Updates from July, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Pat 2:09 pm on 30 July 2009 Permalink  

    Microbes that eat plastic may sound like a great idea, but can we make sure they will only eat the plastics we don’t want? If not, we end up with the scenario in Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters.

  • Hober Short 12:44 pm on 30 July 2009 Permalink  

    I always have a bit of difficulty believing in projections of how if nothing changes, we’ll ruin the Earth in a hundred years. The rate at which technology is advancing is such that we won’t recognize the Earth in a hundred years anyways, just as people from 1909 wouldn’t recognize our Earth. I mean, we just got back from a lunch where the miracle of flight took place around us constantly and we only noticed when it was loud.

    Where was I? Oh, right, this teenager figured out a way to cause plastic bags to decompose much faster than previously thought. If this works out and all we have to do is set these microbes loose on the plastic bags, won’t all of our recycling programs end up looking kinda silly?

    At the very least, the predictions of the world drowning in plastic bags look pretty bad.

  • Pat 10:17 am on 30 July 2009 Permalink  

    In an article at Pajamas Media, Frank J. Fleming (of IMAO fame) gets to the bottom of the Obama birth-certificate controversy. Here’s an excerpt:

    Tell me this: Have you ever actually seen Hawaii? Sure, you may think you have been there, but a plane could have just flown circles around the ocean and landed at any island, for all you know. Don’t you find it suspicious that Hawaii is supposedly located in the middle of the ocean so no one can ever actually see it from the shores of real America?

    It’s because the CIA made it up.

    Read the whole thing.

  • Pat 12:35 am on 30 July 2009 Permalink  

    You think that’s bad? In England, a 28-year-old woman got carded because she was trying to buy a pizza cutter.

  • Hober Short 12:24 pm on 29 July 2009 Permalink  

    Wait a minute…

    (CHICAGO) (WLS) — A total of 15 people were shot in Chicago on the city’s South and West sides late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

    But aren’t guns illegal there?

  • Hober Short 10:05 am on 29 July 2009 Permalink  


    A government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.


    Lawmakers to propose ban on driving while texting


    WASHINGTON — States would be required to ban driving while texting or face the loss of highway funds under legislation being pushed by a group of Democratic senators.

    Stuff like this always seemed to be in violation of the spirit of the constitution.

  • Hober Short 9:40 am on 29 July 2009 Permalink  

    In the middle of an AP article about Iran beginning to prosecute protestors, they refer to “several deaths of young activists in prison – including the son of a prominent conservative”. I really have to wonder if its even fair to call them “conservatives”. The meaning of that word in American politics and the meaning of that word in Iranian politics are so utterly divorced that it seems somehow disingenuous to call them the same thing.

  • Hober Short 1:45 pm on 28 July 2009 Permalink  

    Stories like this get tagged with “Streisand Effect” on Slashdot:

    By suing Bonnen for $50,000 over a tweet that was probably seen by a fraction of abonnen’s 22 followers, the company is bringing Bonnen’s complaint to tens of thousands of readers on Twitter, in blogs and in news stories that the situation will generate.

    Pretty much.

  • Hober Short 10:33 am on 28 July 2009 Permalink  

    Via Hacker News, this needs no introduction:

    Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world’s most powerful soft X-ray laser. ‘Transparent aluminium’ previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.

    It is worth noting that the invisibility is measured in femtoseconds and only applies to “extreme ultraviolet radiation”. But still. Maybe that’s what Scotty meant, and we all just guessed that when he said “transparent”, he meant “through the entire visible spectrum”.

  • Hober Short 10:32 am on 28 July 2009 Permalink  

    I’ll concede the privacy point in a limited context. When I was with the previously-cited friend and we went to pick up the previously-cited step-brother and the previously-uncited step-father from the airport (whence they returned from a week at a Boy Scout camp in the Rockies) he spent the half hour drive home text messaging nearly non-stop. Presumable discretion was paramount.

    At the risk of extrapolating too much from an anecdotal case, it’s also worth noting that he reportedly will spend hours in his room engaged likewise.

    Perhaps I’m just witness to an outlier, however.

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