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May 29, 2009

Viennese Whirls?

The UK's Channelbee brings us a wholesome episode of non-erotic conversation on an erotic chat TV channel. Marvel as the underwear-clad entertainer gamely tries to sexualize the caller's questions about her tea breaks and whether she'd recently eaten a Vindaloo.

It's all refreshingly innocent fun, yet not without a certain tinge of Clockwork Orange. Maybe it's just Joe's Northern accent.

Via B3ta.

May 27, 2009

The Nicene Creed of technospeak parody.

Finely honed, witty bullshit that stands the test of time is a rare quantity indeed. The litany of the Turboencabulator spans decades—it's clearly well-loved among supernerds, who stay as faithful to this text as Monty Python or Big Lebowski fanatics are to their own.

Rockwell, circa 1997:

Date and source unknown:

Chrysler, circa 1988:

Most amazing (beside the fact that these were produced in-house at big, humorless corporations) is that the text apparently dates to the mid-1940s. The earliest reproduction that I've seen appears as a phony technical spec sheet and detailed description (on GE letterhead) from 1962.

My own Pops can relate; he commented that

In my teen years we had a routine that, unfortunately, I can't remember except that it extolled the virtue of installing "Fnortner Rods" in a car engine to soup it up.

Bullshit is a renewable resource.

May 23, 2009

Monster walks the AEI.


Here is a handy guide to the omissions 'n lies contained in Dick Cheney's Thursday speech to his dwindling core of faithful at the American Enterprise Institute.

Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including waterboarding — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."

He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair , as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."

In a statement April 21 , however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.

FBI Director Mueller Robert Muller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.

— Cheney said that President Barack Obama's decision to release the four top-secret Bush administration memos on the interrogation techniques was "flatly contrary" to U.S. national security, and would help al Qaida train terrorists in how to resist U.S. interrogations.

However, Blair, who oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, said in his statement that he recommended the release of the memos, "strongly supported" Obama's decision to prohibit using the controversial methods and that "we do not need these techniques to keep America safe."

— Cheney said that the Bush administration "moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks."

The former vice president didn't point out that Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al Zawahri , remain at large nearly eight years after 9-11 and that the Bush administration began diverting U.S. forces, intelligence assets, time and money to planning an invasion of Iraq before it finished the war in Afghanistan against al Qaida and the Taliban .

There are now 49,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting to contain the bloodiest surge in Taliban violence since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, and Islamic extremists also have launched their most concerted attack yet on neighboring, nuclear-armed Pakistan.

The lies go on and on, and the full article is well worth reading.

Andrew Sullivan's take is also good:
[Cheney's speech] confirms the very worst of him, and reveals just how callow, just how arrogant, and just how reckless and unrepentant this man is and has long been. There was not a whisper of regret or reflection; there was a series of lies and distortions, a reckless attack on a graceful successor, inheriting a world of intractable problems, and a reminder that while serious men and women will indeed move on, Cheney never will. He remains a threat to this country's constitution as he remains a stain on its honor and moral standing.

May 20, 2009

Space PORN.

NASA appears to have joined the 21st century. The Atlantis astronauts sent down this hand-held video showing the shuttle pulling away from the Hubble space telescope after an apparently very successful repair mission.

Now you know what it's like on the shuttle: cramped and dirty, but still pretty fucking cool.

Via Slog.

May 11, 2009

Tribute, belated.

May 3, 2009

Owl-staring time.

I don't recommend getting into a stare-down against an owl. You'll lose every time, and the whole process makes you feel like helpless, uneasy prey.

This owl is not afraid of the crows that are screaming at him, the hawk that is circling him, or the human that is watching him.

This owl is in our tree.

This owl will eat your soul.

Owl menace!

Antler International has more about the current wildlife adventures.