Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Independent Online Edition > Science & Technology : app4

Independent Online Edition > Science & Technology : app4: "Mysterious knotted strings used by the Incas to control their sprawling South American empire may have been ledgers for their accountants to keep track of payments to the king.

The strings, called khipu, have long fascinated archaeologists because they seemed to be designed to carry information in some hitherto unknown code rather than being made simply for decoration."

Old skool accounting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Seattle Times: Politics: GOP lobbyist indicted in fraud case

The Seattle Times: Politics: GOP lobbyist indicted in fraud case: "MIAMI � Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a business partner were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy in their purchase of a fleet of Florida gambling boats from a businessman who was later killed in a gangland-style hit."

Too bad this won't take down DeLay (because of a technicality), but at least one corrupt lobbyist is gone.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Observer | International | Revealed: grim world of new Iraqi torture camps

The Observer | International | Revealed: grim world of new Iraqi torture camps: "What happened to him in his 24 hours in captivity was written across his body in chapters of pain, recorded by the camera. There are police-issue handcuffs still attached to one wrist, from which he was hanged long enough to cause his hands and wrists to swell. There are burn marks on his chest, as if someone has placed something very hot near his right nipple and moved it around.

A little lower are a series of horizontal welts, wrapping around his body and breaking the skin as they turn around his chest, as if he had been beaten with something flexible, perhaps a cable. There are other injuries: a broken nose and smaller wounds that look like cigarette burns.

An arm appears to have been broken and one of the higher vertebrae is pushed inwards. There is a cluster of small, neat circular wounds on both sides of his left knee. At some stage an-Ni'ami seems to have been efficiently knee-capped. It was not done with a gun - the exit wounds are identical in size to the entry wounds, which would not happen with a bullet. Instead it appears to have been done with something like a drill. "

Looks like it's time to invade again. Oh, wait, this is being done to suspected terrists...carry on.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - Bodies of 2 Navy SEALs found in Afghanistan - Jul 5, 2005 - Bodies of 2 Navy SEALs found in Afghanistan - Jul 5, 2005: "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The bodies of two missing Navy SEALs have been found in Afghanistan a week after a four-man team went missing, U.S. senior military officials said Tuesday."

BTW, for those still following this story....SEAL's go missing, 16 more soldiers shot down trying to get to them, 17 civilians killed in retributive strike...about sums up what's happened so far.

Monday, June 13, 2005

t r u t h o u t - William Rivers Pitt | Dean Was Right

t r u t h o u t - William Rivers Pitt | Dean Was Right: "Dean was right. Ninety nine percent of Republicans in the state legislatures in all 50 states, and in Congress in Washington DC, are white. Even in states and districts with large minority populations, the Republican representatives for those places are almost uniformly white Christians.

Of 3,643 Republicans serving in state legislatures across the country, only 44 of them are minorities, amounting to 1.2%. Texas, with a minority population of 47%, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature. There are exactly zero African Americans and exactly zero Hispanics serving in that body as Republicans. In Washington, 274 of the 535 elected Senators and Representatives are Republican. Exactly five are minorities.

Of course, there are ethnic and religious minorities within the rank and file of the GOP, but every
demographic analysis of the party�s makeup clearly shows the vast majority of Republicans fit exactly into the description offered by Mr. Dean. His point, by the way, was not that white Christians are bad people. His point was that, in this pluralist society made up of so much diversity, the Republican Party does not represent the true face of this country. "

This is in response to the look at the monkey natures of this last Sunday's talk shows. All of them talked about Dean, very few (none that I saw) took the time to run the figures.

Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made - New York Times

Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made - New York Times: "'U.S. military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination of Iraqi W.M.D. It is however, by no means certain, in the view of U.K. officials, that one would necessarily follow from the other. Even if regime change is a necessary condition for controlling Iraqi W.M.D., it is certainly not a sufficient one.'"

More info on the inept planning of the Neocon war machine. This memo was most likely leaked to 'fix' the problems caused by the last leak. Why not just release the whole kit and kaboodle for us and let us make some informed judgements about who's head should roll for this debacle, eh?

Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals

Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals: "'One of the great myths of our time is that you can't legislate morality,' the governor told the ministers, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press by his campaign.

'If you can't legislate morality, then you can neither lock criminals up nor let them go free. If you can't legislate morality, you can neither recognize gay marriage nor prohibit it. If you can't legislate morality, you can neither allow for prayer in school nor prevent it,' he said. 'It is a ridiculous notion to say you can't legislate morality. I say you can't NOT legislate morality.' "

Jeez, this is from the governor of Texas. And double negatives aside...the obvious question becomes.."and just who's morality are you planning on making the law of the land?" Which, of course, is where the who idea crumbles and those that don't believe in the governor's brand of morality end up in prison.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Good Morning Oslo!

Top News Article |
"OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian court has sentenced a woman to nine months in jail for raping a man, the first such conviction in the Scandinavian country that prides itself for its egalitarianism.

The 31-year-old man fell asleep on a sofa at a party in January last year and told the court in the western city of Bergen he woke to find the 23-year-old woman was having oral sex with him."
The horror!! Err, The whorer!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US 'presses Iraq on government'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US 'presses Iraq on government': "Washington is pressing Iraq's leaders to end weeks of political deadlock and form a new government as soon as possible, US officials say.

Both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice-President Dick Cheney have spoken to Kurdish and Shia leaders on the issue in recent days, they say"

Hurry up and make us look better! We need to pass the buck on this thing quick, so quit doddling.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Print: The Chronicle: 4/15/2005: Clever Canines

Print: The Chronicle: 4/15/2005: Clever Canines

A bit of current research and findings on the nature of animal intelligence and socialized understandings. I should do a bit more on this later, including some pictures that might make you question the idea about who came up first with the idea for the 'knife'.

Was it man, or was it dog?

Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children

I'm looking forward to seeing this one on the PSP. FF7 had one of the most fully realized fictional societies in video game history, I'm glad to see that world expanded upon.



I'm not sure why a next gen music discovery tool uses a .tv domain, but there ya go.

Find new tunes, the really, really, lazy way.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Weight Loss at QBXL

Weight Loss at QBXL

This is an extended version of the weight loss plan. Fairly less crap.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - Drug prices outstrip inflation - Drug prices outstrip inflation: "The increase is the biggest in the five years that AARP, with 35 million members, has sponsored the study. It's just slightly higher than the 7% price rise in 2003. The group, which has pushed for lower drug prices, is set to release its report today.

The findings come from an examination of prices charged by manufacturers on 195 brand-name prescription drugs widely used by Americans 50 and older. The study's authors said such increases are routinely passed on to consumers in retail prices.

Bill Novelli, the group's CEO, called the increases disappointing, particularly in the year after President Bush signed a sweeping overhaul of Medicare. The new law will provide seniors with a prescription-drug benefit next year. But it prohibits the government from negotiating drug prices on behalf of consumers."

And there ya go. That was the 'Medicare Reform Bill' that was built to protect Big Pharmi's profit line. Everyone else gets the screw.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

James Wolcott: Second Verse, Same as the First

James Wolcott: Second Verse, Same as the First: "And lo, I switched on the set today and by chance see the words 'Beware Hezbollah' on the screen beneath Wolf Blitzer's bearded mug. His guests were the authors of a new book called 'Lightning out of Lebanon,' about the threat posed by Hezbollah to the US mainland. The only hazy evidence of Hezbollah activity were threats against Anthony Lake which were never carried out but were 'taken seriously.' Well, hell, practically everything in this country is taken seriously as a precautionary measure. A ten-year-old can phone in a bomb scare and they'll evacuate the building. Means nothing.

Yet the authors made dark hints about Hezbollah cells in American cities, which presumably could be activated from Lebanon or elsewhere. The same talk we've been getting since 9/11 about the phantom Al Qaeda 'sleeper cells' awakening their Manchurian Candidate coded 'go' signals. "

The Power of Nightmares, Part IV.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

IRARK / monochrom

IRARK / monochrom: "1988: Retired US-Soldier John R. fights along with his former superior and side by side with islamic jihadis against a foreign occupying power in the central-asian desert.

2003: An Anglo-American coalition begins its military action in the gulf."


Yahoo! News - Man Convicted of Copying Oscar Films Dies

Yahoo! News - Man Convicted of Copying Oscar Films Dies: "LOS ANGELES - A man awaiting sentencing for illegally copying and distributing movies being screened for Oscar picks was found dead in his jail cell, authorities said.

Russell Sprague, 52, of Homewood, Ill., may have died of a heart attack, the U.S. Marshals Service said. His body was discovered Monday morning and an autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.

Sprague was scheduled to be sentenced March 21 after pleading guilty last year to one count of copyright infringement. He had faced up to three years in prison.

Sprague was accused of copying 134 "screener" movies sent to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (news - web sites) to solicit their votes for last year's Oscars (news - web sites), including "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" and "Seabiscuit." Films were made available for download over the Internet, authorities said. "

The first death of the copyright wars.

No More Kids in the Chair

Top News Article | "The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday abolished the death penalty for juveniles, a major victory for opponents of capital punishment in the last country in the world that gave official sanction to the execution of people who commit crimes as minors.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court declared unconstitutional the death penalty those under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes, a decision that could affect more than 70 death row inmates who face execution for murders done when they were 16 or 17 years old. "

Woohoo, pro-lifers rejoice! The U.S. is no longer one of the backward-ass countries that executes children.

At 9, He's Out Stumping for President's Social Security Plan

The New York Times > Washington > At 9, He's Out Stumping for President's Social Security Plan: "The battle over Social Security has been joined by an unusual lobbyist, a 9-year-old from Texas who has agreed to travel supporting President Bush's proposal.

The boy, Noah McCullough, made a splash with his encyclopedic command of presidential history, earning five appearances on the 'Tonight' show and some unusual experiences in the presidential campaign last year. He beat Howard Dean in a trivia contest at the Democratic National Convention and wrote for his local newspaper about his trip to see the inauguration.

'He's very patriotic and very Republican,' said Noah's mother, Donna McCullough, a former teacher and self-described Democrat. 'It's the way he was born.'"

Ahh, a budding young fascist. I dunno about this, I have to agree with these folks. When you rely on a 9-year old to change a generations old social policy, that change has definitely jumped the shark.

BTW, as to the 'fascist' remark...I mean, it's not like it's possible to go from ultra-conservative (Republican) to moderately-conservative (Democrat) when the first tenet of Modern Conservative Thinking (Neocons) is that anybody to the left of them are liberals/terrorists. There is a big jump to do even that much, and when you start out so young and so dumb, where can you go but down the road to fascism?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Canada refuses further role in missile defence

The Globe and Mail: Canada refuses further role in missile defence: "Although Prime Minister Paul Martin said Canada would "insist" on maintaining control of its airspace, U.S. ambassador Paul Cellucci warned that Washington would not be constrained.

"We will deploy. We will defend North America," he said.

"We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty - its seat at the table - to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada.'"

Dang peace-loving Canadians. Don't they know that military might == Freedom?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson Probably Planned Suicide

ABC News: Thompson Probably Planned Suicide: "The family is looking into whether Thompson's cremated remains can be blasted out of a cannon, a wish the gun-loving writer often expressed, Brinkley said.

'The optimal, best-case scenario is the ashes will be shot out of a cannon,' he said. "

And that, as they say, is that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill President Bush

The New York Times > National > Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill President Bush: "Mr. Ali, 23, described in recent news reports as a Houston-born American citizen and the valedictorian of his high school class in suburban Virginia, appeared in federal district court in Alexandria, Va., today. He did not enter a plea, but scores of his supporters laughed when the charges were read.

Mr. Ali's attorney, Ashraf Nubani, told Magistrate Liam O'Grady that his client was tortured while in Saudi custody, before he was returned to the United States, The A.P. said. 'He has the evidence on his back,' the lawyer said. 'He was whipped. He was handcuffed for days at a time.'"

Looks to be a curious case. I wonder if this one will be public scrutiny or is more witch hunt style stuff.

Monday, February 21, 2005

ABC News: Panelists Decry Bush Science Policies

ABC News: Panelists Decry Bush Science Policies: "WASHINGTON Feb 20, 2005 � The voice of science is being stifled in the Bush administration, with fewer scientists heard in policy discussions and money for research and advanced training being cut, according to panelists at a national science meeting.

Speakers at the national meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science expressed concern Sunday that some scientists in key federal agencies are being ignored or even pressured to change study conclusions that don't support policy positions. "

In other news, priests (the ones not banging kids) are celebrating the death of science.

Paris Hilton's sidekick hacked | The Register

Paris Hilton's sidekick hacked | The Register: "While Paris must by now be used to being overexposed online, many of the people in her little black book were less than pleased with the leak. According to the Drudge Report, one starlet said 'I gave her my number after we met in Miami, I did not know she f**king kept it on her cellphone!'

Reality TV star Victoria Gotti told New York Daily News that she had received over 100 phone calls in two hours. 'It's driving me insane,' she said."

Yea, well, Paris Hilton is driving us insane, so things kinda balance out. Karma's a bitch sometimes.

Friday, February 18, 2005

International news from swissinfo, the Swiss news platform

International news from swissinfo, the Swiss news platform: "The debate over whether or not there is a global warming signal is now over, at least for rational people,' he said.

The report was published one day after the United Nations Kyoto Protocol took effect, a 141-nation environmental
pact the United States government has spurned for several reasons, including stated doubts about whether global
warming is occurring and is caused by people.

Barnett urged U.S. officials to reconsider.

'Could a climate system simply do this on its own? The answer is clearly no,' Barnett said.

His team used U.S. government models of solar warming and volcanic warming, just to see if they could account for
the measurements they made. 'Not a chance,' he said.

And the effects will be felt far and wide. 'Anywhere that the major water source is fed by snow ... or glacial melt,' he
said. 'The debate is what are we going to do about it.'"

There ya go. Reason #2,134,852 Bush is a dangerous man.

Lawmaker presses White House on 'Jeff Gannon'

Lawmaker presses White House on 'Jeff Gannon': "Slaughter and other White House critics suggest, however, that the access given to Gannon to cover presidential news briefings is further evidence of the Bush administration's blurring the boundary between the news media and the government, akin to the payments the administration made to conservative columnists to promote Bush's policies and its production of video news releases that mimic the style of television news."

The Propagannon story continues to unfold.

New Robots Walk Like Humans

New Robots Walk Like Humans: "WASHINGTON D.C. - In what could be described as one small step for a robot, but a giant leap for robot-kind, a trio of humanoid machines were introduced Thursday, each with the ability to walk in a human-like manner."

One step closer...

Monday, February 07, 2005

ABC News: Bush Sends Congress $2.57 Trillion Budget

ABC News: Bush Sends Congress $2.57 Trillion Budget: "'It is a budget that sets priorities,' Bush said after a meeting with his Cabinet. 'It's a budget that reduces and eliminates redundancy. It's a budget that's a lean budget.' "

It's also a budget that doesn't mention Social Security transition costs or any of the costs for the war. Those come in special "hey, dad, I need some money!" budget requests.