Thursday, February 21, 2008

Last Night's Lunar Eclipse

photo credit: Bill Funcheon

I witnessed the lunar eclipse last night. It was amazing. I took a few photos, but I don't think anything compares with the images one of my work colleagues was able to snag. I am sharing one of my favorite views and I'll write more about the experience later.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Urban Sprawl Across the Pond (and to the North)

Throughout much of the United States, folks are familiar with the term urban sprawl. It has even been adapted for regions such as Bucks County, PA, to describe the rampant construction in and around suburban developments: hence the eyesore known as suburban sprawl and the rise of the battle for open space. But I'll bet most of my neighbors and fellow citizens rarely think about sprawl in other nations. Well, the Icelandic Review's feature of the week, Loose Screws and Rusty Nails, shatters any notions of sprawl being just an American phenomenon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hillary is PC?

I love the Mac and PC ads. And I think this political cartoon by Bill Mitchell is a great adaptation of that format.
" Inferiority Complex" posted Feb 12, 2008 (

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I don't often remember my dreams. Let me be more accurate about this: I don't seem to retain my dreams beyond the first 30 minutes of waking. But today is different. I can still see some of last night's images in my mind's eye, still hear something of the voices still echoes. It was about sailing. You probably guessed that after reading this entry's title and the first paragraph. But what might not be clear is what kind of sailing was featured while I engaged in R.E.M. sleep. Actually, it's not really all that clear to me either. But I'll try to get a few notes down before they join my other dream memories in evaporation. It seemed like small boat sailing was in progress. When I say "small boat sailing", I am drawing on some experience from my Scouting days, specifically a week at Camp Mountain Run learning how to sail the one or two man vessels we had at the boating lake. Were the boats in my dream the same as the ones from my past? I would have to say ... yes and no. There were several boats, and many boaters. And a number of the boats resembled the Catman(?) crafts from that distant summer. Other boats appeared to be somewhat larger, but still did not hold more than three or maybe half a dozen passengers. Odd? Yes. Now, for the bit I can remember -- or at least remember the most -- I was right next to a two-man craft and I think I had recently made a go of it. And by that I mean the sailing. I'm not sure how it turned out, or even how I got to that current position, which was the shore, but apparently the whole escapade could have gone better. The individual speaking to me gestured to the mass of boats in the distance, pointed out one in particular. I think I was meant to know who was piloting that particular boat, but I cannot recall how that might be or whether a name was mentioned. But the speaker just pointed to that individual and said something like, "Do you see what he [or so-and-so, or whatever] is doing out there?" I nodded, but I really had no clue. "Come on," the speaker insisted, "look!" As I watched the boat attack a small wake, the voice of the speaker trailed on. I don't recall specific words, but the message seemed to be something about intent and direction. He might have even said something like "attack the wake," but I cannot be certain. I awoke from this image around 5:00am (EST). I could not return to the dream, or achieve adequate repose after that. This small snippet from the dream is all I have. And the fact that it has stayed with me this long today indicates that I am meant to do something with it. What that is ... remains to be seen.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Real ID Poses Real Problems for Religious Minorities

If you currently hold a non-photo driver's license or other form of ID, and your objection to the photograph was based on religious conviction, you could be faced with some serious decisions in the next few months -- such as whether your religion is more important than the ability to board an airplane. That's no joke. The deadline for adopting Real ID standards looms large this May 11. And the new rules have uncomfortable ramifications for members of "religious groups including some Amish, Old Order Mennonites, Muslims, members of Native American faiths, and fundamentalist Christians" who "object to identification cards bearing their photographs--or, in some cases, even showing their unshrouded faces in public." And this is only the beginning of privacy and religious freedom issues that plague the National ID debate. Article: Religious minorities face Real ID crackdown

Friday, February 08, 2008

Learning America Smarter: Northern European Geography 101

A friend pointed me to a great post by on BoingBoing. It's just too good to not share it here.

Link to larger size, Link to original post on dieselsweeties blog.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Stranger than Fiction

Have you read about the poll that indicates almost a quarter of all Britons believe that Winston Churchill was a fictional character? Did you know that this same poll shows that a majority think Sherlock Holmes was a real detective? UKTV Gold television surveyed 3,000 people and found a disturbing number of people confuse fictional characters with real ones. Go check it out for a few more examples of twisting history with fiction.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Stupid Tuesday?

Twenty-four states are holding caucuses or primary elections on Super Tuesday, 2008. Blue denotes Democratic-only caucuses (3), Red illustrates Republican-only contests (2), and Purple represents states holding elections for both parties (19).
Via Wikipedia: Twenty-four states are holding caucuses or primary elections on Super Tuesday, 2008. Blue denotes Democratic-only caucuses (3), Red illustrates Republican-only contests (2), and Purple represents states holding elections for both parties (19).
For citizens of the U.S. like me, it's Super Tuesday. Over twenty states are holding their presidential primaries or caucuses today. Mine is not among them, but two neighboring states are included, so we're caught up in the frenzy by default. On the radio this morning, I heard that there are more delegates up for grabs today than at any point in U.S. history. I'm not sure how that can be verified, but I can certainly see the logic in such a claim. This great volume of delegates is probably due to the nature of this campaign (it's the first since sometime in the 1800s that an incumbent President or his VP was not in the race) as much as the fact that we are just getting to the point where we might see a front runner in the two main political parties. I mean, it is feasible that by this time tomorrow, the nominations will still be very much up for grabs and we'll need the remaining primaries to solidify someone's dominance. But it is equally if not more likely that the nominees will be crowned tonight. Given all the fuss over Super Tuesday, and the fuss over states that moved their primaries to an earlier point in the calendar for this election year, has anyone given any thought to how well the U.S. primaries work ... or don't work? Well, Steven Hill in San Francisco has thought it out. He thinks the current system is fraught with problems, and he therefore believes that the current process does not result in the best candidates. Is he simply griping? Nope, he has outlined an alternative. And I have to admit ... I think he is making some sense. He proposes a National Plan that would "establish a total of four primary days, each held a month apart." To achieve this, our 50 states would have to be grouped by population into four clusters. The first primary day would be for the group of states with the smallest populations, and the voting days would progress toward the final group which contains states that have the largest populations. The funny thing is that this is not a new idea. According to Hill, it was almost adopted by the Republican National Convention in 2000. The other funny thing about this idea is that I had to read it online via, a European current affairs magazine. To my knowledge, it's not being discussed in the states. Check out Steven Hill's "Super Stupid Tuesday" and let me know what you think about the idea.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


18-1! That's really all I have to say this evening. Image: Michael Strahan sacks Tom Brady
Paul Sancya / AP
Tom Brady of the Patriots is sacked by the Michael Strahan during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The Giants sacked Brady five times.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Happy(?) Groundhogs Day
Today's Non Sequitur cartoon illustrates the all-too common clash between a quaint folk tradition and modernization. Click the image to view the full cartoon.