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May 30, 2008

Four suits, MF!

First try!


Help me. Please.

By fnord12 | May 30, 2008, 3:47 PM | My stupid life & Video Games | Comments (1) | Link

May 29, 2008

Random Lyrics Thursday

Knights of Cydonia by Muse

Ahh Ahh Ahh
Ahh Aa-aahh Ahh

Come ride with me,
Through the veins of history,
I'll show you how God
Falls asleep on the job.

And how can we win,
When fools can be kings,
Don't waste your time,
Or time will waste you.

No one's gonna take me alive,
The time has come to make things right,
You and I must fight for our rights,
You and I must fight to survive.

By fnord12 | May 29, 2008, 7:55 AM | Music| Link

May 28, 2008

Who Doesn't Suffer From a Little Mental Poisoning Now and Again?

By min | May 28, 2008, 2:16 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

If You Love Anime and You Love Super Mario World

This is kinda kewl. Definitely weird. Definitely very time consuming and impressive for someone to have done. I'm not so sure it needed to be 11 min long, though. I think you get the idea after the first 30 seconds or so.

From Joystiq:

It's been months since the e-fad of creating automated levels in Super Mario World to the tune of popular Anime soundtracks surfaced -- normally, that's much longer than the lifespan of most internet memes. However, this post-mortem contribution to the Mario-on-rails movement caught our attention (as well as the collective attention of Digg-dwellers) largely due to the fact that "months" is the amount of time the architect of the above masterwork needed to really hone his craft.

The above eleven-minute long video, set to a remixed hodge-podge of Anime songs (feel free to flaunt your knowledge of Anime theme music in the comments), is absolutely incredible. Not only do Mario's predetermined movements match up perfectly to the music, the sound effects are often pitch perfect to the background track.

By min | May 28, 2008, 2:07 PM | Video Games| Link

Even The Communists Fail the Poor


Parents of the estimated 10,000 children who lost their lives in the quake have grown so enraged about collapsed schools that they have overcome their usual caution about confronting Communist Party officials. Many say they are especially upset that some schools for poor students crumbled into rubble even though government offices and more elite schools not far away survived the quake largely intact.

On Tuesday, an informal gathering of parents in Dujiangyan to commemorate their children gave way to unbridled fury. One of the fathers in attendance, a quarry worker named Liu Lifu, grabbed the microphone and began calling for justice. His 15-year-old daughter, Liu Li, had died along with her entire class during a biology lesson.


The crowd grew more agitated. Some parents said that local officials had known for years that the school was unsafe but refused to take action. Others recalled that two hours passed before rescue workers showed up; even then, they stopped working at 10 p.m. the night of the earthquake and did not resume the search until 9 a.m. the next day.

Although there is no official casualty count, only 13 of the school's 900 students came out alive, parents said. "The people responsible for this should be brought here and have a bullet put in their head," said Luo Guanmin, a farmer who was cradling a photo of his 16-year-old daughter, Luo Dan.

Sharp confrontations between protesters and officials began over the weekend in several towns in northern Sichuan. Hundreds of parents whose children died at the Fuxin No. 2 Primary School in the city of Mianzhu staged an impromptu rally on Saturday. They surrounded one female official who tried to assure them that their complaints were being taken seriously, screaming and yelling in her face until she fainted.

As a regular attendee of my family's events, i think fnord12 can tell you that you do not want a group of angry Chinese deliberately raising their voices at you. It can indeed cause you bodily harm.

The Education Ministry has issued a statement saying that the people responsible for the inferior construction of these buildings would be "severely punished." Some have offered the parents $4500 in compensation for their loss if they would only stop the public protests. While this amount is worth many times the average annual salary these people make, it is not enough.

By min | May 28, 2008, 1:15 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Iron Man #29 - I don't think i'm alone in this: there are so many comics being put out today that i often feel overwhelmed by my choices and i'm always looking for jumping off points. The Knaufs' run on Iron Man kept surprising me with its quality, but this rather generic issue, the first by a new writer, is a good time to pull the plug.

Avengers: The Initiative #13 - All Gage, all good.

Fantastic Four #557 - This is a shame, however. It's staying alive based on the reputation of the creators alone. But they're not living up to it. I reflexively defend the art when min says it sucks by saying "No it doesn't, it's Hitch", but the truth is that it isn't very good at all. I'm not sure what the deal is. The downtime moments, i think, are pretty good, but this whole C.A.P. story wasn't very good (and it's usually a bad sign when the threat you've been building up for several issues is suddenly eliminated mid-issue so you can move on to something else). I am liking a follow-up to Doom's Might Avengers appearance but i'm surprised to see Doom even show up in this book since MIllar said his run was supposed to be all about not rehashing the Lee-Kirby era with the same old rogue's gallery, etc..

Incredible Hercules #117 - I wouldn't want Athena to turn out to be a Skrull because i've been enjoying her character in these past few issues, so i'm hoping that's just misdirection. But let's get to what's important here: any writer that references a Mantlo Alpha Flight / Stern Avengers crossover from three decades ago in a way that only serves as character development is awesome.

Captain America #38 - Using commie-smasher Cap is just as good. These writers are the real heroes. I'm gonna give 'em everything I've got.

Mighty Avengers #14 - I don't know about in real life, but in comic books when you cure your multiple-personality disorder, you become super-awesome and extra powerful. My new theory is that the Sentry is actually the Beyonder. Because the Sentry was already extra powerful, and the Beyonder is super-awesome. But when Jarvis-Skrull turned into Void-Skrull, he should have lost the ability to be free from detection, even if it was just artistic license.

By fnord12 | May 28, 2008, 7:24 AM | Comics | Comments (5) | Link

May 27, 2008

Best Heard Blind - The Circle radio promo

Background music will be familiar to LSS fans.

By fnord12 | May 27, 2008, 3:53 PM | Music| Link

May 22, 2008

Don't Think of It As Aiding Repression

Think of it as a golden business opportunity!

An internal Cisco document (.pdf) leaked to reporters on the eve of a Senate human rights hearing reveals that Cisco engineers regarded the Chinese government's rigid internet censorship program as an opportunity to do more business with the repressive regime.

The 90-page document is an internal presentation that Cisco engineers and staffers in China mulled over in 2002 as the central government was upgrading its local, state and provincial public safety and security network infrastructure. Under the category "Cisco Opportunities," the document provides bullet point suggestions for how it might service China's censorship system called the "Golden Shield", and better known in the West as the Great Firewall of China.


"If you know ahead of time that a sale could lead to human rights violations, and there's no way of mitigating that, maybe you shouldn't offer it to that entity," says Arvind Ganesan, a director at the nonprofit Human Rights Watch, who called on Cisco to conduct a global audit for similar marketing behavior.

I suppose the usual response to this is that if Cisco didn't offer their services to China, someone else would step in to fill that void, so they might as well do it and reap the profits. And then they could go on to quote how much they donate to charities annually, thus once again balancing the scales of "good" actions versus "bad". Booyah.

By min | May 22, 2008, 1:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Work to Do by Average White Band

I'm taking care of business, woman, can't you see?
Got to make it for you, got to make it for me
Sometimes it might seem that I've neglected you
But I would love to spend more time
I've got so many things to do

Oh I, Got work to do, I've got work, baby
Got work to do, I've got to give it
Got work to do, I've got work to do
Got work to do, got so much work, yeah yeah

I've been trying to make it, woman, can't you see?
Takes a lot of money to make it, let's talk truthfully
Keep your love light burning, and a little food hot in a plate
You might as well get use to me coming home a little late

'Cause I got work to do, I got work, baby
Got work to do, I've got to give
Got work to do, I got to work
Got work to do, got so much work, yeah yeah
Work, work, yeah, work, work
Work, work, yeah, work, work

I'm taking care of business, woman, can't you see?
I got to make it for you, got to make it for me
But sometimes it might seem that I've neglected you
But I'd love to spend more time, I got so many things to do

'Cause I got work to do, I got work, baby
Got work to do, I've got to give
Got work to do, I got to work
Got work to do, got so much work, yeah yeah

By fnord12 | May 22, 2008, 9:08 AM | Music| Link

May 21, 2008

Cornelius Low

Low House!

By fnord12 | May 21, 2008, 11:17 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

May 20, 2008

Real Life ROUSes


For tens of thousands of years, the birds of Gough Island lived unmolested, without predators on a remote outcrop in the south Atlantic.

Today, the British-owned island, described as the home of the most important seabird colony in the world, still hosts 22 breeding species and is a world heritage site.

But as a terrible consequence of the first whalers making landfall there 150 years ago, Gough has become the stage for one of nature's great horror shows. Mice stowed away on the whaling boats jumped ship and have since multiplied to 700,000 or more on an island of about 25 square miles.

What is horrifying ornithologists is that the British house mouse has somehow evolved, growing to up to three times the size of ordinary domestic house mice, and instead of surviving on a diet of insects and seeds, has adapted itself to become a carnivore, eating albatross, petrel and shearwater chicks alive in their nests. They are now believed to be the largest mice in the world. Yesterday Birdlife International, a global alliance of conservation groups, recognised that the mice, who are without predators themselves, are out of control and threatening to make extinct several of the world's rarest bird species.


"The albatross chicks weigh 10 kilograms. They evolved on Gough because it had no mammal predators - that is why they are so vulnerable. The mice weigh 35 grammes; it is like a tabby cat attacking a hippopotamus," said Hilton.

By min | May 20, 2008, 3:31 PM | Science | Comments (2) | Link

Carbon Nanotubes - the Next Asbestos?

First, please note how kewl "nanotubes" makes anything sound. That is all. Now onto the serious stuff.

Scientists have warned that carbon nanotubes could pose a cancer risk similar to that of asbestos. They say the government should restrict the use of the materials, which are included in a variety of consumer products, to protect human health.

In most products containing nanotubes, such as car body panels, tennis rackets, yacht masts and bike frames, the fibres are embedded in composite materials, which provide strength and lightness. In this form they are likely to be relatively harmless. But the researchers said further studies were necessary to confirm that -- it was not good enough to simply assume that people could not be exposed to carbon nanotubes embedded in materials.


"This is a reason for concern," said Anthony Seaton, a professor and expert in asbestos-related diseases, working at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. "Asbestos started in the same way -- it had thousands of applications and people used it experimentally. It became very widespread, almost ubiquitous."

The similarity between the size and structure of carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibres has always placed a question mark over how the former could affect lungs. The new research shows that, in mice, the tubes, like abestos, cause inflammation of the mesothelium, the slippery membrane that surrounds lungs and other bodily organs. With asbestos fibres, the inflammation is a stage leading towards the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. It typically takes 20 to 50 years for the cancer to develop following exposure to asbestos fibres.

The researchers, who report the development in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, compared the effects of short and long nanotubes. With asbestos, stiff fibres about 10 micrometres in length (100 times smaller than a milimetre) are harmless because immune cells can engulf them and safely remove them. Stiff fibres longer than 15-20 micrometres are too big for the cells to handle and their presence provokes an inflammatory response. The researchers confirmed that carbon nanotubes seemed to have the same effect.

Thank god they so efficiently came up with an asbestos replacement. Although there is still some concern of encountering asbestos in older buildings and schools and such, you don't really hear much about it nowadays. I was afraid we'd get off too easy.

Oh, science. Is everything you make deadly?

By min | May 20, 2008, 2:55 PM | Science| Link

May 19, 2008

Things you shouldn't say until after you are president

Or, what we didn't learn from Howard Dean's campaign:

Democrat Barack Obama said on Sunday he would pursue a vigorous antitrust policy if he becomes U.S. president and singled out the media industry as one area where government regulators would need to be watchful as consolidation increases.

"I will assure that we will have an antitrust division that is serious about pursuing cases," the Illinois senator told an audience of mostly senior citizens in Oregon.

"There are going to be areas, in the media for example where we're seeing more and more consolidation, that I think (it) is legitimate to ask...is the consumer being served?"

By fnord12 | May 19, 2008, 7:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

What other explanation is there?

On the same general topic as the post below, i was outraged beyond my usual level of outrage upon reading this. The basic context is that Robert Gates, Bush's Secretary of Defense, has proposed having talks with Iran, the very thing that Bush compared to Nazi appeasement.

But the most striking disappearance of Gates' comments came on CNN. On yesterday's American Morning, host John Roberts interviewed Obama communications director Robert Gibbs. Gibbs twice brought up Gates' comments -- though when CNN aired clips of the interview later in the day, the cable network edited Gibbs' comments to include the sentence before he mentioned Gates, and the sentence after he mentioned Gates -- but to omit any reference to the defense secretary.

Between this and their silence on the Pentagon military analysts, which they were complicit in, it seems clear to me that the media can no longer simply claim incompetence. This is pure pro-government propaganda.

By fnord12 | May 19, 2008, 4:56 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Establishing my anti-Obama cred

I've favored Obama over Clinton this primary and for good reason, but that doesn't mean i think his presidency is going to be an establishment of liberal ideals. Min and i were both disappointed with the way he defended himself from Bush and McCain's attacks on Israel recently. As always, i'll let others say it better than i would:

But while Obama went on the offensive over the Bush foreign policy of empty posturing that has actually empowered the likes of Iran and Hamas, he may, in fact, have dug himself a hole on the substantive question of talking to Hamas. Obama insisted he had stated "over and over again that I will not negotiate with terrorists like Hamas."

That, of course, is the wrong answer, because as Joe Klein [fnord12: ugh, getting criticized from the left by Joe Klein is embarassing] made clear this week, talking to Hamas is nothing less than the duty of the U.S. government. Anyone with any serious grasp of events in the region knows that peace talks with Mahmoud Abbas are not peace talks at all, as Daniel Levy so eloquently explains, because Abbas and Israel are allies, not enemies.

Moreover, it's a little off the mark to blame Bush for Hamas's rise on the grounds that the Bush Administration insisted the Palestinians hold elections. Those elections were a good thing, they simply revealed the reality that the Palestinians had lost faith in Fatah - for good reason: Fatah's 15 years of negotiating with - and appeasing -- the Israelis and Americans had yielded nothing but more settlements for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. It's for failing to press the Israelis to abide by international law and end its occupation policies, not the demand for elections, for which the Bush Administration ought to be held accountable.

So, he may have come out swinging, but Obama picked the wrong punches. Instead of insisting he wouldn't talk to Hamas, he'd have been better off ridiculing the notion that Hamas or Iran are the equivalent of Nazi Germany, and pointing out that Bush - by substituting teenage testosterone for serious policy - is essentially teeing up another war that will not be good for Israel or for the United States.

By fnord12 | May 19, 2008, 4:50 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

The Men Who Stare At Goats

Remember this book? About the military doing research on telepathy, extra-sensory perception, and killing farm animals by staring at them? Well, there seem to be plans to make it into a feature and George Clooney has signed on to star in it.

By min | May 19, 2008, 2:50 PM | Boooooks & Movies | Comments (6) | Link

Not That I'm Obsessed With Hello Kitty Or Anything...

...as some people have suggested, but how could i not post Dreadnought Kitty?

And it's not like i did it. I just found it and reported it.

By min | May 19, 2008, 2:30 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link


Just ew.

By min | May 19, 2008, 2:16 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Giant-Size Incredible Hulk #1 - I don't know what this is. I mean, it's a retrospective of some of the supporting characters from Roger Stern's Hulk run from 30 years ago, but i don't know why we're reading about it now. The story didn't even really end. I hate to do it, but i'm going to have to drag out the "pointless" label again.

Clandestine #4 - Between the vampires and the stealth-headlining of the 1980s era Excalibur, this series has a real lack of focus, and it hurts the main story. There's still a chance that Davis will be able to pull it all together for the last issue, i guess. Nice art, anyway. Can we convince him to work with a writer and just concentrate on his art?

Thunderbolts #120 - Warren Ellis' Green Goblin is awesome. Awesome. I'm enjoying this quite a lot. Also, i've always liked Mike Deodato's art despite the fact that it was often exploitive, but the painted art in his Thunderbolts run is on a whole new level. As much as i like Gage, i'm going to miss this creative team. Hmm, how about a Gage/Davis combo?

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 - As requested, i get Groot, Mantis, and Cosmo in addition to the characters on the cover. This was a lot of fun. And i'm guessing that's Vance Astrovik ("Major Victory") at the end there to give the name of the team some legitimacy, not some alternate dimension Cap. I'm not so sure about using the Universal Church of Truth as ongoing antagonists; i thought it was a funny one-off when i saw them in the beginning but when they reported back to the Matriarch i realized they intend to continue using them. Abnett and Lanning can probably make it work, but without the Magus the Church isn't really very interesting and we don't need another Warlock/Magus rehash. Anyway, this was a great first issue. I think Pelletier's art was even better than his FF run; everyone didn't have giant goddamn lips.

By fnord12 | May 19, 2008, 7:15 AM | Comics| Link

May 17, 2008

I thought this guy was supposed to be smart

PZ Meyers on Ben Stein:

I can't believe what an idiot this man is; it's not just that he's ignorant, but that he has these bizarrely inappropriate notions about biology. He complains about "Darwinism" because it doesn't explain why are there laws of gravity and thermodynamics, or where physics and gravity come from.

By fnord12 | May 17, 2008, 12:59 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (4) | Link

May 15, 2008


And now, i present "How Japanese search engines work":

By min | May 15, 2008, 3:50 PM | TeeVee| Link

Where Are My Fake Doctor's Notes?


A former Washington state social worker has been accused of faking brain cancer to avoid work. Theft charges were filed Tuesday against Sandra Dee Martinez, 40, formerly of Mountlake Terrace, who was employed by the Department of Social and Health Services in Arlington.

According to investigators, Martinez presented fake letters that appeared to be from doctors saying she had malignant brain tumors. Prosecutors wrote that she received $21,000 worth of paid leave and took advantage of sick days donated by co-workers last year.

Prosecutors wrote that Martinez came under scrutiny after using a neighbor's computer and leaving one of the letters on the printer.

Wonder if she used the same website as the lady who got a fake Dr. Wanyas note to get out of court.

By min | May 15, 2008, 3:34 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link


Lingerie maker Triumph International Japan Ltd unveiled its environmentally friendly, and green colored, "Solar Power Bra" on Wednesday in Tokyo which features a solar panel worn around the stomach.

The panel requires light to generate electricity and the concept bra will not be in stores anytime soon, said Triumph spokeswoman Yoshiko Masuda, as "people usually can not go outside without wearing clothes over it."

Elsewhere, i read that the bras also have pads that can be used to hold beverages "so that the usage of cans and plastic bottles can be reduced". Oy.

By min | May 15, 2008, 3:10 PM | Science| Link

Silver lining


"Initial claims will not reach the levels seen in previous recessions, as payrolls are much leaner than is typical when the economy begins to weaken,'' Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's Economy.com.

There won't be as many layoffs in this recession (at least, initially) because we never actually recovered from the previous recession. Good news!

By fnord12 | May 15, 2008, 10:10 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

The Supermen by David Bowie

(I like the alternate version on the Rykodisc re-release of Hunky Dory better than the original from The Man Who Sold The World)

When all the world was very young
And mountain magic heavy hung
The supermen would walk in file
Guardians of a loveless isle

And gloomy browed with superfear their endless tragic lives
Could heave no sigh
In solemn, perverse serenity, wondrous beings chained to life

Strange games they would play then
No death for the perfect men
Life rolls into one for them
So softly a supergod criiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeees

Where all were minds in uni-thought
Power weird by mystics taught
No pain, no joy, no power too great
Colossal strength to grasp a fate
Where sad-eyed mermen tossed in slumbers
Nightmare dreams no mortal mind could hold

A man would tear his brother's flesh, a chance to die
To turn to mold.

Far out in the red-sky
Far out from the sad eyes
Strange, mad celebration
So softly a supergod criiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeees

Far out in the red-sky
Far out from the sad eyes
Strange, mad celebration
So softly a supergod diiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeees

By fnord12 | May 15, 2008, 9:11 AM | Music| Link

May 14, 2008

Turns out he was a prototype for the next wave of Super-Skrulls

Combo Man

You have to respect his flaming knees.

By fnord12 | May 14, 2008, 4:19 PM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

Well, you'd be insane to sneak into this country


The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.
Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 -- the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security's new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.

By fnord12 | May 14, 2008, 10:03 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

May 13, 2008

Panda Panda Panda

In my mind, i imagine this is what the pandas were doing during the earthquake that hit China this past Monday - sitting there, munching away, disinterestedly watching as all the tourists who came to see them fell into holes opening up in the ground or got crushed by falling buildings.

It's wrong to be amused by that, isn't it? Tsk.

By min | May 13, 2008, 12:44 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Diminishing Threat Syndrome

A common failing of comic books and action movies where the first time a creature is introduced, it is extremely difficult to defeat. It is often presented as undefeatable except by extraordinary effort and/or luck. However, as the story progresses, more and more creatures of that type are included in the plot, and the more there are, the easier they become to kill.

By fnord12 | May 13, 2008, 10:16 AM | Comics & Movies | Comments (2) | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Logan #3 - I've been admonished for using the word "pointless" but that's really how i feel about this story. There's nothing here that adds anything to Wolverine's character or backstory, and the story itself was very much throwaway. A story of a rookie Wolverine would have been an interesting approach, but very little time (in a story that otherwise didn't merit three issues) is given to that aspect. Atsuko's character is also poorly developed, leaving her feeling like a stereotype. And certain parts of the story, like showing Wolverine surviving a nuclear bomb blast and having his heart ripped out (clunky metaphor, too), are downright damaging to Wolverine's power levels. Really poor.

Punisher War Journal #19 - How long has Rick Remender been getting co-writing credits? This is just no good. Nothing terribly wrong, exactly - except dragging out a Jigsaw story for six issues - but it just feels like there's nothing going on here. Sometimes this series has been pretty good, usually in the single issue stories, but for the most part it's been slow and mediocre. I'm dropping it.

Avengers: The Initiative #12 - Well, with the KIA stuff finally over, this was a nice downtime issue, much more along the lines of what i was expecting for the series. Other than thinking that Gyrich's "I do not recall" stuff was a little too heavy-handed, this was good.

Order #10 - I'm really impressed with how Fraction was able to wrap this series up without making anything feel rushed. I thought the moment with Hellrung killing Mulholland was nicely done. Beyond that, this series was somewhere in the 'ok' to 'pretty good' range and i'm glad that it's cancelled.

Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula #1 - I didn't realize that this wasn't a regular issue of Daredevil when i first starting reading it, but i figured it out when i wasn't sobbing by the third page. Also the dialogue was a little clunky. I feel like this is pitch #2 for a Black Tarantula series. After reading his first appearance in the main DD book, i was ready to sign on, but this one was a little weaker (maybe because it wasn't all Brubaker). He's basically a local version of the Punisher, which could be interesting but it might not be enough for a series, and it would have to deal with the Superhero Registration Act more than the writers would want it to.

Thunderbolts: Reason In Madness #1 - I think it's time to hand over the reigns of the regular series to Gage so he can stop writing these one-shot fill-ins and actually develop a long term plot. This story was fine, but after a while the pacing of one-shots start to grate on me.

Hulk vs. Hercules #1 - Poor Hulk. This was good. I'm glad someone convinced me to get it.

Iron Fist #14 - No real surprises in the resolution to this excellent arc (except maybe the other Living Weapons deciding to remain on Earth, which could be interesting), but that doesn't mean it wasn't great. And if my review isn't enthusiastic enough for you, there's always Invincible Super-Blog.

Nova #13 - We all have comic book cover pet peeves. Some people don't like the iconic "pose" covers that have nothing to do with the inside story. Some people don't like word balloons. I don't like it when the cover of an issue depicts what turns out to be the cliffhanger for the current issue. If the cover shows Nova fighting the Silver Surfer, Nova and the Silver Surfer should fight in this issue. Nonetheless, this was excellent, excellent, excellent.

New Avengers #40 - I'm not big on these 'classic Avengers cover redone with everyone as a Skrull' covers, either. But i'm liking how New and Mighty are handling the Secret Invasion tie-ins, with this issue (at least) dealing with the Skrulls themselves, and Mighty following Nick Fury. I'm sure some people will complain that they're buying Avengers comics and no actual Avengers appear in them, but i'm fine with it cause i'm still getting good stories relating to the crossover and now i don't have to figure our where these issues fit with the main Secret Invasion series. This was good. Spider Woman turning out to be a Skrull is... interesting, and it's nice to be intrigued by a comic. For the record, Princess Veranke's prophesy is "They have told you that our worlds are in danger. They have foretold of the wave of destruction. A devourer of worlds. A world of blue will...". She seems to be conflating the wave with the devourer, but it could actually be referring to Galactus and the Annihilation Wave seperately. The world of blue i assume is Earth, and the rest of the prophecy must lead her to believe that Earth will be the new Skrull homeworld.

Mighty Avengers #13 - Everyone enjoys gathering of forces/recruitment stories, so we'll just have to see where this one goes. I don't think Ares will like that his son has disappeared, though.

Secret Invasion #2 - This whole series was conceived just to bring Mockingbird back as Bendis' way to apologize to Hawkeye for killing him. This continues to be good. Not as bam! bam! bam! impactful as the first issue but that's to be expected for a second issue and there were a few nice moments here. I was wondering if new readers (if such a creature exists) will find it incongruous that a T. Rex shows up in the middle of the fight between the two sets of super heroes, but really, who can complain about T. Rexes?

Oh and that Eternals preview isn't doing the series any favors.

By fnord12 | May 13, 2008, 7:43 AM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link

May 12, 2008


Engadget blurb

And you don't have to constantly rush home to let this dog out.

By min | May 12, 2008, 2:27 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

Wii Pole-Dancing

That's right. I said "pole-dancing".

US manufacturer Peekaboo, which already sells a pole-dancing kit endorsed by Carmen Electra, is currently inking plans to teach millions of gamers how to pole dance in their living rooms with a Wii videogame.

Although nothing's finalised yet, the pack could include an extendable pole - fnarr, fnarr - and a videogame that would teach gamers all they need to know about sliding up and down, spin around andy dangle provocatively.

By min | May 12, 2008, 11:29 AM | Video Games| Link

NKOTB Is Back!

For all you girls out there who despaired when they broke up in 1994, weep no more. They're back and they're touring.

The now-thirtysomething boy band was bombarded by rain-soaked women dressed like teens (many with their actual teenage daughters) as the group announced a new album (due this summer) and a fall tour. "It was music that brought us back [together]," said Donnie Wahlberg, who for the last decade has followed his brother Mark into acting. "We really weren't going to announce this yet, but a story leaked ... and we said we better come out and let [the fans] know that it's official."

You can go to www.nkotb.com for all the latest tour info!

For the others, i could mebbe see why they might want to try this. But for Donnie Wahlberg who's had a pretty successful acting career, WHY? He cereally wants to get on stage and dance around singing boy band songs again? He wants to go back to this?

He must have lost his mind.

By min | May 12, 2008, 11:04 AM | Music| Link

Maundy Monday

Despite the rain and cold and the fact that it's a Monday, you know it can't be all bad when you turn your iPod on in preparation for your work commute, restart your shuffle, and it plays Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees.

By min | May 12, 2008, 10:55 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link

May 9, 2008

Beyond strange


China's 2007 "Reincarnation Law". The case of the 11th Panchen Lama raised implications for what happens upon the death and subsequent reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama (the 14th) living in exile. Apparently mindful of its previous experience with the 11th Panchen Lama, Beijing late in 2007 took steps designed to solidify its future control over the selection process of Tibetan lamas. On August 3, 2007, the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) issued a set of regulations, effective September 1, 2007, that require all Tibetan lamas wishing to reincarnate to obtain prior government approval through the submission of a "reincarnation application." In a statement accompanying the regulations, SARA called the step "an important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation of living Buddhas."

I will happily be told that this is a hoax.

By fnord12 | May 9, 2008, 4:02 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

May 8, 2008

If Laura Bush Wants to Lecture Someone About Poor Disaster Management

She should start at home.

Lingering fears about formaldehyde fumes inside federally issued trailers and the impending hurricane season have Mayor Ray Nagin pushing to empty thousands of the structures, intended as temporary housing after Katrina.

So, first our government fails to properly prepare for the hurricane in a way that would have limited the amount of destruction it caused. Then they fumbled repeatedly as they failed to aid the victims of the hurricane and continue to drag their feet in rebuilding the area. Now it turns out the housing they eventually did provide is emitting deadly fumes.

This is like when the Europeans gave the Native Americans plague-ridden blankets. I wait in anticipation of the government's next effort to grind the hope out of these people's souls.

By min | May 8, 2008, 11:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

How Much Porn Does $20k Buy?

The Ariel school is an experiment in financial literacy with real-life oomph: Each incoming first-grade class gets $20,000 that the children ultimately get to pick stocks for and manage. The goal is to add an I -- investing -- to the three R's, according John Rogers Jr., chairman and chief execuative of Ariel Capital Management, a Chicago money-management firm that established the school in 1996.

At a time when pensions are being phased out and people must rely more on their own investment smarts, Rogers thinks saving and investment should be an integral part of the curriculum at schools across the nation. "It's important to have all the reading and writing and arithmetic skill sets, but we can't think of anything else more important than to be able to be financially viable and competent as you start to build your working career," he said.


The concept is simple: Ariel's experts manage a $20,000 portfolio for each class until sixth grade, briefing them regularly, and then begin turning over the decisions to the children. Upon graduation from eighth grade, each class returns the initial investment amount to the school for another first-grade class and donates, invests or pockets the profits.


Porn or clothes. I don't know what else might be important when you're 14. I suppose some of them will be looking towards the future. A new car. Or mebbe the theory is right. Kids who are taught about money matters when they're young will be more savvy about saving. The first batch of first graders are currently high school juniors. Time will tell.

By min | May 8, 2008, 10:35 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Burgers of Wrath by Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon

Crossin' the land
On vacation
Saw lots of families
So much like ours
All they got left
Piled in their cars
Can't get those desperate faces
off our minds

Mm-hm hm-hm hmmmm

But now we're stuck
On that same road
Company shipped our jobs
To Mexico
Soup is good food
You made a good meal
But do't blame us
Blame the Japanese

Hee-hee hee-hee hee-hee

Seasons of rust
Age of decline
Make cars that fall apart
People get wise
More sour greaps that never
Turn into wine

Just burgers of wrath

Reached the Northwest
There's nothin' left
Forest strip-mined away
The fish are dead
Twist things around
Got people they wiped out
All blaming owls

Hoo-hoo hoo-hoo hoo-hoo

The ranger says she hates to
As she kicks us out
Our 30 days are up
At this campground
Tourists yell, "Get a job!"
There's none around
Just burgers of wrath

Par for the curse
We're on the streets
Whole family beggin' change
In Fog City
New job don't mean
Roof o'er our heads
Can't save enough
For first and last month's rent

Heh-heh heh-heh heh-heh

Try not to snap
Don't hit the kids
It's bad enough
Growin' up like this
A stronger space
Guard shines a light
We huddle in our locker
Quiet as mice

Just like mice

We've even got
Tuberculosis on the rise
Thousand more banks fail
Yet the crisis is denied
President says, "Sacrifice..."
There's no new deal this time

Just burgers of wrath
More burgers of wrath

By fnord12 | May 8, 2008, 9:20 AM | Music| Link

May 7, 2008

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | May 7, 2008, 4:51 PM | Comics| Link

Our electricity grid

Quite a few people believe that if there is a decline in oil production, we can make up much of the difference by increasing our use of electricity--more nuclear, wind, solar voltaic, geothermal or even coal. The problem with this model is that it assumes that our electric grid will be working well enough for this to happen. It seems to me that there is substantial doubt that this will be the case.
The primary reason for the likely problems is the fact that in the last few decades, the electric power industry has moved from being a regulated monopoly to an industry following more of a free market, competitive model.
When a utility's primary role is taking care of its own customers, there is a strong incentive to carefully maintain its transmission and distribution system. Once the system is divided into many competing entities, many of whom do not have financial ownership of the transmission system, the situation changes significantly. Some of the impacts include:

1. Declining investment. There is less incentive to maintain transmission lines, since under a fractured system, no one has real responsibility for the lines. Also, profits are higher if equipment is allowed to run until it fails, rather than replacing parts as they approach the ends of their useful lives.

2. Overuse of lines between systems. Prior to deregulation, transmission lines between utilities were designed for use primarily in emergencies. Once widespread trading of electricity began, lines between utilities are put into much heavier use than they had been designed to handle.

3. More rapid deterioration. After deregulation, there is much more cycling on and off of power plants and the structures involved in transmission, to maximize profits by selling electrical power from the plant that can produce it most cheaply. This results in metal parts being heated and cooled repeatedly, causing the metal parts to deteriorate more quickly than they normally would.

4. Unplanned additions to grid. Wind and solar are added to the grid, with the expectation that the grid will accommodate them. "Merchant" (investor owned) natural gas power plants are also added to the grid, sometimes without adequate consideration as to whether sufficient grid capacity exists to accommodate the additional production.

5. Difficulty in assigning costs back. Since the industry is more fragmented, if any transmission lines are added, the cost must somehow be allocated back to the many participants who will benefit. Ultimately, the cost must be paid by a consumer. These consumer rates may in fact be regulated, so it may be difficult to recover the additional cost.

6. Increased line congestion. There is a need for more long distance transmission lines, because of all of the energy trading. There is a great deal of NIMBYism, so approval for placement of new lines is very difficult to obtain. The result is fewer transmission lines than would be preferred, resulting in more and more line congestion.

7. No overall plan. There is a need for an overall plan for an improved system, but with so many players, and so much difficulty in assigning costs to players, very little happens.

8. Little incentive to add generating capacity. As long as there is a possibility of purchasing power elsewhere, there is little incentive to add productive capacity. Profits will be maximized by keeping the system running at as close to capacity as possible, whether or not this causes occasional blackouts.


By fnord12 | May 7, 2008, 4:09 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Isn't the Hulk a first tier super-hero?

Unless he doesn't count as a super-hero....? What about Wonder-Woman?

By fnord12 | May 7, 2008, 3:51 PM | Comics & Movies | Comments (1) | Link


Horrible things.

By fnord12 | May 7, 2008, 3:09 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Somehow, More Offensive Than Skywriting

A special-effects entrepreneur from Alabama has come up with a way to fill the sky with foamy clouds as big as 4 feet across and shaped like corporate logos -- Flogos, as he calls them.

Francisco Guerra, who's also a former magician, developed a machine that produces tiny bubbles filled with air and a little helium, forms the foam into shapes and pumps them into the sky.

The Walt Disney Co. will use one of the machines next month to send clouds shaped like Mickey Mouse heads into the air at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Guerra said.

I don't know why i feel that way. It's essentially the same thing as skywriting or planes that pull banners or blimps. *shrug*

At least moonvertising isn't real.

By min | May 7, 2008, 1:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link

More Things I Should Have


I'm definitely sure i need the army of Hello Kittys dressed as horseys.

By min | May 7, 2008, 12:32 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link


Yes, it was that bad.

By fnord12 | May 7, 2008, 11:22 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Bunch of paranoids

Sheesh, let's get these conspiracy theorists some tinfoil hats. I mean, our government would never do that. Right???!??

By fnord12 | May 7, 2008, 9:13 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

May 6, 2008

Not About To Pass Up a Golden Opportunity

Upwards of 22,500 people dead and 41,000 more missing due to a cyclone and the resulting tidal wave in Myanmar this weekend. And what do we do? We make our aid conditional on demands, and we're being uppity about it.

The United States, which has led a drive for economic sanctions against Myanmar's repressive regime, said it would also provide aid, but only if an American disaster team was invited into the country.

The policy was presented by Laura Bush, along with a lecture to the junta about human rights and disaster relief.

I think the government who didn't manage to protect its own city from a hurricane that everyone knew was coming should STFU.

Who turned the Stepford wife on and let her out of her box to speak, anyway? Or mebbe it's Omac's fault for doing such a shoddy job at destroying the Build-a-Friend operation

By min | May 6, 2008, 12:38 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Georgia says "very close" to war with Russia

Holy crap.

A war instigated based on us offering a NATO membership to Georgia could very well draw in the EU and the US. Not good.

By fnord12 | May 6, 2008, 9:52 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

May 2, 2008


8.1 Generally earth stopping takes place the night before or during the early morning over the area the hunt expects to cover that day. Its purpose is to prevent foxes lying underground on the days hunting where they cannot be found. The holes at the entrance to the earths will be blocked by soil, or by inserting paper bags filled with a suitable material, - the latter must be removed after hunting.

8.2 The other reason for stopping is to prevent a fox from entering an earth. One of the purposes of foxhunting is fox control. It cannot achieve this purpose if the fox population is either underground or the fox goes to ground soon after it is found.

8.3 Although most likely earths will be stopped, the fox can and often does seek refuge in an unknown earth or refuge.

8.4 The Badgers Act 1992 provides for the stopping of badger setts by recognised earth stoppers accredited by a Hunt's Master. Strict rules apply and non-compliance leads to hefty fines, imprisonment, or both. (See Appendix II)

By min | May 2, 2008, 8:56 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link

May 1, 2008

Where's my monkey?!

By fnord12 | May 1, 2008, 2:56 PM | Comics & Ummm... Other?| Link

More on earmarks

From dday at Digby's site:

On top of that, McCain has gone from a position against spending to a position against the technical process by which spending is achieved. That's going to really bowl them over on the stump. McCain wants to make himself the grand poohbah deciding what spending is OK and what spending isn't. The problem is that when he is put to the wall, he can't come up with more than a scattered few projects that are verboten. And he doesn't dare touch that sacred cow, the military budget, which is responsible for about 100 times the wasteful spending as earmarks.

McCain has put himself in a terrible position. Plenty of earmarks provide tangible benefits for people. Every campaign stop, he's going to be confronted by someone. And he'll have to say "Well, when I say cut spending, I don't mean THAT," and this is why his trillions and trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy and new spending will never be brought into balance. He is dangerous and fiscally irresponsible.


And also on his healthcare plan:

Between out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, cost-sharing, and treatment not covered by high risk pool plans, someone like Elizabeth Edwards, with her breast cancer, would probably have to pay around $100,000 under McCain's plan. She has it; most cancer patients don't.

Someone's going to ask him about that on the trail, too. And it'll be another embarrassment. In fact, the only way McCain's bankrupt domestic policies will not cause one misstep after another is if he confines himself to whistle-stop tours of gated communities and medieval castles.

I don't agree. They're only "missteps" if they are covered in the press, something that isn't very likely as long as Reverend Wright is around.

By fnord12 | May 1, 2008, 12:27 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

If You've Still Got Your Original NES Cartridges...

The FC Mobile portable console plays original game carts from the NES wherever you go. The compact console lets you play on either the built-in 2.4-inch LCD screen, or on your television via an included AV cable. The system runs on three AA batteries, and can play audio through its internal stereo speakers, or via a headphone jack.

By min | May 1, 2008, 10:31 AM | Video Games | Comments (1) | Link



Republican John McCain said Wednesday that the bridge collapse in Minnesota that killed 13 people last year would not have happened if Congress had not wasted so much money on pork-barrel spending.

Actually, a portion the money to repair bridges and roads comes from the tax on gasoline that he wants to abolish, on top of the general Federal funds for infrastructure that Republicans have already gutted. The rest comes from state governments that are underfunded due to a lingering revenue crisis that has been in effect since Bush's first recession in 2001. Federal investment stimulates the economy and could have increased state governments' revenues. Obviously, McCain is against that too.

By fnord12 | May 1, 2008, 10:04 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

When worlds collide

Reading Daily Kos and seeing a post about Dungeons and Dragons? Weird. The theme is that the swiftboaters and religious right activists got their start attacking D&D. Not sure if i agree, but hey, it's D&D on Kos.

By fnord12 | May 1, 2008, 9:59 AM | D&D & Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

So you know how all these internet lyrics sites copy each other? Well, for this song, they've all got that first line, which i think is wrong, with an asterisk next to it. But wherever the asterisk went to has been lost in all the copying. The line sounds more like "Bresdad/Steak Cog/Analyst" but neither line makes much sense to me. Anyway, i added all the -uhs in the appropriate places, just for you-uh.

Guest Informant by the Fall

Baghdad/Space Cog/Analyst

You'll never guess who informed-uh
It was Craig and Steve
The stool pigeons, cha-cha-cha-cha...

Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh
Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh

I followed the colonel to the cheap hotel-uh,
I tapped the beds-uh
I wired the phones as well,
Colonel Boggs Maroley was his mantle
Had not counted on
I had not counted on

Guest Informant-uh, guest informant-uh
Guest Informant-uh, guest informant-uh

I've been split on, I've been touted on,
Had not counted on, I had not counted on

Guest Informant-uh

Baghdad/Space Cog/Analyst

In the burning scorch-uh of another Sunday over
The miserable Scottish hotel-uh,
Resembled-uh a Genesis-uh or Marillion-uh, 1973 LP cover
All the hotel staff had been dismissed-uh,
It was me-uh, the Hoover, and the O. A. P.s
Asked-uh: Could he turn killer?
Thought-uh: could I kill him?
Pondered-uh: Or is he itinerant-uh?
But I guess he's just a cog analyst

Baghdad/Space Cog/Analyst.

Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh
Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh

I could not comprehend, I couldn't understand
Had not counted on, I had not counted all

Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh
Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh

I've been split on by a first-grade moron-uh
And I had not counted on, I'd not counted on

Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh
Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh

I've been let down-uh, by a first-grade moron-uh
And I could not comprehend, Had not counted on

Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh
Guest informant-uh, guest informant-uh

Hoop! Hoop! Hoop! Hoop!

By fnord12 | May 1, 2008, 9:00 AM | Music| Link

Hello Kitty Euro

What the hell? These came out in 2005 and here i am, 2008, with no Hello Kitty collectible euros. You slackers.

By min | May 1, 2008, 8:38 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avengers: Initiative #11 - Well, at least that's finally over. I feel like the potential of this series was seriously derailed by this KIA story, which went on forever and took the focus away from the "new recruits at the academy" theme of the book which is what i was interested in.

Ms. Marvel #26 -For me, this book was right on the cusp of ok/bad, so i decided to give it another try during the Secret Invasion crossover. Again, this... wasn't terrible, but wasn't great, but it's unclear how this fits in with Secret Invasion, which, for me, is important since i deliberately bought this due to the crossover and i like to know how everything fits together (used to be that it was understood that the stories had to fit together; now i'm reduced to saying it's just my preference.). Also, i like the "Nextwave" version of Machine Man but i hope this doesn't mean that they think Nextwave is in continuity.

Iron Man #28 - "As I recall, you specifically directed me to play it 'Nick Fury' dirty." Heh. Pus the return of the Silver and Red armor, a great battle with the Mandarin in which Iron Man winds up wearing his rings, and an always welcome auto-amputation scene. They should've kept him heel-less for a while just to make the sacrifice a little more meaningful, but that's ok. I was also sure that this arc was going to de-Extremify Iron Man, bringing him back down to Wanyas-approved technology levels, but apparently they're sticking with it. In any event, this book is always good and probably doesn't deserve to be so low on my reading list.

X-Force #3 - Hard to judge this one as it's just a "gathering of forces" issue for the bad guys. It's definitely a little slower than the previous two, and it didn't have a lot of impact for me since many of these guys come from X-Men stories from the 90s when i wasn't reading the books. Disappointed that they're not actually waking up Magus, but i guess a Black Ops team doesn't have much hope of defeating an adult Technarch. I love the body count page, but should Bolivar Trask really get credit for every mutant killed by a Sentinel?

Annihilation: Conquest #6 - My feeling is that Warlock and his ward should have been a lot more integral in stopping the Phalanx - especially his ward since stopping the Phalanx is a prime function of adult Technarchs (who would have thought that in 2008 i'd be reading about Technarchs in two completely unrelated books?). Still, i understand since they weren't really part of the series to begin with (the Nova books weren't even labelled as a Conquest crossover) that it's not fair to use them prominently, and Warlock did free Adam Warlock from Ultron's control, so it's not like they were ignored. Otherwise, all i have to say is this was a great ending to a great series, and Groot and Mantis better recover and join up with the Guardians of the Galaxy after a few issues of that new series, which i'm looking forward to.

Hercules #116 - There's a lot to like about this book. Continued character development for Hercules. His impatient "I know who you guys are, you're the Eternals, i've met you a bunch of times". The continued examination of the similarities and discrepencies in myths. Athena's guidance of Cho, steering him away from the super-villain path. Athena keeping a decapitated Skrull head in her back pocket to show the other gods. On an unrelated tangent, i hear some of the X-Men are in San Fransisco, too. I wouldn't have minded a little crossover/cameo.

Captain America #37 - Epting is back on art and the book is looking beautiful again. This continues to be great. Waiting to see where they go with the Cap 'clone'. I liked everyone showing up to tell Bucky that they'll be watching him in his new role as Captain America. In the old days, each of those appearances would have resulted in an issue long fight; here it was handled maturely. Best surreal line of the month: "Cap! Cap! Look out for the internet!"

Mighty Avengers #12 - Ugh, Maleev. Well, this issue, dealing with Nick Fury's covert stuff and icky Skrulls, mostly suited his style, but his Spider-Woman is awful. It's nice to catch up on Fury. I'm actually surprised that Bendis decided to do it so overtly instead of just having Fury return and dropping a few hints as to what he's been up to. So looking at the people he circled - those are the Skrulls? (Well, Hulkling - duh. ;-)). I notice that it's Lockjaw and not Blackbolt that was circled - that was interesting (And i wonder if it's a way to solve the John Byrne/Peter David feud over whether Lockjaw is an intelligent Inhuman that got mutated or just a funny looking dog). And yeah, let the Spidey who made a deal with Mephisto turn out to be a Skrull!

By fnord12 | May 1, 2008, 7:24 AM | Comics| Link

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