Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yule Tide Watch

Monday, August 13, 2007: Makuhari Costco. Christmas trees and ornaments sighted. They could have been there for a month for all I know, because I haven't been to Costco for a while. Note that this is only seven weeks after the June 25 "Antichristmas", and leaves an ample 133 shopping days (or shipping days –or just days) before Christmas. Costco is a wHoleSlayer, so they need to sell these things to other businesses so that other establishments can have these decorations up by late September.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

George Carlin stand-up

Presidential candidate George Carlin on the YouTube-CNN debates. Actually, he is not a Presidential candidate, and being 70 (??) would probably make a better Supreme Court Justice, in my opinion. However, I would like to see him go head-to head with Mike Gravel in a debate. Carlin goes a little overboard with how he loves disasters (hasn't suffered enough?) and his language seems too f*ing obsessively f*ed-up at times, but he is surely one-of-a-kind and a bit of a philosopher, social critic, and teacher, as well as a nut and perhaps our greatest living stand-up comedian.

Downsizing and reform of the Ten Commandments

That's classic.

Life is worth losing (recent)

Great introduction. This is a long show.

On Pride and the Pledge of Allegiance

Crappy video but the audio is OK. He makes a good point about pride. Is it true that only the US, Nazi Germany, and Mussolini's Italy have had a "Pledge of Allegiance"?

Earth-sheltered house

This earth-sheltered low-impact home was built in Wales. I like what the builder said: "built mostly from imagination, optimism and rubbish…" Actually, for people who live in the country and have a little extra land, it would be worthwhile to experiment with various construction techniques and build some test houses. He didn't need much money to build it.

I was thinking that different places would have different ways of using the local materials most effectively to make homes that shelter people from the local climate. In the central areas of North America, and places that have extreme cold and heat, earth-sheltered housing makes a lot of sense. There is a similar tradition in the plains --the sod house-- some of which have been preserved and updated, such as this site in Saskatchewan. The Addison sod house is also at wikipedia. Wikipedia's earth-sheltering page is good, too, and points out some potential problems like condensation.

Other places have different ways of sheltering and adapting to the local climate. Places with monsoon rains have stilt houses, which should be adapted for New Orleans and incorporated into the building codes there. Japanese traditional houses also do not use earth-sheltering, possibly due to earthquakes.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Information Architects Web Trend Map 2007v2

This is NOT the Tokyo subway map. You don't have to know Tokyo to use this.
The clickable start page with the snap-shot previews is amazing. Bookmark it!

Made by Oliver Reichenstein at Information Architects.
Read about it at:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bush visits Iraq

George Bush was walking through Baghdad.

"What a majestic surge!"
"What a powerful shock!"
"What awe!"

As he was walking beside a burnt out Humvee, he heard a click behind him. He tuned around and found himself staring down the barrel of a gun held by an Arab. The Arab yelled out, "Prepare to die, Infidel!"

Bush cried out, "Oh my god!"

Time stopped.
The Arab froze.
The war zone was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.

"You have used my name without permission. You said you consulted with me when you didn't. Now everyone thinks I am responsible for this mess. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament?

The neo-con looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a honest Christian now, but perhaps You could make the Arab a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

Stunned and relieved at the benevolence of the Creator, Bush decided to make an additional request. "Excuse me? While you're at it, dear lord, is it asking too much to make him an American, too? I really, really will consult with you next time, I promise I will."

"You test my patience with your requests. Yet, the power of repentance and forgiveness is unlimited. I shall grant your request, and go one further. Let him be a Christian, an American, and a woman. These things usually come in threes."

The light went out. The sounds of machine guns and carpet bombing resumed. A sharp boot kick to the chin knocked the crouching neo-con onto his side. He tasted the unexpected taste of "doo-doo" sticking to his beard. "You got dog shit on your boots, bitch!" he shouted, but only gibberish came out. He could have sworn that he didn't have a beard. He realized that he was naked, and that a dog collar was clasped tightly around his neck, as he looked up at the vacant face of Lynndie England.

World Without Fire Monkeys

I must have this book: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Google-fest follows.
Scientific American
Check out the illustrated flash timeline with audio commentary, video, and who might replace us.
Daily Mail
Here On Earth (Radio Without Borders) Wisconsin Public Radio (realmedia audio interview)
Alan Weisman profile at Homelands
KQED interview Northern California
KBOO interview (Oregon)
2005 article for Discover magazine was the seed of the book.
Barnes & Noble with reviews
Excerpt (at Kevin Kelly Cool Tools)
EatLiver (graphic above)
New Scientist story from October 2006 on the same topic
Spiral Research (cool Japanese ruins site via mentalfloss)

I originally heard the author on BBC Newspod. He suggests a one-child-per-family limit on global family planning as a way to get human populations back near one billion in a century, as opposed to the UN projection of 9 billion at century's end.