Battlepanda: October 2007


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cootie power to the people

That will show those generals:
Knickers to the general becomes latest ploy of Burmese rebels

Saturday, October 27, 2007

By Andrew Buncombe

Activists seeking to pressure the Burmese regime are targeting the superstitions of its senior generals by asking for people around the world to send women's underwear to the junta.

In what may be a first, campaigners based in Thailand have called for supporters to "post, deliver or fling" the underwear to their nearest Burmese embassy. They believe the senior members of the junta – some known to be deeply superstitious – could be made to believe they will lose their authority should they come into contact with the lingerie.

The Burma military regime is not only brutal but very superstitious. They believe that contact with a woman's panties or sarong can rob them of their power," says the website of the Lanna Action for Burma group, based in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand. The group says that Burmese embassies have already received underwear from people in Thailand, Australia, Singapore and the UK.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tit for tat

Sounds fair to me. Insert LOL cat-style "all your bases" joke here:
NAPLES (Reuters) - Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the United States wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador's Pacific coast.

Correa has refused to renew Washington's lease on the Manta air base, set to expire in 2009. U.S. officials say it is vital for counter-narcotics surveillance operations on Pacific drug-running routes.

"We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base," Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy.

"If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States."

(HT Jim Henley)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How cats wake us up

This is what mornings are like at my house.

Just what we needed: more of the same

Quote of the Day from Daniel Gross at Slate, on the new Fox Business Channel:
Ailes and company have described the rationale for a new business channel by noting that the field's dominating presence—CNBC—isn't sufficiently pro-business. Of course, CNBC already offers something like a Fox News version of economic and political coverage. Anchors parrot corporate America's preferred line on trade and taxes, sneer at Europeans, and routinely refer to Hillary Clinton as a socialist. It's nearly impossible to find centrists on-air, let alone left-wingers. Saying America needs Fox Business Channel because CNBC isn't sufficiently pro-capitalist is a little like saying Boston needs a new baseball team because the Red Sox aren't a sufficient object of local obsession.


Beware the panda

The Telegraph reports on a vicious panda attack in Beijing.
Eight-year-old Gu Gu and another bear were being fed at Beijing Zoo when a 15-year-old boy crossed the 1.4-meter (4-foot-7) barrier surrounding his outdoor exercise area. The 240-pound (110 kilgram) bear turned on the visitor and began ripping chunks out his legs, according to the director of the zoo management office, identified only by his surname, Zhang.

The Beijing News identified the boy as Li Xitao from Hebei province in northeast China, citing emergency medical officials who said he was so viciously attacked that his bones were showing.

Chunks of flesh were left behind in the ambulance, they said.
He's gonna have one cool "how I got this scar" story to tell.


The right answer is always bigger, meaner monkeys

Deputy mayor of Delhi dead after monkey attack. Yes, you read that right:
SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.

The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by.

The High Court ordered the city to find an answer to the problem last year.

One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

The city has also employed monkey catchers to round them up so they can be moved to forests.

But the problem has persisted.

Culling is seen as unacceptable to devout Hindus, who revere the monkeys as a manifestation of the monkey god Hanuman, and often feed them bananas and peanuts.
Two questions:
(1) So it's unacceptable to cull the monkeys according to Hinduism but okey-dokey to form a monkey death squad (HT mjweber) that will get the job done?

(2) what larger, more ferocious animal can they introduce on the streets of Delhi after the langur monkeys go out of control?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fifty days for possession of cat pee

Via BoingBoing comes this bit of drug war stupidity:

Tampa, Florida - A Lithia woman spends almost two months in jail over a vial of cat urine.

Cynthia Hunter was arrested in August accused of stealing at a Brandon Wal-Mart.

The 38-year-old mother was charged with possession of a controlled substance after deputies found a vial in her purse that a field test suggested was meth.

Hunter had said the substance was dehydrated cat urine for her son's science project and that it had been purchased at an animal clinic. She was released Thursday after lab tests found the substance was, in fact, cat urine.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

After four years of waiting...

Possibly the greatest moment in the history of the Internet...

Steve has eaten the Tree Brain.

(If you're unfamiliar with "Steve, Don't Eat It!", start here.)


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Space Money

Because at the Mars Hilton, they don't take American Express.
Scientists have come up with a new currency designed to be used by inter-planetary travellers.

It is called the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, or Quid.

Why a special currency for space?
"None of the existing payment systems we use on earth - like cash, credit or debit cards - could be used in space," said Professor George Fraser from the University of Leicester.

"Anything with sharp edges, like coins, would be a risk to astronauts while the chips and magnetic strips used in our cards on Earth would be damaged beyond repair by cosmic radiation," he added.

Using any sort of technology that involved sending and receiving information from Earth would also be impractical because of the distances involved.
And the all important question: what's the exchange rate?
It is currently quoting the currency at £6.25 to the Quid.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Braving Krosa

I can tell you, I was holed up in the apartment all day yesterday as Typhoon Krosa slammed into Taiwan. The driving rain was relentless. I didn't even want to leave to go to the convenience store. Yet some brave souls were out there marching in support of the people of Myanmar.

Photo is by David of David on Formosa, who has more here on the protest. He has also got some very dramatic pictures of what a superstorm looks like.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

My favorite podcasts

I've recently gotten into's the perfect way to keep your brain pleasantly occupied on the way to work or walking the dogs. The below are a few of my favorites, plus a few that I don't absolutely listen to every episode of but like to check out once in a while. Try them. You might find that you like them. And please feel free to share your favorite podcasts in the comments.

NPR: They don't do their flagship news programs as podcasts. But I catch Marketplace this way as well as Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

BBC: From Our Own Correspondent is probably my favorite here. It's a personal take by journalists about the places they've been and things they've seen that can be really illuminating and gripping or just a little silly. It's always interesting to have heard the same event covered as a news item first on Today and then catching the behinds the scenes version on FOOC.

RTI: Radio Taiwan International is a nice quick way of getting a capsule view of goings-on in Taiwan, especially on the days when I don't feel like reading any newspapers. Plus I sometime come across feature ideas I might be able to steal.

Travel with Rick Steves: This program is really inspiring for those seeking to do in-depth travel. Or just to dream...

The Naked Scientists: Just like the Naked Chef, the Naked Scientists are British and not actually naked. But they do put out a good show about the latest and wackiest in science.

Savage love: The dude writes a good sex advice column and now he's got a good podcast.

Behind the Bar show:
An oddly compelling show about the art of whipping up a good cocktail with Mr. Martini. I also like this show because you get the sense that he's just a guy who hooked a mike to his computer one day and started doing this podcast thing.

Anyhoo, there are more, but that's all I feel like putting up for now. I am always looking out for new and interesting podcasts for my lineup, so suggestions in the comments please.

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