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2007 April 07 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Ignorant, Mean-Spirited Jerks

Up front it needs to be understood that Britain and Iran are not at war. The British military personnel were not captured as prisoners of war; they were arrested for violating Iranian territorial waters. Their confinement was not governed by the Geneva Conventions, but by Iranian criminal procedure and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

For some reason the British government does not look kindly on junior officers who start wars without permission. This was a diplomatic problem from the start, not a military problem. Dying for Queen and country is all well and good, but you should ask first if the Queen and country want you to die.

People who have spent entirely too much time with books like The Arab Mind, are saying that Iran won and has a propaganda coup. I would suggest that the people who are saying this are the only ones who believe it. Elements in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard came too damn close to starting a war that the ruling circles of the country did not want. The officer who was awarded a medal for his actions should enjoy it in his “retirement.”

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April 7, 2007   8 Comments

New Solar Power Source?

Via Peter of Lone Tree at BlondeSense, a very interesting story in the Manawatu Standard [New Zealand]: Solar power breakthrough at Massey

The breakthrough is a development of the university’s Nanomaterials Research Centre and has attracted world-wide interest already – particularly from Australia and Japan.

Researchers at the centre have developed a range of synthetic dyes from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature, where light-harvesting pigments are used by plants for photosynthesis.

If this pans out, solar power will be available for less than fossil fuel power. Instead of the fuel hungry process that is required to produce silicon-based solar cells, these dyes could be applied as a roof coating, or fabric. Very interesting work.

I’m hoping for some journal articles to figure out what they are really doing. Newspapers rarely provide the details necessary to understand what the science community is actually saying.

April 7, 2007   5 Comments

A Reminder From E.B.

Easter Bunny

There have been numerous complaints received regarding the services provided under the current regime and we would like to take the time to respond to these complaints and to help those of you in the outlying areas understand the true situation.

It has been noted that several individuals purporting to be the “Easter Bunny” do not seem to be authentic. Of course they’re not authentic. We don’t do personal appearances or take requests. As the anthropomorphic personification of a blended holiday we are entirely too involved in attempting to fulfill the unreasoned expectations of various groups. Besides which, we noticed that many of the requests came from people with French surnames, and I don’t think it is necessary to remind people what happens to rabbits in France: in Britain bunnies are found in children books; in France in cookbooks. [See also North Korea.]

We had what we thought was an excellent solution, but then discovered that due to his existence as a pookah, Harvey was not visible to major segments of the population and, to be honest, he had a problem staying away from the tipple for any major block of time.

As for the quality of the costumes, we are certainly not going to recommend anyone “donate” their pelt so these obvious frauds can have “genuine rabbit fur” costumes.

There have been other complaints following the change from solid to hollow chocolate statuary. The Chocolate Cartel has been jacking up prices for years, and while we agree that problems like the disruptions in the Ivory Coast have had a negative impact on the pricing of the raw materials, we suspect the price increases have more to do with avarice than insurrections or an active hurricane season.

We had to choose between offering smaller, solid figures, or larger, hollow figures. Research showed us that the target audience, small children, only actually ate the ears and nibbled a bit from the toes. The majority of the figures were consumed by parents claiming: “to prevent the kids from getting sick from all that candy.” Our thinking was the kids would be impressed with the initial size of the figures, and the parents needed to lose weight anyway.

Hollowing the figures took more time and you have to keep in mind that the staff is already in pretty weird from the massive doses of sugar, gelatin, and dyes they have to ingest to produce jelly beans. Nonetheless, the illusion is preserved.

Regarding the “grass” and “baskets”: hey, wake up and smell the polypropyl vinyl! The days of people having a basket out back and grass around the house are gone. We ask for baskets and find the concept apparently doesn’t translate well as the suppliers move further to the East. But the grass? Grass is grass all over the world. It’s green, it is almost always the definition of green in every language. So we ask for grass and we get shredded plastic in almost every color except green. We know it’s wrong. We complain every year and every year we are told that this is “the new green”.

So, suck it up and get out there and deliver.

April 7, 2007   12 Comments