Archive for April, 2005

Tips to Help You Help the Agribusiness Economy


to! USDA hopes the updated food pyramid, MyPyramid, will
help to ease much of the confusion that has come from so-called "doctors" and "scientists" claiming
that their independent, repeatable experimentation has shown red meat,
processed foods, agrichemicals and irradiation to be unhealthy for people
and the planet.

Many of USDA’s top officials have worked in the Agribusiness
industry, providing the expertise necessary to develop a pyramid
that best represents the truth about healthy eating — it’s not what
to the
food before it gets to your table, but simply that you eat substantial
servings of all foods — Following these guidelines will help ensure
the health of American families while guaranteeing the health of
Agribusiness Corporations around the world.

Tips to help you help the Agribusiness economy:

  • Make half your grains refined
  • Review nutrition labels, but base your selection of food products on the packaging
    pictures you find most attractive
  • High fructose corn syrup counts as one of your daily servings of grains
  • Vary your veggie packaging to include plastic
  • Drink milk
  • Protein from meat is delicious
  • Increase your physical activity so you can eat more

If you are having technical difficulties, it’s probably because you
do not have new and/or expensive enough equipment. If that’s the case,
then you are probably not in our target demographic* and lack the financial
means to have a significant impact on the Agribusiness economy anyways.

No, the USDA has not sold out lock, stock and barrel to Agrabusiness
– this lookalike site is the work of husband and wife satyrists Stephen
Eisenmenger and Molly Nutting. Very funy and worth a visit.

site from

article from Boston Globe

Nothing New Under the Floor


A group of Australian farmers have won permission to open a ‘feet-first’

The eco-friendly cemetery will bury the deceased vertically to save space
and in bio degradable bags in a field to be used later as pasture.

Tony Dupleix, chairman of the farmers’ cooperative set up 20 years ago
when the idea was first mooted, said it was a ‘no fuss’ alternative to
traditional burials.

"When you die, you are returned to the earth with a minimum of fuss
and with no paraphernalia that would affect the environment," he

"You’re not burning 90kg of gas in a crematorium and there’s no
ongoing maintenance costs.

This is news? One of the most persistent and profound traits ingrained
in EVERY human culture ever encountered is rituals associated with burial,
the afterlife, and the transition from this life to the next. Yet within
this universal cultural manifestation the individual cultural variety
is astounding.

Almost every conceivable burial position has been the way to go in some
society or other. The clear favorite over time is the tried and true
fetal position, on the theory that it was the position we assumed BEFORE
coming into this world, so we should return to it when we check out.
However, we have seen corpses sitting cross legged, sitting legs folded,
sitting on haunches, sitting on a chair, standing, standing on head,
kneeling because the legs were cut off, lying on side, lying on back,
cannonball style, cannonball style stuffed in giant clay urns, all-fours,
doggy style, arms splayed, legs akimbo, hanging from trees and shrunken
into thick glass jars, to mention but a few.

We took the above photo on our recent trip to Peru at the Huaca Juliana,
a pre-Incan site quite near downtown Lima. This is currently a very active
site, despite having been scoured for gems, precious metals and salable
artifacts years ago. It is only recently being systematically unearthed
and examined by archeologists, who are discovering new stuff daily.  While
we were there, for example, they discovered the first flight of stairs (the rest of
the complex uses inclined ramps). Interestingly, this culture, coincidentally
called the Lima, believed in a particularly bloody
of Feng Shui.

Their pyramids were built up over centuries, basically by periodically
razing the exiting structures, laying a new floor on the rubble, and
building the next layer on top. However, when performing one of these periodic
make-overs, their religion demanded that they make multiple human sacrifices
and leave the bodies interred under the new floor, to insure the spiritual
sanctity of the new digs.  In the specific room where we took the
photo diggers told us they had discovered 8 bodies, all young women between
10-12, all killed immediately before burial when the floor was set.

Our own teen sacrifices, like the Olsen twins, might not have it so
bad after all…..

As to our own personal preference, we can’t make up our mind. We vacillate
from one position to the other. Right now, we are leaning toward being
in the classic
NFL lineman three-point stance. Haven’t decided yet which helmet we’ll
wear into the Valhalla Hall of Fame…

from Ananova

It’s Better to be White in South Africa



A judge handed
down murder convictions for a farm owner and an employee who were accused
of beating a rural laborer and then throwing him to 20 rare white lions.

The farmer, Mark Scott-Crossley, and his employee, Simon Mathebula,
were said to have attacked Nelson Chisale with knives in January 2004,
after Mr. Chisale, who had been fired, came to collect his belongings.
Mr. Chisale was tied to a tree and beaten, then driven to the lion
enclosure and thrown over its fence. Only part of a skull, a few bones
and shredded
clothes remained when the police searched the pen. Testimony never
established whether Mr. Chisale was alive when he was tossed to the lions.
The spectacular
case was held up as an example of continuing racism.

Racism, just because they gave the guy to WHITE lions? Showing some
sort of favoritism over regular brown or tan lions? Isn’t that taking
Political Correctness a lit-tle too far?

from the
New York Times

The Sting is Mightier than the Sword


Thieves have been a constant affliction on human existence
since our earliest ancestors snuck away from the site of a kill with
an extra antelope shank under their loincloths. In the modern world this
tendency continues, despite thousands of years of acculturation and religious
indoctrination. A fascinating area of study is the variations on the
larcenous model seen in different cultures and countries around the world.

In the United States, for example, the far majority
of the theives are white collar criminals. Whey work out of offices,
PO boxes, off-shore servers.  Thier tools are TV, web sites, email
and the US tax code.  Many of them are lawyers.  When you get
robbed by these people you don’t even realize what happened until later
– in some cases, much later.

ZZZZZZ Means NO in Oslo


(Reuters) – A Norwegian court has sentenced a woman to nine months in
jail for raping a man, the first such conviction in the Scandinavian
country that prides itself for its egalitarianism.

The 31-year-old man fell asleep on a sofa at a party in January last year and
told the court in the western city of Bergen he woke to find the 23-year-old
woman was having oral sex with him.

Under Norwegian law, all sexual acts with someone who is "unconscious or
for other reasons unable to oppose the act" are considered rape.

The court sentenced the woman Wednesday to nine months in jail and ordered her
to pay 40,000 Norwegian crowns ($6,355) in compensation.

Ah, but what was the dude dreaming about, huh?
How can they be certain he wasn’t faking it? Also, doesn’t the imposition
of a NINE MONTH sentence smack of subconscious sexism? THREE DAYS before
that Motherhood
itself is a series of nine month sentences…..

This story also reminded the Dowbrigade of a favorite
childhood pastime.  After discovering that silently dunking the
hand of a soundly sleeping person in a bowl or pot of warm water will
almost always cause him or her to empty their bladder and wet whatever
they are wearing, with a smile on their face, we went on a mad skein
of warm-water
the draconian timbre of our current times, could these indiscretion
be reclassified as sex crimes? Does the statute of limitations apply?

from the Reuters

Comic of the Day


We hope carpundit approves of this one; it seems to ridicule and offend everyone equally…

Popeman Comics Kick Satan’s Ass


BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) – Pope John Paul II is being
reborn in a Colombian comic book as a superhero battling evil with an
anti-Devil cape and special chastity pants.

The first episode of the "Incredible Popeman" is about to go on sale
in Colombia and shows the late Polish pontiff meeting comic book legends such
as Batman and Superman to learn how to use superpowers to battle Satan.

"The pope was a real-life superhero, of flesh and blood," said Colombian
artist Rodolfo Leon, a non-practicing Catholic who has been working on the comic
book for about a year.

Like any self-respecting superhero, the Incredible Popeman has a battery of special
equipment. Along with his yellow cape and green chastity pants, the muscular
super-pontiff wields a faith staff with a cross on top and carries holy water
and communion wine.

Sometimes an idea comes along that is just so perfect that you can’t
believe it isn’t all part of some vast, multi-leveled marketing scheme.
This is sure to be a collectors item, and with the current mania for
turning successful comics into feature motion pictures, can a Hollywood
blockbuster be far behind.

We will do our best to get our hands on a copy of this publication,
so that we can translate and review more of it for our readers. We
have contacts in Colombia, who are always looking for an excuse to send
stuff to the States…….

from Reuters

Safari Tracks RSS


The browser
wars refuse to die. After being a very satisfied two-year monagomous
relationship with Safari, recently we have been having an on-again, off-again
affair with Firefox. Now Safari, perhaps aware that her sheen and sparkle
had started to fade, has come back with a vengance by embracing today’s
sexiest new technology – RSS! Check it out:

Apple has turned Safari, the Mac OS X Web browser, into an RSS reader.
Combining RSS with the browser makes overwhelming sense, because you
don’t have to flip back and forth between the headlines in one program
and the full articles in your Web browser. (Firefox, an outstanding free
browser for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, integrates RSS feeds in a very
similar way, although without as much flexibility as what you’re about
to read.)

Here’s how life with Safari works. Any time you see an RSS logo appear
in the address bar, Safari is telling you that you’ve stumbled onto a
Web page that offers an RSS feed. (That’s handy, because it’s not always
easy to tell if a page does or not.) Of course, you can also seek out
RSS sites using Web sites like and

If you click the RSS button, you enter Safari’s RSS-reading view: a scrolling "front
page" containing all of the tidbits (articles, blog entries) from
that Web page. A clever Article Length slider expands or shrinks all
entries simultaneously, from full-length articles, with photos, to headlines
only. Searching and sorting controls await at the right side.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Exactly as in Firefox, you can
bookmark this RSS feed. From now on, your Bookmarks menu (or Bookmarks
bar) lets you know how many new articles have been published on the Web
site you subscribed to – you’ll see, for example, "
(7)" – so you don’t waste time visiting pages where there’s nothing

If you drag several of these bookmarks into a single bookmark folder
– because they’re all on one related topic, like tech gadgets – you gain
a new option: a View All RSS Articles command that sprouts from that
folder. Now ALL of your RSS subscriptions appear on a single, neatly
consolidated page. On my Safari bookmark bar, for example, I have a folder
called Tech that shows me, at a glance, all the new entries from Engadget,
Gizmodo, and, of course, my own Pogue’s Posts – all
on a single page.

But wait, there’s more! Suppose you now search this master page for something
that interests you: "Treo," or "HDTV," or whatever.
Safari hides all entries except those that match – and now you can bookmark
THIS page.

In essence, you’ve now built yourself a self-updating, personal clipping
service. With one click, you make Safari display all the articles, from
the Web sites you consider relevant, that pertain to a topic that interests
you. It’s a fantastic way to keep tabs on a sports team, movie star,
company or whatever.

We’re not sure we understand all that, but we are raring to try, especially
since our Manila RSS aggregator has been misbehaving something awful

from an
email from David Pogue

Pogues article on the new Mac OS – Tiger

Dim Sum, Others Not So Dim


disturbing item came across the news desk this morning, from the quasi-communist
government of Hong Kong, via the New
York Times
, claiming
"eating many kinds of dim sum regularly may be bad for your health".

This has caused consternation and confusion in restaurants all across
the city, and now, thanks to the Times, all around the world. Turns out it
is not
Dim Sum
per se that is harmful, but rather certain kinds of
dim sum, eaten in excess.

Dim sum, which means "touch of the heart," is usually eaten at
breakfast or lunch and includes steamed or fried pastry dumplings stuffed with
anything from pork and beef to shrimp and egg custard. Many other savories,
like mango pudding and egg tarts, are also dim sum.

But based on laboratory analyses of 750 dim sum samples, Hong Kong’s Food
and Environmental Hygiene Department found high fat and salt and low calcium
fiber in everything from fried dumplings to marinated jellyfish. The report
suggested that local residents eat these kinds of dim sum in moderation,
and choose more
dim sum like steamed buns and steamed rice rolls.

Regular dim sum diners should order plates of boiled vegetables to go with
their meals, the report said, and should beware of some steamed dim sum for
which the
ingredients are fried, like bean curd sheets.

Plates of boiled vegetables! We might as well go to a Hare Krishna joint
for the free come on in spread! Seeing as Sunday Dim Sum has become something
a tradition for the Berkman
Blogger’s Group
, should this report hold up we
may have to consider alternatives.

The Dowbrigade suggests instituting Sunday "Pachamancas", a delicious
Peruvian tradition which involves wrapping goat, sheep and guinea pig meat
in banana leaves
and burying them 3 or 4 feet underground, together with potatoes, yucca, camote
and red hot rocks. After three days you dig it all up, wash off the dirt,
and chow down. Delicious!

We could make a Pachamanca pit in a corner of the garden in front of
the Berkman Center. We would have to do the prep work, heat the rocks, wrap
meat, and bury the booty after our regular Thursday
night meetings
, in order
to have it be ready for Sunday. But it would be worth it. Especially delicious
with abundant
Chicha, Andean corn mash beer….

from the
New York Times

Bonus: click on photo for filmclip

Hot iPods Underground


Note to Subway Riders: Watch Out for Those iPods

The iPod people seem to be everywhere these days, listening to Bach or 50 Cent,
but nowhere do they appear more visible and at peace than on the subways. The
train rocks on the tracks, the brakes screech, the motorman says something
unintelligible, but the iPod users are in their own zone, protected by a personal

Criminals have noticed: New York City police officials said today that an increase
in subway crime this year is driven almost entirely by a dramatic rise in robberies
and thefts of cell phones and iPods, two totems of modern urban life.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority followed by announcing a series of
safety advertisements that may alter the habits of iPod users, perhaps leaving
them no choice but to experience the sounds of the subway along with everyone

Just as officials warned riders to beware of chain snatchers and pickpockets
in the high-crime era of the 1980’s, so are they now suggesting that iPod users
keep themselves from standing out. "Earphones are a giveaway," one
of the new announcements states. "Protect your device."

What about all those subway ads for iPods? Have they produced an iPod theft zone where
you can’t use your iPod at all? And those stylish earphones as a dead
giveaway? Personally, we are convinced that the next great leap in portable
music technology and the first big step towards Cyborgs in Cyberspace will
be surgically implanted inside-the-ear-buds, which can be connected, wirelessly,
of course, to your phone, the internet, or your music player.  Coming
soon to a clinic near you….

from the New York Times

War Drivers Among Us


an alternative to the WAG list of Boston
area Wi-fi hotspots
, the Dowbrigae
has recently been consulting an interesting site called

This site is the real deal, it mantains a constantly updated database
of hotspots as reported by "War Drivers", who are either the Apache
Scouts of the Wireless Revolutionary Army, or a bunch of geeks with way
too much time on their hands, riding around in cars with notebooks and
wifi scanners.

Any way, here is the link if you wnat to check out YOUR neighborhood….
– Wardriving Maps and Hotspot Locator

This is a web-based interactive map of wardriving data. Wardrivers
upload their findings, and we draw the data atop detailed street-level
maps. This project
was built using a variety of free or open source software packages.
Be alert that you are anonymous. Click here to create a user account,
or Login. Your
uploads will be credited to Anonymous.


SS Investigating Bush-Shooting Skit


The red-hot rhetoric over Social Security on liberal
talkradio network AIR AMERICA has caught the attention of the Secret
Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Government officials are reviewing a skit which aired on the network Monday evening
— a skit featuring an apparent gunshot warning to the president!

The announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn’t
safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here’s your answer, you
ungrateful whelp: Just try it, you little
bastard. ."

The audio production at the center of the controversy aired during opening minutes
of The Randi Rhodes Show.

"What is with all the killing?" Rhodes said, laughing, after the clip

"Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it
on national radio… we are taking this very seriously," a government source

Testing the limits of freedom of speech? How does that compare with libertarian wombat Jay Severin laughing and advocating nuking several third world countries? The humorlessness of the current administration is enough to make the editor of a humor blog nervous….

from the Drudge Report

of the offending skit (may come down soon)