Saturday, February 03, 2007

You have no privacy online. Enjoy it, don't worry about it.

Poll: Parents Prefer A Trekkie To A Date Met Online - News by InformationWeek:
"The poll found that 91% of Americans believe the Internet has changed privacy expectations, but it also reveals a broad gap between what 18- to 24-year-olds consider to be a breach of privacy and what older Americans see as an intrusion.

For example, among the 18- to 24-year-old-set, only 35.6% consider someone posting a picture of them in a swimsuit an invasion of privacy, compared with 65.6% of the older respondents.

...The disconnect between the MySpace generation and the older set is apparent in the younger set's willingness to embrace the Web as a social medium. But even as parents fret about the risks of Internet dating, today's youth are using it to extricate themselves from failed relationships. Some 45.4% of 18- to 24-year-olds say they or someone they know had broken up with someone using e-mail or a text message, compared with 7.6% among other age groups.

...Of course evident disinterest in personal privacy exhibited by 18- to 24-year-olds may be a product the survey questions as much as anything else. Those unconcerned by the prospect of someone posting a picture of them in a swimsuit might be more unnerved if asked, "Would you consider it an invasion of privacy if a convicted sex offender posted a picture of you in a swimsuit that linked to a Google Map of your home address?""

Well, how about if you postulated the worst-case, fear-mongering, unrealistic, luddite, put-the-genie-back-in-the-bottle, bullshit question?


Man shot by undercover police while trying to defend his property from drug dealers.

More "Drug War" insanity and stupidity.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > More on Isaac Singletary:
"Police are now conceding that Singletary was completely innocent. The Jacksonville sheriff describes him in this article as an 'honest citizen trying to do good.'

Which means that two undercover officers trespassed onto Singletary's property. They then invited criminals onto his property to engage in criminal activity with them. Mr. Singletary, recognizing the trespassers as drug dealers, then properly demanded they leave. He brought a gun along to defend himself, not an unreasonable action, given the circumstances. For this, he was shot to death.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist visited Jacksonville yesterday , and when asked about Singletary's death, referred to the 'challenges' of keeping a community safe.

No, governor. Singletary's death isn't a 'challenge.' It's the inevitable, predictable result of a stupid policy whereby politicians attempt to control people's lives. With guns.

...The police in Jacksonville were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing (save perhaps for the trespassing). They were arranging undercover buys, one of really only two ways to police consensual crimes like drug distribution (the other being the use of informants). They were confronted by a man with a weapon. They fired to defend themselves.

Barring further information that these officers fired too quickly or didn't attempt to announce themselves, this wasn't a case of police misconduct or excessive use of force. It was the direct result of government attempting to enforce a policy it has no business enforcing, and that it can't capably enforce without effecting tragedies like this one.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tsuyazaki Excursion

Sandy and I were late to the shrine for setsubun, so we instead turned the morning into an "around old Tsuyazaki" excursion.

First off, and with no historical significance whatsoever, how kawaii is Japan that they decorate the doors of the local fire station? [See "Cuteness in Japanese Culture"]

Then we headed over to one of the oldest houses in "old" Tsuyazaki, which has been around for over a hundred years or so...

The architecture inside was very cool.

The wood had been treated with salt water to prevent infestation by insects.

There's something very appealing about the wood retaining it's natural shape and not being cut, shaped and sanded into all right corners and 90 degree angles.

An older fellow, who I think worked there, and who explained a bunch of things to us about the house and things in it [including the salt water/insect thing above] also showed us this old school Japanese raincoat, which was woven from tree bark.

Yes, tree bark.

It once again confirmed the opinion, first developed at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, that if I had to show the amount of creativity and resourcefulness they had in days of old, I'd have died very early.

Fascinating to see a couple photos they had up of a the Tsuyazaki Yamakasa festival from the Taisho Era, year 12 [1924]. The neighborhood doesn't really look all that different today.

Lastly, check out these very cool June 1930 Price List of Tobaccos for Japan that they had.

"Imperial Japanese Government Monopoly" indeed.

On this last pic, if you click it to full size, you can make out the price for RJ Reynolds tobacco... My home state's gift to lung cancer around the world.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force will kill us all!

The best summary of the Boston "terror" situation is here, via Wikipedia, but basically, guerrilla marketing featuring lite brites turns into a "bomb" scare, insane people overreact [because remember, it's important we all be very, very afraid], and then scapegoating results. Fave op-ed on the stiuation is this -

Crooks and Liars » And After This, They’re Going to Throw The Book at Harvey Birdman:
"How would you feel if you lived in Boston (as I did for a year), and the entire city was thrown into a panic because of some 'devices' left around by some guys promoting a cartoon?

I'd feel like my security was being safeguarded by morons. These were Lite Brites - children's toys that light up. The Mayor and the rest of the city government threw the city into a panic, when they could've solved the "crisis" by talking to a ten-year-old.

Good God. Wait until somebody leaves a Speak and Spell lying around. They'll probably send in a hostage team to negotiate with it.

Now, I know it's a tough job protecting people, and that security comes first. So we could be generous, and say that they just overreacted. (That's being very generous.)

Then, how would you feel if, after their fiasco, the selfsame Keystone Kop types decided to thow the book at the guys behind the promotional campaign - even though the judge commented in the first hearing that it did not appear the defendants met the test for being prosecuted? (That is, they had to have intended to cause a panic - meaning that they would have had to know in advance that Boston's police and civilian leadership would lose it over these toys, while those in 12 other cities knew what they were and ignored them.)

You'd probably sympathize with the twentysomething defendants, who refused to answer questions from reporters about anything other than 70's hairstyles. When reporters repeated the suggestion that they weren't taking the charges seriously, one replied: "Sorry. That's not a hair question."

The Mayor and the District Attorney aren't just making fools of themselves. They're also wasting the people's money on this fatuous indictment, which isn't going to stick, and they're tying up a court system that probably has a backlog of real cases to handle."

You'd think this would be kinda important.

Wouldn't you?

Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice - Opinion
...Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a cheap and easy to produce drug that kills almost all cancers. The drug is dichloroacetate, and since it is already used to treat metabolic disorders, we know it should be no problem to use it for other purposes.

...The drug also has no patent, which means it could be produced for bargain basement prices in comparison to what drug companies research and develop.

Scientists tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body where it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but left healthy cells alone. Rats plump with tumors shrank when they were fed water supplemented with DCA.

Fun with wrapping materials.

This is what I do.

Newfound love and respect for my sis-in-law Cindi...

...for sending me this pic, over at my Myspace page [which really just points the way back to here, because the only reason that I signed up was so I could read other people's stuff that was set to "private"].

Remember kids, Rob always enjoys the blasphemy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hope for an early Spring kicked in the nuts... cries like a little baby.

My hope for an early spring, anyways.

Woke up this AM with flurries of snow and accumulation, putting to shame the brief non-sticking nothing-snow we had here around December. Where's global warming when you need it?

Thankfully, the snow had actually all been burned off by the afternoon, even if it did remain bitterly cold. No more of this "last gasp of winter" shit, okay? Bring on the oppressive heat of a Japanese summer. Better than my feet never actually being warm. [Unless placed directly under the kotatsu - greatest of Japanese inventions, next to sake.]

The monthly reading list for Jan 07

Let this lapse the past couple months... Couldn't work up the motivation to review everything I read between the end of October and beginning of January, and it was a lot, given the vacation days. So I just didn't follow through.

Ah well, new year, new start and all that kinda thing. So here's the books I read [or re-read] in January. Not very descriptive, like the other posts... but if it sounds interesting, well, that's why hyperlinks and the internet were invented, ne`?

Thrive: A Guide to Optimal Health & Performance Through Plant-Based Whole Foods by Brendan Brazier

A Gathering of Selves: The Spiritual Journey of the Legendary Writer of Superman and Batman by Alvin Schwartz

The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Brother Yun with Paul Hattaway

The Filth by Grant Morrison

Buchou Shima Kosaku, V 1-5 [Bilingual Editions] - The sequel to the not-read-by-me Kachou Shima Kosaku.

Animal Man (Book 1), Origin of the Species (Animal Man, Book 2), and Deus Ex Machina (Animal Man, Book 3) by Grant Morrison

The Way Of The Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Woman, Work, and Sexual Desire
by David Deida

Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing Vol. 1 by Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How do these assholes get elected?

I mean, really?

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Better Check Him for a Wire:
"Delmar Burridge, the New Hampshire legislator who reported a constituent to the police for advocating marijuana decriminalization, has seen the light—if not on drug policy, then at least on freedom of speech and the right to petition the government. Earlier this month, responding to an e-mail message from drug policy reformer Toby Iselin, Burridge wrote: 'I am copying two members of the Keene Police Department in case you want to change your ways and act legal and save your friends. You are very passionate in your beliefs and would make a great snitch.' Now, after being roundly condemned online for this thinly veiled threat, Burridge says he'd like to meet with Iselin. 'This is a learning process for me,' he told The Keene Sentinel. 'I'm certainly learning the power of blogs. ... It's fascinating.'"

"It's fascinating" means, of course "Once my total douchebaggery became common knowledge via the power of the tubes on the internets, my office was overwhelmed... so I figured I should say something."


Yes. They do.

Email Forwards Prove How Gullible People Are by Bill Barnwell:
"Distorting the facts (or making up lies) is what 90% of email forwards do. For those who enjoy receiving and passing along email forwards, it’s probably not totally unfair to say that this hobby is making them less intelligent. People who thrive on email forwards are typically not very big on critical thinking. Discernment is not their gift. Any sensational sounding forward they receive they will believe – as long as the hero in the message is someone they approve of and the villain someone they disdain. If those roles are reversed they are more prone to discount the "facts" of the said forward."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"So, I worship the sun." - George Carlin

"Overnight I became a sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can't see the sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I'm big on that. If I can see something, I don't know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we're not setting people on fire simply because they don't agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There's no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don't have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I'm unworthy. Doesn't tell me I'm a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn't said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun."
- George Carlin.

Yep, the sun is always there... even when you get smacked by hail riding on your bike on the way home from work and the sky can't make up its mind whether it wants to thunderstorm or let the sun almost break through the clouds. But it looks so cool you want to take a pic...

Sandy's daytrip with Bachan.

To visit Jichan's grave and to the laying Buddha at Sasaguri.

Grandma with the Seven Lucky Gods.

Those are some big feet. The Buddha. Not Sandy.

Sandy has quite the photog's eye.

Who knew Buddha had cornrows? [Well, what would you call them? Just look at them.]

Couple more un-blogged [it's a word] pics at this link -

Mr. Deity Episode 2: Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor

Mr. Deity is comedy gold.

How would God go about asking Jesus for that favor?

Things to bear in mind...

James Ray International | Create wealth in all areas of your life: Leap forward in 2007...:
"# If you passionately feel that something is right to do, do it passionately. If you are ambivalent or uncertain, wait. Take time each day to be alone and journey inside (yin).

# Turn off 'the plug-in drug' (a.k.a. the TV). This income and energy reducer transmits a constant stream of electrons right into your brain that can put you in a trance and dull your mind if you're not mindful of what you're watching.

# Stop listening to and reading the news. The barrage of mayhem and sensationalism ultimately dulls the senses, limits creativity and suggests to us that we are totally out of control and unable to do anything about the world in which we live. It's OK to be informed of what's happening in the world but not inundated.

# Take time to 'be.' We're called human beings not human doings. There's a good reason for this. Decide that this year that you're taking time for growth. Put it on your calendar. Inspiration comes from those moments of silence and contemplation, and you'll never run at highest octane with an empty tank."

Japanese Generational Photos.

Great article, and very cool pictures. More at the link...

PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about "Design and Making Things" » Archive » Bruce Osborn: Oyako - Portraying Japanese Generations:
"There surely are extensive sociological studies of the Japanese society: figures, numbers, tiny print on countless pages and lots of dry charts, too. But what about a more artistic, visual approach? In 1982 American photographer Bruce Osborn began what has become his lifelong work: the Oyako series. For the last 25 years he took pictures of one parent with one child in a white studio setting. Bruce even introduced its own version of the Japanese “Oyako No Hi” (parent and child) day: he organizes a huge photo session every year.

1984: Parents Mitsuaki Ohwada/tattooist and Akie Ohwada/housewife. The child Keiko Ohwada is an elementary school student. Bruce: “Her parents both have tattoos and their daughter got a hugh shock when she entered a sentō, a public bath, for the first time. Until that event it was in her mind that all the adults must have tattoos. Everybody around the house had some and it was a very natural thing for her.”"