Monday, January 28, 2008

Two more Vote-bots: Deciders for the indecisive Undecideds

Minnesota Public Radio's Select A Candidate (TM) asks 16 questions that you can weigh, and USAToday's Candidate Match Game asks 13 questions that can also be weighted to tweak your decision. Of course the questions are odd ones and your actual response cannot be found among the candidates' soundbite answers. If they worked, these would completely relieve the voter of the need to observe the candidates in their natural habitat. If only voters selected the candidates on the basis of their declared policy positions, which they don't (and shouldn't). One should actually decide based on how charismatic they are and how polite they are in debates. Manners are sure to come in handy in politics. That, and their revolutionary fervor.

MPR gave me the usual suspects: Dennis ChewSpinach, JEdwards, Hill-Rod, and Obama. USAToday gave me Gravel as #1 and Ron Paul as #3. Whatever. None of my preferred candidates will obtain enough credits to graduate from the Electoral College. Anyway, I heard somewhere that most people decide and can predict election outcomes (in their brainstems) in a split second based on the shape of the candidate's face. Being tall, having a short name, and coming early in alphabetical order are important predictors of voter appeal, too.

All in all, these cyberDeciders are welcome additions to the voters' decisional repertoire of Ouija Board, Spin the Bottle, Tarot Deck, I Ching, Astrological charts and Coin Flip. Obtaining the consent of the governed is an important consideration for the effective functioning of democratic centralism in America's elective plutocracy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Céu - Concrete Jungle

It is still cold and getting colder. Try to warm up, this time with CéU, channeling a Latina version of Bob Marley from an alternate universe:)

This version has better video and sound than this impressionistic lo-fi one or this one with lyrics. IMO, she kinda blows it when she sings "like a clown" but makes up for that with the rest of it.

In a similarly Brazilian-related vein, it's possible to listen to Traz um alívio, watch the video for Mr Right Now, and see a strange user-generated video for a prematurely-truncated version of Res Inexplicata Volans, all Apollo Nove music.

Dirt-ePolitrix: Evil in Ads by Google

This is an ad that appeared on a news site, courtesy of Google Ads. I didn't follow the link, but it shows an almost Rovean level of political evil facilitated by the Google "Don't be evil" Ads.

A screen shot of the page is on the right, and the ad in context at the bottom of the page is shown below. The Daily Telegraph "Powered by the Sydney Herald" was the news site. Clinton, Obama slug it out was the story headline.

I don't know if it is just one newspaper, an Australian thing, or if even US news sites are allowing this kind of Obama slander and rumor mongering. It could be by an American or international racist organization, a wealthy and unscrupulous (but I repeat myself) Republican such as moneybags Mitt, or the Hill-Rod. I'm sure she would blame it on a vast right-wing conspiracy and contend that it came straight from the Republican Play Book. It looks like Google Ads has made it too easy to drop some money on them and them post libelous slander and lies disguised as ads. These would work best subliminally; most people don't even read the ads, only looking at them long enough to see that they are ads, but the message will come through better unfiltered in the peripheral vision, just as most ads are more effective if they are ignored and allowed to work subconsciously. If you pay conscious attention to commercials and analyze them intelligently, they are pretty much useless and ineffective. Google should watch themselves more closely, (slum)lord knows they are watching us.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Benazhir, Done That.

Really, Really Bad (outrageous, really) Bush-Admin Idea of the Day:

US willing to send troops to Pakistan
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Thu Jan 24, 6:20 PM ET

The Bush administration is willing to send a small number of U.S. combat troops to Pakistan to help fight the insurgency there if Pakistani authorities ask for such help, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

"We remain ready, willing and able to assist the Pakistanis and to partner with them to provide additional training, to conduct joint operations, should they desire to do so," Gates told a news conference.
Pakistan is already the third largest recipient of US foreign aid, after Israel and Egypt. Perv is a dictator who seized power in a coup and is suppressing democracy. Perv should be asked to step aside for an interim administration that could hold elections. Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney should be impeached in the US before they start another war. Gates is opening the gates of hell.

Hell o' Kitty

You can go straight to hell. Hello Kitty Hell. And while you are there, can you get something for me? A Hello Kitty tattoo, preferably in the middle of your forehead. This is what the ancients referred to as "the mark of the beast" -- one of the sure signs of the apocalypse.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dengue Fever

Friggin' cold day. I want to warm up with some Thai curry and Dengue Fever.

2007 Live Show:

2006 Seattle live show:

Los Angeles 2006:

A few old mp3s were found here. Support the band by buying their new cd, Venus on Earth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stephenville Reports

This was a more sensitive report with better treatment of the witnesses by CNN:

The original story in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune:
The next day more witnesses came forward:
A report of an earlier sighting and filming nearby:
Interesting confessions of the editor:

American Political Markets

The Iowa Electronic Markets allow you to invest your money in the candidate(s) you think will win their parties' nominations, and on the party you think will win the US Presidential campaign.

The Iowa Electronic Markets are real-money futures markets in which contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections.

It's been accurate to within a fraction of a percentage point in previous elections. These are static images, so click on them to go to the current dynamic images. You can see John McCain pick himself up off the floor and slowly dominate the Republican saloon of candidates. Iowa causes an earthquake which flips the Demo race, after which NH flips it back, but with some damage to Hill-Rod.

It's good to get a second opinion. A newer political market is the Rasmussen Reports political market. You can see the latest results of their futures market, and the daily presidential tracking poll or the Demo and Repo candidate match-ups are also interesting places to start.

Can You Feel The Love Tonight?: The Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate in SC

I had an opportunity to watch this event live today, and am watching it live right now. Since there are not major differences in the positions of the three surviving candidates, they can perhaps best be evaluated on their personalities, ability to motivate and appeal to voters, and courtesy. Hillary Clinton is digging her own grave after starting out with her solidly wonky oratorical stump rant. Obama was pulled down and sucked into her negative energy. John Edwards and John McCain's Excellent Adventure (BitchSlap '08) would seem to be the real winners at this point in the debate. While we are here, I suggest re-branding the candidates as Barry-O, Hill-Rod, and Johnnie Onwards. Organizers (like Wolfie Blitzer) should also take care to place Johnnie Onwards between Hill-Rod and Barry-O in any subsequent head-butts debates. Perhaps it's not too late to move them now; we're only an hour into the duh-bait.


If Barry-O was like a kid bouncing a rubber ball off the Clinton's house, Hill-Rod was like an angry homeowner running out on the porch with a shotgun and blasting away. But Obama hides behind a tree and starts lobbing stones! NO! It would have been the perfect opportunity to deploy a "Chill out!" moment against the Hill-Rod, which was deployed so well by a Clinton in 1992. I wonder if this account of that memorable moment (written by William Safire) is true:

According to a Clinton supporter, the Governor's wife, Hillary Clinton, took her husband aside just before a debate and told him: "If Jerry Brown goes off on some wild tangent against you, just remind him he's from California and what they say out there is chill out . Just tell him to chill out."

Sure enough, as Mr. Brown started to inveigh against the Clinton civil rights record, Mr. Clinton interrupted cheerfully with "Jerry, chill out! You're from California -- chill out. Cool off a little." That became the sound bite used on all the evening news shows the next day. Note how Governor Clinton slipped in the definition, "to cool off," so that non-Californians would understand.
A kick-box match between a slumlord punk and a corporate wal-mart bitch: that's what America needs. Take it easy or take it outside. Such a nasty campaign will only accelerate the move toward campaign robots and animatronic figures. Hill-Rod did seem to be a Hill-Bot at times during the debate. She showed her evil humanity with that big scary smile just before she stucj the knife in Barry-O. Watch out for that scary-clown smile; the knife is coming out. It's just like when John McCain says "My friend."

Maybe the assured mutual destruction of politicians roasting each other alive is a good thing: it shows what they are really made of and clears the field for something new. The primary process is like a demolition derby fought in expensive lifeboats for the entertainment of the spectators in the virtual coliseum ("Survivor!"). I still think we could use an engineer or software engineer in the race. I don't mean a businessman like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Someone like Dean Kamen or a candidate from the Free Software Foundation. Writing code is not much different from writing laws, and the USA needs a new Operating System, including a few constitutional amendments to make the selection of the president more transparent and recall and retire decrepit Supreme Court judges. I would trust a geek -- if he was properly chilled out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

January 8, 2008 Stephenville Texas and other UFO sightings

I didn't see this story in the media at first (and I don't think it was a big story in Japan) but a friend sent me this video link.

I was shocked by the extremely condescending coverage by CNN. The background graphic is extreme and over-the-top. The story is introduced as an offbeat, humorous story. The male announcer mentions "visitors from very, very far away", seemingly leaping to the conclusion that anything flying and unidentified must be extraterrestrial in origin and a manned (or occupied) craft. Yet none of the witnesses in the news report made any such claims. The police officer, pilot, and other witnesses simply described what they saw without making any assumptions or conclusions other than that it didn't seem to be from around there. It seemed completely unwarranted for the casters to go out of their way to ridicule the very sincere eyewitnesses, who were not seeking publicity and who may be a little reluctant to report the facts given attacks from the media and public. If there had been a single witness who had been drinking and given the UFO story as an excuse to his wife for why he came home late, perhaps the story would be humorous, but this event was witnessed by dozens of people at different locations. There were around 40 eyewitnesses. It also seems that planetary invasion, if that is what it is, would not be a laughing matter unless the casters were shape-shifting reptilians themselves, or have been instructed by their owners (or a security agency) to present the story in a condescending and disrespectful way. If you visit the YouTube page, you will see that most viewers who commented mindlessly followed the CNN brainwash and heaped scorn and ridicule on the townspeople.

It sounds like a cover-up to me, (and I am not a UFO person; I don't own and haven't read a single book on the subject). Alternatively, it could just be that the society and the media are not prepared for Mystery, for something Unexplained. Many people have a low tolerance of Uncertainty. People should accept that there are unexplained phenomena and there always will be. A tiny sliver of the universe is explainable and understandable to us, 97% (to pick a random number) is not and never will be. To give an example, for most of human history, thunder and lightning were inexplicable phenomena. There was no theory that could correctly explain and account for hem. You had to be satisfies with "Apollo is bowling" or some such explanation. By the 1700s, we could begin to know what lightning was and even capture and make use of that force in the 1800s.

Speaking of flying objects, up until the 20th century, most people had no concept of aerodynamics, lacking the math and physics to even explain how birds could fly, and refused to accept the evidence presented by the existence of birds, that man could fly (Michelangelo was an exception).

Likewise, even today scientists are finding sprites and other bizarre phenomena, not in space but in the Earth's atmosphere, new species of mammals (tiny deer) are still being found, most species of life on Earth have not been cataloged, we are finding out some insects do not fly the way we thought they did, birds sing using a different technique than we had thought, we've found little people, and so we probably will find our brother Sasquatch one day, too, I suppose. (I think they fear fire-monkey for good reason.)

Like lightning, UFOs are a real phenomenon which has a real explanation (not necessarily UFO=ET) which will one day become clear.

Perhaps there is just an association of UFOs with crazy people. If the last 3 people who talked to you about UFOs were crazy (possibly as a side effect of their abductions?), you might start to react suspiciously without listening to the next person who says "UFO". It is true that some crazy people mention UFOs. Yet that doesn't mean every person who mentions UFOs is crazy; it just means that UFOs are an archetypal and profoundly impressive meme psychologically. Crazy people also mention God and Jesus, yet we do not treat every person who talks about God and Jesus as a lunatic. (It might be a better world if we did, though.)

The story did reach Japan on Larry King Live. I saw just enough to see that they were asking, "Do you believe in UFOs?," a question which literally means "Do you believe that there are objects which fly that are unidentified?," a question to which the only correct answer can be "Yes" as long as someone somewhere has not identified every object that flies.

I wonder where the media found the ability to be so skeptical when they seemed to have no critical thinking faculties operating when the news is about unconstitutional military commissions, secret invisible doomsday weapons in Iraq, Persian Islamic A-bombs (which are somehow safer than Perv and AQ Khan's Pakistani Islamic A-bombs), and other modern american fairy tales.

The story in USAToday is reported more professionally but includes the opening line "Cue the Twilight Zone theme ... Dozens of people say they saw a UFO hovering over their rural community near Stephenville, Texas," placing the story falsely within the realm of fiction or televised entertainment, not news.

The incident is similar to the November 7, 2006 O'Hare International Airport incident, in which a metallic, circular, spinning craft was witnessed hovering over a gate (C-16). As the Wikipedia article on the O'Hare event points out:

Widespread coverage of a UFO sighting by today's mainstream media is somewhat unusual for large media companies who, when they do cover UFO events, often tend to use a facetious or mocking style when reporting about the sightings. Many UFO researchers and UFO conspiracy theorists consider this to be an often deliberate way of deflecting any serious attention from the UFO phenomenon and specific incidents.
No kidding! I hadn't really noticed or paid much attention to that before, but I'd tend to agree now. For the general public, it may just be that the possibility of there being other intelligent beings in the universe is so exciting (and would be the biggest news in human history) that some psychological defenses leap into action. For the media people, it appears that they are instructed to minimize, marginalize, or ridicule these reports. That could be for military reasons, due to an internationally agreed policy of official secrecy, or it may just be that they are hit with many complaints from the public when they report the facts straight (although I would think the opposite might be true).

The O'Hare story was reported in the Chicago Tribune as a video post (via Laughing Squid).

These inexplicable events seem to be increasing lately, or occurring in increasingly public places. The March 5, 2004 Mexican Air Force encounter is another major incident, which produced video -- unavailable from the 2006 and 2008 incidents.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WTC in 1970s ads

In the 1970s the coolest newest biggest tallest thing was the new World Trade Center, a nice image to build your ad on.
Originally posted by Copyranter.
Update: He has added a few more, such as Cookie Monster.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Goldilocks Hits the Jackpot

This is a book I want to read. It's a popular cosmology book written by Paul Davies. It's been out since last spring, before I heard of it. It's called Cosmic Jackpot in the US and The Goldilocks Enigma in the UK, --marketing to national stereotypes, perhaps?

Although the US version is subtitled The Mind of God, I don't think he really believes in "God", although it may be one way of referring to mind which arises from the universe and through a temporally symmetrical quantum causality creates a maximally mindfulness-friendly universe from the set of all possible multiverses.

I found some audio originally at Science Friday. There was also a piece on NPRnews and the SETI Institute's AWA (Are We Alone?) podcast.

The US Amazon had some reviews I thought were well-worth reading. I'll probably order it from but I like the UK Penguin cover, too. A reviewer quotes with disappointment from the end of the book:

So, how come existence? At the end of the day, all the approaches I have discussed are likely to prove unsatisfactory. In fact, in reviewing them they all seem to me to be either ridiculous or hopelessly inadequate: a unique universe that just happens to permit life by a fluke; a stupendous number of alternative parallel universes that exist for no reason; a preexisting God who is somehow self-explanatory; or a self-creating, self-explaining, self-understanding universe-with observers, entailing backward causation and teleology. Perhaps we have reached a fundamental impasse dictated by the limitations of the human intellect. The whole paraphernalia of gods and laws, of space, time, and matter, of purpose and design, rationality and absurdity, meaning and mystery, may yet be swept away and replaced by revelations as yet undreamt of.
That quote -- especially the "limitations of the human intellect"-- just makes me want to read it more. I would have said it differently: "You have to doubt that the universe is really so simple that it can be successfully modeled in fire-monkey's brain -- but keep working on it!"

Bloggers Prospero's Books and Reality Conditions have written intelligently about this book.

Go directly to the source: Paul Davies' own site. Or read some of his writing found online such as Reality in the Melting Pot or this msnbc interview.

Finally, there is his wikipedia page and an introduction to the multiverse.

Update: I ordered the "Goldilocks" British version of the book late at night on the 22nd and it was delivered early the next day! It seems the Amazon( delivery site is pretty close to us – in Urayasu. It joins my stack of other unread books.

Democracy Now in Japan

I was channel surfing and I found that Asahi Newsstar has Democracy Now (Japanese site I'm not sure how long they have carried it. It even has Japanese subtitles -- and why not, since do a good job with the English transcripts, it's easy for another station to pick up the content. Unfortunately, though, according to the schedule, it's only on once(?) a week and rebroadcast a few times. Still, it's a great alternative to CNNjesusland and the Beebie-Sea. I haven't been listening to Democracy Now because the volume that it is recorded at is too quiet to be heard over the noise of the train on my commute.

They are calling it katakana デモクラシー and Romaji NOW! Who decides these things? But I guess the direct translation of 民主主義+現代 looks pretty strange. Democracy is a difficult word so they katakana-ized it so people could pronounce it and left NOW as it was. But sometimes katakanize it too, randomly.

Unfortunately, today's program is from May 9, 2007. What are they trying to pull? I just hope that they decide, after showing a few select shows for a month or so, to carry it on a daily basis.