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.

Baltimore Sun prints "Federalism is no defense for failure to handle Katrina"

The Baltimore Sun printed my letter regarding federalism and the response to Katrina (as first seen here). Hurray for me.

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.

more on HST's gonzo sendoff

Rolling Stone has more on the death of, and memorial service for, Hunter S. Thompson:

"Fuck you, Hunter," [Johnny Depp] joked one afternoon not long after Hunter died. "You want a Gonzo Cannon? We'll give you a Gonzo Cannon."

Following Hunter's thirty-year-old blueprints, the Colonel commissioned a construction crew to build the cannon. Cost was not a factor. So what if the price tag was $2 million or $3 million? Depp's recent hits Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were financial grand slams, earning the forty-two-year-old actor enough money to buy his own island near the Bahamas. Doing it right for Hunter was all that mattered. "I loved him and wanted to make sure his last wish was fulfilled," Depp says. "It's that simple." He galvanized Hunter's inner circle to share his vision of building the most spectacularly weird monument ever erected for a writer.

Citizen's Self-Arrest

Ok, this is just funny:

If you witness a crime, it is your civic duty to report the crime to the police.

When a crime is committed, you have the right and responsibility to make a "Citizen's Arrest".

Thus, if YOU commit a crime, it would be extremely helpful (and provide a savings of tax dollars) for you to perform a Citizen's Self-Arrest

Global warming 'past the point of no return'?

The Independent reports on a record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer, and how this may mean a "tipping point" in the climate has been passed:

Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

Don't Blame the Constitution

Letter to the Editor, Baltimore Sun:

I'm somewhat mystified by Evan P. Schultz's labeling of the Commerce Clause and the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments of the Constitution as "archaic". ("Blame the Constitution", September 15, 2005). If last part of the Bill of Rights, and an Amendment passed after it, are "archaic", what are we to make of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments? If the Commerce Clause is "archaic", what is to be done about the rest of Article I, Section 8, which lays out the powers of Congress? Is the federal authority to issue currency "archaic"?

Data preservation in a digital age

As Bruce Sterling and Richard Kadrey's Dead Media Project has shown, information may last a lot longer that our ability to read it. For example, try reading an old WordPerfect file stored on a 5 1/4 inch floppy from the days of MS-DOS.

What to do about preserving information amidst the constant flux of file formats, software applications, storage hardware, and operating systems? The National Archives and Records Administration has awarded Lockheed Martin a $308 million, six-year contract to build an system to preserve federal electronic records in a media, software, and hardware-independent fashion. We'll see.

A different approach to information preservation is being taken by the Rosetta Project of the Long Now Foundation. As fifty to ninety percent of the world's 7,000-odd languages are predicted to disappear in the next century, they are attempting to create a near permanent physical archive of 1,000 of them, in the form of a large number of micro-etched 3" nickel disks scattered about as heirlooms.

Reuters: Court says flag pledge violates Constitution

Reuters reports that Michael Newdow has successfully revived his case against school prayer in the form of the "under God" phrase of the "Pledge of Allegiance".

 

In June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Californian atheist Michael Newdow could not challenge the pledge's phrase "under God" on behalf of his daughter because he did not have full legal control over her.

Newdow immediately filed a new federal case in which he offered to represent two families against the Elk Grove Unified School District, the same Sacramento-area district he had previously sued.

Vitamin C and cancer - another round of the debate

The BBC reports on a new study showing intravenous vitamin C in the form of ascorbate may help fight cancer.

The science about the health benefits of vitamin C is, to say the least, fraught with controversy, dating back to when Nobel laureate Linus Pauling first suggested it might help fight the common cold and cancer. Two sides of the issue: from Alacer, makers of Emergen-C, versus Stephen Barrett's "Quackwatch" .

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