Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This would be kinda weird. Some guy was digging next to his house and discovered a series of burial plots around the foundation. The seven plots possibly date back to the war of 1812.

I'm waiting for the reverend Henry Kane (pictured here) to start paying the family some visits. ;)

Article: Faces of meth

I wouldn't typically post something this morbid, but I figured that it might give a good illustration of the effects of Meth Amphetamines over time. Some of the people in these pictures go through some pretty drastic changes. Feel free to see for yourself.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Article: Fun facts about the end of the world

This is kind of neat. It's a break down of the ways in which the world is predicted to end according to some of the world's major religions. It's interesting to see the different perspectives that they all take. Of course, they all seem to have a similiar theme and that is that "bad things will happen". :)

But seriously....where are the religions out there that preach that the end will be a harmonious event? The ones where god (or whatever) will judge mankind worthy as a whole to transcend this mortal coil and to take our place amongst the stars. Why does everything always have to end with fire and brimstone only to result in the saving of a small portion of the populous?

Ah yes. The things that keep me up at night. :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Article: Say whaaaaaaa???????

If you are going to read ANYTHING on the internet today, you should read THIS ARTICLE. It goes on to describe how Attorney General Roberto Gonzalez is arguing against a person's right of Habeus Corpus. What does this mean? Well, for those not familiar with the term....

"The clear meaning of the clause [in the US Constitution], as interpreted for more than two centuries, is that the Founders recognized the long-established English law principle of habeas corpus, which guarantees people the right of due process, such as formal charges and a fair trial."

In other words, if someone were hoping for an Orwellian society where people can be "disappeared" at the drop of a hat without public question, then this would be one of the first steps on the way there. And yes...this is only my opinion...but it quainly summarizes a potential outcome. Even the ranking republican on the commitee pretty much let the attorney general know that he was off his rocker (in much nicer terms).

Again, I MUST stress that this is NOT an anti-Bush or anti government or anti-anything post on my part. I would question ANYONE who would do something like this. I'm not making a politically-affiliated argument. I'm simply saying that it scares me that the seperation of powers and the checks/balances that go along with that can be attacked like this and potentially eroded.

I'm certainly hoping that common sense can overcome a political challenge like this.

Picture: The fewest words always say the most

Picture: Cats can be nerds too!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The 80s hairs on the back of my neck are standing on end. :)
I wonder if Col. O'Neill has one of these.

Article: More iPod madness!!

Anyone who's read the majority of my posts knows that I don't exactly have a love for the iPod. It's not the product that I don't like. Just about every person I know who has one loves it. What I dislike about it is the culture that it has given birth to. I've written past articles on the iPod-accesorized jeans and the iPod-holding toilet paper dispensor. Well, now, I'm sad to mention yet another hybrid bastardization that really hits close to my heart. Click here to read about the Optimus Prime iPod dock! AARRRGGG!!!!

P.S. I love my Samsung :)

Article: 10 credit mistakes made while trying to fix your credit

I briefly read over the list of 10 items in this article and was actually quite intrigued. Understanding the mechanisms and metrics behind one's credit score could REALLY make a difference in the way someone juggles their finances. It includes simple tips like not cancelling old cards and not requesting reduced credit limits. Check out the article. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Picture: Turning night into day

This is a really neat picture. The photographer used a really long exposure (among other tricks) to create the effect. If you don't believe me, check out the stars at the top of the screen (which are streaked also due to the exposure). You can check out the photographer's notes here if you're interested.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Article: How to make a real zombie!

This is pretty neat (as long as it doesn't ever happen to me or anyone I know). It's an article on how the folks in Haiti used to make their zombie slaves. I love this excerpt from Haitian law....

"Article 249. It shall also be qualified as attempted murder the employment which may be made against any person of substances which, without causing actual death, produce a lethargic coma more or less prolonged. If, after the person had been buried, the act shall be considered murder no matter what result follows."

If you can perfect the process, then you'll be well on your way to creating your own zombie army!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Articles: Terra

Thought I'd throw some linkage out there to some random earth-related articles that I've read recently. If you click here, you can see a beautiful panoramic (360-degree) view of the world as seen from the top of Mt. Everest.

On another note. Click here if you want to see what de-forestation looks like from a couple miles up as witnessed in the Brazil's Amazon rainforest.

Check out this link to see some really great trees-in-ice-storm pictures. Some of them are really breath-taking. Who thought that water could be so beautiful? :)

I really do believe that the most beautiful things are born of randomness and develop over time on a geologic or cosmic scale. So long to create, and often so simple to destroy. No...I'm hardly a tree-hugging hippy. I just have an appreciation for the universe's aesthetic palatte. For instance, I don't think that any fractal that can be born of human imagination could EVER compare to some of the nebulas that I've seen that are a few hundred/thousand/million/billion light years away.

Random musings from a computer nerd. ;)

Entry: The horror!

Click here to see just how much of a loser I really am! :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Article: One giant mistake for mankind

This is one of those "in my humbled opinion posts".

I really do think that the current state of NASA's prioritization is seriously jacked. You can read the article that spawned this chain of thought here.....'Scientists Warn of Diminished Earth Studies From Space'.

Here's a particularly incendiary excerpt...

“NASA has a mission ordering that starts with the presidential goals — first of manned flight to Mars, and second, establishing a permanent base on the Moon, and then third to examine Earth, which puts Earth rather far down on the totem pole.”

Again, I must stress that this is NOT a "the-president-is-evil" speech. These are simply my thoughts on current events.

Having spent a couple years working with NASA on Earth-observing missions, I can honestly say that the average person doesn't give the field its due. NASA is arguably the world's foremost authority on space exploration and research. Sometimes coupled with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the most important data about our home come from their efforts.


You know what....I'm so fired up right now and I really lack the strength to describe the different kinds of contributions that earth-observing missions make. I've done it so many times that I'm just tired. Let's just say that life would be drastically different without it. I'd also easily argue that more people would die without as well.

So...what good is it going to do to put a man's footprint on mars? We have two rovers and a zillion spacecraft in orbit gathering information about that planet. The rovers have sent back GOBS of science data regarding the dirt, rocks, atmosphere, etc, etc, etc. But no....we have to have a MAN'S footprint to add to the collection. Personally, I really do think that endevors like that should be the domain of healthy economies that actually have something to gain from the experience. I agree that space exploration should expand and extra-terrestrial colonization should be a priority.....but in the future! Why should we spend a zillion dollars at the expense of other important and immediately-contributing programs so that we can fly someone to Mars for 9 months and then bring them back for 9 more. Why can't we just wait until space travel is a little more commonplace and the technologies are advanced enough so that it can be done much faster and much cheaper? "Why?" you ask? Because we have to have the footprint.

You may say things like...."It's pure science!" or "We have to colonize elsewhere!".

I'm a big fan of "pure science" research. However, we're already getting loads of data first-hand from that planet and....well....a manned Mars mission now would be a HUGE freakin' expense at the cost of others. Why not fix welfare? Because we have to have the footprint. Why not improve the nation's schools? Because we have to have the footprint. Why not take care of our disabled veterans? Because get the point.

Moore's up on it. In the next decade, we will be able to do it faster, better, and cheaper. A decade after that, even more. So on and so forth. Personally, I have NO problem waiting 30-40 years to get our footprint on that useless planet (and I will continue to call it "useless" until evidence is found otherwise). In that time, better rovers and spacecraft could also be sent to Mars for even BETTER science data.


What is the point? It's like paying a million dollars for a cup of coffee. It may be a really "cool" cup of coffee, but it still costs a million dollars!

Article: Feinstein Blows the Whistle

This is one of the reasons that I hate politics. Part of the game is to inject miscellaneous adendums to bills that seemingly have nothing to do with the spirit of the bill. For instance, (and this is NOT a Bush-administration-is-evil speech), when the Patriot Act was renewed last year, there was a little-known stipulation that was added that allows the administration and the DOJ to fill Prosecutors positions with interim lawyers for an indefinate amount of time.

What does this mean to the average person like me? Put simply, this allows an administration to appoint prosecutors who can completely avoid Senate approval and remain in their office for the life of the administration. Interestingly enough, AND THIS IS WHAT PROVOKED THIS ARTICLE, US Attorneys are being forced to resign en masse at the moment and will be replaced with these interim replacements. What's even more interesting is that nobody seems to be able to find any grounds as to why they're being told to resign.

Article: The Crack Tax

Every time I think I've heard it all, something new pops up and challenges that belief. Apparently, the state of Tennessee has a 'Crack Tax'. All persons in posession of a certain amount of an illegal controlled substance are expected to pay taxes for it and affix tax stamps to them. There's even a picture of the tax stamp with the article.

The story mentions some dude who got nailed for bringing in two tons of marijana. He was fined 1.1 million dollars by the TN Department of Revenue for not paying taxes on the contraband.

Ripley's Believe It.....or Not.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pictures: Mario's in the hizouse!

Why is it that none of my companies have ever had the idea to do something like this? I really do think that people would be a LOT more motivated if they had a big Mario or Koopa smiling at then when they got to work in the morning. :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Article: The most satisfying yawns you'll ever have

This is just hella-crazy-cool. Granted, I don't typically post stuff like this (being the pure spirit that I am at heart), but I found this article about a medication that causes some people to orgasm when they yawn! Good lord. Could you imagine if medications were made to reproduce that in a controllable fashion??

Pictures: Mongrel public figures

This is somewhat hilarious. Check out this site which shows you pictures of what certain public figures would look like if they did face transplants. The one of the right is Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton. Wooooooooow. :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Picture: Megatron

This is an artist's conception of what Megatron will look like in the upcoming 'Transformers' movie.
Personally, I'm not impressed...not in the least.

P.S. If you are a cute woman coming to read my blog for the first time, please don't run away like a scared little dear. I'm really NOT that big of a nerd. ;)

Article: 57 tips for every student

The folks over at Degree Tutor have come up with a list of 57 Tips for writing a term paper. I didn't care for a lot of them, but some of these tips should come in very handy for anyone at any level of education. I figured I'd share the link with you. :)

"So you're in college, maybe for the first time, or maybe returning after an absence. You want to do well in your courses, right? What serious student doesn't? But so many students feel lost it when it comes to effective study techniques, especially when it comes to the dreaded term paper. You know the kind: the ones assigned on the first day and due close to the last; the ones you feel intimidated by and want to ignore as much as possible."

Picture: Orwell would be proud

Kinda scary (if you ask me). It even LOOKS like a cover for a 1980s book. :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Article: When a crusade just isn't worth it

Here's a guy by the name of John Gilmore. Yes...he's rich and famous. I'm not going to bother telling you why, though, because I don't want any "saintly-ness" injected into this post.

In 2002, Mr. Gilmore refused to show any form of ID to the person who was checking boarding passes at the gate as he was about to board an airplane. When asked for one, he questioned them...."Why?". The person, in turn, told him that it was the law. Well....apparently, it put his undies in such a twist that he's refused to fly ever since. Whether it's the actually the law or simply a TSA/airport policy is hardly the point. There's more to be considered here.

I will tell you this, my friend. I do NOT envy the folks on the hill who have the unenviable job of weighing the constitutional rights of every US citizen against the government's charge of keeping those same citizens safe. It often seems that liberty and security are at odds with each other. It was Benjamin Franklin who once said, "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither". In a world of tyranny and despotism, I would most whole-heartedly agree. However, Mr. Franklin probably never considered the security of the people when the threats came from within the people and not from the government.

How do you make such a decision? How does anybody? On one hand, you have the freedoms that US citizens have enjoyed for hundreds of years and are most unhappy to compromise. On the other, you have the growing and continuously-evolving efforts of terrorism that are hellbent on killing innocents. If you opt for the path of absolute freedom and people end up dieing, then you are at fault for not stopping it. If you opt for the path of security and keep the people from that same harm, you are at fault for oppression.

You know....I really don't care which side of this argument anybody is on, but this is one thing of which I am very sure. Everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, needs to have a deep appreciation for the folks who are charged with making those decisions for us. Theirs is not an easy job. It's simple to criticize from the stands but it's a very different ballgame when you're the one on the field.

As much as I admire Mr. Gilmore's resolve, I really wish he would have chosen his crusades a little more thoughtfully. This is, again, in my most humbled opinion.

Article: The pale blue dot

Back in 1990, after completing its mission, Voyager 1 was commanded to take pictures of the planets in our solar system. The picture shown here is a snapshot of the planet earth (which can be seen between the two lines below). The earth is so small that it barely even fits in a single pixel on your screen. Astronomer Carl Sagan presented this picture during a lecture at Cornell University. His words were quite profound for anyone who's willing to not only hear them, but also to listen.

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Article: Free Playstation 3!!

The blessed folks over at Landover Baptists have a new limited-time offer. If you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, they will give you a FREE PS3! Do your parents love you that much? Doubtful. ;)

Get your free PS3 now.

Article: Caring for your introvert

I was recently discussing relationships with someone (and some of the unusual dilemmas that I've faced in the past) and they were kind enough to send me an interesting article (thanks Kathleen). It's yet another piece describing what it is to live the life an an introvert and some of the biggest misconceptions regarding that lifestyle.

I, myself, have never avoided the question as to whether or not I am an introvert. I would say that I'm *definately* in that camp. :) The hard part is not recognizing that fact. The hard part is figuring out how to live in a sea of extroverts if that's your chosen lifestyle.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Article: Evolution of the Belmont sprite this article probably won't be much appreciated among the masses. However, I have this thing about Castlevania and thus feel an urgent need to post it. Basically, this article talks about the sprites used in the Castlevania games (which have been released on over 10 different consoles over the years). As you can tell from the three in this picture, the Konami folks didn't exactly have the most active imaginations. ;)

Article: 3000 dead, but how many injured?

I don't think I've ever written anything on here regarding the "war on terror", but I find this article to be a tad disturbing. It talks about the numbers of disabled veterans who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's funny how we pay so much attention to the death toll and no attention at all to those who have no limbs, certain vital organs, or the simple ability to sleep at night without seeing blood and monsters in their dreams. The article also mentions that the reason why the death toll was so much higher in vietnam was that the wounds were less survivable back then. Now, there are medical procedures and body armor. So, instead of 100 dead soldiers and marines, we simply have 100 legless ones who can't see and are unemployable.

One thing that I REALLY found disturbing was that people suffering from certain mental illnesses (including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) can now be sent back to the front line after they are clinically diagnosed.

Here are some excerpts....

"Advances in military technology are keeping the death rate much lower than during the Vietnam War and World War Two, Dr. Col. Vito Imbascini, an urologist and state surgeon with the California Army National Guard, told IPS, but soldiers who survive attacks are often severely disabled for life."

"Dr. Imbascini just returned from a four-month deployment to Germany, where he treated the worst of the U.S. war wounded. He said that an extremely high number of wounded soldiers are coming home with their arms or legs amputated. Imbascini said he amputated the genitals of one or two men every day."

"One is a Jul. 20, 2006, document titled "Compensation and Pension Benefit Activity Among Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism," which shows that 152,669 veterans filed disability claims after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. Of the more than 100,000 claims granted, Veterans Administration records show at least 1,502 veterans have been compensated as 100 percent disabled."

"New guidelines released by the Pentagon released last month allow commanders to redeploy soldiers suffering from traumatic stress disorders."

Article: Goats in trees

OK. This is pretty cool. Check out these pictures of goats that are hanging around in trees! Man...those suckers have some serious balance!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Picture: The Witches Broom Nebula

Entry: A wonderful new addition to the neighborhood

Well, I was fortunate enough to discover yesterday that the local police force had raided a meth lab that was being run out of a house about a block down from mine. I feel so fortunate!! :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Entry: New Years Eve

The following pictures are from Mike's collection and were taken during the hash campout at Ground Zero in Apopka, FL. It was a three day event where rules were not allowed. "Interesting" to say the least. The event had everything. Fireworks, a bon fire, camping, singing, trail hiking (hashing), a great DJ, and a lot of really really fun people. Oh...and by the was a pirate theme. Yeeaarrrrggg!!!! :)

Before looking at the pictures, some of you may be wondering exactly what hashing is. Well...honestly, I can't really describe it. It's a tradition born of old British military and stripped of honor and dignity. It is a conglomeration of old and young, rich and poor, athlete and nerd, the lawyer and the grocery bagger, and just about every other juxtaposition you can imagine. I'd like to write more, but it's currently late and I'm feeling wiped out. :(

In short, hashing is....
... a co-ed fraternity that you don't have to buy into
... an athletic event, but without the competitiveness
... a social event void of rules
... a place where all are equal
... a meeting of folks from all over who are welcomed as brothers and sisters
... a place where the old are young and the young can be old
... a bar where you know everyone very well although you barely know anyone's name
... an exercise in comradery
... a place where you leave your demons at the door
... a constant song of merriment (more singing than even a summer camp)
... tradition personified
... and much, much more!

I would like to give the following thanks....
- To Mike...for pressuring my introverted rear into going
- To Kitty and Mamms...for your support of the FNG ("New Guy")
- To Melissa and Melinda...for being more scared than I was at first
- And, in NO small measure, to Honora...for looking after the FNG and keeping him out of trouble. You really did make all the difference in the world.

Here are some pictures. They hardly do the whole experience any justice. But they are yours to enjoy nonetheless.

On On!!

Here's Melissa giving Kitty a massage (or so it looks like). Both very nice women.

Random picture of folks sitting around being jocular and full or mirth.

I have no idea what was so interesting inside of Mike's camper, but there were quite a few people who wanted a look at it! Yeah....privacy was a thing of the past at this event.

There was a SPECTACULAR 15-minute-straight display of amateur fireworks. This just goes to show that a lack of professional equipment can be compensated for by sheer volume and quantity!

This is Honora and myself briefly checking out a game of Twister that a couple of the attendees decided to start up.

This dude was off the hook! Most people brought some modest little tents. This guy brought the bloody Ringling Brother's big top with him!!

Here's me getting off of the party bus. Some Florida Gators fan brought a bus that he purchased and renovated. It was complete with plush couches, carpetting, stereo system, DVD player, and LCD television.

Another random picture of people hanging out having fun.

A cute couple. I forget their names, but I remember that her nickname was " alarm clock". Wonder how she got hit with a name like that!

Another random picture.

The demon dog herself! This dog would pick a victim, follow that person around, and constantly bark at them. I almost (intentionally) hit this dog with my car.

Some of the crew. From left-to-right: Melinda, Mike, Melissa, "Mamms", and the ever-so-beautiful Honora.

Me holding the demon dog. I should have taken advantage of the moment and put the thing out of its (and my) misery.

Another random shot. I didn't know half of these folks.

I'm so mad that I missed this. Some dude was playing with some unspent fireworks from the night before. He propped up a table and aimed a bottlerocket at it. This is his running-away-while-turning-to-check -in-mid-air pose.

A random congregation shot.

Oooooiiiieeee! Just havin' fun!

The start of the bon fire. This picture doesn't do it justice.

Random party shot.

Shooting off the fireworks.