Harris Dindo, part of the science team at Palermo University that developed the robot, said: "It uses the technique of latent semantic analysis, which means it can answer many of the questions tourists throw at it and have intelligent interaction with them."ZDNet has more. Via SmartMobs and cross-posted at Off Center.
—Minnesota Republican state senator Michelle Bachmann, who advocates a constitutional ban on gay marriage
"We also have seen evidence that homosexual couples prey on young males and have, in some instances, adopted them in order to have unfretted access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse."
—Republican Tennessee state representative Debra Maggart
For more on Rebar, read SFWeekly's new profile.
"Liberalism Kills Kids" is a groundbreaking work which documents the devastating failure of America's 40-year experiment with liberal statism. From the deaths of 44 million unborn children, to skyrocketing rates of out-of-wedlock births, to the divorce epidemic, to the destructive demands of the movement to normalize homosexuality -- the book exposes a cultural coup d'etat that has left our families gasping for air.McEwan replies:
Although claiming that abortions kill children isn’t exactly groundbreaking in its irritating yet tiresomely familiar mendacity, the assertion that children born out of wedlock, witness their parents' divorces, or come out of the closet apparently drop dead is, I admit, some admirable trailblazing lunacy. Then again, maybe Dr. Scarborough isn't suggesting that those things quite literally kill kids, but Liberalism Provides for Nontraditional Family Structures I Don’t Like isn’t quite as catchy a title... There are plenty of things that have the capacity to actually kill kids in America--endemic poverty leading to malnutrition/starvation, lack of access to affordable healthcare (including cutting-edge treatments and drugs), corporate irresponsibility and lax environmental regulations, guns, the kind of opportunistic hatemongering that plays on prejudices and can spiral into hate crimes which leave gay teenagers hanging dead on fences, just for a start...
Nutrition experts discovered that Gourmet Gold cat food has just 2.9g of fat per 100g — a mouth-watering EIGHT TIMES less than the percentage found in pieces of KFC.[via / image]
The level of fat was also far lower than a McDonald’s Big Mac and a Pizza Hut meal.
The lab tests by nutrition experts discovered that Cesar dog food uses just 4.4g of fat in every 100g — and has lower salt and sugar levels than many dishes served to humans.
Researchers found that KFC chicken pieces were the unhealthiest fast food on test. They contained 23.2g of fat per 100g and 1.9g of salt. Unbelievably, ADDING fries cut the fat and salt levels, with them falling to 12g and 0.7g per 100g.
More children are born each year in Africa than are born in the Americas, all of Europe and Japan put together. Worldwide, more than a third of a million new people will be born on your birthday this year.[via]
She also takes rightwing talking head Laura Ingraham to task. Ingraham, from the comfort of a US studio, derides the media in Iraq for reporting from hotel balconies instead of getting out and speaking with locals, something Logan says is nearly impossible due to the security situation there. "It's an outrage to point the finger at journalists and say this is our fault... It shows an abject lack of respect for any journalist prepared to come to this country and risk our lives." Maybe the best part is Logan's response when told that Ingraham spent a mere eight days in the country.
The Bush Soundboard: Edit together Bush's comments for an array of fun. "Vladimir Putin. Heh heh heh."
In Iowa, scientists are having success in converting organic materials like bark and corn stalks into bio-oil. According to a new study [pdf], the US can "grow enough fresh biomass -- more than a billion tons each year -- to supplant at least a third of its annual petroleum use."
But Bruce admits that reality is pretty far away. In the meantime, here's a low-fi way to get basic info on products: learn the codes. Kicksonline demystifies the label on your Nikes, decoding numbers that refer to the manufacture date, factory and country of origin, and other details. Like barcodes, the PLU (product look-up) code on fruits or vegetabes can tell you the variety, as well as if it's organic (a five-digit number beginning with a 9), conventionally grown (a four-digit number starting with a 4), genetically engineered (a five-digit number beginning with an 8), etc.
Watch the video here.
Just like the NCAA, LeisureArts is looking for corporate sponsorship, but their only likely candidate – Bernadette Corporation – hasn’t responded yet. As the comments suggest, we art types take our aesthetic competitions seriously: one anonymous person called it “elitist crap,” while others challenged the exclusion of collectives based outside the US (although there are some). I, too, wonder why my favorite collectives aren’t included: Futurefarmers, the Bureau of Inverse Technology, Mejor Vida Corp., or the ever-weird but demonstratedly scrappy Atelier van Lieshout.
[Cross-posted at Off-Center.]
Perhaps the work has more resonance after reading a 1993 speech by Anishinaabeg activist Winona LaDuke last night. She reported that 72% of the world's wars involve indigenous people; that all atomic weapons tests in the US have occurred on the lands of indigenous people; that 50 million indigenous people live in endangered rainforests; that a million indigenous people in the '90s were slated to be relocated due to dam-building projects.
This project consists of an aerial view of the Sacramento River that is woven into a carpet for the floor of a pedestrian bridge connecting the terminal to the parking garage. This image represents approximately 50 miles of the Sacramento River starting just outside of Colusa, California and ending about 6 miles south of Chico.Via Pruned.
In addition to recalling the experience of flight and flying, this piece, by depicting the larger geographical area, also helps to reinforce a sense of belonging and/or connection for the traveler. In this way, the carpet can also be read and experienced as a “welcome mat” for visitors arriving in Sacramento. The siting of this piece on a bridge also helps to highlight a few other conceptual aspects of the work. A bridge is a connection between two destinations; it is not a destination in and of itself; it is neither here, nor there. In this way it is similar to an airplane, or a river connecting one place to another; here to there; a moment of flight frozen in mid air; a flowing river that takes us along with its current to another destination. In this way, the piece also creates a koanic relationship between a river and a bridge, since their ordinary position have been turned around, and it is now the river that is on/above the bridge.
More details here.
In other bridge news: Workers inspecting the structural foundation of the Brooklyn Bridge have found a stockpile of '50s-era survival rations that suggest the depth of fear during the Cold War. Discovered in the bridge vault were water drums, paper blankets, medical supplies, drugs designed to treat shock, and 352,000 Civil Defense All-Purpose Survival Crackers--still intact.
I'm both on the judiciary committee and the intelligence committee. I've been on both committees looking at this, and after three months, I came to the conclusion that I think just about anyone focused on the law in this area would come to, which is: he doesn't have a leg to stand on for this being legal. You couple that with the fact that he had mislead the american people on at least three occasions saying that he always got warrants. And after the program was discovered, the president got out and said, basically, 'Tough luck. I'm going to do whatever I want to do here, whether it's in the law or not.' That to me demands a response. And I decided we had to at least look at the possibility of letting the president know on the record that what he's done here is illegal and wrong. That's why I proposed censure. I did not propose impeachment because, to me, obviously that's a more extreme step, and you have to consider whether this is really a good time to talk about removing the president from office, even though this is conduct I think the founding fathers would've found right within the strike zone of high crimes and misdemeanors.Watch the video here.
Apparently, Tennessee isn't the best place to raise a child. Only two states ranked worse in a recent ranking of healthiest states, Louisiana and Mississippi, two of the 12 states that already have the plates. Tennessee ranks 15th for poverty (13.8% according to the Census Bureau in 2003), and has the third highest rates of infant mortality in America. Kentucky--ranking fifth in poverty standings and 42nd most healthy--has just OK'd production of "Choose Life" plates of its own.
This guy has got a great question because really what he's talking about is transparency in pricing. When you go buy a car, you know exactly what they're going to charge you. (Laughter.) Well, sometimes you don't know. (Laughter.) Well, you negotiate with them. (Laughter.) Well, they put something on the window that says price. (Laughter.) His point is, is that the more you know about price, the better you can make better decisions, and I appreciate that.As the impeachment "chorus grows," ThinkProgress publishes a timeline of the three-year Iraq War. Relive the memories: Jessica Lynch, "Bring 'Em On," "Mission Accomplished," "last throes," Bush's fake turkey photo-op, "You've got to go to war with the army you have," “[M]uch of the intelligence turned out to be wrong" (Bush), and more. Learn more at ImpeachBush.org.
The press, flown in from Baghdad to this agricultural gridiron northeast of Samarra, huddled around the Iraqi officials and U.S. Army commanders who explained that the "largest air assault since 2003" in Iraq using over 50 helicopters to put 1500 Iraqi and U.S. troops on the ground had netted 48 suspected insurgents, 17 of which had already been cleared and released. The area, explained the officials, has long been suspected of being used as a base for insurgents operating in and around Samarra, the city north of Baghdad where the bombing of a sacred shrine recently sparked a wave of sectarian violence.
But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.
—Judy Deats, a Texas Republican, who is standing by Rep. Tom DeLay in his re-election bid despite the fact that his association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff has made him vulnerable to political opposition for the first time in more than 20 years
Bush's personal image also has weakened noticeably, which is reflected in people's one-word descriptions of the president. Honesty had been the single trait most closely associated with Bush, but in the current survey "incompetent" is the descriptor used most frequently.But incompetence won't stop Bush: he's still gung-ho on pre-emptive (that is, unprovoked) war, and the odds that the US will mount an air strike against Iran before the end of June is 4-to-1, according to tradesports.com.
But his chipper mood could only last so long. As a resident of Belgrade, he says he can see America from the outside, the way 94% of the world sees us, and it ain’t pretty, technologically speaking. Broadband in Serbia costs $20 a month, “and it works!” but the U.S. leaves broadband expansion to municipalities. He continues:
Our people in Washington are drinking their own bath water. They’ve forgotten how to build anything. They are busy monetizing stuff for their reelection campaigns. It is decadent, it is sclerotic. It looks like the Soviet Union. These guys in power are so eager to monetize the Net, that they’re turning the USA into a banana republic with rockets. Not just politically backward--technically backward! …The reality-based community are fatally easy to push around, mostly because they’re so gentlemanly and ladylike. But when you actually ignore reality for years on end, the payback is a bitch, brother! And I would know: because I’m a science fiction writer.Here's a report on his presentation, and here's the podcast.
Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill could've foregone her tree-wedged platform for a modernist marvel had Andrew Maynard been around during her 768-day treetop protest. Maynard's Global Rescue Station is a structure mounted in the endangered trees of Tasmania that aims to shelter activists, provide a visible symbol of resistance to corporate deforestation, and serve as a manned station that forestry workers would be powerless to remove. The structure is anchored to three trees instead of just one (as with typical treehouses), thereby protecting more trees from the logger's saw.
Inhabitat has more.
Oil stats: How oil-centric is your elected official? At OilChange International, I found this out about my senators: Republican Norm Coleman has accepted $141,100 from the oil and gas industry since 1990, while Democrat Mark Dayton has accepted $250 over the same period. (Via AltText.)
Earlier: Andrei Molodkin's sculpture Iraqi Crude Oil in the Form of Democracy and others.
—Maryland State Senate candidate Jamie Raskin, March 1, 2006, in Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee testimony responding to Republican Sen. Nancy Jacobs' suggestion that discriminating against gays and lesbians regarding marriage is required by "God's Law." Via Orcinus.
Pacifism = Terror: The Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice released documents that suggest the FBI was spying on the peace group for its opposition to the war in Iraq. In its report titled "IT [International Terrorism] Matters," the FBI describes the Merton Center as a "left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism." DemocracyNow has more.
Fascist career day? An FBI representative speaking to law students recently presented a slide show called "Terrorism in Texas." Among the evildoers, he listed IndyMedia, Food-not-Bombs, and the Communist Party of Texas.
Gunboats: Continuing the militarization of domestic life, now the Coast Guard is equipping some of its Great Lakes vessels with machine guns that can fire 600 rounds per minute.
And then there's Russ: What else is there to say? I love the guy. And, The Daily Show brilliantly skewers the limp-wristed Dems with the help of Paul Hackett, the Ohio Iraq vet who was asked by Democratic leaders to drop out of a race in a Republican district where he'd previously garnered 48% of the vote.
I'll then point out that the Bay Model exists within its own timezone: in the world of the Model, one day passes every 14.9 minutes. 30 full days elapse every 7.2 hours. Complete tidal cycles run 3.8 minutes. You can practically feel yourself aging in the presence of this copyscape, its wetlands and alluvial braids of artificial rivers running through fields of pumps and power cords.Speaking of models: The BBC on the world's only full-scale model of the Millennium Falcon.
The Wayback Machine: Several years ago, I interviewed collage filmmaker Craig Baldwin, the artist who used kinescopes and found footage to create Spectres of the Spectrum (1999), a film that raised prescient issues about the use and ownership of the airwaves. Read the interview at Version.
You don't need the gun, the knife, to do it. You can do it with your pen or your computer, you can do it with a paint brush and so forth. You can be heard, and heard a lot longer and a lot stronger, if you use the right weapons. And those are the weapons that I have chosen.Another moving tribute comes from the Walker Film/Video blog. In 1996, Parks was honored for his film work with a retrospective and dialogue at the Walker, and here's part of what Michael Eric Dyson wrote in a commissioned essay for that event, "Gordon Parks: Prometheus in Motion":
As Parks sifts through the cache of memories his Promethean talents have created, he refuses to be bitter about the denials, limits and indignities that have been, at one time or another, imposed upon his work. His trials have made him widely empathetic toward victims of any prejudice and skeptical about the privileges of race, class, or nation to establish the proper basis for human interaction. Through the power of his words, this intelligent and sensitive interpreter of human experience has now turned the mirror toward us, as well as himself; we, like Parks, must be judged by the integrity of our response to what we hear and see. Let us hope that we are half as successful as he has been.Photos: Walker Art Center (top), Library of Congress (bottom)
In 1758, French architect Charles Ribart proposed an elephant-shaped structure to be erected on the site where the Arc de Triomphe now stands. Equipped with a kind of air conditioning and furniture that would fold up into the walls, the three-level structure would've had a drainage system built into the elephant's trunk.
Update: in comments Joseph Barbaccia points out a more contemporary cousin of Ribart's elephant — Lucy, a 124-year-old structure in Margate, New Jersey, dubbed "the world's largest elephant."
Farmadeliphication (fahr'muh'deli'fi'kay'shun), n. 1. The process of turning all of Philadelphia's vacant and abandoned lots into urban farms: The 'Farmadeliphication' of once decrepit buildings into farm structures advances fresh ways of seeing old structures as well as allowing for an organic transformation of history that contributes to the present day fabric. 2. What might happen if the Front Studio team's entry to the Urban Voids competition moves beyond the conceptual stage.Inhabitat, possibly my new favorite blog, has more.
Farmadelphia proposes a break down of the divisions between ecology and the built environment - a pretty standard mission among urban revitalization advocates these days. But Front's vision doesn't merely sprinkle a community garden here and there; they want to Farmadelphify the whole city...
And: Gizmodo interviews artist Amy Franceschini, cofounder of Free Soil and Futurefarmers.
Via The Daily Irrelevant
A children's book about two male penguins that raise a baby penguin has been moved to the nonfiction section of two public library branches after parents complained it had homosexual undertones.
The illustrated book, "And Tango Makes Three," is based on a true story of two male penguins, named Roy and Silo, who adopted an abandoned egg at New York City's Central Park Zoo in the late 1990s.
The book, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, was moved from the children's section at two Rolling Hills' Consolidated Library's branches in Savannah and St. Joseph in northwest Missouri.
Two parents had expressed concerns about the book last month.
Barbara Read, the Rolling Hills' director, said experts report that adoptions aren't unusual in the penguin world. However, moving the book to the nonfiction section would decrease the chance that it would "blindside" readers, she said.