Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ah,to be Guilty and Have Friends

Friends are the last refuge of the guilty.
Some American spook in Trojan Horse.

But we are all guilty without our friends.

Depressing Malthusian Predictions

There are some American "economic conservatives" who believe the concept of limits, limits to growth, limits to population, limits to economic growth, limits to energy use as some sort of treason to doctrine the growth is always good and possible. It has often pointed out that Malthus was wrong because after his prediction was the industrial revolution the great increase in population and massive increases in standards of living the world over. However the growth of industrial revolution and our growth now has been underwritten by the fossils fuels of coal and oil. This suggests Malthus was mainly right.

Here is blogpost by Paul Krugman and discussion about our Malthusian problem. Here also is a report from an energy newsletter that gives historical figures for oil consumption. Makes unhappy reading.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fitna, Or Why Muslims Hate Everybody

Dutch politician and film maker Geert Wilders has released his film Fitna today online. The film is an examination of number of violent passages from the Koran. These isolated verses are shown in context as the motivation of Muslim murderers and their fans. This motivation to kill is shown as Muslim mainstream behavior and theology.

Warning: the film is quite violence and graphic in parts.

Here is a discussion thread about the movie on Jihad Watch.

Update March 29, 3:30 am
Fitna was taken off Liveleak because of credible threats of violence. It has been reposted to Youtube pt1 and pt2.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Intersteller Trade

Here is an examination of the problems of interstellar trade and the related problems of the relativistic effects of going faster than the speed of light. This paper was done by an economist named Paul Krugman.

Choose the BBQ that Convicted Murderers Love

Genius In a Box

"You think you are so smart just because you can read."

Chocolate Bunny Torture

There are some nice horror movie type effects as chocolate bunnies are attacked with iron, heat lamp and hair dryer.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Old Computer Tech Keeps Working

Here is an slashdot discussion and article about how "obsolete" technology is still in use and still being made. Last year I read a book that covered the same tropic, The Shock of The Old. Last week when I was Future Shop I noticed that cash registers had CRT displays from the mid 80's.

Check out the argruments and make your own.

Accents in Movies and Other Places

In a thread on about the Modern Bundeswehr ending up in 1941 Germany there is this back and forth about accents.


There's also subterfuge, if they play their cards right, they could pretend to be from a NAZI victorious Germany.

(over radio)
"This is General Hans from the (etc.) Panzer Division to Herr Furher, I invite you to come see zee wunder weapons that you and your successors are responsible for in the Great German Reich of the 21st Century!"

(to troops)

"Ok, now remember, wait until he is in the middle of the camp, THEN we strike"


In the Nazi future, Germans speak with a German accent even when they're speaking German...

Tourists and Luggage

I often don't know where my luggage is. That what being a tourist is all about.

Twoflower, Discworld's first tourist
who has an advantage of luggage made
from sapient pear wood.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Far Side Cartoon and Variant

The Far Side Original

Hindu variant posted by M3Essential on comics challenge.

Workout Kittens

Joe Veitch is an animator and musician. This recent ad seems to be ripping off the LOLcat phenomenon. However if you look at some of his earlier work and ads you discover he was was using this style well before every bulletin board was overrun with photoshopped images of kittens and bad spelling. You can fund more animations and songs at his blog Rathergood. Be warned there are number of songs that are definitely NSFW, stay away from anything to do the Royal Family or donkeys. There many other fine songs of his like, First Drink of the Day (mentioned on this blog nearly 3 years ago), Ninja Kitten or Looking for My Leopard.

Seeding The Beer Clouds

Tooheys, an Aussies brewery, previous made a commercial where a tongue left the body to go on a beer run. Here an entire city works to brew beer in the sky.

The Dreamer

A Cure for Bad TV Ads

At the website for The Bessies, a Canadian TV Ad Award, another TV ad stereotype is whacked.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tourist Guide To Ankh Morpork

Produced in conjunction with the new Disc World movie by Sky TV is a number of spots highlighting the tourist potential of Disc World. These short films are done in industrial film style with stiff acting, poor camera work and ham handed editing.

Very funny.

Obama or Dr Who SuperVillain you Decide

In Dr Who S03E12 the Doctor, Martha Jones and Captain Jack are discussing the electoral appeal of John Saxon, AKA the Master. What follows is is an examination of the the appeal of charismatic politicians who speak their empty words perfectly.

Martha Jones
I was going to vote for him.

The Doctor

Martha Jones
It was before I even met you and I liked him.

Captain Jack
Me too.

The Doctor
Why do you say that? What was his policy? what did he stand for?

Martha Jones
I don't know he always sounded good. Like you could trust him. Just nice. He spoke about, I can't even remember but it was good. Just the sound of his voice.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Analysis Of The Evil Music Industry

Here is some analysis of the how little money musicians ever get from their "best selling" records. It is part of collection from a punk zine about the Major Record Labels, and their jackals, published a decade ago. It was mentioned in the comments of a Ted Rall cartoon. The editorial cartoon posits a future where every body will have non playing jobs and be forced to subsist by selling t shirts, one of few things bands can ever make money on.

The Virtues of Engagement

In our modern world we can all have amusement, engagement, information and enlightenment with ever leaving our personal computers. Here is a blogpost, Turn Off That Nintendo, from Denmark on the virtues of political engagement beyond the occasional election.

Weird Stick Figure Animation

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Real Book from an Alternate Time Line

Real book that you can buy for as low as 8 cents from Amazon. The reader reviews are split with 33 giving it 5 stars and 53 giving it 1 star. Here is snippet from one positive reviewer, an Alice from Wonderland; "Finally! A book that proves the existence of an alternate universe". And less joyous response from a less fictional reader; "I think that "delusional" is too kind here".

Keep Crazy Cultists out of Government

On Paul Krugman's Blog there is this offhand comment about Alan Greenspan by dartagnan:

Re Greenspan: What this country needs is a constitutional amendment specifying that no one who has read Ayn Rand’s novels can be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

I would say it is more than exposing yourself to kooky ideas it is the tendency to embrace the conspiracy theories as one's life's truth. There are certain ideologies that do more than imply but insist that their adherents should be trusted with nothing more dangerous than a limp strand of pasta. This in some ways goes beyond the principal of freedom of belief. The other half of which does not protect you from people who think you are complete nut job for holding such fantasies. You can believe what you want but you cannot insist on anybody's respect you for your "sincere deeply held personal beliefs".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Math and El Presidente Bush Joke

From Tony on a Ted Rall comment thread for Overhead Hilarity.

Condi is briefing the President: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"Oh no!" exclaims Bush. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is in a brazillion?"

Radical Groups Help Structure the Lives of Criminals

Farrakhan has provided a framework of discipline that has made respectable citizens of angry young men. And we should be grateful that they are on the corner selling fruit and not ravaging our communities with crime.
Andrew Young on On Point Mar 19, 2007
starting at 00:26:30

Andrew Young gives reasons to excuse the violent and extremist Nation of Islam because somehow it provides "discipline" to those who would otherwise end up gangs. What he is forgetting that bow ties are just another type of gang color for a group that was founded by an ex-con, is embraced by ex-cons and whose most famous member, Malcolm X, joined from prison. Just another violent gang no matter how much surface respectability spiffy bow ties gives its members.

See also details surrounding the murder of Chauncey Bailey, an Oakland newspaper editor investigating a Nation of Islam business.

BS Artist

Manure is an art and I considered myself an accomplished artist.

Failed lawyer and farmer John Adams
in John Adams (HBO)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chicken Models

Here is an ad for a chicken company that is a riff on the famous Dove ad, Evolution.

Surfing, Moby Dick, Horses and Guinness

I Was Told, We'd Cruise the Seas for American Gold

I was watching episode 1 of HBO Sam Adams at end of which, at the end of a public meeting in a church, there is and odd blood thirsty nautical hymn. As a counterpoint to this rebel history is Stan Rogers and his merry crew singing Barrett's Privateers.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Grab and Maul Soft on Treason

In today's Globe and Mail is this very sensitive story on the Riel Rebellion that begins.

It's the site of a pivotal moment in Canadian history, where Louis Riel's provisional government launched the Red River Resistance of 1869 and where Riel ordered the execution of Thomas Scott the next year.

It wasn't "resistance" but a traitorous revolt against Canada. Riel was justly hung as a traitor who took arms against the state, the "armed resistance". Thomas Scott wasn't "executed", that implied some lawful authority, but was lynched by Riel's Metis junta. When many have a misplaced romantic notions about "rebels" let us the remember the unhappy fate of countries with eternal revolutions.

Don't Look Down

On the Paul Krugman board a quidley gives a cartoon analogy to the US current financial mess.

On the subject of economics metaphors and creative destruction, as a non-economist, I've been toying with a series of metaphors for our situation based on what I've read on Prof. Krugman's blog site:

Risky consumers = Wile E. Coyote.

Neocons & supporting corporate culture = The Acme Company

Economic prosperity / capitalist success in the view of Coyote & Acme = Road Runner

Deregulation of known good economic practices = Acme's product line

Bear Sterns, Carlyle Group, etc. = woodsheds full of explosive Acme products

Public scrutiny = a lit match

Insolvency = an explosion which has caused an enormous rock to fall from a precipice

Fed reinforcement of Bear Sterns, etc. = a small, salmon-colored umbrella braced against the coming rock

Bottom falling out of the market = the rock arriving and knocking the Coyote through the floor of an outcropping and into midair

Falling = falling

Market crash = hitting the ground with a white puff

Actual economic prosperity = a large pizza.

Now, if only a massive accounting of The Acme Company was somehow involved in all of this…

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Urge To Kill

The urge to kill is too strong.

Cult of Skaro Dalek Foot Solider

Black Empowerment Philosophy Much Like That of Evil Sci-Fi Monsters

I want to run this city what ever it takes. By any means necessary.

Dalek Stooge Mr Diagoras in Dr Who S03E04

You think like a Dalek
Dalek Caan in Dr Who S03E04

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where To Have Restful Employment

You want to sleep. Join the fire brigade.

DCI Gene Hunt

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Amnesia? Pssh. I think I would remember having amnesia.

Make Your Own Climate and Planet

This image is taken from Geoff Allan Eddy's website, in a section called Create an Earthlike Planet. The best article of which is the Climate Cookbook. There are numerous other links to other imaginary planets and worlds and the technical means to construct them.

The New Romans

Here is a comparison between the history of Rome and that the US. After a point it wanders in to some goofy future history, still worth a read. In one the footnotes there is examination about how the Romans liked things legal and constitutionally even when slipping into empire.

The major accomplishment of Augustus was to organize the Roman government in such a way as to make monarchy palatable to such diehard republicans as the Romans. He couldn't just declare himself king. That would be political suicide. Imagine the outcry -- even among capital-R Republicans -- if George W. Bush held a coronation with a crown and purple robe in the Lincoln Memorial.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Magic Moving Graphs

Gapminder is group that has developed software tools for analyzing statistics over time. The result is often a general convergence. The video is a talk by the Swede behind Gapminder.

Monday, March 10, 2008

From Child Nerd to Adult Loner

Martin was a shy awkward child who will never fulfill his promise to become a weird unloved adult.

Principal Seymour Skinner eulogizing
Martin Prince in Simpsons S19E14

Food Good

Dinnertime, the prefect break between work and drunk.

Homer Simpson in Simpsons S19E14

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Everybody's Inner Desire to be a Serial Murderer

Hacking up a stranger that I can understand.

Charlie Broker giving free rein
to all our homicidal fantasies

Charlie Brooker's Pessimism

"Real Life" is a knobbly old mess full of graft and tedium and unexpected kicks to the nuts, spiritually speaking.

Charlie Brooker discusing "tv" reality.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pointless Accuracy

...his scientific sense of pedantry, meaning he was unable to prevent himself from reflexively correcting Wilkinson even when the correction was also not relevant to the answer.

Men Highly "regarding" Women

Yesterday at about 1:30 pm I was passing thorough the Bloor / Yonge station. There was information picket by Campaign Life. The guys from Campaign Life, only guys were cross section of Toronto, young, old, white, black, tall, short. However in the group at the southbound Yonge track there was not a single woman. Just angry and insecure guys.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Chad Builds New Moat

The government is digging a 10-foot-deep trench around the capital, Ndjamena, to prevent a repeat of an attack last month, when rebels in pickup trucks rolled in and fought two days of heavy battles. The ditch will all but encircle the city, slicing through neighborhoods and forcing vehicles to pass through fortified gateways, a security official said. The remaining trees that line the avenues of central Ndjamena are being felled. Residents say the rebels used trees knocked down by rocket-propelled grenades and cannon fire to block roads during the fighting.

(from the New York Times)

We can laugh however there is still a use for moats in this day and age, as tank traps.

Discover Your Inner Superhero

(from adfreak)

New Name for Mr. IAmADinnerJacket

Johnny Leisure Suit

Jon Stewart

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Policeman's Definition of National Security

If the government is keeping secrets it is probably for our own bloody good.

More Gene Hunt "Humour"

How many birds does it take to change a light bulb?


1 to run around screaming.
1 to shag the electrician.

The Rarified Legal System

Coroners are like judges. They don't breath human air and never ever explain.

Education Surveys And Stupid Historical Errors

I read an alarming story in Slate magazine, What High Schoolers Don't Know, about how today's students are morons who know nothing about literature and history. Then I looked at the questions and realized the people who created the survey are also idiots.

The question that riled me was this:

The first permanent English Colony in North America was
  1. Salem, Massachusetts
  2. Jamestown, Virgina
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  4. Providence, Rhode Island
The answer given is Jamestown. The real answer is St John's Newfoundland. The comments for the article are bitter and pedantic in the good sense obsessing over small points of error, (like I am doing now). However the point is that school history is not meant to teach anything but the prevailing civic ideology. Later the same survey shows that students who had more educated parents were more likely answer the questions correctly.

The Austrian Simpson Humour

On there is this exchange in the entry Austria: Never Forget Thy Past.

"mmm Hapsburgs"

Analytical Engine: