Friday, July 27, 2007

Photoshop Love: Pope...Castelgandolfo


Pope? Castelgandolfo? Castle Gandalf? Anyone?

Pope Gandalf
Pope Benedict gets pimped out for ComiCon '07

Thursday, July 26, 2007

FDA Ignores Nanotechnology

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

I can't say I know all the ins and outs of nanotechnology, but new products are emerging that use tiny versions of the chemicals that are considered "safe" by the FDA (which is questionable in the first place).

From the EurekAlert:
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies science advisor Andrew Maynard underlined that “EPA’s approach ignores the scientific research evidence to date that different nanostructures with the same molecular identity present different hazards.” Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing sector of the economy that will represent an estimated $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods by 2014, or about 15 percent of global manufactured goods output.
What do we know about how the technology affects us? "Not much." Advanced tech used in products we use every day might end up being dangerous since the FDA is not testing them. But that doesn't stop the FDA from verbally ignoring the potential of danger. From New Scientist:
"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the rising number of cosmetics, drugs and other products made using nanotechnology do not require special regulations or labelling.

In the US, at least 300 consumer products, including sunscreen, toothpaste and shampoo are now made using nanotechnology...

Nano means more than just tiny. It means these materials can be fundamentally different, exhibiting chemical and physical properties that are drastically different," says George Kimbrell, staff attorney at the group. "The consumer is being made the guinea pig."
Business wins again, leaving the consumer to guess, despite a federal program "designed" to protect us.

FDA: WTF Award.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Saddest Thing I've Ever Seen

While driving down Plainville Road the other day, I spied an old man, slowly walking in the mid-day sun. The waning, muddled mass of hair on his head matched the white of the three days' stubble on his cheeks, his chin, his lip, all lightly glowing with sweat. The ragged, worn, beige button-down shirt and dusty, cuff-dragged, dark brown pants were draped on his emaciated frame, much like his thin, tired skin.

He moved up the sidewalk with unsteady ease, a look of vacant pain filling his face, which had been frightfully numbed by the miles and years spread out like so many disappointments in his wake; on these his eyes were fixed, a thousand yards away.

Supporting his shuffle, his hands were wrapped tightly around the handle bar of an old Wal Mart shopping cart, the wheels wobbling in fits and starts at the uneven walkway in front of him. The plastic cross-hatch side of the cart facing the street was almost entirely broken away, leaving the reveal to any passer-by: it was completely empty.

I saw this man, sad and broken, who by all visible accounts had nothing in this world, save a shopping cart. And even that didn't work.

I then put in The Cure's Disintegration, called my parents to tell them I was sorry, and cut myself - just to feel. Please excuse the emocity. The seven o'clock show is completely different. Try the veal.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Notes on the Democratic Debate

The CNN/YouTube Democratic Debate was, well, watchable. It spurred debate between myself and Mrs. Shambles, for sure. CNN's Headline News this morning has been pissing all over itself with joy of the wondrous success it was.

The following are notes I collected during the watching. For the most part, they're in chronological order. The first note is what made me realize I was going to have some serious feedback on the event:

  • Obama: Did the only African-American candidate for president just come out in favor of "Separate but equal" for the treatment of homosexuals and marriage? I do believe he did. Irony hash mark so flaming it need not be commented upon. Shit. My first thought:
    [alt audio link]

  • Edwards: Video: Hair? Not funny. While watching, drinking our Miller Lite, we'd like to forget how much you paid to have your ears lowered, and that song hearkens back to a time of revolution and innovation; you embody neither.

  • Hillary: Video: Intermittently readable. Note to CNN and Hillary - not everyone has a 72" Plasma.

  • Biden: I know you heard it from U.S. military officials in Europe, but do you really think 2500 U.S. troops could fix Darfur?

  • Biden: 1 year most probable for actual pullout. NOW is nice, but that makes a lot of sense.

  • Kucinich: "Text Peace" - You have a great message; stick to it. As Anderson said, "Yes, we'll see your video."

  • Obama: Did troops in Viet Nam die in vein? Blub-u-blub-a-blubba

  • Edwards: Should women register for Selective Service? Question dodged, Anderson skipped callout.

  • Hillary: Women in Muslim countries. Of course leaders will listen; they already do. Good answer. Stupid question.

  • Obama: General - get with the speech coach; the "ah"s are painful, like focusing on the breath intake of a news anchor, and you sound uncertain in everything you say.

  • Richardson: Scrap NCLB! Yay!

  • Dodd & Obama & Hillary: Elbow-whored their way into the public school question; we want to hear about public school kids (Yay Kucinich!), not why private school was necessary or unavoidable.

  • Kucinich: Energy reformation - total revamping, good show.

  • Richardson: Apparently supports "touchtone" voting. Those crazy newfangled kids and their touchtone voting. "Stop chewin' my shorts and let's go to the rave music fest," he quickly added.

  • Biden: Video: Isn't the purpose of this format to not show traditional campaign videos? For shame.

  • Kucinich: Video: Text PEACE. Okay. It happened a little quickly and maybe I should've had a do-over. I get the idea, it's innovative, but is that the best format for this? Um, universal health care?

  • Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate for 2008 that supports universal not-for-profit health care for life, yet as the only candidate with a real, non-corporate, non-insurance stance, he was completely excluded from the health care discussion. More like Anderson Pooper. Sorry. That was poor.

  • Gravel: At any point in the evening: Shut up! Okay, "follow the money," but the disheveled hair, the sometimes-spittle that fired past the mic, the man is like the infirm, drunk "you don't know me!" uncle at the family reunion. And we're all a little embarrassed.

  • Biden: Gun control: Dude. I know we were all thinking that the guy who called his big-ass gun his "baby" was a little nutty, but you called him "mentally imbalanced" and then quipped "hope he doesn't come lookin' for me." There's a reason the phrase "gunnin' for 'em" exists. Faux pas, voter block alienation on insult, not principle.

  • Richardson: Final comment: Any of these candidates would do great in the White my VP. Snap!

  • Edwards: Final comment: I liked Hillary's jacket. Dick.

  • Biden: Final comment: "Dennis, the thing I like best about you is your wife." Did you actually just say that?

  • Kucinich: Final comment: Used opportunity to lash at Anderson, missed opportunity at "right hand man/woman" quip.

That's about it, the stuff that stuck, anyway. I missed about 12 minutes in the middle because I hit the channel up instead of the volume up and killed the DVR cache from potty breaks, etc., but I think it went well.

Hillary's a strong candidate, and I didn't have much to say about her, but I was impressed overall. For as much speaking time as she got, it was all done professionally.

I had Obama on the back burner until last night; he's a little blubbery and the "separate but equal" really killed him in my mind.

Kucinich not enough, Gravel too much, and the rest: meh.

I support a drastic overhaul of the system. I support an uprooting of corruption. I support universal not-for-profit health care. I support Dennis Kucinich.

UPDATE: In slo-mo replay of the "Who came in a private jet" question I caught during the still-ongoing CNN circle jerk, we had some "Hell yeah"s, some "Um, I don't know, Sean Hannity might make fun of me"s, and a single, chuckling Kucinich in the foreground, his hand decidedly DOWN. Hell yeah.

Monday, July 23, 2007

HR 676 Universal Healthcare: Don’t Stop Believin’

35 Percenters have rolled out yet another bit of Kucinich '08 love with some Blue Gal appeal. Enjoy!

[Alternative YouTube Link]

Bush Confusion Revisited

Last week, I posted on how Bush was flashing his package to the insurance industry with a wink and a nod by railing against giving kids - children who are by default victims of their parents' decisions - free insurance. This weekend I saw SiCKO and will have much more ranting on the way. But back to the post and this picture:

Bush Uses Keyboard

Now, I don't have the superpowers of CSI Enhance > Enhance > Enhance technology, but let's take a closer look:

Bush Fingers Keyboard

There is going to be some distortion based on the refraction of light due to the water, but clearly, all his fingers aren't on the home keys. Taking into consideration that in order to demonstrate to the president that the keyboard that is under water is working, a scientist might use the visible cord to hook it up to a working computer, possibly with a word processor open on the screen, then we can assume that by typing on the keyboard, a result could be seen on a monitor of some type (love them puns).

With that thought in place, the president's fingers splayed akimbo on the keyboard like a drunken spider's legs, and that painful hybrid look of confusion and concentration, I vote that the president has no idea how to type. Further, technology of any kind confuses and mildly frightens him, much like black people or the monster in his closet.

Most importantly, I cannot get over simply staring at that picture and saying to myself "This is the leader of our country." It makes me want to move to Europe. Now.

But like I said, I'll be talking about SiCKO soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bill O'Reilly Hates on Gays ...Again

Bill O Gay Fever Pitch

This one from Media Matters is about a week old from good ol' Bill, but then again, I don't get time to blog on Sundays. Leave it to Bill to bring a non-issue to a fever pitch (no pun apologies today).
During the July 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly responded to a viewer's email regarding his July 11 report on a gay pride night at the San Diego Padres' Petco Park the same night as a hat giveaway for children, during which O'Reilly called it "insane" to "cluster" gay men and lesbians during a "hat giveaway for any kid under 12." In his email, the viewer stated that O'Reilly's "position seems to imply that putting gays and kids together in one place is a bad thing" and claimed that "kids are around gays every day." O'Reilly responded: "But not thousands of them, sir. That can be confusing to children."
Bill, the kids went to a baseball game and most of them - and their parents - were certainly oblivious to any homosexual presence. That's because gay people look just like you and me. I know, it's a controversial view, but there it is.

Is it because you don't want a gay taint on something so traditionally American and Masculine as baseball? Is it because you have some long-defunct festering sore in your brain that still equates homosexuals to pedophiles? Either way, the issue is with you, Bill, not the kids, parents, or homosexuals that just want to enjoy a ball game. The "Worlds Collide!" banner during this story is the testament to your own sensationalism.

As for these kids being confused: if they were aware of the presence of homosexuals at the game and saw them enjoying baseball - just like they were - then they may have made a very real and humanistic observation that gay and straight are not so different after all. The only way this could lead to confusion would be if it were butting up against a previously indoctrinated and bigoted view of America, one which Bill O'Reilly apparently believes should be solidly in place.