(Original post on desiringgod.org on December 29th.)
Posted Fri Dec 31st, 2004 - 10:11am by CPC Top of page
British scientists are developing a robot that will generate its own power by eating flies. The idea is to produce electricity by catching flies and digesting them in special fuel cells that will break down sugar in the insects' skeletons and release electrons that will drive an electric current.
"I know what you’re thinking. A robot that totes around human sewage, digesting living beings for energy? What, you’re not inexorably excited about this? The EcoBot II (ah, what a benign, non-threatening name) is fed flies into 12 sewage-based bacterial fuel cells, which break them down, digest them, and use the electrons released as current. And we don’t wanna hear no jibber jabber about how it’s only a matter of time before these bots turn on their human masters, because if you’re gonna go, what’s so bad about being slowly digested in human feces by giant robot oppressors?"
see: Smelly Robot
Posted Wed Dec 29th, 2004 - 12:22pm by CPC Top of page
I have an extra bay on my home PC so I'm getting one of these.
Warning: Do not touch the Cigarette Lighter after it is heated.
Posted Mon Dec 27th, 2004 - 6:43pm by CPC Top of page
By far the best thing I received for Christmas was the book entitled Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
Think of it as "Harry Potter for adults".
Posted Sun Dec 26th, 2004 - 11:09pm by CPC Top of page
Posted Sat Dec 25th, 2004 - 5:39am by CPC Top of page
At a glance, it is just another picture of George Bush. Take a closer look and it's obvious that the artist is making a monkey of the president.
Chris Savido used a patchwork of simians to create the portrait of the commander in chief, and in doing so stirred a controversy that has rumbled on in Manhattan for a week.
Titled Bush Monkeys, it was displayed at the Chelsea Market public space last week, but provoked enough complaints for the management to close the show. That led to accusations of censorship.
Posted Thu Dec 23rd, 2004 - 2:43pm by CPC Top of page
"It's a Wonderful Life" in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.
Posted Wed Dec 22nd, 2004 - 6:30pm by CPC Top of page
Yes sir...we have hit the edge of cool and convenience. Tasty Fries are here.
Tasty Fries, Inc. has developed a French fries vending machine (the machine) designed to produce freshly made French fries, utilizing a method that automatically converts a dehydrated potato product into re-hydrated potato mix, delivers this mix into a forming-and-cooking cycle and finally, into freshly made French fries.
From REUTERS ABRIDGED BUSINESS SUMMARY
You know you would eat fries from a vending machine... stop pretending that you wouldn't eat 'em right off the floor if you had too.
Posted Tue Dec 21st, 2004 - 10:59am by CPC Top of page
"Scared of Santa" photo gallery.
Posted Mon Dec 20th, 2004 - 12:11pm by CPC Top of page
From BBC News World Edition - Dec 13th, 2004.
Japanese men without a shoulder to cry on this Christmas are being offered a woman's lap - made out of foam - to rest on instead.
The "lap pillow", shaped like the bottom half of a kneeling woman, is selling for about 9,429 yen ($90), the French news agency AFP reported.
"Single men find this soothing," said Mitsuo Takahashi of the manufacturer Trane KK.
He told AFP that the Hizamakura, or lap pillow, fulfilled a primal need.
"From the time people were kids, people have laid their heads on their mothers' laps to get their ears cleaned," he said. "This is made to be quite close to the real thing."
But they are also reported to be proving popular as joke gifts at office parties.
So far the company has sold about 3,000 laps, Mr Takahashi said.
The Hizamakura is similar to a product, shaped like a man's torso with one sturdy arm, which has been on sale since last December.
That product, the Boyfriend's Arm Pillow, was made by Japanese company Kameo, and is being targeted at Japanese single women.
Posted Wed Dec 15th, 2004 - 5:21pm by CPC Top of page
Men's ability to produce sperm makes them an invaluable resource for the human species. But what if you could produce sperm without men? As NPR's Joe Palca reports in part two of his series The End of Men, that may soon be possible.
Posted Tue Dec 14th, 2004 - 8:12pm by CPC Top of page
Article from PINR (Power and Interest News Report) entitled ''U.S. Retreats from Theory of Democratic Transformation in the Middle East'' from December 8th, 2004.
An important motive behind the Bush administration's intervention in Iraq was the goal of fostering democracy in the Middle East. This motive, recognized as critical to U.S. interests following the September 11 attacks, is based upon the belief that autocratic, non-democratic states have a higher potential to create disaffected individuals who join political groups that seek to use violence to exercise their political grievances. This pattern is especially prevalent in the Middle East, where autocracy is the norm and where most of the militants attacking U.S. interests are located.
Therefore, following the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration argued that the successful formation of democracy in Iraq would serve as an example to other Middle Eastern states. For one, it would provide a warning that the creation of a functioning market democracy in the region is possible, even through the use of force by an outside power. Additionally, by transforming Iraq from a country ruled by a dictator to one ruled by a democratically elected government, Washington hoped that citizens of autocratic states in the region would no longer stand by obediently while they were forced to obey an unpopular and autocratic regime.
While this was an important motive behind the intervention in Iraq, it has now lost support with Washington policymakers in addition to many insiders within the Bush administration. The reason behind this loss of support has been the continuous failure to transform Iraq into a market democracy. While it is still possible to arrest Iraq's present downward trend, until that moment occurs there will be little support for further test cases of democratic transformation in the Middle East.
Read the whole article
Posted Mon Dec 13th, 2004 - 6:56pm by CPC Top of page
If you haven't already realized the inevitable, here's some sad news: we are all going to die at some point.
I like to watch trends. In the Funeral Industry -- and increasingly since 1975 -- family-run Funeral Homes have become far and few between, as mega-corporate monsters gobble them up, then compete with other corporate monsters for staking rights on vast swatches of North America -- based on graying boomer demographics, profitability for shareholders, and economies of scale.
What's a hapless and spendthrift consumer to do? I'm sure that I don't want to burden my family or estate with the high cost of impersonal and faceless funeral services. Pre-planning offers some cost guarantees... but still pricey! Here's a thought: Why not "do it yourself funerals"?
Can now purchase a coffin through COSTCO Wholesale in certain U.S. markets, or even from this guy! -->
I've got a shovel!
Posted Sat Dec 11th, 2004 - 12:48pm by CPC Top of page
Flipping through the New York Times this morning, found this article (December 10, 2004): It's Inauguration Time Again, and Access Still Has Its Price.
Yeah, OK -- that other party did pretty much the same thing -- but, selling influence to the tune of $40,000,000?! Clearly this is not everybody's party (in all senses of the word).
Mr. Bush's inaugural committee, seeking to raise more than $40 million, a record, sent out hundreds of solicitations to the president's biggest campaign contributors this week offering packages of party benefits and access to the president in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Even at a time of war when more than 138,000 American troops are serving in Iraq, the organizers say that the inaugural celebration at the end of the January will not be marked by any noticeable restraint and will cost more than any other in history.
Unlike campaign contributions, there are no legal limits on the amount that an individual or corporation can donate to the inauguration. In 2001, the Enron Corporation gave $100,000 for the Bush inauguration, and the company's chairman at the time, Kenneth Lay, gave an additional $100,000. A spokeswoman said that the company, which went bankrupt after a financial scandal, would give nothing this time.
If you're not registered at the NYT site (why not? It's free...) -- I've copied the article here.
Posted Thu Dec 9th, 2004 - 9:01am by CPC Top of page
By Bill Gallagher of the Niagara Falls Reporter, appearing Dec 7th, 2004.
President George W. Bush intended his first state visit to Canada to be a fence-mending mission and he used phrases like "America always prefers to act with allies at our side" and "Multilateral organizations can do great good in the world" to chum up.
He even called for broader international participation in building peace in the Middle East. The president said he hopes "to foster international consensus" to defend security. This was an unusual message from the "go it alone" Texas cowboy who lives by a "my way or the highway" foreign policy. Remember, just a few weeks ago, Bush and his minions were mocking John Kerry for saying much the same thing.
The United States and Canada can defend security and spread freedom, the president declared, "by building effective multinational and multilateral institutions and supporting multinational action." Of course, those are the very things Bush did not do in his war in Iraq and other international issues, and our Canadian friends were quick to point out the enormous gap between Bush's advertising and his products. > read more
Posted Tue Dec 7th, 2004 - 11:42pm by CPC Top of page
Posted Mon Dec 6th, 2004 - 8:00pm by CPC Top of page
By John Chuckman of YellowTimes.org Columnist (Canada) - Printed on Sunday, December 05, 2004
We are getting stories about increasing anti-Americanism in Canada, mainly coming from sources that are the Canadian equivalent of the Voice of America. They are pretty much the same people who told us we must support a friend who goes to war, neglecting to distinguish the case of a friend who has gone stark raving mad and decided to burn down someone else's house.
I think you can only have anti-Americanism if you first have Americanism, which is certainly not the same thing as simple love of country. Americanism is a cult centered on a belief in national exceptionalism. In modern times, there has been no better representative of the cult than George W. Bush, its current Imperial Wizard. Everywhere he goes, he projects the self-satisfied image of an America happy to dump its untreated effluent into the world's supply of drinking water so long as Americans themselves feel they are doing the right thing.
If you want to understand why George Bush is responsible for any increase in the world's stock of anti-Americanism, here is a brief summary of his recent visit to Canada. If you can believe it, the visit was intended to heal the rift over Canada's not signing on for the needless killing of 100,000 Iraqi civilians.
Bush went to Canada's capital, Ottawa, where his advisors were so fearful he might face catcalls by a few Members that he did not address Parliament, having been formally invited to do so. Maybe it was just that the electronic communications gizmo he wore on his back during the Presidential debates was out of order, but I think it more likely he was displaying the behavior of all bullies who have no tolerance for anyone who questions their posturing.
Security was so tight during the visit that some Members of Parliament were refused entry into the building for lack of a special one-time security pass, an act which actually is against the laws of Canada. Americans never hear of the grotesque measures taken when Bush travels abroad. After Bush's stay at Buckingham Palace in London, the Queen was horrified by the damage done to the Palace grounds. They were left looking like the parking lot at a Walmart two-for-one sale. > rest of article
Posted Sun Dec 5th, 2004 - 7:16pm by CPC Top of page
Check out the weekly piracy report at the International Commercial Crime Service (of the International Chamber of Commerce), which is a summary of the daily reports broadcast by the IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre to ships in Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean Regions on the SafetyNET service of Inmarsat-C.
Posted Sat Dec 4th, 2004 - 11:23am by CPC Top of page
It's easy to sit up here in Canada-land (as some well meaning, but comically bankrupt southern buddies call us) and lob blog-bits into the ether over my somewhat-more-than-mild distaste for our American cousin's electoral decision to continue the egregious foreign Policy of U.S. President George W. Bush and his ensemble of unapologetic neo-conservative hawks.
Just when all seemed darkest post-election, I came across the illuminating "Dear World: Sorry About Bush No, seriously. Very, very sorry. How sorry? Well, let America show you ... in pictures" -- an article by Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist on Wednesday, November 17, 2004.
See also: http://www.apologiesaccepted.com
Posted Thu Dec 2nd, 2004 - 10:46pm by CPC Top of page
If the invasion of Iraq was indeed a desperate attempt to guard the interests of the ill-defined American empire, then the experience of the last 20 months might’ve been the needed historical imperative that classically precedes the disintegration and demise of great empires.
No single factor leads to this grim reality, but a combination.
The American public was duped into backing two dreadful wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, thinking that by preemptively eliminating the ‘gathering dangers’ in these extremely poor countries, another 9/11 scenario might be thwarted. The elite coalition in Washington, however, had another scenario in mind, one almost of no relevance to the subject of averting terrorism altogether, but in fact one that is likely to spur the intensification of violence and counter violence.
This is neither to suggest that the war on Afghanistan was devised on the same pretexts of the latter war, nor that the ruling class in Washington adheres to the same political, ideological or self-motivated philosophy.
The increasingly prevailing narrative now indicates that Iraq was the prize sought by the neo-conservative elements in US administrations as early as a decade prior to September 11, 2001. While the justifications for the war were modified according to the political atmosphere in Washington, Israel’s security was, and remains a focal point. This in part explains why neo-conservatives are often labeled, the ‘Likudists’ on Capital Hill, referring to Israel’s right wing Likud party. The allegation is equally strengthened by the incontrovertible fact that some neo-cons – as they are often called - have served as advisors to past Israeli governments.
But the war party’s interests are of course not limited to that of Israel, or even to any other lone factor, be it strategic control over oil reserves, obstructing the growing Chinese economic force from encompassing the Middle East, defending the reputation of a weakening empire, or simply hunting for some Pentagon contracts. Added to that is the religious fanaticism and its rampant fervor that has more institutionalized and far-reaching influence in Washington than anywhere else in the world, with the exception of Israel and Iran.
To preserve these interests and widen them to reach other troubled (read exploitable) spots around the world, the average American must be kept under the watchful eye of state propaganda; Mission: Be Very Afraid. > read more
Posted Wed Dec 1st, 2004 - 1:30pm by CPC Top of page