Tuesday, October 31, 2006

some very good news: nasa seeing the light.

nasa to send mission to repair and upgrade the hubble space telescope.

from the bbc: The multi-billion-dollar mission has made a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe.

Hubble has obtained the deepest views of the cosmos, finding high-interest objects for other observatories to investigate in detail.

Its studies of the Universe's expansion early in its mission dramatically refined the best estimates for the age of the cosmos. Its pictures have also produced definitive proof for the existence of black holes and confirmed theories of planetary formation. (apparently none of which include a 6,000 year-old earth created by an omnipotent being on a six-day work week followed by a day off...)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

nicky hayden wins moto gp championship

hard not to like nicky hayden; always thankful and humble.

even if i was rooting for rossi.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

we, the unqualified...

i'm jeff suppan. i'm an expert on embryonic stem cell research. neither me or any members of my family have parkinson's disease or any other that might be helped by such research. that's right; i'm a baseball pitcher.

that's why i'm qualified, along with kurt (i've got jesus, but no starting quarterback job in the nfl) warner, to make this ad.

along with rush limbaugh, this trio are a very sorry-looking bunch of (not personally afflicted) celebrity endorsements for the republicans.

michael j. fox, is however, extremely well-qualified to make an advert highlighting stem cell research an politics.

a penetrating, deep, almost uncanny insight:

Bush 'dissatisfied' with Iraq war

Monday, October 23, 2006

"show me what you got"

jay-z and budweiser? there can be no doubt...

can't have it both ways.

i'm referring to the amish.

the spate of recent shootings culminating in the terrible deaths of five female schoolchildren at an amish school left me feeling very puzzled by their society. the most conservative of the amish groups, the 'old order' groups, are reclusive, deeply religious people that drive horses instead of ford f150 pick-up trucks . they live in relative rural isolation, with many having no telephones or electricity in their homes.

they also send their children to private, one-room schoolhouses until the age of 13, they purport to eschew technology and preach isolation from the modern world. they also do not join the military or accept assistance from the government.

from the bbc: charles roberts burst into the west nickel mines amish school, killing five girls aged between seven and 13, and injuring another five before turning the gun on himself as police closed in.

apart from the senseless horror in this story, i was struck by the immediate forgiveness of the murder by the amish community. those interviewed repeatedly stated that it was 'god's will' and in doing so, implied that the five girls' lives were over because god had chosen it. if he didn't, then, well, how can it be his will?

this response strikes me as neither rational or human. any med student can tell you that the human brain is comprised of a number of different parts, endowing each of us with anger, aggression, physical movement, memory, analysis, contemplation, reaction, response... - the list goes on. although science still has much to uncover, the basic functions and related areas of the brain are well known. what isn't known is why would god, the supposed omnipotent being, choose, through 'god's will' to end the lives of five schoolgirls?. this doesn't strike me as being an act of someone i would voluntarily decide to worship. come to think of it, why does god (creator of the universe and everything in it) need anyone or anything to worship him (on a daily basis)?

this whole omnipotent being thing smacks of ancient civilisations, ancient gods, kingdoms, and modern totalitarianism. abdicate all individual moral and social responsibility to a 'higher' order. the payoff? - huge, as long as one leads a life of strict observance and daily worship. the prize is everlasting life. caveat emptor, anybody? you're not going to find out until you're dead!

sorry; that's way too convenient if you ask me; that's a non-testable hypothesis. living in the 'simple' past was never 'better'; don't believe me?- go back and ask the poorest and those most disadvantaged. - a brief digression: why is that when people claimed to have lived more than one life, they always recount someone that was historically famous or significant? not once have i heard of anyone previously living a drudgery-filled existence, working down the mines, or sewing for up to 12 hours a day. always the main attraction, never the forgotten.

back to the amish school murders. these shootings happened exactly where one would normally least expect it, in the haven of a peaceful, low-key, religious community. the amish want to live in isolation, yet it's the outside world's police that closed in on the school. exactly what would the amish have done if charles roberts had instead chosen to take many more girls hostage, and the police hadn't descended on the scene? listening to their talk of instant forgiveness, it dismays me to imagine very little. has any of them actually asked this very question at one of their sunday services? sadly, it appears that when it comes to strict observance of god's law, one doesn't ask awkward questions such as 'why'? tragedy, it seems, doesn't change anything.

as for eschewing technology, i think they must mean 'modern technology'. they can't grow crops, or weave, bulid their houses or read their bibles (i presume they're printed) in beloved churches without any technology, so i'd like to hear the reasoning that they choose and just stick to the old practices and methods. of course, it doesn't take much thought to consider that when the plough was introduced, that this was, at the time, modern technology. 'modern technology' is simply that which is currently available.

humans have always used their brains to 'engineer' adaptation to changing lifestyles and conditions. for myself, living in a modern society with all its 'technology' and defects, it seems inevitable that the amish, like any other animal or species that doesn't adapt, will surely struggle to survive in the long run. this moment will precisely come to pass when the far greater in size society it dwells within no longer wishes, or chooses, to accept them.

evolution teaches many harsh and violent lessons. for life on earth that isn't homo sapien, it is the forces of nature and the balance of ecosystems that determine the status quo and the daily struggle of life, death, and existence. for us humans, it's our ability to engage in intellectual thought and reasoning that separates us from all others and allows us to soar. the willful abandoning or ignoring the realities of our present and past, who we are and where we came from, will teach us nothing about how best to prepare for our future - the one we will actually live in.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

good luck to..

anyone on a dial-up connection trying to download and install the new microsoft internet explorer 7.0.

as if there weren't enough reasons not to use explorer as a browser.

mozilla firefox - unless you want microsoft to own your windows soul.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

it's a tuesday morning. which sports personality do you NOT want to be?

is it:

a) mark brunell - two words: "gotta go!" humiliating loss on sunday against a winless team.

b) rex grossman - three words: "what was that?" monday night football's bizarrest game.

c) danny pedrosa - two words, but i'm not saying. picture if you will: it's the penultimate race (portugal) of the moto gp season. your team mate (nicky hayden), is leading the world championship in points by a slim margin in what has been a thrilling season, and is looking to win the title for the very first time, so you cut him up on the inside, lose control of the bike, and crash into your team mate, taking you both out of the race. the commentators are stunned, i'm stunned, the honda team manager is stunned and also angry. nicky hayden? oh, he was angry; he completely by-passed 'stunned' and went into full 'rage' mode.

danny pedrosa gets my vote as the sports personality i choose not to be.
er, except t. o. of course...

Monday, October 09, 2006

on what should have been a great weekend for sport...

1. the yankees lose. thank you detroit for not letting steinbrenner buy another world series championship, even though every year he has only one thing close to his heart, and it's not sport. baseball desperately needs a salary cap that has worked so well for the nfl in dismantling dynasties.

2. the redskins coaches and qb have everyone in the league shaking their heads in disbelief. snyder: proof that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

3. the thriller at philly, with the eagles beating the cowboys. pity the redskins couldn't make it a 1,2,3.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

whose dime is it anyway?

what a sorry, pathetic excuse the west has in george w. bush, supposed 'leader of the free world'.

it's hard to imagine an individual in power that can unimpress more. voted into power on promises of tax cuts, re-elected by those that nodded their empty heads on the 'war on terror' platform, he has mismanaged his responsibility to those he purports to represent with breathtaking stupidity.

no-one's perfect, but he redifines inability and incapability. if he were at school, he'd be the one sitting at the back of the class with a dunce's hat on - the wrong way around.

in a culture of denial that spreads like a cancer from his rear-ended seat of power, 'the george white house show' instead refuses to acknowledge what even the most entrenched denialists know deep within; no matter how many times i say the same thing, doesn't make it true.

here are some top-ten highlights (sic):

the war in iraq: 2,500+ american personnel dead, tens of thousands iraqi civilian dead, and the situation deteriorating into an all-out catastrophe for an imagined democracy on american terms.

the war on terror: currently costing the next generation of american taxpayers $6 billion a month, and by all reports, a surging breeding ground for anti-american hatred. good one there, george.

the kyoto treaty. climate change? oh yes, well perhaps, but we're not going to reduce our carbon emissions. let the rest of the world not copy verbatim what we dirtily did to get to our present state.

hurricane katrina - the callous disregard for what was going on in new orleans by the president can only be described as incredible. i watched in open-mouthed disbelief as bushy saunters in to the famous aircraft hanger meeting and blurts out "you're doing a heck of a job". where were you, when your city needed a real man instead of one that doesn't even show his face in washington, d.c?

gun control. in a week that has witnessed tragic killings of schoolchildren!, all by semi-automatic weapons, this president allowed the ban on semi-automatic weapons to pass, preferring instead to hold hands with the nra, whose figurehead managed to shoot his own friend. exactly what will it take to have an open discussion on limiting the availability of guns in this country? i imagine that it will take a personal loss by a member of the house, until then, nobody seems to have the stomach for a fight.

the foley case. just when is a republican representative going to stand up and be counted against this administration? i read in the new york times earlier this week, that congress is all about making deals. pity. i thought it's job was to represent others. sadly, the democrats instead of seizing the moment and being brave, instead scurry around like rats in someone else's cellar, also making deals so they can get tossed a few crumbs from the king's table. and you call yourselves 'men of office!'

and last, but by no means least: the unimaginable horror and suffering of the people of darfur: where is this supposed 'free world' when its most unfortunate people needs them most?

telling americans to go shopping, isn't 'gonna do it, george.

i'm having a cup right at this very moment.

Black tea 'soothes away stress'

Scientists have evidence behind what many tea drinkers already know - a regular cuppa can help you recover more quickly from everyday life stresses.

The study of black tea - instead of green or herbal varieties - found it helps cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol circulating in the blood.

They found people who drank tea were able to de-stress more quickly than those who drank a tea substitute.

The University College London study is in the journal Psychopharmacology.