Friday, December 29, 2006

The personal blimp

Disclaimer: this is not an article about Michael Moore or Ted Kennedy.

Sort of slow and expensive, but an interesting idea.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown has passed on

ATLANTA (Reuters) - James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul" whose frenetic singing style and bold rhythms brought funk into the mainstream and influenced a new generation of black music, died on Monday at age 73, his manager said.

Brown died at 1:45 a.m. (6:45 a.m. British time) at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta after being admitted on Saturday for treatment of severe pneumonia, his manager, Frank Copsidas, said. Charles Bobbit, Brown's longtime friend and personal manager, was at his side, he said.

One of the great classics of music.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Sounds like they have the IBVI (International Brotherhood of Village Idiots) doing studies for the British government.
From the UK:

Crime fight 'needs fresh ideas'

New ways of tackling crime must be considered, a minister has said, after a report warned crime rates could rise for the first time in 12 years.
Since what they are doing now isn't working, that makes sense, and crime has actually been rising steadily for several years now.

The 60-page report, obtained by the Sunday Times, also criticises police for failing to improve their performance despite large budget increases.
Not an uncommon problem in most countries.

The leaked Downing Street strategy unit report says crime could rise if there is a slowdown in economic growth

It can be a factor, but their are a lot of poor people who wouldn't think of committing crimes against others.

It says prescribing heroin and alcohol rationing could help cut crime.


Labour chairman Hazel Blears said new ideas were "worth exploring" but shadow home secretary David Davis said more prison places were what was needed.

The report, called Policy Review: Crime, Justice and Cohesion, warns that for the first time since the 1990s, when crime rates began to fall steadily, the number of offences are predicted to start rising because of changing economic conditions.

Its other findings include that prisoners numbers are rising beyond capacity, there is no money for new prisons and that nine out of 10 crimes are either not reported or go unpunished.

The strategy unit says the government could learn from other countries, such as prescribing heroin to addicts to help cut robberies, or trying hormone injections or "chemical castration" for sex offenders.

Nine out of ten cases are unpunished or unreported? There's a problem with the system right there. Maybe they should be concerned more about criminals and less about ASBO's.
My personal attitude toward drugs is that I don't care what you do, as long as you aren't causing harm to others. But I do NOT see where you are helping fight crime by supplying junkies with drugs. What you should be doing is trying to find ways to help them fight their addiction. I've heard the arguments that if drugs were cheaper, junkies wouldn't have to resort to crime. Total bullshit. If you supply an addict with more drugs, they merely use more and become more helpless, less able to work or maintain their life, and still end up committing crimes to support their habit. Have you noticed there are not as many old junkies as old drunks? That is because junkies either get cured, or their habit kills them. I've seen a lot of alcoholics who can get by making a living, but junkies tend to be basket cases.
If they want to crack down on crime, start making people responsible for their actions, and let private citizens protect themselves against the lowlifes that prey on them for gain or thrills.
Just my opinion.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Something a little different

I like to check out this site every year; it is an interesting study in photography, fashion, and personal styles. If you find people interesting, you will probably enjoy looking over this family. I have been monitoring it for years now.

Parents accused of caging adoptive children convicted

NORWALK, Ohio A couple accused of forcing some of their 11 adopted special-needs children to sleep in chicken wire cages were convicted today of endangerment and abuse.

A jury found both Michael Gravelle, 57, and his wife, Sharen, 58, guilty of four felony counts of child endangering, two misdemeanor counts of child endangering and five misdemeanor counts of child abuse. Each was acquitted of 13 other charges.

I get real upset when I read stuff like this; children in the foster program have already been through a lot merely to end up there, the last thing they need is for people to treat them like animals. If you cannot manage 11 children, you shouldn't be trying to take care of that many. I have the suspicion, however, that they had that many because they were more interested in collecting the money for them.

The Gravelles have said they took on so many needy children because no one else wanted them. Prosecutors have suggested the couple wanted so many special-needs youngsters because of the adoption and foster care subsidies that accompanied them.

I hope the couple gets to spend some time in a cage, when it comes time to hand out their sentence.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Police killer suspect flees Britain in a veil

And I thought that our security at airports was a bad joke.

A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman.

The use of the niqab, which leaves only a narrow slit for the eyes, highlights flaws in British airport security. At the time, Jama was Britain’s most wanted man, while Heathrow was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities in London five months previously.

The Times has learnt that British immigration officers rarely carry out a visual check to match a passport photograph with a departing female passenger’s veiled face.

If you are not going to check a person's ID against said person, then why the hell are you even going through the motions? Why not just open the gates and let anyone through who wishes? I can understand trying to accommodate other religious beliefs, but recently John Bull seems to be chapping his lips on the hind parts of his Islamic visitors. Political correctness gets more insane every day.
Just my opinion.

[Hat tip to The Lone Voice]

Friday, December 15, 2006

Subsidized prostitution?

Most people have read about the serial killer in Ipswich, UK. I guess they have decided that throwing money at the problem is the best solution until the perpetrator is captured.

The Guardian daily, meanwhile, reported that police and local drug workers were paying prostitutes in Ipswich to stay off the streets, with Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull quoted by the newspaper as saying: "It's not safe to engage a client or punter at this time."

He would not say how much they were being given, but said that because of "financial support" being offered, there was "no reason to go with clients".

I'm not sure this is setting a good precedent.
If average citizens were being preyed upon by muggers while going to work, would they pay them to stay home?
What is to keep some of the prostitutes from taking the money, and still going out to drum up business. Never underestimate the power of greed.
There are probably some that will disagree with me, but I just don't know if this is a good idea.
Just my opinion.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Iran opens conference to discuss evidence of Holocaust

This has to be one of the giants of all conspiracy theories; that the Holocaust was a complete fabrication. Of course, look at who is there:

Organizers touted the conference as a scholarly gathering aimed at discussing the Holocaust away from Western taboos, but the 67 participants from 30 countries were predominantly Holocaust deniers. They included David Duke — the former Louisiana state representative and Ku Klux Klan leader — and France's Robert Faurisson and Australian Frederick Toben, who was jailed in Germany in 1999 for questioning the Holocaust.

Basically, be have a lot of hate-mongers and people with personal axes to grind. Not to mention the Islamic countries, who have a knee-jerk reaction to anything that does not paint the Jews as villains.
The theory that the Holocaust was false is ridiculous; hell I've known people who were incarcerated in the camps, and have the tattoo and scars to show for it. I also had an uncle who was at the liberation of Buchenwald. It seems that to some groups, every time anything happens that they don't like, they start seeing Zionists hiding behind every tree, running the world in secret. If the Jewish people had so much control of everything, why in the hell would they be blockaded inside their tiny country, putting up with all the BS that is being dished out by the medieval barbarians in the surrounding countries? I guess logic is no substitute for hate, jealousy, and incompetence; it is easier to blame everything on a scapegoat. After all, it has been done successfully by others...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

More e. colli cases at Taco Bell

Looks like they're still having problems at Taco Bell.

Doctors for the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the investigation into an E. coli outbreak is still ongoing and that they expect the case count to increase in the coming days.

To date, no data implicate or rule out any specific food item served at the Taco Bell restaurants, the FDA said. It obtained samples of all nonmeat items served in the restaurants that could carry the pathogen. These include cilantro, cheddar cheese, blended cheese, green onions, yellow onions, tomatoes and lettuce. The samples are being tested at FDA and state laboratories.

Does it ever occur to people that maybe they should not eat there until this is cleared up? Who goes to eat at a chain where they have an ongoing food poisoning problem? It would seem that some of these people would notice a pattern here.
Personally, I could never stomach the quasi-Mexican food sold there, but people's tastes vary. I'm certain there has to be someplace with food as bad as theirs that will not give you food poisoning.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Computer wins chess game

BONN, Germany: World chess champion Vladimir Kramnik lost the sixth and decisive game against computer program Deep Fritz on Tuesday, ceding a hard-fought Man vs. Machine match 4-2.

Chess is one of those games that is capable of being played by a machine, if it is programmed properly, and has the power.
I remember back in the Eighties, a movie critic by the name of Joe Bob Briggs made an interesting conjecture; how well would a machine be able to play poker with some good players? His opinion was that the computer would lose, because poker, when played by experts, is as much a contest of character and personality as it is a game of statistics and logic. The machine may be able to figure the odds, but it would never be able to outfox a human who is playing against people, rather than against the cards, because they would change their patterns of play to confound a logical player, where a pro would be able to anticipate that kind of behavior from experience. I wonder if he may be right.
Any thoughts?

Friday, December 01, 2006

A trinity meme

Hammer hit me with this meme, so I'll try to do my best. Some have a lot more than three, so I just picked three that were applicable.

Three things that scare me:
Religious extremists (of any religion)
Having a stroke

Three people who make me laugh:
Too many to list, mainly family and some bloggers

Three things I love:

Three things I hate:
Petty, rude people
Self-righteous demagogues

Three things I don’t understand:
People who can deliberately hurt children
Surrendering your will to another person
Self-destructive people

Three things on my desk:
Computer peripherals

Three things I’m doing right now:
Lifting weights
Brushing up on my languages at which I'm rusty
Reading a couple of novels

Three things I want to do before I die:
Visit a foreign country
Get my weight down
Make it to at least my 50th anniversary

Three things I can do:
Build/repair/program a computer
Shoot firearms fairly well

Three things I can’t do:
Run a mile

Three things you should listen to:
In Search of the Lost Chord, from start to finish
Myles Davis
Night On Bald Mountain from start to finish

Three things you should never listen to:
Religious extremists (of any religion)
Most politicians
People with addictions

Three things I’d like to learn:
To read music better
To draw better
How to avoid stupid people

Three favorite foods:

Three beverages I drink regularly:
Club soda

Three TV shows/Books I watched/read as a kid:
Twilight Zone

If I were to tag someone I'd say Nate.