Thursday, September 29, 2005

Giant Squid!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

science photos

Check out this year's winner of Visions of Science Photographic awards sponsered by the telegraph.

The winner was David McCarthy whose submission was an electon microscope photo of a grain of salt next to a speck of peppercorn.

salt peppercorn

Click here to read about the contest and click here to see more of the winners.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Everyone in the world is probably familiar with this, but I just found out about it: google the word "failure" and hit "i'm feeling lucky."

happy friday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

oregon trail

Remember those halcyon days when you trekked across the country, shot buffalo, watched your kids die of dysentery, and wrote poopie on their gravestones? I do. And I have Oregon Trail to thank. The daily hippo hilariously interviews Phillip Bouchard, creator of the game.

Read it here .

..If you really want to procrastinate, play the game on virtual apple here .

Barefoot and pregnant

According to the Times, more and more women at elite schools want to stay home and raise a family instead of doing the high powered career thing:

Cynthia Liu is precisely the kind of high achiever Yale wants: smart (1510 SAT), disciplined (4.0 grade point average), competitive (finalist in Texas oratory competition), musical (pianist), athletic (runner) and altruistic (hospital volunteer). And at the start of her sophomore year at Yale, Ms. Liu is full of ambition, planning to go to law school.

So will she join the long tradition of famous Ivy League graduates? Not likely. By the time she is 30, this accomplished 19-year-old expects to be a stay-at-home mom.

"My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time," Ms. Liu said matter-of-factly. "You always have to choose one over the other."

At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.

Read more here .

By the way, what's with the Times charging for access to their op-ed stories? I like a good Maureen Dowd rant as much as the next guy, but i'm not going to pay $50 a year for it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

dick vs bush

I apologize for our absence. To make it up to you, here's a little video . The best part is Andy Dick in American flag speedos. Doesn't get better than that.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Let them eat cake!

I think we're all on the same page in terms of outrage and profound sadness about the New Orleans situation, but I would like to bring your attention to these cringe-worthy statements by Barbara Bush. How does one get like this??? It boggles the mind.

Stupid and insensitive comments by former first "lady" that may make you turn to drink for solace

Saturday, September 03, 2005

we should have seen it coming

Here's a strangely prescient article from national geographic:

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

When did this calamity happen? It hasn't—yet. But the doomsday scenario is not far-fetched. The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.

Folks who say that no one could have predicted this are wrong. Read more here .

blithering idiots

Maureen Dowd doesn't pull any punches today in her Times editorial:

Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.

Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.

When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals.

When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.

Who are we if we can't take care of our own?

Read more here .

Friday, September 02, 2005


Did anyone else see NBC's Concert for Hurricane Relief? Kanye West went on an awesome rant, then looked right at the camera and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."


Needless to say, they cut his mic immediately.


The national guard is finally going into New Orleans.

An additional article from

The Unraveling

The words from the Wall Street Journal are supposed to be comforting. San Francisco survived the 1906 earthquake. Chicago rebuilt after the fire. Hiroshima and Nagasaki recovered after the bomb.

But watching the events in New Orleans unfold, even through the cool light of a TV screen thousands of miles away, it's hard to feel that kind of hope. The TV camera distorts and deceives. It zeroes in on the unusual, the worst, and people inevitably find themselves putting on a show when they see the lens turn upon them. But still. The images from New Orleans are overwhelming, and the TV reporters covering it -- reporters who have, presumably, seen disasters before -- are overwhelmed. On CNN earlier today, a reporter told of watching people die in front of him. "Something needs to change," he said, "and it needs to change today." His voice cracked with anger, and the anchor back in the studio picked up on it. Why is it taking so long to get help to people, she asked. Where is the food? Where is the water? When will it come?
We are four days into this, and things are getting worse, not better. That's not how it's supposed to be. Two days after 9/11, the FAA allowed the resumption of commercial air traffic in America. In the aftermath of that attack, of the Loma Prieta earthquake in California and so many other disasters, the death toll went down, not up. Survivors returned to their lives. The TV screens were filled with tales of grief and loss, but also with scenes of neighbors helping strangers, of people coming together. That's not what we're seeing from New Orleans now. On CNN, we see bodies lying in the street. We hear the governor of Louisiana saying that she now believes "thousands" of people have been killed. We see looting. We hear that somebody fired gunshots at a rescue helicopter. We hear that a sniper is taking shots at people trying to evacuate a hospital. We read that FEMA has suspended boat rescue operations because the danger -- not from floodwaters but from people driven by chaos, desperation or their own worst angels -- is too great.

There's violence in New Orleans, some of it opportunistic, some of it borne of frustration with the pace of aid, some of it probably a spilling over of years' worth of bottled-up rage over divisions of race and class. We listened this morning as a woman, who has taken up residence near an underpass, said that she's broke, that tomorrow is payday, but that there's no place to go to pick up her paycheck and no place to spend it if she could. Other refugees -- and they're using that word about Americans now -- are stuck in temporary facilities growing unsafe and unsanitary from filth and human waste. As authorities tried to move people from the Superdome into buses that would take them to Houston's Astrodome today, a group broke free in the hopes of storming into a nearby Hyatt Regency. They were stopped by police in Kevlar armed with 12-gauge shotguns and AR15s. The mayor of New Orleans has just sent out what he's calling a "desperate SOS," saying that the city is out of resources to help 15,000 to 20,000 people gathered in the city's convention center and doesn't have a way to take them anywhere else.

"Losing Control," says the headline at the ABC News site. The New York Times warns of an increasingly "desperate and chaotic city." The New Orleans Times-Picayune says: "Unrest Intensifies." The Washington Post leads with a photo of white cops in riot gear rolling through a sea of black faces on some kind of armored transport. It looks like something out of the Third World. It's a city in the United States of America, and it feels like it's coming apart at the seams.
Does the president understand what's happening? Can he do anything about it? Cops from other states are now flooding into Louisiana, where they'll be deputized to help local law enforcement. More National Guard units are on the way. In time, they'll restore order. In time, New Orleans will rebuild. But the people in New Orleans need help now. They need food and water and sanitary facilities. They need hope that their ordeal will end soon, that they'll have something worth having when they go back home again.

It's probably too big of a job for any president, but the current one is plainly not up to the task. George W. Bush just went before the cameras with President Clinton and the first President Bush to announce that they'll launch a private fundraising drive to help, just like they did for the tsunami that savaged Southeast Asia. Bush made a nod to the need to restore "law and order" in New Orleans, but he spent most of his address talking about his efforts to keep gasoline flowing to the rest of the country. "The good folks must understand that major refineries have been shut down, which means it's going to be hard to get gasoline to some markets," the president said. "Americans should be prudent in their use of energy in the next few days. Don't buy gas if you don't need it."

It's a fine message for the rest of the country, but it doesn't say much to the people of New Orleans. They're watching their city explode around them -- they're watching conditions get worse -- and many of them are feeling, rightly or wrongly, that their government isn't doing much to help them. President Bush speaks, but he doesn't speak to or for people like them. He never has. As Bush ended his talk about gas prices and relief efforts today, Bill Clinton lingered for a moment in front of the cameras as if he wanted to say something or at least hear his successor say something more. The president walked briskly out of the room.
-- T.G.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

from new orleans

I received this email as a forward. I don't know if it's real or not

From: Gregory S. Henderson MD, PhD

Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 20:21:55

Subject: Re: thoughts and prayers

Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers.

I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2PM . I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today.

Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, MS, and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today.

Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water.
Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast. The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications.

Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without
effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that are admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting.

These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently.

The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. Many other guests have unusual diseases. They are unfortunately . 'We have better medical letter. There are ID physicians in at this hotel attending an HiV confection. We have commandered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn into an makeshift clinic. There is a team of about 7 doctors and PA and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and fool of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into gargace bags and removed them. All uner police excort. The looters had to be held back at gun point. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the the French Qarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients
today. Many with be from the hotel, but many with not. We are anticipating to dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and and acute injuries. Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipate major problems. Food and water shortages are iminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the national guard. We hear jet fignters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no salvation army.

In a sort of cliché way, this is an edifying experience. Once is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life. It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible.

I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul edif experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuid will. And the horror of so many dead people .

DISPATCH From the front. I
will send more according to your
interest. Hopefully their collective
prayers will be answered. By
the way suture packs, sterile gloves and
stethoscopes will be needed
as the Ritz turns into a MASH