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Jim Downey's picture

"That's what's wrong with America!"


Men not following the Biblical instruction to stand while pissing.

No, I am not kidding:

Jim Downey's picture

Like this is a surprise.

Md. Police Put Activists' Names On Terror Lists

The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.

Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.

"The names don't belong in there," he told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. "It's as simple as that."

Jim Downey's picture

You, too (or your SO), can be uncut!

Whatsamatter, kid? That ol' nasty Christian religion take away your foreskin? Thinking that you've been missing out on something? That your boy parts have become desensitized and worn a little rough around the edges from the trials of day-to-day living?

Well, cheer up, me lad, there's now hope for the likes of you: An Artificial Foreskin!

Jim Downey's picture

Certainly NSFW . . .

. . . but pretty damned funny. A little something to make up for my earlier grimness:

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Atheist Beer!

To heck with the Vice Presidential debate - The Danish Atheist Society and the Danish microbrewery Bryggeriet Djævlebryg ('The Brewery Devil's Brew') has teamed up to produce a new stout called Gudeløs ('Godless'). This is some exciting stuff!

[link] Bryggeriet Djævlebryg and the Danish Atheist Society have entered into an unholy alliance and the result is "Godless": This first batch is a somehow accessible imperial stout with its 8.9% abv. It offers burnt notes from the malt mingled with sweet nuances and a warming depth from the alcohol. This brew is primarly aimed at members of the Atheist Society, but it will also be available in selected shops and bars. In these times, when companies are expected to show social responsibility, we in the brewery have decided to follow suit: For each unit sold we donate 1 Danish Krone to the Danish Atheist Society.

Must... taste... this... beer... :)

Jim Downey's picture

Yeah, it's gotten that bad.

A thought experiment for you: Consider, if you will, at what point the absurdity of "security theatre" crosses the line from the merely annoying to the actively dangerous (to our civil liberties). How would you detect such a point?

How about with a simple American flag?

Metal plates send messages to airport x-ray screeners

One of my favorite artists, Evan Roth, is working on a project that will be released soon - the pictures say it all, it's a "carry on" communication system. These metal places contain messages which will appear when they are X-Rayed. The project isn't quite done yet, Evan needs access to an X-Ray machine to take some photos and document. If you have access to an X-Ray machine he's willing to give you a set of the plates for helping out.

Jim Downey's picture


Bérubé's back!!!

(Seriously - this guy is brilliant on several levels. When he shuttered his blog in January '07, it was depressing as all hell. Catching his stuff at various other locations now and then was enough to keep hope alive. Rejoice! It is the Second Coming of Bérubé !!!)

Jim Downey

Jim Downey's picture

Bloody hell.

OK, I've been gone/sick for the last couple of days, and not really up to anything tonight.

But I just had to share this hilarious item from Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomy dude, from Antarctica:

Door to Hell in Antarctica - Watch more free videos

Bloody hell, that's insane.

Jim Downey

Jim Downey's picture

"You're in the desert, you see a tortoise lying on its back, struggling, and you're not helping -- why is that?"*

So, according to FOX News, our friends at the Department of Homeland Security will soon have a new trick up their sleeve: MALINTENT.

Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

Baggage searches are SOOOOOO early-21st century. Homeland Security is now testing the next generation of security screening — a body scanner that can read your mind.

Most preventive screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns the old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person — not the device — set to wreak havoc and terror.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors division in Homeland Security's directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

Jim Downey's picture

Awaiting Your Correspondance - Important Business Matter

Via Marketplace, this item:

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

Jim Downey's picture

Sarah's blog.

OK, I just spent too much of my Sunday morning catching up on "Welcome to the PalinDrome: Sarah Palin's Blog". Yeah, I know, I shoulda been at church instead. But seriously, this is pretty funny. Here's an excerpt from the post Banning Books:

Jim Downey's picture

"More and more, it seems as if public officials in this country have simply gone insane."

That's the closing line of yesterday's post by Bruce Schneier. Of course, Schneier has thought this for a long time. But what is he going on about? This:

Are the fire hydrants in your neighborhood turned on?

ROCKWALL COUNTY - A North Texas homeowner wants you to learn from his family's tragedy.

The fire hydrants in his neighborhood are turned off.

Now, why are the hydrants turned off?

You guessed it: terrorism.

More from the news story:

Clay Hodges is the general manager of Cash Special Utility District.

He explains all the district's hydrants, including those in Alexander Ranch, have had their water turned off since just after 9/11 - something a trade association spokesman tells us is common practice for rural systems.

"These hydrants need to be cut off in a way to prevent vandalism or any kind of terrorist activity, including something in the water lines," Hodges said.

Jim Downey's picture

The 'Not Ready for Prime Time' Party.

OK, John McCain had the Republican nomination locked up, what, back in March? So since then he's had plenty of time to pick a running mate, get his convention all sorted out, be ready to put on a good show for the final two months of the election season when most people start really paying attention after Labor Day.

And this is what we get???

First off, the Palin debacle. Yeah, I know Brent's redneck friends think she's great. But seriously, think about how many different issues have popped up with her name attached this last week, alone. Troopergate. The Jet That Didn't Sell on eBay. Theocrat. Lies about the 'Bridge to Nowhere'. And that doesn't even touch on her questionable judgment as a parent and wife. Clearly, the McCain camp did not do the necessary background checks on this woman. No wonder they're now saying that they'll limit her contact with the press until the election.

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Jesus Christ, Action Hero

It's a graphic novel with all the right elements: A pissed-off, cigar-smoking Jesus Christ, gay angels, evil Nazis, fecal incontinence, a fat, time-traveling, machine-gun-toting Ernest Hemingway as a sidekick, and an absentee father-God - who just happens to look like Marlon Brando playing Jor-EL.

Check out the graphic novel "Jesus Christ - In The Name Of The Gun". Fun, fun, fun.

I loves me the sweet, sweet intertubes. :) Kudos to Ethan Nicolle and Eric Peterson of Bad Karma Productions!

Jim Downey's picture

"I really rather pity these people."

That's Richard Dawkins reading from his email. There's no surprise in the hateful and obscene language, as anyone who has taken a position questioning religion will know.

But I came across this via BoingBoing, where it is interesting to read the comments. Since BoingBoing is a more general-interest site, they have a more generalized readership, which includes a fair proportion of believers. Watching them react to the Dawkins clip is a good reminder (if you need one) of what we're up against.

Jim Downey

Jim Downey's picture

Ah, yes, the power of prayer.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Focus on the Family nuts all decided to pray for rain at the Democratic convention? PZ talked about it. Even Olbermann featured it. With the bad publicity, they decided to pull the video, and it's no longer available on YouTube. Which is a shame, really, given what happened this morning:

DENVER - A sprinkler system partially flooded part of the Pepsi Center Monday morning.

The Denver Fire Department, which has a crew stationed at the center all week, was able to respond quickly before 5 a.m. when the sprinkler went off.

The sprinkler was located on the club level in a skybox which had recently been renovated to host a news crew. It appears the skybox belongs to Fox.

After going off, the sprinkler released 50 to 100 gallons of water per minute and 9NEWS crews estimate it was on for around 5 minutes.

Yes, Faux News's skybox was flooded.

(Nearly) Instant Karma, anyone?

Jim Downey

Jim Downey's picture

Dance a dance of four-space.

Got two hours to spare? It could open up a whole new dimension in your life.

No, this is not some Amway scam, new-age Woo, or political revival. It's a series of brilliant videos (along with explanatory text) put together by a French mathematician which explore the existence of a fourth spatial dimension. And it is *very* cool. From ScienceNews:

So can any of these techniques help us visualize Schläfli’s 600-sided, four-dimensional shape? Using a computer, Ghys first passes Schläfli’s regular, four-dimensional shapes through three-dimensional space and looks at the three-dimensional “slices” created. This helps a bit, but just as in two dimensions, it’s not easy to assemble an image of the higher-dimensional shape this way.

Jim Downey's picture

Do you own a fire extinguisher? Why?

Hmm. I posted a piece about the Tom Willis nut over on my blog, and noted in comments there that I seem to never have cross-posted this essay from Daily Kos on either my site or here on UTI. So, I thought I would.

Jim Downey


Do you own a fire extinguisher? Why?

Jim Downey's picture


OK, I spent *way* too much time playing this game last night: Orbitrunner. And because I'm the kind of guy that I am, I wanted to inflict it on you.

It's actually a very interesting bit of gaming, for as simple as seems at first glance. Here's the description from the site:

Control the Sun with your mouse. Use it to manipulate the planets' paths. The Sun's pull gets stronger as planets get closer. If the gravity is at a right angle to the direction of travel, an orbit can form. Make sure planets don't leave the screen or collide!

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Sachiko McLean - The Thinking Man's Glamour Model

Sachiko McLean is a model from Australia who also happens to be an atheist. She is a thinker who writes well and expresses her opinion in a thoughtful and cogent fashion.

Check out her blog when you get a chance and welcome her to the atheosphere!

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