"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

Climate Change
6 die from brain-eating amoeba in warm lake waters

Protect And Stalk
" A young Saint Louis, Missouri motorist faces trouble with local police upset at the national attention his September 7 video of an out-of-control officer has drawn to ongoing problems within area law enforcement agencies. On Sunday, Brett Darrow filmed a Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department cruiser staking out his home.

"It was the first time I've seen it," Darrow told TheNewspaper. "But my neighbor said he's seen a lot of police down our dead end street since all of this happened."

When Darrow walked outside to his 1997 Nissan Maxima, he noticed two officers sitting in a marked squad car, numbered 65. There is little question as to why the officers were there.

"As I got into the car, he started to pull up the street and he and his partner just stared me down," Darrow explained.

The patrol car drove away as Darrow started his car and followed. Because his camera had been set to capture night-time footage, the first 45 seconds of the video is obscured. It does, however, capture the police car making questionable turning maneuvers in order to get away. Members of the police community are on the record regarding their desire to stake out Darrow's home and harass the twenty-year-old. In late June, users of St. Louis CopTalk, an unofficial forum for Saint Louis area law enforcement, posted Darrow's home address along with messages containing apparent death threats in retaliation for the young motorist's taping of a DUI roadblock in November and a traffic ticket in June. One CopTalk user repeating the address wrote, "Every copper, City and County, should etch this little punks [sic] name in their [sic] memory. Brett Darrow, [address deleted], city of St. Louis.""
Missouri: Police Stake Out Brett Darrow Home
Via MetaFilter

News: Companies Supporting the Regime in Burma
Companies linked with Burma

Quick meme: Teak is bad

" This morning, you left the house tagged with a tracking device that the government can use to find out where you have been and where you are going.

I'm talking, of course, about your cell phone. Mobile phones communicate continuously with cellular towers in order to receive calls, sending out a signal registering its existence and identity with the provider's nearest towers. The provider stores this cell-site data, which can be triangulated to determine the customer's physical location.

While most courts considering the issue have held that police need "probable cause" to track your movements, a new decision (.pdf) last week out of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts holds that law enforcement need show only "relevance to an ongoing investigation" to get a historical record of your past movement (something like the Jeffy trail in The Family Circus cartoon)."

Is That Big Brother in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
Via Boing Boing

Funny Yellow Film School
66 stills from various episodes of The Simpsons, each one beside the still from the movie scene to which they refer
Via Robot Wisdom auxiliary

Impotent Panopticon
" London has 10,000 crime-fighting CCTV cameras which cost 200 million, figures show today.

But an analysis of the publicly funded spy network, which is owned and controlled by local authorities and Transport for London, has cast doubt on its ability to help solve crime.

A comparison of the number of cameras in each London borough with the proportion of crimes solved there found that police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any.

In fact, four out of five of the boroughs with the most cameras have a record of solving crime that is below average."

Tens of thousands of CCTV cameras, yet 80% of crime unsolved
Via Boing Boing

Deja Vu' All Over Again
Black Books:
" The series revolves around Bernard's misanthropic loathing of the outside world in general and the people who live there in particular, represented mainly by his customers. Bernard displays little enthusiasm for or interest in retail (or, indeed, anything outside drinking, smoking and reading) and refuses to interact with the outside world."

Ah yes, bookselling...leaving retail did my mental health no end of good.

Black Books @ YouTube
Via LL. who did the returns, and so, knows all too well.

Form Over Function
" One of my pet peeves about political reporting is the fact that some of my journalistic colleagues seem to want to be in another business - namely, theater criticism. Instead of telling us what candidates are actually saying - and whether it's true or false, sensible or silly - they tell us how it went over, and how they think it affects the horse race. During the 2004 campaign I went through two months' worth of TV news from the major broadcast and cable networks to see what voters had been told about the Bush and Kerry health care plans; what I found, and wrote about, were several stories on how the plans were playing, but not one story about what was actually in the plans."
Paul Krugman: What I Hate About Political Coverage

Dare I Say "PKDickian"?
Richard Kelly's (Donnie Darko) new film, Southland Tales, will finally be released on November 9, 2007. The trailer looks interesting. And I think it's nice to see Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) doing something that isn't a shoot-em-up or sports-related.
Via Fimoculous

Knit One, Maim Two
mutant knitted
conjoined teddy bears
Knitting For Psychos
Via Bifurcated Rivets

She's Lucky They Didn't Send Her to Syria
" Nalini Ghuman, a UK-born music professor at Mills College in Oakland, can't return to her home in the US, because the State Department revoked her visa and won't tell her or anyone else why.


Outside, Mr. Flight made frantic calls for help. He said the British Consulate tried to get through to the immigration officials in charge, to no avail. And Ms. Ghuman said her demands to speak to the British consul were rebuffed.

"They told me I was nobody, I was nowhere and I had no rights," she said. "For the first time, I understood what the deprivation of liberty means."


After a year of letters and inquiries, Ms. Ghuman and her Mills College lawyer have been unable to find out why her residency visa was suddenly revoked, or whether she was on some security watch list. Nor does she know whether her application for a new visa, pending since last October, is being stymied by the shadow of the same unspecified problem or mistake.


"I don't know why it's happened, what I'm accused of," she said. "There's no opportunity to defend myself. One is just completely powerless.""

Thank Ghod the Feds are protecting me from Welsh Elgar-scholars, because everybody knows they'll take our freedom with their freedom-sucking powers.

State dept. won't say why UK music scholar is barred from US
Via Boing Boing

Via Boing Boing

" Someone has a website going where every single thing mentioned in Spook Country has a blog entry and usually an illustration so, every reference, someone has taken it, researched it and written a sort of little Wikipedia entry for it and all in the format of a website that pretends to be from a magazine called Node, which is an imaginary magazine, within Spook Country , and which turns out to be imaginary in the context of the narrative."
Node's annotations in order

Via The Website at the End of the Universe

All Hail Our Lego Overlords
postapocalyptic lego mecha diorama
Flickr: Photos from Legohaulic
Legohaulic Brickshelf Gallery

Via Boing Boing Gadgets

Illegal Lite
" Another apparent violation of the law by Bush administration officials came to light this week, as a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that the FBI had sent letters to telecommunications providers requesting that they "provide a community of interest" for telephone numbers the FBI was investigating. The documents were among the so-called exigent letters that the FBI has admitted were "improper" (read: illegal). But in a Monday blog post, EFF's Kurt Opsahl charged that the "community of interest" requests were fresh evidence that the FBI had broken the law.

Opsahl points to a glossary of government terms that defines a "community of interest" as "A grouping of users who generate a majority of their traffic in calls to other members of the group." That suggests that the FBI was asking carriers to analyze a suspect's call patterns and the call patterns of his friends in order to identify which individuals were closely associated with the suspect. Opsahl notes that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act places strict limits on the information a telecommunications carrier can share with the government, and information about "communities of interest" are not among the types of information carriers may disclose. "

I am once again bemused by how "illegal" actions by departments of the Federal government never lead to where I expect them to: charges filed, arrests made, trials held, verdicts rendered.

FBI accused of using illegal letters for illegal information requests
Via Slog

Beware of the Spit Take
The Pentecostal Church and The Holy Ghost Want You To Wear Pig Panties
Via The Big MoboDaddy - Two words, BMD - Blogger=Free

Glorious Noise
" Sunday Night, later named Michelob Presents Night Music, was an NBC late-night television show which aired for two seasons between 1988 and 1990 as a showcase for jazz and eclectic musical artists. ... " (Quote from the Wikipedia entry.)

"A revelation to music fans, this show appeared and disappeared with little fanfare, being light-years ahead of the bulk of it's audience in style and substance. Every possible realm of music was boldly explored...from minimalist art-noise to traditional folk styles and everything beyond and in-between. Absolute genius, a marvelously noncommercial experiment that was doomed to failure despite itself. ..." (Quote from user comment at the IMDb entry for 'Sunday Night')"
Lounge Lizards - Voice Of Chunk (YouTube)
Via PCL LinkDump - who also has a load of other "Night Music" video links

Strange Medicine In The Desert

" FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS is an audio play, with backing music, based on Hunter S. Thompson's classic book. It was recorded to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the book's publishing. The musical background includes several classic rock songs referenced by the text.

Principal cast includes: Harry Dean Stanton (narrator); Jim Jarmusch (Duke); Maury Chaykin (Gonzo); George Segal (Dr. Bloomquist); Joan Cusack (Lucy); Jann Wenner (Rolling Stone Editor); Todd Snider (Hitchhiker); Harry Shearer (Cop At Flamingo Registration, Executive Director and Police Chief At D.A. Conference, Biker At Mint 400, Lacerda, Dwarf, Sound Equipment Man, Voices Of Nixon and Walter Cronkite); Buck Henry (Desk Clerk); Jimmy Buffett (Cop In Desert)."

Good Stuff-Based on a True Story


Can't We All Just Get Along?
Cardboard Robot Rumble
Via ectoplasmosis

Get Down
James Brown gives you dancing lessons(YouTube)
Via Fimoculous

winnie the pooh crossed with chthulu

Screw Impeachment, I Want Them in Prison
" On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again."
Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction
Via Slog

Photo Magic
"" Seam-carving for content-aware image resizing" makes it possible to stretch or shrink an image in a non-uniform manner that changes the composition of a scene without distorting the key objects. It also allows you to delete unwanted objects or people from a shot without obviously distorting the background."
Via Seattle P.I.

But Golf Ball Cores Really are Explosive
Two urban legends I had never heard of:

Big Zap

Video of "Gigantic Jets", a form of lightning that shoots out of the top of a thundercloud into the ionosphere.

Transient Luminous Events

Red Sprites and Blue Jets

Via BuzzFeed

gerkin fighting olive sculpture

Relishing Life...and Death

Via Bifurcated Rivets

Not Our Badgers, Ours are Cuddly

I'm behind the curve here, but I couldn't resist:

"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area"

Via things magazine

A Glorious Soviet Future that Never Was
soviet jet train

Soviet Jet Train. Some More History.

Via warrenellis.com

DNA Hosting
" Scientists at the University of Rochester and the J. Craig Venter Institute have discovered a copy of the genome of a bacterial parasite residing inside the genome of its host species.

The research, reported in today's Science, also shows that lateral gene transfer-the movement of genes between unrelated species-may happen much more frequently between bacteria and multicellular organisms than scientists previously believed, posing dramatic implications for evolution.

Such large-scale heritable gene transfers may allow species to acquire new genes and functions extremely quickly, says Jack Werren, a principal investigator of the study. If such genes provide new abilities in species that cause or transmit disease, they could provide new targets for fighting these diseases."


" "It didn't seem possible at first," says Werren, professor of biology at the University of Rochester and a world-leading authority on the parasite, called wolbachia. "This parasite has implanted itself inside the cells of 70 percent of the world's invertebrates, coevolving with them. And now, we've found at least one species where the parasite's entire or nearly entire genome has been absorbed and integrated into the host's. The host's genes actually hold the coding information for a completely separate species.""

Bacterial to Animal Gene Transfers Now Shown to be Widespread, with Implications for Evolution and Control of Diseases and Pests

Via Beyond The Beyond (Bruce Sterling)