The Church in the Bush

USAToday –

Wars have cost $700B since 9/11

A new Congressional Research Service report says the U.S. government has spent about $700 billion on “military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks.”

Put that in your tank….

Plug this

World Energy Use by 2030

World marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 50 percent from 2005 to 2030, according to a new report from the United States Energy Information Agency.

Total energy demand in non-OECD countries is projected to increase by 95 percent, while OECD countries are expected to increase consumption by 24 percent.



I wouldn’t know if either God or you will approve then it shouldn’t matter if I tell you my proud moment today is a dozen thumbs of hot dog I put along the dash and I whooped in some odd glory when my good dog waited ’til the last before he tongued each gift knowing this man is no cheat.

Hoof it

I remember a story:

Richelieu was a great warrior gentleman that brought several hundred young men to America to support the Revolution. He was a loud energetic man with a creed he spoke day upon day. I visited the barracks in Newport RI where he had met each night with his little Army – still a true threat to the English nearby. He would talk hours each night to his young charges, his regalia and his stallion always with him in the great barn. My guide, a Rhode Island judge, pointed earnestly to a yard-wide medallion next to the pedestal where Richelieu spoke each night. The General’s bold white stallion had hoofed a 4 inch deep circle into the old oak planks because night after night, waiting and waiting, the stallion’s impatience circled a bowl into the hard wood floor as if to commemorate that these are the arguments and speeches and agonies and fears that make nations the horse did say.

The Last Fourth of July

We’ll meet at their office:

On the Last Fourth of July, the subjects of the new King George thought long and hard. Would they grill hotdogs, turn up the air-conditioning, cheer for militarism, and wait for total tyranny. Or would they go to the local offices of their senators and say: “If you follow through on eliminating our Fourth Amendment, we will be through with you. We do not care what you threaten us with. We do not care what faction or party you belong to. You will restore our Fourth Amendment or you will be finished in public life.” Will they go to their representatives, also home for the holiday, and say “You must now put one piece of the Constitution back where it belongs, the fundamental piece, the keystone on which all else depends. You must impeach this president, join our cause, and enjoy our gratitude, or we will end your career as court jester and replace you with a representative of the will of the Free and Independent People that our ancestors gave their lives to create.”

Spiraling creation

developing planet, photo by Greaves, Richards, Rice & MuxlowThe small spot is the formation of a new planet as it ‘collects’ gas, dust and debris, says Popular Science.

To commemorate the Hubble telescope’s 18th year, NASA has compiled 59 pictures of Galaxies Gone Wild.

Gouging at the gate

Peddlers can be so tacky.

J-Walk noticed these TicketMaster fees:

…a $17 ticket has these additional fees:

  1. $0.75 Facility Fee per ticket
  2. $2.50 Print At Home Delivery Fee per order per ticket
  3. $3.00 Convenience charge per ticket
  4. $3.10 Processing/Handling fee per order per ticket
  5. $4.25 Convenience charge per ticket per ticket

Yes, per ticket per ticket.

thin-slice assessments

Desmond Morris Redux

Joe Navarro at The Washington Post:

For 25 years I worked as a paid observer. I was a special agent for the FBI specializing in counterintelligence — specifically, catching spies. For me, observing human behavior is like having software running in the background, doing its job — no conscious effort needed.

BT Corn Kills Butterflies

An error page at Cornell University wizened, “Some kind of unknown error occured” [sic].

I trudged along. And what did I learn?

The newly popular bio-tech corn kills butterflies!

You betcha some kind of unknown error occurred.

bt corn pollen killing butterfliesAn increasingly popular commercial corn, genetically engineered to produce a bacterial toxin to protect against corn pests, has an unwanted side effect: Its pollen kills monarch butterfly larvae in laboratory tests, according to a report by Cornell researchers.

Writing in the May 20 issue of the journal Nature, the researchers note that this hybrid crop, known as Bt-corn, has genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) spliced into the plant genes. These hybrids are very effective against the ravenous European corn borer, a major corn pest that is destroyed by the plant’s toxic tissue.

The article quickly assures us, “The engineered corn is safe for human consumption”, but continues describing the new poison:

Unlike many pesticides, the Bt-corn has been shown to have no effect on many “nontarget” organisms — pollinators such as honeybees or beneficial predators of pests like ladybugs.

But the Bt-modified corn produces pollen containing crystalline endotoxin from the bacterium genes. When this corn pollen is dispersed by the wind, it lands on other plants, including milkweed, the exclusive food of monarch caterpillars and commonly found around cornfields.

It’s not funny sprinkling surety among surprise….

Oily Crimes

The head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported to Congress that the chief executives of the oil companies should be charged with “high crimes against humanity”.

From a consolidated post at Daily Galaxy:

Hansen is no stranger to controversy. The Bush administration has attacked Hansen on several fronts, but the most frustrating attack is perhaps its outright attempt to silence scientific reports like the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. This multi-volume assessment, mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990, included a decade of thorough scientific study. Shortly after George W Bush became president, the White House barred government scientists from using its contents or even referring to it. In a severe “conflict of interest” move that has defined the Bush administration, oil industry lobbyist Philip Cooney was appointed chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Cooney resigned from the CEQ when he was caught changing data and deleting scientific information from reports in 2005. Immediately after his resignation he was hired by ExxonMobil.

Search Google. Very strong positions here.

Unofficial goals

From Anil Dash, for those who want to understand more about Bill Gates:

“Gates’ mother Mary Maxwell Gates … how philanthropic work opened doors for a fledgling Bill Gates and Microsoft.

“Mary Maxwell Gates was deeply involved in the work of the United Way for many years before her passing in 1994, most notably as its first female chair. And one of the connections she made through that work back in 1980 was to John Opel, the chairman of IBM who was also a member of the United Way’s executive committee.

“It’s become fairly clear in the years since that at least part of the reason IBM was willing to hire Microsoft to create an operating system for the initial release of the IBM PC was because of the introductions made through that connection.”

On the other hand, Michael Masnick at Techdirt takes us down a different road:

Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO, 1991: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today… A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose.”

If you needed any proof that Microsoft has shifted from a “young company innovates” to an “old company litigates” stance, just take a look at the massive ramp up in patents awarded to Microsoft over the last decade and a half. It’s been steady growth, with a massive leap in the past two years.

Every week, if you follow patents granted to Microsoft you see huge numbers. In the past four weeks alone, Microsoft has been granted 49 patents (June 24), 44 patents (June 17), 42 patents (June 10) and 76 patents (June 3). That’s 211 patents this month alone. Compare that to a company like Google, who was granted a grand total of 7 patents in June.

And I just found an ‘exclusive exit interview‘ of Bill Gates conducted by Michael J. Miller at PCWorld.

Media smack

By withholding a most devastating indictment of the lawless regime in power, namely illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens, the New York Times denied citizens the option of a fully informed choice in 2004 and it played a major role in returning Bush-Cheney to power. [story from New Zealand]

Nailed research

Easter Island wood carvingLong and artificial nails are a breeding ground for bacteria.

Even after thorough washing bugs such as E.coli remain under finger nails and can be transfered to food.

“A chef has to have their nails short and clean at all times”, said David Belford, London Hygiene Center concluding new research. [BBC]

Around 90% of bacteria on the hands is under finger nails.