Push to Eat Local Food Is Hampered by Shortage

I understand why my friend Walter from Sugar Mountain Farm is building a butcher shop. We faced a similar issue here a while back - though Indiana is far from a locavore's paradise. Thankfully it's more or less resolved here, for the time being, anyway.

Erica Zimmerman and her husband spent months pasture-raising pigs on their farm here, but when the time came to take them to slaughter, an overbooked facility canceled their appointment.

(link) [New York Times]

18:21 /Agriculture | 1 comment | permanent link

Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent

This could be huge - it's assuredly on it's way to the Supremes, so we'll have to await that result, but the reasoning is sound, to be sure. It's about time some Federal judge showed a modicum of common sense in this area.

A federal judge on Monday struck down patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The decision, if upheld, could throw into doubt the patents covering thousands of human genes and reshape the law of intellectual property

(link) [New York Times]

18:17 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction

Are you ready for the War on Food™?

Scientists have finally confirmed what the rest of us have suspected for years: Bacon, cheesecake, and other delicious yet fattening foods may be addictive.

(link) [CNN]

16:30 /Politics | 1 comment | permanent link

Russia cuts time zones to 9

Backwards ClockBut the real story here is this:

Last November, in his annual State of the Nation address, the Russian president proposed an even more radical reform. He suggested not only to cut the number of time zones in Russia but also abolish the current switch to daylight saving time, which the country has been doing since 1981.

Gosh, somebody actually gets it:

"The energy advantages are negligible," he [chief Kremlin economist Arkady Dvorkovich] said, "but the health of the people and their stable biological rhythms is a much more important factor."

I also didn't know that Russia had only been doing DST since 1981 - about the time that they started loosening up and getting more "capitalist"... makes ya wonder, eh?

The world's largest country by land mass is challenging time: This weekend, Russia is cutting the number of its time zones from 11 to 9.

(link) [CNN]

12:01 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Algebra in Wonderland

Why math geeks love Lewis Carroll...

Dodgson most likely had real models for the strange happenings in Wonderland, too. He was a tutor in mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, and Alice’s search for a beautiful garden can be neatly interpreted as a mishmash of satire directed at the advances taking place in Dodgson’s field.

(link) [New York Times]

08:12 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

A Glad Ostara

This year, Ostara couldn't get here soon enough. It was a tough Winter, which somehow makes Spring all the sweeter. A Glad Ostara to All!

21:59 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

The Tragedy of Steel

A techie looks at ACTA. Good read - this fellow gets it.

Intellectual property laws were written for the ultimate purpose of enriching the public domain and raising the standard of living for the entire nation. The monopoly-on-production provision that people these days speak of as being synonymous with copyrights and patents was never intended to be more than a means to an end: a financial incentive to create new things that will enrich all of society.

(link) [Turbu Tech]

18:04 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Sheared Sleeping

I'm by no means a professional sheep shearer, but I have sheared a goodly number of sheep in my time. But I have never had a sheep fall asleep while I was taking off her fleece - until today.

We sheared #17 today - Lorraine calls her 'Beanie'. I prefer to shear with the sheep upright through most of the process. It's easier for me, and the fleece seems to roll off better that way. Kevyn has the stanchion, so Lorraine just held her head while I worked from the neck back. The little gal was asleep in about 5 minutes! Utterly relaxed, but still standing. The fleece came off like a dream, certainly one of the easiest I've ever done. And when I did put her in the classic shearing position, on her butt, to get her belly wool and trim up, she went to sleep again! Amazing - and weird.

17:45 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

False Hope for Homeowners

Wanna get a firsthand taste of hope? Go to this link in a new window or tab - it's a HUD site for Indiana on avoiding foreclosure. Once there, click on the link that says "HUD Approved Counseling Agencies".

Well, that didn't work so well, eh? OK, try the link that says "How to avoid foreclosure", which is a redirect to an Indiana State government site. You'll get the redirect page (unlike on the first link), select 'Go to the requested page'.


There is no hope. Just a cesspool into which the taxpayers toss cash.

21:48 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

State Can Dump Non-Sex Offenders Into Registry

You wanna know why the law gets no respect these days? Because apparently Humpty Dumpty is making the law, where a word means exactly what he says it means, and not whatever everybody else thinks it means. In Georgia (under Federal mandate) they've defined criminal confinement as a sex offense. And the Georgia courts have upheld this definition:

“Rainer’s belief that the term ’sexual offender’ may only apply to offenders who commit sexual offenses against minors does not change the fact that the definition provided in the statute, and not the definition that Rainer wishes to impose upon the statute, controls,” the court’s majority said.

Basically, they're saying that the legislature could define jaywalking as a sex offense, and thereafter all jaywalkers would be placed on what essentially amounts to lifelong probation, with residency restrictions. I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes (from Malcolm X) - "You can put a shoe in an oven, but that doesn't make it a biscuit."

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all."

Welcome to Wonderland.

Georgia’s Supreme Court is upholding the government’s right to put non-sex offenders on the state’s sex-offender registry, highlighting a little-noticed (but growing) nationwide practice.

(link) [Wired]

08:04 /Politics | 2 comments | permanent link

Some Blog Housekeeping

SPAMDon't know if anybody else's noticed but there's been a bit of an attack going on here for the past few days: comment spam. I have had some pretty sneaky measures in place to prevent this - basically, they stop robots dead in their tracks. If you're going to spam MacRaven, you'll have to be a human, with a keyboard and a browser. To date this has stopped most attacks - but the most recent spate has gotten through. Why? Because they are people, with keyboards and browsers. Captchas wouldn't stop this, so I've had to take other, more severe (and technical) measures. We'll see if they work - if you notice any problems getting through with legitimate writebacks, by all means drop me a line.

21:08 /Home | 2 comments | permanent link

Shearing Started

Well, I normally like to wait until April to start shearing, but the weather's been so warm, and is predicted to stay that way, that we've made an exception this year. Chunky Buns went first as she's one of those whose fleece is already sold. If the weather holds out, we might be done shearing by April. Which, I must admit, would be kinda nice.

20:20 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Culture of Corpulence

I'm calling bullshit. The only American innovation that's led to 65% of us being classed as overweight or obese is an innovation in measurement ... calculate your own BMI here.

American innovations in food, transportation, and technology are threatening to supersize us all.

(link) [Newsweek]

16:37 /Politics | 1 comment | permanent link

Wait! Daylight Saving Time will cost me money?

Backwards Clock

Hey, Mitch! I want my $10 back (for three years of this idiocy). Somehow, the state doesn't seem to be giving out rebates for this... wonder why? Of all the moronic things our current governor has done, and he's got a whopper of a list going, daylight savings time has to be the one that galls me the most. This seemingly trivial thing has huge implications well beyond energy waste. Look up accident statistics for the week after "springing forward" to see exactly what I'm talking about.

The move to Daylight Saving actually used 1 percent more electricity than if people stuck to Standard Time, according to a 2008 study of residents in Indiana. In other areas of the United States, the time change could cost people even more.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor]

Update:I forget to mention heart attacks...
via Masson's Blog

17:26 /Home | 2 comments | permanent link

Bring Back the Robber Barons

Nothing really boils my blood more than a "vulgar libertarian" misreading history and giving thieves far more credit than they deserve. Look at the list of Robber Barons this guy praises, and tell me how they're any different from the "political entrepreneurs" of today that he roundly condemns ...

The truth is, we don't need to "bring back" the Robber Barons - they never left. For an antidote to this tripe, may I suggest The Triumph of Conservatism. Real history.

There's a big difference between entrepreneurs who make a fortune in the market, and those who do so by gaming the government.

(link) [Wall Street Journal Online]

21:54 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link