Like father, like son – not necessarily a good thing!

The 4-year-old Tennessee boy was found wandering his Chatanooga neighborhood in the middle of the night, beer in hand, wearing a little girl’s dress taken from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.

Hayden’s mother, 21-year-old April Wright, woke up at 1:45 a.m. and panicked when she realized he was missing. She found Hayden, drunk, outside the house drinking a 12-ounce can of beer.

He was taken to a hospital and treated for alcohol consumption…

Hayden runs away “trying to find his father,” Wright said. “He wants to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.”

Wright’s husband is currently behind bars, and she is in the process of divorcing him…

The boy’s mother says she met with child protective services and was told she will get to keep custody of her son.

Maybe they should put an ankle bracelet on the twerp – with a GPS?

Thanks, Jägermeister

iPhone – therefore iArt!

Like many of us, Mike Nourse is both irritated and entranced by iPhones — their ubiquity, their utility, their unique power to extinguish conversation. Unlike most of us, Mr. Nourse, a co-founder of the Chicago Art Department, is in a position to do something useful with his internal conflict. And so he has, introducing a five-week class called “iPhone Art” at his nonprofit arts education organization.

“I wanted everyone to shut up already about what their iPhone could do and show me what it actually does,” said Mr. Nourse, 37, a video artist and photographer who moved to Chicago in 1996.

Despite Mr. Nourse’s mixed feelings about Apple’s latest gold mine, he said the course was an obvious vehicle for the art department, an all-volunteer organization that describes itself as “dedicated to cultivating new voices, ideas and practices in contemporary art.”

We’ve always been rooted in accessible art,” Mr. Nourse said. “The idea that people could create art with something in their pocket — that seemed like something we needed to tackle.”

The iPhone class has eight students. Each of them are responsible for producing a project, in any medium they choose, for a public exhibition titled “iPhone Therefore iArt…”

The course costs $50, but in keeping with the spirit of the Chicago Art Department’s pedagogical mission, anyone who completes the course and shows their work next month will have their tuition refunded.

Not anymore outré than showing someone with a computer how to blog, design, be creative with a medium they hadn’t heretofore considered.


Fighting the Pakistani Taliban – and more – with humour

If the Taliban produced a soap opera, Pakistani comedy writer Younis Butt pondered one day, what would it be like?

The love triangles would be impossible to understand, he thought, because all the women would be hidden behind burkas and no one would know which character was engaged in a heated tiff with another.

An Islamic variety show would be equally absurd, he decided. With singing and dancing frowned upon, women covered from head-to-toe could only sit in a spotlight with their backs turned to the camera.

For the creator of Pakistan’s most popular satirical television show, the prospect was too tempting and the spoof Taliban ‘T Channel’ episode was born, airing in June this year and becoming a major hit.

Segments are punctuated with Kalashnikov fire, as manic-eyed actors sporting black turbans hand out household tips on weapons maintenance…

‘America is not happy with me, the Taliban is not happy with me, everybody is not happy – that is why I am happy,’ Butt says with a grin.

A great deal of the best humor has always been political, topical, dissent from conformity. Judged a danger by reactionaries and fools alike.

When auroras collide…

Clicking on photo downloads .gif animation
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A network of cameras deployed around the Arctic in support of NASA’s THEMIS mission has made a startling discovery about the Northern Lights. Sometimes, vast curtains of aurora borealis collide, producing spectacular outbursts of light. Movies of the phenomenon were unveiled at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

“Our jaws dropped when we saw the movies for the first time,” said space scientist Larry Lyons of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), a member of the team that made the discovery. “These outbursts are telling us something very fundamental about the nature of auroras.”

The collisions occur on such a vast scale that isolated observers on Earth — with limited fields of view — had never noticed them before. It took a network of sensitive cameras spread across thousands of miles to get the big picture.

RTFA. Fascinating stuff.

Pregnant G.I.’s – and the impregnator – can be court-martialed

An Army general in northern Iraq has added pregnancy to the list of reasons a soldier under his command could be court-martialed.

The new policy, outlined last month by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo and released Friday by the Army, would apply to female battlefield soldiers who become pregnant and the male soldiers who impregnate them.

Civilians reporting to General Cucolo also could face criminal prosecution under the guidelines.

An Army spokesman, George Wright, said battlefield soldiers who became pregnant were typically sent home. But it is not an Army-wide policy to punish them under the military’s legal code, he said.

However, division commanders like General Cucolo have the authority to impose these type of restrictions to soldiers under their command, Mr. Wright said…

Under General Cucolo’s order, troops also are prohibited from “sexual contact of any kind” with Iraqi nationals. And they cannot spend the night with a member of the opposite sex, unless married or expressly permitted to do so.

Like most “moral” regulations leftover from 19th Century ideology, this will only be honored by the nutballs who think like the general. Or not.

He’s as backwards as the idiots who tried to prevent GI’s from marrying Europeans – while stationed in Europe. Of course, acting out such heresy between couples of different colors was considered more of a crime.

A chess match only an old fart could love: Korchnoi vs. Spassky

The two guys who look like they are too old to be there are the combatants.

It is billed as the “Battle of the Giants”, between tenth World Champion Boris Spassky, 72, and multiple World Championship challenger Viktor Korchnoi, 78. The latter is still very active in competitive play, while Spassky has essentially retired from chess. In the first game an exhausted Korchnoi (he had rushed to Kalmykia from London) put the pressure on Spassky and won. Illustrated report.

My sarcasm is, I assure you, reverential.

Garry Kasparov recently said that it is a sad day when excitement in chess means a match between two “old guys” (he was referring to a recent contest between himself and Karpov). By the same token, however, it is affirming that many chess players do not forget their predecessors, and are appreciative of chess history. Anyone with an appreciation for chess history will understand why Korchnoi vs. Spassky, even today, is a significant event.

Korchnoi, aka “Viktor the Terrible”, I had the pleasure of seeing in the 1970s. I never have gotten to meet Spassky, though he would be on my short list of living players whom I would like to meet. Both played an extraordinary role in the world of chess when the world of chess was still extraordinary. Of all living Grandmasters, Korchnoi impresses me most, because of his longevity in competition at the highest level, which almost should not be possible. Yes, some players are stronger than he, now, but their full history has not yet been written.
Update: Final Score: Korchnoi 4 Spassky 4
Korchnoi won games 1 and 6. Spassky won games 5 and 7. Other games were drawn.

San Jose police to have small cameras attached to their heads

Taser AXON

On Friday, a handful of San Jose police officers began three months of sporting a sophisticated audio-video recording device that Chief of Police Rob Davis described as “the way of the future” for law enforcement.

Eighteen officers started wearing the AXON devices as part of a pilot program with Taser, the developer. These primarily consisted of a headset that resembled a Bluetooth earpiece with an accompanying control device worn on the chest like a radio. AXON stands for “Autonomous Extended On-Officer Network,” according to Taser.

The small digital camera perches above an officer’s left ear and can record surprisingly high-quality video and sound with the touch of a button. The participating officers are required to activate the recording any time they instigate enforcement measures with a member of the public, Davis said…

The AXON headsets can produce “best evidence,” Davis said. A photo capture of a suspect at large is far more effective than a simple physical description. Footage of a suspect committing a crime can also become valuable evidence for prosecutors.

Davis said the department has developed new policies to align the cameras’ use with existing privacy laws. When asked if witnesses or others might be less inclined to talk to officers if they are recorded, Davis said that early interactions have gone well. “They just think it’s an earpiece,” he said.


You may have noticed who produces these little devices. Any ideas about future accessories involving electricity?