headstone whisperer

A traditional headstone is void of personal detail for a millennium to come, but Rosetta’s Touch-to-Stone wireless headstone permanently broadcasts your obituary to any web phone.

Share your recipes and fishing spots. Full guarantee and refund. Just enter 1000+ words and a photo.

petty run amok

As of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed inappropriate for government access.

  1. chat or messaging,
  2. controversial opinion,
  3. criminal activity,
  4. extreme violence including cartoons, and
  5. gaming.

The TSA does not specify how to determine a controversial opinion.

no excuse for inaction

Protecting nature should be more important than enjoying it.

Derrick Jensen:

There’s that little nagging fact that this culture is murdering the planet. Any book (film, painting, song, relationship, life, and so on) that doesn’t begin with this basic understanding that the culture is murdering the planet and doesn’t work toward rectifying it is not forgivable, for an infinitude of reasons…

oil industry land

To deliver only a third of America’s fuel, the oil and gas industries use 143,000 square miles of our land. Additionally, the BP spill has closed 80,000 square miles.

“We’re not addicted to oil. We are addicted to driving.”

Americans drive around 3 trillion miles per year. If we drove exactly the same number of miles we do today, how much solar power would we need for electric vehicles?

Tony Seba:

I did the numbers and the answer will surprise you.

Land needed to use solar power for an all-electric USA car fleet is merely 1,000 square miles.

An area the size of King Ranch in Texas with its 1,289 square miles could generate all of America’s electric vehicle power with 30% extra electricity to spare. Ted Turner’s 244 square mile ranch in New Mexico alone could generate enough electricity to power 25% of all cars in America.

careers as gypsies

Charm is no easy thing. I think most of us assume we get by with pleasantry we’ve learned, yet after you’ve lingered in the syrup of true charm, it’s clear there’s special humanity very few of us know. That’s a pretty good thing to appreciate.

I clicked [next page] at Dance Magazine September 1997 and here’s some text I found:

→ hopefuls squirm on the floor alongside stagestruck guardians
→ girls, girls, girls fill the room. Many sprawl on the floor
→ never seen so many pretty girls in one place
→ She looks up at her pointed toe, wiggling it
→ Stunned, I struggle clumsily to my feet.
→ All I can feel at that instant is relief at escaping this ordeal

HA!

Fun is a very special thing. It’s a story about the Depression not told, how we cared for each other and lifted spirits together.

nothing in common

Gin & Tacos:

This is how I feel about the American public, and specifically the American voter.

I don’t want to see them because doing so will serve no purpose other than to make me nervous. I don’t want to see their Confederate flag bumper stickers, Palin 2012 t-shirts, Left Behind books, and Insane Clown Posse tattoos. I don’t want to hear them regurgitating Glenn Beck monologues, talking about what Jesus told them the other day, or punctuating their speech with “done gonna” and “nuh-uhh.”

In short, I do not enjoy seeing the level of ignorance that we all understand is pervasive in our society

benevolence of the powerful

The etymology of the name Thomas began in the Greek word Θωμας. As I looked at Θωμας, I couldn’t help noticing ‘OW’ and thought of pain. I then thought of Thomas Paine and then wondered what odd circumstance fused ‘OW’ to both his first and last name.

Thomas Paine was wanted dead or alive for writing ‘Common Sense’ and ‘The Age of Reason’ which sparked both the American and French revolutions. I wonder what common sense and reason will deliver us from pain these days?

‘The truth has become all too painfully obvious, says Mick Arran. We are locked down, locked into a system which gives rights to the rich, the powerful, and the corporate.’

‘And it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone that this only makes things worse and worse. Believing that giving the rich control of the society will lead to economic prosperity for everyone is now dogma for the religion of $$$.  We’ve decided to take that on faith because the rich told us to.’

effluent of cities

Every day each one of us turns 100 gallons or so of water into sewage. That’s a lot of sewage, requiring a lot of treatment–and very little of it is poop.

“We’re like a nation of 1-year-olds throwing everything in the toilet.”

Scientific American offers a relaxed ten page synopsis on sewers, How Does Sewage Treatment Work?

Deuteronomy urges you to dig a hole and ‘cover that which cometh from thee’.

By 1500 BC the palace of Knossos had an actual flush toilet–a seat, a pan, and a slave to pour water into a sluice.

Cesspits and privies were so offensive, in 1844 Boston tried to pass a law requiring a doctor’s order for every bath.

Most blockages are caused by grease or roots, but memorable clogs are mops, golf clubs or firewood pulled out of manholes. A refrigerator. Once a carpet remnant…

The system is not flawless–biosolids sometimes contaminate water; grease clogs cause sewage spills or system failures; heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products build up in biosolids–but overall it works splendidly.

“It gets in your blood,” said a senior engineer and inspector… the rest of the way gravity does the work.

just go 4th yourself

What The Hell Am I Supposed To Do With All These Constitutional Rights?

“Too much of one thing can cause a person a lot of stress, and you know what’s stressing me out? All these rights guaranteed to me by the U.S. Constitution. There’s like—how many—a couple dozen?

“And they keep adding more! Isn’t that a bit much? Did anyone even ask me if I wanted all these rights? No, they did not.

“And, to be honest, I’m a little chafed about it. It’s hard enough keeping up with the bills in my mailbox without some huge Bill of Rights hanging over my head.

“People are always talking about rights, or protecting them, or trying to get me to exercise them. Enough already!”

see change

  1. About a third of eyewitnesses choose the wrong person.
  2. Courts are not preventing wrongful identifications.

A landmark report commissioned by the Supreme Court of New Jersey recommends that our courts recognize the current state of the science on eyewitness testimony. The Special Master requests far-reaching safeguards on eyewitness identification of suspects.

  1. Prosecutors should bear the burden of proving eyewitness testimony.
  2. Juries and judges must be informed about eyewitness fallibility.

slog and more slog

Michael Pettis:

With all of the major economies facing banking crises, they must clean up the banks by forcing the household sector to pay the bill. This will put downward pressure on household disposable income and wealth for many years.

But we are all betting on the consumer – and inexplicably enough (to me, anyway) many of us are betting most heavily on the hapless Chinese consumer – to come surging back and bring us the growth that we so desperately need. I am pretty skeptical that this will happen.

There is an awful lot of banking mess that households are going to need to deal with first, and only after the mess is cleaned up will consumption come roaring back.

debt-saturated

Debt. Debt. Debt. Debt. The Republican inspired expansion since 1980 becomes the borrowed American Dream.

I wonder if this is the ‘premier’ chart of our times? Folks bellyache about government spending because that’s where blame is, but the old saw about credit where credit is due has become something more modern: debt wherever it’s offered.

We’re just not smart. All of us. There’s no one at blame here. All of us bargained. Global conditions are similar. The distinctions among nations are moot.

Fixing this is new history, not so much rule changing or switching players, but a fundamental shock to what we call success.



screw national gab

Three years. One mayor.

  • Built 100 pre-schools with permanent funding.
  • Built 52 schools, refurbished 150, added 14,000 computers and increased enrollment 34 percent.
  • Established or refurbished 1200 parks and playgrounds.
  • Built three large and 10 neighborhood libraries.
  • Reduced traffic by 40 percent.
  • Created a bus system for 500,000.
  • Brought water to 100 percent of households
  • Bought land to prevent speculation and ensure affordable housing, schools, power, water, telephone, parks and greenbelt.
  • Established 185 miles of bikeways.
  • Created the world’s longest pedestrian street, 10 miles, with 30 miles of pathway.
  • Inaugurated an annual car-free day for everyone from CEOs to janitor.
  • Planted 100,000 trees.
  • Saw the murder rate fall by two-thirds.

all improve are

Here’s something BP can never be. Not GE, not GM, not even IBM.

I have to describe a bit what the Mozilla universe looks like“, says Mozilla Director of Community Asa Dotzler.

The biggest circle is our users, nearly 400 million strong today.

These people decided that the default browser that came with their computer was insufficient and took steps to download and install a new browser.

Some of those users took the added step of becoming beta testers, about 4 million of them. This circle of people try updates about once a month and give us high level feedback.

Inside that circle are the group I call “advocates”. This is probably about 400 thousand people and includes the 100 thousand Spread Firefox members that have put up Get Firefox buttons at their sites, the fans that are regularly spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter, and people helping other Firefox users with support issues.

The next circle in is our daily testers and Test Pilots. These people, about 40 thousand strong, test and report feedback on the changes that are happening to Firefox every single day as well as offer structured feedback on particular features or design changes through our Test Pilot program.

Inside that circle are the 4,000 or so dedicated contributors who are doing everything from writing patches to helping to translate Firefox and Mozilla websites to participating in user engagement campaigns, to submitting feedback on Design Challenges, etc.

A stand-out group is nearly 80 localizations developed by an army of volunteers across more than 100 countries with a small handful of full-time staff coordinating.

Finally, there are about 1,000 people at the core who are either full-time contributors or critical volunteers we depend on every day to lead the project forward.

We are able and willing to engage the smartest and most passionate people from all over the world.

know your fellow voter

From Paul Revere to Sarah Palin, we do not know our country.

One quarter of Americans do not know which country we fought for independence. Look at this survey! One-third of women and 40% under 30 do not know.  Many answered France, Germany, Mexico or China.

Marist Institute Poll of USA Residents

Great Britain Unsure Other country



Total 74% 20% 6%
Region Northeast 84% 10% 6%
Midwest 74% 21% 5%
South 68% 26% 6%
West 75% 18% 7%
Income Under $50,000 63% 30% 7%
Over $50,000
86% 9% 5%
Race White 82% 13% 5%
Non-white 56% 35% 9%
Age 18 to 29 60% 33% 7%
30 to 44 75% 15% 10%
45 to 59 79% 17% 4%
60 or older 76% 19% 4%
Age Under 45 67% 24% 9%
45 or older 78% 18% 4%
Gender Men 81% 12% 7%
Women 67% 28% 5%


embarrass the brass

Journalists in this country suffer from a profound confusion about who they’re supposed to be working for.

Matt Taibbi:

True, the Pentagon does have perhaps the single largest public relations apparatus on earth – spending $4.7 billion on P.R. in 2009 alone and employing 27,000 people, a staff nearly as large as the 30,000-person State Department – but is that really enough to ensure positive coverage in a society armed with a constitutionally-guaranteed free press?

And true, most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon, with two of them (NBC/GE and Logan’s own CBS, until recently owned by Westinghouse, one of the world’s largest nuclear weapons manufacturers) having operated for years as leaders in both the broadcast media and weapons-making businesses.

They don’t need your help, and you’re giving it to them anyway, because you just want to be part of the club so so badly. Disgustingly, that’s really what it comes down to.

Most of these reporters just want to be inside the ropeline so badly, they want to be able to say they had that beer with Hillary Clinton in a bowling alley in Scranton or whatever, that it colors their whole worldview. God forbid some important person think you’re not playing for the right team!

ideologue decades

When I was young and naïve, I believed that important people took positions based on careful consideration of the options. Now I know better. Much of what Serious People believe rests on prejudices, not analysis. And these prejudices are subject to fads and fashions. — Paul Krugman

will jobs ever return?

Andy Grove: How To Make An American Job

Today, manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is about 166,000 — lower than it was before the first personal computer, the MITS Altair 2800, was assembled in 1975.

Meanwhile, a very effective computer-manufacturing industry has emerged in Asia, employing about 1.5 million workers — factory employees, engineers and managers.

The largest of these companies is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn. The company has grown at an astounding rate, first in Taiwan and later in China. Its revenue last year was $62 billion, larger than Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc. or Intel.

Foxconn employs more than 800,000 people, more than the combined worldwide head count of Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel and Sony Corp.

10-to-1 Ratio

junking dumb laws

Her Majesty’s Government is seeking public input to remove silly and burdensome laws that have accumulated over the years. What a task!

We’re working to create a more open and less intrusive society. We want to restore Britain’s traditions of freedom and fairness, and free our society of unnecessary laws and regulations – both for individuals and businesses.

Nigel Powell puts it well: “So the new UK government has set up a site called Your Freedom asking for public votes on which laws to repeal and which to keep.

It’s just about the most unreal thing you could ever imagine a government doing….

“Still it’s a noble exercise and an unbelievably bold attempt to move the antiquated, broken, discredited and inefficient art of government and politics into a new century.”

better military contracting

John Robb:

What should the strategy in the area be after we withdraw from Afghanistan?  Three things:

  • Play the role of the spoiler.  Ally ourselves with any group that opposes the Taliban, in much the same way we “took” Afghanistan back in 2001.
  • Maintain a special operations and drone presence in the area to prevent Al Qaeda from reforming in Afghanistan.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to finally realize the dividend afforded by the end of the Cold War. Cut the US defense budget, currently more than the rest of the world combined, by half.

street genes

Mind Hacks rubbing the uncomfortable misconnection between the problems we study and the problems we face.

Sean Spence:

If homelessness were genetic,
Institutes would be constructed
With tall white walls,
And ‘driven’ people (with thick glasses)
Would congregate
In libraries

If homelessness were genetic
Rats from broken homes
Would sleep in cardboard shoeboxes
Evading violent fathers,
Who broke their bones,
While small white mice
With cocaine habits
Would huddle in fear,
Sleeping in doorways,
Receiving calibrated kicks from gangs of passers-by