Boundary Layer

The best way to find a line is to cross it

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Mummies, Sicilian Style

Long ago in the town of Palermo in Sicily some monks got together and decided that they wanted to start praying to one of their own after he had passed to the Great Beyond so they embalmed him. Four hundred years and 8,000 corpses later you can see the Capuchin Catacombs for yourself.

Images, People, and Stories

Reportage describes itself as an "online magazine of photojournalism". They present their short photo essays of places like the festival of plastering in Mali, the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, the largest camel market in Afica, rappers in Senegal, and two newsrooms a world apart.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Mystery of Flight 93

I came across this website which claims to identify the pilot responsible for shooting down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania on September 11th. Usually, a quick google search is enough to dismiss claims like this but the search brought up this site which ironically enough was the result of someone else's google search on the same topic. The site had a link to the this statement in the congressional record.
These Air Guardsmen--and possibly women as well--were very important scrambling to protect our NationÂ’s Capital. I know of one of those pilots actually who is from Virginia.
I am not going to get into the details because it is important for national security not to reveal what they were doing, but they were very much in harmÂ’s way. I will not get into any more detail other than to say, these pilots--the Happy Hooligans, and any others who were involved in that
scrambled mission to protect our NationÂ’s Capital, and the region here in the DC area--really were willing to give their lives in a generally undefended position.

Was this just exaggerationion? Maybe. The four pilots of the 119th fighter wing who were airborn and patroling the skies on September 11th received the Airmen's medal for their service in 2002.

One of the big problems is that Flight 93 crashed at 10:03 in the official timeline while eyewitnesses and seismic evidence indicates the plane crashed at 10:06.


Here's a good old fashioned rant of the type that we don't get too much of any more.
You actually have to work really, really hard to fuck things up this badly, and the present Administration has done everything in its power to break the United States government. You actually have to consciously think, 'I wonder how I could take the international goodwill and sympathy that arose after 9/11, take all that energy that could have been used to actually work on making the world a safer, better place, and just completely fuck it up in such a way that people will hate me and hate the United States for generations to come.' It takes a certain cunning and a void where your heart is to fuck things up this greatly."

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Selfish and Pious

Reading about ignorant fundamentalists preventing the eradication of polio in places like Nigeria immediately reminds me of George Dubya's policy of essentially banning new research on embroynic stem cells. Essentially both groups make the choice that their beliefs trump the suffering of the sick and injured. It is appalling to me that people like this can have a veto on life saving medical research and treatment.

The good news is that there is a $3 billion bond issue on the ballot for stem cell research this November in California.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Israel and the Occupation

The New Yorker has a piece about the settlers in the West Bank and Gaza and has a describes the Military attitude towards assassinations.

In 2002, the Army had targeted another Hamas leader in Gaza, Salah Shehadeh. “Shehadeh was responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis, and we tried to intercept him several times, and we found that usually he was surrounded by his wife and his children,” Ya’alon said. “Now, we knew that he was responsible for devastating attacks, and we avoided killing him because we didn’t want to kill innocent people, even his children. At a certain point, after more than six months in which we absorbed casualties, we discussed it, the moral issue—to weigh the lives of innocent Israeli people with the lives of his family.”

The amazing thing is how the extremists in the article on both sides are basically indistinguishable from one another. It also takes a grim view of the chances for peace.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Spoken Here

An interactive map of languages spoken in the continental United States. (via Metafilter)

Sunday, June 20, 2004


Cut and paste panoramas.


One of these things is not like the other

One of these things doesn't belong
. Visual puzzles backed up by the science! (via lucidquest)

Friday, June 11, 2004

Strike That

Nearly realtime map of nationwide lightning strikes.


I guess these answer the question, is a joke without a punchline funny or not? Some gave me a chuckle.

Friday, June 04, 2004

The Murky Origins of Murphy's Law

This guy traces who Murphy is and how the law came about. There may have even been a monkey involved. Also in the article, Chuck Yeager defines the term 'Sexual Intellectual'. You can't pass this one up.
(via dm)

Waa inaan ku qalaa

In case you've ever wondered how to tell someone in Somali, "I must operate on you" then this is the site for you. They Thought You'd Say This: Unlikely phrases from real phrasebooks. (via dm)

Has it come to this?

Register for the draft online.