Shared posts

04 Sep 18:48

What makes a “gate” a “gate”?

by Bryan

Last year we hired a company to build us some additional fencing in our yard.  Nothing fancy, really.  Just a few straight lines to make a dog run area, and a couple gates to move around.  Pretty boring stuff, really.

APremierGateBut the company in question did something so astoundingly strange — so straight up… bizarre — I just had to share it.

What you see on the right is a picture of one of the “gates” that they built for me.

I know this is supposed to be a gate because it has that diagonal piece of wood on it.  Also because they told me it was a gate.

Note the absence of some of the defining characteristics of a gate.  Namely:

1) Hinges to allow it to open.  … like a gate.

2) The wood being cut in such a way that opening it would be possible without a chainsaw.  … like a gate.

3) Actually being, you know, a gate.

But, hey, who am I to judge?  There is, after all, a big diagonal beam nailed to the fence.  Surely that must turn it into a gate.

If any of you could look at the picture (click it for the bigger version) and figure out how to open this “gate”, please let me know.  I have a yard behind there that I currently have to scale the fence to get to.

And, as awesome as Parkour is, sometimes I like to be lazy and not need to leap 6 feet into the air to get to my side-yard (which is now totally inaccessible from the rest of my yard).

Side note: The fence company that built this “gate”, on our quaint little home north of Seattle, has threatened me with legal action if I tell people about their work — and they refuse to “gate-i-fy” it.  So I am going to leave their name out.  Suffice to say that this company promotes themselves as being quite “premier”.  One could almost say that they would consider themselves to be a very “premier fence company”.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go nail a diagonal piece of wood to my car and tell everyone that it’s a gate.  Then I’m going to threaten anyone who calls it a car with legal action.  Oooh, I could also try that with a pizza.

Pizza + Diagonal Board = Gate

That’s actually a rather fun game.  What would you nail a diagonal board to in order to magically turn it into a gate?

11 Sep 09:57

My friend said this today...

11 Sep 23:37

Obscure Colour Words

albicant: whitish; becoming white
amaranthine: immortal; undying; deep purple-red colour
aubergine: eggplant; a dark purple colour
azure: light or sky blue; the heraldic colour blue
celadon: pale green; pale green glazed pottery
cerulean: sky-blue; dark blue; sea-green
chartreuse: yellow-green colour
cinnabar: red crystalline mercuric sulfide pigment; deep red or scarlet colour
citrine: dark greenish-yellow
eburnean: of or like ivory; ivory-coloured
erythraean: reddish colour
flavescent: yellowish or turning yellow
greige: of a grey-beige colour
haematic: blood coloured
heliotrope: purplish hue; purplish-flowered plant; ancient sundial; signalling mirror
hoary: pale silver-grey colour; grey with age
isabelline: greyish yellow
jacinthe: orange colour
kermes: brilliant red colour; a red dye derived from insects
lovat: grey-green; blue-green
madder: red dye made from brazil wood; a reddish or red-orange colour
mauve: light bluish purple
mazarine: rich blue or reddish-blue colour
russet: reddish brown
sable: black; dark; of a black colour in heraldry
saffron: orange-yellow
sarcoline: flesh-coloured
smaragdine: emerald green
tilleul: pale yellowish-green
titian: red-gold, reddish brown
un bémol: madder ( garance) colour is made with madder, a root. vermilion: bright red
virid: green
viridian: chrome green
xanthic: yellow
zinnober: chrome green
12 Sep 04:30


12 Sep 20:50

Cota By Ossia Aims To Drive A Wireless Power Revolution And Change How We Think About Charging

by admin


Wireless power. It’s less sci-fi sounding than it once was, thanks to induction charging like that based on the Qi standard, but that’s still a tech that essentially requires contact, if not incredibly close proximity. Magnetic resonance is another means to achieve wireless power, and perfect for much higher-demand applications, like charging cars. But there’s been very little work done in terms of building a solution that can power your everyday devices in a way that doesn’t require thought or changing the way we use our devices dramatically.

Cota By Ossia Aims To Drive A Wireless Power Revolution And Change How We Think About Charging - [Link]

11 Sep 11:45

How Antidepressants Affect Selfhood, Teenage Sexuality, and Our Quest for Personal Identity

by Maria Popova

“Though antidepressants are effective at managing negative emotions, they don’t in themselves provide the sense of meaning and direction that a person equally needs in order to find her way in life.”

“Great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them,” Anaïs Nin famously wrote. But what if it doesn’t balance out? What if the emotional excess, believed to be essential to creativity, was of the negative and crippling kind? One need only look at such tragic heroes as Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, Marilyn Monroe, and Kurt Cobain to grasp the gravity of the proposition. And yet we remain ever so culturally ambivalent about alleviating the anguish of mental illness with the same arsenal we use against physical pain: drugs.

In Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are (public library), Katherine Sharpe explores the heart of this ambivalence through an intersection of her own experience, conversation with medical and psychiatric experts, and in-depth interviews with forty young adults who grew up on psychopharmaceuticals. Having spent a fair portion of my own life on antidepressants, and having recently resumed treatment, I was instantly fascinated, both as an observer of culture and a living sample size of one.

Sharpe begins with an anecdote from her college days, in which she and her six roommates arrived at the accidental and highly self-conscious realization that each one of them was, or had been, on one form of psychoactive drug or another — an incident emblematic of the pervasive and profound cultural pattern at the heart of Sharpe’s book. She writes:

It is strange, as a young person, to realize that you have lived through something that can be considered a real historical change, but that’s exactly what we had done. When I was a child, in the early 1980s, taking psychiatric medication was decidedly a fringe phenomenon. Prozac came onto the market in 1987, the year I was eight. The first member of a family of drugs called SSRIs (for “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors”), it quickly became the leading edge of a psychopharmaceutical revolution. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Americans grew ever more likely to reach for a pill to address a wide variety of mental and emotional problems. We also became more likely to think of those problems as a kind of disease, manifestations of an innate biochemical imbalance. Depression, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and the like went from being strange clinical terms or scrupulously hidden secrets to constituting acceptable topics of cocktail party conversation — talk that was often followed up by chatter about the new miracle drugs for despair.

Artwork by Bobby Baker from 'Drawing Mental Illness.' Click image for more.

But more than a mere statistically swelling phenomenon — less than two decades after the introduction of Prozac, SSRIs had outpaced blood pressure medication to become America’s favorite class of drugs, popped by about 10% of the nation — Sharpe points out a troubling corollary: In permeating everyday life so profoundly, antidepressants also embedded themselves in youth, with an ever-growing number of teenagers taking psychopharmaceuticals to abate depression, ADHD, and other mental health issues. And while relief from the debilitating and often deadly effects of adolescent depression is undoubtedly preferable over the alternative, it comes with a dark side: Antidepressants confuse our ability to tell our “true self” from the symptoms of the disease, and from the effects of the medication, at a time when the search for selfhood and the construction of personal identity are at their most critical and formative stages. And given the teenage brain responds so differently to life than the adult’s, the implications are even more uneasy:

Rightly or wrongly, antidepressants command powerful emotions; they can lead people to examine their deepest assumptions about themselves and the world.


The notion that depression distorts the true self and that antidepressants merely restore what was there all along has often been invoked against the fear that by taking antidepressants, we might somehow be betraying our true natures. But that belief in particular is one that people who start medication young cannot fall back on. Worries about how antidepressants might affect the self are greatly magnified for people who begin using them in adolescence, before they’ve developed a stable, adult sense of self. Lacking a reliable conception of what it is to feel “like themselves,” young people have no way to gauge the effects of the drugs on their developing personalities. Searching for identity — asking “Who am I?” and combing the inner and outer worlds for an answer that seems to fit — is the main developmental task of the teenage years. And for some young adults, the idea of taking a medication that could frustrate that search can become a discouraging, painful preoccupation.

She relays her own experience:

When I first began to use Zoloft, my inability to pick apart my “real” thoughts and emotions from those imparted by the drug made me feel bereft. The trouble seemed to have everything to do with being young. I was conscious of needing to figure out my own interests and point myself in a direction in the world, and the fact of being on medication seemed frighteningly to compound the possibilities for error. How could I ever find my way in life if I didn’t even know which feelings were mine?

This inner torment makes perfect, if tragic, sense in the context of developmental psychology, the commonly accepted credo of which is that establishing an identity is adolescents’ primary developmental task. When that process is disrupted by folding in the effects of medication, or the adopted inner storytelling that mental illness renders one somehow handicapped or fundamentally flawed, the consequences can be serious and far-reaching:

Though antidepressants are effective at managing negative emotions, they don’t in themselves provide the sense of meaning and direction that a person equally needs in order to find her way in life.

And even though modern psychology does away with the notion of the immutable self — something Nin herself so eloquently articulated more than half a century ago — Sharpe reminds us that despite what we may rationally believe about our scientific selves, we hang on to the romantic ideal of their metaphysical manifestation with emotional fervor:

For the last twenty years, the dominant academic theories of personhood have focused not on the idea of essence but on performance and changefulness, the sense that we don and doff identities at will as we move through our lives. Intellectually, we all know that the true self is more of a metaphor than a literal reality — we don’t really believe that there is some perfectly realized version of each of us hovering out there, just waiting to be discovered like a vein of gold.

But no matter how well we understand the academic critique of the essential self, or how much we feel disposed to dismiss “Who am I?” … most of us still want to feel, in some way, like ourselves. We may never achieve the highly concrete answer to the question of who we are that we first imagine possible as a young teenager — but a notional sense of self is something that we rely on from day to day. … A feeling of authenticity is, admittedly, an intangible thing to lose — but in a society that still prizes a notion of authentic selfhood, however problematic, it can be a significant one.

Artwork by James Thurber from 'Is Sex Necessary?' Click image for more.

Among the facets of selfhood most deeply affected by adolescents’ and young adults’ use of antidepressants, Sharpe notes, is that of sexuality. Every SSRI warning label cautions that the drug might — meaning, to decode the big-pharma-euphemism here, most likely will — produce “sexual side effects” ranging from loss of interest in sex to performance difficulty to inability to reach orgasm. For teenagers, most of whom are only just beginning to experiment with and understand their sexuality — whether parents approve of not — the repercussions can have an additional layer of gravity over the frustration these “sexual side effects” present for adults:

Just as teens don’t have a sense of their baseline adult personality with which to judge whether and how antidepressants may be affecting them, teens also lack a baseline impression of their own sexuality. Adults who are familiar with their own sexual norms will have an easy time knowing when those norms have been upset. But for adolescents who are just growing into their sexuality, the picture can be more mysterious. … Because SSRIs influence not just performance but also a person’s thoughts and desires, these side effects are relevant for teens who aren’t having sex as well as for those who are.

Artwork from 'An ABZ of Love.' Click image for more.

Coming of Age on Zoloft is fantastic and pause-giving its entirety, embodying the rare bravery of asking important, complex questions in a society that fetishizes simplistic, sensationalistic answers. In a culture where just about the most embarrassing thing is not to have an opinion, Sharpe invites us to form one that is truly our own, however inconclusive and full of what Keats called “negative capability,” rather than a borrowed one that is easier to don but devoid of true understanding. Sharpe herself puts it beautifully:

This book won’t settle those debates, but it does speak to them. Twenty-five years after the introduction of Prozac, we are still collectively attempting to figure out what an appropriate use of medication would look like, in our culture and in our individual lives. We are trying to figure out what our sadness and pain mean — if they mean anything at all — and when they attain the status of illness. We’re trying to figure out when to turn to pills, when to go another route, and how we might be able to tell. … Good answers to the big questions about medication are likely to proceed from careful attention to the actual experiences of the people who have faced them.

For more on how psychoactive drugs affect the romantic and sexual lives of adults, see biological anthropologist Helen Fisher’s excellent analysis of the neurochemistry of desire and SSRIs.

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09 Sep 19:20

Zimmerman arrested for allegedly threatening wife with gun

by Arturo Garcia

Police in Lake Mary, Florida, arrested George Zimmerman Monday afternoon after being notified by his wife that he was allegedly threatening her and her father with a gun.

WKMG-TV reported that police were called to the home of Shellie Zimmerman’s parents, David and Machelle Dean, and were investigating the incident.

Shellie Zimmerman’s lawyer announced on Thursday that she had filed for divorce, and she told ABC News in an interview that he had been behaving recklessly since being found not guilty of murder in June 2013 after shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.

“I have a selfish husband,” Shellie Zimmerman told ABC. “And I think George is all about George.”

[Image via Fox News]

10 Sep 01:07

Umm... what? (x-post r/wtf)

06 Sep 22:30

The Scientific Method (Poster)

by Byron

Here are a couple of posters that summarize my ideas on the scientific method. Please feel free to download them and put on your wall. As the first poster shows, the scientific method is indeed simple.

scientific method poster

PDF for the first poster available here.


PDF for the second poster available here.

To receive a notice of future posts follow me on Twitter: @musquod.


06 Sep 23:40

"It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually..."

“It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents.”

- Arthur Schopenhaur mocks your intellectual pretensions 
07 Sep 12:37

Kid is going places

07 Sep 19:13

be Tim.

be Tim.

08 Sep 06:35

Neuroscientists find secrets of ‘sex on the brain’

by Tracy McVeigh, The Observer

Survey asks men and women to rank parts of the body by pleasure – and some of the results prove surprising

The mind, said Raquel Welch, is an erogenous zone. And it is the brain, and how it organises our erogenous zones, that has intrigued scientists for decades. Why is a nuzzled neck sexy when few would be turned on by a nuzzled nose? And why do men seem to have fewer erogenous zones than women? A new study has measured just how erotic our body bits are – and there are a few surprises for neuroscientists.

The research, a joint project between two British universities and one in South Africa, is billed as the first “systematic survey of the magnitude of erotic sensations from various body parts”.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that feet were not considered sexually attractive by the 800 people, mostly from Britain and sub-Saharan Africa, who took part in the study.

Three quarters gave their feet the lowest, zero rating – alongside knee caps – which might disappoint those who have invested time and energy in developing their foot massage or toe-sucking techniques.

The fact that people consistently placed feet so low on their rankings of sensitive areas seems to completely undermine previous explanations for the distribution of our erogenous zones, which have suggested that the sensors in our brain that deal with the feet were right next to the sensors in charge of our genitalia.

Another surprise was the consistency of responses. “A lot of people assume that women’s bodies are just full of erogenous zones and that men have only one, the obvious one,” said Professor Oliver Turnbull of Bangor University’s School of Psychology, who led the study and worked alongside scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

“But this is clearly not the case,” said Turnbull. “It’s pretty equal, with just perhaps a modest advantage to women – but certainly nothing like the way the sex differences have been so hugely exaggerated.”

The scientists were also surprised to see that there were “remarkable levels of correlation” between the ratings for all the people who responded, no matter their age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or race. Men and women listed the 41 body parts they were asked to rate in remarkably similar order. The obvious bits of genitalia were at the top of the rankings, as were lips, ears and inner thighs, followed closely by shoulder blades.

There were a few major differences between the sexes – the back of the leg was barely acknowledged by women, for instance, while men rated it as important as their ears. Hands were also more erotic for men than for women, researchers found.

“We have discovered from this that we all share the same erogenous zones in at least two very different continents, whether we are a white, middle-aged, middle-class woman sitting in a London office or a gay man living in a village in Africa. It suggests it is hardwired, built in, not based on cultural or life experience,” said Turnbull.

This is in stark contrast to earlier theories, among them that of the neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran who first suggested that feet are sexy because of the neighbouring sensors in the cortex, though he made a crucial error in mistaking a fetish – “where one enjoys looking at high heels and stockings, etc”, said Turnbull – with an erogenous zone. “He may have made a mistake between touch and looking at things.”

The central issue is not so much where the erogenous zones are, but why non-genital ones are erogenous.

“The Cosmopolitan magazines of this world have been running half-baked surveys on this for years and years,” said Turnbull. “But we wanted to look at the question of why the side of the neck is interesting if nibbled but not the forehead or head, when both have the same sensory receptors.”

This study would seem to suggest that there is a completely different part of the brain controlling our saucy spots, he said.

“I think there is a good argument for it being the insula [cortex], although there are a few ethical issues in trying to take the next step and measure that, as it obviously means that someone has to be stroking someone else whilst the brain is monitored.

“It is interesting, though. A lot of people think that science shouldn’t be looking at such things, but if it’s something that human beings are interested in – and we clearly are around sex and intimacy – then it’s something scientists should study,” Turnball added. Neuroscientists, he said, had already come up with the optimal speed to stroke human skin (5cm per second if you wish to test it out at home).

So even if many can be accused of having sex on the brain, it’s unlikely we have it in our cerebral cortex.

The full report appears in the neuroscientific journal Cortex © Guardian News and Media 2013


[Young couple making love in bed. Focus on hand via]

09 Sep 00:01

An Albino Humpback Whale.

08 Sep 15:28

Can't see the trees for the forest

by Lance Mannion

Boston Globe caption on the image above: "Across New England, areas like the Swift River Valley (above, left, in the 1880s and in 2010) in Petersham have seen their forests, once cut down and cleared for farmland, replenished in the 21st century." Photos courtesy Harvard University and David Foster via the Globe.

From the Boston Globe:

A wilderness comeback is underway across New England, one that has happened so incrementally that it’s easy to miss.

But step back and the evidence is overwhelming.

Today, 80 percent of New England is covered by forest or thick woods. That is a far cry from the mere 30 to 40 percent that remained forested in most parts of the region in the mid-1800s, after early waves of settlers got done with their vast logging, farming, and leveling operations.

According to Harvard research, New England is now the most heavily forested region in the United States — a recovery that the great naturalist Henry David Thoreau once thought impossible.

I know this is true. I've seen it with my own eyes. I've been watching it happening ever since I realized that Thoreau's description of Cape Cod didn't match the Cape Cod I knew in one important way. 

As for the interior, if the elevated sand-bar in the midst of the ocean can be said to have any interior, it was an exceedingly desolate landscape, with rarely a cultivated or cultivable field in sight. We saw no villages, and seldom a house, for these are generally on the Bay side. It was a succession of shrubby hills and valleys, now wearing an autumnal tint. You would frequently think, from the character of the surface, the dwarfish trees, and the bearberries around, that you were on the top of a mountain. The only wood in Eastham was on the edge of Wellfleet. The pitch-pines were not commonly more than fifteen or eighteen feet high. The larger ones were covered with lichens, — often hung with the long gray Usnea. There is scarcely a white-pine on the forearm of the Cape. Yet in the northwest part of Eastham, near the Camp Ground, we saw, the next summer, some quite rural, and even sylvan retreats, for the Cape, where small rustling groves of oaks and locusts and whispering pines, on perfectly level ground, made a little paradise. The locusts, both transplanted and growing naturally about the houses there, appeared to flourish better than any other tree. There were thin belts of wood in Wellfleet and Truro, a mile or more from the Atlantic, but, for the most part, we could see the horizon through them, or, if extensive, the trees were not large. Both oaks and pines had often the same flat look with the apple-trees. Commonly, the oak woods twenty-five years old were a mere scraggy shrubbery nine or ten feet high, and we could frequently reach to their topmost leaf. Much that is called "woods" was about half as high as this, — only patches of shrub-oak, bayberry, beach-plum, and wild roses, overrun with woodbine. When the roses were in bloom, these patches in the midst of the sand displayed such a profusion of blossoms, mingled with the aroma of the bay berry, that no Italian or other artificial rose-garden could equal them. They were perfectly Elysian, and realized my idea of an oasis in the desert. Huckleberry-bushes were very abundant, and the next summer they bore a remarkable quantity of that kind of gall called Huckleberry-apple, forming quite handsome though monstrous blossoms. But it must be added, that this shrubbery swarmed with wood-ticks, sometimes very troublesome parasites, and which it takes very horny fingers to crack.

The inhabitants of these towns have a great regard for a tree, though their standard for one is necessarily neither large nor high; and when they tell you of the large trees that once grew here, you must think of them, not as absolutely large, but large compared with the present generation. Their "brave old oaks," of which they speak with so much respect, and which they will point out to you as relics of the primitive forest, one hundred or one hundred and fifty, ay, for aught they know, two hundred years old, have a ridiculously dwarfish appearance, which excites a smile in the beholder. The largest and most venerable which they will show you in such a case are, perhaps, not more than twenty or twenty-five feet high. I was especially amused by the Liliputian old oaks in the south part of Truro. To the inexperienced eye, which appreciated their proportions only, they might appear vast as the tree which saved his royal majesty, but measured, they were dwarfed at once almost into lichens which a deer might eat up in a morning. Yet they will tell you that large schooners were once built of timber which grew in Wellfleet. The old houses also are built of the timber of the Cape; but instead of the forests in the midst of which they originally stood, barren heaths, with poverty-grass for heather, now stretch away on every side.

That woods on the edge of Eastham and Wellfleet now spreads south at least as far as Hyannis where it's unfortunately interrupted by Mall Land and Big Box Store-ville. Eastham is a shady town as is Orleans below it and Chatham below that and Harwich to the east of Chatham and Brewster to Chatham's northeast.  There are stretches where you can't see the trees for the forests, can't see the ocean for the trees.  The "exceedingly desolate" Cape landscape---the sand and scrub land---Thoreau described is mostly confined to areas just in behind the dunes on the ocean side of the Lower Cape.

Be nice if this would start happening in Brazil and China as well as Massachusetts.  Anyway, you should read Colin Nickerson's whole story, These woods are lovely, dark, and back, in the Globe.

Meanwhile, a couple of pictures from our Cape Cod trip of 2009.

We were hiking through a beech---beech not beach---woods on land owned by the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster.

Thoreau would have been pleased. And maybe a little amazed.

08 Sep 20:16

"It offends me both as a librarian and a pervert."

“It offends me both as a librarian and a pervert.”

- best comment on 50 Shades of Grey that I’ve heard so far  (via sourirefugace)
07 Sep 18:27

Trotternish Ridge, Isle of Skye [1000×665] by Jamie Fox

06 Sep 20:22

KineSpring: Shock Absorbing Implant Reduces Joint Stress in Active Patients (VIDEO)

by Yona Gidalevitz

KineSpring KineSpring: Shock Absorbing Implant Reduces Joint Stress in Active Patients (VIDEO)Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and is caused by wear and tear of protective joint cartilage over time. While there is no currently known cure for OA, there are several treatment options available to patients. Among them is Moximed‘s newly developed implant designed to relieve excess load on the afflicted joint. While the California-based company’s KineSpring Knee Implant System is currently only designed as a knee implant, the technology could be adapted for other commonly afflicted joints in the future. The procedure is designed to be the first step in invasive OA treatment, as it does not alter the anatomy of a patient. On the contrary, the KineSpring system can prolong the usefulness of an afflicted joint and delaying the need for knee replacement surgery.

At the core of the technology is a spring loaded system designed to function alongside the existing knee anatomy. According to Moximed’s website, “As the knee extends, the spring compresses and absorbs joint overload. As the knee flexes, the spring relaxes and becomes passive.” The procedure is fully reversible, and largely noninvasive, making it a particularly attractive option for physically active OA patients. Although this technology is designed to be an option for OA patients, it is not designed to be a permanent solution. It is intended to put off invasive surgery for as long as possible, however eventually it is intended to be removed.

Product Page: KineSpring Knee Implant System: A First Surgical Option…

Read more: Shock absorbers for the human body? Implant could help active patients avoid total knee replacements longer…

07 Sep 17:13

Pat Robertson threatens documentary team over film that says his Africa charity is a fraud

by David Ferguson

Christian televangelist Pat Robertson is threatening legal action against a Canadian documentary team over their film alleging that Robertson used a bogus charity as a supply line for his diamond mining business in Africa. Right Wing Watch reported Friday that Robertson and the Christian Broadcasting Network are threatening to sue Lara Zizic and David Turner, whose film “Mission Congo” is set to premiere this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival.

“Mission Congo,” according to the Guardian, details how Robertson reportedly used aid money donated to his foreign ministry program Operation Blessing International to provide mining equipment and other services to his diamond-mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Robertson also used images of doctors and tents provided by the international medical aid group Médecins sans Frontières (MSF aka “Doctors Without Borders”) to promote Operation Blessing, saying that his group had provided the tents and the doctors and that donor money from his Christian empire was the main source of aid to the war-torn region.

Operation Blessing, says the film, still pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, money that Robertson is using to enrich himself and his family. The film contains damning testimony from former Operation Blessing workers, who say that humanitarian mission flights were routinely diverted hundreds of miles off course to deliver mining equipment and other supplies to Robertson’s diamond mining operation in Kamonia.

Jessie Potts, the operations manager for Robertson in Goma, Congo in 1994, told the filmmakers that when Operation Blessing did provide medicines to the thousands of refugees who had streamed from Rwanda into Zaire, it wasn’t the right kind. Medics needed drugs to fight the cholera epidemic which was spreading like a killer wildfire through the refugee population.

“We got a lot of Tylenol” instead, he said. “Too much. I never did understand that. We got enough Tylenol to supply all of Zaire. God, I never saw as much in my life.”

Then, late in 1994, said Potts, the medical supply flights stopped coming altogether. A former pilot told the documentary team that he was told to stop hauling medicine and start hauling mining supplies.

“They began asking me: can we haul a thousand-pound dredge over? I didn’t know what the dredging deal was about,” said pilot Robert Hinkle. “Mission after mission was always just getting eight-inch dredgers, six-inch dredgers…and food supplies, quads, jeeps, out to the diamond dredging operation outside of Kamonia.”

A dredger is a piece of equipment used to remove diamonds from riverbeds. The flights were ordered and paid for by the African Development Company, a Robertson-owned firm based in Bermuda.

The documentary controversy comes fresh on the heels of a recent gross misstep by Robertson, who said in a broadcast of his “700 Club” program that gay men infected with AIDS were “special rings” that cut people and infect them with HIV. CBN scrubbed the video from its website within hours of the show’s broadcast and has aggressively lobbied YouTube and Daily Motion to remove the video on the grounds of supposed copyright infringement.

04 Sep 10:14

I heard somebody posted the spider anatomy picture again. Here, I'll give you guys this to take it off your mind again. The proper anatomy of a goat.

05 Sep 19:37


Cary Renquist

I remember when I was a little kid there was a rumor that a certain bubblegum (?Bubble Yum?) had spider eggs in it...

01 Sep 22:05

tastefullyoffensive: [@thatramosgirl]

01 Sep 23:00

Stay Fit By Scrolling Web Pages with a Treadmill

by Shep McAllister

If walking at a treadmill desk seems a little too boring or repetitive, you can try hacking the treadmill to scroll web pages.



30 Aug 05:10

The things you find on Craigslist.

28 Aug 17:21

(via National Flags Created From the Foods Each Country Is...

(via National Flags Created From the Foods Each Country Is Commonly Associated With)

I continue to use my food lens when looking for posts. These flags from Australian advertising agency WHYBIN\TBWAT were created to promote the Sydney International Food Festival. The flags use foods native to each nation: basil, pasta and tomatoes on Italy’s flag, Kalamata olives and feta cheese for Greece, tuna and rice for Japan. (That’s France with cheese and grapes.)

28 Aug 18:21

You Better Run... Fast...

26 Aug 03:23

Russian professor thinks the U.S. will break up into these four...

Russian professor thinks the U.S. will break up into these four countries, PraxisLD:

19 Aug 18:21

My wife just called me at work and said, "Um, you'd better look at your shoes..."

Cary Renquist

Been there, done that... a couple of times.

21 Aug 00:09

When Irish eyes are smiling...

23 Aug 21:39

Mark McEvoy, Five words