For shame, Arizona

This is a solar water heater. There are two basic versions: This one, in which the water circulates through the glass tubes, absorbing the heat of the sun; or, not pictured, a photovoltaic version, which generates electricity from solar panels to heat the water (or, 3, a combination of each).

When I was in Greece, I was astounded, and happy, to see these devices on just about every rooftop, including commercial buildings (my hotel had one).

Conversely, I was surprised - negatively - to not see a single one of these anywhere in Arizona. Anecdotal, I know, but I traveled widely and was always on the lookout for them, and saw not a one. I saw very, very few solar panels as well, and mostly these were at UofA or ASU -- I only saw 3-5 houses with solar panels.

Which is just madness. Hot water consumes a big portion of everyone's electric bill - up to 30-40%. Arizona has on average 300 days of sun a year. Thus, roughly, if every house and business used a solar water heater, total electric load for the region would drop by 30% or so. A huge impact.

So, what the heck, Arizona?

The Visigoths are not just a Biker Gang

Burn burn burn, burn The Hot Topic.....


Gold Muscle Man

If you ever see Gold Muscle Man coming at you in a pique of 'roid rage, it would be useful to have a vial of Aqua Regia on hand.


Biosphere 2

Apologies, dear Readers, for my absence. I have been out in the deserts of Arizona, fulfilling various duties, both personal and familial. But none of that matters, as I have seen the future, and that future is BIOSPHERE! Toured the facility and absolutely loved it. Highly recommended if you are a nerd or a horticulturist. And to correct some common misconceptions: The original biosphere experiment, which involved completely sealing 8 people into the Biosphere for 2 years, was a complete success. They didn't live as well as they hoped, but they made it. Also, they had monkies, which caused problems.

They don't focus so much anymore on the whole "living off Earth" focus of the original charter (my main interest), and instead focus on climate issues. It's still a working science experiment (managed and run by the U of Arizona). If you're ever in Tucson/Phoenix, it's well worth the trip.


Fuck You Cake

Ooo! I want a piece from the mushroom cloud!

The Dark Lord's Bookshelf

Speaking of crazy crackers soon to die, this is a picture from inside Cheney's house. Don't ask me how I got it, and simply by posting it I risk incurring the Dark Lord's wrath. But so be it.

Feel free to form your own associations about what this means.

More Teabaggin'

Isn't that witty?

Regarding these nutjobs, there are two large demographic trends in the favor of rationality and common sense: 1. The mix of non-whites as an overall percentage of the American population will continue to go up, when in about 20 years it will be close to a 50-50 white/non-white mix. The growth in these numbers will be mainly in the Hispanic populations. If you've noted, the Repuglicans have done NOTHING to help themselves with Hispanics. Just the opposite actually.
2. These crazy crackers are, on average, old. Old people die, and with them, some of their beliefs. The generations that will replace these people will be far more enlightened and tolerant.

Thus, in the next twenty years, unless the Repugs find their sanity and reform themselves, America will find itself ever more Democractic. And good.


Olan Mills never forgets


Greatest Obama pic to date

"Obi Wan never told you what happened to your Father...."

I love the man. He's a nerd, through and through - enjoys Star Trek, Star Wars, comics, but! He's well rounded, like me!

Also, if you don't like Obama, OUR PRESIDENT, I suggest you hate America, and move to Canada or some other Commie country. LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WINGNUTS!!!

Also, check out Michelle in the background. Funny! I love her too. Love the whole family in fact.


Life's Less Pleasant Moments

Good Morning!

Did you feel it in your spine?

Deep Fried Butter Balls

Among the many treasures Southern Americans have contributed to our country -- such as institutional racism, ignorance, TV Evangelism, Snake Handling, country music, etc - one of the most important has to be the idea of deep-frying. In fact, deep-frying anything, and everything. Here we witness, from the Georgia State Fair, the tasty treat of deep fried butter balls. Mmmm!

There's a reason the South leads the nation in fitness and general overall health.


How Star Trek Voyager Saved the World

Or Seven of Nine, specifically. Seriously! What a wondrous world. In a nutshell: Lady wants to be an actress (Jeri), gets a variety of jobs, nothing special. Marries a handsome investment banker, has a kid. Finally gets her big break in acting, landing a role on Star Trek: Voyager. This required her to travel far more frequently from home, perhaps causing then Mr. Ryan to get.... antsy.

Anyways, Mr Ryan is now married to a TV sexy star, so he gets into parading her around, and then, trying to take her to sex clubs. Jeri is not down with that, even though Mr. Ryan tries several times. (Read here ). Mrs. Ryan has had enough, and files for, and is granted, divorce and custody. The records, however, are sealed.

Flash forward to 2004, and now Mr. Ryan is running for one of the vacant US Senate seats in Illinois, as a Repuglican. He wins the primary, he's on his way to face the Democrat, a young, clean, articulate man with a bright future, you might know him, Barack Obama.

The Chicago Tribune sues the state of California to release the divorce records, and after some back and forth, they do. And now the world, and specifically the voters of IL, know Mr. Ryan likes forcing his wife - against her wishes - into sex clubs, and getting her to perform. Obviously, controversy ensues, Mr. Ryan tries to fight it for awhile, but finally drops out of the race, after it was demanded by the state Repuglican party. This same party then appoints Alan Keyes (you know, cuz of his long-standing IL ties) to run as the Repuglican nominee, and he is resoundingly thrashed by one Barack Obama. The rest of the story you probably know.

So there you have it: How Seven of Nine saved planet earth. Crazy, eh?


Hairy Beach Dude for Jesus

He loves two things in this world: The beach, and Jesus.

Numbers are fun!

Numerology is loads of fun, cuz you can get numbers to mean anything you like.

12/21/12 y'all!

Tasteless 9/11 humour

I love 9/11 humour. I'm weird like that - I've got a pretty fatalistic look on life in general, being a Redshirt and all, so I tend to like gallows humour. However! I do not believe my enjoyment of 9/11 humour has anything to do with the death and the tragedy of that day, but rather the Repuglicans deification of it as a weapon of fear and control. The Bush Admin et al shamelessly milked this terrorist attack in so many ways - militarily, culturally, politically, across the board.

The Legions of Screeching Monkies shouted down anyone who would dare question the course of action the Repuglicans took us on - war, massive debt, crippling infrastructure, fractured diplomatic relations across the world. And now Obama has to fix it all, which he will.

But the spell of terror has been broken -- I remember watching a Family Guy a couple of years ago and they made a terrific 9/11 joke that had me in stitches. Once you can laugh at something, you no longer fear it. And there is NO reason we should fear a terrorist attack. Fear, after all, is the goal of terrorism - so why would you want to give in to it?

So laugh. Laugh at the absurdity that is our existence on this fragile rock. It's always funny when you think deeply about it.



Uluru, November 2007

Travel protip: If you ever visit, for the love of Flying Spaghetti Monster buy and wear a bug net. There are legions of little flies that like nothing better than sneaking up your nostril or into your ear. They were maddening. Otherwise, awesome.

New in not so accurate signage

It's like, once, dude, this friend of my friend walked into a 7-11 and asked them why they had locks on the doors, man. Totally.


Never Forget

9/11 changed everything. Logic, truth, evidence, facts, all that kind of stuff is pre-9/11 thinking. Get with the times!


Once again, The Promised Land

Through the bright sunny (or rainy) days of Spring and Summer we have toiled and trekked, searching for the Promised Land far off in the distance, sometimes so far off that it's forgotten.

But lo! Tonight we cross into the Holy Land: Gambling season returns!

For snap predictions, the Patriots will go 13 - 3 this year, and win the SuperBowl by 30 points. Also, my fantasy team is stocked with Patriots. I am clearly objective.


How the Right Wing Noise Machine Works

There's only a few steps. Of course, this is a guideline, and as such the order can change, or steps can be skipped, but it usually goes like this:

1. Something happens!
2. Internet starts buzzing
3. Right Wing Talk Radio picks up this buzz and hones the point. The Limbaugh - Hannity - Beck trifecta is the king here, but there's so many other Wingnuts out there doing the same. There is almost no Left Wing talk radio, and here's where any comparisons to the two sides break down. The left owns the blogosphere for the most part, but the right rules Radio, and it is radio that is far more pernicious here.
4. Drudge or his ilk will stamp one of the contending hysterical theories with a headline on his site, and he may then work variations of this headline for days and days.
5. Mark Halperin or some tool from Politico or the like will pick up the Drudge lead, and then it will enter the regular corrupt media (newspapers and TV), in addition to the really big factor....
6. It hits Fox News and the various other media outlets of the Murdoch Propaganda Empire. If the topic is juicy enough, they will run it into the ground as long as they can, amping up the fear and hysteria as much as possible.

And there you have it. By this point, the AP and even your local news will have incorporated many of the opinions crafted above. Such that, for example, Obama speaking to schoolchildren becomes "Obama's controversial speech"....

I try to keep my tinfoil hat in check, but at this point, no one in the major media outlets (save MSNBC's Olberman and Maddow) will counter any of these hysterics to any degree -- why? Well, there's only a couple possible explanations: 1. They are in league with this noise machine. 2. Controversy = ratings, so it's in their interest to fan the flames. 3. The Corporate Overlords who own ALL media wish it. And finally, 4. The media is so set on a "both sides do it" narrative, that they will go to enormous lengths not to seem "biased" (by reporting the facts of course), so they will work very hard to make sure you know Democrats do all this bad stuff too, even if they don't.

The overall strategy to the noise machine is simple, in two parts: 1. Frame any discussion to their propaganda points, and 2. FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.

Mind you, there is nothing in this which speaks to any kind of positive, constructive point, such as things that might be good for the country. Rather, like a sports team, the goal is simply to win (however you want to define winning), and everything else matters not.

The thing to watch as the hysteria continues to build (and it will, and it will lead to more domestic terrorism soon enough I'm sure) is: Will the regular media (i.e. not NEWSCORP) ever stop playing this game?

Signs point to "no".


Italian Spiderman

Meh. It was better than Italian Superman. Not as good as Italian Batman, however.

Ewok Holocaust

You ever wonder what happened to the giant Death Star that got blowed up over the forest moon of Endor? No? Well, fret not, cuz the internet figured it all out for you. The answer is: Ewok Holocaust.

Have a Very Busey Holiday!

Busey Labor is Best Labor


Tree o' Life

There's a reason so many animals (like Mr. Squirrel below) look like us, or, we look like them - two eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet, spine, internal organs, blood, etc etc. In fact, we have way, way, way more in common with any living animal than we have differences. The reason for this is clear above -- most every large animal alive today is a close cousin, and the only really strange creatures are cellular or some kind of weird mold. But even they are closely related --since, as I've stated before, every single lifeform alive today is a miracle, as we are all the lucky winners of billions to one odds of existing. Yet, here we are. Hooray!


RIP Squirrel

Well, same old story as with the birds. I'm driving along, minding my own business, never meanin' no harm, and you ran out into the road directly in front of me, leaving me no time to turn out of the way. You passed under my right set of wheels, but I know you did not pass the left, as I heard the sickening crunch of your skull under my back tire. And then I saw you dead in the road as I drove off.

Sorry. Really. May you find many nuts in squirrel heaven.

And again, to my other animal readers: If you see a black Tacoma coming down the road, run. IT'S DEATH!!!

Physics Phun!

You all failed the pop quiz. Thus, Labor Day is canceled for you all, and I expect you to be in class on that Monday instead. No excuses.

Instead of another quiz, I offer the following explanation of two of Einstein's greatest theories: E=Mc2, and the concept of Space-Time. Down the road I will get into relativity -- including the "special" kind.

Anyways, E=Mc2 is actually a straightforward concept once it's spelled out. The formula means:
E = Energy. That is, wavelengths of different frequencies.
M = Mass. The weight of a thing.
c2 = the speed of light (in a vacuum) squared.

The two big things to take away from this are, 1: Energy is mass, mass is energy. They are one and the same. You can consider matter to simply be highly concentrated energy (there are many concepts that open up with this idea - String Theory, for example). Thus, we are energy. Everything is. And 2: Given the "c2" part of the formula, this means for any amount of matter, there is an enormous amount of energy contained within. This is the force behind nuclear explosions. A teaspoon of uranium can blow up a city.

Moving on to "Space-Time". Space-Time was Einstein's way of explaining gravity -- interesting to note! Newton never attempted to explain gravity (God did it was the answer); rather, he was just describing the effects of gravity (also, just to be clear, Newton's theories of gravity, while very useful to our everyday world, have largely proven to be inaccurate - for example, our GPS system would not work using Newtonian rules for gravity). Space-Time, to wit, is our reality: Everything around us is space-time. We live within it like a bug on top of a lake. And everything with mass bends space-time, to the degree of that mass. You and I, right now, are bending space-time with our presence. It's minor to be sure. The sun bends space-time to enormous amounts, enough to actually bend light. But that in turn is nothing compared to far larger stars, Quasars, or the mother of all bends in Space-Time, black holes.

The bending of space-time is gravity -- things fall down these bends. Earth is falling down the bend in space-time created by the sun; the moon is falling down the bend in space-time created by the earth; and so on.

You can easily picture yourself in Space-Time when you consider what you must do when giving directions. For example, say you want to meet a friend for lunch in a cafe on the 5th floor of a building in mid-town Manhatten. To give good directions, you must give 4 co-ordinate points in Space-Time: Latitude (50th St), Longitude (7th Ave), Altitude (5th floor), and most cogently for this discussion, time (1PM). Common sense, right? Well, that's Space-Time!

Oh, and Space-Time is just a theory. One of the effects of Quantum Theory is to put the concept of Space-Time in doubt, since it does not speak to interactions at the quatum (i.e. sub-atomic) level.