"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

Samuel L. Jackson does "Stackolee"
Via warrenellis.com

Iron Man is Having a Bad Day
fing fang foom puts you in his pants
Via warrenellis.com

Lung Gun
Via Boing Boing

Grandma Will Love 'Em
Creepy Snowglobes
Via gmtplus9

A Little Too Real
The Simpsons Manga Style
Via Drawn!

Think of the Animals
If Jesus returns tonight, who will feed your pets tomorrow? JesusPets will have a heathen care for them after the Rapture.
Via MetaFilter

I'm Afraid to Ask
pageant magazine-sex, the american way is best
Via Flickr

All Hail Google

"Why would Google need two data centers in a state with only four million residents? Why would they need to buy 520 acres in a Goose Creek industrial park when that's probably 100 times as much land as any conceivable data center would require?

Google is building a LOT of data centers. The company appears to be as attracted to cheap and reliable electric power as it is to population proximity. In Goose Creek they bought those 520 acres from the local state-owned electric utility, which probably answers the land question posed above. By buying out all the remaining building sites in an industrial park owned by an electric utility, Google guarantees itself a vast and uninterruptible supply of power, much as it has done in Oregon by building a data center next to a hydroelectric dam or back here again in Columbia by building near a nuclear power station.

Of course this doesn't answer the question why Google needs so much capacity in the first place, but I have a theory on that. I think Google is building for a future they see but most of the rest of us don't. I'll go further and guess that Google is planning to build similar data centers in many states and that the two centers they are apparently preparing to build here in South Carolina are probably intended mainly to SERVE South Carolina. That's perhaps 100,000 servers for four million potential users or 40 users per server. What computing service could possibly require such resources?

The answer is pretty simple. Google intends to take over most of the functions of existing fixed networks in our lives, notably telephone and cable television."

When Being a Verb is Not Enough: Google wants to be YOUR Internet.


"A vast human cull is under way in Zimbabwe and the great majority of deaths are a direct result of deliberate government policies. Ignored by the United Nations, it is a genocide perhaps 10 times greater than Darfur's and more than twice as large as Rwanda's.

Genocide is not a word one should use hastily but the situation is exactly as described in the UN Convention on Genocide, which defines it as "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part".

Reckoning the death toll is difficult. Had demographic growth continued normally, Zimbabwe's population would have passed 15m by 2000 and 18m by the end of 2006. But people have fled the country in enormous numbers, with 3m heading for South Africa and an estimated further 1m scattered around the world. This would suggest a current population of 14m. But even the government, which tries to make light of the issue, says that there are only 12m left in Zimbabwe.

Social scientists say that the government's figures are clearly rigged and too high. Their own population estimates vary between 8m and 11m. But even if one accepted the government figure, 2m people are "missing", and the real number is probably 3m or more. And all this is happening in what was, until recently, one of Africa's most prosperous states and a member of the Commonwealth.


World Health Organisation figures show that life expectancy in Zimbabwe, which was 62 in 1990, had by 2004 plummeted to 37 for men and 34 for women. These are by far the worst such figures in the world. Yet Zimbabwe does not even get onto the UN agenda: South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who has covered for Mugabe from the beginning, uses his leverage to prevent discussion. How long this can go on is anyone's guess.

After Rwanda, the UN vowed "never again" but Mugabe - and, to a considerable extent, Mbeki - have already been responsible for far more deaths than Rwanda suffered and the number is fast heading into realms previously explored only by Stalin, Mao and Adolf Eichmann."

Zimbabwe, the land of dying children
Via Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)

Can't Lose What You Never Had

"Yesterday, during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claimed there is no express right to habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution. Gonzales was debating Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) about whether the Supreme Court's ruling on Guantanamo detainees last year cited the constitutional right to habeas corpus. Gonzales claimed the Court did not cite such a right, then added, "There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution."

Specter pushed back. "Wait a minute. The constitution says you can't take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?" Specter told Gonzales, "You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General""

I love Gonzales's reasoning-The constitution says that habeas can't be taken away, but if no one ever had the right to habeas in the first place, when the government denies someone habeas they're not suspending habeas, because it never existed.

Gonzales: "There Is No Express Grant of Habeas Corpus In The Constitution" -Video and Transcript
Via reddit.com

Too Sweet
helms deep made of candy
Battle of Helms Deep made of candy
Via Boing Boing

Why "Pirates of the Caribbean III" might not suck
chow yun fat in Pirates of the Caribbean 3
It has Chow Yun fat

tunnels below niagara falls
There are some freakin' huge tunnels behind Niagara Falls
Your own Supervillain Hideout aka tailrace tunnel of Niagara
Via MonkeyFilter

What if Futurama had been done Anime style?
Via Digg

His Parents Wanted a Snowman

"After a parent who supports the teaching of creationism and opposes sex education complained about the film, the Federal Way School Board on Tuesday placed what it labeled a moratorium on showing the film. The movie consists largely of a PowerPoint presentation by former Vice President Al Gore recounting scientists' findings.

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher,"(Neither are you, dumbass) said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. (My nightmare-they can vote and they can breed)"The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."(And no mention of the Sun God's anger at our lack of human sacrifices"

Italics and emphasis added
Federal Way schools restrict Gore film

There It Is
Why James Brown was so goddamned funky

We Approve
Geostationary Banana Over Texas
Via Exploding Aardvark

bookofjoe has a great entry on Norman Greenbaum's classic 1969 hit Spirit in the Sky

It's Too Funky In Here
Sweet Buddha with a chainsaw! Now my whole apartment has acquired a definite taint of dead-neighbor stink. It's not intolerable, but it's not good, not at all.

Geek Overload
German high-schoolers built a giant LEGO Factory that assembles little LEGO cars, thereby rendering small children obsolete.
(YouTube video, which is a little slow, but hey, your life is too hectic anyway)
Via MetaFilter

Rant of the Day

"The American lifestyle frankly sucks. The media is generally shit. The food stinks. We spend too much time in traffic and too much time taking care of a badly built McHouse that has the ergonomics of a coach seat on a discount airline. Add to that the lack of health care (just listened to a Stanford lecture about the American Couple that cited a study that determined that the single biggest predictor of long-term marital happiness is whether both partners have health care), the enormous wealth-gap between the rich and poor, blisteringly expensive tertiary education, an infant mortality rate that's straight out of Victorian England, and a national security apparat that shoves its fist up my asshole every time I get on an airplane, and I don't think that this country is much of a paragon of quality living.

America has lots going for it -- innovation, the Bill of Rights, a willingness to let its language mutate in exciting and interesting ways, but the standard of living is not America's signal virtue."

Interview: Cory Doctorow
Via Beyond the Beyond (Bruce Sterling)

Ohh Puleeze
This is Comcast's blurb for Sylvester Stallone's Cobra:
"A murder probe reveals the possibilty of multiple killers."
I get a big kick of out how they make it sound like an episode of "Law and Order".

Holiday Surprise
Sure enough, the guy next door is dead. No sign of him since before Xmas, newspapers piling up, his van hadn't moved, and his radio was on 24/7-so I finally called the police. It looks like he died on his bed from natural causes, though the Medical Examiner is going to have the final say. Chalk up another life experience, now I know what a dead body smells like.

Bruce Sterling: State of the World 2007

"I don't think today's rich and powerful "run the show" -- in the sense that there used to be a coherent show and it used to be runnable. Today's rich and powerful are meritocrats and plutocrats, rather than some class-based old-school-tie phalanx Establishment. Any earlier set of the rich-and-powerful would have regarded contemporary players like Gates and Soros and Perot and Berlusconi and Murdoch and Bloomberg and bin Laden to be strange, jumped-up, arriviste, nouveau-riche types, crazily unstable pretenders who don't even bother to send their daughters to the cotillion ball.

We really need some new class-term for these modern tycoons who've been flung into the planetary stratosphere by today's amazingly unequal wealth distributions. "Mogul" is a pretty good revived word. It suggests that current Russian model of five or six guys who've divvied up a national economy into privatized secretive satrapies that exist outside the rule of law.

But to imagine that some mogul in exile in London, sweating bullets over radioactive poison, is really "running the show..." I mean, yeah, he's surely a player of some kind... but is he "running it?" By what right? Through what clear and legitimized set of accountabilities and responsibilities? There aren't any. He's obviously winging it totally. They guy's not a conventional political or economic actor at all. The guy's basically a conspirator.

This Russian Mogul isn't the time-honored Duke of Aluminum, he's just a hustler who blundered into de-facto control of a hastily privatized industrial sector. Would a Russian Joe Sixpack or a Russian Jane Winecooler behave any differently in this mogul's shoes? Probably not, actually. After about a week surviving this guy's parlous condition they'd be behaving exactly like he does.

Labor unions used to exist as a counterforce to this kind of robber-baron phenomenon, but current wealth-generation techniques don't actually need a lot of mass labor. There's never been a big popular strike against Gates and Soros and Perot and Bloomberg and bin Laden. The very idea sounds weird.

Most normal people never meet the modern ultrawealthy, because they are shy gated-community creatures who are very scared of stalkers and harassers. The ones I've met don't certainly come across like silk-hatted Wall Street exploiters of the masses. They're blandly indifferent to the masses; they don't have any practical need for the masses. Basically, they're business geeks. They're workaholic and slightly monomaniacal characters who spend most of their time reading financial briefing papers and practicing "due diligence."

They're not a gilded elite splashing champagne around like Donald Trump -- the Donald is a cornball blingbling TV showman, he's like a poor guy's comic-book version of a rich guy. Everyday modern super-rich guys tend to be glum and somewhat cheerless Type A overachievers, very dedicated and focussed. They're kind of a drag to be around, frankly.

Let's suppose that Joe and Jolene get fully briefed on this issue, successfully frame it as "unfairness", and decide to take political steps to reform it. What are they supposed to do in the way of wielding a small-d democratic counterforce? What's the victory condition?

I think there is one. It's doable. It would look more or less like a Swedish economic model. The Swedes are well-informed citizens. They vote. They spend reasonable amounts of money on political campaigns. They have an overwhelmingly large middle class. They have a highly confiscatory tax system that keeps the tall poppies from overshadowing the field. The Swedes have high literacy rates, honest politics, public transport, low infant mortality, relatively clean cities... The Swedes oughta be the avant-garde of mankind, I guess. We should all want to be Swedish.

But everybody else just kinda stares at them and shrugs."

2006 was the year of bacon
Via J-Walk Blog

Happy Fun Time
incomprehesible warning symbols
The children's railway... FROM HELL
Cthulhu For Children
Via MonkeyFilter