A lot of physics in this

Mama mia! Physics-themed 'Bohemian Rhapsody' rocks | Crave - CNET

Here's a lyrics selection to get you in the mood: "Space is a pure void. Why should it be stringy? Because it's quantum not classical. Nonrenormalizable. Any way you quantize. You'll encounter infinity. You see."

Softening of the brain! Exactly!

Moxie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Moxie originated as a patent medicine called "Moxie Nerve Food,"[4] which was created around 1876 by Dr. Augustin Thompson in Lowell, Massachusetts.[3] Thompson claimed that it contained an extract from a rare, unnamed South American plant, which had supposedly been discovered by a friend of his, Lieutenant Moxie,[4] who had used it as a panacea. Moxie, he claimed, was especially effective against "paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia."[4]

Where can I get some of this stuff? (Why, in New England, apparently.)

Can you spell "chutzpah"?

Undernews: Navy Yard assassin's boss waits 24 hours before suggesting a new Pentagon contract

NY Times - A little more than 24 hours after an IT contractor gunned down a dozen workers at the Washington Navy Yard, the CEO of the company he worked for sent an email to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus saying he has the experience to help the military improve its security.

Sure but does Liberia have cheerleaders?

On Game Day, Dallas Cowboys Stadium Uses More Energy Than Liberia | ThinkProgress

A Jar

A Jar by Ted Compton
A Jar, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Run out of stuff to buy? Here's one more thing…

A Fashion Line That'll Help Your Corpse Decompose in Style | Wired Design | Wired.com

Pia Interlandi’s clothes are to die for. No, really.


More from "When Insults Had Class"

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

[H/T Charlie from Wisconsin]

Actually, since the days of the Crimean War

How Photographic Technology Shapes Our Understanding of War - Defense One

Graphic imagery has been an indelible feature of armed conflict from the days of Civil War daguerreotypes…

Here, and here.


Firm that ran background check on Snowden also vetted Navy Yard shooter - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

The government contractor that ran the background check on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden also vetted the alleged Navy Yard Shooter, The Hill has confirmed.

A little iffy there, Fox News


Armed EPA raid in Alaska sheds light on 70 fed agencies with armed divisions | Fox News

First graph:

40 federal agencies – including nearly a dozen typically not associated with law enforcement -- have armed divisions.

OK some number, plus or minus a few (they're journalists not accountantants, I guess). Still:

The Environmental Protection Agency, whose armed agents in full body armor participated, acknowledged taking part in the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force investigation, which it said was conducted to look for possible violations of the Clean Water Act.

They sorta get to the point eventually.  [Emphasis mine.]

Why don't they try vacation packages?

This Is How Private Prison Companies Make Millions Even When Crime Rates Fall | Mother Jones

All the big private prison companies—CCA, GEO Group, and the Management and Training Corporation—try to include occupancy requirements in their contracts, according to the report. States with the highest occupancy requirements include Arizona (three prison contracts with 100 percent occupancy guarantees), Oklahoma (three contracts with 98 percent occupancy guarantees), and Virginia (one contract with a 95 percent occupancy guarantee).

Or class reunions? Or maybe film festivals? Somebody's going to have to think of something because even when crime rates go down states are required by contract to keep their prisons full

And the thing I don't understand is

Statement of Robert Greenstein on the Passage of the House Republican Leadership's Harsh SNAP Bill That Would Cut Food Assistance to Millions of Poor Americans — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The House’s passage today of the Republican leadership’s bill to cut SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) by almost $40 billion over the next decade marks a new low for an already dysfunctional Congress.…
SNAP recipients already are preparing for an across-the-board cut in their SNAP benefits beginning in November that will reduce their modest benefits to less than $1.40 per person per meal.
…why is it those big agribusiness corporations don't step in here and smack those "Republican leadership" guys upside the head? Forty billion? Bunky, people who get help from SNAP don't eat the money. They spend it. On food. (If you think $1.40 per meal leaves people playing around money you ought to sue your brain surgeon for theft). They spend it on food, and it winds up in the pockets of said big corporations in the end. Forty billion. This is the very kind of free (i.e. government-fluffed) market economics these R's have wet dreams about.
So what's going on?

Muddling through Syria

This is Not the Diplomacy You’re Looking For

The bankruptcy of strategic thought in America today left the Administration and the country with nothing but these choices: use military force or do nothing. The weight of public opinion against another ill-defined commitment and the massive effort that would be required to really stop the slaughter in Syria meant that the military option was meaningless. Yet, America’s braintrust, which has been faithfully trying for over two decades now to stuff the amorphous post-1989 world into a Cold War box, could think of nothing more than a Vietnam-era campaign of high-explosive resolve to maintain “credibility.”


But if you have money to piss away…

The Daily Pennsylvanian :: An Ode to the Commode

"The relief you are now experiencing is made possible by a gift from Michael Zinman," read circular silver plaques above the urinals in the men's restroom of the Van Pelt Library.…

Library officials would not, however, disclose exactly how much it costs to sponsor a urinal.

Where is Joyce Kilmer when you need him?

Behind Georgia's War on Trees | Mother Jones

…the Georgia legislature enacted a law in 2011 that banned trees within 500 feet of a billboard.

(Oh, look it up.)

More from "When Insults Had Class"

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." 
–Clarence Darrow

[H/T Charlie from Wisconsin.]

We are shocked

Syria may miss first deadline in U.S.-Russia chemical arms deal - latimes.com

The State Department signaled that it would not insist that Syrian President Bashar Assad produce the list Saturday, the end of a seven-day period spelled out in the framework deal that Washington and Moscow announced last weekend in Geneva.

Next they'll be telling us there's gambling at Rick's.

Maybe we can retire the word "pivot" now

Obama's Final Pivot Away From the Middle East - Defense One

And just in time. It's become terminally annoying. Henceforth "turn" will do just fine.

We're putting this right at the top of our list…

Congress Is Tuning In to Revise TV Industry Rules : Roll Call Policy

Retransmission consent refers to the rates that cable or satellite companies pay local broadcast stations to carry their signals to subscribers.

…as soon as we solve the whole government shut-down thing. And Syria. And something about oil. And Wall Street. And the minimum wage.

But really. We care about the cable company. We do.

Avast, lubbers, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day

17 Swashbuckling Facts About Talk Like A Pirate Day | Mental Floss

Just mentioning. 

And you thought there was nothing left to do

News from The Associated Press

Clicking "Like" on Facebook is constitutionally protected free speech…a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

iOS 7

iOS 7 by Ted Compton
iOS 7, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Pretty slick.


Barney Frank on the art of saying absolutely nothing (and the New York Times on reporting it)

As Budget Fight Looms, Obama Sees Defiance in His Own Party - NYTimes.com

…said Barney Frank, a former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts. “I just think there’s a real cultural lag on the national security stuff.…"


Tom Friedman's very confusing day

The Man With Pink Hair - NYTimes.com

To clear my head, I went for a walk along the Aare River, on Schifflaube Street. Along the way, I found a small grocery shop and stopped to buy some nectarines. As I went to pay, I was looking down, fishing for my Swiss francs, and when I looked up at the cashier, I was taken aback: He had pink hair.

Too much! Too much!

Giant gobs of earwax tell a whale of a tale | Ars Technica

In this week’s issue of PNAS, a group of researchers reports the wealth of information that can be found buried in the earwax of a blue whale.


Give us a break, Russians; this is getting embarrassing

Tim Tebow fans rally in Jacksonville, but Moscow wants him (+video) - CSMonitor.com

Zaltsman wants Tebow to fly to Moscow for the Black Storm's semi-final against the Moscow Patriots in the American Football Championship of Russia on Sept. 28 and also play in the final if they advance.

Tebow's agents reportedly are urging him to not play.

Also why don't they just call it Real Football and be done with it?


Just when you were thinking about getting a good night's sleep

Allegations Swirl Around Obama's Pick for State Department Security Chief | The Cable

"Starr literally shot himself in the foot when drawing an unauthorized small caliber weapon out of his ankle holster," said a current State Department official, referring to an incident in 1981.

Finally somebody notices

New directions in medicine

Chocolate Chip Mint: How To Lose a Million Dollars

Here's the next million dollar idea: Build a hotel across the street from every hospital in the nation and call it Hotel Precaution.…

From "When Insults Had Class"

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

(H/T Charlie from Wisconsin)

Floating Flower
iPhone photo:  Phil Compton                                       comptonphotoart.com

Enthusiastically noncommittal

Does The U.S. Want Bashar Assad To Stay Or Go? : Parallels : NPR

U.S. policy toward Assad could best be described as, "We want him to go, but not right now."

The most depressing sentence I plan to read all day

News from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A dozen people died in a shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard. It was the deadliest attack at a domestic military installation since November 2009…

OK, one and a half. But November 2009 was not quite four years ago. So we're talking about the deadliest attack in four years. Reminds me of those signs I used to see out on the factory floors: Massacre Free For 1460 Days. Or maybe today, if we're lucky, 1.

Whoa! Overwrite much?

“Breaking Bad” recap: Just wow - Salon.com

To borrow a term from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” this week’s “Breaking Bad” was a barbaric yawp of an episode, one that reached into our chests, yanked our hearts into our throats until they nearly reached our uvulas, let go of those hearts during the commercial breaks, then yanked them back up again as soon as the action resumed.

I've never been so grateful for commercial breaks.


Does your employer want to paw through your stuff?

Does your state stop your boss from reading your Facebook messages? - The Week

To see if your state has passed a law on this issue — or has a bill pending — check out the map below…

Apparently it's allowed in more states than not, including the one I'm in. Of course I don't have an employer, but then I don't do Facebook either. So take that.

But the Easter bunny is definitely real

China's Green Fence Is Here to Stay: Why Your Water Bottle Won't Be Recycled - Gwynn Guilford, Quartz - The Atlantic Wire

For many environmentally conscious Americans, there’s a deep satisfaction to chucking anything and everything plasticky into the recycling bin—from shampoo bottles to butter tubs…Little do they know that, even if their local trash collector says it recycles that waste, they might as well be chucking those plastics in the trash bin.


Syria deal shines light on Israeli capabilities - Yahoo News

JERUSALEM (AP) — The U.S.-Russian plan to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons is drawing attention to Israel's own suspected chemical stockpile…


Skywatch by Ted Compton
Skywatch, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Here's your chance to be a star

Obamacare will question your sex life | New York Post

‘Are you sexually active? If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?”

Be ready to answer those questions and more the next time you go to the doctor…

Wait, they can't just FedEx it to us?

Former U.N. Inspector: Syria Plan 'Optimistic,' Requires Troops : The Two-Way : NPR

The U.S.-Russia plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons by next summer faces many hurdles and includes "unrealistic" deadlines, says former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay, who worked on efforts to detail chemical weapons in Iraq.

Kay says the plan will require an international military presence — "boots on the ground" — to make sure the weapons don't fall into the wrong hands.

They still do that Miss America thing? Really?

Fox News host: new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, doesn’t ‘represent American values’ | The Raw Story

It should go without saying that Davuluri, a Syracuse native of Indian descent, is neither Muslim nor an Arab. But according to Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes, the American-born Davuluri doesn’t “represent American values,” unlike the blonde-haired, blue-eyed contestant from Kansas, Theresa Vail.

I get grumpy when it's cold

Which explains a lot, huh, me living in New England and all. And it was this morning. Cold-ish at least. And dark and rainy. So I went back to bed. Before I knew it, it was 10:00.

If you're looking for an advantage to being unemployed that's pretty much it. It's also a disadvantage, of course, but I do it now and then anyway.

Attack of the monster jellyfish

They’re Taking Over! by Tim Flannery | The New York Review of Books

Most jellyfish are little more than gelatinous bags containing digestive organs and gonads, drifting at the whim of the current. But box jellyfish are different. They are active hunters of medium-sized fish and crustaceans, and can move at up to twenty-one feet per minute.

In praise of the Clean Plate Club

Your Half-Eaten Sandwich's Dirty Secret | Mother Jones

According to a new report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, discarded food accounts for a staggering amount of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.


Bears edge Vikes

What a difference a point makes.

Take a deep breath there, Bunky

Cyber security: The new arms race for a new front line - CSMonitor.com

Yet with this explosion in US military cyber-operations – and with the corresponding boom in the number of defense contractors to support cyber-activity – comes concern that a rapidly expanding "cyber-industrial complex" could jeopardize the openness and democratic ideals of the Internet.

I have difficulty with the concept of anonymous openness, in the first place. And in the second, what democratic ideals? (Yes I know there's that domain name board or whatever it's called, and W3C, and at least some of their members are elected, I think. But still.)

What, is it time already?

Five years after Lehman bankruptcy: Will we see the next crisis coming? - CSMonitor.com


How the cops watch your tweets in real-time | Ars Technica

Used less than well, it can be a bit creepy, sort of on par with having a kid's uncle listen outside her bedroom during a slumber party.

If that's what you call a bit creepy…

A hole in the sky

A hole in the sky by Ted Compton
A hole in the sky, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.