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Monday, May 04 2015 @ 03:04 AM CDT

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Thank you, Sir, may I have another

The long, miserable history of Homeland Security at the airports continues . . . just why exactly is Homeland Security confiscating U.S. citizen's laptops at airports when the citizens are returning from overseas trips?

New York Times:
There have been widespread reports of the government searching — and often seizing — laptops, BlackBerrys, iPhones and other portable electronic devices at airports. It is not clear how often these searches occur, and the government will not say. The Association of Corporate Travel Executives says that of 100 people who responded to a survey it conducted this year, 7 said they had had a laptop or other electronic device seized.
Having done my share of overseas flying, it's my considered opinion that Homeland Security is a government agency that's completely out of control.  If the Judiciary continues to allow this level of intrusive searches and seizures, and the President won't rein them in a bit, it'll have to be Congress.  Yeah, that Congress with the 9% approval rating.

I won't hold my breath.  But I may just have to travel with an extra hard drive, so I could just dump a full disk image to it and give to the airport security bozos in order to be on my merry way.  Sheesh.

via BoingBoing.
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Neighborhood Idol David Cook signs endorsement deal

Neighborhood idol (and, coincidentally, American Idol winner) David Cook has signed a deal to hawk Sketchers shoes, according to a Kansas City Star report. His mom and step-dad live just down the street from us, as Snookums loves to tell nearly everybody she meets.
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Has Pat Buchanan jumped the shark yet?

Faux-conservative (but real authoritarian) Pat Buchanan appears on a neo-Nazi radio show (from Little Green Footballs):
If you were paying attention during the battles over the Belgian Vlaams Belang party, the name of that radio show may be familiar to you; other guests of “The Political Cesspool” have included David Duke and Vlaams Belang leaders Filip DeWinter and Frank Vanhecke: Vlaams Belang and the US White Supremacist Cesspool.
On behalf of everybody, let me say:

Let the shunning begin.   Starting with MSNBC and any other TV network stupid enough to let this guy near a camera, microphone, and kleig lights.
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Iranian monkey experiments--can puppies be next?

From California simian correspondent Bill (who's apparently branching out in the evolutionary tree), 'Germ Warfare' fear over African monkeys taken to Iran (Times of London):

Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments.

An undercover inquiry by The Sunday Times has revealed that wild monkeys, which are banned from experiments in Britain, are being freely supplied in large numbers to laboratories in other parts of the world. All will undergo invasive and maybe painful experiments leading ultimately to their death.


Because, you see, Muslims don't like dogs.  It's a joke, Son!

Seriously, what are those wacky Mullahs in Tehran up to now, hmm? 
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. . .unable to resist 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' joke

Boingboing brings to our attention the naked man who hijacked a Las Vegas city bus.
On Tuesday morning, Charles P. Sell, 35, stole a beer from a Las Vegas 7-Eleven and then hijacked a bus. He was buck naked at the time. He is charged with robbery, grand larceny, and malicious destruction of private property.
I can't wait to see the next commercial from the Vegas tourism folks.
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An Ah-Ha moment

Occasionally, you read something that lets you better understand somebody else's thinking.

Obama, as quoted at Gateway Pundit:
--I think you are privatizing something that is what essentially sets a nation-state apart, which is a monopoly on violence
Of course, the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment is all about ensuring that the state in fact does not have a monopoly on violence.  Should the state become sufficiently tyrannical, it is the right (and, perhaps, the duty) of the people to dissolve it--that comes from the Declaration of Independence.

States very seldom dissolve peacefully.  Just ask the Iraqis about that.
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Braaaaaains! Primate Braaaaaains!

Primates evolved larger brains at least twice, says Science Blog:
"The result is clear: early fossil members of both the New World and Old World anthropoid lineages had small brain sizes, thus the larger brain sizes seen in both groups today must have arisen independently," says Flynn. "Documenting that large brains evolved separately several times within Primates will enhance understanding of the timing and pathways of brain expansion and its effects on skull growth and shape, and may lead to new insights into the genetic controls on encephalization."
Braaaaains!  I just like typing 'braaaains!' 
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The world's premier bacon-blogger

is John Scalzi.

He writes some decent science fiction, too.

I thought y'all would like to know.
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Racism in America today

TV network to show only the Democrat's National Convention.  From Live Feed:

But John McCain shouldn’t expect the same treatment. The network doesn’t plan any coverage of the Republican convention.

"We are not a news organization," said Rodgers, speaking at the opening session of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. "We are a television network designed to celebrate African American achievement."

"My audience is 93% black," Rogers added. "I serve my audience."

One of the talking points supporting black racism like this is that it's impossible for blacks to be racist because they're the minority.  But how does that change, if The Man is black?

Also, why are there not one but two cable TV networks which unabashedly cater to a racist (black) audience?  Oh, yeah, that's right, blacks can't be racists, by definition.

Nice.

Via Gateway Pundit.
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15 reasons why creationism is bunk

Little Green Footballs reminds us of this Scientific American article, from which we excerpt a sample (go read the entire article for more goodness):

9. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that systems must become more disordered over time. Living cells therefore could not have evolved from inanimate chemicals, and multicellular life could not have evolved from protozoa.

This argument derives from a misunderstanding of the Second Law. If it were valid, mineral crystals and snowflakes would also be impossible, because they, too, are complex structures that form spontaneously from disordered parts.

The Second Law actually states that the total entropy of a closed system (one that no energy or matter leaves or enters) cannot decrease. Entropy is a physical concept often casually described as disorder, but it differs significantly from the conversational use of the word.

More important, however, the Second Law permits parts of a system to decrease in entropy as long as other parts experience an offsetting increase. Thus, our planet as a whole can grow more complex because the sun pours heat and light onto it, and the greater entropy associated with the sun's nuclear fusion more than rebalances the scales. Simple organisms can fuel their rise toward complexity by consuming other forms of life and nonliving materials.

It is a source of constant amazement to me that people do not consistently apply scientific principles--those who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming seem to accept creationism uncritically, and vice versa.  Both seem pretty bogus to me, although I'll grant that global warming has a higher class of bogosity than creationism.