"If you understood everything I said, you'd be me" - Miles Davis
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
"Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!" - Homer Simpson

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Master mechanic, metalworker, and motorcycle maker Indian
Larry died doing a stunt today. The world is a duller place without him.
Via Fark

You're Soaking In It
"What is the Higgs boson, and why do we want to find it?"
Via Metafilter

Unfit For Teguila
" When George W. Bush talks about his past, he uses the words "reckless" and "irresponsible." He claims that in 1986, after half a lifetime of hard drink and easy women, he finally sobered up-- and he wants us to believe he'll never revert to his hard-partying ways.

But the captains who piloted his pleasure craft during those "wild" years, as well as his fellow pleasure craft revelers, see him in a very different light.

Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth has been formed to counter the deliberate misrepresentation of George W. Bush's drinking record. We seek to portray him as he was, and still is: a "lightweight."

We, the men who were served drinks alongside George W. Bush, have partied with real party animals-- on the shores of Lake Tahoe, up and down the Gulf of Mexico, in the harbors of Kennebunkport. We have seen good men down a dozen kamikazes, and then swim once more onto the beach. We have watched the buzzed and brightest of our generation play beer pong until they were bent double, like beggars under sacks. We have known these party animals, and we have partied with them.

And George W. Bush is no party animal.

Though we come from diverse backgrounds (we are old-money bluebloods as well as the nouveau riche), and though we hold varying political opinions (one of us is even a Jew), we agree on one thing: George W. Bush could not hold his liquor.

The time has come to set the record straight."
Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth
Via Metafilter

Gilmore vs Ashcroft back in court
""On the 16th of August 2004, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals begins work on the Gilmore vs. Ashcroft case. At stake is nothing less than the right of Americans to travel freely in their own country -- and the exposure of 'secret law' for what it is: an abomination.

"The man who is fighting the good fight is named John Gilmore. John made his fortune as a programmer and entrepreneur in the software industry. Whereas most people in his position would have moved to a tropical island and lived a life of luxury, John chose to use his wealth to protect and defend the US Constitution.

"On the 4th of July 2002, John Gilmore, American citizen, decided to take a trip from one part of the United States of America to another. At the airport, he was told he had to produce his ID if he wanted to travel. He asked to see the law demanding he show his 'papers' and was told after a time that the law was secret and no, he wouldn't be allowed to read it.

"He hasn't flown in his own country since." "
Via Boing Boing

When Blobjects Rule the Earth
From Bruce Sterling's SIGGRAPH keynote speech:
" This is not a vision of utopia. This is a historical thesis. Like all previous history it is fraught with titanic struggle. We are facing a future world infested with digital programmability. A world where our structures and possessions include, as a matter of course, locaters, timers, identities, histories, origins, and destinations: sensing, logic, actuation, and displays. Loops within loops. Cycles within cycles.

Are there dark sides to this vision? Oh yes indeed. Genuine menaces. You can see them right now in a website like stoprfid.org, a site I recommend highly. Spiming is an ideal technology for concentration camps, authoritarian regimes, and prisons.

We'll have to wrangle with:
* spime spam, pushiness, abuse of customers, intrusion
* spying and eavesdropping capabilities
* brooms that bellow ads, mops that demand money
* subtle software faults that make even a simple shovel unusable
* unstable software
* security flaws, hacking, theft, fraud, malware, vandalism and pranking
* identity theft
* Industrial hazards: spime kitchens that fry the unwary, spime cars that follow outdated software maps and drive right off broken bridges
* technological lock-in, wicked monopolists, corrupt regimes in on the take
*Intellectual property hassles
* Organized spime crime
* unpredictable and emergent forms of networked behavior from clouds of objects
* bad interface design
* underclasses of illegals not allowed to use spimes
* legal, ethical and social responsibilities for semi-autonomous objects
* objects that used to be inert, and are now expensive, fussy, fragile unpredictable, too fluid, hopelessly complex, and subversive of established values
* And just plain ugliness: tacky, goofy, tasteless, cheesy, lethal, vulgar, dirty, worthless, obscene, impractical, and dangerous spimes"
Via Boing Boing

The What, Where?
Why I don't give a damn about the friggin' Olympics, Reason #47:
"Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 last week dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games.

Sweltering sports fans who seek refuge from the soaring temperatures with a soft drink other than one made by Coca-Cola will be told to leave the banned refreshment at the gates or be shut out. High on the list of blacklisted beverages is Pepsi, but even the wrong bottle of water could land spectators in trouble.

Fans will be allowed into the Olympic complex if they are drinking Avra, a Greek mineral water owned by Coca-Cola, which paid $60 million US for the privilege of being one of the main sponsors. Officials are under orders not to let in rival brands' bottles unless the labels are removed.

Staff will also be on the lookout for T-shirts, hats and bags displaying the unwelcome logos of non-sponsors. Stewards have been trained to detect people who may be wearing merchandise from the sponsors' rivals in the hope of catching the eyes of television audiences. Those arousing suspicion will be required to wear their T-shirts inside out."
Via Boing Boing

My mighty, mighty ISP, Blarg, is moving my blog to home.blarg.net/~wayule/blog_cgi/blosxom.cgi
and doubling my disk space-at no extra cost. Blarg Rocks

Oh Oh
"Salem Chalabi, the man organising the trial of Saddam Hussein, was facing a murder charge himself last night after an Iraqi judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Another was issued for his uncle Ahmed Chalabi, the founder of the Iraqi National Congress and a former key ally of the US. He is accused of money laundering.

The accusation against Ahmad Chalabi is a severe embarrassment to the US, which once considered him prime candidate to replace Saddam.

Washington has attempted to distance itself from him since it was suggested that he provided faulty intelligence about Iraq's WMD capacity.

He did not get a job in the interim government.

Mr Chalabi was recently accused of informing Iran that the US had broken its secret intelligence codes. He said the allegation was "stupid".

He is wanted in Jordan, where he was sentenced in his absence in 1991 to 22 years for fraud. He denied the charge.

Since being marginalised by the US, Ahmad Chalabi has refashioned himself as a Shiite populist.

Salem Chalabi was born in Baghdad and studied at the American universities Yale, Columbia and Northwestern, where he earned degrees in law and international affairs.

He served as a legal adviser to the interim Iraqi Governing Council and was a member of the 10-member committee framing the basic transitional law for the new interim government before taking on the role as organiser of Saddam's trial. "

The Right-Wing Noise Machine
Michelle Malkin and the Big Hustle
The first time I read one of her early columns in the Seattle Times I immediately thought, "what a load of bullshit".
Via Metafilter

I Have To Wonder
"The Washington State Employees Credit Union alerted about 13,000 members this week that a computer containing their Social Security numbers and addresses was stolen from a California marketing firm.

The burglary was reported to police July 9 by PSB, The Marketing SuperSource, a company in Orange County, Calif., that does mass mailing for the credit union. The stolen computer contained names, addresses and Social Security numbers of WSECU members who had been preapproved for credit card offers, said Ann Flannigan, WSECU's vice president of public relations."
What is a marketing firm doing with Social Security numbers in the first place?

I Knew It
GWB: "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

The Great Pretender
Being a true Brian Eno fan (though not so infatuated as to think "The Drop" is any good) I'm going to have to ferret out a copy of Doug Hilsinger's cover of the entire Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) album.

Idiocy or Felony
"So here you have the Vice President of the United States. His company gets caught in about as clear a case of cooking the books to inflate profits as you can imagine during the time he was CEO. (His salary and bonuses are tied to company profits.) And he won't even go to the trouble of denying that he was aware of the wrongdoing."
It's the classic dilemma, either Cheney is an incompetent CEO, or he's a stone criminal.

Who Needs Cable?
Franz Kafka and the humble viewmaster, an unlikely partnership.
Via Blog of a Bookslut

Trial Lawyers Stole My Baby
"What got the attention, however, was the punitive damages of $2.7 million, equal at the time to 2 days worth of McDonalds's coffee sales. Remember, this decision was made in light of the fact that McDonald's had long known that its coffee, served 20 degrees hotter than the industry standard, had resulted in hundreds of presumably avoidable second and third degree burns. But even after all of that, the judge still reduced the punitive award to $480,000--a sizeable sum, but one awarded to an 81 year old plaintiff only because McDonald's was partially to blame for her suffering third degree burns throughout her groin because McDonalds persisted, despite knowing it had caused hundreds of scaldings, in serving coffee that it knew was extremely dangerous.

So, if you hear people drone on about how John Edwards is on the side of those shark trial lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits like that one against McDonald's because its coffee was too hot, tell them the name Stella Liebeck. Tell them that 81 year old Stella Liebeck suffered third degree burns and incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical costs for the grafts she needed to repair the skin on her groin, inner thighs and butt. Tell them that Stella Liebeck just wanted McDonald's to pay for the damage they had caused, but McDonald's only offered her $800 for $200,000 worth of medical bills. Tell them that prior to Stella Liebeck's scalding McDonald's had already heard about over 700 cases of people being seriously burned by their coffee, but they continued to serve it 20 degrees hotter than any other major restaurant chain. And ask them, if they were Stella Liebeck, or Stella Liebeck was their wife or mother or neighbor, who do they think would be more sympathetic to their modest demand that a major corporation live up to its responsibilities, John Edwards or Dick Cheney?"
Via Daily Kos