27 August 2009

Impotent Rage

This little irrelevance has always bothered me. The importance that I place on the correct spelling of "chile" is frankly pointless, but spare me a few moments to rant about it.
In fact, I understand that it makes no difference whatsoever since everyone gets along just fine spelling things however the fuck they want as long as the meaning is effectively conveyed. Hell, the auto-spellchecker in Firefox underlines chile whenever I spell it correctly, but chili is no problem regardless of context.

Ultimately the problem lies with the distinction between Spanish speaking parts of the Americas with relatively large populations of Chicanos and Latinos. Texas perhaps being the exception because they can do whatever the fuck they want and y'all can go to hell. Hey wait there it is.

The distinction between chile and chili is totally regional. In parts of the Spanish speaking west where chiles are a staple food, people know how to distinguish the two spellings, and places where the hottest thing in the market is a bell pepper and some Tabasco (designated accurately on the label as a "pepper" sauce) people generally don't know the difference. At least, they don't in writing. But, conceptually they do and that's the important thing I guess.

Nevertheless it goes to show you how much these things are dumbed down just because people don't bother to make the distinction. The diversity of information and knowledge gets smoothed over to the most easily digestible (in this case literally) status quo. There are no peaks or valleys, just a a Kansas of words all spelled ergonomically.
I think George Orwell wrote something about this.

23 August 2009


Yes, poop is still funny, especially when you can deal with it with the level of exuberance that this chipper fellow I saw on the back of a rooter van displays.

21 August 2009

Daphnis' Wake

This is only one (though possibly the most) of the amazing images that blew my tiny mind in my astronomy course this last quarter (but for this class, OK and human rights) thank dog it's over.
Here you can see the tiny moon of Saturn, Daphnis as it passes through the 400km gap between Saturn's rings.
How can you tell where the moon is? It's the tiny white dot in the middle of the tiny black gap at the edge of the rings. You can see it from it's almost linear shadow. The other shadows are waves in the ring particles caused by Daphnis' gravitational pull as it passes the particles, much like the wake from a boat.
I found this and other mind blowing images at the NASA site nasa.gov.
I've heard a great many things about NASA over the years one of the many threads being that it is a superflous expenditure of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of military technology. Which may be true to some extent, but I can't automatically blame epidemiologists for looking for bio-weapons. The fact remains that this shit is fascinating and the knowledge generated might be used for bad purposes, but that possibility cannot stop us altogether, perhaps just give us pause (another reason why history informs the present).
In any case, look at Saturns rings, look at them get disturbed by Daphnis' gravity, and enjoy.
Wiki on Daphnis.
Click the image below to see a map of Saturn's rings from the Casini Imaging Central Laboratory Operations. Daphnis lives in the Keeler Gap.

Why do rings form, or what the fuck are they doing there and why is there a doggamned moon all up in there you are wondering? Read up on the Roche Limit.
Finally, at least for now, visit this Wiki on Shepherd Satellites to view if nothing else, a nice movie of the ring gravity wake effect.
Good night.

20 August 2009


I have always been fascinated by the prospect of time travel.
When I was a lad I wondered how amazing it would be not only to bring a person from 1862 (I was fascinated by the American Civil War at the ages of 7-12) to visit modernity. How would they react, would they be able to cope psychologically? (yes, I pondered this question at 10) But I also wondered what it would be like to be the person from the past discovering something from the future.
My fantasies always involved choosing to stay in the past for a long enough time that a return trip to the future would yield amazing advances (apparently one could not return to just any time in the future, just the same amount that had passed in your experienced time. Don't ask.)

Nowadays, I am very much satisfied with the linear progression of time. I think time travel would be a terrible idea. It would give too many people a "fuck-all" excuse for amoral behavior. (blame this on my insistence on ethical morality in all situations) Not only that but I appreciate what the unexpected inevitability of the future does for us all, particularly myself.
For example, at the moment I am writing this, not studying for my philosophy or statistics finals. No matter what I do, study, make tea, sleep all day, hypothesize, the exams will be over tomorrow and that's it. I appreciate the terminal condition of time, the deadlines after which it is too late.
Because of this I can appreciate a little bit what the conception of afterlives might be like. No matter what you do... might as well make sure and do what's supposed to be the right thing... I guess that's what morality is all about, only some people draw their motivation for moral behavior from the dictates of prophets and their secretaries.

It's a matter of choices and consequences on a very personal level.

14 August 2009

More on Agriculture

I have talked about the potential therapeutic and rehabilitative effects of micro-agriculture as mentioned in my previous post about prisons. Here is a recent article from the New York Times which talks about that very thing.
And a nice video on the same subject.

The only potential problem is the claim that might be made that this type of work takes jobs from able bodied non-criminals/non-addicts.
To this I respond that if the concern is for upstanding citizen workers having jobs, we should address the issue of job security for agricultural workers. Last I heard there was no federally mandated minimum wage for farm workers and in many cases employers seek immigrant labor for the very reason that they are cheap, easy to dispose of, less likely to know their few rights and complain. So this is an issue of dignity and respect, not who gets jobs.
Secondly it's not an issue of taking jobs from good people, it's an issue of making good people who would otherwise be a drain on society.

07 August 2009


I'm still trying not to buy anything new after a year and a half. No clothes, or appliances or whatever else people buy that's new. Books and movies are standard used for me so that's not really an issue.
Food of course is impossible, though I try and scavenge discards what I can safely. (no easy task working in a grocery store with a massive waste factor).
But other than that I must admit I'm not going to buy used underwear. Honestly I've never seen used underwear for sale anyway, I don't think it exists, for good reason. But that leaves a reluctant consumer in a tough position.

So, that duly noted, where in the hell can a person get non-sweatshop, union-made underwear nearby? (mail order is a last resort)
Amricn Apairel excluded.

Dear reader, help, my shorts is starting to wear thin.