Sunday, October 30, 2005

An Enlightened Lynch

Director David Lynch, speaking to a group of NYU students, and quoted by Timothy Gunatilaka in the October 21 (2005) issue of Entertainment Weekly:
Open QuoteIf you have a golf-ball-size consciousness, when you read a book you'll have a golf-ball-size understanding. But if you can expand that ball, then you read with more understanding ... [Meditation] turns up our light. And like a lightbulb, we can enjoy the inner peace but also spread it—that's the key to world peace.
Apparently, he was serious. Since September, he's been touring East Coast campuses touting meditation-based curricula (he goes west in November). A transcendental meditator for 32 years, Lynch hopes to raise $7 billion to endow seven universities of world peace. Other links for 'University of World Peace' (but I don't know if they are part of the same project that Lynch is pushing):

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging | Window Gazers

I admire through a piece of cut purple glass the sun in its nimbus of glistening light: it will shadow nicely between the amethyst folds in the goddess's spreading skirt.
From "The Buddhist's Window," a poem by Beth Houston. Read the full piece in the Spring 1998 Literary Review. We've covered a few serious, and some not so serious, topics this week. But we now return to the one thing that unites most, if not all, Prophet or Madman visitors: photos of adorable orange cats. Today's photos are courtesy of Mrs. Brainwise ...
"Window Shopping"

We're still haveing a few problems with the boyz and their, um, plumbing. And it is affecting our sleep and general well-being, so I can only imagine how it is actually affecting them as well. Milo seems to be having the most trouble right now, but we're not certain if it is a behavioral issue, or a physical ailment. Fortunately, he does not seem to be in pain. In fact shortly after showing any kind of symptoms, he acts as though nothing out of the ordinary just took place. But going through all of their problems is almost worth it for moments like these, when they are so darned cute. They almost look meditative in these photos ... even though I know they are hankering after the little birdies.

This pic is from the other week, but I love it, and Milo could really use your positive thoughts right now.
Please stand by for the standard Pet Blogging Closer:

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here (and might be updated soon) ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fishering for an Answer

Click here to view a larger image. Fisher DeBerry (Photo: Scripps/Rocky Mountain News)
OK. by now, most folks have heard -- or read -- Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry's comments following a 48-10 loss Saturday to Texas Christian University. After Texas orchestrated the Academy's first loss this season, DeBerry blamed his team's woes on a lack of minority players. Yes, DeBerry said that his school needs to recruit faster players, specifically pointing out that TCU had more African-American players than the Academy did and that those players ran a lot faster than his Falcons players did. When asked to elaborate, he said:
"It just seems to me to be that way, that Afro-American players can run very, very well. That doesn't mean Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me that they run extremely well.''
Shocking words, eh? So shocking, in fact, that many folks are saying DeBerry's words, in the year 2005, are nothing short of a racist statement. Well, damage control has commenced. AFA reprimanded Mr. DeBerry. And yesterday, no doubt at the behest of his employers, DeBerry offered a (non-)apology, saying that he was sorry if anyone was offended by his remarks. But who exactly should be offended? No, really, I want to know. Is DeBerry a racist hayseed (sorry, his accent didn't help him at all), or is he merely stating the obvious? One way of looking at this is to say that DeBerry was complimenting Black athletes, although in an admittedly awkward fashion, and debasing White ones. I mean, he pretty much implied, 'I lost this game because I got too many White guys on this team, and they can't play as well as Black athletes.' So, maybe he should apologize to the White suburban couch potato, who is lamenting his lack of credentials for a sports career. On the other hand, touting the positives of Black athletes tends to paint an overly broad picture. And, some folks would say, this praise sends a controversial message, and it could be construed as saying: 'Hey, you guys make great athletes, but you suck at everything else.' And blaming a loss on the lack or presence of a particular minority on either side of the scrimmage line is probably missing the point. So, who's right? Any comments?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lite Nite

Every October, a time-honored tradition is observed: Avengelidiots complain about Halloween! This year is not too different. We have a Bishop who is saying that "Hallowe'en is becoming too 'Pagan' to be celebrated by good and decent Christians." Oh, what are good and decent Christians to do?? Why, create their own holiday: Lite Nite. Get the details over at the Wildhunt Blog.

Don't Give Guns to Doctors

I don't know who authored it, but I recently received this dis-arming piece of information...
Guns & Doctors
Statistics on DOCTORS: (courtesy of the U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services)
  1. The number of doctors in the U.S. is 700,000
  2. Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000
  3. Accidental deaths per physician is 17.14%
Statistics on GUNS: (courtesy of the FBI)
  1. The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000 (yes that's 80 million)
  2. The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500
  3. The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.001875%
So statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, guns don't kill people, doctors do. FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!! Out of concern for the public at large, I have withheld statistics on ATTORNEYS for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical help.
I cannot verify the information. A search on Snopes comes up with zilch. But I do know that I am far from the first person to post it.

Those Offensive Piggies

According to an Australian Associated Press story in The Age [www.theage.com.au], British banks are banning a time-honored symbol of thrift and saving because, they say, it just may offend Muslims. They're giving the boot to those nasty old Piggy Banks. That's right, freaking piggy banks. Halifax and NatWest banks will no longer give piggy banks to children or use them in their advertising. Their reason: "Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal." So, from this dietary restriction, the banks have made a great leap in logic to believing that little hollow ceramic pigs will be offensive to one who follows the injunctions of the Q'uran (Koran). And some folks support this move. Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, says, "This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers." Courteous? Since when is full-blown idiocy a courtesy??? Others, I am happy to say, view the move as political correctness gone mad (mad I tell you!), and I agree. One sane voice in this debacle comes from Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for a Birmingham seat and one of four Muslim MPs in Britain, who says: "We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another." Wow, that's so good I could feature it as a Quotable. To Mr. Mahmoud and his supports Prophet or Madman says: Amen my Muslim brother of another mother! Fight this idiotic application of political correctness!! Read the full story (without my ranting) here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Gospel According to ... Anne Rice?!?

I have to agree with The Heretic ... I didn't see this coming either. I've never actually been a fan of her writing, so this news doesn't affect me at all. But I suppose I can understand how all those Goth Girl fans might be feeling about this ... um ... reversal. I mean, if Neil Gaiman suddenly converted to the Mormon church, gave up writing his fine, occult stories, and decided to devote his potent pen exclusively to ... oh, I don't know ... exploring the depth of wisdom in the LDS teachings on exhaltation, I might be a tad miffed, too. Actually ... I'd probably just gripe for a few minutes and then move on to another writer. So, get a grip girls!

And Speaking of Leaf Blowers...

...this is what happens when you apply a leaf blower to a bonfire. The frightening this about this photo gallery is that it was posted by a guy who is doing biomineralization research as a graduate student at Cal Tech. His IQ must have been pretty high before purchasing that leaf blower (see previous blog entry) ... although there is no indication that it was his leaf blower ... perhaps he was just an avid obersever. And I did give a pass to folks doing transportation research. Perhaps I could extend that pass to bored graduate students.
Burn baby burn Photo from Cody Z. Nash's Gallery

Suburban Border Wars

Today's offering from Wiley's Non Sequitur is more true than funny, but it still gets a chuckle out of me. And it raises a hackle or two. You see, this comic clearly illustrates something about suburbanites that I declared years ago: open quoteEvery idiot who buys a leaf blower should be given a bumper sticker or t-shirt with the phrase: I bought a leaf blower, so my IQ just dropped 40 points! Folks who purchase a leaf blower for transportation research are, of course, excluded. But seriously, what is the fascination with these noisy, smelly instruments of hellish torture? I have seen guys spend 15 minutes or so trying to move one single leaf from the middle of the yard. Bend over and pick up the damn thing, you moron!! Is all that noise and wasted gasoline worth the time and effort you 'saved'?!?! Particularly when the wind -- or that other leaf blowing moron from next door -- is just going to blow some of those leaves right back to where they started. Which is precisely the subject of today's strip. Since ucomics.com's strips are free to view for only a week or so, I've archived this one at my site. So if the above link does not work, just click the snipped image below to view the funny: I realize that there are much more pressing topics and issues in the world right now. But I am sure that the rest of the blogosphere is handling them quite well. I will try to get to some of them myself, but (if you'll pardon the paraphrase of a popular song lyric):
"It's my blog and I'll rant if I want to!"
Manual Leaf Blower

Monday, October 24, 2005

Quotable | Present Moment

open quoteWhen we are mired in the relative world, never lifting our gaze to the mystery, our life is stunted, incomplete; we are filled with yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we replace with words and ideas and abstractions -- such as merit, such as past, present and future -- our direct, spontaneous experience of the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment.

-- Peter Matthiessen, Author (both fiction and non-fiction) and ordained Buddhist Priest. Here is a NY Times summary of articles and book reviews.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging | Pull My Finger

Otis has no problem pulling Mrs. Brainwise's finger:
This shot really shows off Otis' new pink and blue collar, which was purchased specifically because of the operation he had this year. And now for the standard Pet Blogging Closer:

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here (and might be updated soon) ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Scrolling Belt Buckle

Oh, yes. Admit it. This is the one accessory you're just dying to have:
Scrolling Belt Buckle - screen capture
Go ahead ... click the pic, go to their site, and watch the little Quicktime demo. This little guy can hold up to six unique messages at a time, with each message being 256 characters long. And you can change these messages at any time. But you can't store your MP3s on it. Even without the music capacity, I'll bet this buckle will be popular with teen guys. Why? Because they like to wear their jeans such that they ride a little low, you know. And I am sure this scrolling buckle isn't light. So its added weight should aide slackers, punks, thugs, and wannabees* achieve that all-too-cool look. More scrolling fun: *All said with love, man. Ain't no disrespect here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Today's Moment of Zen | Waste of Time

An anonymous* developer just said this in my cubicle:
open quoteThe more time I waste here, the more I'm wasting my time.
Man, that's deep. _________ * And that's "anonymous" as in 'I know who it is, but I'm not telling you'.

Being Michael Behe

[File under: The ID Debate] The Mercury News has a story on the Lehigh University professor, biochemist Michael Behe, who is testifying on behalf of ID (Intelligent Design) in the Dover case being tried in Harrisburg, PA. This case will decide whether students in a Pennsylvania classroom should be required to hear a statement before their evolution classes that says Darwin's theory is not a fact. This story presents something of the human side of the ID debates, and we get a chance to see at least this one professor, Lehigh biochemist Michael Behe, as a person. And, as a person, Behe has faced some very real setbacks because of his support for intelligent design theory and is something of a pariah in his own biology department (I suppose that is to be expected since the gap between Evolutionists and Creationists is a deep chasm on most college campuses). The Mercury News requires a free registration to read the article. I've snipped a good bit of it here:
Professor to testify against evolution (FREE REGISTRATION REQUIRED) Associated Press "...His life on the academic fringes can be lonely. Critics say the concept is nothing more than biblical creationism in disguise. He long ago stopped applying for grants and trying to get his work published in mainstream scientific journals. In August, his department posted a Web statement saying the concept is not scientific. 'For us, Dr. Behe's position is simply not science. It is not grounded in science and should not be treated as science,' said Neal Simon, the biology department chairman." Now Behe seeks solace where he can find it, even as he continues the fight: "Behe said he was a believer in Darwin when he joined Lehigh in 1985, but became a skeptic after reading Michael Denton's book 'Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.' ...Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, said that he believes Behe thought he discovered something astonishing. 'But no one is using irreducible complexity as a research strategy, and with very good reason ... because it's completely fruitless,' he said. Behe finds community in a Web group that he says includes like-minded faculty from other universities. Most keep their views to themselves, Behe said, because 'it's dangerous to your career to be identified as an ID proponent.' He earned tenure at Lehigh before becoming a proponent, which lets him express his views without the threat of losing his job. 'Because of the immense publicity that's mushroomed around this issue in the past six months, more people are getting emotional about the topic,' Behe said. 'And it's generally not on my side.'
Now, I understand that it can be difficult to pose an alternate or contrarian view in the workplace, but ID is not science. At least not in the sense that we have come to understand science and its pursuit. I have no problem with discussing ID in the classroom, but you have to put it into the proper perspective -- it is another idea about the origins on the world and everything on it ... it may fill the gaps that (supposedly) evolution fails to cover ... but it is more along the lines of philosophy or theology than experimental and observational science.

A Few Thousand Sci Fi Covers

The SF Cover Explorer is an experimental -- and quite nifty -- image-browsing interface by Jim Bumgardner of krazydad.com. At the time of this entry, he had 3,448 covers "arranged horizontally by time, with earlier covers to the left, and more recent covers to the right" [from his write-up on how it was made]. Here is an image that shows the interface in action:
sample image from krazydad image of SF Cover Explorer from krazydad.com
If you like science fiction, have an interest in programming (Perl/Flash/PHP), or just harbor some nostalgia for pulp culture, you will want to check this out.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Quotable | nonmovement

open quoteZen is not about nonmovement. . . . Sitting is a centered, strong position in the midst of movement. When you get a top spinning just right, even though it’s going very fast, it’s so stable that it doesn’t even look as if it’s moving. If it’s slightly off balance, it wobbles. It has to be centered and moving very fast in order to be stable. That’s what Zen is all about.

-- Bernie Glassman, Zen teacher, founder of the Peacemaker Community, and author of Instructions to the Cook.

cover pic from Amazon

Friday, October 14, 2005

From Death Comes Life

Astrobiology Magazine has an article based on a release from NASA's Ames Research Center. hubgeode_banner.jpg Image: Astrobiology Magazine Summary (Oct 14, 2005): A team of NASA exobiology researchers revealed today organic chemicals that play a crucial role in the chemistry of life are common in space. Beautiful Quote:
open quoteMuch of the chemistry of life, including DNA, requires organic molecules that contain nitrogen," said team member Louis Allamandola, an astrochemist at NASA Ames. "Chlorophyll, the substance that enables photosynthesis in plants, is a good example of this class of compounds, called polycyclic aromatic nitrogen heterocycles, or PANHs. Ironically, PANHs are formed in abundance around dying stars. So even in death, the seeds of life are sewn," Allamandola said.
Ah, yes ... we have stardust in our souls.

Quotable | Truthseekers

open quoteBelieve those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it. -- Andre Gide (1869-1951), French writer, humanist, and moralist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947 In the context of this quote ... which folks are prophets, and which are madmen, hmmmm? Perhaps I'm going in a somewhat contrarian direction, but I have to say that the Madman is a truthseeker, while the Prophet is someone who claims to have found it. I am, of course, using Madman* in the same context as society would label such a person. And as far as Prophet is concerned, I believe this relates to a self-styled prophet; someone who claims to expressly know what [insert divinity of choice] wants as well as what you (as in the rest of us) should do about it. You know who I am talking about here: the Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells, Dr. James Kennedys, Dr. James Dobsons, and other radical chrisitian clerics of our time. NOTABLE: Gide is one of a few authors whose entire body of work was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (i.e., Index of Prohibited Books). The term Index is used here "in a restricted sense to signify the exact list or catalogue of books, the reading of which was once forbidden to Catholics by the highest ecclesiastical authority." In other words, at the time of Gide's death, Roman Catholics were forbidden to read his writings. ___________ *Madman is used here in the gender inclusive sense. Perhaps I should have used "mad(wo)man" ... let us remember that there are plenty of seekers who are of the feminine persuasion.

Friday Pet Blogging | What the ... ?!?

with apologies to the crew of Apollo 13:
Houston, we have a problem.
Otis decided to jump right into the upside down lid of his litter box whilst I was cleaing out said box. The look on his face clearly indicates that he is wondering why this situation feels wrong while also feeling somewhat familiar:
He's certainly not the brightest boy, but we love him. And, fortunately, I got everything back together before he really needed to make use of it. And now for the standard Pet Blogging Closer:

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Who ARE these Pros in the City?

A friend of mine -- let's call him JR because ... well, those are my friend's initials -- just sent me a link to an event sponsored (offered?) by "Professionals in the City - Philadelphia." JR wanted to know what I thought about it. So you can get the full effect, and to save you time so you don't have to click the link to the announcement -- I am providing the text and photo from the actual event notice:
THE ART OF EXOTIC DANCING (WOMEN ONLY) Wednesday, November 9 at 7:00 PM Pros In The City Thumbnail - striptease.png This class will be the most exciting class you've ever taken in a gym! This class is for the everyday woman who wants to let her hair down with no experience necessary to have a good time. You'll learn flirty fundamentals and sexy dance and floor moves and the art of striptease for your own intimate pleasures. This new revolutionary method of working out enables a woman to embrace and unlock her femininity and sensuality. Important note: Please bring the following items with you to class:
  • a ladies button-down BIG shirt or a man's button-down BIG shirt (we will learn how to remove it); a large sweatshirt can also be used
  • high heels to dance in, such as high heeled pumps or mules (because they are easy on and off); sneakers are fine for certain parts of the class
  • please wear comfortable clothes, such as yoga pants or gym wear
Ladies should arrive at 6:45PM for prompt check in. We will start promptly at 7:00PM. When: Wednesday, November 9 from 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM. Where: Koresh Dance Studio 2020 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA Price: $35.00 if purchased by 5 p.m. Friday, October 14
Pardon me if I don't provide the link for purchasing tickets. OK. My first reaction to this was: "What the ...?! Exotic dancing ... for a networking group??!!" I mean, just exactly what kind of "pros" are they targeting with this ad? JR agreed and then started brainstorming what the next event might be. JR's best idea: Next Month, "Starting a Home-Based Prostitution Ring." I wonder what kind of Power Point presentation and group roleplay would be involved in that gig. Actually ... I'd prefer not to think about it.

American Union?

In reading about Marshall McLuhan, I found that he was close friends with, and influenced by, the painter/writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957). Dr. Eric McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan's own son, as well as research assistant), when writing about the source of the phrase "Global Village" in the elder McLuhan's work, points to Lewis' book, America and Cosmic Man, published in 1948 ('48 for the UK; '49 for the US):
If you look at North America on the map of the world, you see a very uniform mass. It is more concentrated and uniform than any other land mass. You see an immense area full of people speaking one tongue: not a checkerboard of "united states" at all but one huge State. "United States" is today a misnomer. And since plural sovereignty anyway--now that the earth has become one big village, with telephones laid on from one end to the other, and air transport, both speedy and safe must be a little farcical, the plurality implied in that title could be removed as a good example to the rest of the world, and the U. S. A. become the American Union. [Ameria and Cosmic Man -- Chapter Two, paragraph 11]
If he was that impressed with the connectivity afforded by telegraph and telephone, what would Lewis have thought about the Internet, email, and instant messaging? Now, I don't know if the above excerpt proves anything about the origin of "Global Village," but I am fascinated with contrasting Lewis' late 40s view of the US with the deeply divided country I live in today. I suppose in many ways, we are still the one huge State that Lewis observed. But look how divided we are in the wake of the 2000 and 2004 elections. And it didn't start there. It goes back. In the 1990s, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) regularly referred to Clinton as "your president" when talking to House Democrats. In the 1980s, President Reagan divided not only Republicans and Democrats, but the Democratic Party itself; the so-called "Reagan Democrats" threw in with the Republican Party, electing Reagan and aligning their interests with those of the Fortune 500. (Note: Reagan was once a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party before the 1964 elections). I could probably find examples of disunity every decade or so back to at least 1900. Is there any way we can become united again? Are there too many differing voices, all of which will lay waste to any plans that try to realize sane economic development, energy independence, and secure borders (but with open, global relationships)? Will rampant individualism and petty greed grind this nation down to a mere memory? If we cannot work together to achieve common goals that are in America's best interest, will America drop from world power to world history footnote? I don't have any answers here ... just alot of questions. Update: Interesting to note that George W. Bush campaigned on the premise of being a "uniter, not a divider." Well, right now folks are a whole lot more united ... that is, united in disapproving of the job that the Preznit is doing, but I don't think that's what he was aiming for.

Quotable | McLuhan at Play

open quotation markI don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1911 - 1980)

Marshall Mcluhan Stamp image from Wikipedia

Professor McLuhan was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar, professor of English literature, literary critic, and communications theorist. I happened upon today's quote very much by chance, and it really strikes me. Is McLuhan's reluctance to believe himself due to a deep-seated belief that he was a boldfaced liar? Or was he acknowledging that part of being human is succumbing to the temptation to pepper one's dialog with the occasional lie? Could this reluctance simply be the hallmark of a healthy skeptic?

Any or all of those ideas could be correct, but I think he was going in a different direction. Besides, the whole lying thing would be too simple for a recognized media expert. ;)

Perhaps the good professor could not bring himself to believe every single thing he said or wrote because, as this piece from the Regent University points out, McLuhan was "a master of aphorisms, and ... he loved wordplay" (for proof, look no further than the title of his fourth book: The Medium is the Massage).

Is wordplay a deliberate attempt to decieve? One could argue that all entertainment -- and wordplay is usually done with at least a stab at entertaining an audience -- is a form of deception. I guess you have to look at who is truly decieved with a clever spin on words. Wait ... Spin ... that takes wordplay into the realm of politics, where deception is the norm ... the lingua franca, of the profession if you will.

I wonder what McLuhan would have made out of today's political landscape.

More Reading about McLuhan:

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging | Milo in the Sun

with apologies to the Violent Femmes:
Let me go on, just like Milo in the sun. Let me go on, big cat I know you're the one.
OK. When Pet Blogging returned to Prophet or Madman last week, an anonymous visitor complained that there was only one photo to show after weeks of ... nothing. So, today, for your viewing pleasure, I offer not one ... not two ... but over half a dozen photos of Milo napping in a patch of sunshine! Let's kick it off with this closeup:
"Sunbathing beauty"

Milo loves to nap. And as far as he is concerned, it's a real treat when he can sleep in a patch of sunlight by the backdoor. Go ahead and click any of these images for the larger Flickr versions:

And now for the standard Pet Blogging Closer:

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

German American Day!

Here in the USA, today, October 6, is ... German American Day! And just how wunderbar is it that this year it falls on Thursday -- Donnerstag (auf Deutsch) -- Thor's Day! In 1987 Congress enacted Public Law 100-104 designating October 6 as German-American Day:
A proclamation was issued by President Reagan in a Rose Garden Ceremony calling on the American people to observe this day with appropriate celebrations and activities. The date was chosen because on October 6, 1683 the first group of Germans sailed into Philadelphia Harbor on the Concord. Individually Germans had arrived before that date. [German-American Day Teaching Unit]
Since that date, every U.S. president has made a proclamation that October 6 is German-American day, a day to honor and remember the outstanding, significant, and lasting contributions that German immigrants made to our country. For more information on German contributions to the United States, or for activities to celebrate German-American Day, I offer the following links: And, yes, I am of German descent and I am quite proud of my heritage. So, to all my family, kin, and friends -- and even to those of you who are not lucky enough to have even the smallest drop of German blood flowing in your veins -- I wish you a great day.
Haben Sie einen großen Tag!
------
* Update: It has been pointed out to me that Sigrdrifa has a fairly controversial reputation. I received the link for their Heritage Action Kit, which I have mentioned in the above list, via a Yahoo Group email. After taking a brief look at the free download, I honestly feel that it is a pretty decent resource. It has recipies, activities, info resources, and flyers. So ... all I am saying is ... don't let past information about Sigrdrifa sour you on this particular resource ... but don't let this one project paint the entire group in too favorable a light for you either. Right now, I am merely recommending this one project they have offered.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

War of the Bunnies

Too funny. The War of the Worlds (1953), in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.
Scene from bunny re-enactment of War of the Worlds
If you liked this, there are even more bunny re-enactments.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pi in the Sky

For all the Madmen out there (and I am talking about mad geniuses, mad scientists, and mad inventors of all stripes and genders), here is a little thing called Pi to One Million Places. You would do well to bookmark this great resource. See how much it impressed Dr. Evil:
image borrowed from "Pi to One Million Places"
And you just have to love the site's domain, even if it doesn't quite reach one million (but it does hit an ambitious 64 places)! Serving Up Some More Pi:
File Under: Math

Can't Believe They Printed This

From Buck's Side of the Table: A little too much truth in advertising? The Seattle Times is running a story about a magazine ad (published one month ago) for Boeing and its joint-venture partner Bell Helicopter. The ad in question features a black and white photograph of U.S. Special Forces troops rappelling from an Osprey aircraft onto the roof of a mosque. It also features this poingant tagline:
It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell.
What were they thinking?? Now, it is one hell of a photograph (pun intended), but the ad copy probably should have raised at least a few red flags. A vice president at Bell, Mike Cox, said the ad was developed by a firm in Texas, and then released by his company. But ... "The bottom line is that the [Bell] people who approved this didn't have authority to approve it." Check out the ad here.

Sandy Science

From Reuters [Yahoo News]:

A lesson learned by centuries of beachcombers has been distilled to a physicist's formula: to make the perfect sandcastle, use eight parts sand to one part water.

The physicists' study, released on Wednesday before publication in the journal Nature Physics, is entitled, rather grandly, "Maximum angle of stability of a wet granular pile."

Although the subject is sandcastles, there are implications "for those preparing for or recovering from a watery disaster like a hurricane," physicist Arshad Kudrolli said in a telephone interview. Quoting again from Reuters:

"Our study is the first step, in some sense, in trying to understand what's the most stable angle that one can build, say, a retaining wall," he said. "And if it fails, where would the material end up? How much part of the land will give way?"

I would like to see one more implication from this study: Higher quality reading material at the beach. Could a few copies of Nature Physics really displace the latest trashy romance? One can always hope!