Archives for: February 2009
Vote For Hubble Telescope's Next Picture
Moon + Venus tonight = Cool
Go look outside after sunset if you have a clear sky.
Ways of Seeing
The excellent 1972 BBC TV series about Art, now on YouTube!
The Most Dangerous Place to Drive?
The CDC analysis says 46% of the motor vehicle-related deaths from 1999 to 2005 occurred in the South, where the average annual rate was 19.5 per 100,000 people, followed by 14.7 in the Midwest, 14.2 in the West, and 9.8 in the Northeast.
Here are the states with the highest average annual death rates per 100,000:
1. Mississippi 31.9
2. Wyoming 27.7
3. Arkansas 25.6, Montana 25.6
4. Alabama 25.1
5. South Carolina 24.6
6. South Dakota 24.2
7. New Mexico 23.8
8. Tennessee 22.8
9. Louisiana 22.2
Here are the states with the lowest death rates per 100,000:
1. Massachusetts 7.9 (best or safest)
2. New York 8.4 (tie with Washington, D.C.)
3. Rhode Island 8.5
4. New Jersey 9.0
5. Connecticut 9.3
6. Hawaii 10.2
7. New Hampshire 11.2
8. California 12
9. Washington (state) 12.1
10. Illinois 12.3
Uh, think there's any red state/blue state connection?
cats and dogs of war
I am cat-sitting 7 cats this week.
As the owner crosses her apartment, they shadow her like a guerilla recon patrol. One brave one on Point, a couple slinking low along the baseboards, a couple peeking around corners, one flanking across high shelves, one wary sniper lingering atop the fridge. Each advances singly to the next selected position, rather than all moving at once.
The exact-opposite from my dog, who favors walking and halting in step-- the more people & dogs along for the march, the better.
Other than the cats, I'm still collecting unemployment. That changes, at least for a week, when I install this guy's art show at a gallery:
"Kessler's Circus places the viewer inside the American war machine. An army tent pitched inside the gallery houses mechanical sculptures and barracks stacked with video monitors. The work depicts the American military-industrial complex as macabre circus, traveling from country to country, importing nothing and exporting atrocities under the veil of democracy. Rather than simply presenting a mediated spectacle, Kessler indicts the audience in the violence.
Surrounded by handmade mechanisms and surveillance cameras, the viewer becomes part of the machine. There is an induced sense of vertigo and surge of paranoia, as the viewer's own faces appear in the video feed. Entering Kessler's Circus, one is immersed in an undefined state, conflating machine and spectacle with entertainment and horror.
Kessler's Circus updates and politicizes the experience of Calder's Circus. Following the tradition of performative mechanized sculpture, Kessler creates a playful format for his exploration of our modern war experience. The mischievous nature of Kessler's hand belies a dark violence that is at once captivating and frightening. The business of death as mediated spectacle exposes anxieties and complacencies concerning surveillance, propaganda, and our ravenous consumption of celebrity."
... can't even understand the language.
I stopped at the Ban Thakhek Gang Mini-Mart on my way home from teaching tonight, for a 70-cent bottle of beer.
Another guy stopped for a $1 phone card. He handed the kid at the shop some money at the same time I held out my dollar for my beer, and he muttered something that I didn't catch.
The kid took his money, but he didn't take mine -- and he did a quick 180 turn, and started heading to the back of the shop -- as I was still holding my dollar bill out in the air.
The other customer snatched my dollar right out of my hand!!
"Fvck you!", I thought, and snatched my dollar right BACK from this smart-ass.
(KPL) The Bank of Lao PDR, Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) and Agricultural Promotion Bank expected that the rate of unpaid debt would be increased by 3 per cent this year.
However, the banks have adjusted an incentive plot of low-interest rate with its hope of debtors would pay off. They will also increase loan to three groups.
well, this'll fix what ails us
Let's see, what got us into this mess?...
Among other things...artificially low interest rates, politicians in bed with mortgage companies and builders, Wall Street greed, Main Street greed, lack of transparency in lending, lack of understanding of mortgage terms and CDO's. So to correct these issues lets pass a stimulus package of the following:
* $24 million for United States Department of Agriculture buildings and rent
* $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
* $290 million for flood prevention
* $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
* $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
* $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp programs
I'm teaching good-old American cuss-words to the Laotians, here.
I special-tutor 2 hours a week at World Vision, a basically fundamentalist Xtian organization, which is certainly NOT proselytizing religion, here in the Lao PDR. It's fvcking against the LAW, here in the Lao PDR to proselytize religion.
So, World Vision employees, here in the Lao PDR, according to Lao PDR law, are not required to be Christians.
I'm not, for instance.
To keep their World Vision job, however, World Vision employees do have to pretend to put up with some quasi-proselytizing, which they more-or-less privately deride as being queer, in Lao. (Everyone here at World Vison must mind his/her p's and q's, so we speak mostly in Lao.) ;>)
The proselytizer doesn't understand Lao, though, and she just keeps on talking stupid queer sh*t, like: "All these Lao employees are going to go to hell, if they don't change their evil ways."
This stupid woman is trying to forbid things sacred to Lao culture, such as wine, women, and song.
Fundamentally flawed stimulus coverage
Jamison Foyers at Media Matters drives home a 16 penny nail with one fell swoop in this tome.
If there's one fact that should be made clear in every news report about the stimulus package working its way through Congress, it is this: Government spending is stimulative.
That's a basic principle of economics, and understanding it is essential to assessing any stimulus package. So it should be an underlying premise of the media's coverage of the stimulus debate. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Indeed, reporters routinely suggest that spending is not stimulative.
Economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explains: "Spending that is not stimulus is like cash that is not money. Spending is stimulus, spending is stimulus. Any spending will generate jobs. It is that simple. ... Any reporter who does not understand this fact has no business reporting on the economy."
Israel Willing to Bomb Iran's Nuclear Program
WASHINGTON (AP) -- FDA says Georgia peanut processor knowingly shipped salmonella-tainted products.
By the Numbers: Creeping Class Warfare, Republican Style
From the Rude Pundit. The Rude One isn't so rude, but still effective...
How about just a minute or two of perspective?
Amount to bailout AIG - at least $85 billion
Amount to bailout Citibank - at least $45 billion
Amount to bailout Bank of America - at least $45 billion, with guarantees on $118 billion in loans
Amount the Bush administration overpaid for bailed-out bank assets - $78 billion
[TOTAL = $371 Billions}
Proposed cuts to President Obama's economic stimulus bill (currently being debated by 20 "centrist" senators):
$1.1 billion to Head Start
$24.8 billion to states for budget shortfalls in education programs
$15 billion to states for additional education funding
$2 billion to Child Care Development Block Grants
$150 million to funding for programs in the Violence Against Women Act
[TOTAL = $43.05 Bn]
Here's one big snake.
Just wait — this one will be featured in some cheesy Sci-Fi channel creature feature in a few months. Paleontologists have dug up a fossil boa that lived 58-60 million years ago. They haven't found a complete skeleton, but there's enough to get an estimate of the size. Look at these vertebrae!
Salazar Acts to Save the Environment
New Saturn Picture
Cassini finally released a "front on" Saturn image (earlier Cassini Saturn images were "from the side" -- an interesting perspective, but a full Saturn disc is nice too).
Full size JPEG:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ jpeg/ PIA11141.jpg
Full size uncompressed:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ tiff/ PIA11141.tif
Of all the space probes that have been by Saturn, I think this is the first "full" Saturn picture to ever include Titan in the frame.
I wonder if NASA has ever heard of lossless compression. The JPEG seems to have been intelligently done, but all JPEGs lose data. The TIFF on the other hand didn't use any compression at all.
I ran the TIFF through a good PNG compressor and reduced it to less than 10% of its size without losing any data.