I have heard rumblings about the new background.

Which I like, even if it is designed to be a wallpaper and not a blog background.  I mean, I liked the old one, too; but I found out that it wasn’t actually public domain after all and the artist never got back to me.

Still, if somebody has a good one that is public domain – or that the artist doesn’t mind me using – by all means, feel free to present it.

Get the facts on Dihydrogen Monoxide.

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with DHMO.org yet, please do: it’s a invaluable website that gives you the facts about a silent threat.  From the FAQ:

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.

To give you an idea of just how widespread this problem is, consider this: when Charles Sullenberger landed his plane safely, his primary concern afterwards was making sure that all of the people in his charge had as little exposure to DHMO as possible – and that plane was positively dripping with the stuff, thanks to the crash knocking things around.

Yes.  It’s that much of a threat to us all.

Flight 1549 passengers testing lawsuit waters. (pause) No, really.

(Via Rachel Lucas, via AoSHQ) Because apparently resetting to zero their karma counter wasn’t exciting enough:

US Airways passengers get $5,000 each; is it enough?

Many US Airways (LCC) passengers who endured a crash landing in the Hudson River 12 days ago say they appreciate the $5,000 that the airline has offered — but some say it’s not enough.

Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he “would like to be made whole for the incident.”

It’s too soon after the accident to determine what emotional distress he has suffered, he says.

…time to generate some negative karmic juice by going after the company who pretty much saved their lives. Smooth move, that.

Continue reading Flight 1549 passengers testing lawsuit waters. (pause) No, really.

Snarky (Ethereal for In Nomine)

Happy birthday, Eric Burns-White. Next time, remind us ahead of time, huh? I only really noticed an hour or so ago. Snarky Corporeal Forces: 2 Strength: 4 Agility: 4 Ethereal Forces: 3 Intelligence: 8 Precision: 4 Celestial Forces: 4 Will:...

Snarky (Ethereal for In Nomine)

Happy birthday, Eric Burns-White. Next time, remind us ahead of time, huh? I only really noticed an hour or so ago. Snarky Corporeal Forces: 2 Strength: 4 Agility: 4 Ethereal Forces: 3 Intelligence: 8 Precision: 4 Celestial Forces: 4 Will:...

Snarky (Ethereal for In Nomine)

Happy birthday, Eric Burns-White. Next time, remind us ahead of time, huh? I only really noticed an hour or so ago. Snarky Corporeal Forces: 2 Strength: 4 Agility: 4 Ethereal Forces: 3 Intelligence: 8 Precision: 4 Celestial Forces: 4 Will:...

These are good sports rules.

Twenty sports fans rules. Especially #20:

20. If you hail from New York, you can’t root for the Yankees and the Mets. You have to choose between them. Repeat: You have to choose between them. Don’t give me this “As long as one of them is doing well, at least New York is winning” spiels. What is this, the sports fan’s version of bisexuality? How about making a choice? Any New Yorker who said the words “It’s the Yankees versus the Mets … I can’t lose!” during the 2000 World Series deserves to be tortured with a cattle prod.

For the record?  Mets.  That was my father’s team… and that’s pretty much that, damn your eyes.

Our Neural Chernobyl, Revisited.

I was reminded of this story (found in Bruce Sterling’s short story collection Globalhead) while reading this article (via Glenn Reynolds) on DIY genengineering.  The author assumes increased ease of home genetics lab work, considers malicious intent, and concludes:

Big species are not the problem. Sure, in popular science fiction movies T.Rex or a Raptor rips apart a bunch of people. But big species make big targets for rifles and fishing harpoons. Plus, lots of guys would love to hunt down the genetically engineered dino that is terrorizing suburbs. It is the littler ones that are too numerous to easily control that pose the bigger threat. Genetically engineered species could really upend whole ecosystems by being very effective at outcompeting other species.

Scientists have discovered some of the genetic variations that make influenza strains more lethal and will in time identify genetic variations that make other pathogens more or less dangerous. Therefore another future threat comes in the form of a genetically engineered massive killer pandemic for humans. The same sort of threat exists for other species. Imagine a flu that would kill most sheep or cows or pigs. Or imagine some genetically engineered pathogen that would wipe out assorted wild species. This will probably become technically doable.

Probably, but it’s not what I worry about. Continue reading Our Neural Chernobyl, Revisited.