Saturday, February 25, 2006

No Boing For You

So, boingboing.net has been blocked by the sole, government owned ISP in the United Arab Emerites for, disseminating information that is "inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates."

I'd like some Neocon who supports the President's decision to hand our physical ports over to the UAE to explain this to me, because any country that bans Boing Boing is about as far from enlightened or democratic as you can get.

Xeni also points out that a Netfilter security firm employed by the US Gov. and several private sector corporations has blocked Boing Boing as well, dropping their url into the same category as porn sites. Which means the US Government is on the same page as the UAE when it comes to disseminating information. Like that's a huge surprise.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lookyloo

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Mouse In The stacks

A friend at the Library of Congress sent my this e-mail:

Billington, the Librarian of Congress, is considering a deal in which Disney would manage the reading rooms in the Jefferson Building. The idea is to install interactive exhibits in an attempt to lure "visitors" - not researchers by any means. Some of you might remember Disney's attempt to build a "historical" theme park/real estate development/shopping mall right next to the Manassas Battlefield. I shudder to envision what we're in for.

Look, you need the money. I get that, Billington by why Disney? All Coke-a-Cola wants is a few adds in the bathrooms and a couple of soda machines in the hallway. But Disney? Why not just start pimping out the Librarians.

Whenever the Mouse fuckers in Disneycorp get their hands on something, they bleed it dry; oversell it and then toss the rotting husk aside. (anyone been to Euro Disney?)

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a civilised country that actually funds it's cultural institutions instead of wasting 40 Bajillion dollars on a missile shield that doesn't work?

Note: This post was published on Friday but for some reason, only showed up in the RSS feed. So here it is for real.

Local Oaf Takes Advice From Well Meaning Krank; or: Is the Globe Warming, Or Is It Just Me?

George Washington was an honored veteran of two wars. Jefferson spoke three languages and wrote fluently in all of them.* Grant, it was said, could write in Greek with one hand while simultaneously writing in Latin with the other. President Bush, well, he gets his science from a science fiction author, and not even a good one:

In his new book about Mr. Bush, "Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush," Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, "State of Fear," suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.

Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as "a dissenter on the theory of global warming," writes that the president "avidly read" the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest "talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement."

"The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more," he adds.

And so it has, fueling a common perception among environmental groups that Mr. Crichton's dismissal of global warming, coupled with his popularity as a novelist and screenwriter, has undermined efforts to pass legislation intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that leading scientists say causes climate change.

Mr. Crichton, whose views in "State of Fear" helped him win the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' annual journalism award this month, has been a leading doubter of global warming and last September appeared before a Senate committee to argue that the supporting science was mixed, at best.

"This shows the president is more interested in science fiction than science," Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, said after learning of the White House meeting. Mr. O'Donnell's group monitors environmental policy.

"This administration has put no limit on global warming pollution and has consistently rebuffed any suggestion to do so," he said.

I saw Barnes on the Daily show and on Bill Mahr, Friday. His book is pure hagiography and Barnes couldn’t defend it even a little without stumbling into lugubrious platitudes. I don’t know what Crichton’s problem is. He used to be smart and sort of cutting edge in the science department. Now he’s just a cranky shill for pseudoscience. I guess that’s what happens when real science passes your fiction by at light speed: what sounded far out and whizbang a decade ago now sounds haplessly naive and about as forward thinking as a coal burning car.

"But it burns coal! It can shuttle a man at twice the spead of a horse and gets fifty gallops to the hogshead!"

Oooh! Tell us more, Dr. Crichton.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Still Sleeping

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Shootin' Match

I don't trust Dick Cheney, just on principal. I'm saying this up front so that there's no mistake: I'm biased. Still, this whole story about Dick Cheney accidentally shooting Whittington while hunting caged Quail* smells like three day old fish. Now, according to Digby, alcohol may have been involved.

There's a hole in this thing so big you could double park a pair of Hummers and still have enough room for a Chinese fire drill. We just aren't being told all the details. And you know if this had been Al Gore back in the day, Bill O'Reilly would have already had an aneurism screaming for his crucifixion.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hide and Seek


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Saving us From Sneaker Bombs, Again

UPI:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- President Bush said Thursday an al-Qaida's plot to attack Los Angeles was thwarted in 2002 by multinational cooperation.

Bush, speaking at a National Guard Association event in Washington, said al-Qaida had planned to use Asian operatives who would hijack a commercial airliner and crash it into the then-named Library Towers in Los Angeles.

The attackers, he added, had planned to use shoe-bombs to force entry into locked airline cockpits.

"Their plot was derailed in early 2002, when a Southeast Asian nation arrested a key al-Qaida operative. Subsequent debriefings and other intelligence operations made clear the intended target and how al-Qaida hoped to execute it," Bush said. "This critical intelligence helped other allies capture the ringleaders and other known operatives who had been recruited for this plot."

Al Quieda gets their ideas from either Get Smart or the CIA. like there's a difference, these days.

And you know this is the best they could come up with. They thwarted a shoe bomb plane hijacking. Great. So, what about the real threats? The mushroom cloud over New York? The nerve agent in the milk supply? Ninjas? Anything actually a real credible threat? No. Instead, they're saving us from idiots recycling their own worst ideas from five years ago.

What does it say about an enemy that they are this behind on our own security measures? I think this Onion article was more truthful tan any briefing from the Pentagon.

And really, this is the enemy we face: the unimaginative and the desperate. Al Quieda and the Bush Administration apparently watch the same lame sixties super-spy movies, never realising they were comedies, not cool ideas no one would see coming.

Monday, February 06, 2006

They Make Food? The Cartoon Crusade

So, the Saudis are boycotting Danish food, and all because of a tasteless cartoon. I don't know what's worse, the fact that the Saudis are so thinned skinned, the Danes that desperate for attention or that I've inadvertently been boycotting Danish food for years and didn't even know it. (Seriously, name me some Danish food. besides danish, which is French, I think... Do They make those little powdery cookies? Because I never liked them anyway. Kippers!...? Seriosuly, help me out here, what do the Danes eat, anyway?)

Update:

Milla and Bryan in comments have pointed out that, in fact the Danes make some rather fine cheese and sweets. I guess I should actually do a bit of research before I open my big mouth (and this has ever stopped me, when?)

Anyway, I was reading this Wikipedia article on the matter and have since changed my stance. I don't think the cartoonists did anything wrong. the cartoons are, well, cartoonish. here's the gist:

The publication of the cartoons has led to significant unrest around the world, particularly in Islamic countries, primarily because depictions of Muhammad are prohibited as a measure against idolatry (see aniconism in Islam), but also because of the perceived sterotyping of Arabs or Muslims.

The drawings, including a depiction of Muhammad with a bomb inside or under his turban, accompanied an article on self-censorship and freedom of speech. Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, commissioned twelve cartoonists for the project and published the cartoons to highlight the difficulty experienced by Danish writer Kåre Bluitgen in finding artists to illustrate his children's book about Muhammad. Cartoonists previously approached by Bluitgen were reportedly unwilling to work with him for fear of violent attacks by extremist Muslims.

Although Jyllands-Posten maintains that the drawings were an exercise in free speech, some contend that regardless of faith, the depiction of Muhammad as a terrorist is culturally offensive and blasphemous. However, many others view the cartoons as a form of non-violent protest in response to the violent threats and intimidation experienced by those who publicly criticise Islam.

Stereotypes are part of the cartoonist's language. it presents an easily recognizable face on a complex idea. To take the representations literally... look, you know the old argument about figurative vs. nonfigurative work. Besides, the point the cartoonists were trying to make about censorship and extremism? A little on the nose. Probably too close to home.

And really, that's what this is all about: Muslim fanatics; fanatics of any kind, don't like to be made fun of. It takes the piss out of them and makes them look like fools. Fanatics hate to look like fools. You can't burn down a Danish embassy in clown shoes and expect to be taken seriously. Likewise, you can't put the Infidels to the sword and bring down the Evil Satan of the West when everyone knows you're just a a bomb throwing kook with a head full of mumbo jumbo.

And truth be told, their kookiness, as is our own, is culturally ingrained. If they didn't have the ban on depicting the prophet, they'd have had their Protestant revolution by now. Imagine if the catholic Church had the same restriction on depicting Jesus. Piss Christ would have set off a war, instead of just being a dirty, highbrow joke.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rupert, Again



Rupert likes to gnaw on socks, rolled up in a ball. He's partial to fingertips and wrists, too. Thighs. Toes. Chair legs. Lint. feathers (boy howdy, does he like to chew on feathers!)

He and Lucy are getting along much better now. She's still not into the social grooming thing, but that's only a matter of time; they occasionally take naps together, but only when no one is looking.

My Job...

Is awsome, sometimes. Today, I got to look at original animation cells from the Secret of NIMH and another Don Bluth film that was never finished, called the Blue Whale.

Being a Librarian rocks.