Sardonic nit witticism

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Location: Fort Myers, Florida, United States

People tell me that my sarcasm and cynicism will get me into trouble some day. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You can't see me

Cloaking devices render objects invisible using metamaterials:

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations 11 August 2008

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have for the first time engineered 3-D materials that can reverse the natural direction of visible and near-infrared light, a development that could help form the basis for higher resolution optical imaging, nanocircuits for high-powered computers, and, to the delight of science-fiction and fantasy buffs, cloaking devices that could render objects invisible to the human eye.

Now if they could only cloak my "love handles."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eternal Darnednation

I read in our paper this week that a woman asked a religious advice columnist who her husband would spend eternity in Heaven with: her, or her husband's first wife, from whom he'd divorced.

It seems the husband was making waves that, since he was Catholic and Catholics aren't big promoters of divorce, he'd probably be paired with Wife #1 beyond the Pearly Gates.

The columnist responded that this was a matter of the heart, not one of religious beliefs. This hubby needed to reflect on his own feelings for his first and second wives and to not use Catholic teachings to justify putting one over the other.

He went on further to suggest that God himself will make the determination as to which person or persons the man would find eternally linked to in the Great Beyond.

I don't know. For some reason I cannot bring myself to imagine that God would set up a 'threesome' with divorced, then remarried Catholics, or for anyone else for that matter, in Heaven.

Can you?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Is this image offensive?

A shopping mall in Raleigh NC was
"the site of a protest by a group requesting that a 'sexually explicit' picture in front of Abercrombie & Fitch be put inside the store.

"The group calling themselves 'Move The Picture' (hosted a quiet protest) outside the mall (this week.)

"The group is protesting a large 10 foot by 10 foot photo that has been put in front of the Abercrombie and Fitch store at the mall. The photo is of a young man's body with his pants pulled down below his waist with a shadow strategically placed in his groin area."

From the group's website:

I am writing to you with great concern and a heavy heart for my children and for other children in my community. This past Sunday, I was in Triangle Town Center with my wife and my four children, ages 11 months to 7 years of age. ... On the way to the play area in the mall, we were accosted by a huge sexually explicit picture in the entrance of Abercrombie and Fitch. With the blinds drawn in the other windows of the store, the only thing you could see was a 10 foot by 10 foot picture of a man pulling down his pants. In fact, the man's pubic hair must have been shaved or airbrushed out to get the pants this low. It is clear that Abercrombie wants your eye to be drawn to this picture. It is also clear from the picture that they would have a tough time making the case that it was clothes they were selling with this picture. ... I couldn't believe that as an unsuspecting patron of the mall, my kids had a picture pushed on them that I would never let them look at through any other form of media. I cannot begin to tell you all the emotions that I was feeling - utter shock, disgust, and anger to name a few.

Here is the image as seen from the outside of the store.

On the surface, I can sympathize with the group in that they don't want to ban the image outright, but rather to move the image inside the store so as to limit the exposure to those actually entering the store.

But I ask you, is the image they challenge any more offensive than the Victoria's Secret storefront display below? And if so, how so?

Friday, August 01, 2008

No Petting Allowed

There's a new ban by the Saudi religious police: using dog walking to attract females.

Every single man knows: Walking a dog in the park is a sure babe magnet. Saudi Arabia's Islamic religious police, in their zeal to keep the sexes apart, want to make sure the technique doesn't catch on in the kingdom.

The solution: Ban selling dogs and cats as pets, as well as walking them in public.

. . .

Violators found outside with their pets will have their beloved poodles and other furry companions confiscated by agents of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the official name of the religious police.

Those darned virtue-promoting, vice-preventing Saudis are a holy terror, aren't they?

What About Me?

New studies in stem cell research can turn skin cells into nerve cells.

Yeah, that's what I need. My skin thinking for itself.

My concern is the costs of such research versus the number of patients affected. From the text of one article:

Around the world, one or two people per 100,000 develop ALS each year, which is marked by a wasting away of certain spinal cord nerve cells called motor neurons. The single-gene form of ALS studied by (the researcher's) team affects only about 2% of ALS sufferers, while the vast majority of ALS cases are sporadic.

There are about 300 million people in the US. That means about 300-600 Americans are afflicted with ALS each year. If the form of ALS the team studied affects only two percent of those people, that's 6-12 people a year. Six to twelve people. Out of three hundred million.

And people wonder why health care is so expensive for the rest of us. Who do you think pays for all this research? You and I, as patients, that's who. My question then for all these researchers is, Why don't you invest in studies to help a greater majority of people affected with my condition: Lack of motivation to channel the effort I expend in blogging towards more productive endeavors like exercise.

Oh, and if the statistics in the above study were not enough, here's more:

But the current technique of inserting genes with viruses has potential cancerous side effects, making transplanting these cells into humans too risky.

Maybe after the hundred million dollars on helping those six people are spent, they can spend a few more million to take care of the side effects.