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30 June 2007

la vie mathematique: He made Gauss-Bonnet a household word

Shiing-shen Chern

Born 26 October 1911 in Chia-hsing (or Jiaxing), Chekiang province (now Zhejiang), China; died 3 December 2004 in Tianjin Municipality, China

In 1979 a Symposium held to honor the Chinese mathematician Shiing-shen Chern sang this tribute:

Hail to Chern! Mathematics' Greatest!
He made Gauss-Bonnet a household word,
Intrinsic proofs he found,
Throughout the World his truths abound,
Chern classes he gave us,
and Secondary Invariants,
Fibre Bundles and Sheaves,
Distributions and Foliated Leaves!
All Hail All Hail to CHERN!

29 June 2007

Resistance Was Futile. I Have Been Assimilated.

Not me, but another Borg Implantee in the waiting room.
(She was reading "US News & World Report")

PizzaQ -- what does this image have to do with U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama? Don't hold back or exercise dignity or restraint, I want the smarmiest, sleaziest, tawdriest answer possible. Don't worry about Sen. Obama's feelings, the sleazy parts have nothing to do with him. (3 slices of square pizza with mushrooms and hot peppers.)

Publicke Notice

Please forgive Vleeptron's recent tardiness regarding on-going PizzaQs and other matters.

Earlier this week I realized that Resistance Was Futile, and I Prepared to Be Assimilated. I was subsumed into the Borg Collective, and my formerly all-natural organic body now sports a spiffy new electromechanical Borg Implant of synthetic plastic and metal, with an Energizer (bunny) battery.

The transition from being All-Organic to being Partly Robotic has not been as easy and smooth a transition as I might have hoped for. I am a somewhat anxiety-prone high-strung fellow, and this first week of My Life As a Cyborg has been a Shrieking 4-Alarm Nightmare.

In fact, unlike your Aunt Mathilda, I now have all sorts of little Beep-Beep Alarms going off inside me -- rather like a recent-model automobile with a car alarm that freaks every time a teenage boy gets within 2 meters of it. I also now have a Dead Man's Throttle -- the fucking thing Beep-Beep-Beep-Beeps incessantly if I have failed to press any buttons on it for longer than a pre-set number of hours. Like, if I somehow (heavy drugs) managed to sleep longer than its program permits me to sleep.

Meanwhile -- yes, Mike, you win the Eyeballs Pizza! The Eyeballs are at Williams College!!!

But more about that later. Today I must remove my Borg Impant, re-install my Borg Implant, and then Communicate with the Collective -- by driving to the Copy Store and sending a ##!!*%%% Fax to my new Masters. I hate Faxes and can't even get my free Fax software to work. But my new Masters hate e-mail and demand Faxes. They win. I lose. Resistance is Futile.

Beep. (That wasn't your cell phone or your iPod or your new iPhone. That was me.)

No Pizza, but Guess My Borg Implant. I suppose it's sort of interesting. If you're not the poor schmuck who has to plug it into your anterior lateral descending wazoo.

28 June 2007

gulagocracy -- the midyear stats of the Land Of The Free's prison population -- WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!!

BJS U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Justice Statistics Office of Justice Programs seal

BJS home page

Press releases

More information about the report

OJP letterhead

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT NOON EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2007 Contact: Stu Smith 202/307-0784 After hours: 301-983-9354
Revised 6/28/07

Paragraph 2- increased by 42,552
Paragraph 4 - Alaska had the largest percentage increase (up 9.4 percent)


More Than 2,240,000
Incarcerated as of
June 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- During the 12 months that ended June 30, 2006, the nation’s prison and jail populations increased by 62,037 inmates (up 2.8 percent), to total 2,245,189 inmates, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported today. State and federal inmates accounted for 70 percent of the increase. At midyear 2006, two-thirds of the nation’s incarcerated population was in custody in a state or federal prison (1,479,179), and the other one-third was held in local jails (766,010).

The number of prisoners under the legal jurisdiction of state or federal correctional authorities — some of whom were held in local jails — increased by 42,552 prisoners (2.8 percent) during the 12 months ending June 30, 2006, to reach 1,556,518 prisoners. In absolute number and percentage change, the increase in prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction was the largest since the 12 months ending on June 30, 2000.

The growth in state prisoners was due largely to a rise in prison admissions, up 17.2 percent between 2000 and 2005. During the same period, releases from state prisons increased at a slower rate, up 15.5 percent. New court commitments totaled 421,426 during 2005, a 20.3 percent increase since 2000, and parole violators returned to prison totaled 232,229, up 14.1 percent.

42 states and the federal system reported an increase in their prison populations during the 12 months ending June 30, 2006. Idaho had the largest percentage increase (up 13.7 percent), followed by Alaska (up 9.4 percent) and Vermont (up 8.3 percent).

Alaska had the largest percentage increase (up 9.4 percent)
This correction does not clarify what this means for the original Idaho reference.

Eight states reported declines in their prison populations, led by Missouri (down 2.9 percent), Louisiana and Maine (both down 1.8 percent).

The number of federal prisoners increased by 3.6 percent to reach 191,080 prisoners. At midyear 006 the federal system had jurisdiction over more prisoners than did any single state, including California and Texas, which had jurisdiction over 175,115 and 172,889 prisoners, respectively.

The number of local jail inmates increased by 2.5 percent during the year, the smallest annual percent change since 2001. Since 2000, the number of unconvicted inmates held in local jails has been increasing. As of June 30, 2006, 62 percent of inmates held in local jails were awaiting court action on their current charge, up from 56 percent in 2000.

During the year, local jail officials added slightly more beds (21,862) than inmates (18,481). At midyear 2006, local jail facilities operated at about 94 percent of their rated capacity. On December 31, 2005, state prison systems were between 1 percent below and 14 percent above capacity. The federal prison system was operating at 34 percent above capacity.

During the 12 months ending on June 30, 2006, the number of state and federal prisoners housed in private facilities increased by 10.1 percent to reach 111,975 prisoners (7.2 percent of all prisoners).

Black men comprised 37 percent of all inmates held in custody in the nation’s prison and jails on June 30, 2006. About 4.8 percent of all black males in the general population were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9 percent of Hispanic males and 0.7 percent of white males. Among black men age 25 to 34 years, more than 11 percent were incarcerated in prison or jail.

The report, Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006 (NCJ-217675), was written by BJS statisticians William J. Sabol, Todd D. Minton and Paige M. Harrison. Following publication it can be found at

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics please visit the BJS Web site at

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office. More information can be found at

# # #

BJS home page | Top of this page

Bureau of Justice Statistics
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27 June 2007

last chance to place your bets on roosters who fight to the death for your entertainment!

It's Sports Time on Vleeptron!
All the Sports from Vleeptron!
We've got the latest Qx'ii scores!
All the games from the Dwingeloo League!
Bear-baiting, fish-shooting,
cockfighting too!
Bare-knuckle boxing from 1902!
A fifth of our Sports
all take place in the Zoo!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!

One of the rarest of Warren Oates' movies, with a genuine cult following, "Cockfighter" also stars Harry Dean Stanton. From the novel by Charles Willeford.

After 2008, cockfighting will be illegal in all 50 USA states, though it continues to flourish underground, particularly in the Sun Belt.

The Associated Press
Wednesday 27 June 2007 16:44

Louisiana to ban
cockfighting in 2008

by Doug Simpson
Associated Press Writer

BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana will ban cockfighting next year, becoming the last state to outlaw the blood sport, under a bill approved Wednesday by the Legislature.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco's office said she would sign the measure, which bans the rural tradition in which specially bred roosters fight to the death while spectators place wagers on the outcome.

For years, state lawmakers resisted animal rights activists' efforts to outlaw it, but they relented this year on the condition that the prohibition be delayed. It will take effect in August 2008.

New Mexico, the only other state where cockfighting was legal, outlawed the fights this month, increasing pressure on Louisiana lawmakers.

People in the cockfighting industry argued that an immediate ban would leave some of them with hundreds of chickens that are useless if the fights are illegal, because the animals are bred to fight. House members agreed that the cockfighters should have until next August to sell the birds or kill them off in fights.

State Sen. Art Lentini, the Legislature's chief opponent of cockfighting, said he believed the sport's popularity in Louisiana will actually end this summer, because lawmakers also approved an immediate ban on gambling at the rooster fights. Wagering is a major draw for crowds, which attend the fights at arenas throughout the state.

"The gambling ban really puts an end to cockfighting. Betting is the real reason people go to those fights," said Lentini, a Republican from a suburb of New Orleans.

The Senate voted unanimously for the bill with the 2008 effective date. Two senators, both of whom represent areas where cockfighting is widespread, skipped the vote.

Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the United States, released a statement praising the vote. Congress has also toughened federal penalties for people caught transporting fighting roosters across state lines, he said.

"With a strengthened federal law against cockfighting in effect and the new statewide ban on gambling, there is very little room for cockfighters to maneuver and they should just pack it in," Pacelle said in the statement.

- 30 -

© 2007 The Associated Press

into the Grey Area -- dead US soldiers and marines demonstrate that the Troop Surge is a big success

Clicking will probably make this larger and clearer.

I don't feel like writing a long piece of text right now, and I don't see any reason to write a long piece of text. This graph, and these data points, pretty much speak for themselves.

The Grey Area at the right is The Future. Just a few months over the frontier from Now we will get General David Petraeus' report on how well or how poorly he believes Bush's Troop Surge has done for us in Iraq, how much closer toward or how much farther away from Mission Accomplished we have moved.

This is just one statistic, and a crude one at that. But it's the statistic that makes lots of Americans scream bloody murder the loudest: The flag-draped coffins of our soldiers and marines returning to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Interestingly enough, among warhawks, if this trend increases -- if more soldiers and marines die in Iraq as the curve moves into the Grey Area -- this is evidence that the Troop Surge and our more aggressive combat stance in Iraq is a success. The more our troops die, the more proof that the Troop Surge is working, the more fuel for Bush's whack insistence that America must Stay The Course in Iraq. If you have any questions about exactly how that works, don't ask me. It's certainly whack and fucked to me.

And reminds me so very unhappily and creepily of Vietnam. General Petraeus was graduated from West Point in 1974, just too late to begin his Army career with a combat command in Vietnam. All he knows about the Vietnam War he learned in West Point classrooms.

So I think I'll call him General Westmoreland, Jr. And I think I can see his future as Bush's commander-on-the-ground in Iraq, and the circumstances of his honorable retirement to Oblivion (where he can play golf with Peter Pace), as clearly as I can see into the Grey Area. Like William Westmoreland, Patraeus has hitched his career wagon to a pathetically plummeting star and an addled president and loopy war cabinet. Like Westmoreland, Petraeus doesn't really understand what kind of war he's fighting, and he doesn't effectively know or understand his enemy or what motivates his enemy.

He's not supposed to understand these things. If he understood them, he'd advise the President and the American people to get the fuck out of Iraq immediately.

So he might even think that if we just keep sending more and more combat troops to Iraq, to support our courageous Iraqi allies, eventually the world's greatest military and industrial superpower will achieve Victory and impose our will on the people of Iraq, and turn it into a democracy closely resembling Indiana.

Please feel free to filch this graphic and pass it around. It's just data points and numbers -- which happen to represent the deaths of our neighbors' children in a senseless, foot-shooting, pre-doomed, scoundrels' and liars' war over the last seventeen months.

And please feel free to Leave A Comment. There seems to be some controversy associated with this war. Like Vietnam there seem to be Americans who are enthused about this war and want it to last longer and grow more violent. Senator Lieberman thinks that while we're at it, we should bomb Iran, and Senator McCain, who wants to be President of the USA, likes to sing the "Bomb Iran" song.

If you haven't had nearly enough of the Iraq War, if you want more, and want more Evidence of Victory to be flown back to Dover Air Force Base, make me wise, Leave A Comment.

There might also be controversy associated with this graph. The blue quadrilateral that encloses all the data points of the last seventeen months sure does seem to be pointing Up, and promising to keep rising. But does that mean anything of value for predicting the future of this particular dynamic system considered entirely as a regular generator of data points?

Could the quadrilateral -- as some warhawks and Fox News psychos fervently predict -- take a dramatic plunge Down any day now? Is the Troop Surge about to produce the moment when all the pretty young Iraqi girls will run out into the street and throw their arms around the American soldiers and marines who have freed them from the tyranny of Sadaam Hussein, and brought Freedom and Democracy and Coca-Cola and rock & roll and theme parks and chewing gum and Hershey bars and iPods to Iraq? Is the Troop Surge finally about to bring us cheap gasoline?

26 June 2007

Bush's Iraq War has sent 03567 flag-draped coffins home to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware USA ; Senate Republicans are calling for an end to it

Click for larger.

Two United States Senators of President Bush's Republican Party publicly called Tuesday for the start of U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana made a Senate speech calling for troop withdrawals, and Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio wrote President Bush urging "a comprehensive plan for our country's gradual military disengagement" from Iraq. "I am also concerned that we are running out of time," Voinovich wrote Bush.

A third influential Republican, Sen. John Warner of Virginia, lauded Sen. Lugar's speech.

Until now, it has been possible, albeit with difficulty, to attribute anti-war attitudes and actions in Congress primarily to the majority Democrats who took control after the last election. Now however senior key Republicans are publicly opposing President Bush's War in Iraq and declaring their lack of confidence in his "troop surge" plan.

Congress is about to begin its summer recess, during which members return to their home districts to talk with their constituents and get a sense of their wishes about major issues. Members of the House of Representatives must run for re-election every two years. One third of all Senators will also be up for re-election in the 2008 presidential-year election.

Party loyalty and party ideology take a back seat to the prospect of being defeated in the next election, and the Iraq War has become spectacularly unpopular. Voters want it to end, and will say so, candidly and, if necessary, rudely.

25 June 2007

the Gerrymander -- a creature beloved of all voting district shape Artistes in democracies all over the planet

If you click, you might be able to see the names of the towns in this strangely-shaped election district: Salem, Chelsea, Haverhill, Andover, etc.

I am so proud to live in Massachusetts! Wherever on Planet Earth parliaments and legislatures draw and re-draw voting districts for democratic elections, they speak in reverent hushed tones of my Governor Elbridge Gerry, and the Salamander-shaped voting district he created before an 1812 Senate election!

I think my new 2nd Congressional District looks like a camel. What creature or beast do you see? Please Leave A Comment.

btw you pronounce Gerrymander with a soft G, but Gerry himself used a hard G for his name. I have no idea where the heck "Elbridge" came from, it's certainly not in the Old Testament.

Gerry pops up in American history twice. Every schoolchild (except the Home Schoolers) has to spend a day learning about the XYZ Affair, a US diplomatic mission to France in which our diplomats were being forced to bribe French government officials before they'd let them get on with their diplomatic business. Or something like that -- that test in junior high school was a long time ago. Anyway, Gerry was either X or Y or Z.

Actually this season I sincerely am extremely proud to live in Massachusetts, and maybe I'll get around to posting about the source of my local pride soon. My Massachusetts got something right now that no other USA state has! (HINT: It's not the Red Sox.)

24 June 2007

irc Relapse / snapshot [heavily redacted] of opiate & other drug use in North America

Cover of the first (1953) edition of "Junkie" by William S. Burroughs (using the pseudonym William Lee), an Ace double edition. (Ace was a cheap sci-fi paperback publisher, the only house he could find willing to print his expose about heroin addiction.) "Junkie" was paired with the memoirs of a US federal narcotics agent.


* Now talking in #whoopee
* Topic is 'http://*u**.* |****** | ‹0100› ‹Droog4› Curve Buster Chyll'
* Set by Chyll on Sat Jun 23 01:01:26
* ZombieBOT sets mode: +v Droog4
{Droog4} i am coming to you from Helsinki / you may think that's pretty kinki / but i've been there and it's nifti
{Droog4} until somebody chats, i will just recite more original poetry
{titaniumgrl} hi todd
{titaniumgrl} and droog
{Droog4} hi hi titaniumgrl
{titaniumgrl} :)
{Droog4} how is your Sunday
{Droog4} (unless you are some weird place on the International Date Line and it's Monday)
{toddmurder} hi titaniumgrl
{Droog4} yo todd
{toddmurder} how u doing?
{toddmurder} d00gr3
{toddmurder} thats ur new name Droog4
{toddmurder} d00gr3
{toddmurder} haha
{Droog4} send me some of that stuff you're on, i like how it makes you spell my nick
{titaniumgrl} lol
{titaniumgrl} what are you guys up to today?
{titaniumgrl} im just chillin
{titaniumgrl} not a whole bunch to do
* Droog4 puts DVD of Woodstock on the flat-panel plasma HD TV and listens to Jimi Hendrix
{toddmurder} w0rd
{titaniumgrl} oh nice
{titaniumgrl} im listening to the doors
{titaniumgrl} just did a couple of ocs
{Droog4} The Dead Milkmen do a cover of "Love Me Two Times" that cannot be played publicly or sung where any other human might here it
{Droog4} hear
{toddmurder} 1'm d01ng g00d. 1'm g01ng to g3t s0m3th1ng t0 e@t @ th3 f00d st0r3
* Droog4 sends Mystic Message to todd's brane: BURRITOS ... BURRITOS ...
{toddmurder} wh@t @r3 "ocs"
{Droog4} overthecounters ?
{titaniumgrl} oxycontin
{toddmurder} otc is bad for u, just ask maxangst
{Droog4} woooooooooooo!
{Droog4} i apologize, i thought you just took 4 Anacin
{titaniumgrl} um no
{toddmurder} um no to what
{Droog4} the Oxy company just had to pay $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ fine to feds for fraudulent marketing of Oxy
{Droog4} but they didn't send any of the execs to prison
{toddmurder} how did they market it fraudulently
{Droog4} good question
* HoNkiE has quit IRC (Read error: Connection reset by peer)
{Droog4} for ten years all their studies and literature said: GUARANTEED NON-ADDICTIVE
{Droog4} they encouraged doctors to write scrip for Oxy as if it were jelly beans
{Droog4} it facilitated Oxy's explosion in popularity and sales in USA
{toddmurder} well yeah
{toddmurder} thats called marketing
{toddmurder} but its definentally additctive
{toddmurder} its a narcotic for christ sake
{Droog4} congratulations, you already know, for the Justice Department and pharma industry, this is brand-new news from last month
{Droog4} color them shocked and surprised
{titaniumgrl} yeah i know a couple people who got some money from a lawsuit
{Droog4} this had never occurred to these gentlemen and ladies previously
* HoNkiE has joined #whoopee
* ZombieBOT sets mode: +v HoNkiE
* Droog4 passes around big jar of jelly beans
{Droog4} maybe an early clue might have been all the armed robberies at drug stores PUT ALL YOUR OXYCODON IN THIS BAG OR I WILL BLOW YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFF MOTHERFUCKER
{titaniumgrl} lol
{Droog4} did you ever see that movie Drugstore Cowboy?
{Droog4} the guy who wrote the book is a highly regarded American novelist
{Droog4} doing Life in prison
{titaniumgrl} yeah
{titaniumgrl} they went around robbing drugstores
{titaniumgrl} he was addicted to dilaudids
{titaniumgrl} good movie
{eb0La} please stop making a scene titaniumgrl
{titaniumgrl} what?
* eb0La hides
{titaniumgrl} whatever
* Droog4 dances around ebola with tropical fruit on his head
{eb0La} lolllllllllllllllllllllllllll

"Most people don't know how they're gonna feel from one moment to the next. But a dope fiend has a pretty good idea. All you gotta do is look at the labels on the little bottles."

{titaniumgrl} good quote from the movie
{titaniumgrl} and william s burroughs made an appearance i think
{eb0La} yeh he did at the end
{eb0La} in the hotel
{eb0La} threw away all the pharms but the dilaudid
{eb0La} are you angry titaniumgrl?
{eb0La} do you get angry?
{eb0La} you dont seem like the type to get angry
* eb0La pokes at titaniumgrl with a stick
* titaniumket has joined #whoopee
* ZombieBOT sets mode: +v titaniumket
* X sets mode: +l 32
{eb0La} i thought we were freinds :(
* titaniumgrl has quit IRC (Ping timeout)
{Droog4} Penguin published the 50th Anniversary Scholarly Edition of Burroughs' "Junkie," that's way cool, really interesting; originally 1953 edition was a sleazy paperback from a sci-fi publisher and Burroughs was afraid to use his real name
{MC900MeterJesus} Droog4 !
{Droog4} NC9000000000000000MeterJesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* Droog4 DCCs mp3s of MC 900 Foot Jesus to SJ
{MC900MeterJesus} :D
{titaniumket} ive never read "junkie"
{titaniumket} i have one of his books
* eb0La pokes at titaniumgrl with a stick
{Droog4} oh it's outstanding
{titaniumket} what do u want eb0La
{eb0La} seeing if you are angry or not
{Droog4} get this paperback edition, lotsa really interesting background stuff
* xxil has joined #whoopee
* ZombieBOT sets mode: +v xxil
{Droog4} heroin worked its inevitable tragedy on Burroughs, he died age 83 as an honored respected member of the community of Lawrence Kansas
{Droog4} so let that be a lesson to everyone
{Tortoise_} no
{eb0La} xxil likes heroin
{Droog4} what did i get wrong?
{xxil} hoi
{Tortoise_} weed is all you need
{Droog4} well personally i'm with you Tortoise
{Droog4} but when i used to do coke i really enjoyed the moist quivering surfaces i got to snort it off
{Tortoise_} mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm snatch
{titaniumket} why would i be angry?
{Droog4} did i say snatch?
{Droog4} don't put words in my mouth
{titaniumket} i plan on it droog
{titaniumket} he was a junkie his entire life?
{titaniumket} damn he lived a while for a junkie
{Tortoise_} mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that sounds good right about now
{Droog4} titaniumket he was a family heir to the Burroughs adding-machine fortune, and when he got out of Harvard (he majored in the easiest thing he could find, English), it was the middle of the Depression, but his family monthly check took all his money problems away, so he immediately went to Greenwich Village and started shooting up
* MC900MeterJesus invites you to join #vagin-sauvage
{titaniumket} the only book i have of his is naked lunch
* titaniumket is now known as titaniumgrl
{titaniumgrl} hmm interesting
{titaniumgrl} hes from st louis as well
{titaniumgrl} neat
* titaniumgrl is in missouri
{Droog4} i don't think i would have personally designed his life for myself, but he really led a remarkable existence, a spectacularly interesting American life
{MC900MeterJesus} Droog4 !
{Droog4} MC900MeterJesus !
{titaniumgrl} i may read some of naked lunch today
{titaniumgrl} i wish i had junkie
{titaniumgrl} grr
{titaniumgrl} im gonna order a couple books from amazon
{titaniumgrl} RIGHT NOW
{titaniumgrl} hehe
{Droog4} if the used section is selling a crummy paperback of the 1953 edition for less than $10,000 BUY IT
{Droog4} Ace Sci-Fi double-book, one book is upside down bound with Junkie by Bill Lee
{titaniumgrl} lol
{Droog4} uhhhh you know about his William Tell adventure in Mexico?
{eb0La} where do you get all your money titaniumgrl?
{Droog4} i pay her $200 an hour to let me sit and gaze at her face
{titaniumgrl} where he kills his wife?
{titaniumgrl} yeah Droog4 is right
{Droog4} oh yeah that was the unfortunate little incident, that's when he had to flee to North Africa, to a city that sorta had no laws or extradition
{titaniumgrl} wasnt he bisexual or gay
{titaniumgrl} even
{Tripltz} TightVNC is a nice program (=
{Droog4} well that was why he went to Greenwich Village after college, and then to Mexico City, and then North Africa -- USA in the 1950s was a little uncomfortable for bi/gay ppl
{titaniumgrl} makes sense
{Droog4} it ain't exactly Utopian Tolerant Paradise today
{Droog4} there was a Louisiana governor, Edwards, mega-popular, the day before an election he told reporters,

"I could not lose unless I was caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

{MC900MeterJesus} Edwin Edwards?
{MC900MeterJesus} i think that was his name :o
{Droog4} was it Edwin?
{Droog4} waitasec
{MC900MeterJesus} i was really young back then
{MC900MeterJesus} all I know is he's in jail now
{titaniumgrl} haha
{Droog4} oui, that's the guy, Edwin Edwards, not jail, PRISON
{titaniumgrl} oh shit here we go with wikipedia
{titaniumgrl} i get on there and i open about 10 windows lol
{titaniumgrl} so what did this character do
{Droog4} well
{eb0La} gott caught with a live boy
{Droog4} he uhhh sorta Lived Large
{Droog4} and the voters Loved It
{titaniumgrl} so hes like 80 years old now
{Droog4} snooty reform guys would challenge him
{toddmurder} I got some ice cream
{Droog4} but the voters wanted Edwards to keep having Fun and Mistresses and Bribery
{Droog4} federal prisons can accomodate Senior Citizens when necessary
{MC900MeterJesus} louisiana politics are notoriously corrupt Droog4
{Droog4} oui MC900J
{toddmurder} yes
{toddmurder} they are
{toddmurder} they took money that should have been put into the levees
{toddmurder} and thats why NO flooded
{toddmurder} cheap work on the levees
{toddmurder} eys?
{toddmurder} yes?
{Droog4} you seem to think the public safety is more important than a condo for my 19-year-old mistress
{toddmurder} yes
{toddmurder} I do
{Droog4} so you want young people to be homeless
{toddmurder} I want a girl
{Droog4} that's really cruel and heartless
{toddmurder} no its not
{MC900MeterJesus} yes toddmurder but the army corps of engineers built those levees so the corruption was on a federal level in that instance
{MC900MeterJesus} I think
{MC900MeterJesus} @_@
{toddmurder} I want a girlfriend lover
{toddmurder} its like programmed into me
{Droog4} i will dcc her to you in a *.hothothot format
{toddmurder} hah
{toddmurder} ARGH!
{toddmurder} Facial hair itches
{Droog4} brb chores
* hyp0phaxa has quit IRC (Read error: Operation timed out)
{Droog4} i got mirc, how the fuck do i log this file
{Droog4} if i just copy and paste, i got to lean over and press the insert button with my nose 8 times
{MC900MeterJesus} pix pls
* hyp0phaxa has joined #whoopee
* X sets mode: +v hyp0phaxa
{maxangst} i dun want a girlfriend
{Droog4} hey hey hey angst!
{maxangst} then i'd have to clean and spend money on her
{Droog4} can't she clean herself?
{maxangst} my 35 or so hours of constant drinking and doing blow finally caught up to me
{maxangst} i slept for like 18 hours and woke up laying like a pretzel
{maxangst} and now my body hurts so i much I can barely walk
{Droog4} this is all okay if you are 48 years old
{Droog4} but i'll bet you're not
{maxangst} nope im 29
* Droog4 sings:

Doctor told me Son you're livin too fast
One more rocket's gonna be your Last
but i love to ball what can i do?
I got the rockin pneumonia
and the boogy-woogy flu

{MC900MeterJesus} oh lord
{maxangst} eek
{maxangst} im debating going to get some beers
{maxangst} i think I can likely afford
{maxangst} 3
{maxangst} cans
{maxangst} beer got hella expensive at some point and i hate it
{Droog4} get my fave Canadian beer -- ELSINORE!!!
{Droog4} the beer that turns ordinary Canadians into mindless hypnotized murderous Hockey Zombies
{maxangst} lol
{maxangst} sounds expensive
{maxangst} i think there are a couple for 1.70 a can
{xxil} hey jewfucker
{xxil} wassup
{maxangst} i cant believe i blew $200 on friday
{maxangst} that was insanely stupid
{Droog4} no, the Evil Brewmaster was selling it real cheap to create his secret army of hockey zombies
{Droog4} goodbye xxil i put you on /ignore
* z33k is now known as z33kAFK
* Added xxil!*@* to ignore list
{Droog4} ahhhh that felt soooo good
{MC900MeterJesus} :o
{maxangst} word
{Droog4} angst did you see that movie "Strange Brew" ? starring Bob and Doug McKenzie?
{Droog4} and Max von Sydow as the Evil Brewmaster?
{maxangst} of course
{maxangst} im gonna download that
{maxangst} that movie rox
{maxangst} as a canadian i am addicted to beer
{maxangst} i cant understand hockey without it
{Droog4} undoubtedly the finest movie ever made in and about Ontario
{Droog4} they were gonna get a free case of Elsinore by going to the brewery and claiming they found a dead mouse in a bottle
{maxangst} hehe
{Droog4} they had a lot of trouble cramming the dead mouse into the bottle
{maxangst} heh
{maxangst} they were the best comic pair ever
{Droog4} i used to love The Great White North show
{Droog4} there was this Big Blank Thing on the bottom of the map of Canada
{Droog4} i live in the Big Blank Thing
{Droog4} sometimes they would devote their show to talking about doughnut shops and how few parking spaces they had
* Tortoise has joined #whoopee
* ZombieBOT sets mode: +v Tortoise
{Droog4} okay She Who Must Be Obeyed is sending me out to the store
{Droog4} laterz all
* Disconnected

22 June 2007

CNN's real cool survey of every member of Congress -- do they list all their earmarks/pork publicly, or do they sleaze around in the dark?

click maybe

I have cleaned up the Camel. Someone said they couldn't see the Camel. I see the Camel.

If you live in the USA, you can go HERE, read a totally nifty story, and find out if your Member of Congress does his/her/its official business in a dark sneaky closet, or conducts his/her official duties in the full light of public sunshine and scrutiny. (Right now my Congressman does it in the dark.)

Earmarks are a nice way of saying "pork." Pork is federal money members of Congress like to sneak into huge, complicated budget bills and send home for questionable, dubious projects and reasons. An extraordinarily famous piece of mega-pork is Alaska's Bridge To Nowhere -- but comparable crap gets shoved into the federal budget thousands of times a year.

I am tempted to say a few sleazy things about my Congressman
Richard Neal, but I will give the Gentleman until Tuesday or Wednesday to Straighten Up and Fly Right about publicizing his earmarks, I will give Rubber Richie a free ride for the moment. Poor guy was caught totally off guard when CNN thought it had some sort of right to make members of Congress tell their voters what kind of monkey business they're up to. He needs the weekend to get over his shock and dismay.

As for this CNN story -- what's wrong with CNN??? I expect heartwarming pieces of candy fluff from CNN about one-legged high school tuba players, and adorable dogs that like to climb flagpoles.


Robert Merkin

Florence MA

22 June 2007

Representative Richard E. Neal
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington DC

Dear Congressman Neal:

According to Cable News Network, you have not responded to CNN's question about making your requests for legislative earmarks accessible to the public and the media.

Where the House and the party leaderships have designed current House rules to shield Members' activities from public and media scrutiny, it is not sufficient to conduct your activities within, and to take refuge behind current House rules and regulations regarding earmarks.

It is for your voters to determine if these earmarks are inappropriate or wasteful. I cannot make this determination when you choose to conduct your official business in secrecy. How do you serve me, this district, Massachusetts, or the nation, when you prevent voters from knowing your official activities in Congress?

I want the Member who represents me in Congress to do so in a fully accountable and public way. I did not vote to make you a member of a privileged secret society within my government, and nothing you do as if you belonged to a secret society can possibly benefit me, my community, Massachusetts, or the United States.

Please make all your legislative earmark requests fully public, fully transparent and fully accountable, immediately.
Let other Members continue to conduct their activities in secret. Lead and set standards, don't follow and let others set standards for you.


Robert Merkin


Is your representative in Congress willing to share his or her list of earmark requests for 2008? CNN called the offices of 435 members of the House to ask whether they would make their lists public. Only 48 members' offices provided a list; of the others, 68 declined, 313 did not respond and six said they had no earmark requests. Use the menus below to find out what your representative said.

District: Massachusetts 02
Rep. Richard E. Neal (D)

Response: No response

Free Money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The standard Vleeptron Finder's Fee deal -- after you get your zwölfmillionenfünfhundert US Dollar, you buy me a whomp-ass lobster dinner at a fancy restaurant. Say hi to Luther for me.


Lieber Freund,

Ich vermute das diese E-Mail eine Überraschung für Sie sein wird, aber es ist wahr.

Ich bin bei einer routinen Überprüfung in meiner Bank (Standard Bank von Süd Afrika) wo ich arbeite, auf einem Konto gestoßen, was nicht in anspruch genommen worden ist, wo derzeit $12,500,000 (zwölfmillionenfünfhundert US Dollar) gutgeschrieben sind.

Dieses Konto gehörte Herrn Manfred Becker, der ein Kunde in unsere Bank war, der leider verstorben ist. Herr Becker war ein gebürtiger Deutscher.

Damit es mir möglich ist dieses Geld $12,500,000 inanspruch zunehmen, benötige ich die zusammenarbeit eines Ausländischen Partners wie Sie,den ich als Verwandter und Erbe des verstorbenen Herrn Becker vorstellen kann,damit wir das Geld inanspruch nehmen können.

Für diese Unterstützung erhalten Sie 30% der Erbschaftsumme und die restlichen 70% teile ich mir mit meinen zwei Arbeitskollegen, die mich bei dieser Transaktion ebenfalls unterstützen.

Wenn Sie interessiert sind, können Sie mir bitte eine E-Mail schicken, damit ich Ihnen mehr Details zukommen lassen kann.

Schicken Sie bitte Ihre Antwort auf diese E-Mail

Kindly reply in English if you speak English.
( )

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Luther Zihiri.

Bummer! Thwarted & Frustrated! I can't shoot people in the head with a nail gun after all! This really sucks!


The big news here -- buried where you can barely see it -- is that I have an X-Box and Take-Two/Rockstar was DISSING ME by only making Manhunt 2 for Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation.

So hahahahaha Rockstar, now NOBODY will buy your game and NOBODY will get to shoot people in the head with nailguns, hahahahaha!

This company is managed like a high-speed drunk driving accident. It's one thing to try to sell weird, tasteless, questionable crap to adolescent boys. It's another thing to manage a publicly held NASDAQ corporation as if you were adolescent boys.

With the UK trade association's Death Penalty rating, which bans Manhunt 2 from being sold in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and the USA video game trade association's Adults Only rating looming over Manhunt 2's head, thus making the giant retail chains unwilling to sell it, I wonder (but not enough to surf the sites) if the on-line video game retailers will still sell it. If you're a bit more plugged into this scene than I am, please Leave A Comment. If you're too embarrassed to admit who you really are, make up a silly nick, like AxMrdrr.

Manhunt 2, all ready to rock n roll with 500,000 units in colorful DVD cases ready to ship off the loading dock, but now with nowhere to send the 500,000 units, may end up being marketed to teenagers the way marijuana, schnapps, anabolic steroids and ecstacy are marketed to teenagers -- in dark alleys and apartment building basements.

I really love the Frame Story of Manhunt 2. A guy (i.e. YOU, the player) wakes up in a cell in some sort of secret prison laboratory. He doesn't know his own identity, he has no memory of where he is or what's been done to him. All he has is outrage, mega-anger, Zero Impulse Control, and the desire to escape at all costs, using any object he can find along the way as a weapon. So essentially the Hero no longer has any of the compoents of a Conscience. Nothing he does is his fault. For a 14-year-old boy, this is truly a delightful, liberating, satisfying Fantasie.

I am SO BUMMED! I was so looking forward to sneaking up on people and shooting them in the brain with a nail gun.


The Associated Press
Friday 22 June 2007

'Manhunt 2' Video Game
Release Suspended


Players of the video game "Manhunt 2" would have assumed the role of a scientist with amnesia who escapes from an asylum and then goes on a bloody killing spree as he tries to remember his past. But consumers may never see it on store shelves.

Following bans by Britain and Ireland, as well as a ratings predicament that would have made it nearly impossible to buy in the United States, publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (nasdaq: TTWO - news - people) decided that it might already be GAME OVER for "Manhunt 2."

In a short statement Thursday evening, the New York-based company said it was temporarily suspending plans to distribute the game while it reviews its options.

"We continue to stand behind this extraordinary game. We believe in freedom of creative expression, as well as responsible marketing, both of which are essential to our business of making great entertainment,"
the company said.

"Manhunt 2" had been scheduled for a July 10 release in the United States on both the Wii by Nintendo Co. and the PlayStation 2 from Sony Corp.

But earlier in the week, Britain banned the game because of the violent content. Ireland followed suit a day later, and then Italian Communications Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday that he would seek to have the sale of the game canceled there as well.

In a statement, Gentiloni called the game "cruel and sadistic, with a squalid environment and a continuous, insistent encouragement to violence and murder."

In the United States, meanwhile, the video game industry's self-regulated ratings board gave a preliminary version of "Manhunt 2" an "adults only" rating instead of the more lenient, and far more popular, "mature" rating for ages 17 and up.

Slapping "Manhunt 2" with the Entertainment Software Rating Board's most stringent rating would likely doom sales. Large retailers including Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. won't stock AO-rated games.

Rockstar was given 30 days after receiving the ESRB's suggested rating to present an appeal or make changes to the game.

A spokesman for Rockstar declined to comment on Thursday's suspension, which was announced hours after Take-Two issued a statement saying it was determined to bring the title to market regardless of criticism.

Another issue had to do with the console makers: Nintendo and Sony disclosed they have policies barring any AO-rated content on their systems.

Microsoft Corp. has a similar policy, but "Manhunt 2" wasn't planned for its Xbox 360. There are no such restrictions on games for personal computers.

The suspension was the latest setback for creator Rockstar Games, which has come under fire for its popular, critically acclaimed "Grand Theft Auto" series of urban crime games. Take-Two is still dealing with the fallout of a shareholder coup earlier this year that ousted its chief executive and nearly all of its board.

Rockstar and Take-Two have long been a focal point for debate over the effect of video-game violence on children.

Two years ago, Rockstar was forced to replace its first edition of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" after a hacker discovered a password-protected game inside it that involved a sexual encounter. [actually lots of sexual encounters, but all consentual]

- 30 -

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Thursday 21 June 2007

Take-Two Suspends
'Manhunt 2' Game Plans

SAN FRANCISCO -- Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said on Thursday it has suspended plans to sell "Manhunt 2" after the title was slapped with restrictive ratings for its extreme violence.

The game, developed by the same Take-Two studio behind the controversial "Grand Theft Auto" and "Bully" titles, had originally been scheduled for a July 10 release.

Take-Two said it "temporarily suspended" distribution plans for the game while it reviewed its options following the banning of the game in Britain and a U.S. ratings body decision to give it an "Adults Only" rating.

The rating would prevent its release on game machines made by Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. Ltd.

"We continue to stand behind this extraordinary game. We believe in freedom of creative expression, as well as responsible marketing, both of which are essential to our business of making great entertainment," Take-Two said in a statement.

"Manhunt 2" casts the player in the role of a psychotic man who escapes a mental institution and kills enemies with a variety of weapons and objects as he tries to find out what happened to his family.

Take-Two's statement followed comments from Chairman Strauss Zelnick on Wednesday saying he fully backed the game and considered it a work of art.

The company's options include canceling the game entirely, releasing it unchanged only for personal computers -- a move that would drastically limit sales -- or altering its content to achieve a less-restrictive rating.

"Manhunt 2" was originally expected to bring in about U$40,000,000 in sales for Take-Two, which had just over $1,000,000,000 in total revenue last year, according to Wedbush Morgan research.

Take-Two shares fell 4 cents to $20.61 on Nasdaq on Thursday.

- 30 -

Copyright Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

21 June 2007

Vleeptron Guide to Websites to Avoid

As I habitually do, I was going to filch a .jpg from this website, but I thought twice about surfing there. Here's Betty Grable instead. She's necro, but of natural causes. And I have an alibi.


CNET (tech news wire)
Thursday 21 June 2007

Police Blotter: leads
to murder conviction

by Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET

Police Blotter is a weekly report on the intersection of technology and the law.

What: A Texas church leader found guilty of strangling an Austin woman to death appeals his conviction.

When: Texas Court of Appeals rules on June 7.

Outcome: Appeals court rules defendant's AOL searches for asphyxiation and visits to were reasonably used as evidence and upholds conviction.

What happened, according to court documents:

Patrick Anthony Russo, 44, was a paying subscriber to, a Web site that offers "erotic horror for adults" by providing staged photos and video of usually nude women appearing to be strangled, suffocated, hanged and drowned.

In part because of his membership, Russo was found guilty of the November 15, 2001 strangulation of Diane Holik, who worked from her home in Austin and was hoping to sell her house and move in with her fiance in Houston.

The murder was discovered when one of her co-workers at IBM became concerned that Holik had missed a scheduled meeting and was unreachable. The co-worker asked Austin police to check on her, which they did at 5:30 p.m. on November 16.

After being let into the house by a neighbor, the police found a fully clothed body in an upstairs bedroom. Holik's wrists had been bound, and there were marks around her neck indicating strangulation by ligature, meaning a garrote such as a cord or rope. (In cases of ligature homicide, blood flow to the brain is blocked and consciousness is lost in 10 to 15 seconds.)

Expensive jewelry, including a $17,500 engagement ring, was missing. There was no sign of a sexual assault.

During their subsequent investigation, police learned that a man claiming to be a prospective home buyer had contacted Austin residents who had "For Sale" signs in front of their homes. Holik's house had one in her front yard, too.

Although the man had given different names to homeowners, police produced a composite drawing and published it in a local newspaper. One woman -- who had been suspicious in a November 5 encounter and wrote down the man's license plate number -- recognized the drawing and contacted police.

The license plate trail led to Russo, who worked as a worship leader and music director at New Life In Christ Church in Batrop, Texas, about 10 miles outside of Austin. Police raided Russo's home in the early morning hours of November 21, 2001.

They interviewed Russo and released him. Pastor Jim Fox later said that Russo came by his house and discussed the interrogation -- saying he was likely going to be arrested for murder and theft of jewelry. The police never mentioned, however, that Holik's jewelry was missing.

In a subsequent search of Russo's home on June 18, 2003, done with a warrant, police seized a personal computer. Detective Roy Rector initially searched the computer using the Encase software for references to Holik and found none. He then expanded it to include Russo's search history, and a prosecutor noticed references to

Armed with yet another search warrant, granted on November 18, 2003, Rector did a more complete search of the computer for "information pertaining to death by asphyxiation." He confirmed with a billing company that Russo had been a member of and had viewed Web pages there dealing with manual and ligature strangulation. About 1,200 images were found on the seized computer, and there was evidence Russo accessed the site two days before the Holik murder.

He was indicted in May 2002. Some DNA evidence found on a green towel in Holik's home also pointed to Russo. A state jury found Russo guilty of capital murder, and he was given a life sentence.

On appeal, Russo raised two issues that are relevant to Police Blotter: First, he claimed that the police exceeded their computer-search authorization given in the June 18 search warrant, and second, he said the excerpts should not have been admitted as evidence. Another trial exhibit included his AOL search for "asphyx" (which is hardly the first time that searches have been used as evidence in criminal cases).

The Texas Court of Appeals rejected those arguments and left his sentence intact.

Excerpts from the Texas Court of Appeals' opinion dealing with the search warrant:

The essence of appellant's complaint is that the police exceeded the scope of the search under the June 18 warrant when the police "used" information that they learned from the computer's Internet history to "discover private information on appellant's computer."

Detective Roy Rector, a forensic computer examiner with the Austin Police Department, first made a copy of the computer's hard drive, which is protocol for forensic computer examination. Rector examined the computer with a program called "Encase," which is designed to recover any data located on a hard drive, whether it is an active computer file or a previously deleted file. Rector then performed some keyword searches on the hard drive copy using "Diane Holik," "Pathfinder," and "Lakki Brown" (Holik's realtor). There were no positive hits on these terms. Rector was then requested by a prosecutor to conduct a more thorough search to look for Internet activity related to real estate.

Rector explained that the only way to do that was to recover the entire Internet history and "go through that basically by hand, look at it to see what is real estate and what is not." Detective Rector reviewed the temporary Internet files and the "index.dat" files to determine the computer's Internet history...On August 1, 2003, Rector presented the extracted Internet history to a prosecutor to "see what is real estate and what is not." The prosecutor noted that the Internet history made reference to a ""

Rector did not know what that Web site was. While the title appeared suspiciously suggestive and implicitly of a sexual nature, it did not appear to be criminal or of an incriminating character in and of itself. The prosecutor requested Rector to determine if there was additional information of that type on the Internet history concerning ""

At some point, Rector was able to parse the Internet history relating to "" and determine the dates and times on which the computer had accessed the "" Web site on the Internet. Several accesses were on November 13, 2001, two days before the Holik murder.

Detective Rector then, on a personal or lab computer, went online to the Web site for "" which was available without charge to anyone surfing the Internet. He was able to view for free the introductory screens, photographs and stories pertaining to the death of women by strangulation. He was able to view information about the payment of fees and the purchase of a membership on the Web site. Rector was able to download these introductory screens, and these exhibits were admitted into evidence.

As noted, on November 18, 2003, another search warrant was issued by a district judge to search the hard drive of appellant's computer for, inter alia, information, photos and text from a Web site named "" and information pertaining to death by asphyxiation. The warrant was executed.

The State urges that the temporary Internet files relating to "" were not opened before the issuance of the search warrant on November 18, 2003. While the police turned to independent sources to determine the nature of "," the State argues that the search of the computer for home sales in the Austin area--the object of the June 18 search warrant--continued as evidenced by exhibits later introduced into evidence without objection. That search was not abandoned in favor of an investigation into ""

Keeping in mind the particular facts of the instant case, we find no violation of the Fourth Amendment. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the contents of appellant's computer as contended. The sixth ground of error is overruled.

Excerpts from the Texas Court of Appeals' opinion dealing with and AOL searches used as evidence:

Appellant complains that the jury was presented with information about his membership in the "" Web site and substantial and prejudicial images and stories of asphyxiation that had been viewed on his computer ...

State's Exhibit 621 was also generated by Rector and showed Internet activity on the computer on April 27, 2001, with the user-profile of a Patrick Russo and with the use of the AOL (America Online) engine to search for a subject associated to "asphyx." To this exhibit, appellant expressed "no objection." This exhibit is not before us for consideration of its relevancy. State's Exhibits 605 through 618 are the Web pages (introductory screens) from the "" Web site and available to anyone surfing the Internet.

The trial court was careful to eliminate images of unrelated sexual activity and nudity, leaving only those images showing ligature and manual strangulation of women and other items pertinent to this circumstantial evidence case where a woman was strangled in her own home. The trial court further limited the admitted images to those that appellant viewed on his computer between the dates of October 7 through November 13, 2001, the latter date being two days before the murder occurred. The State was able to tie some of the viewings to the dates that appellant visited some of the female homeowners and realtors, in order to show intent and motive.

We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the exhibits as relevant evidence, or in finding through the balancing process that the probative value of the evidence was not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.

- 30 -

20 June 2007

the U-Mass Astronomy Department's Sunwheel: Earth's newest, most advanced neolithic astronomical Stone Circle / Happy Summer Solstice 2007!

is the Summer Solstice
-- the Longest Day of the Year
in the Northern Hemisphere.

Solstice Sunrise
will be observed at 5 am
at the Sunwheel
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

The Sunwheel will also observe

Solstice Sunrise at 5 am Friday
and observes Solstice Sunsets
at 7:30 pm Thursday & Friday

The same Raptor, or maybe Corvine, is believed to return to the same stone of the Sunwheel at sunrise for each Summer Solstice.

19 June 2007

i can't wait to sneak up behind you and whack you in the brain with my nail gun

Oh, please, by all means, click for
larger, clearer, more violent, grosser.

I love this company. With just a rusty-bladed screwdriver, a Niagara of Mean-Spiritedness, a few million lines of C++ code, and, as a special treat to the hack crowd, some naked sex-crazed young women, they've gouged a niche for themselves out of the soft, bleeding flesh of the adolescent and young-adult video game market.

In their new game, Manhunt 2, ready to leap from your Wii or Sony Playstation in July 2007, you murder human being after human being after human being with either a nail gun or a baseball bat -- oh, and here's a fellow with a big fire axe. There's a lot of blood all over the place.

It's been more than a year since governments or industry trade associations or Hillary Rodham Clinton have threatened to censor or ban a Rockstar game. Obviously they were feeling neglected and ignored.

Where the hell can I buy this Carmageddon game? That sounds cool. Like Frogger, but with squashed humans in the roadway instead of cute frogs.

The world really did end six years ago but everybody forgot to tell me. Well, I'm safe for the moment, I only have an original format X-Box.

Rockstar makes games that make the Reality of Planet Earth 2007 seem like a summer picnic on Bunny Island. That's another big difference between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam had no video game versions.


Tuesday 19 June 2007

British censor bans
first video game in 10 years

LONDON (Reuters) -- British censors on Tuesday banned a video game for the first time in 10 years, rejecting U.S.-published "Manhunt 2" for what they described as an unrelenting focus on sadism and brutal slaying.

The decision by the British Board of Film Classification, or BBFC, means the game, from publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, which made the controversial "Grand Theft Auto" series, cannot be legally supplied anywhere in Britain.

[Bummer. Looks like nobody in Britain will ever get their hands on it and play it. Too bad, Brit guys. Sucks to be you.]

The ban prompted one U.S. family group to start lobbying for a rating to ensure major American retailers cannot sell the game in which players become an insane asylum escapee sneaking up on enemies and killing them in gruesome ways.

In a statement on the board's Web site, BBFC director David Cooke said rejecting a work was a very serious action and not taken lightly. He said the board preferred to consider cuts or changes but that was not possible in this case.

"'Manhunt 2' is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing," he said.

"There is sustained and cumulative casual sadism in the way in which these killings are committed, and encouraged, in the game," Cooke said.

Take-Two could not immediately be reached for comment.

The BBFC noted it was the first game to be denied a classification since 1997, when "Carmageddon" was rejected for having players run down pedestrians. That decision was overturned on appeal.

The BBFC said the Take-Two label Rockstar Games that created "Manhunt" had the right to appeal the decision.

"Manhunt 2" is a follow-up to the 2003 original, which was classified in Britain for people aged 18 and over.

The original game created a storm in Britain in 2004 when the parents of a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed to death blamed the game for inspiring his 17-year-old killer.

The U.S. nongovernmental organization that evaluates games, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, has not yet given a rating for "Manhunt 2," which is slated for a July 10 release.

The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood urged people to write the ESRB and demand an "Adults Only" rating, which means it could not be sold by major retailers.

"An "Adults Only" rating is the only way to limit children's exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity," group co-founder Susan Linn said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Belinda Goldsmith in New York)

- 30 -

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.


from Wikipedia:


Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
(NASDAQ: TTWO) is an American publisher, developer, and distributor of video and computer games and video game peripherals. The company's headquarters are in New York City, United States, with international headquarters in Windsor, England. Development studio locations include San Diego, Vancouver, Toronto and Austin, Texas.

Take-Two's subsidiary Rockstar Games created the Grand Theft Auto series, which includes Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. There are also lesser-known expansions to the original GTA on PlayStation and PC, Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969 and the PC only Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961.

As well as GTA, Rockstar developed several other action games, including Manhunt and State of Emergency. In other genres, Rockstar creations include Midnight Club and its sequels, the Western-themed Red Dead Revolver (originally developed by Capcom), and Bully.

Take-Two's other subsidiaries include Global Star Software, Gathering (formerly Gathering of Developers aka GoD Games), 2K Games, 2K Sports, Gotham Games, TalonSoft, Jack of All Games (its distribution arm), Frog City Software (developer of the famous Imperialism game) and video game peripheral manufacturer Joytech. Gathering will be publishing the oft-delayed Duke Nukem Forever, though it is currently considered vaporware by many in the gaming community. Notable titles from Global Star include the Conflict series (the most recent game in which is Conflict: Vietnam); Sega's ESPN sports titles, for which 2K Sports was the publisher; and the Outlaw sports series, which includes Outlaw Golf and Outlaw Volleyball.

In 2004 Take 2 formed two new publishing companies called 2K Games and 2K Sports to manage a group of newly acquired development studios as well as publishing deals with a variety of other well known studios. Take 2 acquired the rights to the ESPN 2K sports games (When EA announced the ESPN deal, they dropped "ESPN" from their games), created by Visual Concepts (football and basketball) and Kush Games (baseball and hockey), from Sega as part of the creation of 2K Sports.

In March 2007 Take Two filed a lawsuit against Jack Thompson, to prevent him from filing a public nuisance complaint in Florida court like he did with Bully.

At the annual meeting on March 29, 2007, Take-Two investors ousted five of six board members, including the chief executive, Paul Eibeler, who was replaced by Ben Feder[1]

In June the UFC filed a lawsuit against the company over the video game they created for the organization.[2]

new deck of cards for US troops in Iraq -- please don't fuck with the ancient archeological treasures

Clicking will indeed make it bigger.

from an e-mail, Sunday 23 March 2003, to f_minor, the list devoted to the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould ...
One of my soft spots for World War II is because, in the 1930s, as he saw the handwriting on the wall, a German labor union activist buried his beloved treasury of phonograph records of the live performances of Kurt Weill's and Bertolt Brecht's cabaret and opera music in oilcloth in his backyard, and then fled one step ahead of the Gestapo. When he returned in '46, he dug it up again, and I've had the wonderful pleasure of hearing CD transcriptions of these original squawky recordings from the '20s and '30s, in German and French, with Lotte Lenya's tremulous and beautiful voice. Wars are accompanied, far too rarely, by these desperate moments of the preservation and salvation of beauty. I have been told that the Swedes authentically revere the historical Baron von Munchausen -- a genuine lecher, parasite and sociopathic liar -- because he likewise buried and saved some gorgeous ancient tapestries one step ahead of an advancing army, and they can still be viewed today in Upsula.
Iraq -- Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Uruk, Ur -- is honeycombed with ancient treasures; it is one of the cradles of world civilization. They invented, among other things, writing, the preservation of records and literature and science, in wedge-shaped marks on soft clay, which baked in the sun and then proved to be remarkably survivable over millennia. They could predict solar and lunar eclipses -- an astonishing achievement not to be matched by our science for 4000 years. And yet we moderns have only begun to get a glimpse of and to translate these ancient treasures starting around 1880.
Each modern high-explosive war that descends on this land destroys our own heritage and history unrecoverably and forever.
George Orwell was only the first visionary to suggest that a future world that designs itself around perpetual (and meaningless) war would first strive to erase the history of the world; knowing our own history intimately always boils up passions to preserve and save and to know more of our ancient heritage. A world robbed of contact with its past is a world that can be sold on any idea, however nonsensical or genocidal or suicidal, however many past times it was tried with terrible results.
And yet I would argue that no one who has read "Gilgamesh" (I strongly urge Herbert Warren Mason Jr.'s beautiful translation) can wish MOAB -- America's recently unveiled "Mother Of All Bombs" -- to fall on this land, to pulverize the treasures that still remain of our nursery. You will find no apologies from me for Sadaam Hussein, but at his worst he is a thing of the blink of an eye, but "Gilgamesh" (there are still many missing sections, though they are almost certainly waiting somewhere underground) and the rest of Mesopotamia's yet undiscovered treasures are the fragile things of ages. A huge volume of these treasures will be reduced to dust by this war.
It's a bit fucking late, but the US Department of Defense -- the Pentagon -- is now issuing a second deck of instructional playing cards for troops deployed to Iraq. The first famous deck, issued to the invading US soldiers and marines in March 2003, featured the photographs of the 52 Most Wanted figures in Sadaam Hussein's toppled government.
Whatever else the invasion and occupation may have accomplished, it was a disaster for the archeological treasures of Iraq / Uruk /Babylon / Babylonia/ Ur / Mesopotamia.
Now the Pentagon wants to kiss and make nice with what's left of these ancient treasures. No more setting up military helicopter landing pads on top of Babylonian ruins, as US forces did during the invasion.
When US forces kill Iraqi civilians unintentionally, standard operating procedure is to pay cash to the surviving family, to make amends and heal any bad feelings.
Who knows? Maybe it works. We can always remind the survivors that Sadaam Hussein's regime didn't give cash to survivors of those he executed. We do. We're different. The child is just as dead, but we pay cash.
But cash can't fix four years of pulverizing and looting and bombing and pillaging of 3000-year-old archeological treasures. That crap is Solid Gone Forever. Dust.
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by Victoria Schlesinger
The U.S. Department of Defense is distributing 40,000 new decks of playing cards to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But rather than depicting Saddam Hussein and other wanted Baathists—as did decks issued at the beginning of the Iraq War—each card features an archaeological message.
The cards are also part of a larger archaeology awareness program for soldiers preparing for deployment at Fort Drum, New York. The goal, says Fort Drum archaeologist Laurie Rush, is twofold: to prevent unnecessary damage to ancient sites and to stem the illegal trade of artifacts in Iraq. By familiarizing troops with specific historical objects and sites, Rush hopes that they will know what to avoid when it comes to bivouacking or setting up gun installations. "Most troops are honorable people who want to do the right thing," says Rush. "But we're not naive. Damage to sites in this conflict is enormous."
The military has long recognized that educational playing cards are a good way to capitalize on the time soldiers spend waiting for orders; during World War II, cards were issued with silhouettes of Allied and Axis fighter planes. In the archaeology deck, each suit has a theme: diamonds for artifacts, spades for digs, hearts for "winning hearts and minds," and clubs for heritage preservation.
© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America