"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

Utility Fog Banner

Blush
bookofjoe calls Utility Fog Blog "One spectacular website". He's on the blogroll now for sure. His site isn't too shabby either.

Prejudgement
"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Thursday he would push legislation allowing President Bush to use military tribunals to prosecute terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

"To keep America safe in the war on terror, I believe we should try terrorists only before military commissions, not in our civilian courts," said Frist, R-Tenn."
Aren't they legally "terrorists" only after the trial, not before it?
Sen. Frist to Push Guantanamo Bill
Presumption of innocence

And Stay Off My Lawn
Deep-fried Brats
Via Bifurcated Rivets

Wait For It....
moose made of chocolate
...Chocolate Moose
Via Neatorama

Wait A Minute
So I rented Underworld: Evolution and found it acceptable, if not exceptional. It's got loads of the old ultra-violence, Derek Jacobi lending an air of dignity, and of course, Kate Beckinsale in very tight rubber pants. But they just about lost me when the villain grabs a cable and pulls a flying helicopter down. If you can't figure out why this won't work, no matter how strong you are, do some chin-ups and think about it.

Oh Dear
dog wearing inflatable toy
That poor dog
Via MetaFilter

Timetable
"Iraq's vice president has asked President Bush for a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq, the Iraqi president's office said.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, made the request during his meeting with Bush on Tuesday, when the U.S. president made a surprise visit to Iraq.

"I supported him in this," President Jalal Talabani said in a statement released Wednesday. Al-Hashimi's representatives could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday."
Somebody's not following the script.
Top Sunni asked Bush for pullout timeline


Nanny State
"The first casualty in the state's war on Internet gambling is a local Web site where nobody was actually doing any gambling.

What a Bellingham man did on his site was write about online gambling. He reviewed Internet casinos. He had links to them, and ran ads by them. He fancied himself a guide to an uncharted frontier, even compiling a list of "rogue casinos" that had bilked gamblers.

All that, says the state -- the ads, the linking, even the discussing -- violates a new state law barring online wagering or using the Internet to transmit "gambling information."

"It's what the feds would call 'aiding and abetting,' " says the director of the state's gambling commission, Rick Day. "Telling people how to gamble online, where to do it, giving a link to it -- that's all obviously enabling something that is illegal.""
Lovely. And since this post informs you that internet gambling exists, I guess it might be illegal too.
This column may be illegal
Via Slashdot

Oh, Hell Yea
Initiative 91
"AN ORDINANCE to Prohibit the City of Seattle from Providing or Leasing Facilities or other Goods, Services, or Real Property to Professional Sports Organizations at Below Fair Value, and Providing A Method to Enforce this Restriction"


Which Is It?
""These are men who had gone on a hunger strike together," said Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the prison network. "The methods of hanging themselves were similar. I believe this was a coordinated attempt."

He called the three "committed jihadists" who died in acts of "asymmetrical warfare" - the term commonly used by U.S. military officials to describe tactics used by insurgents who face a militarily superior U.S. force in combat.

Army Gen. John Craddock, leader of U.S. Southern Command, said the men were not among detainees seeking U.S. court reviews of their cases and had not appeared before military trial panels. Although the three were not accused of any crimes, Craddock insisted they were enemy combatants and terrorists.

"This is a determined, intelligent and committed element," he said. "They will continue to do everything they can...to become martyrs in the jihad." "
Committed Jihadists
"One of the three detainees who committed suicide at Guantánamo Bay was due to be released but had not been told, the man's lawyer said today.

Mark Denbeaux, an American law professor who represents some of the foreign prisoners at the US-run jail for terrorism suspects in Cuba, told the BBC World Service that Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi al-Utaybi was among 141 prisoners due to be released.

Mr Utaybi, a Saudi national, had not been informed of being declared "safe person, free to be released" because US officials had not yet decided which country he would be sent to, Mr Denbeaux said."
Safe Person, Free to be Released


Living in Science Fiction
I'm reading the advance uncorrected proof of Karl Schroeder's new book, and like everything else by Schroeder I've read, it's excellent. Sun of Suns is set in a balloon 3000 kilometers in diameter that's in orbit around Virgo. The level of technology has been engineered/enforced to about the level of the American Civil War, and of course there is no gravity. It's like a pirate story in a ocean of air.

Karl Schroeder's Official Site

From his "concept blog" Age of Embodiment:
"There is, however, one grain of truth to the idea of the singularity, and that is because we are already starting to create machines that nobody understands, using genetic algorithms. Someone could study eg. the strange electrical circuits that have been evolved in some experiments, and figure out how they work, but if we started to apply genetic algorithms to the design of many or most devices, we would rapidly reach a point where nobody had the time and resources to figure out how the majority of new devices work. It would happen this way: you have a certain set of resources and want to build an X using those resources. Traditional designs won't work. You employ a genetic algorithm and evolve a design that does work with maximum efficiency given your resources. Build X and repeat for any Y. (A good example is the evolved antenna used by NASA one of its newest satellites.) It's by no means clear that we can design analysis software to keep up with such creativity, or that we could keep up with the reports it produced if a large number of manufactured items were being evolved in this way.

This is the technological maximum: an actual, rather than mythological, form of Vinge's technological singularity. This is not an incomprehensible future, rather a world in which perfectly prosaic devices exist, but where any particular device's design is not necessarily understood by any human being. Any one of these devices could be said to exemplify Clarke's Law. And we are indeed about ten years away from this point in our design and manufacturing capabilities."


Lost / Desmond and Penny?
comparison between photos of desmond and girlfriend
Top - Desmond's photo in Swan hatch : Ep#203 "Orientation"
Bottom - Penny Widmore's photo " Ep#223 "Live Together, Die Alone"
The damn things aren't even close! While Desmond is identical in both photos, the women are different, their hair is different, and one has a white shirt while the other shirt is black.

So, dumb production/continuity error or eerie plot twist?
Via The Fuselage forums

Lost / Pala Ferry
pala ferry sign at dock on lost tv show
Something I didn't catch watching "Live Together, Die Alone"-There's a sign for the "Pala Ferry" (mentioned in the Pearl hatch orientation video) at the boat dock.
Another view from Lost-Media: Pala Ferry sign
Via The Fuselage forums

Prepare For The Apocalypse
"Believe it or not, I loved acid rock in college - and I still do." - Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State
Via WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Fafblog good, UFog Like Fafblog
""The world hasn't ended!" says Giblets eatin our last piece a world. "It just happens to be going through a naturally-recurring cycle of world and not-world!"
"I dunno Giblets," says me. "The scientific consensus on the world seems to be that world-endification is caused by human activity like burnin fossil fuels an deforestation an that time we blew up the world."
"The world was a grave and gathering threat!" says Giblets. "There was no peaceful way to contain its mounting arsenal of earthquakes, hurricanes and foreigners."
"I always used to figure God would show up at the end a the world an beam me up to Raptureland in his magical funk-powered mothership," says me. "But that was before he got eaten by Supergod."
"Serves him right!" says Giblets. "If God wanted to go to heaven he should've accepted Metajesus as his personal lord and savior."
"Even then he'd still have to get past the height requirement," says me. "The sign on the big cardboard clown very clearly read 'you must be this tall to ride the afterlife'."
"Everybody under six thousand feet has to go to Kiddie Heaven," says Giblets. "Also known as Everybody Hell," says me.
"Well good riddance!" says Giblets. "What did the world ever do for Giblets? It was old and fat and smelled like smelling!""
after the end of the world

Paranoid?
A Chronology of Data Breaches Reported Since the ChoicePoint Incident
(Feb 15, 2005 to present)
Very Scary, and under-reported in the media.

Mad Jack
"In 1940, some of the German commanders who were overseeing the push into France began to receive seemingly random reports of soldiers having been killed with broad-head arrows or hacked with a English Claymore. Effective enough weapons it would seem, but archaic even in that day and age. They likely could have guessed the bowman was an English soldier, but they couldn't have appreciated these as the calling card of the rabid eccentric, Captain Jack Churchill."
Any Officer Who Goes Into Action Without His Sword is Improperly Dressed

He Found a Groove and Mined It
"Tichư is truly one of the great 'finds' of an unknown artists who worked on the outside edges of the art world. Following the communist takeover Tichư spent some eight years in prison camps and jails for no particular reason other than he was 'different' and was considered subversive. Upon his release in the early 70's, Tichư wandered his small town in rags, pursuing his obsession as an artist with the female form by photographing in the streets, shops and parks with cameras he made from tin cans, childrens spectacle lenses and other junk he found on the street. He would return home each day to make prints on equally primitive equipment, making only one print from the negatives he selected."
You have to admire anyone who can cobble a working camera together out of crap he finds in the trash.
Miroslav Tichy
Via Gibson Blog

The Pillows Had It Coming
dog attacking pillows
Via Cuteness Overload

Now Playing: The Polka of Doom
japanese war tubas
Sadly, the Japanese War Tuba was not a weapon per se but rather a form of "acoustic radar" used to locate aircraft.
Via The Athanasius Kircher Society

Take That
"Consumer cynicism is a topic of great interest to Amanda Helm, an instructor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In connection with her research, she has conducted in-depth interviews with about two dozen consumers on the subject and has looked specifically at fans of Adbusters. Some of her preliminary findings were summarized in a 2004 article in the journal Advances in Consumer Research.

One thing she has encountered is a desire among cynical consumers not simply to avoid companies and brands they dislike but also to punish them. At the far end of the cynical-consumer continuum, this might mean defacing advertisements, but for most it plays out differently. For example, shopping at Target because you can't stand Wal-Mart ( Wal-Mart came up a lot, Helm says ) thus denying dollars to the disfavored company. The marketplace itself is not the enemy in this situation; it's a tool for expressing discontent. Thus one of Helm's most interesting findings: that the cynical consumers who are her main focus "demonstrated very strong brand loyalty to the few companies they could trust.""
Faux Logo- (NYT link)

Big Bug
Vespa mandarinia  giant asian hornet
Vespa Mandarinia = One Big Wasp
Via populicio.us

Lost / Episode #223-"Live Together, Die Alone" / I Take Notes
  • What opera was Desmond playing on the boat?

  • Desmond's full name is Desmond David Hume. Hume, like Locke and Rousseau, was a philosopher. "Hume was heavily influenced by empiricists John Locke and George Berkeley"

  • Desmond is saving a copy of Dicken's last book, Our Mutual Friend
    "It centers on, in the words of critic J. Hillis Miller, "money, money, money, and what money can make of life"
    ...
    The book is largely believed to be the most challenging and complicated that Dickens produced. Reviews at the time of publication were not generally favorable, but critical opinion shifted in the century that followed. Although somewhat a mystery, an important point concerning the identity of certain characters is revealed halfway through, without hinting as to the ending."

  • It's Eko's turn to utter the recurring line "Do not tell me what to do".

  • How did the Island stop Desmond from sailing away? Electromagnetism doesn't effect the position of the sun, Desmond could have steered a straight course without a compass.

  • Desmond's boat is named "Elizabeth", after it's owner, Libby. She said she got the boat from her husband David, who got sick and died before they could take it to the Mediterranean. Of course Libby has lied before.

  • Geez, this episode is just awash in Dharma brand booze.

  • The giant freaky Hurley Bird makes another appearance.

  • Desmond's girlfriend is Penny Widmore, part of the Widmore construction and industrial family. She is the woman in Desmond's picture that he had in the Swan hatch. She is not the woman who wanted to adopt Claire's baby in Australia. Compare the two: Penny vs. Arlene Stewart

    Nov 5, 2006 - fixed "Penny" and "Arlene Stewart" links. Lost-Media changed servers and broke the links.

  • I love that giant 4-toed statue foot. The official podcast has said that the 3rd season will include more about the Island's past before Dharma.

  • Kelvin's full name is Kelvin Joe Inman. Inman = In Man (In the hatch). Bobby Ray Inman- archetypal american spook

  • Kelvin's says his ex-partner Ryzinski/Radzinski started the hatch door diagram. But he doesn't say why, or why they just can't use paper. He also says that Ryzinski edited the Swan orientation film. Again, no explanation of why he removed the part about contacting other stations.

  • Kelvin and Desmond listen to B.B. King.

  • One of the few times we see Sayid praying.

  • The whole Yurt Hatch camp was a fake. I still think the Other's are hiding something that they can't afford to have the Losties know.

  • Kelvin says that pushing the button discharges a buildup in electomagnetic energy. Why not use a machine? Why have a friggin code? What exactly did turning the fail-safe key do, besides make the Island visible to the outside world?

  • The plane crashed on Sept 22, 2004

  • Zeke/Mr. Friendly/Head Seabilly's real first name is Tom. Mrs. Klugh's name is Dee.

  • The Other's just give Michael the boat and let him and Walt sail off? WTF? Don't they want Walt anymore? How is Michael going to explain where he was and where he got the boat from? How is O'Henry going to get back without a boat? Where did he come from? Is there another Island?

  • "We're the good guys"-what if there is somebody even worse?

  • He might have tried to save Eko, but Charlie is clearly turning into an evil little shit.

  • The outside world isn't gone, the Island isn't in space or unstuck in time. Penny Widmore has been waiting for an EM anomaly. Whether she's been searching for the Island or Desmond or both is unclear.

  • Penny-"All we really need to survive is one person who truly loves us, and you have her". I'm thinking Desmond's back in season 3.

Questions

Why do the Others want Kate, Jack, and Sawyer? Why not Eko, or Locke or Rose?

What happened to the super-sneaky Others who never leave footprints? First O'Henry gets caught in a trap and then two Other redshirts get spotted and shot at. And if O'Henry is such an Other bigshot, what was he doing wandering alone in the woods?

Why was the Swan hatch left to such undependable operators?

Who built the giant statue and what happened to them?

And my pet peeve: The failsafe key was hidden inside Desmond's book in the bookshelf all friggin season! Nobody searched the books? I'm really hoping that next season we learn that the EM-field from the Swan hatch made everybody into incurious chuckleheads, or that there is something in the water that lowers IQ.