Thursday, March 31, 2005

Rise of the Arizona militia

In response to the flow of illegal immigrants coming over the border, more than 1000 citizens of Arizona, who call themselves the "Minute Men", will begin patrolling a 40 mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border. This vigilante group does not answer to any government authority, and many of these "Minute Men" will be armed. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks this will end badly.

Do yourself a favor...

Terri Shiavo is dead. No matter what your views of this case are, we can all learn a few lessons from it. Make sure that your family and friends know what your wishes are should you ever end up in the same situation. Get a legal document stating what your wishes are if you can afford it. Just so the whole damn internet knows, I want the plug pulled.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

New Template

Gave my blog a new look, with a new template. Just got bored of the old one I guess. Anyways, I'm still on spring break, and today I'm off to the beach. I'll probably do some posting tomorrow.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Spring Break, I'm lazy

Well, this week is spring break. I'll only be working half days for most of the week, so I wouldn't expect too much blogging this week, but who knows. If this crappy weather goes away, I intend to drastically increase my chances for skin cancer, ie go soak up some rays on some nice little beach around here. So stay tuned, hopefully I'll follow this up with some nice beach pictures this week.

Friday, March 25, 2005

An eventful night

So, I normally don't relay personal stories on the ole blog, but last night was just kind of odd, so I've decided to post on it. So, the oncampus bar, the Pub, at my school (the only bar within walking distance from my apartment) was closing its doors last night, possibly forever. So, my friends and I decided to go have a few beers to celebrate all the good times we had at the Pub. So, when I arrive with my friend Phil, there is large line full of people who never go to the Pub. We were upset, and Phil tried to negotiate with the doorman, but to no avail. So, on our way back home, we run into another friend Brian, who informs us he knows a secret way to get into the Pub.
Brian then informs us it involves climbing the side of a two story building and sneaking across several rooftops. I personally don't want to do this. So, Phil and Brian climb up the side of the building and after some encouragement, I finally join them. So, we begin to run across the rooftops. At one point we have to crawl across a small, narrow section that has a 20 ft. drop if we slip. We then race across the one section of roof that has a direct line of sight to the patio area of the Pub and make it to the roof of the Pub. Brian then informs us that we have to drop into a back area of the patio where there are never any people. I'm not happy about this, but I'm ready to go along. Of course, when Brian pokes his head over, there is a security guard waiting in his secret spot to drop in. So, Brian and Phil are trying to figure out different ways to get in the backdoor of the Pub, and the only way to do that without alerting a security guard involves using a beam to get down a 20ft drop. However, before we can do this, Phil spots a security guard on the roof. We hide, but he walks directly towards our position. Finally, right before he find me, I get up with arms up in the air and begin the following conversation.

Me - "I surrender. So are you going to arrest me or give me a ticket?"
Guard-"How about I take you off the roof and you leave?"
Me - "That sounds fair. Thanks"
Guard - "No problem. So, what the hell are you doing up here? Are you just hanging out, or are you trying to sneak into the party?"
Me - "Trying to sneak into the party"
Guard - "Did that girl already get out of here?" (refering to Brian, a rather large guy with long hair)
Me - "Yeah, she already escaped"
Guard - "How did you get up on the roof?"
Me - "Climbed up the far building and made our way across the various rooftops"
Guard - "Well, don't worry about getting into the party, they're no longer serving beer"

After that, Phil came out of his hiding spot and we were escorted out of the building. So, then we met up the AC Patriot and we back to my apartment for some drinking and watched "Step into Liquid" which is a pretty cool movie after surfing.
So, right as everyone is leaving my roommate arrives. Just as I'm closing my door to my bedroom to go to sleep, I here my roommate call for me. I ask him what's up and then he tells me that he and his girlfriend just got married. Whoa! Didn't see that coming. So, we have a beer to celebrate his marriage and then I finally crash.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Insights into my twisted psyche

Cattell's 16 Factor Test Results
Warmth ||||||||||||||| 46%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Emotional Stability |||||||||||||||||| 58%
Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Liveliness ||||||||||||||| 42%
Dutifulness ||||||||||||||| 50%
Social Assertiveness ||||||||||||||||||||| 62%
Sensitivity ||||||||| 26%
Paranoia ||||||||||||||| 42%
Abstractness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Introversion |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Anxiety |||||||||||||||||| 54%
Openmindedness ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Independence |||||||||||||||||| 58%
Perfectionism ||||||||||||||| 42%
Tension ||||||||| 22%
Take Cattell 16 Factor Test (similar to 16pf)
personality tests by

Tom Delay, Republican martyr

As the Disgruntled Chemist has pointed out, Tom DeLay has already compared Terri Shiavo to Jesus Christ. Now, how could Tom DeLay take his hyperbolic comparisons to a new level. Well, by comparing himself to Terri Shiavo of course. Of course, the parallels are just mind boggling. Well, even a child could see the implications of this little progression of comparisons. Yes, that's right, Tom Delay thinks he is a modern day Jesus, being persecuted by those meanie Democrats.
It seems almost beyond belief that someone would be so blatant in using this tragedy for their own personal political gain that they would directly compare themself to Terri Shiavo , but here's a small excerpt from Newsweek on how he starts up this comparison.

"And so it's bigger than any one of us, and we have to do everything that is in our power to save Terri Schiavo and anybody else that may be in this kind of position, and let me just finish with this:

This is exactly the kind of issue that's going on in America, that attacks against the conservative moment, against me and against many others."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Iraqi civilians fight back

NY Times reports that an Iraqi shopkeeper, along with a few family members, opened fire on several insurgents that were walking towards his shop armed with explosives. In the ensuing gun battle, 3 insurgents were killed, and 2 of the shopkeeper's relatives were wounded. I'm sure that many people think that Iraqi civilians fighting insurgents is a good thing, but it is definitely not.

1) The fact that Iraqi civilians are so desperate that they are taking the law into their own hands is a consequence of the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces failing to provide enough security.
2) If more civilians begin to take up arms against the insurgents, this will inevitably lead to a civil war. Most of the civilians targeted by the insurgents are Shiite while the insurgents are foreign Arabs and Sunni Iraqis. Therefore, any vigilante retaliation from citizens will only further inflame sectarian relations.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Culture of Death

Recently, there has been a great deal of press about the "Culture of Life" that is being pushed by the Christian Right, but more importantly by the Republicans who are currently running the country. So what exactly does "Culture of Life" constitute? Well, I believe it means that you are Pro-Life and that you think Terri Shiavo should be forced to keep living against her own wishes.

Now, such a grand title for a certain viewpoint as the "Culture of Life" immediately would imply that those who disagree with the views of the "Culture of Life" must be part of the "Culture of Death". Now, I find myself being a strong advocate of the Pro-Choice and let Terri Shiavo die as per her own wishes and with dignity viewpoint, so I am in fact now in this "Culture of Death".

People in the "Culture of Life" generally have this viewpoint supposedly because of some religious motivations. However, those of us in the "Culture of Death" are just plain evil, BUT have a more practical motivation for our viewpoint. Allow me to explain...

We take a dash of cute cuddly babies

add in some helpless medical patients

And suddenly you get

If you don't recognize this, here's a hint: IT'S MADE FROM PEOPLE!!!

Forensic Science gets X-Ray Vision!

A new technique to detect fingerprints on surfaces that were previously impossible to get prints off, such as leather or plastic, developed at Los Alamos National Labs will be unveiled last week at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego. This new technique, called micro-x-ray fluorescence (MXRF), uses a thin beam of x-rays to detect salts found in human sweat and then use that information to construct images of the fingerprints. The team that created this technique predicts that a commercially available, portable version of the device could be in use by law enforcement within 5 years.

Highly amusing site

I just discovered a funny site with lots of humorous movie clips. If you are in need of a good laugh, check out Keta Keta for some pretty funny little movies. I particularly enjoyed the Make Love, Not Terror and Breast Exam. Just a quick note, it does work better if you use Internet Explorer with Windows Media Player.

Monday, March 21, 2005

If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?

I am Jack's raging battle with George W. Bush. You
want the title fight with the big man eh?
Well, ole Georgy is in top shape, and he's
ready to fight. Expect him to be well rested
from the all the catnaps and vacations to

Bush Administration Fight Club
brought to you by Quizilla

Does technology make you dumb?

An article in the NY Times recently discussed whether or not technology is dumbing down its users. The article specifically discusses how the proliferation of cell phones has prevented people from memorizing any phone numbers anymore. I only know 2 phone numbers from memory, and those are phone numbers that I've called probably around a few hundred times. How many phone numbers do you still know by memory? I'm guessing not many.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

This is not looking too good

I'm getting my ass kicked already. Two of my sweet sixteen teams lost in the first round. I have a feeling that I'm not going to win the pool that I'm in. Stupid Pitt and Alabama. Well, hopefully my alma mater, Texas, will make it through the first round so they can receive their beating in the second round from Illinois with dignity.

Bracket Posted by Hello

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody. I hope everyone gets a chance to drink one (or more!) of these.

Guinness Posted by Hello

But if this beer is a bit much for you, here are a few acceptable alternatives for you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nuclear testing in Sudan... oops I meant Sedan

BBC reports a congressional report released earlier this week reported that between 1962 and 1970 the U.S. conducted nuclear tests in Sudan. Needless to say, the Sudan government was quite shocked when they heard this. Of course, the Sudan government would never have been shocked if some idiot had managed to spell Sedan correctly, a nuclear test site in Nevada.
Oxymoron for the day: Congressional Spelling Champion

Now that's impressive

I can't run more than a mile without feeling pretty tired and being out of breath. I know a few people who run marathons, and that is extremely impressive. But this guy is absolutely insane. Read this article in the NY Times about Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon extraordinaire. Here's a quote from the article about some of his running accomplishments...

"He has run 75 hours straight, 262 miles down the coast of California. He regularly runs all night, 70 miles or more, and in fact dictated much of his book into a tape recorder that he carried while he ran. He has completed many of the nation's toughest 100-mile trail races in under 24 hours. He once ran a marathon at the South Pole, in running shoes."


Stupid oxygen providing trees

The US State Department has recently come up with a plan to discredit and thwart attempts by Britain's Tony Blair to push a G8 initiative to stop illegal logging of the rainforests. Blair wants to make companies certify that all timber has been cut down legally in forests that can sustain themselves. Read more about this at BBC news.

The US also refused to sign the World Foresty Treaty in 1992, which essentially would have done the same thing as Tony Blair's G8 initiative, so I guess this is just more of the same. You'd think that if Bush was going to constantly lower pollution standards that he could at least make sure we have some trees around to absorb some of the excess CO2 emissions.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Perfect Score

You scored as Democrat. <'Imunimaginative's Deviantart Page'>

















What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with

I'm not so suprised at being a Democrat, but 92% anarchism! I think I've been watching too much Fight Club or something.

Hat Tip: The Disgruntled Chemist

Robots get schooled by teenage girl

At a conference for the International Society for Optical Engineers in San Diego on Monday, three different robotic arms lost an arm wrestling contest to a 17 old high school girl. While two of the arms only lasted about 4 seconds with the student, a third arm made by Environmental Robots Inc. lasted 26 seconds in the match before being defeated. All the arms used special artifical muscles made from electroactive polymers, which change shape from either electrical or chemical stimulus. Read more about here.

"Submission" is back, partly

Ifilm has just posted a 3 minute clip of the film Submission, a metaphorical movie about the plight of many women in the Muslim world. If you didn't get to see the full version of the film before, you should check out the clip that Ifilm has been allowed to post. Here is the synopsis of Submission from Ifilm...

On November 2nd 2004, Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered on the streets of Amsterdam in reaction to his film, "Submission," which criticizes the treatment of women under Islam. The slain filmmaker was the great grandson of the brother of famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, who was also named Theo. The film was written by activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Despite the threat to her own life, Ms.Hirsi Ali refuses to back down on what she calls her Islam Reform Project (IRP) "I am on a mission. And it's only just begun."

Monday, March 14, 2005

California: the land of gay rights

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled today that a state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Once again, California is leading the way on gay rights. The gay rights movement reminds me alot of the civil rights movement. The majority of people in the south did not want blacks and other non-whites to have same rights under the law, but eventually the civil rights movement won the day. Today, in most places in America the majority of people do not want homosexuals to have the same rights as hetrosexuals, but I predict that once again the advocates of equal rights will eventually win this battle.

"It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners... The idea that marriage-like rights without marriage is adequate smacks of a concept long rejected by the courts -- separate but equal"- San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer

Motivations for Charity

I've recently found myself trying to understand a strange phenomena that has occured over the last 6 months or so. Two horrible tragedies have struck the world during this time, the genocide in Darfur and the tsunami in south asia. The conundrum is this: why have ordinary people given such overwhelming support to the tsunami victims but virtually ignored the genocide in Darfur. I think I may have come up with a possible theory.

Tsunami's, earthquakes, and other natural disasters seem to have an almost supernatural quality to them. While we can predict some of these disasters, such as hurricanes, we have no way to stop them or even control them. In effect, natural disasters are almost percieved as acts of god. If an act of god kills hundreds of thousands of innocent people, what does this say about god? Therefore, an event like the tsunami strikes deep into the belief structure that most people hold about a god who is merciful, just, and rewards good people. So, the natural way for people to reaffirm their religious beliefs is to donate money and other forms of aid to help the victims of this tragedy.

In contrast, Darfur is a man-made disaster. The genocide perpetrated there is by evil men who have different faiths and ethnicities from the majority of the west. This tragedy in no way attacks the faith in god the way that natural disasters seem too. In fact, evil acts committed by people of different religions and ethnicities could merely reaffirm the beliefs of some westerns that their religion or beliefs are superior. In addition, sending in soldiers to dangerous areas where they could be killed is always a challenge, particularly in Africa and other places that westerners are not familiar with.

So, this is my highly cynical theory to the apathy of the American public to Darfur genocide in contrast to their overwhelming support for the tsunami disaster. It is probably a bit simplistic, but I'd love any comments/alternative theories from anyone out there.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hey Walmart, why do you hate freedom?

In August 2004, Jonquière, Quebec became the home to the first Walmart to unionize in North America. So, what is Walmart's reaction to this turn of events? Intimidate the employees who joined the union. Well, that didn't seem to work. So now, they are shutting down the store. According to Walmart, "the union wanted to fundamentally change the store's business model." Translation: employees wanted fair pay and better scheduling. How unreasonable!

In the wider scope, this is a blatant attempt by Walmart to intimidate the 20 other Walmarts in Canada that are attempting to organize unions. Walmart's new motto: You get a union, you get fired. AC Patriot, a former Walmart employee, has a more thorough posting on the evils of Walmart. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The best sex quote in a while...

So, I normally hate medical dramas. However, I'm addicted to a show on Fox called "House". Last night's episode had one of the best quotes about sex that I've ever heard.

"Sex… could kill you. Do you know what the human body goes through when you have sex? Pupils dilate, arteries constrict, core temperature rises, heart races, blood pressure skyrockets [Chase is starting to look uncomfortable], respiration becomes rapid and shallow, the brain fires bursts of electrical impulses from nowhere to nowhere and secretions spit out of every gland [Chase starts to look for an escape route], and the muscles tense and spasm like you’re lifting three times your body weight. It’s violent, it’s ugly, and it’s messy, and if God hadn’t made it unbelievably fun… the human race would have died out eons ago. [small pause] Men are lucky they can only have one orgasm. You know that women can have an hour-long orgasm? [Chase is very wide-eyed; Foreman walks in.] Hey, Foreman. What’s up?"

Hey there sweet thing, can I buy you a beer?

In Great Britain, the British Beer and Pub Association is launching a campaign to get female drinkers away from wine and back to drinking beer. As part of this campaign, they quote statistics that show beer has similar calorie content to apple and orange juice. Beer also has far less calories than either milk, wine, or spirits. Hooray Beer!

Tip for the ladies: Should you want to impress a guy, drink a Guinness.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

He's finally a uniter!

Bush has managed to form a clear consensus, that spans every age group and race. Unfortunately for him, the consensus that has risen from his grass-roots effort to drum up support for his privatization plan for Social Security is that nobody wants him to screw around with Social Security. Oh irony, you taste so sweet.

R.I.P. Hans Bethe

One of the most famous physicists of the 20th century died today. Hans Bethe was one of the great theorists of modern times, worked on the Manhattan Project, and afterwards became a famous proponent of disarmament. I know about him mainly from the books I've read on Richard Feynman, whom he worked with on the Manhattan Project and collaborated with on numerous projects. If you are curious about Hans Bethe, L.A. times did an obituary on him in today's issue.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Simple way to kill alot of time.

I just found this little addicting game. So simple, yet so addicting. Think Pong in a circular geometry.

[Hat tip: Christiana Talks about Stuff]

Why do scientists fight to keep creationism out of schools?

Because when creationism is allowed to be taught in schools, you get shit like this. I shouldn't be suprised by this, but I was just shocked as read through the "creation science" fair projects from these kids. I think my favorite was the "Women Were Designed For Homemaking" project that won second place in the middle school division. Methinks someone's bitter misogynistic dad is living his dream through his 7th grade son. However,the project "Using Prayer To Microevolve Latent Antibiotic Resistance In Bacteria" is a little more dangerous. In this "experiment", these girls grew two different sets of bacteria, and prayed for one group to have its latent antibiotic genes activated. Apparently these two girls found this caused the group of bacteria they prayed for was significantly more resistant to antibiotics. My own gut instinct tells me that these girls massaged their data into what they wanted it to look like, which is something I saw many times when I was in high school science fairs(yes, I was/am a nerd). In any case,these girls are growing up to be quite the pseudoscientists. I don't blame the kids, I blame the ignorant parents.

And I wonder why every woman I know thinks they are fat...

Here's a heartwarming article for all you loyal readers out there. According to the study in this article, girls as young as SIX years old are worrying about their weight. Are you kidding me? At six years old the only things I was worried about were my big brother kicking my ass and whether or not my mom was going to make me finish my broccoli. According to the authors of the study, they believe that the reason this age coincides with sudden concern in body image is that schooling begins at roughly 5-7 years old. Therefore, peer pressure is likely responsible for the initial developement of negative body image. This certainly is not a definitive survey, with only 80 participants, but the implications are pretty frightening.

"Eating disorders have been recorded in children as young as eight, and there may have been instances in children of an even younger age." -UK's Eating Disorders Association

Friday, March 04, 2005

Women's rights attacked here and abroad

Well, looks like it is a bad week to be a woman. In Kansas, the fascist state attorney general Phill Kline has apparently decided that the constitution is his own personal toilet paper. The goal of his little fishing expedition is to obtain personal medical records of women who MIGHT have been the victim of a crime. He refuses to let the clinics use numbers to identify patients instead of their real names. The LA times has a great editorial on this story.
On the international front, a Pakistani court has overturned the convictions of 5 men who were convicted of the tribal "honor rape" of woman whose brother was falsely accused of illicit sexual acts. Two of the men released were members of a tribal council that ordered her rape, and three of the men participated in gang raping her. A sixth man who was involved in the gang rape had his sentence commuted to life in prison. I don't think I can ever remember being this disgusted with a court ruling. I just can't believe the courts in Pakistan are letting them get away with this horrific crime.

Update: Nicholas Kristof just wrote a great op/ed piece in the NY Times about the woman in the honor rape case. She has apparently become quite the activist in Pakistan since her attack.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Which Villain Character Are You?

How many blondes does it take to write a piece of garbage?

Only one if you happen to be Ann Coulter. In her opinion piece this week, she essentially writes that it is hypocritical for liberals to point out the hypocrisy of conservatives running gay escort services or having gay children. Instead of going on an extended argument of how and why she is completely wrong, I'm going to instead highlight a few of the propaganda tools she uses in this piece (of shit).
1. Name Calling - Practically every other line has some form of name calling.
2. Hyperbole - An apt description for her style of writing
3. Transfer - She recalls a story about the son of an atheist who becomes a born again Christian and uses it to attempt to link her point of view to the prestige of Christianity.
4. Bandwagon - She jumps right onto the Spongebob bandwagon
5. Fear - The following are direct quotes from her story...
"Democrats tried working out their frustrations on blacks for a while"
"So now liberals are lashing out at the gays."
"Force children to testify against their parents to gain control by fear."
"Liberals use these people and then discard them."
6. Glittering Generalites, Bad Logic and Unwarranted Extrapolation - Her logic in the following quote goes something like this: All liberals are atheists, but like Spongebob because he is gay, and therefore worship Spongbob.
"Let go, let God ... Oops -- I'm talking to liberals! Let go, let Spongebob"

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A doubleplus good website

Inspired by a post over at The Disgruntled Chemist, I am doing a small post today on propaganda which will be followed by a much bigger post tomorrow. Today's feature, the Propaganda Critic website. This website offers simple explanations on the basic tools of propaganda with historical and contemporary examples. PC categorizes the common techniques of propaganda into three basic categories: word games, false connections, and special appeals. Sites such as The Museum of Left Wing Lunacy tend to mainly use words games such as name calling and glittering generalities. President Bush is currently using the logical fallacy of unwarranted extrapolation in inventing the "Social Security Crisis". Any real economist will tell you that attempting to extrapolate the specific behavior of the US economy 40 years into the future is at best a tenous prediction and at worst just foolish. Could anyone in the 1960's possibly predicted the current state of our economy today? Doubtful. Tomorrow's feature: How many tools of propaganda can I find in Ann Coulter's weekly column? (Tomorrow's post might be very long!)