Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Sharknado vs. Meth-Quake

May 3, 2014

The tornado vs. earthquake debate has always been a source of conversation between Okies and Californians —

I just don’t see how you can live where:

A)  giant vacuum cleaner storms can scoop you and your homes up into the sky, or
B)  the ground can just start shaking and collapse your whole town

Thankfully, the oil and gas fracking boom has given Oklahoma just a little taste of the California experience by increasing the size and frequency of earthquakes in the Sooner State.

When the Seismological Society of America says that fracking earthquakes are a real thing, then it’s a good bet that they are. The annual SSA meeting last Thursday featured a daylong session on “Induced Seismicity” that featured new research indicating that oil and gas fracking, and the practice of disposing wastewater underground, can alter the character of an existing fault. 

As of last month, in Oklahoma alone more than 100 3.0-and-up earthquakes have been recorded. The total between 1967 and 2000 was only 21. This recent increase jumps out from any statistical noise like a group of Westboro Baptist protesters at a military funeral.

A study by Canada’s Western University in Ontario noted that “the hazard from induced seismicity can overwhelm the hazard from pre-existing natural seismicity, increasing the risk to structures that were originally designed for regions of low to moderate seismic activity”, the term infrastructure including dams, nuclear power plants, underground pipelines and other sorts of high-impact damage multipliers.

I’m not sure if we could match “Sharknado” for it’s California charm, but I could see “Meth-Quake”  giving it a run for it’s money.

Yeah, the Feds  take down a major clandestine lab in central Oklahoma and decide to dispose of all the toxic chemical slurry in an injection well. This triggers the Big One and it spews mutant-inducing methamphetamine residue out of every crack in the ground! Try to imagine the trailer below with Charlton Heston in meth-mouth dentures, the actors with Oklahoma regional dialects and all the extras gibbering and running really fast!


Oklahoma: Filling in the Blank

May 1, 2014

So why am I even here in Oklahoma? Why do I continue to live in a state that can’t even kill people on purpose cleanly, accept federal dollars to improve the health care provided to its citizens, resist electing the most extreme kind of dumb-asses the country has to offer, etc?

It’s simple: I was born here, my kids live here and if I were to just write the state off… well, the terrorists would win.

It wasn’t but a year or two ago when a co-worker came to me to ask if it wasn’t true that “Obamacare” required that children be injected with a microchip (“the Mark of the Beast”). 70+ percent of the voters approved a statewide referendum to prohibit ‘Sharia Law’ here. As many people that claim, nationally, their belief that the Hebrew God created the world less than 10,000 years ago, I’d bet that almost twice as many Oklahomans believe the same. If a plurality of my statesmen aren’t home-schoolers that are ‘hooked on phonics’, they wish they had the patience/resources to be.

Oklahoma’s people are largely an ignorant and fearful folk: they fear negroes (especially the President), non-European immigrants, change, secular anything,  books, the commie United Nations, most new ideas and the Big Scary World.  Believe me, I know about Oklahoma. I was born here, grew up here and stayed here.

Believe me: it was not always this FUCKING STUPID A PLACE TO LIVE.   No, the Dark Flame of Ignorance has been carefully tended and stoked to make Oklahoma a Beacon of Idiocy:

  • Governor Mary Frick’n Fallin, the adulterous darling of the Tea Party, has been paid to oppose damned near everything that could make things better for this state while her spoiled brat daughter openly mocks Native Americans
  • Senator James Mountain Inhofe, who has for years been a global laughing-stock over his conspiratorial thinking on human sexuality, climate change and the dang-nabbed 20th Century in general
  • The numb-skull state representative that put a 10 Commandments monument on the grounds of the capitol but couldn’t get the spelling right
  • Another cretin on the state payroll that campaigned against using human fetuses in food products
  • The list goes on and on!

So why am I still living in Oklahoma?

Some amazing things have happened here.
I have fond memories of ‘liquor by the wink’.
Once upon a time, we had the highest per capita membership in the Communist Party in the nation.
Cannabis was once the number one cash crop.
The musicians are amazing here.
The state bird, the scissor-tail flycatcher, is cool.
Gas prices are low.
Maybe I’m too lazy to move and if I did only the Crazies would be left!

Fuck Governor Fallin and all her kind.
Fuck the followers of Oral Roberts and his fellow travellers.
Fuck the Koch Brothers and their veinal scheming.
Fuck all the manipulators of well-meaning Okies! Their hearts are pure, but —

I’m staying here to fill in the blank, the blank that they told me to erase and write something else in (but I won’t!).
I’m staying here to remind them of every time they are so terribly wrong that they pretend like they weren’t.
I’m the fly that stays clear of their patent medicine ointment.
I’m no Tom Joad, but for crying out loud, if people like me left this state, what would be left besides the easily led?
I am an Oklahoman, and I’m  staying here whether they like it or not: I want to rub them the wrong way.

Maybe I’m staying just to annoy the rest of ‘us’… because ‘we’ need to be annoyed.
What they’ve done to us shouldn’t be forgiven or forgotten or excused.
Those bastards did it for money and power and greed, straight up.
I wanna be here to watch the payback, if it ever comes.

 

 

A Quiet Sunday Post

April 13, 2014

{Much has been in transition here at Elwood Manor: a job change, obligatory after-work coursework of an unhelpful nature, various demands on my limited resources and some general readjustments. These have conspired to limit my inane stream of posts, but I’ve caught up on things (for now at least), so here’s a meager offering of tidbits I’ve found interesting of late}.

Slate’s feature on Your Inner Fish looks at why religious nutjobs Creationists hate the Tiktaalik. This Devonian example of tetrapod evolution had both lungs and gills, could probably do push-ups and had a face only a mother tiktaalik could love.  Is it because it’s a prime example of an organism transitioning between life in the water and life on land, or that it was discovered pretty much where geology and evolutionary theory predicted it would be that pisses them off so?

In other news of the backward, they’re still trying to overturn the consensus that the Earth orbits the Sun. You can’t make this stuff up… which is what makes a parody like this one so damned cutting! It only hurts because it comes out of Kansas!

Lots of sturm und drang over a scrap of ancient papyrus in which there is discussion of Jesus’ wife. My reading of the fragments makes it sound more like a hypothetical discussion, for what it’s worth, though I seem to remember Sunday School discussions indicating that Jesus wouldn’t have been called ‘rabbi’ (teacher) unless he was married. So He could walk on water, but marriage is a bridge too far for some? Given the Paulian attitude toward women (and sex in general), it’s amazing that this religion found any foothold at all.

Of course you don’t have to be a backwoods snake-handler to screw with science, as Greg Schiller can attest. He’s the science teacher at LA’s Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts who was suspended in February because some idiot thought two of his students’ science projects looked “dangerous”. Maybe it’s only a coincidence that Greg Schiller is also the teachers union representative at the school and had been dealing with disagreements with administrators over updating the employment agreement under which the faculty works? Parents and students are rallying around Mr. Schiller. Let’s hope they can overcome the LA school system’s apparent stupidity and/or duplicity.

The Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL is one of the really big software DOH!s in recent memory. XKCD gave the best quick explanation out there. Heartbleed.com has a long-form exploration.   Bloomberg reports that the NSA had exploited the bug for years, but the NSA denies it (predictably). We all know that the NSA never lies and is always right, right?

 

Field De-Bugging

December 11, 2013

The Martian desert gets real, real BIG when you’re in the middle of it, all alone. You try talking a probe down with a  lag of over 10 seconds sometime… it’s bloody awkward!

The NSA, along with British intelligence agency GCHQ, developed extensive methods to track gamers on World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Microsoft’s Xbox Live network, the Guardian reports today. According to Nick Yee, a Palo Alto researcher who worked on the effort, “We were specifically asked not to speculate on the government’s motivations and goals.

Augmenting Memory With A Neuroprosthesis. Once again I am beaten to my prize: DAMN YOU, MONKEYS!!!

Thanks For Scooping My Poop Hand Sanitizer! “If your lazy cat could talk, they might thank you but instead would probably tell you that you’re blocking the tv or explain that back when cats lived in the wild, they didn’t scoop their own poop”.

¡ Ted Cruz Is A Man Of Great Virility And Stamina !  Read (and color!) all about it in the Ted Cruz to the Future™ – Comic Coloring Activity Book!!!

Reactor down after explosion at Arkansas nuclear plant. No radiation is believed to have been released after Monday morning’s fire. Nothing to worry about except ‘Arkansas’ and ‘nuclear’ appearing on the same page (I’m  half-hillbilly, so I can joke about this).

Around the world, there are buildings that are decorated and built almost entirely with human bones. They form eerily symmetrical patterns, and turn death into an architectural flourish. No, this isn’t the decor at the Arkansas nuclear plant, but….

Spider webs DO actually reach out to get you thanks to electrostatic glue and they are Evil.

Cat food, corn syrup, and neurotoxin! There’s a Reason They Call Them ‘Crazy Ants’… “They literally come in waves of just millions,” Mike told me.  “It would make most people want to keel over and die.” Are they really attracted to electricity, or is it just good at killing them? 

Mosquitoes can smell your ankles! Studying the mosquito’s sensory pathways helps scientists find new repellents. Know your enemy as yourself!

Oh, great, a winter-hardy cockroach reaches NYC.

Don’t forget the ‘holiday’ to-do list, GOP-style!

 

Nothing is Beyond Our Reach

December 8, 2013

US Spy Agency Boasts ‘Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach’ With New Logo. The ACLU suggests the NRO “may want to downplay the massive dragnet spying thing right now. This logo isn’t helping.” Besides, it could distract from the Cephalopodmas Season!

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found certain fungi possess the ability to ‘photosynthesize’ ionizing radiation, like inside the Chernobyl containment structure.

Meet The Tiny Rock That Could Start World War III.

The solstice isn’t for more than a week, but the earliest sunset of the year is already upon us. How’s that possible?

Moral Quandaries Department: The NFL has turned down an ad for a maker of modern high-capacity human-hunting rifles! So what’s a gun-nutter to do?? Wheel out the language of the civil rights movement of course: “There was a time when a black man couldn’t kiss a white woman on TV. That day has passed”! Another blow for freedom, y’all! Freedom and stray bullets.

Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers. A trixie reprogramming of T-cells.

This could get good! Westboro Baptist Church Will Fly To South Africa To Picket Mandela’s Funeral. I’m betting on “promptly killed and bodies mutilated by angry mob”, how about you?

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath. “I got to the bottom of the stack, and saw this scan that was obviously pathological,” he says, noting that it showed low activity in certain areas of the frontal and temporal lobes linked to empathy, morality and self-control. When he looked up the code, he was greeted by an unsettling revelation: the psychopathic brain pictured in the scan was his own.

Who gets the prize for most deranged statement this week? Limbaugh? Palin? Santorum? Maybe the RNC? 10 Biggest Doozies From the Right-Wing Wackosphere This Week.

The existence of the RQ-180 has been long rumored. It’s probably been flying for a few years now, but you weren’t supposed to know that; the existence of this secret project, based out of Area 51, was revealed Friday by Aviation Week.

Mercy, MERCY!!!!

December 7, 2013

Experiments to Do With Your Baby. Seems fair-play to me, since the little tykes are experimenting on you their every waking moment. And, really, someone put those words in that order in print, then signed their name to it? That’s the part I don’t get. They gonna shank you just for that title.

STEERING SUNSHINE USING ELECTROFLUIDIC CELLS, OMG, I’M GEEKING OUT!! …but-  wait!— If we do this, just hand over an automated, distributed-network solar energy-gathering power nanogrid system, will ‘they’ still need us?  Just a mesh of modules based on a cellular-level analog of an amoral machine intelligence that optimizes for performance, for output I mean, what could go wrong? A minor network expansion to ‘It‘ might look a lot like a war to us, especially since all of our data-streams flow through ‘It‘. Will ‘It‘ use discrete persuasion, or just push us like pawns on a playing-field?

Still Zappadan! Cue Frankie!

Louie Gohmert. Just… Louie Gohmert. -<heavy sigh>-

Hey! Someone’s Been Siphoning Data Through a Huge Security Hole in the Internet! WTF???

Meet Trevor Paglen: he takes pictures of secret things using long lenses.

Let’s take just a real quick peek at Chernobyl’s “Elephant’s Foot”, just to keep it all real, okay? Still lethal after all these years.

When Rick Santorum is Your Best and Brightest… -<heavy sigh>-

How to Pirate A Vinyl Record, And How Vinyl Records Are Made.  Materials science to the rescue!

Selecting for Extremophiles

December 2, 2013

Missed delivery note of the future, thanks to Amazon Prime Air.

SPACE BUGS! Say hello to Tersicoccus phoenicis, “isolated in two different clean rooms, and nowhere else”. It’s so genetically novel they are calling it a new bacteria genus. And it’s prossibly already hitched a ride to Mars.

Theres a nice bit on selecting for the uber-woodchuck. NPR interview with William Alexander  about his book, The $64 Tomato.

China’s “Jade Rabbit” lunar rover is on it’s way! Packed with a ground-piercing radar, cameras, spectrometers and plutonium-powered heaters, the rover lifted off at 1730 GMT (12:30 p.m. EST) Sunday.

The new ‘flying jellyfish’ drone video just reminds me of a film I saw in health class as a child.

For the first time, genetic information has been copied inside a simple synthetic cell designed to mimic primordial life. Happy/scared time!

Sorry, but for a great number of reasons humans aren’t at all likely to be chimp-pig hybrids as a kooky paper claims. PZ Meyers has thoughts on the MFAP Hypothesis. The peer-review process hangs it’s head in shame!

South Park provides this amazingly concise explanation of evolution:

Humans are extremophiles too, my friend! Listen to Rick Santorum make a First Amendment argument in favor of religious discrimination and be amazed!

Here’s a mashup of GOP trogs citing the Bible to deny climate change, featuring Oklahoma’s gift to comedy, Sen. James Mountain Inhofe. Kind of explains a lot, don’t you think?

And Jeb Bush confirms he hasn’t the honesty or reasoning skills to be president by accusing that Socialist Kenyan president of closing the Vatican Embassy in retaliation for Catholic opposition to the ACA. Ironically, the process of moving the embassy from its current location to the compound at the U.S. Embassy to Italy began under Jeb’s brother, President George W. Bush and will save $1.4 million a year. IT’S TRANNY!

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, this little amusement for you:

Dead Parrots and Southern Fried Boneheads

November 25, 2013

Maine ‘Mystery Beast’ could be a ‘Chimichanga’! Run for your lives!

The United States and five other world powers announced a landmark accord Sunday morning that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement. Now, the hard part: the Obama administration must convince U.S. lawmakers to back the plan. Let the games begin!

According to the Department of Defense’s Military Sexual Assault Report for 2012, an estimated 26,000 members of the United States military were sexually assaulted in that year.  Of those sexual assaults, 53 percent (approximately 14,000 in 2012) were attacks on men.

Monty Python adds four dates after their reunion show sells out in 43.5 seconds.

‘How does a plant make their food? Do they use a microwave?’: The failure of science education in the United States.

Southern fried boneheads have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed the LeBeau Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish. The men were apparently looking for ghosts at the mansion, which has long been the subject of ghost stories in St. Bernard. When no ghosts emerged, the group set the mansion on fire. Drugs and alcohol were involved, along with just being a bunch of dumbasses.

An Ex-Cop’s Guide to Not Getting Arrested. Rule #1: stay invisible. And don’t burn buildings down. Sheesh!

From Dangerous Minds‘EEFING’: CAN YOU HANDLE HILLBILLY BEATBOXING? I knew I hadn’t just imagined this!

Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions. Could this explain why the poorest states keep voting for the GOP/Tea Party candidates, thus making things ever worse for themselves?

A British academic believes she has identified the precise spot of the elusive Hanging Gardens of Babylon… only it wasn’t exactly in Babylon.

More on Public Transportation in Tulsa

I found an interesting discussion at Stack Exchange on public transit bus efficiency. An analysis of the average  BTUs/passenger-mile figures for U.S. cities shows:

  • Cars: 3,437 BTUs/passenger-mile
  • Buses: 4,348 BTUs/passenger-mile

This is aggregate data for all buses in all cities in operation, with some cities doing better than the average, others considerably worse. Passenger-miles are a summation of (passenger_n * miles_n) for all passengers (1 passenger mile = 1 passenger travelling 1 mile, 2 passengers travelling 0.5 miles, etc).

The state of Oklahoma shows something over 5,500 BTU/passenger mile for buses, reflecting the outcome of running empty buses on routes at times of low ridership. Running ‘behemoth buses’ at any time other than high-load times is obviously a complete waste of money. Smaller, more flexible vehicle options (such as jitneys) would address this problem while cutting costs and improving service.

Considering that the busses used by Tulsa Transit carry sticker prices somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 each, maybe its time Tulsa Transit, INCOG and the powers that be get their heads together and come up with a transit plan that makes more sense than just throwing more ‘behemoth buses’ at the problem? I mean, if they really want a sustainable, working public transportation system. That IS what they say they want, isn’t it?

It’s probably good GM’s gas-guzzling “Leisure-Mobile” never got made, or Tulsa Transit would want to run it.

They Live, We Sleep

October 30, 2013

NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT

 CONSUME

REMAIN ASLEEP

I rewatched the 1988 John Carpenter classic “They Live” for what must be the Nth time last night, and I’m amazed at how well it has retained its relevance. The social satire works as well against the backdrop of the voodoo economics of the Reagan-Bush years as it would in the midst of the Occupy Wall Street protests. This is partly because the issues remain the same (increasing income inequality, an economy cratered by the untouchable & uncaring rich, relentless mass-media manipulation) and partly because, well, John Carpenter just plain makes damned good movies.

Origins

The script for “They Live” was based on “Eight O’Clock in the Morning”, a short story written by Ray Nelson almost a half century ago. Ray had a very interesting and multi-faceted career, not only as a writer and cartoonist, but as a smuggler of pornography: according to his IMDB bio, in the 1950s he helped Michael Moorcock sneak the works of Henry Miller out of France.

Ray has another claim to cultural fame as well: he has the singular distinction of having been the inventor of the propeller beanie in 1947. While still in high school, he and some friends were goofing around at a science fiction convention and put some together from plastic scraps. The rest is history. He once remarked, “Centuries after all my writings have been forgotten, in some far corner of the galaxy, a Beany-Copter will still be spinning.”

I’m going to install a propeller on my bike helmet and then go read some dirty books in Ray Nelson’s honor, and I hope you’ll all do something along the same lines.

Seventy-five years ago, on Oct. 30, 1938, mere hours before Halloween began, millions of Americans got the fright of a lifetime: Orson Welles, 23 at the time, performed a radio dramatization of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds…without reveling that it was a play. The morning after press conference was a classic.

Radiolab contrasts the aftermath of the original broadcast in 1938 with the repeat performance in Quito, Ecuador in 1949. Let’s just say there was a strong public reaction. And mayhem.

Christianity may have appropriated the honoring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd, but Samhain is what got this party started.

Okay, the link-bait got me, but in a good way: “What is a walipini?”. Turns out it’s a low-tech in-ground greenhouse that uses the thermal mass of the soil to keep it growing things all year round. There’s more on them here.

We humans are “Narrative Machines“, constantly rewriting the stories of our lives. It’s how we make sense of things, pinning the chaos down to a single perspective.

I agree, this church does rather resemble a penis when seen from the air. And it’s not even thinking about butt-sex with Westboro!

We’ll miss Lou Reed. Simonson, not so much.

October 29, 2013

http://youtu.be/Fr8CszsqLGk

Pioneering rocker and songwriter Lou Reed died Sunday at the age of 71.  He is survived by spouse Laurie Anderson, and will be mourned by his peers and millions of fans. His influence was by no means limited to music.

The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy? My money is on saving it, actually.

If you lived here you’d be home by now: Earthships, the post-apocalyptic housing of tomorrow, today!

Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Google’s fingerprints are all over it.

Why it sucks to be a chicken anywhere, and why Western Imperialist chickens are no good for fortune-telling in Mali.

The NSA is concerned bummed that teenagers are sexting less.

From the “All Politics is Local and Personal” Department

Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s former chief of staff on Tulsa’s disproportionate murder rate:

It’s hard for the community to be concerned about the number of homicides when it’s gang members killing gang members. When you think about it, who’s really complaining about that?

Double dittos! Those stray bullets are a lifestyle choice ‘those people’ made by being poor and ‘ethnic’! No skin off your self-entitled, lily-white, gated-community ass, eh, Terry? They need to just pull themselves up by their zip-codes, amIright?

Yes, I rather think that Mr. Simonson is what thinking people call an “irredeemable cocksucker”, in case I was being too subtle.

Simonson was Dewey’s go-to guy before a very petty little corruption scandal finally forced him out. Who needs any other reason to change mayors?