Plenty of time to screw this up too

Pakistan demands US vacate suspected drone base - Yahoo! News

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Pakistani government has demanded the U.S. vacate an air base within 15 days that the CIA is suspected of using for unmanned drones.


She should have just called a cop

News from The Associated Press

A woman who allegedly fired pepper spray at other customers during a Black Friday sale has surrendered to authorities, Los Angeles police said Saturday....

Meanwhile, police in suburban Phoenix came under fire when a video was posted online showing a 54-year-old grandfather on the floor of a Walmart store with a bloody face, after police said he was subdued Thursday night trying to shoplift during a chaotic rush for discounted video games.

Why, why, why?

Thursday was Thanksgiving; yesterday was Black Friday; today, apparently, is Take Your Grandmother to the Laundromat Day.

Will this never end?

And if this is not work avoidance, what is?

Royal Society Journal Archive

The Royal Society is the world's oldest scientific publisher and, as such, our archive is the most comprehensive in science.
Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton's first published scientific paper, geological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin's celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment. Readers willing to delve a little deeper may find some undiscovered gems from the dawn of the scientific revolution - including Robert Boyle's account of monstrous calves, grisly tales of students being struck by lightning, and early experiments on to how to cool drinks 'without the Help of Snow, Ice, Haile, Wind or Niter, and That at Any Time of the Year.'

Thanks to the excellent legal blog "Lowering the Bar," we discover the better part of the Royal Society's journal has been made available online. The Royal Society is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence; it's membership roll has included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick, James Watson, Stephen Hawking, and many of your other favorite science guys. So, good times.

Suddenly science makes sense

Staring at naked women makes you smarter: Study - Science - Canoe.ca



iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

Momentous questions deserve...no, wait, they probably don't

Can This Be True? | Talking Points Memo

According to an interview in The New York Times, Mitt Romney’s longtime hair stylist, Leon de Magistris, there is no gel, mousse or other ‘product’ in Mitt’s hair.

But definitely has a future on Fox News

Russian anchor fired after flipping off Obama | The Raw Story

A Russian newsreader has been fired after she “flipped the bird” to the camera after mentioning President Barack Obama…


A new celebrity is born

'Unhappy customer' pepper sprays 20 at Wal-Mart - ContraCostaTimes.com

A woman who shot pepper spray at other customers at a busy Wal-Mart store in Porter Ranch, injuring 20, will soon see her picture in the media, a police sergeant said.

"It generally takes a day or two to coordinate with Wal-Mart Security" to get video footage shot around a store, said Sgt. A.J. De Bellis at the Los Angeles Police Department Devonshire Station.

Next: Black Friday, the videogame.

The new, new world

iPhone 4S camera is superpopular on Flickr after only a month | iPhone Atlas - CNET Reviews

The iPhone 4…is actually the most popular camera on Flickr overall, beating out traditional camera powerhouses like Nikon (D90) and Canon (EOS 5D Mark II, EOS REBEL T2i, EOS 7D).


And you were hoping what?

Tough politics for Obama on guns as 2012 election approaches - The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — They are fuzzy about some issues but the Republican presidential candidates leave little doubt about where they stand on gun rights.…

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, is virtually silent on the issue.


Sabotage a geezer today

A worthy cause: Update Your Parents' Browser Day | Deep Tech - CNET News

Here's a worthy cause for today, though: Update Your Parents' Browser Day.…

If you can't persuade your parents to drop Internet Explorer 6 because YouTube will stop working, "wait until they slip into a tryptophan-induced coma and then sneak into the den," Madrigal suggests.

No, wait. IE6? Really?


And so the last reason to go to Switzerland disappears

Swiss Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Nude Hiking - Lowering the Bar

Fed up with repeated incursions by German nacktwanderen (naked hikers), in 2009 a northern Swiss canton passed a law making such hiking illegal.…A man convicted of breaking this law a few months later ultimately appealed the case to the Swiss Supreme Court, which ruled against him last week.

Or wait. Chocolate. There's that.

And you don't even get to listen to the dumb music while you wait

Barack Obama is a weak President: United States of Paralysis | Mail Online

A European central banker said to me a few weeks ago: ‘If you ring up Washington and try to discuss the financial crisis, the Administration people say: ‘Please do not bother us with this sort of stuff until after next November’.

Just imagine the pain

Counting Really Small Blessings - NYTimes.com

After the 10th or 11th [Republican debate], you get a feeling of up-close interaction previously reserved for people who live in Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters are so entitled that they find it hard to support anybody who hasn’t been to the house for dinner, or possibly a sleepover.

This just serves to make the point that it is really, really dull in Iowa or New Hampshire in the winter time, and the good citizens will do anything, anything, to ease the pain. Even having dinner with a Newt.


What? Not afraid of the big bad Congress?

Pentagon 'doomsday'? Or are super committee failure fears overblown? - CSMonitor.com

For their part, Pentagon number-crunchers are so confident that the mandatory cuts will be rolled back that they have not made any plans for how to carry them out.

We are shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

Diction, diction

Economic Dislocation - NYTimes.com

Ross Doughat talkes about intellectual "ferment" on the right when I think possibly the word he is looking for is "rot." Granted, it's not always easy to tell the difference. But in this case I'm pretty sure.

Buckeyes are nuts

FBI Arrests Seven Amish Haircutting Suspects In Raid | TPMMuckraker

In a raid early Wednesday morning in Ohio, FBI agents and local sheriff’s deputies arrested seven Amish men alleged to be connected to a string of attacks by a haircutting mob, including alleged cult leader Sam Mullet.…

Mullet has denied that the Bergholz Clan is a cult, and when CNN asked him about the beard-cutting attacks earlier this month, Mullet replied: “Beard-cutting is a crime, is it?”

Cleaning up

Joseph Conrad has never been one of my favorite authors, no matter what rave reviews he receives in the English department (and of course I read "Heart of Darkness" way back then, when I had more stamina and far less grumpiness to deal with); he seems to bury excellent characters and perfectly fine stories under enormous piles of impenetrable prose. Conrad's "The Secret Agent" appeared a while back on a list of the greatest yarns about the English intelligence services ever written I say it's broccoli and I say the hell with it.

Here's a very nifty, if minor, book, though, written in 1876 about U. S. naval adventures during the war of 1812. If you've read the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey-Maturin novels concerning that period you will recognize some of the stories. It's "Yankee Ships and Yankee Sailors," and it's a quick read.

You eat birds with names? Really?

Thanksgiving goes gourmet with high-end turkeys - latimes.com

"People want a bird that has a name, a provenance, a pedigree — a bird you can brag about," said Kathy Gori, a 60-year-old screenwriter who splits her time between Sonoma and Santa Monica.

U.S. slackers do not buy enough stuff, China wins

China Outstrips U.S. in Smartphone Market - Digits - WSJ

China beat out the U.S. for the first time to become the world’s largest smartphone market by volume during the third quarter, according to one research firm, marking a new epicenter for the global mobile computing boom.

This comes as China for the first time passed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest personal-computer market in August.

Maybe they should have spent a little more time beta testing this guy

Mitt Romney Flip Flops On His Own Name | TPM2012

Responding to Wolf Blitzer’s own self-introduction — in which Wolf said “and yes, that is my real name” — Romney began: “I’m Mitt Romney — and yes Wolf, that’s also my first name.”

Except Romney’s first name is “Willard"…

"Significant number" of judges unqualified, but let's not spread it around

Ratings Shrink President’s List for Judgeships - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The American Bar Association has secretly declared a significant number of President Obama’s potential judicial nominees “not qualified,” slowing White House efforts to fill vacant judgeships — and nearly all of the prospects given poor ratings were women or members of a minority group, according to interviews.

But nobody really cares about New Hampshire, do they?

The Associated Press: Obama challenges GOP to keep anti-tax pledges

In his first trip to New Hampshire in nearly two years, the president was confronted by a state that has shifted sharply to the right since his victory here in the 2008 election. The state's crucial independent voters sided solidly with Republicans in the 2010 midterms, and recent polls suggest Obama would lose to Romney by 10 percentage points here if the election were held today.

The Halloween that ate Akron

News from The Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio prosecutors have dropped an inducing panic charge against a man who carried a rubber prop ax into a bar before Halloween.

It ain't easy being green (or cheap)

News from The Associated Press

SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- A teenage girl's teeth were shattered when a large porcelain bowl struck her in the face during a brawl inside a suburban Atlanta nail salon that may have been touched off by a dispute over pricing.


The Spirit in The Stone

Photo: Phil Compton

Imagine the dreams she has

Bachmann aide frets over people marrying the Eiffel Tower | The Raw Story

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s new Iowa campaign co-chair recently claimed that marriage equality would lead to people marrying objects like the Eiffel Tower.

Maybe he just got tired of being called well-dressed

Well-dressed man smashes car windows at Mazda dealership [Video] - latimes.com

San Diego police are trying to figure out why a well-dressed man went on a rampage at a car dealership over the weekend, vandalizing numerous cars.

Megyn Kelly for Congress!

Fox News host Megyn Kelly calls pepper spray ‘a food product’ | The Raw Story

In the mind of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, the pepper spray administered to University of California-Davis students last weekend really just a one-sided food fight.

“It’s a derivative of actual pepper, it’s a food product, essentially,” she told host Bill O’Reilly.

Maybe we can add pepper spray to the school lunch menu, along with pizza. Keep the kiddies on their toes. Or possibly not.

Or maybe...well, better not say that.

Occupy Leon

You're Paying for Leon Panetta's $30,000 Weekly Commute



All right! U.S. Congress still more popular (in U.S.) than Fidel Castro!

Congress’ approval problem in one chart - The Washington Post

“The 2011 average is on track to be the lowest annual rating of Congress in Gallup’s history,” wrote Gallup’s Frank Newport in a memo on the results.

Whatever these guys are smoking they probably want to outlaw it

The Absurd Fantasy of Conservatives Embracing Hillary Clinton - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

In the Wall Street Journal, Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell make the remarkable argument that Obama should follow the example of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson and decide not to run. (Democrats lost the White House both times). Obama should step aside not just because he might lose, but because if he did, Republicans would be more likely to compromise with a lame-duck president. Even more surprisingly, they say Clinton would win over independent voters, and, once elected, be warmly embraced by conservative lawmakers. " Given her strong public support," they say, Clinton "has the ability to step above partisan politics, reach out to Republicans, change the dialogue, and break the gridlock in Washington."

Hopes, says NYTimes, were dashed

Deficit Deal Fell Apart After Seeming Agreement - NYTimes.com
Members of the panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, spent most of September and early October getting to know one another, and putting together staff. Meetings were largely friendly, with one member bringing beef jerky, another salads from a fancy take-out place near Capitol Hill. On Senator Murray’s birthday, there were frosted cupcakes.
Murray wanted a pony and didn't get one.

Retro chic! Dude!

MIT Museum: Exhibitions - The Most Important Instrument:  Slide Rules and the Making of the Modern World

I'm going to dig both mine out of the back closet forthwith. (Yes, I have a full-sized aluminum slipstick and a wooden, pocket-sized model, the kind you can glamorously wear with a plastic pocket protector and a half-dozen pencils. Really.)


Blue Moon

iPhone abstract: Phil Compton

And bet on more to come

The roots of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying - Salon.com

Despite all the rights of free speech and assembly flamboyantly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the reality is that punishing the exercise of those rights with police force and state violence has been the reflexive response in America for quite some time....