Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Wacky World—1/28/2012

Failure to appear
Robert Hegyes from Welcome Back Kotter died. Ronald Reagan was a big fan.

'Other curious potential attractions include a ski run through a battlefield "surrounded by the frozen bodies of soldiers and horses" and a recreation of Louis XVI being guillotined during the revolution – the precursor to Napoleon’s rise to power. "It's going to be fun for the family,” he Mr Jégo [sic] told The Times.'

Telegraph


It may have worked for Roger Ebert but I hear lots of sordid tales about 12 Step programs:
"Later meetings with the man who was the original intended chaperone did not exactly elicit an apology. Just more tactics. More manipulations. Somehow I ended up tricked into allowing him to give me a ride home when I was finally discharged from hospital. That resulted in further ridiculous, barely-concealed sneaky attempts to get me into the organization. “I need to stop here at the AA office, totally without warning, to pick up some literature. Do you want to come in, or do you want to just wait here locked in the car without AC and the windows up?”. And there was rather a lot of uncomfortable, non-consensual touching, too."
This is one of the best written blogs I've read in a long time. (Natalie Reed)

"According to a Vanity Fair – slash – 60 Minutes poll, 15% of Catholics believe the world would be a better place without religion. 1% of Evangelicals and 5% of Protestants, too. Of course, the same poll showed that 28% of respondents, of all education levels, thought the United States has more than a billion residents."
Lousy Canuck

'Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States' policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies. Yes, you read "three" correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don't you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel's most inner circles?'
Gawker


Preacher kills neighbor's cat:
Sarah Bell says that the crime has destroyed her daughter’s faith after learning the preacher allegedly committed the crime. When Bell told her that Moody was in heaven now, her daughter responded “I don’t believe in Heaven anymore, Moody’s just dead.”
Smart kid. (Turley's Blog)

"A New Mexico man who said he was forced to pull his own tooth while in solitary confinement because he was denied access to a dentist has been awarded $22 million due to inhumane treatment by New Mexico's Dona Ana County Jail. Stephen Slevin was arrested in August of 2005 for driving while intoxicated, then thrown in jail for two years. He was in solitary at Dona Ana County Jail for his entire sentence and basically forgotten about and never given a trial" [it gets worse; great before and after photos]
MSNBC

Yep, I kept it
"It is my understanding that because there was no addressee, the DHL [sic] just thought well that's the UN symbol so we should ship it on to UN headquarters and let them figure out who it was supposed to go to," Browne said.
Guess what was in it? (France24)

Here's my personal DHL hell story. I had a Radeon 9800 video card for my MDD G4. The fan went bad so I sent it in under warranty. They shipped me a replacement card via DHL (from Canada). The package had "signature required" written on it (see illustration). I found it sitting outside the garage door. When I looked it up online it was (supposedly) delivered to an address 50 miles from here and the delivery guy faked my signature by printing my name in all-caps. I called AMD/ATI up and told them about it. The response was something like "oh REALLY?" As it turned out, the replacement card had a VRAM issue so they sent me yet another card—this time via FedEx.

“Just a little tiny package falls out with white powder in it,” Stockton said. “And I’m like white powder just fell out of my terrorism book. And so my brother was like Oh, that’s scary.”

"The government built its criminal case against Google using money, aliases and fake companies—tactics often used against drug cartels and other crime syndicates, according to interviews and court documents. Google agreed to pay a $500 million forfeiture last summer in a settlement to avoid prosecution for aiding illegal online pharmaceutical sales."
WSJ

"Despite the indictments for race-fueled attacks on the community, East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo added more fuel to the fire Tuesday by saying he "might have tacos" as his first step to repair relations with the Latino community."
WPIX

"Lavigne and eight other participants were covered in mud, wrapped in plastic and blankets and spent nine hours lying with their heads in boxes while being encouraged to hyperventilate. Lavigne, 35, was eventually taken to hospital unconscious by ambulance, with a body temperature of 40.5 degrees. [104.9°F]"
CBC

"After South Carolina, I think of Romney as the Canned Cranberry Sauce candidate: the appearance of substance, but made of jelly, and so recently glopped from the can I can still see the rings."
The American Conservative

"The son of late evangelist Oral Roberts and former president of Oral Roberts University was arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding"

'This short article is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for internet dabblers, or the recently-fed. Or maybe it is- maybe this article will give some insight into the world of the digital natives. It aims to shed light on an internet phenomenon, in turn giving the shadow, depth and form of class-struggle to what might, on first appearances, seem like a decidedly two-dimensional case study. Here, we wish to talk about a meme called Goatse, and the story of how a revolting and childish prank spread to become a modern-day “sabot”, a memetic tool for workers to undermine their employers, and with it, the ideology of work.'

Monday, January 23, 2012

Our Wacky World—1/23/2011

Headline of the week: "Island of Montecristo to be bombed with poison after rat infestation" (Telegraph). NYC subway workers start anti-rat crusade with fancy web site, "rate my rat" photo contest.

Meanwhile, you've probably already hear all about the IP wars this week. Major sites went dark, hackers attacked industry and government websites, IP legislation was rapidly "steved", Megaupload got taken down and other hosting sites have dropped off, AND we had this moment of clarity:
Chris Dodd, ex–US senator and current CEO of the Motion Picture Ass. of America, may face a White House investigation after he made an extraordinary outburst that appeared to threaten politicians who had the audacity to take the entertainment industry’s money and then abandon SOPA/PIPA online-piracy legislation. “Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake," Dodd told Fox News. "Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”
Thanks for confirming what we already knew, Chris. (The Register)

A "church" whose central tenet is the right to file-share has been formally recognised by the Swedish government. The Church of Kopimism claims that "kopyacting" - sharing information through copying - is akin to a religious service.

"Putting aside the bong or beerkeg favoured by their parents, it seems that fun-loving kids in Texas are increasingly reaching instead for the plastic bag, improvised noose or heavy weight to place upon one's chest. According to a recent study, nearly one in seven Texas students surveyed had enjoyed being sociably throttled or smothered, generally as part of a cheery group event with pals rather than as a solo Tory-MP-style experience."
The Register


What IQ does this sort of stunt require? Negative-one?:
"It was one of the few — if not the only — coordinated efforts to attempt in-person voter fraud, and it was pulled off by affiliates of conservative activist James O’Keefe at polling places in New Hampshire Tuesday night. All of it part of an attempt to prove the need for voter ID laws that voting rights experts say have a unfair impact on minority voters. Now election law experts tell TPM that O’Keefe’s allies could face criminal charges on both the federal and state level for procuring ballots under false names, and that his undercover sting doesn’t demonstrate a need for voter ID laws at all."
TPM Muckraker

Try tilting your head
In espousing the nutritional value of sperm, Britain's famed martial artist and kick boxing star Alex Reid, says, "It's actually very good for a man to have unprotected sex as long as he doesn't ejaculate. Because I believe that all that semen has a lot of nutrition." He adds: "A tablespoon of semen has your equivalent of steak, eggs, lemons and oranges. I am reabsorbing it into my body and it makes me go raaaaahh." The irresponsibility of advocating unprotected sex aside, reproductive research scientist John Aplin reports: "The nutritional content of the ejaculate is really rather small."
USA Science Festival


Ben Stein is still a fucking idiot:
"See, Stein believes that global warming isn't real because "God, and not man, control[s] the weather." When Kyocera declined to pay Stein $300,000 to represent the corporation in part because it doesn't want to be associated with that belief, it violated Stein's constitutional right to $300,000."
Gawker

“Not only do authoritarian followers uncritically accept conclusions that support their religious beliefs, they have a problem with evidence in general. They are more likely than most people to think that, since airplane crashes sometimes occur when the pilots’ “biorhythms” are at a low point, this proves biorhythms affect our lives. They buy the argument that if skeptics have introduced controls against cheating in ESP experiments, and no ESP appears, that proves skepticism interferes with the ESP powers. They think that any time science cannot explain something, this proves mysterious supernatural forces are at work. True, they are less likely to believe in Bigfoot than in the Shroud of Turin. But they do not in general have a very critical outlook on anything unless the authorities in their lives have condemned it for them. Then they can be extremely critical.”
Note the link to a pdf of the entire book. (Turley's Blog)


I guess this is what they teach in Catholic seminary:
"It was never my impression that the children did not consent," the priest was quoted as saying at the trial. When asked in court if he was a paedophile, he replied, according to local newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung: "It would be wrong to say No but to say Yes would also fall short of the truth."
Sounds like a guy who's afraid to tell his wife the intern gave him a blowjob. (BBC)

Red flags
"A long while ago, I drafted what was then an unparalleled visual guide to snake oil and quackery. So the Red Flags of Quackery was born. It was deemed worthy by the intertubes, and saw it’s way around the net. In the accompanying article, I stated that I would continue to build upon the guide, strengthening the criteria and adding more red flags. Today I make good with my promise." [amusing cartoons]
Sci-ence


It sounds like Robin Gibb won't be stayin' alive for much longer:
Gibb's wife, Dwina Murphy-Gibb, an ordained druid priestess, said in an interview with Sky Arts TV that she's looking into alternative treatments for her husband, including "spider medicine," a type of Native American healing approach.
Seven rounds of chemo. Not good. (Respectful Insolence)

The conference on “Innovations in Gynecology/Obstetrics and Halacha [Jewish law]” is being held by the Puah Institute this Wednesday in Jerusalem. It will include such topics as “ovary implants,” “how to choose a suitable contraceptive pill” and “intimacy during rocket attacks,” in which there are many qualified female professionals, but none will be permitted to speak, at least not from the podium.
The Globe And Mail