Boundary Layer

The best way to find a line is to cross it

Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Battle In Fallouja

An account of one part of the battle from an embedded journalist. (via LA Observed)
It was about the moment I felt the most secure and had the least suspicion that the mission would get any more dangerous when all hell broke loose. The Marines were under a coordinated, full-scale attack. Insurgents had crawled and snuck into positions covering about three hundred degrees on all sides. They let loose a continuous barrage on the house. Marines scrambled to their feet to fight back the ambush. 'Roger, we are taking heavy fire. You need to orient to east, over the mosque complex,' the confident company commander Capt. Douglas Zembiec barked into the radio without a hint of panic in his voice.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Forgotten Coup

I've always wondered why it was that the United States never had a military coup, unlike almost every other nation in history. But in 1934 the only thing standing between a fascist coup and democracy was the courage and honor of one man.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hit the Road

Photographs from the road trip which served as the basis for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Dollars for Embryos

Is this true?

In August 2001, President George W. Bush made a decision about the complex and difficult issue of the Federal government’s role in embryonic stem cell research. For the first time ever, he allowed Federal research funds to be used in embryonic stem cell research.

Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all of course. Obviously if Team Bush are trying to trumpet this fact then they've finally realized that having fundies make science policy is not going to net them any voters.

So it begins


Count Me Out

Read just the first two sentances from this NYTimes article.

Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.

The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.

If you don't believe them now, then you never will. In other countries without a long history of voting, the way you prevent people from voting is with force and intimidation. That was true for this country until the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But now, the way to disenfranchise people is quietly, and digitally. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you steal an election.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Raider Nation

The best selling team brand in the NFL is the Raiders followed by New England, then Green Bay. The whole list looks vaguely like a trailing indicator of team success. The most popular jersey is that of Terrell Owens.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Pornography As White Noise

Here's a thought provoking piece about porn and culture. (via Fark)

If the porning of America has made baroque displays of flesh and lust commonplace enough not to shock, it has also taken away the underlying questions of power and agency that once accompanied them. Carol Queen, for one, thinks this could be dangerous: "The people utilizing sex images aren't using them in a savvy way. They're focusing on simplistic, self-perpetuating sex imagery that doesn't actually take an articulate look at sexuality." In other words, if there are no hard questions, no good answers and no forward movement, porn is just so much white noise.

Down With the Dialtone

The Telepocolypse is coming and this guy can't wait to disintermediate everyone in his path.


Well if you're sick of the liberal punk agenda of indoctrination perpetuated at Punk Voter then you need a healthy dose of Conservative Punk.
This site has been created to counteract the multiple liberal punk sites on the web, which are run by only a small number of punk artists who are choosing to make up the minds of thousands of voters. will finally allow conservatives who have decided to keep their punk ideals alive a place to air their thoughts on government, liberal counterparts and music. It is being released this year to help inform America's youth about the upcoming election and let them make up their own minds, rather than push liberal sentiment down their throats.

Evidently they like using the word liberal a whole lot. Upon hearing that there was a site like this, I figured it might have some value, but a quick scan of the frontpage really blew the crap out of that idea. The headlines are so laughable as to be almost parodies:

"Tuition Burden falls by a third"
"Draft Fears Unfounded"
"UN Inspectors Present new WMD Findings"
"Kerry's Band of Brothers: 'Kerry Unfit to be Commander in Chief'"
"Does Kerry Have a Soft Spot for Dictators?"

You can find such thought-provoking statements like, "John Kerry will help the enemy kill all of us. He does not represent my idea of America." You guys rock!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

This is what happens when people take cartoons way too seriously. Ironically the point of the group is to take nothing seriously.

Are you ready for something new and better? Something honest, earnest and fun? Something that can make you feel good without making you feel bad?

Perhaps you have never considered going underwater to find a belief system worth investing probably never, in your wildest dreams, thought that the secrets to living a happy, contented and fulfilling life could come from a tiny animated sponge.

Well, we're The Church of SpongeBob Squarepants and we bring to you, today, Good News!

Vintage Tech

The Douglas Self Site is an eclectic mix of web oddities including The Museum of RetroTechnology, some less than successful audio projects and the truth about Roswell. The RetroTech Museum is full of forgotten mechanical devices like monowheels, pneumatic networks, gyrocars, and optical telegraphs. (via dm)

Friday, July 23, 2004

Trouble in Paradise

The Kobe coup will ultimately be viewed as half-baked and self defeating. This guy sums up my feelings on the matter pretty well.

Chaos reigns in Southern California. The Los Angeles Lakers this week decided to hang on to Kobe Bryant and release Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a raft full of Cuban refugees, marking one of the worst decisions in their illustrious history.

So the Lakers, after searching the league for a suitable replacement for the premier big man in the league who was, in their assessment, past his prime, settled on Divac, a 15-year veteran. “Past his prime” does not begin to describe Divac, whose rebounds per game have dropped off drastically over the past three years. While some critics argued that Shaq’s occasional lack of hustle on the court hurt the Lakers, Divac is less mobile than Christopher Reeve trapped inside a glacier. It also does not appear to bother the Lakers that, apart from Bryant and Odom, their offseason moves have left them with a starting lineup (Malone, Payton and Divac) that remembers playing during the Reagan years.

It is interesting to see the salaries for all the NBA players and teams for the 2003-2004 season. Oddly enough there were 25 players paid more than Tim Duncan. He should really get a new agent. Maybe Brian Grant's agent. That fool got $12 million last year for doing journeyman work, at best, and is now wearing the purple and gold. To put that in perspective, that is one million less than Kobe and half a million less than Duncan.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Nazi Cola

You know that commercial where those crazy singing whores dance from place to place spreading that Fanta drink around. Apparently, Fanta was a big hit with Germans in the early 40s if you know what I mean. Here's what Coke's official site had to say about their fascist beverage (with my emphasis added)
A favorite in Europe since the 1940s, Fanta was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1960. Fanta Orange is the core flavor, representing about 70% of sales, but other citrus and fruit flavors have their own solid fan base.

Consumers around the world, particularly teens, fondly associate Fanta with happiness and special times with friends and family. This positive imagery is driven by the brand's fun, playful personality, which goes hand in hand with the bright color (particularly orange), bold fruit taste, and tingly carbonation.

Fanta sells best in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and Argentina. Fanta distribution was increased in the U.S. in 2001 with the return of four flavors: orange, strawberry, pineapple and grape. Orange, the biggest seller, is now available in most of the country.

Rhymes With Science

Rappers used to bring the science more often, but there are still some that do.

The Tornado Zone

I'll watch The O'Reilly Factor from time to time and get something out of a few segments here and there. I used to enjoy it but either I've changed or his show has changed because most of it seems like inane blather now. David Cole appeared to speak on the issue of Guantánamo detentions and ended up seeing how the sausage was made on the show and when he called O'Reilly on it, he got quite a response.
But then I decided to go one step further: "It seems to me like the pot calling the kettle black, Bill, because I just sat here five minutes ago as you re-recorded the introduction to this show to take out a statement from the head of the 9/11 commission stating that there was no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11."

Apparently O'Reilly does not like being called "the pot." He exploded, repeatedly called me an "S.O.B." and assured me that he would cut my accusation from the interview when the show aired. He also said I would "never ever" be on his show again. At this point, I wasn't sure whether to take that as a threat or a promise.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The Dynasty Ends Here

This article sums up events in Lakerland over the past 8 years or so nicely.

They Make Games

That's it. The creators of HomestarRunner have attained the ability to channel humor at will. They started a videogame company. What dark and sinister forces are preventing them from having their own TV series or movie deal? (via this Fark thread)

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Asia: Full of Grace

All the pictures from Kevin Kelly's book Asia Grace are online with a nice interface too. He also gives you some info on the process of photographing and putting the book togther.

This will seem quaint 10 years from now

Wouldn't it be great if you could get the weather from a poorly synthesized computer-generated voice? Well, now you can. Call 1-888-573-8255 and ask Jupiter what the weather is like in nearly any city or what it will be like a week from now. (via the amazing Cool Tools)


Meta-Efficient presents products and things that are efficient, and well designed, as well as functional and sometimes cheap, including an article on the best indoor plants for removing pollution.

The Fox Memos

Wonkette has the set of Fox News memos written by John Moody, head of Fox News, released by the people behind the Outfoxed movie. (via rc3) Oddly enough, their style (but not viewpoint) resembles the memos posted at TBRNews which I eventually concluded were fake.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Online Sounds

Great stuff here including classic SNL, Seinfeld, the OJ trial, and tons of movies. Unfortunately their navigation stinks and they take issue with direct links to their WAVs.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Lack of Intelligence

Here is a nice summary of the Senate report on the Iraq intelligence assesment. (via rc3)

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Bounce With Me

The fascinating story of rubber is explained here. And the guy did a really good job doing it as well. How can the story of rubber be made entertaing and informative? Find out yourself. And compare the story of Reverend Rubber
Many forget about Father Nieuwland. He was an unassuming man who stayed mostly in his laboratory, often eating and sleeping there, stretched out on the lab bench, a rolled up lab coat as a pillow. He refused any royalties on his creation due to his vow of poverty as a priest. Yet we must not forget this creator of chloroprene [neoprene], possibly the greatest figures in industrial invention.

with this recent price fixing scandal.
Dow and DuPont, the two largest U.S. chemical companies, have already disclosed that their DuPont Dow Elastomers LLC joint venture received a subpoena last year in connection with investigations into the synthetic rubber markets for possible antitrust violations, including price fixing.

DuPont took a first-quarter charge of $150 million to provide for anticipated losses for the antitrust litigation and has said it may take further charges in the second quarter.

The newspaper report said at least four grand-jury investigations stemming from the probes were under way in San Francisco. Among the latest products under scrutiny are a widely used plastic, urethane, and a synthetic rubber known as neoprene, the newspaper cited lawyers close to the case as saying.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Unintended Consequences

Chalmer's Johnson reviews Charlie Wilson's War which describes how the US supported Afghan rebels in the 80s.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Deadly Deal

How to throw cards. (via Gammatron)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Good News, Bad news

Let's try to interpret this dense AP article through the good news/bad news filter and see what we get.

The Iraq insurgency is far larger than the 5,000 guerrillas previously thought to be at its core, U.S. military officials say, and it's being led by well-armed Iraqi Sunnis angry at being pushed from power alongside Saddam Hussein.

Although U.S. military analysts disagree over the exact size, dozens of regional cells, often led by tribal sheiks and inspired by Sunni Muslim imams, can call upon part-time fighters to boost forces to as high as 20,000...

That would be bad news. That's a lot of people to kill.

- an estimate reflected in the insurgency's continued strength after U.S. forces killed as many as 4,000 in April alone.

Definitely good news here. At a rate of 4,000 a month, we'll run through the current crop of 20,000 in another 5 months or so, assuming we don't accidentally produce another 20,000 by, say, torturing large numbers of innocent Iraqis and releasing pictures to some America-hating network like CBS.

The developing intelligence picture of the insurgency contrasts with the commonly stated view in the Bush administration that the fighting is fueled by foreign warriors intent on creating an Islamic state.

"We're not at the forefront of a jihadist war here," said a U.S. military official in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity.

This is good news. It means that people on the ground actually know what they're doing in spite of the lame administration bullshit rhetoric. But more importantly it means we're fighting mostly nationalists, not jihadists. You can bargain with the former.

The official and others told The Associated Press the guerrillas have enough popular support among nationalist Iraqis angered by the presence of U.S. troops that they cannot be militarily defeated.

Someone in the US military is telling journalists we're in a war we can't win. That's bad news. Has Dick Cheney been informed yet? Those aren't flowers they're showering on our troops. Let's talk exit strategy then. There's door #1 which leads to chaos, door #2 which leads to more chaos, and door #3 which leads to nuclear chaos.

The military official, who has logged thousands of miles driving around Iraq to meet with insurgents or their representatives, said a skillful Iraqi government could co-opt some of the guerrillas and reconcile with the leaders instead of fighting them.

He did what? This guy is part Rambo, part Henry Kissinger. Well, if you replace Henry Kissinger with someone who isn't a criminal scumbag. Sounds like good news.

U.S. military documents obtained by AP show a guerrilla band mounting attacks in Baghdad that consists of two leaders, four sub-leaders and 30 members, broken down by activity. There is a pair of financiers, two cells of car bomb-builders, an assassin, separate teams launching mortar and rocket attacks, and others handling roadside bombs and ambushes.

Two leaders, huh? Do you mean to tell me that Iraqi insurgent cells are more egalitarian than the martial-law-declaring appointed government in Baghdad? But this is good news because everyone knows you can't run an effective terrorist cell with two leaders. That's when its time for mitosis.

Most of the insurgents are fighting for a bigger role in a secular society, not a Taliban-like Islamic state, the military official said. Almost all the guerrillas are Iraqis, even those launching some of the devastating car bombings normally blamed on foreigners - usually al-Zarqawi.

The official said many car bombings bore the "tradecraft" of Saddam's former secret police and were aimed at intimidating Iraq's new security services.

Many in the U.S. intelligence community have been making similar points, but have encountered political opposition from the Bush administration, a State Department official in Washington said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

Civilian analysts generally agreed, saying U.S. and Iraqi officials have long overemphasized the roles of foreign fighters and Muslim extremists.

I'm shocked, shocked. The Bushies are peddling lies about Iraq and are supressing the true story. Who woulda thunk it? This section deserves its own article, or two, or ten. But if you thought bad news, you'd be wrong. At some point in the rapidly approaching future George Dubya will be crushed under the weight of his own lies like an obese shut-in who suffers from heart failure while simultaneously choking on an entire side of beef. This is yet another fat-filled, Calorie laden, jelly donut of lies that will be his own undoing. Good news.

The officer said Iraq's insurgents have a big advantage over guerrillas elsewhere: plenty of arms, money, and training. Iraq's lack of a national identity card system - and guerrillas' refusal to plan attacks by easily intercepted telephone calls - makes them difficult to track.

Darn those crafty insurgents. If only they wore big signs on their backs with the words "Designated guerilla. Please shoot me." written in huge letters in some real obnoxious font. Then they would be so much easier to spot and catch. This is bad news in the literal sense of the word. The last line is completely out of place and makes no sense.

Osama been forgotten

Remember that Osama guy? Well it looks like we may finally catch him. And just in time for the election in November too.
According to one source in Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), "The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections."