Goose the Blog 2.0

"Oh, ha! Sarcasm: The last refuge of sons of bitches!"


me first

by John at 3/31/2005 08:10:00 PM

This photograph was taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. You can't get that crappy grainy look with just any camera - this was taken with one of those cheapo disposable cameras, but one with a little slider thing that lets you take a single panoramic photo instead of two regular sized photos. Then I scanned it on my cheapo UMAX scanner, and you see the result.

I still like this shot. The big dish of the radio telescope is built inside a limestone sinkhole, so it doesn't move. Instead, they move the position of the refocusing antennas and instruments at the focus of the dish to listen to different parts of the sky. The whole instrument apparatus is held up by three giant pylons (you can see one on the right side). There is also a hanging bridge that crosses out to the instruments.

A few years ago I was running SETI@home on my computers at home and at work. I found no signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. This is only interesting because the radio wave data that SETI@home analyses comes from the Arecibo radio telescope.


challenge number two

by John at 3/30/2005 04:14:00 PM

Do you recall that a while back I said I was going to issue a series of challenges, and then I issued only one? That was pretty weak. No, it was. You're just being nice.

At the time, I counted on being able to come up with a variety of interesting stuff to ask in the future, but it turns out I was kidding myself. Honestly, I couldn't seem to think of any new challenges that weren't lame, so I wasn't going to bother you with them.

And then, just as I was about to close this entry and hit publish, it came to me. (Really! I actually had to go back up to the last sentence and retype it in some kind of past conditional tense so it made sense given the altered situation. That's pretty post-modern if you ask me.)

So here it is:

Challenge number two - Post a photo, drawing, painting or other visual, non-literary media

Hopefully everyone has a digital camera, scanner, or likes to draw in MS Paint. Whatever. If not, I'm sorry. If you don't have web space with your ISP, you can try putting your image online at ImageVenue or ImageShack. They are both free and no-registration-required. (I just tried it and it's easy. But ImageVenue is so slow! ImageShack may be better.)


together alone

by John at 3/28/2005 03:24:00 PM

Together alone
Above and beneath
We were as close
As anyone can be
Now you are gone
Far away from me
As is once will always be
Together alone

Anei ra maua
E piri tahi nei
E noha tahi nei
Ko maua anake

Kei runga a Rangi
Ko papa Kai raro
E mau tonu nei
Kia mau tonu ra*

Together alone
Shallow and deep
Holding our breath
Paying death no heed
I'm still your friend
When you are in need
As is once will always be
Earth and sky
Moon and sea

In the scheme of things, one more death is insignificant. But when I think of the families and friends left behind, I am saddened well beyond the merits of my tenuous connection to his life. Is it an unexplained empathy, a subtle half-understanding of the motivations that drive us to despair? I think, sometimes, we see in the deaths of others the losses we have faced, and will inevitably face, ourselves.

* Here we are together
In a very close embrace
Being together
Just us alone

Rangi the sky-father is above
The earth mother is below
Our love for one another
Is everlasting


Yeah, But Will It Be Allowed on the Couch?

by Wendy at 3/26/2005 10:31:00 AM



"Big Apple?"

by John at 3/25/2005 11:27:00 AM

Will apples go the way of Big Beef, Big Potato, and Big Chicken?

"McDonald's, which launched the Apple Dippers last year, now buys more apples than any other restaurant chain in the United States. And if the product, not to mention a forthcoming McDonald's apple salad, takes off, it has the potential to transform an entire agricultural industry. The chain's influence could alter forever the method and scale of production, the varieties of apple produced and the rights of the thousands of workers who pick them, and not necessarily for the better." (


Movie Club

by MarkJumblie at 3/23/2005 11:42:00 PM

First off, I've was in Ireland for 3 weeks, so here are some pics:
Along the Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
Along the Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
Along the Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
Second, here's an idea for enhanced community building and interaction: A movie club.
Here's the deal. We all agree to watch the same movie, then go on to discuss it from all angles, dissecting every last bit of meaning until...the next movie! It'll be just like a book club without the hassle of having to read any books. If you hate the movie, it's only a coupla hours out of your life. The only thing we have to decide upon is who picks the movie- Alphabetical Order?

OK, OK, I'll start- You're all invited to join the club by seeing: The Wickerman
I promise you one of the most haunting, beautiful, and terrifying flicks of all time...I thought I'd include a link with more info here, but it'll be better if you see it cold.

science is a human endeavor

by John at 3/23/2005 01:50:00 PM

And because of this, there are politics, egos, and personality problems. There are also lies, thefts, and general all-around screw ups.

Case in point: Homo floresiensis, the Indonesian hobbit.

Hopefully, paleontologists will be able to salvage something from this. If not, it is a tremendous loss for all of us.

Previous posts: 1, 2

Clone Wars Volume II

by John at 3/23/2005 11:28:00 AM

I've been sadly remiss in reminding you that Star Wars Clone Wars Volume II is now showing on Cartoon Network. It's helmed, as before, by Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of the greatest action-adventure cartoon ever, "Samurai Jack" (my favorite episode: "Jack Learns to 'Jump Good'") and his collaborator Paul Rudish.

You've already missed the first two episodes of Volume II, but be at peace, young padawan. Cartoon Newtork is repeating all five new episodes Saturday evening.



by John at 3/21/2005 09:31:00 AM

Dear Sir or Madam:

I know it is too late to make a difference in the outcome of the legislation, but I find it reprehensible that Republican lawmakers and the President are willing to interfere in the Terri Schiavo case.

First, their actions are nigh unconstitutional, because they are disrupting the normal state of judiciary affairs. Schiavo's case has been heard time and again by Florida state judges, and they have consistently found that Terri Schiavo has the right to die as she would have chosen, and that her husband Michael Schiavo is the only person legally responsible for making that decision. At least he was, until Congress and President Bush stepped in.

What of family values? They have abrogated the most solemn charges of the Schiavo's marriage vows. What of smaller government and less interference in citizens' personal lives? They have made it a convenient lie. And what of the "culture of life?" They have taken up Terri's parents' cause to assuage their far right supporters, while simultaneously pushing for changes to tort law (the likes of which would have made Terri's care impossible), bankruptcy law (which would have prevented the Schiavo family from recovering from her massive medical bills), and reducing Medicaid (which takes care of many patients like Terri around the country). Furthermore, President Bush signed legislation while governor of Texas that forced cessation of treatment in futile cases in the instance of inability to pay (the so-called "Texas Futile Care Law") - where was his precious "culture of life" then? Life, it seems, comes second to medical industry profits in Texas, where just last week a baby was taken off life support against the wishes of his mother.

This is political grandstanding of the most obvious kind. One can only hope that the federal judge required by this new legislation will see fit to permit Michael Schiavo the right to allow Terri to die, as all other judges who have seen this case have.

My respect for the Republican legislators behind this legislation and President Bush is at an all time low. They are, one and all, hypocrites of the first order. There is a special place reserved for them in the Hell they fear so much.

John B.

Sent this to:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Majikthise has organized a blogswarm of protest. She has been covering the issue in detail here and here.

What can you do to prevent this from happening to you? 1) Make your wishes clearly known to all your family members; 2) write a living will; 3) see a lawyer and have healthcare power of attorney given to someone you trust.


is it me?

by John at 3/18/2005 10:15:00 AM

Blogger sucks, right? It's usually hard to post anything because the service is so slow and often times out or otherwise screws up.

Even making comments can turn in to an extended exercise in button clicking and opening and closing windows.

Want a hint? Always type your post or comment in a text editor first, and then copy-and-paste it into the form. That way, when Blogger bites it, you haven't lost any of your witty and engaging thoughts.

I can't make Blogger any easier to use, and I'm not inclined to switch services or anything. But, I might bring back Haloscan comments - my experience lately is that they are more reliable than Blogger comments. We'll see.

To sum up: Get with it Google and make Blogger work better, or I'm going to keep on bitching about the free product you let me use! I mean it!

Update: Case-in-fucking-point. It took me almost half-an-hour to post this damn thing, and when it worked it was double posted and then took me another half-an-hour to delete one of the damn posts. Google, Masters of Internet Reliability, can somehow field a few hundred billion queries a day on their server farm but can't get Blogger to work. Heavy sighs and disgusted shaking of the head ensued.

13 things that do not make sense

by John at 3/18/2005 09:43:00 AM

(Via Slashdot) New Scientist magazine has published an article on 13 things that do not make sense given our current scientific understanding of the way things are:

1 The placebo effect
2 The horizon problem
3 Ultra-energetic cosmic rays
4 Belfast homeopathy results
5 Dark matter
6 Viking's methane
7 Tetraneutrons
8 The Pioneer anomaly
9 Dark energy
10 The Kuiper cliff
11 The Wow signal
12 Not-so-constant constants
13 Cold fusion

Of course, I'm not an expert in any of the problematic fields, so I can't pass judgement on whether these problems actually make sense or not. But I think I can confidently say, nonetheless, that science has failed us.

Just kidding. Anti-science types like to point out that there are so many things science cannot explain. It's true, there are a lot of unexplained things - and 13 of them are listed above. But that's OK. Not so long ago (a few hundred years, give or take), before science was invented, humans were unable to explain almost everything they observed. And most of them weren't even asking questions. Given that starting point, I think we've made pretty good progress.

And what's the alternative? The mechanisms of science have gotten us closer to actually understanding the universe around us (and, soon, inside us!) than all the mystics and ancient books that ever existed.


My White (Movie) Album

by Yuris at 3/17/2005 06:01:00 PM

Ok. I'm back. John was right. Bring up movies and I'll have something to say.

Another favorite category of mine are snow movies. Strange category, I know. I think this goes back to the 5 years I lived in Madison, WI. So... here are some of my favorite snow movies: Fargo, A Simple Plan, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Map of the Human Heart, The Ice Storm, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Bourne Identity,...

Go Badgers!

About my favorite movies

by Yuris at 3/17/2005 03:48:00 PM

I first must apologize for being so so quiet lately.

John sent me a note saying "I know you will have something to say about this topic". He's right.

I learned long ago (when I used to recommend movies left & right) that there are no Good movies, but there're movies I like. And within those, there is a special category that is my true favorite: movies that question or challenge the perception of reality. I'll give you a list of my favorite ones in no particular order: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Mullholland Drive, Jacob's Ladder, Waking Life, Adaptation, The Matrix, Fight Club, Donnie Darko, Dark City, Being John Malkovich, Memento, The Thirteenth Floor, Brazil, The Game, Twelve Monkeys, and (the last 2/3s of) A Beautiful Mind,... I can't think of others right now (John?).

Ok... I lied. Of that list, the first one...
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind the one I like the most!

Meet me in Montauk.


by John at 3/17/2005 01:45:00 PM

Total posts (as of 3/16/05): 401


by John at 3/17/2005 08:45:00 AM

Or just creeps? Scenes From the Cultural Revolution (billmon).


movie challenge: my turn

by John at 3/11/2005 06:15:00 PM

OK, I guess it is my turn.

Last weekend, I saw most (missed the first 10 minutes, dammit!) of Big Trouble in Little China, so this week, Big Trouble in Little China is my favorite movie. I can't really explain why I like this film so much. Partly it is the rapid, deadpan dialogue. Partly it is the ludicrous plot. Partly it is the nostalgia. Partly it is Kurt Russell as Jack Burton ("Who?" "Jack Burton... ME!"). John Carpenter has made a lot of bad movies but this isn't one of them.


A Few of My Favorite Things

by Wendy at 3/10/2005 09:48:00 AM

I have some fond movie memories from my childhood. It was always such an event in our household when our favorite movies would make their annual showings on broadcast TV. The Sound of Music (I loved the part when the nuns stole the part out of the Nazis' car), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (even though the Oompa Loompas gave me nightmares), and the Wizard of Oz (boy was I disappointed to find out that Judy Garland had died so there could never be a sequel).

My best memories, however, are reserved for the nights when KTLA Channel 5 would show Japanese monster movies! I loved the one with the giant twin furry monsters (one apparently a good twin, the other the evil twin) and anything with the sparking, flying turtle. My mom would even let us eat dinner at the coffee table in front of the TV so we wouldn't miss a single minute of movie monster mayhem.

Those were the days! I wonder what it will be like for our children. With the advent of VHS, DVDs, streaming video, and TiVo, they'll be able to watch their favorite movies whenever they feel like it. Hopefully the 'classics' won't become less so because they're no longer a rare annual event.

cool project

by John at 3/10/2005 08:24:00 AM

On March 11, people all over the world will look up at the sky, and take a photo of it, in project Nebo2.

The target of the project is simple: we just wonder to see what does the sky look like in different parts of the world on the last winter's day. We all do like watching the sky, dawns and sunsets. Anyone who joins the project will surely get only positive emotions. He will not only admire the sky at that day, but also look at the sky through the eyes of a man from another side of our planet.


Movie Challenge: Camp and glam

by Amy, Bill, Guillermo and Alma at 3/09/2005 05:53:00 PM

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Why do I like it? Well, having never seen the live show due to my living in a city that is more of a town, this is the next best thing. If you like campy glam rock, this is the movie for you. The tunes will stick in your head for days and you'll want to jump up, sing and dance along! The story is pretty great too, very touching. The DVD is fun because you can see scenes from the NY show along with the story of how and why Hedwig has stolen everybody's heart.

a challenge

by John at 3/09/2005 01:37:00 PM

In what is firstly a transparent attempt to get the "less active" (is that a better word than lazy?) members to post a little bit on the blog, and secondly an honest effort to learn about some new stuff I might be interested in, I am issuing a series of challenges.

Challenge number one - Post your favorite movie or movies

Some clarification: It doesn't have to be your favorite, it doesn't even have to be good. It should be worth watching (in some way) and it should be available without too much trouble to anyone (e.g. me) who seeks it out. It doesn't matter if you think everyone has already seen it. You don't have to explain why you like it, but that would be nice. Comments are acceptable, but I'd rather read independent posts.

Don't think about this too hard, it doesn't really matter. Although, you should be aware that future ethnologists may be data-mining this blog to find out just what drove us technologically primitive humans to the edge of oblivion.

Since I'm always bloviating on things I think are interesting, I'll let someone else start. Who's going to be first?


I found Jesus!

by John at 3/08/2005 06:31:00 PM

Jesus is hiding somewhere in your kid-brother's room and you gotta find Him! But Jesus is a much better hider than He was before AND he's not alone! So when you find Jesus, scream out "I FOUND JESUS!"

Find Jesus!


"A Colder War"

by John at 3/07/2005 04:25:00 PM

What do you get if you cross H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" with Reagan's cold war and Iran-Contra? This story by Charles Stross.

Hint: if you haven't read "AtMoM" you can read a very short summary here, or read the whole thing here. (If you have time, read the whole thing. Creepy!)


I've been wondering

by John at 3/06/2005 03:46:00 PM

Why does the GOP hate working Americans so much?

The Bankruptcy Bill, Examined (Daily Kos)

Santorum's Sweatshop Expansion Bill (Labor Blog)


the continuing saga of Homo floresiensis

by John at 3/04/2005 11:46:00 AM

"Analysis Shows Prehistoric 'Hobbit' a Distinct Species"

A little over 3 feet tall, Homo floresiensis people flourished on Flores from 94,000 to 12,000 years ago, when a volcano killed them off. They apparently hunted dwarf elephants with spears. Researchers had greeted the discovery with surprise, both because the creatures lived so recently and because they used axes, blades and other tools despite having chimp-size brains.

The analysis, released by the journal Science, of computer scans and inner skull molds shows that the hobbit's small brain, one-third the size of a modern human's, had enlarged regions associated with complex decision-making, name recognition and speech.

"I'm bowled over," Falk says. "I never thought I'd see these advanced features on such a small brain." The team compared the brain cast to a microcephalic patient's and found no similarities.

Cool! Science marches on, despite setbacks. Lots more here.


new game!

by Bill at 3/02/2005 10:43:00 PM

It has been a while since I posted, been busy seting up my new clinic, haven't started seeing patients yet though hopefully in the next two weeks. Anyway, let's start the game.

How stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Wendy stole the cookie form the cookie jar.