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  • November 2005
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Weird Crap:

The Great Ketchup Mystery

Researchers will probe the physics of shear thinning by varying the temperature of the xenon and amount of stirring it receives. The same paddle that stirs the sample will also measure its viscosity, just as you might estimate the thickness of honey by trying to move a spoon through it.

At least that’s what scientists are hoping will happen.

The ketchup-like behaviour of pure fluids at their critical point is still only theoretical. Even simulations using supercomputers can’t prove the theory. “Especially near the critical point, there aren’t computers that can simulate the fluid’s behaviour,” notes Berg. “The chains of interactions between molecules are so long that computers just aren’t powerful enough to do it.”

Consider that the next time you whack the bottom of a ketchup bottle. Even supercomputers can’t predict the outcome.

Yeah…Ketchup and the inner secrets of the universe…whatever

Beware the Bloop

Scientists have revealed a mysterious recording that they say could be the sound of a giant beast lurking in the depths of the ocean.

Researchers have nicknamed the strange unidentified sound picked up by undersea microphones “Bloop.”

While it bears the varying frequency hallmark of marine animals, it is far more powerful than the calls made by any creature known on Earth, Britain’s New Scientist reported on Thursday.

It is too big for a whale and one theory is that it is a deep sea monster, possibly a many-tentacled giant squid.

In 1997, Bloop was detected by U.S. Navy “spy” sensors 3,000 miles apart that had been put there to detect the movement of Soviet submarines, the magazine reports.

Quote from CNN

Lego Scam to the tune of $200,000:

William Swanberg, 40, of Reno, Nevada, is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the colorful plastic building blocks.

Swanberg was indicted by a grand jury in Hillsboro, a Portland suburb, which charged him with stealing Lego sets from Target stores.

Target estimates Swanberg stole up to $200,000 worth of the brick sets pilfered from their stores in Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. The Legos were resold on the Internet, officials said.

Personally, if you’re going to committ a crime and go to jail, you might as well do something cool like rob a bank. I mean, can you imagine explaining to your fellow inmates how you took Walmart for money stealing legos? You’d get the crap kicked out of you day and night.

Also, my thoughts on Madison, Wisconsin, will be posted up this week as part of my ongoing “Travels through Purgatory” series.


On the war front:

I debated whether to post on this issue, seeing that Uncle Ben knows one of the people kidnapped, but I figured it’d be intellectually dishonest not to, and that what I have to say about this story isn’t all that offensive.

Basically, what I have to say is that even being an activist for peace doesn’t protect you from terrorists. Would a suicide bomber blow himself up at an anti-war protest? You bet he would, just as these terrorists had no problem picking out peace activists from non-“occupying” nations. To get you caught up:

The tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera showed four men and a British passport belonging to Norman Kember. The British government and the Christian Peacemaker Teams have both said Kember, a 74-year-old Briton, was among the four activists taken hostage.

Christian Peacemaker Teams said it would not identify the other three people for their protection.

A white-haired man shown in the passport photograph also was seen sitting on the floor next to three other men in the video, which had a date stamp indicating it was recorded Sunday.
The corner of the video showed two, crossed black swords and the name of the insurgent group written in red Arabic script.

Christian Peacemaker Teams issued a statement Tuesday saying the four men were working on behalf of Iraqi civilians. The group said it has had a team in Iraq since October 2002, working with U.S. and Iraqi detainees and training others in nonviolent intervention and human rights documentation.

A possible reason for the action might be the fact that the new German Chancellor wants to have closer ties to the U.S:

Merkel, a conservative, has repeatedly signaled her intention to repair traditionally strong German-U.S. ties torn by Schroeder’s decision in 2001 to join France and Russia in loudly opposing the war in Iraq. Schroeder’s position has also weighed on Berlin’s relations with smaller EU nations, such as former communist states like Poland and Hungary, both NATO members which sent troops to Iraq.

However, Merkel’s coalition government includes Schroeder’s Social Democrats and her foreign minister has said that there will be no change in Germany’s refusal to send troops to Iraq.

Because Germany is changing to a pro-US stance, there is a need for the terrorists to target them for activity.

So, peace loving or not, you’re a target.

There’s another point hidden in this story that I’d like to point out:

Kember, a retired professor, is a longtime peace activist who once fretted publicly that he was taking the easy way out by protesting in safety at home while British soldiers risked their lives in Iraq.

I have a great deal of respect for his position. It is easy to protest a war in safety when others risk their lives. This is the heart of the “chickendove” argument that the Protest Warriors have come up with, that if your are against the war, you should put yourself at risk overseas for peace. The Protest Warriors take it further and say that if the U.S. “occupation” is unjust, then the “insurgents” (or whatever Rummy wants to call them) cause is therefore just, and that those in favor of removing U.S. forces from Iraq should join the insurgency.

It’s a response to the “chickenhawk” argument one hears all the time. (The chickenhawk argument is the one where liberals accuse those who support the war of hypocrisy because they are not in the military).

Really, both arguments are pure foolishness. (Otherwise known as the “ad hominem” fallacy). Then again, every time I pull the “chickendove” argument it throws the moonbat I’m talking to into fits. Probably because for the standard moonbat, there is no cause worth dying or fighting for.

Random Thoughts on Abortion:

My previous post mentioned an article on abortion that showed about 50 babies a year in Britain survive attempted abortions (attempted homicides). Also, the article I quoted mentioned another interesting fact, that most countries in Europe have more restricted abortion laws than we here in America do:

Abortion on demand is allowed in Britain up to 24 weeks more than halfway through a normal pregnancy and the highest legal limit for such terminations in Europe. France and Germany permit social abortions only up to the 10th and 12th weeks respectively.

It amazes me that the left protects the right to late term abortions as much as they do. (And why didn’t the liberal judges that found the right to late term abortions to be protected in the constitution look to European laws to get an “international” perspective that Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg believe in so thoroughly?)

Another article that has me scared is this work from the LATimes:

Harrison is beyond such concerns. For several years in the 1980s, his clinic was picketed, vandalized and once firebombed. Protesters marched outside his home and death threats became routine. Harrison responded by making his case.

He answered every phone call, replied to every letter in the newspaper and appeared at public forums to defend abortion rights. Eventually, the protesters in this college town left him alone. (Arkansas Right to Life focuses instead on educating women about alternatives to abortion, Executive Director Rose Mimms said.)

In the years since, Harrison has become more outspoken.

He calls himself an “abortionist” and says, “I am destroying life.”

At least this madman doesn’t try to pretend that abortion is not about destroying a life.

Luckily, despite his firm belief in the indefensibleble, this Arkansas doctor still has problems gathering followers:

Harrison warns every patient he sees that abortion may be illegal one day. He wants to stir them to activism, but most women respond mildly.

“I can’t imagine the country coming to that,” says Kim, 35, in for her second abortion in two years.

A high school senior says the issue won’t weigh heavily when she evaluates candidates. “There’s other issues I see as more important,” she says, “like whether they’ll raise taxes.”

It just amazes me. How is this defensible? This isn’t forty years ago. Today people are so “sexually liberated” it shouldn’t be a big issues to have an illegitimateate child and bring them to term and put them up for adoption. It’s not hard to use condoms and birth control, the need for abortion no longer exists (at least in 99% of cases). It’s a cult.

I really shouldn’t write when I’m sick. I’m personally frustrated, in pain, and I just sound very angry whenever I write sick. Maybe “Caustic” is a better word. I was writing a guest column for some paper, and when I got done I realized that I had succeeded in making myself sound like a total ass. So of course, I submitted it as is.

There are a few things that I want to bring to the attention of my readers:

Babies sometimes survive abortion procedures!

Paul Clarke, a neonatal intensive care specialist in Norwich, has treated a boy born at 24 weeks after three failed abortion attempts. The mother decided to keep the child, who is now two years old but is suffering what doctors call significant ongoing medical problems.

The survival of this child was not recorded in any official statistics, Clarke said. There is nothing at the moment to force abortion practitioners to account for their failures.

The issue will be highlighted by Gianna Jessen, 28, who survived an attempt to abort her. She is to speak at a parliamentary meeting on December 6 organised by the Alive and Kicking campaign, which is lobbying for a reduction of the abortion limit to 18 weeks.

Jessen, a musician from Nashville, Tennessee, was left with cerebral palsy but is to run in the London marathon next April to raise funds for fellow sufferers.

guidelines say that babies aborted after more than 21 weeks and six days of gestation should have their hearts stopped by an injection of potassium chloride before being delivered. In practice, few doctors are willing or able to perform the delicate procedure.

For the abortion of younger foetuses, labour is induced by drugs in the expectation that the infant will not survive the birth process. Guidelines say that doctors should ensure that the drugs they use prevent such babies being alive at birth.

In practice, according to Stuart Campbell, former professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s hospital, London, a number do survive.

They can be born breathing and crying at 19 weeks gestation, he said. I am not anti-abortion, but as far as I am concerned this is sub-standard medicine.

It’s not sub-standard medicine, you’re just a sub-standard executioner.

I’ve been in the pro-life movement for a long time, and I had never heard about such incidences happening. I couldn’t believe this when I saw it. My question, how can anyone support late term abortions after hearing the testimony of someone who has survived such a procedure?

Capitalism works.

…the efficiency of the major Scandinavian economies is a myth. The Swedish and Finnish welfare states have been going through a long period of decline. In the early 1990s they were virtually bankrupt. Between 1990 and 1995 unemployment increased five-fold. The Scandinavian countries have not been able to recover.

Check in on Captain Capitalism for more proof that capitalism works.

Personal Update

I am quite ill right now. Last night I was coughing so violently that my head started to hurt, and I wasn’t able to get sleep even after several doses of a Nyquil knockoff. It seems that I get sick every other winter, and that this sickness lingers for a long time and makes me miserable. In high school my friends and I called it “lineman’s disease” because all the football lineman got it, and nothing would ever make it go away. Sometimes I would waste my time going to a doctor, get a prescription for antibiotics, and waste time and money as the sickness would continue unabated.

Luckily, I just finished a temp job and I can go on retainer if I decide to, which means I can afford to wait out this sickness.

But man, it is really annoying, and during the holiday season too.

However, despite my wretched circumstances, my memory is still haunting some on the U of M campus:

It’s good to know someone has taken Marty Andrade’s torch as right-wing mouthpiece. Like his predecessor, Bernard has chosen to spread the Fox News brand of propaganda rather than actually addressing the merits of the issues at hand

Hat tip to Other Marty for that article, and a note, Bernard and I started at the same time as columnists for the Daily, so there was no torch passing.

Articles and subjects that may or may not become show topics:

Atheist Mike Newdow

His Bio

No science on web?

More media bias

Post Office goes PC

More proof of global warming

Cindy Sheehan

Losing light poles?

Text messaging causes crash

Newdow again

Tony on gay marriage

Random Link o’ the Day:


Random Link o’ the Day:


Minnesota Democrats Exposed

I had mixed feelings about the news that MDE was being pursued by Inside Minnesota Politics (IMP), a local lefty blog/podcast. The basic background is that MDE used a picture (nothing that’s going to get nominated for a Pulitzer) from IMP’s website. MDE linked to IMP and credited IMP with the photograph. IMP complained, and MDE took the picture down. Now IMP is pursuing MDE through legal channels for Copyright infringement.

The merits of the case are rather weak. The picture probably falls under the “fair use” clause. Most of the lawyers in the MOB (and there are a few) agree that the case IMP is bringing against MDE is baseless, and that this is really just a ploy to get MDE’s name public.

This is where I have mixed feelings. I oppose anonymous blogging, posting, pamphleteering or any other anonymous work. That’s one of the rules for getting onto “da role” on my sidebar. In the words of Bill O’Reilly “If you’re going to sling it, sign it.” It matches my attitudes exactly.

I understand the need for anonymity at times. I myself have given stories “on background” (during a vicious and childish student government race in college). I also receive information from anonymous sources that I have in Minnesota state government. I rely on these sources a lot, mainly because I have so few of them. I defend their anonymity strongly.

I just don’t like it. “Charles Carroll of Carrollton” reads the signature of one of the men that signed the Declaration of Indepedence. Not only did Carroll sign the Declaration, but he gave the British directions to his house where they could find him. That takes guts.

But like I said, I understand the need for anonymity. Anonymity will reveal information that otherwise might not get out there. MDE doesn’t lie, MDE is not being charged with libel. MDE did not profit from IMP at all. It’s a tactic to get MDE out of the arena. I don’t know why MDE wants to be anonymous, but he must have his reason[s]. (I also do not know who MDE is, so don’t ask.)

IMP is making an assualt on MDE for political gain. It’s that simple, and because of that, I must make a stand with MDE, and encourage any of my readers who can afford it to donate to the MDE defense fund.