Liquid explosive plane plot: real or hype?

The Register looks at the supposed terrorist plot to blow up planes with the liquid explosive TATP, triacetone triperoxide, and finds the chemistry wanting:

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

David Byrne on "Jesus Camp"

Apparently there's a new documentary out, Jesus Camp, about a religious indoctrination summer camp. David Byrne comments in his blog:

There were some perfect sound bites — at one point Pastor Fischer instructs the little ones that they should be willing to die for Christ, and the little ones obediently agree. She may even use the word martyr, which has a shocking echo in the Middle East. I can see future suicide bombers for Jesus — the next step will be learning to fly planes into buildings. Of course, the grownups would say, “Oh no, we’re not like them” — but they admit that the principal difference is simply that “We’re right.”

Biggest thing in the universe

Try to wrap your head around this:

An enormous amoeba-like structure 200 million light-years wide and made up of galaxies and large bubbles of gas is the largest known object in the universe, scientists say.

The galaxies and gas bubbles, called Lyman alpha blobs, are aligned along three curvy filaments that formed about 2 billion years after the universe exploded into existence after the theoretical Big Bang...

Some of the gas bubbles are up to 400,000 light years across, nearly twice the diameter of our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy. Scientists think they formed when massive stars born early in the history of the universe exploded as supernovas and blew out their surrounding gases. Another theory is that the bubbles are giant gas cocoons that will one day give birth to new galaxies.

Rolling Stone asks, Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

I'd pretty much chalked up W's victory in 2004 to the successful application by the GOP of the politics of fear and bigotry. But now RFK Jr, in a piece in Roling Stone, shows that GOP opertives managed to prevent more than 350,000 voters in the pivotal state of
Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted
. That's more that twice W's margin of "victory" there.

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations. A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states, was discovered shredding Democratic registrations. In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes, malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots. Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.

one of those chain-letter survey/questionnaire things

I don't usually do these (I could spend a lot of time on them if I did), but what the heck...was sent to me by someone I'd like to know better, and I'm sending it on to at least one person who might want to play, or at least be interested to see it...

1. FIRST NAME? Tom

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? One of my dad's best friends from high
school

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? define "cry"...I got misty-eyed watching a rerun
of the Simpsons this evening (the one where Bart sells his "soul" to
Milhouse for five bucks and Lisa ends up buying it back for him).

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Nope, it's why I print - and I don't like

tension in qi gong

Something I posted recently to the CyberDojo:

"Rusty McMains" (rmcmains@) writes:

> Muscle "tension" or dynamic tension as most people understand it should
> never been applied. This is not healthy and does not promote proper qigong.

I know very little about qi gong, but I've had the good fortune to have been exposed to a few very different styles.

There definitely is a style of qi gong exercise that uses a dynamic tension very similar to what I was taught for sanchin and tensho kata. Exercises like "Pulling Nine Oxen Backward" and "Pushing Eight Horses Forward" were taught to us by a tuina instructor, and had a very similar feel to our sanchin and tensho.

Zelda's exercises, August 13

Two exercises from Zelda's Inferno:

1) using these four things:

1 inanimate object: window glass
2 landscape or geography: sidewalks and streets
3 newspapers/current event: latest terrorism scare
4 from tv: idiot talking heads

how many windows have I looked out of, in how many cities
on to how many sidewalks and streets
watching people go by
mostly watching the women, to be sure

the window glass keeps me safely inside, separated from what I see
vision only, no sounds, like a TV that's muted

SubGenius in trouble: "Why a goat?"

When I'm at Starwood, I always make it a point to attend the Reverend
Ivan Stang's "rants", always entertaining and thought-provoking. This time,
though, Ivan had a story to tell that was more frightening.

It seems that a lovely SubGenius
lass, Reverend Magdalen, is stuck in a custody battle with her ex over
their young son. Ok, sad, but common. What's uncommon is that the ex used
photos of her from the SubGenius's "X Day" celebration (held at the
Brushwood Folklore Center, same location as Starwood).

Parker Brothers' whores for Visa in new Monopoly version

Ars Technica reports that the "venerable board game Monopoly has been given an electronic European makeover. Capitalist robber barons in the UK will now have the option of making a cashless fortune thanks to a new version of the game that features an electronic card from Visa instead of paper money." They report that this seems to tie in with a Visa advertizing

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