Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

How Many Dead Americans Is Sadaam Worth

Oh. The wonders of YouTube … and a little time,

Retorical question from Dick Cheney about the deaths in the Gulf War.

But for the 146 Americans killed in action and their families it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether we went on to Baghdad and took addtional casualties in an effort to get Sadaam Hussain, was how many additional dead Americans is Sadaam worth? And our judgement was not very many and I think we got it right.
– Dick Cheney

Did I mention that was in 1994?

The best part. The video is from the American Enterprise Instititue.

(Hat Tip Unfogged via Kieran Healy/Crooked Timber)

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Don’t Run with that Pencil!

Have you ever heard or shouted that warning?

A German woman didn’t heed that advice as a child and as a result spent the next 55 years with about 8cm of pencil lodged in her brain.

According to Spiegel Online,

A woman who lived with an 8-centimeter (3.1-inch) pencil lodged in her brain for 55 years has had most of it removed in a complex operation. She is now looking forward to a life without headaches and nosebleeds and hopes to also regain her sense of smell.

“When I was four years old I fell down in Dessau with a pencil in my hand. The pencil bored its way through my skin — and disappeared in my head,” Margret Wegner, 59, told the mass circulation newspaper Bild. “It was incredibly painful.”

The pencil missed her optic nerve and a major artery by just millimeters. A doctor treated the wound, but no one dared to operate on her brain. She decided to have the life-threatening operation after 55 years, and it was successfully carried out by a surgeon in a Berlin hospital last week.

Most of the pencil — six centimeters of it — was removed but the 2-centimeter-long tip has grown in so tightly that it will remain lodged in her brain.

All I can say? Congragulations. And Blech – brain pencils.

Almost as bad as “Mr. Phineas Gage’s Famous Injury

Mr. Gage was employed as a railroad worker in Vermont and fell victim to a freak accident that involved a long metal rod called a tamping iron. This rod was used to pack sand over an explosive charge, which was used to excavate rock for the building of railroad lines. In this instance the charge exploded unexpectedly and propelled the 3-foot-long rod through Mr. Gage’s head. The 13-pound rod entered the left cheek and exited the midline of the skull anterior to the bregma, resulting in severe injury to his left and, in all probability,2 his right prefrontal cortex. The Gage case, one of the most famous and influential in neuropsychiatry, played a crucial role in the discovery of behavioral syndromes resulting from frontal lobe dysfunction. Readers interested in detailed accounts of the case and its historical context can find excellent reviews by MacMillan3 and Barker.4

By the way, “behavioral syndromes resulting from frontal lobe dysfunction” is just a nice way of saying lobotomy among loved ones and doctors.

Remember that next time you are running down the hallway with a pencil in your hand… or playing around with tamping irons. (Anvils on the other hand. Have a ball.)

Hello Kitty – um – Bobby

According to the International Herald Tribune, Thailand’s police will be getting a less than honorable addition to their uniforms, at least if they break the rules,

Thai police officers who break police rules will be forced to wear hot pink armbands featuring “Hello Kitty,” the Japanese icon of cute, as a mark of shame, a senior officer said Monday.

Police officers caught littering, parking in a prohibited area, or arriving late — among other misdemeanors — will also be forced to stay in the division office with the deputy chief all day, said Police Col. Pongpat Chayaphan. The striking armband features Sanrio’s Hello Kitty sitting atop two hearts.

“Simple warnings no longer work. This new twist is expected to make them feel guilt and shame and prevent them from repeating the offense, no matter how minor,” said Pongpat, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok.

Hello Kitty. A mark of shame? sigh

Keeping Score on Gonzales

For those who have lost their scorecard on the General Giggles case, Laura Rozen, journalism Goddess and War and Piece blogger, has a quick run-down of exactly just what all those Congresspersons, Senators and Department of Justice weasels have been getting on about.

The administration is and has been engaging in a shell game in trying to wriggle out of accountability and Congressional oversight and now accusations of perjury on its warrantless domestic spying programs. Shortly after the activity was first revealed by the NY Times’ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau in late 2005, Alberto Gonzales immediately dubbed the domestic spying program “the Terrorist Surveillance Program.” As in, of course, what American could argue with surveilling the communications of the terrorists, wherever they may be? But when in deciding whether to reauthorize the Patriot Act, Congress asked him whether there had been any internal administration dispute over the activities, Gonzales said no, none. Congress was not asking specifically about the Terrorist Surveillance Program – that was Gonzales’ shell game to call it that and say in hindsight that that was his understanding of the narrow scope of their question. Congress was asking whether anyone in the administration had concerns about the White House bypassing the FISA court in authorizing warrantless domestic spying and indeed, as it turned out, there had been such grave concerns that a dozen of the top Justice Department and FBI officials had been prepared to resign over it. But Gonzales answered there had not been any concerns at all, everyone was so convinced of its legality.

She goes on to explain in clear terms just why Gonzales has either been listening to the little bats in his belfry or just outright lying. Her complete rundown is well worth the read, I don’t think anyone has put it better.

She also compares whole situation to the classic sketch by Abbot and Costello.

So here’s a short dramatization of Congress questioning Mr. Giggles. (Hint: Congress is played by Lou Costello, Bud Abbott plays the completely helpful and truthful Mr Gonzales.)

Why Do The Insurgents Need Iran?

OK. The Iran rhetoric as cooled off for a couple of days but like a case of herpes, I’m sure it will return.

The question is, why is the US government so sure that the Iraqi insurgents even need Iran to support them? The US is doing fine all by itself.

From a new GAO report,

Although the former MNSTC-I commander reported that about 185,000 AK-47 rifles, 170,000 pistols, 215,000 items of body armor, and 140,000 helmets were issued to Iraqi security forces as of September 2005,18 the MNSTC-I property books contain records for only about 75,000 AK-47 rifles, 90,000 pistols, 80,000 items of body armor, and 25,000 helmets.19 Thus, DOD [Department of Defense] and MNF-I [Multi-National Forces – Iraq] cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor, and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005. [my emphasis]

And then there were all those billions in cash that went – um – missing.

But hey! What’s 110,000 AK-47 rifles, 80,000 pistols, etc. among friends!? Really.

As David Oliver, the former Director of Management and Budget of the CPA put it. “Billions of dollars of their money disappeared, yes I understand, I’m saying what difference does it make?”

I mean, as the French say. C’est la vie guerre.

(Hat Tip: Noah Schachtmann/Danger Room)

My General Giggle Notes

I was going to write a different post here, but I thought I’d just share my notes on Tuesday’s Mr. Giggle visit in the Senate. I’ll post my take tomorrow.

Sen. Leahy: Did you mislead us about the violations of the Patriot Act?
Gonzales: Tee Hee. Oops
Sen. Leahy: What’s with the 17 remaining open US Attorneys positions
Gonzales: We’re working on it.
Sen. Leahy: What’s the DOJ’s stand on the Contempt Question
Gonzales: I say nothing!

Sen. Specter: What about the Ashcroft hospital visit
– Gonzales: Just a chat among friends, after emergency meeting with the Gang of Eight
Sen. Specter: Were you there to get approval for NSA wiretapping?
– Gonzales: We never asked.
Sen. Specter: What about executive privilege
– Gonzales: Sorry, that’s under privilege
Sen. Specter: Death Penalty?
– Gonzales: Did I ever hear anything about the death penalty. Can’t recall

Sen. Kohl:
How do we get Guantanamo closed?
– Gonzales: Love to, Let’s just blow up America now.
Sen. Kohl: Filling US Attorney posts?
– Gonzales: What’s with the US Attorney questions?
Sen. Kohl: Why doesn’t DOJ enforce price fixing laws against OPEC?
– Gonzales: We can’t do that. Rich corporations and foreign countries might get grumpy

Sen. Hatch: Bla bla bla. I won’t go into it. His lips were brown when he finished..

Sen. Feinstein: Who wrote the list of people to be fired?
– Gonzales: What list!? You know more than I do! I just signed it.
Sen. Feinstein: How many people have you fired?
– Gonzales: No idea, people come and go. It’s so confusing!
Sen. Feinstein: You want change, why has the new DOJ Voting Rights manual been raped?
– Gonzales: (Rats, she read the book) Um. We’ll look into it.

Sen. Kyl: Guantanamo, good for the US?
– Gonzo: It’s good for me
Sen. Kyl: bla, bla, bla

Sen Cardin: Why were the names on the list
– Gonzales: Good, God fearing reasons. But exactly? No idea.
Sen Cardin: Gang of Eight meetings are classified – Did you just leak classified material?
– Gonzales: It’s OK. GW will retroactively declassify it if necessary.
Sen Cardin: Hiring of career lawyers – has that been fixed? – Gonzales: Just like the voting book.

Sen Grassley: I want my documents (snit)
– Gonzales: Yes, sir
Sen Grassley: Fraud in Iraq?
– Gonzales: Working there is like working in a war zone!
Sen Grassley: Custer Battles case
– Gonzales: waffle, waffle, waffle

Sen Whitehouse: Were activities okayed before Ashcroft went to the hospital
– Gonzales: This is just way too complex to explain to Senators!
Sen Whitehouse: Did you have a document to seek reapproval of the “Program”
– Gonzales: Yes, but we didn’t ask. So there!
Sen Whitehouse: Can Whitehouse control litigation in the DOJ
– Gonzales: (You can’t prove it if we use RNC e-mail accounts) Nah!

Sen. Sessions: Bla, bla, bla. Michelle Malkin illegal immigration, bla, bla bla
Sen. Sessions: Isn’t there a problem with crack sentences being too high?
– Gonzales: They just aren’t high or tough enough!

Sen Schumer: There was only one secret program?
– Gonzales: Yes
Sen Schumer: But you testified that there had been no dissent from DOJ officials…
– Gonzales: Oh. You mean THAT secret wiretapping program. No. No. This was about something completely different.
Sen Schumer: ?!
– Gonzales: Really
Sen Leahy: ?! @#+§$! ?!
– Gonzales: No. Really. Scouts Honor.

Sen Durbin: Executive order on torture. DOJ look at that?
– Gonzales: Sure
Sen Durbin: Any feelings on it?
– Gonzales: No, we in the upper management of the DOJ are robots
Sen Durbin: Would it be legal for foreign countries to treat Americans this way?
– Gonzales: Um. By our laws or theirs?
Sen Durbin: No, Really
– Gonzales: La, La, La, La… I can’t hear you.
Sen Durbin: Guantanamo, why no convictions?
– Gonzales: Too few kangaroo courts

Sen Feingold: @#+§$! @#+§$!!!
– Gonzales: Heh, Heh
Sen Feingold: Have you lied under oath?
– Gonzales: I don’t lie, I weasel
Sen Feingold: Potential liability helps privacy laws
– Gonzales: (Danger, Danger, Non Sequitor) Sure

Sen Kennedy: Torture policy, Can we get the memos on that?
– Gonzales: We have no memos. We give no paper. We are not human.
Sen Kennedy: Torture bla, bla, bla
– Gonzales: Heh, Heh
Sen Kennedy: Peace Corps! They used the Peace Corps to get diplomats to attack Democrats!
Gonzales: Heh, Heh. Good one, huh?
Sen Kennedy: Did it happen at the DOJ?
– Gonzales: Um. I know nothing!
Sen Kennedy: Why only 2 civil rights cases in voting issues.
– Gonzales: We forgot to fudge the data.

Sen Leahy: Monica Goodling – did you know she was evil?
– Gonzales: No. She was kind of hot.
Sen Leahy: Monica Goodling – did you talk to her about what had happened.
– Gonzales: She was distraught. Did I mention she is kind of hot?
Sen Leahy: Did you tell us you hadn’t talked to anyone?
– Gonzales: I thought you were asking about something else
Sen Leahy: Why deny benefits to public servants
– Gonzales: (Because that would cost money) I’ll look into it.

Sen Specter: If we want to put you in jail, who do we talk to?
– Gonzales: (Just try, sucker!) That would be the Solicitor General.
Sen Specter: TSA not the intelligence activities. Boy, you in a heap of trouble.
– Gonzales: Giggle
Sen Specter: Back to the death penalty, bla, bla, bla
– Gonzales: I don’t remember anything
Sen Specter: @#+§$!
Sen Specter: Oxycontin judgment. Were you on drugs?!
– Gonzales: We got a good price

Sen Whitehouse: I am on the intelligence committee. @#+§$!
– Gonzales: …
Sen Whitehouse: Remember the Ashcroft memo? The one linking the Whitehouse to the DOJ like Siamese twins. The memo you were concerned about.
– Gonzales: Sure
Sen Whitehouse: Why did you sign one similar?
Gonzales: Heh, Heh
Sen Whitehouse: Why did you add the Office of the Vice president, the VP council, the VP Chief of staff etc.
– Gonzales: (Because Cheney uses mind control?)  Because the VP – um – asked? No. Memo. What memo?
Sen Whitehouse: The moral is miserable in the DOJ. You are scum
– Gonzales: Yes, I am. Giggle

Sen Cardin: The meeting with the Gang of Eight. That is classified.
– Gonzales: It was

Sen Schumer: Why were you in the hospital?
– Gonzales: Just visiting
Sen Schumer: Who sent you?
– Gonzales: Can’t say
Sen Schumer: No, really. Who sent you?
– Gonzales: Can’t say
Sen Schumer:
No, really, really. Who sent you?
– Gonzales: No, really, really. Can’t say. They’d eat my soul.

Sen Specter:
We’re kind of grumpy have you noticed?
– Gonzales: heh, heh

Sen Leahy: We’re kind of grumpy have you noticed?
– Gonzales: heh, heh

Voting in a Muslim Country.

Va Va Va Voom

All I can say is va, va, va, voom… and that from Al Jazeera. (Sorry, sexist I know, but every now an then I have to get a dig in.)

From the Reuters coverage (without a hottie for a draw)

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Millions of Turks flocked to vote on Sunday in a parliamentary election seen as crucial to the future direction of this large Muslim but secular democracy straddling Europe and the Middle East.

Opinion polls show the ruling pro-business, Islamist-rooted AK Party government winning a fresh five-year mandate but strong gains by nationalist and secularist opposition parties could slash its majority and result in slower reforms.

“Now the people will speak,” Sunday’s Milliyet daily said.

Newspapers splashed pictures across their front pages of empty beaches at Turkey’s coastal resorts after many people postponed or cut short holidays in order to go home to vote.

Note: The secularist opposition are doing better. That should make those who claim all muslims are evil think twice. No wait. They don’t think once so they will likely just ignore the results.

Slate V does Cyberstalking

Check it out.

The music is the best part.

Baby Got Book (Updated)

God there are terrifying YouTube videos out there…

Listen to the rap really closely, there is so much bible trivia in that video it makes me woozy. For those of you who haven’t really “gotten big booked,” most of the references made won’t make any sense. Here’s a handy, dandy little study guide for you.

“I like big bubbles and I can not lie…”
Refers to the Message Remix 2.0 Hypercolor vinyl: Bubble Bible. Translation in modern, hip language with an obnoxious soothing blue cover. Still doesn’t drop the F* bomb though.

Notice His KJV chain?

Got her name engraved, so you know this girl is saved!
Do people still do this!?

You say you want koinonia?
Koinonia comes from the Greek and is used to mean partnership or fellowship. Wikipedia is your friend; Conservapedia – not so much. Koinonia is also used the name of an amazing number of bible colleges.

Bless me, Bless me, and teach me about John Wesley.
He doesn’t mean this one. But otherwise, I won’t increase your education. I. Just. Don’t. Go. There. But for those masochrists out there, here you go.

NIV – With a ribbon bookmark
NIV = New International Version, as opposed of course to
TNIV = Today’s New International Version,
NIrV = New International Reader’s Version or
NIVI =New International Version Inclusive Language Edition.

I ain’t talking about a paraphrase, caus Paul wouldn’t use those anyways
Yet another bible version from 1971. The Living Bible put together by Kenneth N. Taylor (while on the train to work) Was quite popular at the time but has since gone out of style. Note the contempt – tossing the bible aside – for shame, sir, for shame!

I like em real thick and red lettered. You can’t find nothin’ better
Just in case you’ve never noticed, some printings of the bible went with red lettering in order to highlight the places where God actually speaks. I have no idea whether that is the origin of the phrase red letter day but it does give a whole new spin to the phrase scare quotes.

A word to the Christian sistas, I can’t resist ya. I do God’s time with ya. But I gotta be straight when I say I want to pray til the break of day.
And people wonder why the American public is frustrated?

We might just get it on. Like the wife in Proverbs 31
I bet he’d like that! *Shutter* On the other hand Proverbs 31 does make a nice case for drinking your misery into the gutter.

6 Give beer to those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;

7 let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

Thomson Chain with the big red letters
No, the chain is not referring to blink. You guessed it. Yet another version. (How can there even be people who want to be biblical literalists?) In this case it is a handy reference bible for those who need to cross check their daily dose.

When it comes to a good book Steven Kings resume just can’t compare. 39 + 27 = 66 books. And if you’re Catholic, there’s even more.
Maybe that’s what Benedict was getting at with his “church” snarking last week. But seriously, he does have an interdenominational point. (Note: clever little chart at Wikipedia)

Protestant: O.T 39 + N.T 27 = 66
Catholic : O.T 46 + N.T 27 = 73
But the winner is – Orthodox Christians: O.T. 53 + N.T. 27 = 80! Go bearded guys in Siberian monasteries!

Of course to try to go up against Steven King? Let’s take a look shall we? 45 Novels, 33 movies, 11 TV movies, 3 non fiction, 7 serial novels, a screen play, a childrens book… Need I go on? Steven King!? Bad choice – at least he didn’t go up against Perry Rhodan.

Update (Missed one)
Your girlfriend quotes Bill Hybels?
Bill Hybels is the founding minister at the the Willow Creek Community Church. This is a very small, cozy congregation having, according to their press release, 17,500 attendees (yes, you read that right) every weekend.

Finally. Did you count the number of abstence references?I lost count. There were just too many.

When is someone like Skepchick, Rebecca Watson, or the Friendly Atheist, Herman Mehta, going to fight back and do a “Oh, Baby, Baby, Bookless!” rap?

Since I can’t leave you completely, utterly traumatised, use this as a small piece of balance.

Extreme Wheelbarrowing Quote of the Day…

And just in case you didn’t get enough extreme wheelbarrowing from the first video, how about some synchronized extreme wheelbarrowing set to “Come on Eileen.” It’s like experiencing hell before you even get there.

Go here for the original post and videos.

Somehow, I think this would be a wonderful sport for the teenagers in small rural communities, especially in North American states. Towns like – say – Bemidji.

I Wonder If Michael Deutsch Got His Job Back.

According to one of the local television stations, NASA managed to misspell the name of the space shuttle set to lauch in August. 

The first NASA sign at launch pad 39A encouraging the next launch of space shuttle Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center was misspelled and noticed by someone looking at the craft.

When the shuttle rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building Wednesday, a giant “Go Endeavour” sign was put on a fence in front of the craft.

However, one item was missing from the sign: the “u” in Endeavour.

Someone spotted the mistake and called KSC to fix it, WKMG-TV reported.

NASA scrambled someone out to pad 39A with a new sign that has orbiter Endeavour’s name spelled correctly.

A photo with the correct spelling was also posted on the Kennedy Space Center’s Web site.

The orbiter is named after HM Bark Endeavour, the ship commanded by 18th century explorer James Cook; the name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15. This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, according to Answers.com.

For those who think I am just making things up and virally spreading malicious gossip, (something I always try to achieve but never actually manage), here is an image of the Endeavour docked to the ISS with the name shown.

Endeavour docked to the ISS

Sigh.

(Hat Tip: Wonkette)

Yeah, but It’s a Dry Heat

This needs no comment…

 Q Is the Iraqi government and the Iraqi parliament taking the month of August off?

MR. SNOW: Probably, yes. Just not —

Q They’re taking the entire month of August off, before the September deadline?

MR. SNOW: It looks like they may, yes. Just like the U.S. Congress is.

Q Have you tried to talk them out of that?

MR. SNOW: You know, it’s 130 degrees in Baghdad in August, I’ll pass on your recommendation.

Q Well, Tony, Tony, I’m sorry, that’s — you know — I mean, there are a lot of things that happen by September and it’s 130 degrees for the U.S. military also on the ground —

MR. SNOW: You know, that’s a good point. And it’s 130 degrees for the Iraqi military. The Iraqis, you know, I’ll let them — my understanding is that at this juncture they’re going to take August off, but, you know, they may change their minds.

Q But have you tried to convince them not to?. Does the U.S. government pressure them not to, because then the September deadline —

MR. SNOW: Again, I’m not going to — you know, I’m just not — I’m not getting into the — the Iraqis understand the importance. It’s not a September deadline, it’s a September report. I think it’s very important, in an age where everybody wants to create a sense of, sort of, finishing up on a deadline — it’s a report, it is not a deadline. It is a report that will, in fact, measure progress —

Q It’s a pretty important report —

MR. SNOW: It is a very — it’s a very important —

Q (Inaudible.) I mean, a month they’re not working.

MR. SNOW: Sheryl, will you let me answer Martha’s questions first? And then Helen is next, and then I’ll call on you.

Now, where were we, because —

Q We were a month off, we have —

MR. SNOW: Okay, so what you’re saying — yes —

Q — 130 degrees for the Iraqi parliament, so they need a month off, even though it’s 130 degrees for U.S. soldiers.

MR. SNOW: Well, you know, you’re assuming that nothing is going on. As I said, there are any number of things going on in Iraq. Let’s see what the parliament does during the course of this month. Let’s also see what happens, because quite often when parliaments do not meet, there are also continuing meetings on the side. And there will be progress, I’m sure, on a number of fronts.

I’m just — I’m not in a position at this point to try to gainsay what the Iraqis are doing. We are working with them and trying to help them succeed. They have a vested interest also in doing this and doing it right, and what they’ve done is they’ve set a higher bar for their legislative accomplishments than we do because they’re trying to operate on a basis not of simple majority, but consensus. It’s probably a wise thing to do at the outset of a country that has been driven by strife for so many years. It is a tough business.

But I would suggest not merely looking at the legislative accomplishments, but also, again, taking a look overall at what’s going on in terms of creating a sense of national unity, dealing with problems of sectarian strife — that certainly were rife last year, but are far less prevalent today, at least according to the trajectory mentioned in the report — and, therefore, take a comprehensive and factual look at all the aspects of what’s going on in Iraq.

From Friday’s White House press conference.

Wooly Cutbacks

While I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, I’ve long been a sheep fan. I also like the idea of researchers trying to find alternatives to pesticides which are often made from oil or oil derivatives.

That’s why today’s fluff in the Chicago Tribune made my heart hop higher – it combines sheep, pesticides and wine in one wild and wooly weed-a-thon.

Call them mutton mowers. University researchers are training sheep to clean up vineyard weeds but stay off the grapes.

Enthusiastic and unpicky eaters, sheep are already being used in some vineyards as a green alternative to tractors. They don’t use gasoline and keep down weeds — a necessary task to deter pests and keep vines healthy — sans herbicides.

Unfortunately, sheep will chew up thousands of dollars worth of grapes if left to their own devices.

That’s why University of California, Davis researcher Morgan Doran and his colleagues are experimenting with aversion therapy and other techniques to turn sheep into better field hands.

For those looking to expand the franchise will find that others have preceded them. According to the article Wooly Weeders, a Colorado based company uses lambs and *gasp* sheepdogs to keep those pesky weeds down and the sheep peaceful.

I, for one, am counting on this technology to help reduce global warming and improve sheep-human relations.

Because we all know that the sheep are really an alien race simply biding their time until a UFO comes and takes them home. But you knew that right?

So. You’ve been looking for

… a webcomic about an occasionally depresive, type 2 diabetic, goth comic artist who lives in Bristol and does great work?

Look no more

Planet Karen

Perpetual Pause

There are unsmiling faces and bright plastic chains
and a wheel in perpetual motion
And they follow the races and pay out the games,
with no show of an outward emotion.

And they think it will make their lives easier
For God knows up til now it’s been hard.

Alan Parsons Project – Turn of a Friendly Card

The impossible dream, making money from nothing, winning the lottery, creating a perpetual motion machine. But some people are made to take chanced and bet millions on a long shot.

The latest highly publicised flop came last week when the company Steorn managed a very public belly flop.

You see, last week Steorn, a start-up company that took out a full page ad in last years Economist, had planned a very public demonstration of their newest form of the perpetual mobile. Skeptics, fans, and er- investors waited with baited breath to view one of the 24/7 video streams planned to go on the air on July 5th. Hopefully the bait wasn’t too good. The show was first delayed, then cancelled. Why? Just too hot. You know those pesky little TV lights. (Yeah. But it’s a dry heat!)

There is a wonderful video of Steorn CEO Sean McCarthy “Taking one on the chin” about how poorly the demonstration worked out. Forbes.com entitled the story they filed about the Dublin based company “Powered by Blarney?

Sad but true.

Unfortunately the general media reaction was perfectly summed up by Ben Goodacre in his Bad Science column in Saturday’s Guardian,

As we’ve already seen with the long history of perpetual motion claims you only need one or two experts, and as far as the media are concerned, there’s a story. And when the negative evidence comes in – like this week with Steorn, say – there is a deathly silence. Shh.

So, on July 4 a scaled down version of Steorn’s technology was to be displayed at the Kinetica museum in Spitalfields, east London, in front of live webcams and blinkered naysayers. But sadly the doors have remained locked, and the most you can see on the live webcam is an immobile perspex disc – designed to show some special arrangement of magnets – and a statement about technical difficulties possibly caused by “intense heat from the camera lighting”.

I was looking forward to it. At first the device was supposed to lift a weight, but then Steorn announced that it would simply rotate. Steorn’s chief executive, Sean McCarthy, said that the company “decided against using the technology to illuminate a light bulb, because the use of wires would attract further suspicion from a scientific community that has denounced the invention as heretical”.

I wonder what the penalty in Irland is for fraud? Perhaps the Alan Parson’s Project had it right. Just not in the first part of the song, but the reprise.

There are unsmiling faces in fetters and chains
on a wheel in perpetual motion,
who belong to all nations and answer all names
with no show of an outward emotion.

And they think it will make their lives easier,
but the doorway before them is barred.

I Will Ruin Your Day

Watch this.

Now get that song out of your head for the rest of the day.

Bwahahaha! 😉

Rudi’s Ferret Foolishness

Just remember, if you are a ferret fan, you probably won’t be voting for Rudy next year…

Slates take on the issue.

And I Thought I Was a Nice Guy

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

[Meme sponsored by:] Mingle2 Online Dating

I am so hopelessly in trouble now! First the squamata skeptic comment, now this. 😉

Sorry Trees.

Fred Thompson Doesn’t Read the Bible

And Wonkette doesn’t Google (for shame Wonkette!)

You see Wonkette is having a ball reporting on the data dump found in the Thompson archives now being scanned for scandals and semen stains cigar wrappers. Now Newsweek’s Holly Bailey is reporting in the Gaggle about what seems to be a minor analogy train wreck.

In 2001, New York Times columnist William Safire wrote Thompson to ask what he had meant when he said “the ox is in the ditch” when it comes to postal reform. “Once again, you remind me that the rest of the country doesn’t necessarily use the same phrases as a country boy from Tennessee,” Thompson replied, confessing he’d actually never seen an ox in a ditch–or frankly, an ox. “As usual, I have no idea where this comes from. All I know is that when the ox is in the ditch, it is a very serious matter–very serious. A big ox, a small ditch, a big load and a hot day–well, you can see the problem.”

Big ox, small ditch?! Bwahahahahah!

This is rich and might just have to cost Thompson the hard-core Dominist vote.

Why? The reference to the ox in the ditch isn’t about “big oxen and little ditches”, it is a reference to working on the Sabbath. Luke 14-5 (KJV),

And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

But Luke doesn’t mention a ditch, just a well. (And what exactly was your livestock doing gallivanting about a well on Sunday anyway?)

Well, according to the handy, dandy Sermon Notebook, the law is Jewish and not Christian.

The Jews too this Commandment very seriously. Dr. Ken Trivette shares the following insights concerning the Jewish mindset – “The observance of the Sabbath was strictly observed and strictly enforced. Whereas, they took God’s command to rest on the Sabbath seriously, as the years passed they added their own rules and regulations about the Sabbath. There were approximately 1,521 things that were not permissible on the Sabbath. For example: you could not rescue a drowning person on the Sabbath. Untying knots that needed only one hand was permissible, but if two hands were required, it was forbidden. If a man’s ox fell into the ditch, he could pull it out, but if the man fell in, he had to stay there. One could take a sup of vinegar for food, but if he took a sup in order to help his aching toothache, he had broken the Sabbath. If a man was bitten by a flea on the Sabbath, he had to allow the flea to keep on biting. If he tried to stop the flea from biting or killed it, he was guilty of hunting on the Sabbath.”

Oh. Got it. Pulling the ox out of the ditch is allowed and you should solve the problem even on your day off.

But WTF was Thompson saying in the first place. Well he was talking about Postal Reform and we find the following blerb from the Association for Postal Commerce (whoever they are).

The Associated Press has noted that “upset by two postal rate increases in six months and discussions of delivery cutbacks, some congressional leaders have said the mail agency must be overhauled. Postal Service officials, dealing with rising fuel costs and shrinking demand for their services, said they also want new postal laws to make the agency more competitive. ‘It’s obvious that the ox is in the ditch big time,’ said Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.”

Note: the context of this quote can be found by Googling. This is just the most succinct version I found.

So. I would interpret this to say that while Thompson was chairing the GAC, the Postal Service fell into a ditch while the commitee was taking some time (six months) off. Now, they have to fix the problem, even though it’s Sunday. It is all perfectly clear to me. No?

Yet again, this is a tick against Fred Thompson and points to him being the anti-Christ candidate. Pass the word. (The word of God of course. ;-))

Top Tip For Gun Control

“Use both hands.”

This is the first recommendation made in one of the entries from the latest in the round of wikipedia take offs, Uncyclopedia – the content free encyclopedia. This is user driven – um – drivel raised to a high art.

First there was the Conservapedia which was an attempt to combat the evil liberal bias (aka reality) so rampant in Wikipedia. You know those pesky little entries about Separation of Church and State, Mexican History or the famous Kangaroo entry

According to the origins theory model used by creation scientists, modern kangaroos are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah’s Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined by baraminologists whether kangaroos form a holobaramin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic. There is, however, no evidence of a genetic bottleneck in the kangaroo species which would be expected if all kangaroos were descended from two individuals.

After the Flood, these kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land[5] with lower sea levels during the post-flood ice age, or before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart[6], or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters.[5] The idea that God simply generated kangaroos into existence there is considered by most creation researchers to be contra-Biblical.

Here is a sampling of what Uncyclopedia has to offer. As opposed to “Conserva,” any relationship to realty, persons living or dead or perhaps seriousness, would be, I’m sure, blatently denied and immediately changed.

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi was a half-naked fakir. He decided to go half-naked because during his times the English rulers were terribly afraid of desi nudity. Those were days far before the desi fetishism swept the West. Thousands of desi people emulated Mahatma and the stiff English nether lips got parted in disgust and the white skinned robbers went and got themselves drowned in the Arabian Sea on the west and Bay of Bengal on the east. The theory of Ahimsa aka non-violence originated thus.

Angels

Angels are formed wherever two or more lines intersect. Angels of over 90 degrees are termed Obese whereas angels of less than 90 degrees are termed Cute. Three Angels may cooperate together to form a trinity.

John McCain

John McCain was genetically engineered in an American Research Facility. Unlike normal humans, McCain contains many organs, which allow him to fly, shoot lasers from his eyes, have terrible war flashbacks, and amass incredible amounts of strength. Most of these organs were taken from school children. See zim. McCain’s skin produced a special layer of transparent nacho cheese, allowing him to time travel without damaging his body or the space time continuum. For Food, John McCain eats the leftovers of Aborted Fetuses.

What would you look up?

Enjoy.

(Hat Tip: Stephen J. Dubner/Freakonomics Blog)

I’m Just Too Stupid…

I’m glad that got cleared that up.

John Safran, who some people claim to be “Australia’s most exciting guerrilla filmaker,” has finally explained to me why I can’t be an athiest. *sniff*

I’m just too stupid.

I wasn’t even clever enough to even buy Steven Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” much less make it to page 3. I guess I just have to stick with the non-theist position (which for those with dirty minds has absolutly nothing to do with missonaries!).

Even so. I will take up the Friendly Athiest’s challenge of trying to explain the Big Bang in the shortest number of words.

Big Bang: Sciencespeak for “Poof – God did it. “

A Soldier’s Guide

An epic BBC series on the First World War produced in the 1960’s had one episode featuring the proverb, purported to be Arab, that “Allah created hell and it wasn’t bad enough; so He created Mesopotamia and added flies.” This was the kind of knowledge being given solders headed to Iraq during WWI and that arose from an officer corps dredged largely from the classically trained aristocracy. (Lawrence of Arabia anyone?)

By the WWII, the handbooks had become more prosaic, offering such gems of wisdom like “If you see grown men walking hand in hand, ignore it. They are not queer” and “Iraq Is Hot! … Probably you will feel Iraq first-and that means heat.” There is also a wonderful warning to avoid the holy cities of Kerbala, Najaf, samarra, and Kadhiman. (Who’d ‘ve known?!)

Now Sharon I don’t do UFOs Weinberger and Noah Shachtman have uncovered parts of the equally entertaining “Soldier’s Guide to the Republic of Iraq,” issued to US soldiers on the eve of war in 2003. (What are you still doing here? Go read their stuff! They are real journalists with books, sources and stuff.)

Still here? Hmm..

Among the quotes they found:

  • There is little virtue in a frank exchange. Getting down to business may always occur at a later meeting or a more informal setting such as dinner.
  • Arabs, by American standards, are reluctant to accept responsibility… if responsibility is accepted and something goes wrong, the Arab is dishonored.
  • Arabs operate by personal relations more than by time constraints.
  • Arabs, by American standards, are reluctant to accept responsibility.
  • Arabs do not believe in upward mobility or social status; they gain status by being born in the right family.
  • Arabs do not shake hands firmly. If an Arab does not touch you, it usually means that he does not like you.
  • It is said that the Arab likes to feel your breath in their face. As you back away, the Arab will continue to shuffle forward. This is known as the “diplomatic shuffle.”

So, while American soldiers were wondering what music to play while dancing the “diplomatic shuffle,” the administration figured the soldiers would be in and out so fast it wouldn’t matter what had been published.

Except it didn’t work out quite that way. Now a couple of the above sentences look rather suspicious in light of the “We stand down as they stand up” course the Bush administration stayed so long. You see, at least the soldiers were being told that “…if responsibility is accepted and something goes wrong, the Arab is dishonored.”

I wonder if Bush didn’t get the memo.

God sends Bush an SMS

Maybe George W. Bush doesn’t have a hotline to the really big Guy.

This didn’t get much coverage in the major media, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum Vatican. Cadillac One stalled.

But this hasn’t completely escaped the focus of the media. From the – ehem – Russian News Agency

After braving an upset stomach in Germany and being greeted by crowds of protesters in Poland and Italy, the U.S. president probably thought things could not get much worse – and then his car broke down Saturday.
[…]
On Saturday, Bush arrived in Italy, where he held talks with Pope Benedict XVI, but later during his tour of the city his limousine broke down and a reserve vehicle had to be rushed in.

Moreover, the new limo was too big to squeeze through the gates of the U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. leader had to walk the remaining distance.

Since GW did actually make it to the Vatican meeting, this was probably more of an instant message that a formal signal from God.

But I can see where this is leading. The only question is in which direction the message is going. Tim LaHaye thinks the Pope is the Antichrist. The pope refuses to consider joint church services between Catholics and Protestants.

I just wonder who exactly was the intended recipiant of this holy hiccup?

Yes readers and readettes. This is obviously a sign. Perhaps the best evidence of God I’ve seen recently.

(Hat Tip Amara Graps, guest blogging at Asymptotia)

Creationist Museums – Get em while they’re hot

Ok. The evolutionary blogging community has calmed down briefly after the splash created by Ken Ham’s 27 Million dollar Creationist museum theme park. Of course there are still a few ripples.

Like the actor who played Adam in one of the Infotainment videos being the former owner and occasional star of BedroomAcrobat, a porn site. (Hey, has anyone thought about the fact that no one else in the Christian community had that much practice being fig-leaf-less? In public? Maybe the choice wasn’t that bad!)

Then there is the increasingly open spat between the organisation that built the museum theme park, Answers In Genesis – US (AiG-US) and the organisation formerly known as Answers In Genesis Australia. (TOFKAAIGAus)

TOFKAAIGAus recently published the completion of a 40 page report outlining how the AiG-US first took over AiG-Canada and then eviscerated and finally killed TOFKAAIGAus forcing it to lose the AiG name. AiG-US and particularly Ken Ham apparently marginalized the Australian CEO Carl Wieland after which the Australian Board of Directors to signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and a Deed of Copyright Licence (DOCL) which “seriously disadvantaged” the Australian ministry.

The report makes interesting reading and highlights the behind the scenes manoeuvring that goes on in many large organisations. Interesting is how former Chief Magistrate Clarrie Briese, author of the report, indignantly points out how, um, unbiblical this behaviour has been. Scandalous.

TOFKAAIGAus has apparently filed suit so we’ll have to wait for results but, in the mean time, they have found a new shorter acronym, Creation Ministries International – CMI.

But what do you do if you don’t have 27 Million dollars or another country’s ministry to plunder?

No matter, you open a Creationist museum theme park anyway. According to Canada’s Globe & Mail ,

Harry Nibourg wasn’t sure what to expect when he opened Canada’s first permanent creationist museum to the public yesterday, so he asked volunteers to act as security guards just in case.

But there were no protesters or trouble, only about 20 people eager to see what all the fuss is about these days in Big Valley, a southern Alberta village of 350 people that’s surrounded by green fields, oil-well pump jacks and cattle.

Mr. Nibourg’s tiny Big Valley Creation Science Museum, which still smells of fresh paint, is crammed with material that purports to debunk evolution and prove that the universe was created by God some 6,000 years ago and that dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth together. Located about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, the museum, which has attracted international media attention, has been both condemned and praised on the letters-to-the-editor pages of Alberta’s two largest daily newspapers.

So for those of you closer to Canada than Kentucky, you can go to Big Valley and visit the slightly scaled down house of propaganda.

While visiting wonderful Alberta, you could also visit the correctly famous Royal Tyrrell Museum which houses one of the worlds largest collections of fossils and is only 600 kilometers away in Drumheller, Alberta.

After all, who needs Ken Ham to get ham fisted Creationist propagnda? Creationsit museums – perhaps cheaper by the dozen.

(Hat Tip Don Spencer’s Artifacts)

It wasn’t me…

Really…

But Tammy has some real passive-aggressive, spelling issues she needs to work on.