My Archives: October 2003

Friday, October 31, 2003

A story frightening enough to be worthy of Hallowe'en. "A scientist funded by the US government has deliberately created an extremely deadly form of mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, through genetic engineering. The new virus kills all mice even if they have been given antiviral drugs as well as a vaccine that would normally protect them. The work has not stopped there. The cowpox virus, which infects a range of animals including humans, has been genetically altered in a similar way."

Quick...a dose of humor, even if it is cynical, especially if it is cynical. Enjoy "Us good, them bad" -- a universal campaign speech for whatever crossroads America might happen to be at. You've heard a version of this one several times in the recent past.

Posted by mac @ 10:33 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, October 30, 2003

*blush* is always the simple tricks that *get* me. Translation: thanks to all who wrote in to explain the _very_ obvious ploy used by the card trick after which my last blog inquired. Gordon P. offered the most detailed explanation. He wrote, "The magic trick works by exploiting a human perceptual flaw called 'selective attention to detail': One is so busy looking for the card one picked that one does not notice that _none_ of the cards being shown were in the original pile --- so no matter _which_ card one picks, it won't be there !!! (And yes, I _did_ have to try it several times, and was quite puzzled until I decided to write down the list of cards, and caught on to the trick...) P.S. --- The trick also exploits another human mental limitation: The initial number of cards is seven, which is larger than the number
of items most people can keep in their short-term memory..." Lee K. adds, "By telling you to focus on the one card you selected, and by choosing similar-looking cards for the 4, it tries to make you forget the other cards."

Cartoons for today: Matt Davies' "Operation Form Letter" which takes a painful look at the co-ordinated, identical letters-to-editors that were "personally" written by troops in Iraq; Mike Luckovich's "Another AWOL" which comments in combination on the emerging reports of troops going AWOL and Rumsfeld's current woes; Lalo Alcaraz's "Fidel Bush" (no explanation required); and, Ann Telnaes' "Wrapped in the Flag" which blasts the black-out media policy imposed on military bases that keeps them from showing dead soldiers being shipped home.

Now, onto political commentary -- Talent On Loan From Rush Limbaugh!... [more]

Posted by mac @ 10:31 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Okay...can someone spare me the embarrassment of having to ask my husband, "How is this done?"

Interesting email received [a few weeks ago but still as relevant] from Scott M, who writes, "I've had as my browser home page since it was first published. It was a fantastic thing for a busy professional to see headline events lumped and summed in a rational, and one supposed, value-neutral fashion. Over time, though, I have been seeing and hearing evidence that calls that assumption of objectivity into question. [more]

Posted by mac @ 05:55 AM EST [Link]

Monday, October 27, 2003

Tom Tomorrow's latest cartoon "Interesting Things We Have Learned From Republicans Lately" is worth a gander.

Perhaps it is my cynicism speaking -- it *does* tend toward loquaciousness -- but I see stage setting behind Sen. Joseph Lieberman's threat to take the Bush Administration to to speak. The threat springs from the belief by members of both parties that the White House is "stonewalling the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by blocking its demands for documents despite threats of a subpoena." I do not doubt that Lieberman is extremely frustrated and sincerely outraged by attempts to block the investigation which he was instrumental in organizing. I also do not doubt that a major Bush scandal that happens to break open shortly before the Presidential election would make wonderful stage decoration for the Democratic Party platform. Lieberman declares, "If they continue to refuse [to turn over documents], I will urge the independent commission to take the administration to court," said Lieberman, who is running for president. "And if the administration tries to run out the clock, John McCain and I will go to the floor of the Senate to extend the life of the commission." Let's see...that would continue the commission's investigation well into the active campaigning period. It is always nice when one's principled stands co-incide with one's vested political interests. [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:18 AM EST [Link]

Friday, October 24, 2003

For those fright-loving, fun-craving folk who embrace Hallowe'en as fully as I do, there is "Extreme Pumpkin Carving" with an hilarious photo gallery of pumpkins produced by truly dubious minds. My patch was a compete wash this year due to a killing frost that coated the garden for three nights in a row, killing the vines and leaving the half grown pumpkins to mildew and rot. Arguably, they are now "extreme pumpkins" without my having to touch them. [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:23 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Back at last. But too exhausted to give details...Instead... [more]

Posted by mac @ 01:44 PM EST [Link]

Monday, October 13, 2003

I have been on-the-road for much of October and that trend is going to continue straight through into November. That makes this month a bad-blog, nearly a no-blog! zone. I thank everyone who drops by but there may not be much activity until November when both winter and I will arrive at the farm and linger for a bit. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by mac @ 09:32 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Mark Fiore's latest animated cartoon, "The Expanded Do Not Call List," is a bit heavy-handed but it's still worth a gander. On the other hand, Tom Tomorrow's "Rummy on a Roll" is delightful. [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:47 AM EST [Link]

Friday, October 3, 2003

Interesting. Brazil leads the "hacker pack" in causing the most cyber-destruction, according to a recent study from mi2g. (I remember when the term "hacker" was one of distinction and referred to the arcane, admirable sort who could build a computer out of spare parts and a piece of string. Now it means "vandal.") The FBI is responding to increased cyber attacks by further shredding the 1st Amendment. "Citing a provision of the Patriot Act, the FBI is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau....[T]he FBI has threatened to put these reporters in jail [reporters who wrote on hacker Adrian Lamo] unless they agree to preserve all of these records while they obtain a subpoena for them." Columnist Mark Rasch provides a good commentary on this new flexing of state power. [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:17 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Back from my travels and ready to blog... [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:27 PM EST [Link]

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