"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

Living on the Edge
Upgraded Ubuntu to Hardy Heron. Despite a thrilling "Fatal IO Error 9" it works just fine. I guess it wasn't quite fatal. Only partly fatal. Slightly fatal, but not completely.

I did have to futz with Thunderbird to get it to open links in Firefox. TBird thought Firefox was called "mozilla-firefox". And I'm beginning to think that they shouldn't have gone for Firefox 3 beta-half my extensions don't work and it's like my thumbs have been cut off.

P.S. Arrrggh!! FireFTP doesn't work! If I can't use FireFTP to update the blog I'll have to fall back to using the command line. I've been using FireFTP for years and I've totally forgotten what to do.

P.P.S. Scrounged the newest beta of FireFTP. It works, so here's to untested software.

Science Tastes Good
The Physics of Whipped Cream (in zero-g)
Via Slashdot

War is a Racket

"Since 2004, the Pentagon has spent roughly $16 billion annually to maintain and modernize the military's business systems, but most are as unreliable as ever-even as the surge in defense spending is creating more room for error. The basic defense budget for 2007 was $439.3 billion, up 48 percent from 2001, excluding the vast additional sums appropriated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to federal regulators and current and former Pentagon officials, the accounting process is so obsolete and error prone that it's virtually impossible to tell where much of this money ends up. While the department's brass has made a few patchwork improvements, billions are still unaccounted for. The problem is so deeply rooted that, 18 years after Congress required major federal agencies to be audited, the Pentagon still can't be.


"In the Defense Department, what you have now are material weaknesses that are in every single area, in every part of the department, so deep and so wide you do not really have any way of figuring out where money is being spent," says Linda Bilmes, a federal budget expert at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Every year, the Pentagon tries to justify its budget request to Congress by submitting three years of financial data: "actual" performance for the past fiscal year plus projections for the current year and the next. But because of the lack of reliable accounting, these totals are largely fictional. That, in turn, raises major questions about whether the government will be able to meet skyrocketing commitments for future spending on ships, planes, and high-tech ground weapons, especially given the expected growth in spending on Social Security and Medicare, and the impact of tax cuts.

According to David Walker, who recently left his post as head of the Government Accountability Office, the failure of the Pentagon's outdated and incompatible systems to keep tabs on expenditures-even as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan eat up an ever-bigger chunk of the federal budget-puts several Defense Department agencies high on the G.A.O.'s list of federal programs that are mismanaged and prone to fraud, waste, and abuse."

The Pentagon's $1 Trillion Problem
Via MetaFilter

The Most Hated Song in the World (mp3)
Via MetaFilter

Pretty Biology
Ernst Haeckel Kunstformen der Natur
Index of Ernst Haeckel images - They would make great desktop icons.
Ernst Haeckel: Kunstformen der Natur 1899-1904
Via del.icio.us hotlist

En Masse
I let my "To Blog" bookmark folder grow a little too big. So here's the whole kit-and-kaboodle in one big shebang:

One of my Obsessions Just Perked Up It's Ears

"...David Byrne's booking agent at William Morris Agency, Mark Geiger, has been soliciting offers from a number of different promoters around the United States for Byrne/Eno live shows, promising the set list will consist of at least 40% Eno-era Talking Heads material. No word yet on if he's had any takers. Most of the tour is already booked."

Electronic Gospel: David Byrne and Brian Eno reuniting for new album, live shows...

Follow the Money
What I would like to know is where Mugabe gets the non-Zimbabwean money to pay for freighters full of guns and banknote printing? I'm assuming foreign companies and countries want payment in a currency that isn't suffering from 165,000% inflation.

Cosmonaut Rituals

Russian rocket-jockeys have many preflight superstitions:

They sign the Visitors' book in Yuri Gagarin's office.

Technicians put coins on the tracks that carry the rockets to the pad.

They get a haircut 2 days before launch.

The night before launch, a viewing of the 1969 movie "White Sun Of The Desert" is compulsory.

They sign their room door at the Cosmonaut Hotel.

"A Green-Grassed Lawn", by the band Zemlyane is played as the crew leaves the hotel.

On the way to the cosmodrome, the crew stop to relieve themselves on the left rear tire of the bus, just like Yuri Gargarin

A small toy is hung from a string in the capsule to indicate weightlessness.

Source: Russian Spaceflight Ceremonies

Watch the Drummer

This guy is a monster:

Korean drummer takes the show
Via needcoffee.com

So Much for the Ignorance Defense

"Top Bush aides, including Vice President Cheney, micromanaged the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement, according to an ABC News report aired last night."

White House Torture Advisers
Via Follow Me Here

Fafblog is Good

"Oh sure, it's easy to look back now with our twenty-twenty hindsight and our armchair quarterbacking and whine and moan about how it all went wrong. But what about the case for blowing up the moon at the time? For literally dozens of years the moon had menaced Western Civilization with its eclipses and its werewolf hordes and its sinister seduction of our seas, all the while dangling its massive stony bulk above us with nothing but universal gravitation standing between the free world and a cold and moony end! Oh, the usual crowd of peaceniks and anti-kill killjoys would have had America stand idly by and do nothing, leaving frightened children and Brookings scholars to tremble under their beds at night while our nation's nocturnal nemesis threatened once again to plunge from the heavens and squish us all, but 9/11 taught us that we can't wait for danger to become dangerous before we pre-re-endanger it back! And by defeating the moon America would ensure not only its own security, but the destruction of al Qaeda's deadly space laser, the liberation of the moon men from the terrible tyranny of the Crater King, and the second coming of Astro-Jesus!

Of course by now everybody thinks they're an expert on every little accident that's happened in the moon war. Oh, we didn't send enough troops, oh, we didn't plan for the aftermath, oh, the explosions launched millions of tons of radioactive moon rock into the atmosphere and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Well, boo hoo hoo! Nobody said this war was gonna be perfect. It's true, if Giblets had to blow up the moon all over again he would have made some changes, like firing Donald Rumsfeld and putting more boots on the ground and getting more international support. But would he oppose the moon war altogether? Well that's the kinda crazy talk we were only hearing from namby-pamby pot-smoking puppet-wielding moon hippies like Al Gore and Zbigniew Brzezinski and their Stalinist fellow travelers at International ANSWER! And what was their solution to the rapidly growing moon crisis? Nothing but peace songs and patchouli smell and nothing!"

Were We Wrong?

Wave "Bye Bye" to Free Time

The 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time

#41. "Chicken Lady at the Strip Show," Kids in the Hall, 1991

Via Boing Boing

Lost: One Word Sums it Up

Previously on Lost : What?
Via don't link this

Lost: Analysis
Defective Yeti succumbs to the lure: The Perverse Appeal of LOST

It Gives Me Hope

Black-clad long-haired teens ripping through Maggot Brain in a big-box chain store:

PGSORM HEB 8-25-07
Via MetaFilter
Via Waxy.org: Links

Park My Ride

Japanese Parking Gameshow
Via TV in Japan

Do Your Dance

Cue the red codpiece and Levar Burton rocking the trenchcoat....

STNG totally should have had a Cameo cameo.

Cameo - Word Up
Via Right Some Good

Welcome Your Insectile Masters

"Listen. And understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. "

Boston Dynamics Big Dog
Via grinding.be

I keep waiting for China to up the ante and claim that the Dalai Lama is working with Al Qaeda.

Lost - Connections

I'm in awe of this video.

We Used To Be Friends (LOST Connections)
Via Synchromystic Librarian

Fafblog is back!

""Screw this dump!" says Giblets. "This universe is old and fat and smells like smelling and Giblets is busting out!"
"Should we go over the wall or take the tunnel?" says me. I been diggin a tunnel.
"Nuts to the tunnel!" says Giblets. "What we do is we make like we're sick. Then when God comes in to check on us we punch im in the liver an run out the door!"
"They'll be on the lookout so we're gonna need disguises if we wanna make it the resta the way," says me. "If we bop Europe an Australia on the head we can sneak out in their continent costumes!"
"Then it's only three hundred eighty thousand miles to the moon. We can swim for it!" says Giblets. "Giblets's crater friends can smuggle us to the border from there."
"We'll haveta travel undercover if we wanna stay aheada the law," says me. "By the time we reach the checkpoint I'll be Henri DuMarche, international financier, socialite and diamond thief, an you can be NGC 5024, a mild-mannered globular cluster.""