Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oh Dear God No.

In what may prove to be the end of the internet, spammers have managed to find a way around those little "captcha" tests that you have to fill out when doing just about anything on MySpace, or creating accounts.

Spambots Fool Yahoo! Captcha Test (Via Gizmodo)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lego: Helping Pedophiles Get Kids For Fifty Years.

Happy 50th LEGO! The first set I remember clearly was the big-ass castle set from the 1980's. Not the very first one, but the second one. I remember that it came in a big bucket and that I lost huge chunks of it within about five minutes of getting it. We got the original King's Castle not too long after that, but we started with what I think was the Black Falcon's Castle.

I don't know about any of you, but Lego has remained an interest of mine straight into adulthood. I love playing with Legos. I usually buy one set, maybe two, every year. Just for the sake of putting them together.

We had the castle and that was pretty badass, but I really wanted more. I don't blame my parents for not buying them. I was craptacular at that age and would have immediately broken/lost/eaten half the bits. I also would have left them lying about, pointy-and-really-friggin-painful side up, in the dark, in the middle of rooms. That way I could best hurt my barefoot parents at night. And OOOOOOooooohhhhh how I wanted that space monorail! 80's children, you know what I'm talking about.

Yeah, that monorail caused almost as many wet dreams in the 80's as Farrah Fawcett draped over that Lamborghini. It was kiddy-porn for the actual kiddy. Everyone wanted it. kids at school lied about having it. The one kid who had it was a huge geek no one liked, so no one knew he had it. Truth be told, my favorite kits were the pirate kits released in the late 80's. We had about 5 million pirate bits. I adored my pirate boat, my hideout, and my small pirate island. I had a whole friggin' pirate universe scattered about my floor. It was as glorious as it sounds.

On a side note, the two guys on the 4011 "Cabin Cruiser," yeah, they're totally gay.

1991 was also the year that Legos started becoming crack. They started kicking up their box design and introducing various sub-brands aside from just line names and "Legoland." They introduced Lego System, and around that time started really beefing up their general toy design. The monorail was only the beginning. Technic came out in '92, but I was never really taken with it. Don't know why. In retrospect, it was pretty badass. Probably because it didn't have some story to go along with it. Instead, all the new pirate releases were what got added to the growing Lego minefield on my floor.

It was around that time I kind of lost interest in Legos. I moved on to a few other, more complex building sets that allowed me to do more and feel a bit more adult. Erector sets, with their cool metal parts, are what really drew me away. But ohhhh man, back in my highschool days, I got drawn back in a big way when Lego introduced the first Mindstorms kit, HOLD ME BACK! Christ Almighty, it was expensive though.

I got to play with one at school, but that was it until a year or so later, 1999, I think, my parents got me the Star Wars AT-AT walker. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that it wasn't really a robot. Weee! I can shine a flashlight at it and have it move! This is fucking AMAZING! I wanted the badass kit you could program. Blasted thing of course had to cost, like, $300. Did you have $300 just kicking around at 17/18ish? If you did, I hate you. You probably had the kit and was one of those fuckers I never saw at school because you were too busy at home doing cool shit. Like have a robot walk... around... and maybe pick something up. Ohhhh yeah. Good stuff.

My love affair continues. I got a kit in my stocking for Christmas. A little race car. It was good.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Campaign 2008: Attack of the Minorities

Well I said in an earlier post that I suspected that sexism was more prevalent than racism, but even I am surprised at the degree that both ism's are in play in this election.

Clinton has been winning over women left and right, but men are voting for Obama. In the recently finished South Carolina polls, Obama got 80% of blacks and Clinton got 75% of whites, and pollsters were surprised that Obama got 25%! Surprised!? How did this happen? How did a man go from fierce competitions in states full of almost nothing but white people go to only 25% of whites? Is it just because it's the bloody South? How many white people voted for Clinton or Edwards just because they're white? How many blacks did the same? With numbers like 75% and 80%, and a correlation with race, this is no coincidence. It's disgusting.

That goes for blacks as well as whites. Blame all around. I can somewhat forgive women for voting for Hillary, she's first, and blacks voting for Obama, he's also first, but even then. Vote with your minds, not with your skin or sex.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The New Gillette Occam.

I was shown this online and though it was funny. Enjoy!

Really? You Needed to Study That?

A couple of apparently non-profit firms have produced a study showing that, shocket, Bush and Krew lied a lot before the Iraq war. They counted 935 false statements in a two-year period leading up the actual Iraqi invasion. Strange, I could have sworn it was closer to 950. Regardless, I guess it's good someone actually got around to counting, as opposed to simply listing it as "a fuck-load." It also adds more icing to the ever-more-rancid cake that is the Bush legacy. The worst president ever? Could be!

I just copied the Yahoo!/Associated Press article below, since Yahoo! deletes articles after awhile...

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer 54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

"The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

"The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

"Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.


On the Net:

Center For Public Integrity:

Fund For Independence in Journalism:

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The Tom Cruise Scientology video has been out for a few days now and has garnered, I feel, more attention than is really deserved.

In an interview with ABC News, Cruise's lawyer says that making fun of a man for discussing his beliefs is wrong. I totally agree! Now mark this day, because it's likely going to be the only day I ever agree with something Scientology-related. Regardless, Gawker, the gossip website that's leading the legal charge against cease-and-desist claims by the church, said that if the Oprah incident was an 8, this is a 10. I saw nothing to even come close to matching the hilarity of Tom leaping about on camera. It's nothing more than a man, deeply involved with his church, discussing how he feels about it, himself, and his meaning in life.

Yes, Scientology is pretty stupid. It's one of the more absurd religions, but every religion, absolutely every religion on Earth, is pretty absurd in some, perhaps many, ways. I'm sure there are thousands of self-important people mocking Cruise for discussing his beliefs, while they themselves then go off on Sunday or some other holy day and listen to some designated leader prattle on about how their beliefs are right and just. Cruise is saying the same thing. His beliefs are right, and he knows it. That's the basis of every religion everywhere! No one, in any other religion, has any right to mock Cruise. No one.

Only if you are a dyed-in-the-wool atheist/agnostic (can there be a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic?) do you have any right to mock him (leaves me in the clear), but then, why bother? If you want to deride religion there are much bigger, juicier targets out there. Last I checked, Scientology doesn't send out young men to cafes where they blow themselves up. Scientology didn't have the Crusades (haha, Cruiseade). Scientology doesn't seem to enjoy burning down other's churches. Scientology is no better or worse than other faith-based beliefs. And I fully, 100% support Tom Cruise in this. He discussed his beliefs, and because it's open season on his church, other people with equally baseless beliefs open up there guns, if for no other reason than to make themselves feel better about their own stupidity.

As Chris Crocker said, leave Tom Cruise alone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well Doc, I'm Afraid Herpes Will Hurt my Wind Surfing.

Honestly, what IS it with drug ads?

Many of you may know this, but I'm saying it anyhow. In the US, there's this odd little law that says that, in a drug ad, if you say what the drug does, you have to then list the side-effects. I don't have a clue what this is supposed to do, but there it is. A really dumb law that results in ads that make no sense whatsoever.

Do you remember the old Claritin ads? The ones that showed some woman wind surfing through a field of wheat, culminating in an aerial shot showing that she has written the word Claritin in the field. What the hell?! All it said was to "see your doctor." Why? Why should I see my doctor? How would that line of questioning go?

You: Well Doc, my leg hurts. Does Claritin help that?
Doc: Nope.

It's beyond stupid. I remember the Crestor ads from not too long ago. They were narrated by Patrick Stewart and had a Dr. Seuess-like cadence to them. They all finished with a statement about how Crestor would help you find your way. What the fuck does that mean? Does it mean it helps people who are bad with maps? Is it a new service from TomTom?

It's even stupider when they actually tell you what the drug does, which opens the flood gates of side-effects. May cause death. And the videos that play during the ads are at times amazingly confusing. Ads for herpes medications are my favorites.

Woman: I have genital herpes.
Man: And I don't because I'm not a two-bit whore like her.

They then go into a spiel about how they won't let herpes affect their life together. Considering herpes is an STD, this means it won't affect their sex, right? Wrong, apparently. Sex was never a problem. It was their picnics, barbecues, movie-watching, and water skiing that was affected. I can understand that. I can only imagine how fucked my water sports would be if I had herpes. Herpes eats the finish on surfboards, I've heard.

Come on! At least film euphemisms for sex! Film them wrestling, or driving very fast, or eating seafood. But no, they film them doing what bizarre, sexless people in these ads do, windsurf through wheat because they're no longer hampered in this endeavor by some ridiculous affliction, like Restless Leg Thrombosis.

I would take this time to mention that the US is the only western country that allows direct drug advertising to patients. While I don't actually support regulating the advertising, it's the right of a manufacturer of a product to advertise it, there are some pretty damned good reasons why it's regulated in other countries. Our other option is the absurd circumstances we're in, now. And things are getting worse since drug makers can invent problems and then push the "cure" onto a gullible and arguably hypochondriacal public. This silly regulation about side-effects does nothing but give us puzzling ads.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Up With Billary! Pt. II

Well by now people in Guam are aware that Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. I must say I'm glad. Like I said, she's the best bet as a problem solver, in my opinion. She also has Bill, who is probably the greatest asset a First Spouse has ever been. I've been reading that Bill has polarized himself a bit more than he should have with some negative comments about Barack Obama. I feel that Clinton's remarks were well-founded, though. I also think Bill Bradley, who has endorsed Obama, said it best here, "There is a difference between a leader and a manager. He's a leader. He has a vision."

Bradley is very right. There is a difference between a leader and a manager. Sadly, we are not in a position to have a leader. We need a manager, and to be a manager requires experience that Obama just doesn't have. He may come across as the better leader, but we have problems that need solving, many of which were caused by the "leadership" of the previous administration.

I also won't deny that Obama is much more photogenic than Hillary, but that doesn't make up for the fact that I find many of plans big on ideals but lacking in direction and reality. Not that that's totally a bad thing, most of the other candidates had similar holes, but Hillary's actual position and plans snuck through, accidentally, when she commended New Yorks incipient immigrant driving license plan. She has actual plans, which was unfortunate for her because she was immediately attacked for the plans.

And for personal reasons, I don't like Obama because of his religion. He's WAY too much of a Bible-thumper for me. I've mentioned this before, but I don't want a President who revels in his religion. We had some really bad experiences with our previous "heaven-sent" president, and I sure as hell don't want another. I've got nothing against religion, per se, but when a candidate repeats how religion had some grand effect on his life, that turns me off. Religion is illogical, spiritual, and un-empirical. None of those things belong, in any form, in the political sphere. And someone so affected could never separate them, no matter their intentions.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Loved Her So Much! Loved With At Least a Million.

As everyone knows, the lawsuits have been pouring in in regards to Hurricane Katrina. The $100 billion cluster-fuck hasn't even begin to write its legacy in the history books, but it recently wrote an interesting footnote in the law books. Someone, we don't know who, has filed a lawsuit claiming damages of $3 quadrillion. Yes. Quadrillion. This is beyond even Carl Sagan numbers.

Everyone is getting a good laugh out of it, but I can only imagine that it's a stunt by someone trying to prove a point. I can't imagine even the dumbest person on Earth using that number. And it also puts something of a cap on the Katrina debate for me. Namely, what's a human life worth? Obviously, there were many comments by the black community, and Kanye West, about the response to Katrina, but only this really drove home the point that the national debate isn't about repairing New Orleans, or helping fellow Americans, or repairing industry. It's about the value of human life.

Were these people, poor and primarily black, less valuable than other lives. How can we actually attach a value to it. We do it all the time in court cases, and the values CHANGE from case to case. Are we afraid to attach a direct value, for any court case, that one person is worth X? Do we decide based on the number of crying relatives who come to the stand? Usually, yes. The movie A Civil Action said it best,

"It's like this. A dead plaintiff is rarely worth more than a living severely-maimed plaintiff. However, if it's a long slow agonizing death as opposed to a quick drowning or car wreck, the value can rise considerably. A dead adult in his 20s is generally worth less than one who is middle aged. A dead woman less than a dead man. A single adult less than one who's married. Black less than white. Poor less than rich. The perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 years old, at the height of his earning power, struck down at his prime. And the most imperfect, well in the calculus of personal injury law, a dead child is worth the least of all."

Who's to say a life isn't worth a quadrillion dollars? Especially with Katrina victims, who have suffered for an amazing amount of time as the Federal government has dropped the ball repeatedly. We can't base value on suffering. I guess we could base it on economic output and probability of societal benefit. By that measure, the people of New Orleans are worth less than your average, well-off American. They do less and are likely to merely live out their lives and die anyhow. So then, the question becomes why we should value them at all.

Is it entirely a matter of justice? If we take the eye-for-an-eye approach, we're still forced to try and valuate a human life. Very difficult. I don't think it can be justice since that's too personal. Justice exists on a human level, not on a societal level. Societal justice is merely the society bending to the will of a person for, usually, revenge. And again, we're forced to valuate a life.

If it's dealing with negligence, then we have something. We are punishing those who are negligent to prevent future negligence, thus benefiting all of society. And in this case, the crying relatives should have nothing to do with the case since the valuation must be based on the depths of the negligence. A doctor who makes a mistake because he's tired and gets hammered with 100 crying relatives is toast, while a doctor who made deadly decisions for financial reasons on a person who has no one will likely get off easy, perhaps even keeping their license.

I generally like to take the economic view. These people are very likely to never achieve anything other than living and dying. As such, I do NOT see them as valuable as other people who are likely to achieve things in life. Fat, dumb, and poor does not greatness make. Unfortunately, this cold view of reality doesn't jive with another, partially emotional view I have. In the past, much greatness as risen from the depths of poverty. It's the reason we work with the mentally retarded, drive towards early care for poor children, and send people to the streets in hopes of helping the drug addicted and homeless. An enlightened society MUST recognize that the greatest contributions can come from its weakest members. We must hope against hope.

So, again, I'm back at being unable to come to an answer for myself. I know that probability strongly says these people will never do anything. It says not to care and to concentrate my energy elsewhere. But I can't stop valuing any human life as the next breakthrough in medicine or art. Anyone, at anytime could do it. All you have to do is watch Connections to know that. In these idealistic terms, a human life, any life, is priceless.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Up With Billary.

I have to admit, I'm sad to see Hillary Clinton's campaign failing. For two reasons, really. One, I don't think Obama is a guaranteed win over Romney or McCain. And two, Hillary is the only one I suspect is capable of repairing the immense damage caused by Bush.

Because, in the end, I don't want a politician, or even really a great president. I just want a problem solver. Someone who sweeps in and patches up all the holes. And boy howdy, are there a lot of holes. Clinton was right, for that goal, experience is not only good, it's necessary.

Ah well. The world will go on, things will get better. Politicians don't do much. And in a sense, I'm not surprised. Sexism runs deeper than racism in this country. And PC-edness aside, you can bet that had something to do with it. The gang-bang on Hillary involved more than just her lead.

Also, it doesn't really matter if she loses. I guarantee she will be our first female president. The times they are'a changin'.

Oh Mrs. O'Leary. If Only You Had Known What I Know.

I just had a new couch delivered, today. It came with a modicum of documentation explaining, for some reason after I purchased it, why people should buy this couch, and why I was so damned smart for buying it.

It also came with a small warning tag. After the usual warning about smoking, it basically said "this couch is flammable. Do not set it on fire. You may die."

I can only imagine what I would have done if they hadn't warned me. Now, if you'll excuse me. I feel the need to go set my chairs on fire.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

They Should Have Named It 'Jurassic Park: Spunky Black Girl Adventure'

Well, the National Academy of Sciences has released a booklet illustrating, over a relatively brief 88 pages, the concept of evolution and why creationists are doofy liars. They go a bit farther in extending the olive branch than I suspect I would have gone, by having men of the cloth explain why Evolution and religious faith are not opposed.

While I certainly commend their efforts, I wonder how much good it's going to do. Those that don't "believe" in evolution never will. They're twits who you could safely shoot because the thickness of their skull renders their head bulletproof. I'm sorry to devolve into name-calling here, but it's the best that can be done. Reason doesn't work. Hell, theology doesn't even work. They know what they know and no one will ever change their mind.

Fine. Be that way. I can't stop you. It's you're right. It's also my right to mock you, deride you, and look forward to the day when you slough off this mortal coil, stand in heaven beside your precious God, and leave the rest of us the fuck alone.

I assume they hope to get this book into the hands of those who are on the fence, as it were. Again, commendable goal. But who the hell is on the fence? It's like being on the fence about the Iraq War. If you don't have an opinion yet, I don't want you to have an opinion. An opinion in someone as apathetic as you could be dangerous. Now go home and watch Trading Spaces.

I guess the best place to send this booklet would be schools. Millions of them. Get one into the hands of every public school student in the country. And start young. Hit them in 6th grade. Hit them before they even know most of the words. By them time they hit college, they're either smart or stupid and there's likely not much that can be done to change that.

I think there, in schools, the book stands a decent chance of doing something. And it needs to be free. Schools can't afford another book. Otherwise, it will just end up being yet another geeky publication out there that no one aside from scientists read.

P.S. I know it's free to download. I meant free to get a fully bound and printed copy.

Evolution: Read All About It! (Via Science Magazine)