Wednesday, April 30, 2008

RIP Albert Hofmann

Deliberate provocation of mystical experience, particularly by LSD and related hallucinogens, in contrast to spontaneous visionary experiences, entails dangers that must not be underestimated. Practitioners must take into account the peculiar effects of these substances, namely their ability to influence our consciousness, the innermost essence of our being. The history of LSD to date amply demonstrates the catastrophic consequences that can ensue when its profound effect is misjudged and the substance is mistaken for a pleasure drug. Special internal and external advance preparations are required; with them, an LSD experiment can become a meaningful experience. Wrong and inappropriate use has caused LSD to become my problem child.

-- Albert Hofmann (11 January 1906 - 29 April 2008), Swiss scientist best known for first synthesizing Lysergic acid diethylamide, "LSD: My Problem Child" (1980) Foreword

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Laugh At It

The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it.

-- Bill Nye (the science guy), Interview with, April 2005

Monday, April 28, 2008


Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Skeleton In Your Closet

If you have a skeleton in your closet, take it out and dance with it.

-- Carolyn MacKenzie

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Consider Every Day Lost

We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once, and we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German Philosopher

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tax Freedom Day

Congratulations, you're now working for yourself. The Tax Foundation declares that today is Tax Freedom Day. From January 1 to today you were working for the government. From today through the end of the year, you'll be working for yourself.

-- Downsizer Dispatch, 23 April 2008,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You Can Dance

If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.

-- Zimbabwean Proverb

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Art Of Living

The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.

-- Marcus Aurelius

Friday, April 18, 2008

Make Sense Of Change

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

-- Alan W. Watts (6 January 1915 - 16 November 1973), philosopher, writer, speaker, and student of comparative religion

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Right Reasons

Some people are lonely for all the right reasons.

-- Meg Rosoff (1956-) American author, "How I Live Now"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws.

-- Walt Whitman ("Notes Left Over" 1881)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ready To Cope

All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.

-- George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Torch Of Truth

It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing somebody's beard.

-- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, scientist and philosopher (1742-1799)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Out The Window

Half of the modern drugs could well be thrown out of the window, except that the birds might eat them.

-- Dr. Martin Henry Fischer

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Questions

The New Questions to ask your physician:

1. If I don't have any symptoms, how are you going to keep me healthy?

2. How would you treat me if you didn't have your prescription pad?

3. How are you going to find and treat the cause of my disease, not just the symptoms?

4. Will changing my food habits and life style contribute to healing me faster?

5. Do you keep records of the treatment prescribed by you to me?

-- Dr. Amit K. Saiya, 2 April 2008, blog excerpt

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Should We Wander

Should we wander [from the essential principles of our government] in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

-- Thomas Jefferson, upon repealing the Alien and Sedition Acts

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Political Rights

Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the in-grown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution. One compels respect from others when he knows how to defend his dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life; it has always been the same in political life as well.

The peoples owe all the political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength.

-- Rudolf Rocker (25 March 1873 - 19 September 1958) anarcho-syndicalist writer, historian, social activist, "Anarcho-Syndicalism" (1938)

Monday, April 07, 2008

RIP Charlton Heston

Take your stinking paws off of me, you damned dirty ape!

-- Charlton Heston (4 October 1923 - 5 April, 2008) as astronaut Colonel George Taylor in "Planet of the Apes" (1968)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Equal Before The Law

We are all equal before the law, but not before those appointed to apply it.

-- Stanislaw J. Lec, poet and aphorist (1909-1966)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Duck Rape

So there are these ducks that live along the Boulware Trail, a walking path near my office that runs parallel to a creek. The ducks are Mallards, and there are two pairs (that I know of) that live along the creek on the 1/2 mile or so of path that I occasionally walk as a break from work.

Today there was quite a ruckus. One of the pairs of Mallards was being attacked by a third, male Mallard. As I watched, the interloper tried again and again to copulate with the one female. She resisted by trying to fly away, but was overpowered. Her mate resisted by attacking the interloper, biting him on the head and pushing him underwater.

After a few minutes of this, the attacking male apparently got what he came for and broke off. The original pair then swam away together. And it turns out this isn't so rare. Mallard rape is well documented, and male and female duck genitalia have evolved to address this problem.

See "Duck genitals locked in arms race" (with pictures!)

Google has 1.37M results for "duck rape", including YouTube videos.

Keep It From The American People

The OLC Torture Memo as a Failure of the Classification System
Date:Thursday 03 April 2008 09:55
Author:Steven Aftergood

The Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memo on interrogation of enemy combatants that was declassified this week "exemplifies the political abuse of classification authority," Secrecy News suggested yesterday. J. William Leonard, the nation's top classification oversight official from 2002-2007, concurred.

"The disappointment I feel with respect to the abuse of the classification system in this instance is profound," said Mr. Leonard, who recently retired as director of the Information Security Oversight Office, which reports to the President on classification and declassification policy. "The document in question (pdf) is purely a legal analysis," he said, and it contains "nothing which would justify classification."

Beyond that crucial fact, the binding technical requirements of classification were ignored.

Thus, he explained: There were no portion markings, identifying which paragraphs were classified at what level. The original classifier was not identified on the cover page by name or position. The duration of classification was not given. A concise basis for classification was not specified. Yet all of these are explicitly required by the President's executive order on classification.

"It is not even apparent that [John] Yoo [who authored the memo] had original classification authority," Mr. Leonard said.

"All too often, government officials simply assert classification. To enjoy the legal safeguards of the classification system, you need to do more than that. Those basic, elemental steps were not followed in this instance."

"Also, for the Department of Defense to declassify a Department of Justice document," as in this case, "is highly irregular," Mr. Leonard said.


Violations of classification policy pale in comparison to the policy deviations authorized by the Justice Department memo, which was ultimately rescinded. Nevertheless, such classification violations are significant because they enabled the Administration to pursue its interrogation policies without independent scrutiny or accountability.

"To learn that such a document is classified has the same effect for me as waking up one morning and learning that after all these years there is a 'secret' Article IV to the Constitution that the American people did not even know about," said Mr. Leonard.

"There is no information contained in this document which gives an advantage to the enemy," he said. "The only possible rationale for making it secret was to keep it from the American people."

Copyright 2008 Secrecy News.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Nott Was Shot And Shott Was Not

A duel was fought in Texas lately, by Alexander Shott and John S. Nott. Nott was shot and Shott was not. In this case it was better to be Shott than Nott. There was a rumor that Nott was not shot, but Shott swears he shot Nott, which proves either that the shot Shott shot at Nott was not shot, or that Nott is shot notwithstanding.

-- Rootsweb Review, January 2001, submitted by Horst Reschke, who writes "I found [this] item in the April 1867 issue of 'Printers' Circular'"

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cannot Be Reversed

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.

-- Cesar Estrada Chavez (31 March 1927 - 23 April 1993) Labor organizer, social activist; Speech, 9 November 1984