Friday, February 29, 2008

Nanotechnology to boost fuel cell efficiencies

QuantumSphere is a company that promises to help make fuel cells more efficient through the use of nanotechnology. There is some explanation and some statement of hopes for the technology in this EEtimes article that was forwarded to me by one of the kind proprietors of The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants. I have to say though, the best part about that article is other industry folks (many with competing projects) poo poo-ing both the article and the technology presented. Scientists are SO like that -- especially employed ones.

Here is another article about the company, if you want further research material.

In extreme brief, their technology increases the surface area of conductive surfaces to greatly increase the efficiency of batteries and fuel cells (kinda batteries).

We have formulated a nanoparticle coating that has a very high surface area, enabling inexpensive coated stainless-steel electrodes to exceed the performance of the expensive platinum electrodes used today," said McGrath. "We start with raw material that covers about the size of a sheet of paper, but after converting into nanoparticles, it covers a soccer field.

All I can say is, you go -- sic em!

Enjoy technology that keeps platinum in the hands of jewelers,


Text message exchange from the river

As I've mentioned before, I spend a few hours a week on the Columbia river observing sea lions. Or, at this time of year, observing the river and waiting for sea lions that rarely show.

Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and calm. Eventually, I did spot a big Steller, which prompted a brief but entertaining text message exchange with The Wife.

Me: Just saw a big boy... golden... husky... nonchalant

The Wife: A ton of blubber has that prerogative

Me: Well put.

She's the best.

Enjoy your unusual life pursuits,


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heart -- Crazy on You

In bed at 4:45 am -- and ready to leave now at 7:00 am. You gotta love take home tests.

So, I am picking another Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special video for ya'll til I get back on the writing bus. This video reminds us what a beautiful woman with dagged sleeves (Stevie Nicks didn't have a trademark on them, after all) and a blue guitar could pull off. Especially if she's backed up with guys sans chest hair in satin, open-chested mega-70's style karate-esque shirts.

Enjoy back in the day when they were both talented *and* lookers to boot,


ps: Marty -- enjoy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sea Shepherd pulls another trick out of their hat, James Bond style

The Chum Slick is my main feed for information about my heroes the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society folks -- protectors of sea life from international poachers and exploiters.

Apparently, the latest news is that the two Sea Shepherd activists who were taken aboard a Japanese whaling ship left a tracking device behind. Simply awesome.

Bond would be proud boys.

Enjoy those putting their necks on the line to do the right thing,


Outkast's Hey Ya cover -- acoustic

One of The Wife's favorite things is well-done but anachronistic covers of popular songs. I think this will be right up her alley. Even if you don't know the original song, this is a dandy tune -- if you do it's even better.

Hey Ya Acoustic Cover - Watch more funny videos here

[via "Yuri" up in Canukistan]

Enjoy tongue-in-cheek perspectives mixed with talent,


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A candidate whose values I share, who I am glad is in the race, and who will not receive my vote

The Dems, as a group, hate Nader. He was a convenient whipping boy for the failure of the atrocious campaign they waged in 2004. The loss couldn't possibly have anything to do with their lack -- it had to be the .3% of the votes that Nader "took" from them. Yeah -- right. Despite voter fraud and massive duplicitous politics, the Dems should have stomped in 2004, and they didn't -- because they didn't stand up for the majority of Americans, plain and simple.

I used to agree with the Demublicrats that Nader was bent and needed to shut up -- I bought the hype about him being an psychotic egomaniac who wouldn't face reality. But when I watched how universal the story was, and how content the two-party folks were with it -- and I began to question. I figure that whatever the Demublicrats agree on, publicly and vocally, bears close examination.

I forced myself to watch An Unreasonable Man, the Nader documentary. This not only reminded me of the inhuman amounts of change he has singlehandedly championed in the United States (which would not excuse him whatsoever from his sins should he be an intentional "spoiler" in the 2204 election), but gave me a peek into the guy's head. That peek gave me a new perspective on his former and future presidential "aspirations."

He's proven himself to be a bull-headed idealist who relentlessly fights for the little guy, and against the congregation of power in the hands of the few. He's a true democrat, and actually, truly believes in freedom -- not just giving it lip service like all of our current Demublicrat politicians.

So why is he running? I won't speak for him -- I'll just present my view. To my mind, he fits in the place that Kucinich and Ron Paul filled during the primaries -- someone pushing the real world on the candidates. Someone forcing the real issues into the limelight as much as possible. I'm positive this affects the national "conversation," which in truth is just what the Demublicrats and the Media have co-engineered it to be. They set the parameters, and they set the "no fly zones." Many (most?) of the "no touchie" subjects are the foundation of the Nader platform.

Here is Nader's platform in his own words:

Adopt single payer national health insurance
Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
No to nuclear power, solar energy first
Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime
and corporate welfare
Open up the Presidential debates
Adopt a carbon pollution tax
Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
Impeach Bush/Cheney
Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law
Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax
Put an end to ballot access obstructionism
Work to end corporate personhood

Is he going to be elected president? HELL no he isn't. Is he going to contribute to the conversation and possibly reduce or put a dent in the incredibly well-orchestrated spin during the election cycle? Hell yes he is. I see this as a vital function, and well worth a fund-raising effort. His presence forces the issue of two-party politics, and makes clear that they protect their own and have more similarities than differences.

And, I completely agree with him on this point as well:

"If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up."

If you have strong feelings against Nader, I ask you to respond with specifics and not just emotion -- because once I looked at the facts (an interesting study presented in the documentary comes to mind concerning his campaign efforts and what they mean), my emotions changed about him and his intentions. I know most folks are pissed at him, but currently I see that as evidence that the two-party cabal has protected itself effectively. I'm completely open to folks presenting evidence that he intends to be a spoiler candidate, I invite it.

Enjoy someone willing to go up against the powers that be, despite the hell it's created for him,


Diebold accidentally leaks results of 2008 election!

I think this is my favorite Onion exclusive ever -- just hilarious:

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Enjoy the irony of awareness,


[deepest gratitute to Msherm for pointing this out]

Monday, February 25, 2008

Little Dudes: Clemmys marmorata -- Western Pond Turtle

There has been a turtle sighting at The Luddites' pond in The Shire. We are hoping (and descriptions indicate) that it was a Western Pond Turtle. These handsome little dudes are considered "sensitive" in Oregon, and are more rare as you head North. Eugene seems to be an oft-mentioned breaking point where the turtles begin to show a marked decline in numbers as you travel North.

The introduction of the locally destructive-yet-tasty Bullfrog (Rana catesbiana) is often noted as a major detriment to Western Pond Turtle populations in the West. Habitat destruction, as usual, is the most obvious and impactful element hurting this Little Dude though. Gigging up and eating some Bullfrogs (be sure of your identification if you choose to be a biological vigilante, which I highly encourage) sure wouldn't hurt.

So, time will tell -- The Luddite and Mrs. Luddite are quite excited about the prospect of rare animals on their property and have promised to keep me updated.

Enjoy the uncommon sightings,


Update on bomb threat at PSU

From the school's website -- apparently it wasn't a phone call at all:


Such fun,


Bomb threat at PSU

Headed over to registrations in Neuberger Hall, and was stopped by crime scene tape. They are going through the building room by room right now, clearing it for possible explosives.

There isn't any media on it yet, or I'd tell you more. Stone-faced police and campus security weren't very forthcoming.

Such an easy way to completely disrupt campus life -- a simple phone call. The powers that be can't ignore it, if it were real and they ignored it, bad news. But, the expense and inconvenience caused by one phone call is amazingly extensive.

Enjoy the little bumps in the road, best you can,


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Using spies, Germany to bust an illegal tax haven -- and we learn a bit more about Barak Obama

I wish the U.S. would do something like this. Gathering up all the tax money that is avoided by funneling funds through The Bahamas would be a nice start. Near the end of the article, the British journalist complains about their government not taking similar action at Isle of Man, their closest and most notorious tax haven.

Now, check out this quote from the end of the piece, which I found quite heartening:

Still, it is worth noting that a then relatively obscure senator from Illinois co-sponsored Levin's Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and said that 'we need to crack down on individuals and businesses that abuse our laws, so that those who work hard and play by the rules aren't disadvantaged'. His name was Barack Obama.

Now ain't that dandy.

I've long felt that there were multitudes of ways to increase income and decrease spending at the Federal and State levels without raising taxes. Taking decisive action against the individuals and corporations that avoid billions in dollars of taxes each year through offshore accounts like those discussed above would be a good first step.

If you want an education on the problems with U.S. tax policies and the upper upper super upper class -- check out the fantastic book Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and CheatEverybody Else. This isn't some conspiracy wingnut author either, he's a twice-over Pulitzer-prize winner.

[via Babs]

Enjoy learning about possible solutions, even if they are pipe dreams at this point,


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

Been a long day, and ya'll deserve a post of some sort -- so let's enjoy some fiddle playing on Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special. I've been kind of obsessed with these shows -- between the music and especially the clothes, they're fantastico.

Enjoy the amazing fonts and lighting of 70's music television,


Friday, February 22, 2008

Hacking Diebold Voting Machines II: Make Your Own Key!!

No longer need to lug your trusty Leatherman tool to the voting booth to hack a Diebold Voting Machine -- now you can just make your own key, like these guys did. Don't worry, the keys are universal and will work in any state -- no muss no fuss.

Now get out there and elect George Clinton and the P-funk All Stars to our country's highest office!

You will need a good photograph of the keys -- like the one below.

[via JBFather from Up North]

Fantastic Update!! If you live and vote in California on a Sequoia voting machine -- Simply push the yellow button on the back of the machine, and vote as many times as you damn well please -- or until physically restrained. EVEN EASIER!!!

Revel in poking holes in a ridiculous system -- and bringing the power of funk to the white house,


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Police ordered to stop screening crowd at Obama event!!?

I don't understand, but here is the story.

Anyone have more details let me know, makes no sense to me.


[via Tony]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why did I choose such a dangerous hobby?

Another blogger has lost their job over their avocation.

Dooce taught us first that you shouldn't blog about work. Being fired over your blog has happened to many I am sure, but with her, it became viral internet information.

I run, daily, into stories and information I won't share over the internet. A date a friend had, for instance, that involved incredible, hilarious, outlandish circumstances that are pure blog paparazzi material -- unbloggable. He works for important people in important places, no go.

I've written about things that I was later asked to remove, and probably for the best.

Some subjects I just won't cover because they seems too personal. I hesitate at times because I know our families and extended families read this blog. I hesitate to cuss because there is no age limit on the internet and children can read this blog, but some slips out, as in life (damn those years as a blue-collar worker -- ruined my mouth).

In the end, I just keep going and do my best. Blogging is a weird and oddly dangerous hobby, but I sure enjoy it.


Rehashing old material Hillary, bad form

I'm going to quote the entire short and to the point post from Blog@cliffdweller I saw today on Orblogs. I agree.

Today in the news, after Obama gained his tenth consecutive win since Super Tuesday, I read this:

“This is the choice we face: One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world,” Mrs. Clinton said.

All I can say is that this sounds like a page out of GWBush’s playbook.

I mean, in a dangerous world is a line that is trying to pray on my fears. I don’t like it one bit. I want to vote for the candidate that is most unlike the current president, and Ms. Clinton, I don’t believe you are it.


Quantum Bees!?

In his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton asserts that Biology is the only field of science that really hasn't integrated quantum theory -- it still lives mainly in a Newtonian universe. Other scientific fields, not the least of which being physics, have embraced the Quantum Mechanics possibilities and used them to great effect -- see further cell phones, microprocessors, etc. When biologists begin to speak in terms of the realities of the quantum world, they tend to be laughed off the stage.

How does this relate to bees? It looks like Barbara Shipman, a mathematics professor at the University of Rochester, is beginning to use quantum theory to guide her thinking about bees and especially bee navigation and communication.

It is, specifically, the Bee Dance that is the focus of her work. Here is a quick video showing the dance and talking a little about what is currently known. Here is another video talking about how the dance "incorporates" vector calculus to stay accurate as the day continues and the sun moves. These two videos make the behavior seem specific and complex, but the mechanisms they propose don't hold a candle to the subtlety and complexity of Shipman's theories.

Shipman wants to try and figure out how bees gather, process, and communicate the navigational information they transmit during the dance. Her search took her quickly into advanced mathematics and quantum field theory. The article does an admirable job bringing such esoteric scientific topics to a readable level, and is well worth the effort.

Enjoy the intrigue of the world around you,


[via Babs, excellent catch!]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This bird smells like tangerines

The Crested Auklet (Aethia cristatella) produces a scent, especially at the neck, much like tangerines.

That is all.

Enjoy the utter anomalies that Nature produces,


News and Electoral system broken?

You know how I've been hollaring about our electoral system? Here's an absolutely perfect example of a maneuver that shouldn't even exist -- Clinton is going after pledged delegates to get them to switch their votes to her. Not the "unpledged" superdelegate B.S. people -- delegates who are "supposed" to vote for Obama because he won the primaries or caucuses they represent.

And, the maneuver, as unsavory as it is, is perfectly within bounds.

Note that at the very end of the article, there is mention of Obama possibly also working the same loophole. Politico have something against Clinton? I dunno.

Regardless, the strategy itself is exactly, precisely what I was hollaring about when I said below.... "big pile of unnecessary horse shit that just keeps the will of the voter further and further away from the action. A big pile of red tape to make it easier to protect the powers that be."


Except: That story may be bullshit. Or is it, and who said what? Off we go then. Whether the allegation is true or not, it's good to have the links up and aired -- now we can watch the circus of folks trying to clean it up.

And, an important point, the delegates *could* do this if they wanted -- so my point stands.

[via Msherm]



Talk to any cop or emergency ward nurse and you'll hear stories about how crazy things get when there is a full moon.

In my case, I only feel some of the full moons -- strongest maybe 1 in 3. This one seems to be a doozie, I didn't sleep hardly at all last night, and I have This Horrible Song stuck in my head. What the hell kind of karma am I paying off anyway? What ever could I have done to deserve that -- must've been bad.

Now I get to wander around the park blocks for a few hours in between classes, dazed from sleep deprivation, and try to enjoy the beautiful weather and change of season. Strong sun and leafless trees are quite a combination... you know the sap is rising now.

Enjoy the lack of horrible '70's pop playing in your head,


Monday, February 18, 2008

Why voting anomalies are a big deal

I could have titled this post "why voting anomalies are a big deal TO ME." That would be more P.C. -- me owning my perspective and not proposing to put that perspective on anyone else. But I chose not to.

To use the hackneyed Stalin Quote, "It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes."

If you live in the United States, voting anomalies are a big deal. Whether they are created by cute 70-year-old ladies screwing up vote counts, or agents of the corporate plutocracy hacking paperless electronic voting machines -- they are a big deal.

One of the many reasons I jump up and down when voting anomalies happen, and I post about them, is that I want to make sure they don't become background noise. I don't want folks to become complacent about this news.

As it turns out, the "voting anomalies" in those NY districts from the article below are a result of reporting to the news before the real counts are in. They confuse buffleheaded reactionaries like myself into thinking something real happened, when really it is just a case of counting the eggs before they are hatched. Not a good example reflecting my concern... though annoying. Thanks for the continued heads up on that Msherm.

Here is a list of states where those votes cannot be recounted, because the machines are paperless and currently unverifiable: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. And for good measure here are the eight states that don't require a paper trail but they do use it statewide (ie, they use mostly optical scan machines): North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

If the stories of the cute old ladies in [enter district here], and New Hampshire (and again in New Hampshire) get everyone used to voter anomalies -- then when they happen elsewhere, people can sit back and not be as alarmed. They will be conditioned to see it as small news, not a big deal, "someone will fix it." But in many states, there is no fix, there is not way to recount, it just is what it is.

That's a big huge deal -- not just for me but for all U.S. citizens.

And, lets just say I'm touchy after Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court against the will of the voters. I'm no fanboi of Gore's, but I doubt he would perpetrate the worst presidency in the history of the U.S. as W did.

I wish to hell I could be more eloquent and logical about this stuff -- but I can only do what I can do. I hear you Msherm, when you call out the way I post this information, I hear you. I get worked up because I think the electoral system is absolutely screwed up, from the electoral college, to the 2-party system, on up -- it all seems like this big pile of unnecessary horse shit that just keeps the will of the voter further and further away from the action. A big pile of red tape to make it easier to protect the powers that be.

Why aren't all states allowing registered independents to vote in the primaries? Why does the U.S. insist on a two-party system, when multiple parties seem to work fine in many other civilized nations? Why have superdelegates at all? Why can the two parties just change the rules when it looks like a viable third party candidate may rain on their parade, thus protecting their entrenched power center?

I don't like any of it, not a bit. So I hollar, what can I say.


March of the Voting Anomalies

Revision: It is now my perspective that the main problem in the below situation is that the news folks were counting eggs before they were hatched. I have no doubt elections and primaries will have problems with voter fraud and at the very least "voter anomalies" due to shoddy technology and practices -- but the jury's still out on this specific instance.

Obama, apparently, didn't receive one single vote in Harlem's 94's congressional district. Not one.

"In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district."

[Note: the machines and not-machines involved in these NY voting anomalies aren't Diebold machines -- however... this article reminded me to mention what you see below]

(have I mentioned lately how STINKING EASY it is to hack Diebold voting machines? How you, hypothetically of course, could do it with a philips head screwdriver and a flash drive -- putting you mother, or Ted Nugent or Patton Oswald as the winner?)

[via Piglipstick]


Obay -- because we told you to

My Canukistani Operative "Yuri" sent me this article, with two of these completely awesome spoof ads that are cropping up in the Far North. Apparently the "perpetrators" aren't yet known but I think they're brilliant.

Addendum/Ps: More Ads have popped up since I posted this.

Enjoy Adbusting when you can find it,


[photo credit in linked article]

Congressional good dog/bad dog

FISA Amendments Act of 2007 - Vote Passed (68-29, 3 Not Voting)

The Senate passed this intelligence bill that would revise U.S. surveillance laws and grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the government conduct warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.

Sen. Ron Wyden voted NO......
Sen. Gordon Smith voted YES......

The telecoms got off the hook, effing wonderful. For crissakes people -- they broke the law and were protected from having done so. They broke the law in contradiction to basic constitutional rights at that... gah!

Providing for the adoption of H. Res. 979 and H. Res. 980, contempt of Congress resolutions - Vote Passed (223-32, 1 Present, 173 Not Voting)

The House passed this resolution finding former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas issued by the Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer voted YES......

But Bolten and Miers didn't get off the hook.

Guess today is a scrub at Congress -- gonadlessness and tiny gonads. Is this the best we can expect anymore?

Information brought to you by Megavote.


Massive Pug Recall

God I love The Onion -- check out the Pug Recall Article here. Make sure to watch the slide show as well, it's the best part.

[via my Canukistani Operatives]

Enjoy breeder humor,


Sunday, February 17, 2008

War -- Cisco Kid

Here is a video of War performing Cisco Kid on Burt Sugarmans Midnight Special. War produced some of my very favorite songs -- fusing funk, reggae, even jazz with their L.A. latino cultural influences to produce one of the most unique and groundbreaking sounds of the time. Love this stuff.

Enjoy the deep groove,


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Random Chore Man (tm) imitates winter storm

The Wife has this title for me -- Random Chore Man (tm). I can't believe I haven't brought it up in the blog, because it is so prevalent in our home life.

Random Chore Man struck this morning, having decided that it was high time he trim down the plum tree in our parking strip. Of course it was going to be "just a light trim" -- but as the picture attests, it turned out to be a big 'ol effing deal.

When I tried to defend my seemingly random desire to attack this chore today, The Wife just smirked at me and patted me on the shoulder saying something dismissive like "you go get 'em honey, you sic 'em."

Since she won't listen, I'll explain to ya'll.

For one, I've been noticing how the tree is reaching up into the power lines. It is also taking more and more light away from our front yard every year. I also noticed how many vertical suckers it had developed, and I know that those are always removed by orchardists as they reduce fruit production. Even though this is an "ornamental" plum tree -- it does produce fruit, so I figured if I treated it more like a fruit tree it might be encouraged in this endeavor. Also, the tree has *just* started putting on its flower buds, so this is the last weekend where I could trim it this winter. Once the energy was flowing, and the flowers blooming, it would be bad for the tree.

In essence, I had my reasons dammit.

The Wife thinks the whole "fruit tree" element is hilarious, "It's an ORNAMENTAL plum hun," -- but supported me in my exertions regardless, because the tree really did need a strong pruning. She called a friend of hers from work and invited him over to behold Random Chore Man, of whom he had heard so much.

Look, those pillows in the front room were dusty and had cat hair on them, fluffing them in the dryer was entirely appropriate -- who else was going to do it. Sheesh -- always chappin' my arse around here...

Random Chore Man signing out.


Friday, February 15, 2008

The Bank Job trailer

I have mentioned I like Heist movies. I also like Jason Statham, even though I'm pretty sure he hasn't done anything worth a shit since Snatch -- I keep holding out that he'll start in with the good movies again sometime soon. Here's the trailer for The Bank Job, his next project. Looks like it has potential, and I like that it's based on a true story. Check it out.

Enjoy the movies yet unseen,


Dog Sighting!!?

Pootie is documented recovering from an In-Home Dog Sighting over at the Fur Shark Chronicles.

News at 11:17,


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull trailer

"You're a teacher!?"

"Part time."

I'm so going to have to use that one in the future.

This movie may or may not suck, but I'm sure as hell going to see it in the theater regardless.

Enjoy adolescent movie reminiscences,


Olbermann special comment on Fisa bill contortions & telecom immunity

There is a lot of solid logic presented in this special comment -- as well as some very specific info about the telecom spying. Remember Mark Klein, the AT&T whistleblower? Yeah, I'd forgotten about him as well.

[thanks Media Monarchy for pointing this one out]

Enjoy the refreshing feeling of truthful invective,


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waterboard Scalia -- officially my favorite blog title of the whole year

Ok I know we're not far into the year yet, but my favorite blog title for a long long time. Maybe ever.

Read the Transcendental Floss post that bears this proud title.

Enjoy the perfect diction truth creates,


Baby name voyager

Here is a site with a cool java widget that tells you the popularity of various baby names throughout the years.

I'm posting this for Lil' Mike, who is in a bit of a baby name debate right now and wanted the data to back up his position.

I swear I posted this before, but I can't find it now in my own blog. Thank god my friends have decent searchable blogs.

Enjoy random data accumulation, and the widgets it produces,


A little push on the Superdelegates is circulating a petition signup regarding the democratic party superdelegates. I agree with the premise, which is to state your desire that the delegates let the voters decide the primaries, then just reinforce these votes with their own (the original intention of superdelegates, if you agree with some political historians). I thought I'd throw it your way as well.


You've probably heard about the "superdelegates" who could end up deciding the Democratic nominee.

The superdelegates are under lots of pressure right now to come out for one candidate or the other. We urgently need to encourage them to let the voters decide between Clinton and Obama—and then to support the will of the people.

I signed a petition urging the superdelegates to respect the will of the voters. Can you join me at the link below?


Enjoy the little things you can do,


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Genuine uses for the internet -- police oversight

There are more and more reports and videos of police abuse and brutality on the internet. I don't know if this is because there are more incidents, or because it's easier to covertly film and then distribute proof of incidents.

I see outing this type of information as an important use of the internet that has the potential for positive social awareness and for creating the pressure necessary for change.

Piglipstick has a recent post that got me thinking about this tonight.

The famous "Don't Tase me Bro" incident and subsequent internet viral explosion has created a lot of work around the problem as well.

Enjoy seeing technological tools put to better uses than ... what they're normally used for,


Nerd Handbook

Just ran across this Nerd Handbook (for those of you who are companioned to a nerd) and I think it's quite brilliant. I have this Canukistani friend who aught to read this -- she knows damned well most of the info but there might be some novel strategies proposed.

Enjoy your special friends' friends,


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sickie quickie DVD rental reviews

I revert a bit when I get sick -- I get kinda childish. Normally, this type of mood spawns a bad eating decision, like a sudden need for Skittles. But I have enough common sense not to further suppress my immune system with sugar, so I went with dumb movies instead. Roughly equivalent. I rented stuff that I knew T. and The Wife wouldn't watch with me -- stuff that was either too dumb or sappy or shallow to be interesting to them. I wanted brain Skittles, and here were my choices.

I watched Knocked Up first. As I expected, the cliches were brutally unimaginative, the plot was droll and expectable, and the funny parts were funny, but too rare. I can't decide between a C and a C-. What was funny was ok, but what wasn't funny (most of the movie) was painfully not funny. And, frankly, I get tired of seeing completely idiotic wastrel guys in movies -- just a personal thing, but get another schtick Hollywood, please.

Then I watched Pursuit of Happyness. Figured it would be a tear jerker, and it was. Figured it would be cool to see the story behind the story since it was based on a real guy, and it was. The storyline was basically straight ahead, no curves or chasers, but the acting was good enough that it was a fine watch. Watching the behind the scenes stuff about the real Chris Gardner made up for the predictable storyline. A solid B -- Will Smith is plenty of actor to carry that thing, and he did.

Fantastic 4 -- Rise of the Silver Surfer. Even for brain skittles this movie was brutal. The stereotype "do you love me or love your job" relationship bullshit storyline was gut wrenchingly bad. The effects were fine, some of the marvel comic-ey stuff in the second half of the movie was more of what I was expecting out of this movie, but I couldn't wash the flavor of the "storyline" out of my mouth. D+

The Score was my last watch. I was cruising around my netflix queue and found this movie, but couldn't remember why I'd chosen it. Then I saw it had: Deniro, Angela Bassett, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, and even Gary Farmer -- one of my favorite character actors. I like heist movies, so I figured how could I go wrong. I wasn't disappointed -- I mean, don't get me wrong, it was Brain Skittles -- it was cliche after cliche, down to the aging expert safecracker swearing this will be his last job. But for one, to see Angela Bassett kissing someone, especially someone less handsome than I -- that gets points. Big points -- she's so gorgeous. For two, it was fun to see Edward Norton in one of his earlier roles, and for three it's a heist movie, who doesn't like heist movies. B- for extreme predictability, but still watchable if all you really need is lights and colors from the boob tube.

Enjoy your vicarious convalescence,


The Chum Slick -- another great photo editorial

I just like the way this guy works -- short and sweet. He's relentless in his attack of those who needlessly kill large marine animals, and always with that biting humor.

Keep on keepin' on Chum Slick,


Marital symbiosis, ecotothermy, and fevers

As has been mentioned in this blog before, The Wife is to my eyes primarily ectothermic. By saying that I don't mean personality-wise, she's very sweet and vibrant, brassy and not-demure. But, she does depend heavily on outside sources of heat to maintain an appropriate internal homeostasis.

I've spent a couple nights now slogging through a pretty good fever. Nothing extravagant, 101-ish or so. And in retrospect, as sweet and sympathetic as she's been, I can't help thinking that somewhere in the back of her head, there is a little voice that says "right ooon!" when she gets under the sheets with my feverish self.

I know she means me no harm, and doesn't want me to suffer -- but there is this little thrill of glee that runs through her when she realizes how damned hot I am when I have a fever going. I know there is.

Enjoy the simple, sometimes Machiavellian, realities of physical partnership,


Monday, February 11, 2008

Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do

I love this talk at Ted University, and Tulley's attitude about children. I completely agree, children should -- play with fire, own a pocket knife, throw a spear, deconstruct appliances, and drive a car. His easygoing style and sound reasoning is refreshing.

Gever Tulley is the founder of the bitchin' sounding Tinkering School.

Enjoy healthy ideas about kids,


[via Boing Boing]

What the hell is a "superdelegate," and why all of the sudden is everyone talking about them?

Up to 1/5th of the delegates in the 2008 Democratic National Convention will be superdelegates. Superdelegates can vote for whomever they want once they get to the convention -- some are "pledged" and some are "unpledged." This has dems talking -- because it's hard to guess how that swing vote is going to go. In a race this close, the superdelegates could end up holding basically all the power.

From wikipedia, a description of the superdelegates:
Superdelegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention include all Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, various additional elected officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, as well as "all former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee." There is an exception, however, for otherwise qualified individuals who endorse another party’s candidate for President; they lose their superdelegate status. In 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman was disqualified as a superdelegate because he endorsed Republican John McCain. A list of superdelegates can be found here.

When I read that description, I hear "those who will hold the party line." To me, superdelegates are just one more way that the real will of the voters is being weakened by needlessly complicated bureaucracies. But, I'm home sick today so not in my best mood.

Enjoy learning more about the process,


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why lefties yell

I thought this article by Allison Kilkenny in the Huffington Post was an interesting comment on the folks who are out there at T.V. shows and outside government buildings holding signs and yelling about the current state of affairs. I like her angle, and the article I think is a good reminder about why protest is important, especially in this time of massive, massive media unification.

Important stuff to ponder, especially if you live in "Little Beirut" -- Portland Oregon, the political protest capitol of the United States.

Enjoy those who continue to resist (and if you don't, consider questioning why),


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Leatherback visits Oregon during migration

This leatherback
was tracked from Indonesia, to Oregon, to Hawaii. Sounds more like the trip of a backpack-toting college student than an enormous reptile.

It is hoped that the information gathered in this study will help garner international cooperation in the protection of these awesome animals.

Enjoy the studliness of wildlife,


[photo credit in linked article]

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wingnut Confections -- vegan artisan truffles

My dear friend Dave Beer has a chocolate company, Wingnut Confections. It's not an ordinary chocolate company, he does all his work travel by bike, he hand makes all the chocolates, they're vegan, use local and organic ingredients. I can tell you, they don't taste vegan... they're amazing.

I have this bad run of getting scooped on things I intend to blog about but haven't gotten to yet. It has happened with Dave's business, Portland Life did a dandy writeup on him and his business. It's worth the read.

Enjoy Portland artistic entrepreneurs in all their glory,


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Power from rain drops

Looks like there is some potential for small-load power generation from the energy in rain drops. Seems like this would be a good addition to solar panel arrays, increasing their usefulness in our rainy winters.

This idea is definitely in germination stage, but cool nonetheless.

Enjoy the relentless attempts,


[photo credit in linked article]

Just to be clear about killing Bonneville Dam Sea Lions

Now that I've been there, I've read all the reports (except one eloquent minority report, but have heard synopsis), let me put the whole Sea Lion killing at Bonneville dam into a few simple sentences.

Looks like the government is going with a kill route, but that's not in stone yet, so this sentence is purely conjecture on my part. The agencies involved have beat their head over this for quite some time, and haven't taken the task lightly. More than likely the cull will target the animals that do the most damage.

But, I want to be clear. The sea lions took around 4% of the salmon last year. Humans took over 40% of the salmon last year. These agencies talk like there isn't anything else they could possibly do to protect the salmon that would keep them from killing sea lions.

That's horse pucky.

There isn't anything else politically they feel that they can do, but there is PLENTY that can be done to save salmon that would be much more effective than killing some wild animals. The list is obvious and long [I have a bus to catch but if you want some explanation here, ask in comments and I'll post again later].

So although I'm glad they spent the time to do this right, the situation is that wild animals are dying because humans don't want to change their behavior. Lets not sugar coat this.

I support the proposal because we have to do what we can to keep a good flow of salmonids going over the dam so they don't go extinct -- but this is less than a bandaid, and doesn't stop the need for other much more effective measures to save these dwindling salmonid populations.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pravda: "Fed’s rate cuts may kill US dollar soon"

There's something so refreshingly to the point about some of's headlines.

The analysis is another plus -- just so hilariously enjoyable:

According to them, it is a case of too little and too late -- akin to applying pain balm when chemotherapy was the need of the hour.

It's like reading a bastard child of The Onion and Endless entertainment.

Enjoy the comedic virtues of dubious translation,


You had me at "crafted"

The headline is "Human embryos crafted from three people." I stopped cold at "crafted." Is it clich├ęd to mention a 'slippery slope' at this point?

[photo credit in linked article]


Poem -- Lust

This is another poem from a class I took in '05 or so. I believe the prompt on this was a "list" poem. I post it by request.

[if someone knows how to do tab stops in HTML would you please email me instructions? I'm dyin' ova here]




Saltine crackers for lunch.

A stickfire in a blizzard.

Raising peacocks when what you need is eggs.

Lottery tickets.

Most first dates.

Owning a house, but no furniture.

All of junior high.

The exact moment when,
brandishing your knife,
you realize that you are in a gunfight.

Senate dangerously close to doing the right thing

Apparently, the Senate is refusing to stop the filibuster and subsequent discussion around the new FISA bill.

Did a whole collective group of people just grow some gonoidal structures? Could it be?

[big thanks to Estu for sharing this info]

Enjoy pleasant surprises,


Monday, February 4, 2008

Excellent post on correct action

I often talk with my friends about correct action, about a healthy balance between ignorance of politics and immersion/activism, about how to stay sane and feel connected when it can seem like the world is going to hell in a handbasket around us.

Stu over at Palouse Diary has written a sterling post regarding some of these things that I encourage you to check out.

Enjoy the work of talented friends,


The Great Debaters -- trailer and question

Anyone see this? It seems to have slipped under my radar and I haven't seen it yet. I'm making it a point to see as many "teacher/inspirational" movies as I can, even if they are considered cheesy. I am using them for encouragement to keep on with my studies. I can only watch the Taylor Mali video so many times (dozens -- apparently).

If anyone's seen this let movie me know what you thought.

Ps/addendum: To be clear, I mean teacher movies not coach movies. I really can't stomach sports movies of that sort.

Enjoy sources of inspiration,


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Little Dudes: Acorn Woodpecker -- Melanerpes formicivorus

The Northern-most range of the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is nearby, and in a somewhat unexpected place. They live right on Pacific University's Forest Grove campus. I was there today and saw some of the little scuppers flitting about in the ginormous (yes that's a word), old and beautiful Oak trees that grace the campus grounds.

Birder types [notice the distancing language -- "types"] get pretty twitterpated about things like this. It seemed a bit odd to me at first, but I realized that they are just geeks in a different way than I am. At an earlier spot that day, I grabbed a "Capnia" or Winter Stonefly off one of my classmate's jackets and excitedly explained how this is the first "big" bug that comes out in the winter on trout streams and how the trout really go crazy for them. I'm really not in a position to judge geekiness, now am I.

Acorn woodpeckers were a staple bird of my childhood nature walks in California -- so I wasn't too worked up about seeing them. My cool detachment softened a bit when we got our binoculars on a few of them -- it had been years since I'd actually laid eyes upon one. They are colorful, interesting birds quite a bit of character. They excavate holes in the dead branches of the trees and stuff acorns in them to store for later. They're spunky and kind of bold -- in short, cool little dudes.

Enjoy your local biological claims to fame,


Jingui Golden Shield Qi Gong -- demonstration, Questions and Answers, Feb. 13th

From the Jingui Golden Shield PDX blog:

On February 13 at 7:15pm there will be a free talk and demonstration about Jingui Golden Shield Qigong. The talk will be brief, less than 45 minutes or so. After which, I will start the training for those that are interested in signing up.

Classes are open to all and observing a class is always welcome. If you can't make the talk, feel free to come to class on any of the listed dates or contact me with any questions.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

The location is HealthQuest upstairs from the Center for Natural Medicine at 1330 SE 39th Ave. just north of Hawthorne. Here is a mapquest of the location.

Maybe I'll see you there,


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Worksite Poem

A few folks have requested more poems from my prehistory -- I came across this one looking for some scrap paper, figured it was a sign.

For a while, I was working on a series of poems all written during breaks at work. Most were written sitting in the work van. This is one.


Worksite -- Boring, Oregon

If finned animals were swimming
down this hot asphalt street,

and if the parrot squawking inside the house there
was a tiny woman in a napolean coat
vexing an absent husband,

then I'd know this was a dream.

As it is --
wind curling around my ankles,
tarpaper softening in the sun,

I'm temporarily convinced otherwise.


As if I needed more ammo against Hillary -- Anne Coulter supports her

Check out this video, and hear the positively demonic Ann Coulter (Ms. Pro torture pro war) shout her support for Hillary. Holy scary Batman!

[via Portland Mercury Blog]

Enjoy the insanity, somehow,


Ben Harper -- Gather Round the Stone

I forgot about Ben Harper. He came out with some electrified stuff I didn't dig much and I just kinda let him slide -- stopped paying attention.

As I was sitting on the living room floor in my bathrobe, making flash cards for Ornithology class (Ruddy Duck anyone? Family Anatidae, Order Anseriformes) and watching The Henry Rollins Show on dvd -- this performance came on.

I forgot how fucking good he is. Check it out -- really amazing.

[I apologize for the lack of audio synch in the video, it's the only one I could find of this particular performance, if you can find another without the technical difficulties, please let me know.]

Enjoy talent applied to correct action,


Underdog as presented by interpretive dance

You know, I saw this video on butternutjelly and I thought... my "total randomness" label isn't nearly random enough.

This'll fix it.

I present, Underdog Lady.

Enjoy true and surreal randomness,


Blog contenders -- best of the best

Scroll down this page to see the nominees for 2008 bloggie awards. I found out about it on Dooce (yes I read Dooce, no I'm not a housewife -- really).

The humor selection seems to leave a lot to be desired -- I could care less about folks dishing on celebrities. But, this is a popularity contest, so that wins over content.

The gem of the whole scene, as far as blogs I've never seen before (I haven't hit every link) is Post Secret. It's truly interactive, produces intriguing pieces of media, and gives a peek into human nature that somehow connects us all.

Enjoy new media,


Friday, February 1, 2008

John McCain as Dr. Strangelove

I think I'll just have to keep posting these Brave New Films. Their work is great.

Here is their latest -- showing the war mongering of John McCain. If all the wars the U.S. are in right now are voluntary -- promising more war means promising more willful invasions, right? Someone tell me my math is wrong here.

Ps/Addendum: When the video is over, scroll around and find the "McCain Vs. McCain" video -- it's amazing.

Enjoy effective action,