holy crap

I wish I could embed this video for you- it’s a giant shark taking a dump. No, really.
Shark-cam captures ocean motion

It is as thick as your arm, gungy and smells disgusting – and it has just been caught on camera for what is thought to be the first time.

Whalers slip out of Japanese port

Lunar Images From Chandrayaan-1
Controllers Cheer as Data Arrive from NASA’s Spirit Rover
What to Get Space Station on 10th Anniversary — a Name
Physicist admits sending US space know-how to China

Pirates capture Saudi oil tanker
Somali pirates release cargo ship
US Admiral ‘stunned’ by pirates’ reach

Georgia: Russian drone explodes, killing 2 soldiers and wounding 8 near S. Ossetian border
South Ossetian gunmen withdraw from disputed village: Sarkozy
Macedonia Takes Greece to World Court
Protests against UN, EU in Kosovo planned

Ancient Greeks pre-empted Dead Parrot sketch

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it.”

For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch where a man returns a parrot to a shop, complaining it is dead.

The 1,600-year-old work entitled “Philogelos: The Laugh Addict,” one of the world’s oldest joke books, features a joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died, its publisher said Friday.

“By the gods,” answers the slave’s seller, “when he was with me, he never did any such thing!”

news- bear baiting in the caucasus

There’s long been a dynamic in the Middle East where Arab leaders gain credibility by fighting Israel (and by extension, the US and the West), even though they get clobbered in the process. It’s widely considered, for instance, that Sadat took part in the 1973 war in order to gain the political capital he needed to pursue peace.

(Politics is a strange world, isn’t it? You have to fight a war in order to create peace. Don’t look at me- I didn’t make it that way.)

I wonder if Saakashvili will be inaugurating the same dynamic along the former Soviet periphery. After fighting a disastrous war, one for which he bears full responsibility, he seems to be in a pretty solid position. Georgia has unified behind him, with the opposition falling into line. All mentions of corruption and repression are gone. Countries like Poland and the Baltics are lining up to support him, and a substantial chunk of the US foreign policy establishment is treating him like a hero.

No telling how long this will last- Serbia united behind Milosevic during the Kosovo war, but still turned on him a year or so later. These circumstances are very different, of course, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on things. If taunting the bear and getting smacked down turns out to be a road to influence, we can expect the fringes of the Russian empire to get a whole lot more unstable.

Georgia accuses Russia of breaking ceasefire
Looting reignites Russia-Georgia tensions
NATO says membership pledge to Georgia stands
Iraq veterans jump from frying pan into the fire
US denies troops fighting in Georgia

Macedonia “Name” Talks Resume

Canada’s Harper aims to bolster Arctic sovereignty
US mission to Arctic will lay claim to gas reserves
Chertoff Hits the North Pole; Arctic Showdown Ahead?

Will Growing Russian/American Tension Affect ISS?
John McCain: America’s Space Program

‘Gitmo On The Platte’ Set As Holding Cell For DNC

Air Force Suspends Controversial Cyber Command

But even if everything all was calm at the Air Force, Cyber Command’s path was far from clear. At a June conference , the command’s emerging leaders couldn’t agree on what exactly the new unit would do. Some said the command’s mission would be the  “protection and defense of the Air Force’s command and control abilities.” Others argued that the “mission is to control cyberspace both for attacks and defense.” (The service even changed its mission statement to read, “As Airmen, it is our calling to dominate Air, Space, and Cyberspace.”) Some believed the Cyber Command would only be responsible for computer networks. Others thought it’d be responsbile for every system that had anything to do with the electromagnetic spectrum — up to and including laser weapons.

U.S. Judge in Wyoming Rules Against Ban on Forest Roads

the news- bigfoot, wendigo and drunk aussie

Dig this for starters:

Google’s Street View captures the moment a drunken Aussie keeled over outside his home

Thanks to the ever-awesome Dr. Jon for this one:
Bigfoot Body: “Georgia Gorilla” Will Shock The World



A body that may very well be the body of the creature commonly known as “Bigfoot” has been found in the woods in northern Georgia.

(That’s the other Georgia, by the way. Remember that one? Peaches, Ray Charles songs, all that.)

Not to be outdone by a mere sasquatch, the Republic of Canadia gives us the wendigo:
Bus beheading similar to Windigo phenomenon
Evil spirit made man eat family

And more monsters closer to home:
Bush Seeks to Loosen Endangered Species Act
Northwest conservationists bristle over U.S. move on species act

Tre Arrow sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison

Gonna try to add more environmental stories in the future.

Macedonia Adds Church Row to Name Talks

NASA Cassini Begins Transmitting Data From Enceladus Flyby

Hubble Space Telescope Unveils Colorful and Turbulent Star-Birth Region on 100,000th Orbit Milestone

Nasa Moonship flight target slips
NASA Worries About Design Flaws
ASAP Report Released

Meltdown in the Arctic is speeding up

Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013.

Satellite images show that ice caps started to disintegrate dramatically several days ago as storms over Alaska’s Beaufort Sea began sucking streams of warm air into the Arctic.

Rush to Arctic as warming opens oil deposits
U.S. ship heads for Arctic to define territory
EU deploys 1st sea glider in Arctic ocean
U.S., Canada to collaborate on Arctic undersea survey

news stories- pirates and the arctic

Gonna give Georgia a rest today. My basic analysis hasn’t changed, and there are better sources for breaking news. So here’s a little bit of the rest of the world.

Greek Olympic committee protests over Macedonia name entry

Kidnapped by pirates!
Two German hostages released in Somalia
The Pirate Hunter
US tourist hacked to death in Guatemala

Coast Guard warmly welcomed in Alaska’s Arctic
Arctic watchdog: Coast Guard will do the job, if it can get some extra help

Last summer, Barrow witnessed a surprise invasion of friendly foreigners. Four hundred German tourists, having made the Northwest Passage in a cruise ship, showed up. Local officials in Barrow didn’t know they were coming. Neither did the Coast Guard.

Good thing they were friendly.

It’s also a good thing the ship didn’t need emergency help at sea. Good thing it didn’t spill any oil.

Sea Shepherd Issues Warrant for Japanese Whalers

news from earth- mayhem and piracy

Right on:
Man cut power because he ‘enjoyed sparks’

Pirates Attack Commodity Ship in Nigeria, Reporting Bureau Says

Sailing couple robbed by pirates

Dubious diplomacy in the land of the former Soviets:
Skopje sabotaging talks, FM says
German foreign minister to travel to Georgia, Abkhazia and Russia

NATO Hires a Coke Executive to Retool Its Brand

“Brands do go to the basic purpose: what is the point of this organization?” he said. “NATO lost its primary rationale on the day the Warsaw Pact closed up business. It has been casting around for a different identity and role so it remains relevant. The jury seems to be out on whether it has succeeded.”

Maybe instead of having an institutional identity crisis (how boringly post-modern), NATO should just disband. The North Atlantic Treaty may still be a good idea, but it’s quite possible to maintain the defensive treaty without an offensive treaty organization.

Global Warming Changes to Snowmelt Patterns in Western US Could Have Larger Impact Than Previously Thought

the news- mercenaries, pirates, war games

S.F. officials locked out of computer network

A disgruntled city computer engineer has virtually commandeered San Francisco’s new multimillion-dollar computer network, altering it to deny access to top administrators even as he sits in jail on $5 million bail, authorities said Monday.

Somali Pirates Shift to Gulf of Aden
Canadian warships hunt modern-day pirates

Erik Prince exclusive interview: Blackwater CEO responds to firm’s controversial reputation, place in military operations
And here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the guy.

Skopje raises diplomatic stakes: FYROM premier calls for recognition of ‘Macedonian minority’ and rights for ‘refugees’ in letter to Karamanlis

Russia, US hold rival war games in restive Caucasus: officials

The United States and Russia held rival war games Tuesday on either side of the Caucasus mountains amid simmering tensions over the fate of two rebel regions in ex-Soviet Georgia.

And speaking of Georgia, here’s two different takes on the same story:
A War The West Must Stop | A war waiting to happen

the news- post x-day edition

This is the story:
Washington’s Boyhood Home Is Found
But this is the picture and the caption:
The bowl of an 18th-century pipe, darkened from heavy use, was a key discovery at the site of the boyhood home of George Washington. The pipe, found in one of the cellars of the house, bears a Masonic crest.

The bowl of an 18th-century pipe, darkened from heavy use, was a key discovery at the site of the boyhood home of George Washington. The pipe, found in one of the cellars of the house, bears a Masonic crest.

More on Georgia:
South Ossetia comes again under Georgian fire: separatists
And because you don’t see much video footage:
Tense standoff in South Ossetia

Macedonia PM forms coalition with Albanian party
I wonder if this means a crackdown on the Albanian party that got left out.
Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo Photos
NASA Debuts Web Site for First Ares Test Flight

Two days in a row without pirates. Sorry.

news- the solar system and more about georgia

Macedonia: Albanians clash in Skopje suburb

Same hook, but two different stories:
Tensions soar in rebel Georgian region after shelling
South Ossetia shootings heighten Georgia tension

Mercury, Up-Close Again
Our solar system is egg-shaped, according to distant space probe

Stone Age Art Caves May Have Been Concert Halls

In at least ten locations, drawings of horses, bison, and mammoths seem to match locations that focus, amplify, and transform the sounds of human voices and musical instruments.

news stories- another sunday quickie

Albanian Opposition Claim Macedonia Victory
Kosovo’s New Constitution Takes Effect
8 wounded in clash between Georgian, local forces in breakaway province of South Ossetia

I posted a link about this last week, but the story didn’t make much sense. This is a little better:
French Mercenaries Sign E100m Deal with Somalia

news stories – trouble along the former soviet periphery

The view from Lori Mehmen’s front door on Tuesday evening. (via Associated Press)
A Remarkable Photo From Tornado Country

The former Soviet periphery is as stable as ever:
At least 9 dead in wave of Russia violence
Kosovo officer and man wounded in shootout
Moldova outlaws Tiraspol Times; others

By way of Technoccult:
Who’s More Innovative When it Comes to Electric Vehicles? The Soviet Ministries of Ford and GM, or a Besieged Palestinian in Gaza?

Mars team gets peek at dark, glassy bits in soil