The Idiom

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Requiem for a Catwoman

Holy crap! Eartha Kitt is DEAD.


We're Living in the Future!

More good news on Resveratrol! via technut news

"After six months, resveratrol essentially prevented most of the negative effects of the high calorie diet in mice," said Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., the study's other co-senior investigator from the National Institute on Aging's Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology, Aging, Metabolism, and Nutrition Unit. "There is a lot of work ahead that will help us better understand resveratrol's roles and the best applications for it."

Important because it gives greater evidence to the fact that there may be a single gene expression (using SIRT1) that greatly affects the aging process. Kid Various plans on remaining forever young! FASTER PLEASE!

Life Imitates Futurama


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Love Newt

He's a true idea guy:

Famous during his speakership for the bionic speed with which he devised policy proposals, Gingrich is even more prolific these days with a BlackBerry in tow. He constantly thumbs out messages to a list of congressional Republicans, linking to an article recently read or a thought that just came to him.

“He has 10 ideas an hour, and six of them may be brilliant, two may be decent, and two you don’t agree with,” says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Looking ahead to the new Democratic-dominated Congress, Ryan sees Gingrich's role in the party only expanding.

“We need to go to leaders who have demonstrated ability to put together big movements for our party,” he says.

But, despite the fact that he can play a big role in shaping the intellectual direction of the party (and lord knows we need big ideas now more than ever) please Mr. Speaker, don;t run for anything!

I, For One, Will Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

If science fiction has taught Kid Various anything, it's taught him that no matter how remarkably convenient it is to have a robot servant, this can only end badly:

A methodology known as genetic programming (GP) is “the trick” that makes it all possible. GP is an automated programming methodology inspired by natural evolution that is used to evolve computer programs. Evolving computer programs means the logic developed by the system can be anything that can be expressed by a computer program. That basically means anything. Robots need descriptions of things they are supposed to do and they figure out how to do them. GP itself is not an approach exclusive to robotic behavior. It has been applied to a variety of problems, some already yielding commercial successes. An example well-known to scientists in the field was the development of invention machines that had created two new patentable inventions by 2002. The potential for “thinking robots” goes well beyond developing their own actions.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

"As I rained blows down upon him, I realized, there must be a better way..."

- Frank Costanza

I gotta lotta problems with you people...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh That's Just Joe!

[MAINSTREAM MEDIA] Move along! Move along! Nothing to see here...

Joe Biden’s response on the constitutional role of the Vice Presidency is so riddled with error that it is difficult to know where to start. He said, “The idea, he [Vice President Cheney] doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the Vice President. That’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch.” Biden, who has been a member of the Senate for decades, doesn’t know that Article I of the Constitution defines the legislative powers of the federal government. It delineates and limits Congressional authority, and does not speak to Executive functions.

Article II of the Constitution sets out the President’s executive authority. Guess what, Joe? The Vice President is mentioned in both Articles. Article II provides that the Vice President shall serve “together with” the President and thus establishes the Office of the Vice President. But Article I names the Vice President as President of the Senate, which makes him both the Presiding Officer and the tie breaking vote in the Senate. He is not a Senator (thus, for instance, not entitled to constitutional speech or debate immunity), but he is an Officer of the Senate.

Of course, if Sarah Palin had said it...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cyber Pearl Harbor!

And how to avoid it.

Frankly, what Kid Various suggests is that Congress grant him (really more his tech savvy friends) letters of marque and reprisal.

That way if the Russians try to bring our systems down we can be on the offensive in no time and lay a cyber-broadside into their lines. And the government has deniability.

This is essentially what the Chinese and Russians are doing already.

NYT Comes Through With the Pithy Say It All Graphic

Pretty good visual summary of what the government has spent/committed since September, actually.

Just to give this perspective...

The entire cost of operation in the Iraq Theater; $576bn over five years.

Why Don't We Just Kill Ourselves Now?

Super cheerful roundup of post from Fabius Maximus on the origins and likely endings of the present financial crisis.

Be warned, its deep and informative. But it ain't pretty.

We're Living in the Future!

More great brain computer interface stuff.

An electrode implanted into the brain of a man who is unable to move or communicate has enabled him to use a speech synthesizer to produce vowel sounds as he thinks them.

The work could one day help similar patients to produce whole sentences using signals from their brains, say the researchers.

Locked-in syndrome scares the piss out of Kid Various. Luckily, in the future he may be able to sound out on a synthesizer: K-I-L-L-M-E

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Worst Society EVER (Except For All The Others)

Well what were you expecting in George W. Bush's AmeriKKKa?

The horrific story of the latest adventure conducted by the religion of peace in Bombay riveted the public’s attention to such an extent that one of the most egregious violations of political freedom in a Western democracy has, at least on this side of the Atlantic, gone almost without comment. I mean the sudden arrest in London last week of of Damian Green, a conservative MP and Shadow Minister for Immigration, who was seized by anti-terrorist personnel from the Metropolitan police, held for questioning for 9 hours, and whose private papers and computer files in his home and office in the House of Commons were confiscated. The Honorable Member’s offense? Embarrassing Gordon Brown’s government. How did he do this? By revealing in debate on the floor of the House of Commons and in various lapses, failures, and dirty-little-secrets about the government’s immigration policy, e.g.,

Oh wait - this was in the U.K.! Where they have anti-terror laws that, like the rest of Europe, make the Patriot Act look like kindergarten rules.

Kid Various has been lectured by Euros on the emerging fascist national security state in the USA and finds it ironic, as the Europeans are, by any tangible measure, demonstrably less free than any American.

You Heard It Here First

A few weeks ago we noted that under an Obama Administration you would soon be seeing headlines like "E.U. Says Some Torture "OK""

And so it begins...

Rollback on Torture? Not So Easy for Obama

Barack Obama won the White House with a firm promise to put an end to what critics called the Bush Administration's use of torture on terror suspects. But as the President-elect prepares to take office, his team is quickly learning that even on such a seemingly black-and-white issue, effecting change in Washington is never as simple as it sounds on the campaign trail.

We eagerly await the "Homeless Enjoy Outdoor Lifestyle, Study Says" headline...