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Day May 3, 2006

The Montana Sedition Project

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Imagine going down to your local brewpub or coffee shop. You meet some friends. The talk turns to the war. You criticize the President and his wealthy supporters. Next thing you know, a couple of husky fellows at the next table grab you, hustle you out the door and down to the local police station. You are arrested on a charge of sedition. Within months you are indicted, tried and convicted. The judge sentences you to 5-10 years in prison — and off you go! Think this could never happen? Well, it happened not that long ago — during World War I — to scores of ordinary people in Montana. They discovered very painfully that their free speech rights had been stripped away by the state legislature.

This site is about the 76 men and three women convicted of the crime of sedition in Montana in 1918 and 1919. The law they ran afoul of was possibly the harshest anti-speech law passed by any state in the history of the United States. Forty of those men — and one woman — served prison terms at the state penitentiary in Deer Lodge under sentences of up to 20 years. They were sent there for simply expressing their opinions — about President Wilson, about America’s entry into World War I, about the armed forces, or about some other government agency. One man was sentenced to 7 – 20 years for saying the wartime food regulations were a “big joke.” Others were convicted but only fined. A handful were found not guilty.

(via Linkfilter)

Gandhi’s Hypocrisy

Hmmm.

In August 1942, Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba, among others, were imprisoned by the British in Aga Khan Palace near Poona. Kasturba had poor circulation, and she’d weathered several heart attacks. While detained in the palace, she developed bronchial pneumonia. One of her four sons, Devadas, wanted her to take penicillin. Gandhi refused. He was okay with her receiving traditional remedies, such as water from the Ganges, but he refused her any medicines, including this newfangled antibiotic, saying that the Almighty would have to heal her.

The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi quotes him on February 19, 1944: “If God wills it, He will pull her through.” Gandhi: A Life adds this wisdom from the Mahatma: “You cannot cure your mother now, no matter what wonder drugs you may muster. She is in God’s hands now.” Three days later, Devadas was still pushing for the penicillin, but Gandhi shot back: “Why don’t you trust God?” Kasturba died that day.

The next night, Gandhi cried out: “But how God tested MY faith!” He told one of Kasturba’s doctors that the antibiotic wouldn’t have saved her and that allowing her to have it “would have meant the bankruptcy of MY faith.” (Emphasis mine.)

But Gandhi’s faith wasn’t much of an obstacle a short time later when it was his ass on the line. A mere six weeks after Kasturba died, Gandhi was flattened by malaria. He stuck to an all-liquid diet as his doctors tried to convince him to take quinine. But Gandhi refused and died of the disease, right? No, actually, after three weeks of deterioration, he took the diabolical drug and quickly recovered. The stuff about trusting God’s will and testing faith only applied when his wife’s life hung in the balance. When he needed a drug to stave off the Grim Reaper, down the hatch it went.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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Man must learn to rely upon himself. Reading bibles will not protect him from the blasts of winter, but houses, fires. and clothing will. To prevent famine, one plow is worth a million sermons, and even patent medicines will cure more diseases than all the prayers uttered since the beginning of the world.

–Robert Green Ingersoll, “The Gods” (1872)

Swarm Sketch

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SwarmSketch is an ongoing online canvas that explores the possibilities of distributed design by the masses. Each week it randomly chooses a popular search term which becomes the sketch subject for the week. In this way, the collective is sketching what the collective thought was important each week. (Due to increased traffic sketches are currently being updated after about 1000 lines)

Each user can contribute a small amount of line per visit, then they are given the opportunity to vote on the opacity of lines submitted by other users.

Richard Feynman and The Connection Machine

Long but good article originally published in a 1989 issue of Physics Today

Nobel prize winner physicist Richard Feynman played a critical role in developing the first parallel-processing computer and finding innovative uses for it in numerical computing and building neural networks as well as physical simulation with cellular-automata (such as turbulent fluid flow), working with Stephen Wolfram.

Fourthmeal

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Because Americans don’t get enough food during the rest of the day.

It was probably inevitable that a fourth meal would be added to the day and I am not surprised that a fast food restaurant is the one trying to do it. Taco Bell has recently unveiled their concept of Fourthmeal, the meal between dinner and breakfast. I am not sure what happened to the “midnight snack,” but it seems likely that the word “snack” must not have been encouraging people to buy enough late-night tacos.

Blasphemous Stickers for Bibles

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Bwahaha

Butterfly Alphabet

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For over 24 years the Smithsonian naturalist, lecturer and photographer, Kjell (“Shell”) Sandved traveled the world over, photographing all the letters & numbers from the wings of butterflies without harming any.

(via Kircher Society)

Chinese Man Buys MiG Through eBay

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From BBC News:

A Chinese businessman has bought an old MiG-21f fighter jet for nearly $25,000 (£14,000) on eBay to decorate his office, a Chinese newspaper reports.

Zhang Cheng bought the Soviet-made jet from a seller in the United States, where it is said to be in excellent condition though last flown in 1995.

“I have the buying power and my company has an empty space where I can display the plane,” he told the Beijing News.

But it was not immediately clear if Mr Zhang needed a permit to import it.


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