Saturday, August 20, 2011

Today’s question: is Idiocracy replacing Democracy in our society?

Did you ever see "Idiocracy," the 2006 sci-fi comedy set in an utterly dysfunctional nation 500 years in the future? Here’s a summary:

“The premise of "Idiocracy" is that a guy named Joe, with a "perfectly average IQ," is selected — along with a prostitute — for a hibernation experiment that inadvertently keeps him asleep until 2505, when he awakes to a world where, as the prologue explains, evolution "began to simply reward those who reproduced the most and left the intelligent to become an endangered species."

The result is a trash-strewn society in which crops are watered with a sports drink called Brawndo, people have names like Frito and Mountain Dew, and the most popular form of entertainment is a reality show called "Ow, My Balls," which consists of footage of a man repeatedly getting whacked in the groin.

Meanwhile, Costco is where you go for toilet paper and a university education, and IQs are so low that "average Joe" is considered a genius.” – source           

                                           Idiocracy in the News:

“The latest issue of the Economist has an article about the business-sabotaging effects of the battles in Washington, headlined "American Idiocracy." A recent blog post on the Psychology Today website was headlined "Idiocracy: Can We Reverse It?" Meanwhile, it's popping up in causal conversations, Internet comments and, most notably, on Twitter.”  - source

           Idiocracy entertainment:

“Judging by popular culture in 2011, it's hard not to wonder if 500 years was a too optimistic prediction, since "Jersey Shore" just might make "Ow, My Balls" look like "Masterpiece Theater." But mainstream entertainment has been the domain of idiocrats for a long time. A bummer of more recent vintage is the way our political system has followed suit.”  - source

                                                              Idiocracy in our Government

“What else can you call it when Congress gets the nation's credit rating lowered thanks to toddler-like stubbornness over an issue that many of its members barely seem to grasp? Put simply, fearing idiocracy isn't a matter of being liberal or conservative. It's a matter of not being an idiot. At least in theory.”source

                                     Idiocracy – the downfall of society:

“Maybe it's naive to think that ideological opponents can be brought together by a common fear of mass stupidity: Call it idiocraphobia. After all, the downfall of society is in the eye of the beholder; for every progressive who sees the "tea party" as the equivalent of Costco U., there's someone waving a Gadsden flag who earnestly believes Michele Bachmann emerged from a time capsule to protect babies from being named Frito.”  source

The greatest railway project of all time proposed, does E.T. think we’re evil? and Alligator fat for fuel!

Humboldt-County-signGood Morning Humboldt County!

It’s a still and quiet morning and the birds are singing and greeting one another. I’m slamming down my first cup of Joe. Pull up a seat, grab a cup for yourself, and let’s look at a few news items to get things going:

Report: Tunnel linking US to Russia gains support

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s backed top officials idea to construct a $60 billion tunnel under the Bering trait recently.It would  be the first dry connection between the two continents since a land bridge 21,000 years ago. The tunnel would mean Russian territory would meet U.S. jurisdiction underneath the islands of Big Diomede, which is Russian, and Little Diomede, which is American.

What if E.T. thinks we're evil?

A study that reviews a host of sci-fi scenarios for contact with extraterrestrials stirred up such a ruckus today that NASA had to step in and distance itself from the research. The controversy focuses on the idea that E.T. could well decide that we're a threat to interstellar order, and therefore we have to be stopped before we spread.

The report itself, published in the journal Acta Astronautica, covers ground that's familiar to dedicated fans of E.T. lore. For example, the premise of the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is that universalist-minded aliens see our civilization as so rooted in violence that it's better to snuff us out than let us ruin the neighborhood. (The 2008 remake, starring Keanu Reeves, recycled that idea with an environmental theme.)

Alligator fat to fuel cars?

“The alligator meat industry sends 15 million pounds of fat to landfills each year. What a waste, thought researchers in Louisiana who have shown it makes for a great biofuel.

The fat, which is trimmed off in processing, is rich in oils that can be recovered and converted into biodiesel, according to Rakesh Bajpai and colleagues at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.”

Time to walk on down the road…

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why not? Marijuana is going to the dogs and I say right on!

Pot Patch for Pups

Why am I not surprised?

Marijuana for Mutts, Cannabis for Canines, Dank for Dogs, and medical pot Patches for Pups.

Have you ever seen an illegal class one drug (which the mutants in the Justice Department insist on ranking marijuana) go so mainstream that even the animals are doing it?

“In February 2011, a company called Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems, LLC (MMDS) acquired the rights to a patent for a transcutaneous (through the skin) delivery of medical marijuana to humans and animals. The MMDS goal is for public availability of this patch by year end.  Given the trade name Tetracan, this skin patch delivery system could be called a pot patch for pups, canine cannabis or even medical marijuana for mutts.

Animals suffer from many of the same debilitating illnesses that humans do, like arthritis and cancer.  With many U.S. states legalizing the use of medical marijuana for humans, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch to apply this concept to animals.

In 2000, a Santa Ana Pueblo tribe member in New Mexico, Walter Cristobel, experimented with finding a transcutaneous delivery system of marijuana for his mother’s pain relief and was awarded a patent.  In 2010, businessmen Jim Alekson and Chester Soliz — learning of Cristobel’s patent — joined him in forming MMDS, “a company devoted to the advancement, research and development of marijuana delivery modalities.”

“MMDS is pleased to be working with Walter Cristobal to help him develop his innovative ideas as MMDS advances the research and development of TETRACAN holistic, therapeutic products,” stated Jim Alekson, ADG Market Focus spokesperson for MMDS in a press release.  Other delivery systems such as creams, gels and oils will be explored for other ways of delivering medical marijuana.

Alekson informs me he has been working on a stock exchange listing for MMDS that is expected to take place shortly.  With that and the new bio-chemists with trans-dermal expertise coming on board, the arranging of manufacturing contracts in medical marijuana-legal states should see the Tetracan patch available by second quarter, 2012.”            story source  --    Photo credit: Chris Yarzab via flickr

Life Reflects Art : a Killer Shark in the Seychelles just like ‘Jaws’

Robert Shaw

In the movie Jaws, Robert Shaw (left) plays Sam Quint the expert shark killer, and now we have a Fisherman's task: to Catch island paradise's killer shark a story ripped out of today’s headlines which seems eerily close to the iconic movie.

Daryl Green, (right) a fisherman known in the Seychelles as "the guy who can catch anything" is on the trail of the killer shark. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up like poor old Quint!

Pig-out! Meet Boris, the 550-pound porker who had to go on a diet

I thought my pet was a bit overweight, but Boris gives new meaning to porky!

If you ever complain about how much your pet eats, be glad Boris isn’t part of your family. This hefty pig has been put on a diet but he wasn’t always this size.

When his Australian owners first adopted him, they were told he’d weigh 150 pounds, at most. But when he exceeded expectations, tipping the scale at 550 pounds, his veterinarian said he needed to lose weight – STAT! Lucky for Boris and his owners, it seems like his diet is working.

But even though he’s dropped an impressive 70 pounds, the sneaky snorting genius has figured out how to raid the fridge! He can open the door, find the potatoes and even close the door behind him. Seems like someone needs to be put on a short leash.”

story source

Space hotels, floating buses, and contest winner to live in an airport

Image: Commercial space station


It’s good to see you on this foggy morning. Grab a cup of coffee and check out these three stories I have for you. They’re all travel-related. My question with the Russians is how do they expect to put a hotel in space when they can’t even put a communications satellite safely in orbit?

They just lost a billion dollar satellite. That’s right, just lost it. I sure wouldn’t want to spend a night in one of their space motels…it would end up being the 21st Century remake of “Lost In Space!”

Russians tout plans to launch space hotel by 2016

“Russian firms highlighted their plans at the country's premier air show this week at Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, saying the race was on to build a new craft to take people into space following the retirement of NASA's space shuttle.

A hotel in orbit, lunar sightseeing flights and luxury rides into the cosmos — all are part of Russia's vision to ensure it is not left behind in the growing space tourism industry. An artist's conception shows a cutaway view of the commercial space station envisioned by Russian companies.”

Floating tour bus launches in Amsterdam

If you’ve got a long layover between flights, your choices at most airports are to eat, drink, shop or attempt to nap while sitting up − and without drooling.

But passengers with at least five hours to wait at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport now have a new, entertaining and amphibious option.

On Wednesday, after a month-long delay, the Floating Dutchman welcomed aboard its first paying customers.

Contest winner moves into Vancouver airport

Armed with a video camera and his skateboard, Jaeger Mah is moving into the Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

The 29-year-old Vancouver, B.C. resident won the Live@YVR contest to be an in-residence citizen reporter at YVR and, starting Wednesday, will spend 80 days – and 80 nights – without leaving Sea Island, the airport’s home.

Mah will get to sleep, swim and do his laundry at the on-site Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel and will have $50 a day for snacks and meals. He’ll also be paid about $15,000 when he moves out. In return, he’ll prepare regular video reports about what goes on at the airport, including behind the scenes, and share his observations on Facebook and Twitter.

Time to walk on down the road…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Todays Epiphany: it’s a dog’s and congressman’s life


My  dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.   
She  has her food prepared for her. She can eat whenever she wants.  
Her meals are provided at no cost to her.   
She  visits the doctor once a year for her checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.  
For this she pays nothing, and nothing is required of her.  
She lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is  much larger than she needs, but she is not required to do any upkeep.

If she makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.   
She has his choice of luxurious places to sleep.   
She receives these accommodations absolutely free.   
She is living like a Queen, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.  
All of her costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.  
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick ...

I think my  dog is a  member of Congress!

Smart dog displays math skills, giant rodent on the loose in California, and survey shows tea party less popular than atheists and Muslims

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Daylights breaking and I’ve got the coffee going. Thanks for dropping by. Pull up a seat, grab a cup of freshly brewed, and let’s look at a few headlines to get the day started:

Montana dog becomes local celebrity for his math skills

Labrador Retrievers are known for their hunting skills and friendly dispositions, but Beau, a black Lab who lives in Montana, is winning acclaim for his math abilities.

Owner David Madsen says if he tells Beau there are six dogs at the park and three dogs leave, and then asks him how many are left, the dog replies: "Woof, woof, woof." "He counts, he adds and subtracts, he can do some division and has memorized square roots," Madsen said.               Photo

A capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), born in captivity 15 days ago, follows its mother at the Santa Fe Zoo in Medellin March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Albeiro Lopera

Giant South American rodent spotted in California

A giant South American rodent weighing at least 100 pounds (45 kgs) was spotted at a waste-water treatment facility in California recently before disappearing in the brush, according to a wildlife official. The animal, which was identified as a capybara, is the world's largest rodent and feeds on vegetation.

The capybara is believed to be an escaped pet, Tognazzini said. It was last seen about two weeks ago at a waste-water treatment facility in Paso Robles, 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles, he said.

Survey’s surprising finding: tea party less popular than atheists and Muslims

In an op-ed article in the New York Times, Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, and David E. Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame, say they have collected data indicating that the tea party is "less popular than much maligned groups like 'atheists' and 'Muslims.'"

Early tea partiers were described as "nonpartisan political neophytes," Campbell and Putnam write, but their findings showed that tea partiers were "highly partisan Republicans" who were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. "They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do," they went on.            Cartoon

Time to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

‘If you believe in forever, then life is just a one-night stand’

image                                   Quote from Righteous Brothers, "Rock & Roll Heaven"

Expert says sex-crazed insects whip up 'bugnadoes' in Midwest

Image: Still image of a "bugnado" captured on film.

Tornadoes aren't the only funnels that touch down in the Midwest. "Bugnadoes" — vortexes of swarming bugs — occasionally twist through, too.

On the night of July 4, professional storm chaser and photographer Mike Hollingshead caught sight of an enormous bugnado in southwestern Iowa. The air above the cornfields was so thick with bugs "it looked like it was smoking," Hollingshead told Life's Little Mysteries. He captured the strange sight on camera, and his video has gone viral in recent days.

But what are the bugnadoes? "It’s a mating flight. The males are trying to impress the females, and the females select a mate." No one knows what the females are looking for when they choose a sex partner from among the masses, said Jo Kieper, an entomologist who is executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Why some medications are so high, Big Tabacco whines about warnings, and FDA approves new skin cancer drug

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Good to see you this morning. Pull up a chair and grab a cup of my freshly brewed virtual coffee. I have a few tidbits to kick your day off with:


Price-gougers hike costs of vital drugs during shortage

Gray-market vendors are part of the so-called “parallel market,” in which drugs are sold outside authorized channels. Drug makers typically distribute medications through large, national suppliers. Sometimes, however, a third-party supplier is able to purchase quantities of drugs and then re-sell them, often at a higher cost, to hospital pharmacists desperate to find drugs to treat patients.

Of the drugs offered by 18 gray market providers, 96 percent were double the normal price, 45 percent were 100 times the normal price and 27 percent were at least 20 times the normal price.

The drug with the highest mark-up was labetalol, a blood pressure medication that has been in shortage for more than a year. Normally priced at $25.90 per unit, the drug was offered at $1,200 a unit, a 4,533 percent increase, the report said.

Big Tobacco sues feds over graphic warnings on cigarette labels

Tobacco companies want a judge to put a stop to new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and pictures of diseased lungs, saying they unfairly urge adults to shun their legal products and will cost millions to produce.

One of nine new warning labels cigarette makers will have to use by the fall of 2012. In the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years, the FDA's the new warning labels depict in graphic detail the negative health effects of tobacco use.

Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights.



FDA approves gene-targeting skin cancer drug

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-its-kind drug to treat the deadliest form of skin cancer by targeting a particular genetic mutation found in about half of patients.

The pill called Zelboraf, made by Roche, is the first treatment for melanoma that targets a specific gene found in skin-cancer tumors. The FDA also approved a test to screen patients for the mutation.

Time to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TV can shorten life span, Monkeys overhead trail, and worldwide tourist scams


Good Morning Humboldt County!

Another day in Paradise. Glad you could stop by. It’s that time again. Grab a cup of Joe and let’s go:

Study: An hour of TV can shorten your life by 22 minutes

Watching an hour of TV after the age of 25 can shorten the viewer's life by just under 22 minutes, according to researchers in Australia according to scientists at the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland.  image

Monkeys overhead! Philly Zoo unveils new Treetop Trail

A new network of stainless steel mesh tunnels allows adorable monkeys to stray far from their usual cages.

The newest attraction at the Philadelphia Zoo is called the Treetop Trail: It's a network of approximately 700 feet of flexible, transparent tubes made with stainless steel mesh connected by a series of steel rings. The result is that small primates such as blue-eyed black lemurs, Bolivian gray titi monkeys, golden lion tamarins and red-capped mangabeys get to explore up into trees, over walkways, and into closer proximity with zoo visitors. The system allows access strictly to tinier primate species — no chimps, let alone gorillas — that fit within the tubes and are light enough to ensure they won't collapse.

10 popular travel scams around the world

#1 Orlando
Here's a scam so bad even Mickey Mouse took a stand. Guests in hotels around Disney World have been finding pizza delivery menus conveniently slipped under their doors, but place an order-and make the mistake of giving your credit card number-and you'll really pay. The phone number isn't connected to a pizza parlor but to identity thieves. Disney World supported a law designed to crack down on the people handing out the fliers, but Orlando police say the problem persists.

Solution: If you're craving a slice, get a recommendation from the hotel. (Click link above for the rest.) image

Time to walk on down the road…

Monday, August 15, 2011

Maybe that's what life is... a wink of the eye and winking stars

Quote by Jack Kerouac

Warren Buffet says stop coddling the rich, weird contest week, and frozen squirrels used in crimes

Image: File photo of Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett attending the 2010 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Good to see you. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and let’s have a stare…at today’s headlines. 

Stop coddling the super-rich, Warren Buffett says

"My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice," The 80-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" wrote in an opinion article in The New York Times.

Weird Contest Week offers something to chew on

When the going gets weird, the weird get going, putting on events dedicated to the odd, the offbeat and the unusual. And they don’t get any more unusual than Weird Contest Week, in Ocean City, N.J. Running August 15–19, the event is a celebration of silliness.

How weird? Well, chew on this: On Wednesday, August 17, the featured event is “That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles,” in which contestants munch on cookies until they’re mush, disgorge them and then sculpt them into works of art.

Frozen squirrels used for criminal purposes

You may have heard of animals being used in the course of crimes, but I bet you never heard about the use of frozen squirrels to do bad things.

Three men stealing car tire rims used frozen squirrels to keep mean dogs occupied as they did their thing. There’s more nutty uses of squirrels in crime. Just go to this site (link above).

Even when the squirrels aren’t involved in crime, they can still be a hazard:

Iced squirrels are a problem too. One insurance company paid off a claim when a frozen squirrel fell out of a tree and crashed through a man’s windshield!

Time to walk on down the road…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

As It Stands: Meet ALEC: a wolf in sheep's clothing

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 08/14/2011 02:30:25 AM PDT
What is ALEC, and why should you care?
If you're uncomfortable with corporations writing our laws then you'll be interested in ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a group that pairs legislators with corporate heads to pass laws favoring big business.
The Washington, D.C.-based group of conservative state legislators and corporate leaders drafts “model” legislation to be passed as state laws Recently, they've been accused of under-reporting their lobbying activities. They claim to be a nonprofit, non-partisan organization, but their actions belie that description.
Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group, sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on July 14th, alleging ALEC filed false tax returns and is engaged in lobbying despite its claims to the contrary. ALEC's tax-exempt, charitable status is on the line.
 One obvious counter to their claim of being “non-partisan” is their membership: they have one Democrat and 103 Republican legislators currently in leadership positions.
So exactly what does ALEC do? Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators changes to the law that directly benefit their bottom line, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.
It isn't just legislators who have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board. Yeah, right. And Tea Party members believe in compromise.
This partisan stalking horse that calls itself ALEC introduces over 1,000 bimagesCAKD4HT8ills every year through its overwhelmingly conservative legislative members. Consider this: One in every five bills they present is enacted into law.
According to everything I've read about lobbying, handing bills to legislators so they can introduce them is the very definition. ALEC says “no lobbying is taking place.” I'm of the opinion, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
ALEC operates under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which limits lobbying activity and allows corporate backers to deduct their contributions.
Fact: Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators take proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own ideas and important public policy innovations -- without disclosing that corporations crafted and approved the bills.
According to the IRS, more than 98 percent of ALEC's revenues come from sources such as corporations, corporate trade groups and corporate foundations. Getting the picture?
ALEC receives grants from some of the biggest foundations funded by corporate CEOs in the country, like the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Koch-managed Claude R. Lambe Foundation and the Castle Rock Foundation, to name a few.
The current chairman of ALEC's corporate board is W. Preston Baldwin III, until recently a lobbyist and vice president of State Government Affairs at UST Inc., a tobacco firm now owned by Altria/Phillip Morris USA.
Guess what? Altria is advancing a very short, specific bill to change the way moist tobacco products (such as fruit-flavored “snus” by companies like Skoal) are taxed -- to make them cheaper and more attractive to young tobacco users.
Fact: 20 of the 24 corporate representatives on ALEC's “Private Enterprise Board” are lobbyists representing major firms such as Koch Industries, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Wal-Mart and Johnson and Johnson.
ALEC is blatantly influencing state laws under the guise of a nonprofit, charitable organization. Their claims at promoting “educational activities” would be laughable if they weren't illegal. ALEC engages in outright power-brokering at the taxpayer's expense.

ALEC's operating model raises many ethical and legal concerns. Each state has a different set of ethics laws or rules. The presence of lobbyists alone may cause ethics problems for some state legislators.
Some examples of ALEC's alumni: Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, Congressman Joe Wilson, Gov. Scott Walker and Gov. Jan Brewer.
Seems to me, they're part of the group of Congressional conservatives who refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations. What a surprise!
As It Stands, they should at least be transparent about their past ALEC memberships. Little alumni badges would be nice, don't you think?
Websites carrying this column:
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Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...