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No Excuse by David Atkins

No Excuse
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

The Oakland police department used tear gas, smoke bombs, and, according to some reports, rubber bullets to clear out protesters last night (the Oakland police department denies using rubber bullets, but wouldn't confirm or deny the use of rubber bullets by "other agencies.") There are conflicting reports all over the place, with some reports claiming flash bang grenades were used by police. The police have responded that they did not use flash bang grenades, and that the explosions were M-80s used by protesters. There are also reports of paint, eggs and bottles being thrown by protesters.

It will be a little while before the full story is known about exactly what happened in Oakland. The consensus does seem to be that there was some bad behavior by a few protesters, but that most of the other Occupiers were trying to stop the few miscreants from giving the police an excuse to crack down. In any case, even if the police are telling the truth about protester provocation, there is no excuse for their insane overreaction, which looked more like a scene from a totalitarian 3rd world country than like the United States:

Paint, eggs and glass bottles tossed by a few morons at police in riot gear do not justify this sort of response against an entire crowd of mostly peaceful protesters. This was shameful behavior on the part of the Oakland PD, and there needs to be accountability for it.

On a brighter note, scenes like this will only increase the power of the Occupy movement nationwide. Joshua Holland has a great piece on Alternet about the victory that the movement has already achieved:

Occupy Wall Street has already achieved a stunning victory – a victory that is easy to overlook, but impossible to overstate. In just one month, the protesters have shifted the national dialogue from a relentless focus on the deficit to a discussion of the real issues facing Main Street: the lack of jobs -- and especially jobs with decent benefits -- spiraling inequality, cash-strapped American families' debt-loads, and the pernicious influence of money in politics that led us to this point.

To borrow the loosely defined terms that define the Occupy movement, these ordinary citizens have shifted the conversation away from what the “1 percent” -- the corporate right and its dedicated media, network of think-tanks and PR shops -- want to talk about and, notably, paid good money to get us to talk about.

Indeed. And the conversation is only getting louder all across the country. In my backyard, yesterday the normally fairly conservative Ventura County Star printed my letter to the editor countering this atrocious column by Deroy Murdock accusing the President of declaring "class war" against the wealthy. It's a tiny victory, but just one point among millions to indicate how the conversation is changing in America and around the world.

There is a clarion call rising against income inequality in this country, and the more the police crack down on the Occupy protesters, the louder it will become.


Watch this [Class M]

Just a reminder of what's going on.

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Corning peels back the petals on Lotus Glass, promises low-power, high performance

The glass masters over at Corning are at it again. The same company that unleashed Gorilla Glass upon the world has now come out with a brand new, albeit less ferocious-sounding material, known as Corning Lotus Glass. Designed with LCD and OLED displays in mind, this substrate promises to deliver pristine picture quality without sucking up too much power. According to Corning, this performance is largely due to Lotus' thermal and dimensional stability, which allows for greater resolution and speedier response times. These thermal properties also allow it to maintain its form during especially hot processing, thereby avoiding any nasty warping effects. Corning Lotus Glass has already launched into production, but there's no word yet on when we can expect to see it pop up in commercial products. Head past the break for a rather florid press release.

Continue reading Corning peels back the petals on Lotus Glass, promises low-power, high performance

Corning peels back the petals on Lotus Glass, promises low-power, high performance originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Just how much heat does global warming entail? [Class M]

Everyone talks about global warming, but it's not easy to get one's mind around just how much heat we're talking about. Even more difficult is putting that heat energy in terms that the average layperson can grasp. Fortunately, some scientists are making an effort to do just that.

ResearchBlogging.orgIn a recent paper in Geophysical Research Letters, "Observed changes in surface atmospheric energy over land," Thomas Peterson, of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, Katharine M. Willett of the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter, UK, and and Peter W. Thorne, who works alongside Peterson at the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, try to separate the various elements of all that energy being trapped by the greenhouse effect. There's surface temperature, kinetic energy (wind) and latent heat (energy associated with water changes from one state to another, such as during evaporation).

All that is useful stuff from people who make their living studying climate. But what's really interesting for our purposes is the team's effort to express the energy being absorbed by the atmosphere. As part of the paper's concluding section, they convert that energy into a gravitational equivalent: the energy required to lift an object:

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Echoes of Semmelweis [Respectful Insolence]

As hard as it is to believe, I've been a physician for 23 years now and a fully trained surgeon for over 15 years. If there's one thing I've learned in that time, it's most doctors really, really don't like to be told what to do. I don't know if part of it comes from all the long years of medical school and residency, with fellowship tacked on for many, during which we're relentlessly told what to do by more senior residents, fellows, and attendings or if it has something to do with the personality traits that lead young people to go into medicine, particularly surgery. It's probably a little of both.

Be that as it may, one negative consequence of this particular personality trait is that many physicians are surprisingly--shockingly, even--resistant to the very concept of evidence-based medicine. For purposes of this post, I'm not going to worry about the distinction between evidence-based medicine (EBM) and science-based medicine (SBM), mainly because in the case of plausible treatments based on sound science the differences between EBM and SBM tend to disappear because the results of clinical trials usually represent the culmination of preclinical investigations that establish the science behind the treatment being tested. In fact, just the other day I saw a post by a blogging orthopedic surgeon who goes by the 'nym The Angry Orthopod entitled Evidence-based medicine removes a physician's autonomy. It's an annoying little screed chock full of straw men attack against EBM/SBM slathered with copious quantities of arrogance and disdain for scientists and an inflated sense of his own ability to synthesize the medical literature. You'll see what I mean in a second.

After sarcastic rejoinders about EBM, the AO starts in earnest:

Evidence based medicine, or EBM, may be just another way to remove a physician's autonomy. This trend has marched on for years, castrating us bit by bit. EBM is nothing more than the old process of peer-reviewed journal articles, but now there's a classification systems that grades according to the article's strengths or weaknesses. In other words, it's to help the non-academic dummies tell the difference between crap and quality. In the U.S., a five-level scale is favored, while the U.K. prefers a four-stage system, and there are others.

AO says that as though it were a bad thing.

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20 Mac Apps For Everyone To Help Increase Productivity

Every hardworking employed or self-employed individual strives to be more productive at work. However, a resolution to be more productive is easier said and done. There are plenty of temptations in the office, especially for home-based workers. Sleep, idling around and even playing games are just a few clicks away. Of course, being less efficient at work will result in less quality output and in turn a smaller paycheck.

Thankfully, there are plenty of Mac apps out there to keep you in check. Here are our top 20–to do lists, documents, spreadsheets, task management and other productive office applications. The Macbook is a great innovation (thanks to Apple and the late Steve Jobs, bless him). Many of these applications aren’t free though, but we know that good things are never free these days although these apps are worth more than what you pay for.

1. Apple iWork

This is the first Mac App (or Apps, for that matter) you should purchase. It’s the Mac version of Microsoft Office, albeit cheaper and more ‘Mac’ compatible. iWork includes the following apps:

  • Pages – a text editor with rich word processing and page layout features. The app has hundreds of templates to create newsletters, stationery, invitations and resume. A helpful tool for both students, teachers, professionals and everyone in between. Export files into doc, pdf, and ePub files.
  • Numbers – a spreadsheet app that can organize numerical date to tables, charts and graphs. It can perform various calculations with mathematical formula
  • Keynote – an application to create and play professinal presentations. It has plenty of beautiful and professional templates, transitions and effects to choose from. Best of all, it supports many file formats, and can be exported to Powerpoint, Quicktime (iPod, iPad and iPhone), HTML and PDF. It can be opened directly to iTunes, iWeb, iDVD and YouTube.

Price: US $79.99 (or $27 each for Pages, Numbers and Keynote when bought separately)

2.PDF Pen

Probably one of my most favorite apps in the list. I’m a frequent user and reader of PDF files, so the PDF Pen is a great tool when reviewing and taking notes for PDF text. Make corrections, edit scanned documents, erase information and so much more. You can even scribble your singature on a PDF contract via the PDF pen.

Price: $59.95

3. 1Password

Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you’ll never have to again. 1Password is a password manager, that’s both secure and convenient. It provides maximum anti-phishing protection via a web form filling and automatic strong password generation. Keep all your confidential information of your online accounts, credit cards, ATM cards and other identities.

1Password is the best password manager out there–take our word for it. 1Password is available for your Mac, iPhone, iPad and even your PC and Android phone.

Price: $49.99

4. Paperless

In today’s highly digital world, everyone is going Paperless. Today’s generation rely on digital documents, because it is faster, more efficient and more economical. You need an app of the same name to manage your digital documents. Paperless is a great productivity app, and it’s good for the environment too. It’s a win-win situation here.

Price: $49.95

5. OmniFocus

OmniFocus is a task manager to ensure you are at your most efficient by providing the right tools and features. Capture your thoughts by storing, managing and processing them in the app. It stores both your personal and professional tasks, and help order them according to importance. OmniFocus gets things done.

Price: US 79.99

6. Transmit

Transfer files quick and easy through Transmit. Transmit is currently Mac’s top 1 FTP Client. Transferring files across the FTP or SFTP server is amazingly fast–thanks to the Transmit Twin turbo engine, transferring files is now up to 25 x faster.
Price: US 39.99

7. Skype

Skype is a necessary application, a communication tool for family, friends and clients on a higher level. Hold meetings with clients and colleagues without the need to travel (or dress up in a suit).

The latest Skype app now offers clearer and sharper video calls, through their HD video call feature. Group videos are now also possible–so talk with up to 10 people online at the same time!

Price: Totally free, but Skype Premium account at US $4.99 a month.

8. Pixelmator

Pixelmator, a powerful image editing app for the Mac. It’s a lot like Adobe Photoshop–wonderful interface, layer-based image editing, and basic tools like cropping, transform, fill, stroke and so much more. It has more than 130 filters and 14 color correction tools. Pixelmator allows easy access to your photos from your iPhoto or Aperture library.

Price: $29.99

9. Espresso

Espresso is the ultimate application for the web designer. It has a built-in CSS Editor, the well-known CSSEdit3. See your web site updates in real time through Live Styling and inspect your web layout with X-ray. The Quick Publish or Sync features allow you to automatically publish or apply changes to your server. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth more than you pay for.

Price: US $79

10. Sparrow Productivity

Sparrow mailing app is a light mail application and a great addition to your productivity apps. The app’s interface is easy and well-organized. Get your mail in a few clicks. It even has the Facebook Connect feature, to get instant notifications and your friends’ pictures are shown to immediately see who the email was from.

Price: US $9.99

11. Things

Things is a simple task management application, it’s so easy to use–but with very powerful features. It can make the most basic to do list, and even handle a complicated GTD workflow. Things is an award-winning Mac App because of its clean interface, user-friendliness and great flexibility.

Price: US $49.99

12. Billings

Billings manages client accounts and invoices beautifully and effortlessly. Choose from 1 of their 30 professional templates or create your own, and send statements in a single click of a button.

Price: US $39.99

13. Coda

Coda provides an all-around application for web developers. It has a fully featured file transfer, text editor, integrated file browser, CSS editor, SSH terminal and complete set of references–all in one, clean and streamlined workflow.

Price: US $9.99

14. MarsEdit

Browser-based blog editors are slow, unpredictable and require internet connection. Sure, browsers are great for browsing the net, but not so much for writing a blog. If you’re really serious about blogging, you’ll need a blog editor app like MarsEdit. With MarsEdit you can write, publish and preview your blog posts on your desktop.

Price: US $39.95

15. Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler has a mobile app that A must-have app for web designers and developers. The application generates color palettes and themes to inspire. Create, explore, experiment. and save color palettes and use it on your next project.

Price: US $9.99

16. RDM Desktop Lite

The application allows you to control your other devices even if they are far away. It can connect through your Macbook, iPhone and iPad. Internet connection is not required, and control as many devices you want wirelessly.

Price: Free

17. Phone Log

PhoneLog is a great app for keeping tabs on your calls, having a quick record of important conversations–such as calls from your clients, utility companies, financial institutions, etc. Store details of your calls, who called, when the call was made, and what the conversation was about. Now you’ll never forget a single call again!

Price: Free

18. Whistle Phone

Whistle Phone provides free inbound and outbound calls in the contiguous United States destinations through your Mac.

Price: Free

19. DropCopy

DropCopy is a charmingly easy application, and a great timesaver. If you need to send files quickly to multiply destinations to recipients across your network, just drag the files to the destination in a popup window. It’s not fussy, and get things done hassle-free, without the need to input any password, dialogues or confirmation.

Price: Free for the lite version, that can carry 1-3 devices. There is a Pro version at $4.99 for 1-10 devices, and a site license to cover unlimited devices.

20. Remind Me Later

Remind Me Later is a to-do app, very fast and very easy. If you need things to be done, just open the app, type in the reminder and you’re done. The application automatically add events to iCal in just two clicks. You can also sync the reminders to your iPhone via MobileMe, to take your reminders with you anywhere.

Price: Free


When The Only Tool You Have

is a multi-billion dollar real estate empire (Caution: Huffington link)
As the July edition of the Washingtonian Magazine notes, Friedman lives in "a palatial 11,400-square-foot house, now valued at $9.3 million, on a 7½-acre parcel just blocks from I-495 and Bethesda Country Club." He "married into one of the 100 richest families in the country" - the Bucksbaums, whose real-estate Empire is valued at $2.7 billion.

...Far from the objective, regular-guy interpreter of globalization that the D.C. media portrays him to be, Friedman is a member of the elite of the economic elite on the planet Earth. In fact, he's married into such a giant fortune, it's probably more relevant to refer to him as Billionaire Scion Tom Friedman than columnist Tom Friedman, both because that's more descriptive of what he represents, and more important for readers of his work to know so that they know a bit about where he's coming from.

Mind you, I don't think everyone needs to publish their net worth. But Friedman's not everyone. He's not just "doing pretty well" and is not just any old columnist. He's not just a millionaire or a multimillionaire - he's member of one of the wealthiest families in the world...

...I suppose every problem looks like a bad sub-prime mortgage (From the Mustache of Understanding):

Barack Kissinger Obama
Published: October 25, 2011

In his own way, President Obama has brought the country to the right strategy for Bush’s “war on terrorism.” It is a serious, focused combination of global intelligence coordination, targeted killing of known terrorists and limited interventions — like Libya — that leverage popular forces on the ground and allies, as well as a judicious use of U.S. power, so that we keep the costs and risks down. In Libya, Obama saved lives and gave Libyans a chance to build a decent society. What they do with this opportunity is now up to them. I am still wary, but Obama handled his role exceedingly well.

No doubt George Bush and Dick Cheney thought that both Iraq and Afghanistan would be precisely such focused, limited operations. Instead, they each turned out to be like a bad subprime mortgage — a small down payment with a huge balloon five years down the road. They thought they would be able to “flip” the house before the balloon came due. But partly because of their incompetence and lack of planning, it took much longer to flip the house to new owners and the price America paid was huge. Iraq may still have a decent outcome — I hope so, and it would be important — but even if it becomes Switzerland, we overpaid for it.
A bad sub-prime mortgage that everyone who graduated Villager Courtesy Class will now obligingly forget that you, Tom Friedman, were leveraged into up to your fucking Pornstache.

And which you, Tom Friedman, remained leveraged into up to your fucking Pornstache while calling for shoveling ever more blood and treasure -- other people's blood and other people's treasure -- into the maw of Operation Clusterfuck for agonizing one Friedman Unit after another...

The Friedman, or Friedman Unit (F.U.), is a tongue-in-cheek neologism coined by blogger Atrios (Duncan Black) on May 21, 2006.

A Friedman is a unit of time equal to six months in the future. The Huffington Post cited it as the "Best New Phrase" of 2006.

The term is in reference to a May 16, 2006 article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) detailing columnist Thomas Friedman's repeated use[10] of "the next six months" as the period in which, according to Friedman, "we're going to find out...whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. As documented by FAIR, Friedman had been making such six-month predictions for a period of two and a half years, on at least fourteen different occasions, starting with a column in the November 30, 2003 edition of The New York Times, in which he stated: "The next six months in Iraq—which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there—are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time."

...long after it was perfectly clear to the rest of the sentient Universe that you and your Neocon cuddle buddies never had the slightest fucking clue what you were talking about, and were just making shit up to postpone your day of reckoning; that day that managing editors and producers began either throwing you ass-over-Pornstache out the door for daring to show your face in an American news outlet ever again, or at a minimum insisted that every time you tried to sneak a sentence like this
"No doubt George Bush and Dick Cheney thought that both Iraq and Afghanistan would be precisely such focused, limited operations."
into an American news outlet, you be required to change it to
"No doubt George Bush and Dick Cheney and I, Thomas L. Friedman, thought that both Iraq and Afghanistan would be precisely such focused, limited operations."
followed by a solid , three-column wall of 75 point, Railroad font "I am so fucking sorry"'s before permitting it to be published or aired under their masthead.

Well, you needn't have worried, Tom: your day of reckoning never came and will never come.

You are rich beyond the dreams of avarice and in the Mainstream Media, that is all that matters.

Like Jethro Bodine being indulged his every whim and crackpot fantasy

-- from guru to a double naught spy -- because of his uncle's fabulous wealth, no matter how many times you publicly and spectacularly trip over your own dick, your media pals will continue to invite you back onto their teevee shows and into the pages of their publications forever.

Continue allowing you to ramble on like a four-year-old on acid while you pimp your latest heaving mound of terrible prose to clueless American CEOs, who -- because you are rich and will continue to appear on your pals' teevee shows forever -- will continue to look to you to explain to them in keening bursts of lobotomizingly-bad metaphors that Technology is Good, Innovation is Important, Centrism is Awesome and a laundry list of other things are either as completely ass-end-up wrong as your "Suck On This" foreign policy, or were obvious to everyone else 20 years ago.

(Mr. Friedman might have had more to say after those two paragraphs, but after allowing them into my head, my optic nerves went on a wildcat strike and refused admittance to any more of The Stupid. My vision slid harmlessly down the rest to the page like olive oil down a glass mountain...

...until it slammed into Mr. Friedman's final, fetid sentence:

"So, Mama, tell your children not to grow up to be secretary of state or a foreign policy president — not until others have done more nation-building abroad and we’ve done more nation-building at home.

At which point I staggered -- stiff-legged, glassy-eyed and stone-tongued -- away from the computer, mourned silently that such a gargantuan pit of bromide assfoam as Tom Friedman was allowed anywhere near the language of Shakespeare, and did not regain the power of speech until I had rinsed out my head with some Raymond Carver.)


If you fire a Portal gun through the door of the wardrobe, space and time knot together, which leads to a frustrated Aslan trying to impart Christian morality to the Space sphere.

Over before it began—- the jobs bill gambit

That didn't take long. Following up on my post from this morning, I see they've already capitulated:

Republicans just won a round of jousting over President Obama’s jobs bill.

President Obama supports passage of House GOP legislation that would eliminate a tax compliance rule affecting big government contractors and pay for it by limiting Medicaid eligibility, the White House announced Tuesday.

You can read about the legislation — contained in two separate bills — here. Republicans crafted the legislation by pairing two conservative measures the White House proposed as part of their jobs and deficit reduction proposals. That in effect boxed Democrats in, despite its questionable implications for economic growth, and a pay-for that scales back Medicaid, instead of increasing taxes on wealthy Americans.

The administration announced its support in terse statements of official policy, which makes it more likely that Democrats will back it in the Senate. That would give the GOP cover to claim they’re working productively and seeking common ground to pass elements of President Obama’s jobs bill.

What, at this point, is the rationale of the Democratic Party? We'll kill terrorists twice as hard and only slash the safety net half as much? We'll pass the Republican agenda so they don't have to?

So here's what's happened so far. The President put forth a jobs bill, which didn't make it through the congress, as expected. This jobs bill was highly touted as containing "ideas" that Republicans had proposed in the past and therefore, it should have "something for everyone." Needless to say, the GOP wasn't interested in any one from column A and one from column B negotiating. After the defeat of the big jobs package, the Democrats announced they were going to propose popular pieces of the bill and force the Republicans to prove once and for all that they don't care about the plight of the average American as they join together in Scrooglike conformity.

Unfortunately, the Republicans decided not to play (surprise!) and are instead proposing their own combinations of the most toxic conservative elements of the President's bill and the President is apparently signing on, thus signing into law a terrible GOP policy while simultaneously giving them a "bipartisan" win.

I'm not sure what the President hopes to gain by proposing and then signing deeply unpopular GOP legislation, but that appears to be the plan.


Team Cain Lines up Old Pro

To handle that pesky Romney problem.

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