Hubbard posted this at 11:53 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 as Animal Kingdom Strikes Back
Nearly 40 elephants came to a village on Friday looking for food. Some found beer, which farmers ferment and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.
They got drunk, uprooted a utility pole carrying power lines and were electrocuted…
The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi has died a day after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.
The High Court ordered the city to find an answer to the problem last year.
One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.
Jeez, it’s like someone put me in charge over there. Though despite this animal aggression, they don’t see the problem as clearly as some of us:
Culling is seen as unacceptable to devout Hindus, who revere the monkeys as a manifestation of the monkey god Hanuman, and often feed them bananas and peanuts.
“Culling is unacceptable”? They need to wake up and realize that it’s cull or be culled.
I know I usually present you with examples of Star Trek Technology come to life – but I couldn’t resist this example of a real life Q.
Army tests James Bond style tank that is ‘invisible’
Last updated at 11:56am on 30th October 2007 Comments (2)
New technology that can make tanks invisible has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.In secret trials last week, the Army said it had made a vehicle completely disappear and predicted that an invisible tank would be ready for service by 2012.
The new technology uses cameras and projectors to beam images of the surrounding landscape onto a tank.
Remember the badass invisible Aston Martin from the abomination that was Die Another Day? (Actually if they ended the movie about 30min in it would have kicked ass.) Yeah well instead of leather seats and shot guns – imagine impenetrable armor and a giant cannon.
Andrew Sullivan is the single most infuriating pundit working today. In the last couple of days, he’s had a number of thoughtful, posts concerning Sen. Obama’s relationship with Human Rights Campaign, and has been rethinking his initial take on Sen. Thompson. This is the good Sullivan that we all like and respect. And then there is the other, hyperventilating Sullivan that we’ve become used to:
If a Corvette isn’t a car, nothing is a car. And if waterboarding isn’t torture, nothing is.
As I’ve said before, Sullivan deserves great credit for being one of the few conservative voices to oppose the Bush Administration’s interrogation and torture policies from the get-go. However, Sullivan also deserves to be condemned for practically enabling the Bushies by arguing the anti-torture position so badly.
If waterboarding isn’t torture, nothing is.
How about being flayed? Or crucified? Or knee-capped? Or castrated, scapled, whipped, or beaten? Or perhaps having your your nose and ears cut-off, your tongue cut out, your fingers broken, and your eyes gouged out, as happened to this poor fellow, who managed to live for another three years after being mutilated? Given the choice of being water boarded or subjected to a method chosen at random from this wiki list, I’d chose the former without a second’s thought. It’s not that waterboarding isn’t torture — even if it’s not, it’s so close that you have to count it — but that it’s a fairly mild form of torture.
No wonder people have a hard time taking Sullivan seriously.
Tom posted this at 1:00 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 30th, 2007 as What Ever Happened to Andrew Sullivan?
Reading this predictably dry, uninformative, and slanted LA Times summary of The New Republic’s Beauchamp fiasco, I came across this in a list of “questions to be asked [that] you won’t see them in the pro-war blogosphere”:
Why has the Army kept Beauchamp in Iraq where it can control access to him and he’s beyond the reach of any other jurisdiction?
Yeah. Why doesn’t the Army deploy individual soldiers in a manner most conducive to journalistic whims? Can anyone out there think of a possible answer to this “question to be asked”? I can’t. It’s a real stumper.
Apollo posted this at 11:57 AM CDT on Monday, October 29th, 2007 as Journalism
I’ve often thought that many atheists are motivated less by love of reason than by hatred of God. The people who simply cannot bring themselves to believe usually don’t write polemics as Richard Hawkins or Christopher Hitchens have.
One of the rare agnostics without a loathing of God, Theodore Dalrymple, just wrote about the new atheists. A sample:
Lying not far beneath the surface of all the neo-atheist books is the kind of historiography that many of us adopted in our hormone-disturbed adolescence, furious at the discovery that our parents sometimes told lies and violated their own precepts and rules. It can be summed up in Christopher Hitchens’s drumbeat in God Is Not Great: “Religion spoils everything.”
What? The Saint Matthew Passion? The Cathedral of Chartres? The emblematic religious person in these books seems to be a Glasgow Airport bomber—a type unrepresentative of Muslims, let alone communicants of the poor old Church of England. It is surely not news, except to someone so ignorant that he probably wouldn’t be interested in these books in the first place, that religious conflict has often been murderous and that religious people have committed hideous atrocities. But so have secularists and atheists, and though they have had less time to prove their mettle in this area, they have proved it amply. If religious belief is not synonymous with good behavior, neither is absence of belief, to put it mildly.
In fact, one can write the history of anything as a chronicle of crime and folly. Science and technology spoil everything: without trains and IG Farben, no Auschwitz; without transistor radios and mass-produced machetes, no Rwandan genocide. First you decide what you hate, and then you gather evidence for its hatefulness. Since man is a fallen creature (I use the term metaphorically rather than in its religious sense), there is always much to find.
The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality. If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.
Bill Richardson is now pandering to the Coast-to-Coast vote.
I read this story, and it rattled around in my head for a while as I tried to connect it to other stuff I knew. Then I remembered hearing on the radio a couple days ago that Richardson was coming to the Dell campus in Austin. As a new Austinite, I cannot properly describe my pride in the fact that Austin is the only place weird enough to bring up the Roswell matter with the governor of New Mexico.
Apollo posted this at 9:52 PM CDT on Saturday, October 27th, 2007 as Audacity of Hype
So FEMA just did a fake press conference:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s No. 2 official apologized yesterday for leading a staged news conference Tuesday in which FEMA employees posed as reporters while real reporters listened on a telephone conference line and were barred from asking questions.
“We are reviewing our press procedures and will make the changes necessary to ensure that all of our communications are straight forward and transparent,” Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson Jr., FEMA’s deputy administrator, said in a four-paragraph statement.
“We can and must do better, and apologize for this error in judgment,” Johnson said, a view repeated yesterday by press officers at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, who criticized the event.
FEMA announced the news conference at its Southwest Washington headquarters about 15 minutes before it was to begin Tuesday afternoon, making it unlikely that reporters could attend. Instead, FEMA set up a telephone conference line so reporters could listen.
In the briefing, parts of which were televised live by cable news channels, Johnson stood behind a lectern, called on questioners who did not disclose that they were FEMA employees, and gave replies emphasizing that his agency’s response to this week’s California wildfires was far better than its response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
“It was absolutely a bad decision. I regret it happened. Certainly . . . I should have stopped it,” said John P. “Pat” Philbin, FEMA’s director of external affairs. “I hope readers understand we’re working very hard to establish credibility and integrity, and I would hope this does not undermine it.”
Wait, this story gets better. What’s next for John P. “Pat” Philbin?
Philbin’s last scheduled day at FEMA was Thursday. He has been named as the new head of public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ODNI spokeswoman Vanee Vines said.
If the DNI wants to have any credibility, it needs to fire Philbin now.
How did these nincompoops get hired in the first place?
This has transcended the merely unbelievable. TNR’s rule must be that publications are free to make poorly fact-checked allegations, and then it’s up to others to affirmatively prove that the alleged events didn’t happen.
Here is a very lengthy post that summarizes all of the facts I’m aware of. There’s not one single smoking gun, but added up the preponderance of the evidence definitely goes against TNR.
This is a must read.
Aznar asks whether “there’s a possibility of Saddam Hussein going into exile”—”the biggest success,” he tells the President, “would be to win the game without firing a single shot”—and Bush answers that there is: the Egyptians say
he’s indicated that he’s willing to go into exile if they let him take $1 billion and all the information that he wants about the weapons of mass destruction.
And would such exile, asks Aznar, come with a “guarantee” (presumably against prosecution or extradition)? “No guarantee,” declares Bush. “He’s a thief, a terrorist, a war criminal. Compared to Saddam, Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa.” Though it’s hard to evaluate whether Saddam was really willing to leave Iraq—the Egyptians, Saudis, and others who were then touting the possibility all had an interest in seeing Saddam leave and the Sunni power structure remain in place—it is inconceivable that he would do so without some sort of guarantee, a possibility Bush forecloses.
I often think that if we’d had a leader of the caliber of Tony Blair, John Howard or Jose Aznar these last 8 years the whole world would be in far better shape than it is today.
conor friedersdorf posted this at 8:16 AM CDT on Friday, October 26th, 2007 as Uncategorized
Via Reason, this amusing excerpt from Fred Thomspon’s campaign blog
To give you some sense of how much work is being done, Fred spoke for about 20 minutes, then took questions for another 15, then dove into the crowd for a good 15 more minutes of handshakes and digital photos before getting back on the bus to do a one-on-one interview with a reporter from the Florida Times-Union before we left.
He did that interview in the back portion of the bus before we left, which gave a crew from WESH-TV out of Orlando time to set up in the front of the bus where Fred did yet another interview while we were rolling.
After about 20 minutes, we found, literally, a wide spot in the road, pulled over (the press bus was trailing behind us), and let the TV crew out so they could be picked up by their satellite van and get back to their station.
All this and it was barely 11 AM.
Says Nick Gillespie: “Hagiographic depiction? Or dark sarcasm? Human dynamo? Or lazy turd?”
conor friedersdorf posted this at 8:04 AM CDT on Friday, October 26th, 2007 as Uncategorized
I admire the tenacity of this man, but, frankly, this is distressing:
U.S. District [Court judge] Richard Bennett instructed jurors at the start of testimony Tuesday that the First Amendment protection of free speech has limits, including vulgar, offensive and shocking statements. Bennett said the jurors must decide “whether the defendant’s actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous, and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection.”
Sigh. Really? It’s come to this?
The story also includes this bit of Biblical scholarship from everyone’s hero, Fred Phelps:
Phelps said he chose to use the term “fag” in the group’s signs because it comes from scripture but could also have used Sodomite or dog.
The options are endless!
When did Halloween become an excuse for girls to dress extra slutty? I’ve now overheard the conversations of about a dozen twenty-something women regarding what costume they’re wearing to a Halloween party, and every one (prostitute, sexy maid, sexy nurse, sexy _____, etc.) boils down to “a trollop.” Maybe I just overhear the wrong crowd? Though judging by the ads I get in the newspaper for Halloween costumes, this phenomenon is pretty widespread, and includes not just twenty-somethings but also teens and younger.
Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it….The young soldier learned his lessons. He paid enough to earn his second chance that he must know he will never get a third.
I trust Michael Yon. The work he’s done over the last couple years has been absolutely remarkable in many ways. So if he says this, I’ll believe him. Though a part of me thinks as this commenter does: “He still needs to publically clear his buddies names. Then I would heartily agree that the second chance (with no third) is just fine.”
Yon again, on TNR:
As for The New Republic, some on the staff may feel like they’ve been hounded and treed, but it’s hard to feel the same sympathy for a group of cowards who won’t fess up and can’t face the scorn of American combat soldiers who were injured by their collective lapse of judgment. It’s up to their readers to decide the ultimate fate.
If there hasn’t been an editorial change at TNR in the next few weeks, it will be an injustice. Their behavior is inexcusable on a lot of levels. As of now, whatever statements their editors may be making in other forums, there is nothing on their website about this.
As Jamie often notes, real-life technology is advancing faster than the creators of Star Trek imagined. On one front, however, Gene Roddenberry appears to have overshot the mark, though only a bit. Here’s a interesting snippet of debate about how genetic engineering is likely to intersect with reproductive freedom and abortion policy:
The author makes much of the arbitrary line in the sand she’s drawn wherein she places high value on individual liberty for women to control their own bodies and timing of reproduction yet she devalues the individual choice of embryonic trait selection which leads me to question whether she stands for principle or outcome. If the principle of individual liberty is paramount, as we see with free speech cases where disagreeble speech is frequently defended, then we should expect support for individual exercise of reproductive freedom even when one may personally disagree with the choice made. If the outcome is of the highest importance, then we should see the jettisoning of principle when it is no longer convenient. I believe the author is arguing the latter position and this may come to be exploited by those who oppose her viewpoints on abortion, for if one jettisons principle when it is inconvenient to one’s immediate concerns then it becomes harder to argue on the basis of principle when one’s position is threatened.
Tom posted this at 2:28 PM CDT on Thursday, October 25th, 2007 as Brave New Worlds