Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ski Jumping

I don't understand why ski jumping has judges. Who cares how pretty they look when they land? Isn't it enough that one dude goes farther than another dude? What the heck? The idea that the guy with the "perfect telemark landing" wins, while the other guy, who goes balls to the wall and ekes out a few more feet while swinging his arms or whatever, has to settle for silver, is beyond the paltry scope of my comprehension.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Woulda Shoulda

See, when a country blatantly does have/will have nukes, e.g. Iran, France is not afraid to say so. Contrast that with what they said about a country, say, Iraq, that inspectors were more or less on their way to declaring completely free of nukes, or the capability to create them, when we hurriedly invaded the place. Why are we supposed to hate France again?

I, for one, would have liked our armed forces to be free to muster all the strength they had these last four years to present a viable threat to a international pariah like Iran. Instead, we've pissed ourselves dry in Iraq. Seems that the net result of our actions in Iraq have simply been to embolden Iran. Seems to me we should have been spending this time doing exactly the opposite. Pity.

Monday, February 13, 2006


A bunch of churches in Alabama have been burned in apparent arson recently. When I read the headline, I immediately thought that it was racially motivated violence, but seems that mostly White churches have been burned right along with mostly Black churches. Being that these churches were the homes of Baptist congregations in rural Alabama, let's go out on a limb here and assume these parishioners take the Bible pretty literally. Perhaps what was under attack here wasn't a particular ethnic community, but the ideology itself. Could these burnings be the work of anti-fundamentalist extremists?

"Defeat fundamentalism at all costs! We believe nothing we read!"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cockroach Zombies

Here is a must read post about a wasp called Ampulex compressa. It could be the coolest insect of all time. It has evoled a mechanism by which it controls the mind of a cockroach to such a degree that it does not bother the cockroach in the slightest bit to be slowly devoured from the inside by the wasp larvae. Hell yeah!!!

And then there's the sting. Ampulex does not want to kill cockroaches. It doesn't even want to paralyze them the way spiders and snakes do, since it is too small to drag a big paralyzed roach into its burrow. So instead it just delicately retools the roach's neural network to take away its motivation. Its venom does more than make roaches zombies. It also alters their metabolism, so that their intake of oxygen drops by a third. The Israeli researchers found that they could also drop oxygen consumption in cockroaches by injecting paralyzing drugs or by removing the neurons that the wasps disable with their sting. But they can manage only a crude imitation; the manipulated cockroaches quickly dehydrated and were dead within six days. The wasp venom somehow puts the roaches into suspended animation while keeping them in good health, even as a wasp larva is devouring it from the inside.
The only other organism that could hope to achieve this level of mind control is Chuck Norris.

12 sided salute to Hedonistica for the fantastic link.

This blog is based on a true story.