April 30, 2007
— Pixy Misa Sorry about that. I'm away from home right now, and have basic web access, but not access to log into the server and restart the comments process. I'll do that as soon as I get home - but that will be another four or five hours.
In the meantime, you can continue the party in this old thread if you like.
Update: New Comments Thingy is running again. Now that I'm back from... where I was... I'll do some work on it to make it stay running.
— LauraW. As directed by Martin Scorcese. NSFW, bad language.
Via Whacking Day.
— Ace Consensus! Sweet, sweet consensus.
Uncle Jefe wants to know if this contributes to the widespread delusional paranoia on the Truther left. So do I.
Brain scans showing how cannabis affects brain function may help explain why heavy consumption of the drug triggers psychosis and schizophrenia in a small number of people, scientists said on Monday.
Psychiatrists are increasingly concerned about the mental health impact of smoking large amounts of modern super-strength marijuana, or skunk, particularly among young people.
Until now, the mechanism by which cannabis works on the brain has been a mystery but modern scanning techniques mean experts can now detect its impact on brain activity.
Professor Philip McGuire and Zerrin Atakan of London's Institute of Psychiatry said their work using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, showed patients given the active cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had reduced function in the inferior frontal cortex brain region.
This area is associated with controlling inappropriate emotional and behavioral responses to situations.
"What THC seems to be doing is switching off that part of the brain, and that was associated with how paranoid people became," McGuire told reporters.
Now, one may object that schizophrenia and psychosis only strikes a "small number" of "heavy marijuana users." However, it's rather difficult to believe that much greater numbers of people are affected with low-grade not-quite-clinically-diagnosable versions of schizophrenia. Such as acute lunatic paranoias about the physical impossibility of "fire melting steel."
But don't take my word for it.
Similar findings from other teams also highlight the link between THC dose and the risk of schizophrenia-like symptoms, conference organizer Professor Robin Murray said.
Now here's that sweet consenus I told you about:
"It's no longer a contentious issue. The expert community, by and large, accepts that cannabis contributes to the onset of psychotic symptoms in general and the severe form of psychosis, schizophrenia," he said.
— Ace Goldstein asks:
Question: what would happen were an academic to take the actual findings of new DA [actual state AG] Coopers follow-up report on the Duke Rape case and write a dissertation based on those findings?
Or, to put it more provocatively: would a dissertation that posited black, female entitlementbased, as it is, on a culture of victim politics that rewards group-based grievance narratives and puts the burden of proving a negative on the accused in instances where allegations of sexual offenses against women are profferedas a society-wide problem, one that underscores the pernicious nature of identity politics and so demands redress through a policy of consciously rolling back weighted legislation benefiting protected classes, be so readily accepted by media and intellectual elites?
And if not, why not?
On balance, of course, there is no black skin privilege. However, in an effort to overcome supposed "white skin privileges" our institutions do seem to go overboard, don't they?
To overcome injustice in society at large, our institutions are perfectly willing to directly inflict compensatory injustice on anyone, say, unfortunate enough to be the victim of a pill-popping lunatic whore's lies.
— Ace Damn, you hate to see that. And they had such high hopes after the draft and some off-season trades.
Dropping to 200ft, [the Apache] swooped close to the motorcyclists - and the two men could not believe their luck: some of the passengers were holding the parts of a long-barrelled heavy machine-gun.
Six of the bikes slewed to a stop, their passengers leaping off and aiming their weapons at the helicopter in what appeared to be a well-practised drill, while the others took off across country. The Apache banked away to begin its attack run.
"Some of them were trying to get the heavy machine-gun up a small hill to engage us," Lt Denton said. "Capt Staley used the 30mm gun to take out the two guys who had taken off, and then we fixed on the ones with the heavy machine-gun. They were huddled around a large boulder and we shot them. We put as many rounds around it as we could, because if they got to it they could cause us trouble. But they never had a chance to set it up."
*** After the shooting stopped, 12 Taliban were confirmed dead.
American commanders believe that the uncompromising use of airpower in recent weeks has been a key factor in preventing the Taliban from launching their expected full-scale spring offensive against coalition forces and forcing them to rethink their tactics.
Another report on our devastating use of aerial firepower here, with a video report (sadly consisting of photo stills, but still nice).
American helicopters seem to be less dominating in Iraq -- largely because terrorists are armed with rockets capable of knocking them out.
Question: If Iraq is only a sideshow, at best, in the War on Terror, why is it that Al Qaeda and its state sponsors like Iran are flooding Iraq with lethal helo-killing armaments, rather than Osama bin Ladin's home base of Afghanistan?
Via Small Dead Animals, with Fred Kagan's take on the war in Iraq -- the Iraqi army is more and more standing up on its own. A bit wobbly at times, but getting there.
Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.
Many people are challenging the insurgents, said the governor of Anbar, Maamoon S. Rahid, though he quickly added, We know we havent eliminated the threat 100 percent.
Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. With the tribal leaders encouragement, thousands of local residents have joined the police force. About 10,000 police officers are now in Anbar, up from several thousand a year ago. During the same period, the police force here in Ramadi, the provincial capital, has grown from fewer than 200 to about 4,500, American military officials say.
At the same time, American and Iraqi forces have been conducting sweeps of insurgent strongholds, particularly in and around Ramadi, leaving behind a network of police stations and military garrisons, a strategy that is also being used in Baghdad, Iraqs capital, as part of its new security plan.
The insurgency in Anbar a mix of Islamic militants, former Baathists and recalcitrant tribesmen still thrives among the provinces overwhelmingly Sunni population, killing American and Iraqi security forces and civilians alike...
Furthermore, some American officials readily acknowledge that they have entered an uncertain marriage of convenience with the tribes, some of whom were themselves involved in the insurgency, to one extent or another. American officials are also negotiating with elements of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a leading insurgent group in Anbar, to join their fight against Al Qaeda.
These sudden changes have raised questions about the ultimate loyalties of the United States new allies. One day theyre laying I.E.D.s, the next theyre police collecting a pay check, said Lt. Thomas R. Mackesy, an adviser to an Iraqi Army unit in Juwayba, east of Ramadi, referring to improvised explosive devices.
Still, the progress has inspired an optimism in the American command that, among some officials, borders on giddiness. It comes after years of fruitless efforts to drive a wedge between moderate resistance fighters and those, like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, who seem beyond compromise.
There are some people who would say weve won the war out here, said Col. John. A. Koenig, a planning officer for the Marines who oversees governing and economic development issues in Anbar. Im cautiously optimistic as were going forward.
— Ace Criminally stupid. A thief stole a cellphone. So the cops dialed the number.
"An officer called and said, 'You've won a crate of beer'," said a spokesman for police in the eastern town of Neustrelitz Friday.
"Then he asked where he lived so he could drop the beer off, and the guy told him. I think the man was drunk."
It's a fair bet.
— Ace The study is said to be "damning" of Cinemax's entire after-midnight programming schedule.
LESBIANS are twice as likely as heterosexual women to be overweight or obese, which puts them at greater risk for obesity-related health problems and death, US researchers said.
The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is one of the first large studies to look at obesity among lesbians.
Ulrike Boehmer of the Boston University School of Public Health and colleagues looked at a 2002 national survey of almost 6000 women, and found that lesbians were 2.69 times more likely to be overweight and 2.47 times more likely to be obese.
Lesbians have more than twice the odds of (being) overweight, the authors wrote....
They reviewed smaller studies that have suggested a higher prevalence of obesity among lesbians and the possible reasons why.
Hmmmm... Possible reasons why? Any obvious ones jumpin' out at you? Like the possibility that it's more common than obesity causes lesbianism than lesbianism causes obesity? Or that women simply tend to let themsevles go when out of the competitive heterosexual mate-market (as often happens after marriage to both sexes)?
Nah. This is science. Which means, now, it's politically correct.
The results of these studies indicate that lesbian women have a better body image than do heterosexual women, they wrote.
Ah. They're empowered enough to have "better body image" despite the fact they're, you know, pretty fat.
"Better body image," perhaps. More accurate? Debatable.
In more positive news, the study found that lesbians are "three to four times more likely" than heterosexual women to be "pretty handy with a lathe."
— Ace Rather nasty stuff-- Al Gore's enivonmental guru implictly contradicted him by expressing doubt and caution about "projections."
The reaction from the Gore camp? Accusing him of being senile and a dupe of another scientist.
This part of the science is definitely settled: Al Gore is a cynical, unprincipled, and ruthless opportunist and borderline moron.
— Ace It's not as detailed nor as thorough as I would have liked. KC Johnson's does a better job every other day pointing out her ludicrous contradictions.
Still, it does contain additional details about Crystal Gail Mangum's sudden allegation -- coming a year after her first claim of rape (and recanting of that claim, and recanting of the recanting) -- that she had actually been suspended in mid-air during the rape.
It's more absurd than I orignally thought.
Allow me to quote the Sex Pistols:
Lie lie lie lie liar you lie lie lie lie
Tell me why tell me why
Why d'you have to lie
Should've realised that
Should've told the truth
You know what I'll do
You're in suspension
You're a liar
Clinical but graphic details about a delusionary non-rape follow. more...
— Ace The Patriarchy, Old School:
This 30-minute outpatient procedure, called "hymenoplasty" and costing between 1,500 and 3,000 euros ($2,000-$4,000), is increasingly popular among young women of North African descent in France.
No exact figures exist to say how many such operations are done, but the woman's surgeon says he gets three to five queries and performs one to three hymenoplasties each week. Demand has been rising for the past three or four years.
Doctor Marc Abecassis, whose office is near the chic Champs Elysees, sees the rise in religion among France's five million Muslims fuelling this trend. His patients are between 18 and 45 years old, Muslim, born both in France and in North Africa.
"Many of my patients are caught between two worlds," said Abecassis. They have had sex already but are expected to be virgins at marriage according to a custom that he called "cultural and traditional, with enormous family pressure."
For this woman, the decision to have the surgery came after she broke up with a boyfriend who had pressured her into having sex. Unable to cope with breaking family tradition, she felt a hymenoplasty would help put her life back together again.
A leading Muslim spokesman said Islam says bride and groom should be virgins before marriage, but did not take a clear stand for or against hymenoplasties.
"If someone committed a sin, the essential thing is to repent," said Lhaj Thami Breze, head of the Union of French Islamic Organizations.
For many doctors, resewing the hymen goes against their ideals of sexual freedom and personal liberty.
"The surgery is an attack on women's dignity," said Professor Jacques Lansac, president of The National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of France. "We will not take part in a market that places value on the quality of a woman -- if she's good or not. It is an attack on women's liberty."
Of course, this being France, the procedure is usually subsidized:
The church-state issue flared up in 2004 when France passed a law banning religious garb, notably headscarves, from state primary and secondary schools.
Since then, Abecassis said, some Muslims in France have been putting much more emphasis on certain customs as a way of expressing their identity. "Today it's the two 'V's' -- veil and virginity," he said. "It's a social phenomenon."
Surprisingly, French social security reimburses some of the cost of the operation in cases of rape or trauma. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the claim is a fraud," he added.
Thanks to dri.
Related: Iran cracks down on "loose women" who whorishly expose their foreheads. And clothiers have been ordered to saw off the breasts of their manneikins.
— Ace Rob Port isn't a public health statistician, but he can do simple math the same as anyone.
He notes that's a "conservative estimate," which once again means it's neocon propaganda.
— Ace Okay, this may be fake, but it's pretty funny. An image supposedly taken from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Letters page follows. Looks real, but I'm pretty sure it's easy to fake an ink-smudged "newspaper page" in Photoshop.
Daylight exacerbates warming
You may have noticed that March of this year was particularly hot. As a matter of fact, I understand that it was the hottest March since the beginning of the last century....
This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person. As you know, Daylight Saving time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would ave considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they?
Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps the next time there should be serious tudies before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects.
CONNIE M. MESKIMEN
Pretty funny, but I sort of doubt a newspaper would use the word "exacerbates" in a headline -- just doesn't seem newspaperish. And of course there's actually a typo in the headline; I've corrected "warning" to the intended "warming."
And of course it's just plain stupid. How could someone be this dumb, and how could a letters-page editor then be dumb enough on top of that to publish it? The hoax warning bells are sounding.
Still, assuming it's real, assuming it's not an attempt at irony, and assuming it's not a punking to make global warming sketpics look dumb -- assuming all of that -- kind of funny.
Thanks to Terrapin Fan.
Fake But Accurate: A real letter, really publshed -- but a punking. The author is a lawyer who fancies himself a letters-page humorist, playing dumb for laughs.
Thanks to Some Guy for finding that.
April 29, 2007
— Jack M. on Mars.
Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.
Who knew the Viking Landers were capable of so much pollution?
I'll tell you who: George W. Bush. You laugh, but when he was an oilman in the Texas deserts in the 1970's, he learned a thing or two about terraforming. After all, his plan always was to become the first President to drill on Mars, and he needs a favorable climate to do so.
(OK..I admit...I'm just trying to pre-empt the inevitable DU comments when this article gets out. If the lefties are gonna be loony, is it too much to ask that they put a little effort into it?)
Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.
Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.
You don't say. In related news, I am announcing the formation of my new company, Ace of Spades Martian Carbon Offsets Trading, LLC. For the right price, I commit to you that neither Ace, LauraW, AndrewR, or I will ever set foot on Mars, thereby guaranteeing you the freedom to release all the carbon you like into the Martian Atmosphere.
What can I say? We care about Martian polar bears. And you should too.
The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth. One of the researchers, Lori Fenton, believes variations in radiation and temperature across the surface of the Red Planet are generating strong winds.
Hmmm...what could cause variations in radiation and temperature across an entire planet?
Could it be.....Satan?
Well, maybe. But I bet this is a more likely answer.
So step up and start your bidding today! Get your carbon offsets while they're...hot!
— Ace The relentless hordes of the freshly dead are nearly as frightening as vaginas.
I still don't know how the hell you're supposed to even make it past a few boards in these games.
Thanks to dri.
Duh: If you're a moron like me you probably need to be told that after each level you can allocate how many hours you're devoting to repairing the barricade, scavenging for weapons, and searching for survivors. Don't just leave them all at zero like I did.
— Ace Good, long (1 hr 11 minutes) rebuttal of Farhenheit 9/11 and the general liberal mythologies about the War on Terror.
It may or may not be old, but it's new to me. Definitely worth a watch.
— Ace Physicists are baffled by the seemingly impossible. Noted structural engnieer Rosie O'Donnell could not be reached for comment.
A section of freeway that funnels traffic off the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed early Sunday after a gasoline tanker truck overturned and caught fire, authorities said.
The heat from the fire was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns.
Scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and CERNE Laboratories are petitioning the government to cordon off the area to keep the site of this unprecedented event pristine enough for scientific investigation. "It's like witnessing the live birth of a new universe," Normal Druvovitch of JPL said. "
Physicist Kip Thorne believes the area may in fact be a "naked singularity," a region in space in which the normal physical laws that govern the universe simply fail to operate. He suggests that the National Guard be activated to surround the area at a "safe distance," in order to keep the curious well away from the site. "Strange energies may be radiating from the wreckage as we speak," Thorne said. "Bizarre forms of radiation, atoms and quarks previously unseen in our reality. Maybe even wizards riding dinosaurs and crazy shit like that."
— Ace Shock value.
But, as much as it pains me to admit this, he has a point here. Pretty much the only sensible trope of Maher's is his criticism of liberals for thinking of children not as children but as "little adults" -- basically with the full panoply of rights of adults to do what they want, simply in smaller packages. Which is of course nonsense.
So although here Maher is engaging in his typical kneejerk contrarianism, "edginess" for the sake of edginess, he's using it as a jumping-off point for the hard-to-deny proposition kids in general need to be disciplined more. Treated less like "little adults," and more, as he says, as children in need of instruction and, where appropriate, punishment, so as to "straighten their asses out."
Kids have too much entitlement in this country. Kids have too much latitude. Kids have too many parents who are negotiating with them and telling them to, instead of just telling them to Shut up, and Im going to straighten your ass out. They need their ass straightened out. Im telling you. Next time youre on an airplane, youll wish Alec Baldwin was on that plane with you.
Yeah, I know: What Baldwin said to his 11 year old (or 12, who can be sure about such things) daughter was horrible. And Maher's being his characteristically dickish self to all but blame the daughter for the incident, rather than saying "I don't know the facts of the situation here, but in general..."
Then he of course goes into full-bore dick mode:
When [fellow panelist] National Review contributor Lisa Schiffren protested saying, I have an eleven-year-old, Maher despicably asked, Is she a rude, little pig?
Does anyone think Maher would have asked this question of anyone in Hollywood, i.e., anyone who could have helped or harmed his meager career? Of course not -- the brave Maher only asks such a nasty question of someone safely outside the industry, and safely despised by most of the industry as well.
He's the typical sort of bully -- the bully who's utterly craven with anyone who can actually hit back.
Also at Newsbusters, former minor comedian turned lunatic conspiracy theorist Richard Belzer claims that even Democrats are scheming with Republicans to steal Iraq's oil. He objects to being compared to Rosie O'Donnell, calling foul on such "name-calling."
So even to the lunatic insult pseudo-comic Richard Belzer, the term "Rosie O'Donnell" is now a perjorative of supreme invective.
— AndrewR Not too many details yet.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Four people were shot and killed, including an assailant, and at least three others were wounded Sunday in two incidents, including one at a crowded shopping mall in Kansas City, police said.
One person was killed in a house and two others were killed at the upscale Ward Parkway mall south of downtown Kansas City about 6 miles away, where police killed a gunman, according to Sgt. Tony Sanders of the Kansas City police.
Sanders said the entire incident began about 2 p.m. at another location, when police went to a home to investigate a report of a person who had not been seen by relatives for days. The person was found dead and his car was missing, Sanders said.
Around 3:15 p.m., an officer was shot in the arm after pulling over a man who was driving the victim's car. The officer, whose wound was not life-threatening, returned fire. The car took off and was later seen at the mall.
Police received several calls from people who saw a man with a "long gun" at the mall, Sanders said. The gunman shot two people in the parking lot, killing them, then went inside the mall and fired more shots, Sanders said.
Caffie Bradshaw, 19, of Kansas City, was at her first day of work at the Target. She said she was in a break room with two other people when they heard shots. She said co-workers saw a white man with a rifle who was "spraying bullets."
— Ace You don't even have to be a dork to enjoy it. It speaks to universal themes -- friendship, betrayal, and giant magical robots.
Thanks to wahhaw.
— Ace Did America buy itself a big, verifiable pile of Collateral Damage Offsets?
INFANT mortality in Afghanistan has fallen dramatically since the demise of the Taleban, according to a new study, with 40,000 fewer babies dying every year.
Improvements in women's access to medical care since the Taleban were ousted from power five years ago was cited as the main reason for the death rate becoming significantly lower.
Grim infant and maternal mortality rates have been regularly cited as evidence of Afghanistan's backwardness after decades of war.
They were also seen as a sign of the slow progress of the internationally funded reconstruction effort.
According to the preliminary results of a Johns Hopkins University study, the infant mortality rate has declined to about 135 per 1,000 live births in 2006, down from an estimated 165 per 1,000 in 2001.
Benjamin Loevinsohn, a World Bank health specialist, said the survey results probably underestimated the improvement in infant mortality.
"It's a conservative estimate. This is the situation two and a half to three years ago ... It should be better than that now," Mr Loevinsohn said.
A-ha! A conservative estimate. I knew it must be neocon propaganda.
It's a point that seems glib but isn't -- how do 40,000 fewer infant deaths per year factor into the left's "war never solved anything" and "war is bad for the health of puppies and flowers and other living things" slogans?
Thanks to dri.
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