Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kinkos & Molecular Engineering

Ah, yes - I remember hearing this bit of obscure tech a year or more ago and it appears to be making some headway.
Printing With Stem Cells

"Inkjets adopted for bioprinting essentially become celljets; each ink tank is replaced with one containing a single type of specialized cell, suspended in a solution that will gel under the appropriate conditions. Feed this printer an image where each color represents the location of the specialized cell types in an organ (blue for blood vessel components, red for muscle, etc.), and it will create what is essentially a thin slice through a healthy organ. Once the liquid in that slice gels, a second slice can be printed on top of it and the process can be repeated indefinitely, building a three-dimensional reconstruction of an organ."

About damned time, I say. Looks like Xerox might be a good stock to invest in long-term. Heh...

1,000 Words

Within a few pixels is captured the sense of it all...

What an image of sacrifice...surely his mother is saving all the papers and all the letters for a time when he can look back on that day with the pain more distant...
The original photo can be purchased. You can also read a bit about it here. There is a fund set up for the young man's education should you feel so inclined. It is sometimes hard to think of these things in a piecemeal way - what good does it do to aid one boy? Well, as darling Squarf once wrote in his Codex:
"If you wish to do good, but don't know how, find a good man and empower him to do good -- not in your name, but in the name of doing good."
Perhaps by doing these onesy-twosey support donations we are doing just that. I like to think so. I want to believe that the young man above will do great things. Bless him...his father must have been so proud...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Southern Lights

Can I just say how much I've been loving reading this blog?
http://primordialslack.blogspot.com/

I will eventually add darling Joan to the list but for now, allow me to tell you to go there, read, and take a mini-vacation in that sultry southern storyland.

Mind you, I reckon a number of you have been there/done that already - we are an incestuous group. LOL

I am glad to read she'll be in Helen - I wish we could be but fact is that when in town, we are utterly booked with visits and duty. It'd be a nice idea, though, if we could manage...

Someone had better take a lot of video of the Elderlys + 1. Pretty please?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Great Unwashed Fleecing the Unwitting

It's been insanely busy at work of late and I've hardly had time to think but I saw this little survey result and the comments therein just sent me over the edge. What you will see is a microcosm of the world today: a few people throwing pure logic at the matter, and a majority just declaring without a thought that your profits and the product of your labor is free for the claiming because it's all so "unfair" or the "right" thing to do.

Let us recall those years before welfare, and before people had the benefit of the largesse of the public. People either found a way to pay for their care, found a charity willing to aid them, or they went without the care and lived their lives as best they could. I don't think there is anything wrong with dealing with those options. But I feel like I am in a shrinking minority.

What baffles me further is that, regardless of the amassed evidence that the "European" style of health care is frought with failure, people still declare that it's working and fantastic even if it does take 40% of your income.

The only thing that will fix the health care cost issue is to force insured people to make educated choices about care - do I really need this or am I just doing it because my coverage will allow it with a nominal cost to me? - and to force people to pay more for non-emergency coverage. Care providers know, clearly, that there are deep pockets in the insurance company world. Once those pockets dwindle to cover only major care needs, the prices will adjust naturally.

You have no right to the fruits of others' labor. Not for any reason, ever. It comes down to that very basic point. And it matters not at all if that labor brought about copious fruit or not. Whether someone has a million or ten dollars - none of it, not a cent, is yours. Otherwise, it's just like pinching a twenty out of someones wallet at the checkout lane with a "Sorry but I've got a gyno appointment in the morning and this is your fair share!" Nonsense.

But then...as the comments in the survey will illustrate...there's a lot of that going around.

Addendum: Having re-read this I see that I use the word "force" in the next to last paragraph which is entirely NOT what I had in mind. I am not certain how to word it in a way to indicate that the free market should dictate pricing and that insurance companies are middle-men who complicate the process. I do hate when my point gets muddied...it made sense in my head. LOL

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Old Memories

When I was very young my father returned to Chicago and we all followed him south to tiny New Smyrna Beach, Florida. I went from alley ways and snow to...an almost jungle-like environment. Those first years were scattered with many ups and downs but what I remember most was the music.

God, I loved that song. Even now, just the first few notes bring that briney scent back to mind. My apologies to those of you who are now in the throes of agony

Friday, August 17, 2007

His Own Words

My gottdamned hero's own voice.

http://www.pattonhq.com/sounds.html

Thanks going to Parkway Jim for linkage.

Cold War Redeux

My, oh, my...those Rooskies have definitely been busy lately. This just in: "President Vladimir Putin placed strategic bombers back on long-range patrol for the first time since the Soviet breakup, sending a tough message to the United States on Friday hours after a major Russian military exercise with China."

Just last week? "'US forces detected two Russian TU-95 Bear aircraft on August 8 as they were flying south toward Guam," said Pentagon spokesman Chito Peppler. 'US forces were prepared to intercept the bombers, but they never came close enough to a navy ship or to Guam to warrant an air-to-air intercept.'"

And with their ever-increasing unhappiness with our presence anywhere nearby (recall those bases in Poland I mentioned not long ago), "International military experts say a missile found in the country of Georgia last week was dropped from a plane that flew from and returned to Russian airspace. The missile plummeted to a field near Tsitelubani and broke apart but did not explode or hurt anyone, The New York Times reported Friday. Experts from the United States, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania said the missile was a 16-foot-long, Russian-made Kh-58 -- a rocket designed to destroy NATO radar stations."

I should like very much for you to consider this...dangerous liason between Russia and China when you consider shopping at Walmart.

While I assume the tete-a-tete they have will remain cordial, I like to think of them going at each other rather than joining forces against us. Because - you understand - we've not enough bullets for the Chinese cannon fodder. I really do hate to be so blunt in my language but one must understand these things clearly and without sweet. To go to war with them is to go unconventional. We would have little other choice. And that scares me more than nearly anything.

Consider Katrina and the level of imbecilic behavior there when food, water and shelter was a day's walk away - or less.

Imagine treble that many people with nothing within 4 days walk.

And in other related news - this linky was very interesting. I recall seeing it at some point or another as a child though I am not that old. I wish something akin to this was brought forth now. Because I think fully 65% of Americans haven't a clue the delicate balance that is being...trembled just now.

Speaking of Icebergs

This was interesting...Hall of Media Shame

And so was this.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dream Shopping

I have this affinity for all things...luxe. Once upon a time, I could afford a bit of it but those days - well, they cost me more than I ever acquired so I don't really look at them as a good thing. But I cannot help thinking back to the days of luxurious excess when I didn't have to examine price tags with such scrutiny.

One place I always wanted to shop but never managed to was Gorsuch. Particularly their line of "Trachten" attire. It must be the old Germanic heritage in me. All I know is that I would love - love! - to look like this.
Sure, sure - it's not exactly appropos for the heat of TX and I suppose it might be a bit costumey but I adore it nonetheless. What I do not adore is the price. One has to think that a custom version would cost less.
I have a fondness for other things that are...very nice. Such as my Rigby and Peller underthings (I always thought their brand name sounded like rifle makers). Fine linens...the best incense...pretty things...and nice places to visit.
I've often thought that I must have known a really opulent life in the past because I definitely have a feel for it in this one. Now, if I could only garner the necessary funds to support it. LOL I think I shall have to either take up writing the Great American Novel or hire out as a dominatrix. What?! They make a lot of money...boy, wouldn't that make a great headline in the local paper...I think I shall have to find another way. Maybe write the Great American Dominatrix's Novel...hmmmm!
Now then, where is that man with my snackin'? He promised since he ditched me for dinner...

You Have to Laugh

Well, this one is for RSM. Cracked me up, I tell ya. Courtesy of the Military Motivator archives.


Post Secret Vid

Well, now - being the type of person who likes to know everything and reveal little, this site has always been a hit with me. You never know what you will see there and you find that all people have these impossible to live with - but do - secrets. Herein the mini-movie installed for this week's secrets.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Save Your Own Life

If you are in need of some comforting words in difficult moments - or if your wise children could use a bit of advanced understanding, the words of a great man are in order. He took me in his lovely airplane and had a fun plan to teach me to fly by not teaching me anything about how to fly. Let's just say that I was a bit too aggressive in my turns and he had to go high and show me what happens to wings when one gets too aggressive and dumps all the air off the wing. Ahem. Still, I hold those memories in my hands like a shining star.

Squarf is the dearest of friends who gave me just the right advice at just the right time in my life and it changed everything. I mean that just as written. Oh, I'd read the Codex. I thought I understood. But there was a statement he uttered softly and a look he gave and I knew in my soul that I was changed forever.

He recently warned me the site was going bye-bye and it has - and I saved the codex, thank goodness...and I don't think he'd mind my sharing it here for all of you. It's long...and he received the list directly from God, he says, and there are moments of that conversation. LOL Forgive the length but...enjoy!! I shall highlight my own personal favorites...

"Are you sure, Lord?" "NO.I AM A GAMBLER."

1. Despite all appearances to the contrary, you are alone.

2. Beware of those who talk tough and offer to hold your coat while you fight.

3. No one is like you, so you must be careful of your assumptions about others.

4. Change is dependable; the direction of change is undependable.

5. Never let some else's desperation become your desperation.

6. You cannot make anyone happy. It is a do-it-yourself proposition.

7. Chew through all of the umbilical cords which provide toxic nourishment, regardless of to whom they are connected and however long it takes.

8. Never cross a finish line first at the expense of having too little left with which to celebrate.

9. Do not build your house along the fault lines of your existence. Read it again!

10. Never give up. Never stop. Eventually, you will be brought down. Eventually, you will be forced to stop. Never cooperate with the enemy. That is the only way to defeat him, or, failing that, to demonstrate your utter contempt for him.

11. There are no survivors on earth.

12. Be grateful for small favors.

13. Relegate the past to history and move on. Forget nothing.

14. See reality as it is, and not as you want or need it to be. At the same time, hold to whatever idealism seems tenable, and avoid cynicism if possible. Don't be rigid either way.

15. There is invariably a simple answer to every complicated problem, and it is invariably wrong.

16. If you wish to do good, but don't know how, find a good man and empower him to do good -- not in your name, but in the name of doing good.

17. There is nothing in life worth dying for. [Addition by a site vistor 21 October 2003: "There are things in life worth dying for. You will know them, when the time arrives."] (Squarf: "I can think of only one -- love.")

18. You will never be handed a load that is too heavy for you to handle.

19. Don't eat man-made food.

20. The nature of a thing or a person is its inherent nature. You can't change it. You can't even change your own nature.

21. Some realities are unacceptable. Avoid them if possible.

22. Some things are too important to be left up to the experts.

23. Learn to do at least one thing reasonably well, something that time will not easily degrade.

24. Timidity and fear cripples. Aggressiveness and boldness destroys. Find the null point between them and strive to know no fear, nor the impulse toward destructive action.

25. No matter how bad things are, they can get worse. No matter how good things are, they can get worse.

26. Choose your heroes carefully.

27. Put absolute limits on the extent to which you allow others to manipulate your life.

28. Avoid conflict if at all possible. If conflict becomes unavoidable, go to all out war. Since the only goal of battle is victory, never compromise the attainment of your objective by seeking a fair fight.

29. Don't assume too much.

30. Never bluff. If violent action is justified, take that action. Do not apologize for what you had to do. Make sure that the other side knows that if such an such action is ever forced upon you in the future, that it will be orders of magnitude more severe.

31. The best that you can do regarding hatred by others of you, is to convert that hatred into respect by filtering it through the fear and certainty that you will respond forcefully to hostile actions. Your responses should be increasingly harsh. Somewhere along the way the message will get through, and hatred will be reclassified as misunderstanding. At such time, be gracious and speak softly, but keep your army well-equipped and ready for the next battle.

32. This is classified -- God's eyes only; and the messenger must die even though he did not know what he was delivering.

33. You cannot be prepared for the unexpected (see 32, above).

34. You are here, now, and nowhere else. Act accordingly.

35. Do not love nor fear death. It is oblivious to you and your emotions.

36. Every life is as important as yours.

37. If at all possible, avoid anything and everything that is not agreeable to you.

38. The immorality of the priest and the absurdity of the parishioner in no way compromise the sanctity of the sacraments.

39. If you meet the Buddha on the road, be respectful but not obsequious; and politely refuse his offer to enlighten you. True enlightenment is acheived by each individual via experience, and not through teachers or organizations.

40. Life is not what any of us had in mind.

41. You cannot understand certain things until you have the ability to understand those things. So? So stop being anxious about them. When your need and ability to understand come together, then, and only then, will you understand. Understand?

42. In nature there are no rewards or punishments, just consequences.

43. Accept the gift in its component parts even though, at times, and by so doing, you make a mockery of what you thought you were and what you thought you stood for. You sometimes make a mockery of yourself by merely being alive. (From the Advanced Codex.)

"Lord, they are not going to understand the advanced stuff."

"THEIR UNDERSTANDING IS THE LEAST OF MY CONCERNS."

"Then why do You want me to post such portions of the Codex?"

"NO ONE IS PERMITTED TO ASK ME WHY."

44. Never ask the Lord "Why?"

45. If your enemies will get rich on what you leave behind, burn it before you go.

46. What you do or do not do does not make any difference. What you do or do not do makes all the difference in the world. Take your pick.

47. All men are equal at the moment of their birth and at the moment of their death. Between birth and death all men strive for advantageous inequality.

48. Six dangerous words: "It will be different this time."

49. If so much in life means nothing, then what means something? Think about it.

50. Don't implement a short term solution for a long term problem. Don't implement a long term solution for a short term problem. Check the symmetry of your problem-solving criteria.

51. When in doubt, don't.

52. If you remain silent, you won't be asked to repeat what you said.

53. Try to come to peace with yourself, despite your correct assessment of others' and your own inadequacies.

54. Never expect another person to appreciate what you have accomplished, what you have gone through or sacrificed in the name of that accomplishment, or how desperate were your darkest hours... or how heroic you had to be to merely survive, let alone to prevail.

54a. The other person is as tangled up in his or her own preciousness as you are tangled up in yours.

54b. If you are still alive, and find it agreeable, why, hug yourself and squeal with delight... and accept the reality that you will never be able to communicate the vital aspects of your experiences to anyone else; besides others are simply not interested... nor are you interested in others' self-serving tales of heroism and derring-do.

55. When need exceeds fear or distaste you will take action. You will not take action before then.

"CLARIFY THAT, MEATBALL!"

Clarification: Nobody wants to do certain things, but when the need is great enough an individual will do what is required. "Why, oh Lord, didn't you understand what I wrote in 55 above?"

"I TOLD YOU, MEATBALL, NEVER ASK ME WHY!"

56. The meaning of life is within you; reside there, and in peace, if you can manage it. There is no satisfactory alternative.

"You buy that one, Lord?"

"NO. THAT'S WHAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO SELL SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME."

57. Speaking of the Lord and time, be advised that God's real name is "Tomorrow." All that is required to believe in Him is to believe in Tomorrow. Think about it when you are troubled. It is also worth keeping in mind that time exists so that we do not experience everything at once.

58. If you can't raise a puppy to be a well-behaved dog, how can you raise a child to be a decent person?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mishmash

Well, it's a tad late and my mind is in a strange humor because he's on night shift again and I am...alone. Say that like Joan Crawford - "Ah-looohnnn-nah!" But I have some yummy endorphins rolling from the earlier workout and some yummy belly happiness from dinner so I am in no way ready for bed.

He was sent off with a nice Thermos of fresh coffee and the leftover cup beckons but I must resist the siren call. I am a coffee fiend. It has to be good stuff, though, or I'll take a cup of tea instead. We spend rather a lot on beans, I have to admit. We go through a pound in about 10 days. Maybe less. It is our bad habit.

I was thinking earlier about the things that I enjoy in life and that which I can do without. See, I was a horrid, moody bitch Sunday and I have since been trying to figure out just what I need to do about that. Mentally, I mean. Because one can either wallow in it and continue or find a way out and be a decent person to live with. So I've been trying to think of things in a Pro/Con way. I am a really black and white sort of person in many ways - not a lot of grey areas for me. LOL So I've been mulling over those things that are pleasing and not.

I like finding the bathroom empty at work when I have business to attend to.
I hate people who don't wash their hands after, though.

I love the scent of perfectly ripened fruit.
But I hate to find that it only smelled good and is actually mealy inside.

I love an empty sink.
And I sure as hell hate to wash the damned dishes.

Anyway, it's been that sort of thing...I don't want to go around like some moody brat. It's silly and wastes precious time. Because there isn't that much of it left, you know. I mean, many of you have nice families and kids so for you, there is a sort of continuation of life. But for me - us - we're it. End o' the line. When it's over, it's over and done. So time moves differently, I think.

I'd like to believe I can leave behind something but the fact is that you can walk past an entire cemetery and not know a single name there nor anything they did. Few of us are that special. And I am trying to find a way, I guess, of making that okay. It's okay to be obscure and small. Then I think of the people now gone and what they left in me - I guess ones impact on others can resound through time even when you are gone and perhaps in that is our...immortality.

See, told ya it was a mishmash. My brain of late has been - well, failing me, I'd guess. I chalk it up to age but I am getting a bit more forgetful than I like. So I am trying to be careful - ducks in a row sort of thing. Too scattered and too unreliable. I need to exercise it more - and not just by reading blogs. LOL As literate as you all are, I think I need to wrap my mind around something meaty. Exercise the SOB.

OMG. And did I mention the little local HOA meeting recently? Oh yes...Miss Queen Bee was not at all happy to meet me since I actually had substantive queries as to why we hadn't heard from them since we moved in, why that evening's event wasn't very productive, what the future plans were...she thought we'd be scared to sign our names for roles. Sweety, I know Robert's Rules of Order and I know what a quorum is and I know how to run a show - so if you cannot make it happen, you and your hand wringing Gollum cohort can stand aside and I'll do it from the shadows. I don't need the title. I just need some damned action. LOL Oh, yes. Her colitis was acting up after that little meeting. Beotch.

OK - so that's it. Now...time to set up the coffee for the morning and clean the cat box. Ugh. Fracking bastages. If they had opposable thumbs, I'd make them do it. We have got to toilet train them.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hackers, Crackers and Skanky Reporters

Once upon a time, I was very...interested in the arena of technological...optimization. LOL (How's that for a euphemism?) So I am well aware of Defcon and Blackhat, 2600, Wired, and the like. I was very amused by this article and the one after via Wired.

So she wanted to out some undercover operatives and, as icing on her shit cake, maybe catch some hackers in a felonious act. What this twit (and many other non-geeks) don't understand is that it is this very event that educates the people that secure your data, your credit, and your nation.

There are a vast number of nasty little hobbitses that want to crash your system, hack your data, and ruin your credit - admitted. However, those sorts of people tend to not show their faces at events like this. Their "noob" `tudes are rather unappreciated. No, the people there tend to be the types that want to see if they can best the best. And, if they do, help them learn where the faults lie and how to fix them.

The fact that this reporter refused to be credentialed - and thus, held to the contractual obligations of media - is a sort of microcosm of the entirety of the field. It doesn't matter how the story is acquired. It doesn't matter if people are put in danger, framed, set up or otherwise less than truthfully portrayed. Did some poor fool actually marry this harridan? I do hope not.

There is a reason that we avoid the news at home. We turned on Fox News yesterday morning and I was constantly irritated at the leading statements and ridiculous assumptions coming forth. Horrid, insipid, and utterly without value. But it does explain a great deal...such as why people will shortly choose to vote themselves into servitude to the useless.

In a slightly related note, I caught a video by Korn this morning - Evolution. It had an underlying statement on "devolution". In the background were some "IQs have dropped in the last few decades...because high IQ people have on average 1.5 children while low IQ people have an average of 5 children...populations rising with no predators and advanced medical care..."

Of course, they took the opportunity to show a chimp and Bush performing the same thoughtful chin rubbing. Which immediately shuts me down. I may not agree 100% with Bush and his politics but I think we have to rise above and move beyond the sophmoric, simplistic bullshit. I'd far rather see something factual and indicting that one can argue for or against. But, sadly, that image is all that their fanbase can digest, it would seem.

But I think it is time to do some research myself because it is a topic of interest to me. I suspect and stated ages ago that the public education system was very directly and specifically dumbing down the populace and would be curious to see some real data...something to occupy my mind over the next few months...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This Is It

This may be the only photo I post from the wedding here. For one, I look like a damned cow - dear GOD, I had no idea...and for two, we do like our anonimity - though we aren't exactly hiding who we are. But it also shows the lovely bell tower of the chapel and the photo is very nicely composed. Allow me to note that the Trooper was stunningly handsome.

I like this photo because it's simple and honest and we are what we are - just two people in love and promising to remain that way against fair winds or foul.

Amusingly, when he came out of the dressing room his brother said, "Why, Wyatt..." ala Tombstone. Yeah, maybe it was a bit like that. All I know is he looked exactly as I had him pictured in my mind. Exactly as I see him in my mind's eye each and every day.

I am a very fortunate girl.