Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Via La Presse: http://tinyurl.com/yq2kqw
Une entreprise thaïlandaise va distribuer une étoffe de couleur safran, destinée aux robes des moines bouddhistes, imprégnée d'un produit répulsif anti-moustique.
Le tissu, imprégné d'un produit naturel repoussant les moustiques, sera distribué en Thaïlande et dans d'autres pays bouddhistes d'Asie, a annoncé mercredi Wisan Wanasaksrisakul, directeur général du fabricant Thaï Covenant Co Ltd.
«Nous avons mené des expériences avec quatre espèces de moustiques, et quand les moines portent l'étoffe, les moustiques ne peuvent pas détecter leur nourriture (le sang humain)», a-t-il expliqué.
Le prix de revient des robes confectionnées avec ce tissu est supérieur de 10% à celui des robes en tissu traditionnel, a ajouté l'entreprise qui compte les distribuer notamment en Birmanie, au Sri Lanka et en Inde.
Le marché des robes de moines représente en Thaïlande quelque 2 milliards de baht (60 millions de dollars US) par an. La Thaïlande compte entre 350 000 et 400 000 moines bouddhistes.
Il faut expliquer que, d'une part, le premier précepte du bouddhisme est le respect de toutes vies, qu'elles soient humaines ou animales et, d'autre part, les moustiques et autres insectes piqueurs sont très abondants dans les pays tropicaux tels que la Thaïlande. Les calendriers des retraites des moines bouddhistes sont par exemple établis autour de la saison des pluies, où les insectes (vers, fourmis, araignées, etc..) sont particulièrement abondants, pour éviter que les moines les piétinent dans leurs déplacements quotidiens. Le port de ces robes permettra aux moines de méditer en paix.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sino-American Sidekick of a Hornet
An adult hornet will fly miles to find foood for its young. Often times, food is found in a hive inhabited by thousands of bees. Vespa japonica sprays the nest with some of the acid/pheromone to mark its location for fellow hornets. Once the reinforcements arrive, they descend upon the beehive to destroy all the bees before taking the bee larvae home to feed their own young.
The article I read (http://tinyurl.com/2kp7q3) describes a BBC2 documentary called ‘Buddha, Bees and the Giant Hornet Queen’. The programme followed the life of a Japanese Giant Hornet Queen as she established a hornet colony; the colony went on to launch a military style attack on a bee-hive kept by commercial bee keepers. Over the course of a few hours, around 30,000 honey-bees were massacred by a mere handful of hornet soldiers. It wasn’t a battle, but a killing field. And why was the carnage so one-sided? The bees in question were western honey-bees, introduced by the bee-keepers because they have much higher honey production than domestic honey bees. However, because these bees had never been exposed to such a predator before, they were totally defenceless when attacked.
In contrast, a local bee-keeping monk kept a hive of domestic honey bees, and when a soldier hornet came knocking on this hive, the bees knew the drill. They patiently waited for the hornet to enter the hive and then attacked, smothering the hornet in a bee ball, and literally cooking the hornet to death.
Here's a clip showing the Japanese bees' tactic:
Sunday, January 27, 2008
To watch the film, click here: http://www.storyofstuff.com/
Hillary's husband, former President Bill Clinton, tried to pre-downplay Obama's victory by comparing it to Jesse Jackson's win in 1984 and 1988 and was promptly crucified for stirring up the racial factor. But Bill Clinton didn't say anything that everyone didn't already know. Of course, black voters will rally to the black candidate, why wouldn't they?
Liberals in particular, and the political left in general, have this irritating habit of saying things that sound nice but that everyone, including themselves, know are bullshit. Some topics are off limits in liberal circles, one of them being any criticism of racial or cultural minorities, i.e. non whites. This taboo makes sense if you cast aspersions on a group of people whose only common characteristic is their skin colour. But liberals are feeling so guilty over past atrocities committed against minorities that they are bending themselves backward not to say anything negative, no matter how accurate, against anyone different from them. This is why, in this US Presidential Race, you can say the most outrageous lies against Senator Clinton and it's okay, because, you know, it's politics, but call Senator Obama a kid or imply that he's inexperienced and the hounds of Hell will be released upon you.
To me, it's absolutely normal that blacks would vote for Obama. Women will vote for Hillary, black women will hesitate a while but most will go with Obama, and white men will divide their votes among all the candidates, with the majority favouring white male candidates. After all, when I buy my cell phone or my electronic devices, I try to patronize Oriental or ethnic minority stores as much as I can. Not because they have better wares than the Western stores, no -- they have the same shit as anywhere else, but I know for a fact that the majority of white customers are uncomfortable going to non-white stores, so if I, a non-white, don't buy from non-whites, who will? Am I being racist? I don't think so, but even if I am, I'm not racked by guilt over that particular kind of racism, believe me.
If there are two more or less equally competent candidates, the rational choice is to vote for the one that resembles you the most -- same racial origin, same sex, same social class, same political party, same school, same sexual orientation, etc... -- because he/she will be the most likely to defend your interests. If you vote for the candidate with the best slogans, you'd only have yourself to blame if things turn out different from the promises.
Cause politicians are born to lie...
Just like I'm born to rock and roll.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Les blagues sont inexplicables aux non-Québécoises et aux non-Québécois. ;-)
Update: The clips are no longer available due to copyright issues. Sorry everybody.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Pleine d'indignation, j'arrête au hasard des clients de l'épicerie pour leur montrer l'abominable pancarte: "Regardez-moi ça, si c'est pas honteux! Accepteriez-vous qu'on insulte ainsi une race toute entière? Allons-nous plaindre!"
Hélas, nul ne partage mon outrage, et j'ai dû abandonner mon projet de foutre le feu au magasin. Je me console en constatant que si les proprios sont des racistes, au moins ils sont plus respectueux des animaux, ou du moins des animaux potentiels, et surtout ceux qui ont un peu d'expérience. La seniorité est encore appréciée de nos jours. Voyez-en la preuve:
The Weather Network last night predicted the temperature would hit 8 degrees Celsius today and soar to 12 tomorrow. In addition, 10 to 20 millimetres of rain is expected to fall by Wednesday. Warm weather and plenty of rain over the next several days could cause flooding, Environment Canada warned.
I said: Stop the snow! I didn't say: Start the rain!!!!!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Reuters - New Delhi -- Cinq associations d'exilés tibétains prévoient d'organiser une marche de l'Inde vers le Tibet à l'approche des Jeux olympiques de Pékin en 2008. Cette marche symbolique s'inscrit dans le cadre d'une série d'actions destinées à embarrasser la Chine, qui administre le Tibet depuis 1950.
Les manifestants prévoient de partir de Dharamsala, où le dalaï-lama et le gouvernement tibétain en exil ont élu domicile, en direction de Delhi. Ils doivent ensuite se diriger vers Lhassa, capitale du Tibet. Présentant hier leur projet, les représentants tibétains ont reconnu qu'il serait difficile et risqué de franchir les postes-frontières chinois qui les séparent de leur but.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
4. I wish that people find love and acceptance in their life, so that they stop making other people feel unloved and rejected. I wish that people realize that happiness is not a limited commodity and that one can find happiness on one's own without taking/stealing it from others.
5. I wish that sex were no longer considered ugly, yucky and sinful, while war and violence were.
6. I wish that machines were made to serve humankind and not the other way round, so that people like me can make computers, electronic devices, cars, etc.. do what we want them to do, without requiring a Masters degree in engineering.
7. I wish that creativity, beauty and kindness were appreciated at all levels and not just when they are commercially viable.
8. I wish that all organized religions disappear from the face of the Earth. For good.
8 bis. I wish you love.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
If Someone Else Has to Do It
From Fred Columns (http://www.fredoneverything.net/FOE_Frame_Column.htm)
December 28, 2007
I have just received the November issue of the magazine of the American Legion, in which I discover an article by one Ralph Peters, reminding me of why, having joined the Legion on impulse, I have never gone to the Post. The piece is entitled “Twelve Myths of 21st Century War.” A better title might be, “A Pedestrian Compendium of Agonizingly Cliched Jingoism.” (I guess he didn’t think of calling it that.) Anyway, Ralph believes that Americans have become too comfortable, have lost their taste for war, no longer want to pay the butcher’s bill. Ralph is for war. Not much for history, though.
As a diagnostic exercise in intellectual pathology, let’s look at some of these clichés. Ralph speaks of “the terrible price our troops had to pay for freedom” in our various wars. Ah. In exactly which wars did the military protect our freedoms?
The Mexican War of 1847 didn’t protect our freedoms. In the view of Ulysses Grant—a participant in that war, and unconvincing as a limp-wristed liberal—it constituted sheer unjustified aggression. In the Civil War the Confederacy posed no danger to our freedoms, if by “us” one means the Union. The South wanted only to be left alone to misbehave in peace. The Spanish-American War of 1898 was also unjustified aggression: Neither Cuba nor Spain posed the slightest threat to our freedoms. World War I didn’t protect our freedoms, nor probably those of Europe. It was an internal war between colonial powers led by idiots. World War II was justified retaliation for attack and a plausible long-term peril for freedom. The Korean War wasn’t about our freedoms—many observers assert that it took place in Korea—and neither was Viet Nam. We lost the latter and seemed no less free than before. Iraq has nothing to do with our freedoms. It couldn’t threaten the freedom of Guatemala.
One for eight, Ralph. It wouldn’t fly in the NFL.
Ralph, a doubtless well-paid commentator on television, complains that our elites do not fight in the country’s wars. True. Neither do our Ralphs. Relying on his biography in the Wikipedia, I find that he was born in 1952, making him of military age in 1970. The war in Viet Nam being at its height, he went to Europe for ten years. Rough duty, it was. Cirrhosis always looms in those beer gardens. He retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in intelligence. (Officers usually being peters, it is not surprising that Peters was an officer.) In the Marines we referred to such people as “admin pogues” or “REMFs,” rear-echelon motherfuckers. I confess to a loathing for those who shelter safely behind the lines yet send others to fight, bowwow, grrrr, woof. Still, his record is not irrelevant to his views. War looks exciting to office workers, but has less appeal to those who are forced to fight. It has even less appeal for those who are hit.
I remember lying in the NSA hospital in Danang, across the way from some guys whose tank had been hit by an RPG. I couldn’t see them because my face was bandaged. Still, we talked. They were badly burned, but seemed likely to live, though with ghastly scars.
The RPG had ruptured the hydraulics, they said, and the cherry juice cooked off. The two across from me had gotten out. The other two crewmen had burned to death. Apparently they screamed a lot. You panic, it hurts, you are blinded, you can’t find the hatches, that kind of thing.
I could tell a lot of stories like that. I don’t because then I get very strange and want to hit something. A loud-mouthed REMF, for example.
Don’t take this as denigration of Ralph, though. Intel work carries its perils. He could have broken a nail on his shift key. Sure, a trip to the nails parlor would fix it, but those things hurt.
Ralph of course speaks of the sacrifices our boys are making. They aren’t making sacrifices. They are being sacrificed. Sacrifices are voluntary, but if the troops decline to fight, they go to jail. The mechanics go this way: Having an all-volunteer army minimizes objections to the war since no one of any influence has to go; if a lot of high-school grads from Tennessee are getting killed, well, it’s not a good thing of course, but who really cares? This facilitates hobbyist wars. A voluntary army is a small army, so you have to send the same troops for tour after tour until they are half-mad and their families wrecked. Who cares? They are just rednecks anyway—not our sort of people, nobody a general would let his daughter date.
What are the current wars about? Ralph thinks, or says he thinks, that our wars serve to protect civilization, decency, and apple pie. This is either boilerplate brainlessness or deliberate cant. Permit me to cite a contrary view:
“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives…A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
Many will recognize this as the writing of the celebrated leftist Noam Chomsky, but this would be a case of misidentification. The author is, of course, Marine Major General Smedley Butler, holder of two Congressional Medals of Honor, even more than Ralph. But what does Butler know about war, compared to an office-weenie veteran of Europe’s beer chutes?
War is a racket. The military budget is absolutely huge after you add up the usual budget, the expenditures for the current wars, the intel outfits, the black programs, the Veterans Administration, and Homeland Security. Each of these jelly jars attracts its swarm of hungry bees. Always a new weapon is needed. Some threat pullulates in the darkness, ready to defeat the weapons we have. Some of these programs become virtual kingdoms. A fighter can take a quarter century to develop at wonderful cost. Then you get to produce it for decades perhaps, and sell spare parts and upgrades and then you slep it (Service Life Extension Program, become a verb). Money, money, money. An occasional war provides plausibility.
Of course we are in Iraq to protect our freedoms, Ralph. Who could doubt it? Only by coincidence does colonization put American troops on the borders of Iran and Syria, enemies of Israel, and in a position to control by intimidation the oil of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and the UAE. Coincidence, I assure you.
A bloated military requires enemies. Ralph sees one in the Mohammedans, a desperate recourse but the only one available. Enemies have to be frightening so as to justify the budget. The Soviets were serviceable in this regard, having a huge if low-grade military and a history of occupying places. When the commies punked out, no believable bugaboo was at hand, so makeup was applied to Moslems to let them serve until China comes online. Already one reads of the ominous buildup of the wily Chinee. Evil lurks everywhere, fearsome shapes twist in the fog, send money.
Why does Ralph think Iraq threatens our freedoms? Because he is supposed to. To quote Smedley Butler further, “Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.”
Actually it is much more true of officers, who are issued their minds when they sign up. They seldom turn them in upon retirement. Enlisted men know less but think more.
Enough. I can’t stand it. Ralph complains that the presidential candidates have never been in uniform, but I note that Hillary’s combat record exactly equal Ralph’s. Frauds, phonies, poseurs, always saying, “Let’s you and him fight.”