed gear/single speed bicycles to the market at the lowest price possible.  Now take a look at those prices above. $400+ a POP. Now look at how "attractive" they are. They kinda look like those bikes that were chained to a bike rack or a tree years ago but got stripped for their best parts.  AKA, these guys are full of shit.  I'd love a nice minimalistic bike, with one gear and not a lot of moving parts--but to spend four times what I'd spend for a 15-speed at Target? That makes no sense.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hey @Vapur, is this supposed to happen to an Anti-Bottle after just a few weeks of use?


I looooove the idea of bottle-bags so when I saw this Vapur "anti-bottle" at the American Museum of Natural History I knew I wanted one. But 2-3 weeks after I started hanging this from my waist on walks in my local park (not even every day) the red plastic cracked and the clear plastic inside started to stretch. May have to switch back to my Sigg when it breaks, but I'm wondering why Vapur puts this hole in their bag at all if it damages so easily.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm #Irene Spews Sediment from Connecticut River


NASA's Flickr page has some amazing photos--not just of space, but of the Earth--including this one showing all of the sediment churned up by hurricane Irene. It's done quite a bit of damage to local ecosystems and was probably something most folks didn't think about happening. I know I didn't.

I wonder how far that damage will end up going. Click through to the Flickr page for a LOT more explanation of the pic and what it could mean for local ecology!

Amazing photo of the Sphinx before it was completely dug out, taken back in 1887


It's hard to imagine the Sphinx completely buried in sand, but it was, along with the other amazing structures in the surrounding areas.  In the background is a pyramid buried as well. It's pictures like this that partly inspired me to write TheKey Chronicle and makes me feel like there are more discoveries waiting to be discovered underground.  We just need to keep looking. :)

 

Image found here: http://pymd.com/Great-Sphinx.htm