SNOW: There were claims before the war by Secretary of State Colin Powell that Iraq had weaponized and ready-to-use chemical weapons. He was very confident about the existence of chemical weapons. You have not yet found actual chemical weapons, correct?

KAY: Tony, it’s important to stress the word “yet.” We have not only Secretary Powell, we have Iraqi generals telling us that they had them. Unfortunately, they’re not able to tell us where they are now. And that’s why we’re looking so hard.

— Tony Snow interviewing David Kay

Baby pictures

Rode into work this afternoon (through ridiculous winds), and took advantage of the late afternoon sun to get a few pictures of the bike on campus. More coming, once I coax Photoshop into doing batch conversion of Olympus ORF-format raw data files. And buy a bigger CompactFlash card to hold them…

2005 BMW F650CS

Russian brides on tour!

While driving up 101 yesterday, I spotted an RV with a big banner on the side advertising Golden Ring Brides. They had apparently set up their “mobile office” at the Gilroy Outlet Mall, showing off their wares and perhaps hoping for some impulse buys on discontinued merchandise and seconds. Or something like that.

It looks like a pretty typical email-order-bride service. Most of the competition seems to offer more personal details about their product line without requiring registration, but how many others will tell you about her military experience?

That’s right, every product description includes Martial status. It looks like most of them have seen only light combat in a single engagement. At least, I think that’s what they mean…

I’m not in the market myself, although I do enjoy kicking tires, which makes the omission of personal details a real bummer. It’s fun to read a few dozen future-fiancées describe the man they’re looking for, because when you boil it down, most of them are really looking for a dog. Specifically, a Golden Retriever.

These are lovable, well-mannered, intelligent dogs with a great charm. They are easily trained, and always patient and gentle with children. Loyal, confident, sweet and eager to please. It is active, loving and an outstanding family dog. Golden Retrievers enjoy pleasing their masters, so obedience training can be fun. They excel in obedience competitions. Friendly with everyone, including other dogs, the Golden Retriever has very little, if any, guarding instincts. While unlikely to attack, Goldens make good watchdogs, loudly signaling a stranger's approach. This breed needs to be around people to be happy. If isolated from human contact, or left alone for long periods of time, the Golden Retriever may become mischievous. They can be over-exuberant and distractible. Some of the Golden's talents are hunting, tracking, retrieving, narcotics detection, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks. These dogs also love to swim.

Last thoughts about Golden Ring: their logo is, um, rather disturbing from the man’s point of view, Alexandra Shorina could make a bundle as a pin-up model or (exotic) dancer, if she’s not already doing so, and Julia Kruglova looks like a real catch. Something about the way she smiles.

But she’ll be a catch for someone else, because I’m not currently interested in marrying women who are already here, much less going to the trouble to import one.

“Look, everybody, I found Atlantis!”

“See, see, here it is!”

“No, we haven’t done any digging there, or carbon-dated any remains. Actually, we’ve never been there at all; it’s inside of a national park, you know. But if you interpret these satellite photos just right, it matches Plato’s description exactly!”

“Okay, we have to assume that Plato either deliberately understated the size of the city or that everyone has misinterpreted his era’s units of measurement by 20% or so, and that those goofy translators wrote ‘island’ where Plato meant ‘coastline,’ but these are trivial issues.”

“Well, trivial compared to the chance for me to get major publicity and a chance at serious funding, anyway.”

Your homework today is to decide how many of the seven warning signs of junk science this article demonstrates.

So why isn’t he a “dozerman”?

Okay, this guy is a nut. Armor-plating your bulldozer and trying to demolish your home town over a zoning dispute is, well, just a touch beyond the acceptably eccentric.

Despite the fact that most of his preparations involved welding armor to his vehicle and methodically wiping out half a town with it, the fact that he was also “exchanging gunfire” with the police makes him a gunman. Yes, that’s the headline:

Gunman goes on bulldozer rampage

I’m thinking of printing up a new CNN t-shirt with the slogan “Got bias?”.

Update: The headline on the updated story now reads “Bulldozer rampage gunman dead”. No mention of anyone being injured by a single bullet during his property-destruction spree (in fact, another account mentions that he seemed to be deliberately trying to avoid injuring people), but he’s not a dozerman or an outraged small-business owner, or even just a nutcase. No, the partisan hacks at CNN see him first and foremost as a gunman.

Fox? “Crazed Man on Bulldozer Rampage Found Dead.” Their version also includes a lot more honest-to-gosh facts about the incident. Maybe there’s something to that “fair and balanced” slogan after all…

Update: a number of non-CNN accounts now cast doubt on the claims that he ever shot at the police who were trying to stop him, and have pretty much debunked the early claim that he had fired at propane tanks in an effort to trigger an explosion. Even the BBC, no stranger to “sexing-up” their reporting on the evils of guns, makes no mention of him shooting at anyone but himself. Nonetheless, it will be forever enshrined in CNN’s archives that he was a gunman, who just happened to damage a few buildings with a bulldozer.

Voices in my head

So, after my Thursday riding plans were cancelled by a database crash, and my group scheduled an all-hands meeting for Friday afternoon, I decided to take the bike into work to show it off. Officially, I’m on vacation, so I was really just riding 70 miles, hanging out for an hour, and riding back. Hopefully getting past San Jose before the southbound traffic got too heavy.

It worked, too, but I didn’t get away quite soon enough to avoid the slowdown around Morgan Hill. Coincidentally, I needed to stop for gas, so I figured I’d cut over to Monterey Road for a few miles, then get back on 101. This worked out reasonably well, but when it came time to get back on the highway, I went into the turn too fast on the on-ramp, and the bike started edging closer to the yellow line and the end of the pavement.

Suddenly, I heard the voice of one of my MSF instructors, Jim Pereyra:

"What do you do? Lean more!"

I pushed on the low grip, the bike leaned over farther, and my turning radius tightened up. One of the many reasons I’m glad I got professional training before I bought my motorcycle.

When guns are outlawed…

…screwed-up high school students will attack their peers with crossbows and Molotov cocktails.

When guns are outlawed…

…only clever high-school seniors will have guns (scroll to bottom of story). Designing and building your own AR-15; now that’s a class project!

Pity he didn’t make an M-1, though.

Update: the local newspaper doesn’t have online archives, so the story is already toast. Google does have a link to the school board minutes covering his project plan, so I’ve replaced it with that (scroll to the bottom). He has since finished the project, although he was unable to bring anything but a photo-essay to school to show off.

Short version: his name is David Bartlemay, and he’s headed into the Marines after graduation, with a goal of working presidential security.

Hey, at least they used a real number in their lie…

Number Watch has a real howler this month, with this scary quote from The Times:

The average 11-year-old girl now has a waist that is 2 inches bigger than that of a typical adult women 60 years ago.

The goal, of course, is to support a ban on junk-food ads in the UK, as part of the War on The Concept of Personal Responsibility Obesity. The problem?

2004 - 60 = 1944

Yes, it’s true. Families in the UK today are not faced with the severe food rationing of World War II, so their children will not grow up scrawny and malnourished. Hey, some of them might even be fat, but at least they can be, now.