Mon 31 Jan 2011
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Mon 31 Jan 2011
A few weeks ago a college graduate in Tunis (the capital of Tunisia) tried to sell fruit (as a last resort) but was harassed by the local (corrupt) police* because he didn’t have the required official fruit-selling permit. The guy, incredibly frustrated at his inability to eke out any existence at all, set himself on fire and died. This act is called self immolation, which term NPR has used 117 times because there are rarely any occasions to drop a neat-o word like that. That fiery act of protest made a lot of people crazy because Tunisia, like most Arab countries, is/was run by a entrenched, depraved oligarchy. In this particular case, the president’s wife’s family was unusually fat and lazy and had been plundering that nation’s coffers for the better part of three decades. The Tunisian people revolted and overthrew the government. The previously ruling scumbags fled to Saudi Arabia where they were granted refuge, obviously.
Then the citizens of Egypt got to thinking about their own sorry state and a few hundred thousand of them rose up and have been burning and pillaging Cairo the last few days. Hosni Mubarak– the Egyptian president (for now)– has been the president of Egypt for so long, it’s written into Egyptian law that he’ll be the president FOREVER. That makes him a dictator, and as you know from the Manual of Dictatorship, potentates aren’t keen on public opinion or civil rights or due process. Mubarak is trying to calm things down by appointing a vice president that people like. That tactic probably won’t work. To add more drama to the mix, the United States is in a tight spot because, while Mubarak is a d-bag, he is a USA-friendly d-bag.
Who’s next? Probably Syria. Then Iran.
We haven’t even begun talking about the real powder keg– North Korea, or why the South Koreans are really, really stupid. And speaking of stupid: note to Egyptian rioters: looting your own National Museum in Cairo is nit-witted. Stop it. What good is a smashed mummy?
* Is “corrupt police” redundant?
Sat 29 Jan 2011
A wildly unpopular venue with the posh Sundance crowd is the LDS 24 Hour Film Festival. Thursday’s screening was crowed and dark, so I’m not sure if Angelina Jolie was there (to see my film), but she probably was. Groupies. Yes, I made an acclaimed zombie film last year. Sure, it won all sorts of awards (2) and received literally dozens of Youtube views. I try to not let it go to my head. UNTIL, at this year’s festival another film paid homage to our film. Amazing. Afterward we were attacked on the red carpet by the Provo paparazzi. “Trend-Setter! Artist! Visionary!”, they might have yelled.
There’s even talk of making Zombies are Forever into a feature length film by slowing down the frame rate to stretch it to 3 hours. That’s ridiculous and offensive to zombies. It’s hard to be a b-movie celebrity.
Wed 26 Jan 2011
Just released test scores show more than two-thirds of students failed proficiency in core science topics, with a high proportion failing to reach even a basic level. The figures come from the National Assessment of Educational Assessment Progress – “The Nation’s Report Card.” Among eighth-graders, 27% failed to reach basic, only 32% reached proficient, and a scant 2% tested at an advanced level.
We can’t have a horde of science-weak imbeciles running amok, so I am taking it on myself as an American Fork High School Science Sterling Scholar to teach you all 8th grade science as defined by the UEN. Gather your dumb kids around. Let’s begin.
- With chemical and physical changes, the total amount of matter and energy remains the same; this is the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. Remember that.
- In a chemical change, the atoms (like Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen) do not change, they are simply recombined into new arrangements.
- Photosynthesis is when light energy is captured in green plant cells and used make a kind of sugar and oxygen from carbon dioxide gas and water. That sugar and oxygen is then used to make a fuel called ATP.
- Energy is classified as either kinetic (moving) or potential (stored) energy.
- Listen up! Gravity has nothing to do with us sticking to the earth because it’s spinning. Gravity is a force that all objects exert on all other objects. Bigger and closer objects have greater gravitational pulls. This force is difficult to measure unless one of the objects has a very large mass. Gravity on people is less on the moon than the earth because the moon has less mass than the earth. Like it or not, you are physically attracted to fatter people than you are to skinnier people. You are REALLY attracted to nearby fat people…
- Xenu is a galactic ruler who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together and stuck to the bodies of the living.
That’s part I. Stay tuned for part II.
Tue 25 Jan 2011
Michael Crichton is dead. I think enough time has passed (3 years) for a bit of a smack down. What was it about Jurassic Park that was so frightening? Velociraptors, of course! And what do Velociraptors look like? Well, they’re about 9 feet tall, with huge teeth and massive 3 pronged claws, right? And they’re clever and super fast– Velocity is build right into the name. And Raptor– that sounds deadly. We should all be afraid of Velociraptors. RUN!
Except, real Velociraptors were much smaller–about the size of a smallish dog. They only weighed up to 30 pounds. They had but a single claw and were covered in feathers. Bow wow!
Where are our mean, pack-hunting, door-opening, huge-leaping, angry dinosaurs?!?
Allow me to introduce you to the Deinonychus. It is an 11 foot long, 160 pound flesh-eating machine. It’s what Jurassic Park’s Velociraptors looked like. “Deinonychus possessed large hands (manus) with three claws on each forelimb. The first digit was shortest and the second was longest. Each hind foot bore a sickle-shaped claw on the second digit, which was probably used during predation.“(wikipedia) Regrettably, Deinonychus has an incredibly sucky name.
So now you know. Run! The Deinonychuses are coming!
Tue 25 Jan 2011
This adorable note from a kid named Noah arrived in the mail at a PBS television station today. It’s an awesome letter and a bunch of people are coming together to create a custom super hero comic book for Noah. See, the world isn’t such a bad place after all.
Mon 24 Jan 2011
This is not what my home office looks like, but I wish it did…
Sun 23 Jan 2011
Did I manage to best all 21 Bubble Ball* levels in only 15 minutes?!? Yes. Could I have completed this incomparable feat even faster if I weren’t also trying to listen to Sacrament meeting? Yes. Does that make me the GREATEST VIDEO GAMER OF ALL TIME? Indisputably.
How was your Sunday morning?
* Bubble Ball is an insignificant iPhone game nowhere near the awesomeness of Angry Birds. Said game was cobbled together by a so-called precocious teenager and his overbearing mother.
Sat 22 Jan 2011
Sat 22 Jan 2011
Recently we went desert shooting to eliminate some expired food storage (gotta rotate!) My brother’s friend inexplicably brought along his two very young kids. It was an unpleasant wintery cold day, so they were both bundled up in snowsuits. Neither appeared particularly impressed with the adventure given the frigid conditions. One of the boys, in particular, shown below, stood about about like an ewok with a scowl on his face. Simply hilarious.