Will current oil crunch push us to renewables, or to other oil sources?

Since gasoline hit $3 a gallon, suddenly words like "biodiesel" are being heard a lot more often. Maybe this oil crunch could provide impetus to finally get us moving toward renewable energy.

Or maybe not. Other terms coming up recently are coal-to-oil and shale, different ways to extract and use fossil fuels that might become economically viable if oil prices remain high.

Honda designs canine-friendly car

Honda's W.O.W. concept car has built-in dog crates, washable roll-out flooring, and wide sliding doors. The article notes that in Japan, demand is growing for cars that cater to dogs and their people.

I noticed during my first visit (I'm going to get to go back in a few weeks) that Japan seemed a dog-friendly country, it seemed more common for people to have their dogs out with them in Kobe than in Baltimore. Also more older dogs, it seems they rarely put dogs down just because they get old.

Armed dolphins let loose by Katrina?

The Guardian reports - and they don't seem to be making this up - that three dozen armed dolphins may have been set loose in the Gulf of Mexico when their compound, believed to be near Lake Pontchartrain, was breached by Hurricane Katrina.

Experts familiar with the U.S. navy's program believe that the military trained the dolphins to shoot underwater terrorists with dart guns. The Navy has refused to confirm that any of its cetacean agents are AWOL.

sold the house, hurray, hurray!

Well my friends, after far too many months of stress and financial wrangling, I'm happy to say that yesterday we closed on the sale of my late grandfather's house.

It's not only a financial windfall that (partly, at least) offsets the losses of my dad's extended unemployment and health problems, but it finally lets us get some emotional resolution about my grandfather's death, and about the shoddy and shameful treatment his second wife gave us. I found myself feeling about ten pounds lighter today, actually whistling singing as I was grocery shopping..."Sarge" was something of a whistler, I remember him  whistling little tunes when he would take my brother and I for after-dinner walks around the neighborhood when we were boys.

Mother Nature

This story was pointed out to me by our good friend Mike Gurklis, who notes, "There's nothing better than things that are both beautiful and strange."

Indeed. You really need to follow the link and see the photos on this one!

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.

...

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added.

bizarre comics and Orwellian misconceptions

I'm just enough of a comics fan to get some laughs from the bizarre covers and outrageous outtakes at Superdickery.com. In their discussion of propaganda in comics, they linked to a contemporary bizarre right-wing comic:

It is the year 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City ...And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations-dominated ultra-liberalism.

Iraqis dare to take sovereignty seriously

Seems that folks in our newest colony thought that our talk about giving them sovereignty was serious. Now they're upset that our British allies busted two of their soldiers out of an Iraqi jail. Officials in Basra say they will not cooperate with coalition forces until Britain formally apologizes for the raid; they are also asking for the return of the arrestees to Iraqi custody, and compensation for casualties and facility damage from the jailbreak.

This comes after the recent condemnation of a UN Security Council resolution giving the US military immunity from Iraqi law by Justice Minister Abdul Hussein Shandal.

Evolution of the expletive

Ironically juxtaposed against the death of Lenny Bruce's ex-wife, Honey Bruce Friedman, comes this story from the New York Times on the "psychology of swearing":

In fact, said Guy Deutscher, a linguist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and the author of "The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention," the earliest writings, which date from 5,000 years ago, include their share of off-color descriptions of the human form and its ever-colorful functions. And the written record is merely a reflection of an oral tradition that Dr. Deutscher and many other psychologists and evolutionary linguists suspect dates from the rise of the human larynx, if not before.

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