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If the bad guys (suit wearing, latin-speaking, ghost network using - those guys)
want the yellow disk maguffin off of the DEA lady, why go to the horrendous
trouble of using the silicon gas weapon on a city bus? With 3 guys, a tazer, and
a van they could have snatched her, they wouldn't have left a bus full of frozen
people metaphorically shouting "EVIL IS AFOOT" and they would have had all the
time in the world to "question" DEA lady if she doesn't have the geegaw in her
A city bus in a tunnel, during rush hour - really? Couldn't they think of someplace more likely to be
quickly noticed and harder to get away from?
Apparently the FBI is covering up the fact that one of their agents
killed a suspect in cold blood and was involved in a horrible chemical attack
on an airliner that killed everyone on board.
Dextromethorphan (DXM or DM) is an antitussive (cough suppressant) drug
found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. Dextromethorphan has
also found other uses in medicine, ranging from pain relief to psychological
applications. Pure dextromethorphan occurs as a powder made up of white
crystals, but it is generally administered via syrups, tablets, or lozenges
manufactured under several different brand names and generic labels.
When taken at doses higher than are medically recommended,
dextromethorphan acts as a dissociative hallucinogenic drug. It is classified
neurochemically as an NMDA receptor antagonist, producing effects similar to
those of the controlled substances ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP)
Fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac, Fontex, Ladose, Sarafem) is an
antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.
Fluoxetine is approved for the treatment of major depression (including
pediatric depression), obsessive-compulsive disorder (in both adult and
pediatric populations), bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, panic disorder and
premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Walter's drugs aren't "psychotics". They would be better
described as "psychoactives" or "psychotropics".
Guy in diner w/ camera: "You were supposed to check in before you
came home." This doesn't jibe with Peter's story about owing money to the mob.
The Bad Guys were digging through the backpack in what looks like a cathedral
basement and one of them used Latin on his cell-phone. If they turn out to be
part of some ancient secret Catholic Order I'll be disappointed. Spooky monks have
been done to death.
We can assume that the Bad Guys are not part of Massive Dynamics. If
they were they could have gotten ahold of Mendoza's body as easily as
FBI Agent Scott's.
How did DEA Agent Graham Davidson know that the yellow disk maguffin
was implanted in Mendoza's hand?
Even if it was small, I wouldn't implant secret stuff in my hand. Hands are
full of important stuff, without a lot of spare room-plus any wound or scar would
be easily visible.
Walter and Peter both play the piano.
How does Roy get details of what the aftermath of an attack looks like
from overhearing the Bad Guys before the attack?
Walter's explanation of a "frequency lying outside the normal spectrum"
makes no rational sense. EM frequencies are very valuable real estate, so
there are lots of scientists and companies looking for ways to fit more communication
into the available spectrum. You can think of the
EM spectrum as a line, running
from low frequency to high:
The electromagnetic spectrum extends from below the
frequencies used for modern radio (at the long-wavelength end) through gamma
radiation (at the short-wavelength end), covering wavelengths from thousands of
kilometres down to a fraction the size of an atom.
The point being: It's really easy to find new stuff on a line - you go left
or you go right, and lots of smart,
motivated people have been looking at the entire line for some time. There is no
"frequency lying outside the normal spectrum".
Waves won't work, the range is too short without a lot of new cell towers.
I think the writers were lazy. They needed to give Walter more big science words to
explain the "Ghost Network". "Quantum Encryption" might have done nicely.
So Roy's visual center is picking up Bad Guy conversations (in Latin, a
language Roy does not understand) and is somehow converting them into
coherent images that depict what the Bad Guys are talking about. OK, I
Why exactly did Walter go and hide all this neat crap 17 years ago?
"I think it's time for some intercranial penetration."
The satellite television line was a little too cute.
How is Roy getting the calls to DEA Agent Davidson? Did the Bad Guys give
him a "Ghost Network" phone too?
There was a bald guy on the train. I think we'll see more of him.
JJ Abrams clearly likes people getting hit by buses.
Is Massive Dynamics pulling information from a disk and into John Scott or
out of a disk implanted in him?
Darin Morgan is an American screenwriter best known for several
offbeat, darkly humorous episodes of the television series The X-Files and
Millennium. His teleplay for the X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"
won a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Drama
I drive around all day, lubricating my little corner of the economy by moving
valuable clumps of atoms around. And I've got to say, as I listen to various speaking
heads opine about the proposed $700 BILLION bailout/rescue/clusterfuck, that
I am just LOVING the whole mess. Nothing cheers my misanthropic cockles more
that watching our well-paid, suit-wearing, white-guy, masters of the universe run
straight into a reality based wall. My Ghod, George Bush thought Congress was
just going to hand over 700BILLION just like that, just before elections, just because
he says so? He's lucky the White House isn't surrounded by a mob armed with
torches and pitchforks.
I haven't heard ANY Congress-person say that they support Paulson's
"clean" plan yet. The Democrats want one set of conditions, the Republicans want
another, and a lot of the conditions are exclusive.
The elephant in the room: We're screwed no matter what we do.
The rhino wearing a tu-tu in the room: The next president is screwed.
They won't be able to do anything but clean up Bush's global crapfest.
"With respect to executive pay, again, I'm not going to get into
specific, point-by-point details on what our views are on that, other than the
Secretary of Treasury said it would make more difficult to make this plan work
and effective if you provide disincentives for companies and firms out there who
are holding mortgage-backed securities and other securities from participating
in the program. You have to remember, these are not all weak or troubled firms
that own mortgage-backed securities. A lot of them are very successful banks and
investment houses that have done very well, have been responsible, are holding
performing assets that have value. They were not necessarily irresponsible
players, and so you have to be careful about how you deal with them."
"Bowers says that there's no crisis. I'm not sure I'm willing to go there yet, but I'm not convinced there is one. What we need to determine the extent of this "crisis":
Transparency. Release the presentation Paulson gave to congressional leaders that supposedly has them all spooked. Give us the data and information, and let outside economists pore over the numbers and reach independent conclusions. The Bushies lie and have zero credibility. We can't trust anything they say.
Timing. Why the sudden rush, when the administration has been working on this plan for months? Seems more than a little suspicious.
Solution. We don't know what the problem is, so we really don't know if this solution addresses that problem. What we do know is that it's targeted not just at failing institutions, but any old financial firm on Wall Street that wants a piece of our money. Even those that "are very successful banks and investment houses that have done very well". Heck, did I say "on Wall Street"? I almost forgot. Any foreign bank can apply!
Details. Why $700 billion? Why not start off with, say, $75 billion. Is the emergency so dire that Treasury will spend all $700 billion next week? Doubtful. So put in what would amount to a bridge loan until people have had a chance to full understand the magnitude and severity of the problem. If it's truly as bad as people say it is, further moneys can be appropriated.
Motives. Given that the administration wants to give money to solvent financial institutions, is this just another component of the long-running conservative effort to bankrupt the government to destroy government's ability to improve people's lives?
Incentives: The administration is really concerned that solvent banks may not take the bailout, so it has to be as condition-free as possible. Why is the administration desperate to force taxpayer funds into these private Wall Street institutions? If they don't want our money, everyone wins, best of all, the taxpayers.
Politics. The American people hate this thing, and those approval numbers are only getting worse. Given all the points listed above, whoever votes for this thing, even an "improved" version, will face a world of hurt this November, and if not this year, in primaries and general elections through 2010. "
"In congressional testimony last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed that
the bureau is investigating 24 financial institutions, "large corporations,
where the allegations would be that there were misstatement of assets," he said.
FBI spokesman Richard Kolko added to Mueller's figure, saying in a statement to
ABC News that "the FBI currently has 26 pending corporate fraud investigations
involving subprime lenders. As we have seen, this number can fluctuate over
time; however, we do not discuss which companies may or may not be the subject
of an investigation.""
Guess who we're depending on to keep the economy running?
"I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my
induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision
which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time
to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from
honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure
as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert
my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless,
unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert
retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of
frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people
themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again
give that support to leadership in these critical days.
In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They
concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic
levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds
is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in
the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every
side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in
thousands of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of
existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish
optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.
Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no
plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered
because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful
for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty
is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the
supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods
have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have
admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money
changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts
and minds of men.
True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an
outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the
lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our
people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations,
pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a
generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the
The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our
civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure
of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble
than mere monetary profit.
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of
achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of
work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These
dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny
is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.
Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes
hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and
high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place
and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in
business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and
selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only
on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection,
on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live."
There was an earlier team investigating "The Pattern". They probably
met some nasty, squishy end.
There's something hinky about Peter Bishop's birth. I hope they come
up with something cooler than just Walter having cloned himself.
Walter has stuff hidden all over Boston.
They totally lost me with the 4-hour-old dead-of-old-age baby.
Not with the rapid aging, I can accept that, sure-why not? But having
the baby turn grow into a full-sized adult means it had to get
that mass from somewhere. Nothing alive gets bigger (and heavier) without
eating. And we're looking at something like at least 100 pounds in four hours.
And why is the rapid aging passed down to offspring? Do hormones change DNA?
They've got to give Peter's character more to do than just be
the smart-ass voice of incredulity.
John Noble is mesmerizing Dr. Walter Bishop. He's the perfect mad
scientist recently released from 17 years in a mental hospital.
Okay. That brings me to the other part. The entertainment. Entertainment is fun.
Am I correct? I've gotta be. If it's no fun, obviously it's not entertainment.
It's one of those phony game educational applications that kids have to be
tortured to use. You definitely want the users to have fun. That's the
definition of your industry. That's what it is all about.
Except for three kinds of people. They're not fun people. They're not even
users. They're abusers, you might say, because they don't obey your rules.
First, gold farmers. Rip-off artists. The excluded. The black market. The
pirates. Those are all the same guys. Same crowd. Invisible to you. They don't
want you to see them. And you don't want to see them, either. Because they're
ugly, threatening parasites. But always there, always, from the very first days.
They're not accidents. They're something important that you did not let
Second, griefers. Griefers have a game. They have entertainment. But it's not
your game. It's their game, which is hate. Hatred and pain and sorrow and
treachery and vandalism. Emotional involvement. The thrill of raw conflict.
Grief. There are swarms of ‘em. Armies. They never travel alone.
Third---and these are the weird ones---the convergence culture people. They will
play your game all right, but they play it while using six or seven other kinds
of media. They don't make any distinction between the media they use. They use
the networks as a meta-medium. They don't play the roles in your role-playing
People play roles in Dungeons and Dragons because that is a paper game, it's
like little theater for the home. People play roles. You don't see D&D people
passing each other text messages and looking for cheats on wikis. Convergence
people are metamedia people who are looking for meta-fun. Not your fun. Their
meta- fun. Why are they important? Because they are you. You're outside the game
because you developed it, and they want to be in the same space that you are in.
They're super-knowledgeable game fanatics. They're the people from whom you
recruit your own talent.
They're not fun, these three kinds of people. Gold farmers are into greed, not
fun. Griefers are into anti-fun. And metamedia are into meta-fun. They all exist
outside your definitional box.
And that's why they ambush you and they beat on you. They're not exactly your
enemies, but they're deeply alien to your chosen paradigm. So they have a kind
of control over your destiny that you do not allow yourselves to have.
The only way to get ahead of them is to redefine yourselves as something that is
not "computer entertainment." Because their fun isn't fun and their computers
aren't computers. They are cultural. They are more cultural than you. You're an
industry. They're a culture. That's why they kick your ass.
So---you know---how do we control these ugly parasites? How do we exterminate these
weeds growing in our money crops? How do we repress them and make them go away
for good? The answer is: you don't. They beat you like the schoolyard bullies
beat the kids who are good at math. You don't get your revenge until you grow
up, and you understand them much, much better than they will ever understand
you. Living well, that's the best revenge. "
The location titles on Fringe are very striking. Instead of flat text over the
the words are giant 3D structures floating in space inside the scene. On some there's
an added suggestion that the letters are actually in the scene, like a dusting of snow.
I'm wondering if the location titles are a foreshadowing of
"overlaying information -- graphics and annotations -- onto the environment", using
virtual reality. Or it could just be somebody going "hey, you know what would look really cool?".
" With the right wind behind it, The Gone-Away World could easily
become a modern classic. Its scope and ambition are extraordinary, its execution
is often breathtaking, and its style is by turns hilarious, outrageous,
devastating, hip and profound.
It is not a book that springs out of nowhere. Its bleakly humorous futuristic
vision is not dissimilar to that of Kurt Vonnegut, while its visceral,
scattershot energy brings to mind landmark American books like The World
According to Garp and Catch-22. But there is also something very English about
Harkaway's writing, specifically his acute sense of the ridiculous, and the
ghosts of Douglas Adams and P G Wodehouse haunt some of the finest passages
Plus it's got pirates, ninjas, kung-fu, ninjas vs kung-fu, mad scientists creating
apocalyptic WMDs, and mimes.
"Pandemonium may be Daryl Gregory's first novel, but it's not the
work of a novice. He is already a stand-out short story writer--his 2006 story
"Second Person, Present Tense" won the Asimov's reader poll that year and was
shortlisted for the Sturgeon and Locus awards. Since then "Unpossible," "Dead
Horse Point," and "Damascus" have graced the pages of several "Year's Best"
anthologies. His writing is conceptually brilliant and very personal--qualities
that also inform this novel.
It takes place in the current day, but in a skewed world. In the world of the
story, people may find themselves randomly possessed by "demons." While under
"possession," they act out the traits of whichever demon has control: the
Painter finds ways to create the same artwork over and over, the Hellion
possesses young children and acts like a Denis the Menace on steroids, Kamikaze
hijacks planes and crashes them, Smokestack Johnny commandeers railroad trains.
Most people are never possessed, and some only once, while others appear to be
magnets, attracting the "demons" over and over.
So why the quote marks around "demon" and "possession?" Because in this
analog of our world, not everyone believes in other-worldly entities. Scientists
seek secular explanations: environmental and genetic factors, neurological
disorders, what have you. The narrator though, Del, he knows better. Possessed
by the Hellion as a young child, he never really got over it. An adult now, he's
never totally gotten his act together. He stumbled through high school, majored
in graphic design in college, landed a series of minimal-paying jobs. Compared
to his brother--who went to college, got a computer degree, got a real job,
moved up the ladder, got married, and is living the good life--compared to that
Del knows that he's a loser. Now things are getting even worse. Not stable at
the best of times, he feels like there's something in his head, something trying
to get out. It even takes control while he's asleep--he chains himself to his
bed at night. Under these circumstances he loses even his crappy job and is
running out of money and sanity. He heads back home, to Chicago. He knows his
mother will help him, and his brother too. He underwent therapy after his
initial possession, but suspects that it won't help much this time. First he
pins his hopes on a neurological researcher who may have found the brain area
affected during possessions; next he looks to a Catholic priest/former
possession victim who has had some luck "exorcising" the demons. Finally he
starts tracking down a possible origin of the demons themselves. Through it all
Del throws himself on the mercy of his loved ones and acquaintances alike,
traumatizing many of them even as they're trying to help him."
This may sound like a gloomy downer of a book, but it's very smart and
funny. It's not a long book, and once finished it occured to me that in a more
perfect world the Sci-Fi channel would be making movies out of material like this
instead of grinding out
a seemingly endless series of made-for-television crap about giant snakes and
handily stoppable natural disasters.
On the opposite tack, I've started 2 of
thrillers, and found both of them basically unreadable. For one, he doesn't
pull off the "suspension of disbelief" needed in a book about ancient secret
religious orders trying to take over the world using Judas's foreskin as
part of a dark energy laser (alright, I made that last part up, but doesn't it
sound good? All it lacks is some credible sounding mumbo jumbo) .
"A 2001 paper by the Office of the Majority Leader of the U.S.
House of Representatives reported that red-light cameras are "a hidden tax
levied on motorists." The report came to the same conclusions that all of the
other valid studies have, that red-light cameras are associated with increased
crashes and that the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to
increase tickets for red-light running. That's right, the state actually tampers
with the yellow light settings to make them shorter, and more likely to turn red
as you're driving through them.
In fact, six U.S. cities have been found guilty of shortening the yellow light
cycles below what is allowed by law on intersections equipped with cameras meant
to catch red-light runners. Those local governments have completely ignored the
safety benefit of increasing the yellow light time and decided to install
red-light cameras, shorten the yellow light duration, and collect the profits
The cities in question include Union City, CA, Dallas and Lubbock, TX, Nashville
and Chattanooga, TN, and Springfield, MO, according to Motorists.org, which
collected information from reports from around the country."
" Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts
a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes
use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages
obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that
could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.
Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of
state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears.
(Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the
federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An
administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to
"What is it they hate? Guiliani and Palin both made it pretty
clear: community organizing. Community organizing is energized from below. From
the periphery. It is the direction and facilitation of mass energy towards
productive and cooperative ends. It is about replacing conflict with
collaboration. It is the opposite of war; it is peace.
Last night, the Republican Convention made it clear they prefer war. They see
the world as a dangerous and terrible place. Like the fascist leaders satirized
in Starship Troopers, they say they believe it is better to be on the offensive,
taking the war to the people who might wish us harm than playing defense. It is
better to be an international aggressor - a bulldog with lipstick - than led by
the misguided notion that attacking people itself makes the world a more
In their attack on community organizing - a word combination they pretended they
didn't know what it meant - Giuliani and Palin revealed their refusal to
acknowledge the kinds of bottom-up processes through which our society was
built, and through which local communities can begin to assert some authority
over their schools, environments, and economies. Without organized communities,
you don't get the reduction in centralized government the Republicans pretend to
be arguing for. In their view, community organizing as, at best, equivalent to
disruptive and unpredictable Al Qaeda activity.
Republican party representatives are proud today that their convention has
finally produced the “same level of energy and enthusiasm” as the DNC's last
week. And while it may have produced the same level of excitement, the
excitement was of a very different character. It's much easier to get people
riled up but inviting them to hate a man - particularly one who they haven't
been allowed to hate for traditional reasons. Giuliani's job - much like his job
as mayor of NYC - was to give the Republicans in attendance permission to hate
Obama and the potentially intelligent society he represents. It's not about city
vs. country or educated vs. military. It's about thought vs. violence.
Why am I going to vote for Obama? Because I think America needs
to be run by adults.
"The genetic chaos continues. The Endosymbiotic Theory says that
the mitochondria in our bodies, without which we couldn't live, let alone write
snide humor articles, was at one point a separate organism that invaded our
cells and set up camp. They formed a symbiotic relationship so beneficial that
we've never booted them out. Furthermore, large chunks of the human genome are
thought to be ancient retroviruses that managed to transcribe themselves into
our DNA and have spent the remainder of their days happily clambering up and
down our nucleotides like the McDuck children on a mansion banister. Basically
your cells are millions of individual organisms, all huddled together in a
you-shaped beehive. Now see how long you can go before wanting to shower.
And lastly, a thought for the right-wingers out there: At some point half of you
was an egg in your Mother's womb. That egg existed in her body from the day she
was born. And a long, long time ago, she too was an egg in her Mother's womb,
who had that egg ready for use from the moment she squirmed out of your Great
Grandma's nethers. The point being, technically speaking, there's no break in
the chain of existence, no time when you are not a life form of at least the
most rudimentary sort. Your family, at least on your Mother's side, could
theoretically be considered an immortal, constantly-regenerating organism. Of
course that would make men, whose sperm has to be created years after the moment
of birth, just disposable donors here to fuel the everlasting fire of womanhood.
You go girls!"
Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the
strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M
Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing
them together until one of them breaks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I
eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.
I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the
newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue
M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of competition
that is the modern candy and snack-food world.
Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or
flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on
very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species
continues to adapt to its environment.
When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of
the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly
in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc.,
Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3x5 card reading, "Please use
this M&M for breeding purposes."
This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound
bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this "grant money." I have set aside the
weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the