Taliban as Republican Party role model

Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban — I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with.
Jeff Sessions, Republican Congressman.
My head just exploded.

Titanoboa and climate change

NPR on Titanoboa

If ever a creature had a descriptive name, Titanoboa (“Titan snake”) has it. This creature, which lived 60 million years ago, was at one point the largest land animal on earth. (this creature is post-KT event).
One side note to this story of finding this fossil is the climate change aspect:

In this week’s issue of the journal Nature, Head points out that a cold-blooded animal that big would have had to live in a very hot place to survive. According to his calculations, the average temperature would have been about 90 degrees. That’s several degrees warmer than the present-day tropical average and is warmer than scientists believed the tropics ever got, even during ancient periods of greenhouse warming.

It makes sense, if this creature is cold blooded, that given its size that it would need that sort of heat in which to thrive.

No more TBR?!

The Black Road, which I have gone to for several years, is no more…
The Black Road has ended.
Our ninth annual convention, The Black Road 2008, was held on July 4-6, 2008, at the Embassy Suites Marlborough in Marlborough, MA.
Unfortunately, our ninth convention was also our last. Slowly declining membership levels and the current economic climate have led the organizers to decide that it’s time to end things. We’d like to thank everyone who served on the con committee since TBR started back in 2000, all of the GMs who ran games over our nine years, and everyone who attended The Black Road. We couldn’t have done it without you.
If you’re looking for Amber Diceless roleplaying, we recommend you check out Ambercon and Ambercon Northwest.

Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh 27 Arizona 23

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won their sixth Super Bowl in dramatic fashion with their 27-23 win over the underdog Arizona Cardinals.
Three things killed the Cardinals:
1. At the end of the first half, Warner and the Cardinals, down 10-7. were at the goal line and threatening to tie or take the lead. Warner threw an interception which went back a Super Bowl record 100 yards for Pittsburgh to take a 17-7 lead.
2. Even given #2, Arizona battled back to a 23-20 lead with less than three minutes remaining. But they couldn’t hold that lead , when Big Ben and MVP Santonio Holmes went on a game winning TD drive (the second straight year a last minute TD drive decided the game).
3. Arizona made crucial penalties, a record 11 penalties for 106 yards. Sloppy play that killed their chances.
One other note–this was the most “pass wacky” Super Bowl I have ever seen from both sides. From a purist point of view, it was horrifying. I have to admit that it probably made it for it being more entertaining though.
Congrats, Pittsburgh! You’re the first team to get to six Super Bowl wins. Unfortunately, Kurt Warner is now the first QB in Super Bowl History to *lose* the Super Bowl with two *different* teams.

Inkheart

I went to see Inkheart today.
Rick Norwood’s review on SF Site sums it up pretty well.. It was a pretty good movie, but it never really *sings*. The direction and choices could have been a lot better, and there is a lot less fantasy in this movie than one might expect, think, and especially want. We only get hints and glimpses of the fantastic, the movie is surprisingly mundane given its premise.
I can definitely see why the author (Cornelia Funke) envisioned Brendan Fraser in this role–he does do the role very well and rises above the material when and where he can. Serkis as the villain does fine too. I was less happy with Bettany’s character because I don’t think his conflicted loyalties really came across well (direction, again). Also its clear that there was a tacked on ending-to-the-ending that differs from the novel. Again, I think this could have been done better than it was.

February–The Shortest Month

February is the shortest month of the year.
It’s the only month that changes length. And it was something of an afterthought; it was originally tacked on at the end of the year to bring the calendar in line with the seasons. And its “unlucky”.
At first, the Roman calendar was divided into 10 months, starting with March. The days at the end of the year weren’t even counted. This can be seen in the names of our later months. September is from the Roman word for “seven”, since it IS the 7th month after March. October is “eight”, November is “nine” and December is “ten”.
Soon, though, those missing days were moved into two new months — January and February. All the months except February were either 29 or 31 days long, because even numbers were considered unlucky. Unlucky February was devoted to rites of purification.
The calendar still had some extra days at the end of the year, though. And over the centuries, there was a lot of tinkering with the length of the months and the placement of “leap days.” Also, various officials would add or subtract days on practically a whim. It was a complete and utter mess. (Imagine if President Bush had extended December to increase the length of his term in office, and you begin to see the trouble)
That changed when Julius Caesar completely revamped the calendar in 43 B.C. The new Julian calendar moved the beginning of the year to January. And it set the months at the same lengths we have today. A leap day was added to every fourth February to keep the calendar in line with the seasons.
The calendar has needed only one tweak since then — and as you might have guessed, February got the tweaking. Three leap days were deleted from every 400 years — depriving February of that extra bit of love that comes with leap year.