Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Tricorder – fiction now close to fact

Two recent developments in biological sciences and technology have lead me to believe the Tricorder of Star Trek fame is not so distant.

The first is a hand held medical scanner/communication device. Granot, Ivorra and Rubinsky published their creation through the online PLoS ONE journal on April 30th of this year. The technology uses a very similar setup to the newer cellular phones, and detects voltage differences to produce images. From the pictures you can see it is pretty much a modified cell phone, connected to an electrode setup.

The second article was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London in 2003. Hebert et al provide a complete system to taxonomic identification through the Cytochrome Oxidase I gene of mitochondrial DNA. This gene is found in all animals, and varies quite a bit between species, however, its intraspecific variation is low. The mutation rate of the gene is just right for acting as a species barcode, whereas the DNA sequence identifies the species by its closeness to a record of known gene sequences. The aim is to sequence this gene in all animal species and use it as a universal identifier. There are several worldwide barcoding initiatives going on for most of the major taxonomic groupings. I really don’t see it as that far off before we have a good record for all described vertebrate species, although it will probably take much longer for the invertebrates. The practical uses for this is immense. Already, barcoding has been used to uncover fish market fraud.

Now, wouldn’t it be cool if you could combine the two of these? You would have a cell phone that could do biological scanning, as well as sequence COI genes and compare them to the online database. You would have a combination communicator, biological scanner, and species identification device, in essence, a tricorder.

Its not that far off. – The heart of the barcoding initiative. Note the search engine of over 160 thousand barcodes. You can simply type your sequence in and it will give you the closest matches.



There are two drives at war within each of us – the creation and maintenance of order, and the reckless breakneck chase of disorder.

Visualize a skinny nerd walking a big dog. The dog is trying to pull the nerd where he wants to go, and the nerd is gripping the leash with white knuckles. And you are neither the nerd nor the beast, but both at the same time.

  Continue reading Arête

Go Go Goddess Motorcycle!

Sick of the Flying Spaghetti Monster being the only Neophillic Irreligion available for kids? Here’s a quick jake for the children.


Some background on the site, from the PARENTS section:

Why go goddess?
Rather than by age, tweens are best defined by their state of mind as they enter a transition period between childhood and adolescence. go goddess! is a brand focusing exclusively on the development of self-esteem for tween girls by encouraging self-discovery, self-expression, and self-awareness. The purpose of the go goddess! concept is to encourage tweens to discover their talents and interests, and to emphasize the importance of embracing their inner beauty and unique attitudes as they navigate the tough world of being a tween.

Why focus on tweens?
Experts suggest that it is during the tween years that girls begin to pay attention to their “inner voice.” They begin to compare themselves to their peers, which can result in self-doubt. “Tween-agers” also begin to question their individual idea of what is right and what is wrong, rather than solely relying on their parents’ opinions. The intent of the go goddess! concept is to provide girls with a healthy outlet to explore their unique and budding interests during this impressionable period.

consider the above when writing letters.

If you sign up, play nice on the site, there are kids there. But go ahead and try every trick in the book to get them to take us seriously.

(credit to Lysergic for finding this joint)


The Spark

sparkThe hope for the future lies in our past.  I believe this to be true. 

But, not as a collective.  Not as a society, or as a country, or as a race.  The hope is in our individual past.  It is in, The Spark. 

It’s that moment, or series of moments that we’ve all had.  Perhaps for some it has long been buried by years of apathy and the leavings of a crumbling self.  Perhaps for some it was squelched by an overbearing parent or militant grade-school teacher.  Regardless, I believe we all have had it. 

What is The Spark?  It’s when you discovered you could be Ian Paice using the pots and pans in your mother’s kitchen.  It’s when you figured out how to turn a piece of paper into a soaring jet plane.  It’s when you strummed your first E5 with the gain turned up to 10.  It’s when you blew out your gut onto a piece of lined paper.  It was when you help hope and promise, not for the world, but for YOU.

Youthful exuberance.  Vim and vigor.  As you think about it now you are probably remembering back to fond times of yesteryear.  That’s good.  Because when you become reacquainted with that feeling, you need to drag it back with you.  Reinstall it into your psyche, your personality, your YOU. 

It’s hard to think that The Spark was what landed the Accounts Payable position for the financial institution.  It’s hard to conceive that it was The Spark that lead to the junkie with the needle in his arm.  It’s unimaginable that it was The Spark that has us deep into a conflict in the desert that is seemingly endless.  No, it would seem in these cases, and many, many more, that The Spark was relegated to the back seat while The Retreat was riding shotgun. 

The Retreat is where we went, and where we still go, when we don’t want to cause trouble.  It is where we, well, retreat to when we don’t wish to take on the challenge of choice.  When we fear the choice of becoming a professional Clown, egged on by The Spark, we then decide to pursue the safety of becoming an insurance salesmen presented at the job-fair hosted at The Retreat.  We’ve learned from others that The Retreat is safe and will allow us to live a life of comfort and a resulting joy.  The edges are all smoothed to keep us from harming ourselves. 

The Spark is rough and ragged.  It is possible that it can hurl us off a cliff into a crevice of danger, yet it also can propel us to the pastures of potential.  We could go all in, sell our stuff, hop on a bike with just a guitar and some gusto and maybe make it as a well-known musician.  In the effort, we may have to wait tables to put food on our own table.  We may have to forgo owning IPODS and cellphones while forging ahead.  But, the potential rewards for the soul, I would argue, are much richer than those who languish in the lap of luxury. 

It would seem that far too many have forgotten their Spark while living in their Retreat.  Many are unconscionably ignorant to the lack of fire burning within, while simultaneously feeling the chill coming, unheeded, through the windows of their Retreat.  And so, that’s where we find things.  Those in the cold far outnumbering those still yearning and burning for what tomorrow will hold.  But, it is not lost.  We simply need to form the search parties to explore and excavate that which was left in the dead days’ dust.  Meanwhile, for those who have managed to maintain their fire, we need to keep stoking it and assuring that it is never quashed.  It is this hope from our past that is going to give us the promise for the future…

X-Day: Anonymous vs. Scientology

Pungenday, Discord 28, YoLD 3174
A new spin on Mafia, by Pope Telarus, KSC, Tender to the Edible Zen Garden.

The Cards:

X-Day Card: Anonymous X-Day Card: Scientologist

X-Day Card: Bob X-Day Card: Alien Sex Goddess

“The portrait of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs is a trademark of SubGenius Foundation, Inc. and is used with permission.”

Continue reading X-Day: Anonymous vs. Scientology

Clergy to the Freaks

It’s a strange, chaotic world out there. It’s incomprehensibly huge and also so tiny it’s like your own personal cell. It’s miraculously beautiful and suicidally ugly. It’s both claustrophobically overcrowded and desolately lonely.


There are a lot of people – in this case I’ll use that nebulous “us” – who use weirdness, humor, and insanity as a means of coping. Perhaps lunacy allows some to achieve a sort of homeostasis, an equilibrium with the ubiquitious dynamics and pressures of modern living.


Over at the PD Forums we had a debacle yesterday. One of our newer members, Daruko, had a sort of “internet breakdown” when confronted by some opposition. It was both funny and hard to watch. The guy in question is a 25-year old father of two, who is “in dire need of some sillyness in his life.”


Somebody asked Tim Leary what to do after they had Turned On. He said, “Find the others.” And then they show up at our door.


Continue reading Clergy to the Freaks

Do Not Test Discordians

Lust, Groucho:47, 6007 YD

The Chaliceblog is currently showing a good reason not to test Discordians on the concept of whether Discordianism is a genuine religion or a parady religion: as if there is a difference.

This was the original post:

Yesterday night, I was organizing the books in our library. I put theCSO’s Discordian books in the fiction section.

He says they are theology.

If you’re not clear on what discordianism is, here’s a decent explanation.

My argument is that Discordianism strikes me as a parody of Catholicism. If “Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf” ran for president to highlight the absurdity of the American political system, then put out a book about politics, I wouldn’t put it in the politics section. So why would I put a book produced by paraody religion in “theology?”

His is that nobody died and put me in charge of deeming what’s a religion and what’s not.

To some degree, this is a stupid argument. He expressed surprise that I was so insistent that Discordianism not be treated as a valid theology and that I became so passionate about the matter. (I may relent and stick it in Philosophy.)

Part of my annoyance was that I had the Discordians confused with the Church of the Subgenius. I read up on the Subgenius Custody Case recently and while I agree with the general sentiment that the mother shouldn’t be penalized in custody matters for her religion, even if her religion is basically a parody. But I agree in the same halfhearted way that I agree with Happy Feminist that in a custody battle between a spousal abuser and a white supremacist, the white supremacist should win.

I’ll kid you not, y’all, the Cleveland Free Times’ description of these Subgenius events this woman was going to depressed the hell out of me. “Whee! Let’s take a guy named Steve and change his name to ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ and parody the ‘Passion of the Christ’ and there need to be dildos! Lots of dildoes! Why? Because Conservative Christians hate that and that inherently makes it worth doing!”

What the fuck is up with that?

It’s like how the first three minutes you spend at it’s hilarious, and then you realize how much time how many people have to put into that site and how much they have to hate Christians to make a site that extensive that is devoted to making fun of Christianity in the nastiest ways they can think of.

I’m sick enough of YRUU kids telling me all sorts of bitchy things about Christians that they learned from their parents. I can’t imagine the kind of hate the SubGenius woman’s son is picking up, all in the name of “humor.” Because we all know that humor is innocent and fun and NEVER has an undercurrent of nastiness beneath it. I’m not ignoring the relgious freedom aspects, I’m not advocating making these people stop. But I seriously think they need to grow up.


This arrogance this post displayed naturally raised the ire of many Discordians, and for those it didn’t raise the ire of, it simply provided a prime oppurtunity for Lulz. Either way, a shitstorm erupted in the comments section of The Chaliceblog. As a direct result of said shitstorm Chalicechick posted the following remark in the Parody Relgions section of Sites In Focus:

Chalicechick Says:
January 14th, 2008 at 10:53 am

Advice to all bloggers: Don’t insult the discordians. It’s just not worth the trouble. The voice of experience.

There’s a lesson in this somewhere.