I try to follow this subject closely, and even I'm confused. I cannot tell if this is big news or not - based on the NASA web page, apparently not. But I think it would be, since hitherto all we have is evidence of water -- good evidence, sure, but only circumstantial --- whereas now, for the first time, we actually have the water, on another planet.

This to me is huge, since water will be the breadcrumbs we will follow across this solar system. Water on planets, on moons, on asteroids and comets, water is most likely everywhere, and we're going to need it.

With confirmed water, the only limits to our exploration of Mars is our will. If you check out the work of a Dr. Robert Zubrin on the Mars Direct plan, you'll see we could be on Mars and colonizing Mars today, if we wished it.

Well, I wish it! So someone get to work!


"Dark Helmet: So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb. "

I think a lot about stupid stuff. Like, is the Dark Side stronger than the Light?

Are there such things as "sides"?


However, for human convenience only, it's easier to talk about things like "evil" as if they were objective realities, true "things", rather than as subjective descriptors completely dependent on context.

So, for ease of discussion, assume Evil (capital E) is real, and thus so is Good (Capital G).

Evil has many advantages. For example, there's no shame in evil, nor are there any boundary lines. Evil does as evil wants. Good, on the other hand, by definition! Is denied a whole range of behaviors and modes of thought. Hard to describe someone as "Good", after all, when they murder remorselessly, right?

Put this into current American politics: If I was forced to assign a label, I would call the Republican Party "Evil", and the Democratic Party "Good" (I don't actually believe this -- well, yes, Republicans are evil, but so is, for the most part, the Democratic Party). For my fair Republican friends who might blanch at such labels, maybe this shorthand is useful.

Traditionally, selfishness is considered "Evil", and selflessness is considered "Good". Roughly, the (R) is dedicated to selfishness (lower taxes, lower regulations, better bombs) and the (D) is dedicated to selflessness (progressive taxation, welfare, social security, minimum wage, etc). I know, shorthand and not always accurate, but it will suffice.

This leaves you with the following: There is no slander, no attack, no lie beyond the Republican's reach. Their only calculation would be "does it help the candidate get elected, or get future candidates elected". Democrats, on the other hand, are constrained by morality within certain bounds. Thus, the lack of effective Democratic attack ads. The concept is almost inconceivable.

And where does this leave us? As Mike Barnicle told me last night on the Tee Vee: "Attack ads work". And this seems to be true, and thus we have a Republican domination of America, and thus the world, because people vote against their own interests, and for the interests of the American Plutocracy.

So John McCain is launching one after another after another, and the logical side of me says they are so absurd, so false, they cannot possibly work.

And then I remember we elected Bush in 2004. And then I worry....

OMG! Popular in Europe

Attention Americans!

I don't mean to alarm you, but this is a picture of our future President (Obama) with the current President of France. Yes, France. That country over... there. With Frenchpeople in it.

It appears, perhaps unfortunately, that Mr. Obama was quite a hit with Mr. Sarkozy, to the point that -- hold onto yourself now -- he even endorsed him.

Yes. The President of France.

To add to this baggage, it appears many other Europeans were enamored of Mr. Obama during his trip as well.

So we Americans are faced with a rather unpleasant reality -- do we dare elect a man who's impressed the entire world and promises to improve our country's relations with every single nation?

Or, do we stick with the script, and finish the job of pissing off everyone, and then going to war with everyone?

Gosh, America, what's it going to be?


Afternoons with Admiral Ackbar

We all agree, I think, that Admiral Ackbar is the man! Or Mon Calamari, man. Bro led the Rebel Fleet, for crying out loud.

But he's not all about mission plans and traps. Nope, as with the Ewoks, he knows how to work hard AND play hard.

So, for your future entertainment, and a tip o' the hat to the L.E.S.T.E.R, here's the link:

Admiral Ackbar Generator

Time and Tandy

Behold, the power of the Tandy 5000!

Check out that price! And those specs! Ooo-la-la!

But seriously, and as a function of the previous post concerning our coming robot overlords, this is a great example of the transition period we are in, and have been in for some time. But we're nearing the end of it.

For example, look at the specs on this machine -- yes, seriously underpowered, but not really that different than something you could buy today. It's a 386 processor, whose family line is still kicking about. It uses all the same fundamentals as computers today, in fact, besides the undersized monitor, it doesn't even look that different than computers today.

And yet, look at the year of the ad: For 1989. Almost twenty years ago!

My point is, these emerging trends take much longer than people normally credit. The mobile phone concept was discussed in the 1920's, for example, and a basic technology developed at the time, but as we all know, the actual use of mobile phones did not start until the 1980's, and really only took off in the 2000's.

Computers are following the same path. But, as I said, we're close to the end of this process. It won't be long now for the mobile phone and computer to merge completely; following that logic, the DVR, game system, stereo, PC and TV will all be merged in the home soon enough, and then I suppose the next logical step is for implants. But that's for another post!

Enjoy these days, my Chicken Littles, for surely, the sky IS about to fall.

Media Bias?!

The McCain camp has been whining non-stop about how the media is in love with Obama, and thus are biased, and thus are to blame for Johhny's poor performance so far.

Which is an absolute joke, of course, but hey! It's all in good fun.

McSame has been drinking deep from the Rove cup of late, since the Rove partisans came on board at the end of June.

And with their arrival, come the negative ads, misleading and false, but! McSame doesn't have enough money. What to do, what to do...

From today's NY Times:
WASHINGTON — The number of times Senator John McCain’s new advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama for canceling a visit with wounded troops in Germany last week has been shown fully or partly on local, national and cable newscasts: well into the hundreds.

The number of times that spot actually, truly ran as a paid commercial: roughly a dozen.

Funny stuff. On Morning Joe today, in the brief 15 minutes I watched, they played the latest RNC "Ad" three times -- all in the name of covering the news, of course.


Make no mistake: There is a massive double standard here. Imagine if Obama mixed up Sunni and Shia, repeatedly, or referred to non-existing countries, or got critical geography wrong -- gosh, the media might question his foreign policy qualifications, dontchya think? But not McSame's -- cuz it's obvious he's got experience. He was a POW for crying out loud!

Not only the Media, but the entire apparatus of Government will be used against Obama in the upcoming election: Witness the Pentagon and State Department messing with Obama's overseas trip, and with the Pentagon supplying material directly for a McSame negative ad. Which is illegal, of course -- but what does the Law matter to the Republican Party? Nothing, is what. Party over country, country over the law.

Regardless, the media meme has been set: The Media is liberal, biased for Obama; thus, in order to preserve "objectivity" and "fairness", the media will scrutinize everything Obama does, and give McSame a pass on almost everything he does. And oh yeah -- run his TV commericals for him, for free.


The Wave

Not only is Obama going to be a great President, but in his wake will come a new generation/breed of politicians, riding the wave of change which will sweep out the stables, so to speak, at least a bit.

Obama has been a sought after campaigner for years for many other Democrats, even for the despicable Lieberman, who's staff begged him to help (and for this he gets what?). Barack has worked the small towns and small stages of America for a great many other politicians, building his foundation, and from the elections of 2006 onward there has been an ever gathering collection of people organizing, energizing, and getting the dirty business of winning elections done. There is a new spirit in America, a spirit that Obama has awakened, and is now for us all to realize.

I kid you not -- I know I sound like a cult member -- but I feel that Obama has already improved my life, personally, and has improved the state of the world -- already there is progress and change that he has asked for. I cannot wait to see what next year will bring. Won't you join us?

Join us?

Join us.

Oops, I forgot this method of apocalypse

This happy looking fellow is the CERN Large Hadron Collider*, and it will soon conduct its first large scale test.

The LHC has a circumference of 17 miles, and is buried on average some 150 feet underground.

The purpose of the LHC is, according to the Wiki, to find out the following:

All sounds great. But, there is the matter of "micro black holes, strangelets, vacuum bubbles and magnetic monopoles", and I can tell you from experience, all it takes is a few micro black holes and strangelets to ruin your day.

But I kid! I'm sure this science project won't destroy the earth and/or the solar system.

Fun related facts: Did you know that the scientists testing the first nuclear bombs could not be sure if the nuclear reaction they would cause would cascade into a chain-reaction, destroying all matter?

Glad that didn't turn out to be true...

*also known in other circles as the Large Hardon Collider

Old Man Yells at Cloud

Actually, this might be my McCain picture of constant reference. Or maybe not -- who knows? I am large and contain several people.

For now, bide your time with a lesson from "McCain Speechifying 101"

"We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I took the fairy to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you'd say. Now where were we, oh ya. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones."

2008 v. 2004

No, not Dick Cheney, but the way he's been acting lately, he better watch out the next time he shares a blind.

This fine gent is T. Boone Pickens, Billionaire oil man and a fine example of the differences between the 2004 and the 2008 election.

In 2004, Mr. Pickens used a small, very small portion of his enormous wealth to fund various 527 groups, including the infamous "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" -- aside: Almost anytime you see a group using the word "truth" in their name, odds are they are lying.

In 2008, however, Mr. Pickens picked the wrong horse early (Mr. 911 Rudy Guliani). When that dog didn't hunt, Mr. Pickens apparently had something of an epiphany. To quote the Wiki:

Pickens "said he has stopped giving to political campaigns and renounced his previous Republican affiliation in his drive to focus the nation's attention on the need for immediate, drastic action on energy" such as solar and wind. The Washington Post says that "perhaps the strangest role" Pickens "has fashioned for himself is his current one: the billionaire speculator as energy wise man, an oil-and-gas magnate as champion of wind power, and a lifetime Republican who has become a fellow traveler among environmentally minded Democrats -- even though he helped finance the 'Swift boat' ads that savaged" Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign. In an editorial, the New York Times reports Pickens "has decided that drilling for more oil is not the answer to the nation's energy problems. President Bush should listen to his fellow Texan and longtime political ally."
I can think of fewer more potent symbols for the change in America since the folly of 2004. As Mr. Pickens says in his commercials supporting his efforts at getting the USA off foreign oil,

"This is one crisis we can't drill our way out of."

Hear that, McCain?


Our coming Overlords

I'm no regular Luddite. I understand machines quite well, and certainly appreciate their efforts on our behalf.

We are currently in a transition period wherein we use machines as ever, however we in turn are controlled, at least partially, by the machines. We are in a time where computers are inserted into more and more other machines - your car, for example, is a computer(s) with wheels. And with OnStar, now remote controlled!

The line - the Singularity - is AI, Artificial Intelligence, which will be a truly wondrous and terrible creation, and it will be at that moment I think we will most understand the mythical story of God and His Garden.

Once we reach AI, the rules are all different, and our future will depend very much on how it will see us. But that's down the road a bit -- don't worry! There are many eager and very intelligent and most likely highly moral folks working on this "problem" as we speak. And never underestimate the capabilities of highly intelligent, motivated people.

It's this transition period we can briefly discuss: A world wherein computers, software, and the rest are spreading into everything, and we all eagerly await the coming of the smart house, where the refrigerator inventories its insides, checks against a database, places an order at the grocery store and to your PDA, which then informs you you must be at the grocery store in approximately 49 minutes to pick it up at the precise moment.

Blackberries and the like are precursor enough to a world where we follow the machines around by our nose, controlled, though we of course will pretend we still are. No AI necessary.


Might as well get used to this picture, because I'll be coming back to it frequently enough.

I used to like McCain, quite a bit -- the McCain that said of the George Bush 2000 SC campaign:
I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those."

What happened to that McCain? Oh yeah, he started running for President of the Empire. That'll change ya!

And change he has, flip-flopping all over the place, promising to run an "honorable campaign", with all that Mavericky Straight-Talk he's so famous for (fun drinking game: Drink everytime someone on the news refers to McCain as a "maverick". You'll be three sheets to tha wind a'fore you tack to port). He was for illegal amnesty before he was against it, and will most likely be for it again if his polls tell him he must.

Also, when did he become so whiney? Jeez!

Even the Goodlings

"What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?"

"Tell us about your political philosophy. There are different groups of conservatives, by way of example: Social Conservative, Fiscal Conservative, Law & Order Republican

A couple of the interview questions in our new, heavily politicized Department of Justice.

So, notes to future Oppressors:

1. Politicize everything you can.
2. Disparage science and logic, elevate religion and tribal emotions.
3. Co-opt and delegitimize the media

More points to come...


Chewbacca got no medal

Rightfully, at the end of Star Wars, Luke and Han are given medals from a thankful Rebellion. However, Chewbacca, participant in all heroic acts, standing right there! Get's no medal.

Fact: Chewbacca helped Obi Wan and Luke and the plans for the Death Star escape Tatooine

Fact: Chewbacca helped rescue Princess Leia and escape the Death Star, at great risk to himself on multiple occasions.

Fact: Chewbacca co-piloted the ship which blasted Darth Vader from the Death Star trench, thereby giving Luke a free shot at the shielded exhaust port.

For all the heroic deeds leading up to the destruction of the Death Star, Chewbacca was in the center of the action and in fact a principle participant, equal in stature to Han Solo. And yet, and yet! Chewbacca got no medal.

Why? Too tall? Not a long enough sash? Or is it more likely this "Walking Carpet" was not appreciated for his efforts as an equal lifeform among equal lifeforms? I don't want to say the Rebellion was racist, for the Mon Calamari policies attest to the Rebellion's willingness to work with non-human species. But I guess Wookies don't have enough lobbyists on Coruscant. Or something.

Worker Bees and/or Ants - Choose your metaphor!

This is an actual color photo from World War One, which was not called World War One at the time.

It's safe to say that throughout human history there has been war and violence, and in that war and violence there have been the soldiers, the enforcers, the thugs and toughs and sometimes brave defenders of home and hearth. They don't always choose to fight, but fight they do, instruments of the Great Powers which control us all, and who's bidding we heed.

Worker bees of the soldier class. We are all worker bees, of course, of different classes, and there need be no positive or negative spin taken from the word "class", since an operating society needs many pieces working, and any who contribute to the operating of society are successful worker bees, be they plumber, soldier, or political lobbyist.

Humanity has specialized to an nth degree, and as such there are many types of worker bees. Still, though, and for evermore, only a few true leader bees, whomever they might be (I'll never know).

Redshirt rule number 1: When the away mission calls, so too does your duty to the hive, the collective good of which you are a part. For the Queen!


What a week for Barack Obama. A triumphant tour of Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France, and England.

In contrast, John McCain had one of his worst weeks, on the heels of the previous record holder. I do not see how this will be a close election, and in fact cannot see a valid reason to support McCain over Obama.

Make no mistake about the bias of this blog: Barack Obama is our new hope, and has the potential to be one of America's great Presidents.

For the first time in my life, I am FOR a political candidate, rather than against someone, or duly going through the motions with no conviction. I sincerely believe Barack Obama will be an excellent President and support him 100%.

If you're for McCain, please, feel free and explain why. Cuz at this time I cannot understand even in the least bit.

Did ya see that speech in Berlin? I had goosebumps.

I am my monkey brother's keeper

We share 95% of our genome with chimps, and a similarly high percentage with all other vertebrates, such as Octopus (Dr.).

The monkey on the left is very old, the one on the right a grandson.

Evolution tells us that not so long ago, our ancestors were probably not that different than these guys.

However, Creationists would have none of what the THEORY of evolution would tell you on this or other subjects (though it can be agreed with when it does not contradict the Bible - as whatever preacher at the time/place chooses to interpret the Bible), and instead would have you believe that indeed, mankind was created from dirt in the Garden of Eden by a rather juvenile acting G-D, to Fall so ridiculously, and then to beget and beget and beget some more, with - hilariously from a biological perspective - a reset due to the general wickedness of the world, and repopulation of the planet from the descendants of Noah and the rest of the gang on the Ark.

This has been another prong in the postmodern pincer move of the conservative attack, to discredit science and raise up religion as a shield to any logical criticism. Hard to argue with God afterall. And if the Bible says so, well, that's good enough reason for whatever you want to justify.

So, to summarize so far: Co-opt and delegitimize the media; scorn science and logic and elevate religion and tribal emotions.

Good Morning America!

Only once you reach proper levels of Empire can such a breakfast treat come into being. It takes a certain overindulgence of luxury before you can even conceptualize the concept of ham, sausage and bacon as just a part of a bigger concotion.

That said, overindulgence is a valid motive in a capitalist system and is to be encouraged in the worker bees if for no other reason than to keep them constantly dissatisfied and in constant quest to quench a hunger for which there is no Breakfast Biscuit big enough to satisfy a real American.

Voyager Rules!

Not that Voyager, actually. That Voyager had tons of potential and I will admit the first few seasons had their charms. But by the end it was a Space train wreck ending in a Space ditch.

This Voyager, however, is totally awesome and rules by any measure you'd like to use to measure awesomeness.

I have a huge weakness for pictures like this, pictures of perspective. Like Carl Sagan's "Little Blue Dot", these types of pictures almost force you to consider the reality of your existence. The scale of it all, so vast, so incredibly vast and so incredibly small that our lives are what, in comparison? In the scheme of it all.

I mean, look into this picture. See the little solar system spinning around the bright nucleus of the Sun? Our planet is nothing but a single proton in orbit.

Wiki says:
"For the first ten billion kilometres of its radius, the solar wind travels at over a million kilometres per hour.[1][2] As it begins to collide with the interstellar medium, it slows to subsonic speeds before finally ceasing altogether. The point where the solar wind becomes subsonic is the termination shock; the point where the interstellar medium and solar wind pressures balance is called the heliopause; the point where the interstellar medium, travelling in the opposite direction, becomes subsonic as it collides with the heliosphere is the bow shock."

This is our cellular membrane, shielding us from the worst of the vast expanse between us and the next cell.

Far out, right?

This makes us what, exactly? Quarks?

little white pills

Can't sleep?
Can't stay up?

Can't get it up?
Can't come back down?
Can't feel safe?
Can't feel anything at all?

some little white pills,
good for all ills caused
by chemical imbalances.

For you see,
that's all we are now:
chemical imbalances
in need of proper treatment.

So go ahead and smile,
there's a little white pill for everything!


Cute, right?

Isn't it odd that the South of America, the old Confederacy, is also considered, currently, to be the most Patriotic region, home of the Republican Party and true Americans, who believe in:

1. The War and supporting our troops
2. Jesus
3. Guns
4. "States Rights" ;)

Let's not forget that it was only in the 50's that the USA had
to send its Army into a Southern state in order to enforce the laws of the USA. That's Whiskey Rebellion stuff, people!

And yet we now bend our American knees to the South and all things Southern, as if Southern now equals American. You Connecticut Yankees should go back to Russia!

But let's step back for
a second and consider the true power of symbols: They are what you make of them, and what you can convince/persuade your "victim" to make of them. Consider these fine chaps:
Not as cute, am I right?

No doubt these guys are looking for a reaction, hence the combination of so many fun fascist fashions, but the symbol is there, the very same symbol we're to believe can be Patriotic in other settings, or at least a reflection of tradition or culture, or perhaps at the very least, just good old fun!

I'd say there's some serious cognitive dissonance at play here, but when all is dissonance, is it really an exception any more?


Consider for a moment the unreality of Karl Rove posing as an analyst for Fox News.

Go ahead. Consider it.

You can see the Magic Spell wavering around him, the glamour which allows him to convince you (or people like you) that what he says is in good faith and NOT, most certainly not artful construction designed to manipulate you towards a desired end.

What has been remarkable about the past 20 years or so is the truly Postmodern attack the "Right" has been waging - they have made the Media into a relativistic, not to be trusted, tool for manipulation and propaganda, but they have done so in such a way that the "Common Man" believes in this story for the most part.

The Liberal Media.

Yes, as if GE has an overwhelming interest in espousing "Liberal" views.

But for the moment, consider Karl Rove pretending to be an objective analyst on a TV channel pretending NOT to be the propaganda wing of a certain faction of the Republican Party, and you can see how deep this magic hole goes.

We're in a reality now of mass marketed illusion and chicanery, posing as serious business.

Don't believe the Hype.


If you're reading this, you're most likely similar to me: Fodder. I don't know who isn't fodder, but there's so few of them that they don't bear consideration here.

But for the rest of us - the 99% of us -- here's to us! Cannon fodder, grunts, working men and women, slaves in all but name.

Redshirts all.

But it's not all doom and gloom...


Here's to Iron (Fe #26!), the most stable element in existence and the state to which all the other elements strive.

To the left is a nice looking Iron meteor hanging out on Mars. Expelled from some star, probably the same star that made the iron currently in your blood.