A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Monday, October 11, 2004

Monday Linkfest

It’s a dreary, overcast Monday here in central Florida. The air is still and warm and the sky keeps thinking about raining, then seems to decide “maybe a little later”. The weather just isn’t enthusiastic about doing anything today … and the attitude is contagious. I think I could just about scrape together enough ambition right now to sit in a comfy recliner, alternately reading and napping. Because of my tireless devotion to my dear readers, however, I did invest some precious, precious energy in the expected Monday Linkfest.

First up are three non-blog links:

If there were this much dissention in the ranks of the candidate I’m supporting I’d be very worried. Not only about the chances of my guy winning, but about whether I was backing the right candidate at all. I know the title is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but you just don’t see this kind of stuff among Bush supporters.

And did you ever run into one of those people who just eats up all of the “ancient astronaut” nonsense? The folks who insist there are not only pyramids on Mars but that the ones here on Earth were built by (or perhaps for) aliens who visited our ancestors long ago? When you logic-and-evidence them into a corner, their usual response is something along the lines of “Oh yeah? Well then how did those ancient people build things like Stonehenge and The Great Pyramid of Giza? They didn’t even have wagons!”

Such people seriously need to watch more Discovery Channel. Or we can send them to The Forgotten Technology, where a builder with over 35 years of experience constructs and demonstrates how simple tools such as levers, beams, and the occasional pulley can be used to haul stone and precisely position it for construction projects. There’s really nothing new on this site – we’ve known how the pyramids were built for many years – but the demos are cool and might convince some of the netizens who wouldn’t see a good refutation of the ancient astronaut myth anywhere else.

Lastly, the good people who maintain the DragonCon web site have linked to dozens of fan photo collections; if you enjoyed my photo essay on the subject go here to browse through hundreds of pictures from the con.

Next, a couple blogs worth spending some time at this morning:

Serenity of Serenity’s Journal used to be a daily read for me. Then I started my own blog and a lot of my daily reads became occasional reads, and all too soon transitioned to used-to-reads. It’s not intentional, there’s just a limited amount of time one can spend in the blogosphere ... I'd love to get back in the habit of reading her work, though. Anyway, Serenity has some great pictures from the Afghani election over the weekend, including the very first voter – a woman – to cast a ballot. The image of a free and equal female voting in a country that just a few years ago was the most oppressive regime on Earth must drive the Islamofascists bonkers. The fact that a Republican President is responsible for it must drive the far-left liberals over here every bit as bonkers; perhaps that is another reason the two vile camps are so willing to ally with each other.

And Arthur Chrenkoff has a great piece about the Australian elections. I have to admit I didn’t think a whole lot about them other than to hope that John Howard won. He did – yay! – but Arthur goes into lots of interesting details and relates the outcome to world events as only someone who actually lives there and pays close attention can:

From a general point of view, this is good news for the "forces of liberation" and a huge slap in the face of both the domestic and international left. It breaks the "Madrid hex" and shows that backing the US in the war on terror and the war in Iraq is not a political suicide. The first Gulf War of '90-91 was said to have gotten rid of the Vietnam syndrome and helped America regain the confidence in the use of force. The Howard victory last night certainly looks like burying the Spanish syndrome for good. This should cheer Bush, as well as Blair.

There’s some disturbing news in there as well. When religious fundamentalists of any denomination gain influence it makes me nervous, but Australia’s new far-right religious extremists seem to have a particularly despicable attitude:

It will be interesting to watch where Family First goes from here. Religion, particularly of a socially conservative variety, is like a red rag to Australian media, and some Family First candidates did not do much credit to their party by calling lesbians witches that should be burned at the stake, and identifying "Satan's strongholds" in the neighborhood as "brothels, gambling places, bottleshops, mosque, temples - Freemasons/Buddhist/Hindu etc, witchcraft." But Family First has got the resources and demographics on their side.

Keep reading Chrenkoff for more on that as it develops.

That’s it for today kids. It’s a crappy day out, I’m tired, and I have to write a bunch of biographies for our newly hired Agents. Sigh. I’ll try to work up some indignation for a rant tomorrow.