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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.

 

 

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Happy Easter and Other Stuff

April 20, 2014

Look out, Leonardo, I’m adding a new nerd-crush! The obscure genius of Cornelius Drebbel: Renaissance “engeneere” or “vulgar mechanic”?

Truth is one of the first casualties of War. Russian press harangued the Kiev transitional government as being controlled by neo-nazis, then leaflets demanding that Jews register were reported in pro-Russian province.A UN report urges all parties to knock it off because people will do horrendous things when they think they are right.

In other news, Mike Huckabee compares the U.S. unfavorably to North Korea. Sharp as a knot-hole, that guy!

Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200,000 hectares planted with the poppy for the first time, the United Nations says“.

Bloomberg has a nice visual presentation, “How Americans Die“, that gives pause for thought. Why is suicide taking such a huge statistical slice out of most age groups?

The (non)persecution of the Goddists: If you can get a New Jersey vanity license plate that reads “BAPTIST,” why not one that reads “8THEIST”? (The answer is ‘you can, but you have to be willing to sue’).

Research on coaxial lasers shows promise in triggering rain and lightning on demand.

If only they were furriners, dagnabbit! The cos-play convention of armed lunatics in support of Cliven Bundy’s decades-long criminal activity offers a unique opportunity for federal authorities to identify and interdict a butt-load of domestic terrorists. I’m sure the opportunity will be wasted.

 

As Radio Shack Lays Dying — A Love Letter

March 5, 2014

Once the go-to shop for American geekdom, Radio Shack is closing another 1000 retail outlets. Some blame Amazon, the internet, a dumbed-down consumer even, but Radio Shack really has no-one to blame but themselves.

Radio Shack, we were once friends, lovers even, so take this as friendly advice: abandon your current, worthless PR efforts (after the firing squads are done, anyway) and re-engage with your core market. Or… just die. Preferably quickly.

That sounds harsh, but that’s how things are now.

Regarding your PR: does Toys’R’Us buy ad-space in the ‘Journal of Injection Moulded Plastics’? Of course not.
So why does
 Radio Shack buy ads in magazines catering to electrical engineers? A smiting is warranted by this abject idiocy.

Also, is this lame ‘Do It Together’ campaign the best you can do, a shitty logo with nothing to back it up? How does this engage anyone that doesn’t already shop at Radio Shack? ‘We’re Doing Ourselves’ would have been a more appropriate slogan. Those behind this wasted effort should be fired, and I’m not just talking about the ad agency. All it takes is one glance to see that somebody at Radio Shack didn’t have their thinking cap on… or just quit trying. 

Your core market:  the DIY folks — the enthusiasts, tinkerers and crackpot inventors. You know, like those ne’er-do-wells named Wozniak and Jobs? The polite term is ‘Maker’ now and if you can bring yourself to become a useful resource to them, the Makers can save your feckless corporate ass. 

Drop the appliances and cellphones and all that other crap that every other retailer kicks your butt at and focus on the Makers that nobody else is serving. This market is yours to lose.

Cast your minds back to the Tandy Leather stores, the sister shops to the old Radio Shack. The joke used to be that fetishists were keeping them in business. But if you drop over to their website, take a look at their in-store class schedules.  Hmmm, that’s a tool of engagement that Radio Shack never offered. Interesting. And predictive. 

I know you’ve tried carrying a few fun products like Arduinos and Basic Stamps (hidden between the mountains of bullshit, toys and iPhone cases), but there is a big difference between putting a product on your shelf and actually engaging potential customers for that product. You already know this, right? Well, do something about it!

Everything wrong at Radio Shack can be fixed. If you need some ideas (and you really-really do, old chum!), here’s a few freebies:

  • Sponsor local school Chess Clubs and Science Fairs. This is where Makers and geeks come from!
  • Hold some kind of in-store intro classes. If they don’t know how to use it, they won’t buy it! Of course, you’ll need someone with a clue to teach these classes, so…
  • Get to know your local Makers, maybe even hire a few of them: think ‘seed crystals’! These folks network and scheme and organize. Use them!
  • Make ‘The Shack’ a meeting place for those techie losers… just like in the old days. Knowledgeable staff and espresso would help.
  • Sponsor your local hackerspace(s)! A few resistors and some soldering irons would make a big splash for little cash!
  • Quit doing everything you are doing now that doesn’t work and THINK for a change!

Regarding your stupid Super Bowl ad: Makers don’t give a fuck about your shitty store fixtures… but I’d bet they would compete to design and fabricate some very sweet custom fixtures for their local ‘Rat Shat’. Just sayin’.

Amazon and other online sellers are slaughtering small retailers. They used to say the same thing about big box stores. But guess what? You can’t stream a hands-on experience. I had a coffee seller tell me that they didn’t bother with an on-line presence because that’s not what sells coffee. Same thing with Makers and their tactile, muscle-memory, wiggle-that-wire meatspace. You cannot put that experience or that face-to-face learning down a wire, not even a coaxial one. That’s what Radio Shack has to stick to if it wants to survive.

Do you get it, old friend?
We don’t like watching you die from self-inflicted wounds.
You can fix this… and your shareholders and the Makers would be thankful if you did.

I Love the Smell of Engineering in the Morning!

January 3, 2014

The Science (and social ‘dos’ of) building better Syrian barrel bombs. The Al-Assad regime’s campaign of ‘barrel bombs’ gets Brown Moses interested, so he’s providing in-depth commentary, box scores.  Should I be sad or happy that all these equations are ‘canonical’ in the trade? “Based on this equation, the optimum fragment mass can be computed to increase barrel bomb performance”:

Gun suicides kill the equivalent of two Sandy Hook shootings a day. But it’s just so goddamn depressing to talk about, so we just … don’t.

These New-Fangled Books Will Doom Us All! “New Media” has been controversial for going on 600 years.

Bill, watch out for that ‘Gish Gallop’! I fear this may not end well.

Hey, guys? I brought the hacky sack! : Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around.

On the Established Origins of Particular Beasts from the Monster Manual.

Sex and Drugs and Ice Age Furries

December 28, 2013

The British Museum boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind ran from 7 February until 26 May 2013, but the photos are to die for.

Researchers have drawn up the first definitive list of genetic changes that make modern humans different from our nearest ancient ancestors, who died out tens of thousands of years ago. “We are quite confident that among these genetic changes lie the basis for the interesting differences between modern humans and Neanderthals,” said Janet Kelso, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

“Minted in Norway, spent in Iceland, gambled in Greenland, traded in Newfoundland, carried to Goddard where it fell through a hole in a brave’s pocket”. Beach brings us the tale of the Maine Penny, a medieval coin found in New England soil. Looks like one of the legit OOP artifacts.

But what if humans are not smarter than animals – we just don’t understand them? I repeat: there’s always the results of the Laser Pointer Test to consider!

Godfather Christmas and the Yuletide Enforcers: Have Yourself a Monstrous Christmas!

Neanderthals may have invented a tool that is still in use today. Bone tool called ‘lissoir’ made by Neanderthals is similar to instruments still used by modern leather workers.

Mark Plotkin’s “Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest” sounds like an interesting read.

How much of religious history was influenced by mind-altering substances? I’ve got a small bet in favor of the psychoactives triggering the development of culture, myself. What would a developing culture make of the shamans that continued to explore Nature’s neuroactive toolkit for performance tuning? Were they later called Evil Wizards?

St. Steven’s Day! At Last!

December 26, 2013

Wait, I said RENT-boys, not wren-boys! Oh, well, just have to go with it I guess.

Some epic science stock photo fails. I mean, it’s like print models have never done science!

Ho-ho-ho! Bloomberg anchor gets Bitcoin on live TV and is promptly robbed by a viewer, who scanned the QR code in HD. The hack was “So freaking classic but also a GREAT lesson in bitcoin security!”, well worth the $20 bux.

Why did Hitler crave the missing panel in the famous Ghent Altarpiece? Maybe because the Nazi’s paranormal research group thought the masterpiece contained a map to the Holy Grail.

Speaking of Holy Grails: Israeli discovery matches right antidepressant for each patient with a simple blood-test, maybe. Genetic study suggest that depression may be caused not by lack of serotonin, but because of damage to the brain synapses.

An open letter to Dennis Rodman from Shin Dong-Hyuk, born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea- Dear Dennis Rodman: consider a few facts of life.

Presidential Study Directive 10 (PSD-10) came into being in 2011, declaring for the first time that “preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.” It just helped stop a genocide in the Central African Republic.

Elliot Ackerman makes the case for female SEALS.

Getaround Strikes Deal To Offer Discounted Leases For Smart Cars Listed On Its Rental Platform. Interesting integrated marketing going on here.

I’ve got both killer apnea and an aversion to CPAP masks (alien face-huggers, yaaaa!).  I did apnea surgery a decade or two ago. It was the most inconvenient recovery I’ve ever had, and it didn’t work for me. At all.  I’m still rattling the hardware on the dresser loose.  That’s bad, so alternatives always interested me. This abstract cites long term relief for 8/20 in a preliminary study exploring the effects of botox injection. Results are encouraging. Anyone heard anything about this?

I see we’ve all survived the holidays with family? Oh, good. Some holiday cheer from The Chieftains w/Elvis!

A Map of Sin and the Death of the Dumpling King!

December 19, 2013

New archaeological evidence from China for the first time documents a chain of events that forged the relationship between human and feline.

#Srirachapocalypse: the ongoing Huy Fong saga. This time it’s personal! Should I start shopping my “Srirachanado!” script yet?

Ohsho Dumpling King Dead after Suspected Shooting! Last year, Japan’s National Police Agency reported 17 gun murders. In the U.S., where population is about 2.5 times greater than Japan, the number of homicides involving firearms hovers around 10,000 per year.

Two-Headed Pig Underscores China’s Need For Quality Semen!

Some naughty crinimals hacked Target’s credit card data over Black Friday. Easier to carry than gold bars, I guess.

Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s new “superhero” robot.  Okay fine, it was designed to be able to access disaster areas and help rescue survivors. Let’s all hope for very slow disaster scenarios and that the bots can play Wagner.

The Only Thing Weirder Than a Telemarketing Robot… a Telemarketing Cyborg!!!?

Sun will ‘flip upside down’ within weeks, says NASA. It does that. The SyFy original is bound to write itself.

It’s the end of the world for radio evangelist Harold Camping. Same goes for legendary country singer Ray Price.

How Benign Bacteria Evolve to Virulent Pathogens: it’s just a shout away!

A Map of the Weirdest Sex Laws in the United States. Oklahoma bar owners: you MUST NOT ALLOW simulated sex with animals (not even them fancy animatronic ones)  on your premises! IT’S THE LAW!!!

Little Bunny Foo-Foo

December 14, 2013

Make that ‘Little Bunny YuTu’:  Good luck to ‘Jade Rabbit!! China has achieved the first soft landing on the Moon in 37 years!

The 500 people who live in Awra Amba, Ethiopia, do things a little differently, by design. The village has a mill, where grain is crushed into flour, a textile factory, a café, a tourist hostel, and two stores that cater to people from outside the village. Yet the people of Awra Amba do not follow organized religion, and that can make waves with neighboring communities. Let’s hope they don’t weigh the same as a duck, eh?

Here’s chapter and verse on a more-or-less comprehensive list of things banned in Leviticus. Some seem awfully petty. A number of them are punishable by death.

‘Rudolph’ is non-canonical. Death to the Rudolphite heretics! And the adventures of a philosophically inclined mailman.

This Khmer Rouge history lesson by Spalding Gray still fascinates me.

Walt Disney as a complex character of his times with some kinks and warts. In The Wayward Canary, from 1932, Minnie Mouse seems to own a lighter with a swastika on it, for some reason.

Traditional Catalan nativity scenes include a figure you don’t see in the States much.  He is known in Catalan as the caganer. That translates most politely as ‘the defecator’ – and there he is, squatting under a tree with his trousers down.

There’s so many similarities between the mythology of faeries and ETs, it’s like they were one and the same critters.

Nifty rocket launcher, it’s like a lazy-susan of deathThis is sooo coool, but it needs Ron Popeil to really sell it!

Did you know mammoths still walked the earth when the Great Pyramid was being built?

Here’s some early incarnations of some iconic toys.

When do the action figures arrive? Google has officially acquired Boston Dynamics, makers of robots as cool as they are terrifying. We are ordered not to fear them.

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.