Wednesday, April 22, 2009

if anyone who worked there was going to kill themselves successfully, it was going to be him. not because i ever thought he would, but if he tried, he would do it right. he did everything right. all the time. i am thinking back to times i cut myself on cardboard or glass or a razor - he'd break a cigarette open and cover the wound with tobacco. i didn't know why he did this, i didn't care, i trusted him. if you had a headache, he could massage it out of your body. and you wouldn't have to ask him to. fuck. he left a note. it was vague. no one understands. but i think i do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sonar blasts, deaf dolphins

Shocking. So, it turns out, that directing really loud bursts of sonar at dolphins makes them deaf. Keeping in mind that sonar is how dolphins hear, this is astonishing. That would be the equivalent of loud noises, like explosions or amplified music damaging human hearing. Unthinkable.

Very loud, repeated blasts of sonar can cause a dolphin to temporarily lose its hearing, according to an investigation into a suspected link between naval operations and cetacean strandings.

Numerous beachings of whales, dolphins and porpoises have occurred over the past decade, prompting a finger of blame to be pointed at warship exercises.

A theory is that the mammals' hearing becomes damaged by the powerful mid-frequency sonar used by submarines and surface vessels, prompting the creatures, which themselves use sound for navigation, to become disoriented.

What a theory it is! Kudos to these scientists for conceptualizing an experiment in which captive dolphins are subjected to sonar until they become deaf. Don't worry though, it didn't hurt them at all, it just made them freak out and temporarily lose their hearing. I know I would not be concerned if I became deaf for a period.

Marine biologists led by Aran Mooney at the University of Hawaii exposed a captive-born, trained Atlantic bottlenose dolphin to progressively louder pings of mid-frequency sonar.

The experiment took place in open water pens at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and in the presence of the dolphin's trainer.

The scientists fitted a harmless suction cup to the dolphin's head, with a sensor attached that monitored the animal's brainwaves.

When the pings reached 203 decibels and were repeated, the neurological data showed the mammal had become deaf, for its brain no longer responded to sound.

The deafness, though, was only temporary and the dolphin was not hurt in the experiment, said Mooney.

The hearing was typically restored after 20 minutes, and its loss only occurred after the dolphin was exposed to five rounds of noise. Each round comprised a block of three pings, with 24 seconds between each block.

Other sensors showed that the dolphin's breathing rose significantly when the sonar was turned on.

Fascinating. Again, as I am having a hard time grasping this, directing loud sonar frequency waves at dolphins is detrimental to them. Wow.

On the other hand, a cetacean that sought to escape a persistent loud sonar may not easily find an escape route, said Mooney.

"In the ocean, sound doesn't attenuate in a normal fashion. Sound can sometimes get trapped at the surface, in layers called thermoclines, at the top 325 feet or so.

"Maybe in those conditions it's more difficult to get away from the sound to a quieter area."

Yeah, maybe. 

Bye bye Arctic

Who cares. It's just a bunch of ice anyway. Ice sucks. You can't drive on it. And I get all the ice I need from my freezer. Plus the beach will get a lot closer to my house.

Some 80 percent of Arctic ice may disappear in 30 years, not 90 as scientists had previously estimated, according to a new study on the impact of global warming.

"The amount of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice at the end of summer by then could be only about 1 million square kilometers, or about 620,000 square miles," said researchers who authored the study published Thursday.

"That's compared to today's ice extent of 4.6 million square kilometers, or 2.8 million square miles," they added, warning the development "raises the question of ecosystem upheaval."

The scientists made their projections based on models that took accounted for changes in Arctic ice, which saw "dramatic declines" at the end of summer in 2007 and 2008, when the ice surface dropped to 4.3 and 4.6 million square kilometers (1.7 and 1.8 million square miles), respectively.

The models pointed to a "nearly ice-free" Arctic in just 32 years, with some of the models making the same prediction for 11 years from now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Your meal is smart

Some of it can add. I bet much of the rest of it can too, as well as many other things we will never understand because we are too busy butchering, devaluing, commodifying and consuming.

Scientists from the universities of Padova and Trento demonstrated chicks' ability to add and subtract objects as they were moved behind two screens.

Lucia Regolin, an author of the study said the animals "performed basic arithmetic" to work out which screen concealed the larger group of objects...

In each of the mini maths tests, a chick watched from a clear-fronted holding box while one of the researchers slowly moved the balls behind the screens - three behind one screen and two behind the other.

The front door of the box was then opened, releasing the chick into the tiny arena, so it could walk around and select a screen to look behind.

"The chicks still approached the larger of the two groups first, even though they had to rely on memory to work out which screen to choose," said Professor Regolin.

Swapping the objects from one screen to another didn't fool the maths-performing chicks.

"In a further experiment, once we had hidden the balls behind each screen, we transferred some of them from one to the other," Professor Regolin explained.

The birds, she said, were able to "count" the balls that were moved to work out which screen hid the larger set at the end of the transfer.

"They still chose correctly - adding up the numbers based on groups of objects they couldn't see at that moment."

It is already known that many non-human primates and monkeys can count, and even domestic dogs have been found to be capable of simple additions.

But this is the first time the ability has been seen in such young animals, and with no prior training.

They're also really cute.

Bill Clinton - piece of shit

Lots of liberals and Democrats and whomever else love to remember Bill Clinton as a great guy, a really well-meaning president, and characterize his administration as a progressive one that will always be worthy of praise. Fuck that.

The Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, and provides that states need not recognize the marriage of a same sex couple from another state.
These people are all the same.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Property destruction aimed at the state is not violence

I wanted to point that out because so often, in corporate news accounts of events like yesterday's G20 protests in London, the trashing of banks, government offices, multinational corporate locations or other capitalist redoubts is referred to as "violence." It is not. Breaking a window at a bank, spraypainting a police station or smashing up a McDonald's is not violence. Rather, violence emanates from these places.

Banks are the current hotspots of violence. How many people are unemployed, how many people have lost their houses or are on the verge of doing so because of investment bankers gone wild? You know about some of the debacles here, but the economy is global. Nothing that happens in America stays in America. Example:

RBS [The Royal Bank of Scotland] has been the focus of particular anger because it was bailed out by the British government after a series of disastrous deals brought it to the brink of bankruptcy. Still, its former chief executive Fred Goodwin — age 50 — managed to walk off with an annual pension of 703,000 pounds ($1.2 million) even as unemployment in Britain rises from some 2 million.
It has been often reported that the arm of AIG [American International Group] most responsible for their unpleasant financial state is based out of London. Those people are thumbing their noses and waving their pounds at America, refusing to return their bonuses.

When you cannot pay your rent, when your house has been foreclosed upon, when you try to find a job but there are none to be had, that is a direct result of violence.

"Every job I apply for there's already 150 people who have also applied," said protester Nathan Dean, 35, who lost his information technology job three weeks ago. "I have had to sign on to the dole (welfare) for the first time in my life. You end up having to pay your mortgage on your credit card and you fall into debt twice over."
Someone, or rather, a group of people, have done violence to you. How can I say that? Think about it. One of the definitions of violence is "an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws." Being unwillingly thrown into this economy, the least they can do is guarantee us a right to a job. And we certainly have a right to housing. It's enough that we work for you. The least you can do is give us a place to go at night. But these things are being taken away through deliberate means. They are being taken away because these capitalists are using their power to do so. The people running these institutions don't give a FUCK about those below them or how their actions affect the world. Money money money.

And the police, come on. They are violence incarnate. The only way they have any power is due to their monopoly on legal violence. When a cop tells you to move, you do it. Why? If not, you'll get shoved, hit, pepper sprayed or tasered. Violence. I do not believe that most people obey police out of respect. It's fear. Fear of violence.

Their physical violence, that's only the first step. Then they haul you off to jail, coerce you into paying bail money, extort court fees and fines and forcibly retain you in a prison. That's violence. If someone who were not a representative of the government ran you through a similar process, it would be felony kidnapping.

Property destruction can be violent though, but really only the other way around. When the police come in and trash your house, when they bust up your means to earn a living, that is violence. Most people don't have a way to easily replace those things. When banks that make billions a year and throw their executives seven figure bonuses take your house from you and leave you with nothing, that is violent. They send the police in to make sure you leave.

A window in Starbucks though, fuck. I do not have a way to quantify the financial insignificance of that. That company pulled in $10.4 billion last year. A broken window is far, far less than the equivalent of a penny to me. For fuck's sake, their insurance covers it anyway. And McDonald's? It drips with violence - against the planet, animals, and workers forced to take their shitty fucking jobs for no money out of desperation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm sorry that I was racist at you, you are famous

Hello. My name is Robert Powell. My friend calls me Bob. Until today, I was a police officer in Dallas, Texas. Two weeks ago, I saw a vehicle, with hazard lights on, roll through a red light and several stop signs. When the driver got to the hospital, which is where he was going, I saw everyone in the car was black. GREAT. Can't I catch a break?

So as soon as they pulled up and parked, two women get out of the car and run into the hospital! You better believe I drew my gun, told them to get back in the car and show me their hands. They didn't listen and one of them told me her mother was dying inside. Glad none of my family voted for Obama.

Then the guy driving gets out, and HE tries to go inside too! I told him, while waving my gun around, not to move, and that if he didn't produce his insurance card, I was gonna have to lock him up. Boy, his attitude really sucked. He kept saying something about his mother-in-law dying inside, that she only had minutes to live.

Next thing you know, a nurse comes out and starts giving me the same guff. I ignored her as best I could, but then a fellow officer came and said the SAME thing! I knew better though. This perp needed to be handled. I did the best I could, kept him outside for thirteen minutes, wrote him a ticket and let him inside. Yeah, let him. I could have kept him longer if I wanted. He got lucky.

So here it is, a couple of weeks later, and everyone's goin wild about me doing my job. Even if they were going to the hospital to see her mother, his mother-in-law, before she passed, they broke the law. If they didn't violate our legal code, he wouldn't have been standing in the parking lot while she died. Not my fault. I didn't make him run that light. Once he did that, all bets are off. He's at MY mercy then. I could have hauled him in, and I should have, with his attitude.

Turns out this guy who was driving is a pro football player. Now everyone thinks he deserves special attention. They all say I should have let him go inside, I should have listened to him, there was no reason at all to pull my gun on his wife, I shouldn't have treated him like an animal, and so on. Ya hear me? HE WAS BLACK. And it was late.

Here's a video of me taking care of business with this perp. It's got a lot of my good lines in there. Even though it's dark out, you can still tell he's black.

So I've been suspended with pay for the last few weeks, and it's been great. I watch the TV all day and don't have to deal with all them scum. Reporters call all day, but I like talkin to em so they can find out what really happened. The chief though, he don't like it much. He says he understands, but that it makes the department look bad, so he made me quit today. Damn chief, I even apologized after people found out!

It's ok though, cause shit, I liked bein a cop, but I'm gonna downright LOVE bein a prison guard!