The Politics of Katrina

Rarely has a natural disaster become so politicized. From climate change to Iraq to bankruptcy reform, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has touched on many current controversies.

It's been suggested that global warming may lead to more severe weather, including more (and more severe) hurricanes. And forecasters are calling for stronger hurricane seasons in the years to come; however, many are arguing that this is part of a natural cyclical variation. While we know with a good deal of certainly that climate change is occurring, and that part of it is driven by human activity, the picture just isn't clear enough to connect hurricanes with CO2 emissions.

New Maryland Senate candidate - Lise Van Susteren enters race for Sarbanes' seat

An interesting new candidate has entered the race for the Maryland Senate seat being opened by Paul Sarbanes' retirement. Lise Van Susteren, sister of television personality Greta Van Susteren, supports stem cell research, gay marriage and abortion rights, and called the Iraq war a "terrible mistake." She's got my attention.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster theory of "Intelligent Design"

From www.venganza.org:

OPEN LETTER TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Files archives

After a few hours of Drupal hacking, I've integrated the files archives from the old site into our new setup. Enojy!

Reuters: South Africa anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks

KLEINMOND, South Africa (Reuters) - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex", a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

Wallball

I just got back from doing something I haven't done in over twenty years: playing wallball.

Now, Googling for "wallball" reveals several different games by that name. (Including, oddly, some stupid computer screen-saver program to train PHBs in their jargon. WTF?) But the proper way, of course, is the way my brother Jim and I used to play in the alley.

The house where I grew up was located at the confluence of two alleys T-ing together, our house at the top of the T, making a nice wide playing area out of the junction where they opened into each other. The house across the alleys to the right (looking up the T toward our house) was home to a snowball business that operated out of a truck; it was, to us, the "snowball truck yard", I don't think I ever knew the names of the people who lived there. The truck was kept on a parking pad at end of the yard, which was separated from the higher ground of the rest of the property by an cinder block retaining wall about six feet high. In the summer, the truck was out selling ice with flavored syrup most of the time, leaving us the perfect playing field.

Save the Earth, save the people

Vegetarian Glucosamine

Things I didn't know were out there: I was under the impression that the only source for the popular supplement glucosamine (believed to support joint health) was shellfish. Turns out there are vegan sources. Deva makes a glucosamine with MSM and CMO supplement that's available at vegan specialty retailers; KAL makes a vegan glucosamine that you're more likely to find at your local store. I will probably add this to my regimen...maybe to Piccolo's too, she's been having some knee problems.

Big Brother is listening...through your cellphone

This Guardian story mentions in passing:

Not only can operators pinpoint users to within yards of their location by "triangulating" the signals from three base stations, but - according to a report in the Financial Times - the operators (under instructions from the authorities) can remotely install software onto a handset to activate the microphone even when the user is not making a call. Who needs an ID card when they can do that already?

Go to Pluto!

Well, maybe you can't go in person (yet), but you can send your name. The New Horizons mission to Pluto-Charon and the Kuiper Belt is collecting names which will be placed on a CD aboard the craft. Boldly go and sign up now!

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