Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just Say "Fuck It!" It's the Buddha Way!

Who gnu? All that chanting, meditating, balancing and the rest of the Buddhist regime can be reduced , in the West, to one simple maxim: "Fuck It!"
Saying 'Fuck It' is like massage for the mind - relaxing you, releasing tension, giving up on things that aren't working.
John C. Parkin argues that saying Fuck It is a spiritual act:
That it is the perfect western expression of the eastern ideas of letting go, giving up and finding real freedom by realising that things don't matter so much (if at all).
This is The Fuck It Way.
It works very simply: if you're feeling stressed about something, say 'Fuck It'… you feel instantly better.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Capitalism Hits the Fan: Professor emeritus UMass, Amherst, Richard Wolff

Economist, author, Professor emeritus UMass, Amherst, Richard Wolff, speaks about the current economic crises, its' roots and what we can do about it.
Filmed by Paul Hubbard at Brown University, Providence RI on 12-2-09

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Archimedes' Steam Cannon

Think that a half-cup of water is harmless?

Think again.

Watch this video, and don’t even consider trying to do the same thing at home.

A one-pound projectile traveling at the speed of sound with 10 times the kinetic energy of an AK-47 bullet is not a toy. This experiment was performed under carefully designed and controlled conditions.

Curious? Read on.

In episode 54 the MythBusters took on the myth of Archimedes’s steam cannon, and after a gentle lob of a few feet, the myth was busted. A large boiler-driven cannon was used for the show’s finale.

Being frustrated with the outcome, having a visit to MIT in their schedule, and remembering last year’s Archimedes’s death ray collaboration, the MythBusters asked us to take a look. They wondered if there was a simple, plausible solution compatible with da Vinci’s vague drawing and explanation of Archimedes's steam cannon.
The drawing has been interpreted as a direct injection concept, where water rapidly sprays into a hot breech and the resulting flash of steam launches the projectile.

But, some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest otherwise. A 540 °C (1000 °F) copper breech can provide a heat flux of roughly 100,000 kiloWatts per square meter to water that is in direct contact with its surface. And if water can be sprayed onto the breech in a uniform 1mm thick layer, 2,000 kiloJoules of energy per square meter of surface will produce 400 PSI steam—a pressure that would generate a reasonable projectile velocity.

The pressurized steam must be generated quickly, before the projectile exits the cannon, perhaps in 0.005 seconds. But at 100,000 kiloWatts per square meter, the breech can only provide around 500 kiloJoules per square meter in such a short time, not nearly enough energy to produce high-pressure steam.

Our conclusion? Direct injection is not likely to produce much more than a burp (.mov, 0.23 Mb).

In 1981, Sakkas (see figures 23-25) recreated Archimedes’s steam cannon and incorporated a wood board into the concept to hold the projectile in place while some pressure developed, although da Vinci’s drawing does not show a similar feature. Even so, this produced a fairly low velocity projectile (perhaps 70 mph) that traveled only 50 meters.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Are You "Poor?" If So, You Don't Need Me To Tell You Your Fucked.

Report: Poor People Pretty Much Fucked
DECEMBER 10, 2003 | ISSUE 39•48

WASHINGTON (ONS)— According to the results of an intensive two-year study, Americans living below the poverty line are "pretty much fucked," Center for Social and Economic Research executive director Jameson Park announced Monday.

"Although poor people have never had it particularly sweet, America has long been considered the land of opportunity, where upward class mobility is hard work's reward," Park said. "However, our study shows that limited access to quality education and a shortage of employment opportunities in depressed areas all but ensure that, once fucked, an individual tends to stay fucked."

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 34.6 million Americans were living below the poverty line in 2002.

"Not only are the down-and-out fucked, but the number of down-and-out fucks is growing," Park said. "Conditions of disadvantage are often passed from one generation to the next, making it especially difficult for young people to emerge from the cycle of poverty."

"Man, my heart goes out to those poor fuckers," Park added.

America's increasingly rigid class system worsens the situation for the poor.

"After analyzing the economic performance of U.S. households over the past several decades, we concluded that class mobility, while steady in the '70s and '80s, declined in the '90s," Park said. "About 40 percent of families ended the decade in the same economic strata in which they began it. That's up from about 35 percent in the '80s. That's good news for those sittin' pretty, but it spells 'fuck you' to the poor."

As a result, Park said, there are more poor people, and those poor people are much more screwed than poor people were a decade or two ago.

"As the split between the upper and lower classes grows, and the middle class continues to shrink, we're moving closer and closer to what can only be called a 'no way out, dude. Sorry, you're fucked'-type situation," Park said. "Not only are the poor fucked at the moment, but any chance they once had of changing their miserable lives is pretty much gone, too. Essentially, they're fucked for all time."

The CSER study identified four major poverty groups within the U.S. The first two groups—one composed of disenfranchised blue-collar workers, the other made up of members of poor rural populations—have been adversely affected by the nation's gradual shift to a technology-based, global economy. Researchers have dubbed disenfranchised blue-collar workers the Factory Fucked, while members of poor rural populations are called the Farm Fucked. Park characterized the individuals in these two groups as "fucked from the get-go."

The other two rapidly expanding groups of poor fucks are the suburban poor, whose members can't afford the rising cost of such basic necessities as healthcare, and the urban underclass, whose members are found in the nation's troubled inner cities. Researchers termed these groups the Recently Fucked and the Utterly Fucked, respectively.

Economist Harold Knoep said there's little reason for sympathy.

"In a healthy capitalist economy, some people are going to be out-competed," Knoep said. "I'm sorry, but some of those fuck-ups have fucked themselves. I am not condoning an anarchic 'fuck or be fucked' ethos, but I can hardly get behind a welfare state that punishes the unfucked by fucking all equally."

While he expressed concern for the nation's poor, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) said increased funding for social programs isn't the answer.

"Nobody's saying poor people aren't fucked," Hastert said. "But what about all the people in this great nation who are not fucked? If the financial resources of the economically stable are diverted—through some well-intentioned but fiscally irresponsible social-service program—to the people who are fucked, where does that leave those who were sailin' along fine? Fucked."

Ed Cranston, an under-employed, Detroit-area machinist who made $14,000 last year, said he was not surprised by the report.

"They say I'm fucked?" Cranston asked. "Shit, man, tell me something I don't know."
I truly admire the Onion. They do this stuff with a convincingly straight face. The only "tell" is the straightforwardness and candor of the admissions by the "interviewees" regarding the conditions and chances of the poor. Gummint officials do not typically tell either the press or their clients that they are "fucked." Otherwise it's the goddam truth.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Holiday Sing Along -- The ANACREONTIC SONG

To ANACREON in Heav'n, where he sat in full Glee,
A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,
That He their Inspirer and Patron wou'd be;
When this Answer arriv'd from the JOLLY OLD GRECIAN
"Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
"No longer be mute,
"I'll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,
"And, besides, I'll instruct you like me, to intwine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS's Vine.

The news through OLYMPUS immediately flew;
When OLD THUNDER pretended to give himself Airs_
If these Mortals are suffer'd their Scheme to pursue,
The Devil a Goddess will stay above Stairs.
"Hark! already they cry,
"In Transports of Joy
"Away to the Sons of ANACREON we'll fly,
"And there, with good Fellows, we'll learn to intwine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

"The YELLOW-HAIR'D GOD and his nine fusty Maids
"From HELICON'S Banks will incontinent flee,
"IDALIA will boast but of tenantless Shades,
"And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be
"My Thunder, no fear on't,
"Shall soon do it's Errand,
"And, dam'me! I'll swinge the Ringleaders I warrant,
"I'll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

APOLLO rose up; and said, "Pr'ythee ne'er quarrel,
"Good King of the Gods with my Vot'ries below:
"Your Thunder is useless_then, shewing his Laurel,
Cry'd. "Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
"Then over each Head
"My Laurels I'll spread
"So my Sons from your Crackers no Mischief shall dread,
"Whilst snug in their Club-Room, they Jovially twine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

Next MOMUS got up, with his risible Phiz,
And swore with APOLLO he'd cheerfull join_
"The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,
"But the Song, and the Catch, & the Laugh shall bemine
"Then, JOVE, be not jealous
Of these honest Fellows,
Cry'd JOVE, "We relent, since the Truth you now tell us;
"And swear, by OLD STYX, that they long shall entwine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

Ye Sons of ANACREON, then, join Hand in Hand;
Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!
'Tis your's to support what's so happily plann'd;
You've the Sanction of Gods, and the FIAT of JOVE.
While thus we agree
Our Toast let it be.
May our Club flourish happy, united and free!
And long may the Sons of ANACREON intwine
The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCHUS'S Vine.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Affordable" Health Insurance? For fucking WHOM?

The best chance for the CorpoRats to make money now is to gouge EVERYBODY for the next two years, in the hopes that as many as possible of the high-cost, pre-existing illness will kill their hosts before 2014...

Look at the numbers and tell me how people who had been denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions and are already economically marginalized are gonna be able to purchase this new, MANDATED "insurance." Here's the Shamwow's plan for uninsured folks with pre-existing conditions:
"Premiums will vary from state to state. In California, for example, the cost for a 50-year-old is estimated at $575 a month, with a $1,500 annual deductible and 15 percent co-insurance. Premiums in states with lower medical costs could be around $400 a month."
No, really! Why would I lie to you about it? Here's the whole story, via Rawstory and AP:

The Obama administration is launching a special coverage program for uninsured Americans with medical problems this week, the most ambitious early investment of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

But here's the catch: Premiums will be a stretch for many, even after government subsidies to bring rates close to what healthier groups of people are charged.

And $5 billion that Congress allocated to the program through 2013 could run out well before that.

The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will begin accepting applications in many states on Thursday, with coverage available as early as Aug. 1, an administration official said Tuesday. Consumers can check availability in their states on a new website,, starting Thursday. The goal is for all states to be enrolling people by the end of the summer.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the administration's announcement later this week.

"I would enroll as soon as you can," said Stephen Finan, policy director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "These rates are going to be as affordable as consumers can get these days, particularly for a high-risk individual."

Premiums will vary from state to state. In California, for example, the cost for a 50-year-old is estimated at $575 a month, with a $1,500 annual deductible and 15 percent co-insurance. Premiums in states with lower medical costs could be around $400 a month.

"That's still quite a lot of money, so there will be some folks who struggle to afford that," said Marian Mulkey, health reform director for the California HealthCare Foundation. "But it's going to mean a big jump in access."

The insurance program is a stopgap fix for the most vulnerable until 2014, when core provisions of the new health care law take effect. At that time, insurance companies will be barred from turning away people in poor health, low- and middle-income households will get government assistance with premiums, and most Americans will be required to carry coverage.

To qualify for the temporary program, a person must have a pre-existing medical condition and must have been uninsured for six months or longer. The main beneficiaries are likely to be the self-employed and their families, and those who work for small employers that don't provide coverage. Only U.S. citizens and legal residents qualify.

Millions fit that description, and technical experts who advise Congress and the administration have repeatedly warned that the White House underestimated the cost. The Congressional Budget Office said last week it would take probably another $5 billion to $10 billion to fully meet the demand, about 700,000 people who would potentially sign up by 2013.

Medicare economists earlier estimated the program would sign up 375,000 people this year, but run out of money around the end of 2011.

That would be an embarrassment for Obama, since the program is a centerpiece of his plan for putting the nation on a path to coverage for all.

"There's a political concern of whether expectations are being raised that are unreasonable, and may not be able to be fulfilled," said health economist Gail Wilensky, who ran Medicare for President George H.W. Bush.

Launching the new program in about three months has not been easy. Most states have opted to administer their own plans, but about 20 have asked Washington to run the program directly for them.

To make matters more confusing, most states already operate their own high-risk insurance pools, covering about 200,000 people in total. However, the state plans tend to charge significantly higher premiums than the new federal plan, and many offer skimpier coverage. Consumers will not be able to switch from state to federal coverage — unless they're willing to risk going six months without health insurance.

Worries about unfunded costs prompted many states to shy away from taking on the new program directly, even though Washington has promised to cover the cost.

"Part of the reason those 20 states deferred to the federal government was a concern about the financing," said Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "State budgets are in such tough shape."

It's unclear what the administration and its supporters will do if the money runs out.

"Once you have a significant number of people in each state who gain the benefit of the new coverage, it will be a difficult decision for a member of Congress to say that needed funds will not be provided," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a health care advocacy group.
But, given that the Pukes and Ben Nelson had no particular qualms about leaving a couple of million people without unemployment benefits, I bet they can find a way.

Waddaya think??