Friday, April 28, 2006

Sweet Republican Hypocrisy

You can't make up stuff this good.
Photo: Yahoo

Hastert Caught Switching Cars
After holding a press conference at a local gas station in Washington, D.C., House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was photographed several blocks away getting out of the hybrid automobile he used at the event and getting back into his gasoline-powered SUV.
came across at: Suburban Guerrilla

Listen to Neil Young's new album

Listen to Neil's new album here:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pink's "Dear Mister President"

I'm not a really big Pink fan. But I do like this video.
Dear Mister President

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Cartoon even Fox and CNN can understand

Using nuclear warheads to attack bunkers, as is reportedly under discussion by insane megalomaniacs(who'll remain unnamed), would kill innocent people -- possibly millions -- and yet not actually accomplish anything. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, they've even made a cartoon that a tv "journalist" can understand. Just click the link.
Thanks to Bob Harris.

Conservative News Network interviews Neil Young

A CNN interview with Neil Young about his upcoming album "Living With War" and it's song "Impeach the President"(which sounds perfectly reasonable to me). I love the way the interviewer actually attempts to smear Neil's patriotism, she actually tries to smear Neil Young, the Neil Young of, "Ohio", "Heart of Gold", "After the Goldrush", "Tonight's the Night" and hundreds more. The man is in the pantheon of Rock and Roll Gods. This CNN bimbo probably doesn't know Neil Young from John Lennon.

Of course I found this on the web since I NEVER go to CNN. I'd as soon watch Faux News.

They've neutered the "News media", Now for the Net

From the BBC the REAL reason the Republicans and the Bush Family Evil Empire(B.F.E.E.) want to "neutrilize" the net.
MyDD tells you what's going on and what you can do. Taylor Marsh of FireDogLake has more.
US plans to 'fight the net' revealed
Adam Brookes BBC Pentagon correspondent

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

Donald "Bloody Hands" Rumsfeld giving his impression of Saruman

The document says information is "critical to military success"
Bloggers beware.
As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer.
From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.
The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.
Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.
The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.
The document says that information is "critical to military success". Computer and telecommunications networks are of vital operational importance.
The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.
All these are engaged in information operations.
Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.
"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.
"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.
The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how.
The Republican vision of Net neutrality.

"In this day and age it is impossible to prevent stories that are fed abroad as part of psychological operations propaganda from blowing back into the United States - even though they were directed abroad," says Kristin Adair of the National Security Archive.
Credibility problem
Public awareness of the US military's information operations is low, but it's growing - thanks to some operational clumsiness.
Late last year, it emerged that the Pentagon had paid a private company, the Lincoln Group, to plant hundreds of stories in Iraqi newspapers. The stories - all supportive of US policy - were written by military personnel and then placed in Iraqi publications.
And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon.
But the true extent of the Pentagon's information operations, how they work, who they're aimed at, and at what point they turn from informing the public to influencing populations, is far from clear.
The roadmap, however, gives a flavour of what the US military is up to - and the grand scale on which it's thinking.
It reveals that Psyops personnel "support" the American government's international broadcasting. It singles out TV Marti - a station which broadcasts to Cuba - as receiving such support.

It recommends that a global website be established that supports America's strategic objectives. But no American diplomats here, thank you. The website would use content from "third parties with greater credibility to foreign audiences than US officials".
It also recommends that Psyops personnel should consider a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet.
'Fight the net'
When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone.
It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system.
"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.
The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dreaming of war & profits?

"Deadeye Dick" Cheney caught in a sleepy head moment at a briefing. Dreaming of money , blood and profits no doubt.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

F.D.A. joins the fight against humane medicine and common sense

Not surpriseingly at all.
The F.D.A. has come out on the side of the D.E.A. and the supreme(Rightwing) court in the fight against the people of the United States who wish to smoke a weed that humans have smoked for thousands of years and has no deaths attributed to it. The Federal government refuses to allow studies of marijuana because they know exactly what those studies will show. I've never really been able to figure out the exact reasons for the Fed's continuing and increasingly hysterical war on pot. Personally the best I can come up with is actually a number of reasons. The war on drugs is BIG business, for cops as well as corporations, prisons as well as all the assorted profit making links. Loyalty to the pharmaceutical companies and their immense profits and copywrited drugs. The confiscation of property laws pulls in an immense amount of money to national and local law enforcement. Loyalty to the oil companies who don't ever want to compete with hemp as a bio-fuel. I could go on those are just reasons I've come up with off the top. The war on marijuana is a federal holding action against a harmless drug that would be of immense help to millions of people in so many ways, some that we don't even know of because as you know we're not allowed to study it.
"Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine, said he had "never met a scientist who would say that marijuana is either dangerous or useless."

Studies clearly show that marijuana has some benefits for some patients, Dr. Piomelli said.

"We all agree on that," he said."
From The New York Times:
F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana

WASHINGTON, April 20 — The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that "no sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of marijuana, contradicting a 1999 review by a panel of highly regarded scientists.

The announcement inserts the health agency into yet another fierce political fight.

Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said Thursday's statement resulted from a past combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and research agencies that concluded "smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment."

Ms. Bro said the agency issued the statement in response to numerous inquiries from Capitol Hill but would probably do nothing to enforce it.

"Any enforcement based on this finding would need to be by D.E.A. since this falls outside of F.D.A.'s regulatory authority," she said.

Eleven states have legalized medicinal use of marijuana, but the Drug Enforcement Administration and the director of national drug control policy, John P. Walters, have opposed those laws.

A Supreme Court decision last year allowed the federal government to arrest anyone using marijuana, even for medical purposes and even in states that have legalized its use."

"Dr. John Benson, co-chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee that examined the research into marijuana's effects, said in an interview that the statement on Thursday and the combined review by other agencies were wrong.

The federal government "loves to ignore our report," said Dr. Benson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "They would rather it never happened."

Some scientists and legislators said the agency's statement about marijuana demonstrated that politics had trumped science.

"Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the F.D.A. making pronouncements that seem to be driven more by ideology than by science," said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a medical professor at Harvard Medical School.

Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, a New York Democrat who has sponsored legislation to allow medicinal uses of marijuana, said the statement reflected the influence of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which he said had long pressured the F.D.A. to help in its fight against marijuana."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Custodians of chaos

Custodians of chaos
Kurt Vonnegut
.."Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was not yet four, ran five times as the Socialist party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, almost 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:
"As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.
"As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it.
"As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
Doesn't anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools, or health insurance for all? When you get out of bed each morning, with the roosters crowing, wouldn't you like to say. "As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
How about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. And so on. Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly George W Bush, Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld stuff. For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break! It so happens that idealism enough for anyone is not made of perfumed pink clouds. It is the law! It is the US Constitution. But I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'état imaginable."
"..I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end:
"C-Students from Yale".
George W Bush has gathered around him upper-crust Cstudents who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences. To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, published in 1941. Read it! Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything. PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care."
"..So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called In These Times. Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic New York Times guaranteed there were weapons of mass destruction there. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the first world war. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the first world war so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you? Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too. I am a veteran of the second world war and I have to say this is not the first time I have surrendered to a pitiless war machine. My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse." Napalm came from Harvard. VeritasOur president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?"


Truth cloaks itself in paradox, lies in deception, poetry in obscurity, love in self-effacement. Everything important remains masked. - Nick Piombino


Thanks to Billman
On Iran's "Nu-cu-lear" ambitions

..."the scary-sounding "16 days" meme has been successfully inserted into the lizard-like brainstem of the corporate media, and will soon be sledgehammered into the consciousness of the American people through the force of brute repetition.
Clearly, the maestros who craft these propaganda campaigns understand well that the power of a narrative is in the specifics -- 16 days, 45 minutes, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX gases.

This is just good, solid storytelling. Or to put it another way: If you're going to lie, be concrete. "
- billmon

Even by the corrupt and debased standards of our times, this is a remarkable thing. The U.S. government is planning aggressive nuclear war (the neocons can give it whatever doublespeak name they like, but it is what it is); those plans have been described in some detail in a major magazine and on the front page of the Washington Post; the most the President of the United States is willing to say about it is that the reports are "speculative" (which is not a synonym for "untrue") and yet as I write these words the lead story on the CNN web site is:
ABC pushes online TV envelope
ABC is going to offer online streams of some of its most popular television shows, including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," for free the day after they first air on broadcast TV. It appears our long national journey towards complete idiocy is over. We've arrived.
- billmon

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Who would a crony hire? Their daughter of course.

So who would Cheney/Bush the most crony embedded administration in the history of the country (if not the world) hire to oversee their Iranian propaganda campaign? Why Liz Cheney (the non-gay one) of course.
From the NYTimes

U.S. Program Is Directed at Altering Iran's Politics
WASHINGTON, April 8 — As the Bush administration confronts the Tehran government over its suspected nuclear weapons program and accusations that it supports terrorism, a newly created office of Iranian affairs in the State Department is poring over applications for a rapidly expanding program to change the political process inside Iran.

The project, which will spend $7 million in the current fiscal year, would become many times larger next year if Congress approves a broad request for $85 million that the Bush administration has requested for scholarships, exchange programs, radio and television broadcasts and other activities aimed at shaking up Iran's political system.

The effort, overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, a deputy assistant secretary of state who is a daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, has been denounced by Iran's leaders as meddling in their internal affairs.
Noticed at Daily Kos

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Bravest Woman in the World

Truth to power. Common sense to religous insanity and suicide bombers.

The video was filmed on February 21, 2006, by Al-Jazeera (Qatar). It is some of the most remarkable footage you will ever see.

"I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being"

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings."
"You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs. ... The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blows himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

--Wafa Sultan, Arab American psychiatrist

From Taylor Marsh:
Ms. Sultan considers herself "secular," not religious, which adds another interesting facet to what you're hearing and watching. Her forcefulness and frank speaking has not been seen anywhere. Again, it's simply remarkable. That she's a woman taking on Islamic scholar Dr. Ibrhim Al-Khouli, on Al-Jazeera, is stunning.


Dr. Wafa Sultan is in hiding, fearful for her life and the safety of her family, after she lambasted the roots of radical Islam during a debate televised on Al-Jazeera last month. Dr. Sultan is leading a struggle to create a new reality in the Islamic world, which she believes should be led by none other than the women it has oppressed for so long. (source)


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

From Current TV | What's Wrong With Captivity?

"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be determined by the way it treat's it's animals"
-Mahatma Gandhi

Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House

Just when you think these thugs have shown all they've got. More (Repub)bugs crawl out from under the rocks. Ladies and gentlemen, Bushco is hereafter known as the THUG administration. Richard Nixon was a saint compared to these people.
From truthout:
" Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show.
The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 - as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.
The national Republican Party, which paid millions in legal bills to defend Tobin, says the contacts involved routine election business and that it was "preposterous" to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.
The Justice Department has secured three convictions in the case but hasn't accused any White House or national Republican officials of wrongdoing, nor made any allegations suggesting party officials outside New Hampshire were involved. The phone records of calls to the White House were exhibits in Tobin's trial but prosecutors did not make them part of their case.
Democrats plan to ask a federal judge Tuesday to order GOP and White House officials to answer questions about the phone jamming in a civil lawsuit alleging voter fraud.
Repeated hang-up calls that jammed telephone lines at a Democratic get-out-the-vote center occurred in a Senate race in which Republican John Sununu defeated Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, 51 percent to 46 percent, on Nov. 5, 2002.
Besides the conviction of Tobin, the Republicans' New England regional director, prosecutors negotiated two plea bargains: one with a New Hampshire Republican Party official and another with the owner of a telemarketing firm involved in the scheme. The owner of the subcontractor firm whose employees made the hang-up calls is under indictment.
The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became President Bush's presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004. Other calls from New Hampshire senatorial campaign offices to the White House could have been made by a number of people."

Continue at truthout:

Sunday, April 09, 2006


I love this little door puzzle from Pharyngula


Here's an entirely hypothetical scenario.

You're in a room with two exits, marked Door A and Door B. By each is a guardian, Guardian A and Guardian B. You need to go through one of the doors.

Door A is light and flimsy, easy to open—just turn the knob and you're through it. Reasonably enough, before charging through, you ask Guardian A what's on the other side.

"Joy and delight, an eternal life of perfect happiness, an end to doors and constant traveling…and all you have to do is turn that little knob, and believe."

That sounds too good to be true, so you ask him how he knows, and whether he has been through the door.

"No, not yet, I can only go once my tour of duty here is done. But I dream of it every night, and I can also tell you that almost everyone who has come here has gone through Door A."

You want confirmation, so you turn to Guardian B and ask if that's true.

"Yes," he says, "most people do go through Door A. I don't know if it's true about what's on the other side, though."

Door B is rather imposing: it's a huge steel block, bristling with locks and complicated gadgets. It looks like it's going to take a lot of time and cleverness and strength to get it open. It's so intimidating, you're not even sure that you'll be able to figure out how to open it. You ask Guardian B if it's as difficult as it looks.

"Oh, man, yes…it's hard. At least it was when I was your age—now I've had so much practice at it that I can go through this door easily, all the time. I'm afraid I can't just open it for you, though. I can give you suggestions and hints, but you really do have to do all the work yourself. It's a kind of admissions test to see if you'll be able to cope on the other side."

This is not entirely encouraging, and you hope there's something as good as joy and delight beyond the door, so you ask what's over there.

"Knowledge," says Guardian B. "Hard work. Interesting ideas. And doors—many more doors, each one harder than the next, and no end to them in sight. Clever people, all working together to open more doors. It's a whole world, a good but complicated place."

Guardian A screams, "HE LIES! There's a tiger on the other side that will kill and eat you. I think it's on fire, too. And worst of all, if you go through Door B, you'll never get to experience the beautiful life behind Door A. Guardian B is evil, and he wants you to suffer!"

Guardian B just rolls his eyes. He's heard this before.

"Look, kid, Guardian A means well, but he doesn't know anything. I've told you the truth about what's behind my door; maybe ol' A is right about what's behind his door, but all I've ever seen when someone opens Door A is a dark room beyond. You get to make the choice, at least so far—A and his friends want to seal off my door to 'protect' all the travelers who come through here."

Your choice. What door do you go through?

Go to the source, the comments there are excellent also


Friday, April 07, 2006

Cy-The Cyborg Kitty

Cy(cyborg) kitten: Cy, short for Cyclops, a kitten born with only one eye and no nose, is shown in this photo provided by its owner in Redmond, Oregon, on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005. The kitten, a ragdoll breed, which died after living for one day. A few days ago the owner of the kitten sold Cy's remains to The Lost World Museum.

"The Oregon woman who owned the kitten said she turned down Ripley's Believe it or Not! and sold the remains to John Adolfi of Granby because she liked his religious reasons for wanting them.

"We didn't want Cy becoming a joke or part of a personal collection," Traci Allen said. "But John was so heartfelt, you could tell he was genuine and sincere..."

Other exhibits will include giant plants and eggs, deformed animal remains and archaeological finds, Adolfi said."

Thanks to BoingBoing

Jill Carroll Homecoming Video

This video shows Jill Carroll(the reporter who was released from Iraqi captors) re-uniting with her family. Very sweet.

Jill Carroll video:
Click on the video link and not the pic.
"Hey Jill you're so fine
you're so fine you blow my mind
Hey Jill, Hey Jill"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fake TV News | I know, probably all fake

Fake TV News: Findings
Video News Releases
"From June 2005 to March 2006, the Center for Media and Democracy documented television newsrooms' use of selected video news releases(VNRs) and satellite media tour (SMT) "interviews." While these 36 examples represent less than one percent of VNRs offered to newsrooms each year, this report provides the most comprehensive survey of fake TV news to date."
Fake tv News
and Atrios

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Baghdad by Night | Neocon paradise?

From NPR's Mixed Signals.
Baghdad by Night
NPR Baghdad producer JJ Sutherland sends this dispatch from the dark side.

I get a call the other night. They've found four more bodies in western Baghdad. They're bound, hands and feet. They're blindfolded. They've been shot in the head. Their bodies bear wounds from beatings and electrical burns, and someone has used a drill on their flesh. That's just one phone call. I get a few more. Every night it seems, dozens of bodies turn up, both Shiite and Sunni, often killed in the same fashion.
We spoke with a journalist recently who works for an Iraqi television station. For the last nine days, he's been sleeping at the office. He's been threatened with death because of his work and he doesn't want to bring the danger home to his parents and six sisters. He told the Ministry of the Interior about the threat. They told him to get a gun.
"Death is the simplest thing now in Iraq. A bullet in the head is nothing, especially against journalists. So crying and sadness are the norm," he said to us. Later he added, "I have been in love for the last four years but my conditions don't allow me to marry... not because of money, but because of how things are going on. There is no stability and you never know when a civil war will break out."
A friend of mine tells me today that he's bought weapons for his family and is teaching his wife, who hates to even hold a knife, to fire a gun. The day before yesterday, Sunni insurgents burst into one family's home. The husband was killed, and then they set his body on fire. They didn't bother killing the wife and four children first. They burned them alive.
My friend tells me this story and says, "I can understand someone who gets killed. I can understand beheadings. I can't understand burning someone alive." I'm stunned ... both by his story and by the fact that killings and beheadings are understandable. Burning people alive apparently violates some behavioral norm that says chopping people's heads off is okay.
It is becoming very clear to me that war can shatter a society and what it becomes as it puts itself back together can become a warped malefic grotesquerie -- a social organism that eagerly eats itself alive.
Continue with comments:

Programmable Beverage Containers

Wow, and wow. I like this idea. Especially the double dose of caffiene.
From BoingBoing:

Ipifini's Programmable Liquid Container technology employs buttons on the container's surface that release additives (flavors, colors, fragrances) into the liquid. Additive buttons allow for the consumer to choose variations of the liquid in the container at the point of consumption. For example, a programmable cola bottle with buttons for lemon, lime, vanilla, and cherry flavors as well as a caffeine button allows for thirty-two potential choices of soda. A programmable paint container with twenty pigment additive buttons allows the consumer to choose from one million colors.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Largest Study of Prayer to Date Finds It Has No Power to Heal

$2.5 million study at six hospitals, largest ever, 1800 patients involved:

The largest study yet on the therapeutic power of prayer by strangers has found that it provided no benefit to the recovery of patients who had undergone cardiac bypass surgery.

In an unexpected twist, patients who knew prayers were being said for them had more complications after surgery than those who did not know, researchers reported Thursday.

The complications were minor, and doctors surmised that they could have been caused by the increased stress on patients worried that their conditions were so bad they needed prayers.
"The study was designed as a randomized and blinded trial, meaning that most patients did not know whether someone was praying for them or not. Such trials are considered the gold standard for scientific proof.

More than 1,800 patients were divided into three groups: those who were told someone was praying for them; those who were told only that someone might pray for them and got prayers; and those who were told someone might pray for them but received no prayers. About 65% of the patients said they strongly believed in the power of prayer."
Hard as it may be to get over the pleasurable egotism of believing otherwise, apparently the gods do not actually give us all emergency red phones.

Another from Bob Harris among others, quite a few Bloggers linked to this one.

Coral reefs: "an unprecedented die-off"

Global warming is killing coral reefs: "an unprecedented die-off"

Thanks in large part to global warming, at least one-third of the coral in the Caribbean, much of it many centuries old and virtually irreplaceable, has died in the last year.
A mound several feet high of star lobed coral at Buck Island Reef National Monument in St. Croix, Virgin Island, that was bleached and stressed in the fall of 2005 because of record-hot waters in the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, colonies of 800-year-old star lobed coral died from the bleaching.

"It's an unprecedented die-off," said National Park Service fisheries biologist Jeff Miller, who last week checked 40 stations in the Virgin Islands. "The mortality that we're seeing now is of the extremely slow-growing reef-building corals. These are corals that are the foundation of the reef ... We're talking colonies that were here when Columbus came by have died in the past three to four months.

Thanks to Bob Harris for the depressing news of the day

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