June 15, 2008 archive


Simple Magnetic Overunity Toy.  Overunity is the new keyword assigned to machines claiming perpetual motion.  Is it plausible to believe that the foundations of electrical science most of which was done in the early 1900s are either incomplete or could use an update.  An entire century of new materials, construction techniques and increased measuring capacity.

Are we on the cusp of Back To the Future and the flux capacitor?

Maybe they have had it all along.

It is said it violates THE LAWS of thermodynamics.  Well ya’ll know what I think of THE LAW.

Café Discovery: The Unfather

Every year is the same.  Father’s Day shows up, an uninvited guest which has already used up the first three days of its visit (as per the old saying) and is beginning to resemble the dead fish way too much.


O.E. fæder, from P.Gmc. *fader (cf. O.N. faðir, Ger. vater), from PIE *p@ter (cf. Sanskit pitar−, Gk. pater, L. pater, O.Pers. pita, O.Ir. athir “father”), presumably from baby-speak sound like pa. The classic example of Grimm’s Law, where PIE “p−” becomes Gmc. “f−.”  Spelling with −th− (16c.) reflects widespread phonetic shift in M.E. that turned −der to −ther in many words; spelling caught up to pronunciation in 1500s (cf. burden, murder).  Fatherland (1623) is a loan-translation of Ger. Vaterland, itself a loan-translation of L. patria (terra), lit. “father’s land.”  Father’s Day dates back to 1910 in Spokane, Wash., but was not widespread until 1943, in imitation of Mother’s Day.

Online Etymology Dictionary

I mostly want to go hide somewhere, so I’ll mostly be watching men play golf.  Go figure.  It’s most assuredly not a good way to avoid Father’s Day.

Last year I wrote the following, which flashes back to an even earlier post in another SpaceTime.  It made the Rec List at the Orange.  Think of it as a way for me not to have to write something new.

Splinters and Splatters

Linda Hirshman, not everybody’s favorite feminist made an interesting and provocative state during an on line interview about the Democratic party in general and by inference, progressive men. The on line conversation talked essentially about the future and challenges of “feminism.”

As my young friend Jill Filipovic put it in her interview, the progressive white men who run the Democratic Party do not have to pay attention to women, because they know we always will come back to them. And we lower our value even further by adopting their causes — civil rights, the environment, etc. — as our own, whole cloth, without any trade off.

Oddly enough, I both agree and disagree with her. She welcomes ire and controversy and has established a career out of it.

I disagree that issues like civil rights and the environment are “their” issues, clearly they belong to all of us. But I do wonder about the first part of her statement.

Is that accurate? Nobody in this campaign has mentioned for example that affordable day care for families who have two working parents is rarely discussed. For good reason. Mention the words “daycare” in this country and critics on the left and the right will jump in with a haughty opinion about “who should be raising children”. Mention the pay gap that exists and pundits will blah blah on about how women leave the work force to have children and that explains it quite nicely than you. HRC is being touted as “proof” that the ceiling has cracks in it and several self described feminists have actively supported Barack Obama.

In many ways there is not an actual feminist movement in this country in the same way that a progressive movement does not actually exist. The feminist movement has largely been castigated as a group of middle class white women who have not been attuned to issues of class or race or particularly respectful to women who actively chose more traditional roles. Feminism has been blamed for making women unhappy and alienating men in much the same way that people who discuss class have been accused of fueling “class hatred and resentment.”

Tipping Point

Today, I’d like to riff on a comment made by Valtin in Buhdy’s essay this week about fear:

All fears are conquered, ultimately, by facing them, and by accepting the fear that is felt, and acting anyway.

The trick is to face the fear. For that, one needs social support. This is how soldiers go into battle: solidarity with their comrades, and with leadership they believe in.

The same will be true for the legions who must be mobilized to change things. Once people perceive that others are willing to take the risk, things can begin to move quickly.

It is my assessment that the political elites, both Democratic and Republican, are sitting on a social volcano.

And when it blows…

(emphasis mine)

This was done in your name

This is a disturbing diary, so I am warning you up front.

A report out of Iraq this past week by Dahr Jamail highlights another stunningly horrific result of the illegal use of white phosphorus and chemical weapons in Fallujah by “coalition forces” back in late 2004 and 2005.

Babies born in Fallujah are showing illnesses and deformities on a scale never seen before, doctors and residents say.

The new cases, and the number of deaths among children, have risen after “special weaponry” was used in the two massive bombing campaigns in Fallujah in 2004.

After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November 2005 that white phosphorous, a restricted incendiary weapon, was used a year earlier in Fallujah.

In addition, depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admits to having used 1,200 tons of DU in Iraq thus far.

Greening the School House

Last month, to far (FAR) less attention than it merited, the House of Representatives (facing an Administration veto threat) passed the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act with $20 billion for greening public schools across the nation.

Taking aggressive action to green schools is about one of the smartest steps the nation can take, action that should go beyond bipartisanship to true unity of action as it is a win-win-win-win strategy along so many paths:

  • Save money for communities and taxpayers
  • Create employment
  • Foster capacity for ‘greening’ the nation
  • Reduce pollution loads
  • Improve health
  • Improve student performance / achievement
  • And, well, other benefits. In the face of these benefits, “The White House threatened a veto, saying it was wrong for the federal government to launch a costly new school-building program.”

    McClatchy – “We got the wrong guys”

    McClatchy has started a series today on our ‘War on Terror’.

    McClatchy tracked down 66 men released from Guantanamo in the most systematic survey to date of prisoners held there. Many had no connection to terrorism, but their experience turned them against America.

    Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

    Paul Revere and the Raiders

    Music from the local area of my formative years:

    Louie Louie

    McCain’s 1974 Report on the Torture of POWs

    The New York Times has aquired a 44-page report filed in 1974 by Commander John S. McCain after his return from North Vietnam.  The document is titled “Individual Research Project: The Code of Conduct and the Vietnam Prisoners of War.”  The full pdf can be found here.

    The Times’ story on McCain’s report focuses on his suggestion that American troops be told more about U.S. foreign policy, and upon McCain’s insistance on the importance of forgiveness: an issue McCain addresses briefly toward the end of the report.

    There are many fascinating passages in the 44 pages.  The Times does not quote, for example, this passage, which ought to be required reading for everyone who is engaging in the torture debate in the United States, today.  I will simply offer it without further editorial comment.  This is my transcript of the pdf text.

    Docudharma Times Sunday June 15

    As Good As That Morning Cup Of Coffee

    OK, Probably Not Just Pretend

    That It Is

    Sunday’s Headlines:

    Private bills can halt deportation, but rarely bring resolution

    We won’t be Berlusconi’s scapegoats, say Gypsies

    What now for Europe? The EU’s Irish problem

    Young author gives a voice to China’s rebel generation

    Million flee south Chinese floods

    Hamas and Gaza emerge reshaped after takeover

    Iraq violence takes toll on gold artisans

    Mugabe: if I lose the poll, we will wage war

    Al-Qaida branch claims recent attacks in Algeria

    Drugs cartel led by woman turns Mexican town into shooting gallery

    Nuclear Ring Reportedly Had Advanced Design


    Published: June 15, 2008

    WASHINGTON – American and international investigators say that they have found the electronic blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon on computers that belonged to the nuclear smuggling network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist, but that they have not been able to determine whether they were sold to Iran or the smuggling ring’s other customers.

    The plans appear to closely resemble a nuclear weapon that was built by Pakistan and first tested exactly a decade ago. But when confronted with the design by officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency last year, Pakistani officials insisted that Dr. Khan, who has been lobbying in recent months to be released from the loose house arrest that he has been under since 2004, did not have access to Pakistan’s weapons designs.


    The Bubble

    How homeowners, speculators and Wall Street dealmakers rode a wave of easy money with crippling consequences.

    By Alec Klein and Zachary A. Goldfarb

    The Washington Post

    Sunday, June 15, 2008; Page A01

    The black-tie party at Washington’s swank Mayflower Hotel seemed a fitting celebration of the biggest American housing boom since the 1950s: filet mignon and lobster, a champagne room and hundreds of mortgage brokers, real estate agents and their customers gyrating to a Latin band. On that winter night in 2005, the company hosting the gala honored itself with an ice sculpture of its logo. Pinnacle Financial had grown from a single office to a national behemoth generating $6.5 billion in mortgages that year. The $100,000-plus party celebrated the booming division that made loans largely to Hispanic immigrants with little savings. The company even booked rooms for those who imbibed too much.

    Legal Drugs Cause Three Times as Many Deaths as Illegal Drugs

    Noted without comment: a study of drug deaths in Florida shows nearly three times as many deaths from legal drugs than from illegal drugs.

    The report’s findings track with similar studies by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which has found that roughly seven million Americans are abusing prescription drugs. If accurate, that would be an increase of 80 percent in six years and more than the total abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy and inhalants.

    The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids – strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin – caused 2,328.

    Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 – fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).

    The study also found that while the number of people who died with heroin in their bodies increased 14 percent in 2007, to 110, deaths related to the opioid oxycodone increased 36 percent, to 1,253.

    Florida scrutinizes drug-related deaths more closely than do other states, and so there is little basis for comparison with them.

    Do you suppose that the government will start defoliating GlaxoSmithKline’s territory like they have been doing to Columbia for over a decade?

    Argentina Breaks Up Farmers’ Protest, Strikes Continue (Updated)

    cross posted from The Dream Antilles


    Police Break Up Today’s Protest

    This past Spring (Fall in Argentina) Argentina’s president, Cristina Kirchner, decided to raise export taxes on grains. This has led to more than three months of bitter protests by farmers, essayed here, and to shortages of meat, oil, flour and fuel.  Kirchner has refused to repeal the tax increase, which she claims will cut inflation and increase food supplies to the poor. Farmers have responded by cutting off transportation routes in an effort to strike back at the government. And the government has said in response to blockades of roads by farmers that it would guarantee free travel on all roads in Argentina.

    As a result, food that normally ships to Europe and Asia has not made it to port, and hundreds of thousands of gallons of spoiled milk have been dumped on rural routes, and there are huge shortages of food in the capital city and elsewhere.  In other words, after more than 3 months, there remains a complete deadlock.

    Please join me in Gualeguaychu.  

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