From the Mouth of the Rat

Some posts from 2007 on my Wordpress blog
For more recent posts see: From the Mouth of the Rat

August 30, 2007
Craig's Lust

Senator Craig of Idaho is getting no sympathy, nor does he deserve any.

Usually when someone gets caught with their pants down, it should be forgiven and forgotten. Whether straight, gay, or bi, we all have a sex drive and sometimes make mistakes.

Senator Craig, however, has a record of promoting hateful and discriminatory laws against homosexuality. It is bad enough to persecute those who are different, but especially unforgivable to condemn behavior that one is secretly doing oneself.

When someone claims innocence, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. But, although Craig denies being gay, he has said nothing about being bisexual, and so far he has not offered a credible alternative explanation for his 'signals' to the man in the next stall.

As a heterosexual man, I do not understand prejudice against gays. There is no logical reason to resent them, deprive them of equal rights, nor to feel angry or violent toward them. Perhaps those who have homosexual desires that they do not want to admit, sometimes even to themselves, may try to overcompensate, developing an obsessive fear and hatred toward those who share the desires that they themselves resent having. Such people need psychological help, and, in a more accepting society it would be much easier to treat problems like that. Personal problems, however, are never an excuse to persecute others. Senator Craig needs to be removed from his position so that he can do no further harm to equal rights in America.

6:39 PM

August 14, 2007
The Pirate Party

For the most part, we, the people, agree that we should be able to share information and entertainment freely among ourselves.

They, the greedy corporations, and those they have brainwashed to be like them, are opposed to that natural human freedom. Though they are a numerical minority, they have the money to buy the lawyers and the politicians to make the rules. Those of us who reject their rules are given the label 'pirates'

Rickard Falkvinge of Sweden has taken that label and formed the Pirate Party, which has become one of the top 10 out of 40 political parties in Sweden. Though it deals with only one issue, it is important to people everywhere; the movement is destined to spread throughout the world.

To many people in other nations, restrictive copyright and patent laws are yet another facet of US economic imperialism. To the American people, such laws go against the grain of freedom.

The concept of sharing between friends, neighbors, and even strangers is a universal virtue. We lend books to friends. Libraries are organized book-sharing. For years we've made tapes of our favorite music for one another. Before writing was invented, we memorized stories, poems, and songs to share them with others.

Sharing information and media is not much different than sharing tools or helping one another build houses or barns. It is all part of human cooperation, one of the finest traits of our species.

So if big business wants to call normal freedom-loving people pirates, let them. But it seems to me that those who think they can own and control ideas, information, and entertainment, and demand tribute every time sharing occurs-- those are more like extortionists and highway robbers.

11:04 AM

August 03, 2007
Architectural Offense
The naval response.
It seems that a site called The Power Hour actually wrote the Navy about their swastika-shaped building, and received an answer which is linked to above. An oversight? Interesting choice of words.

It is hardly reassuring that a branch of the US military is so unconcerned about presenting to the world a symbol of extreme totalitarianism and intolerance, nor that those in charge, if they are to be believed, were so careless and stupid as to not notice the design until after it was built.

2:47 AM

August 01 2007
government architecture
What were they thinking?
This building is a US Navy Seal base in Coronado, California, near San Diego. Is the design an accident, or is it intentional? You decide, and let me know what you think.

--captain rat
2:48 AM

July 14 2007
Yahoo is watching

Normally, as intended, this blog appears as a feed on my Yahoo 360 page. It is generally less political than my Yahoo blog, and more concerned with personal or social commentary. Yet my July 2 entry never appeared as a feed on 360. The previous one remained as if it were the most recent. The unfed blog was not really risque' in nature, though it did refer to a law in Texas that bans the use of certain devices in the pursuit of pleasure.
My satirical entry was not meant to titillate, but to point out the absurdity and injustice of a law seeking to prevent people privately seeking gratification with appliances designed for that purpose, or selling such toys unless one pretends they are 'educational models'.
Texas law is, in other words, sticking its proverbial nose where it doesn't belong. This came to my attention when I heard that a store clerk in Lubbock was arrested under this law. That she could be convicted as a criminal for doing her job, selling devices which are not only harmless but beneficial, devices which are no doubt legal in the other 49 states and most of the world, and which have been used ever since their invention in ancient Greece on the island of Lesbos, is unjust in the extreme.
Though I don't currently live in Texas, I have in the past. I found the people, especially the women, to be friendly, intelligent, open minded, and not at all repressed. Why they would allow their legislators to make a law that belongs to the Dark Ages I do not understand.
Texans, write your state congress. And Yahoo, your filter is too sensitive. This is still America, you know.

July 02 2007
Texas Army Dildo Probe?

The rumor that Texas police are seeking to investigate the suspected possession of illegal sexual devices on US Army bases throughout the state is still unsubstantiated. The existence of an undercover section of the Texas Rangers known as the Phallus Squad could not be confirmed, and no official comment could be obtained on the question of whether Texas state law, which bans the use of artificial devices for sexual gratification, extends to Federal military property.
The Army is known for its practical approaches, and it may silently condone the use of dildos and vibrators by female soldiers so as to reduce the number of entangling relationships with the men. No evidence of an Army-issued olive green dildo has come to light, but it would probably be preferred over brightly-colored or chrome-plated models.
A massive raid on women's army barracks would probably yield thousands of such devices. Lab tests would be needed to confirm actual use in order to prove they were not merely educational models.
While rumors of the planned crack-down cannot be discounted, it is possible that they stem from a mis-heard radio report about armadillos, rather than army dildos.
Thought for the day:
If God didn't mean for us to juggle, tennis balls wouldn't come three to a can.

June 22, 2007
Beware of Geeks bearing Grifts

Just in case anyone believes that WinAntivirus Pro is a real antivirus program, know that it is NOT. It is spyware, and a scam that attempts to scare Windows users into download and probably pay for its fake utilities. I use Linux, but its pop-up webpage ( attempted to tell me:
'Your system is currently sending private information and documents to a remote computer. One of these processes (Win32res.exe) has just sent us the following information: - \Windows\System32 - \Program Files\Internet Explorer - \My Documents - Drive C:\ files Your Operation System: unknown'
I have none of that, of course, Note that it was unable to tell me what my 'operation system' is, despite the fact that my browser makes that info freely available, as it's supposed to, so that legitimate websites can adjust their presentations.
If you use Windows, there is an excellent free antivirus program called AVG at There are several free anti-spyware programs too.

June 16 2007

Have you ever bought a container of yogurt, ice cream, or soup at a convenience store, only to find that the only available utensil is a spork? Then you understand the frustration of trying to eat the last half-ounce at the bottom with this hybrid invention. For those who have never seen one, a spork, or foon, is a plastic spoon tipped with pseudo-tines so it can also fork.
I have discovered a solution. I found, through experimentation, that one can cleanly remove the pseudo-tines with a pair of scissors. The material is soft enough to be cut without cracking. If you encounter a more brittle variety, a brief application of heat from a flame should soften it enough. Be careful not to ignite or melt the spork. If you have no scissors (perhaps you're a runner), a pocketknife or even a pair of fingernail clippers should do it.
You may have observed that I am offering a tip that entails removing a tip. You may call that irony. Actually, it's plasticy.

June 12 2007
I see the light in my folder

One of the most annoying computerisms, probably because Microsoft started it, is adding "my" to everything. My Documents, My Pictures, My Settings, My Music...and MySpace. Why add 'My'? If it's your computer, OF COURSE the files are yours. If they were somebody ele's you could put them in a SomeOneElses folder.
With MySpace it gets really confusing. Do you have My Space? No, I don't have your space, I have my own space. If I have a space, it's my space, but it's not MySpace. My, my.
Another annoying windowsism is FOLDERS. We had a perfectly good word in the beginning: DIRECTORIES. But Bill Gates decided we couldn't understand that unless we imagined that they were physical pieces of cardboard enveloping sheets of paper. Condescending.
I found a great new flashlight at the 99 cent store. It has a bright 2-LED beam, and never needs batteries. It has a rechargeable battery and a hand-powered generator to recharge it or light it directly. You just squeeze it repeatedly. It's called the Trulight. That's an unimaginative name. It would have sold much better as the Mastur-Light.
-- Thought for the day:
We're all in this alone.
-- Lily Tomlin

June 09 2007
Wireless Power
Tesla was right
Over 100 years ago he said there was a way to transmit power at a distance without wires, and he built devices that did it. But the "power structure" at the time feared that, without wires, they would lose the ability to make money from it, so he was discredited, and he withheld his secret.
It is only now that scientists have finally combined willingness and ability to demonstrate wireless power transmission by lighting a 60-watt bulb over 2 meters away from the power source. The secret, it seems, is to tune both source and receptor to the same frequency. That way the power goes only to its destination, and untuned items are unaffected.
Obviously, this will be useful for laptop computers and other portable devices, but on a larger scale it will enable tapping multiple energy sources in many diverse locations, making solar and wind generation more practical.,2933,279153,00.html#
So, perhaps we will finally get to use technology we should have had for 100 years. The delay shows once again it is our economic system, enabling greed and wealth to control too much, that stifles genius and creativity and robs society of its benefits.

June 02 2007
Natural Mood Enhancer

The results are in. According to Psychology Today, women who have sex regularly without a condom are less likely to be depressed and less prone to suicide than those who don't have sex, or who use condoms. The no-condom part is because there are natural substances in semen that improve brain chemistry.
Obviously, this path to better mental health requires a careful choice of partners and an effective method of birth control, but this is clearly a major scientific breakthrough.
The article did not mention whether there was any reason the benefits could not be obtained orally. Perhaps further studies will be needed to probe that aspect.
Thought for the day:
At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

May 29 2007
Texas Dildos Remain Nameless

There are 16-inch mosquitoes in Indiana, 1000-pound hogs in the South, and you still can't call a dildo a dildo in Texas. Amazing. As far as I know, however, there's no law against calling a Texas legislator a dildo. Besides expressing their fears that, if legal, their wives would prefer mechanical devices to their husbands, the Lone Star lawmakers have proclaimed that the new vaccine against a virus that causes cervical cancer should NOT be required. They believe it is more important to prevent girls from thinking about sex than to protect them from cancer.
On the positive side, there's a new car called the Phoenix (though it's not made in Phoenix) that's all-electric, and, though it's not as fast as a Tesla, it's only $45,000, performs like a normal economy car, and has a battery that should last for 27 years of daily recharging. They'll be using them for taxicabs in San Jose. The price is a little high, but that should come down before long. Cars like these are going to make life easier for all of us, and eventually cheaper as well.

May 26 2007
Good vibrations? Not in Lubbock!

Lubbock, Texas would like to be known as a real western town, or the home of Buddy Holly. But now, it's destined for infamy as The Town That Banned Dildos.
In one of strangest stretches of logic since Bush invaded Iraq, Lubbock Texas police raided a lingerie shop and seized a stash of sex toys.
Texas Authorities: Using Vibrators Causes Women to Engage in Money Laundering
Infoshop News - May 23, 2007
LUBBOCK, TX -- An obscure law sends one local lingerie store clerk to jail. And now she may forever have to register as a sex offender. ...
Naturally, the authorities cited the Texas Penal Code. If you plan to visit Texas, remember that the magic number is 6. If you carry 5 or fewer sex toys, you can't be charged with intent to promote devices that may lead to gratification. Still, you can't be too careful. If you gratify yourself, don't buy yourself anything expensive, lest you be accused of doing it for money. And of course, don't leave any dollar bills in your pocket when you wash your pants. That's money laundering.
In an unrelated story, a Texas woman charged with bank fraud was described as a 'Former Stripper'.

May 18 2007
gods and things

We invent the gods we think we need to justify the behavior we think we want.
Regardless of the teachings of the current religion,its god will be redefined, not by theologians but by secular leaders and their followers. Religious leaders go along. The few who don't are ignored. Some people worry about handguns; others worry about nuclear bombs. But the most dangerous of all are those who manipulate the gods.

'How should I know? I'm a paleontologist, not a foreign secretary!'
--from Lost Horizon, 1937

Some people criticize those who save things. They call us pack rats. I am proud to accept that title. It is those who compulsively discard useful things only to buy new ones that have the problem. They are the product of our economic system, with its drive to make and sell things whether they are needed or not.

Of course I give a shit. Did you ever try to SELL one?

May 14 2007
Just in case anyone had the impression that Microsoft is a friendly company that just wants to make the world better, remember that it is a company that will be satisfied with nothing less than total monopoly. It does not want to compete with other software companies-- it wants to destroy them.

Its latest ploy is to claim "patents" on various aspects of an operating system and then state that anyone producing an operating system that does things in a similar way is "violating" its patents.

The entire idea of patents on software is absurd to begin with, but MS would like to own and control every icon, mouse cursor, and program with the word "office" in it. The competition it is trying to obliterate is not another greedy company-- it is the concept of Open Source, and free software, embodied in Linux and BSD Unix, among other operating systems.

Microsoft has tried every dirty trick it can think of. Its monopolistic tactics have been exposed both in the US and Europe. Absolute greed is absolutely evil, and all the philanthrophy that Bill Gates' foundations may demonstrate does not excuse its business tactics.

May 08 2007
Sometimes I like to browse blogs in other languages, and, if they look interesting, let Firefox's translator add-on reveal their meaning.

As you might guess, computerized translation comes out a little awkward sometimes, so the human mind, mine in particular, must rephrase the result. Every language "sees" things a little differently. For example, a phrase in Chinese that means "to masturbate" also means "to console oneself". That implies a refreshingly healthy attitude.

I happened upon a blog in French, and when I translated it, found that it expressed some relevant thoughts better than I had conceived them in English:

It is necessary to pay great attention to the words which we employ and which we listen to. Because there are words which prevent us from thinking; words which, as soon as they are held up, have the curious effect to consume the intelligence, prevent us from looking at something inside us and the complexity of what surrounds us - because we live, in the middle of often indecipherable things, of a chaos of incommensurable shades…

However, these words, instead of helping us to put a little clearness in what we are, our personal existences, our families, our companies, close our eyes.

One hears the words without realizing it. They fill our minds with a pretty brilliance of explanation: “national pride”, “right of the people”, “freedom”, “equality”, “cultural exception”, “terrorism”, etc… They are so beautiful, though they plug our thinking. They are believed salutary, but they are terrible. They are believed the best ways to express ourselves, but they are the worst. Even the word “love” is a standard under which one makes atrocities.

In fact the words HANDLE and do not explain anything. Words, to take up the idea of Rosa Montero, do nothing but sharpen the axe of the torturer and pile up the wood of the bûchers. Words transform the reason into straw and throw fire there. Vis-a-vis the sparks flamers, it is necessary to think, think, continue to think and never not to cease thinking.
--Myriam Chirousse

. I tried to edit the English translation to clarify, and I apologize to the author if I didn't get it quite right. She was not, of course, saying that words are bad, but that, too often we use words as labels for complex thoughts and feelings and ideas, and once we apply the labels we stop thinking.

When we use words in speech and thought that are merely shortcuts for real thought, we end up with shortcut emotional reactions. We open ourselves to manipulation by those who are willing to twist those words to twist our reactions and behavior.

Time and again throughout history, people, though meaning to do good, have allowed themselves to be used for the selfish ends of a few and as a result created major death and destruction.

As Myriam Chirousse said, we need to think.

I would like to add that it is not just the educated, the intellectual who can and must think. Every human being has a brain and can learn to think. It is not an idle endeavor-- it is an inoculation against manipulation.

--cosmic rat

“It is necessary to be wandering, to cross the ideas as one crosses the cities and the streets.” (F. Picabia)

May 03 2007
Science ambles on
Sometimes science makes amazing new breakthroughs. Other times, after years of research, it discovers we were doing something right all along. Sometimes it's a combination of both.

Studies of medical marijuana have found that the best, most accurate way to administer it is by inhaling, which of course is traditionally done by smoking it. Some opponents have objected that 'smoking isn't good for you' (which is entirely irrelevant for terminal patients), so a device has been invented that vaporizes the ingredients in marijuana without actually burning it. You get the benefits without actual smoke.

So the last conceivable medical objection to the approval of medical marijuana has been laid to rest. The opponents are left only with arguments like 'God wants you to feel pain'.

I wonder if the vaporizing device could be used with tobacco as well. I suspect you wouldn't get the same enjoyable flavor that way, but it might be useful in environments where authoritarians have deprived us of our freedom to smoke.

It is interesting how many Americans are willing to restrict liberty as long as they think it only applies to other people.

-- Thought for the day: No man is useless who has a friend, and if we are loved we are indispensable.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

April 29
Neats, Feats, Gaps, and Noodles
Preparing to ride my motorcycle (once the title arrives), I bought a bottle of neatsfoot oil to recondition my leather jacket, which I've owned since 1979. It worked quite well, but I was curious about the exotic */Neat/* creature that exudes this useful oil from its feet. It seems that NEAT was once a word for the bovine: a cow. No doubt they stopped calling them */neats /*when someone tried to housebreak one as an indoor pet.

One of the flaws of capitalism is that, since it is based on greed, manufacturers prefer to sell us a whole new product rather than supplying reasonably priced replacement parts. If parts are available at all, they are priced much higher than their actual value. Evaporative coolers, for example, can last for years, but the metal pad-holders, subjected to constant water-flow, rust out. _Replacements are not available!_ Even the big hardware stores don't have them. As a result, I had to build my own replacement pad-holder yesterday. Time will tell if it works as well as the original. In a capitalist economy, sometimes the greed motivation works to the benefit of most, but it results in annoying _*gaps*_* *for the consumer. It is inherently inefficient, and creates _planned obsolescence_ in its products. Why don't they use rustproof plastic or aluminum for pad-holders? Right.

Recently I heard of a new sport, apparently popular in Missouri and Oklahoma, called *_noodling_*. No, not competitive pasta-making. It's a form of catfishing. Instead of hooks and bait, you dive in the water and look for large catfish hiding in old beaver-holes, and stick your hand in the fish's mouth. Assuming the fish is not large enough to bite off your whole hand, or fast enough to bite off a finger, you've got your fish dinner. Great idea. Caution: [1] Sometimes the catfish's mate may attack you from behind. [2] Sometimes beaver holes are occupied by beavers, which are not amenable to the hand-in-mouth capture technique.

Thought for the day: The number of feet in a yard is directly proportional to the success of the barbecue.

April 25
Livable Planet Discovered!
Well, maybe it is. Astronomers have discovered a planet that might have water, a reasonable climate, and a nice red sun. It's only about 20 light years away. That will be very useful when we build some faster spaceships, especially if we ruin the planet we're on. It's got a bit more gravity, but we'd get used to that-- just build stronger muscles. Hope the natives are friendly.

Thought for the day: I like two night stands.
One on each side of the bed.

April 14 2007
Cycle in Time
Friday the 13th brought me good fortune. My new 1972 Superglide arrived. thanks to the Princess of Light

April 11
So it goes...
Kurt Vonnegut has died. He was 84.
He was a great American writer, with a unique ability to use humor to make the reader take a fresh look at human tragedies and the the oddness of our own behavior. He wrote 19 novels, including Slaughterhouse Five, about the WW2 bombing of Dresden, Germany, which he experienced firsthand as a prisoner of war.

Kurt will live on in the minds of his readers. I highly recommend that you be one of them.
And so it goes.

March 22, 2007
A Moral Lesson
Social biologists have discovered that other social animals, primates in particular, developed morality, just as humans did, which strongly influences their behavior.

They mean real morality, of course, not the phony religious kind. For example, chimps who can't swim have drowned while trying to save others who fell in the water. Rhesus monkeys will refuse to cause pain (electric shock) to others, even to receive food. Apes will console the loser of a fight, and attempt to reconcile the two afterward.

So, morality is not a human invention. It evolved because, in social animals, behavior that is good for the group, such as mutual assistance and peaceful interaction, benefits the survival of all its members.

Morality came long before religion and philosophy. In fact, the first result of human thought was probably to rationalize deviating from natural morality for some individual advantage Early religion may have been an attempt to restore compliance with group-benefitting moral behavior.

Of course, once that was found to be effective, there was no putting the genie back in the bottle. The power-mad and the perverted soon began elaborating on the myths, delighting in the control it gave them over the minds of others.

The myth that religion created morality, and that it is necessary to preserve it, may be the reason it has survived despite the scrutiny of the human mind that has proved capable of such astounding advances in nearly every other field of endeavor.

-- ~~~Captain Rat

March 09, 2007
Many utility companies and other businesses have online bill-paying systems, and they usually work well. After the first time, the company's computer has your bank ID. You log on, select the account to use, enter the amount to pay and OK it. Only the last 4 numbers are shown.

However, I recently learned that Cox Cable is using a much more dangerous and problematic system. Two weeks after paying my bill online I received a postal mail claiming my payment was rejected because my account, the same one I've used to pay them for 3 years, did not exist.

My account did exist, but Cox sent my bank the wrong number. For this Cox wants me to pay $30 extra.

After pointing out the wrongness of that and having my bank send them the actual amount owed, I received a unapologetic reply from Cox saying that it must have been my fault because I (or my computer) have to re-enter my bank number for every transaction.

This means that every time a customer errs in typing in a number, there is no way to know about it until the bank rejects it, and then the typo costs $30. If there is a computer error at either end, the customer still gets blamed.

As if that wasn't bad enough, transmitting an entire bank account number every month increases the chances that the number could be captured by a third party if the customer is using an insecure system.

So, if you're paying Cox, or any company with a similar system, don't use their website to pay. And, let them know why.

-- Help keep the universe friendly; vote for peace
~~the cosmic rat Cosmic Cabdrivers' Guide to the Universe:

March 02, 2007
GPS Shoes
Yes, shoes with a built-in GPS transmitter are here. You can track your children, track your lover; track your friends, by shoeing them.

And, if the devices are accurate enough, you'll be able to find misplaced shoes around the house.

But beware if someone sends you a free pair of shoes. They may want to watch your step. In that case, you may want to eschew the new shoes.

-- ~~~Captain Rat

March 01, 2007
copper plea
Attention, all you homebuilders out there-- whether you're rolling your own, or strictly commercial-- when you're thinking of what kind of pipe to use for the plumbing, DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER using copper pipe with soldered joints! Even if you're sure you'll never have to repair it personally, because you're selling it to someone, or because you're so rich you can always afford a plumber, someone someday may have to.

Please don't afflict some future owner with plumbing that is bound to fail, and, when it does, is the most difficult to repair.

Threaded that too much to ask?

And one more thing: if you insist on running the pipes inside the walls, put in access panels.

-- ~~~Captain Rat

February 26, 2007
cool decision
Our neighbors to the north are often ahead of us in progressive thinking. The latest example is a Canadian Supreme Court decision:

"Sunday, Feb 25, 2007.... The Supreme Court struck down one of Canada's most contentious anti-terrorism provisions on Friday, declaring it unconstitutional to indefinitely detain foreign terror suspects while the courts review their deportation orders.

The court ruled unanimously that the government had broken the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by issuing so-called security certificates to imprison people, pending deportation, without giving them a chance to see the government's case."

That's what we've been trying to point out in the US as well.

-- ~~~Captain Rat

February 24, 2007
Kicking Asteroids
Mark Friday, April 13, 2029 on your calendar. You'll want to be looking up, watching the asteroid sail harmlessly past...assuming calculations are correct.

Meanwhile, I trust someone will be working on the best ways to redirect errant objects in space, just in case.

Minds capable of conceiving and producing the talking urinal cake can surely handle that problem.

-- ~~~Captain Rat

February 21, 2007
Anna Nicole Smith
The death of Anna Nicole Smith was a tragedy. It is also very sad to hear some public commentary showing a lack of respect and sympathy. Those who would make such comments reveal themselves to be petty and hateful.

Anna Nicole had a gift of great physical beauty, sensuality, and exuberance that she was willing to share with the world. In return she was admired and desired by many, and no doubt loved by a few.

There are always those who, due to envy or narrow-minded anti-sexual attitudes, dislike and disapprove of such a woman. As Swami X used to say, 'Let those who want none have memories of not getting any!'

There were those who called her a gold-digger because she married a rich man. Every woman who ever allowed a man to support her could also be so accused, whether or not money was her motive. Anna Nicole brought happiness to an old man until the day he died. Not every man, even if he is rich, is that lucky.

Despite her beauty, and despite the delightfully bold way she flaunted her sensuality, one could sense that she was a vulnerable and genuinely good woman who needed to be loved as well as wanted, and who had love to give in return.

The world needs many kinds of people. It needs more intelligent, enlightened leaders, brilliant scientists and artists...and more women like Anna Nicole Smith.

-- ~~~Captain Rat

February 10, 2007
The Good News
The world is full of bad news and serious problems, which I discuss in my 360 blog and my website. But there is good news, some of which hardly gets noticed.

For example, it was reported this morning on NPR that scientists have discovered a process to turn light into matter and then back into light again. It involves a "cold cloud". While the light is captured as matter, it can be manipulated and massaged, altering its properties. The process slows light to a standstill, which means, of course that it isn't traveling at the speed of light.

I love paradoxes, don't you? This is only in experimental stages, but already the implications for practical uses are mind-boggling.

~~~~~~~ Those who think electric cars have to be slow should check out the Tesla. It's an all-electric high performance sports car. Zero to 60 mph (97 kph) in 5 seconds It' a beautiful car, though very expensive. Its value to the non-rich is to demonstrate what is possible. We have the technology to ditch internal combustion for cars in a very short time.

If we don't manage to do that, it will be because we are too apathetic to overcome the resistance of the oil companies.

Lower transportation costs, cleaner air, quiet motors, safer, longer-lasting anyone motivated yet?

-- ~~~Captain Rat

February 09, 2007

We can't always have a sense of humor about serious issues, but the inability to take a joke indicates the need for an attitude adjustment. A good example is the Boston police who recently jumped to the conclusion that several lighted signs that mysteriously appeared as part of a video game promotion, were terrorist devices. The joke on the police was not even intended, so they only made themselves look silly. When that happens, it's much healthier to laugh at yourself than to get mad.

Peace. ~~~Captain Rat