Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Elicits the First Race-Baiting Comment

Of course Barack Obama is the first to fire a racially-charged shot at the McCain camp.
"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
"Bush and McCain" haven't said anything of the sort. Obama is saying that's what they will do. So he's preemptively condemning them for using race to scare off Obama votes, something they haven't come close to doing. So much for the high road, Obama.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Global Warming Now Imperils...Saturn

I love astronomy news. Every new discovery and mission is like the convergence of fact and science fiction.

The latest news from Titan (Saturn's biggest moon) is no different. NASA has confirmed with the Cassini probe the presence of large liquid lakes on the surface. Titan is the only body (after Earth) in the solar system to have such a feature, and it's made mostly of liquid hydrocarbons and ethane.

But alas, mankind must be endangering these pristine lakes, as global warming seems to have infected Titan:

The observations also suggest the lake is evaporating. It is ringed by a dark beach, where the black lake merges with the bright shoreline.

Book your Titan vacations now, before it's too late to enjoy the frigid, natural beauty of these incredible lakes.

Manilla Police Powered by Grease

Why is it that all the really cool, common sense ideas come from places like the Philippines? The police department there has turned from from government pork to McDonald's grease to fuel its police fleet. From the article,

One police car has been converted to use the diesel/cooking oil mixture and is already in use, and the government is studying how viable it is to convert more vehicles.

"It's a win-win situation for us because we will both benefit," Cruz said. "The cooking oil of their Makati stores will be re-used and the Makati police will use it as a component for their biodiesel and also save money."

They forgot about the other "win" - where McDonald's scores a cheap PR triumph, getting its name in the news and its logo (possibly) plastered all over the patrol cars it fuels. Of course, the environment couldn't care less.

For obvious reasons, I think police forces here should follow suit. Besides, who doesn't like the smell of a tasty barbecue as a consolation prize for getting pulled over?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obligatory Cat Pictures

A cat has to be the easiest living subject to take a photo of. As in any other situation, the cat just sits there not caring. Much simpler than trying to get a good picture of a two-year-old or a campfire. Especially when the smoke gets in your eyes. Ouch!

Anyway, here's our new kitten, Ozwald. Secretly, his full name is Ozymandias, but he's not the pretentious type, so we just call him Oz or Ozzie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just How Fun is "Fun Size"?

On the way to my office today, I passed a candy bowl at the front desk and snagged a Fun Size Milky Way. And it blew me away how small it was. Check it out:

Seriously--this thing was no longer than a paperclip, and not much wider than one, either. I think their naming department needs a different name for that size, because eating one of those is not very fun. Maybe something more along the lines of "Milky Way Nano."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What lies around the bend...

Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco
Taken during a visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Going to Publish God's Moral Code? That's a Lawsuit

Leave it to Michigan courts to hear a case about some dude who's suing a Bible publisher for causing mental anguish. To the tune of $60 million.
Fowler is seeking $60 million from Zondervan, alleging their Bibles refer to homosexuality as a sin have made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment."
What's also interesting is that Mr. Fowler isn't referring to current editions of the New King James Bible, but editions published in the 1980s, which have since been edited to remove the hurtful concepts. Fowler:

"This misrepresentation is a willful and deliberate tort. Fraudulently imposing a written defamation or libel in order to prevent me from marrying someone of the same sex in this state," his lawsuit states. "This obvious coerced method of mind control and social dictatorship violates the religious [sacred] laws which prevent anyone from adding to the Biblical scriptures or from taking any words away from the text."

Interestingly, it appears that both the plaintiff and defendant deny the divine and irrevocable decree that God's laws cannot be simply amended to accommodate our own transient partialities.

Apparently the biggest sin of all is to proclaim moral standards that may induce feelings of guilt.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Play Jelly Battle!

The game of Jelly Battle has been around for a while, but it's still just as addictive as ever. Try it out--it never gets old. I've leveled of at Major rank...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

China is Evil, Part XXIX - and so is McDonald's, by Association

I like to follow a blog called The Raw Feed, mainly for its tech-related articles and common-sense advice. It also regularly offers a candid view of the many evils of China, which most media outlets choose to ignore.

This post is excellent, and I'll paste it here in its entirety. Thanks, Mike Elgan.

Shamelessly pandering to Chinese nationalism, the McDonald's corporation has chosen a slogan for a massive marketing campaign within China: "Wo jiu xihuan Zhongguo ying," which roughly translates as, "I LOVE IT WHEN CHINA WINS." This campaign is objectionable for 3 reasons:

1. There's a difference between national pride and nationalism; this slogan flat-out panders to the worse elements of Chinese nationalism, which is a weird emotion to exploit in order to sell junk food.

2. Everyone in China understands that goal #1 during the Olympics is to beat the United States in the medal count for the first time ever. That's a perfectly reasonable goal for the Chinese, but an odd goal for an American corporation.

3. Olympic competition between China and Western countries is in reality a competition between two approaches to the organization of athletic excellence. In the U.S., Japan, Europe, and elsewhere, athletes are amateurs who work day jobs, and do their sport out of love for the game. In China, children showing athletic promise are taken from their parents and placed into grueling training camps where they are forged into world-class athletes at the expense of their childhoods, families and, often, their futures. If athletes want to quit, they and their families are threatened with not being able to find work or worse. Read more about it here. By bolding saying that they want China to win, McDonald's is in fact advocating the Chinese system of Communist Party-enforced, work-camp style training over the voluntary for-the-love-of-sport approach in the West.
Why is McDonald's doing this? It's obvious: They want to sell junk food to China by pandering to nationalist feelings. But once this gets out, how will the knowledge that McDonald's "loves it when China wins" affect nationalist feeling here in the United States?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Courtesy of my daughter, Age 5.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Album Review: A Gentleman's Hurricane by Mind's Eye

Take the best of Symphony X, Queensr├┐che and maybe a dash of Pain of Salvation, and you have my favorite album of 2007. (I discovered it in 2008.)


The perfect concoction of progressive rock, metal and melody, A Gentleman's Hurricane is one of those rare works that keeps the ear entertained with complex structure, and that penetrates the mind with catchy riffs and melodies. Virtuosity isn't the focus here, though the musicianship provides excellent support to the structure, incorporating an appealing balance of guitar, keyboards, vocals and drums. The music is rife with vocal harmonies that give the album a level of depth that's rarely achieved in the genre.

The album holds true to its prog identity as it follows a story concept. The story is rather hackneyed, and the lyrics can be quite cliche (even hokey at times). This is easy to overlook, however, given the outstanding high quality of the music. In fact, it's often difficult to pay attention to the lyrics with so many other wonderful elements to listen to.

Each and every track is a masterpiece on its own, but the most exceptional of these include: Seven Days, AssassiNation, Chaos Unleashed, the radio-friendly Feed My Revolver and Pandora's Musical Box.

Learn more about the album and group over at Prog Archives.