Chop it out, Al

"This guy - this is the guy ..."

Bird near the wire

Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
Like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If i, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If i, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
-- Leonard Cohen

Tonight, God _is_ a DJ


Feed the hungry bee

One of my favorite end-of-the-world scenarios concerns bees - one of the most beautiful engineers of cross-pollination. When the bees go, we go:

"It is commonly said that about one third of human nutrition is due to bee pollination."-- Pollinator_decline: Consequences

And by the sounds of it, the bees are abandoning their hives en masse, in what is known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

Image by MightyBoyBrian

Superbug strikes again

"Although China did not report an avian influenza outbreak until February 2004, executives at Chinese pharmaceutical companies and veterinarians said farmers were widely using the drug (amantadine) to control the virus in the late 1990s.

We are All Complicit

"The citations include the New York Times report three weeks before the bombing that Washington "demanded [from Pakistan] the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population," and the Times report that the numbers at risk of starvation were estimated to have risen by 50% a month later, to 7.5 million. Also cited are reports in the Times of the bitterness of fleeing aid workers who said that "The country was on a lifeline and we just cut the line" by threatening to bomb; the report by the UN World Food Program that the threat forced them to reduce food supplies to 15% of what was needed and later that the bombing itself caused them to terminate it entirely; warnings by major relief agencies of a likely "humanitarian crisis of epic proportions in Afghanistan with 7.5 million short of food and at risk of starvation"; and a great deal more." --

Image by constantskepticupdates

Cold War II

"Unlike German and Russian occupiers, American forces are in Iraq by right, on the principle, too obvious even to enunciate, that the US owns the world. Therefore, as a matter of elementary logic, the US cannot invade and occupy another country. The US can only defend and liberate others. No other category exists. Predecessors, including the most monstrous, have commonly sworn by the same principle, but again there is an obvious difference: they were Wrong, and we are Right. QED."

"Washington's feverish new Cold War "containment" policy has spread to Europe. Washington intends to install a “missile defense system” in the Czech Republic and Poland, marketed to Europe as a shield against Iranian missiles. Even if Iran had nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, the chances of its using them to attack Europe are perhaps on a par with the chances of Europe's being hit by an asteroid, so perhaps Europe would do as well to invest in an asteroid defense system. Furthermore, if Iran were to indicate the slightest intention of aiming a missile at Europe or Israel, the country would be vaporized."

"Surely no sane person wants Iran (or any nation) to develop nuclear weapons. A reasonable resolution of the present crisis would permit Iran to develop nuclear energy, in accord with its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but not nuclear weapons. Is that outcome feasible? It would be, given one condition: that the U.S. and Iran were functioning democratic societies in which public opinion had a significant impact on public policy."


Image by bunky's pickle

You're not your fucking khakis

"... We're not reasonable and rational creatures. Far from it. We resort to reason when it suits us. For most people life is comfortable today, and we have the spare time to be unreasonable if we choose to be. We're liked bored children. We've been on holiday for too long, and we've been given too many presents. Anyone who's had children knows that the greatest danger is boredom. Boredom, and a secret pleasure in one's own malice. Together they can spur a remarkable ingenuity ...

Disputed borders, divided lands

Check this out for an excellent maps showing the history of the Arab Israel conflict. One interesting thing is to see how the UN had a really good plan to establish Jewish territories, and Arab territories, making Jerusalem as an international city. However, the native Arabs rejected this plan and the subsequent war left the Jews with what the UN had suggested that they have - and more. The war, twenty years later, left them with even more land, some of which they gave back, and the Gaza strip, which had earlier been Egyptian controlled, and the West Bank, which had been Jordanian, were both lost to the neighboring Arabian states and fell under Israeli control. The Arabs then could be seen as being so hard to satisfy with each compromise that they were offered that they sabotaged themselves, loosing more and more land at each successive conflict.

Welcome to Fabuland

"'...The A&E (Accident and Emergency) thing is self-inflicted. Drunks, car crashes, brawling, first fights. There's a huge amount of street violence. People don't know it, but they're bored out of their minds. Sport is the big giveaway. Wherever sport plays a big part in people's lives you can be sure they're bored witless and just waiting to break up the furniture.'

'You'll have to move. Just one problem: wherever you go you'll find nothing except a new kind of boredom.'"

-- Ballard, J.G. Kingdom Come, London: Harper Collins; p.67

Image by Leen Kievit