Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

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.


Dead Parrots and Mind-Controlled Flamethrowers

September 25, 2013

I recently had the pleasure of watching “A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman“. It is certainly an interesting and entertaining film.

Remember that time back in the 1990s when Walt Disney was awakened from his cryogenic sleep, started building artificial islands off the coast of Massachusetts, and then privatized the U.S. military to protect his new capitalist paradise from an evil, one-world government?

Why do people want to eat babies? Admit it: When presented with a baby, you’ve experienced a fleeting desire to eat it. Now science has an explanation.

Evaluation of transformative hermeneutic heuristics for processing random data” has been published in the magazine Metalurgia International. It cites ground-breaking research by Ron Jeremy, Michael Jackson and the noted Kazakh polymath B. Sagdiyev (AKA Borat).

Speaking of scholarly research, the folks at Pornhub have mapped the the most common porn search terms (and site visit duration statistics) for the lower 48 states.

In a new Playboy interview, actor Samuel L. Jackson, who has made an art of the f-bomb, says Barack Obama should “be fucking presidential,” and, on GOP obstruction, “there was a time we would be in the streets about this shit.”

Top Nevada GOPer Brags 2014 Will Be ‘A Great Year For Republicans’ Because Minorities Won’t Vote.

i3 Detroit, a collaborative workspace just north of the city, brings people together to build cool things… like mind-controlled flamethrowers.

A first: Stanford engineers build computer using carbon nanotube technology.

A scanning electron microscopy image of a section of the first ever carbon nanotube computer. Credit: Butch Colyear

It’s a Wonderful World

August 27, 2013

The Onion called it in 2008: Sources Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2013

Schizophrenia just ain’t what it used to be. ‘For an illness that is often characterized as a break with reality, psychosis keeps remarkably up to date.’

“…There is no Cause of Fear, tho’ possibly there may be of Laughter”: How 3 street drugs got their start

“Running of the Bulls” meets “Crashing of the Drones” in Virginia. Only 5 were injured, none of whom were insurgents prior to the event

TooMuchCoffeeMan: “Would you rather work retail or..?“. Wheeler is also selling the original artwork for his “McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit” strip (which is well worth a read)

Terror of the Tokoloshe: The Untold Story of Southern Africa’s Hairy Invisible Ghost Rapist

Beach looks at “Pre-Viking Vikings in the Faroes

Nick Redfern presents an argument against “Flying Triangle” UFOs being mere top-secret aircraft

Missile silo homes are okay I guess, but houses in water towers have better light

Obesity: it’s not just for humans any more. Both wild and domestic animals are putting on the pounds

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Inca Empire was the largest South America had ever known. Rich in foodstuffs, textiles, gold, and coca, the Inca were masters of city building but nevertheless had no money. In fact, they had no marketplaces at all

Roman-era nano-tech that starts out green, turns red

More colorful nano-tech: Peter Dinklage hula-hooping in a gay bar in Canada

All that Syria stuff-

The Supervillain Syndrome: why dictators like Assad just can’t quit while they’re ahead.

Syria strike due in days, West tells opposition – sources

Brown Moses shows how open-source photo interpretation works in “Finding The Exact Location Of An Alleged Chemical Munition, And What It Could Mean

RogueAdventurer Blog has analysis of the delivery systems photographed at the scene of the crimes in Syria.

Planning is everything: “Required Sorties and Weapons to Degrade Syrian Air Force Excluding Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)”, an analysis by Christopher Harmer, Senior Naval Analyst, Institute for the Study of War (31 July 2013). The author has stated elsewhere that punitive strikes that don’t advance policy are “stupid

Mapped: 34 Places In Syria Likely to Get Hit With a U.S. Cruise Missile. Call them ‘neighborhoods in transition’.

We are ‘GO’ for the Tulsa Mini Maker Faire!

August 16, 2013


(Update: This Saturday, 28 September is the big day. I’ve been nervously watching the weather forecasts and trying to optimize my load-out for the possibility of clouds and/or rain. Since my original plans were for solar, electrical and chemical manipulations of matter, rain is decidedly counter to my plans, so I’m hoping it won’t be happening.  If it’s overcast, maybe I won’t be able to cook hot dogs with the Fresnel spiral solar concentrator, but the electro-etching and stove-top brass making demo can still happen. A full downpour will put a damper on pretty much everything. Keep your fingers crossed!)  

My theme is “Make It: Cheap and Dirty” – or – How to do stuff you shouldn’t be able to do… for next to nothing!”  I’m placing a heavy emphasis on re-use, re-purposing and the “it isn’t junk unless you don’t use it” principle.

I’m going with more an “open play” format than a fixed spiel. Sure, I’ll have some handouts of the how-tos that ran in Steampunk Magazine, some basic “Ohm’s Law” level electronics theory, some link-lists of fun/educational stuff and I’ll have some of my cheap/dirty projects on hand to show how little refinement is required to get usable results. Mostly I’ll be demonstrating simple methods of making-tweaking-hacking things and generally trying to get people used to the idea that tinkering is rewarding! 

My updated agenda:

  • Fire up the ‘Eurosealer’ and clothes iron to illustrate plastic fusing techniques to improvise a rain-shelter from plastic grocery bags and drop-cloths (and possibly floatation devices, as required)
  • Turn dull, everyday bronze pennies into golden BRASS pennies for the kids (and others), just to break the ice
  • Talk about the cheap tools I just can’t live without, the beauty of pawn shops, garage sales and why “cheap” can be “best”
  • Give a quick rundown of some of my favorite household chemicals and the amazing things you can do with them (with demos), applied dumpster-diving, constructive cannibalism, why you should never throw away a “wall-wart”, general Q&A and other cheap-simple-dirty topics, tips and tricks
  • Etch some printed circuit boards with cheap, simple and surprisingly “green” chemicals, demonstrate electro-cleaning and galvanic etching
  • Provide a hands-on soldering tutorial and demo ‘surface mount’ soldering without special tools (you got a hot air gun, toaster oven or electric skillet?)
  • Share a couple of really cheap/simple solar concentrator designs (Update: no sun, no point- information only)
  • Assure you that you can take on that ‘Wild Blue Project’ you’ve been putting off, extoll on the value of creative failure and the benefits of a ‘Stop Planning and Just Do It, Already!‘ attitude

More than this I cannot say at this time.  If you’ve got any ‘idears’ to add (I’ve got eight hours, 8!) let me know early so I can be prepared!

I’m certain that this will be a whole lot of fun and I hope you’ll all come by to say howdy, and be sure to visit Dana Swift@Swift Science (he explained digital electronics to me the only time it ever stuck, back when I still fit my Star Trek uniform), the Tulsa Garden Railroad Club (my very oldest friends!) and all the other fine presenters at this, the very first Tulsa Mini Maker Faire!

Well put: “I don’t care what the [expletive] Americans think!”

July 12, 2013


Taiwan has disguised the command and control vehicles for its newest cruise missiles as delivery trucks. Seriously! Defense News’ Asia bureau chief Wendell Minnick got a Taiwanese military official to acknowledge that the missile trucks have been disguised as delivery trucks — an “idiotic” and “embarrassing” move, according to the official. The Hsiung Feng 2E land-attack cruise missiles reportedly have a range of 745 miles and race toward their targets at Mach 3.

When asked if Taipei was concerned the U.S. would object to the new missiles because they violate the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) — which limits missile payloads to 500 kilograms and ranges of no more than 300 kilometers — one government source replied, “This is a 1,000 percent violation of the MTCR, and I don’t care what the [expletive] Americans think“. Former vice minister of defense for policy, Lin Chong Pin, said China has more than one way to take Taiwan. “China these days does not rely on military instruments as such to achieve its ultimate goal of unification,” he said. All that China has to do, with the opening of direct Chinese investment into Taiwan, is “to buy Taiwan.” This is “cheaper than to attack Taiwan,” Lin said.

A robotic X-47B  landed, took off and landed again on an aircraft carrier off the Virginia coast Wednesday, catapulting the Navy into the next generation of autonomous aviation. However, after two successful landings (and after the first group of reporters left the Bush on the Osprey to return to Washington), the third and final approach by ‘Salty Dog 502’ failed. The aircraft “self-detected a navigation computer anomaly” and opted to land itself at Wallops Island Air Field, for safety.  “X-47B navigated to and landed without incident,” according to a statement from the Navy. So, technically, the X-47B program isn’t over – it must complete the third landing before the ‘fat lady sings’. Then Navy officials will determine what more to do with the twin prototypes before ultimately retiring them (I’d suggest a ‘demonstration flight’ over the Presidential Palace in Syria as one possible option).

Egypt’s new military-led government broadened its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday, issuing arrest warrants for nine top Brotherhood officials, including Mohamed Badie, the group’s spiritual leader. Meanwhile, the restoration of power, disappearance of gas lines, and immediate deployment of police forces after the last week’s military takeover suggest that remnants of Hosni Mubarak’s regime played a significant role in undermining Morsy prior to his ouster. “This was preparing for the coup,” Naser el-Farash, a spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsy told the New York Times.

The head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said Wednesday that the damaged nuclear facility in Fukushima has most likely been leaking contaminated water since 2011. In unusually candid comments, Shunichi Tanaka, the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, also said that neither his staff nor the plant’s operator knew exactly where the leaks were coming from, or how to stop them.

Down with Drones, self-defense tactics against the menace from above, is sort of a free-association laundry list on what looks like an orphaned domain. Still, some giggles/ideas.

I am really looking forward to sharing my DIY “Lawnhenge” project, but Indian Territory is under this wave of oppressive 100°F heat lately, so I’ve been making like a Morlock of late, hiding from the sun and trying to stay cool.  Look for it in the next few days.

The United States of Looney and Killer ‘Bots

May 31, 2013

92 years ago today, Tulsa was the site of what remains the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 left the Greenwood area, once known as “The Black Wall Street”, a smoking ruin.

Imprisoned CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou sends us a “Letter from Loretto”: “It turned out that I had to get a copy of my formal sentencing documents to prove that I wasn’t a child molester. I did that, and was welcomed by the Aryans, who aren’t really Aryans but more accurately self-important hillbillies.”

Ricin is all the rage again! Once the hallmark of basement-dwelling militia losers, now dangerous gun-kook losers are showing their patriotism by mailing ricin-tainted letters to the President of the United States, the Mayor of NYC and so forth, because TYRANNY! What a compelling argument for their cause. Let’s hope they get to argue their case from a cage in Gitmo, like the cowardly terrorists they are.

…And right on cue, noted ass-clown Alex Jones is ready to claim it’s all a setup by the Illuminati or something. Makes so much more sense than just your average knuckle-dragging gun-crazies, right?

…Meanwhile, responsible Americans (including non-insane gun owners) are polling at 80% or more in favor of universal background checks.

Manufactroversy (măn’yə-făk’-trə-vûr’sē)
N., pl. -sies.

1. A manufactured controversy that is motivated by profit or extreme ideology to intentionally create public confusion about an issue that is not in dispute.
2. Effort is often accompanied by imagined conspiracy theory and major marketing dollars involving fraud, deception and polemic rhetoric.

Local parents and the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Springboro school board on Thursday to abandon a proposed policy listing creationism and evolution as “controversial issues” appropriate for discussion by Springboro students. They must love paying the ACLU’s legal fees.

The Louisiana House Education Committee killed a measure to repeal a 1981 creationism law on Wednesday, even though the Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional. The 1987 decision Aguillard v. Edwards ruled that their swamp-tard law was clearly intended “to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind” and therefore violated the First Amendment. They must love paying the ACLU’s legal fees.

Noted creationist flim-flam artist Kent Hovind (AKA “Dr. Dino), has been ordered to pay more than $3.3 million in taxes and penalties, according to court documents filed May 15. He is currently in the Federal Correctional Institution in Berlin, N.H., serving a 10-year prison sentence for failing to collect and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee-related taxes, obstructing tax laws and structuring transactions to avoid financial reporting laws. In other words “a holy man”.

Well, it finally happened: Michele Bachmann announced today that she won’t be running. And comedians across the country suddenly feel the weight of a great depression.
{I can’t be sure, but in the late ’70s/early ’80s I think I ran into ‘Bonkers Bachmann’ leading those zombies waving signs and screaming incredibly hateful things at the staff and clients of the Reproductive Services clinic in Tulsa. We tried to engage them reasonably once and came away convinced they were all psychotic. That would jibe with what we’ve all seen after she hit the national stage}.

Jack (John Holbrook) Vance, American mystery, fantasy and science fiction author, passed away Sunday, May 26 at the age of 96. Jack died peacefully in his sleep. Rest in peace and thanks for all those wonderful stories.

The UN Human Rights Council, meeting in Geneva, has produced a report calling for a moratorium on the development and use of “lethal autonomous robots” (LAR) while the ethical questions they raise are debated. LARs are machines programmed in advance to take out people or targets, which – unlike drones – operate autonomously on the battlefield.

SkyNet calling on line one! Behold the Guardium, which is exactly what the UN is worried about. Israel’s killer robot cars are currently patrolling the border with Gaza. Equipped with “auto-target acquisition”, they can “react to unscheduled events, in line with a set of guidelines specifically programmed for the site characteristics and security routines”.  That means that if it sees something it doesn’t like, it can apparently take action all on its own — hopefully alerting humans in a command center before opening fire. The IDF says the little robo-cars can “use various forceful methods to eliminate” threats.

UAVs in Domestic Airspace: Some Thoughts

With the FAA set to “integrate” UAVs into U.S. airspace in 2015, now is as good a time as any to give some real thought as to whether this is the best idea.

Now, don’t get me wrong: my black hat doesn’t have a tin-foil liner, but I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the appalling litany of UAV/drone failures and long-known vulnerabilities  in the open literature. I wouldn’t feel safe with that junk flying over my head and you probably shouldn’t either. Here’s a few reasons why:

A common design feature on many drones is how they act when they lose contact with their controllers: in the event of communication loss the drone is programmed to land automatically, “for safety”. That doesn’t work so well sometimes.

During the first demonstration of their shiny new UAV, the Montgomery (TX) Sheriff’s Department  found this out the hard way. While flying at an altitude of 18 feet, their $300,000 drone helicopter lost communications and performed an auto-land maneuver… right into their own Bearcat armored vehicle. There were no injuries reported, but imagine the same thing happening over a playground full of kids: the outcome would be “sub-optimal” (AKA disastrous).

Danger Room has pointed out that since many drones depend on GPS, and that GPS is a very low-power signal from space that is totally without any authentication whatsoever, UAVs (or anything else) depending on GPS for timing or navigation functions are incredibly vulnerable to attack by jamming or spoofing.

Jamming can be as simple as a $50 (illegal, but readily available) GPS jammer or a homebrew RF white noise source. Spoofing can be more complex, but simply receiving the GPS baseband signal, adding a bit of delay, then re-transmitting it at a high enough signal level to swamp the “genuine” one at the target can severely screw with many GPS-based systems (I’m looking at you, wireless broadband networks). Iran has claimed to have “hijacked” one of the CIA’s own RQ-170 drones by making it think it was at its designated landing coordinates.

Drone vs. Drone

May 29, 2013

Domestic Drone Countermeasures LLC doesn’t go into many specifics, but says they can offer services that will make sure you aren’t being spied on by hovering eyes in the sky. (Let the race begin! GPS jammers, optical dazzlers, flares, solvent spray,  butterfly nets, prop-foulers, tethers lassos, grapples, barrage balloons and fly-paper and… this could be Big Fun!)

Germany’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to combat the scourge of graffiti.

One will really amaze you, the other just eats his mates: In the Land of Giant Pink Slugs.

Renegotiation of contract with Chinese company mean more time to dig and document Afghanistan’s ancient Buddhist city.

Something you don’t see every day: Guantanamo Bay prison guard finds peace by converting to Islam.

A most difficult employee: he didn’t answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings, refused to carry out orders and to top it off he used the wrong cover sheets for his TPS reports! Al Qaeda’s HR nightmare with Moktar Belmoktar, international terrorist.

In the Great White North it’s skateboard vs. cougar. The skateboard wins this round.

Are Monarch butterflies remembering a mountain that hasn’t existed for millennia?

Even crucifixion beats a Windows 8 rollout: former IT specialist claims to be Jesus reborn.

At it was with VHS and DVD (and every communications technology before them), so it shall be for Google Glass.

Now let’s make some big, happy monsters!

Dream Big: How innovators really arrive at their big ideas.

Poll scientific specialists on evolution and global warming, and you get a strong consensus that the data is equally strong: Denialists clutch at the most similar straws. In the interest of “balance”, here’s the “Advanced Supersonic Nazi Hell Creatures from Beneath the Hollow Earth Theory“, coming soon to a classroom near you!

An Electric Memorial Day

May 27, 2013

It was called the GE Elec-Trak: a home sized electric tractor that was built the 70′s.  It has a large following of enthusiasts that restore and use them. (Thanks, John Robb!)

Google X just bought Makani Power, makers of a really odd-ball airborne wind turbine system. Google CEO Larry Page approved the acquisition, but as Google X’s director Astro Teller notes, Page said that X “could have the budget and the people to go do this, but that we had to make sure to crash at least five of the devices in the near future.”

Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is the boogie-man threat that just won’t die. The Heritage Foundation even promotes “EMP Awareness Day” and Congress empanelled a Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack in 2001 (and reauthorized it in 2006). There’s even an “EMP Caucus.” No, I don’t know if they wear little tinfoil hats at their caucus meetings. Why would you ask something like that?

Hey, China has cranky hacks just like Tom Clancy! Sites like give a glimpse into the union of Chinese sci-fi and war fanfic. Welcome to the strange underground world of Chinese military fantasy novels. (Spoiler alert: Japan always loses).

Speaking of cranky hacks, anyone remember when Sen. Coburn was all agitated about (imaginary) rampant lesbianism in SE Okla public schools?  Well, it turns out he’s said a lot of kooky things, like that silicone breast implants make you healthier, for instance. He’s a lousy doctor, a batty senator and a miserable human being to boot! Here’s a little lullaby for Senator Coburn, because Jesus thinks he’s a dumbass.

There’s been a very small study published claiming that electro-neural stimulation improves math learning. The military has been investigating it for years with interesting results. If anyone is interested in experimenting, I’m working on a USB-based DIY unit. Leave a comment if interested.

Here’s a time-capsule of one of the great minds praising the chronic: Carl Sagan Extols the Virtues of Cannabis (1969).

I can’t decide if Brunelleschi was a freaking genius or just one sick son-of-a-bitch.  Perhaps both. An elaborate practical joke by the master of Renaissance mind-fuck.

Could 3D Printed Food End Hunger Once and for All? My bet is it will just streamline the process at Mickie D’s. “I can’t believe it’s not food!”

Ed Yong explains new research on the signal pathway of itching. It doesn’t seem to be a subset of “pain” at all!

I want to be too big to fail. Explains my waistline.

To see Joseph Stalin as brooding revolutionary rather than mass-murdering dictator, check out Fuck Yeah Young Stalin. But for the really sexy side of the valiant struggle of the urban proletariat there’s Cosmarxpolitan.

The lovely Hannah Peel covers OMD’s “Electricity” accompanied by a hand-cranked music box.

The Mother of Invention

March 1, 2013

Authorities have seized a canon used to launch bundles of drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border. Sometimes it’s nice to see your crazy ideas validated.

UAVs for smuggling? Been done, old news, in multiple countries.

The Atlantic brings us more pictures of the improvised weapons of the Syrian rebel forces. No shortage of ingenuity there.

Behold the Escape Ring! A neater gadget I’ve not seen lately.

A large collection of slightly less neato improvisations can be found here. Prior art is always a source of inspiration for me.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: ““Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

Ridicule remains a potent weapon, indeed. Watching the Westboro nimrods getting savagely trolled warms the cockles of my heart:

Lies, False Flags and Innuendo

February 26, 2013

The Nation devotes an issue to the utterly bogus “Fix the Debt” astro-turf campaign sponsored by billionaire corporate criminals. Why don’t we go back to the Good Old Days, when these scheming bastards paid a tax rate of 90%? That would ‘fix the debt’ even better.

Mercenary emails indicate U.S. may have proposed “false flag” chemical warfare attack to cook Syrian goose. Just a swell bunch of guys all around.

Speaking of false flags and camouflage, I found some interesting notes over at Wired: militants in Mali left behind some interesting documents on DIY drone proofing for buildings and vehicles, and there’s a story of our own troops spoofing surveillance drones to cover up a murder.

Ray Cusick, designer of the “Doctor Who” Daleks, has died. He was 84.

Even superheroes gotta go sometime!

I doubt the next pope will spray his congregation with a water gun filled with holy water but he may want to take inspiration from the way a Mexican priest is making his Mass much more enjoyable.

You know, I’ve watched the self-destruction of the Church from the unfolding child rape and cover-ups, the ‘VatiLeaks’ fiasco and the recent Papal resignation-in-disgust, and I have to wonder how anyone with intact neurons could buy into the “papal infallibility” con theory in this day and age.

Popes Gone Wild! (by Andrew Hall at The Atheist Pig) puts it all in perspective: the church’s current problems are pretty damned lame compared to shenanigans of the past. I mean, once you’ve had a pirate for a pope and when another has his bishops  compete in a fornication contest to win some flashy clothes, it makes a little discrete same-sex non-celibacy seem pretty damned pedestrian. (And no, I’m not calling the internationally orchestrated conspiracy to rape children and hide their abusers “kid stuff” by any means: that and malfeasance in elected office should be among the few, select crimes warranting capital punishment, IMHO).

Might the only hope for the preservation of the Mother Church be to elect an atheist pope, one that doesn’t buy into the horseshit? To this end I humbly nominate myself.

I stand ready to do away with requiring priestly celibacy, mete justice to child molesters, affirm that Reason is the thing that should rule, not dogma… and I will dish out some really HUGE, high-class scandals that will take everyone’s mind off the paltry peccadilloes.

C’mon, cardinals! Vote Offlogic for POPE in 2013!
What could possibly go wrong? I mean, in comparison?