Gringo Manaba

Adventuras y Fantasias or Fantastical Adventures

  • TEMAS – THEMES

  • September 2005
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Archive for September, 2005

Harvard Endowment Passes $25 Billion

Posted by glasscastle on 30th September 2005

BOSTON (AP) – Harvard University’s riches
have surged past $25 billion, the school announced Friday, but the news
came amid signs that the world’s wealthiest university is struggling
to find a permanent CEO for its in-house money management company.

With a net worth greater than that of roughly half
of the world’s 197 nation states, Harvard still finds the time and
gall
to ask unfortunate grads like the Dowbrigade for money at least a half
dozen times a year. The thinking here is that THEY should be sending
US checks, just on general principle, for all the good press we give
them.

from The
Guardian

Posted in Technology | Comments Off on Harvard Endowment Passes $25 Billion

Harvard Endowment Passes $25 Billion

Posted by glasscastle on 30th September 2005

BOSTON (AP) – Harvard University’s riches
have surged past $25 billion, the school announced Friday, but the news
came amid signs that the world’s wealthiest university is struggling
to find a permanent CEO for its in-house money management company.

With a net worth greater than that of roughly half
of the world’s 197 nation states, Harvard still finds the time and
gall
to ask unfortunate grads like the Dowbrigade for money at least a half
dozen times a year. The thinking here is that THEY should be sending
US checks, just on general principle, for all the good press we give
them.

from The
Guardian

Posted in Technology | Comments Off on Harvard Endowment Passes $25 Billion

Harvard Endowment Passes $25 Billion

Posted by glasscastle on 30th September 2005

BOSTON (AP) – Harvard University’s riches
have surged past $25 billion, the school announced Friday, but the news
came amid signs that the world’s wealthiest university is struggling
to find a permanent CEO for its in-house money management company.

With a net worth greater than that of roughly half
of the world’s 197 nation states, Harvard still finds the time and
gall
to ask unfortunate grads like the Dowbrigade for money at least a half
dozen times a year. The thinking here is that THEY should be sending
US checks, just on general principle, for all the good press we give
them.

from The
Guardian

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment »

There Is No Iraq

Posted by glasscastle on 30th September 2005

Everyone is wrong — from the arrogant
neo-clowns who brought you this war to the mindless bureaucrats who maintain
it to the well-intentioned intellectuals that are grasping for a decent
and humane way out. Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall and all the
king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Iraq back together
again.

There is no Iraq. It does not exist in the minds and
souls of the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. There will be three different
countries in the place we call Iraq, whether we like it or not.

from The
Huffington Post
by Cenk Uygur

The Dowbrigade has long held that the basic problem
in the modern Middle East is the existence of artificial, externally
imposed nation states, created by a conspiratorial cabal of European
power mongers after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The family, tribal
and religious ties that bind the inhabitants of fertile cresent are orders
of
magnitude
stronger than any imagined aligence to the Western fantasy of a coherent
state happily funneling us their oil deposits while going about their
swarthy third-world business in an orderly way.

Posted in Serious News | 1 Comment »

Can’t Look, Can’t Look Away

Posted by glasscastle on 29th September 2005

Human
nature being what it is, we were unable to read one more story about
the porno site offering GI’s free
access in return for gory pictures from Iraq and Afghanistan without
trying to find the source and judge for ourselves. All of the stories
assiduously
avoided mentioning the name or web address of the offending web site.

It didn’t take long to find ThatsFuckedUp.com,
and sure enough, there was gore
galore
. However, now the New
York Times
is reporting
that an Army inquiry has found no evidence that GI have given photos
to the site. Hmmmm. We suppose these could be Photoshopped, but they
sure look real, to the ignorant eye…..

from Thatsfuckedup.com (not for kids or the overly sensitive. War is ugly, and bad business, especially for those involved)

article from the New York Times

Posted in Serious News | 2 Comments »

Ready for Next Season

Posted by glasscastle on 29th September 2005

Nature
Physics
magazine explains the
secret for building the perfect sand castle – but only 7 people in the
world can understand it, and none of them has ever been to the beach…

Anyone
who has built a sandcastle recognizes that adding liquid to the sand
grains
increases
the overall
stability.
However, measurements of the stability in wet granular materials often
conflict with theory and with each other. The friction-based
Mohr-Coulomb model, distinguishes between granular friction and
interparticle friction, but uses the former without providing a physical
mechanism.
A frictionless model for the geometric stability of dry particles on
the surface of a pile is in excellent agreement with experiment. However,
the same model applied to wet grains overestimates the stability and
predicts no dependence on system size. Here we take a frictionless
liquid-bridge model and perform a stability analysis within the pile.
We reproduce
our experimentally observed dependence of the stability angle on system
size, particle size and surface tension. Furthermore, we account for
past discrepancies in experimental reports by showing that sidewalls
can significantly increase the stability of granular material.

from Nature Physics

Posted in Wacky News | Comments Off on Ready for Next Season

Suck a Fisherman’s Friend for Luck

Posted by glasscastle on 29th September 2005

Sucking a Fishermen’s Friend could get you into trouble

Police in Germany are warning motorists that sucking a Fishermen’s Friend could get them into trouble.

It comes after a 24-year-old driver was found to be over the legal drink-drive limit during a routine control in Munich.

He was taken to the police station where blood tests found he had no alcohol in his system.

The man was released after officers found the strongest thing he had taken was a Fisherman’s Friend.

Forensic doctor Thomas Gilg said the essential oils contained in the throat sweets reacted in the same way as alcohol on hand-held breathalysers.

He said in tests they found just three of the mentholated sweets could cause a motorist to test three times over the legal limit.

Sounds to us like they could get you OUT of trouble as well. Were we a drinker, we think we would always keep a carton of those Fisherman’s Friends (whatever the frell they are) in the GP just in case we get pulled over, so we could cop a plea like the busted athletes who claim they were betrayed by “cold medication”.

from Ananova

Posted in Wacky News | 3 Comments »

Penile Panacea: Licensed to Kill

Posted by glasscastle on 29th September 2005

As
part of our continuing efforts to warn Americans of the growing Wave
of Asian Weirdness represented by the emergence of the demographic colossus
China on the world stage,
we present Grandmaster
Tu Jin-Sheng, inventor and chief practitioner of Penis Qigong.

According
to its practitioners Penis Qigong is an incredibly powerful amd demanding martial
art, focusing hard on the center of growth and energy in the body – the
genitals.

We know that this sounds like a gag, but as far as we
can tell, it is completely on the up and up.  Tu
Jin-Sheng is a noted master of Qigong and Chinese medicine who graduated
from the prestigious Teachers Physical College of Taiwan with a degree
in
martial arts and also earned his master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
From an article in Kungfu
Magazine
:

As Tu sees it, people train every other part of their
body except their sexual organs. He considers his method as the only
way to correct
this oversight. While most people think the only exercise a penis gets
is ejaculation, Tu’s method treats the penis like an arm, a leg or
any other part of the body. Tu comments "People compete will all
their four limbs, why not this?"

As one might imagine, this is a very delicate practice,
so it is of utmost importance that a student follow the direction of
a qualified master. Penis qigong uses a variety of special exercises,
including massage, slapping, pulling and hitting it with a tool.

Even in our immodest modern world, penis training
is seldom seen. Master Tu believes this type of qigong kungfu has been
kept behind closed doors for two main reasons. Firstly, the Chinese
people are conservative by nature, so many judge this to be a prurient
practice and avoid discussing it seriously. Secondly and more interestingly,
this kungfu focuses on the reproductive organs, the very base of human
life, so it is immensely powerful. Masters had to find the right pupils
to receive the teachings or they would not pass it on.

But today, Tu exalts this practice as a penile panacea. He claims
it can prevent old age and diseases, increase energy and vitality,
make
muscles and bones stronger, reduce arterial blockage, cholesterol
levels, diabetes, allergies and ear problems. Additionally, of
course, it can
greatly enhance sexual performance.

from Kungfu
Magazine
(including Master Tu Jin-Sheng’s
Penis Qigong Tips)
and speaking of tips, Thanks, Adamg!

Posted in Wacky News | 11 Comments »

The Gray Lady Strays into Pay to Play

Posted by glasscastle on 28th September 2005

As all regular on-line readers undoubtedly
know by now, the gray lady of American journalism, the New York Times,
as gone to a two-tiered system for their web content – just the facts,
m’am, for free, and the cutting analysis of media stars like Krugman
and Dowd for paid membership ($50 a year) in the preterit Times Select.
As was to be expected, this caused an uproar in the media circles in
general and the blogosphere in particular.

The best survey of opinion we have seen so far comes
from Jay Rosen at PressThink.  He
is, on the whole, skeptical of the strategy, which officials at the Times
estimate must attract membership in the six figures in order to be considered
successful.  Micky
Krause
, among others, makes the point that one
of the main reasons everyone READS Kristoff and Krugman is BECAUSE everybody
else is reading it, and it’s what’s being discussed around metaphorical
water coolers on desktops around the country.

This will no longer be
the case if they go the "exclusivity" route.  With this
pay to play deal about as many people will shell out to read Maureen
Dowd as currently pay for T. Boone Pickens investment advice. Of course,
there are those who will question whether she has or deserves much influence
now, like Jay Rosen, who says she is bereft of ideas. Be that as it may,
she knows how to string a phrase together , especially when she gets
worked up, and she has been known to make me laugh out loud, and that’s
about all we can ask of a writer these days, at least of one we can read
in a newspaper. So we will miss reading her twice a week.

Or will we? Doesn’t information want to be
free? Surely there must be an easy way to read the few columnists we
like and look for without buying the whole paper or becoming an "Elitist".

First we tried the University Library where we work.  We
had heard they had a site licence for the New York Times. Turns out
they did – but only for the archives. Nothing newer than 2002.  However,
the University also has a site licence for Lexis-Nexis, and through
their "Universe" portal we had Dowd’s latest column on the screen in
minutes.

It’s not one of her best.  She is, unfortunately,
capable of abysmal writing as well, and does not always catch fire either
emotionally or rhetorically. But the important thing was that we could
read it if we wanted, and decide for ourself.

A little more digging turned up several web sites dedicated
to defeating the Times new policy. Turns out that most of the top Times
columnists are syndicated to some degree, and that many of the publication
subscribing to the syndication are NOT subscription-only sites themselves,
and so the columns are available for the clicking.

A blogger named Josh Tabin has started a site called
Never Pay Retail, on
which he collects links to the New York Times TS (Times Select, or as
cynics have noted Tough Shit) columns available
for free elsewhere. Those that are not linked to legitimate publications
sites are labeled "Bootleg available", which when clicked leads to an
explanation that while innumerable bloggers have posted illegal bootlegs
of the columns, he doesn’t want any problems with the New York Times
legal team, and so will only suggest that readers try searching by title
on Technotrati or Google Groups.

Beneath this notice were numerous comments denouncing
poor Josh as a pussy and a pansy.

Hopping over to Technorati, we found the Dowd column in seconds,
for example reprinted in its entirety on a blog called Nasty
Letters to Crooked Politicians
. So, these forbidden fruits are available,
albeit at the cost of a few extra clicks of the mouse. Is it worth it?
Let’s do the math.

We probably read a couple of these columns a day, five
days a week, on average. A couple of times a week we actually buy the
paper version, or come across one in a coffee shop. Just tonight, we
picked up an abandoned copy of the front section at a laundromat. But
say 10 columns a week, 500 a year. at a cost of 5,000 cents, or about
10 cents an article.

If it takes us six extra clicks to reach the column
now, that works out to about a penny and a half per click.  How
much is a click worth? Although this may seem like a metaphysical question,
it is an important unknown in many equations being solved in corporate
boardrooms and advertising agencies these days.

For now, we’ll keep our dime, and click through to Maureen,
although if she doesn’t pick up the slack and start writing some hot
stuff that makes us laugh, we may drop those six clicks from our daily
rotation. We only have so much energy.

Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment »

Photo of the Day

Posted by glasscastle on 28th September 2005

skoreanplains

No story to go with this photo, we just liked the look of it. Perhaps because the wild blue yonder represents the light at the end of a long, dark seven months of teaching without a break, due to end its limited engagement Dec. 9th.

Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Photo of the Day

Why We Need to Watch the Chinese, But Not Too Closely

Posted by glasscastle on 27th September 2005

Woman, 71, pulls car with teeth

A 71-year-old woman has pulled a car for 65ft – with her teeth – in
China.

Wang Xiaobei performed the stunt with a car weighing more than a tonne
in Jinan, Shandong province, where she lives.

She attached one end of a heavy rope to the car and wrapped a handkerchief
around the other end before biting on the rope. Mrs Wang said she had
been practising feats of strength with her teeth for more than 30 years.
She has previously managed to carry a 25 kilo bucket of water with her
mouth,
and also a bicycle.

from Ananova

 

Wasp catcher eats his prey

A Chinese man wasp catcher has become famous for eating the insects he
has caught. Zhong Zhisheng from Shaoguan City, has removed over 100
wasps’ nests in the last year, reports Xinhua qouting Shenzen Daily.

The 30-year-old removes wasp nests within five minutes, using only a
plastic bag, a bamboo stick and smoke to choke the insects out..

Mr Zhong said: "To me, removing a wasps’ nest is like picking a
pumpkin and catching wasps is like catching flies."

Mr Zhong, who learned to deal with wasps from his grandpa when he was
just 11, does not charge money for removing wasp nests but asks only
to be allowed
to take the insects home.

He says he enjoys eating fried wasps and drinking alcohol containing
wasps and pupae.

from Ananova

Posted in Wacky News | 1 Comment »

Divine Nine

Posted by glasscastle on 24th September 2005

Back
in the early 1960’s, five young dudes moved separately to New York City
from different states.  They
met at the basketball courts at Green and Washington streets, where a
group of 30 or 40 young, unemployed black kids would meet up every day
there wasn’t snow on the courts, and play ball.  Afterward, they
would hang out by the busted up picnic tables, smoke a few joints, drink
wine out of brown paper bags, and sing.

Eventually the five of them started meeting in a basement
apartment and recorded some homemade tapes, which were passed around
and eventually passed to Frank Zappa, and the rest is history. They became
know as the Persuasions, and they did exclusively a cappella stuff –
no instruments, just the five voices.

We were reminded of the Persuasions by a snatch of audio
from some commercial, the subconscious soundtrack of our times, not specifically
remembered, but caught in the nooks and crannies of the mind, sparked
into nagging sentience by random cues and associations.

There was a period when the Downrigade listened to the
Persuasions seminal second album, They
Came to Play
(1971) at least once
a day.  The cover features a photo of the band on the NYC basketball
court where it all started.

Our interest piqued, we discovered that the Persuasions
lasted a lot longer than our LP collection.  Among their more recent
production we found this gem:

Life is a Ballgame

Life is a Ballgame, but you’ve got
to play it fair.
Life is a ballgame, being played each day
Life is a ballgame, everybody
can play
You know Jesus is standing at the Home Plate
He’s waiting
for you there
Life is a Ballgame, but you’ve got to play it fair

First base is Temptation,
Second base is Sin
Third base is Tribulation, if you pass you can make
it in
Oh man, Solomon is the Umpire, Satan is pitching the
game
He’ll do his best to strike you out, keep trying just
the same

You know Daniel’s up to bat first, he said I pray
three times a day
You know Satan pitched him a fastball, he hit it anyway
Job is up to bat
next, tried to strike him out every way
But Job hit a home run, and he came
on in that day

You know prayer is a strong bat, to hit at Satan’s ball.
Well when you’all
start swinging, you got to give it your all and all
You know Fate’s gonna
be your catcher, and on him you can depend
Cause Jesus’ standing at the
Home Plate, he’s waiting for you to come in

Well you know Moses is on the
sideline, waiting to be called
Well the day he parted the Red Sea, he knew
Christ all in all
Now John came in the ninth Inning, and the game was
almost done
God gave John a vision, and we knew we’d already won!

Life is a ballgame, being played each day
Life is a ballgame,
everybody can play

Wise words for trying times. Well, this got me thinking. Just
imagine, for the sake of argument, there
is some sort of ecumenical Valhalla or Olympus or Pantheon of the gods,
majority and minority, past and present, not just the Judeo-Christian
Hall of Fame of the Persuasions persuasion.

Despite
being divine, we imagine that these gods would get bored sitting around
all the time, and so would inevitably come up
with some organized diversions.  Why NOT baseball? It you were one
of the celestial captains, do you know who you would pick for your Divine
Nine? The Dowbrigade does.

On our scorecard, we have fleet Mercury roaming centerfield
and batting first. Apollo is a ray of light in right, and a steady second
hitter. Second baseman Bacchus, an engaging clubhouse presence who keeps
the guys loose, holds down the three hole, at least when he isn’t hung
over. The Hammerin’ Hun, Thor, bats cleanup and patrols left field.

Morose third baseman Pluto is a fixture at the corner and
fifth in the order, despite a huge contract and reputed underworld
connections. Nimble shortstop Krishna switch-hits in the six spot, seemingly
unaffected by being permanency blue. Playing first, and batting seventh,
is Illapa, Inca God of weather, especially thunder, lightning and rain,
usually depicted as a man carrying a club and rocks in his hands. Between him and Thor, rain delays are a team speciality. Batting
eighth is the pugnacious catcher, Vulcan, who is built like a Babylonian
blacksmith.

Batting ninth (for there is no designated hitter in
the Divine Baseball League) is the starting pitcher Mahakal, one of the many
incarnations of the Buddha, this one a six-armed god of Tough Love.

We’ll take on all comers. Anybody up for a game of Ultimate
Fantasy Baseball?

Posted in Wacky News | 3 Comments »