Saturday, May 12, 2007

Now THAT'S funny. » Blog Archive » Morgan Murphy:
"Morgan Murphy

“Why I don’t want children:

I think it’s selfish to get a pet that will outlive you.”"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I totally owned this utility belt.

Though I could never figure out why Batman had a gun. And was disappointed the grappling hook didn't allow me to scale buildings.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oh thank god, it's not just me.

Though I'm feeling much better now.

I was 28 when I heard the Countdown start: 52 Wrapup 2 - on continuity and multiverses:
"For some reason love of superhero comics and other forms of fantastic fiction seems to go hand-in-hand with wanting to put the stories into some form of order. This seems to be an almost primal drive - my nine year old niece visited the other day, and I let her rifle through a box full of comics I no longer wanted and take any that took her fancy. At first I thought she was getting them at random, but she spread them on the floor and started sorting them by title, asking questions like 'Does Green Lantern Corps go with Green Lantern?' and 'Should I put Batman Detective Comics with the ones that just say Batman?'"

How the hell does this work exactly?

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > DWI Follies:
"A Lancaster, Ohio man was arrested for driving while intoxicated despite repeatedly blowing 0.0 on a breath test. The double standard here is that blowing a .08 or higher is generally an automatic conviction. But blowing 0.0 can still trigger an arrest.

The police officer says the man failed a roadside sobriety test. That doesn't mean much of anything. The roadside sobriety test is a farce, with no scientific research whatsoever to attest to its effectiveness. A couple of years ago, the Washington Post published a terrific article on the test, including its ridiculous history, the lack of peer-reviewed scientific data to back it up, and how the federal government and police departments across the country have for 30 years been using it to arrest drivers, anyway.

Also, in New Hampshire, a man was arrested and charged with a wiretapping felony for running an audio recording device during a DWI stop. I really can't see a reason why it should ever be illegal to record, photograph, or videotape a police officer while he's on duty."

News pull-quote of the Day.

PNG police in shoot-out with human sacrifice cult: report. 09/05/2007. ABC News Online:
"'Gunfire was exchanged and one of the policemen was injured in the leg with an arrow. Another policeman fell over a cliff.'"

Via Warren Ellis.

The universe does not operate according to order, chaos or love...

Apparently, it's irony. Or denial. Hard to say which.

Crooks and Liars » Cheney says Iraq going well; Iraq says otherwise:
"Vice President Cheney made an unexpected visit to Baghdad today to tell us about all the people he spoke to who say things are going well in Iraq. After reporters overhead him tell his staff to 'kick the press out,' an explosion ripped through the Green Zone, rattling windows in the building where Cheney spoke from."

Why hate crime laws never quite made sense to me.

Reason Magazine - Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places:
"But it's not a stretch to say that hate crime laws, by their very nature, punish people for their opinions. A mugger who robs a Jew because he's well-dressed is punished less severely than a mugger who robs a Jew based on the belief that Jews get their money only by cheating Christians. A thug who beats an old lady in a wheelchair just for fun is punished less severely than a thug who does so because he believes disabled people are leeches.

The rationale for such unequal treatment is that crimes motivated by bigotry do more damage than otherwise identical crimes with different motivations because of the fear they foster. Yet random attacks arguably generate more fear, and hate crimes cause anxiety in the targeted group only when they're publicized as such. In any case, judges can take a crime's impact into account at sentencing."

Yes, it can. And does.

Robert Anton Wilson's work precedes the "scientific" truth by decades...

You see, view and interpret in the way that your culture has brainwashed you to see, view and interpret. Doesn't make it the "truth."

Can culture dictate the way we see? - being-human - 04 May 2007 - New Scientist:
"Culture can shape your view of the world, the saying goes. And it might be more than just a saying: a new study suggests that culture may shape the way our brains process visual information.

Researchers found that the brains of older East Asian people respond less strongly to changes in the foreground of images than those of their Western counterparts. They suggest this difference is due to an increased emphasis on the background, or context, of images in some Asian cultures."

Dave Lindorff: The Great Oil Robbery

Dave Lindorff: The Great Oil Robbery:
"In case you're wondering why crude oil prices are down from last year, hanging around at about $60 a barrel, while gasoline prices have soared past $3.10/gallon nationwide, just check out the latest profit reports from the oil companies. They are at record levels.

The answer for this seeming contradiction is simple: Americans are being robbed blind by the oil industry.

...As Tim Hamilton, a researcher and petroleum industry consultant with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, observes, the oil companies all store their crude oil and refined gasoline in the same tanks, and all know exactly how much inventory each other company has, so they don't have to meet and collude on pricing in order to reap the huge rewards of deliberate supply constraints.

...As an indication of how much control the oil industry has over retail gasoline prices, Hamilton points to a study he did, looking at the price of gas approaching Election Day. His results are truly disturbing.

The oil industry has been a solid backer of Republicans for many years, giving 80-90 percent of its campaign contributions to GOP candidates-particularly during the two Bush terms. What Hamilton discovered is that this support hasn't just been limited to campaign contributions. In fact, the oil industry appears to have clearly tried to minimize voter anger at Republicans late during the election cycle by pushing prices at the pump down just ahead of the voting. In the period 2000-2006, Hamilton found that each non-federal election year-2001, 2003 and 2005, gasoline prices didn't decline during the month of October, but each of the election years-2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006-they fell, with the most dramatic drop coming in October 2006-a period when crude oil prices were rising sharply. Each time, gasoline prices rose again quickly right after the election was over.

"This is a set of coincidences you'd be hard-pressed to explain by anything but planning," says Hamilton. (And incidentally, it would be interesting, when Congress gets those Karl Rove emails from the Republican Party and the White House mainframe computer, to see if there are any to the American Petroleum Institute.)"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cops circumvent the 4th Amendment, everything works out great!

Yeah, not really. "Code inspectors." How cute. You know, in that fascist way. "Code Inspectors" Target Wrong House, Cop Shoots Dog, Hits Mom, Daughter: Comments:
"Police are increasingly going to homes with agents from regulatory agents under the guise of 'code inspections.' Once inside, they then search for criminal misconduct. The process negates the need for a search warrant because it's allegedly a regulatory inspection, not a police search.

...Looks like that was the case last week in Stockton, California. A "code enforcement" team paid a visit to a family after a neighbor complained of drug use. The police claim they heard someone run to the back of the house. So an officer went around to the back door. That's when the family dog ran out, toward the officer. He fired at the dog, hitting in the paw, and fragments of the bullet then also struck a woman and her daughter.

Turns out, the code enforcement team had the wrong address.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"Is The Force Real?"

Find out with Psi Wars, an animated movie starring Oh Be One Kenobi, a scientific Jedi who shares intriguing new research on psychic abilities with aspiring Paduwans. Is it true that events such as 9-11 or the O. J. Simpson trial result in detectable changes in global consciousness? Can we communicate at a distance? Are our minds entangled? Join Lukie Psiwalker and a young Yoda on a Jedi's path towards a more enlightened paradigm that can triumph over the Dark Side of fixed ways and beliefs.

Brought to you by the Institute of Noetic Sciences

Conservative "societal norms" confuse me.

Denial, denial, denial.

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > All Your Breasts Are Belong to Us (Unless We Tell You Otherwise):
"Franke-Ruta is right! We don't want "playful exhibitionism" to morph into future-killing "scarlet letters." So let's channel a little Nathaniel Hawthorne circa 1850: Woman engages in sexual act, is shunned by society, dies alone. In Franke-Ruta's moral universe, the ideal response to this situation is: Prevent the sexual act, or at least prevent anyone from knowing what transpired. The problem isn't norms that sentence a sexual woman to societal exile; it's the ease with which naïve, silly adult women find themselves showing some nip.

It'd have been nice for Hester Prynne if norms had evolved to tolerate, rather than stigmatize, the sexuality of women. We're obviously headed that way. In an important sense, the reputational cost of stripping down on camera has never been lower. (Thanks, Paris!) By the time the current crop of flash-ready 18-year-olds graduate college, the cost will be lower still.

To retard this (ultimately beneficial) evolution, you've got to perpetuate the idea that the display of adult mammaries is an earth-shattering, life-altering, and above all shameful event.
One way to do that is to jack up the age of consent and the cost of participation, turning adult women into victims and amateur filmmakers into sex criminals. I see how that's an ideal outcome for Rick Santorum-ites, the Independent Women's Forum, and Concerned Women for America; young women in general, not so much."

No, it's not the logical conclusion. And you're an idiot.

Schneier on Security: Stink Bombs As Terrorist Tools:
"'It would have been terrifying. You're on a train, you hear a loud bang, the logical conclusion that people drew was (that it was) probably a terrorist attack,' Mr Owens told reporters."

Evolution in Japan is Awesome.

I don't buy the "Koda Kumi cause" personally... Japanese girls, even when I lived here 7 years ago, showed a phenomenal amount of skin. Oddly enough, more during winter than summer, because during summer they all end up wearing long sleeves and pants to hide from the sun, and its feared darkening rays.

Developing Nation: Japanese Clothiers Update Their Lines -
"...Today the average Japanese woman's hips, at 35 inches, are around an inch wider than those of women a generation older. Women in their 20s wear a bra at least two sizes larger than that of their mothers, according to Wacoal. Waist size, meanwhile, has gotten slightly smaller, accentuating many young women's curves.

The average 20-year-old is also nearly three inches taller than she was in 1950, according to government statistics, and the average foot has grown by nearly a quarter of an inch.

The physical changes are largely the result of an increasingly Westernized diet, say nutritionists. Meals that used to consist of mostly fish, vegetables and tofu now lean heavily toward an American-style menu of red meat, dairy and indulgences such as Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Cold Stone Creamery ice cream.

All this extra protein and calcium has led to longer, stronger and fuller bodies. Shinichi Tashiro, an endocrinology professor at Showa Pharmaceutical University, says the intake of extra fat tends to go to either breasts or hips in adolescent girls.

Marketers say they first started noticing more women with hourglass figures a few years ago.

...Other young women are buying special items to flaunt their new physique. "It's just more fun to show some skin," says Ayami Arii, a 19-year-old vocational-school student, who recently sported a tiny denim miniskirt and an iridescent pushup bra that peeks out from below her low-cut blouse. Her bra, a big seller at boutiques in Tokyo's Shibuya 109 department store, is called a "Showy Bra." Similar to a string bikini top, the $60 bras, made to be peeking out of a low-cut blouse, started appearing last year and come in a variety of colors, from red patent leather to leopard print and orange sequins.

The cleavage craze took off in 2003, when a young pop star named Kumi Koda appeared in ads around Tokyo wearing a barely-there metallic bra and not much else. In one image, she wore coconut shells over her chest. Then, two years later, she performed at the televised Japan Record Awards wearing thin tape-like gold satin straps over her breasts that revealed nearly everything when she danced. The 24-year-old star has become the champion of a new "If you've got it, flaunt it" attitude among young Japanese women.

...Fashion has long been complicated terrain for women in Japan, a conformist society where showing some skin is a way to rebel against traditional roles. Fashion historian Akiko Fukai likens the new look to post-World War II Japanese women shedding their restrictive kimonos, which are designed to flatten the chest, in favor of Western garb.

Saki Toraiwa, a 21-year-old cashier at a bakery, says she likes the look of a tanned body and curves like Jennifer Lopez. When she's not wearing her work uniform, she likes to wear skin-tight T-shirts, jeans and high heels.

But she says she has to be careful not to dress in clothes that look too sexy when she's with her boyfriend, who prefers her in more-conservative fashions like flowing sundresses and girly skirts. Ms. Toraiwa wants to get married soon and doesn't want him to see her as a sex object.

"If I'm feeling confident, I'll show it off," says Ms. Toraiwa, "but lately a lot of it just depends on what my boyfriend likes."

In other Japan news, remember ladies, snooping leads to nothing but trouble [especially if you marry a psycho.]

Japanese man strangles wife who snooped on mobile -, Philippine News for Filipinos:
"A Japanese man strangled his newlywed wife after she snooped on his mobile phone and discovered a pornographic image, police and news reports said Monday."

"Everything is Miscellaneous - how the Web destroys categories, disciplines and hierarchies."

Sounds like a great book. The internet continues to be the great leveler. Meaning and importance is "infused", not in the thing itself.

Boing Boing: Everything is Miscellaneous - how the Web destroys categories, disciplines and hierarchies:
"...historically, we've divided the world into categories, topics, and hierarchies because physical objects need to be in one place or another, they can't be in all the places they might belong. Computers and the Internet turn this on its head: because a computer can 'put things' in as many categories as they need to be in, because individuals can classify knowledge, tasks, and objects idiosyncratically, the hierarchy is revealed for what it always was, a convenient expedient masquerading as the True Shape of the Universe.

It's a powerful idea: from org charts to science, from music to retail theory, from government to education, every field of human endeavor is tinged with hierarchy, and every hierarchy is under assault from the Internet. One impact of this change is that it reveals the biases lurking underneath the editorial carvery of our systems. From the Dewey Decimal system's laughable clunkers (mentalist bunkum gets its own category, but Islam has to share a decimal with a couple competing "Eastern" faiths) to the Britannica's paring away at "old" biographies to make way for the new, Weinberger makes a compelling case for a new kind of knowledge that more faithfully represents the messy, glorious hairball of the real world.

This celebration of hairiness is just the tonic for the fights being waged today over whether bloggers are real journalists, whether Wikipedia is a real encyclopedia, even whether chaotic guerrilla armies are real armies or mere "enemy combatants." Weinberger shows that Internet messiness has a special quality that distinguishes it from meatspace mess. On the Internet, messiness can be used to make sense of the world: Flickr tags can be grouped (people lump "rome" and "italy" together, so they must be related) with other characteristics ("lots of people call this picture their favorite") and combined with search terms ("more people search for "italy" than "itayl," so the latter is probably a typo) and the most interesting pictures of Rome, Italy can be automatically surfaced, thanks to all the messy, uncoordinated, unchecked, unintentional meaning that the Internet's users infuse its pages with."

E. Howard Hunt, Ex-CIA officer and Watergate burglar, from his deathbed, fingers CIA and LBJ in the JFK Assassination.

You'd think this would be news, but nobody seems to be covering it.

Obviously, that's just a coincidence.

Son Of JFK Conspirator Drops New Bombshell Revelations:
"As the explosive revelation of E. Howard Hunt's deathbed confession, in which the former CIA agent and Watergate conspirator admits that he was part of a CIA conspiracy to assassinate JFK, continues to rage across the Internet, the establishment media remains almost mute on what is undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of the decade.

Saint John Hunt, E. Howard Hunt's oldest son, joined Alex Jones yesterday to drop new bombshells about his father's story.

Hunt was first made aware of what his father knew about the events of November 22nd 1963 when he came into receipt of hand-written memos that outlined the birth of the plot to kill JFK in Miami where it was discussed that a coup needed to take place in order to topple Kennedy and save the CIA from being splintered into a thousand pieces, as JFK had promised.

Saint John then opened his mailbox one January morning in 2004 to discover an unlabeled cassette tape on which his father details the identity of the individuals that were involved in the actual assassination of JFK.

E. Howard Hunt names numerous individuals with both direct and indirect CIA connections as having played a role in the assassination of Kennedy, while describing himself as a "bench warmer" in the plot. Saint John Hunt agreed that the use of this term indicates that Hunt was willing to play a larger role in the murder conspiracy had he been required, but was primarily used in an oversight role.

Hunt alleges on the tape that then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the planning of the assassination and in the cover-up, stating that LBJ, "Had an almost maniacal urge to become president, he regarded JFK as an obstacle to achieving that."

The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt w/ transcription

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mrs Saundra, if you're nasty.

[Shout out to mid 80's Janet Jackson R&B.]

This is actually Sandy's very own parking spot over by the JR station, utilized in her daily commute. She scored a good deal because the ojiisan who owns it lived in the US for a bit and was pleased as punch to have a gaijin renting it out.

Yumi's last High School concert.

Cousin Yumi's last High School Brass Band concert. Time marches on, and nothing but study, study, study for the poor lass from now on.

Blow, bassoon, blow.

Except for the weird ghost effect, most everybody who came, 'cept for the gaijin contingent.

Picture of the night, which sadly, you can't really make out.

Allow me to educate you. See, the young lady in the middle is Sailor Moon. And she has a machine gun. And she has just finished blowing away all those kids around her.


Think of how that might play in the US.

The farewell slideshow for the the 3rd graders, and cousin Yumi for all to see. Too cute.

The stagehands kinda blew it with the spotlight for Yumi's solo, so via the magic of Picasa I played with it a bit... not as good as an actual spotlight, but hey, I do what I can.