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World scientists meet to finish up long-awaited global warming report

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 20:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


Scientists from around the world gathered in Paris on Monday to finalise an authoritative report on climate change, expected to be a grim warning of rising temperatures and sea levels worldwide.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to unveil its latest assessment of the environmental threat posed by global warming on Friday.

As the panel meets, the planet is the warmest it has been in thousands of years – if not more – and international concern over what to do about it has grown.

Early drafts of the document look rosier than the last report, in 2001, foreseeing smaller sea level rises than previously predicted.

But many top scientists reject the new figures, saying they are not new enough, as they do not include the recent melt-off of big ice sheets in two crucial locations – Greenland and Antarctica.

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Warp drive

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 19:41 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


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New Microsoft Email Shows Panic Over OSX Tiger’s Features

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 13:33 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft


Previously it was Allchin lamenting his experience with a Creative Zen digital music player and his WMP software, saying that the iPod and iTunes blew it away. Before that it was Allchin saying he would buy a Mac if he didn’t work at Microsoft, which, despite being taken a bit out of context, was still quite damning.

Now it’s an email from Lenn Pryor, the former Director of Platform Evangelism:

Tonight I got on corpnet, hooked up Mail.app to my Exchange server and then downloaded all of my mail into the local file store. I did system wide queries against docs, contacts, apps, photos, music, and … my Microsoft email on a Mac. It was fucking amazing. It is like I just got a free pass to Longhorn land today.

Wow. The email, which can be found in its entirely here as an eminently-readable PDF, goes on to suggest that Pryor didn’t want to give his Tiger installation DVD up and that high-level Microsoft employees were openly sharing OSX Tiger DVDs, which, if I’m not mistaken, is not what Apple and its licensing agreement condones.


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Political Meddling With Justice

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 13:19 by John Sinteur in category: News


The federal investigation into Congressional corruption is approaching a crucial deadline and potential dead end. Feb. 15 is the last day on the job for United States Attorney Carol Lam of San Diego, the inquiry’s dedicated prosecutor, who is being purged by the Bush administration.

Her investigation led to the imprisonment of former Representative Randy Cunningham, the California Republican who took millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for delivering lucrative government contracts. But just as Ms. Lam was digging into other possible wrongdoing, the White House decided to force her from office without explanation.

Ms. Lam has been investigating the dealings of Brent Wilkes, a private contractor and deep-pocketed political contributor who was designated co-conspirator No. 1 in the Cunningham case. Mr. Wilkes developed other cozy relationships. Among other avenues, the inquiry has been looking into rich government contracts secured by corporations and lobbyists with ties to Representative Jerry Lewis — the former appropriations chairman — and his staff. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Mr. Wilkes could be indicted before Ms. Lam leaves office. The question now is whether her successor, as yet unnamed, will pursue the inquiry with the same dedication or will quietly smother it.

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Unhappy Meals

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 12:52 by John Sinteur in category: News


Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that I’m tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words. I’ll try to resist but will go ahead and add a couple more details to flesh out the advice. Like: A little meat won’t kill you, though it’s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.? Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.

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Non-Binding Version of the Declaration of Independence

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 11:25 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Non-Binding Declaration of the Thirteen Colonies of King George III

When in the Course of Political Necessity it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the respect they once had for themselves, and to assume among the powerless of the earth, the separate and equal powerlessness to which the Supremacy of Kings consigns them, a feigned respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to bleat like sheep.

We hold these truths to be impractical, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments cannot actually be instituted among Men, and cannot derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, because there isn’t enough time and we don’t have the votes.

BUT, whenever any Form of Government enslaves the people, it is the Right of the People to complain about it to each other, and to argue amongst themselves while their Government institutes further slavery, invoking even greater powers to enslave and organizing its powers in such form, as to that Government shall seem most likely to extend forever its own Safety and Happiness.

Moral Cowardice, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be held accountable; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are always disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Consequently, we have resolved that even though this long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce us under absolute Despotism, it would be too difficult to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for our future security.

Such is the inevitable fate of these Colonies; and such is now the political necessity which constrains us from doing anything other than offering this Non-Binding Declaration. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. But we may have a different King in 1778. We may even have a Queen, and she might even listen to us if we behave ourselves.

To prove that we are serious defenders of the Rights of the People, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:

The King has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good, but this has not stopped us, even once, from passing more laws.

The King has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. We’ve written letters to him about this, and expect to hear back from him any day now.

The King has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. We’ve already received a letter back from the King about this, and he has assured us that he is not a Tyrant.

The King has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. If we weren’t so tired, we’d lodge a formal complaint with the Registrar of Public Records.

The King has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly and womanly and at times, even childish firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. Our friend and colleague, Josiah Lieberman, is looking into this for us.

The King has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. We would like to take action on this, but it might embolden the merciless Indian savages and demoralize our militiamen.

The King has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. Some of us don’t like Immigrants either, they are taking away too many tavern cleaning jobs from our constituents.

The King has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. Our friend and colleague Jeremiah Scalia told us to get over this, and we are striving to do so.

The King has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. We tried to stop this, and until we do, we strongly advise our constituents to refrain from getting arrested.

The King has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. We are currently investigating this, and will issue a full report as soon as we finish our Phase I report about the witch burnings in Salem.

The King has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. As long he doesn’t draft any of our constituents, we don’t have a problem with that.

The King has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. Lord Rumsfeld has been replaced by Lord Gates, let’s give him a chance before we make any hasty judgments about military issues.

We have been told that the King has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

We have been told that in order to prevail in his War on Fright, he has quartered large bodies of armed troops among us:

We have been told that he has protected them, by mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on Mohammedans or anyone else he doesn’t like:

We have been told that he has opened the first Wal-Mart and told us to go shopping:

We have been told that he has cut Taxes on his cronies with their enthusiastic Consent:

We have been told that he has deprived us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

We have been told that he has transported some of us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

We have been told that he has abolished the free System of Elections in the neighboring colony of Connecticut, establishing therein a monumentally stupid sycophant, and praises him as an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into other Colonies:

We have been told that he has taken away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

We have been told that he has suspended our own Legislatures, and declared himself invested with unitary power to decide for us in all cases whatsoever.

We have been told that he has undermined Government here, by declaring us unpatriotic and waging ideological War against us.

We have been told that he has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

We have been told that he is at this time hiring large Armies of Mercenaries to compleat his works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

We have been told that he has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

We have been told that he has unleashed Lord Rove to excite domestic disputes amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions because they hate us for our freedoms.

Some of us have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. Some of us believe that this King, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. But most of us are concerned that actually declaring our Independence would be seen as an act of vengeance, would take too long, wouldn’t have enough votes in the House of Lords, would divert our attention from important legislation like passing a minimum wage for candle makers, and that we should just wait and hope we get a Queen in 1778.

So . . . based upon this wise advice and counsel, we, therefore, the Representatives of the Thirteen Colonies of King George, in General Congress, Assembled, ignoring the Supreme Judge of the world, do, in the Name, and by Authority of Ourselves, cravenly publish and non-bindingly declare, That these Colonies would like to become Free and Independent States at some point, would like to be Absolved someday from Allegiance to the British Crown, and would like that all political connection between us and the State of Great Britain be dissolved, as soon as King George III or one of his distant descendents deems it to be fit and proper.

For the sake of this non-binding Declaration, with a shaky reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually request that everyone be responsible enough to keep quiet until 1778 and give this plan a chance.

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Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 11:12 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


A frilled shark, rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is 600 metres or more under the sea, is seen in this photo released by the Awashima Marine Park in Numazu, south of Tokyo January 24, 2007. (Awashima Marine Park/Handout/Reuters)

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Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 11:08 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Google Maps Sydney Flyover

Posted on January 29th, 2007 at 7:19 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself


Yesterday was a very exciting day for Swift City. We heard on Tuesday that Google were going to be flying over Sydney on Australia Day (Friday) to take high resolution images for Google Earth/Maps. We thought, wow, given Google Maps is such an integral part of our site, what a great opportunity to get in the photo!


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