28 November 2007

Is the multiple wave theory dead?

A recent genetic study claims that native Americans are all descendants of a single group from Siberia. While this in itself would seem plausible, I don't see how it can be sqaured with the linguistic evidence of multiple migrations. Native American languages are famous for being so different from one another--differences that are hard to account for within a 10,000 year time frame.

25 November 2007

The war on free speech

This Thanksgiving season we need to all express our gratitude to the paternal forces in our government who are working to prevent us from hearing any foreign ideas that might upset our equilibrium.

Infrastructure and the web

According to Information Week, internet growth (especially in the US) will slow to a crawl in the next few years if more infrastructure isn't built. This could be a disaster as the 1000s of visitors (so many, that my hit counter can't keep up with them) who come seeking news and words of wisdom here at Swerve Left are left with nothing but their blank screen to stare at.

24 November 2007

It's official!

Kevin Rudd is the new AustralianPM. John Howard, a staunch shrubophile, has finally felt the end of the ozzy boot.

23 November 2007

Buy Nothing Day

It's officially Buy Nothing Day--the one day in the year when we can take a break from our consumption of plastic gizmos and deelywobs from Walmart and temporarily get a life. What did you not buy for Buy Nothing Day?

21 November 2007

Hawks can't hawk goods

Is this really any surprise? It appears that U.S. military personnel are fleeing the Republican Party in droves.

Impeachment and other thoughts

I came across this website today: The Charges and Public Record Evidence for the Impeachment of Bush and Cheney and then watched Kucinich on YouTube. Among the population, there really does seem to be a lot of momentum for impeachment. The comparison between Clinton's pecadilloes and the current morass is telling. I also watched a Bill Maher video and must say, I'm becoming quite the fan. I don't have a portal to the matrix, unwilling to pay the outlandish monthly fees just to spend half my time watching ads so YouTube's my only link at this point to the public's pulse. I surprised that Maher can say what he says about religion without getting lynched.

19 November 2007

The latest in snake oil

Another drug company is set to make a bundle of dough. It appears that a commonly used gluacoma drug makes eyelashes grow longer. Personally, I think this constant clamoring for eternal youth is deeply psychotic. Most human beings on the planet were able to live without all the eyelash and dick-enlargers, boob booster, botox wrinkle treatments, and other nonsense for thousands of years. Isn't all this nonsense just the modern equivalent of bound feet?

11 November 2007

The power of pond scum

This may be a long-shot, but it's an exciting possibility:

A microscopic green algae -- known to scientists as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and to regular folk as pond scum -- was discovered more than 60 years ago to split water into hydrogen and oxygen under controlled conditions. A recent breakthrough in controlling the algae's hydrogen yield has prompted a Berkeley, California, company to try to be first to commercialize production . . .

Melis found that algae must eventually be supplied sulfur to survive, but he was able to repeatedly switch hydrogen production on and off by changing the algae's environment.
Melis launched a company, Melis Energy, in 2001 to try to commercialize a technique that harnesses algae's ability to turn sunlight into hydrogen. In the fall of 2001, the company built a bioreactor containing 500 liters of water and algae that can produce up to 1 liter of hydrogen per hour. A siphoning system extracts the hydrogen, which is stored in its gaseous state.
The company is continuing to refine the process and improve its reliability, while also searching for investors so that it can increase production volume . . .

He said that his team of researchers at Berkeley has thus far only been able to achieve 10 percent of the algae's theoretical production capacity, but in the near future he will publish an advancement for peer review. Once the process reaches a 50 percent yield, Melis said it would be cost-competitive with fossil-fuel energy . . .

7 November 2007

BAC is back!

BAC (Bloggers Against Cat-blogging) is back! Our anti-catblogging lobbying group had hoped that our window taping campaign and the simultaneous War on Catnip would be enough to drive those furry felines away from the internets, but our efforts have clearly been foiled by a flexible and ferocious foe. Recently, this cat was captured on a hidden camera with its paw on the mouse, in an attempt to delete its owner's hard drive

We have therefore reinstated the highest alert--code redcat. The following blogs have been quarantined indefinitely until the Department of Feline Security has had an opportunity to pepper spray the cyberspace behind their modems and scrub the hard-drives free of any stray frrrballs.

Quarantined blogs: Badtux, Cut to the Chase, and the heavily infested Carnival of Cats.

5 November 2007

American democracy just ain't working folks

What do you do when the government ignores the citizenry?

Talking to a close friend the other day, I was griping about Americans' failure to get on board and help turn the country away from its disastrous course when my friend made the astute remark that the country had turned around: the problem is that the political establishment isn't reacting. He has a good point. Looking at the poll numbers (and listening to what most people are saying), there's tremendous discontent which is being ignored. It's as if the Republicans and Democrats have staged a coup with the help of their corporate sponsors.

According to a recent poll, 60%t of all Americans strongly want the country to change direction and only 24 percent of those surveyed think the nation is on the right track. Discontent crosses the red and blue lines to include Democrats, Republicans, and independents. More than 6 out of 10 called the war in Iraq not worth fighting (yet all major candidates want to stay!), and nearly two-thirds gave the national economy negative marks (a response that agrees with data showing that whatever gains exist are probably going to the wealthy). The abysmally low voter turn-out in the U.S. is just another sign of the divide between public opinion and corporate-led policy.

Personally at this point, I'd back just about any plan that got someone into the White House who hadn't been bought and paid for by monied interests. It's time that the discontented form a coalition to elect someone outside of the entire process. With so many people still glued to the corporate-run news media, it's hard to see how a new process could take shape. Does anyone have any ideas?

Nuclear power

Looking at the candidate's position on nuclear power, most except for Mike Gravel and John Edwards are for it. I especially like Gravel's response and I fully agree: No matter what the cost, wind power seems to be the "silver bullet" that everyone keeps saying doesn't exist. It's clean and is feasible using current technologies. In Hillary's case, she seems to be for nuclear power on the odd days of the week and against it on the even days. Her talk of some magic technology that is right around the corner (because, after all, we're Americans) seems to be the easy out for presidential front runners--a strategem stolen from the Shrub playbook. Why deal with energy issues when some technological fix--cold fusion?--is going to invented (and implemented on a mass scale) any day now? Anyway, here are some of the clips: you be the judge. In particular, notice Hillary's waffling on the issue.

3 November 2007

Ellsberg article

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into what he sees as a looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States. The following is an excerpt:

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services. And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada – who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war – is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

1 November 2007