The Dark Tower Below are the 50 most recent journal entries recorded in the "gunslnger" journal:

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January 1st, 2025
01:00 am

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talk_politics people
This is my continuing notes about the people posting/commenting on talk_politics so that I can keep track of my observations on their personalities and proclivities. Ideally, I will use this to make sure my replies are congruent with the person I'm talking to, but I'm probably too lazy to actually do this and I'll just end up trusting my memory. But it's worth an effort.

list of people - 100 right nowCollapse )

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September 2nd, 2013
11:32 pm

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insult generator

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January 24th, 2013
07:16 pm

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http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/23/look-whos-mocking-fascist-fear-mongering
https://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/olga-from-greece-has-a-lithuanian-soulmate-mooching-in-the-united-kingdom/

(Leave a comment)

December 31st, 2012
06:38 am

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Morons and idiots everywhere, generally on the liberal side. And they can't even see it and refuse to acknowledge any possibility of error, even when it's pointed out to them. Can't seem to handle basic critical thought either, they have to let those in charge or in the media do their thinking for them, and they just go along with the crowd, often based on labels rather than reality. It's sad and pathetic and will bring the U.S. down right along with Europe. Good luck Brazil, India, China, it's your turn next.

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November 2nd, 2012
01:05 am

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There is a disturbing trend on social media sites, that the administrators are censoring and removing posts and comments that are political in nature. Under the First Amendment, we have the restriction on government to not censor the speech of the people, but we have no such restriction on businesses. Congress should pass legislation that no person, business, or government entity can delete or censor any posting or comment because of its content (unless it violates some other law) on any social media site or forum that allows user-contributed content.

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February 26th, 2012
01:32 pm

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I have no idea what they're saying (I just turned the sound off), but video of pretty girls skiing in bikinis is always nice to watch. :)

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December 19th, 2011
09:20 pm

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U.S. Backs Apple in Patent Ruling That Hits Google

This is a moronic decision. Just another sign of the idiocy of our patent system.

(Leave a comment)

December 7th, 2011
11:34 pm

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Writer's Block: Out of this world
What would you name a new planet?


Mine.

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(Leave a comment)

December 1st, 2011
11:49 am

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This is mainly a reminder to myself to post this in talk_politics.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/11/19/peggy-noonan-on-steve-jobs-and-why-big-companies-die/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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November 22nd, 2011
12:30 pm

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http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/11/theres-no-such-thing-as-constr.html


There are three key behaviors, I believe, and they're each grounded in the recognition that what we say is often less important than how we say it.

1. The first mistake we often make is giving feedback when we are feeling that our own value is at risk. That's a recipe for disaster, and it happens far more commonly than we think, or are aware.

If we're feeling threatened or diminished by another person's perceived shortcomings, providing "constructive criticism" becomes secondary to getting our value back. We're more likely to be reactive, insensitive and even hurtful.

If it's about us, it's not truly about them. Any time we provide feedback with the goal of getting someone to better meet our needs, rather than being responsive to theirs, it's unlikely to prompt the desired outcome.

2. The second mistake we make in giving feedback is failing to hold the other person's value in the process. Even the most well-intentioned criticism will, more often than not, prompt us to feel our value is at risk, and under attack.

When that happens, the primal impulse is to defend ourselves. The more the person you are criticizing feels compelled to defend her value, the less capable she becomes of absorbing what she's hearing.

When you're inclined to offer specific feedback, pause and ask yourself first how you'd feel if someone gave you that feedback. If you would feel uncomfortable or defensive, assume anyone else would too.

3. The third mistake we make is to assume that that we're right about whatever it is we're inclined to say. Like lawyers, we take a series of facts and weave them together into a story that supports and justifies the case we're seeking to make.

The problem is that our stories aren't necessarily true. They're simply one interpretation of the facts. It makes much more sense to think about offering feedback in a spirit of humble exploration rather than declaration, dialogue rather than monologue, curiosity rather than certainty. Humility is the recognition that we don't know, even when we think we know. As Steven Covey says, "Seek first to understand."

Ultimately, we'd be better off eliminating concepts like "feedback" and "constructive criticism" from our lexicons altogether. They're polarizing, and mostly destructive. We need to think of these interchanges instead as opportunities for honest inquiry and genuine learning.

"Here's the story I'm telling myself about what just happened," we might say. "Have I got that right, or am I missing something?"

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May 21st, 2011
11:57 am

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Everyone can use something from here: http://www.cafepress.com/Rapture_Clothing :)

(Leave a comment)

May 16th, 2011
12:14 pm

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overheard on the shuttle
On the UCSD Campus Loop shuttle about 20 minutes ago:

A girl was already on the bus, in the row behind me. A guy got on and sat next to her. From the ensuing conversation, it's obvious that they knew each other.

She commented that he had been avoidant lately. He just said that he was sorry. She asked if it was something with her. He said no. She asked if he was ok. Yes, he's fine. Then they talked about Sun God for a couple minutes. Then she asked again what was up, as he hadn't even said hi to her at work the other day. He just said sorry again. So she asked the direct question, what was going on, what's the problem. There was a long pause, like around 7-8 seconds. Then he started some spiel about her saying that there was some other friend that she liked hanging around more and that he felt something something...

That's where I got off the shuttle, but it was pretty obvious where the story was going. It sounded like a classic case of the guy being a douchebag and the girl not seeing it. Out in the real world, she just would never have seen him again, since he obviously had already gotten what he wanted and moved on. Why do women not see this pattern?

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

March 19th, 2011
10:32 pm

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Electromagnetic Armor. From 2005. WTF. Who didn't think this was important enough to report on?

(Leave a comment)

December 22nd, 2010
03:02 pm

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Here's a Dreamwidth invite code. First one to enter it gets it.

Dreamwidth invite codeCollapse )

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

September 28th, 2010
01:15 pm

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Cable modem went out at home so I only have internet at work now. Tech is supposed to be out today, hopefully he'll just swap modems and everything will work. It's so disconcerting not having internet access as needed. We went to B&N to use their free wifi just so I could post a quick update on Facebook and check email. Just another reason to consider getting a real smartphone when I next upgrade my phone.

I need to figure out how to push the right people in the industry in order to get them to make the device I really want, which is the scalable computer so that you can have just a phone for portability, plug it into a laptop-like device when you need to do real work, and plug either of those into a high-power device when you're at a stable location (work or home). If devices were made this way, then you also wouldn't need to actually buy all of the pieces as you could use anyone's, all you would need would be the smallest piece which had your personal info. Since most info is moving into the cloud anyways, this would all work.

(Leave a comment)

September 23rd, 2010
11:14 pm

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How Time Flies: Ultraprecise Clock Rates Vary with Tiny Differences in Speed and Elevation

Thanks to improved timekeeping, similar demonstrations can now take place at more mundane scales in the laboratory. In a series of experiments described in the September 24 issue of Science, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colo., registered differences in the passage of time between two high-precision optical atomic clocks when one was elevated by just a third of a meter or when one was set in motion at speeds of less than 10 meters per second.

Essentially, nobody is at the exact same time scale. Another way to think of it is that time is not a constant, even for yourself.

(Leave a comment)

August 5th, 2010
11:01 pm

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Downsizing the Federal Government

This website is designed to help policymakers and the public understand where federal funds are being spent and how to reform each government department. It describes the failings of federal agencies and identifies specific programs to cut. It also discusses the systematic reasons why government programs are often obsolete, mismanaged, or otherwise dysfunctional.

This is a comprehensive website from the Cato Institute detailing some suggestions for reducing the spending of the Federal government. They also have a blog that you can sort by topic or by gov't department. I haven't checked out all the suggestions they have yet (and it's only just started, there's a lot more departments that they haven't gotten to yet) but I'm sure I'll be in agreement with most of the suggestions.

People need to be informed about what our money is being spent on, whether you agree or disagree with the suggestions.

(Leave a comment)

April 5th, 2010
01:29 pm

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I mainly wanted to have this reference for my personal future use, but feel free to comment on it if you feel moved to.

http://www.slate.com/id/2227082/

full article textCollapse )

(Leave a comment)

March 11th, 2010
10:20 am

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Writer's Block: Welcome to the mobile decade
The eighties were known as the Me decade. The nineties have been called the Electronic age. So far, what would you label this decade?

Stagnant.

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(Leave a comment)

March 1st, 2010
11:20 am

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Writer's Block: Marital license
Do you think a marriage license should have a renewal or expiration date, just like a driver's license?
Well, this is a little tricky, because of the mixing between the concepts of legal marriage and social marriage. This is another reason they need to be separated. I wouldn't have a problem with having the legal marriage have an expiration that needs renewed, but a social marriage does not have any such concept or reason to have one.

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(Leave a comment)

February 25th, 2010
12:58 pm

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I have 3 words for this:

http://cbs13.com/politics/no.cussing.week.2.1519540.html

Fuck. That. Shit.

And I don't cuss [normally].

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

November 17th, 2009
10:58 pm

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The main problem with "V" is that in order to have the situation where the aliens are accepted so fast by most people, you have to assume that it's a world where there hasn't been any alien invasion movies. I mean, there's been so many movies and tv shows where the aliens "come in peace" and then turn out to have ulterior motives that it really makes no sense that people would be so trusting so quickly. Especially the military where the generals are often paranoid. So, it's a good premise but they really need to stretch the time frames out a bit more to make it more realistic.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

September 24th, 2009
02:37 pm

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First day of classes done with. Now I know how out of shape I am. :)

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September 23rd, 2009
10:53 pm

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The best thread all week

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

September 18th, 2009
06:27 pm

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I can totally picture this and I don't think this is likely to be the only company where this kind of situation happened. :)

Fan or Die!

(Leave a comment)

September 9th, 2009
09:25 pm

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I'm not sure how I missed this article from 4 months ago.

Is J.J. Abrams eyeing a film adaptation of Dark Tower?

Star Trek director J.J. Abrams and his producing partner, Damon Lindelof (Lost), told IGN.com that they have been working on a film adaptation of Stephen King's classic novel series The Dark Tower, according to a report on MTV.com.

What are the odds that they'll screw it up? :)

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

August 7th, 2009
06:20 pm

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One Man's Bokode Is Another Man's Barcode
This is mostly just for my future reference, but maybe others are interested in it too. :)


The familiar barcode has been around for a long time, which makes you think it's probably time for a change. That change may be coming in the form of a "Bokode" if researchers at MIT have their way. The Bokode gets its name from the Japanese photography term "bokeh," which refers to the round blob produced in an out-of-focus image of a light source. A Bokode is just three millimeters across, yet can contain far more information than ordinary barcodes.

A Bokode uses an out-of-focus camera, which allows the angle-encoded information to emerge from the resulting blurred spot to record the encoded information from the tiny tag. But in addition to being readable by any ordinary camera (with the focus set to infinity), it can also be read directly by your eye simply by getting very close — say, less than an inch away -- to the tag. The concept of a Bokode is described in the paper Bokode: Imperceptible Visual Tags for Camera-based Interaction from a Distance, by Ankit Mohan, Raskar, Grace Woo, Shinsaku Hiura, and Quinn Smithwick.

One of the advantages of Bokodes is that they can be "read" from a distance, up to a few meters away by a standard digital camera. The current-generation prototypes require a lens and built-in LED light source and cost about $5.00 each to produce, mainly due to the glass lens. However, researchers believe the costs could drop to $0.05 when produced in volume.

Bokodes could also replace RFID systems in some near-field communication applications, according to the researchers, or be used for the motion-capture systems used to create video games or computer-generated movie scenes. Typically, video cameras record a person or object's motions using colored dots or balls attached to various parts of the person's body. The Bokode system would let the camera record very precisely not just the position but the angle of each tag — with an accuracy of a tenth of a degree.

(Leave a comment)

July 29th, 2009
04:36 pm

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Because I've sent a comment on whitehouse.gov previously, I got an email today about the health insurance "reform" plan. They claim that it will drive down costs and guarantee the health care security and stability of every American family. I claim that it will do exactly the opposite.

This was my message to Mr. Obama:


Your reform plan is fatally flawed. People need health care, not health insurance. Health insurance should be individually chooseable and not required and should not be government controlled. Insurance is a gamble, always, and attempts to make it into something else is why we have the problems now, so continuing that trend will only make it worse.

1.Pre-existing conditions have to be taken into account by the insurance companies. Forcing them to take people that are higher risk makes everyone's premiums increase because the chance of paying out is much more likely. It's not discrimination when someone is charged more when they have a pre-existing condition.

2. Restricting how much you can choose for out-of-pocket expenses on your plan limits consumer choice. This is always bad.

3. Preventive care should be an option to put on insurance, not mandated. For example, I don't want my insurance plan to cover preventive care expenses, as that's what I want to gamble on needing covered. Others may want that covered, and we should both be able to make those choices of plans.

4. Your gender does affect how likely you are to get certain illnesses and/or need certain kinds of medical care, so your premium should be different based on your gender, among all the other factors too.

5. Caps on coverage are needed in order to be able to plan for expenses and to know how much to charge for premiums. Artificial ceilings always hurt everybody economically.

6. How long a family plan covers your children should be up to each individual plan and people can buy one that fits their needs rather than making them all fit the lowest common denominator.

7. Refusing renewal is part of handling pre-existing conditions.

So, 7 out of 8 items in the reform plan are wrong and bad for everyone.


The only item that I'm ok with is the one that mandates that the insurance company can't drop or reduce your insurance coverage when you become seriously ill, and that's because contract law should prevent that already anyways. My policy should be good for the entire period I'm paying for as agreed upon at the beginning, so if insurance companies are not following that, then that needs to be enforced.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

July 22nd, 2009
11:37 am

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Your daily dose of "that's cool". :)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3ff_AXVlo9U

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

July 17th, 2009
03:40 pm

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Moths Use Sonar-Jamming Defense to Fend Off Hunting Bats

The finding that a species of tiger moth can jam the sonar of echolocating bats to avoid being eaten seems to be the "first conclusive evidence of sonar jamming in nature," says Aaron Corcoran, a biology PhD student at Wake Forest University and the lead author of the paper reporting the discovery in today's issue of Science. "It demonstrates a new level of escalation in the bat–moth evolutionary arms race."

Yeah, because that's something that would just happen at some point in time, the moths would "accidentally" develop a way to make sounds and at a rate fast enough to be able to do something about the bat and somehow know that they needed to do it when a bat was near. Nature's pretty cool, and it sounds a lot more far-fetched to believe that all this beautiful balancing and features are all accidental.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

June 26th, 2009
11:42 am

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So, wedding's all done, we're officially married now, have to wait to get the paperwork back from the state in order to do all the name changing with everything, and then we have to start figuring out packing stuff up to move at the end of July. Good thing we're taking a honeymoon or we wouldn't have a break for a couple months. And then I start classes in Sept. also. Fun, fun, fun.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

June 17th, 2009
12:08 pm

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Has anyone heard about PETA's Save a Sea Kitten campaign? Did anyone else laugh at the absurdity? Of course, since one of their links is a "create your own sea kitten" tool, they obviously aren't referring to real creatures and only imaginary ones, so it should just be a good waste of money for those crazy loons.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

June 15th, 2009
01:30 pm

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In order to practice "democracy" in action, I am putting myself forward as a candidate in the LJ election. I would appreciate any support in my nomination, even if you wouldn't vote for me. Thank you.

You can comment on the post to show your support.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

June 8th, 2009
10:26 pm

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Less than 2 weeks to the wedding. Have to start finishing paying for everything and make sure everything's taken care of. Of course now's the time everyone else's travel dramas start up too. I just hope everyone who RSVP'd actually shows up.

Buying the house should close this week too. At least we don't have to move until end of July, but that's still a bunch of money to plunk down, plus having to buy stuff like a fridge and a washer/dryer and a dining room set and a couch, etc.

It's a good thing I don't get stressed about things.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

May 13th, 2009
03:23 pm

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Have an accepted offer on a house, hope everything goes through ok. I have no idea what kinds of things can go wrong though. Loan should fund, there shouldn't be anything major wrong with the house. It's expensive so won't have much free money for the next few years, but it's worth it. I think.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

April 27th, 2009
01:32 pm

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Putting in an offer on a house today. It's like the only non-bank-owned house available in our price range. There's two other offers on it after being listed on Friday.

And apparently the last place we put in an offer on went for $30k less than our offer. WTF?

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

April 10th, 2009
12:43 pm

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PETA to Pet Shop Boys

The band has turned down a request from an animal rights group to rename itself the Rescue Shelter Boys.

Maybe they should have asked for them to rename themselves the "PETA Shop Boys", that might have gone over better. Or maybe they should rename themselves "Indentured Companions A". Silly humans.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

April 6th, 2009
10:28 pm

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Writer's Block: Grab and Go
Scenario: For exactly 1 minute, you get access to all the databases of all the intelligence agencies in the world (CIA, FBI, KGB, MI-5, etc). What do you want to find out before time is up and you're caught and jailed forever?

Is the government covering up alien contacts or not. Are other nations in on it also.

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(Leave a comment)

March 29th, 2009
02:04 pm

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18 Sci-Fi Twitter Feeds You Should Be Following

Since the hardest part of Twitter can often be figuring out who to follow, we've compiled a list of 18 of the best you should be tracking—plus five more we'd love to recommend, but can't.

(Leave a comment)

March 24th, 2009
11:49 pm

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Real-life Spider-Man rescues 8-year-old boy from ledge

A Bangkok firefighter dressed up as the comic-book superhero Spider-Man rescued an 8-year-old boy who had climbed onto a third-floor window ledge, the BBC reported today. The man used his unusual disguise in order to coax the boy, who is autistic, from his dangerous perch.

He just happened to have the costume in his locker? Interesting.

(Leave a comment)

March 19th, 2009
02:56 pm

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Flex Appeal: Researchers Create Carbon Nanotube Artificial Muscles

A group of scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas' Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute reports in Science today that they have demonstrated a fundamentally new type of artificial muscle, consisting almost exclusively of carbon nanotubes, which can operate at extreme low temperatures that would cause other artificial muscles systems to freeze and at very high temperatures that would cause other muscle systems to decompose.

Not useful for people, apparently, but some interesting applications regardless.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

March 18th, 2009
12:11 pm

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Free long-distance? Oh yeah, Google's going there

Here's how it works: You call into your voice mail on Google Voice, and from there you get transferred to a dial tone. You can call any number at that point. You also have a central Web site that will show your voice mails and manage your account.

Sounds good to me. I welcome our new Google overlords.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

March 17th, 2009
04:52 pm

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I've always been a big fan of hugs and snuggles.

Stressed Out? Snuggle Up!

From the hallowed halls of science comes another excuse to get close: New research shows that hugs and kisses slash stress. Loving touches — and the resulting gush of good feelings — can cut the level of stress hormones coursing through your body by 7 percent, according to a recent study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

March 2nd, 2009
02:09 pm

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Crime labs are seriously deficient, report says

The National Academy of Sciences says with the single exception of DNA, no other crime scene evidence is dependable enough to allow police officers to testify in court, as they often do, that it's "a match" to a specific person. That's true, the report says, of analysis of hair, fibers, bites and tool marks — all of them long used to obtain convictions. Subsequent DNA testing, it says, shows that some of these analyses produce erroneous results.

It sounds like the entire assumption underlying our current justice system, that forensic evidence is the Holy Grail of all evidence, is not quite true. This sounds like more than just a significant problem. It also highlights the fact that people are not generally presumed innocent until proven guilty. Cops presume you guilty and the evidence is often tainted by this, and there's only so much the defense can do to challenge it, and people's (read: jury's) natural inclination is to presume guilt, assuming a reasonable story is presented.

(Leave a comment)

01:28 pm

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Facebook is unavailable due to site maintenance. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

j/k, I have other things to do.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

February 19th, 2009
11:42 am

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Do You Know Who Owns Trader Joe’s?


From what I have seen, the world is divided into three sets of people.

1. Those who have never been to a Trader Joe’s, and perhaps have never heard of it.

2. Those who love Trader Joe’s more than they love their own families.

3. Those who love Trader Joe’s more than they love their own families and are incensed that there isn’t one nearby.

So, let me ask those of you who fall into categories 2 and 3: Who owns Trader Joe’s?

1. Some great California family full of surfers and gardeners.

2. A small band of communal farmers in Oregon.

3. A huge German discount-grocery chain.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

12:40 am

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(1 comment | Leave a comment)

February 8th, 2009
12:17 am

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The new Olympic sport.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

February 7th, 2009
11:10 pm

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This is why you don't shave your pussy. It looks funny.

(Leave a comment)

January 30th, 2009
05:21 pm

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Facebook ID theft targets 'friends'

Rutberg was the victim of a new, targeted version of a very old scam -- the “Nigerian,” or “419,” ploy. The first reports of such scams emerged back in November, part of a new trend in the computer underground -- rather than sending out millions of spam messages in the hopes of trapping a tiny fractions of recipients, Web criminals are getting much more personal in their attacks, using social networking sites and other databases to make their story lines much more believable.

In Rutberg's case, criminals managed to steal his Facebook login password, steal his Facebook identity, and change his page to make it appear he was in trouble. Next, the criminals sent e-mails to dozens of friends, begging them for help.


Just some infor for those of you who use Facebook also. Bookmarking the link at the end of the article is probably a good idea.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

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