Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A pot-pourri today

There's so much happening today, I don't know what to focus on. Thusly, I present a miscellany:

Comparing Obama to Hitler and Lenin. The billboard, right, speaks for itself (wonder why I put it on the right?!). Of course we can surmise who's responsible for this: our Tea Party friends. Now, the NAACP has become tired of what they are calling racist comments, and are speaking out vehemently against this. Good. The billboard went up yesterday; now there are reports that it has disappeared. Again, good. This shit is gross. And I'm tired of it. Grow up, people. Sure, there are many different opinions in this country. It's deeply divided - hasn't been like this for a long time, probably since Lincoln. We are all entitled to our respective positions, but why, oh why, is it not possible to have a respectful, seemly, intelligent, and honest discourse any more? The art of conversation, it appears, has not just vanished from our living rooms, now it has disappeared from higher institutions, for example, on Capitol Hill. Obama is never going to be able to get anything done when idiots like the Tea Party and - yes - Republicans just sit there wailing like so many crybabies, blocking his every move. It's disgusting. Grow the fuck up - PLEASE.

The oil disaster (not "spill"). BP has now put the new blowout preventer in place, but has not yet turned the valves that are meant to slowly and eventually stop the gusher. [See good info about this.] Why? Well, it turns out that there is fear that the pressure that would (obviously) be created when the valves are closed could cause ruptures deep underground where the well's casing is much thinner and weaker. Should this happen, even greater amounts of oil and gas would be released into rock fissures and - get this - there would be no way to stop it. It would somewhat randomly gush out of the earth deep undersea. Scientists are now saying that the potential for this is high. Now that would be the disaster to top all disasters. What's the solution? Well, ideally, they need the new relief wells to be in place and working. But, of course, that's going to take time. Frankly, I'd rather wait than risk it - but I guess we have to leave the decision up to the "experts" (I use that word reservedly).

Armageddon? An item related to the oil disaster... There are reports on the intertubes claiming there is a strong possibility that the release of methane, a side-effect of this mess, could end up destroying the planet. To be honest, I have not yet taken a hard look at this (I will soon), so am not prepared to opine on the topic. But it's certainly worth mentioning, not to mention exploring. They are saying that the media is deliberately being kept away from the story, so naturally thoughts of conspiracy theories pop up. I'm not a conspiracy theorist so - illogically - I both defer and demur!

IPhone 4 and Consumer Reports. Consumers' Union, who publish the venerable magazine, have given a thumbs-down to the iPhone 4, claiming that the theories about poor reception when you hold the phone a certain way with your left hand are, indeed, true. Consumer Reports, notoriously, hides most of its web content behind a paywall, so I'm not bothering to link them here, but here's another good report from Computerworld. Apple's share price took a beating today because of this, so it's clear that CR still has influence in this rapidly changing world.

Google Dictionary. Yes, I know I continually sing the praises of Google. For good reason - all their shit is pretty amazing. Ever tried Google's dictionary? (Actually, dictionaries.) If, for example, you type "define: marijuana" in Google's search box, you would be taken to definitions of marijuana from multiple dictionaries. But wait, it gets better. If you're one of the happy users of Google's browser, Chrome, there is an extension available that you can install painlessly and quickly. What does it do? If you double-click (or ctrl-double-click, your choice) on any word in any web page, a little balloon will immediately pop up, providing a quick definition of the word, along with a "more..." link. Clicking on the "more..." button will take you to a page containing:
   •   A formal definition of the word,
   •   Synonyms,
   •   A button which will audibly pronounce the word,
   •   Occurrences of the word in other languages,
   •   Usages of the word in recent items from newspapers around the world, and
   •   Definitions from a selection of other dictionaries.
Take the "marijuana" example - click here to see what you would get if you had used the feature on a web page somewhere. Isn't that cool? If you don't have Chrome, get it here - now. If you just want to use the dictionary itself, with all the features I've listed, go here.

MacArthur Park lyrics. Can someone help me understand this? The verse that goes "MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark | All the sweet green icing flowing down | Someone left the cake out in the rain | But I don't think that I can take it | It took so long to bake it | And I'll never have the recipe again, oh no." makes absolutely zero sense to me. Where is the green icing flowing to? Who left the damn cake out in the rain in the first place? Why did it take so long to bake? And why, oh why, is the wretched recipe so important? Just buy some cake mix and follow the recipe on the box, stoopid!

Gay sex in the military? Say no more, say no more ... read all about it!

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