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Recently I’ve been reading Storming Heaven which is a fascinating look at how the psychedelic era of the 60’s influenced American Culture. One of the key players in distributing hallucinogens to a huge array of famous people in the 50’s was an amazing character named Al Hubbard that almost no one has ever heard of. In the 15 years he was giving lsd to people before it was illegal he turned on such diverse luminaries as Aldus Huxley and Stanley Kubrick, not to mention Myron Stolaroff who ultimately gave LSD to Steve Jobs and a slew of other soon-to-be-famous engineers at HP who then went on to invent the modern computer world in Silicon Valley.  Here’s a very interesting article abut his life …

http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com/2009/10/alfred-captain-al-hubbard-appreciation.html

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lost souls and a kitten

bucky’s house
Posted via Pixelpipe.

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While I’ve been mostly enjoying my iPhone, I’ve been disappointed that it doesn’t support Flash since of course this would open up a whole world of cool and interesting things you could use the phone for.

A bit of web searching turned up this interesting article by smoothspan. His suggestion is that since flash lets you send any sort of app you want from a web page to the browser that’s viewing it, it would provide an easy backdoor for people to run apps to the iPhone that aren’t sanctioned (and sold) by Apple. Since apple is projecting more than a $1 billion a year in profits on iPhone apps, we could assume they will do everything they can to prevent this from happening. One could imagine them making some locked-down version of flash, but this would be hard to do very effectively. Pretty good explanation. This gives me yet another reason to think I should return my iPhone and wait until Google’s Android-enabled phones start coming out before I upgrade to a Future-phone.

If (when) Android phones do start competing with the IPhone, this seems like it will be a serious problem for apple. I mean why would you want a phone that is intentionally disabled (i.e. broken) in so many ways, when you can get one that actually works; frees you from the stupidity of being locked to a single carried and doesn’t make you fell like big brother is calling all the shots every time you try to use it.

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Lately I’ve been on a gmail organization blitz. I added the Getting Things Done plugin, got a Remember the Milk account and the RTM gmail plugin and purged my inbox of 800 backlogged emails. Now I generally have an empty inbox and a couple of todo lists. The freedom from having to look at that endless page of old emails is amazing.

One thing that has been missing for me though is the ability to easily tag my emails in gmail. The Labels work ok, but attaching a bunch of labels to an email is time-consuming and cumbersome and often a tag list would work a lot better. I also find that I frequently have a hard time finding some emails even if I label.

I looked around a bit and there doesn’t seem to be a good gmail tagging plugin. The soution I have come up with is fast and simple seems to work pretty well…

To tag emails, I reply to the email I want to tag with a list of tags. That way my tag list ends up end up attached to the conversation and will show up in searches. It is a very quick and easy. The only shortcoming of this method (and this is a big one if you are absent minded like me) is that you have to be really careful when you reply to the email that you replace the senders’ email address with your own so you don’t send your list of tags to them rather than yourself.. could be embarrassing (e.g. mytags: loser co-worker, annoying, haha…).

Also note that you can create a filter that recognizes your tagged emails and marks them as read so you don’t get a new email when you tag your mail. The way to do this is to add to your email some unique text like “mytaglist:” before your tag list, then make a filter to mark any incoming emails with that tag as read.

Seems like it would be fairly easy to write a gmail plugin that would avoid the problem of accidentally sending the email to the last sender … anyone want to take this on? 🙂

Anyone out there have nay other suggestions or tips?

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If you are are paying attention, you have no doubt heard about the US’s “extrodinary rendition” program where the CIA kidnaps sometime totally innocent people, often (as it turns out later) based on flawed intelligence, and then exports them to hidden prisons where they are tortured. Most of these people end up in Guantanimo where they get no trial and hence no press, but a few of them turn out to be arrested on such non-existent evidence that event he CIA doesn’t have the hear to keep them forever, and so have been released and told their stories. A number of these cases have been well documented and is currently the source of a number of lawsuits against the US government and others. In one case, a Canadian man was whisked away, tortured, and then returned when the US found out he was totally innocent of anything. He was since paid $10.5 million in reparations by the Canadian government who acknowledged that he was innocent all along and that the US had given them faulty intelligence.

This is scary shit and should be getting far more coverage in the US national media than it is. The Bush administration seriously claims the right to pick up anyone, even US citizens and hold them indefinitely with no lawyer and no right to a trial. Remember Jose Padilla? He was a US citizen, just like the rest of us. The whole dirty bomb charges never quite panned out since he was never charged with anything vaguely related to that. But he did get the chance to spend 2+ years in solitary confinement until he went crazy. With only very limited access to a lawyer and none of the rights you might think you get to have just by being American.

There is currently a lawsuit going on against the Jeppesn International Trip Planning private company, a Boeing subsidiary, that was allegedly contracted by the CIA to fly people to the secret prisons where they are detained tortured, etc.

Democracy Now has an interview today with a Mohamed Farag Ahmed Bashmilah, a man who alleges he was arrested in Jordan, flown to Afghanistan and tortured then held in Yemen without charges for something like 10 months until he was released because the Yemeni government realized there was no evidence he had done anything at all relating to terrorism.

This is crazy shit, and if you are American, your taxes are paying for it.

A quote from the interview

“At that time, the guard lifted the blindfold partially so that I would speak to the interrogator, and I saw another man who had a Western look. He was white and somewhat overweight and had dark glasses on. I realized then that they were probably handing me over to some other agency, because during the interrogations I had with the Jordanians, one of the threats was that if I did not confess, they will hand me over to American intelligence…
When we arrived at the airport, they took me to a hall. And without any precautions or anything, I felt that I was being pulled violently by some other people. They took me to another room. They started tearing down my clothes, from above all the way down. And I was being stripped completely naked. They started taking pictures from all directions. And they also started to beat me on my sides and also my feet. And then they put me in a position similar to the position of prostration in Muslim prayer, which is similar to the fetal position. And in that position, one of them inserted his finger in my anus very violently. I was in terrible pain, and I started to scream. When they started taking pictures, I could see that they were people who were masked. They were dressed in black from head to toe, and they were also wearing surgical gloves.
And then, they started in the process of preparing me for travel, and that consisted of putting a diaper on me. And then they put pants, which went down to below the knee, and a top with the sleeve to the middle of the forearm. And then, they also put some gauze on my eyes. And then they put what looked like headphones on my ears—sorry, these were not headphones; they were like little plugs inside the ears, plastic. And then they put gauze on that, on the ears. And then they taped that with very strong adhesive tape. And then they put a hood over my head. And then, on top of that, they put a headphone. This is as far as the top of my body was. And then they handcuffed me with a chain, and also they chained my ankles. Then they put a belt above the pants, and then they tied the hands and the ankles to that belt. This was after being slapped and kicked until I almost fainted.
And then they took me into an aircraft, and they had me lie down on the floor of the airplane. Then they strapped my legs at my chest so that I wouldn’t move right or left. The aircraft flew for about two-and-a-half to three hours. And I was in such a terrible psychological state, only God could determine. There was a lot of physical pain because of what I had endured, and also all the thoughts regarding what might happen to my wife and my mother. This is knowing that my mother was seriously ill, and my wife could not speak Arabic very well so she could be of much help to my mother. And so, throughout this flight, I was in some kind of a coma, and I would come to and I would faint and come to. And so, during those times when I was thinking of my wife and mother, I would be distracted from the pain, and then the pain would distract me from the thoughts to my wife and mother.
About three hours later, we landed somewhere. And then some [inaudible], and they handled me very roughly. They took me to a detention center. I was in a very poor psychological state… Then they put me in a solitary cell….”

read more | digg story

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In 2002, a journalist was walking through Kandahar and came across a photos shop that was selling a collection of photos of the Taliban. The whole thing is pretty far out – 50’s era looking washed out color photos of effeminate men holding hands and showing off their guns. When not posing for glamor shots, these guys torture people for fun. Given that taking a photo of anyone that shows their face (or having a statue or even a shop mannequin with a head) was illegal and could get you killed, this is pretty weird stuff.

Here’s the Photo Essay.

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Lately I’ve been obsessed with a climb called Helix in American Fork Canyon, about an hour South of SLC. Back in its heyday AF was at the forefront of hard sport climbing and had some of the hardest climbs in the world. It is kind of a trip to go there because there are plenty of walls where almost every climb is 5.12 or harder. Its also fun to be able to see climbs I remember reading about way back when they were first put up and everyone was amazed that someone could climb such a thing.

Since we are still trying to figure out the moves on Helix, and it is way hard, we spend a lot of time falling off and hanging in the air so I thought it would look cool as a timelapse.

We’ve been trying to get down there after work but there isn’t much light left these days. Climbing with only a headlamp in total darkness at the top of the cave is pretty awesome, kind of like being underwater or something. You see the edge of the roof of the cave and then blackness. I once went scuba diving where there was a 3000 foot wall down to the bottom of the ocean. We were at floating 60 feet down facing the wall which was full of huge amazing coral. Behind us was this endless inky blackness. I’ve never seen deep endless blackness like that. It was blackness that could hold a scary thing of any size. Hanging from the roof in the mouth of the cave reminded me of that. The ground drops off so steeply below the cave that in the dark I couldn’t see anything, the darkness just swallowed up my headlight.

I was having fun until the centipedes started crawling out of the cracks to hunt and then there was that giant spider in one of the holes in the roof that made me wonder about what was in the holes I was blindly sticking my fists and feet into.

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