Wednesday, October 09, 2002

USA’s long history of bioweapons use

Yahoo! News - U.S. Secretly Tested Bioweapons

For example:
Devil Hole I, designed to test how sarin gas would disperse after being released in artillery shells and rockets in aspen and spruce forests. The tests occurred in the summer of 1965 at the Gerstle River test site near Fort Greeley, Alaska. Sarin is a powerful nerve gas that causes a choking, thrashing death. The Bush administration says it is part of Iraq's chemical arsenal.

Devil Hole II, which tested how the nerve agent VX behaved when dispersed with artillery shells. The test at the Gerstle River site in Alaska also included mannequins in military uniforms and military trucks. VX is one of the deadliest nerve agents known and is persistent in the environment because it is a sticky liquid that evaporates slowly. Iraq has acknowledged making tons of VX.

Big Tom, a 1965 test that included spraying bacteria over the Hawaiian island of Oahu to simulate a biological attack on an island compound, and to develop tactics for such an attack. The test used Bacillus globigii, a bacterium believed at the time to be harmless. Researchers later discovered the bacterium, a relative of the one that causes anthrax, could cause infections in people with weakened immune systems.

Rapid Tan I, II, and III, a series of tests in 1967 and 1968 in England and Canada. The tests used sarin and VX, as well as the nerve agents tabun and soman, at the British chemical weapons facility in Porton Down, England. Tests at the Suffield Defence Research Establishment in Ralston, Canada, included tabun and soman, the records show. Tabun and soman are chemically related to sarin and produce similar effects.
posted by lee on 10/09/02 at 09:58 AM
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science fiction zine

The Infinite Matrix is an, ummm, "online journal for people who like science fiction." Has a blog by Bruce Sterling, stories, a fundraising campaign, other things. It's very pretty -- worth looking at for sure.
posted by lee on 10/09/02 at 05:02 PM
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Thursday, October 10, 2002

from Mark Fiore

Why we must invade Iraq right now, a Flash movie.

Check out his animation gallery while you're there -- very clever, very funny!
posted by lee on 10/10/02 at 10:25 AM
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Friday, October 11, 2002

Practice. Purify. Purr-fection.


Very informative videos demonstrate yoga techniques for you and your cat.

"Our goal is to present a practical, step-by-step guide for humans & their cats to activate their fullest potential, allowing man, woman, & feline to dwell in the ecstasy of physical, mental, & spiritual health."

This site also has a comprehensive links page, including a link to the excellent documentary site: Cats are from Mars.
posted by lee on 10/11/02 at 10:35 AM
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Sunday, October 13, 2002

it’s not that hard to get it right

New York Times: Confronting `NOO-kyuh-luhr' Proliferation by Jesse Sheidlower

Of the many language controversies that arouse passions, no other -- not "hopefully," not the split infinitive, not "most unique" -- seems to bother people as much as this. Even though this pronunciation is now included as a variant in all major American dictionaries, a usage panel convened for the "Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage" rejected it by a factor of 99 to 1. Steve Kleinedler, the pronunciation editor of the "American Heritage Dictionary," said complaints about this variant are the most frequent comment he gets. Merriam-Webster editors have written a special form letter to respond to those who write in to criticize the inclusion of this pronunciation.

Yet the use of "NOO-kyuh-luhr" is not uncommon, even among prominent and educated people, including four of the nation's last 10 presidents: Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was widely admonished for it; Gerald R. Ford; Jimmy Carter, who did graduate work in nuclear physics, and also used "NOO-kee-yer"; and now George W. Bush.

I don't care WHO pronounces it wrong: mispronouncing "nuclear" makes a person sound like he or she didn't get past the 6th grade.
posted by lee on 10/13/02 at 08:30 PM
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Tuesday, October 15, 2002

how to hurt saddam

The Whoops-o-Matic by Mark Fiore Yep, yep, yep.
posted by lee on 10/15/02 at 06:26 PM
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Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Joseph Lieberman: Georgie’s Girl

Affair gone awry:
Lieberman 'surprised and disappointed'

Senator Joseph Lieberman says he is "surprised and disappointed" by the White House pull-out of the 9/11 Independent Commission "just hours after Congressional Republicans and Democrats announced that they had agreed on the terms of an independent commission to investigate the September 11, 2001 attacks."

You know, if he really was surprised he's too stupid to hold public office. Of course the White House was supporting the independent commission -- UNTIL the Congressional stooges gave the current regime what it wanted. Cheney got his authorization for war -- so now why should the regime give in to the Congress on an issue they don't want investigated?

Lieberman is just as big a liar as the Bush/Cheney regime. He claimed throughout the presidential campaign that his religion does not affect his actions in Congress. This is total bat guano. He voted for war with Iraq twice, once for Daddy B and now for Sonny B -- not because he thinks it's the right thing to do, but because getting rid of Hussein will supposedly remove a big threat to Israel. And has anyone EVER heard him condemn Israel's illegal actions in Palestine? I don't criticize him for letting his religion affect his politics -- I criticize him for lying about it. Hey, Joe, not letting religion affect your job means more than going to work on the Sabbath, so cut the crap and at least utter one honest statement in your sad, sad political career.

I voted against him the last two times he was up -- I've always thought he was a sleaze and nothing he's done has given me any reason to change my mind.

He sure doesn't give a damn that the majority of his constituents are against war with Iraq and are against Israel's campaign to wipe Palestinians off the face of the earth. He better hope things turn around by the time he runs for anything again -- or we'll be looking carefully at his record to see if he's done anything for us rather than for the Republicans and a country thousands of miles away.

Blame Stanley for this rant -- he sent me the link that got me riled up ...
posted by lee on 10/16/02 at 03:50 PM
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Saturday, October 19, 2002

we saw “the ring”:  2.5 stars

Elvis Mitchell, writing in the New York Times, panned it in Don't Touch 'Play'! It Could Be Fatal. Robert Ebert gave it two stars: "Rarely has a more serious effort produced a less serious result than in "The Ring," the kind of dread dark horror film where you better hope nobody in the audience snickers, because the film teeters right on the edge of the ridiculous." However, real people rate it much higher: it gets 4.5 stars on and 8 out of 10 in the Internet Movie Database

The RingLast night, right after the movie, I would've rated it three out of four stars. It really creeped me out - the way a good ghost story should. Today, maybe 2.5 stars. There were a lot of things that just didn't work in this movie. I don't think it is as bad as Mitchell's as-usual-pretentious review makes it out to be, or as without redeeming features as Ebert says it is, but it's not anywhere near as good as The Others or The Devil's Backbone, or The Sixth Sense, three other ghost stories that I rate four (out of four) stars each.

There's one scene in The Ring in particular, a spectacular scene of a horse run amok on a ferry, that was ruined for me because what led up to it was stupid -- Rachel, the "heroine," tries to pet a horse. The horse tries to bite her. She tries again. The horse gets even more agitated and dangerous. Does she walk away? Of course not, she tries AGAIN AND AGAIN ... very stupid scene.

Our Heroine's um, sidekick? Name of Noah, father of her child Aidan, video geek ... lousy, lousy actor. Just awful. Played by Martin Henderson, of no particular claim to fame.

Which leads to another implausible scene: the records office at the loony bin. There is no way a hospital, public or private, is going to store patient records that haphazardly, especially records that are not even 25 years old. Doesn't happen.

But the movie is dark and scary and interesting to look at. Ebert and Mitchell claim the characters are cold, particularly Our Heroine. They are, but why would this detract from the movie when the characters are not at all atypical of the current crop of self-absorbed 20-somethings? I didn't care if Rachel, or her son, or Noah died or not since I didn't particularly like them as people (not even the son, who is a creepy as the ghost, in his own way). I just didn't want anyone to die until the mystery was solved. This movie doesn't cheat - it's billed as a horror flick and it is - though more horrifying than horror. No cliche ending, either. Nope, it's all set up for Ring 2 and maybe even Ring 3. Just like the Japanese version.

The best, very best, ghost story/horror story I ever saw, one that terrified me without showing an ounce of blood or a glimpse of gore, is still The Woman in Black. That's my gold standard. I keep waiting for one as good to come along. Any suggestions?
posted by lee on 10/19/02 at 10:26 AM
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Sunday, October 20, 2002

small victory

A small victory in the war against spam: Spammer must pay $98,000 fine. It's a start, albeit a small one. Now I wish our showboat CT Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, would get on the anti-spam bandwagon. He was able to kick Microsoft's corporate butt, but I bet he'd have a much tougher time with spammers.

I wonder if Connecticut has any anti-spam laws? I'll have to research that.
posted by lee on 10/20/02 at 05:19 PM
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Thursday, October 24, 2002

New Yorker Cartoons

Check out the Cartoon Channel at The New Yorker. Kind of a pain in the ass, but interesting if you're on a boring call and can't really concentrate on anything else. Beats solitaire, for a while at least.
posted by lee on 10/24/02 at 08:52 PM
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