Sunday, October 31, 2004

Rising iPod lifts all boats - A nice article on the SPAWN of the iPod: the impressive array of accessories that make the iPod yet more desirable over its competition.

Croatian pop star wants home sex video shown in court - Yes, that's right - I did a double take on this one, anyway, instead of immediately hitting google in a frenzy. However, the star, Severina Vuckovic, apparently wants the video to be shown to prove whether or not a website broadcasting it was violating her copyright:
In a separate motion, the defendants also asked that a court-appointed sex expert see the video to determine if Vuckovic had "demonstrated anything not previously seen in the porn industry", which could qualify for copyright, Hina said.

"I do not think she has shown any new sexual art," the portal's owner, Matija Babic, told the agency.

The stills and whole 11-minute video clip quickly became the hottest Internet item in the former Yugoslav republic, where Vuckovic is a sex symbol but has often projected a modest and religious image.
- Ah, the silliness continues of trying to shut down the inter-web. Would life be better if celebrities just kept their private smut collections to themselves, and we wouldn't have to go through this? Certainly not for Ms. Vukovic's new fans, but maybe for the rest of us.

Friday, October 29, 2004

this month's national geographic is SO. HAWT.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Errol Morris has over 50 "Switch" commercials for Kerry supporters who had voted for Bush - So....hawt! Any favorites?
(via BoingBoing)

Huge amount of explosives missing in Iraq - The brilliant execution of this pseudo-war continues..

Update: CEO of Marsh & McLennan resigns - Thus asserting that Eliot Spitzer's recommendation to "take a long hard look at the leadership" simply ain't one you screw with. The new CEO? Spitzer's ex-boss from the 1980s. Maybe he can appease the RAGE.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Firefox aims for 10% of the browser market in one year - I wouldn't say the browser wars are back, but maybe some skirmishes are starting:
Decrem said the recent interest in Firefox validates Netscape's decision to open the source code of its Communicator software in 1998.

"Netscape open-sourced the source code to 'harness the power' of the open-source community," said Decrem. "Now, six years later, this vision is finally coming into fruition. To get over the finish line we needed a non-profit organisation, which allows us to build new partnerships and do innovative marketing."

Rehnquist hospitalized for cancer surgery - Whoa...didn't see this comin'@#(&*$

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mapping votes by county - A very, VERY well presented article with lots of pretty pictures on why standard mapping of who wins and who loses in an election can be extremely deceptive. The author uses the CA recall election's county-wide result, which shows Schwarzenegger kicking far more ass than he really did, and shows alternative ways of mapping which are pret-ty FREAKing cool.

Pixar's Mr. Incredible may yet rewrite the Apple story - A BIZNIZ article..only worth the read if you don't read everything else I post here ;> ;>
The year 1991 would be important. Mr. Lasseter felt that Pixar was ready to try an hourlong television special and made a pitch to Disney. But Disney had a counteroffer: Why not do a full-length movie whose production Disney would finance? Thus was born "Toy Story," the first in a three-picture deal between Pixar and Disney. From this point on, Mr. Jobs had a brilliant vision of how Pixar could become a great animation studio itself.
Filled with the slightest specks of EisnerLUV, though they won't refer to him by name :>>

Music labels said to be next on Spitzer's scrutiny list - Specifically, their practice of getting their own songs on the radio airwaves, which incidentally keeps indies out. Pseudo-collusive behavior, anyone? How can you not give tremendous LUVE to this guy?

Update: Spitzer bit off less than what he could chew, contrary to initial reaction - Marsh's CEO, one of the most entrenched CEOs in the business due to having family members control two of the largest insurance companies, someone who it should have been exceptionally difficult to get out of power, is set to go:
According to people close to the investigation, in a first contact with Mr. Spitzer, an independent director asked the attorney general, "What's it going to take to settle this?''
So hawt it makes me want to RAGE!@#

Senators concerned about 1984'ing certain prisoners:
Sen. John McCain said interrogations can help extract crucial information from detainees on plans for attacks against Americans. But international law, including the Geneva Conventions, must be followed, he said.

''These conventions and these rules are in place for a reason because you get on a slippery slope and you don't know where to get off,'' McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC's ''This Week.''

''The thing that separates us from the enemy is our respect for human rights,'' he said.

Update: New York Times finally breaks into Google News's rankings - There had been a post about this earlier about how the Times had been suffering because it couldn't get onto the damn page, but I couldn't find it. A li'l help, v-twin?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Vote drive company under investigation - This is the one which shot to fame in Nevada:
Sproul declined to name the states in which his company conducted registration drives. His political consulting firm was founded last year and has received nearly $500,000 from the RNC since July, according to federal election records.
With more and more ex-workers talking about mass-scale tampering of voter registration cards...

Flu shortage estimated to cost the US $20 billion - Feel the economicks LUV...this is why it's a gOOd idea to have this under control.

ACLU sues FBI over secret interviews of Muslims - hawt hawt hawt!#@

Friday, October 22, 2004

The response to Move America Forward: Win Back Respect - It features cute fluffy kittens instead of Kerry and Hitler, but there are actually a few that are quite effective. Any thoughts?

Sinclair Broadcasting Group: rOxxOred but unbowed:

Special on Vietnam POWs to air tonight (has excerpts from Stolen Honor) - That's their press release where the CEO whines about free speech being suppressed. Considering this is the same company that blocked an ABC Nightline special honoring the war dead, that whine sounds a bit hollow.

In the meanwhile...:

1) Sinclair sued for copyright violation - for taking images without permission from George Butler (Going Upriver), a longtime Kerry chronicler.

2) Lawsuit filed against Sinclair executives for insider trading - By a lawyer with ties to the Democratic party - he claimsthe timing was coincidental, of course.

3) FCC warns Sinclair on film - Warns of consequences if program violates regulations (As it cannot actually prevent SBGI from transmitting the piece).

4) Consumers Union gets in on the matter - Holds poll showing almost 80% want Sinclair to give Kerry equal airtime.

5) Sinclair stock holds steady at $7.15

The universe celebrates its 6000th year in existence (via Fark)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Eminem: "Bush is definitely not my homie" - but is undecided as to whether to vote for Kerry.

Tenet: Iraq war "wrong" - In other words, "slam dunk" no more?@#

Rumors suggest Clinton's eyeing UN Secretary-General post - If that were the case, it'd happen only if Kerry won, and it would be so AWEsome@#

Bill Clinton will rise to aid Kerry - Let's hope this works out. This article is notable for a reference to what Ashcroft has said to be the reason behind the Bush Administration's successful defense against terrorism post-9/11:
"For three years our nation has been blessed," Mr Ashcroft told the US chamber of commerce in Washington. "But the hand of providence has been assisted by the dedicated men and women of the department of justice. In three years, we have compiled a record of achievement that is impressive by peacetime standards."
I'd prefer the hand of providence to assist our law enforcement instead of relying on it happening the other way around.

Former Republican Senator from Kentucky writes about his choice for 2004 - Hint: Says he's "scared to death" of Bush.

Jef Raskin (Macintosh creation team) in a short interview:
Perhaps the longest surviving legacy of your original design is its "appliance" nature. Has this simplicity of design been key to the Mac's popularity?

Yes, but unfortunately, the Mac is now a mess. A third party manual (Pogue's The Missing Manual) is nearly 1,000 pages, and far from complete. Apple now does development by accretion, and there is only a little difference between using a Mac and a Windows machine.
Worth a glance, definitely.

Witness says CIA oversaw abOOse at Abu Ghraib - Thoughts?

Thugs attempt to mug karate instructor:
Nordstrand tried to give his attackers a warning. "Do you want karate?" he asked.

One of the robbers did, but it was a bad mistake.

"I kicked him straight under the chin and into the throat," Nordstrand said. The gang of thugs scarpered into the Suva darkness.
That's pretty much the hilight right there..movin' right along@#

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

All the Presidents' spawn - I've entertained too many discussions about this not to post this...against my better judgment. The article's a brief history of First children, and the occasionally not-quite-pure thoughts the nation harbors about them. Or at least some in the nation ;)
This year, there's no more pussyfooting around. The high-collared rags of Puritan values have been stripped from both sides of the aisle, and we have an out-and-out challenge between John Kerry and George Bush's sexually viable spawn: it's about sex and about beauty and bodies and clothes and great smiles and throaty laughs.

Michael Stackpole reveals who he'll be voting for - This is HAWT, and well-written, too. Logical, concise, and to-the-point from a conservative thinkmachine.
(Thanks, Begemotike!)

Pat Robertson and Bush in Iraq snafu - Pat Robertson says God told him "[Iraq] was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," yet Bush told him there weren't going to be any casualties. The Bush campaign disputes Bush ever made the comment. God has not released a statement regarding the matter.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Without a Doubt - Ron Suskind, who wrote The Price of Loyalty, about Paul O'Neill's term as Secretary of Treasury in the Bush Administration, has written a lengthy and fascinating article about Bush's presidency, his faith, his conviction, and what it can mean for four more years.

Imagining America if George Bush picked the Supreme Court:
He suggested, despite many Supreme Court rulings to the contrary, that the First Amendment prohibition on establishing a religion may not apply to the states. If it doesn't, the states could adopt particular religions, and use tax money to proselytize for them. Justices Scalia and Thomas have also argued against basic rights of criminal suspects, like the Miranda warning about the right to remain silent.

Women arrested for wearing inappropriate t-shirts to Bush rally - Fark gave this one a "Scary" label, but I'd go with "Ironic," myself - The SIN that was written on the t-shirts? "Please protect our civil liberties"...UnnNNgh!#

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Creationism: Reloaded - In dept with Intelligent Design (or ID) - The next generation of "creation science" that's entering America's classrooms for equal time with Darwin. o.O

Karl Rove in a corner - A fascinating, fascinating read about Karl Rove, Bush's Brain Child, and a history of the races he's won, the heads that are mounted on his wall, and the tactics he's used to do it, and what it bodes for John Kerry's remaining two weeks as challenger to the President.
Karl Rove is at his most formidable when running close races, and his skills would be notable even if he used no extreme methods. But he does use them. His campaign history shows his willingness, when challenged, to employ savage tactics
Sex-ay!#@ Any thoughts on the matter?

Bizniz risks seen for Sinclair Broadcasting Group's Anti-Kerry Documentary:
Ultimately, however, most investors care little about the politics of a company, except when it interferes with making money. Barry Lucas, senior vice president for research at Gabelli & Company, a major Sinclair shareholder, summarized his philosophy as: "Make money, not news."

"My point of view is simple,'' he said. "I am apolitical on this, but I don't like to see media companies above the fold on Page 1."'s what it's about@

Disney suit set to air some rather dirty laundry:
The trial will include a parade of more than 30 witnesses - among them Mr. Ovitz and Mr. Eisner as well as the actor and director Sidney Poitier. More than 35 lawyers and witnesses are expected to show up in the small courtroom in Georgetown, Del., each day.

Who gets to talk about Mary Cheney?
Cheney had genially acknowledged the remarks of Senator John Edwards after he complimented the Cheneys for standing by their "gay daughter." Friends of the Cheneys insist that the Vice President was actually peeved by Edwards' remark, but chose to hold his tongue. "He was ostensibly being gracious," said a Cheney ally. "But he was really saying, 'You're a punk.'"
I personally hadn't thought Cheney was the kinda guy to say, "Thank you" when he meant to say "You're a punk," but hey!#@

By popular demand: VOTE SMART - Use it. Love it. And keep in mind the presidential race has two horses in it. ;)

As I've previously complained about, instead of bothering to give these Gitmo detainees hearings as required by law, the Department of Justice has resorted simply letting them go. The effect?

Released Gitmo prisoner now taking hostages in Pakistan.

Good job, Ashcroft. :
Light adds: Pengaton now reports seven former Gitmo detainees have returned to terror - How did the Pentagon let them go? Well...apparently, they signed pledges to renounce violence. ?#¿^?

v-twin sez: haha ?@#$%?

Times investigation reveals widespread abuse at Guantanamo Bay - Workers, guards, and intelligence agents at Gitmo spoke about a variety of harsh interrogation techniquese being used widely, in contrast to claims by the government that there were only isolated uses of them. This includes procedures where prisoners were stripped, shackled, exposed to ear-splitting music, extreme cold, and flashing lights for up to 14 hours at a time:
"It fried them,'' the official said, who said that anger over the treatment the prisoners endured was the reason for speaking with a reporter. Another person familiar with the procedure who was contacted by The Times said: "They were very wobbly. They came back to their cells and were just completely out of it.''
So hawt!

Let us keep in mind that almost three months after the historic Supreme court ruling which mandated hearings for Gitmo detainees to challenge their status as "enemy combatants," the government has dragged their feet to the point where none of those who requested hearings have gotten their day in court (Source):
Less than half the detainees with lawyers have been given the government's reason for holding them; the government has broken a court-ordered Sept. 30 deadline to justify most of those detentions..
"The government says it's very complicated, they need security clearance issues worked out, et cetera, et cetera," said Don Rehkopf, a military law expert with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the attorney who helped get espionage charges against a serviceman at Guantanamo Bay dismissed. "That's garbage. The government is coming up with more and more excuses, and changing the rules on a daily basis."
Incidentally, the source's also worth a whirl ;).

Extensive Knight-Ridder review finds Iraq post-war planning "non-existent" - Perhaps it's an obvious statement, but now there's actually a serious look as to whether there was any serious planning that had been followed. This is a great read, with gems such as: Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing [on operation Iraq] showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."
"We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.
BugMeNot, if needed.

v-twin sez: it's worth noting that knight-ridder was one of the few media outlets that greeted the build-up to war in iraq with some incredulity (compared to the free pass the nyt and others have since apologized for).

New York Times endorses John Kerry - Hardly a surprise, I know, but they do have a nice clean style of writing that I like. And they've done an exceptionally good job of making a clean and concise argument for John Kerry.
Senator John Kerry goes toward the election with a base that is built more on opposition to George W. Bush than loyalty to his own candidacy. But over the last year we have come to know Mr. Kerry as more than just an alternative to the status quo. We like what we've seen.
Dunno about you, but an intro like that one makes me want to keep reading@#

Ain't it Cool interviews Bryan Singer - The guy who directed the Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-men, X2, and is now working on WB's Superman, whose production saga has been nearly as drama-filled as the possible story line. Worth the read.

The part involving hand-wringing for me, however, is that he almost certainly won't do X3/4 :<

v-twin sez: the sad thing is, WHEDON won't, either:
“After looking deep into my heart, I realized that Fox did not ask me to write and direct ‘X3’,” Whedon confessed.

Terror fears don't trump Constitution, court rules - So....hawt!@
"We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War of Terror is over, because the War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over," Judge Gerald Tjoflat wrote for the three-member court. "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country."

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs passes British censor board uncut - Huzzah! In an earlier article on 9 songs and Winterbottom, the director (24-Hour Party People) described why the film's exceptionally explicit scenes were necessary for the film.

Newmarket's got distribution rights for the film, and should be coming at some point.

Light adds: In the meanwhile, the female lead, Margot Stilley, an American student in the UK, has been caught off-guard with the rapidly growing interest in her. She had requested her name be kept off the credits, but it was revealed at Cannes. The consequences are described in a rather amusing article on this matter as she spoke out:
...On Tuesday, tabloid headlines gleefully announced the arrival of the "Muckiest Film Ever" and the "Rudest Film Ever to Hit Our Cinemas". By yesterday Fleet Street's finest had caught up with friends and family in Margo Stilley's native North Carolina. "Mother of Beauty in 'Real Sex' Film Shocker Prays For Her ... Oh God! Oh God!" trumpeted the Daily Express, on startlingly baroque form. "My Prayers For 'Porn' Daughter" and "Bible Belt Mum's Fear For Her Sex Movie Daughter", were the contributions from the Daily Mirror.

Stilley is plainly shocked by her first encounter with Her Majesty's press. "My mother has even had to call up the school where my little brothers go to ask them not to let people into the school to talk to them. There are guerrilla photographers following my family around. I have managed to get myself into a mess."
The article's worth a read just to see what happens when the (real) hardcore paparazzi collide with gentle ol' Americans. :>

In so far as whether Ms. Stilley has a future in the moving picture business? Maybe - she's already been signed on for Mr. Winterbottom's next film - whether this translates to a career of consequence or not remains to be seen.

Netflix stock drops 40% with CEO predicting Amazon's entrance to market - Netflix cut the price of their subscriptions in preparation of that event, as well. This is a fantastic move by, and one they should have done earlier - They already have a better distribution system in place than Netflix, and their website's system of recommendations and current services is far, far better than Netflix. What more, adding this division will be relatively inexpensive (because they have most of the infrastructure in place), which begs the question (again) of what took them so long. I can see DVD rentals integrating itself VERY well with Amazon's current business.

Incidentally, I see this as yet another first-innovator of a field being pWned. :>

How to defend yourself with a cane - Walking-stick self defense comes to town. With lots of pretty pictures, and it's pretty long, giving various different situations with attackers of variable knowledge of the way of the umbrella as man's best sidearm. After the sawed off shotgun.
(via Fark)

Great Lakes being invaded by vicious alien monstrosities - The most recent scare is a fish lovingly dubbed "Frankenfish."
...which can survive the cold Midwest winter and eats other fish, frogs and even birds and mammals. If it breeds, it could devour game fish and devastate the lakes' multibillion-dollar fishing industry.
It also can survive without water, and wriggle across land. TOX.

Apple's HAWT quarterly earnings, and some notes of interest from the conference call. Thoughts?

Pennsylvania. Ohio. Florida. Win two, be President. - The fairly detailed analysis has a many more nuances, but that's the takeaway I got.

Goldman Sachs goes green - How Goldman Sachs showed SOUL..
Henry M. Paulson Jr., Goldman's chairman, added, "Sometimes doing the right thing is good business."
...It's a coincidence, really! ;>

Halloween on Sunday irks the Bible belt - with some locations moving the day up to October 30 in order for it not to fall on Sunday.
"You just don't do it on Sunday," said Sandra Hulsey of Greenville, Ga. "That's Christ's day. You go to church on Sunday, you don't go out and celebrate the devil. That'll confuse a child."

Fox screws up - The network is moving to fire the producer who sued Bill O'Reilly for sexual harassment. What the hell?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Chris Rock to host the Oscars - HAWT. Of course, my mOOd today suggests Jon Stewart should be the man of the moment, but thazzcoo@#

Jon Stewart of 'The Daily Show' rips 'Crossfire' a new one - He was invited onto the show to explain what he really thinks about Tucker and Lou, and he did. Totally pWning the two hosts while they're at it. This guy's speaking powers are quite AWEsome - he had Bill O'Reilly talking about puppets voting Republican in Florida, and since he was invited to let loose about 'Crossfire', Stewart explained that he thought their show was hurting the country.
Paul Begala tried to put a more conciliatory face on things by pointing out that theirs was a "debate" show. Stewart was having none of it. "I would love to see a real debate show," he said. And went on to tell them that instead of holding politicians' feet to the fire by asking tough question, "you're part of their strategy. You're partisan -- what's the word? -- uh, hacks."
That's only one of many gems, but one that I found to be particularly LUV-inducing. Torrent links are up here and here, but I expect them to expire in a week. iFilm stream's up here. Come get 'em while they're hawt hawt hawt!@

(Much thanks to BB)

PS. There's a reason why I didn't link to the transcript - because the video is really worth it without the transcript to ruin the moments for jOO. Watch it :>>

Platoon refuses orders in Iraq - UES, this is why it's gOOd to increase the number of active-duty soldiers, so you don't have in Wal-Mart employees finding themselves in Wally's World one day, and delivering supplies in a place called I-Raq a week later.

Gallery of George Bush bulges - A nice gallery of the suspicious bulge/auxillary brain/battery that pokes out of Bush's back and is visible during the debates (not just the first one, but all three), and elsewhere.

BB: How to get off the federal "no fly" list - So...hawt:
This article on MSNBC indicates that getting off the controversial "do-not-fly-list" is as simple as modifying your name. Add a middle initial or a suffix, and you'll b0rk the data management system. The system seems to be so poorly designed that it cannot prevent false positives -- but may also allow an actual terrorist to slip past by just inserting a middle initial.

First partially effective malaria vaccine developed - Whoa! BIG news, as malaria kills over a million annually. Preventing malaria in around 58% of those inoculated (as this vaccine does) is a huge breakthrough. Thank you Glaxo, Govt. of Mozambique, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ;)

TOX: Man defends house against repossessor with chainsaw, gasoline bombs

Quentin Tarantino's Diary - It's a fake, but it's amusing enough that even his publicist approves. Well worth the read (if you're into reading blogs) :>
(via Time Magazine)

Eliot "The Man" Spitzer sues Marsh, his first insurance company - So...hawt!# In one of the alleged scams was entering fictitious bids in order to win one (more gruesome details). Spitzer also notes this behavior appears across the industry:
"The insurance industry needs to take a long, hard look at itself," Spitzer said. "If the practices identified in our suit are as widespread as they appear to be, then the industry's fundamental business model needs major corrective action and reform."

And you wonder why I have some RESPECT, Sicilian-style, for this man?@

Light adds: Let us remember, in the darkest days of Enron et al. Time Magazine's Crusader of the Year: Eliot Spitzer - UnnNNngGH@#

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Intel cancels 4GHz Pentium 4 - Whoa...didn't see that coming, despite all their issues this year..@#%^

v-twin sez: i gotta say, i did see that one comin@# more ACK-u-rately, wes felter saw it comin a month ago and i listened. check out the linked graph and all will become clear.

Bush's lead in futures markets narrow after debates - Fairly substantially, too, from around a $30 gap to about $10. Kerry's stock's hit a 7-week high, in the meantime.

Vintage Christian sex instruction LPs (from BoingBoing) - Amusement factor's definitely greater than the depression factor arising from wasting precious minutes of your finite life following the link.

One in hundred adults asexual?

v-twin sez: whoa. wtf@#$ (i'd like to come up with a more cogent response, but right now, that's all i gotz@#)

Cheney referred to daughter's sexuality during campaign - So, in other words, I'm going to trumpet my family, but when my opponent thanks me for loving my family, he's taking advantage of me. Why do I not buy this "playing victim" game?

Light adds: But nevertheless, the spin succeeds: Poll shows 60%+ disapprove of Kerry's reference to Mary Cheney - We'll see how much this hurts Kerry for the election. One can hope that people will step back and note that Kerry kicked ass and took names in the three debates as a whole instead of fixating on Mary Cheney. Pardon me for sounding cynical and pretentious, but over the course of this campaign, I've already seen people fixate on how Kerry pretended to put his life on the line by getting shot and receive shrapnel wounds while failing to step back and notice that Kerry went to Vietnam; Bush didn't. I've seen people fixate on how Kerry flip-flops, while failing to step back and notice how Bush flip-flops as well, etc.

iTunes Music Store appears to be selling album-only singles - The first step towards throwing Metallica et al a bone when they say they want to protect the album format?

v-twin sez: this is new?@#$

Arab-Americans drop support for Bush - While this may be the obvious statement of the day, it apparently isn't - over 35% apparently still support Dubya, and I'm surprised Iraq has been the only issue amongst American (voting) Arab Americans - I had expected Ashcroft to be a factor as well.

Nevada shenanigans continue - The firm whose employees claim destroyed Democratic registrations denies it; An attempt by a Republican to remove an additional 17,000 Democrats from the registered list fails.
[County registrar] Lomax said [Republican disenfranchiser] Burdish could only challenge voters in his precinct, and then only if he has personal knowledge that they are inactive.

"I don't think pulling names off a database equates to personal knowledge," Lomax said.

Edwards RAGEs on Leno about Bush - In good fun, I'm sure...feel the VENOM@#

Bill O'Reilly sued for sexual harassment - Warning: Steamy stuff at the Smoking Gun.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Steve Jobs back to work (part-time) - A nice interview welcoming him back. Of note: HATE for sales and marketing :( Any interesting parts for you?

Missing nuclear material in Iraq, the saga so far:

(1) Nuclear material has "vanished" from Iraq's chaos - Reports the IAEA, which used to keep a close eye on the stuff for a long time. Until the US invasion, when they were forced out, and following it, when their repeated offers to go back in to make sure the material was secured was ignored by the US (and then the US-backed Iraqi government).

(2) Iraqi Govt. says nuclear material is secure, but:
Interim Technology Minister Rashid Omar said equipment was taken by looters soon after the US-led invasion.

But since then, he told the BBC, Iraq's nuclear facilities had been secured.
Does "equipment" include "500 tons of yellowcake Uranium"? Oop!@#

(3) Iraq: Now that we've proverbially screwed the pooch, the IAEA ain't so bad after all? - Errrr...OK!@$ -

How does this work with Bush's implicit claim that being decisive is more important than being correct? I'm not convinced we can have mistakes of this magnitude. Is this (yet another) screwup we write off as a bump in the road?

Imminent terrorist attack? One we'll have to rely on "luck" to avert? What the hell? This a huge "wtF?" from BoingBoing re: memo about imminent threats. Please check it out, as my meager words cannot describe this bizzare shnuckums in its full glory.

Now, a few election-related fecal matter hittings of the fan:
(1) Democratic voter registration slips in Nevada ripped up - Whistleblowers of a private company enlisted to register voters say people who registered with the Democratic Party were destroyed. Sounds odd? Yes, but then you find out that it appears the supervisors only wanted Republican registrations...and the company is mostly, if not entirely, funded by the Republican National Committee. Shameful.

(2) The Sinclair Broadcasting Group to force its stations to air anti-Kerry documentary - so hawt!

iPod users go into the closet - Despite the obvious connotations of closeted folks, the image that floated before my eyes was of a rather huge prehistoric beaver digging into the earth and into its shelter upon discovering the sunlight falling on it. Anyway, an interesting article on the mavericks discovering the white earbuds aren't maverick'd no more, and switching to different headphones to seem different again.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Biggest business blunder of the last 50 years? - Why, Apple's failure to license the Mac OS, of course. Cost of blunder? A mere $580 billion. Almost the size of the deficit this year.

v-twin SEZ: i gotsta throw in the COUNTERPUNCH from paul graham:
When we were making the rounds of venture capital firms in the 1990s, several told us that software companies didn't win by writing great software, but through brand, and dominating channels, and doing the right deals.

They really seemed to believe this, and I think I know why. I think what a lot of VCs are looking for, at least unconsciously, is the next Microsoft. And of course if Microsoft is your model, you shouldn't be looking for companies that hope to win by writing great software. But VCs are mistaken to look for the next Microsoft, because no startup can be the next Microsoft unless some other company is prepared to bend over at just the right moment and be the next IBM.

It's a mistake to use Microsoft as a model, because their whole culture derives from that one lucky break. Microsoft is a bad data point. If you throw them out, you find that good products do tend to win in the market.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

what the HELL?

Jagged Little Pill
A remarkable new product is on its way that may make it possible to shift the burden of reproductive responsibility—gasp!— to men. Earlier this year, Dutch pharmaceutical giant Organon, along with Germany's Schering, announced that they expect their hormone-based contraceptive for men to hit the European market in as few as five years. Once that happens, it may only be another year or so before a U.S. debut. So, it will soon be possible for a man to avoid impregnating his partner by drastically lowering his sperm count. Unlike a vasectomy, the effect is temporary, completely reversible. And of course, the very notion is incredible: For over 30 years a "male pill" has been in various stages of development, but this is the first time serious drug money has backed it up.

As a woman, I can't help but ask: What took so long?
the author's points about social barriers are well-taken, but she underestimates the biological challenges of developing a male pill compared to how the hormonal deck was (comparatively) stacked in favor of the female version coming first. this is not to slight the development of the original gangsta; the history of the pill and its chief patrons is pretty fuck'n fascinating.

The Effect of Country Music on Suicide:
This article assesses the link between country music and metropolitan suicide rates... the results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability.
winner of the 2004 ig nobel prize in medicine@#

the straight DOPE on HAL, fresh from the debate:
CHENEY: Well, the reason they keep mentioning Halliburton is because they're trying to throw up a smokescreen. They know the charges are false.

They know that if you go, for example, to, an independent Web site sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, you can get the specific details with respect to Halliburton.

Not Very Damned Many:
The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam Hussein worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait [in 1991], but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.

--dick cheney, 1992

(LUV to a whole lotta nothing)

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Annual cap for H1-B Visa reached in within two days of the start of the fiscal year - The US Government continues to languish in providing the ideal bureaucracy that allows the best and the brightest of the world to work here.

How the White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence - A detailed, fascinating read by the NY Times on how the White House came to convince itself that Saddam had nukes based on cherry-picking and ideology, and how the US went to war based on that.(Much LUV to BoingBoing)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Tom DeLay offered endorsement for children in returns for vote from the father - Ethics panel finds wrongdoing, censures, but lays off on any RAGE: More DeLay scandals to come from a variety of charges in the whole 'nother country.

PM Allawi, Bush's interpretation of the 21st century's Churchill - condemned by his own citizens as Mmmm..feel the LOVE:
After the latest U.S. air strike on Falluja, enraged residents clasped wounded children and challenged Iraq's prime minister to visit the town to see how bombs were hitting civilians, not "terrorists."

"Is this a terrorist? Is this a terrorist? Iyad Allawi come and show us the terrorists," screamed a man as he fixed a bandage on the head of a small boy in his arms.

Op-Ed: The President has 'Ovalitis' - A condition from sitting around in the Oval Office where you stop hearing what you don't want to hear. The author argues this is to blame for his poor performance in the First Presidential Debate. It's a pretty hawt read, with stuff like this:
Thursday night visibly shocked Bush. He was shocked by what Kerry was saying, particularly about the poisoned chaos that is Iraq. Why, the Democrat even raised questions about Ayad Allawi, the Iraqi tough guy Bush picked as prime minister -- and seemed on the verge of comparing to Winston Churchill. How could Kerry say such things about such a man? How could Kerry say things are going badly in Iraq? No one told the president that, or he didn't hear it. Why, that could demoralize our troops -- as if those soldiers in harm's way did not know what was going on long before Kerry spoke out.

soros lays the smack down. is he on target or what? emphasis all mine, baybee@#$
The real reasons for going into Iraq have not been revealed to this day. The weapons of mass destruction could not be found, and the connection with al Qaeda could not be established. President Bush then claimed that we went to war to liberate the people of Iraq. All my experience in fostering democracy and open society has taught me that democracy cannot be imposed by military means. And, Iraq would be the last place I would chose for an experiment in introducing democracy - as the current chaos demonstrates.