Monthly Archives: December 2004

Rebooting and baby killing

Well, I have this new laptop up and running. Wow is it fast. That said, I've had a couple filesystem failures getting things set up so I'm not totally sold on it yet (but the failures were related to copying hundreds of thousands of files over a USB2 connection). Anyway, as you can see from the kind of haggard webcam shot below, it's working (it's got a built in camera for conferencing).

Right now I'm converting my various utilities and so on to deal with the new drive structures; mostly a lot of text editing of “e:” to “c:”. I'm going to try and get most of that done this afternoon, then I'm getting tattooed, and then I'm going to start trying to shortlist the almost sixty applications for the intern position.

Other than that I'd like to very briefly mention the BBC's recent “history repeats itself” report on the actions of New York's Childrens Services in selling babies to drug companies for live human experimentation, Guinea Pig Children (more, more). Let me first point out that using nothing, “AIDS babies” have about an 75% chance of not contracting AIDS, and using things like nevirapine and antiretrovirals that number rises to well over 90%. These “new” drugs the companies were trying out on the other hand were not saving these kids, and had brutal and sometimes fatal sideeffects.

Is it still murder if it's an orphan? I suppose not.

Nothing wrong with torturing babies if their parents died of AIDS perhaps?

Why am I surprised though? The EPA right now in America is paying poor families living in polluted areas $970 (total) and a fancy t-shirt (more) to keep their children exposed to poisons and neurotoxins in order to determine the safe limits so the US can relax its pollution standards. I'm not sure if it'll make you feel worse or better, but it's not your tax dollars paying the EPA to do this study — the EPA took private chemical industry funding. Gotta love impartial research.

…because signing off on Kyoto was a terrible alternative.

No-Coke Experience Update Posted

Just posted a hefty 329 story experience update. Thank you to all the writers and to tension for the cover shot. The top reviewers (click that link to become one; we need your help) for this update are:

  1. rebekah (130)
  2. der_narr (112)
  3. Don (98)
  4. deadly pale (83)
  5. Ebowlotus1960 (71)
  6. kaitee (68)
  7. Ruby (51)
  8. WasabiTurtle (45)
  9. psychonautje (43)
  10. cuthalcoven (41)

  1. burningchevy (41)
  2. mythernal (38)
  3. ta2lu (35)
  4. BlueStar (34)
  5. ybzoc (33)
  6. Dan_Toronto (32)
  7. clara-m (30)
  8. piercedjenny (27)
  9. Dawnie (26)
  10. elasticlobes (25)

Anyway, other than that I thought I'd briefly mention a couple interesting stories from the Guardian about various forms of “out there” research in China like elective brain-frying to cure addiction and injecting stem cells to cure ALS and lots more. You may not be sold on the science (personally I think that last week's report of South Korea having a paralyzed woman walk after stem cell injections is quite likely quackery), but the commentary on the differences in medical ethics is fascinating. A few quotes from the articles:

Complicating the debate is Huang's lack of statistical data and and his refusal to carry out the double-blind trials considered necessary in western circles to rule out the placebo effect. The Chinese neurosurgeon says such tests are unethical because they involve cutting someone open and only pretending to treat them. "This would not be legal in China," he says. "Even if it was, I wouldn't do it. Double-blind trials only harm the patient."

The surgery will provide more ammunition to critics who claim a lack of control over bioethics has turned China into the "wild east" of biology ... The Shanghai brain surgeons are not the only scientists in the city, or in China, to find themselves at odds with the social and ethical views of the west. Stem cell research using embryos, field trials of GM crops and neuroscience experiments on monkeys have all pushed ahead.

The boast that China leads the world in this area of medical science would have been unbelievable a few years ago, but lower ethical barriers have allowed doctors here to conduct experiments not permitted elsewhere. "Chinese doctors have mixed many kinds of cells," says Huang. "Some things are legal in China that are not legal in the US."

I have no idea if this is going to solidy China's future as a world leader (or a trans-species leader as we become homo superior), or if it's going to end life for all of us, but like Arthur C. Clarke always said, the reason the dinosaurs went extinct is because they didn't have a space program. Well, fact is that you can't really have the kind of space program that “insures” you against planet-destroying events without heavy duty transhuman technology as well.

In any case, it's a better story than what's in the papers here… Drug companies fighting to legislate themselves into higher and higher profits, and (I kid you not) debating whether they need a new line of more expensive and more powerful scanning devices since current ultrasound and x-ray machines are not entirely able to see through the layers of fat which surround many American bodies. While you think about that, let me remind you that in the time it took you to read this entry (I'm guessing a minute and change), twenty people died of hunger-related causes — one every four seconds.

It's not that we have too little food and resources, it's just that we suck at sharing.

Finally, I've written here before about “the system” being the problem (rather than specific evil overlords), sort of like in the movie “Cube” (which is a better description of how corporations work than anything else I've seen). Anyway, Max over at KarmabanQue came up with the idea of using Coke shares to profit from a boycott of Coke (by buying, boycotting, short-selling, and then investing the profits in efforts to stop Coke's reign of terror). There's more info on the how and why in this article and this PDF.

It reminds me of another “playing the system against itself” trick that I think I saw someone mention in a Fark threat recently. You know how the more debt looms, the easier it can be to get loans and credit cards, which of course drives you deeper and deeper into debt slavery (until you hit the “financially dead for sure” threshhold that is)? Well, the idea is that if you know you're probably going to go bankrupt, but you still have access to loans at good rates, you borrow as much money as you can ($100k, $250k, more?) and put it into high payoff but high risk investments… which means that at the end of that year, either you're bankrupt (which you likely would have been anyway), or you're very wealthy.

I doubt it's a very good idea, but at least it's got a certain comédie de désespoir to it.

Sounds shirts, first run

The first run of the sounds shirt is now in stock, although it's white on black shirts (rather than navy). I have the suspicion this could become a perennial favorite, so don't be surprised when you see it in different color combinations in the future as it's designed to print well in any HSL.

Other than that, I discovered that someone I need to threaten with legal action happens to be represented by the same legal team as I am (there are only so many lawyers that deal with edgy publishers). I wonder what happens in a situation like that?

PS. More new shirts coming to BMEshop soon.

Morning stuff

I'm working on an image update for later today; one of the images is this shot of Ron getting tattooed by Bobby Love… I just thought it was a great photo so I'm sharing it here as well:

Also, I wanted to share this letter with you. It's one of the more interesting queries I've gotten about tattoos. I hope I'm not breaking any laws by posting it here!

Dear Mr. Larratt:

Greetings. My name is **** ***** and I am a Forensic Social Historian with the ****** Office of the State Appellate Defender - Death Penalty Trial Assistance Division. I have been researching a tattoo that was on one of our victims. Today, I came across your piece 20 Kanjis: Does your kanji tattoo mean what you think it does? and discovered that the lower portion of the second tattoo "Crazy Force" is the tattoo that appears on our victim along with the phrase "This is my Life." Can you tell me what the meaning of that kanji character is when it appears alone? Thank you for any assistance that you can provide.

****

Dita helped me follow up with more thorough details for him so I hope we were able to help.

Let's see. Remember how just a little while ago the Washington Post ran a sixteen page anti-gay ad (more)? Well, turns out that's just fine for Americans and not that offensive, but the United Church has had its “we welcome gays and minorities” ads banned from the airwaves (more). Because hating is Christian, and love for all people is what Satan preaches, right?

I'm really starting to believe there's something fundamentally wrong with that 45% of Americans that identify as “born again”. Now they're trying to get Disney's Shark Tale pulled for being “too gay” (more). A vegetarian shark that dresses like a dolphin? Obviously a commie queer I suppose. I wonder if Americans really understand what kind of hate-filled monsters they've put in power (more).

As you may know, Bush is visiting Canada right now. The Council of Canadians is asking PM Paul Martin to tell Bush five things (more), not that I expect a single one to be mentioned. But point five is incredibly important to the future of Canada, and I hope that Canadians tell their reps the same:

  1. “The Canadian government has different priorities than your administration.”
  2. “Canadians are opposed to deep integration with the U.S.”
  3. “Canadians are opposed to Star Wars.”
  4. “Canada will enforce its Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.”
  5. “The Canadian Council of Chief Executives does not speak for Canada.”

The CCCE is a group of corporations seeking to lobby the Canadian government for changes similar to what the US has where corporations hold more power than individuals… baaaaaad idea! Point four is interesting, but will never happen either — here's some more info on it, but the short version is that under Canadian law, we have no choice but to arrest Bush as a war criminal (or reject our own laws).

So thanks to you fuckers that can't stop your voratious meat eating, not only do we have Mad Cow Disease in both Canada and America, but now the Bird Flu is threatening as many as a billion people with death inside a week (more, more). That said, a billion people? We could use them dead. We've got too many as is. I just hope I'm among the quick rather than being among the dead. I think if it breaks out, we'll have to go move into a shed in Joan's back yard… (No offense intended to Mexico).

Finally, I don't normally mention porn sites that I'm not making money from, but I saw this linked from MeFi this morning and thought it deserved a mention (and character-wise I thought it would appeal to IAM/BME readers in general).

DISCLAIMER: I haven't seen the inside of this site so if you get a membership and it sucks, please don't get mad at me.