Random bits for a fresh week; Oreo rockets; NSA dude says this "one of the darkest eras in American history"

As for me, well this week is pretty much make-or-break in the career department. Quite a few links have piled up that might be interesting:

Oreo rocketJapanese inventionsAn Oreo filling-powered rocket and silly Japanese inventions from XFM.net. Cracked.com presents Five Steps to a Horrible Comedy (as well as the less funny acing job interviews). It is kind of funny that Cracked itself is still alive. A.Norman sends along a nice cartoon. Check out the ten highest-radiation cell phones. My Sanyo falls right in the midrange, at about 1.13 watts/kilogram. I swear this shit is going to give me cancer. I have a wireless router next to the head of my bed and I wonder how my brain cells like all those damn packets.

The MacBook has motion sensors that can be used to make light saber sounds. Optical illusions have something to do with your brain only handling one part of an image at once. Both of these via XFM.

A student speaker at New School had the guts to go up against John McCain and generated a small media frenzy about it.

Valerie Plame bits: Newsweek on Cheney's handwritten notes about gittin' Wilson and a Fitz filing. Wayne Madsen seems to admit that he got bamboozled on the matter of Karl Rove's impending/collapsing indictment last week. Tough break. I consider Madsen to be a most unusual source, with a lot of question marks. The stories about the Ohio vote fraud were weirder and more conspiratorial than any other I ever found, as have been the NSA stories. Wild enough to interest me, but I'm just not sure if I can support this guy or not. However, I'll still hold out a little faith that he'll finally get the bombshell he's looking for. (Side bonus: a good old summary of Ledeen's ties to the whole Niger-uranium forgery case. Not fresh though)

Tiny slice of conspiracy thinking: fake a middle solution: The "illuminati strategy", or so they say, is to control both sides of a debate, in order to create the desired political outcome. Thus "left" and "right" are convenient solutions. In some ways that is useful, but in reality, sorry guys, there are a lot of different interest groups in the world that aren't just the illuminati. But then again, it's a pretty good way to look at Hannity & Colmes. I didn't like Pair.com and their fucked-up thinking, but if you want more on the illuminati Third Way illusion, this is it. I meant to post this with Pop Conspiratoria and forgot it. Also here is OpusDeiAlert.com complaining that Opus Dei is really a bunch of evil Jewish guys and Ratzinger is an "Anti-Pope", whatever that means. I promise this is the end of this particularly silly (and somewhat offensive) shit, but Opus Dei is still spooky.

Pixeldusted sent along what he called Stat Porn - area-adjusted statistical maps from Worldmapper.

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That guy named Bill from Brooklyn sent a story in the NY Times about a bizarre trick that physicists are doing with light.

There is talk of a certain wobbly quality in the American economy and Pravda has a bit on the looming petrodollar problem. Libertarian Republican Rep. Ron Paul on the declining dollar.

NSA Total Big BrotherGate: Read Billmon on the Leviathan and it's all-consuming total power complex. You won't regret it. William Arkin's WaPo Early warning Blog has some damn good stuff on the NSA spying programs. This Salon interview with an NSA insider is worth reading:

The fact that the federal government has my phone records scares the living daylights out of me. They won't learn much from them other than I like ordering pizza on Friday night and I don't call my mother as often as I should. But it should scare the living daylights out of everybody, even if you're willing to permit the government certain leeways to conduct the war on terrorism.

We should be terrified that Congress has not been doing its job and because all of the checks and balances put in place to prevent this have been deliberately obviated. In order to get this done, the NSA and White House went around all of the checks and balances. I'm convinced that 20 years from now we, as historians, will be looking back at this as one of the darkest eras in American history. And we're just beginning to sort of peel back the first layers of the onion.

Iraq disintegration notes: Power and Interest News Report is pretty dry, solid geopolitical analysis, and they are smart to look at how ''Iraq's Impending Fracture to Produce Political Earthquake in Turkey''. Inside Higher Ed has a feature on the Middle east wars in US Campuses, noting on the plus side:

Macalester College, for example, is receiving a grant to promote work on a dig in Israel and planning “peace summits” on the Middle East, to bring together various thinkers at the college’s Minnesota campus.

AfterDowningStreet.org has a pretty harsh collection of uncensored Iraq images of the dead, dying and wounded. Also their website runs Drupal, which we are (slowly) moving to, so it's helpful to look at for that alone. Middle East Newsline reports insurgents getting bolder in attacks - just going straight for US bases. Sunnis complain of US "atrocity" killing of civilians. Juan Cole says, yep, it's pretty much impossible to save Iraq. A former diplomat says many inside the government want to speak out on the war, but are afraid to. Analysts in the military say that the war has forced the US to be "reactive" to insurgents and abandon the all-important initiative. Palestinian refugees from Iraq accepted into Syria. Saddam tried to help out the Palestinians a bit with housing & aid, and now they're feeling the backlash as Iraq shears itself apart. A pretty fucked up story about 200,000 AK-47s from Bosnia vanishing due to some corrupt defense contractors or something. Oddly, from a UK tabloid, but whatever. Most of these links came from Juan Cole.

Antiwar.com has switched their blog engine to WordPress. Antiwar really does a good job, and Raimondo's latest bit on American Gangsterism is no exception, as well as "Is America becoming a police state?" and the Next World War.

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