Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today's Question: People on Glass Beaches...

Would you walk on a beach of crushed glass? According to an AP story on Forbes.com, Broward County officials plan to use sprinkles of crushed, recycled glass to fill in the gaps on Florida's erosion-prone beaches.

Snip:

...The glass-sand idea grew from the unintentional consequences of an ocean dump site off Northern California near Fort Bragg. Beginning in 1949, garbage - including lots of glass - was dumped over a cliff into the ocean, said Charles Finkl, a marine geologist with Boca Raton-based Coastal Planning and Engineering.

Finkl said that while organic material degraded over the years, the glass broke up and became smooth as it tumbled in the surf. The area is now known locally as Glass Beach. Another dump site in Hawaii produced similar results, Finkl said.

"You talk about glass beach and people have images of sharp glass shards but it's not that way at all," he said...

[ Full Story ]

Monday, August 27, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Yezidi

"The Yezidi of Celle are one of the largest groups of their sect outside the homeland of Kurdish Iraq. There may be 7,000 in this small town. Yezidi across the world number between 400,000 and 800,000."
So wrote Sean Thomas in the Sunday Telegraph earlier this week. The Yezidi are an interesting "cult" that have been accused of -- and persecuted for -- devil worship. Some speculate that they worship "The Devil" (something that holds meaning only for monotheists), under the name Melek Taus. This Melek Taus is hard to pin down as either good or evil, according to Uta Tolle, a German scholar of Yezidism: "He is both [good and evil]. Like fire. Flames can cook but they can also burn. The world is good and bad." Setting aside the sensationalist nature of the title, Sean Thomas' The Devil Worshippers of Iraq is an interesting read.
THE DEVIL WORSHIPPERS OF IRAQ by Sean Thomas, Sunday Telegraph Last Updated: 4:01am BST 20/08/2007 "Ours is the oldest religion in the world. Older than Islam; older than Christianity."

I'm in a community hall, on the outskirts of Celle, a north German town. On the walls are pictures of dark blue peacocks. Sitting at various tables around the room are dozens of Devil worshippers. At least, that's what some people call them. Though we don't know it yet, right now several suicide bombs are going off near Mosul in Iraq, killing maybe 400. The victims belong to the same faith as those gathered here today. They are Yezidi. And I'm here to unearth the reality of their fascinating religion. Why do they have such troubled relations with outsiders? Do they really worship the Devil?

[ Full Story ]

Friday Pet Blogging | Sphinx?

Milo has taken quite the liking to my latest backpack. I'm not sure if he thinks he is guarding it, or just wants to be close to it. Of course, it could very well be that he thinks it belongs to him.

"Me ... and my .... backpack."

"Grrrrrrrrrrrr. This is my toy!"

And one by one, the pet blogging posts steal my sanity ...

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for some previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.
  4. And one of the funniest/cutest/obsessivest (OK, I know that's not a word!) sites for cat photos, StuffOnMyCat.com is a must see. Take it from them: Stuff + Cats = Awesome!
  5. And for a funny and saccharin sweet photo collection of cat, kitty, and other critters that have been tagged with LOL, go see I Can Has a Cheezeburger? Really, these are good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

An Unmonitored Toaster Always Scorches

Wednesday is "free bagel" day where I work. This means that all morning long, the cafe is generally inundated with the aroma of ... scorched baked goods. And it does not necessarily smell like victory, I can tell you that. I have observed this ritual long enough -- a little more than a year now -- and I have a question:
Why is it that "a watched pot never boils," but if you turn your back on a toaster for just a moment, you end up with something on the order of a roof tile?
burntbagel.jpg
A burnt bagel image lifted from Cakehead.com, who lifted it from the Museum of Burnt Food
I'll appreciate any thoughts my loyal Prophet or Madman-philes might have on this topic. I know others must have thought about it. It turns out that puffintoad beat me to it by a little more than two years.

Dinner at the Apocalypse Cafe?

According to an entry over at Instructables.com, roadkill is what's for dinner when the apocalypse comes. This is more than just a recipe for (or with?) a gross-out factor. There is a fair bit of useful and interesting info, and a skill showcase to boot. Having said that, however, it's not for the faint of heart (or simple of palette).

Additions to the Blogroll

I added two links to the Blogroll today. Under FAITH, please welcome The Northern Path by Astrid, "a Heathen humanist living in the United States." The Northern Path features news and personal views of the indigenous European spiritual path invariably known as Asatru, Heathenry, the Northern Path, the Folkway, etc. Under THINK, you will see a link to Wotan's Musings by Andrew Higgins. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Hey Brainwise, why didn't you place Wotan's Musings under FAITH?" Well, I'm glad you asked because I have a very good reason for stamping this new addition with THINK. You see, Mr. Higgins' blog is all about linguistics and language and he blogs about [I'm sort of paraphrasing Higgins' own description here] his current studies into Tolkien's linguistic efforts and his explorations into the ancient and medieval languages of Europe. So, his blog fits very will with Blogroll neighbors such as The Cranky Professor and Dialogic. Welcome aboard, Astrid and Andrew! I doubt this new linkage will generate much traffic for you, but at least I'll be able to keep up with your musings more easily.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Time and Perspective

Oh, what a difference a little time can have on a person's perspective. Case in point: Dick Cheney in 1994 and Dick Cheney post-2001. In a CSPAN interview dated April 1994--shortly after the conclusion of Desert Storm--Mr. Cheney defended the first President Bush's choice to not invade Iraq. In the interview, he provided a litany of things that would have gone wrong had the U.S. pursued Saddam Hussein and overthrown his government after pushing his troops out of Kuwait. Recently, a video clip from that CSPAN interview was rebroadcast on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The clip, archived at MSNBC here, does have Cheney's original comments on Iraq, Baghdad, and Saddam Hussein, but it is over seven minutes long! There is, of course, a commerical (hey, it's a free video folks) before getting into the actual clip. Once the clip does start, it moves from the Countdown intro/montage right into Olbermann musing on how a surgical change in heart might lead to a behavioral/attitudinal change heart -- i.e., replacing the heart with machinery might make a person "heartless" in more ways than one. From that interesting theory, we move into the Cheney bit. After that, we have Olbermann's always entertaining editorializing and an analysis/discussion with guest commentator, John Nichols of The Nation, who discusses what might have caused Cheney's change of heart. If you don't want all of that media fluff, and just want to see/hear Cheney's comments so that you can judge them for yourself, you can find several briefer, more succinct, versions of the CSPAN clip over on YouTube. This one is only 1:23 long and it has not been hit with countless comments.
A quick search on YouTube will turn up a number of creative showcases and responses to this historical gem. Watch the Cheney clip and think about what has happened since March of 2003. No matter what your politics, you have to admit that it's pretty chilling.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Pet Blogging | AfterImage

Nope, it's not a Photoshop. Today's Pet Blogging image is an example of almost capturing a clash between Milo and Otis. I mean, I saw them lock in combat, and I snapped the pic. But they were just too fast.

AfterImage

They were RIGHT there a moment ago!

And here are the boys in more tranquil (or at least less active) moments:

The Milo Pages 2

Milo!

Otis Between the Pillows (w/ Flash)

Otis!

And one by one, the pet blogging posts steal my sanity ...

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for some previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.
  4. And one of the funniest/cutest/obsessivest (OK, I know that's not a word!) sites for cat photos, StuffOnMyCat.com is a must see. Take it from them: Stuff + Cats = Awesome!
  5. And for a funny and saccharin sweet photo collection of cat, kitty, and other critters that have been tagged with LOL, go see I Can Has a Cheezeburger? Really, these are good.

Quotable | Dream

Sometimes, a dream is all the more powerful simply because you know it will never come true. -- Obadiah (from Angel-Seeker, a novel by Sharon Shinn)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Interview with an Interfaith Minister

It's a little over a year old, but still an interesting interview. (And there is that blue humor part of me that giggles at the thought of "Reverend Schwing"!) Anyway, from SFGate.com:
FINDING MY RELIGION by David Ian Miller, Special to SF Gate Jurgen Schwing, Interfaith minister at Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek, Tends to All Who Seek Comfort

From Adventists to Hindus to Wiccans, the Bay Area is home to believers of all faiths and creeds, not to mention its share of atheists and a healthy number of devotees pursuing spiritual paths outside the boundaries of organized religion. To all of them, Rev. Jürgen Schwing says, "Welcome."

Schwing, an interfaith minister who runs the spiritual-care unit at Kaiser Permanente and Hospice, in Walnut Creek, is accustomed to wearing many hats. In his job, the United Church of Christ pastor, who emigrated to this country from Germany in 1990, is also part imam, part rabbi and part priest...

[ Read the Full Interview ]

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Young Iranians Want to Rock

Oh well, you can still rock in America:
Authorities in Iran have arrested over 200 young people for attending a "satanic" rock concert. Iranian officials said that those who had gathered were breaking Islamic law and were guilty of "immoral behavior" for holding a party without government permission.
Just their luck, someone was keeping an eye out for them:
Ali Farhadi, a public prosecutor in Karaj, told state television: "Most of them were wealthy young people who were not aware of the satanic nature of the concert."
Oh, but I am sure those youngsters are getting a sense of the dictatorial nature of their government. Sources: Fox News, Reuters

Next They'll Be Charging Tolls

From the "What were they thinking" department of the Center for the Separation of Church and State....
China Tells Living Buddhas to Obtain Permission before They Reincarnate From August 4, 2007 by Jane Macartney in Beijing

Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.

“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1.

The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.

It is the latest in a series of measures by the Communist authorities to tighten their grip over Tibet. Reincarnate lamas, known as tulkus, often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in the Himalayan region. Anyone outside China is banned from taking part in the process of seeking and recognising a living Buddha, effectively excluding the Dalai Lama, who traditionally can play an important role in giving recognition to candidate reincarnates...

[ Full Story ]

Yes this is a power play. Yes, on the surface, it seems wholly ridiculous. We will have to wait and see if China can actually enforce this ruling, and how Tibetans react to it over time.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Posting Delayed For MusikFest

MusikFest is here, so my postings will be even more sporadic than usual. Last night, Mrs. Brainwise and I saw XPN fan favorite Jonatha Brooke. As usual, she did not disappoint. Great performance punctuated with funny and quirky stories. After the show, we got her to sign some stuff, including her new DVD/CD combo. We also took some photos with her. I'll post them later.