Thursday, April 30, 2009

How worried should we be about the Swine Flu outbreak? Some say it's a great way for Big Pharma to make a profit!

From The Lay Scientist today...

Swine Flu - The Conspiracy

By Martin

It's close to becoming a truism now that every unusual event is immediately greeted with a chorus of conspiracy theories, and Swine Flu is no exception. If you want to see some extremely impressive analysis of the situation, then you should head on over to the guys at Effect Measure, who are putting the mainstream media to shame. But the people I'm about to present to you have a rather different take.

As an example of just how different this take is, the title of the piece I'm about to quote is "It is Time to Shoot Back."

Read the rest of the story here.

From Mother Jones this morning...

Swine Flu Deja Vu--and SNAFU

By James Ridgeway

The more we learn about the current swine flu outbreak, the more it all begins to sound like what happened in 2005, when the world faced a possible pandemic of avian flu. But with the exception of stocking up on Tamiflu, most governments seem to have taken little meaningful action in response to the bird flu scare, and learned few lessons.

Read the rest of the story here.

Also from from Mother Jones (April 2009)...

Swine Flu: Bringing Home the Bacon

By James Ridgeway |

As the world gears up once again for a flu pandemic that may or may not arrive (it actually seems possible this time), we might want to remember some of the lessons of the last flu scare. One of these is that there are winners as well as losers in every high-profile outbreak of infectious disease. First and foremost among them, of course, is Big Pharma, which can always be counted on to have its hand out wherever human misery presents an opportunity to rake in some cash.

Read the rest of the story here.

Pig image via

Salute Your Undershorts! 'No Pants Day' is Coming Soon...


As always, there will be an all-day celebration on the University of Texas campus in Austin. But this year Boise is where the new action is. Check out for more information about what they have planned for the big day!

From the Austin Chronicle...

The secret Hollywood history behind No Pants Day


Conventional wisdom has it that No Pants Day (which takes place this Friday, May 2) had its beginnings in Austin in the mid-1980s and is little more than a good-natured lark free of any political or social intent – just a bunch of breezy young adults with nothing better to do than wander the streets in their underwear, scaring children and dogs. But the truth is actually much more sinister. New research has revealed that Trouser-Free Day was actually started in Hollywood in 1928 by a secret cabal of gin-soaked movie producers, writers, and actors interested as much in flaunting societal convention and toppling democracy as they were in making movies, a group that included such closet anarchists and degenerates as Norma Shearer, Conrad Veldt, Samuel Goldwyn, Adolph Zukor, Lillian Gish, Will Rogers, the entire cast of King Vidor's The Big Parade, and Wallace Beery (who, honoring the wishes of the other members of the group, kept his pants on).

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Whatever happened to the mile-long Freedom Ship?

From ALL VIEWS web site...
By Dave Stancliff
It would make the Queen Elizabeth II look like a peanut shell bobbing in the ocean. It was to be a floating city with condominium housing for 50,000 people. Projected to be a mile long, with an airstrip to accommodate turboprop aircraft, it would have a duty-free and rapid transit.
What would have been the largest unconventional ship (more like a series of linked barges) in the world, the Freedom Ship, is still confined to blueprints, blustering, and the hovering specter of lawsuits.

Read the rest of this story here.

Pirate Bay Trial Spurs New Web Site to Protest the Ruling

From ars technica this morning...

"Pirate Google" sets sail to show copyright hypocrisy

The Pirate Bay defendants wanted to know why they were being prosecuted while Google was not, even though Google also indexes .torrent files. A new site called "Pirate Google" tries to make the same point; we speak with the site's anonymous creator.

By Nate Anderson  April 29, 2009

The Pirate Bay trial saw the defendants trot out "the Google defense" on multiple occasions: Google indexes .torrent files, so what's wrong with our doing it? That point didn't sway the judge, who saw a world of difference between what the two sites did, but it did resonate with at least one Internet coder, who last week rolled out The Pirate Google.

Read the rest of the story here.

I talked about this story back in March 2009 in:

Avast Mate! There's pirates on the high seas, the web, and Wall Street.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Will everyone cool off so we can talk about climate warming?

Last Sunday's As It Stands column - EPA validates global warming threat, but don't expect change soon - has fired up many readers and inspired others.

I learned one thing about the negative responses; they nearly all (99%) had a common denominator; Al Gore. His name is like waving a red flag in front of a bull to Conservatives.

They centered their criticism of the column around my mention of Al Gore. The mere mention of his name resulted in polarization. The rest of my message was lost on them as they lashed out like startled snakes!

Using the term "global warming" seems to polarizes people. Some come back with facts of their own, based upon their research. Those are the ones I like. Others go off in triads that aren't even worth reading.

When I make the mistake of responding to some remarks on the Times-Standard Topix Forum, trolls go on holiday and hang around the thread making hateful and stupid statements.

I think it's one of the only Online topic forums that I've read where so many trolls dwell daily. Sometimes I appeal for mutual respect, but that just makes the trolls bolder. I wish they had the guts to use their real names. Trolls are bored web bottom-feeders.

In an interesting email message, David Walker warned me that "I was being taken for a ride by Al Gore." My email response to him was, I thought I made a miscalculation using Al Gore's name because it polarized so many readers, and for using the term "global warming." Walker was one of many who pointed out how much money Gore is making, and that he believes Gore is a phony. I have no problem with people who feel this way, but I wish they would calm down and watch their blood pressure. No one's name (and that includes ex-president Bush) should have so much power over a person that they loose the senses!

I noticed on the forwarded email addresses that Walker sent my column to Senator Fran Pavely (Senate District 23) with a wry comment (before going off about Al Gore) "I wish I had what Dave was smoking!" Walker also forwarded Sen. Pavely this May 25, 2004 Associated Press article by Don Thompson, Fire and water drive western growth, prompt warming conference Pavely describes herself on her web site as an Environmental Crusader.

More links provided were, The Union Tribune Online edition "Reader comments section" which led to the full article

LAO confirms fraudulence of claims AB 32 is benign

which ran in the Marin Independent Journal's Online edition.

I've always been aware of the power of words. Most writers are.

I guess I didn't realize how politically charged Al Gore's name really is. I've seen him called every name in the book in the last few days. But I also read that many people believed in what he was doing. In this case some readers could only focus on his name. I don't believe they took the column as a whole. The moment they saw Gore's name it was over and the blinders descended.

I'm really considering not using the term "global warming" anymore because it's too politically charged. I don't want to lose readers who freeze up when they see it. Climate warming might not be a bad idea. If you have any thoughts on terms that would be less polarizing feel free to make a comment below.

As It Stands,Labels can be divisive. I have a column coming down the pipe on that subject soon.

Scott seemed to savor being propelled into space suddenly!


Image via

Lakers wrap up Round One and eliminate a tough Jazz team

  Like a cat teasing it's prey, the Lakers let the Jazz back into the game in the fourth quarter, then pounced and put their opponent down.

  The final score was 107-96 Lakers. Now they get to sit back, after closing out the 1st round of the playoffs 4-1, and wait for the winner of the Portland vs Houston series. Houston leads 3-1.

  There's no doubt in my mind that Andrew Bynum isn't ready to play yet. He's looked horrible in the first round. Fortunately, other Lakers are stepping up for the playoffs.

  Lamar Odom has been a monster and finished last nights game with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Kobe...well he was Kobe with 31 points, and a lot of acrobatic moves. It doesn't look good for Walton however.

  Team doctors say he has a partly torn ligament in his ankle. It's too bad because he was playing tough and smart ball. Ariza looked like his usual hustling self after a poor game four.

  It was a hard fought series that got chippy at times. In a rare ejection for him, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, had to head for the locker room during the final two minutes of play. The Jazz proved to be a rough and tumble opponent.  

Photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times

Monday, April 27, 2009

Living On The Edge: Thrill Seekers in the Animal Kingdom



Top Photos and Bottom left via Amazing Animals  Bottom right Photo via

Debtor Prisons in the 21st Century USA: Did you know that Americans can be locked up because they can't afford to pay court fines?


By Eric Ruder

The jailers of the 19th century — even in the pre-Civil War South — largely abandoned the practice of imprisoning people for falling into debt as counterproductive and ultimately barbaric. In the 1970s and ’80s, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that incarcerating people who can’t pay fines because of poverty violates the U.S. Constitution.

Apparently, though, some states and county jails never got the memo. Welcome to the debtors’ prisons of the 21st century. Click here to read the rest of the article.

image via

Monday Madness: The start of a work week depresses many Americans


Do Mondays depress you? Or, is it just another work day with no significance?

Let me know what your Monday's are like. Meanwhile, feel free to look over the links provided here on the subject.

Click here to read The Times of India newspaper article titled: Battling the onset of Monday Depression.

Click here to read one blogger's opinion, Christine Stapleton's: Monday, Monotony and Depression.

Click here to read another blogger's, Phil Monroe, thoughts: Anecdotal Science Monday: Anxiety-Depression-Anger

image via stumble

Sunday, April 26, 2009

America's grudging recognition of global warming isn't going to bring changes soon enough for some....

I discuss global warming and the EPA's admission that it is a real threat to Americans today - 4/26 -

in the Times-Standard.

Are we too late to reverse the deadly trends that have polluted the earth?

After all of our governments nice talk about recognizing global warming is industry going to make any meaningful environmental changes soon?

image via stumble

CHAOS! McCarthy Loses Speakership

It was history. No House Speaker has ever been ousted until Kevin McCarthy was voted out of his job today. The weakest speaker of the house...