Wednesday, January 31, 2007

so when's it going to happen, and where?

i got to thinking today what with all the talk of global warming, if sea levels rise, what would be the first officially recognised island to be 'lost' to global warming, and when?

surprisingly, i have read of nothing of this. surely one particular island land mass is going to be the first to go.

i have no idea, but somewhere like indonesia, or the arctic must rank fairly highly.

Racehorse Barbaro put down

i was on the exercise bike at the gym yesterday, and the woman in front of me is reading the paper (why do people read at the gym...? the ones that read, are the ones that never break a sweat, seem to just go through through the motions, and are only only half committed in their workouts) tanc, victor, & maro, are you guys reading 'wuthering heights' during your workouts?

so anyway, the headline on the sports page reads 'a racehorse that made us care'. barbaro has been put down. sorry, euthanised...this is d.c.

a racehorse that made us care? why, because he won?....

a racehorse that loses and becomes injured isn't euthanised, we don't care, because we're never going to hear about it, and the poor animal is shot in the head and becomes dogmeat. yeah, sure: "made us care...."

cards, flowers? tears? but not for the losers, just the winners...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


why does america's 'king' think he can 'fix' everything?

i think it's the movies.

except this isn't fucking hollywood!

there aren't any good-looking american heroes, overcoming impossible odds. no cheesy divorced husband-wife scientist/military couple working get-togethers, to save the world from destruction.

it doesn't matter if you send another 20,000 soldiers shouting "we're the best, of the best, of the best, sir!" because where they're going, they're not the best (because you're not fighting a war on your terms).

3 years on and 3,000+ highly trained american personnel later, might have taught you what the russians already knew from afghanistan.

if you kick a ball, it moves (yes landon donovan, and the us soccer team)

if you get thrown against a brick wall, some 30ft through the air, nobody's getting up, looking all tough, wiping a trickle of blood from the corner of their mouth, and saying "is that all you got "mother fucker!"

if you start a war, all hell breaks loose. people actually die horrible painful deaths. they do, honestly. the american news media isn't going to show any bodies coming back home, or any graphic images of dead us personnel.. how 'real' is that coverage?

and speaking of real. unlike hollywood, real-life doesn't have happy endings for everyone. just because george says we can't do this and we can't do that, doesn't make any difference to the actual outcome. THERE IS NO HAPPY ENDING FOR IRAQ, GEORGE!

his use of rhetoric is that of a 12 year-old, practicing for a school play; and a poorly written one, at that.

his command of language is also that of a 12 year old, but one who hasn't paid attention in class. if he were a dog, i'd bark myself.

it's hard not to recall h. g. wells' famous opening lines to 'war of the worlds':

'No-one would have believed in the early years of the twenty-first century...'

what does he do after 9/11? 'Bush urges Americans to spend'

He tried to set an example for Americans by taking Washington DC Mayor Anthony Williams out for a high-profile steak dinner in Washington. (i'm sure he got to shake hands with the mayor (i know something you don't george, unless your reading this...ha, ha!) see below george:

you can't turn back the arrow of time, george. you just don't get it, do you?

watch 'control room'...

hey: how's your knowledge of nursery rhymes, george?

how 'bout this one?

'...and all the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put humpty together again!'

Great Barrier Reef could soon die

From the bbc:

Great Barrier Reef could soon die

The reef is Australa's greatest tourist attraction

Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef could be dead within decades because of the effects of global warming, according to a leaked report.

The study warns that the organisms which make up the reef's coral could be bleached, because of warmer seas.

The report was compiled by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and published by The Age newspaper.

The Great Barrier Reef is regarded as the world's largest living organism.

It is Australia's number one tourist destination, attracting a million visitors a year, and is home to sharks, turtles and numerous brightly coloured fish.

that should make james m. inhofe just smile and shake his head

need a reminder who james inhofe is? it’s a good read. this man is supposed to be educated…

Climate Change Update
Senate Floor Statement by
U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe(R-Okla)

January 4, 2005
As I said on the Senate floor on July 28, 2003, "much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science." I called the threat of catastrophic global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," a statement that, to put it mildly, was not viewed kindly by environmental extremists and their elitist organizations. I also pointed out, in a lengthy committee report, that those same environmental extremists exploit the issue for fundraising purposes, raking in millions of dollars, even using federal taxpayer dollars to finance their campaigns.

For these groups, the issue of catastrophic global warming is not just a favored fundraising tool. In truth, it's more fundamental than that. Put simply, man-induced global warming is an article of religious faith. Therefore contending that its central tenets are flawed is, to them, heresy of the most despicable kind.

Furthermore, scientists who challenge its tenets are attacked, sometimes personally, for blindly ignoring the so-called "scientific consensus." But that's not all: because of their skeptical views, they are contemptuously dismissed for being "out of the mainstream." This is, it seems to me, highly ironic: aren't scientists supposed to be non-conforming and question consensus? Nevertheless, it's not hard to read between the lines: "skeptic" and "out of the mainstream" are thinly veiled code phrases, meaning anyone who doubts alarmist orthodoxy is, in short, a quack.

I have insisted all along that the climate change debate should be based on fundamental principles of science, not religion. Ultimately, I hope, it will be decided by hard facts and data-and by serious scientists committed to the principles of sound science. Instead of censoring skeptical viewpoints, as my alarmist friends favor, these scientists must be heard, and I will do my part to make sure that they are heard.

…In addition, last month, popular author Dr. Michael Crichton, who has questioned the wisdom of those who trumpet a "scientific consensus," released a new book called "State of Fear," which is premised on the global warming debate. I'm happy to report that Dr. Crichton's new book reached #3 on the New York Times bestseller list.

I highly recommend the book to all of my colleagues. Dr. Crichton, a medical doctor and scientist, very cleverly weaves a compelling presentation of the scientific facts of climate change-with ample footnotes and documentation throughout-into a gripping plot. From what I can gather, Dr. Crichton's book is designed to bring some sanity to the global warming debate.

…Dr. Crichton states that, "Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be a natural phenomenon," and, "Nobody knows how much of the present trend might be man-made." And for those who see impending disaster in the coming century, Dr. Crichton urges calm: "I suspect that people of 2100 will be much richer than we are, consume more energy, have a smaller global population, and enjoy more wilderness than we have today. I don't think we have to worry about them."

For those who do worry, or induce such worry in others, "State of Fear" has a very simple message: stop worrying and stop spreading fear. Throughout the book, "fictional" environmental organizations are more focused on raising money, principally by scaring potential contributors with bogus scientific claims and predictions of a global apocalypse, than with "saving the environment."

no doubt about it. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should have just asked dr. michael crichton. he’d have said there’s nothing to worry about, australians shouldn’t panic just because a bunch of silly so-called scientists are scare-mongering the good people of the outback, and everyone should remain calm, because coral is a fact, and it is here to stay. period.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Duck comes back from dead, again

from the bbc:

Perky the duck has had a difficult couple of weeks

A duck which survived being shot before spending two days in a refrigerator has now overcome major surgery - despite briefly dying on the operating table.

Florida vets working to repair the gunshot damage to Perky's wing panicked when the duck's heart failed.

But they managed to resuscitate the bird, who shot to fame when she was found alive in the hunter's fridge two days after being shot.

Perky now has a pin in her wing, but is expected to make a good recovery.

'She's alive!'

The duck entered surgery with vets confident that she would survive the procedure despite serious injuries to her wing, leg and beak.

But her heart failed during the operation, prompting senior vet David Hale to declare her officially dead.

"We lost her. You know, the bird's dead and it's over. I'm sorry," he said, recalling the operation.

"And then, you know, up comes that head and the wings start flapping and, honestly, what, 20 seconds later, I mean the bird was, like, up."

Few details have been made public about how the medical team brought Perky back to life, but the Associated Press said she was revived using CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

There were scenes of high emotion in the operating theatre, said Noni Beck, of the Goose Creek Wildlife Sanctuary.

"I started crying: 'She's alive!'"

Perky made international headlines when she shocked a hunter's wife who found her alive after being stored inside a refrigerator for two days.

Mr Hale said the duck's slow metabolism helped her survive the low temperatures for so long.

…just makes you want to rush out to virginia, buy a gun, shoot an animal who has done nothing to you, and is just trying to survive, and join the NRA…

Sunday, January 28, 2007

well, that's a relief!

'team nutty' is somewhat extremely pleased to discover that 'team hardsoft' is a long, long, long way behind...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The ducati 1098, weight: america's love affair with it, and the price of gas.

about 15 years ago, i had just finished the first year of a 3 year degree in economics, and my university had offered 7 students a chance to take the second year in brescia, in italy. i jumped at the chance. i took in a couple of itailian foreign language students at my house in cambridge beforehand to give me a chance learn some of the lingo.

instead of flying on the cheap, i thought it would be a great adventure to drive across northern europe instead, and arrive in italy courtesy of a 6 month-old vw golf.

had i tried to pick a longer route, i’d have probably have failed (1,500 miles...) i first went to visit my brother who was working in holland (totally featureless landscape, save for canals, fields of flowers, and windmills) and living in noordvijk, a beach town.

next stop, switzerland. first of all, there’s mountains everywhere, and you’re greeted by guards at the border carrying machine guns, who force you to buy a motorway pass good for a year. next: that was nothing prepared to the shock of looking at the petrol pump as I tried to try and work out in swiss francs what the cost was of filling the tank. this was 15 years ago, and i reckoned it was the equivalent of 7 quid a gallon…that’s $14.. (then).

then on to italy. crazy, mad, impossible, expensive, in otherways inexpensive (decent wine being one of them).. yet always wonderful. took me 6 months to adjust to living there, and 6 months actually enjoying being there. anyone going to live in italy better had not go with any expectations of what they want from italy. this is italy. you will learn…

what does this have to do with the ducati 1098? well, in america, carroll shelby showed those italians a thing or two, that by stuffing a big engine into a small AC (british) car, you could make it go faster. a lot faster. he beat ferrari at it’s own game. that’s something the tifosi don’t particularly worry about too much, as they will only be too happy to tell you that the only manufacturer to have competed in every single season of formula one isn’t the ford motor company. and besides, i doubt many 6-year old boys and 80-year olds alike in america, can describe accurately the sound of a ford engine…in italy, it’s a very different story with the scream of the flat 12 boxer of the hallowed name of the italian marque.

very high (relative to the united states) prices of petrol have resulted in some small, very interesting cars (that perform) and high taxation of larger engined vehicles across europe. in the united states, vehicles have grown dimensionally larger and heavier, gas prices have been (still are) absurdly cheap ($3 isn’t expensive…) and a government that has basically repeatedly driven it’s knee into the balls of public transportation can’t pretend otherwise when there’s been no real capital investment in anything other than continued road-building projects to speak of in the past 20 years or so.

so now we have a situation where detroit is hemorrhaging like leech’s are back in business, at fords and general motors, and all the while these industry bosses are very busy indeed laying off tens of thousands of long-time employees, and shutting down entire factories. yet amazingly these giants of industry continue to market their same, tired line of gas-guzzling pick-up trucks during every commercial break on nfl sunday. bill ford’s ‘bold innovations’, my arse! i’m not seeing any of them on my flat screen…is anybody else? does anyone in the united states know that ford actually produce a car called the ford focus? it's a small, fuel-efficient passenger vehicle...

instead, here’s what everyone saw every single commercial break during the 2006 fox nfl football sunday, sponsored by ford.

Ford F-150 Pick up Truck: Built-Ford-Tough:

this vehicle's specs: 202hp, and it weighs 3,159 kg. that's nearly 35 lbs of weight 'per horsepower'

‘bold innovations’? compared to what! a rock? oh, sorry, that’s a chevy silverado…

so carroll shelby kind of rewrote the book on car performance. but not for long, and only really in america. while nascar (snzzzzzzzz) goes round and round and round, in ovals, touring car championships and rallys, show the auto industry a very different solution, as does indy car racing. it is no surprise (except maybe to americans) that nearly all indy cars are manufactured and engineered in northamptonshire, england. a culture that forces adaptation is the one best placed to extract the most out of limitation (kind of like evolution…)

in america, it’s just the opposite, cheap and plentiful gasoline supply hasn’t created the conditions or market or competition necessary at these very highest levels of racing. good old economics…..(kind of like evolution…)

ask anyone in europe who has been on a racetrack and they will almost universally answer the question “how do you make a vehice go faster?” with “make it lighter”, then “make it more powerful”. this obsession with weight is so well respected, yet so little understood across the pond, it seems, until only of late.

skiing offers a perfect analogy: anyone can go fast downhill in a straight line, but try and make a few quick turns, and all of a sudden, mass works viciously against you. a quick search of all the world cup men’s downhill slalom championship winner’s weights will show that there hasn’t been a single one of nfl offensive tackle proportions…it’s the same for a vehicle on the road or on a track. weight is the enemy of performance, handling, braking, and fuel econmy. period. but you'd never know that living in america...

and so to ducati’s 1098. by the numbers, it puts out 160 bhp and it weighs 173kg…
that's 2.4 lbs of weight 'per horsepower'....!!!!!!!!

this remarkable saturation of pure motorcycling purpose and intent, is an expression of passion as much as it is of design and technical ability. if i were ever able to cock my leg over it, i’m quite sure my hands would be clammy as i grip the ‘bars, my mouth would be dry, my mind racing, my nerves a wreck, and my stomach muscles would be in knots. and this is before i've even started the engine!

when you can speak thus of a member of your stable, bill ford; that is what i would call 'bold innovation'!

until then, it's a pick-up truck...

Lorry driver rains cash on crowd

from the bbc:

A German lorry driver has thrown away tens of thousands of euros after winning a radio competition by promising to do precisely that.

Marko Hilgert pledged to give away three-quarters of the 100,000 euros (£65,800; $129,000) prize money.

He was as good as his word and threw notes onto the town square of Kaiserslautern, in western Germany, as he was suspended above it in a crane.

Some 3,000 people scrambled to collect the notes as they rained down.

Mr Hilgert kept the rest of the prize money to pay off part of his mortgage.

"If I threw three quarters of it out of the window, I would obviously still profit," he said.

"But the people also profit from this, and that's what people realised when they voted for me as the winner of the competition."

could you see this happening anywhere in america...?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

e-mail to the Economist : Rich man, poor man

Rich man, poor man

in reference to the article 'Globalisation and the rise of inequality'

Dear Sirs,

I read your article ‘Rich man, poor man’, thinking perhaps the author, James Fryer, had made a mistake. Surely this piece should have been titled 'Rich man, poor people'.

For every Chief executive there are nearly always hundreds, possibly thousands, or more that often meet the same unfortunate news as those sawyers and gluers of Galax, Virginia. in your article. To say these are the glory days of global capitalism is to ‘tip your cap’ and place your publication’s ‘feet’ firmly in the trenches of the Mr. Nardelli’s of this world, and to only nod a passing respect to the sawyers and gluers, for I ask, Is it not their capital economy as well? You say they are not happy. I say, go to Galax!. Maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the appropriate word. Something that more accurately reflects the small town’s true gloom and despair, might have served them better, and fairer.

I quote: ‘The first rule is to avoid harming the very miracle that generates so much wealth. Take for instance the arguments about high executive pay’. Really?, Miracle?, For the executives like Mr. Nardelli, perhaps. I’m sure the gluers and sawyers, and all those on the receiving end of similar bad news don’t see it as a miracle, so how true can that statement really be? Wealth creation is a wonderful thing, but left unchecked, it can hardly be said to be a miracle.

No better example can be offered than here in the United States. I live just a few short blocks away from the Whitehouse. From this building, policy has been written, decisions made, actions taken that not only affect people here in Washington, D.C., but the rest of the country, and the rest of the world as well.

This richest nation on earth, (let’s not forget; built on the back of free, slave-labour) cannot presently manage to send its children to school and college for free, cannot provide free health care for its citizens, and has homeless people wandering and sleeping on the streets in plain view of the Whitehouse. Not only that, but people who are obviously in very real need of care have been forced out onto the streets from institutions, because of repeated cuts in government spending, all while the richest sectors in society enjoy increasingly fabulous wealth. I invite James Fyrer to spend a day with me, here in the nation’s capital, where I will take him on a tour of some very uncomfortable sights. It won’t take very long…

Nobody can argue too strongly that wealth creation is not the way out of poverty, but as for a ‘miracle’, I don’t think the sawyers and gluers of Galax, Virginia, or anyone unfortunate enough to be living on the streets are on their hands and knees right now, giving thanks to the Lord; but there again, I guess not too many of them are subscribers to the Economist…

Mark Solomon
Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the Dakar Rally

Stephane Peterhansel earned his third Dakar Rally driving title on Sunday despite not winning a single stage. However, French motorcycle rider Eric Aubijoux became the second fatality in this year's race. The 42-year-old died near the end of the 14th stage between Tambacounda and Dakar in Senegal on Saturday.

South African motorcyclist Elmer Symons, 29, competing in his first Dakar Rally, died after an accident during the fourth stage on 9 January.

Last year, 41-year-old Australian motorcyclist Andy Caldecott died.

Two children were also killed in Guinea and Senegal after being hit by vehicles passing through their villages.

Two years ago, 2001 and 2002 champion Fabrizio Meoni of Italy and Juan Manuel Perez of Spain, both motorcyclists with KTM, were killed.

the dakar rally is the world's toughest rally...

Bush Insists U.S. Must Not Fail in Iraq

that's some pretty big talk, george, considering you've had three years to bollocks everything up and push iraq to the point of collapse, with mounting weekly, deadly attacks (currently 900 or so) from the warring factions. but there again, talk is cheap, unlike lives lost. you'll be out of office in two years, while everyone else will be very busy still dealing with carnage and nightmare you've created, and still unbelievably, think you can manage. (that's probably because the whitehouse, or his ranch in texas, isn't anywhere near baghdad...)

you're an idiot; it's a pity you're the world's most powerful idiot.

in case you didn't know, george, britain created iraq, a 'manufactured' country, some decades ago, from a land that didn't want to become one, and america now seems to think that because it wants a democracy there, it can somehow miraculously engineer one.

and let's be quite frank, bushy; you're no churchill...

somebody had better lend you a few history books...,

or any book on the middle east that wasn't written by an american.

oh, and how's new orlean's doing, george? the poorest half that hasn't been rebuilt, i mean....i only ask, because amazingly, you didn't even mention the devasted gulf state of louisiana in your state of the union address...or have you already so quickly forgotten?

Bush asks for 'a chance' on Iraq

i hope all the tens of thousands of families that have had mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters blown up into parts of limbs and unrecognisable fragments of skulls, and bloody pieces of meat, strewn about their capital by countless car bombs, were watching in baghdad...

they must have really appreciated that smile, george...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

state of the union address

whilst most of the country watched the president's national address last night, we chose instead to watch 'the party' with peter sellers.

mayor anthony williams, richard III, and steve teague's birthday

so it's just before the performance starts of the opening night of the shakespeare theatre company's production of richard III at the lansburgh theatre, in d.c. my friend saleem, has very generously got rebecca and i tickets to join him as guests, as our christmas present.

so i go to the bathroom and am standing, taking care of number one. there is only one other bloke in the men's bathroom, and he is standing in the next stall. as you do, you perform the cursory sideways ' face glance', to my surprise, i recognise that the guy next to me is none other than the ex-mayor of d.c, anthony williams. "hmm. well, i'm not going to be a twat and say anything. let the bloke take a wazz in peace", i think. and so he finishes, walks to the paper towels, takes a very quick one-two drying rub, deposits the barely touched paper towel in the trash, and exits.

"hang on a minute!" i think. "he hasn't washed his hands!" this is the ex-mayor of d.c., and i imagine that this man is going to be shaking a lot of hands this evening...he just wiped them a couple of seconds with a paper towel and that was it. (bet he didn't think the bloke that he was standing next to would be writing all this...or perhaps he would have made sure he washed his hands)

i wash my hands (sufficiently) and take my seat and immediately inform saleem, rebecca, and saleem's friend, may. the following opening night production of richard III somehow already seems 'special'.

as for the production itself, i'd rate as a 6 out of 10. i think it's incredibly difficult for an english person to really enjoy any foreign production of shakespeare having been 'brought up' on the royal shakespeare company. the guy portraying richard is excellent, as are a couple of others, but the two children are simply terrible. prince edward being less of a nightmare than the younger brother, who is not only unable to act, but as soon as he opens his mouth, it seems he has a bowl of plums wedged in it. the only thing being murdered on stage at that moment is the queen's english. it's impossible not to want to harpoon them both from where i'm sitting.

shakespeare is undoubtedly very difficult, even at 'home' so perhaps it's too easy to be critical, and richard III is probably one of the harder plays.

afterwards, we went to rosa mexicano, for some rockin' guacamole dip. suddenly, a mexican waiter inserts a margarita into my hand and insists on telling me about a british comedy tv series of fifteen years ago entitled 'only fools and horses'. this comedy show is completely and utterly inappropriate to the environment i'm in...

the guacamole and finger foods are delicious, and there's the expected fawning on the so-so actors. my hatred for the youngest child only deepens when he enters the restaurant wearing some sweatshirt zipper with a union jack design. i inform my friends that at this point in elizabethan history, there is no union between scotland and england, and no child acting this part in britain would have ever worn such an offensive item. i think this part of english history is completely lost on americans. they simply think of england as the same as britain! i bet 95 out of 100 americans are unable to even describe an english flag...

then, it was jump in a cab and head to science club and celebrate steve teague's birthday. happy birthday, steve. we love you lots! great to see a lot of faces we hadn't seen for too long.

lovely evening. great to end it at science club with a lot of friends. shame the ex-mayor doesn't have the common decency to wash his hands after using the bathroom. you know, people don't change their personal hygiene habits, especially so at an opening night at the theater, which makes me shudder to think of all the people that have touched their mouths and faces after shaking hands with mayor anthony williams...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

only thanking the lord when you win, or something good happens.

after watching the two thrilling games today between chicago and new orleans, and indianapolis and new england, i was dismayed to hear the owner of the indianapolis colts giving "glory to god for this victory", and then tony dungy, the head coach, for "thanking the lord for this victory".

you know what? i have never, ever, once heard tony dungy thanking the lord every time new england, or any other team, for that matter, has beaten his team previously. or is it the case that you only thank the lord when you win, and everything goes the way you want, tony? that doesn't sound very humble, christian, or much like the teachings of the bible...

or how about a natural disaster when hundreds, or thousands of innocent people get killed, and a few people are discovered alive, and their respective families say "it's a miracle; the lord must have been watching over them" er, what exactly was he doing while all the other people were getting killed? again, i never, ever, heard any members of any family that held devoutly religious beliefs heap praise and thanks upon the kind lord because he had just 'allowed' a member of their family to die, only when he'd actually saved one. how very strange, given that only in death, can the true believer actually meet god. you'd think it would be other way around, wouldn't you?

i call this extremely selective praise and worship.

i mean, think how refreshing it would be to hear coaches say: "i would just like to thank the lord for.. the terrible way we played the game, for the humiliating loss we suffered today, all our season-ending injuries, the loss of our dear friend, the division title-game, the future's out of reach... thank you lord, for making the other team better than us! you know what? i thank you so much, lord, i'm gonna' get down on my hands and knees right now, and pray they beat us again next year as well! hallelujah!"

after all, isn't the lord deserving of praise all the time?

Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd

great victory, arsenal.

even better was jens lehmann's grab of his ankle right at the very end. brilliantly funny.

7 days, redha...

it's urlacher's & manning's sunday.

as much as i like the new orleans saints, and it's impossible not to like sean payton, or admire what what he's done for this sports franchise (whatever happened to the word 'team', in america?), i'm still rooting for chicago.

i think it has a lot to do with the cold weather, and nothing to do with rex grossman. brian urlacher is the ultimate defensive back (sorry ray lewis, but you need to stop dancing like an ice skater, you're not on amphetamines (or are you...), and those pesky murder charges didn't exactly help your sporting claim to true greatness. i don't care how quick he is , ravens fans. the measure of a man is taken by more than a stopwatch. pretend there isn't a camera on you and just play your position.

payton manning. please, please, please, beat the #@!*&^!%.. new england patriots!

i'm off to meet victor to show some blokey support (at 11am!) at fado, in chinatown, as arsenal take on manchester united.

"up the ....!"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hope You Saved Your Glow Stick

from the new york times: (i previously mistakenly said the bbc)

TO most people in Britain, rave is a memory, and a blurry one at that. For four years at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, Britain’s youth took to the fields, forests and warehouses, took Ecstasy, wore some of the silliest outfits ever devised — like cricket hats, white gloves and gas masks — and ushered out Thatcherism in a strobe-lighted haze of electronic music that shook the ground they danced on.

Then Parliament passed the Criminal Justice Act of 1994, which humorlessly characterized rave music as “the emission of a succession of repetitive beats,” and gave police the power to shut raves down. That swiftly put an end to the scene’s drug-induced violence — and to the scene itself.

But if you happen to be in London these days, there are signs that something like rave is stirring again.

“The first time around, rave really seeped into the mainstream,” said Carri Mundane, 26, a designer who was a child during the first rave scene but kept the fliers amassed by her older brother. “The music was in the charts, and everything just became a little bit more psychedelic.”

This time, it’s more insular. And it’s different in other ways, too: some of the music is rock, not electronica, and the scene is no longer as defined by the twin illegalities of drugs and trespassing.
Ms. Mundane, the designer, who wears brightly colored clothing that has made her an arbiter of rave fashion, said, “What I like about rave is the positivity of it, the fact that it is so utopian.”

… yeah, that’s exactly it, love…no way was it about doing stacks of drugs and just rollin’ yer tits off all night long, dancin’ to thumpin’, bangin’ beats with sweaty strangers, everyone smiling, cos’ they're all havin’ a fuckin great time, nobody caring, or giving a toss, an’ never any trouble, except for the wanker police.

"so utopian".....oh, and "the positivity" (hey!, do you think you could make mine a diet rave-light, please?...) positivity! that word didn't even exist then.

e-mail to the discovery channel's 'the military channel'

i have just watched your program 'iraq: the untold story'

i take great umbridge with not only the title of your program, but the content of the program.

what hypocrisy!

perhaps the discovery channel might have done a little, or any research outside of american biased interests, and watched ‘control room’. of course, i didn’t expect a fair, or unbiased representation, but to call this program ‘the untold story’ is beyond belief. i didn’t recall too many references to the al jazeera news network, or the iraqis point of view of the invasion…nicely unbalanced approach wouldn’t you say? untold story? whose? not theirs!

tell me, did any researchers of the discovery team actually watch ‘control room’ in the making of this program?

i await your expected generic response, and am posting this e-mail to my blog for anyone to read.

the hornbeck family - what were they thinking!

let me get this right. the people in the photograph above, are the parents of the 11 year-old missouri boy who was abducted, and for the last four years has apparently endured psychological torture, and quite possibly physical, and sexual torture as well.

this, allegedly at the hands of a pizza-delivery guy by the name of michael devlin.

this story is horrific enough, but now, less than a week after the young hornbeck has been returned by the authorities back to his tearful family, he appears on a television screen!.
yes; his parents have put him on a national television show to tell their story.

er, don’t you think the parents might consider that they first have a duty to try and protect their 11 year-old son? do they really think that by hauling themselves, and him, before the cameras and the entire nation, that this is in any way possibly conducive to the boy’s very best long-term psychological interests? i somehow doubt it.

can either of his parents even spell the word psychological?

to say that this poor kid can’t get a break is a massive understatement. you’d think his parents might allow him to begin to have some room to breathe, some space to move, and hopefully regain some lost dignity.

i'm no expert, but i'd have thought a good therapist was the way forward, not a battery of bright lights, some production manager barking orders, a tv crew, the normally funny, but all-of-a sudden 'concerned'(for added effect) show-host, a lap-dog, carefully chosen, mostly female audience , tearily nodding along on-cue, and the rest of the production that is the very false 'reality', that is a television show.

people never fail to disappoint…

well i'm sure he'll thank them for the experience when he's older...

Friday, January 19, 2007

nutty finally sees the comet!


from the rooftop of our light-polluted apartment building, bang in the very heart of, hazy, washington, d.c. this time, i finally managed to see comet mcnaught, both naked eye, and with a pair of 10x50 binoculars on a tripod.

at just before 4pm, i spotted it. at first it was very difficult to discern from all the plane contrails (especially in d.c. so close to national airport) but after eliminating a few false alarms, i saw it.

i was amazed to see it easily naked eye about 15 mins later.

i'll be out tomorrow for more of the same.

a naked-eye daytime visible comet is extremely rare. in fact this is the brightest comet of the last 40 years!

tomorrow will probably be your last chance to see this comet, as the weather's not looking too good, and by next saturday it will be below the horizon.

it will be positioned approx 20 degrees below the sun to the south west, and the best time of the day to see it will be between 3:30pm and 4:30pm.

as it's a couple of outstretched handwidths away from the sun, be very careful if you try and use binoculars to spot it. NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN USING BINOCULARS! if you ever want to see again, that is.

if you do miss it, all is not lost.
it is next scheduled to make an appearance in 4534...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

e-mail to lexus

i have just seen your tv advert showing a lexus dropped from the sky. at the end, your announcer, smugly proclaims "so much for gravity".

i would just like to point out to your smug announcer, your ad agency, lexus, and toyota engineers, that gravity is the strongest known force in the universe.

should lexus actually manage to produce a car that can withstand the incredible destructive gravitational forces present at the singularity of a super-massive black hole, please don't hesitate to contact me immediately.


washington, d.c.

Your PCs forecast climate future

from the bbc:

A computer model of climate run on home PCs in conjunction with the BBC has yielded its first results.

About 250,000 people downloaded software from onto their home computers, each running a single simulation of the future.

team nutty is proud to take part in this experiment, and is currently ranked 1,102.

Colombia seizes $54m drugs cash

from the bbc:

The cash came from shipments delivered by the Norte del Valle cartel, which Washington says has moved more than 500 tons of cocaine to the US.

The first stash of $19m was found in vacuum packed blocks hidden behind a false wall in Cali.

Three other hoards were found earlier this week around the city.

President Alvaro Uribe said he wanted to congratulate the police for a "great accomplishment".

"This is a positive step toward having a Colombia without rebel organisations, without paramilitaries, without drug traffickers or corruption," he told reporters.

that’s complete bollocks, and rhetoric, mr. uribe. it’s impossible to stop a product from being sold that has a 17,000% profit.

that’s why nobody’s done it. including yours and the united states government.

Climate resets 'Doomsday Clock'

from the bbc:

Experts assessing the dangers posed to civilisation have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.

As a result, the group has moved the minute hand on its famous "Doomsday Clock" two minutes closer to midnight.

The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at five minutes to the hour.

The clock was first featured by the magazine 60 years ago, shortly after the US dropped its A-bombs on Japan.

Not since the darkest days of the Cold War has the Bulletin, which covers global security issues, felt the need to place the minute hand so close to midnight.

…nice to wake up to

'Perilous choices'

The decision to move it came after BAS directors and affiliated scientists held discussions to reassess the idea of doomsday and what posed the most grievous threats to civilisation.

Growing global nuclear instability has led humanity to the brink of a "Second Nuclear Age," the group concluded, and the threat posed by climate change is second only to that posed by nuclear weapons.

"When we think about what technologies besides nuclear weapons could produce such devastation to the planet, we quickly came to carbon-emitting technologies," said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Chicago-based BAS.

The announcement was made at simultaneous events held by the magazine in London and in Washington DC that included remarks from the English Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, and physicist Stephen Hawking.

…like these guys know anything…

look on the bright side; at least i didn’t mention bush!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Control Room (2004)

this is an absolutely must-see documentary film. period.

put it straight to the very top of your netflix queue.

Barack Obama

i don't know why people are questioning his credentials to run for president.

i mean, how much worse can he be than the one we've already got?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

90 Killed in Baghdad; U.N. Sets ’06 Toll Above 34,000

can you begin to imagine how americans would react if this had happened in their capital?....

their own killing their own.

from bush's speech: "And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States."

would be a disaster...? IT IS A DISASTER!

sorry, george, but if this was any other country, this would be labelled a civil war.

and one more thing, george. YOUR so-called vision of shoehorning american-style democracy in a middle-eastern country, by way of an uninvited occupation, has probably done more to incite hatred and recruit suicide bombers than anyone.

why you should become a member of REI

it's not many times that i'll praise a corporation on my blog. in fact most of the time, it's quite the opposite. but in this case, REI really did surprise me.

went to REI to buy some winter snow boots the other evening as they are having a big sale. as i’m trying on different boots, only to find the ones i want they don’t have in my size, the extremely helpful, and not at all annoying sales associate (how unusual is that?) notices that my girlfriend is wearing a pair of boots they carry. she mentions that she bought them a couple of years ago, but they have a tear in them.

let me point out these boots have not been well-looked after, …to say the least, but to my amazement, the guy turns to my girlfriend and says “you’re a member, right?” she responds “yes”.
“oh, we’ll replace those”, he then disappears into the stock room, returns with a brand new pair in a box and hands them to her, beaming.

it gets better. she goes up to the sales counter, whereupon the clerk keys in her REI membership information. “you bought these two years ago” he says. “yes” she replies. “oh, you get thirty dollars back, then. these are on sale, right now”. “that doesn’t sound right” she says, with me nodding, “that’s the way the way the system works” the sales clerk responds.

so she gets a brand new replacement pair of boots, no questions asked. in fact, she didn’t even ask.. and $30 dollars back after 2 years of mistreatment!, all because of a slight tear. amazing!

REI membership = lifetime warranty!

i’ve just ordered a pair of mountain boots and thermals online, (amateur astronomy observing in winter isn’t exactly warm) and from now on we’re buying ALL camping, mountain, and related clothing equipment,etc. from REI!

why would you not?

Monday, January 15, 2007

“Hold Your Wee for a Wii"

from The Associated Press:

A 28-year-old suburban Sacramento woman died of apparent “water intoxication” after participating in a contest — “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” — sponsored by local radio station 107.9 KDND. The rules were simple: Participants simply competed to see how much water they could drink without going to the bathroom. The winner would receive a shiny new Wii video game console, the highly coveted, $250 must-have from Nintendo.

She left behind a husband, two sons and a daughter. From The Associated Press:

..that’s a great contest. exactly WHO thought that one up?

appropriate logo...

here's their website. absolutely no mention of it.
the actual winner of the contest is going to have so much fun playing video games in the knowledge that somebody died trying to win this 107.9 KDND...

what's the betting it'll be put up on ebay...

Hope over 'obesity-busting gum

from the bbc:

Scientists are looking at whether an appetite-suppressing chewing gum could be used to tackle obesity.

An injectible treatment could be available in five to eight years, but the long-term goal is to produce a form that can be absorbed in the mouth.

One in five adults are obese, but that could rise to one in three by 2010.

of, course if mcdonalds hit all their company targets, then that figure will rise to four out of three...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

come on san diego!

it also helps that i can't stand the patriots.

e-mail to fox sports: fox sports & joe buck get it wrong (again)

this may come as bit of a shock to joe buck, fox sports, and nascar fans, but "the world's best drivers" are not driving round a track solely consisting of left turns...

they are called world rally championship drivers. it's a sport that has rounds that take place in different countries, has drivers from different nations, is followed around the world and is supported by international manufacturers (UNLIKE NASCAR)



rooting for the bears even though i don't like rex grossman, and i do like the seahawks.

er, that makes perfect sense...

Cocaine on '100% of Irish euros'

from the bbc:

Cocaine on '100% of Irish euros'

One hundred percent of banknotes in the Republic of Ireland carry traces of cocaine, a new study has found.

Some of the notes had such high levels of cocaine on them that it is thought they were used to snort the drug.

extremely high levels of guinness odours were also detected…

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Money is not my motive – Beckham

from the bbc:

Money is not my motive – Beckham

David Beckham insists his move to LA Galaxy is not financially driven.

The 31-year-old will earn a reported $250m over five years after agreeing to leave Real Madrid for the Major League Soccer side at the end of the season.

The deal means Beckham will be earning 500 times more each week than most of his team-mates at Los Angeles.

But he said: "I didn't want to go there at 34 years old and for people to say he's only going for the money. It's not what I'm going out there to do."

he also said that aliens are living among us, he and ‘posh’ were very good friends with elvis, and met regularly in a restaurant in real madrid, richard simmons work-out videos were all the rage in britain, and that he was 110% positive that la galaxy would make it to the very top in international competition…

since you've opened your mouth, why don't you set up and donate the money to charities if you really want to be taken seriously. otherwise, nobody on the planet is gonna' believe you.

after all, it's what you do in the shirt that counts.

Skull Supports Theory of Human Migration

from the new york times:

Skull Supports Theory of Human Migration

From a new analysis of a human skull discovered in South Africa more than 50 years ago, scientists say they have obtained the first fossil evidence establishing the relatively recent time for the dispersal of modern Homo sapiens out of Africa.

The migrants appeared to have arrived at their new homes in Asia and Europe with the distinct and unmodified heads of Africans.

An international team of researchers reported yesterday that the age of the South African skull, which they dated at about 36,000 years old, coincided with the age of the skulls of humans then living in Europe and the far eastern parts of Asia, even Australia. The skull also closely resembled skulls of those humans.

creationists counter that this is simply preposterous, since the bible, the only one and everlasting true, real authority, teaches us that the earth and everything on it is only 6,000 years old. they also point out that these unbelieving, so-called ‘scientists’ have clearly demonstrated in their sorcercy that they have used satan’s evil in order to spread wickedness, and as such, will all burn in hell for their sins.

team nutty powers on

team nutty overtakes kung-fu hamsters!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

portrait of a world leader

anyone watching bush give his vastly unimpressive speech cannot fail to have noticed that he completely omitted one important sector of the demographic as he spoke during last night’s address on the so called ‘war on terror’.

the most telling, was the line, “the american people are not satisfied”…. “i’m not satisfied”…er, what about the iraqi people not being satisfied!? he spoke to the nation as if the iraqis weren’t even listening!, or involved. how unbelievably arrogant can this man continue to act? plenty, it seems.

then there was the gem about malaki and “his people”. malaki couldn’t even arrange a hanging a few days ago. period.

no, george bush. you chose to present a medal to the parents of a soldier who gave his life for others the very next day after your speech, a speech given in a room where there were many rich, handsome volumes of important literary works forming a pleasing, soothing, dignified backdrop to your carefully choreographed words.

it’s a pity you haven’t read any of them…

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

the only speech president bush can make that i'll take seriously:

wanna see a comet - possibly naked eye?

the photo above is of comet mcnaught. if you want to see this comet, dress very warmly, and prepare to spend at least 30 mins. braving the elements if you live somewhere cold (it's gonna feel like 26 degrees with windchill in d.c when the sun goes down in d.c this evening) it's no fun getting cold. and once you are cold, you're just not going to want to be outside.

get to some place off the ground floor, the higher up the better. away from bright lights if you can.

go outside and wait for the sun to set. all those layers making for warm clothes, gloves, hats, scarves, hand and foot warmers, etc. are looking like a real good idea now...

as soon as the sky starts to darkens, to the southwest you will see venus shining brilliantly. 17 degrees away (just more than an outstretched hand held at arms length) slightly south of east, you will see comet mcnaught, hovering a few degrees above the horizon. it will be very difficult to spot if you have no binoculars, no supporting tripod, and have no prior observing experience. be patient and you might get lucky and be rewarded, especially if it brightens (it's closer to earth than the sun, or mercury). observing's not like watching tv. there is no instant gratification. that's why i do it.

the reason it's bright is because it's close to the sun (that's why we never, ever see venus and mercury high in sky overhead), that means that it's going to 'chase' the setting sun below the horizon. by 7pm, the comet will be below the horizon, so in effect we have little over an hour of available viewing.

after tonight, it will be to low in the sky for observers in mid-latitudes, and will become an object for southern observers. that means that tonight's it! (sorry - no reruns).

patience is highly rewarded in amateur astronomy. the more you observe, the more you see. literally. when i first started looking at 'faint fuzzies', as they call them, i could hardly make out any detail, now when i look at the same objects, i can see a lot more detail. weird.

i'm off to my roof deck, to get a good look with binoculars and tripod (highly recommended).

good luck!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Landis angered by Pound criticism

from the bbc:

Landis angered by Pound criticism

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has hit back at criticism of him by World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound.

Pound described Landis' stage 17 win, after which he tested positive, "as a great story", adding, "but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

"He was 11 minutes behind, and all of a sudden there's this Herculean effort, where he's going up mountains like he's on a goddam Harley."

Landis has responded by calling Pound's comments "defamatory and absurd".

floyd llandis has every right to be outraged. it’s obvious dick pound knows absolutely nothing about motorcycles. if he did, he’d have said llandis was on a ducati.

er, can harleys actually make it up those mountains, dick?

first it's the creator of instant noodles, now it's the creator of muttley.

from the bbc:

Iwao Takamoto, the US animator who created cartoon dogs Scooby-Doo and Muttley, has died aged 81.

as a kid, i never liked scooby-doo, but impossible not to root for muttley.

dc blogger summit - but not for dc bloggers...

i posted this response:

dc blogger?

sounds like a cheese party with bad music, bright light and resumes. not for people who actually live in dc and blog. hmm.

conclusion: typical lame d.c. bollocks!

p.s. i'm posting this to my blog.


college football wins, and loses at the same time

what a great week of college football.

but do you think can they can try and make the whole system just a little more complicated and absurd...?