(via APS – What’s New by Bob Park – October 24, 2003)

Some in the Pentagon apparently choose scientific beliefs the way they choose to be Methodists, or Democrats or Chicago Cubs fans. Claims that the Hf-178 isomer can be triggered to release its stored energy by irradiating it with X-rays found plenty of fans in the Pentagon. The energy would lie somewhere between chemical and nuclear. That is, it would if it was so. A group using the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne tried to repeat the isomer-triggering effect reported by Carl Collins and colleagues at U. of Texas at Dallas, using a borrowed dental X-ray machine. Despite a far greater X-ray intensity, the APS group, led by John Schiffer and Don Gemmell found no effect (WN 15 Aug 03). Still, some at the Pentagon call for a costly program to make Hf-178.

Maybe I should try to ge the Pentagon to fund my research on weaponizing Illudium PU-36.

Yet another reason to hate people

Spam has e-mail by the throat, study says:

The report is based on a randomized, national phone survey of 2,200 adults. It defined spam as “unsolicited commercial e-mail” from an unknown sender.

That said, spam is not universally hated.

About a third of people responded to a spam, seeking more information.

And 7 percent actually bought a product or service.

This makes me miss the days when it took a certain amount of technical savvy to use the internet…

Sounds like a bunch of New Age hippie crap to me

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy (via Eschaton):

Rush’s Rehab

From “psychodynamic role-playing and yoga” to “adventure therapy,” “Climbing Wall,” “the desert experience” and “equine-assisted therapy” (yes, bonding with horses), Limbaugh may just think he died and went to “feminazi” hell. The website depicts photos of people with a decidedly Berkeley look sitting around on the floor in what seem like consciousness-raising sessions. Picture Rush holding his fellow travelers’ hands and singing Kumbayah. Surely he’ll be reciting a line from the very president he lambasted for years: “I feel your pain.” How many on the right would have thought that Bill Clinton would be getting the last chuckle, out there aiding his feminazi wife’s successful political career while their man Rush is wandering the desert reciting New Age mantras?

“Self-discovery often crystallizes during an experience that requires physical and mental exertion in the face of a potentially fearful activity,” the description for the Climbing Wall says. “With its height and verticality, the Climbing Wall serves as an important therapeutic metaphor.”

Yes, I’m sure some of you would pay to watch Limbaugh scale that wall. But me, I’d like to observe him during “creative expression therapy,” which includes “art therapy, journaling, meditation” and “clap outs, historygrams, reading assignments” as well as…”sculpting.” These techniques, the website explains, “deepen the journey to self-discovery.”

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Drug Addict

(Thanks to Al Franken, these headlines write themselves)

Rush Limbaugh reportedly involved in pill investigation:

Wilma Cline, 42, says Limbaugh was hooked on the potent prescription drugs OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone – and went through detox twice.

Then there’s this gem (via Eschaton):

A few people (including Tresy) have suggested the new street name for OxyContin should be “dittos,” and a new name for OC addicts be “dittoheads,” a la “crackheads.”

And now a public service announcement for the kiddies:

This is your brain… …this is your brain on OxyContin
Drug Addict

UPDATE (Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories):

NEW YORK, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Rush Limbaugh today issued the following statement on his radio program:

“I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs. I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive.

“Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.”

“I deeply appreciate all your support over this last tumultuous week. It has sustained me. I ask now for your prayers. I look forward to resuming our excursion into broadcast excellence together.”

Here’s some more :

Rush Limbaugh Show, 12-12-95

So we’re not going to get on–we don’t fault these animals for a lack of discipline, but we get on human beings who are fat for lack of discipline and you know it and I know it. But here’s the thing that struck me about this. We have alcoholics and drug addicts in our society, don’t we? And what do we say about them? Well, they can’t help it. Why, it’s genetic. Why, they have a disease. Why, put one thimbleful of scotch in front of them and they can die.’

We totally exempt them from any control over their lives, do we not? Some athlete will spend two years snorting lines of coke. He can’t help it.’ You know, it’s–it’s just–it’s not–it’s–it’s genetic. These people–they’re predisposed to having this addictive syndrome. They–they can’t help–yeah, like that line of cocaine just happened to march into the hotel, go up to the athlete’s room and put itself right there in front of him on his blotter.

Rush Limbaugh Show, 11-14-94

…Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentlemen, a worthless shred of human debris, who had been trying to kill himself for 12 years, and finally did it right, by using a shotgun, so he couldn’t miss…

Rush Limbaugh Show, 10-05-95

“Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. … And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up,”

Rush Dopehead “accepted personal responsibility” for a six year habit, but only because he got caught. Otherwise, he’d be abusing drugs and all the mindless limbots would continue listening while believing their idol is a paragon of virtue.


(via APS – What’s New by Bob Park – October 17, 2003)

On Wednesday, China successfully launched the Shenzhou-5 space capsule into orbit with taikonaut Yang Liwei on board and returned him safely to Earth after 14 orbits. The first American to reach orbit, John Glenn, circled Earth a mere three times in the Mercury-5 capsule – 3 years before Yang was born. And this is only the beginning; China hopes eventually to construct a permanent base on the moon. Americans should welcome China’s new direction. Sending humans into space offers no military, economic, or scientific advantage; rather it’s a symbolic demonstration that China has arrived as an economic power and can now afford to waste vast sums of money. Perhaps the U.S. could help by offering China complete plans for the space shuttle. This would serve the cause of world peace by diverting China’s resources from more dangerous adventures.

While I don’t completely agree with Dr. Park’s opinion on manned space exploration (though I do think NASA’s manned space program for the past 20 years or so has been pretty pointless), I thought this was pretty good.

Mr. Krabs would not approve

This would never have happened if Mr. Eugene H. Krabs was in charge of Red Lobster.

From Joe Bob’s Week in Review:

Edna Morris was booted as president of the Red Lobster restaurant chain after her all-you-eat crab dinner promotion triggered a sell-off of shares and wiped out $405.9 million of stock value in one trading session. The dinner was priced at $22.99, but so many people went back for third and fourth helpings, and wholesale crab prices rocketed up so quickly, that the company had to write off $3.3 million for the first quarter. Customers still searching for the “Endless Crab Dinner” will be told by their waiter, “You’ll love our fish sticks!”

George W. Bush’s Medieval Presidency

I always thought Bush was just the leader to lead this nation into the middle ages…

(From the Los Angeles Times)

It should have been an embarrassing admission for him and a flabbergasting one for us: President Bush told Fox News recently that he only “glanced” at newspaper headlines, rarely reading stories, and that for his real news hits, he relied on briefings from acolytes who, he said flippantly, “probably read the news themselves.” He rationalized his indifference by claiming he needed “objective” information. Even allowing for the president’s contempt for the press, it was a peculiar comment, and it prompted the New York Times to call him “one of the most incurious men ever to occupy the White House.”

The difference between the current administration and its conservative forebears is that facts don’t seem to matter at all. They don’t even matter enough to reinterpret. Bush doesn’t read the papers or watch the news, and Condoleezza Rice, his national security advisor, reportedly didn’t read the National Intelligence Estimate, which is apparently why she missed the remarks casting doubt on claims that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Africa. (She reportedly read the document later.) And although Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld hasn’t disavowed reading or watching the news, he has publicly and proudly disavowed paying any attention to it. In this administration, everyone already knows the truth.

A more sinister aspect to this presidency’s cavalier attitude toward facts is its effort to bend, twist and distort them when it apparently serves the administration’s interests. Intelligence was exaggerated to justify the war in Iraq. Even if there were no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or of ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, the CIA was expected to substantiate the accusations. In a similar vein, the New Republic reported that Treasury Department economists had been demoted for providing objective analysis that would help define policy, as they had done in previous administrations. Now they provide fodder for policy already determined. Said one economist who had worked in the Clinton, Reagan and first Bush administrations, “They didn’t worry about whether they agreed; we were encouraged to raise issues.” Not anymore.

Even the scientific community has been waved off by the medievalists. A minority staff report issued last month by the House Government Reform Committee investigating scientific research found 21 areas in which the administration had “manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings,” including the president’s assurance that there were more than 60 lines for stem-cell research when there were actually only 11; it concluded that “these actions go far beyond the typical shifts in policy that occur with a change in the political party occupying the White House.” When a draft report of the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year included data on global warming, the White House ordered them expunged. Another EPA report, on air quality at ground zero in Manhattan, was altered to provide false reassurance that no danger existed, even though it did.

His self-confidence is certainly admirable at a time when most politicians mistake opinion polls for empiricism. It is also scary. As writer Leon Wieseltier recently observed, this is a presidency without doubt, one entirely comfortable with its own certainties, which is what makes it medieval. But as Wieseltier also observed, it is doubt that deepens one’s vision of life and often provides a better basis for acting within it. It is doubt that helps one understand the world and enables one to avoid hubris. A presidency without doubt and resistant to disconcerting facts is a presidency not on the road to Damascus but on the road to disaster. By regarding facts as political tools, it compromises information and makes reality itself suspect, not to mention that it compromises the agencies that provide the information and makes them unreliable in the future. And by ignoring anything that contradicts its faith, it can vaingloriously plow ahead – right into the abyss. The president and his crew may well live within a pre-Enlightenment lead bubble where they are unwilling and unable to see beyond themselves, but their fellow Americans must live in the real world where even the most powerful nation cannot simply posit its own reality. If you need proof, just read the newspapers.

Doctor Who Returns!

From BBC News:

The much-awaited comeback will be written by acclaimed TV dramatist Russell T Davies – a self-confessed fan.

Davies’ credits include hit dramas like Bob and Rose, Queer as Folk, The Second Coming, Touching Evil, and The Grand.

Let’s hope the new Dr. Who doesn’t suck.

Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurantist drivel; Star Trek can turn your brains to puree of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I’ll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!
— Harlan Ellison