The Aerial Reconnaisance Archives

The Aerial Reconnaisance Archives is a project based at Keele University in the UK with the help of its Ministry of Defense, allowing one to “access 5.5 million photographs taken over occupied Western Europe by the Allies during World War II.” The website was apparently hit with a lot of traffic after it went live and is still working to make things smoother. However, it shows a lot of promise, and there are already some very cool images online.

Boycott CBS During Super Bowl Halftime

Update: As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, CBS is still refusing to air’s “Bush In 30 Seconds” ad during the Super Bowl. This refusal has sparked quite a reaction, drawing the ire of many congressman, organizations, and individuals. Here is an e-mail I received from today detailing the reaction and proposing a one-minute boycott of the Super Bowl halftime show to watch the ad on CNN:

Dear friend of MoveOn,

The CBS networks still refuses to run our winning ad in the Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest during the Super Bowl. The non-partisan campaign to get CBS to air issue ads continues, but we’re not going to let CBS’s censorship stop us in the mean time. That’s why we’re spending over $1 million to air the ad in our swing states and nation-wide on other channels – starting with two spots on CNN that will air during the Super Bowl half time.

This Sunday, during the Super Bowl half time show, join us in changing channels on CBS. At 8:10pm and 8:35pm EST, switch over to CNN to watch “Child’s Pay” on a channel which doesn’t censor its ads. We’d like to keep a tally of the number of people who participate – you can sign up here.

The number of groups, individuals, and newspapers that have called on CBS to run our ad is remarkable. The National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union have asked their own members to call CBS. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) gave a powerful speech about CBS on the floor of the Senate, saying, “Maybe network executives at CBS are so afraid of political pressure from the right wing and their business advertisers who are in league with the right wing politics of America that they are afraid to put anything on the air that might in fact make things uncomfortable. If that is the case, it is time for CBS to announce the name of their network is the ‘Conservative Broadcasting System’ and come clean with American viewers.”

28 members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to CBS which stated, “The choice not to run this paid advertisement appears to be part of a disturbing pattern on CBS’s part to bow to the wishes of the Republican National Committee. We remember well CBS’s remarkable decision this fall to self-censor at the direction of GOP pressure. The network shamefully cancelled a broadcast about former President Ronald Reagan which Republican partisans considered insufficiently flattering.” Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a separate letter to CBS urging them to reconsider their decision.

Today, the L.A. Times printed an Op-Ed piece of ours which lays out the case against CBS’s censorship. That’s attached below. But the editorial pages of the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and many other papers came out in our favor as well. As the Globe wrote, “’s 30-second ad, which has aired on CNN, is a gentle yet powerful depiction of how hard today’s children will have to work to pay off the country’s mounting deficit. That’s a vital message that might get lost in a year of campaign rhetoric, and it deserves a response from the White House in its own 30 seconds of imagery. America, sitting on the couch, junk food in hand, just might sit up and want to know more.”

Luckily, there are still some networks that do allow the free exchange of ideas. Please join the one-minute boycott: at Super Bowl halftime, switch to CNN and watch “Child’s Pay,” and let us know.

Thanks for all you do,

–Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack

The Team

January 30th, 2003

I plan on switching over to support this cause, although I usually avoid the horrible halftime show anyway… :-p

The Pocket Calculator Show

Walkman girlThe Pocket Calculator Show Website is a showcase of “a generation of electronic with a soul,” “collect[ing] and celebrat[ing] personal memories of all integrated circuit-based products from the electronic revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.” Sections of the site cover “Nerd Watches,” Boomboxes, Walkmans (Walkmen?), Calculators, and one of my favorites, “Magical Gadget,” catalogs unusual electronics that never got their due back in the day. There’s lots to explore and reminisce about here…

Georgia Considers Banning “Evolution”

CNN reports that Georgia state school superintendent Kathy Cox has proposed “striking the word evolution from Georgia’s science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase ‘biological changes over time.’” In a pathetic attempt to ameliorate this moronic move, Cox said “the concept of evolution would still be taught under the proposal, but the word would not be used.” At least some people realize how idiotic this is: “’If you’re teaching the concept without the word, what’s the point?’ said Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican [my emphasis]. ‘It’s stupid. It’s like teaching gravity without using the word gravity.’”

The story claims that Cox is bowing to pressure on teachers from “socially conservative” parents: “’If teachers across this state, parents across this state say, "This is not what we want,” then we’ll change it.’“ Yeah, that makes sense. Let’s change all of the history and science we don’t like (or, more likely, don’t understand).

I am just incensed by this ignorant, blatantly transparent attempt to impose Bible Belt religious views on unwitting children. Believe me, there are many other things that I would like to say about this, but I will stifle my bile-filled thoughts of rancor before I say something I’ll regret. Probably a first, I know… :-p

Update: Former President (and Georgia native) Jimmy Carter released a statement about this debacle: "As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox’s attempt to censor and distort the education of Georgia’s students.”

Enter Tha Office

For you regular readers of The Onion, Herbert Kornfeld, Accounts Receivable Supervisor, AKA tha H-Dog, needs no introduction. You should immediately check out his latest (and perhaps greatest) A-R adventure, a “haiku a’ violence” immortalized as “Enter Tha Office.” For those of you unfortunate enough to not have experienced the exploits of tha H-Dog’s Accountz Reeceevable posse, you should check out The Onion’s archive. Peace out.

“Papal Blessing For Break-Dancers”

No, that is not a headline from The Onion, although had I not seen it for myself I would’ve thought so. CNN reports:

In an unusual spectacle at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II presided over a performance of break-dancers who leaped, flipped and spun their bodies to beats from a tinny boom box. The 83-year-old pontiff seemed to approve, waving his hand after each dancer completed a move, then applauding for the entire group.

During Sunday’s show, one dancer – part of a Polish group that helps poor and marginalized youths – planted his head on the inlaid marble floor of the Vatican hall and spun to loud applause from his group and from Vatican officials.

This is just too surreal for me to wrap my brain around…

Pope admires breakdancers

Broken Nuclear Weapon “Taped” ?!

CNN reports that “workers at a nuclear weapons plant in Texas improperly secured broken pieces of a highly explosive component by taping them together, which could have caused a ‘violent reaction.’” The incident started when “workers taking apart a W62 warhead accidentally drilled into its radioactive core,” and then decided to fix it themselves by taping it.

Federal investigators listed a series of violations regarding this incident, including a very curious statement: “No experts who developed the taping procedure were present to supervise and watch for any potential problems.” Huh? This implies that the established repair procedure for a broken nuclear warhead is apparently to tape it together rather than, oh, I don’t know, use something else besides duct tape from a hardware store to repair a highly explosive nuclear weapon. IANANP, just a lowly aeromechanical engineer, but I’m pretty sure I could come up with something better than that. Not that I’d even want to fool with something like that. What a bunch of morons…