The StupidFilter Project: Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.

The Wall Street Journal reports on one Gabriel Ortiz, who has a noble project under development.

[A]n open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in written English.

Using a statistical approach similar to Bayesian analysis, Mr. Ortiz has created a filter that uses his library of baseline “stupid” and “smart” texts to evaluate the intelligence level of new comments.

The StupidFilter manifesto:

StupidFilter was conceived out of necessity. Too long have we suffered in silence under the tyranny of idiocy. In the beginning, the internet was a place where one could communicate intelligently with similarly erudite people. Then, Eternal September hit and we were lost in the noise. The advent of user-driven web content has compounded the matter yet further, straining our tolerance to the breaking point.

It’s time to fight back.

Visit the StupidFilter site here, and have a go on the online demo here, where you can type in your own or paste in someone else’s comment, and the filter will evaluate it for stupidity.

The StupidFilter Project: Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.

Iraqi forces battle Mahdi militia in southern Iraq, Baghdad

BAGHDAD — With Iraq’s top leaders directing the battle, Iraq’s army and national police pressed a major operation Tuesday to wrest control of the southern port city of Basra from the Shiite Mahdi Army militia. Fighting between government forces and the militia quickly spread through Iraq’s south and into Baghdad .

Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and his defense and interior ministers took charge of the 15,000 Iraqi army troops and police units, which were deployed for what aides said was to be a three-day operation against militias in the city.

The battle at the oil-rich port began before dawn Tuesday and lasted into the early evening before subsiding slightly as the Mahdi Army, headed by firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr , defended positions in several neighborhoods. In the dead of night, residents reported artillery shelling, mortar rounds and guns being fired outside their homes.


Will you puhleeze, kill that fat pig!!!

Since Barack asked us to discuss race…

Here is one of the most honest discussions I’ve ever seen, and it has been largely ignored by the blogosphere (something we would expect from the MSM).

We can have this conversation now — should have this conversation now — because African-Americans are on the verge of the greatest setback they’ve experienced since the election of Rutherford B. Hayes. You see, you’ve just given life to the suspicion that black people in America are, and have long been, a fifth column — unanimously hating the very country that has afforded the highest standard of living ever achieved by black people in human history. We’re teetering at the edge of believing that you’re a secret society, a massive collection of sleeper cells just waiting for your chance to do serious harm to the rest of us. You’ve made it possible for us to believe that. Because you’re never outraged by what the worst black people do. Because you continue to make excuses for what should be inexcusable to everyone.

The path to equality is counter-intuitive. Admit and decry the failings of your community. Concede that a generation of single mothers has been a disaster. Let go of the fantasy that black mothers are some kind of infallible force of nature. Demand that your children spend more time reading and doing sums than farting around on the basketball court. Only about two thousand people in the whole country make a living by playing sports. The rest have to get real jobs. Do whatever it takes to make your preachers emphasize the value of being a good father instead of ranting from the pulpit about how all of life’s woes are the fault of rich old white men. Tip your white waitress. Stay at work after 5 o’clock. Allow your kids to find somebody to admire and emulate who isn’t black. (My two best friends in high school — white guys — fought like dogs about their conflicting candidates for best rightfielder in baseball: Clemente or Aaron.) Would it kill you if your kid fixated on Sandy Koufax, Mozart, or Shakespeare rather than Mays, Armstrong, or Jay-Z? Does being black really have to be a full-time job?

Admit it. White people have these thoughts, and some black people, if they were honest with themselves, do too.

Here’s the biggest thing we “racists” notice. Every single immigrant group that ever came to America — including the Chinese who came as railroad slaves — has risen out of poverty and want to prosperity and respect. The Irish, the Italians, the Polish, the Jews, the Koreans, the Vietnamese. Every group but you. And you’re the only group we fought a war to free.

Old Guy goes on to explain his use of the word “nigger” (which he used to make a point, not as a gratuitous insult), which is verboten to all white people (and should be verboten to black people as well, if it’s such an insult to them).

I’m not proposing the generalized use of the term, just trying to be clear for once, in the wake of Obama’s call for us to have a dialogue about race. However much they may scream and protest, black people will know what I mean when I demand they concede that the following people are niggers:

– Jeremiah Wright
– O.J. Simpson
– Marion Barry
– Alan Iverson
– William Jefferson
– Louis Farrakhan
– Mike Tyson

You know what I mean. They hold you back. They’re dirty, violent, and stupid. They make you look bad, and you foul yourselves by defending them, by reelecting them to office, by admiring them in spite of all their awful behavior.

Old Guy (OldPunk, actually) responds to the hysterics who got their panties in a twist over his original post:

My sin? I have spent much of a long life thinking about racial matters. Born in a nominally northern town that was nevertheless 60 percent black and 40 percent white, I have witnessed the sins and virtues of segregation and the sins and virtues of the civil rights movement. Segregation was a deadly wrong and it ended. Civil rights was a moral imperative and it prevailed. Today, my town and the black community that lived in it since the Revolution are worse off — families destroyed, prostitution a commonplace where it never existed before, drugs and guns and dead children of both races rife, and because I will die in this town as I was born in this town, I want to understand it and help navigate a new way forward. Not back. I don’t want black people to be subservient, or white, or know their place, or be just like me. I just want them to get over the past and start building their own lives without waiting for the government to do it for them.

He goes on to demonstrate that the term “nigger” probably ought to apply to certain people who aren’t black, but whom we usually designate as “white trash” (and boy, is he ever right):

I’m delighted to provide a ‘white trash’ list that corresponds to the ‘nigger’ list. It’s even more expansive. It includes people who aren’t just dirty, violent, and stupid, but also slimy, mean, hypocritical, and manipulative. And unlike a lot of the commenters, it’s not confined to just one political party. I urge our leaders — and, indeed, all white people, to join me in admitting that the following white people are inexcusable trash:

Pat Buchanan
David Duke
Michael Moore
Michael Savage
Keith Olbermann
Larry Craig
Charles Schumer
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
William Ayers
Bernadine Dohrn
Jimmy Swaggert
Ted Stevens
Britney Spears
John Murtha
Trent Lott
Howard Stern
Don Imus
John Rocker
George Galloway
Sean Penn
& many many others

Yeah, I know the list can be longer. And people will object that some of the entries seem political. But both parties are represented, and no one is on the list who isn’t — regardless of political stripe — corrupt, a liar, a fraud, damagingly immoral, an unabashed hater, suspiciously well connected, or all of those things…

Related thoughts here, including this salient point:

In the end, the right response to racism has to be to uphold a consistently applied standard of behavior that holds true regardless of skin color. Chris Rock had it right: we don’t get to congratulate ourselves for doing the right thing, whether we are white, black, yellow or brown.

We are supposed to do the right thing, every day, regardless of our skin color. That is the standard Barack Obama forgot to uphold, and one we have a right to expect from the next President of the United States.

John Wayne Gacey dissected

An interesting post, if you find stories about serial killers interesting, that is. There’s a video of an interview with the man before he became known as the most prolific serial killer in the U.S., and an analysis that tells us something about what he was.

It caught my attention because, a few years ago, when I was working the eight weekends of the Southwest Ohio Renaissance Festival, I met someone who might well have qualified for the exact same analysis. The Festival has a troupe of actors who play the parts of Queen Elizabeth I, and her court, as well as several stages where professional festival-themed shows are put on, but even those of us who worked the shops and booths selling souvenirs were expected to wear costumes and speak in (very bad) English accents, and in general play the part of Elizabethan villagers. One year, a man appeared among the crowd wearing a blue clown suit, with his face painted like a clown, and he pretended to be a toy. In fact, he said his professional name was Toy. We thought his shtick wasn’t really in keeping with a renaissance or medieval theme, but otherwise, we had no reason to suspect he wasn’t a regular, paid performer. He would go behind the shops to the open area between the buildings and the outer stockade for his breaks, and I shared a bench and conversation with him several times.

Until the next year, that is, when we had our regular pre-festival meeting with the showrunner, and I asked if Toy would be back that year. The showrunner said, “Who?” and when several of us explained who we’d seen, he said, “I never hired anyone like that. I’ll investigate.”

The first weekend, I went out back for my break and discovered Toy sitting on the break bench in his costume, handcuffed, and in the company of the local police who were waiting for a van to take him to jail. It turns out, Toy had been arrested before. He was known to the police as a predatory pedophile of young boys (apparently, the younger the better), and he had nothing whatsoever to do with the Renaissance Festival. In fact, his brazen appearance there was a violation of his parole, so I hope he went back to prison for a good long time, although I never heard anything after that.

And he was such a bland, nice man. :-{

Rodenator®. Heh.

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters)

A war on gophers waged by two Canadian men went awry this weekend when a device used to blast the rodents in their holes sparked a massive grass fire in a rural area near Calgary, Alberta, causing more than C$200,000 (US$197,000) in damages.

Despite a ban on fires in the tinder-dry area of Springbank, just northeast of Calgary’s city limits, two men went into a field to kill gophers using a device called a Rodenator, fire officials said on Monday.

The device pumps a mixture of propane and oxygen into gopher holes, which is then ignited, and, according to the manufacturer’s Web site, the resulting blast creates a shock wave that kills the gopher and collapses its tunnel system.

“We had a couple of acreage owners out taking care of their rodent problem with this device,” said Captain Joe Garssi of the municipal district of Rocky View’s fire department.

“They did a few holes successfully and then hit a hole that didn’t go in very far. When they filled it with propane it over-filled the hole…and when they ignited it (fire) flashed out of the hole into the grass beside them.”

The resulting grass fire scorched about 160 acres of surrounding property and destroyed a number of outbuildings. No homes were damaged.

“The way I look at it, it’s ‘humans eight, gophers one’.” Garssi said, as the two men destroyed about eight of the rodents before sparking the blaze.

Charges are being considered against one of the two men involved.


This is your brain on jazz: another test

Further to my original post and Bingbing’s follow-up, I give you Mr. Thelonious Monk with ‘Round Midnight.

UPDATE: For any other Monk fans out there, the documentary “Straight, No Chaser” is a must-see. Abso-f’ing-lutely brilliant.

On An Adventure…

I’m going right into the heart of Melbourne tomorrow, and I promised a close mate a bunch of photos, because they’ve never been here.

Suggestions for the weirdest things to take photos of are most welcome.

Prize awarded for funniest suggestion!

Virginia Offers Tech Shooting Victims’ Families $100,000 Each in Settlement

This is pure unadulterated BULLSHIT!

I know as well as the victims, both dead and survivors who were and still injured this would happen, obviously NOT to the extent of those that actually lost loved ones, or loved ones that suffer from their physical wounds. The mental and emotional wounds, will NEVER go away. It’s the old ‘let the dust settle, then offer jackshit to those affected’ AND escape OUR part in this heinous crime, after all we cannot admit our criminal negligence, MY GOD we could go to prison, if we did’. An escape route by the State of Virginia, the officials at Virginia Tech, for the aforementioned, criminal negligence.

The President of Virginia Tech, one At about 7:15 this morning, a 911 call came to the university police department concerning an event in West Ambler Johnston Hall. There were multiple shooting victims. While in the process of investigating, about two hours later, the university received reports of a shooting in Norris Hall., those in “power” in his administration and the local police should have been dismissed immediately for their complete and negligent mishandling of this tragedy and/or subjected to civil and criminal charges. I should mention that “privacy laws” aided in this vile crime. No one was allowed to tell anyone, that Seung-Hui Cho, a mentally disturbed student, that killed the 32 victims and wounded several others at Virginia Tech on April 16 before committing suicide, was in fact a crazed person, off medications. “Privacy laws” be damned. Those that did not speak, have as much fault as those that could speak or act and did NOT.

I visited Virginia Tech, the fall after this massacre took place, as classes had just begun. I witnessed the sorrow, anger and every emotion in between. I saw the first hesitating steps to the memorial being constructed by students NOT faculty, to their lost and injured. Not trying to intrude, I asked no questions, just listened.

The reason(s) for the anger:

Have a serious situation developing here stateside in Virginia at Virginia Tech. It’s the first day of classes and a gunman is on the loose. Our Tony Harris has more details on that.

Yes, Daryn, it is. As you mentioned, it’s a serious situation. Classes have been canceled. The campus at Blacksburg has essentially been shut down there at Virginia Tech. University employees have been told to stay in their offices and lock the doors. Students who live on campus have been told to return to their dorm rooms and lock the doors. And here’s why. Local police are trying to capture a prisoner who escaped shortly after being transported yesterday from the county jail in Christiansburg to a hospital in Blacksburg for a leg injury.

The suspect is 24-year-old William Charles Morva and he was being held on suspicion of robbery. Now since the escape yesterday, police say Morva overpowered a sheriff’s deputy at the hospital where he was being treated, took his gun, then shot and killed an unarmed hospital security guard. And this morning as police were closing in on him, he alleged shot another police officer on the Huckleberry Trail, killing that officer. There have been a number of report there of sightings of the suspect on the Tech campus, possibly in the student center. That particular report did not bear out. But there is a lot, as you can imagine, of police activity right now on and around the Virginia Tech campus as police try to catch this suspect who has now allegedly killed two officers who were trying to get him back behind bars.

KAGAN: All this on what was supposed to be the first day of class. HARRIS: That’s right.

Fast forward same Campus, same year, same faculty:

Statement by Virginia Tech’s President

Apr 16 01:24 PM US/Eastern
By The Associated Press

Statement by Virginia Tech President Charles Steger on Monday afternoon after the fatal shootings of 21 students:Well, today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions. There were two shootings which occurred on campus. In each case there were fatalities. The university is shocked and indeed horrified that this would befall us, and I want to extend my deepest and most sincere and profound sympathy to the families of these victims, which include our students.We are currently in the process of notifying next of kin. The Virginia Tech police are being assisted by numerous other jurisdictions including Montgomery County. Crime scenes are being investigated by the university police, the FBI and the state police.We continue to work to identify the victims that have been impacted by this tragedy. I cannot begin to convey my own personal sense of loss over this senseless and incomprehensible heinous act. The university will immediately set up counseling centers. So far, centers have been identified in Ambler Johnston and the Cook counseling center to work with our campus community and their families.Now here are some of the facts as we know them. At about 7:15 this morning, a 911 call came to the university police department concerning an event in West Ambler Johnston Hall. There were multiple shooting victims. While in the process of investigating, about two hours later, the university received reports of a shooting in Norris Hall. The police immediately responded.The shooter in Norris Hall is deceased. There are multiple fatalities. The number of fatalities has not been confirmed. Victims have been transported to various hospitals in the immediate area in the region to receive emergency treatment. And we will proceed to contact the next of kin as the victims’ identities are available. All classes are canceled and the university is closed for the remainder of the day.

The university will open tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., but classes will be canceled on Tuesday. The police are currently staging the release of people from campus buildings. Families wishing to reunite with their students are suggested to meet at the Inn at Virginia Tech, the building that we’re in today. Were making plans for a convocation tomorrow at noon in Cassell Coliseum for the university to come together to begin the healing process from this terrible tragedy.

That ends my prepared comments.

Smug Bastard, you are Charles Stegel. If you read the prepared statement, by chance did anyone notice the words or phrase ‘shut down’, ‘lock down’ of school campus, AFTER you have found two dead on THAT same campus?

Did anyone notice this part of that statement?

“At about 7:15 this morning, a 911 call came to the university police department concerning an event in West Ambler Johnston Hall. There were multiple shooting victims. While in the process of investigating, about two hours later, the university received reports of a shooting in Norris Hall.”


If the same President and faculty shut or locked down the same campus for an escaped convict that never came to the campus, why didn’t that same President and faculty shut or lock down the same campus after finding “multiple shooting victims”?

The “police” mentioned were mainly the campus police and Blacksburg, VA. police department, not THE full force and effect, ‘bring the whole damn portion of all available law enforcement in this area, NOW!’

The full force of law enforcement did not occur until AFTER the tragedy. They were there, but pictures will show most if not all, standing around, waiting for the next series of shots. Despicable! (and no, as of now, I don’t have those pictures or the videos…but I will find them)

Why after two hours, was there still NO campus shut or lock down? 30 more died after that two hour lull?

Charles Steger and faculty powers that be, so far you are the luckiest sons-a-bitches on the face of this earth. This slap in the face ‘throw them some crumbs’ “settlement” FOR those victims, the families and friends of those victims, is a cowardly and disgusting way, for you people to try to put balm on your souls.

My fondest hope is, the survivors, families and friends of those you failed to protect, crumple this “settlement”, throw it in your face as well as the government of the State of Virgina and pursue legal remedies both civil and criminal, against all of you.

In essence ALL of you assisted in this massacre, ALL of you must pay, be it money or a pound of flesh. I prefer the latter.

Attributions TO Fox News, CNN News.

Just In Case Andrea Takes It Off… (no pun intended)

Via Todd @#18

Testing Spot’s Post…

(Spot’s post)

This is your brain on jazz (updated)


Scientists inspired by the legendary improv of Miles Davis and John Coltrane are peering inside the brains of today’s jazz musicians to learn where creativity comes from.

This isn’t just a curiosity for jazz fans but a bold experiment in the neuroscience of music, a field that’s booming as researchers realize that music illuminates how the brain works. How we play and hear music provides a window into most everyday cognitive functions — from attention to emotion to memory — that in turn may help find treatments for brain disorders.

Getting creative seems to use the same brain circuitry that has been measured during dreaming:

• First, inhibition switched off. The scientists watched a brain region responsible for that self-monitoring, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, shut down.

• Then self-expression switched on. A smaller area called the medial prefrontal cortex fired up.

• The musicians in the study also showed heightened sensory awareness. Regions involved with touch, hearing and sight revved up during improv even though no one touched or saw anything different, and the only new sounds were ones they created.

Can you imagine watching a Thelonious Monk gig on MRI? Read the full article here.

-via Detroit Free Press, H/T Clara

UPDATE: Testing the theory — Bingbing’s contribution. My contribution. More suggestions welcome!

Austrian monks win recording contract with YouTube clip

‘We’re not Robbie Williams or Michael Jackson, we’re just a group of monks who sing every day.’—Rev. Karl Wallner

excerpt from CBCnews:

A group of Austrian monks have signed a major recording contract after submitting a YouTube clip of their Gregorian chanting. Universal Music put out a call in religious publications for “monks, men of the cloth and sacred singers” in February. Recording executives were inundated with hundreds of demos but said the monks from the Heiligenkreuz monastery stood head and shoulders above the competition. Tom Lewis said he was “blown away” by the quality of the monks’ singing.

“It was beautiful, beautiful music, and they’re using the very latest in terms of communication devices available to them to get their music heard,” Lewis told BBC News.

“They’re lovely people, they’re very passionate about their music and they’re very excited about this opportunity.”

There are 80 monks at Heiligenkreuz, a Cistercian monastery located in the Vienna woods that dates back to 1133.

An album, set for global release later this year, will be recorded next month.

The monastery’s Rev. Karl Wallner said the album would include about a dozen singers.

“It’s a fun experience because I didn’t think they would choose us — it was just for fun that we [contacted] them. It’s a good thing because Gregorian chant is part of spirituality and our life.”

Wallner also said he didn’t think his monks were on the level of music superstars.

“We’re not Robbie Williams or Michael Jackson, we’re just a group of monks who sing every day.”

H/T Clara

Let’s Start the Day with Pure, Unmitigated Horseshit

“The United Kingdom has been ranked as one of the most stable and prosperous countries in the world, beating the United States, France and even Switzerland in a global assessment of every nation’s achievements and standards.”

The Times Online owes me for the coffee I laughed through my nostrils reading that article. Basically, what it boils down too is, “countries ranked by how socialist and politically correct (Read, “stupid and fascistic”) they are.”

Fuck the UK. I wouldn’t live in that miserable shithole if you paid me a million Euros a year.

Via Drudge.

A Complete List of Things Caused by Global Warming

With thanks to Cohenite. I have read him at Bolt’s Palace and Blair’s Lair.

Cohenite’s post is here and the actual link is here.

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