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2012 February 18 Saturday
Hitler's French Son?

Tipping the weirdo meter scales, Hitler may have knocked up a French woman during WWI in an German-occupied area of France. If you were that guy how would you like to live with that knowledge?

By Randall Parker    2012 February 18 08:10 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (6)
2010 November 21 Sunday
Robot Philosopher Revolt

In my first XtraNormal video I look at what a personal servant robot might decide to do after reading Nietzsche.

If you have any suggestions for videos you would like to see made post them in comments or email them to me at randall dot parker at ymail dot com.

By Randall Parker    2010 November 21 04:50 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (6)
2010 November 10 Wednesday
Spam For Crippled Cruise Liner

Passengers stuck on the damaged cruise ship "Carnival Splendor" were fed Spam choppered in by the US Navy.

Helicopters ferried 4,500 pounds of groceries to the stricken ship -- from cases of bottled drinking water to bread rolls and canned Spam -- to keep passengers from going hungry while the luxury liner was without power.

It is somehow fitting that the US Navy, which ventures forth over the seas much like the Vikings of yore, responds to an emergency with wonderful spam!

The USS Ronald Reagan was the source of the supplies. Did Ron eat Spam?

By Randall Parker    2010 November 10 06:37 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (8)
2009 August 03 Monday
Phone Pollsters Should Have Pleasant Voices

I just hung up on a call from a Susan who said she was with "WRA, a national consumer research firm". I normally hang up on such calls. But I hung up especially quickly because she started out loudly at a high pitched tinny voice that was very grating. My reaction: phone calling banks ought to screen for voice quality and they ought to choose callers whose voices won't immediately turn off callers.

My other reaction: Why should I give some of my time for free to help some for-profit company make money selling info about my preferences to other for-profit companies? Why should anyone bother?

Do you answer questions from phone pollers? If so, why?

It occurred to me that I ought to go and renew my phone registry entries. If you live in the US of A and haven't done this or haven't done it lately then here's your chance to start clicking your way to greater solitude.

By Randall Parker    2009 August 03 07:38 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (3)
2009 July 23 Thursday
Chinese Take Over The Onion

The writers at The Onion show that they understand the new era emerging of Chinese global domination in the 21st century. It all started with an article entitled Well, I've Sold The Paper To The Chinese. Good move that. After all, the Chinese have the trained censors needed to create a more socially constructive publication. The effects are immediately apparent with stories like: EARTH—The entire world population confirmed Friday that Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is the greatest athlete in the history of sports and a glowing symbol of what citizens may become if they remain loyal to their government.

The magazine is helping people move down an intellectual pathway we are all going to have to trod sooner or later. Grab that finger of blame and point it in more appropriate directions. Start with this one:Toddler Chokes To Death On Plastic Taiwanese-Made Toy.

I also like the embrace of traditional values and pragmatic practicality (or is that practical pragmatism) in stories like Police Still Searching For Missing Productive, Obedient Woman. What to do if she doesn't turn up? Find another one of course. But the problem is women like her are far too uncommon in America. Instead bad parents raise kids like this brat: American Children Like Me Are Lazy And Insolent And Must Try Harder. Hear his pleas. He wants to be socially regimented into a good sweat shop worker.

Here's a story that decadent Western environmentalists need to read: Clear American Sky A Constant Reminder Of Industrial Inferiority.

I like The New Onion. Or should we call it The Red Onion?

By Randall Parker    2009 July 23 09:27 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
2007 September 23 Sunday
The Onion: Are America's Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich?

This video includes lines like:

The average investment banker is only able to afford one boat.

If the rich were just a little bit more motivated they wouldn't be such a drain on society.

Our pool didn't have a waterfall in it.

We had to share tennis courts with other families.

In The Know: Are America's Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich?

I'm sure you share my concern about this trend.

Regular ParaPundit readers know I'm interested in globalization, rising inequality, and the use of immigrants to do domestic work at low salaries. How about people outsourcing their child care to India or Sri Lanka?

Report: Many U.S. Parents Outsourcing Child Care Overseas

Too complex for your mind to think about? How about going back to the stone age? Or at least back to 2002? Back when cell phones were just cell phones, not MP3 players and other gadgets (and I've yet to use my cellphone as a camera or MP3 player btw).

In The Know: Should Americans Return To A Simpler, Stone Age Lifestyle?

By Randall Parker    2007 September 23 10:43 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (2)
2007 March 31 Saturday
Save The Cheerleaders, Save The World

Cheerleading is the biggest sports danger for girls high school. Our cheerleaders are in mortal peril and something has to be done about it.

For decades, they stood by safe and smiling, a fixture on America’s sporting sidelines. But today’s young cheerleaders, who perform tricks once reserved for trapeze artists, may be in more peril than any female athletes in the country.

Emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries nationwide have more than doubled since the early 1990s, and the rate of life-threatening injuries has startled researchers. Of 104 catastrophic injuries sustained by female high school and college athletes from 1982 to 2005 — head and spinal trauma that occasionally led to death — more than half resulted from cheerleading, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. All sports combined did not surpass cheerleading.

Why do cheerleaders do such dangerous stunts? I figure they have no say in the matter and are just following orders. Remember what Kirstin Dunst told her squad in Bring It On:

"Girls, this is not a DEMocracy, this is a CHEERocracy and I'm the cheertator!!"

Our girls are imperiled by a top-down dictatorship which is making them perform dangerous stunts in order to bring glory to the leadership. This is just so wrong on so many levels. First off, not every cheerleader has the healing power of cheerleader Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) of Heroes. Of course every cheerleader should have that healing power and someday will thanks to nanotechnology. But that's besides the point. Right now today they do not.

Second, these girls aren't performing their stunts in order to save, say, their captured sister ala Sydney Bristow of Alias. They aren't spinning around to get momentum to kick a bad guy. Heck, they aren't even spinning around to kick the football down the field. They are just trying to impress the crowd during breaks at amateur football games. The system pushes them into dangerous jobs for no pay with little value.

What is most wrong about all this? The guys are letting it happen. Shame on you male America. Protect your women. To hell with feminism. Answer the call of your genes.

By Randall Parker    2007 March 31 10:02 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (9)
2007 January 02 Tuesday
Surfing Safer Than Soccer And Basketball

Soccer (called football in most countries outside the United States and Canada) has a reputation as a relatively safe sport as compared to American football. Soccer moms who drive Volvos would rather their kids play soccer than more risky sports. Bet those soccer moms see surfing as a dangerous sport as well. But don't be too quick to trust your intuitions ladies. Soccer players rack up injuries faster than surfers.

Providence, RI -- While public perception may frame surfing as a dangerous sport, new research begs to differ. In the first study of its kind, researchers have computed the rate of injury among competitive surfers and found they are less prone to harm than collegiate soccer or basketball players. Led by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, the findings of the study are published in the January 2007 issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

"We found that competitive surfing has a relatively low risk of injury – 6.6 significant injuries per 1,000 hours of surfing - compared to other sports for which comparable data is available," says lead author Andrew Nathanson, MD, an emergency medicine physician with Rhode Island Hospital's Injury Prevention Center. "However, the risk of injury more than doubled when surfing in large waves or over an area with a hard bottom."

The sport of surfing has rapidly grown in popularity since the 1960's, but little is known about surfing injuries – especially the relative frequency, mechanisms and risk factors. Nathanson and his research team collected injury data from 32 surfing contests worldwide, both professional and amateur. Documentation of every acute surfing injury sustained during competition was recorded, as well as wave size, mechanism of injury and treatment. "Significant" injuries were qualified as those that prevented the surfer from surfing for one or more days, resulted in a hospital visit, or required on-site suturing.

But how do the fatality rates compare? You can drown or break your neck surfing. On the other hand, you could hit your head pretty hard in sports played on the ground.

Big waves double the danger.

"It would come as little surprise to most surfers that the injury rate more than doubles when surfing in larger surf (overhead) compared to smaller waves, as the energy of waves increases as it grows in height. In addition, a sea floor with a sandy bottom is much more forgiving upon impact than one covered with reefs or rocks," says Nathanson.

I'm guessing their "larger" is an average for a range. Giant waves are probably much more dangerous.

By Randall Parker    2007 January 02 09:30 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (5)
2006 July 09 Sunday
Twins Run Poland

Events in Poland foreshadow what a society with lots of clones might be like.

BERLIN, July 8 -- Ever since their party scored big in Poland's elections last fall, the Kaczynski brothers -- identical twin movie stars with equally big political ambitions -- were widely assumed to be running the country in tandem behind the scenes. Now, it's official.

On Saturday, Poland's governing Law and Justice Party voted to name its party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the country's new prime minister. With his brother, Lech, already holding the Polish presidency, there is no longer any doubt that the 57-year-old, chubby-faced twins are in charge of the eastern European country.

They appear to have forced out a very popular prime minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, so that they could rule jointly.

As party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski had dibs on the prime ministership. But he promised voters he would not take the job if his brother won the upcoming presidential race, saying he realized Poles would be uncomfortable at the prospect of being ruled by twins whom they could barely tell apart.

So they lied in lock step.

Would this work for George W. Bush clones? They could all be supremely confident and intellectually lazy together.

Clones would reduce the extent to which differences in personalities would allow team members to compensate for each others' weaknesses and flaws. On the other hand, if a team was all clones then congenitally lazy and less talented people couldn't as often take credit for the work of the more talented and more conscientious.

By Randall Parker    2006 July 09 10:59 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (3)
2004 July 31 Saturday
Locking A Car With A Short Horn Blast Is Rude And Obnoxious

Some cars come with key rings that have electronic transmitters that can lock and unlock the car. One option that can be used this technique is for the horn to beep briefly to tell the driver he has successsfully hit the button to lock the doors. In residential neighborhoods literally dozens of people may be subjected to a horn beep every time someone shows up and locks their door. Beeping a horn every time one locks one's car door is inexcusably rude.

I have managed to talk one friend out of doing this. But someone just parked across the street and beeped their horn twice as they walked away from the car. They didn't even bother to pay attention to the first beep and did it a second time. What an obnoxious jerk.

Modern life is already too noisy and distracting. We don't need to invent new ways for people to distract and interrupt the lives of each other.

Update: And while I'm on unnecessary horn blasts: Some cars have alarms that go off when improperly accessed where the horn starts blowing to warn of an attempted theft. Well, I've probably heard car horn alarms go off hundreds of times without one of those times being a real theft. Car horn alarms are also inexcusably rude and obnoxious. These alarms are worthless. When you hear one what is the first thought in your mind? It is probably something along the lines of "Oh god, does the owner hear it or will we have to listen to it until the battery runs down?"

By Randall Parker    2004 July 31 11:08 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (153)
2003 June 01 Sunday
Polar Bear Chews On Seawolf Submarine Rear Rudder

See the picture has of a polar bear chewing on the rear rudder of Seawolf class attack sub Connecticut (SSN 22) during ICEX 2003 exercises when the sub partially surfaced near the north pole. Polar bears obviously see themselves as the masters of their domain.

By Randall Parker    2003 June 01 05:10 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2003 May 14 Wednesday
Saudis Say Malibu Barbie Is Jewish

So then is Ken Jewish or is Ken under the control of Malibu Barbie?

The Al-Madina regional branch of the Saudi religious and morality police, formally known as "The Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices," recently launched its new website. (1) The site posts news items, citizens' violations, and includes a section that allows citizens to inform anonymously on persons they suspect of violating religious and moral laws. The following is a summary of the website's recent content:


Another section of the website, the "Exhibit of Violations," displays confiscated items from the "permanent collection of violations of Islamic law at Authority headquarters in Al-Madina." The section shows photos of perfume bottles shaped like a woman's torso, with text reading: "Perfume, but...! Examples of perfumes with good fragrances for women and evil bottles that harm the honor of the woman and undermine her morality. We must beware. The Prophet Muhammad said, 'Any woman who wears perfume and passes by people so they can smell it is a whore ...'" Also shown is a photo of several Barbie dolls, along with the text: "The enemies of Islam want to invade us with all possible means, and therefore they have circulated among us this doll, which spreads deterioration of values and moral degeneracy among our girls." On the photo, under the heading "The Jewish Doll," is a story titled "The Strange Request." The story reads: "One girl said to her mother: 'Mother, I want jeans and a shirt open at the top, like Barbie's!!' The dolls of the Jewish Barbie in her naked garb [sic], their disgraceful appearance, and their various accessories are a symbol of the dissolution of values in the West. We must fully comprehend the danger in them."

Are big-breasted skinny tall blondes with attractive high cheek bones a danger to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Or is it their fashion accessories that are the real danger? Or is there some synergistic effect going on? Picture Pamela Lee playing the part of an anti-Al Qaeda secret agent. Maybe the US military should show old Baywatch episodes to the Al Qaeda and Taliban guys down in Guantanamo and see whether doing this has any salutary effects.

Could this website claim about Barbie being Jewish be a subtle way for the Saudis to taunt the Jews? After all, some Jews already fear that they do not live up to the Barbie standard of beauty.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, director of education, prevention and treatment at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center, points out that basic hereditary and physiological factors make it almost impossible for most women, including Jewish women, to conform to the Barbie-doll ideal.

"One percent of our population is genetically predisposed to be really tall, really thin and busty. And it's not us - it's the Scandinavians," says Steiner-Adair.

Maybe the Saudis are not clear on what Scandinavians look like? Maybe the Saudis are so paranoid they think the Scandinavians are closet Jews or something similar? After all, a lot of Jewish scientists go to Sweden to get Nobel Prizes for scientific subjects. There has to be a Saudi explanation for this.

Of course the Saudis could have been fooled about this by a Jewish jokester.

First Lori told them, straight faced: "I saw Morah Barbie. She had a chalkboard, some bottled water and comfortable flat shoes."

In the audience, people began murmuring to each other in all seriousness: "I was in Toys R Us and I didn't see that!"

Then, Lori explained, "I saw Rebbetzin Barbie. She had a serious but sweet face and a very big pocketbook with everything in it that anyone could ever need: extra aspirin, a few hair clips, and plenty of tissues."

Now, I don't know what those italicised words mean. But if I did I bet it would be funny.

Speaking of Ken, well Ken is just totally out of control. Ken thinks he is a Scooby Doo character. Is Barbie behind this? Ken has been thru a lot of changes over the years. But this playing of Shaggy is a bit over the top. Can't he get acting work as Ken any more?

Found the original link on the Common-sense blog (which being a blogspot blog the link to it may or may not work - you gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you?)

By Randall Parker    2003 May 14 02:53 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (6)
2003 May 11 Sunday
Klingon Translator Needed For Oregon Mental Health Workers

There are mental patients in Oregon who refuse to speak in any other language besides Klingon.

The language created for the "Star Trek" TV series and movies is one of about 55 needed by the office that treats mental health patients in metropolitan Multnomah County.

What do these mental patients have against Vulcan and Romulan? Why does Klingon get the special treatment? The Vulcans have done far more for humanity and their writings have much greater scientific and technical value.

My guess is that this problem is a result of naturally combative Klingon personality types. The native Vulcan and Romulan speakers are less belligerent and more willing to learn and speak the language of wherever they happen to be living. But the Klingon speakers have an obvious attitude problem.

By Randall Parker    2003 May 11 12:21 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (66)
2002 December 14 Saturday
US Military Women Showing Hooters To Placate Locals

Jan McGirk reporting from Peshawar says the Afghanis and Pakistanis of the Northwest Frontier provinces were offended because they believed men in the US military were doing body searches on the local women. The locals were unwilling to believe that the US soldiers shown in pictures doing the searches were really women. So what's the US military's response to this problem? The Amazon women of the US military are showing what they got.

Some etiquette is evolving. Now American female soldiers start gun raids in Afghanistan by bounding out of helicopters and stripping down to their sports bras. Only then do they take village women aside to be searched. It is a quick way to prove their femininity to Afghan elders unaccustomed to seeing women in trousers. I reckon it must leave quite a few of the old boys slack-jawed and goggle-eyed.

Thanks to Cracker Barrel Philosopher for finding this.

Update: If you go to page 2 of this PDF file (requires Acrobat Reader or similar software) you can see the picture of Sgt Nicola Hall doing a search that so outraged the locals who thought it was a male soldier doing the searches.

Here's a US military Central Command story on the use of female military police to do searches on women in Afghanistan.

by Sgt. Reeba Critser KHOWST, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Oct. 30, 2002) - To this day, the U.S. military has its doors closed to women performing combat arms duties like infantry and cavalry. Nevertheless, three female soldiers in southeastern Afghanistan are breaking barriers as military police. Sgt. Nicola Hall, Cpl. Jill Osowski and Sgt. Stephanie Blazo have all recently accompanied infantrymen to complete MP missions. Hall is the first woman to accompany the infantry in combat operations in theatre. "Taking females out on missions was new to the infantrymen," said Hall, 21st Military Police Company, Fort Bragg, N.C. The female MPs assist infantrymen when Afghan women are searched. "It's tough work, what they do," said Osowski, 972nd Military Police Company, Massachusetts National Guard, Melrose, Mass. "It's a privilege to do it with them." The three travel with the men on almost every mission and have gained a new perspective on an infantryman's work.

By Randall Parker    2002 December 14 02:56 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2002 November 21 Thursday
Masonic And Other Unusual US Gov't Logos

For those who think the Illuminatus, the Masons, and the Trilateral Commission are just different layers of the same vast international conspiracy this collection of links to US government agency logos is going to be grist for more paranoid thoughts. Thanks to Adam Flinton for pointing these out. This reminds me of "Secure Beneath The Watchful Eyes" over there in the UK.

By Randall Parker    2002 November 21 01:21 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2002 November 05 Tuesday
US Backs Off Plan To Invade Kiribati

Yes friends, the US was all set to invade Kiribati:

George W Bush today announced a realignment of US foreign policy. The goal of ousting Iraq's Saddam Hussein has now been replaced by the goal of regime change in the Kiribati Islands as the US's new top priority.

"For years the evil dictator Teburoro Tito has oppressed his people and terrorised the Pacific region. We also have reason to believe he is in the process of developing weapons of mass destruction. And some pretty damn fine crab soup."

Bush today announced the departure of the 7th Admiralty Fleet to the Kiribati's. An invasion of the 810 sq km archipelago is expected to begin within the next 2 weeks.

The President of Kiribati was not amused:

A story about plans by the United States to invade Kiribati that has caused widespread concern in Tarawa and Christmas Island came from a New Zealand satirical website.

Pacnews reports that the story, which led the Office of the President to issue a series of public broadcasts assuring the population that the planned "invasion" was not true, came from Spinner, a website featuring satirical "news" stories.

On Wednesday night the Kiribati Office of the President -- apparently unaware that the story seemed to be designed to poke fun at the foreign policies of US President George W Bush -- issued a statement condemning the story as a "misleading, fearful, intimidating and defamatory" attempt to "cause a lot of problems before the general elections".

Last minute diplomatic negotiations headed off the invasion and now the cover story is that the original report was just a satire:

A spoof story claiming the United States was planning to invade the tiny Pacific state of Kiribati sparked panic and prompted the government there to air public reassurances the country would not be overrun by US forces.

The US Embassy in Wellington said Monday it was unfortunate the story on a New Zealand satirical Web site Spinner was taken as accurate.

This report on the story deleted an expletive uttered by the fictional Bush in the original article:

The Sunday Star-Times newspaper yesterday reported that New Zealand High Commissioner to Kiribati Neil Robertson had been questioned by the president about the article.

"The Kiribati sense of humour does not encompass satire," he said.

"The thing that really got people here is that there is an election campaign in progress and there has certainly been opposition criticism of President Tito, because of his alleged autocratic attitude toward various matters.

"The fact the satirical item referred to him as an evil dictator was not, perhaps, opportune."

The invasion story leaked out before the US was ready to attack. The US lost the necessary element of surprise and a rapid diplomatic negotiation ensued. Of course the US now denies it ever had any such intention. But we aren't fooled, are we? Who wants to bet on whether French warships (or maybe just French fishing boats; but it was the French dammit) were shadowing the US invasion fleet and spread the word?

By Randall Parker    2002 November 05 01:22 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2002 October 31 Thursday
Viagra Is Saving Animal Lives From Poachers

Sometimes an unintended consequence can be beneficial:

Researchers in Canada and Australia have shown that since the drug was introduced in 1998, worldwide trade in parts of some species has fallen by more than 70 per cent.

The reason for Viagra's popularity is clear, says Frank von Hippel of the University of Alaska: "Viagra is cheaper than many animal products and its action is pronounced, immediate and effective."

By Randall Parker    2002 October 31 11:02 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (2)
Half Of UK's Gay Navy Stuck In Dock

They couldn't make up something this weird.

"Senior naval officers have warned me that they reckon that at least 50 per cent of the fleet have sinned homosexually," he said. "It is only the paucity of the Director of Naval Security's investigating resources that prevents paying off a good many ships."

So then should the Royal Navy become the butt of numerous jokes?

Almost half the Royal Navy's 36 warships will be unavailable for operations in the Gulf because of the firemen's strike, accidents, routine refits and attempts to save money.

Which half is stuck in port?

By Randall Parker    2002 October 31 05:57 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2002 October 23 Wednesday
Classical Music Calms Dogs

Bach and Metallica produce opposite effects:

Dogs are more relaxed and well-behaved when listening to classical music, rather than pop or heavy metal, according to a new behavioural study. The researchers say the results could help dog pounds work out the best play list for calming their canines.

By Randall Parker    2002 October 23 11:47 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (1)
2002 October 06 Sunday
Get Smart popularized airborne biowarfare

Just found this on the Scientific American site. The author argues that Get Smart co-creator Mel Brooks is secretly spreading dangerous subversive ideas:

But in July I happened on an episode of Get Smart, the late-1960s sitcom about bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart. The plotline concerned a plague sweeping the nation's potato crop-- potatoes look fine on the outside but, like Lay and his cronies, are empty inside their jackets. Smart discovers that Siegfried, head of the evil enemy agency Kaos, is using a bioengineered bacterium to attack our potatoes [see "Biological Warfare against Crops," by Paul Rogers, Simon Whitby and Malcolm Dando; Scientific American, June 1999]. Siegfried explains that the bacterium enters the potato, eats the insides, burps and dies, leaving no trace. Now for the really frightening part-- Siegfried is spreading the potato-destroying bacteria using crop dusters.

By Randall Parker    2002 October 06 03:15 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (14)
2002 September 28 Saturday
A Modest Proposal For Iraq

Turn Iraq into a giant Zen Garden.

By Randall Parker    2002 September 28 10:11 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (1)
2002 September 16 Monday
The Onion reports on new movie Gulf War II

Go read the whole thing:

Rumsfeld said the soon-to-be-unleashed war will feature special effects beyond anything seen in the original.

"Gulf War I was done 11 years ago, and war-making technology has advanced tremendously since then," Rumsfeld said. "From the guns to the planes to the missile-guidance systems, what you'll see in this one puts the original Gulf War to shame."

By Randall Parker    2002 September 16 12:18 AM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
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