Homeless Living on Beach in Hawaii

From ABC News:

WAIANAE, Hawaii Sep 11, 2006 (AP)— Bert Bustamante and his family look as if they are enjoying a vacation at the beach, with kids swimming in the ocean, fish frying on the grill and radio music floating in the air.

A closer look, though, reveals the truth: Life on the beach is about all Bustamante and his neighbors have.

They are homeless in paradise.

Just up the coast from a major luxury resort, at least 725 homeless people by one community group’s count are living on a 16-mile stretch of Oahu’s western shore, a pristine beach where oceanfront lots would cost millions.

Armed with city-issued camping permits, the homeless use beach showers and sleep in tightly packed tents. Dinner is bought with food stamps.

(via What Really Happened)

Wikipedia Defies China’s Censors

From The Guardian:

The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive entries.

Jimmy Wales, one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine, challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with Beijing.

Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West, has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google, Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for Wikipedia.

I don’t care if he edits his own bio on wikipedia or not, he’s my new hero:

Wales said censorship was ‘ antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information, and for us to compromise I think would send very much the wrong signal: that there’s no one left on the planet who’s willing to say “You know what? We’re not going to give up.”‘

God is Imaginary

50 simple proofs explaining why. Here is #10:

Proof #10 – Look at historical gods

The belief in “god” seems to be ubiquitous through the ages.

We know, for example, that the ancient Egyptians believed in their gods so fervently that they built massive structures like the Great Pyramid — still today one of the largest and most enduring human constructions ever created. Despite that fervor, however, we know with complete certainty today that the Egyptian gods were imaginary. We don’t build pyramids anymore and we do not mummify our leaders.

More recently we know that tens of millions of Romans worshiped Zeus and his friends, and to them they built magnificent temples. The ruins of these temples are popular tourist attractions even today. Yet we know with complete certainty that these gods were imaginary because no one worships Zeus any more.

Much more recently, we know that the Aztec civilization believed in their gods so intensely that they constructed huge temples and pyramids. In addition, Aztecs were so zealous that they were sacrificing hundreds of human beings to their gods as recently as the 16th century. Despite the intensity, however, we know today that these gods were completely imaginary. The Aztecs were insane to be murdering people for their gods. Killing a person has no effect on rainfall or anything else. We all know that.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)

Swinging Off a Balcony

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Looks like another contender for the 2007 Darwin awards.

Now, many years later, I still love swinging despite encountering fewer opportunities to do it. One of the distinctive features at my new building is a large metal terrace hanging over the rooftop patio. Since moving in I’ve wanted to build a swing on it so that I could swing over the edge of the building.

I’m not sure why, but yesterday inspiration struck and I decided that it would be that day I built my swing. Evan and Jonah were with me. Evan was upset by the idea, worried that I might die. Jonah was also eager to swing, and helped me assure Evan that I did stuff like this all the time, and that I wouldn’t die.