Swell Stultz: Sent and Showing

The Ric Stultz print I ordered from Pretty Darn Swell arrived before I left for the UK. I am very pleased with it. Also pleasing was the packaging. A stout envelope, with an atttactive PDS mailing lable, and a PDS postcard with handwritten thanks along with the print.

If I was in Milwaukee, I would be planning to go to Hotcakes for Ric’s show there, preferably tomorrow evening for the opening. But I’m in East Leake, and it’s almost time to go to Seagrave to see my niece and nephew, which is excellent in a rather different way.

Bike Helmets

Should you wear a helmet when cycling? Duelling Boings suggest different answers.

  • Yes, because then you can live to say cool things like “It feels really strange to have a truck run over your head.”
  • No, because drivers give more room to the bareheaded (and, by the way, to the apparently-female-headed).

Changing Way, having but one blogger, can be more decisive than the four-headed monster that is Boing Boing: yes, you should wear a bike helmet.

Doctor StrangeLube

OilPentagon study says oil reliance strains military, we learn from an article in today’s Boston Globe. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article, some followed by my comments in italics.

  • The Department of Defense is the largest single energy consumer in the country.
  • Of all the cargo the military transports, more than half consists of fuel. About 80 percent of all material transported on the battlefield is fuel. So much of the DoD’s fuel is used to transport… fuel.
  • In 2006, the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan burned about 16 gallons of fuel per soldier on average per day. Our car’s tank carries less than 15 gallons. That transports the family of two working adults, two kids, and one lazy dog, for more than a week.
  • Ensuring access to dwindling oil… carries a big price tag. The United States, relying largely on military patrols, spends an average of $44 billion per year safeguarding oil supplies in the Persian Gulf. So much of the unaffordable and growing bill for the diminishing oil goes to… safeguarding the oil.
  • Weaning the military from fossil fuels… would be a herculean task… the bulk of the US arsenal… is dependent on fossil fuels and many of those military systems have been designed to remain in service for at least several decades. Maybe planned obsolescence would have been friendlier to the budget and to the earth.

Credits: Globe article by Bryan Bender; photo by Brent Danley.

American Atheist Symbol

American AtheistsThis is the symbol of the American Atheists.

Links: explanation of the symbol by said godless ones; remark on its existence by Justin.

Questions: Do atheist organizations in other countries have their own symbols? Is there a similar symbol for us agnostics? I don’t know. Do you?

Updates: I meant to mention that I am neither American nor atheist; my original misspelling (athiest) lives on in the post URI; I rather like the word athiest, which probably mean “most athy.”

Whaling on Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer takes rank hypocrisy to new lows, according to Glen Greenwald. After reading the Krauthammer column in question, I don’t think that Greenwald overstates his case.

CK’s column is like a sandwich. In the top slice, he deplores “the inevitable rush to get ideological mileage out of the carnage.” The main filling in the sandwich is ideology. There is some anti-Obama vinegar in there as well. The bottom slice is from the same dough as the top: “we can agree to observe a decent interval of respectful silence before turning ineffable evil and unfathomable grief into political fodder.”

Perhaps we can agree to do that, but CK seems incapable of living up to any such agreement. At around the same time as he was writing the article, he was on Fox News talking about the Virginia Tech shootings. He stated his suspicion that the phrase “Ismail ax” has “more to do with Islamic terror… than it does with the opening line of Moby Dick.”

I was tempted to write a satirical piece alleging that anti-whaling demonstrators would picket at Virginia Tech, on the grounds that “Ismail ax” was an incitement to slaughter cetaceans. But I couldn’t write anything as ridiculous as CK. And I couldn’t write anything as apt as the article I linked to a couple of days ago.

Shootings Mean That We Must…

… remember the lessons of the 9/11 bombings, even if we didn’t put them into practice. The shootings at Virginia Tech are being used to advance agendas. We, or rather you, should hark to these wise words from Sep 13, 2001.

Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this.

Thanks to Cory at BB for reminding us of this important, if unheeded, lesson.

Bee Afraid of Cellphones

Bees are disappearing, and hence crops are going unpollinated, in parts of the USA and of Europe. Since we humans need crops, crops need pollination, and pollination requires bees, this is serious. It’s even serious enough to have TLAs to represent such phrases as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) or Vanishing Bee Syndrome (VBS).

A recent article in the Independent discusses the possibility that VBS is caused by cellphones. Of the several links I’ve seen to the article, Paul Witcover’s is my favorite.

Happy Green Card to Me

Green Card DrinkAs of today, I have a piece of plastic declaring me to be a permanent resident of the United States of America. It bears a face and a fingerprint, each mine.

I made a couple of posts about the process back in 2005. One was about my wife and I going to an interview at the federal government building in Boston, to be told that my file hadn’t arrived in town yet.

The other was about the stamp in my passport indicating that my green card would soon be on the way. For some reason, it wasn’t printed and sent at that time. I made a few phone calls, the most recent of which led me to believe that I’d have to sent yet another form and fee to the government to restart the stalled process. But then I heard that the phone call I’d made in November 2006 had restarted it, and that no further intervention from me was required.

So, thanks to all those who helped me get this rather reassuring piece of plastic. Thanks also to Nathan Gibbs for the image.