Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

Your ABC

Click here to find out why.

There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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Preditors and Editors
Everything you wanted to know about literary agents
On the getting of agents
Writer Beware
Miss Snark
Writer's Net

(and my Wish List)

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Different Lives  
Whew! How's that for The Onion.
The Soapbox By James W. Henley
"I Support the occupation but I don't support our troops"

Fear, Loathing, and Great Reporting
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is most remembered for over-the-top writings and personality. But it's worth remembering that he was also a damned fine reporter, with a gift for details and one of the best crap detectors in history.
by Sam Smith

(February 22, 2005) -- One of the brightest lights in the American firmament blinked out Sunday. Word of Hunter Thompson’s death arrived at our house via the crawl on the network happy news this morning, and there’s irony enough in that fact alone.

Hunter Stockton Thompson, the Good Doctor, is most remembered for his over-the-top tours des excès – "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" being the most famous. But it’s not the gonzo high spots I’ll remember him for. What has gotten so lost in the legend that Thompson became (and the self-parody he sometimes lapsed into later in his career) is that he was a damned fine reporter. and

What is a Backyard Habitat?
One House Can Make A Difference!
href="">Nobody Ever Dies of Overpopulation [WHAT!?!?!]
Wolfin is only sold to licensed Wolfin applicators. We recommend you check the license status with Wolfin Membranes Australia (phone 02 8336 1666 or email ) because many applicators claiming to be licensed and/or experienced Wolfin applicators are in fact not – and therefore cannot be supplied
Why did nobody report this?
Well, as it happens, these parents were homeschoolers, so there were no mandated reporters to tell the state that the children were coming to school emaciated and with cattleprod marks and sans toenails.

As a matter of fact, the Dollars were doing such a fabulous job as the completely unsupervised caregivers and homeschoolers and "biblical" chastisers of five children that they decided to become open a completely unsupervised Christian school
Before they were accused of torturing five children, John and Linda Dollar ran a private Christian school out of their home near Knoxville.

The Mountain View Christian School opened in fall 1999 in rural Strawberry Plains, about 15 miles east of Knoxville ... Children aren't that big. They're kinda likely to fall through when you take out all the boards between the cracks.

The Labor Department is going to investigate why they've agreed to notify Wal-Mart fifteen days in advance of inspections as part of a settlement against Wal-Mart for underage labor violations.

Yep. In order to keep from getting prosecuted, Wal-Mart was forced to agree that the Labor Department would stop checking if they're breaking the law
The inspector general of the Labor Department has decided to investigate its agreement to give Wal-Mart Stores 15 days' notice before investigating any stores facing complaints of child labor violations, according to department officials.

The inspector general's decision comes after lawmakers and children's advocacy groups criticized the department's settlement of child labor complaints against 24 Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Arkansas. Without admitting any wrongdoing, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $135,540 to settle complaints involving 85 youths.
08:44 am February 21st, 2005

Alternative Minimum Tax
The A.M.T. effectively sets up a parallel tax system for all households, in which few deductions are allowed. Taxpayers whose alternative tax is higher than their regular federal income tax must pay the alternative one.

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1950s or 1850s?
Mark wrote: "These people are supposedly so concerned about what their interest rates will be over the next three years that they are happy to leave to their children and grandchildren a world in which international relations looks more like the end of the nineteenth century than the end of the twentieth, and all that implies."
Interesting. For some while now I've been contradicting people who say "John Howard wants to take us back to the 1950s", by pointing out that what his policies seem to prefer as a society is closer to the 1850s. Those who've read Dickens, Hardy, and perhaps a bit of social history would recognise the structure, with all the social and human gains (not to mention ecological awareness and new understandings in biology, psychology, comsmology, spirituality) bought with such struggle and cost stripped out. With all the lessons of both the evil and good humans can do denied and forgotten.

Do you think we could characterise the current "Liberal" Party idealogues as following the philosophy of Harry Lime, who dismissed several hundred years of peace and justice as only producing cuckoo clocks?

Posted September 27, 2004 10:11 PM

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A few interesting things, including reflections on some unpleasant numbers  
How to Write an Epic Poem

Related eHows:
Write a Short Story
Write a Sonnet
Write a Haiku
Find a Literary Agent
Write a Limerick
Another Friday cat-blogger - see also (Marble eyes - cat photo)
see also for another cat photo from a
contact of mine.

Readers Digest building garden waterproofing - the home page

Collection of links to arty blogs (much in French) (the other kind of arty pictures ... )
( some pretty flowers at
along with some other links, thoughts & stuff that it find mildly
interesting )

Some observations from an absorbing discussion thread at Whatever, John
Scalzi's blog.
The state that has the lowest incidence of divorce in the US is
Massachusetts, which as we all know is so flamingly liberal that they even
let the gay people get married, to other gay people, even

I call myself a recovering catholic. Being a recovering catholic is like
being a recovering alcohilic; If you're an alcoholic, you're always an
alcoholic, you're just in recovery; the same thing goes for being catholic.

Getting a Sense of Proportion
(A very dangerous thing, according to Douglas Adams, see HHGG2 )

You are here (Solar System)
This is a work in progress... 1 pixel = ~1,000 km; images are to scale with
each other (This page does not display properly in Safari and Opera; they do
not support super-wide tables or images, apparently.)
1 pixel = ~1,000 km; planet sizes are approx. to scale
A PhotoShop tutorial on processing a very popular image from topleftpixel.

And the unpleasant bit, not an unexpected set of stories, but good to see
that some people are picking them up.
Monday, February 21 was "Presidents' Day" holiday in the USA. This may be
looking at the effect of the current president. Some extracts. (NB these
are US casualties, we're not looking at Iraqi civilians, etc, here.) The
site has links to different sources.

"It's difficult to estimate what the total number is," says John Pike,
director of a research group called which publishes an
informed estimate that goes well beyond what the Pentagon has released.

"You have to say that the total number of casualties due to wounds, injury,
disease would have to be somewhere in the ballpark of over 20, maybe
30,000," says Pike... [In November 2004]

Information about the number of US casualties in Iraq is available
on a web site of the Pentagon or known as the "War Hub" at
This information covers only those who are officially US citizens enlisted
with different military services.

Hired security contractors, or mercenaries, and recruits who are not
citizens who enlisted to obtain a "green card," are not counted or
mentioned. A large number of the green card recruits are from Mexico and
Central America. There are no organizations to look after their rights or
help them once they're in Iraq. Most of them are buried in Iraq when killed
... It is estimated that as many as 40% of the US troops serving in Iraq are
green card recruits.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A soldier who served in Iraq apparently hung
himself with a bedsheet last week at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but
the Pentagon did not count that death two days later when it announced "a
very small increase" in the suicide rate from Operation Iraqi Freedom ...
The Pentagon said it is not counting suicides among troops who killed
themselves after they left Iraq ...

Thirty-six journalists - and 18 media support workers - have been
killed since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq in March 2003, according
to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

At least nine have died as a result of American fire, said Ann
Cooper, executive director of the CPJ ... [including] Mazen Dana, a
43-year-old Palestinian [who] was described by Reuters as one of its finest
cameramen ... According to [various] sources, Dana's family, when
interviewed after the murder, had stated to investigators that Dana was
murdered because he was shooting video footage of mass graves of US soldiers
--- i.e., soldiers killed who were not counted in the official Pentagon
casualty figures --- for a television documentary on the subject for

Which makes an interesting companion to The Onion.
The Soapbox By James W. Henley
"I support the occupation but I don't support our troops"

More ...

Other kinds of fireworks elsewhere
see also

(also see frinstance Friday ... Toy Blogging for February 11th (following
Hunk Blog on Thursday)) (I'm looking at St Valentine's Day version) Attitudes (photos of Central Park with
"The Gates"),,1409903,00.html
Tammet is calculating 377 multiplied by 795. Actually, he isn't
"calculating": there is nothing conscious about what he is doing. He arrives
at the answer instantly. Since his epileptic fit, he has been able to see
numbers as shapes, colours and textures. The number two, for instance, is a
motion, and five is a clap of thunder. "When I multiply numbers together, I
see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape
emerges. That's the answer. It's mental imagery. It's like maths without
having to think."

Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen
Aspect, May 2004, $24.95, 343 pp.
ISBN 0446529834
Since Ian Stewart is an enormously published Mathematician and science
writer, and Jack Cohen a biologist who has worked with SF authors before,
this work is extraordinarily interesting to Mathematical Biologists
What I Want: I want to awaken from this terrible dream, and find him
sleeping contentedly beside me, and not for the first time, or the 100th.

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2005-02-16 sydney/pages/intro
duction.htm guides/sydney/pages/appendix1.htm
The Sinking of HMAS Sydney
A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records
The National Archives of Australia
The loss of HMAS Sydney with its full war complement of 645 virtually
without trace remains to this day Australia’s single worst naval disaster.
The circumstances surrounding the loss have never been fully explained ...
HMAS Sydney II and the Kormoran
The loss of HMAS Sydney, 19 November 1941
The most grievous loss suffered by the Royal Australian Navy occurred on 19
November 1941, when the cruiser HMAS Sydney was lost in action with the
German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran off the Western Australian coast. None of
the Sydney's complement of 645 men survived. The Kormoran was also sunk in
the action.
NAVY: Sea Power Centre - Australia: HMA Ship Histories
(also see archives/kormoran/kormoran.htm
RAN History - Archives ... images of original documents relating to the HMAS
SYDNEY / KORMORAN engagement on 19 November 1941
A nice private site is at

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Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own
Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Justin Kruger and David Dunning
Department of Psychology
Cornell University
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it ...
(The lemon juice-video camera story is a new one to me!)[Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. © 1999 by the American
Psychological Association For personal use only--not for distribution
December 1999 Vol. 77, No. 6, 1121-1134 ]

See Cat update, under the letter about "Creatures of the Night" by Jamilah hi-ya-yo-yo-yo-yiiiiiii-ha.asp

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Not explaining this fully, but just a reminder.

Things like Scottish Play v Real Macbeth, and Richard III's stage & historical records connects up with things like Teresa's comments at Common fraud (December 03, 2004)[ ] and various discussions here and over there about how just ignoring facts & truth, and repeating what you want people to believe will often eventually pound itself into the local unconscious as 'common sense' or accepted, unquestioned belief.
Also connects with the technique of The Big Lie, and what I'm coming to believe is a defining part of humanity; what I think is called story or narrative or plot. Just throw random images down, and people will start to make up connexions & stories. (Possibly something to do with our development of a sense of time, causality, logic & so forth in pre-human days.)
Is another reason for disliking many attitudes seen in books, films, computer games, and the assumptions they make, which are starting to bleed into people's real decision making. Also connects to feminist attempts to push such unstated assumptions in language out into the light, and sometimes out of it altogether.

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Shadow Set in Wyoming

Shadow Rise in California

The Belt of Venus Also visible in

Aslan Shrugged: Author's Note
February 02, 2005

Periodic Table Horoscopes

Looking back, the HQ (Virtual) of the Travis Tea Fan Club would be the Travis Tea Room, on Travis Street (a bit north of the Texas Historic Landmark of Magnolia House) in Cameron, the county seat of Milam County, Texas.

Fulminate: An explosive salt of fulminic acid, especially fulminate of mercury.

; > ; >

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