Sunday 31 July 2005

Potential Nazism - A Test

Der Resistance
Achtung! You are 23% brainwashworthy, 36% antitolerant, and 52% blindly patriotic
Welcome to the Resistance (Der Widerstand)! You believe in freedom, justice, equality,and your country, and you can't be converted to the the dark side.

Breakdown: Your Blind Patriotism levels are borderline unhealthy, but you show such a love of people from everywhere and a natural resistance to brainwashing, you would probably focus your energy to fight Fuehrer with furor, so to speak.

Conclusion: Born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would have taken up ARMS against the oppressors. Or even your friends' oppressors. Congratulations!

Less than 5% of all test takers earn a spot in Der Resistance!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 18% on brainwashworthy
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 45% on antitolerant
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 45% on patriotic
Link: The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Of course, I probably would have ended up like Sophie Scholl. But there are worse fates. Better her than Ilse Koch (and My God, wasn't she north-end-of-a-southbound-camel-type Ugly? 2 Bags at least.).

As for "Blindly Patriotic" - nah. I just live in God's Own Country, Australia. I've lived elsewhere too, it's not as if I haven't been able to make a rational comparison based on good evidence.

I'm good at comparisons. Through force of circumstance, better than most, I think.

Friday 29 July 2005

Just Me

Thanks once again to everyone who has shown such overwhelming support in comments on this blog, and others.

The exceptions have been so few that I can enumerate them.

One from a commenter over at Damian Penny's blog.
One from a commenter at Tim Blair's

There may be others, but I'm hypersensitive about this, and I haven't detected any. I've been buried under an avalanche of goodwill in e-mails, blog comments, and blog articles.

Most women in similar situations haven't been so fortunate. Read it and weep, everybody.

Of course, I'm the exception here. Never cross-dressed, and the changes have happened without any medical intervention. Also, yesterday, I had a look at the padding, the rigmarole needed to fake a Boy appearance (badly), and said "Enough". So I've given up trying, as of 28th I now have a female appearance and lifestyle, 24/7. Rather too soon to be wise, I had everything planned from Hormone Replacement Therapy to Facial Feminisation Surgery, and an emergence fulltime in January 2006.

But that was predicated on me being able to pass with little effort as a normal male before then, and this turned out not to be possible. I may not look very Femme, but I can tell you, I look far less convincing as a male now.

But enough of all that. I have a life, a blog, and a family. What more could a girl ask for?

Essence of Placenta

Seen on a new blog, Right Wing Death Bogan :
Place a piece of placenta - if not the whole organ - outside in the evening under a full moon.
Ensure that it's safe and that animals don't get to it, of course.
Next, add elements of earth, water, fire, air and metal. Ideally, the water will be in a crystal bowl, and the placenta will NOT be in the water. That would contaminate it. You can, however, put your own crystals in the water.

After you have extracted the essence, you can decant the water into a brown bottle. If you wish to preserve the "essence" for some time, then feel free to add some brandy.

My thoughts on this? What a crock of shite! The reason that we don't eat placentas as a species is because we don't need to. Yes, it may be a great source of iron and protein, but it's not necessary. Animals that do eat their placenta tend to be wild and needing to hide their presence from predators. Okay, they will also be weakened somewhat from giving birth, and it is a handy food source in a pinch.

That does not mean that we need to imbue this piece of meat with all sorts of mystical properties.

How can these people be for real? I find it terrifying to think of the next generation. There is no question that they love their children and are devoted to bringing up a generation of caring adults. But the logic. The logic! Where did it go?

Probably melted away with the wax from the candles they stick in their ears.
This from a Lady who is, and I quote,
Doing the single mum thing in suburbia. Mostly with the froglet, with filmmaking and other things thrown into the mix.
Quite an achievement. The world needs more like her, and fewer of the well-meaning but logic-free new age moonbats, many of whom, I'm ashamed to say, are female and should know better (Zing!).

Thursday 28 July 2005

The Forgotten Hero(ine)

DNA Pioneers
Everyone (well, everyone who is anyone) knows that Watson and Crick discovered the double helical structure of DNA, right?
Well, not quite. There were several other people involved, especially one particular person, whose name has been underservedly overshadowed. Rosalind Franklin.
Rosalind Franklin was born in London in the United Kingdom, into an affluent and influential Anglo-Jewish family. Her great uncle was Herbert Samuel (later Viscount Samuel) who was the first practising Jew to serve in the British Cabinet, as Home Secretary in 1916. He was also the first High Commissioner (effectively governor) for the British Mandate of Palestine. Her aunt Helen was married to Norman Bentwich who was Attorney General in the Palestine. Dr Franklin was educated at St Paul's Girls' School where she excelled in science and sport. Her family were actively involved in a local Working Men's College, where her father taught in the evenings. Later they helped settle Jewish refugees from Europe who had escaped the Nazis.
Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958 in London; which was quite possibly caused by exposure to radiation in the course of her research. She is interred in the Willesden Jewish Cemetery in London.

Wilkins, Watson, and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.
I was born in 1958 BTW. Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously, so the work that Dr Franklin gave her life for was never adequately recognised.

As a memorial to her, here's how to extract DNA from Kiwifruit in your own Kitchen.
You will need:

1. A ripe Kiwi fruit.
2. Table salt.
3. Non concentrated washing up liquid.
4. Knife and a chopping board.
5. Measuring scales.
6. A measuring jug.
7. A teaspoon (5 ml).
8. Small bowl.
9. A large sauce pan full of hot water (not boiling — about 60 degrees).
10. A large sauce pan full of ice.
11. Coffee filter and filter funnel.
12. A tall, thin plain glass.
13. Some thin wire (fuse wire).

What to do:

1. Put the bottle of methylated spirits in the ice.

2. Make up a solution of 3 grams of salt, 10 ml of washing up liquid and 100ml of water. Measure 3 grams of salt . You may find that your scales will weigh out a minimum of 25 grams. If this is the case add 80 ml of washing up liquid (16 measuring spoons) and make up to just less than one litre. Stir your mixture thoroughly (avoid froth) to dissolve the salt.

3. Peel and chop one Kiwi fruit. Scoop this into the small bowl and add 100 ml of the salt — detergent mix.

4. Put the bowl containing the mixture into the saucepan of hot water and leave for 15 minutes.

5. After 15 minutes pour the mixture into the coffee filter, and catch the liquid that filters through in the tall glass. You will need about one fifth of a glass.

6. Very carefully drizzle the ice cold meths down the inside of the glass so that it forms a purple layer on top of the green layer. When there is about a fifth of a glass of meths (i.e. two fifths including the green liquid) put the glass on the table and watch what happens.

7. After a few moments you should see a white layer beginning to form at the boundary between the green and the purple layers. If you have done it correctly you will see that the layer is made up of a filament — DNA from Kiwi fruit.

8. Try scooping the DNA out with a loop of thin wire — purple white goo - the molecules of life.
Here's the explanation:
DNA is found in every cell of every living thing, but it is difficult to get it out and disentangle the DNA from the protein inside the cells.

The composition of Kiwi fruit allows the DNA to be extracted without a great deal of effort, but not all things do. By chopping the Kiwi fruit and letting it soak in the detergent and salt the first part of the problem is solved. The detergent strips away the cell membranes that cover the inside of the cell and lets the internal goo escape. The kiwi fruit needs to be chopped fine enough to get the cells broken open, but this should not be overdone or the DNA will be smashed.

The second part of the problem, getting rid of the protein that has stuck to the DNA is all done by the Kiwi fruit. The Kiwi fruit already contains a lot of a special enzyme called a proteinase. Enzymes are like small molecular machines that do many things — the enzymes in washing powder digest fat for example. The proteinase enzyme attacks the proteins clinging to the DNA and breaks them up thereby releasing the DNA. Rosalind Franklin tried oranges, but oranges do not contain enzymes and therefore she failed to make DNA from them. She and Raymond Gosling finished up having a food fight with the residue of their efforts.
A woman after my own heart.
The green layer that is produced in the glass is full of DNA as well as lots of broken up proteins and other things. When the cold meths is poured onto the green layer, the DNA dissolved in the water layer at the bottom of the glass is turned into a solid as the DNA cannot remain in the solution. Little bubbles may form between the two layers and drag the strands of DNA up into the meths — the bubbles may be caused by the temperature difference between the layers, making the air dissolved in the green layer come out of the solution. © BA
Finally, may I echo the sentiment expressed in the website:
We hope that this information has been useful to you.
How could it not be?

Any Questions?

Thanks to everyone who have sent their best wishes, either as e-mails, comments on this blog, or on other blogs.

Any questions, feel free to e-mail me. So far, I've had exactly zero rude, crude or demeaning e-mails, but many from Geeks who are curious but have no wish to offend.

I'm not easily offended, and there's no need to tread on eggshells. My skin may now be soft and feminine (HURRAY!!), but I still have the psychological hide of a rhino. I may not answer every genuine question, but won't be hurt just because they're asked.

For background on matters Transsexual, may I suggest Professor Lynn Conway's excellent site. My situation is just a little different from that of normal TS-women (and you know that something weird has happened when you use the phrase "normal" in conjunction with "transsexual"), but it's close enough for a first approximation.

Wednesday 27 July 2005


Sometimes it waits for the next life, sometimes not...

From Mosnews :
Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
Oh Dear, How Sad, Never Mind.

Tuesday 26 July 2005

Good Timing

4 Corners, probably the best Australian Current Affairs show (despite the occasional atrocity), has a program that is germane to my situation.
Scientists are now looking beyond chromosomes to "brain sex" and the role of newly discovered genes in determining gender.

And Tex of Whacking Day writes :
The always-interesting blogger A.E. Brain gets more interesting by the day.
As in "May You Live In Interesting Times".

But I'm actually starting to enjoy it. Though looking at the lyrics... Nah. This is closer, but "Che" Lip Balm? Nope. I'll just have to be an Original. And I quite like that concept.

See what I mean by a rapid change? All it took was 10 weeks to turn my life upside-down and give it a good shake. But I'm so glad it happened.

Monday 25 July 2005

The King is Dead...

Long Live the King!

The inimitable Joe Vialls (he whose response to any loud bang anywhere in the world was "It Was Mossad! With a Mini Nuke!") has shuffled off this mortal coil, but the world is still full of Moonbats that provide much harmless amusement.

I give you the successor : John Kaminski.
Featuring the landmark screeds "9/11 is a hoax" and "Solving the enigma of media manipulation," "The Perfect Enemy" is a collection of horrified observations and incisive reporting about the shocking decline in the safety of the world, and a penetrating look at the dark future that awaits us if we do not regain control of our destinies and overcome the evil corporate forces that aim to enslave and destroy us.
Not forgetting Imminentizing the Eschaton.

And of course there's his Bumper Stickers :

And of course,

And yet... there seems something missing. The whiff of Judenhass that was Joe V's trademark... But wait! Just look at this article and you'll see words worthy of Joe V himself :
In addition to the millions of Americans who are protesting their nation's unjust and immoral torture of the shellshocked country of Iraq, there are also a substantial number of people in the U.S. who see through the lies of Zionist controlled U.S. mainstream media and believe the story told to them by their government about the tragedy of September 11, 2001 is merely another self-serving, nightmare fairytale meant to rally political support by the ignorant and uncaring for the continuing American/British/Israeli assault on the Islamic world.
With words like that, he'll be writing for the SMH or Age in no time.

Sunday 24 July 2005

The Singularity


A perfect 1-line description : The Rapture of the Nerds

What He Said

Australian PM John Howard is getting a lot of good press (from the right, anyway) just for speaking a few fairly obvious truths. But he's not the only Australian with two neurons to fire consecutively. From Ted Lapkin :
Our enemies go by such names as al Qaeda, Jamaa Islamiya, Hamas, and Hezbollah. They belong to a global jihadist movement that considers it a religious duty to wage holy Islamic war against the infidels of the West.

This is a war that we did not start, but that we dare not leave unfinished. We dare not because our foes are fanatics who strap explosives to their bodies and fly airliners into office buildings. We dare not leave it unfinished because our antagonists see the destruction of our civilization as a necessary precursor to the expansion of their own culture.

Our jihadist enemies are fighting to create an ideal society that looks a lot like Afghanistan under the Taliban. And this is a vision that is repugnant to the foundational ideals of free people everywhere. Women forced to be barefoot, burka-clad, illiterate, and unemployed. Christians and Jews barely tolerated as second-class dhimmicitizens. No art, no science. Societies dominated by poverty, oppression, backwardness, and ignorance.

In the world according to radical Islam it’s the jihadist way or the highway, and these 7th-century dogmas represent the only acceptable outcome to al Qaeda.

But the far-left views the world through a political prism that distorts this essential reality. Fixated by a knee-jerk hostility towards all things American, the likes of Ali, Fisk, and Galloway refuse to recognize the existence of this conflict, much less the stakes that are involved. Their primal instinct is to appease bin Laden and his cohorts rather than oppose them.

But Winston Churchill defined an appeaser as “someone who feeds the crocodile in the hopes of being eaten last.” The sooner we accept the fact that this is a war; then the sooner we can get about the task of winning it.
Only one area I disagree with him on : he paints with too broad a brush when he describes the "Far Left". Just go read My Favourite Marxist, Norm Geras, or RadFem Hak Mao, or any of a number of other Far Lefties who have never stopped fighting Fascism, even though their fellow-travellers have lost their way.


Time for me to update the blog to reflect my new facial appearance.
Old New

The docs still don't know why this is happening, but it's now pretty clear that I'm going to have to change certain data items on my passport.
Like eye colour. Name. Sex.

The only treatment possible is to hurry things along, and make them more complete. Thankfully, Carmel is taking this in her stride. Good job I was always in favour of same sex marriage. Well, the vows did say "For Better, For Worse, For Richer, For Poorer, in Sickness and in Health."

Lest anyone think this is some terrible tragedy, just look at my expression in the "New" photo. One theory for the change - as good as any other - is that my body is responding to a deep need I've had for ages. I don't know if that's true, I was never fanatical about being female, it was just something I felt I should have been, but had to bow to reality. A lifelong dream, but then again, I had a lifelong dream about being an astronaut too.

Another theory is that the biological changes to the brain as part of this syndrome meant that I was better able to accept it. Certainly I wasn't fanatical about femininity before, but now I am, it's not a "nice to have" any more, it's a need, typical Gender Dysphoria. To over-simplify, that has only 3 possible outcomes : go completely bonkers, suicide, or transition. There's no other therapy that has ever worked. Now I went bonkers a long time ago, suicide isn't my style, and so it's no 3 for me. As the councillor at the Gender Centre in Sydney told me, she'd seen the same syndrome in "Several other transsexual women". It took me a while to get my head around that, and accept my situation. But now I'm revelling in it.

Howver... now would be a really, really good time to hit the Tip Jar. I'm looking at possibly $50,000 of medical expenses as the result of this, after insurance and Medicare. And every little bit helps, I have nowhere near that much available.

We now resume our normal programming.

Saturday 23 July 2005

Not To be Missed

When the director of Buffy The Vampire Slayer makes an SF movie, you know it's going to be chock full of great one liners, and a great story too.

The Serenity Trailer in multiple formats. Definitely worth the 10 Mb or so download, even if you're on a 56K Modem.

For more details, see the Official Site. Recommended.

The PETA Principle

With apologies to Dr Lawrence J Peter, author of the original, here's a new statement:
"Anyone Sufficiently Fanatical becomes Indistinguishable from the worst of those they're fighting against"

The following story is from This is True dated 17 July 2005. It is Copyright 2005 Randy Cassingham, all rights reserved, and reprinted here with permission:

"Ethical" Defined

After more than 100 dead dogs were dumped in a trash dumpster over four weeks, police in Ahoskie, N.C., kept an eye on the trash receptacle behind a supermarket. Sure enough, a van drove up and officers watched the occupants throw in heavy plastic bags. They detained the two people in the van and found 18 dead dogs in plastic bags in the dumpster, including puppies; 13 more dead dogs were still in the van. Police say the van is registered to the headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the two occupants, Andrew B. Cook, 24, and Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, identified themselves as PETA employees. An autopsy performed on one of the dogs found it was healthy before it was killed.
Police say PETA has been picking up the animals -- alive -- from North Carolina animal shelters, promising to find them good homes. Cook and Hinkle have been charged with 62 felony counts of animal cruelty. In response to the arrests PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said it's against the group's policy for employees to dump animals in the trash, but "that for some animals in North Carolina, there is no kinder option than euthanasia." (Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald) ...Oops, my mistake: that's "Playing God" Defined.

In his author's notes section, Cassingham had more to say about this

The more I learn about PETA, the less I think of them. The story of them killing animals isn't even unusual. According to PETA's own filings, in 2004 PETA killed 86.3 percent of the animals entrusted to its care -- a number that's rising, not falling.
Meanwhile, the SPCA in PETA's home town (Norfolk, Va.) was able to find loving homes for 73 percent of the animals put in its care. A shortage of funds? Nope: last year PETA took in $29 million in tax-exempt donations.
It simply has other priorities for the funds, like funding terrorism (yes, really). But don't take my word for it: I got my figures from -- and they have copies of PETA's state and federal filings to back it up. The bottom line: if you donate money to PETA because you think they care for and about animals, you need to think some more. PETA literally yells and screams about how others "kill animals" but this is how
they operate? Pathetic.

And you know what I wonder? PETA's official count of animals they kill is 86.3 percent. But if they're going around picking up animals, killing them while they drive around and not even giving them a chance to be adopted, and then destroying the evidence by dumping the bodies in the trash, are those deaths being reported? My guess: no. While 86.3 percent is awful, the actual number is probably much, much higher. How dare they lecture anyone about the "ethical" treatment of animals!

(This is True is a weekly column featuring weird-but-true news stories from around the world, and has been published since 1994. Click the link for info about free subscriptions.)

Thursday 21 July 2005

Which SF Character are you?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

"I can only conclude that I'm paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate."

-- Ivanova in Babylon 5:"Points of Departure"
(Quote courtesy of a Finnish site, the collected Babylon 5 Quotes.)

Ya Canna' Change the Laws of Physics

And Entropy gets everyone in the end. But at least he gets to go to Space.
From Xinhua (China) :
The ashes of Star Trek's James Doohan, who died Wednesday at his home in Redmond, Washington, will be sent into space in accordance with his wishes, his agent here said.

The 85-year-old actor, who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the original "Star Trek" TV series in the 1960s and the motion pictures that it spawned, died early in the morning of pneumonia and complications from Alzheimer's disease, said Steven Stevens.

A Bit of a Worry

Three successive stories from the BBC :
15 July :
A senior Chinese general has warned that China might respond with nuclear weapons against the US if Washington attacked his country over Taiwan.

Major General Zhu Chenghu is not directly involved in China's military strategy, but these comments could add to tensions with the US.
The US is currently Taiwan's biggest arms supplier and has indicated it would defend the island in the event of a Chinese invasion.

"If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition onto the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons," Maj Gen Zhu told an official briefing for foreign reporters.

The general said his comments were "my assessment, not the policy of the government," according to The Asian Wall Street Journal.
Not a threat, a sober military assesment. The only way China can counter the US's surgical precision is with mass destruction.

16 July :
The Chinese government has downplayed remarks by a senior general suggesting that China might use nuclear weapons if the US attacked it over Taiwan.

Major General Zhu Chenghu was only expressing "personal views", Beijing officials said.
But no actual statement that what he said wasn't correct.

20 July :
China has increased the number of short-range ballistic missiles on its coast opposite Taiwan, the US has said.

In an annual report to Congress, the Pentagon claimed there were now up to 730 such missiles in place. Last year's report found only 500.
According to the American findings, there are now between 650 and 730 short-range ballistic missiles in position opposite Taiwan, with 100 more being deployed every year.

China is also developing the capability to launch air strikes and mount a blockade against the island, the report said.
Worth watching.

Monday 18 July 2005

Find Your Perfect Mate

At Queen Alice. Check it out.

Unite Against Terror

From Hak Mao (and many others of similar kidney) :
Unite Against Terror is a website set up by Labour Party and other socialist activists. Their draft statement reads:
Terrorist attacks against Londoners on July 7th killed at least 54 people. The suicide bombers who struck in Netanya, Israel, on July 12 ended five lives, including two 16 year old girls. And on July 13, in Iraq, suicide bombers slaughtered 24 children. We stand in solidarity with all these strangers, hand holding hand, from London to Netanya to Baghdad: communities united against terror.
We invite you to sign this statement as a small first step to building a global movement of citizens against terrorism.
As a Right Wing Death Beast, I hope this as a first step towards actually doing something, not just signing meaningless feelgood statements. Regardless, I've signed, and urge others to do the same.

Sunday 17 July 2005

Two Civil Wars

There are two civil wars going on now, one large , one small.

The larger of the two is the war within Islam: the Counter-Reformation.

Islam outgrew its rather bloody roots of the 7th century sometime around the 14th. From being a very militantly prosletysing "cum scutum et ignis" - by Sword and Fire - movement, it matured, and led by example rather than conquest. But there it stopped. While Christianity slowly stopped burning witches as public amusement, stoning adulterers or the immodest still remained on the lawbooks of Sharia, sometimes practiced, sometimes not.

It was only in the early part of the 20th century that militant Islam, Islamofascism, call it what you will - got hybridised with the more malignant Utopian ideals coming from Europe, and degenerated into a nihilistic death cult.

What is left, from what I can see, is a fractioning of Islam into three distinct parts.

The first part, which appears to be the majority in the west, are those who "just want to get along", and is composed of people with a variety of attitudes, ranging from "Muslim in name only" the way that many people are "Christian in name only" or "Jewish in name only", all the way to very devout people who look forward to the day whan everone is a Muslim, and work towards that ideal by living a life exemplary of morality and humanity.

The second part, which appears to be the majority outside the west, are similar, but more ignorant and bigotted. They have had little or no exposure to non-Islamic faiths, so genuinely believe the rubbish that's sometimes fed them by oppressive governments or demagogues. They tend to be Anti-Semitic, sometimes virulently so, but only because they've never actually met anyone Jewish. Again, they have their counterparts in the west, many people are virulently anti-Islamic simply because they've never actually met a practicing Muslim, they only know what the media reports tell them. Again, they vary between the "Muslim in name only" and the ultra-pious. The difference between the two groups is, that the ultra-pious are more likely to engage in "honour killings", to be the one to cast the first stone, etc. Intolerant, Brutish, Ignorant and Bigotted. Indistinguishable from the "God Hates Fags" brigade.

The third part, a powerful and well-funded minority, are the Islamofascists. They hide amongst the second part, and even the more terminally thick of the first, who give them aid and comfort out of a sense of "Muslim Brotherhood". They feed off, and recruit, the offspring of the other two groups, children who out of zeal to change the world for the better, become mere rounds of ammunition to be expended for The Great Cause. The main victims of the Islamofascists are not worshippers of other religions, they're Muslims. Just look at the casualties in Iraq. Or the continuing bombings of Shia Mosques in Pakistan and elsewhere. Or the fact that the recent bombings in London happenend in or near Muslim neighbourhoods, and killed at least one Muslim woman.

In the UK, the battlelines are already being drawn up. The clash may be delayed for a while, or it may occur soon. The time when the normal, decent "just folks" Muslims of all stripes and varieties start actively working against the Islamofascists, rather than sitting on the fence and uttering pious plattitudes. Some have already done so, we couldn't have had as much success in the "War on Terror" as we've had without a lot of decent people saying "enough is enough". As for the second group, it will take political, economic, and if neccessary, military pressure to get rid of the oligarchs and demagogues who have always kept their peoples in ignorance. This is a job that will take generations, and can never be completely successful. You can fool some of the people all of the time, after all.

And that brings me to the second civil war, the war within the Far Left. To quote Christophet Hitchens :
And then, most depressingly, after September 11, 2001, you defined your position until it was not just with sometimes, or without sometimes, but actually against quite a bit of the left—people who thought jihadism was in some way an expression of anti-imperialism. There was the reflexive view that somehow the jihadists must represent a grievance or protest against poverty or oppression. Everybody knows what the grievances of the jihadists arethey're very easy to identify. They grieve for the loss of the caliphate. They're not anti-imperialists—they're pro-imperialists. There's an empire they lost and want back. They're offended—deeply, grievously offended—by the sight of an undraped woman or the existence of a Shiite Muslim, or a Christian, or a Jew. These things they consider to be offensive. They believe God gives them the right to erase these things. Let's not understate the fact that they do have deep-seated grievances. But to hear this ventriloquized on the left as some sort of perverse populism was too much for me.
I can tell you exactly when the breaking point came, actually. I was invited by Michael Moore to be his interviewer at the Telluride Film Festival for his awful, baggy, dishonest, boring movie, Bowling for Columbine. In that film, clips about the Kosovo war from Serbian television are used as objective. Moore implies that the bombing of Kosovo might have inspired the murderers in Columbine. You don't know where to start with someone as mentally lazy as this. This was on the anniversary of September 11 terrorist attacks, and he said, "Well, if it's true that bin Laden did this thing in New York . . ." It was early in the morning; just a second, I thought. "Say that again? If they did this?" He said, "Well, if they did this." And he opposed the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan—a reactionary, conservative position couched in radical anti-imperialist language. My Marxist training tells me things don't remain the same. Reactionary-left positions won't hold for long; they will metamorphose into reactionary-right ones. He says he considers the Iraqi resistance—the beheaders and kidnappers and rapists, the people who throw petrol and explosives into the mosques of rival Muslims, among other things—the equivalents of the Minutemen of the American Revolution. This is the statement of a flat-out brown shirt. It has to be described as such. And all the people who thought that was a great movie to rock the vote, they should be fucking ashamed. There is no room for compromising on a thing like this. He's a lying, fascist, thug.
And a drink-soaked Trotskyite :
Since Sept 2001 I have seen the crevasse change. It was always there, but it was ill-defined and could easily be skipped over. It was partially refilled with the Berlin Wall in 1989.

However some have always been camped on Hitch's side, and as the crack opened others have evaluated the two sides of the gap and jumped. Each successive tectonic groan has made the chasm wider. Last Thursday's explosions widened the gap to the limit. You can still make it across, but those on the other side are becoming committed. It's only a matter of time until the breach is too wide and both sides become distant to each other - with shouting their only form of communication.

I despair that so many have left it so late to jump.
The war in the Far Left is between Orwell's "objectively pro-Fascists", and those who go back to the Fundamentals of anti-Fascism. A repeat of the same split that happened with the Ribbentrop-Molotov "non aggression pact" between Hitler and Stalin in 1940. You can see it happening, at Crooked Timber, at Normblog, at Harry's Place, and the Socialist Workers Party.

Lest those of us on the Right take some degree of pleasure, schadenfreude, over this, let's just remember what we're supposed to be For, not Against. The enemy is not the Far Left, it's the deeds that have been committed in their name. It wasn't all that long ago when some of those on the Right were saying "He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard.". We have far more in common with the Far Left anti-fascists, than the various Antisemitic Paleocons at the Westboro Baptist Church. Just as the Paleocons are indistinguishable from the likes of "Gorgeous George" Galloway, Fisk, Monbiot and their ilk.

We differ from the anti-fascist Far Left only in methodology, not basic respect for humanity. Some of those on the Far Left even realise it, and hope that we'll "see the light" one day, or at least, can work with us for worthwhile ends.

Friday 15 July 2005

Set Phasers To Stun

From Space Daily :
U.S scientists have unveiled details of a project that aims to develop Star Trek-style ray guns that could keep "security adversaries" out of DoE nuclear sites, the web-site in the Netherlands reported this week.

The DoE's Office of Security and Safety Performance Assurance together with the Department of Defense, is "exploring the potential" of directed-energy weapons based on millimeter-wave rays, said.

The report comes amid increasing fears that the 103 civilian nuclear power stations in the United States and the Department of Energy's other nuclear facilities are insufficiently guarded.

A recent in-depth investigation by Time magazine found that there are only 8,000 full-time guards employed to cover all the nuclear power plants in America, giving an average of only 80 per power plant, of whom not more than 60 and probably even less would be on duty on any given shift.

The magazine also reported that the guard towers around the plants are called "iron coffins" by the guards who man them and that they could not repel even a .50-caliber rifle bullet.

The appeal of the weapon is that it would permit security guards in nuclear power stations and other facilities to fire more freely against assailants who had penetrated into the plant without having to worry that stray bullets would smash crucial pieces of machinery.

Terrorists who had penetrated into such installations would not be worried about inflicting such damage and would therefore have the potential advantage in any shoot-out.

The proposed new weapons being developed have been designated Active Denial Technology (ADT). And they are an emerging class of non-lethal weaponry using 95GHz millimeter-wave directed energy, said.

According to the DoE, the technology is capable of rapidly heating human skin to a pain level that has been demonstrated as "very effective at repelling people" without apparently burning the skin or causing other secondary effects.

ADT emits a 95GHz non-ionizing electromagnetic beam of energy that penetrates approximately 1/64 of an inch into human skin tissue, where nerve receptors are concentrated.

Within seconds, the beam will heat the exposed skin tissue to a level where intolerable pain is experienced and natural defense mechanisms take over. This intense heating sensation stops only if the individual moves out of the beam's path or the beam is turned of, said.

The sensation caused by the system has been described by test subjects as feeling like touching a hot frying pan or the intense radiant heat from a fire. Burn injury is prevented by limiting the beam's intensity and duration, the web-site said.

Some Weird Conservation Law At Work?

One from the "Slow News Slush Pile". From IOL (South Africa) :
Hlaing Thar Yar, Myanmar - Chicken-seller Thin Sandarin had always dreamt of being a man.

When she inexplicably grew a penis last month, the 21-year-old treated it as an awe-inspiring omen - as have the thousands of stunned villagers who have travelled to a pagoda to see him.

"On the morning of the full moon day of June 21, I noticed my thing (sex organ) was not the same as before," Thin Sandar, who now goes by the male name Than Sein, said on Wednesday.

"And my breasts disappeared," Than Sein added. "So I called out and showed it all to my mom and dad. It was very strange."

Experts have examined him, and he awaits test results from a women's hospital. - Sapa-AFP.
Hat Tip to reader Mags.

Tuesday 12 July 2005

PC Insanity

From The Observer :
...staff at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in Belfast will use the term 'thought-showers' when they get together to think creatively. A spokeswoman said: 'The DETI does not use the term brainstorming on its training courses on the grounds that it may be deemed pejorative.'

Sources inside the department said there was concern that the term would cause offence to people with epilepsy as well those with brain tumours or brain injuries.
I venture to say that anyone offended by the word is not merely brain-injured, they're brain-dead. I speak as someone who's had encephalo-meningitis, and has suffered some permanent brain injury. I object to being categorised as hyper-sensitive to innoffensive terms as the result. Twits.
The move follows that of the Welsh Development Agency, set up to promote business in Wales, which ran a series of courses last year to teach staff to be more politically correct. 'Brainstorming' was on its list of banned words, as well as 'nit-picking' and 'manila', because of their origins in the slave trade.
They had their origins in the slave-trade? I had no idea. Oh well, learn something new every day. Like it's not just the Irish who are idiots, the Welsh can at least match them.

Oi Ve.

Guess they had their umbrellas up, when the Thought Showers came, as they appear to be entirely bereft of cogitation as we know it.

The London Ambulance Service

Regular readers will have noted that one of Blogs that has been on my blogroll for a while is Random Acts of Reality, the journal of a London Paramedic.

Here's an item from the LAS's unofficial notice board, the day after the Bombings.
Just got home. It was a bit of a bugger out there today.
Drink. Shower. Drink. Sleep.
Talk to you all later...

Well done folks - went as well as could be expected.
The Jihadis have no idea of the calibre if their opposition.

Good News

Just had a medical appointment with a Professor in Sydney, an expert endocrinologist.

There had been some worry that my weird hormonal levels might have been caused by a Neoplasm (that's tumour to you and me).

His words : "Don't worry about it". The signatures are all wrong, he's seen far more weird things in his career too.

The not-so-good news : more tests, yet more tests, more bleedin' tests, and blood tests using the thickest needle they had available. And I have to go back in two weeks for the first of many follow-ups.

The really not-so-good news : full treatment may cost well in excess of $50,000. And much of that won't be covered by insurance, nor Medicare.

Oh well, we shall see.

Saturday 9 July 2005

Many Were Cold

But Few were Frozen

From News Ltd :
US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.

Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.

Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre.
"Zombie Dogs"? Good Grief. But this does hold out great promise for keeping people in suspended animation until they can be repaired sufficiently to not kark it immediately.

It may also hold clues for longer term suspended animation, something we're going to need if we want to do crewed exploration of the outer system, let alone interstellar flight.

Early days yet, but a beginning.

They do not so much fly.... plummet.

London Calling

From The Clash , and Brain Terminal:

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared - and battle come down

Friday 8 July 2005

Giving Science the Finger

From :
An unusually long index finger is an indication of male superiority at rational scientific thought and reasoning, according to a team of British scientists, all of whose first digits presumably meet the qualifications.

Their findings showed that male scientists are good at research because they have higher than average levels of the female hormone oestrogen which aids analytical skills.

The survey, conducted at the University of Bath, found that male scientists tended to have longer index fingers than other men, showing high levels of oestrogen present in their bodies.

Men had levels of oestrogen as high as their testosterone levels, which caused the right side of their brains responsible for spatial and analytical skills, to develop more strongly.

Because of the high levels of oestrogen, male scientists were less likely to have children and were more likely to have relatives with dyslexia, which may be in part caused by hormonal levels.

Findings also revealed that female social scientists tended to have higher than average levels of testosterone, making their brains similar to those of males.

The study drew on past research, which has found that finger length is genetically linked with the sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone.

SimTerror 05

Recently, the blog Silent Running conducted a mini exercise on how to deal with Terrorism in a western society.

Some of the initial events:
Reports are starting to come in of two powerful explosions in central Sydney.

Fifty minutes ago, as the commuter rush hour was getting underway, a commuter train in the central city which had just commenced its run was derailed after one of its carriages exploded.

Emergency services were quickly at the scene, and an operation is now underway to rescue trapped survivors.

Sources have spoken about several bodies being taken away, but details are not being released until next of kin are located and informed.

Some of the bodies are said to be unrecogniseable.

Meanwhile, only twenty minutes ago, another explosion occured at the Macquarie Center, a popular shopping centre in the city's North Shore.

No details about that incident are available, but we will bring you the latest information as soon as it becomes available.
And soon thereafter
A third explosion has just occured in Sydney.

A school bus which just a few hours ago had been full of children on their way home from a a rural high school just outside the city was badly damaged in a blast.

It was parked at the bus company's premises in Sydney's far west.

There are no reports of anyone being hurt.
Attacks on transport infrastructure are particularly effective in causing maximum inconvenience and economic hardship, while being very difficult to defend against except by draconian measures.

Given recent events in London, the contingency plans seem to have worked even better in reality than they did in the simulation. It remains to be seen whether UK PM Blair's policies will match as closely those of the (simulation) Australian PM. But I think his speech on the subject may be close to this one:
The Terrorists who hide behind a Human Shield of devout and pious Muslims have already attacked us many times before.

They attacked us on the 11th of September, when innocent Australians died with the collapse of the World Trade Centre.

They attacked us again, this time in Bali, where hundreds of innocent Australians and Balinese died.

Both of these attacks occurred before the Liberation of Iraq.

There is no evidence to show that changing Australia's foreign policy by kowtowing to terrorists would prevent future attacks.

Should Australia convert to Islam overnight, it would just make us a bigger target: for Al Qaeda and its minions have killed far more Muslims than all other religions combined.

8 Million Iraqis have given us an example of courage under fire from these evil people. We can do no less than they did, when they voted in their hundreds, thousands, and millions despite threats of the most dire sort.

Our future actions will speak louder than words ever could, so our reply will be brief, cogent, and unchangeable.

The answer to Al Qaeda, a bi-partisan answer which echoes from the complete spectrum of Australian Politics is, quite simply, No.
In the meantime, to all those affected by the bombings, my condolences. I have relatives who may be amongst the casualties too.

Wednesday 6 July 2005

Keep Your Socks On

Yet another Brain/Sex post.

From LiveScience :
New research indicates that parts of the brain that govern fear and anxiety are switched off when a woman is having an orgasm.

In the first study to map brain function during orgasm, scientists from the Netherlands also found that as a woman climaxes, an area of the brain that governs emotional control is also heavily deactivated.
The volunteers laid on a scanning machine bed and were injected with a dye that shows changes in brain function on a scan. For the men, the brain scanner tracked activity during rest, during erection, during manual stimulation by their partner and then during ejaculation, brought on by the partner's hand.

For the women, the scanner measured brain activity during rest, while they faked an orgasm, during manual stimulation by their partner, and while they experienced genuine orgasm.

Holstege said he had trouble getting reliable results from the study on men because the scanning machine needs activities lasting at least two minutes to record an activity. But the men's climaxes didn't last anywhere near that long, meaning he could not reliably compare the scans before climax and during.

However, for women, the results were clear, he said.
Implying that theirs lasted at least 2 minutes.... a mind-boggling concept for a male to ponder upon.

From the Times Online article on the same subject :
Men and women experience sexual pleasure in strikingly different ways, the first brain scans taken during orgasm show.

While male brains focus heavily on the physical stimulation involved in sexual contact, this is just one part of a much more complex picture for women, scientists in the Netherlands have found. The key to female arousal seems rather to be deep relaxation and a lack of anxiety: direct sensory input from the genitals plays a less critical role.

The scans show that during sexual activity the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion start to relax and reduce in activity. This reaches a peak at orgasm, when the female brain’s emotion centres are effectively closed down to an almost trance-like state.
This suggests that for men the physical aspects of sex play a much more significant part in arousal than they do for women, for whom ambience, mood and relaxation are at least as important.
No surprise to any female readers, here. But here's one very useful snippet of information :
The experiments also revealed a surprising fact: both sexes found it easier to have an orgasm when they kept their socks on. Draughts in the scanning room left couples complaining of “literally cold feet”, and providing a pair of socks allowed 80 per cent, rather than 50 per cent, to reach a climax while being scanned.
So girls, the next time he wants you to wear high heels during certain healthy and relaxing activities, make sure they're warm ones.

From the Times Health Section :
The subjects’ heads were restrained in the PET scanner during the procedure, as it only works if the body area being scanned remains still. The dimensions of the scanner and the need for stillness also explain why the researchers were unable to study intercourse itself.

In both sexes, activity in the amygdala, which processes fear and anxiety, was reduced during stimulation. Women, but not men, showed lower activity in the hippocampus, important for memory, as well.

In men, greater activity was seen in the insula, which deals with emotion, and particularly in the secondary somatosensory cortex, which rates the significance of physical sensations. This suggests that the sensory input coming from the genitals is being judged highly important and pleasurable by the brain.

Women, however, show very little increased brain activity, and only in the primary somatosensory cortex - which registers purely that a sensation in the genitals is there."In women the primary feeling is there, but not the marker that this is seen as a big deal," Dr Holstege said."For males, touch itself is all-important. For females, it is not so important."

As orgasm lasts much longer in women than in men, it is easier to study using PET - male ejaculation is over so quickly it is hard to get a reliable reading. The scans showed that in the female orgasm, activity is reduced across all the brain regions - conscious and subconscious - that handle emotion, including the amygdale, medial prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex.

"What this means is that deactivation, letting go of all fear and anxiety, might be the most important thing, even necessary, to have an orgasm," Dr Holstege said.
In other words, when you're with someone you trust and love, just relax and let it happen....

Monday 4 July 2005

His and Hers

From Slashdot via TexasBestGrok :

Saturday, May 21st 2005

Saw him in the evening and he was acting really strangely. I went shopping in the afternoon with the girls and I did turn up a bit late so thought it might be that. The bar was really crowded and loud so I suggested we go somewhere quieter to talk. He was still very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat. All through dinner he just didn't seem himself; he hardly laughed and didn't seem to be paying any attention to me or to what I was saying. I just knew that something was wrong. He dropped me back home and I wondered if he was going to come in; he hesitated but followed. I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on. After about 10 minutes of Silence, I said I was going upstairs to bed. I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh and a sad sort of smile. He didn't follow me up but later he did, and I was surprised when we made love. He still seemed distant and a bit cold, and I started to think that he was going to leave me and that he had found someone else. I cried myself to sleep.


Saturday, May 21st 2005

Apple switched to Intel.

Absolutely gutted.

Got a shag though.

Saturday 2 July 2005

The 5 Minute Battlestar Galactica Miniseries

Is here.

Kellan Brody: Today we have with us Dr. Gaius Baltar to share his views on modern technology. Doctor?

Baltar: Thank you. I believe our paranoia regarding artificial intelligence and advancing computer technologies is antiquated and unfounded. It's been decades since we've encountered the Cylons, and it's not like they're walking among us, disguised as humans, just waiting for the perfect time to strike.

CAG: Two Cylon raiders incoming.

Pilot 1: (over the comm) Oh frack! My onboard computer just froze up! I've got nothing but a blue screen!

Pilot 2: (over the comm) Hey, me too!

CAG: Everybody, just stay calm and press Ctrl-Alt-Del!

Pilot 1: I'm trying, I'm trying!

Bad Move. As I told the Melbourne Age in 2002, In space no one can press Control/Alt/Delete.

Robot Runs Amok!

Refuses to leave room when asked! Oh well, it was designed to fail-safe. If this is the worst a medical therapy robot can do when it goes completely haywire, someone has done some good design work.

From the San Francisco Examiner :
Waldo the pill-dispensing robot apparently went berserk this past week at UCSF Medical Center, sending a doctor and patient running for cover.

Whacked-out Waldo is one of three battery-operated, rolling robots that dispense pills at the hospital. The other two are named Elvis and Lisa Marie.

All three are about the size of a large TV and are programmed to roam from floor to floor, distributing medications to nursing stations.

At the end of their rounds, the robots are supposed to roll into the basement pharmacy for refills.

But Tuesday, Waldo shot past the pharmacy and barged uninvited into the examination room in the radiation oncology department, where -- according to an anonymous caller -- a doctor was examining a cancer patient.

According to the caller, Waldo wouldn't leave, and the startled doctor and patient felt obliged to flee the room.

UCSF spokeswoman Carol Hyman said she didn't know anything about any doctor and patient having to beat feet -- but confirmed that the wandering Waldo did wind up in an examination room.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened," Hyman said. "Our technology folks are going to have to take a look."
Anyone can make a system that, when things are going as expected, will work and work well. But it takes art as well as science to make something that fails gracefully.