Friday, October 29, 2010


In our time with Melvyn Bragg is a wonderful podcast. i cannot recommend it highly enough. He is this brilliant guy who just talks about the most fascinating things ever with the world's leading experts on those things.

I just listened to his podcast on the oracle at delphi, the new one is about unicorns, also available for free - imaginary numbers, the spanish armada, german thinkers of the 1800s, it's so great.

Please listen to it.

Also: archives available for online listening here:

did you know (courtesy of

The doorknob was not invented until 1878

this is real:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brian Wilson - ultimate goal

“I’d like to be a crossword clue one day,” he said. “I want to be in The New York Times’s Sunday edition. Right now, the clue ‘Giants great’ is always Mel Ott. I want my clue to be down, not across. The down ones are usually harder. And when I’m the clue, I’ll fill it in — just that one — and frame it.

“How sweet would that be?”

San Francisco Ballot Measures

Prop AA - 10 vehicle fee for roads, transit and pedestrians - YEAH - everyone with a car pays 10 extra dollars, this will raise TEN MILLION

Prop A - Yes - 46 million dollars to retrofit affordable housing units

Prop B - NO!!!!! - makes public employees pay way more for retirement and health care

Prop C - Yes - mayor appearances at board, the mayor has to show up once a month to answer questions in public

Prop D - YES - allows noncitizen parents whose kids are in public schools to vote in School Board elections, even if they can't vote otherwise, right now, 1/3 of all public school children have parents who are not legally allowed to help make school decisions!

Prop E YES - you can register ON election day to vote for local measures, easier to vote, harder to forget to register

Prop F - NO

Prop G - NO - seems to unfairly punish MUNI drivers

Prop H - NO - would bar some elected officials from political party committees, the word on the street is that Gavin Newsom wants to do this to punish people who have been attacking him from the left. Maybe not constitutional

Prop I - YES - Saturday voting - polls open the saturday before election day, makes no fucking sense to vote on Tuesday, weekend voting will help people work who feel like they cannot take the time off from work

Prop J - YES - raises the hotel tax b y 2% - raises 35 million dollars annually for SF

Prop K - NO - if it passes, prop J fails (weird)

Prop L - NO - illegal to sit on sidewalks

Prop M - YES - cops have to walk a beat, be more part of community, etc

Prop N YES - bring in 36 million dollars by increasing taxes on large property/ real estate purchases

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I haven't seen a half person half monkey yet...

This is one of the many reasons that we cannot, for a moment, pretend that religion (or any other faith in fucking nonsense) is anything other than a load of ethically irresponsible, intellectually untenable garbage.

When Glenn Beck says that evolution is silly because "[he has] yet to see a half man half monkey", we can all laugh/ shudder/ cringe. But what is essential to remember is that this sort of backwards, and either desperately confused or incredibly dishonest, thought process skews our entire conversation to a point where it cannot be. We spend time giving solace to the faithful by being forced to 'debate' this sort of claim, rather than treat him like the raving lunatic he is.

His is a dangerous opinion. The way we have put religion on a pedestal is A WAY BIGGER DEAL THAN ANYONE TALKS ABOUT. The fact that we need to "debate" stem cell research has retarded scientific progress for ten years in this country. At the rate at which scientific knowledge increases we are literally unable to conceive of the advances lost to this asinine - would be funny if it weren't tragic- debate. A debate that we WOULD NOT HAVE if it weren't for the fact that religion somehow demands our respect.

Alzheimer's. Cancer. Aids. Who the fuck knows. Religion is KILLING PEOPLE.

This is not about gay marriage or abortion. Of course I care about those things, but they aren't the biggest problem. Not by a mile. It is not about extremism, or terrorist bombers. Although of course I hate those things to. It is about the fact that religion in this country skews the dialogue and the debate to a point where we are not able to educate our citizens, save their lives through medicine, or ask honest and necessary questions to our potential elected officials.

Sarah Palin believes that the world is going to end in her lifetime. She believes that that is a GOOD thing, she was almost in a position to make crucial decisions on nuclear weapon deployment, war, the environment. How can someone who believes that the end of the world is good make responsible decisions about any of the above.

Christine O'Donnel is a joke. But not for the right reasons. She's a joke because she believes masturbation is adultery, so what, at least she is logically consistent. Harry Reid believes that "heavenly father" lives on the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON!

I don't respect religion, I won't pretend to.

inspired by Adam - voting

prop 19 - legalize pot - yes on 19

prop 20 - CA redistricting - no on 20 (see comments on Adam's blog for why)

prop 21 - State Park Fee (18 dollars to get an annual license to get into state parks, would save 200 million dollars that the gov't would reinvest in schools, etc) Yes

prop 22- state borrowing local funds - someone help me understand this better

prop 23- NO (would remove regulations to address global warming until unemployment returns to 5.5% or lower)

prop 24- YES tax fairness act - stops businesses from finding tax loopholes

Prop 25- YES (majority vote on budget) - makes it possible to make decisions on budget with a 50% majority of state legislature, rather than a 2/3rd majority

Prop 26 - NO (would make it harder, by requiring a 2/3 vote at the local level, to make polluters clean up, increase state deficit, funded by Exxon and Phillip Morris)

Prop 27 - YES (see 20)

please read this book

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

It's pretty phenomenal. for serious. read it. Fucking learn something for once.

sorry. I'm just really excited about this book.

Monday, October 18, 2010

poem for Manchester striker's by Shelley

Rise like lions after slumber
in unvaquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
You are many they are few

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I just finished reading Robert Reich's new book. It was an OK, he's about as far to the left as you can be and still be in the establishment (or about as far to the right as you can be and still be acceptable in your economic theory).

only 4'10'', the former secretary of labor requires only 40%
of the resources of a taller or "normaller" sized man

His platform for economic recovery. Thoughts?

1) reverse income tax: Workers earning 20,000 or less annually receive a wage supplement of 15,000. This amount to decline incrementally up the income scale, i.e., if you make 30,000, you get 10,000, if you make 40,000 you get 5,000, if you earn 50,000+ you get nothing.

tax rate for those who make between 50,000-90,000 is 10%

tax rate for people who make between 90,000-160,000 20%
(this would cost 620 billion- much of which would be moved back into the economy through increased spending)

2) Carbon Tax: to detailed to repeat here, would raise 120 billion a year at 35 dollars per metric ton

3) Higher Marginal Tax Rates on the wealthy: top 1% (410,000+) pay 55%, top 2% (260,000+) pay 50%, top 5%, (160,000+) 40%, this would raise 600 billion.

4) wage insurance anyone who loses their job and takes a new job that pays less will receive 90% of the difference from the government for 2 years - extra years to be added if those workers are engaged in re-training

5) School Vouchers based on income

6) College Loans linked to subsequent earnings: graduates pay a fixed 10% interest rate on loans for first ten years of full time work into fund that finances public colleges and provides loans to students attending private colleges, after ten years, loans would be considered paid.

7) Medicare for all

8) overturning that fucked up supreme court case that lets corporations give all that money!

Monday, October 4, 2010

interview with Tom and Jon