Friday, December 23, 2005

"He is President, Not A King" -- Russ Feingold

constitutional crisis, impeachable offenses. hey, can we impeach Cheney too?

[UPADATE] ok, we need to censure first...

reference: democrats using the "I" word


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bush above law and following it AG claims

since Jack Balkin et al say it so much better (them bein' law professors and all) I'll make like Instapundit and just refer you to their well written posts which I happen to agree with. To wit:

"...The latest version is Attorney General Gonzales' assertion that the September 18, 2001 AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force] -- which gave Congressional approval to fight terrorism militarily-- gives the President carte blanche to override the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. On its face, the claim is preposterous. The logic of the claim, however, is far more important. If the AUMF impliedly alters federal laws that limit the President's power to fight terrorism, then there is no law that the President may not disregard in the name of fighting terrorism.

The second, and even more chilling argument is that the President has inherent authority to fight terrorism even absent the AUMF. Under this theory, the President can create exceptions to law whenever he determines that it is necessary to fight terrorism. If so, then not only is there no law the President may disregard, but all attempts by Congress to rein him in are presumptively unconstitutional because they interfere with his prerogative to determine the nature of the terrorist threat and the most effective means to fight it.

Thus, the strategy of "governing through terrorism"-- using the threat of terrorism as a justification for maximizing presidential power and minimizing presidential accountability inevitably produces bad incentives for executive officials. Ever-expanding power without accountability invites self-righteousness and overreaching."

in another great post there by Marty Lederman, he describes AG's twisted logic:

"But the Attorney General's press conference today makes it clear that that's their story, and they're sticking to it. The odd thing, of course, is that the Administration specifically went to Congress with a package of statutory authorities -- many related to wiretaps and surveillance -- that it thought were necessary to fight the battle against Al Qaeda. It was called the PATRIOT Act. Therefore, it's understandable that two reporters at today's conference asked the AG why they didn't simply ask Congress for a simple amendment to FISA, if this eavesdropping authority was as critical as the Administration now claims.

First, Gonzales is asked why, if this authority is so important, they didn't just "address that issue and fix it," i.e., through statutory amendment, rather than taking the "backdoor approach" [of pretending that it had already been authorized]. Here's his response:

"This is not a backdoor approach. We believe Congress has authorized this kind of surveillance. We have had discussions with Congress in the past -- certain members of Congress -- as to whether or not FISA could be amended to allow us to adequately deal with this kind of threat, and we were advised that that would be difficult, if not impossible."

Did you catch that? It's a two-part answer: (1) Congress has authorized the circumvention of FISA (in the AUMF); and (ii) We didn't ask Congress for an amendment to FISA because we were informed they would have denied it.

And then there's this exchange, in which the answers are inverted (1. We couldn't have gotten congressional authorization; 2. In any event, we got congressional authorization):

Q If FISA didn't work, why didn't you seek a new statute that allowed something like this legally?

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program.

The interesting question now, of course, is whether Congress will permit itself to be treated with such contempt."

recall Alberto is our same friend who advocates torture. Balkin has another good post on that. my sentiment echos commenter George Gregg who says:

"Basically, when the need for breaking a law is so extreme in one's estimation that it warrants doing so, one goes ahead and does it and accepts the consequences of that afterward. If I must break into someone's home to save them from a fire, I don't worry about the illegality of breaking and entering. I don't worry about destroying their front door, breaking their window, pulling their frightened child out of the burning house without permission. I trust, however, that the system of justice we have in a civilized society can take the context into consideration when determining whether to charge me for a crime or, if so, on what kind of punishment I deserve. We don't need a set of exceptions to the law against breaking and entering to factor in the possibiity of saving lives from a fire.

So with torture. Make a total ban, with the understanding that, if there is such a compelling reason to break the law, it is always within the realm of possibility. But that the one who does it will have to answer to the law afterward as to whether it was truly an overriding, compelling need that drove the breach."


Friday, December 16, 2005

now that flu season is here...

let's discuss something good our president has done recently. as they say, "even a broken clock is right twice a day". you can question his motives (popularity polls and all that), but this could turn out be the best thing W has done for the country.

too bad his own party won't let it be funded. if only he hadn't already spent all his political capital. well you can't fault the most powerful man on earth for trying!

I'm speaking of course about his recent speech where he brought to national attention the need to prepare for a possible bird flu pandemic:

"I am asking that the Congress fund $1.2 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase enough doses of this vaccine from manufacturers to vaccinate 20 million people".

hmm, what about the other 275 million Americans? maybe we ought to do our own stockpiling despite what "experts" say. recall how helpful the government was in New Orleans...

Tamiflu is not a panacea, experts say
"Republicans reject pandemic flu plan funding" -- dailykos
Roche Picks 12 Drugmakers for Tamiflu Production
official whitehouse policy
facts from cdc


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

tagging issues...

so like it says at the top, this blog is a learning experience. this post is an experiment to see if technorati is really recognizing and publishing links to here. I've yet to see one of my posts appear there and I suspect that something is not working right (notice I'm not pointing fingers yet). I'm tagging this entry with "statistically improbable phrases" (as I think amazon calls them). and I'm pinging technorati, even though I think blogger is supposed to do it automatically. let's see if everything works as it should (just click on one of the tags below and see what technorati finds)...

UPDATE: it's been about 20 minutes since my post and nothing is showing up. looks like a bug to me. anyone have a clue?

UPDATE: here is code lifted directly from technorati and it still doesn't work --

12/15 UPDATE: well its the next day and voila! the tags are working. so now the question is, is it because I complained (I emailed technorati) or is this time lag normal? I'll keep playing with tags and post my results here.

12/17 UPDATE: something must have clicked into gear (even if it is low gear). my post on 12/16 is correctly showing on technorati - it did take 16 hours or so, but it did show up.

Monday, December 12, 2005

how to annoy people

just to lighten things up a bit...

How to Annoy Coworkers
Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
Find out where your boss shops, and buy exactly the same outfits. Wear them one day after your boss does. (This is especially effective if your boss is a different gender than you.)
Make up nicknames for all your coworkers and refer to them only by these names. "That's a good point, Sparky." "No, I'm going to have to disagree with you there, Cha-cha."
Send email to the rest of the company telling them exactly what you're doing. For example: "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom."
Hi-lite your shoes. Tell people you haven't lost them as much since you did this.
While sitting at your desk, soak your fingers in Palmolive Liquid. Call everyone Madge.
Hang mosquito netting around your cubicle. When you emerge to get coffee, a printout, whatever, slap yourself randomly the whole way.
Put a chair facing the printer. Sit there all day, and tell people you're waiting on your printout.
Every time someone asks you to do something--anything--ask them if they want fries with that.
Encourage your colleagues to join you in a little synchronized chair dancing.
Put your trash can on your desk. Label it "IN."
Feign an unnatural and hysterical fear of staplers.
Send email messages saying there's free pizza, donuts, or cake in the break room. When people drift back to work complaining that they found none, lean back, pat your stomach and say, "Ohh, you've got to be faster than that!"
Put decaf in the coffeemaker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has withdrawn from caffeine addiction, switch to espresso.
Run one lap around the office at top speed.
Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.
Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say, "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."
To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.
When someone hands you a piece of paper, finger it, and whisper huskily, "Mmmmmmm, that feels soooooo good!"
Leave your zipper open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this way."
Walk sideways to the photcopier.
While riding an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.
Say to your boss, "I like your style" and shoot him with double-barrelled fingers.
Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask "Did you get all that? I don't want to have to repeat it."
Shout random numbers while someone is counting.
At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).
Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.
For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as 'Bob'.
Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do number two".
After every sentence, say 'mon' in a really bad Jamacian accent. As in, "the report's on your desk, mon". Keep this up for one hour.
While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator.
In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, dang it--all of you!"
In a colleagues daytimer, write in 10am: "See how I look in tights".
Carry your keyboard over to your colleague and ask "You wanna trade?"
Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it."
Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc.) during a very important conference call.
Don an apron, find the vacuum, and start vacuuming around your desk.
Hang a two-foot long piece of toilet paper from the back of your pants and act genuinely surprised when someone points it out.
Rollerblade around the floor throwing sweets.

How to Annoy Fellow Flight Passengers
Find common interests. Ask, "Are you in the Witness Protection Program too?"
Tell your fellow passenger that you just heard the bathrooms were out-of-order. Then pause and say, "Did you know that peanuts are a natural diuretic?" Smile.
Call the stewardess "nurse".
Sport a kamikaze helmet and goggles. Speak in a low voice into a hand held tape recorder: "Today's date, December 7th, 1941. I was not able to command my own personal plane but success shall still be ours...."
Yell out, "John Lithgow is on the wing!"
Speak in Spelling Bee-eese: "Hello. H-e-l-l-o. Hello. Nice weather we're having isn't it? Weather. W-e-a-t-h-e-r. Weather."
Start singing the Shari Lewis theme, "This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends, some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because, this is the song that never ends...." Suddenly realize that you can never stop singing. Become very panicky. Scrawl "Help me" on a piece of paper and hand it to the person sitting next to you. Claw at your throat and thrash around in the seat. Never stop singing.
Continually offer to share your "Beano".
Decorate. Bring a scatter rug and tiny draperies. Hang a "Home Sweet Home" plaque on the back of the seat in front of you. Invite your fellow passengers in for tea.
Suddenly remember that you left your iron on. Ask if the pilot would mind going back so you can check.
Bring your computer keyboard without a monitor. Place it on your lap. Stare into the palm of your hand. Wait. Push the return key a few times. Yell out "Yes! Alright! I told them I didn't need a laptop!" Plug the headphones into your nostril and play DOOM.
Bring a duffel bag packed with pipe cleaners, styrofoam balls, construction paper, etc. Organize a "Kraft Korner". Make a craft likeness of the person sitting next to you. Give yourself an "F".
Say, "Did you know every time a plane crashes, an angel gets its wings?" Then sigh and stare dreamily into the clouds.
Snap Polaroids of him or her. Pull out an empty photo album and arrange the pictures inside it. Tuck the album under your jacket and say, "You know, in some cultures they believe that when you take a person's own their soul...," while smiling maniacally.
Bring a cellular phone. Call God. Say, "The reception is much clearer up here...."
Speak in an incredibly fake Australian accent. Call the person "mate". Tell them you're not used to seeing the sky, since you are from "Down Under". Keep repeating quotes from "Crocodile Dundee," such as "That's not a knife! That's a knife!", until they are forced to yell at you that you are not Australian. Call them prejudiced.
Bring a "Word-a-Day" calendar on board with you. Read every single word aloud and attempt to use it in a sentence. Use them all incorrectly. "'My, you have a very irate home,' she said governessly."
Lean back in your seat, fold your arms behind your head and exclaim, "Thank God for auto-pilot, eh?"

How to Annoy The IRS
Always put staples in the right hand corner. Go ahead and put them down the whole right side. The extractors who remove the mail from the envelopes have to take out any staples on the right side.
Never arrange paperwork in the right order, or even facing the right way. Put a few upside down and backwards. That way they have to remove all your staples, rearrange your paperwork and re-staple it (on the left side.)
Line the bottom of your envelope with Elmer's glue and let it dry before you put in you forms, so that the automated opener doesn't open it and the extractor has to open it by hand.
If you're very unfortunate and have to pay taxes, send a two or three party check. On top of paying with a third party check, pay one of the dollars you owe in cash. When an extractor receives cash, no matter how small an amount, he has to take it to a special desk and fill out of few nasty forms.
Write a little letter of appreciation. Any letter received has to be read and stamped regardless of what it is or what it's on.
Write your letter on something misshapen and unconventional. Like on the back of a supermarket sack.
When you mail it, mail it in a big envelope (even if its just a single EZ form). Big envelopes have to be torn and sorted differently than regular business size ones. An added bonus to the big envelope is that they take priority over other mail, so the workers can hurry up and deal with your mess.
If you send two checks, they'll have to staple your unsightly envelope to your half destroyed form.
Always put extra paper clips on your forms. Any foreign fasteners or the like have to be removed and put away.
Sign your name in ink on every page. Any signature has to be verified and then date stamped.
These are just a few of the fun and exciting things you can do with the IRS. These methods are ONLY recommended when you OWE money.

How to Annoy Other Drivers
Vary your vehicle's speed inversely with the speed limit.
Roll down your windows and blast talk radio. Attempt to headbang.
At stop lights, eye the person in the next car suspiciously. With a look of fear, lock your doors.
Two words: Chicken suit.
Write the words "Help me" on your back window in red paint. The more it looks like blood, the better.
Have conversations, looking periodically at the passenger seat, when driving alone.
Laugh a lot. A whole lot.
Stop at the green lights.
Go at the red ones.
Occasionally wave a stuffed animal/troll doll/Barbie out your window or sunroof. Feel free to make it dance.
Eat food that requires silverware.
Pass cars, then drive very slowly.
Sing without having the radio on.
Honk frequently without motivation.
Wave at people often. If they wave back, offer an angry look and an obscene gesture.
Ask people for Grey Poupon.
Let pedestrians know who's boss.
Look behind you frequently, with a very paranoid look.
Restart your car at every stop light.
Hang numerous car fresheners in the rear-view mirror. Talk to them; stroking them lovingly.
Lob burning things in the windows of smokers who throw their butts out the window.
While stopped at a light, pee out the window/sunroof onto other cars.
Paint your car with occult symbols.
Keep at least five cats in the car.
Root for firetrucks.
Stop and collect roadkill.
Stop and pray to roadkill.
Throw Spam.
Get in the fast lane and gradually ... slow ... down ... to ... a ...stop. Then get out and watch the cars.

How to Annoy People
Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
Specify that your drive-through order is "to go."
If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep them tuned up."
Reply to everything someone says with "that's what YOU think."
Practice making fax and modem noises.
Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears.
Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the ink cartridge across the room.
Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you "like it that way."
Staple papers in the middle of the page.
Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a "croaking" noise.
Honk and wave to strangers.
Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints by the cash register.
type only in lowercase.
don t use any punctuation either
Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets..
Repeat the following conversation a dozen times: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles."

How to Annoy People in Elevators
Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering, "Shut up, all of you just shut UP!"
Whistle the first seven notes of "It's a Small World" incessantly.
Crack open your briefcase or purse and, while peering inside, ask: "Got enough air in there?"
Offer name tags to everyone getting on the elevator. Wear yours upside down.
Stand silent and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off.
When arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act embarrassed when they open by themselves.
Greet everyone getting on the elevator with a warm handshake and ask them to call you Admiral.
Stare, grinning at another passenger for awhile, then announce: "I've got new socks on!". Meow occasionally.
Bet the other passengers you can fit a quarter in your nose.
Walk on with a cooler that says "human head" on the side.
Stare at another passenger for awhile, then announce, "You're one of THEM!" and move to the far corner of the elevator.
Wear a puppet on your hand and use it to talk to the other passengers.
When the elevator is silent, look around and ask, "Is that your beeper?"
Say "Ding!" at each floor.
Say "I wonder what all these do" and push the red buttons.
Listen to the elevator walls with a stethoscope.
Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers that this is your "personal space."
Announce in a demonic voice: "I must find a more suitable host body."
Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
Bring a camera, and take pictures of everyone.
Move your desk into the elevator, and whenever someone gets on, ask if they have an appointment.
Lay down a Twister mat and ask people if they'd like to play.
Leave a box in a corner and when someone gets on, ask if they hear something ticking.
Pretend you are a flight attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the passengers.
Ask, "did you feel that?"
Stand really close to someone, sniffing them occasionally.
When the doors close, announce to the others, "It's okay, don't panic. They'll open up again."
Swat at flies that don't exist.
Tell people that you can see their aura.
Call out, "GROUP HUG!" and enforce it.
Ask if you can push the button for other people, but push the wrong ones.
When there's only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder and pretend it wasn't you.
Push the buttons and pretend they give you a shock.
Call the Psychic Hotline from your cell phone, and ask if they know what floor you're on.
Hold the doors open, and say that you're waiting for your friend. After awhile, let the doors close and say, "Hi Greg, how's your day been?"
Drop a pen, and wait until someone reaches to help pick it up, and then scream "That's mine!"

How to Annoy Wal-Mart Employees

(Actually titled 50 Ways to Have Fun in Wal-Mart, but I'm sure all these things WOULD annoy employees! Plus some more have been added.)

Take shopping carts for the express purpose of filling them and stranding them at strategic locations.
Ride those little electronic cars at the front of the store.
Set all the alarm clocks to go off at ten minute intervals throughout the day.
Start playing Calvinball; see how many people you can get to join in.
Contaminate the entire auto department by sampling all the spray air fresheners.
Challenge other customers to duels with tubes of gift wrap.
Leave cryptic messages on the typewriters.
Re-dress the mannequins as you see fit.
When there are people behind you, walk REALLY SLOW, especially in narrow aisles.
Walk up to an employee and tell him in an official tone, "I think we've got a Code 3 in Housewares," and see what happens.
Tune all the radios to a polka station; then turn them all off and turn the volumes to "10".
Play with the automatic doors.
Walk up to complete strangers and say, "Hi! I haven't seen you in so long!..." etc. See if they play along to avoid embarrassment.
While walking through the clothing department, ask yourself loud enough for all to hear, "Who BUYS this crap, anyway?"
Repeat Number 14 in the jewelry department.
Ride a display bicycle through the store; claim you're taking it for a "test drive."
Follow people through the aisles, always staying about five feet away. Continue to do this until they leave the department.
Play soccer with a group of friends, using the entire store as your playing field.
As the cashier runs your purchases over the scanner, look mesmerized and say, "Wow. Magic!"
Put M&M's on layaway.
Move "Caution: Wet Floor" signs to carpeted areas.
Set up a tent in the camping department; tell others you'll only invite them in if they bring pillows from Bed and Bath.
Test the fishing rods and see what you can "catch" from the other aisles.
Ask other customers if they have any Grey Poupon.
Drape a blanket around your shoulders and run around saying, "...I'm Batman. Come, Robin--to the Batcave!"
TP as much of the store as possible.
Randomly throw things over into neighboring aisles.
Play with the calculators so that they all spell "hello" upside down.
When someone asks if you need help, begin to cry and ask, "Why won't you people just leave me alone?"
When two or three people are walking ahead of you, run between them, yelling, "Red Rover!"
Make up nonsense products and ask newly hired employees if there are any in stock, i.e., "Do you have any Shnerples here?"
Take up an entire aisle in Toys by setting up a full scale battlefield with G.I. Joes vs. the X-Men.
Take bets on the battle described above.
Nonchalantly "test" the brushes and combs in Cosmetics.
While handling guns in the hunting department, suddenly ask the clerk if he knows where the anti-depressants are. Act as spastic as possible.
Hold indoor shopping cart races.
Dart around suspiciously while humming the theme from "Mission:Impossible."
Attempt to fit into very large gym bags.
Attempt to fit others into very large gym bags.
Set up a "Valet Parking" sign in front of the store.
Two words: "Marco Polo."
Leave Cheerios in Lawn and Garden, pillows in the pet food aisle, etc.
"Re-alphabetize" the CD's in Electronics.
When someone steps away from their cart to look at something, quickly make off with it without saying a word.
Relax in the patio furniture until you get kicked out.
When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream, "No, no! It's those voices again!"
Pay off layaways fifty cents at a time.
Drag a lounge chair on display over to the magazines and relax. If the store has a food court, buy a soft drink; explain that you don't get out much, and ask if they can put a little umbrella in it.
Get boxes of condoms and randomly put them in peoples carts when they don't realize it.
Run up to an employee (preferably a male) while squeezing your legs together and practically yell at him "I need some tampons.
Try on bras over top of your clothes.
Make a trail of orange juice on the ground, leading to the restrooms.
Look right into the security camera, and use it as a mirror while you pick your nose.
Switch the men's and women's signs on the doors of the restrooms.
In the auto department, practice your "Madonna" look with various funnels.
Hide in the clothing racks and when people browse through, say things like "pick me !! pick me!!" and scare them into believing that the clothes are talking to them.
Go to an empty checkout stand and try to check people out.

*BONUS* Attempt all of the above during the same visit.

How to Annoy Women
[Wife] Call her by the dog's name and then deny it.
Superglue the commode seat in the up position.
Shrink her jeans and when she overreacts because she thinks that she's gaining weight, give her a condescending smile and say that you prefer her with some meat on her bones.
[Wife] Call her by your mother's name and then deny it.
Start a conversation with the dog in the middle of one with her.
Buy her power tools for Valentine's Day.
Leave the newspaper open to an ad for plastic surgery.
Pretend you forgot how to speak English.
Answer every question with "Yes, dear." (Use with caution as PMS is a valid murder defense in many states.)

How to Annoy Public Bathroom Stallmates
Stick your palms under the stall wall and ask your neighbor, "May I borrow a highlighter?"
Say, "Uh oh, I knew I shouldn't have put my lips on that."
Cheer and clap loudly every time somebody breaks the silence with a bodily function noise.
Say, "Dang, this water is cold."
Drop a marble and say, "Oh glass eye!"
Say, "Hmmm, I've never seen that color before."
Grunt and strain for 30 seconds and then drop a cantaloupe into the toilet bowl from a height of about 6 feet. Sigh relaxingly.
Say, "Now how did that get there?"
In your best Letterman voice mumble, "Hummus. Reminds me of Humus."
Fill up a large flask with Mountain Dew. Squirt it erratically under the stall walls of your neighbors while yelling, "Whoa! Easy boy!"
Say, "Interesting, more floaters than sinkers."
Using a small squeeze tube, spread peanut butter on a wad of toilet paper and drop the wad under the stall wall of your neighbor. Then say, "Whoops, could you kick that back over here, please."
Fill a balloon with creamed corn .. Rush into the stall with your hand over your mouth and let out a lengthy vomit impression while you squeeze the balloon and splatter creamed corn all about. Apologize profusely and blame it on the Coke, Tylenol, and sardines you had for breakfast.
Say, "Boy, that sure looks like a maggot."
Say, "Dang, I knew that drain hole was a little too small. Now what am I gonna do?"
Read the graffiti on the walls out loud. Answer each one with, "Hmmm, yeah!" Every so often ask, "Is this YOUR number?"
Yell, and pretend to have a conversation with someone in the adjoining women's bathroom.
Play a well known drum cadence over and over again on your butt cheeks.
Desperately yell, "HEY! Could I get some toilet paper here!!!" Then mutter, "Where IS that bathroom attendant?! ...Mom?!"
Lower a small mirror underneath the stall wall, adjust it so you can see your neighbor and say, "Peek-a-Boo!"


Saturday, December 10, 2005

wow, this page is more readable!

so I changed my template. now I'm using "minima" which does the job and I was getting tired of that big ol' orange "jellyfish" thing. as blogger warned, it wiped out all my javascript. oh well, no great loss. we're flexible, right? I can easily find what I need and fix it again. I'm thinking of changing the name of this blog too, but I forgot the idea I had. expect changes!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Toookie Williams, Death Row, and Redemption.

much can be said pro and con re capital punishment. but let's strip away some of of the gray areas - race and economic inequality, mental capacity, possible rehabilitation, doubt of guilt. let's take a hypothetical case where the subject admits guilt of a heinous crime, has no remorse, has gotten superb legal representation and is a white male. in other words, an ideal candidate for execution.
so the argument for death is based on justice - he has commited a crime that cannot be forgiven by society, he is in fact a mistake of the human race and must be destroyed. but would it be possible to advance the state of human society by not having the government kill this individual in cold blood? remember, in the prevailing attitude of "karmic justice" terms he doesn't deserve to live -- he killed his victims in cold blood and they weren't given a chance or choice to live out their natural lives, so why should he?
my answer is that he should be given life without possibility of parole. we've taken away most of his physical freedom right there. but what about the "coddling" of prisoners and all their rights? picture our lifer subject's normal daily schedule: wake up, have breakfast in bed, catch the latest news and sports on the radio (maybe Howard Stern if he can get satellite), chat with neighbors, go work out in the gym, shower and maybe get a "woman", have lunch, watch tv, dinner, read, etc... doesn't seem fair to the victims, does it?
ok, this is not what I envision in life without parole. instead, I envision a prison environment where only the most basic necessities are provided. there are plenty of things that can be taken away for the purpose of "punishment". nobody has to be cruel and it won't be unusual -- they just don't get much of what they want. my guess is this is what occurs in many prisons around the world.
the one freedom that I would grant these lifers that they do not currently have easy access to is the ability to take their own life. each cell could be provided with a special firearm - maybe a 12 gauge barrel embedded in the wall. just "insert head here" and pull trigger. easy as flushing the toilet! let people deal with their own demons. this would be the only esape and the state washes its hands of responsibility. if the individuals truly can redeem themselves in jail, then they never need use such a device.
call me "pro-choice", but I believe this would be an advancement in American society and mankind in turn.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

womb to tomb

life: a temporary illusion we experience as "individuals"

my seven year old had a facts of life question the other evening. not "where do babies come from?", rather, "where do babies come out?". I didn't have a good answer so just said "out of a woman's privates". being in the full-blown potty humor stage he asked "out her butt!?"...

"no", said I, "another place...". I searched for a good response that wouldn't fuel his seven year old joke generator. 'birth canal' just didn't sound right. luckily he lost interest at that point, a little disappointed that babies don't pop out of ladies butts along with the poo.

later I thought of the word I had been looking for: womb. sure! I could even tell him a little joke about the baby who had a "womb with a view" (which would go over his head and hopefully I wouldn't need to explain what "view" implies). so maybe next time the topic comes up...

anyway, it got me to think more about being in the womb.
that period before separation from the mother must be the most comfortable state I can possibly recall. (though they say it is quite impossible to remember, the habits and patterns started there give us some hint of how comfortable it must be). but before that separation and even before conception, the comfort of being an integral part of whatever energy and matter that is morphing into an eventual new life evidenced by birth (a necessary separation dictated by evolution) -- that comfort level must be heavenly. Imagine all your atoms happily bonded, your electrons snuggly tucked away in their shells. sublime, eh?

so a return to that heaven is, I suppose, as inevitable as death and taxes. and I'm not so sure about taxes anymore :)

Friday, November 18, 2005

top 100 novels of the 20th century (1923 to present)

here's my status on each of the novels:
(btw, I'll email you my .xls version of this list on request)...




The Adventures of Augie March Saul Bellow  
All the King's Men Robert Penn Warren  
American Pastoral Philip Roth  
An American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser  
Animal Farm George Orwell started
Appointment in Samarra John O'Hara  
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Judy Blume  
The Assistant Bernard Malamud  
At Swim-Two-Birds Flann O'Brien  
Atonement Ian McEwan  
Beloved Toni Morrison  
The Berlin Stories Christopher Isherwood  
The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler  
The Blind Assassin Margaret Atwood  
Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy  
Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh  
The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder  
Call It Sleep Henry Roth  
Catch-22 Joseph Heller saw movie
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger read
A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess read
The Confessions of Nat Turner William Styron  
The Corrections Jonathan Franzen unfinished
The Crying of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchon  
A Dance to the Music of Time Anthony Powell  
The Day of the Locust Nathanael West started
Death Comes for the Archbishop Willa Cather  
A Death in the Family James Agee  
The Death of the Heart Elizabeth Bowen  
Deliverance James Dickey saw movie
Dog Soldiers Robert Stone  
Falconer John Cheever  
The French Lieutenant's Woman John Fowles  
The Golden Notebook Doris Lessing  
Go Tell it on the Mountain James Baldwin  
Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell saw movie
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck started
Gravity's Rainbow Thomas Pynchon  
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald read
A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh  
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter Carson McCullers  
The Heart of the Matter Graham Greene  
Herzog Saul Bellow started
Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson  
A House for Mr. Biswas V.S. Naipaul audio
I, Claudius Robert Graves  
Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace  
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison read
Light in August William Faulkner  
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis read
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov read
Lord of the Flies William Golding read
The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien unfinished, saw movies
Loving Henry Green  
Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis  
The Man Who Loved Children Christina Stead  
Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie  
Money Martin Amis  
The Moviegoer Walker Percy  
Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf started
Naked Lunch William Burroughs  
Native Son Richard Wright  
Neuromancer William Gibson started
Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro  
1984 George Orwell read
On the Road Jack Kerouac started
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey read
The Painted Bird Jerzy Kosinski  
Pale Fire Vladimir Nabokov  
A Passage to India E.M. Forster  
Play It As It Lays Joan Didion  
Portnoy's Complaint Philip Roth started
Possession A.S. Byatt  
The Power and the Glory Graham Greene  
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark  
Rabbit, Run John Updike  
Ragtime E.L. Doctorow  
The Recognitions William Gaddis  
Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett  
Revolutionary Road Richard Yates  
The Sheltering Sky Paul Bowles  
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut read
Snow Crash Neal Stephenson  
The Sot-Weed Factor John Barth  
The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner  
The Sportswriter Richard Ford  
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold John le Carre  
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway read
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston  
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe  
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee read
To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf  
Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller  
Ubik Philip K. Dick  
Under the Net Iris Murdoch  
Under the Volcano Malcolm Lowry saw movie
Watchmen Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise Don DeLillo  
White Teeth Zadie Smith  
Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys  
  total read:   12
  total did something with:   27

Thursday, November 10, 2005

boycott sony

here's the details
sign the petition
I wasn't planning on buying a PS/3 anyway... but now nobody should buy 'em! for a while anyway :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

where do croissants come from?

see pop'n'fresh doughboy's accident... click on the link in the title because I obviously don't know enough about copying html to get the video to work here (hey you experts, how about helpin' a guy out here - why doesn't it show below? - is the owner of the filename I'm referencing not allowing a download or what?)

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

just for yucks...

I posted a pic of me self on HOT or NOT.
let's see if others think I'm as hot as I think I am. feel free to vote!

Friday, November 04, 2005

perfect male scents...

since I accidently broke my (amost full) bottle of Obsession,
I tracked down some replacement recommendations which I will share here:

Perfect? I love Romeo Gigli Cologne by Romeo Gigli... and Fahrenheit by Christian Dior but whether they are perfect for men...

Fiona 4/4/2004 6:09 AM
allessandro dell'aqua for man is my best for now. it's very organised and i feel it's like bracing air. i like moderate ones for men.

Frederique 4/5/2004 12:50 AM
what about... Aqua di Parma?

Taner 4/6/2004 2:47 PM
Well I just put on some Venezia -Uomo while reading forum, I liked it very much for the first few seconds so why not.
I would say Very Sexy from Victoria Secret is also very tempting, not same kind of alchemy though.

Lobna 4/7/2004 7:41 PM
D&G has one that smells... intoxicating.. i love it- but i dont know what its called -one of my guy friends had it on

Frederique 4/8/2004 1:21 AM
D&G... Does it come in a silver top bottle, with a light greenish colour perfume?

Does it smell fresh, lemony and musky at the same time?
It could be D&G Masculin.

Indeed it is lovely.

Do you also know Déclaration by Cartier?
I'm sure you'd like it.

Carla 4/11/2004 7:33 PM
Definetly Chaleur D'Animale for men,it's devine!The best male scent ever!

Lobna 4/12/2004 7:31 PM
that sounds like it, i mainly remember that it was strong- reminded me of aramis

Anna 5/19/2004 3:06 PM
I really like Angel for Men. My husband uses that exclusively ever since it came out.

5/24/2004 1:12 AM
i still have to turn my head and follow the scent with my nose when i recognize it in any man in the street,Kouros, my unique, great and lost love's perfume (although he used it in excessive amounts and gave me headaches :OP)
here are my favs: 6/12/2004 9:01 PM
1) Kenzo pour homme (to DIE for)
NOTES: Marine, Cloves, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Vetiver

2) Dior - Fahrenheit
NOTES: Hawthorn, Sandalwood

3) Dolce & Gabbana - pour homme
NOTES: Orange, Lemon, Bergamot, Lavender, Sage, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Cedar.

J. 6/23/2004 11:21 AM
Angel for men & Xerius Rouge Givenchy

Celso Issey Miyake 6/23/2004 4:27 PM
The best male scent is definetly L'eau D'issey by Issey Miyake, it's like THE parfume!!

Raquel 6/23/2004 8:59 PM
My favorite one is Boss in Motion- Hugo Boss...... it´s outstanding.
I also really like Ferrari Black and 212

Katrin 6/25/2004 4:07 AM
Laura Biagotti "Roma"...uhh it makes me crazy:)

Cha L´Eau d´Issey 6/28/2004 4:36 AM
That´s my favorite.

Juan 6/28/2004 11:24 PM
"Envy" by Gucci!

Cha Found out.... 7/2/2004 12:53 AM
that the "brand new" Polo Blue is really gooooooooooooooooooood!

Marta GREAT ONES 7/2/2004 9:26 PM
i love Mont Blanc (but just a few men wear it) and also a MOSCHINO, just don't know exactly which one...

L'eau d'Issey - Issey Miyake 7/8/2004 3:43 PM
simply wonderful!...

Le Male! 7/9/2004 7:21 AM
I idolatre "Le Male", from Jean-Paul Gaultier... I just LOVE that one... geeeeez, it seems to me that i feel that fragrance in the air...

Leonardo 7/10/2004 6:08 PM
Definitly the best parfum is Escada

Roberta 7/12/2004 7:43 AM
I simply love Carolina Herrera 212 for Men and Hugo Boss Elements. Polo Blue is also amazing! They are very sexy fragances...

Heloisa 8/12/2004 3:15 PM
It depends..... Herrera for men -by Carolina Herrera

DKNY for men - Donna Karan

Armani pour Homme - Giorgio Armani

Fendi- Uommo

CK - Calvin Klein
it depends who is wearing it!

Samara 8/12/2004 5:03 PM
oh I just LOVE Hugo Boss #1 and Angel for men

Berit simply the best.. 8/17/2004 5:08 AM
...perfume for men is carolina herrera 212, mmmmm all time favourite:P

Paula One of the best! 8/17/2004 11:10 AM
In my opinion, one of the best male scents is XS, by Pacco Rabane!

Cavanhaque HUMNN... 8/17/2004 11:16 AM
Aqua di Giò pour homme and Kenzo!!

Onaiza 8/21/2004 10:13 AM
Issey Miyake !!!!!!!! and ice berg isnt bad too !
perfect for the ones who seek for perfection!;)

Le Male is Incontestable !!! 10/20/2004 10:54 AM
Le Male by Gaultier is the best male scent in the "world of parfums" !!!

Will 12/16/2004 9:56 PM
MY TOP 4 cologne picks as of now ******
#1 . Aqua di Parma/BLU/Mandorlo di Sicilia

#2. Himalaya ( House of CREED )

#3. Comme des Garcon INCENSE series #3
"Avignon" it smells just like
a catholic church after they burn the Frankencense !!!! Totally UNIQUE !!!!!

#4. L'Occitane Vetiver !!!! YUM.
earthy but classy .

Gustavo 12/17/2004 9:04 AM
i dont know.. i really like my fahrenheit...

but.. this thing is not very exactly as we want it to be... each perfume has an unique smell for each person... not even talkin about personal taste...

dont you think?

Usama 212 rocks 12/18/2004 3:06 PM
212's the best ................
coz its soo strong so gd so awesome..........i mean u just have to smell it to fall in love wit it
TRY it seriously

Carla 12/19/2004 7:01 AM
Escada Magnetism, Jill Sander, Chemistry by Clinique and Marc Jacobs for men.
platinum egoiste and d&g 12/22/2004 3:33 PM
chanel egoiste platinum! i can't tell if it's better than chanel egoiste non plat (which is harder to find, and more of an older man smell). platinum works well on guys who don't naturally have much smell of their own. (or in my experience- tall, skinny guys). it is SO YUMMY.

oh and d&g masculin is very good too. but i always associate it with this one guy i'm not attracted to- i think this works best on those that are a bit on the trashy side (with pretensions of elegance).
1/27/2005 5:01 AM
platinum egoiste by chanel and 1881 by cerutti!

Monica Safari, by Ralph Lauren 1/28/2005 2:52 AM
For me, Safari´s scent is unbeatable.If only all men could smell like this one! Pity I cannot have it always around - my husband is allergic to perfumes...

Le Male and Joop! (the red one) are second best. But not for men - I wear them!
I like... 1/28/2005 11:56 AM
Dolce & Gabanna pour homme
Mont Blanc Individuel pour homme
Herrera for men by Carolina Herrera
what do you think about l'instant pour homme? 2/15/2005 2:12 AM
i was just wondering about whether some of you or your partners are using the new guerlain l'instant pour homme... i thought it was surprisingly very sweet...

Jazzmin I just love it... 2/16/2005 7:28 PM
the best male scent is and always will be aqua di gio..... =)

Stephanie 2/19/2005 10:02 PM
I Think D&G
and 212

Suzanne 2/20/2005 11:59 PM
another vote for acqua di parma

i wear the classic one myself...

HELENA-REET For Men 3/22/2005 1:07 PM
I like Chanel "Platinum Egoiste"!

Patricia 3/23/2005 1:26 PM
Lolita Lempicka for Men, top

Ulli 3/26/2005 2:23 AM
For men..there's nth better than Higher Dior and Aqua Di Gio.I really love them!

Arsalan 3/26/2005 5:02 AM
Aqua Di Gio and hugo boss i like them

Sarah 6/8/2005 7:17 AM
HhhMmmm.... I really like

1. curve (liz calirborne)
2. very sexy (victorias secret)
3. armani (armani)

seriously, any guy who uses these perfumes, automatically looks!

Usman hummm 6/14/2005 11:40 PM
1 . Aqua di Parma
2. safarai...

Wen KenzoAir 6/19/2005 10:47 PM
i am wearing it myself, i love it!

Shama 6/21/2005 4:43 AM
and and and
Blue Jeans

Zuraida 6/21/2005 5:15 AM
HUGO red for men and another all time fav is cool water by davidoff

Carlinha 6/23/2005 9:21 AM
Hugo Boss and 212 Men...
issey miyake! 6/25/2005 7:50 AM
i think itz da best I gave my wife the list for her to choose what she likes best on me. I'll find out on Christmas. in the meantime, feel free to share your opinions with a comment below...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

what matters...

something I came across and lifted (I'd give credit but don't know to whom, so instead I'll just share):

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, and sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

why I'm not posting (latest excuse)...

"Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something."

- Plato

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

having fun in los angeles

oh for the decadent life! it doesn't look too hard to do this stuff. well, you can enjoy it vicariously if you have other responsibilities (as I do)...
just check out cobrasnake. dude's got it pumping with his camera. btw, I broke my canon (yes another one). wisely, this last one was purchased with an extended warrantee from ritz camera at the local mall -- the warantee covers damages from almost anything. usually I drop the things and they don't handle that well. anyway, the replacement (or fixed) equipage s/b back sometime in novembre. meanwhiles, I'm clipping others photos fer fun. laterz!

Monday, October 24, 2005

a nazi speaks (something to think about)...

From an interview with Herman Goehring, an early member of the Nazi party, founder of the Gestapo, and one of the main perpetrators of Nazi Germany:

Goehring: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

Goehring: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

yes this blog is not dead and I still post

no excuses (because like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink) for my lack of activity on this blog. I'm currently working on passing my first microsoft test on the way to MCAD (and possibly MCSD) certification. this is a career move, a little strategic planning, something to keep my options open, keeping my skills up to date in a concrete manner. while many pooh-pooh certifications as not reflecting real world quality, typically there is nothing better to go by and many small companies need a certain number of microsoft certified people on board to keep their "MCP" status - which in turn drives business to those companies. that's all for now, I've got other priorities, but did want to break the silence with some kind of posting. laterz!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

back from the midwest...

so we had an eating and drinking tour of three states. first we rented a new Chrysler Pacifica from Enterprise and my wife fell in love with it. so now we need to buy one. clever marketing eh? we drove to visit family outside Milwaukee where the beer flows freely, and either the Packers or Harley Davidson (not sure which) is king. beautiful country farms are being replaced by golf courses and houses, but that's progress. went to a big nice wedding and reception where pretty girls did dirty dancing to tunes like "save a horse, ride a cowboy". what fun!
next stop was a farm in central Illinois. kinda nowhere - just a ways east of Peoria. here, beyond the fun of riding in trucks and tractors and learning about the latest in hybrid corn seed technology (genetic pesticides in our future!) the big thing (to some anyway) is surprisingly - art. I discovered the magic of watercolor painting and the thriving community of talent doing exhibitions around the country. so I spent about 4 hours in a nice studio pencil sketching, stroking a sable hair brush and learning basic techniques. cheap fun and time consuming - which I guess is a good thing to do while the crops grow.
next we hit Chicago and searched out great pizza, hot dogs, gyros, and pastries. and of course beer -- I think the highlight for the kids was being allowed in the bar on the 96th floor of the Hancock building and having cocktails (O'Douls and a virgin pina colada). they were totally unimpressed, however, by Renior, Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, etc. at the Art Institute.
last stop was Chesterton, Indiana for a memorial service. alcohol here is no fun -- can't buy it on Sunday and on other days it's only sold warm and who knows what else... kinda like Salt Lake City. we did have fun pigging out on WhiteCastle burgers. a first for all of us as I don't think they exist in California (but I could be wrong). the counter guy had a record of eating 24 burgers in one sitting, but I settled on six at a time.
update: added links -- pics later (counter = 2378)...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm off to the midwest...

...for a road trip in search of beer, brats, pizza and fun. Chicago, Milwaukee, Indiana and thereabouts. the awesome family has some serious partying to attend to. so don't expect any new posts 'till after labor day. in the meanwhile, please spend 30 seconds perusing and considering my prior posts. there is enough meat there to think about... laterz!

p.s. my web counter now says 2192.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

in the future...

...all Americans will downsize as gas climbs to $8/gallon.

Friday, August 19, 2005

intelligent design and AI...

first let me say that I admire Bush. I admire the money, power, and influence he has. I admire his ability to lead a team and motivate, despite his all too human imperfections. what I don't admire is the policies and ideas that he promotes. oftentimes they are just wrong. if only he had put his pandering talents to good use! his remarks about teaching 'intelligent design' in schools is a good example. an article in the May 30 New Yorker describes pretty well "why intelligent design isn't"... basically there's no science to back it up. read the article first if you want to disagree with me.

so evolution (a very well tested and established theory) is the answer. what are scientists doing with it? I've been reading pretty awesome stuff about artificial life - philosophy and computing intermix to show where our real future may lie. Tom Ray is one of the pioneers in this area who has gone quite far in creating "virtual life" which at some point is equivalent to what the dictionary constitues "life".

in "Recent Developments in Biologically Inspired Computing"
by Leandro Nunes de Castro and Fernando J. Von Zuben states:

according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, life is:

“The state of a material complex or individual characterized by the capacity to perform certain functional activities including metabolism, growth, reproduction, and some form of responsiveness or adaptability.”

Life is seen as the result of a complex material organization that performs some specific tasks. Such a definition does not say anything about this organization; it only considers life as a cluster of properties (growth, self-reproduction …). Such definitions are common. In the field of artificial life, the most famous cluster definition is that of Farmer and Belin, who selected eight criteria (Farmer & Belin, 1992, p. 818):

Life is a pattern in space-time.


Information storage of a self-representation.


Functional interactions with the environment.

Interdependence of parts.

Stability under perturbations.

Ability to evolve.

Ray’s results have been sufficiently impressive to give rise to comments such as:

“From a purely logical point of view, the barrier between life and artificial life seemed to have come down: the universality of life was proven” (Adami, 1998, p. 49).

C. Emmeche examined Ray’s creatures according to Farmer and Belin’s eight criteria (Emmeche, 1994, pp. 43-46):

Ray’s creatures are information structures rather than material objects.

They are able to self-reproduce.

They have self-representation.

They have some kind of metabolism since they redistribute some of the computer’s electrical energy.

They have functional interactions with their environment.

Their components are mutually interdependent and they can die.

They are stable in their environment.

They can evolve.

According to Emmeche, only the properties 2 (self-reproduction is essentially formal; it does not consume any “matter”), 4 (is it reasonable to consider alterations of electromagnetic states as a metabolism?) and 7 (the considered stability is very weak) are not fully satisfied.

The question here is not to say that Ray’s creatures are “quite living,” but to point out that such a construction satisfies many of the intuitive properties of life.

Adami, C. (1998). Introduction to artificial life. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Emmeche, C. (1994). The garden in the machine. The emerging science of artificial life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Farmer, J., & Belin, A. (1992). Artificial life: The coming evolution. In C.G.Langton (Ed.), Artificial life II (pp. 815-840). Redwood City: Addison-Wesley.

so man is the intelligent designer. reminds me of Genesis 1:27 - "God made man in his image". they didn't teach this when I went to school!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

an even farther out solution for the oil crisis (planet of the apes anyone?)...

excerpts from "UFOS AND THE NEW PHYSICS"
By Kim Burrafato
in conversation with
Jack Sarfatti, Ph.D.

It's no wonder that most scientists consider the subject of UFOs patently absurd and not worthy of serious discussion. Can modern physics ever hope explain the UFO phenomenon to fit within the current world view? Or is an entirely new physics required? This article will address the question "If UFOs are real, then how do they work?"...

...Theoretical subtleties inherent within Einstein's general theory of relativity (gravity) and quantum mechanics may hold the answer. If it is possible to physically alter or deform four-dimensional space-time, then a kind of space-time tunnel, or time travel gate, can be constructed. In current physics, such theoretical tunnels are known as traversable wormholes.

Cal Tech physicists Kip Thorne and Michael Morris, along with Igor Novikov of Moscow State University and others, have published a number of papers in the prestigious Physical Review on the physics of time travel and traversable wormholes. A traversable wormhole is literally a shortcut through both space and time.

An advanced extraterrestrial civilization , capable of cosmic-scale engineering, could conceivably fabricate traversable wormhole time travel gates, where their starships would enter a wormhole in one region of space- time, and pop out in another extremely distant region of space-time.

According to the equations of general relativity, one of the mouths of the wormhole has to accelerate away from the other mouth to a very high speed close to that of light and then return. If you step into the mouth that accelerates and returns, you will step out the other end into the relative past of when you entered. If you step into the unaccelerated mouth and leave through the accelerated one, you will jump into the relative future. That is, if you had an identical twin who did not go through the wormhole, your twin would be older than you.

How do you create a traversable wormhole time machine? Theoretical physicist Jack Sarfatti, has also been working on that question. A self-described "rogue scholar," Sarfatti has had a long association with fringe science. He and Michael Murphy organized and led the first Physics of Consciousness Seminars at the Esalen Institute back in 1974, sponsored by former human potential movement superstar turned pariah, Werner Erhard. Those Esalen seminars spawned an entirely new genre of pop science literature, known as "The New Physics" -- of which the recent best seller by Deepak Chopra, Quantum Healing, is but one example.

Sarfatti's unorthodox theories on faster-than-light (superluminal) communication continue to raise hackles among the more conservative physics mainstream. When it comes to traversable wormhole time machines, Sarfatti speculates that so-called dark matter, which may comprise over 90% of the mass of the universe, could provide an answer.

This elusive matter has so far remained unobservable directly by conventional methods employing photons of electromagnetic radiation. Yet, its gravitational effects on ordinary matter are observed indirectly. "If dark matter moves around in the imaginary time of quantum gravity, then it would be difficult for it to emit any photons, even if it wasn't electrically neutral. So, we wouldn't expect to see it through optical telescopes," Sarfatti explains.

...A strong case has been made that after over 30 years of searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), we just have not observed the kind of infra-red and electromagnetic signals that a number of prominent scientists believe would be characteristic of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization capable of cosmic scale engineering and interstellar expansion. So, at this point in the evolution of the universe, humanity may truly be alone. That fact weakens the case for UFOs being purely extraterrestrial in origin from advanced alien civilizations much older than our own. If UFOs are not extraterrestrial, then what are they? Sarfatti suspects

"They could be terrestrial time ships, originating from our own future. In which case, their motivation might be to interfere in their own past in order to assure their own coming into being in a globally and logically self-consistent way."

...Sarfatti speculates that UFOs could be employing some kind of "paradox engine," or "curvature generator." By continually generating paradoxes, this engine would force nature to avoid paradox by releasing inexhaustible quantities of zero point vacuum energy, physically altering the geometry of spacetime -- a starship fueled by paradox. Obviously, the demonstration of such a device would dramatically prove that the preservation of global, or logical consistency is a fundamental and immutable law of nature. It would also probably fill our planet's energy needs forever. In other words, energy may be mutable, but logic is not. Nature abhors a paradox.

Hmmm, reminds of the Infinite Improbability Engine used in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe...

Friday, August 12, 2005

solution for $60/barrel oil?

let me start by stating I don't believe this proposal is valid (nevermind that it's also infeasible). the only reason I'm repeating it is because it was put forth by a respected economist who presumably knows more about economics (utility, elasticity, supply and demand and all that rot) than you or me. so it's good for an argument either way:

"the solution to high gasoline prices is for everybody to change their buying habits at the gas station. instead of filling up, if everybody always only put in $20 of fuel -- regardless of the price per gallon; the result would be that the reserve of gas now being stored in auto gas tanks would be shifted back. nobody would have to drive any less or have more efficient engines. merely shifting the reserve backwards -- from car to gas station, to delivery tanker truck, to refinery, to oil tanker, to oil well -- would cause a surplus of oil which would force each middleman and eventually the oil producing countries to cut back their price. this price cut would then be permanent and repeated because the end users would continue to only purchase $20 of gasoline every visit to the filling station. that's the theory."

now for my rebuttal: the authors argument leaves out the fact that oil producers can simply cut back on production - they don't have to store any surplus, because they can just leave the oil in the ground. sure they have fixed costs which must be met, but really isn't the majority of oil sales pure profit to the OPEC countries? secondly, if the surplus caused a reduction in price, that $20 will then pay for more gallons of gas, which then will wipe out the surplus. an equilibrium will be reached and continued $20 purchasing behavior will not cause further decreases in price.

ok, does anyone else care to argue one way or another?

just signed up for this...

I have no idea what it's about (ok maybe an inkling), but they want me to put it on my blog for 250 credits. hey, that can't be bad!?

UPDATE 9/15: seems this is causing popups to appear. don't need that. forget the 250 credits.

another update 10/23: still getting popups, I mangled the link in this post.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

pics from the art show

went to the Sawdust Festival today. had fun talking to the artists, learned a little about materials, technique and marketing. almost bought a glycee (explained to me as French for "bullshit") for $450 - not bad for a framed oil beauty. the artist took the original, scanned and inkjetted it onto canvas, (which I think is the typical meaning of glycee) then painted over it -- kind of a fancy paint-by-numbers. a lot of the painters are doing glycee now; it's an easy way to make high quality reproductions. of course I really prefer looking at originals. btw, I'm working on a painting now myself; that's the real value of talking w/other artists (do you like how I throw myself into with that group now :-)