Monday, January 30, 2006

Just in case you are interested

The United Nations has unveiled a "master plan" for eliminating all sorts of global societal ills, freeing up $7 trillion in the process!

No kidding.

All we have to do is keep our heads in the sand, or where ever else they happen to be, and let the U.N. abolish the concept of the nation-state.

Imagine Kofi Annan with his own army to command!

Imagine U.N. jurisdiction over all firearms.

Imagine a U.N. global taxation system.

Imagine eliminating the permanent portion of the U.N. Security Council and the veto. (The only reason, frankly, for the United States to remain as a member of this corrupt outfit.)

There's a lot more but instead of imagining, read it for yourself. And check out the powerful people who are pushing this agenda (like Mr. and Mrs. Bill Gates.)

Just in case you are interested ...

Freedom or Profit?

It's all coming to a head, isn't it?
BEIRUT, Lebanon - The controversy over Danish caricatures of Prophet Muhammad escalated Monday as gunmen seized an EU office in Gaza and Muslims appealed for a trade boycott of Danish products. Denmark called for its citizens in the Middle East to exercise vigilance.

Denmark-based Arla Foods, which has been the target of a widespread boycott in the Middle East, reported that two of its employees in Saudi Arabia were beaten by angry customers. Aid groups, meanwhile, pulled workers out of Gaza, citing the threat of hostilities.

The 12 drawings — published in a Danish paper in September and in a Norwegian paper this month — included an image of the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry.

Danish government officials have expressed regret over the furor but have refused to get involved, citing freedom of expression. The Jyllands-Posten newspaper has refused to apologize for publishing the drawings and has said it did not mean to insult Islam.


But Arla Food's executive director urged the Danish government to take action.

"Freedom of expression is an internal Danish issue but this has a totally different dimension," Peder Tuborgh said. "This is about Denmark having offended millions of Muslims."

Villy Soevndal, leader of the small opposition Socialist People's Party, said Denmark "cannot be a country where the prime minister goes into hiding while Denmark loses export money, Danish citizens are being threatened and Danish flags burned."

So let's just do the honorable thing and cave like the craven euro-weenies everyone thinks we are. Say goodbye to the last vestiges of Dane moxie and courage. Better to silence an entire nation than risk offending those touchy Islamic hard-liners. Profits are at stake here.

Gentlemen (and we use the term out of the sake of politeness), you can't have a free society with free enterprise AND a society that kowtows to threats of violence over every perceived insult. The instant you give in to one set of demands, your freedom will be held hostage for another. Down that road is the steep slope that slides into the global caliphate.

Arla Foods: protect your people. Hire some security. File suit against any government anywhere that stands by and allows your people to be roughed up. You want things the easy way, like the way things were in the good, old days.

The good old days are gone. Get a spine.

ADDENDUM - Since when does a socialist care anything about profit or losses from a business that he hasn't yet nationalized? No wonder it's a small opposition party.

Most of the DNC cash spent, but a question remains

The Democratic National Committee, under the fine leadership of His Awrrglefulness Howard Dean, has only $5.5 million in the bank with the 2006 mid-terms approaching.

Many high officials are not pleased. They want to know where the money is going to come from to finance a liberal takeover of the House and Senate.

We'd just like to know what Howie spent the money on.

Things we wouldn't say, even if they were true

Signs of the apocalypse. From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush says Bill Clinton has become so close to his father that the Democratic former president is like a member of the family.

Former President George Bush has worked with Clinton to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami and the hurricane disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Asked about his father and Clinton, Bush quipped, "Yes, he and my new brother."

"That's a good relationship. It's a fun relationship to watch," Bush said in an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday.

While attending Pope John Paul's funeral, Bush said, "It was fun to see the interplay between dad and Clinton. One of these days, I'll be a member of the ex-president's club. ... I'll be looking for something to do."

Somehow we doubt that Dubya and Slick Willy will be bar-hopping together, but if it does happen it just confirms our worst suspicions about Washington, D.C. He who goes to Dee Cee becomes Dee Cee.

More fodder for the 'Rich Man, Poor Man' debate

Is the economy robust and growing, or is everyone, led by the tone-deaf media, trying to sing "Happy Days are Here Again" with their heads stuck in the sand?

Savings Rate Lowest Since Great Depression

Americans are spending everything they're making and more, pushing the national savings rate to the lowest point since the Great Depression.

Soaring home prices apparently have convinced people they don't have to worry about saving, a belief that could be seriously tested as 78 million baby boomers begin to retire.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that Americans' personal savings fell into negative territory at minus 0.5 percent last year. That means that people not only spent all of their after-tax income last year but had to dip into previous savings or increase their borrowing.

The savings rate has been negative for an entire year only twice before _ in 1932 and 1933 _ two years when Americans were having to deplete savings to cope with the massive job layoffs and business failures caused by the Great Depression.

The article goes on to say that this time around its because people are feeling wealthy that they are spending more than they save.

That's a load of hooey, and if the writer doesn't know it, they should.

Economists make a big deal about how Baby Boomers are planning to retire quickly.

Most of the boomers we know have already resigned themselves to the idea that they will never be able to retire, or at least they'll have to work until their health or mind fails, or no one will hire them anymore.

The core rate of inflation last year was well north of 3 percent, actually about 3.4. That's an official government figure. The real number could be above that. At the same time personal disposable income rose 1.4 percent. By our rough, seat-of-the-pants "look ma, no calculator" reckoning, that's a 2.0 percent loss of purchasing power. No wonder people are borrowing.

"Yikes!" you cry out. "We thought the Oklahomilist was a conservative." Well, yeah, we are, but there isn't anything particularly conservative going on in Washington these days, especially at the level of the Federal Reserve, which is ordering the issuance of new credit and the printing of new paper money at an all-time clip. Outside of Dubya's tax cuts, which may not survive the semi-annual congressional gutting process, there's not much to get your hopes up.

For a better perspective, check out "Ice Station Retirement" by David Andrews, which might just be the most incisive piece of information you will read this year.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Strike that - reverse it

On U.S. talk of cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority:
Hamas leaders meanwhile rejected as "blackmail" Western demands that it renounce violence against Israel or risk losing aid vital to the survival of the Palestinian Authority. Hopes of peacemaking with Israel have been pushed further into limbo.
Hey, boys, you've got it exactly backward, as usual.

There is no law or moral obligation that says the United States taxpayer owes you guys a dime. As for the "survival" of the Palestininian Authority, at this point, with shots being fired between Hamas and Fatah, there isn't much to save.

On the other hand, demands that we continue to pour millions upon millions into a moral cesspool, now that the really bad guys are in control - or else - sure sounds an awful lot like blackmail. Pay us or Israel gets it.

Except that Hamas fully intends for Israel to "get it" sooner or later anyway.

Not one thin dime.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Coulter: Over the Top

With the usual qualification "if the story is reported accurately," if Ann Coulter truly joked that someone should put rat poison in a liberal Supreme Court justice's food, then she has stepped beyond the bounds of civilized discourse.

We don't like it when liberals say things like that. We call 'em moonbats and kool-aid drinkers.

But when a well-known conservative voice exercises a similar lack of restraint, it's worse. Because now it reflects on those in the camp with which we most often identify.

Ann can be funny, but frequently her zeal to say something outrageous means that the mouth engages before the brain thinks things over once or twice. She gets away with it more than most, which says something about people who are easy on the eyes.

If there is anyone out there who can get her to listen long enough to someone besides herself, who has enough of her respect to give her pause to reflect, please tell her that her razor-sharp wit is inflicting casualties on the good guys.

That is all.

As if gold prices weren't heading up already

A Russian scientists claims to have invented a "cloak of invisibility" as a by-product of nanoparticle research.
The so-called invisibility cloak, created by Oleg Gadomsky, is called “The method of conversion of optical radiation” in the patent.

Gadomsky had been long experimenting on nanoparticles of gold. Thus, he invented a sub-micron stratum of microscopical colloid golden particles that makes an object placed behind it invisible for an observer.
He admits he hasn't got all the bugs worked out, but he's working on it. Wonder what one of those cloaks will cost when all is said and done?

Learning the deadly details

The Vancouver (Canada) Sun reports today on a couple of scientific discoveries about the current strains of bird flu making the rounds in Europe and Asia. The first announcement is that the European strain (the one centered in Turkey) is remarkably like the 1918 flu that killed millions. The second discovery is even more sinister: seems the new bird flu has some special genetic adaptations that allows it to commandeer human cells at a critical level.

Researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., have found that bird flu viruses carry a gene that can latch onto many crucial proteins inside human cells, presumably disrupting their function and causing far more severe disease than human viruses.

The research provides a new hypothesis for why certain bird flu viruses are particularly lethal for humans.

Mapping the gene structures of over 2196 bird influenzas, researchers discovered that bird viruses produce a gene that is particularly ugly in human cells.

In bird viruses, the gene produces a protein that allows the virus to bind to "scaffolding" proteins inside human cells.

"It's like a large number of policemen being held hostage. Society falls apart," says McGeer.

In human viruses, the protein doesn't bind to certain cells, which may explain why they're not as virulent.

It hasn't been proven yet. "But, we think that if you interfere with that many proteins in cells, you're going to have a deleterious consequences," said author Dr. Clayton Naeve of St. Jude.

The finding fits with what doctors on the ground in Asia have seen: The H5N1 virus can attack not just the airways, like regular flu, but multiple organs and systems, including the kidney, liver, spleen and brain. Infection has been fatal in more than half the reported cases, and most cases occur in previously healthy children and young adults.

The H5N1 avian flu sweeping across Asia has this "bird" form of the protein. The milder pandemics of 1957 and 1968 had the "human" one.


"Does it tell you H5N1 is going to be the next pandemic? No. What it does is add to our understanding of the evolution of influenza viruses."

Naeve says it is possible that whatever makes H5N1 so pathogenic, or toxic to humans, could persist even if the virus adapts to spread easily from humans to humans, and becomes pandemic.

The still hard-to-catch bird flu at present is lethal when it does cross over.
The virus has infected 152 people in six countries since 2003, killing 84 of them.
Canadian officials are already implementing public health strategies to get people to wash their hands frequently, sneeze into tissues, and to cover their mouths.

Here at Oklahomily CNC we are implementing a new "wash the car frequently and watch where you put your hands" policy because of the devil birds' penchant for dropping toxic waste on the motor pool. You never know, those birds could be cavorting with sick migratory fowls. This is Level 2 (orange). Level 3 (red) would require us to clean out the garage and start parking inside. Given our lack of motivation, it is hard to say what would trigger a Level 3 alert.

But at least we have a plan.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

VDH: Iran's end-of-days world view

Victor Davis Hansen has a must-read that we almost missed with details of Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic mind-set. Chillingly it explains why the players on the Middle East stage are changing and, indirectly, why our own role to preventing a massive blowup is becoming more limited.

VDH starts off with a bang:
"The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land. As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map." So rants Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Given his apocalyptic rhetoric, we can understand why Mr. Ahmadinejad might want an arsenal of nuclear missiles. He would be able to shake down a constant stream of rich European emissaries, threaten the Arab Gulf states to lower oil production, neutralize U.S. influence in the region -- and, of course, destroy Israel.
So the name of the haloed Mr. Ahmadinejad will live for the ages -- but only if he alone takes out the crusader interloper in Jerusalem.
There's more for the non-ostrich among us.

Why not just tempt God?

Norfolk, Virginia, says it is "tsunami ready" and has posted a sign boasting about it.
The city was recently declared tsunami ready by the National Weather Service, joining tiny Indian Harbour Beach in Florida as the only localities on the Atlantic Coast to meet the government’s seismic sea wave standards.

Jim Talbot, Norfolk’s assistant director of emergency preparedness and response, decided to pursue the federal TsunamiReady certification, even though he admits the odds are better for him to hit the Mega Millions lottery than for a tsunami to strike Hampton Roads.

“I went after it because of the potential there would be some federal funds available,” he said. Then again, in his business, he said, you can’t be too careful.
Or, in other words, it's all just a joke. The link we posted includes an editorial foreward by Stan Deyo, to whom with owe the hat tip. Deyo's comment is worth more than the entire story.

Reminds us of the opening minutes of "Jaws" when the Amity Island municipality tries its best to assure the public that the beaches have been made safe.

NYT says 'filibuster Alito'

Apparently there are religious people at the New York Times after all.

In an editorial today the NYT is calling for Democrats to filibuster the vote on Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court, even though Alito has more than enough votes for confirmation, and a filibuster would likely not set well with a majority of the American voting public.

But the public be damned, the NYT knows all, and apparently they are chomping for a classic, Armageddon-style war between the forces of light and darkness before the 2006 congressional races.

Thus we realize that the editors have taken leave of their senses and are relying solely on their faith as good liberals.

Make it so.

Hamas victory & the limits of democracy

While generally we believe that a voting public beats a non-voting public, what happens when the public that is voting holds extremist views?

We're about to find out. The extremist anti-Jewis Hamas party has won the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament. Hamas members hold a fundamentalist Islamic belief that says that the Jews have no right to land in the Middle East (or much of anywhere else). It is Hamas operative policy to see that Israel ceases to exist.

Hamas is funded, at least in part, by Iran (though it denies such). Iran is jubilant over the victory.

Israel, which has pursued the folly of the so-called "Road Map to Peace" just about as far as there is road, is now wondering how it will deal with its new governmental neighbors.

President Bush says the U.S. will refuse to deal with Hamas until it formally acknowledges that Israel has a right to exist. His thoughts were echoed by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice:
"Anyone who wants to govern the Palestinian people and do so with the support of the international community has got to be committed to a two-state solution," Rice said. "You can't have a peace process if you're not committed to the right of your partner to exist."
We hope their statements today are followed by actions, such as the defunding of the Palestinian Authority by American tax dollars. We also hope these strong declarations of common sense are not forgotten a couple of months down the road.

Frankly, this is just one more piece of the puzzle that is coming together to make it appear highly probable that the Middle East will erupt into some serious violence sooner rather than later. Iran and Hamas are allied, and that can't be good news for anyone dedicated to the cause of a just peace.

It would be nice to believe that democracy always led to more rational decisions by governments. A fully informed and thoughtful electorate, however, is required for this to be more likely. Any semblance of the Palestinian people to a thoughtful, informed electorate is purely coincidental.

Increasingingly sophisticated incursions

Interesting news item in the San Diego Union-Tribune today giving the details of the long tunnel between the U.S. and Mexico. (HT: Michelle Malkin)
Investigators discovered a sophisticated cross-border tunnel yesterday extending about a half-mile and found about 2 tons of marijuana on the Mexican end.

The tunnel begins about 85 feet below a small warehouse about 175 yards south of the U.S. border. The other end is in an apparently vacant industrial building in Otay Mesa.

Late last night, authorities were still pulling marijuana out of the tunnel, which is outfitted with electricity and a ventilation system. The building is in an industrial neighborhood near Tijuana's airport.

The concrete-lined shaft is 6 feet by 12 feet with a metal ladder that leads to the packed-earth tunnel, which is tall enough for a person to stand in.

Concrete lining! Electricity and ventilation! How long have these people been working on this? This, on top of the armed standoff last week in Texas, makes you wonder if we're not already in another war here at home. Perhaps we could use a few of our good fighting men and women stationed along the border.

For good coverage of what's being said and done on all this, check Malkin's site HERE.

Is this negotiating with terrorists?

We're wondering what the next headline is going to be after five Iraqi women prisoners were released to Sunni officials overnight?

The U.S. military released five Iraqi women detainees Thursday, a move demanded by the kidnappers of an American reporter to spare her life, but an official said the release was coincidental.

The women were freed from U.S. custody and delivered to the home of a senior Sunni Arab politician in Baghdad, where they were returned to their families, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene. They were later driven away in taxis.

The choices? The terrorists release Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll and what transpires is essentially a negotiated prisoner exchange. Or, the terrorists make new demands of the U.S. since they are still holding Carroll as a pawn, and things have worked in their favor so far.

Or the terrorists go ahead and kill the journalist, just for the hell of it.

Whatever the result, the next time some administration official stands up and declares that "we do not negotiate with terrorists," he should be pelted with rotten fruit and booed into tears.

Not that we are unsympathetic. Jill Carroll is cute. Those home movies that are shown constantly on the news channels yank hard on the heart-strings. But she is no more and no less deserving of our compassion and desire to see her set free than the middle-aged oilfield consultant with the four-day stubble and the spare tire. But we don't negotiate with terrorists when the latter is at risk, do we?

We don't claim to be experts on this subject. Considering that the Arab cultural values are a bit different, maybe in the Middle East you do negotiate with terrorists - and then exact a terrible price upon them in the next confrontation. Maybe you don't. Whatever the rule, we should be consistent with it.

An epidemic under the radar

The numbers of those stricken by the cripping disease chikungunya are exploding on Reunion Island, a French-governed isle off the coast of east Africa in the Indian ocean.
An epidemic of a crippling and incurable mosquito-borne disease has continued to spread throughout the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, with thousands of new cases reported, a health official said Thursday.

Only in the last week more than 5,600 new cases were reported, taking the total number of people infected by "chikungunya" to 22,167 on the French-ruled island since the beginning of the epidemic last March, said Gilles Brucker, director of a government health monitoring institute.

"We should expect that the number of cases will pass 30,000," Brucker told AFP.
While we had mentioned this before, it now behooves us to point out that for those wanting to know what an epidemic looks like, this is it. Unless island health officials are attacking the disease at its source - the mosquitos - there is little doubt the 30,000 will be reached.

Mosquitos can be controlled, as was proven in the past. The post-modern reluctance to take the necessary measures could be considered a crime against humanity. It certainly is an offense against common sense.

But, hey, it's Africa were talking about, at least today, so don't expect too much action from the UN and its complicit pals in the New World Order. They'll talk a good game, and that's about it. (Need another example: google "darfur" and do a little reading.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

One strange photo from Monday

While the actual definition is lost somewhere in the archives of the Oklahomilist's aging gray cells, back in college we were taught that something like this produced "cognitive dissonance."

(This photo, by the way, is from one of the counter- demonstrations against the pro-life marchers in San Francisco).

For the brave: a LINK to another, somewhat related story that will do more than provoke cognitive dissonance.

Acknowledging the 'Boy Crisis'

National Review's Rich Lowry takes a look at the Newsweek article on "The Boy Crisis" and concludes that American society may be coming around to figuring out that boys are different from girls.
... the boy-in-crisis has a rallying cry, "Don't disrespect my biology!"

That's what has been happening for years. Feminists have wanted to believe that, given the right socialization, boys would give up their stubborn fascination with earth-moving equipment. As someone once said, "You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your facts."
Another choice morsel:
If school overemphasizes sitting quietly and language skills; if recess is eliminated; if discipline is eroded; if the books feature consciousness-raising instead of action-packed narrative — then boys will be bored, disaffected and disruptive. Classrooms have to be made more boy-friendly — with more discipline, more competition and more activity — so that boys are no longer treated, as one expert put it to Newsweek, "like defective girls."
There's more. If you have a son, do read it. If you have daughters who some day will need responsible husbands, you read it too.

Pre-meditated mayhem in Philly

There is so much wrong with this kind of behavior:

4 Teens Arrested for Beating Man in Philadelphia

Four teens were arrested on attempted murder charges after they beat up a man who was chosen at random, videotaping the planning and the attack "almost like a documentary," police said.

A Drexel University engineering graduate student told police he was attacked Friday afternoon by four young men who beat him and tried to throw him in front of a moving car, authorities said. The 30-year-old victim was treated for a dislocated jaw.

The suspects, walking around after a scheduled half-day of school, videotaped themselves before the attack as they discussed how they were going to assault a random victim, then took turns holding the camera during the beating, said police Lt. John Walker.

Only one of the assailants is identified (the eldest, at 17). And of course his mother says he couldn't have been involved.

Osbourne's mother said he was an innocent bystander who happened to be nearby and caught on tape.

"He ain't that kind of guy," she told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
And it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.

You have to wonder how much some of the TV, music videos and movies out today that glorify gang behavior (often from the perspective of a hand-held video-cam) contribute to the kind of "values" that would make pre-planning an attempted murder "cool"?

And wouldn't this category of crime be automatically upgraded to "Pre-meditated"?

Footnote to a sad story in Vegas

The sad mystery of the identity of the body of a little girl, about 3 or 4, found in a Las Vegas dumpster is getting national attention, as it should. But the international attention that might help identify her is not going so well.

According to the AP story picked up by the Washington Post, the girl was Hispanic.

Police think the girl's family might have been illegal immigrants from outside the Las Vegas area. But Roberts said none of the dozens of tips generated after an account of the case aired Saturday on the television show "America's Most Wanted" panned out.

"We've been to California. We've checked addresses in Mexico. We're getting calls from other parts of the nation," he said. "Nothing that's really taking us anywhere.

Investigators have been sent out to revisit the apartment complex, knock on neighborhood doors again and distribute leaflets at schools again.

"I know this is getting old," he said. "But maybe someone we didn't get the first time saw something or heard something. Maybe there's someone in Central or South America who doesn't have a television."

Not to be too picky, and we're sure the detective meant well, but there are an overwhelming number of people in Central and South America who do not have TVs, as amazing as that might seem. That's one reason so many want to come to the United States: better pay and a chance at a life where they can take for granted such things.

Substandard housing?

The Mad Okie at Livin' on Tulsa Time does his best impression of the National Security Agency by using satellite photos to show that some folks at high levels of Tulsa city government want to spend taxpayer dollars to acquire "substandard" housing that doesn't exist.

Of course those of us in Tulsa County who do not belong to the right country clubs or hob-nob in the higher priced seats at the opera probably aren't smart enough to understand why invisible (or non-existent) homes need tax-funded rescue. It briefly occurred to us that perhaps some aide to the mayor witnessed someone stretched out, napping, on said properties, and concluded that a citizen with no roof was afflicted with substandard housing.

Then again, perhaps someone should go farther back into the records of all those "citizens" who voted in a recent election and gave their addresses as vacant lots. Maybe these diligent, civic-minded souls are the very people who will benefit from the compassionate "conservatism" of Tulsa's city government.

Sure would hate to see this thing go to much farther and wind up as something the district attorney's office should review.

The Mad Okie believes that many of the identified properties, even the ones WITH houses, are those that the city would like to acquire, but not necessarily a good list of the homes of people who deserve a better place to live.

MeeCiteeWurkor wonders how LaFortunate the people of north Tulsa feel when so many are labelled as poor.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sure hope they know what they're doing!

We are of two minds on nuclear fusion: the scientific half loves the idea of limitless power from the harnassing of the secrets of fusion; the pragmatic, down-to-earth half has the willies over the idea that we can light off something so powerful and expect it to work perfectly without malfunction.

Name one thing in all of human history that hasn't gone off the tracks, exploded dramatically, or otherwise hasn't had unforeseen problems that need to be tweaked?

So when we saw this report, it set up an internal device conflict.

China to build world`s first "artificial sun" experimental device
A full superconducting experimental Tokamak fusion device, which aims to generate infinite, clean nuclear-fusion-based energy, will be built in March or April in Hefei, capital city of east China`s Anhui Province.

Experiments with the advanced new device will start in July or August. If the experiments prove successful, China will become the first country in the world to build a full superconducting experimental Tokamak fusion device, nicknamed "artificial sun", experts here said.

The project, dubbed EAST (experimental advanced superconducting Tokamak), is being undertaken by the Hefei-based Institute of Plasma Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
So far so good. Our scientific side was so excited. But then the next sentence slammed into the entire brain like a runaway neutron reaction:
It will require a total investment of nearly 300 million yuan (37 million U.S. dollars), only one fifteenth to one twentieth the cost of similar devices being developed in the other parts of the world.
The Chinese are gonna do it on the cheap? Instantly we flash back to last 4th of July when half of the seemingly normal fuses on our fireworks zipped from zero to 60 in about half a second. Yeah, the burns have healed, but the psychological scars!

A fully operational Tokamak fusion reactor for $37 million?

May God have mercy on our souls.

Absent Without Much of An Excuse

Where did the weekend go?

Honest, we fully intended to saddle up the blogging horse, ride it hard and put it up wet today, but the world has conspired against us. That isn't much of an excuse, but it's the truth. (We thought about borrowing a better one, like did you hear about the guy who died while riding the subway in New York and no one noticed for six or seven hours? But then we'd have a tough time explaining why we're writing again.)

Over the weekend there were two really sorry conference championships in pro football. C'mon. The closest score was 34-17. It's embarrassing. But it might make for an interesting Super Bowl.

Over the weekend Miss Oklahoma, Jennifer Berry, won the Miss America title. Not only did she have to wait an extra four months to do it (the pageant was put on hold for awhile, and almost died), but she'll get only $30,000 in scholarship money, not the $50,000 that previous title holders received.

This is shameful.

If there is anyone in the Miss America Pageant organization making more than $30,000 salary this year - and you know good and well there is - they should be stripped of their title. This is the United States! We throw billions at our super-stars and our super-victims. Thirty grand ain't much more than we imagine some Katrina victims are gonna wind up with.

Maybe somebody should pass the hat for the Miss America people on the stipulation that the money goes to Jenny. She's a good Tulsa girl, and we're mighty proud for her.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tweaking the tail of the Tiger

The goofy group Center for Science in the Public Interest has issued an ultimatum to the companies behind Tony the Tiger and Spongebob Squarepants, respectively Kelloggs and Viacom. Why? Because there are breakfast cereals marketed under their sponsorship.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says junk food is making American kids unhealthy, and is threatening to sue for a billion dollars if they won't tone down ads aimed at kids.

Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest voices the ultimatum the companies face, "Companies can do it voluntarily, or they can be sued. It's their choice."

The group already has a plaintiff, a mom with three kids, ready to throw into a Massachusetts courtroom, on the grounds of deceptive marketing aimed at unfair youngsters. Says the mother, Sherri Carlson:

"Are Pop Tarts and Fruit Loops really part of a nutritious breakfast as they claim in their ads? I think not."

First big question: Does Ms. Carlson do the food purchases for her youngster? If not, why not?

Second big question: Does Ms. Carlson's TV have an on-off switch and does she know how to use it? If not, why not?

Michelle Malkin, to whom the hat is tipped once more, said:

Message to food extortionists: Parents can turn off the TV voluntarily and buy their kids granola for breakfast. It's their choice. Leave Spongebob alone.

All that is really at stake here is the prospect of raising really big dollars through litigation which, we suspect, goes to finance other pet lefty causes.

Parents should welcome the responsibility to protect their families from whatever it is they see as "junk food." And that's the whole point: the notion of freedom is that we are also free to choose poorly, but we have a moral (not necessarily legal) responsibility to educate ourselves as to what constitutes good nutrition.

Admittedly, it's a radical notion, this concept of freedom. Thanks to willing courts, silent legislators, and greedy participants, we'll be lucky if freedom in this country lasts another decade.

Unsung hero finally hears music

If the details of this story are accurate, the world indeed does owe Stanislav Petrov at the very least a round of applause.

Russian Colonel Who Averted Nuclear War Receives World Citizen Award
Retired Russian colonel Stanislav Petrov received a special World Citizen Award at a UN meeting in New York on Thursday. Petrov was honored as the “Man Who Averted Nuclear War”. In a meeting held at the UN’s Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium on Jan. 19, the Association of World Citizens (AWC) presented the retired officer with his award.
Petrov was in charge of the Soviet Union's missile defenses on the night of September 26, 1983:
He was the duty officer at Russia’s main nuclear command center in September 1983 when the system indicated a nuclear missile attack was launched by the U.S. on Russia. It was just after midnight, Sept. 26, and 120 staff were working the graveyard shift in Serpukhov-15, the secret USSR command bunker hidden in a forest 30 miles northeast of Moscow, WorldNetDaily reported. ... Petrov was highly aware that Cold War tensions were acute, as USSR fighters had shot down a Korean airliner on Sept. 1. But he was completely shocked when the warning siren began to wail and two lights on his desk console began flashing MISSILE ATTACK and START. “Start” was the instruction to launch, irreversibly, all 5,000 or so Soviet missiles and obliterate America. A new, unproven Soviet satellite system had picked up a flash in Montana near a Minuteman II silo. Then another — five, all told. Petrov recalls his legs were “like cotton,” as they say in Russian. He stared at the huge electronic wall map of the United States in terror and disbelief. As his staff gawked upward at him from the floor, he had the thought, “Who would order an attack with only five missiles? That big an idiot has not been born yet, not even in the U.S.”
So Petrov held his powder for five minutes, then called the Kremlin and told his bosses that it was a false alarm. It was.
Months later, it was determined that sunlight reflecting off clouds in Montana had caused a faulty satellite computer assembly to report a missile launch flash.
For his effort, Petrov was side-tracked in his career, given no recognition, and in 1993 when his wife contracted cancer he retired to take care of her.
Today, Petrov, 67, lives in Moscow on a monthly pension of less than $200.
Seems like the least the "world community" could do is pony up a few extra dollars for the guy. Sure sounds like he deserves it.

Something 'Wicked' This Way Came

And we'll miss him.

We must pay our respects to one of the great influences of our early musical education, the "Wicked" Wilson Pickett, who died tonight of a heart attack at age 64 in a Reston, Virginia, hospital.

Wilson Pickett, the man of the Midnight Hour, who held the keys for Mustang Sally, stamped our passport to the Land of 1,000 Dances and taught us the Funky Broadway. The legend whose influence and not-quite-on-film presence inspired a fictitious Dublin soul band in "The Commitments" to recreate in homage some of his best work, and the project was so successful it revived his career.

Critics would probably point to his history of depression, drugs and the occasional arrest as reasons to ignore his passing. We would have to respectfully disagree. Nobody but Wilson himself knew what it was like to walk in his shoes and to handle fame after the fortune was pretty much gone.

Wilson brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, of all race, creeds and colors. "In the Midnight Hour" was one of those smash classics that you had to know if you were in an aspiring garage band in the '60s. His was the epitome of Soul Music and it transcended time and place, or at least it felt so at the time.

We hope the good Lord, in His mercy, cuts Wilson some slack. A man who can make people happy, while he himself suffers, is a man with redeeming qualities.

Yes, we will miss him.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

This can't be good

Crippling disease sweeps Indian Ocean island

Doctors on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion are battling an epidemic of a crippling mosquito-borne disease that has no known cure, French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said.

About 7,200 cases of "chikungunya" had been recorded, including 1,600 cases last week alone, the minister told the French upper house.

It's not fatal, but it's not much fun either.

But thank goodness the islanders are not in danger of DDT exposure.

Why mess with perfection?

Robert Redford says the news is depressing.
Asked about rumors that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck may be remaking "Butch Cassidy," Redford said he finds that "depressing."

"There is no shortage of good, original ideas, and there's just no point to remakes. Why do they have to mess with things that were perfect the first time around?" he said with a groan.
Aside from some idle speculation as to which, Damon or Affleck, would play Butch and Sundance (neither of whom is fit to untie Newman's shoe-laces, or polish Redford's boots), we just have to sadly agree.

This society's penchant for cannibalizing its past, whether it's music, movies or entertainment, borders the absurd.

Nice to have confirmation

This result doesn't surprise us in the least.

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with

Guess that's why we get to teach class.

Beware the Backhoe on the Information Superhighway

This is a fascinating read, as good a scenario as you'd get with Clancy or Grisham.

And it's true.

The Backhoe: A Real Cyber-Threat

Read and be enlightened.

Europe has a case of the vapours!

As if we needed anything else to provide further confusion (not clarification) on the issue of global warming, comes this BBC report that concludes much of the warming experienced in Europe is due to increased "water vapour" in the atmosphere. (We just love the way they spell vapor.)

The water vapour absorbs solar heat from Mr. Sun, then radiates it down to earth in longwave fashion, kinda like we wish our shower would work during cold weather (but it doesn't because the drafty bathroom air currents move all the water vapour to the mirror where instead of radiating the heat longwave fashion outward, it gets absorbed by the mirror, which doesn't need it in the least. But we digress.)

It's like much of Europe is a sauna.

Where is the water vapour coming from? Well, there's one heckuva lotta water on this planet, and rising temps mean more evaporation. Sometimes it just gets distributed and doesn't precipitate like it should. (Here in Oklahoma we suspect a Trilateralist plot to use jet-driven aerosols with secret chemical contaminants to send the water vapours over Europe, thus we get no rain, and things are burning up, literally, one grassy acre and the occasional house or barn at a time. Why the Trilateralists hate us is beyond our ability to fathom, but they obviously do. So we're thinking seriously about hating them back. But we digress again.)

We deduce there's not a lot that mere human beings can do to curb the water vapour problem.

Because human activities change its concentrations very little, it is generally not mentioned in discussions of modern-day greenhouse warming.

But climate scientists have been aware for decades that mechanisms involving water vapour could amplify temperature increases, and have attempted to model these effects in computer simulations.

Researchers sceptical about projections of human-induced climate change base their criticism partly on what they see as flawed simulations of water vapour and clouds.

The article says the flawed simulations probably won't be changed because in the big picture temps are going up, and that's what a goodly number of scientists have thought would happen all along. (That's scientific methodology for you.)

Right now science just isn't doing it for those of us with vapours but no rain. So we are going to revert to our primitive flexes and start praying for precipitation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Teddy Kennedy's Love Child

According to the National Enquirer (yeah, we know, that National Enquirer), Ted Kennedy was a busy guy back in 1983, and there's a 21-year-old man to show for it.

In fairness, considering how a lot of people lived in the '60s, '70s and '80s, there were a lot of "love children". But when you read the details you are struck by the overall callousness of the arms-length treatment not only of Teddy but of the Kennedy clan.
“Caroline announced to the family that she was two months pregnant around May 1984,” blabbed a Bilodeau confidante. “Ted was not happy about the news. He already had three kids with Joan and knew a baby out of wedlock could hurt him politically.”
According to the Enquirer, the scandal-scarred senator begged Bilodeau to have an abortion, but she refused.
“He told her he couldn’t undergo another scandal — not after Chappaquiddick, not so close to his divorce from Joan” said the source. “He was very angry when she defied him and had the child.”
No wonder the senator's been so "pro-choice" (as long as the choice is abortion).

Some undoubtedly will say, "But the National Enquirer has such a reputation!" We'll just repeat what Jay Tea of Wizbang had to say:
Yeah, I know, it's the Enquirer. But over the last decade or so, that paper has had a track record for accuracy that outshines the New York Times.
Add to that better credibility than Senator Ted.

Belated happy birthday, Ben!

It's difficult to hide the fact when you are just terrible at remembering people's birthdays. But that, in fact, is the sorry truth. Good intentions don't even rate a smidgin of paving on the road to hell in our case.

But for what it's worth:

Happy Birthday, Ol' Ben!

Ben has always been one of the Oklahomily heroes, and occasionally a role model, in various and sundry ways, but we're trying to keep that part of the past buried in the past.

Statesman, inventor, innovator, humorist, journalist, publisher, firefighter, diplomat, lover, and that's not an all inclusive list. You have to wonder whether the United States, without this strange and wonderful gentleman, would even exist. Can't get enough of hearing about him.

Plus he graces one of our favorite pieces of paper currency. Can't get enough of those either.

One less bell to answer

With our hat tipped to Michelle Malkin, with pass on this interesting bit of al Quaeda news from ABC.

U.S. Strike killed al Qaeda Bomb Maker
Jan. 18, 2006 — ABC News has learned that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan.

Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of three known al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit conference in the village of Damadola.

The United States had posted a $5 million reward for Mursi's capture. He is described by U.S. authorities as the man who ran al Qaeda's infamous Derunta training camp in Afghanistan, where he used dogs and other animals as subjects of experiments with poison and chemicals.
He's the guy who trained the shoe bomber and Zach Mousssaoui, among hundreds of others. Despite all the protests, it looks like the CIA has eliminated one prolific trouble-maker and possibly saved the American taxpayers $5 million in the bargain.

Sand Springs eminent domain issue gets national attention

The plight of a church in a historic but crumbling portion of Sand Springs, a city just west of Tulsa, is getting some national attention today. National Review attention.
For seven years, Reverend Roosevelt Gildon has preached the gospel at the Centennial Baptist Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. His congregation, around 50 strong, is like a small family. The elderly members, and those without cars, often walk to Sunday services.

“Rosey,” as his friends call him, figured he’d go on preaching in the tidy steel structure for years to come. That was, until the government told him they were taking his church away.

Since the Supreme Court's controversial Kelo decision last summer, eminent domain has entered a new frontier. It’s not just grandma’s house we have to worry about. Now it’s God’s house, too. “I guess saving souls isn’t as important,” says Reverend Gildon, his voice wry, “as raking in money for politicians to spend.” The town of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, has plans to take Centennial Baptist — along with two other churches, several businesses, dozens of small homes, and a school — and replace them with a new “super center,” rumored to include a Home Depot. It’s the kind of stuff that makes tax collectors salivate. It’s also the kind of project that brakes for no one, especially post-Kelo. “I had no idea this could happen in America,” says Reverend Gildon, after spending Monday morning marching in the Sand Springs Martin Luther King Day parade.

The area is just east of Highway 97 and just south of the Keystone Expressway, an area of homes, businesses, churches and a school. Many of the structures date back to the time of the Tulsa race riots (1921), built in the aftermath on a grant of land from oil baron/philanthropist Charles Page, who was touched by the plight of the blacks who were burned out in north Tulsa.

But today Sand Springs officials, along with others in the city of Tulsa and Tulsa County, are less interested in preserving history, homes and community than they are in commercial developments that will bring jobs and tax revenue. Thus the 2003 Vision 2025 Project which, passed by voters, is providing the funding for the development, among other projects.

While the Kelo decision occurred after the Vision 2025 vote, it does grease the wheels, so to speak, of efforts to condemn property, and there is a lot less incentive to negotiate a land sale in good faith. The writer, Heather Wilhelm, makes note of this:
The money earmarked for Sand Springs was supposedly meant to focus on redeveloping an abandoned industrial area for big box retailers and other stores. One problem: Centennial Baptist Church isn’t abandoned, and unlike some of the other buildings in its neighborhood, it is in pristine condition. More importantly, the church doesn’t want to sell — and they have good reasons. “After I heard the news, we started looking to see if we could move,” Gildon said. “I just don’t think we can afford it. It’s too expensive. And if we can’t move, and they take our building, what happens to the church? If we leave, who is going to minister to the black community in Sand Springs?”

Reverend Gildon is a practical man. He’s not a firebrand, and he’s not looking for a fight. He just loves God and loves his church, and wants to continue serving his community. Unfortunately, local officials would rather have an extra parking lot for a new Bed Bath & Beyond.

It makes sense on one level. Churches don’t generate any tax revenue for the government to spend. They don’t “stimulate” the economy. They often, much to their peril, occupy prime, envied real estate. With the supercharged powers granted by Kelo, be very, very afraid.

What’s most egregious about this application of eminent domain is that there’s already plenty of room for development, even if the pesky church sticks around. Many community residents were happy to sell their property. Two other churches in the area decided to move to Tulsa. Other structures in the area were dilapidated and ready for the deal. The way things are now, Centennial Baptist Church could easily live side-by-side with new stores, houses, or businesses. Yet Centennial remains in the crosshairs — even though two nearby national chains, a taxpaying McDonald’s and a taxpaying O’Reilly’s muffler shop, have been left alone.

The Rev. Gildon has joined up with Americans for Limited Government and its Oklahoma partner, Oklahomans in Action, to promote a ballot initiative for November that, if passed, would limit Kelo-style eminent domain abuses.

NOTE -- We just happened to be in Sand Springs this morning and took a couple of spins around the affected neighborhood, kicking ourselves that we did not bring the camera along. It's apparent that Centennial Baptist is in better shape than most of the other buildings including, we suspect, the McDonald's that will stay. What really hit home was the fact that an omnibus measure like Vision 2025 is really too crude an instrument to be providing the funding for projects in local communities. For instance, what does the Oklahomilist, who lives in Broken Arrow, know of the true needs of Sand Springs, or Owasso, or Jenks, or even Bixby, which is right next door? In truth all we can do when such a measure is on the ballot is look to see how it affects us, locally. Thus our "yes" vote is blissfully ignorant of how others might be affected.

This is not the stuff of which good neighbors are made.

All the more reason to join in the killing of Kelo.

ADDENDUM NOTE -- Michael at BatesLine has more, including links to previous posts. Plus he posted on the National Review article last night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Re-virgination: an afterthought

We initially were going to let this one pass:

Like a virgin? Thanks to 'revirgination'
WASHINGTON — Forget Botox, liposuction or breast enlargement. The newest trend in plastic surgery for women in the United States is vaginal reconstruction, including hymenoplasty, which offers patients new virginity.
The procedure has become so popular that it has topped the other more conventional surgeries such as face-lifts and breast enlargement.
One woman in Texas explains what a great gift it is.
"I wasn't a virgin when we got married and I thought: What better gift to give my husband than revirgination?" the 40-year-old mother of four told AFP. "It was a real sentimental gift, it was something I could recreate for him and he was thrilled. He was like, 'Yeah, it was worth every penny'," she said.
After days of intermittent pondering on the significance, if any, of this report, we finally do have something to say.

Virginity isn't just physical. It's spiritual as well. You can spend thousands to "restore" the physical attributes for fake virginity, but you change nothing spiritually.

Can spiritual virginity be restored? There are some today who say "yes," and we suspect that through prayer and efforts to establish purity of heart and mind by avoiding the rank sexuality of so much of our society, some semblance of virginal purity could be restored from above.

But throwing money at the problem ain't the solution, baby.

It's something like what John Lennon once wrote: "If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow."

Donner Party dined, just not on each other

This will disappoint many, many historians and cannibalism enthusiasts.

Apparently the family dog was the only member of the infamous Donner family who got et.
MISSOULA, Mont. - It’s quite likely that Uno, the Donner family dog, became a desperate feast for the starved, ill-fated pioneers when they were trapped by a relentless snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1846.

But Uno may have been the only family member eaten by the Donner Party during the four months they were snowbound in their makeshift mountain camp.
After three years conducting the most comprehensive Donner camp study ever undertaken, a study that included forensic science, DNA testing and collaboration with experts in the field of trauma, psychology and medicine, the researchers’ work led to a startling conclusion.

The Donner Party cannibalism legend may be just legend after all.

Of the thousands of bone fragments uncovered at the Donner family’s cooking hearth, none were human, Dixon said.

There’s plenty of evidence showing the pioneers dined on rabbit, deer, rodents, their horses and cattle - and on Uno - but no evidence of the human bones promised in legend and historical accounts.
Turns out the legend revolved, at least in large part, around a tale (probability a whopper) told by a 16-year-old survivor, a French orphan who acted as teamster for the party. This might also explain why the party didn't move far enough, fast enough.
One of the most sensational tellings came from survivor John Baptiste Trudeau, a 16-year-old French immigrant who was a teamster for the Donner family.

In 1847, Baptiste claimed: “eat baby raw, stewed some of Jake, and roasted his head, not good meat, taste like sheep with the rot; but sir, very hungry, eat anything."
Baptiste later recanted his tale. But like so many corrections throughout history, people only remembered what they saw at the top of Page One, not the correction on Page 12.

Using kids to push an agenda

We don't care who you are. Using little children, like pint-sized hostages, to get your "message" across via TV cameras and print reporters is scummy.

Gay-rights groups make covert plans to crash the annual White House Easter egg roll
FOR OVER A HUNDRED YEARS children have gathered on the South Lawn of the White House on the Monday after Easter to roll Easter eggs across the yard and meet the Easter Bunny. Seemingly few (if any) Washingtonians have ever tried to exploit the annual White House Easter Egg Roll for political purposes. Until now. A church-based homosexual rights group is planning to crash the event with a "family visibility action" to spotlight their non-traditional families.

"On April 17, 2006, when the White House lawn is opened to families for the Annual Easter Egg Roll, imagine if the first 1,000 families onto the lawn were LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] families," enthused a January 4 email alert from Soulforce. Once America sees the White House lawn awash in LGBT families, "there will be no going back," Soulforce promised.
What does "no going back" mean, exactly?

Perhaps this outfit known as Soulforce should rethink this operation. Americans are very protective of their kids. You can even be values-neutral toward all things adult gay but loathe the idea that a gay adult might want to cozy up to a child. Any child.

It just goes to show that we are in the middle of an extreme cultural push by the forces behind the LGBT movement.

They'd just better be glad that the president isn't the card-carrying leader of the Islamic States of America. For more on that, we refer you via the blogosphere to:

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities, who admonishes his fellow LGBTs in London to rethink their defense of Islam. This column is drawing rave reviews from lots of folks, and Mark Steyn has proposed that Jeff be nominated for a Pulitizer Prize.

Bottom line: Be thankful for the tolerance that exists in this country, but don't push it.

One of those 'what should be your major' quizzes

Now this is no great surprise:

You scored as Philosophy. You should be a Philosophy major! Like the Philosopher, you are contemplative and you enjoy thinking about the purpose for humanity's existence.





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!
created with

The only puzzle for me is why art was not rated even lower. Appreciate art? Sure. Able to draw a straight line, or even a stick figure that resembles anything remotely approaching humanoid appearance? Sadly no.

But overall, pretty much on the head of the nail.

Dead Man Walking

Here's an example of a man whose Katra doesn't want to be reunited.

Villagers Shun Man They Believe Is Dead

Is Raju Raghuvanshi alive or dead? Ask Raghuvanshi, he'll tell you he is alive. But ask his friends and family, and they'll tell you the man you just spoke with is a ghost sent to haunt them.

Believed by his friends and family to have died in prison, Raghuvanshi returned home earlier this month from his short jail stint to shouts of "Help! Ghost!" and the sounds of neighbors locking their doors in his home village of Katra.

"My family thinks I am dead," he said in a phone interview Monday. "They will not permit me to enter my home because they think I am a ghost."

Ostracized by the people of Katra, about 280 miles from Bhopal, he's now living in a nearby village and struggling to prove he's alive.

Well, we've always heard it was tough on the guys who just got out of the slammer, but this is ridiculous.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mr. Anonymous accuses us of cork blowing

In due course we will get around to revealing what it is we have discovered about the quaint notion that the Chinese circumnavigated the Earth in 1421 A.D. in huge junks sent out by a genius eunuch admiral, but we wanted to let our regulars know that our initial post has drawn a response from Mr. Anonymous, who accuses us of cork blowing.


In the meantime we've got an 8th grade science fair project to oversee as we attempt to draw power from the very bowels of the earth.

And speaking of bowels of the earth, Japanese scientists have set sail on a mission to dig over 4 miles beneath the sea bed to investigate the origins of life and earthquakes.

We wish them all the best but hope they don't encounter more than that for which they bargain. (Alright, more than they bargain for, but some English grammar nut is gonna rake us but good.)

This just raises more questions ...

... but it could explain quite a bit, too.

TV in the bedroom halves your sex life - study

A study by an Italian sexologist has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't.

"If there's no television in the bedroom, the frequency (of sexual intercourse) doubles," said Serenella Salomoni whose team of psychologists questioned 523 Italian couples to see what effect television had on their sex lives.

On average, Italians who live without TV in the bedroom have sex twice a week, or eight times a month. This drops to an average of four times a month for those with a TV, the study found.

For the over-50s the effect is even more marked, with the average of seven couplings a month falling to just 1.5 times.

As intriguing as these results are, wouldn't it have been nice if the "sexologists" (this major wasn't on the curriculum list when we were in college) could have found out who asked for the TV in the bedroom in the first place: men or women? Then we need some hard numbers as to which group experienced the turn-offs and turn-ons.

Is it the old Beta-wave problem?

There may be a bit of good news for population control advocates here. Ignoring for a moment the moral content of what is shown on TV, placing a television in the bedrooms of every couple on earth could significantly reduce population without otherwise violating the moral teachings of the great religions. (We said ignore the content!)

Of course the numbers could be explained by something as simple as people actually would rather watch TV than, er, make love. Doesn't sound right, but could it be true?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Kill the rain forests before they kill us!

Nothing is funnier than the truth.

LONDON (Reuters) - German scientists have discovered a new source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change.

The culprits are plants.

They produce about 10 to 30 percent of the annual methane found in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.
If the researchers are correct, plants contribute up to 180 of the 600 tons of methane that helps keep Mother Earth all warm and comfy.

"Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed ... in the laboratory and in the field," Dr Frank Keppler and his team said in a report in the journal Nature.

Methane, which is produced by city rubbish dumps, coal mining, flatulent animals, rice cultivation and peat bogs, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in terms of its ability to trap heat.

But here comes the rich part:

Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants.

Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.

David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial.

"Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research.

Tropical forests. Rain forests. Traitorous rain forests. Who or what can an environmentalist trust? You can almost hear the despair and whine of the greenies in the last paragraph.

But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.

Could it be, just possibly be, that we still don't know an awful lot about how things work on this world?

There's an awful lot of methane that comes from other sources that we do not yet understand, some of it from the very earth itself. The knee-jerk enviro response has always been to blame humans first, especially United States humans. Do you suppose there will be some apologizing and mending of ways in light of this new research?

Neither do we expect it.

An invitation to a disaster

This must be nominated as one of the dumbest teaching ideas ever:

Ohio High School Porn Homework Canceled

A high school research assignment on Internet pornography was canceled after parents in this Cleveland suburb complained.

Superintendent Jeff Lampert said that although the teacher's apparent goal _ to discuss the harmful effects of pornography _ was well- intentioned, he agreed with parents that the assignment was inappropriate for 14- and 15-year-old freshmen at Brooklyn High.

The assignment asked students to research pornography on the Internet and list eight facts about pornography. Students also were asked to write their personal views of pornography and any experience they had with it.

Lampert said he doubted the teacher would face any punishment.
Let's not speak too soon. This is one homework assignment that some students will probably attempt to finish, especially if the assignment has been cancelled.

Two possibilities exist.

One, the teacher was sincere but totally clueless to the porn sinkhole that is the internet. We could argue that such ignorance is grounds enough for termination.

Two, the teacher had a hidden, evil motive. Given our sex saturated society and what is happening with a small but energetic number of educators attempting to "sex up" their students, school officials should not too quickly dismiss this possibility.

Online porn can ruin lives and lead to addictions that are difficult (though not impossible) to conquer. (Allow us to recommend THIS SITE for those who either want to know more or doubt the premise). You can't even do a safe search on any search engine without stumbling across images that you'd wished you hadn't seen. Telling students to "seek and ye shall find" is irresponsible, even if it was well meant.