On the Propadeucist, "objects that are guns - and are also other weapons," including a gun that is also several other guns.
Leaked video from Romney fundraiser: Half of US voters expect free “health care, food, housing, you name it” (updated)
Mother Jones has published a "secret" video captured during a private fundraiser for Mitt Romney, in which the Republican presidential candidate tells a small gathering of wealthy voters what he thinks of Americans who support Obama.
The tl;dr: rich guy who gets millions in tax breaks calls half of America parasites.
"[The] 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
About 47% of the country, Romney continued, "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Tony Smith from StarShipSofa sez,
Over the coming months StarShipSofa will present a series of online web lectures by some of the top SF writers out there. These lectures will be called How To Write Science Fiction with...
Among the writers lined up for future lectures are Kim Stanley Robinson, Spider Robinson, Paolo Bacigalupi and many others. The first writer to take to the mic is the author of the classic SF novel The Forever War - Joe Haldeman. You can listen to Joe on the 11th November - all from the comfort of your computer. Don't be mistaken: this isn't your parents' "how to" lecture! Instead, this is a front row seat, as one of the most celebrated minds in the science fiction literary community talks about his journey in the genre. Be there as Joe shares the kind of personal advice and anecdotes you can't find in a writers' guide. Learn how the publishing industry has (and hasn't) changed, and what first led Joe Haldeman to a lifelong relationship with science fiction. You won't want to miss a minute of this intimate and insightful event.
The government of Pakistan blocked access to YouTube today, after Google refused to remove the craptacular trailer for "Innocence of Muslims" linked to violent protests around the the Muslim world. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered the ban to prevent further violence, according to the Pakistani paper Dawn, and YouTube responded with a statement acknowledging restricted access to the content in various countries, "given the very sensitive situations."
To make room for the space shuttle Endeavour as it is transported from Los Angeles International Airport to The California Science Center, some 400 trees must be removed from the city streets. The shuttle is just too damn wide. An agreement was today reached between the Science Center and South LA neighborhood groups to plant four times as many trees as will be removed. (photo and articles: Los Angeles Times.)
This is actually a real life animal.
I know. I didn't believe it either. When it turned up in my Facebook feed, via my Aunt Beth, I assumed that this had to be a hoax photo. Had to be. I mean, just look at it. This animal looks like it should appear in pretty photos forwarded to you by your aunt that later turn out to be the result of a photoshopping contest on Something Awful, right?
But then it was on Wikipedia, too. And I thought, "Okay, it's still the Internet. Somebody is clearly just getting really elaborate in their trolling."
And I suppose that's true. If by "somebody", what I mean to say is "natural selection".
This is the Glaucus atlanticus. It is a type of nudibranch—shell-less mollusks known for their extravagant shapes and colors. It is venomous. And I am now almost completely convinced that it's not a joke.
Read the rest
"The Terrorism Delusion," a paper by John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart in this summer's issue of International Security, argues that terrorists basically suck at their jobs. They report that the best US intelligence puts the whole al Qaeda weapons of mass destruction R&D budget at US$4,000; that Americans who are "radicalized" and brought to terrorism training camps return disgusted and disillusioned and determined to put future recruits off (and then get arrested anyway); that Iraqis were so alienated from loony al Qaeda fighters that bin Laden proposed renaming the group; and that terrorists who are busted are basically dolts, fools, bumblers and delusional loonies.
But, as Mueller and Stewart write, the counter-terror forced continue to present terrorism as a grave risk brought about by super-criminal masterminds who threaten the safety of all of us, every day.
Terrorists have proven to be relentless, patient, opportunistic, and flexible, learning from experience and modifying tactics and targets to exploit perceived vulnerabilities and avoid observed strengths.”8
This description may apply to some terrorists somewhere, including at least a few of those involved in the September 11 attacks. Yet, it scarcely describes the vast majority of those individuals picked up on terrorism charges in the United States since those attacks. The inability of the DHS to consider this fact even parenthetically in its fleeting discussion is not only amazing but perhaps delusional in its single-minded preoccupation with the extreme.
In sharp contrast, the authors of the case studies, with remarkably few exceptions, describe their subjects with such words as incompetent, ineffective, unintelligent, idiotic, ignorant, inadequate, unorganized, misguided, muddled, amateurish, dopey, unrealistic, moronic, irrational, and foolish.9 And in nearly all of the cases where an operative from the police or from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was at work (almost half of the total), the most appropriate descriptor would be “gullible.”
In all, as Shikha Dalmia has put it, would-be terrorists need to be “radical- ized enough to die for their cause; Westernized enough to move around with- out raising red flags; ingenious enough to exploit loopholes in the security apparatus; meticulous enough to attend to the myriad logistical details that could torpedo the operation; self-sufficient enough to make all the preparations without enlisting outsiders who might give them away; disciplined enough to maintain complete secrecy; and—above all—psychologically tough enough to keep functioning at a high level without cracking in the face of their own impending death.”
The Terrorism Delusion (PDF) (Thanks, Nicolas!)
Uproxx has a gallery of 15 melodramatic Newsweek covers.
As we told you earlier, if you read Newsweek — and Allah help you if you do — then you already know that we, as Simple Americans, should prepare to FEEL THE RAGE OF ANGRY MUSLIMS WHO ARE ANGRY AT ALL TIMES. Because, obviously, every Muslim ever is hella pissed right now, as Gawker so helpfully pointed out.Point is: Newsweek is America’s #1 magazine for trolls … here’s some of their finest work through years.
A couple of years ago I was on The Colbert Report showing some fun projects from MAKE, and Stephen fell in love with a project called "The Most Useless Machine." (Watch the episode here.) The Most Useless Machine is a box that shuts itself off when you turn it on. (After the show Stephen hinted that he wanted to keep it, so I gave it to him and he was really happy.)
Make:Projects just posted complete instructions for making your own Most Useless Machine. It's the simplest version yet, and is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who tries it.
Last year I saw a video of the "Leave Me Alone Box" built by Michael Seedman. Flip its switch on, and an arm reaches out of a door to turn the switch back off. To paraphrase The Terminator, that's what it does, that's all it does, and it will not stop until its circuit is dead.
I had to have one of my own, so I made one. Seedman's design uses a microcontroller to run two servomotors: one to open the lid, and another to push the switch. This makes for an impressive performance, but seemed too complicated, and actually, his circuit remains powered even when the box is idle.
For existential purity, I wanted a super-simple machine that really turned itself off. So I came up with a single-motor design controlled by a 555 timer chip, with a curved arm that both lifts the lid and flips off the switch. I called it the "Most Useless Machine" and posted it on Instructables along with a YouTube video of the box in action. The project soon went viral, attracting millions of viewers, thousands of comments, and many builds and design variations. Whew!
Along the way, Instructables member Compukidmike came up with an even simpler version that dispenses with the 555 circuitry entirely by using a gearmotor and two switches. The resulting project, presented here, is the ultimate in technology for its own sake, a minimal assemblage of parts that, through its one meaningless act of defiance, speaks volumes.
[Video Link] Ted Balaker produced this video interview with Harvard experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, author of such books as The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature and, most recently, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
Pinker tackles everything from the fallacy of the blank slate to the psychology of indecent proposals and why he's catching flack for arguing that violence is decreasing.
In one particularly interesting bit he makes the case for defending the rights of dissenters as a way to help avoid "collective delusions," such as Hilter's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union or the European witch hunts which tortured to death 150,000 woman who were suspected of causing ships to sink and crops to fail by casting spells.
"You look at them retrospectively and you wonder, 'How could everyone have been so mad?' On top of being evil these ideas seem patently ludicrous. How can you have a collective delusion overtaking an entire society? And it looks like one of the answers is that if dissenters are punished and can anticipate they're going to be punished, then you might have a situation where no one actually believes something, but everyone else believes that everyone else believes it. Therefore no one is willing to be the little boy that says the emperor is naked. And this 'pluralistic ignorance' as it's sometimes called is easily implemented when you have the punishing or censoring of unpopular views."
Dawnoh's 2009 Zippo Tricks video has garnered over 2,000,000 views. She's quite a virtuoso and I love her super-cool, like-a-boss affect -- but be sure and watch to the end for her blooper reel. Doing lighter tricks the the only thing I miss about being a smoker, though truth be told I'd already had all my Zippos stolen from me by the TSA by the time I quit.