Coke adds...cadmium

http://www.organicconsumers.org/BTC/cocacola082405.cfm

So in 2001, Coca-Cola builds a bottling plant in Plachimada, India. And then a few months later, the local wells start running dry. And then it turns out that the "free fertilizer" they've been giving out to the locals is lead and cadmium-laden waste sludge from the plant - with no fertilizer value.

Said Veerendrakumar, member of parliament and editor of the influential 'Mathrubhumi' newspaper: ''The fact of the matter is that that water from underground sources is being pumped out free, bottled and sold to our people to make millions for cola companies while destroying the environment and damaging public health''.

The seeds Political Animals sow

Letter to the Editor, Baltimore City Paper, regarding Brian Morton's recent "Political Animal" column, Police State:

So Brian Morton is waking up to the fact that the U.S. is sliding into a police state ("Political Animal", Aug 24 2005). Great. The problem is that this is not a post-9/11 phenomenon, but a consequence of the "War on Drugs" that has been eroding American civil liberties for decades. And the irony is that Mr. Morton himself, in his previous position as spokesman for drug czar Barry McCaffrey, aided and abetted the process of increasing police power so the state could stick its nose into Americans' private choices.

Librarians in...Pornography

This is so bizarre, I had to share. http://www.riverofdata.com/librariana/porn/index.htm

Librarians are always concerned about their image, and much attention has been paid to that image in novels, television programs, and advertising. However, there has been little attention paid to that image in pornography. I presented a paper on this topic at the 1990 Conference of the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association in Toronto.

hardware lust: "Damn Small Machine"

Yummy. The Damn Small Machine is a Nano-ITX system that is 100% silent because it has no moving parts - no fan, no disk drive. Very low power consumption. Runs Damn Small Linux.

If and when the house gets sold and I put part of my share to a audio recording setup, this might end up part of it, if I could plug something like the Tascam US122 in to it. (Need to do more research about the Linux compatibility of that unit.)

Utah paramilitary blitzkrieg raid on dance party

Remember the War on (Some) Drugs? It tends to get lost behind the ones we're fighting over in Iraq and Afghanistan (or as The Daily Show likes to call the region, "Mess O' Potamia"). But the Wo(S)D is going every bit as well as the one in the Middle East, as shown by this recent raid by Utah stormtroopers on a rave: Daily Kos: UTAH RAVERS TREATED LIKE TERRORISTS! (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/8/22/13030/7546)

The helicopter dipped lower and lower and started shining its lights on the crowd. I was kind of in awe and just sat and watched this thing circle us for a minute. As I looked back towards the crowd I saw a guy dressed in camoflauge walking by, toting an assault rifle. At this point, everyone was fully aware of what was going on . A few "troops" rushed the stage and cut the sound off and started yelling that everyone "get the fuck out of here or go to jail". This is where it got really sticky.

Denver Airport's automated baggage system (finally!) shutting down

Ah, Denver Airport. For many years - a decade, really - those of us in the computer field have read of delays and problems with their massive automated baggage handling system. Truly one of the great boondoggles of computer systems. They're finally pulling the plug - and replacing this failed hi-tech system with human baggage handlers.

Household battery recycling

I hate throwing stuff away. Sustainability - i.e., the long term future of the human race - requires that we are able to recycle, reuse, or return to nature (compost or burn in a closed carbon cycle) just about everything we make. Being a techo-geek, the non-recyclable nature of most electronic gear nags at me.

Fortunately, things are getting better. Electronics recycling is starting, slowly, to gather momentum, though it's still something that is woefully underfunded and publicized given the toxic nature of electronics waste.

house for sale again...

Well, the deal with my grandfather's house fell through...again...

My grandfather passed away last year, and the majority of his estate consisted of his house, which he left to my mother, my brother, and me. After much drama and hassle about buying his widow out of her share of the property (did you know that in Maryland, a surviving spouse can go against the will and take 1/3 of the estate? We didn't.), we fixed the place up a little (not much - it was in fantastic shape), and put it on the market back in June. And quickly found a buyer.

Unfortunately, that buyer got screwed over royally by their bank - the day before closing, they told the buyer that the mortgage payment would be several hundred dollars more than originally promised. Severely disappointed (after my father's heart surgery earlier this year, we really need this sale to happen), we put the house back on the market. And quickly found a buyer.

Reuters - Pickled fetus head fuels art furor

ZURICH (Reuters) - A sculpture made with the pickled head of a dead fetus attached to a seagull's body has fueled a furor in Switzerland about the boundaries of art.

Berne's Museum of Fine Arts removed the piece from a Chinese art exhibition earlier this month after a complaint that it was disrespectful to the dead, and following concerns its grisly appearance might traumatize visiting schoolchildren. ...

Full story here.

updated "Leather Substitutes Resource Guide" available

For many years I've been maintaining a guide to shoes and other goods made without leather. The Leather Substitutes Resource Guide has gone without revisious for far too long - a new version is now available.

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