Sunday, August 31, 2008

Leaping Shampoo and the Stable Kaye Effect

First off, geek stuff aside, this video is very cool to watch. It also is well presented, with text that supports the visuals.

If you want the wiki version of the Kaye Effect definition click here. If you are in ubergeek mode, and find the meager wiki fare unsatisfying, here the peer-reviewed journal article by Michel Versluis, Cor Blom, Devaraj van der Meer, Ko van der Weele and Detlef Lohse called Leaping Shampoo and the Stable Kaye Effect that the video accompanies.

Enjoy mega-bizarro properties of fluids that create eye candy,


[via Yuri]

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Songs Stuck in my Head Series: Dog eat Dog -- Adam and the Ants

I've been watching the phrase "Friend or Foe" in my bookmarks (it's an article about crows you'll see in a few days) up on my computer for a day or so, and it made me think of the Adam and the Ants song of the same name. But -- that's not the best of their songs in my opinion, so ya'll are getting this one. Adam his'self claims it's his favorite because of the difficulty of pulling it off.

I remember that, before I saw the band on TV and realized that they had two drummers, I thought they had the most stupendous drummer of all time. It was when their first big song hit in Cali -- we used to sing it as "Stand on My Liver." Good times.

Enjoy flashbacks to a more torturous, innocent time,


Dalai Lama hospitalized

The Dalai Lama has been hospitalized for abdominal pains. Hope he's going to be OK. Send some good thoughts his way, that's an important man right there.



[photo credit in linked article, via A Long Tough Blog]

More awesome reverse graffiti

As some of you know, I'm a huge fan of reverse graffiti -- I posted some videos about it just a while back. Here is a bunch more from the site Environmental Graffiti, including the two artists I have in the videos (Moose and Alexandre Orion), some public/anonymous work, and an artist new to me Scott Wade. That's Scott's work in the picture on the right.

Enjoy perusing art made by cleaning,


[via my faithful Canukistani operative Yuri, photo credit in linked article]

Friday, August 29, 2008

Patrick Gracewood sculpture work up at Hughes Water Gardens

I am big fans of both Patrick's work and of Hughes Water Gardens -- so seeing his stuff at their place is a win/win for me. Here is one of the pieces, it was so well placed I had to share some photos. I think you've got some time left in the lily season to hit Hughes and see some fantastic blooms as well.

Enjoy talented friends,


"Green" shopping mall design?

My faithful Canukistani operative Yuri sent me this interesting article on redesigning failing shopping malls into more people-friendly and green designs. A group called the Congress of the New Urbanism is one of the parties pushing this redesign of old-style, enclosed shopping malls. They produced an intriguing document called "Malls into Main Streets, an in-depth guide to transforming malls into communities."

I know there are a number of designer-types that read this blog, I figured ya'll might be into this. For us lay-people, perusing the various links can provide some very cool brain-candy.

Enjoy listening to designers go off, especially when it's about something as cool as taking crappy shopping malls and turning them into downtown meccas,


[illustration credit in linked article]

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free topo maps, just print them from your computer

Uncle Ted comes through with another cool gadget -- a free topo overlay tool from Google Earth. The Cool Tool post talks about how to use it, down to good places to get waterproof paper to print them on.


Enjoy family members turning you on to random and useful info,


[photo credit in linked article]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Recovery of the North Aral Sea

Here's some Good News about an inland sea that is starting to recover. The North Aral Sea is beginning to get deeper, and cleaner, and starting to hold much much more wildlife -- according to this story from the Environment News Service.

This picture shows how much water was lost from 1989 - 2003. Not a good scene. It took the creation of the Kok-Aral dam (pictured at the right) to boost the water levels in the north sea. This has helped not only fishermen, but wildlife and farmers. Here are some stats from the article:

The North Aral Sea's surface increased from 2,550 square kilometers (985 square miles) in 2003, the ministry said, to 3,300 square kilometers (1,275 square miles) in 2008.

And the sea's depth increased from 30 meters (98 feet) in 2003 to 42 meters (138 feet) in 2008.

Enjoy success stories when you can find them,


[photo credit in linked article; via my Canukistani operative "Yuri"]

Mini black hole and the destruction of the earth by the French

Remember the Hadron Rap video? It was making light of the possibilities of CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Here's a page at Misunderstood Universe that is making dark of the upcoming experiments -- claiming that it is possible to create a mini black hole with this machine that will eat the earth. Don't miss the video -- it rocks.

Are you numbed by doomsday predictions yet? I have to say, I am: "If Iran gets access to nuclear technology..." "If just one extremist gets their hands on a suitcase nuclear device..." "If we don't stop global warming..." "If the dead zones in the sea keep expanding" "If you eat too much swordfish..." etc etc etc.

I'm not saying that there aren't perfectly reasonable considerations in each of these statements. There probably is. And, I'm not saying that something shouldn't be done about all of them. I'm saying that I hit overload today, somehow, magically. I have no idea how.

Because I'm in overload, I get this weird giddiness when I am confronted with the newest of the doomsday concerns -- a mini black hole created at the Large Hadron Collider eating the earth. How romantic is that? How perfectly metaphorical -- it's the Frankenstein story on steroids, like mega steroids. "Humankind finally pushes things too far -- end of story."

Hell if I know.

Enjoy weird days when you have them -- no matter how they arrive,


[article via Stingite, who loves ya]

Imagine what life will be like in the future -- like in 2008

Here is an awesome Modern Mechanix article from 1968 about what it will be like in the future -- 40 years in the future. It's a great read -- and oh, those 250 mpg cars would be nice wouldn't they?

Enjoy peeking into the hopes of techie geeks in the past,


[via Uncle Ted]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Patton Oswalt coming to Crystal Ballroom Sept. 7th

Title pretty much says it all, Patton is coming to town, soon. Here is the information from the McMenamins site.

We're pretty big Patton Oswalt fans here at this house, especially his work with the Comedians of Comedy tour. It's hell to find good free video of him, however. Here's the best one I dug up -- his take on KFC Famous Bowls, freaking hilarious.

Enjoy the opportunity to see "indie" comedy whenever you can get it,


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization

I found this article in the newest Adbusters on "hipsters," quite interesting. It is a bit scathing, but then again most articles in Adbusters are. The author makes some pretty cogent points -- whether they apply to "hipsters" or not could be debated, but they're cogent nonetheless.

In most cases, use of the term "hipster" is meant as a put-down. But then again -- the folks who do this the most are often accused of being hipsters themselves. It's so post-modern.

In many circles, Portland is known as a serious West-coast hipster enclave. Case in point, this enormous list of bars considered Hipster Bars on Barfly.

There is a certain amount of introspection about this sentiment in Portland media, my personal favorite is Chas Bowie's contemplation on the subject in The Portland Mercury. I like his "hipster or a-hole" angle on the subject.

Enjoy your contemplations of this culture's current crop of intelligencia [I mean anti-intelligencia, I mean bohemians, oh never mind],


Ps: Worthy or scorn or not, I do find the tight-leg pants incomprehensible, whether on men or women. They look good on no-one, which I know is the point, but...

[via Uncle Ted, yet again. Photo credit in linked article.]

Giant rabbit

Who can resist a picture of a ginormous rabbit on a Monday morning. Here is some text from the Chicago Tribune about pictured animal:

Karl Szmolinsky, who raises a breed of rabbits called giant grays, shows Robert, an 8.5kg giant gray who is 74cm long and has ears 25.5cm long, in the backyard of his house in Eberswalde, Germany in 2006. Szmolinsky sold eight giant grays to a delegation from North Korea that wanted to raise the breed as a source of meat for the North Korean population. Szmolinsky said his rabbits reach a maximum weight of 10.5 kg (23.1lbs.).

Enjoy gigantor fluffy farm animals,


[via Uncle Ted, photo credit in linked article]

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A little slide show on the heinous realities of plastic bags

Go here ( for a quick slideshow with statistics, quotes, and reasons to stop accepting plastic bags when you shop.

Here's a teaser quote from the slide show:

"There's harsh economics behind bag recycling: It costs $4,000 to process and recycle 1 ton of plastic bags, which then can be sold on the commodities market for $32."

--Jared Blumenfeld, Director of San Francisco's Department of the Environment

I know that personally, I have to be face-to-face with the reality of my actions before I can muster the willpower to stop doing something destructive. I also know that, for me, taking actions to reduce harm cannot be taken from the perspective or motivation that it will solve the problem. I am simply, personally doing less harm. If others join in, great -- if they ask questions, great -- but in the end it's for my own mental health. [if any grammatically savvy folks could email me better ways to punctuate that last sentence but keep the cadence I'd be very grateful]

Enjoy expanding your awareness, even if it pinches a bit,


[photo credit here at]

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jumping in on the Biden decision

So I had written Biden off as vanilla and boring, when Msherm came out in the comments and stated his opinion. I'm intrigued and wanted to post it here to start off a discussion about Biden as V.P. choice. So far, I've not done enough research to justify my knee-jerk opinions of the guy, so I'm going to let Msherm talk:

Biden is 1000% times better than Clark for me. I actually like the choice. Sure he's a long term senator but I'd hardly say he's run of the mill. Not to mention his incredible trials in his personal life he's always been someone willing to go beyond simplistic ideas that appeal to marketed politics and challenge ideas. As well he has the least income of any senator in washington and he could very easily make that change but has decided against it. Granted he's still not poor but it does say something about his character that in 35 years in washington he hasn't cashed in in a significant way.

He makes his senate salary (165k) plus about 25k other income from what looks like a teaching gig. This year he is writing a book so made some extra money on that 100k. But all in all he's dramatically less than his fellow senators.

Plus he's an asshole, and I love the assholes as you might know.

I'd encourage you to look into him a little more rather than trust the blogosphere on this one (you may have and still came to that conclusion) but if you haven't give him a second look. More to him than just a life in washington.

Clark is a douche imo and is and has always been a Clinton puppet. i used to like the guy ok but I think he's a DLC tool.

Enjoy friends who keep you honest (that goes for you too Chuck Butcher),


[image via Wiki-commons]

Kookoolan Farms, the place to go for healthy local meat

Mornin folks. Many of my friends have begun to search for the best local food producers they can find. Especially meat and dairy. Kookoolan Farms is one of the names that keeps coming up.

I've been hearing about them from multiple sources, and all of them sources I trust. I've eaten the chicken and its amazing. It was what we were served when I was in Lotus Land. Click the link to find out why these folks are the real deal.

Got to run,


Friday, August 22, 2008

Word of the day: Hobson's choice

Ironically, I just mentioned my dislike of the two-party system, and here comes the word of the day over my email. A good one.

Hobson's choice \HOB-suhnz-CHOIS\, noun:

A choice without an alternative; the thing offered or nothing.

Fagan's defense revolves around his insistence that he faced a Hobson's choice and had to act.
-- Laura Parker, "Discovery of daughters never followed by reunion", USA Today, May 11, 1999

They're faced with a Hobson's choice: Make the plunge . . . or face a terrifying alternative -- gradual extinction.
-- Heather Green, "The Great Yuletide Shakeout", Business Week, November 1, 1999

The origin of the term Hobson's choice is said to be in the name of one Thomas Hobson (ca. 1544-1631), at Cambridge, England, who kept a livery stable and required every customer to take either the horse nearest the stable door or none at all.

[via's Word of the Day]

Enjoy the constant reminders,


Obama hits McCain

This is typical, simplistic political advertising, I'll give you that. But it is sure nice to see a Dem getting aggressive for once. I'm no fan of the two-party system, but for this election cycle Obama is definitely my candidate, hands down.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

P.U.H. -- the Portland Urban Hayseed

Sometimes, when I'm driving home with a couple bales of straw strapped to the roof of the Subaru, little kids wave while I'm on the freeway. This got me thinking, that must look a bit unusual. And the other day, when I finally cleaned out the back of said wagon, I coined a term in my head -- the Portland Urban Hayseed.

I had been driving around with 100 lbs. of chicken feed, multiple large jars and bowls for berry picking, a clam rake, and a bunch of scrap metal in the back seat. I had to keep remembering that it was temporarily a two-seater due to all the crap in the car. I laughed as I was unloading all the stuff and thought, "my god, what a hayseed" and Boom, a new epithet was born.

I know a few other folks who live the PUH lifestyle, and I think I'm going to run it past them, see if we can get it to stick.

[What's the photo have to do with being a Hayseed? I dunno, it was one of the wiki commons responses to a search for the word -- "a California Hayseed" it's called. Wiki commons photos can be used without fear of copyright infringement, so there we go.]

Enjoy the spawn of a new label,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Large Hadron Collider Rap

Bad white geek rap is now a hackneyed form on the intartubes, however this one has some decent explanation of what's going down at the Large Hadron Collider so I thought I'd share it with ya'll. And, the joke's still kinda funny.

Enjoy different means of scientific explanation,


Laphroaig Whiskey

During a recent family reunion, one of my many uncles kept talking about Laphroaig as the only scotch worth drinking. He continued to push his point by sending me this video after I came home -- just won't let it go I tell you. It's actually quite interesting if you are into brewing and distilling at all.

Enjoy uncles who refuse to back down,


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Found" magazine has a website

Found Magazine's premise is simple, send in scans of anonymous items you found that are poignant, funny, random. This one is my favorite from the last few weeks -- genius.

Enjoy the randomness of strangers,


Oooooh Britian

Received this image from Yuri, with the above title and the text, "Stay classy." Ouch.

Could this poster possibly be more creepy?

Holy Orwellian Dystopias Batman!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Online language, if you can call it that

I know my diction and grammar have taken serious hits since I started socializing online many moons ago. Two of my best friends are a result of online connections, so I shouldn't complain too much -- but it still worries me.

Here is a great New York Times article by Virginia Heffernan about the [lack of] grammar of online social communication.

Enjoy watching something break before it changes,


[via "Yuri" my faithful Canukistani operative]

Musical satire: Time for some Campaignin'

This cracked me up. Am beyond tired of this election already, although I need to find some stamina and keep watching the show. Videos like this one make it a lot easier.

Enjoy lightning the mood in a divisive time,


[via Babs]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Ghost Slug" -- new species identified in South Wales

Check out this BBC Article and accompanying video about a new garden denizen recently discovered in South Wales, the white, worm-eating carnivorous Ghost Slug. It has been deemed an entirely new species, and named Selenochlamys ysbryda. So far, there isn't any concern about detrimental effects from the little dude, but the jury is still out.

Enjoy the possibility of finding an entirely new species whilst digging about in your garden,


[via Babs]

Wind powered cargo ships?

My neighbor and I had a brief conversation a while back about peak oil and some of its ramifications. I said, half jokingly, that at least companies that import cheap ass goods from overseas might not stay viable as they depend on fuel to move their products. Companies like Walmart, for example.

He said that he'd heard about the possibility of wind-powered cargo ships. That made a lot of sense, considering that's how trade has been conducted for hundreds (even thousands?) of years before petrol took over the sea lanes.

He did some research and came up with this video of The Maltese Falcon. This thing definitely isn't the result of someone trying to greenify international shipping. It is a 130-million-dollar vanity object. There are many funny things about the video, the interview, and the circumstance. See if you can find them all.

I'll close with commentary by my neighbor Astock:

1. It can fit under the golden gate bridge by about 30 or 40 feet. I guess that means it pretty much can’t get into any other less-major (than SF) bay in the world? That sounds prohibitive

2. That brings me to point #2. The guy that built it can’t land it in the U.S. due to “tax implications”. That’s totally fucking hilarious.

Enjoy the concept of freight from china getting here even cheaper when they don’t have to pay for fuel, darnit


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rufus & Chaka Khan -- Tell Me Something Good

Been a while since we had a Burt Sugarman's video on. This one is pure 1974. It's Sunday, shake your bootie, she is.

Enjoy the saucy singers of the past,


Wolves fishing

You may have received a very popular email with these photos already, but just in case you didn't, check out this great photograph. If you want to see the whole set -- head to this post by Bayou Renaissance Man with more. He has the videos too, but I'll post them below for those who don't like clicking text links. Very cool stuff.

Enjoy the sight of top predators doing their thing -- it's a true sign of health in an ecosystem.


[via Estu]

Friday, August 15, 2008

McCain sucks: agrees more with Bush than 4 years ago, can you say the same?

McSame. I know I have friends who resent the epithet, but if the shoe fits.


Songs stuck in my Head Series: Pat Benatar -- Invincible

What the hell kind of full-moon, dehydrated fever-dream brought this hellish curse upon my hind brain. I woke up with this in my head. When I played the video below, T. and I were just waking up, he checking his spam folder on The Wife's computer. His comment -- "you have any idea how many times I had my hair cut to this song?"

Oh the horror.

Enjoy the remnant pangs of adolescent torture, and the realization that they're finally, almost, faded into the sunset,


Take a bus to the coast

Did you know you could take a bus to Cannon beach, and then to Tillamook and then to Oceanside -- all on the same ticket? The Tillamook County Transportation District sells round trip tickets to the coast from Portland for $35. That ticket lasts you the day, and includes bipping around to Oceanside/Netarts, Manzanita/Cannon Beach, and Pacific City.

Be careful though, there is a rider alert -- check it out:

All routes are running according to schedules.

Oh no, not that!

I love it.

Enjoy finding out ways to get out of town for uber-cheap,


[via RBrant]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And who gives out the lucrative Iraqi oil contracts?



Trovants: stones that grow

Ever heard of a Trovant? Me either.

They are called the "growing stones" of Romania. Check out this cool Environmental Graffiti post about them. When they get rained on, they grow and morph into weird sculpture-like shapes. Apparently, there is often a "brain-like" look to the top of the stones. That's not creepy at all, really.

Make sure to click on the slideshow to see a number of different examples.

Enjoy nature sneaking up on you in the most surprising ways,


[via "Yuri," photo credit in linked article]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You may be noticing a trend

You may or may not have noticed that for the past few days, I can ascribe most of the posts to friends and associates. That is because I'm working diligently to clean out my Gmail backlog, and in so doing posting all the cool stuff folks have sent me in the last few months. This trend will continue for quite some time, I have a lot of catching up to do.

Enjoy the support of friends,


Stickleback fish in Lake Washington changing fast

An interesting change in the little Stickleback fish of a Washington State lake looks to be a good example of evolution, or even "reverse evolution," as this National Geographic article deems it.

Lake Washington, near Seattle, was quite a polluted mess in the 1960's. There was so much phosphorus-laden effluent coming into it that the water was dark and murky. The Stickleback fish that lived in the lake didn't need much protection from predators, and showed little of the armor plating of their nearby relatives in the salt water had, more closely resembling their freshwater relatives. Then the lake got cleaned up -- and the visibility increased. The cutthroat trout and other predators in the lake enjoy more than twice the visibility they had in the 60's. The sticklebacks show plenty of armament and stickers now, and it is very probably in direct response to the increased predator threat.

Since the biologists don't have samples of the fish from the turn of the century, they cannot make absolutely conclusive statements about "reverse evolution," but they can definitely demonstrate a change in phenotype in the fish, and point to a very likely selection pressure (the visibility in the water) that prompted it.

Cool stuff.

Enjoy clean lakes, and nature's quick response to said conditions,


[article via "Yuri," photo credit in linked article]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beavers in hot water with The Man

I got this story via email, checked it out on Snopes -- and they have deemed it absolutely true. I love it.

Here is an excerpt from a letter Ryan DeVries received from the State of Michigan D.E.Q. [addresses and overlong text excised for readability].

Mr. Ryan DeVries
SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20;

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality
that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced
parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner
and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet
stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A
review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued.

Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in
violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource
and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994,
being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws


We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter.
Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division

And here is the actual landowner's response -- in totality because it effing ROCKS:

Dear Mr. Price,

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20;
Montcalm County

Reference your certified letter dated 12/17/2000 has been referred to me
to respond to. First of all, Mr. Ryan De Vries is not the legal
landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan.

I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State
unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris"
dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond.

While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I
think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of
natural building materials "debris." I would like to challenge your
department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any
place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could
ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam
ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their
dam work ethic.

As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must
first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam
activity. My first dam question to you is:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers? or,
(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said
dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through
the Freedom of Information Act I request completed copies of all those
other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. Perhaps we
will see if there really is a dam violation of P! art 301, Inland Lakes
and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act,
Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.3010,1 to
324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated. I have several
concerns. My first concern is aren't the beavers entitled to legal

The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay
for said representation - so the State will have to provide them with a

The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed
during a recent rain event causing flooding is proof that this is a
natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In
other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than
harrass them and call their dam names. If you want the stream "restored"
to a dam free-flow condition - please contact the beavers - but if you
are going to arrest them they obviously did not pay any attention to
your dam letter (being unable to read English).

In my humble ! opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build
their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green
and water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I do to live
and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the
natural resources
(Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be
referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until
1/31/2002 The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then, and
there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real
environmental quality (health) problem in the area. It is the bears.
Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you
should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone.

If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The
bears are not careful where they dump!)

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to
contact you on your answering machine, I am sending this response to
your office via another government organization - the USPS. Maybe,
someday, it will get there.

Enjoy sticking it (get it, sticks.. beaver dam..) to The Man,


[email via Letle, photos via the viral email itself]

Monday, August 11, 2008

Buckminster fuller at The Whitney

Msherm pointed out this show at The Whitney museum of American art, up now, called Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe. First a Bucky quote, then the teaser video.

If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top . . . that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver, but this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday's fortuitous contrivings.

Enjoy innovative minds whenever you can find them,


Death Maps

Here are some fascinating visual representations of human deaths, by type, in the world. The more there are, the bigger that particular part of the world is on the map.

There are 6 sets of maps in the National Geographic article, I chose only the first -- "often preventable" deaths to show. The top map is warped via the amount of this type of death in the populace ("often preventable" means treatable/preventable conditions), the bottom map is overall population ballooned in the same way.

Make sure to flip through the maps in the article, there are some interesting ones a few pages back.


[via Estu]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Photography on Sod

Check out these "photos" using a patch of thick grass and photo negatives. I'll let the original Gizmodo post speak for itself:

Photosynthetic photography is by no means a new technique, but it's certainly new to us. By placing a "canvas" of grass in a darkroom and shining light on it that first passes through a film negative, artist/scientists have been able to tweak the chlorophyll levels of blades of grass and create living photographs. Their permanence is fleeting, but the effect is quite remarkable.

Enjoy different ways of doing things,


[via my Canukistani operative "Yuri"]

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Declining snail-mail catalogs -- a great hobby!

There is a great service called Catalog Choice, where you can sign up to be removed from catalog mailing lists on-line, instead of doing each one over the phone (as I've been doing for months now). You can receive a catalog in the mail, log into Catalog Choice and discontinue that catalog specific subscription. You can also search for companies you know are currently sending you mailings and discontinue them preemptively. They have a large list of companies, and if you happen to receive a catalog that they don't have yet there is a "suggest a catalog" option as well.

From the site:

The Catalog Choice community is presently 971,612 persons strong, having already opted out of 12,792,093 catalogs.

Did you know?

Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers.
What’s the impact?

* Number of trees used – 53 million trees
* Pounds of paper used – 3.6 million tons of paper
* Energy used to produce this volume of paper – 38 trillion BTUs, enough to power 1.2 million homes per year
* Contribution to global warming – 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to the annual emissions of two million cars
* Waste water discharges from this volume of paper – 53 billion gallons of water, enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense paper calculator.

Enjoy slimming down the garbage/recycling stream intentionally,


Random undersea awesomeness

Here is a video of part of David Gallo's presentation on great stuff that's been filmed under the sea. From luminescent deep sea creatures (good footage using new techniques) to the camouflage and color presentations of Cephapods. A quick, fun little video. When I showed this to T. -- he loved the standing ovation at the end the best, it cracked him up to no end.
Look, they're clapping for cuttlefish! Look at them -- 'Yeah, yeah -- go cuttlefish, change change!'

Enjoy nature outdoing us on many fronts, even artistic,


[via my Mom]

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Cotillion (and pie fight) -- Sat. August 23rd.

Come dressed in your finery for the Summer Cotillion* (and pie fight)

A benefit for the Nomadic Theatre Co to help us take our new show to the NY Clown Theatre Festival!

Saturday, August 23rd
2 to 5pm

8325 N. Central Street. 97203
St. Johns, Portland

* A cotillion is a formal dance, often involving white gloves, not often involving pies ...

Croquet will be played on the lawn. Punch will be served. Strolling performances by the Nomadic Theatre Co and friends and associates. Ladies are encouraged to wear hats.

There will be a Pie Beauty Contest, a Pie Walk and Competitive Pie Throwing.

Prizes will be given.

Pies! Pies! Pies!

We suggest you make your pie(s) at the event.
Supplies will be provided, but please bring whipped cream, and
other non-sharp edible pie decorations, like tiny marshmallows,
chocolate sprinkles, pudding, icing, soft berries.

Pies will be judged on beauty, flying abilities and
how they look smeared on the faces of victims.

Friendly dogs are invited and can help with clean-up.

Tickets in advance: $10 for family or $7 per individual.
Tickets available at the gate: $12 for family, $9 per individuals.
Tickets available from Nomadic and members of the board of directors
or at:

Proceeds from this event will help send Nomadic to the New York Clown
Theatre Festival in September for the east coast debut of our latest
show, "Running Into Walls." We are working towards a fundraising goal
of $5000 to make this possible, and greatly appreciate your support!

Video of a dinosaur

Hows that for a catchy blog title, not every day you get offered a link to video of a live dinosaur.



Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scads of Gorillas found!

Looks like the Wildlife Conservation Society may have found a ginormous population of wild gorillas. The population of (up to 125,000) mountain gorillas in this remote region of Republic of the Congo still has to be verified. If estimates are correct, this would double the known worldwide count of wild mountain gorillas. Awesome news, especially after all the strife and killings lately.

I wish they'd not even try to print maps of their location, SHHHHH folks geez.

Enjoy good news,


[photo credit in linked article]

Cirque du Soleil ain't the only ones with talent

Here is a video of some amazing acrobats filmed during the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. I forget sometimes that there are other amazing circus performers in the world outside the much-hailed Cirque Du Soleil.

Enjoy eye candy composed of impossible stunts,


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Removing pine pitch from clothing

When I was at the Metolius River last month, I sat down on a bench under a big Ponderosa Pine. When I stood up, I heard and felt the pants pulling up multiple globs of thick pitch off the bench. These were my favorite pants, of course, some Carhart denim -- and I figured I had just made another pair of work pants.

I found out tonight that rubbing alcohol, when soaked generously into the fabric and scrubbed vigorously with a rough alcohol soaked rag, will remove the pitch. Of all the substances I read to use for removing pitch (WD-4, kerosene, hand sanitizer)rubbing alcohol looked to be the easiest on the fabric. The pants aren't dried yet, but by everything I've seen so far, it looks to have worked just fine.

If something shows up after drying, this post will be edited.

Enjoy saving a fine pair of duds,


Little Dudes: Culex molestus

Besides having a bitching name, the Culex molestus mosquito, which lives in the London underground tube network, is cool because it seems to have evolved extremely rapidly. According to this archived London Times article, the species that went underground over a hundred years ago when the tubes were first being constructed was Culex pipiens -- a species that preyed upon birds primarily. It has changed enough in these short years that it is now considered a whole new species.

The rapid evolution is partially thought of being dependent upon the environment in the tubes -- very good for mosquitos. There is plenty of water, steady temperature, and lots of mammalian prey. So, these mosquitos got to breed year-round and plentifully, increasing the rate of genetic mixing. This would, hypothetically, speed up evolution.

Culex molestus now fits the classic model of speciation, Allopatric or Geographic speciation, in which there is a physical barrier to breeding within one species (some are above ground some below, in this case) and over time different conditions in the two places cause different selection pressures and the species divides. An example of one difference between these mosquitoes is that the tube mosquitos prey almost exclusively on mammals now, including rats and mice, whereas Culex pipiens still preys primarily on birds.

The Biological Species Concept then comes into play as to whether the two populations of bugs are in fact two separate species. Simply, do they interbreed? In this case, the tube mosquitos and Culex pipiens can breed when intermixed, but it is very rare even under lab conditions which are specifically designed to encourage the behavior. This means that, functionally, they don't breed in nature. Boom, the hallmark of a separate species.

If you are a more visual person, here is a short video on the situation:

Enjoy evolution,


[photo via NSW health site]

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Money as Debt

My uncle sent this video down from Canukistan. It is a documentary explaining the basics of centralized banking and our current money system. I found it quite educational. Here is the writeup for the video on googe video as well:

Paul Grignon's 47-minute animated presentation of "Money as Debt" tells in very simple and effective graphic terms what money is and how it is being created. It is an entertaining way to get the message out. The Cowichan Citizens Coalition and its "Duncan Initiative" received high praise from those who previewed it. I recommend it as a painless but hard-hitting educational tool and encourage the widest distribution and use by all groups concerned with the present unsustainable monetary system in Canada and the United States

Enjoy learning how things actually work,


Truth in Advertising?

This made me really really happy.

Enjoy monumental Freudian slips,


[via the Fail blog]

Monday, August 4, 2008

Anthrax suicide, great conspiracy fodder

So the two guys who were fingered for having something to do with the post-9/11 anthrax attacks are in two very different states: one just won 5+ Million in court, the other is dead. In the words of T. "that sounds like the Godfather -- they make you an offer and if you refuse they kill you. It's better to just take the money."

It was well known that the strains of weaponized Anthrax used in the attacks were U.S. not long after the events took place, and yet the government tried to pin it on Iraq to help the buildup to war.

Question: don't people who get hired to ultra-sensitive positions in the government, like those say who will be working with deadly biological weapons materials, get psychologically screened? And yet a "disturbed, isolated loner" had access to these materials.

Great conspiracy fodder I tell you.

Here is a MGx blog post that has Olbermann video talking about this story.

Enjoy your night-time musings on this subject,


Joshua Allen Harris's inflatable street art

Just found out about Joshua Allen Harris while cruising around the intartubes (on my home computer, with a stable connection and full-sized keyboard, thank you very much) and I love his work. Here is a nice video presentation of him and his work on New York Entertainment magazine. Awesome street art, right up there with the reverse graffiti.

Here are a few more of his sculptures on video -- the Centaur and Mus.

Enjoy innovative public art,


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Vitriol

In the process of dealing with the mild culture shock I am experiencing upon returning to the media-soaked urban landscape, I sometimes retreat into a cave of reaction, judgment, and blame. It's dark, but comforting in there. I never stay long, because I know I'd become a withered up sanctimonious dickhead if I did -- however, brief forays do help me adjust to being home.

Case in point, when reminded about the many ills of our society -- this rant about the U.S. voting public was just the ticket. It is #9 on The Beast's 50 most loathsome people of the year 2007 list. Besides being funny and cathartic, some of this stuff is so spot on it's painful, especially the "sentence" at the end.

9. You

Charges: You believe in freedom of speech, until someone says something that offends you. You suddenly give a damn about border integrity, because the automated voice system at your pharmacy asked you to press 9 for Spanish. You cling to every scrap of bullshit you can find to support your ludicrous belief system, and reject all empirical evidence to the contrary. You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism -- it's nationalism when foreigners do it. You hate anyone who seems smarter than you. You care more about zygotes than actual people. You love to blame people for their misfortunes, even if it means screwing yourself over. You still think Republicans favor limited government. Your knowledge of politics and government are dwarfed by your concern for Britney Spears' children. You think buying Chinese goods stimulates our economy. You think you're going to get universal health care. You tolerate the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques." You think the government is actually trying to improve education. You think watching CNN makes you smarter. You think two parties is enough. You can't spell. You think $9 trillion in debt is manageable. You believe in an afterlife for the sole reason that you don't want to die. You think lowering taxes raises revenue. You think the economy's doing well. You're an idiot.

Exhibit A: You couldn't get enough Anna Nicole Smith coverage.

Sentence: A gradual decline into abject poverty as you continue to vote against your own self-interest. Death by an easily treated disorder that your health insurance doesn't cover. You deserve it, chump.

Hurts so good,


Oliver Stone takes on Dubya

Could be good, could suck rocks. In any case, it's going to be hard on my lower G.I. tract.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Apparently they don't like Critical Mass in NY either

Video of a NY city policeman clocking a Critical Mass bicyclist. Simple as that.


Word of the day: quondam

Thought this was a truly original and interesting word. I sure as hell hadn't run into it before.

quondam \KWAHN-duhm; KWAHN-dam\, adjective:

Having been formerly; former; sometime.

A quondam flower child, she spent seven years at the Royal College of Art, before becoming a lecturer at Edinburgh School of Art.
-- "Interview: Cool, calm collector", Independent, December 13, 1997

For the unregenerate "peasant" . . . had gone there with the successful glass distributor, shrewd investor, versatile talker, and quondam bon vivant whose motto was "The best is good enough for me."
-- Ted Solotaroff, Truth Comes in Blows: A Memoir

There was an exception to this in the form of Mrs Edna Parsons, a formidable Englishwoman who had once been the Prince's nanny and now served as proctor, supervising his behaviour. She was about fifty and true to her quondam profession, she could be quite strict.
-- David Freeman, One of Us

Enjoy expanding your vocabulary,


[via the's Word of the Day email service]

Friday, August 1, 2008

Van Eck Phreaking history revealed by NSA document

If you know what Van Eck Phreaking is already, you are a supreme geek, and I honor you.

For the rest of us, it is basically the interception and deciphering of secondary electronic emissions (electronic "noise") from afar. For example, if you are getting a fax it is potentially possible someone could pick up the "noise" the electronics are creating from across the street and decode it, figuring out what you just received, despite not having received the actual transmission itself.

This is different from hacking rfid credit cards, in that with the cards the signal intentionally contains information.

Phreaking is, of course, a huge security concern. Imagine the possibilities in an electronic voting scenario, for example. In this very cool Wired article, they present information on the history of phreaking and how the government first responded to the problem. Here's a teaser:

It was 1943, and an engineer with Bell Telephone was working on one of the U.S. government's most sensitive and important pieces of wartime machinery, a Bell Telephone model 131-B2. It was a top secret encrypted teletype terminal used by the Army and Navy to transmit wartime communications that could defy German and Japanese cryptanalysis.

Then he noticed something odd.

Far across the lab, a freestanding oscilloscope had developed a habit of spiking every time the teletype encrypted a letter. Upon closer inspection, the spikes could actually be translated into the plain message the machine was processing. Though he likely didn't know it at the time, the engineer had just discovered that all information processing machines send their secrets into the electromagnetic ether.

Enjoy learning more than you ever wanted to know about information technologies,


[via my Canukistani operative "Yuri"]