"But let’s stop here and register the proper cautions and caveats: There has been no investigation, no conclusive proof. (And there won’t necessarily be a proper and convincing investigation, either, considering the deliberately chaotic and militarized state of eastern Ukraine these days, and Russia’s clear interests.) We shouldn’t pretend to know for certain what we don’t." —Here is the moment at which you can tell that you're reading the right piece, or at least not the wrong piece, about Ukraine, today. (Since publishing, the incriminating tapes mentioned have appeared online.)
At the age of 15, King Edward VI was dying. For his last act as king, he excluded both of his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the line of succession. (To get Mary out of the line, he had to ditch them both.) His Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, was named the Queen of England.
Two days after his death, Mary raised an army of nearly twenty thousand. It took just nine days for Mary—the only child born to Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—to correct her half-brother’s final request. Coercion by force was an effective instrument, and it would come to define her reign.
I know it's Springtime and it's supposed to be renewal and flowers and budding trees and things like that, but I'm tired of stuff right now, you know? Among certain other things that happened this week, there is also like this thing with the goofball in Korea who is gonna launch a nuclear missile on his grandfather's birthday or something? It's depressing!
We (as in U.S.) might set fire to the sky over this guy's country because he says he has a nuke missile and he wants to use it, you know? Doesn't this guy know how dangerous We The People are? Look what we did to a country [...]
Longtime American enemy Iran made another bold move in its passive-aggressive hostilities toward Washington by … let's see, by reportedly sending a monkey into space. Who would do such a thing, to a monkey?
Press TV, the state-run satellite broadcaster, said the animal was launched in a space capsule code named Pishgam, or Pioneer. The development coincided with continued stalemate in the unrelated Western effort to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program, which Western powers maintain is designed to create nuclear weapons technology—an assertion Iran denies.
So, sending this animal into orbit for a moment "coincided" with the "unrelated" 35-year problems Iran has with its [...]
NORTH LAS VEGAS—An inflatable space pod to be attached to the International Space Station in a couple of years will be like no other piece of the station. NASA is contracting a private company to build an inflatable space pod for the International Space Station. Instead of metal, its walls will be made of floppy cloth, making it easier to launch (and then inflate). NASA said Wednesday that it had signed a $17.8 million contract with Bigelow Aerospace to build the module, which could reach the space station as soon as 2015.
We were driving to Lake Tahoe, my wife and I, headed north on one of the [...]
A 25-year federal campaign against sea otters in Southern California is finally ending, because it turns out sea otters will go down the coast if they want to, because declaring the whole of Southern California from Point Conception to the Mexican border an "otter-free zone" just wasn't a very good idea.
In 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a program of forced otter relocation, capturing the endangered animals whenever they strayed into the Santa Barbara channel. Why? Because the U.S. Navy and the commercial fishing industry objected to an earlier plan to establish a backup population of the endangered sea mammals on San Nichols Island, [...]
David Petraeus is snide gnome with a toupée hairstyle, and he is not even very good at winning wars—his military career can be accurately described as a draw in Iraq and total defeat in Afghanistan. As his personal scandal of marital infidelity involves ever more civilian women, shirtless FBI agents sexting those women, fellow commanders in Afghanistan, and the entire state of Florida, perhaps we will take a pause in our race for additional sleazy details to ask additional, important questions that are also about as sexy as a 60-year-old man with his pants off.
And one from Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC):
Why do I want the App? So that I can pray for Israel as well as understand, as a policy maker, the magnanimity of the threats and the conflict.
Can you imagine living under this constant threat?…
This speaks to the existential threat that the people in Israel live with constantly.
Red Alert's creator is Kobi Snir, an Israeli developer who worked with the people behind Yo! to build an [...]
Finally, our president has taken the battle home in our long war against birds. So long, eagles and hawks! Get stuffed! (If they can still stuff the twisted half-carcasses—more than half a million a year!—that remain after our wind turbines do their work.) MAKE LIKE THE BEES AND DROP DEAD.
Oh man, this total environmental collapse is going to be awesome!
Rancho Mirage sits between Palm Springs and the Coachella festival. The people are rich and generally Republican—the moderate show-biz GOP reigns in this land of Gerald and Betty Ford, Dwight Eisenhower, Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono and his widow, the longtime congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. And now this fancy desert resort town is deciding whether to ban aerial drones from the skies, which would make Rancho Mirage only the second town in the nation to outlaw the robot spy planes. (The first is tiny St. Bonifaciuis, Minnesota; a Virginia city passed a resolution "urging" the state to do something about drones.)
It would be wonderful to realize our rich citizens [...]
It seems like only yesterday that America's women were finally allowed to be killed in front-line combat. But it was a hollow victory, as so many victories are, because after losing something like nine consecutive wars, America now fights its foreign battles using genderless drone airships that will never cry or come home unemployable.
But ladies can still die "like a man" without even being sent to Camp Victory:
U.S. women who smoke today have a much greater risk of dying from lung cancer than they did decades ago, partly because they are starting younger and smoking more—that is, they are lighting up like men, new research shows. [...]
Lately there has been a lot of confusing stuff in the news about "Mali," and also "France having a war." What is going on? Didn't France lose the war in North Africa, maybe in the 1950s? Also, Vietnam, remember that whole deleted scene from Apocalypse Now, the way the French colonials ate their food, while Vietnamese were getting killed by Robert Duvall? Is he French? And where is this Mali, anyway?
We don't want you to have to go around feeling like an idiot all the time, so here's the information you need to deal with any offhand references to "the French war in Mali," in case you know [...]
Here is how not to use a bicycle lane: An 87-year-old Marin County man was driving to the Department of Motor Vehicles office when he mistook a narrow concrete-walled bicycle-pedestrian path for Highway 101, and then he just kept driving until his car was wedged so tightly between the cement barriers that a tow truck had to yank the Toyota out. Is this symbolic of the increasingly hostile urban turf wars between automobile drivers and bicyclists?
Maybe! Listen to what this guy said, after all the trouble he caused: "They should block that off, that passageway."
Raymond Pierce will have a mandatory re-evaluation of his driving privileges, under California [...]
Here is what is apparently a Chinese reporter planting a Chinese flag on some bit of disputed land in the massive South China Sea territory. Here is a Chinese hacker "planting" a Chinese flag on the website of the Philippines News Agency. Here are tit-for-tat pictures of people burning China's flag and people burning the flag of the Philippines. I would suggest to the Philippines that neighbors that have land disputes with China often end up in unhappy situations.
Also did you know that in 1951 we signed the "Mutual Defense Treaty Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America"? It's [...]
"'Airstrikes will have only one good effect: to bolster morale of the Iraqi Army,' said the retired American general, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize business relations in the Middle East." (via)
Food marketing is psychotic. It creeps. Smithsonian magazine ran a cover story with the headline How the Chicken Conquered the World. "Let us now praise chicken in all its extra-crispy glory! Chicken, the mascot of globalization, the universal symbol of middlebrow culinary aspiration!" That was last year. "Nothing is more worthless than an individual chicken," Joy Williams once observed. Not for Smithsonian. Obviously there was some war going on and the chickens kicked our ass.
It’s not just the birds. For a character in Francesco Pacifico’s novel The Story of my Purity, the place of psychosis is apricot pastries: "Industrial apricots had become humanity’s enemy number one, [...]
Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul has been a disheveled weirdo for the entirety of his political career, because the apple does not fall far from the tree of liberty, but last night he won the hearts of many people on Twitter because he was up most of the night reading blogs aloud as part of a filibuster against Barack Obama's pick for the new CIA chief. (The last CIA chief resigned over sexting.)
The moral issue of drone assassins is very important, and there are obvious constitutional and police-state issues both domestically and internationally, but this is less a political shift than a technological evolution. Remotely controlled flying war machines [...]
"Suggestions that aliens from Sirius had imparted astronomical knowledge to the Dogon, created a modern myth and raised the tribe to cult status among UFO/ancient astronaut enthusiasts. Also, whites who rejected the African origins of mankind, could now claim their ancestors were from Sirius! As I have opined previously in this column, the whole Dogon business is hokum-perpetrated, perhaps, to help sustain the market for esoteric genre of books and film." —J.K. Obatala of Nigeria's The Guardian addresses the modern mythology of Mali's amazing Dogon people and their supposed ties to a race of fish-headed space monsters from a planetary system around Sirius B.
Two statements heard on the KQED Forum show's "Restaurant Roundup" segment, just now, that might trigger a response from you, the restaurant diner:
- "San Francisco starts the restaurant trends, and New York grows them."
- "New York has twice* the population, but San Francisco has the better restaurants."
* Yes we know that's not at all true; the NYC metropolitan area has 19 million people; the Bay Area has 4.5 million people.
Photo by Orbakhopper.
Robots: friendly helpers or heartless monsters that will destroy humanity? This is no longer just a question for the movies that play all the time on "Spike" or TNT. As you may or may not have noticed, aggressor nations such as the United States are getting out of the people business when it comes to fighting wars. Drones and robots are where the action is today, because drones don't urinate on the corpses of innocent people in Afghanistan, and drones don't burn the Koran, and drones don't come home missing a couple of limbs or a chunk of brain and end up standing alongside a freeway ramp with a [...]