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31 March 2011

SMICard Nation

Why I'm Depressed, a Chain E-mail
Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel, "Pick up your shovels, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you to the Promised Land."

140 years ago,(when Welfare was introduced) Otto von Bismark said, "Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses, and light up a Camel, this is the Promised Land."

Today, the government has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price of camels and mortgaged the Promised Land!

I was so depressed last night thinking about Health Insurance, the economy, lost jobs, savings, Retirement, retirement funds, etc . . . called a Suicide Hotline. I had to press 1 for English. I was connected to a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal.

They got excited and asked if I could drive a truck......

29 March 2011

Someone can't Understand how they Managed to Reproduce, I guess

Universal solidarity is demanded for no actual reason. The proletariat must march in unison for no plausible cause.

We are now, however, all expected to boink alike.
After the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, salacious minds wondered how many, how quickly, how often, and just how Easterners would fall into bed with Westerners.

Ingrid Sharp, a senior lecturer in German at the University of Leeds, pored through newspapers and academic papers in search of something related to the answer. She published her findings in a 2004 issue of the Journal of the History of Sexuality.

Sharp focused on a single question: "What happened to GDR [German Democratic Republic] sexuality when it was confronted with the sexual mores of West Germany?" "The answer," she writes, "appears to have been an explosion of discourse surrounding sex."
So it really isn’t about intimacy, the mating rituals of those natives, or even mere rutting. It’s about an academic being surprised by the absence of a body of scholarly obsession with people having sex, and a strange expectation for every academic on earth, even in the Marxist-Leninist DDR, to pedantically pursue the same stale heap of subjects.
The report ends with a deflating comment from journalist Regine Sylvester, who tried to sum up both her own experience and that of the entire nation. The supposed "sex boom" that happened right after unification, Sylvester opined, "did not turn the Federal Republic into a noisily copulating society, nor did the official taboos turn the old GDR into an ascetic one."
Which sort of wraps up the value of the 19,347th pointless dissertation on that which is merely natural, and none of the neighbors’ (let alone some PhD doofus’) business.

- Link shamelessly ripped off from Observing Hermann

27 March 2011

Do Indulge me, would You?

I'll admit to a weakness: old movies, and British films in particular. While my faves date from 1940 to 1955, I thought it would be interesting to present this rare gem. This adaptation of H. G. Welles' "Things to Come" also presents a portrait of the experimental art and design of the era in which it was made. After all, it needed 'futurism', so they let loose.

From 1936, here is "Things to Come":

26 March 2011

So Much for THAT Tempest in a Teapot

German Court: Google Street View is Legal
A German court has ruled that Google's Street View mapping service is legal,
reports Deutsche Welle.
The ruling, handed down by the Berlin State Supreme Court, stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a German woman, who claimed that Google violated her property and privacy rights by posting photos of her home on Google Maps.

The court rejected her argument,
To which we recommend "Plan B"

The Pixelhead mask, made of satin stretch fabric acts as “media camouflage”, to ensure that your identity remains blurred if you feel like you’re living in a creepy, Big Brother digital age.

A Festival of Ironies: the "Bee Crisis" meets Foodie Fetishes

Quotations from the oddly named:
"Their crisis is our crisis," says food guru Michael Pollan. So precious has bee-produced honey been considered over the ages that it was not even marketed...

Travel Ideas

For fans of the gloriously miserable, why not head out to Siberia to see the world's largest head of Lenin?

It only takes 5 days by train out of Moscow, after all.

Speak to us, oh huge brain bucket! Speak to your people!

25 March 2011

The Pause that Depresses

Have you ever wondered what to give people who think they’re funny/witty/intelligent? At least on the college sophomore level - when they’re unaware of how tedious they really are?.

24 March 2011

The Near Distant Ago Isn't Nearly Far Enough Away

Don’t forget that these are the polished, polite, and compliant elite that the North Koreans are letting the camera see.

This is a view of the engine room of a state propaganda apparatus.

23 March 2011

A desperate plea from the Fake Crisis Management Center

The desperate pleas are deafening!

Spectrum crisis vs. bandwidth crisis
However, the "spectrum crisis" is only part of the equation wireless providers and network operators face. Another challenge is the "bandwidth crisis," the increased demands on bandwidth as a result of the growing number of mobile users...
TMC Net:
...Nevertheless, all telecommunication sectors experienced a slow down following the global financial crisis...
Capacity runs short DESPITE a slow down... now THERE'S a crisis, if nothing else than of basic cognition.

No, Seriously. You First.

22 March 2011

The Ration-Book Thinking of our Governmental "Betters"

Stupid EU cookie law will hand the advantage to the US, kill our startps stone dead
Says TechCrunch
From 25 May, new European laws will dictate that “explicit consent” must be gathered from web users who are being tracked via cookies. That translates into warnings which will put off consumers from EU sites, while US-based startups will be free to continue as they are. How convenient huh.

Although businesses are being urged to work out how they gain ‘consent’ from users, this is bound to cause consternation.

The new European e-Privacy directive is supposedly to protect privacy, although seems to be operating in a bubble. Privacy controls have existed in Web browsers for years. Indeed there are even privacy specific browsers. But consumers have consistently ignored them and carried on happily using cookies, with many people knowing that cookies actually help the browsing experience.

The Near Distant Schlamperei: a 20th Anniversary

I’m trying to remember the rough dates that the transition took place, but it was fairly rapid as far as “social change goes”. The shift was gross and ultimately sweeping, and while it looked like nothing at first, before we knew it, femininity was undercut and popular culture wanted girls to be boys.

It took another ten years, but the popular culture in the form of the lowbrow fashion press reinstated womanhood as a way of constructing attention-seeking irony: it was more or less hitched to the concept of being a happy slut.

20 March 2011

Dawn of the Paranoid Crazies

UFO over Oswego? You've gotta see it to believe it ...
Chicago Sun-Times
I look up to see what appeared to be an asteroid on fire heading to earth at about a 30 degree angle and south ... Maybe 1 or 2 towns over...
Newsflash: here's always a college campus and a scrum of students with the 2 a.m. "munchies" involved.

19 March 2011

Building Design and the Capital of the Berlin Republic

Which is to say, Berlin, but I digress. Jim Hudson’s excellent blog visits Mitte, with photos that transit work from the 1933 to the present, visiting momentarily the flour that grew in the faded husk of the pride and joy of the DDR, trotting down the entirely “destalinized” Doreteenstraße.

Now, it should be noted that German architecture during the period 1933-45 is a complex business, with perhaps more continuity than many of the stripped neoclassical ‘banality of evil’ designs would suggest, albeit that modernism was relegated relegated to industrial buildings, where it survived at all. And one should not forget the need to consider the context of the buildings and the horrors of the regime, to avoid becoming one of those weird people with an unhealthy obsession with the subject. But, well, ooh, I love a good Nazi building, don’t you?
Euros to donuts, I agree, but atuill have a hard time thinking that one can express it openly without gimballing my neck to see who’s listening.

18 March 2011

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2011\03F

Tsunamis and reactor failures be damned!

Bee crisis could define 21st century.
An international panel of scientists found that more than a dozen factors, ranging from insecticides that damage a bee's memory to climate change...
In other words, the suspects with the highest propensity of getting the study's author either a) props or 2) moolah. Cabbage. Jack. Bling-bling.

Elsewhere, in the excuse and catalyst vehilce department:

Globe and Mail
If certain agricultural practices and public policies are changed, says Marie-Pierre Chauzat, one of the report’s lead researchers, a full-scale bee crisis can be averted.

Middle class fad for bee keeping sees doubling in number of hives
It's right up ther with the middle-class habit of getting passionate about 'crices' one only understands how to ritually imbibe in by reading the right papers.

15 March 2011

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2011\3-D

Minneapolis Star Tribune: What Are Bees Telling Us?

It tells me we have a pet issue that no-one understands but can advocate in the works.
The movie is a look at the global bee crisis examining the problems of monoculture and pesticides.

"Queen of the Sun," is said to offer a profound alternative look at the tragic global bee crisis. "Alternative" meaning, whatever one wants it to be, such as a "global" thing that goes undetected in south America and sub-saharan Africa.

13 March 2011

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2011\3-D

Not having a plan to not deal with the insoluble is half the fake crisis:

How Do We Dodge the Next Incoming Asteroid?
Discovery News
Interestingly, there are 822 known near-Earth asteroids with a diameter of 1 kilometer or more that -- compared to tiny, 3 meter-long 2011 CA7, that would have most likely burned up in the atmosphere anyway (assuming it wasn't a chunk of iron!)
That's because iron is special and different, I guess.

11 March 2011

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2011\3-C

Fast rural broadband key to economic growth
Fresh Business Thinking

Pshyeah right! How do they prove that negative?
Britain increases its regional broadband coverage with high speed services, then the economic recovery will be impeded. Andy Burton, Chair of the Cloud Industry Forum, stated: "If as a nation we are going to grow out of our current financial crisis...

10 March 2011

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2011\3-B

Now, it's an officially recognized fake crisis!
The UN on Thursday expressed alarm at a huge decline in bee colonies under a multiple onslaught of pests and pollution, urging an international effort to save the pollinators that are vital for food crops.
[... snip ...]
Honey bee colony declines in recent years have reached 10 to 30 percent in Europe, 30 percent in the United States, up to 85 percent in Middle East, said scientist Peter Neumann, one of the authors of the first ever UN report on the issue.

But in South America, Africa and Australia there were no reports of high losses.
In other words, it's a parasite as already established, not a platform to complain about pollution and human existence.

07 March 2011

Want a class free society? Go American

The far left, particularly those with the moral compass that spins enough for them to express an admiration for Socialism, love to discuss classlessness as a goal. Well, Americans really eliminated class distinction to a degree that no society has managed to, not least of which compared to the aristocratic nature of Socialist, Marxist-Leninist, and the rest of the quasi-intellectual variants thereof. We have few living examples left, but they are pure and consistent:
In North Korea, one's songbun, or socio-economic and class background, is extremely important and is primarily determined at birth. People with the best songbun are descendants of the anti-Japanese guerrillas who fought with Kim Il-song, followed by people whose parents or grandparents were factory workers, laborers, or poor, small farmers in 1950. "Ranked below them in descending order are forty-seven distinct groups in what must be the most class-differentiated society in the world today." Anyone with a father, uncle, or grandfather who owned land or was a doctor, Christian minister, merchant, or lawyer has low songbun.
Then there’s the ubiquitous, ass-kissing nature of low-level cronyism:
After songbun, the next most important influence on North Korean life is Kim-Il-song sangsa, or the thought of Kim Il-song. Within certain narrow limits, one's devotion to the thought of Kim Il-song can improve one's songbun, and disloyalty can lower one's songbun.
Not to mention the classlessness of hereditary succession. And don’t bet that the fate of the higher classes isn’t tied to el hefe, and that they will get their when he finally gets his.

04 March 2011

News Digest from the Fake-Crisis Management Center, no. 2011\3-A

Hampshire scientists track asteroid heading for earth
Measuring 300 yards wide and travelling at 23000mph, Asteroid 99942 Apophis is predicted to slam into the planet in 25 years' time.
Or not.
The last big asteroid to strike Earth was the one estimated to have measured 300 ft wide, which exploded over the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908, knocking down trees for hundreds of square miles.
...which is why the science team should hold their breath until 2036.

02 March 2011

Caution: Protectionist Hypocrites at work

Google Runs Into New Privacy Objections In Europe Over Street View
Europeans have a much broader view of privacy law than Americans, and Google's Street View, generally accepted in the US, continues to run into obstacles across the Atlantic.
Pshyeah right...

Except when identity cards are involved, or anything substatively involving privacy that isn't a tructured PR campaign.

What is this pedantic, multi-year story REALLY seem to be about?

France's 1PlusV Files Anti-trust Complaint Against Google -- Again
Google has been under pressure in the European Union for some time; most notable is Germany's legal action against Google's Street View service that resulted in Google having to remove faces and other privacy information from the service's maps.
Which, if anti-trust was that important to them, they would actually act against European companies engaging in monoplisitc practices, but they don't.