September 2007
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Day September 24, 2007

Project Cybersyn

From Wikipedia:

Project Cybersyn was a Chilean attempt at real-time computer-controlled planned economy in the years 1970–1973 (during the government of president Salvador Allende). It was essentially a network of telex machines that linked factories with a single computer center in Santiago, which controlled them using principles of cybernetics. The principal architect of the system was British operations research scientist Stafford Beer.

The World’s Weirdest/Stupidest Conspiracy Theories

A bunch can be found here.

The driver shot JFK. (the late William Cooper)

The Beatles were designed and sent to the U.S. by the British Psychological Warfare Division, to undermine the morals of American teenagers. (Lyndon LaRouche)

Stephen King killed John Lennon.

(via Metafilter)

Cats on a Treadmill

(via Andy’s Blog)

Japanese Vending Machine Blog

From Trends in Japan:

Ryuuichi Terada of Sapporo, Hokkaido has been taking a picture of the same Coca-Cola vending machine nearly every day for over two years, and intensely documenting the changes. While I laughed off the premise immediately, I soon became hooked. Not only does he take daily photos, but he compares the photos to the previous year and draws John Madden-worthy diagrams explaining the daily changes. The addition of new products, stickers, and marketing gimmicks are all there in clear detail.

And here is the actual blog.

She’s A Witch!

‘Let Ahmadinejad Go to Ground Zero’

Senator Mike Gravel in the HuffPost:

First, a few words about Ahmadinejad: His claims that the Holocaust was a myth are wrong and disgusting. His rhetorical threats to Israel are irresponsible and detestable. I wish he lost his 2005 election campaign against his reformist opponent and I cheered his party’s losses in last year’s elections.

But Ahmadinejad is Iran’s elected head of state and by snubbing him, we snub the Iranian government and its people. Right now, such a snub is not only wrong-headed, it’s dangerous.

Sadly, most politicians find it much easier to fall back on tough talk, phony moralism and warmongering rather than try to explain the complex reality of international relations. Bush, Bloomberg, Lieberman, and most of my fellow Democratic presidential candidates want you to think the world is divided between good and evil and they are on ‘the side of angels.’

This political tactic was always disingenuous, but regarding Iran, it’s now downright dangerous.

Despite what the Bush administration claims, Iran was a great enemy of the perpetrators of 9/11 long before 2001. In the 1990s Iran waged a covert war against the Taliban and Wahabi-Sunni terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda. While Bush gave economic aid to the repressive Taliban in early 2001, Iran was funding the Taliban’s bitter enemies, the Northern Alliance. Immediately after 9/11, Iran provided us with key intelligence about Afghanistan and helped us establish ties with the Northern Alliance, which drove the Taliban from Kabul two months later. The Iranians were willing to help us further in the winter of 2001, but Bush and the neocons ignored the advice of the State Dept. and the CIA and spurned further Iranian assistance. Once Bush dropped his infamous ‘Axis of Evil’ line in January 2002, there was no turning back. We missed a great opportunity to learn from the Iranians and build ties between our intelligence communities that might have helped us find Bin Laden.

Teacher Claims He Was Fired For Saying the Bible Isn’t Literal

From the

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday.

“I’m just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master’s degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job,” Bitterman said.

Sarah Smith, director of the school’s Red Oak campus, declined to comment Friday on Bitterman’s employment status. The school’s president, Barbara Crittenden, said Bitterman taught one course at Southwest. She would not comment, however, on his claim that he was fired over the Bible reference, saying it was a personnel issue.

“I can assure you that the college understands our employees’ free-speech rights,” she said. “There was no action taken that violated the First Amendment.”

Bitterman, who taught part time at Southwestern and Omaha’s Metropolitan Community College, said he uses the Old Testament in his western civilization course and always teaches it from an academic standpoint.

Some PBS Stations Broadcast Sanitized Version of Ken Burns’ ‘The War’

But just the profanities have been edited. Showing pictures of bodies that have been butchered is perfectly alright as long as nobody drops an f-bomb.

Missing from the version of “The War” to be shown by APT and by some other PBS stations will be four expletives.

The FCC hasn’t revealed in advance whether it will punish stations that air “The War” with the expletives intact. That’s why PBS is providing its 350 member stations a choice of two versions of the series: a clean one without the profanity, or the original with the expletives, as Burns wanted.

It was unclear Friday how many PBS stations would air the original, unedited version.

“No one has been keeping tabs on it, and there are many, I think, that haven’t yet decided,” said Jared Seeger, a spokesman for Burns’ Florentine Films production company.

APT spokeswoman Kathie Martin said the nine stations in Alabama, including WEIQ-TV42 in Mobile, would show the profanity-free version because “The War” will air “during family prime time.”

“We want to be sure that because of the educational nature of this, that we are not offending anyone with the language,” she said.

Simpsons Movie Homages

Scenes from the Simpsons that mirror movies or famous broadcasts..

(via Andy’s Blog)

Witness Talks About Blackwater Shootings

Winning hearts and minds:

Traffic officer Ali Khalaf, who was on duty on Sunday last week in Al-Yarmukh, in the mainly Sunni Mansour area of west Baghdad, told AFP he had witnessed the entire incident.

“The American convoy arrived… and as usual I stopped the traffic to allow them to pass,” Khalaf said.

As they often do, guards from the US firm — the largest private security operators in Iraq — hurled water bottles at cars to stop traffic as they drove through.

“Then without reason, they opened fire. Four shots, in the air, aiming just above the cars,” Khalaf said.

“But one of the bullets struck a man in his car. I went to his aid but he was already dead, his body was slumped on the dashboard.

“His wife was then killed before my eyes by a bullet that hit her in the head.”

Khalaf said he ran to take shelter inside his little hut as the gunfire continued.

The car with the dead couple “continued to move, with its doors open and the bodies inside — like a phantom vehicle.”

“The Americans fired at everything that moved, with a machine gun and even with a grenade launcher. There was panic. Everyone tried to flee. Vehicles tried to make U-turns to escape.”

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