Well we come to all hallows eve, and after surviving what little remains of the evolutionary process of tricking and treating, may look forward to the banishment of the inflatable jack-o-lantern, ghost, whatever lawn uglinesses for thanksgiving or christmas inflatable lawn uglinesses. While FD SCP and I do not indulge in this quintessential American pastime extensively, I shall replace the nonexistent halloween ornamentation – none since the halloween when I placed a pressure sensitive door mat in front of our house, said doormat connected to a audio system stocked with appropriate haunted house noises, and we became what appears to be a permanent non-stop on the candy circuit – with our now aging cast iron wire frame toy soldiers, ~ 1.5 meter tall, hand wired with lights before the practice became a custom and a market, on the front porch and program the computer to turn the lights on during the appropriate hours.
Nonetheless, the traditional media seems to be unwilling to give up the nonsense prematurely and presents us this morning with all manner of haunted and haunting articles.
The first to my attention is an article that physicists at U Waterloo have challenged the existence of dark matter with a modified form of gravity based on generalization and elaboration of Einstein’s original relativity theory. [Link] The scary part of this is that lacking dark matter there is again no bulwark from the idea that the universe will just keep expanding until all order is dissipated.
Perhaps in recognition of this ultimate futility of any political, nay, human, system, the Pew people [Link] report that 0.45 of the population of the Yankee republic think that the government serves the public interest. A fraction of 0.52 says that the Yankee government does not serve the public interest. It is not stated what the other 0.03 are, perhaps those who want to abolish the Yankee government and establish a democracy?
One may ask what is scary about this? Obviously, the answer is the upcoming presidential elections. Given the rigidity of the connection between government and political organization, this disquietude seems almost certain to deepen regardless of the outcome of the elections.
And on the matter of disquietude, the recording fascists are at it again, this time portraying the controversial dixie chickens as black shirts. [Link] The scary thing about this? It’s the revelation that in most of these litigations the accused are not present. Is this some new form of Star Chamber where trials and verdicts are determined with the accused in absentia, unaware of the business until the executioner shows up on the door step? Wasn’t this one of the reasons for the English coming to one of their rare periods of sanity and executing a king?
On a lighter note, the WIRED folks have an article on what you can do with lasers, [Link] including burning your own toast icon, at least if you’re a techno evangelical. Happily here is that there are few such for obvious contradictory conditions. Most of this is pretty much the same, tame, dated stuff but we always worry when the (responsible) traditional media tells folks how to convert a DVD burner into an eye searing weapon. That sort of irresponsibility should be reserved for the Web 2.0 media.
Next, we note that the folks at Florida Institut of Technology have determined the best way for a crowd to form to maximize or minimize the effect of a suicide bomber. [Link] While we have to acknowledge that we are trying to decipher content from the reportage of the (traditional) media, the research appears to reduce to the following:
In case of bomb, hide behind someone between you and the bomb.
Of course, we’ll have to read the refereed paper to see how accurate the reportage was.
Still, the results seem a good advice for how to deal with this evening