Sunday, November 23, 2008

VSU Update - Lawsuit Progresses

The news just gets worse for Valdosta State University and some current and former administrators. For those of you who came in late, I have covered this story for a while in several posts. I am in the process of consolidating them all into a post called "Our Story Thus Far" should you wish to catch up with the rest of us suffering VSU Alumni.

For the rest of you, here is the news that was press released Wednesday and so far ignored by the local news:

FIRE - Good News from Georgia: Federal District Court Issues Important First Order in Valdosta State Lawsuit

Text of the Ruling

This is a lot of reading so, as a service to my readers, I will lay it out for you in my best tabloid manner:

Zaccari, Other VSU Employees, Personally Liable in Suit

A Federal District Judge has ruled that a trial can go forward on five of seven counts in the lawsuit of Thomas Hayden Barnes vs Valdosta State University, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and several VSU administrators.

In his ruling, District Court Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr., held that Former VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari, VSU In-House Counsel Lavern Gaskins, Vice-President of Student Affairs Kurt Keppler, Dean of Students Russ Mast, and Student Counselor Leah McMillan could be held individually liable for the violation of Barnes' constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Pannell also ruled that the State of Georgia could not be sued on the first two counts of Constitutional violations due to the immunity clause contained in the Eleventh Amendment and that there was insufficient reason given in the complaint to include Director of the VSU Counseling Center Victor Morgan in the suit.

The rulings were given as a result of a motion by the State to dismiss all charges and by a motion for partial summary judgment by Barnes. Defining what charges can and cannot go forward is a routine beginning of a civil lawsuit.

Barnes filed a lawsuit in January of this year in the Northern District of Georgia alleging that, among other things, his First Amendment Rights had been violated and his 14th Amendment rights to due process under the Constitution had been denied when he was expelled for protesting against the building of a parking garage at Valdosta State University.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, civil suits can be brought against government officials who deprive citizens of their constitutional or statutory rights, privileges, or immunities. Barnes invoked this law to include VSU administrators in his complaint and the judge agreed Wednesday that all but one could be held personally liable.

The judge also upheld Barnes' right to sue VSU and the Board of Regents for violation of a binding contract by failing to observe policies outlined in VSU's student handbook.

The State and all but one University employee were ruled to be liable in the complaint that they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by using Barnes' visits to the university counseling center against him as the basis for intentional discrimination.

In the ruling, the judge noted that "President Zaccari initiated an effort, with the assistance of some of the named defendants in the complaint, to learn more about Barnes’ psychiatric health and to explore procedures for expelling Barnes as a student." Barnes' complaint is that this violated his rights to privacy and discriminated against him.

Of particular interest was the famous Facebook collage that was posted by Barnes and the phrase "S.A.V.E. Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage" that was given as one of the reasons that President Zaccari felt physically threatened by Barnes. In reference to this the judge noted:

"For purposes of the motion to dismiss, the court determines that the inclusion of the word “memorial” by its mere utterance in a photo collage that was posted on an Internet website simply cannot be rationally construed as likely to incite immediate violence"
Now that the Judge has ruled that the suit can go forward, VSU and the other defendants are required to make some response.

As of this writing (11/23/2008), no statement on this has been released by the State of Georgia or Valdosta State University and no other news story has been posted on it on the web.

If "personally liable" means what I think it means, then some individuals are going to have to get their own lawyer and start checking their homeowners policy for liability limits.

There are certainly other, better, scenarios such as the state deciding to pick up the tab or their friends establishing a legal fund to pay for lawyers. Certainly the State would be better off to remain in control of the lawsuit and not have to share time with a raft of personal lawyers.

The State could just offer Barnes money and leave everyone else to fend for themselves - ouch!

If the Guice household was involved in this, I'd be screaming uncle. I'd ask Barnes how long he'd like my sons to mow his lawn and hope he'd have pity on me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Free Speech at VSU III

Update on a funny post we did a while back. I apologize for the lack of funny here, but there's more news than funny!

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (F.I.R.E) kicked up a little victory dance on Thursday after receiving a letter from new VSU President Dr. Patrick J Schloss declaring unconditional surrender of the Free Expression Area and replacing it with a new, shorter, policy named The General Public Forum Venue.

This effectively ends the national publicity campaign to make VSU a pariah among College and Universities; but, like doggy do scraped off your shoe, the smell lingers and you sniff in vain hope that it is all gone. It's not, but first some exposition for those who came in late.

It was a controversy that few understood because so little actual reporting was done on the actual issues at hand by both the Valdosta Daily Times and The VSU Spectator. After the full page color ad in the US News and World Report's college issue, the Spectator was filled with letter writers and editorials who confused the policy issue with the expulsion of one T Hayden Barnes and his quixotic fight against a parking deck.

Here is the scoop: VSU had a policy that limited public debate to two non-consecutive hours on a postage stamp of a stage and only on weekends and non-students were not welcome. Like most policy statements, no one ever bothered to read it and VSU only bothered to enforce it when some outside agitator wanted to set up shop to harangue passersby on the Palms Quad.

The Barnes affair led F.I.R.E. to read the policy. They immediately recognized the "chilling effect" the policy could have on free speech because they had won that lawsuit before. A fine legal point this "chilling effect", but lost on students who are rarely bothered with anything chillier than a bottle of Bud.

The policy was trouble waiting to happen. It was like a bottle of Gin in the bedroom of a recovering alcoholic. One day, some administrator would reach for the bottle and havok would pour out. We've had enough First Amendment havok for this century. Better to flush the contents of this particular bottle down the loo.

T Hayden Barnes' lawsuit is still creeping toward a jury trial. I expect that the lawyers are negotiating the size of the award at the dizzy pace expected of those who bill by the hour.

Should a trial begin, Valdosta and VSU will be made to look like ignorant rubes in the national media and the jury will give Mr. Barnes a big chuck of change If a settlement occurs, the national media will, by rote, vomit up the story one more time to remind everyone that we are still ignorant rubes and Mr. Barnes will still get a stack of cash.

Whichever happens, when it happens, we'll finally be shut of this thing. It can't come soon enough for us or Mr. Barnes, who must be tired of waiting for his jackpot.

The new policy has nothing in it to prevent what the original policy tried to prevent - preachers who visit the campus and call passing students whoremongers and fornicators. It also doesn't prevent combative students for getting in their face and calling them fundamentalist pin heads. A venerable campus custom has been revived. Someone call me when it starts and I'll bring the popcorn.

Who knew Free Speech could be so much fun?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why Prices Jumped So Fast

I recently posted a satire on the Daily Egg about the economic ignorance of the masses (and truth be told, most of the mass media) when it comes to gas prices.  The link above takes you to a site that did some independent reporting and discovered why stations ran out of gas so fast and why prices are sky high today.

For more on how gas prices work, here is a related post:

And, for more stuff you are stupid about, read this book by John Stossel

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Political Notes

I've almost read myself silly on the political blogs this weekend. Here are some links and commentary.

Palin appears to disagree with McCain on sex education

In this story from the LA Times, reporters keep looking for new things to share about Governor Palin that they hope will separate her from the Christian Right.  That's a fools errand.  Governor Palin would have to be caught defecating in public before that separation occurred, and I'm not all sure that even THAT would work.

Palin in this story is depicted as being in favor of both abstinence programs and teaching about condoms in school. Call it yet another "all of the above" position on drilling.  As the proud Uncle of two conceived-out-of-wedlock children, and my 17-year old nieces were both on oral contraceptives, I can see her point.  Welded shut chastity belts are your only guarantee.

A suggestion many fathers and uncles could easily get behind.

Conventional Wisdom Shifting In Obama Biden McCain Palin Presidential Race As Republicans Smile

The Moderate Voice tosses out the trope about "The Speech" being written by a speech writer.  As a public speaker myself, let me give you an old chestnut of a rule. "The audience is often paying much closer attention to non-verbal clues to judge your honesty. Content is secondary to them." The Clinton corollary to that is: "if you can fake sincerity, you've got it made."

Certainly Gov. Palin's speech was written with help from a ghost. So was almost every speech given in the past few weeks, including John McCain's.

It was in this more important facet of her speech, authenticity, that Governor Palin scored heavily.  

McCain's more pedestrian delivery of the written word also belied the good he did himself in reinforcing his themes of character, non-partisanship.

If you look at both the Zogby and Gallop today, the undecided vote is shrinking quickly. The question becomes, what percentage of those swing voters are also likely voters?

We could be looking at a replay of 2004 when getting out the committed voters was the key -- and the Christian Right won that battle. Obama so far this year has had the best grass roots operation (yeah, being a community organizer does have SOME advantages). Can the Christian Right make up for losing 8 months of this year in the next 60 days?

IF Palin can keep from making a major gaffe or being tagged by the media, she could be a factor. Obama doesn't have to be worried about making gaffes as he gets a pass... almost daily.  Today he accidentally referred to himself as a Muslim before George Stephanopolis helpfully corrected him.

Being an informed citizen these days requires a lot more work digging up original sources as the politicized media (right and left) can't be trusted to report even basic facts without spin.

One thing we can be sure of... the conventional wisdom often is overturned. There will be more changes before we get there.

Marijuana as an Antibiotic

MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an anti-biotic Staph infection that can really ruin your day. The cannabinoids in Marijuana kill bacteria in a different way than traditional antibiotics, meaning they might be able to bypass bacterial resistance.

This does have the ring of truth. None of the stoners I know have ever had MRSA.

Unfortunately for the readers of High Times magazine, the researchers have also located two cannabinoids that don't make you high.  Spoil sports those researchers are.

So, if you come down with a Staph infection, ask the hospital orderly if you can bum a joint and ring down to room service for more ice cream. The cops won't be able to get you because you will be in a lock down isolation unit. Sweet!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Easy Surfing

New Scientist Space Blog: Surfer physicist gets grant to study theory of everything

A. Garrett Lisi lives the life. While most of the news stories about this young theoretical physicist focus on his not having a job and slacking all over the place with his surfer buddies, the New Scientist reveals that Lisi doesn't need a job -- he gets $77,222 this year to think about physics by way of a grant from the Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology Institute. Not only that, but he was also paid $38,640 a year for the past two years by FQXi to do the same thing. That will buy a lot of Mr. Zogs Original SEX Wax.

Being paid for thinking is nice work if you can get it. Lisi is the author of a paper that attempts to create what Einstein could not -- a Unified Field Theory that reconciles General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. The paper, "An Exceptional Simple Theory of Everything" (requires PDF), posits that the relationships of all the particles in the Universe can be explained with the mathematics of a figure called G-8. It looks like something you could make with a Spirograph-- click on the picture below for a much larger view.

According to The London Telegraph the figure is "a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887, but only fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan."

Lisi noticed an uncanny resemblance between the equations used to explain the relationships of the points in G8 and equations used to explain elementary atomic particles. He was able to show that 228 of those points represent a known sub-atomic particle. The other 20 are particles yet to be found — including the elusive ones that power gravity.

Lisi will spend his year working to create testable predictions that would prove his mathematics in the real world. In between surfing, hiking, and other essential activities, he will be calculating the masses of the 20 particles. If any of these particles with these masses are confirmed later this year when the Large Hadron Collider starts up, then Einstein may have to move over closer to Newton to make some room on the shelf for Lisi.

Lisi himself gives the probability of his being right as tiny. This real or affected humility is necessary for survival in the sciences. It should be remembered that Einstein's Theory of General Relativity shook up the scientific world so badly that rival scientists jealously prevented him from ever receiving the Nobel Prize for it. The one Nobel he did receive was for the lesser theory on the photoelectric effect and that was awarded only after world-wide public censure shook up the Nobel Committee and forced them to toss Albert a bone.

A comparable lynch mob of String Theorists ,who have spent their entire lives working on a rival theory that has yet to yield one single testable prediction, are already making ugly noises.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

David Williams' New Book

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has an interview today with Dr. David Williams of VSU on his new book "Bitterly Divided: The South's Inner Civil War". Those who wax nostalgic for the Old South are in for a bit of a shock. One of the Q&A's made me smile:

Q: Have the Sons of Confederate Veterans been to see you?
A: Yes. They didn’t really deny anything I had to say, but they weren’t real happy to hear it. I told them, “Well, I’m not making this up.”
One of the facts that was sure to be troubling to the grown men who dress up as Johnny Reb and march around on weekends is that there were nearly a half-million southerners who served in the Union Army. Those referendums taken when the individual states voted to secede from the Union? Stolen. There were food riots at home and mass desertions from the field.

If you read his earlier work, A People's History of the Civil War: Struggles for the Meaning of Freedom like I have, much of this looks familiar. I contacted Dr. Williams to find out what would be new or different in this book and he was kind enough to reply:

Not really a great deal new in terms of themes, but new in terms of focus. I take much what I touch on in People's History with regard to southern dissent and expand on it considerably to highlight the reasons and ways in which dissenters increase in numbers and impact throughout the war.

Looks like I am going to have to buy a copy. I'll publish a review later.

Cheap Solar Using Nail Polish and a Pizza Oven

This charming juxtaposition of High Tech Solar and Low Tech MacGyver is headline ready for the tabloids. An Australian PhD student, Nicole Kuepper, has received a prestigious award for creating a low cost process to create cheap solar panels using nail polish, an ink jet printer, and a pizza oven.

Before you run out and buy stock in Cover Girl, MaxFactor, and Revlon, consider that while they have created a test process, they have yet to fabricate real solar cells and test them for efficiency. Currently, it takes up to four years for a solar cell to produce enough energy to "pay" for the energy used to produce it. A lower heat process like this has the potential to bring that ratio down.

Most of the news covers just the award, you have to dig on down to find out how this process works. Here is an excerpt from the University of Technology Sydney student publication Precinct quoting Ms. Kuepper

“In a nutshell, we spray on nail polish, bake the cell, ink jet print something like nail polish remover in certain areas to create a pattern. We then dunk the cell in acid which eats through the nail polish where the ink has fallen, and hey presto you have a patterned solar cell without needing to use lasers or expensive and complex photo-lithographic equipment,”

For a more detailed explanation, head over to the World Intellectual Property Organization and read the patent application.

Hat tip to Gizmodo for the original link and to Chimp for the WIPO link

Saint Simons during Fay

A friend of mine, Dade Brantley, just posted video of what Tropical Storm Fay looked like over on Saint Simons Island. I go over there a lot and it was eye opening to see the flooding. Imagine what it would look like if a Tropical Storm or Class One Hurricane made landfall.

The seven minute piece opens with him driving over the causeway to the island. Then he goes to the village and shoots the waves crashing over the seawall and into the land. We get to see some houses and cars flooded and he shows us the ocean punishing a parking lot. There is a drive back over the causeway and then down US 17 to the turn for downtown.

Here is his introduction:

This is video I shot yesterday (August 22) on a ride over to St. Simons. For those who don't understand why people make a big deal over a little rain and wind, keep in mind, this was shot just before low tide....during a low grade tropical storm that was 100 miles away. ...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

One Man's Roadkill is another Man's Dinner

I have just finished re-reading Simon Winchester's "The Map that Changed the World" which is about William Smith and the founding of modern Geology. Winchester is a marvelous writer with a knack for really interesting digressions. One that made me laugh out loud is this piece on the Former Dean of the School of Earthly Sciences at Oxford, William Buckland:

"He tried to eat his way through the entire animal kingdom, offering mice in batter and steaks of bison and crocodile to guests at breakfast, but reserving the viler things for himself — he declared that he found mole perfectly horrible, and the only thing worse was that fat English housefly known colloquially as a bluebottle. His sense of taste seems not to have been ruined by such experimentation — he once found his carriage stranded in the nighttime fog somewhere west of London, scooped some dirt from the road and tasted it and declared to his companions, in relief, "Gentlemen — Uxbridge!"

He was a great skeptic, particularly where Catholics were concerned. Once, led to a dark stain on the flagstones of an Italian Cathedral, which the local prelate insisted was the newly liquefied blood of a well-known martyr, he dropped to his knees, licked the darkened spot, and announced that in fact it was the urine of a bat."

I don't think it is possible to come up with a rejoinder to that last line. If you haven't read any of Simon Winchester's books, resolve to fix the matter — soon.

Awakened by Quiet

So here it is 1:30 in the morning and our lights are on and everything is hunky dory when the sound of large, heavy vehicles pulling into our driveway herald the arrival of Georgia Power. Seems the rest of the neighborhood is without power: the top of the nearest pole has energized with tiny bluish-white sparkly things marking spidery trails along the wood and wire where our neighbor's electricity is leaking out.

The guys in the yellow rain slickers get to work. First order of business: cut the power to the Guice residence — clunk. Tropical storm Fay collects her remittance.

It seemed unfair. I mean, it's not our fault the rest of the neighborhood went out, right?

Actually, it was our fault. Turns out some limbs from our yard had fallen onto the lines that cross our property. To further our punishment, these large trucks now squish into our backyard pressing deep furrows into the lawn. More yard work for Frances.

The next hour and a half was filled with mysterious shouts and whiny hydraulics that slowly recede into drowsy dullness as I nodded back to sleep. An unknown switch was pulled and I awoke. The house was alive again. At 3:30.

That wasn't so bad.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Asians Go on a Gas Diet

So much of our public debate on energy shows such a lack of knowledge of basic economics that I just had to make fun of it in the companion Daily Egg satire. Here are some links that drove that silliness...

One of the constants in all stories about gasoline prices has been the increase in demand in the developing world including China. What is only just coming out now is that the *reason* for massive demand increases has been state subsidized prices for gasoline.

The Wall Street Journal covered the story. WSJ articles disappear over time and you have to pay $$$ to get them out of archive.

Here is a New York Times article on the same subject.

Here is a cut n paste of another WSJ story that was plopped into a blog. This will probably not go away. Scroll down through all the ads and you'll find it.

I also did a little looking for convenience store economics. Here is a good basic story from National Public Radio.

and, if you really want to know the full skinny, here is a complete Primer on gasoline pricing from the Energy Information Administration.

The next time you hear someone bleating about the conspiracy behind higher gas prices, remember this fact: every time that Gas Prices have undergone a sudden spike, Congress has required the Federal Trade Commission to look into price gouging and profiteering. The answer usually comes back after all the fuss is over. Every report has the same conclusion: no gouging, no profiteering, blame it on the law of supply and demand.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tommy Lee Jones was right - the REAL news is in the Enquirer

In my one journalism class in college, the crusty old English teacher asked us, "what is news?" The answer had been the same for over a century : the news is whatever the editor says is news.

The editor was the gatekeeper. Sometimes exercising judgement and other times reacting to ideological, social, or business pressures. The general public took their news like they took their cornflakes in the morning -- they ate what was put in front of them.

Have you joined the Men in Black and the other 20% of the population that are now reading alternative media and blogs on the web? If not, here is one story that you are missing:

The National Enquirer *caught* John Edwards walking out of a Beverly Hilton after visiting his illegitimate child by a mistress. He's paying the mistress a cool $15,000 a MONTH to lay low. While cameras flashed, he ran and hid in a restroom.

There were no Republican Members of the House waiting in there to solicit sex with him -- one reason why this story is not running wall to wall.

The mistress was pregnant with the child when the Enquirer first ran the story in December 2007 when Edwards was actively running for President. You read about that, right?

The Enquirer has the goods -- really. Here are the links:

JOHN EDWARDS love child scandal NE December 2007


The story was confirmed by the lone Fox News story. The coverup in the media is being covered by Mickey Klaus over at Slate -- which is far from being a right wing news organization. You can also find detailed stories at the completely left-wing Huffington Post.

Klaus revealed that reporters at the Los Angeles Times were ordered by management to ignore the story. They even banned reporters from writing about it in personal blogs.

You haven't seen this story on the news at NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, or the Los Angeles Times as of yet; however, the story has been covered by those hard boiled newshounds Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien over on NBC. Soon, though, these things will change. Radar reports that negotiation$ are ongoing between a major network and the mother of the child for an exclusive interview.

I usually do take a look at my cornflakes before I eat them. Maybe we should all start taking a look at our news as well.

-- updated 11:58pm added links for Huffington Post and Radar

Amazing Duck Story

E-mail is just a new method of delivering the same rumors, gossip, and legends that people have been swapping since forever. is like the neighbor in the corner who debunks whatever whopper the stranger in town just told. They check the facts and debunk most of what hits your inbox.

Here is an e-mail validated as being true: an officeworker saves an entire family of ducks that was born in an urban enviroment. Amazing Duck Story

Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Some Idiots Save Money

Seems like every magazine you see has money saving tips these days. In order to make fun of them at The Daily Egg, I needed to read up on the tips themselves for inspiration.

Some of these things are a little outlandish. There are people out there who will gladly exchange time for money and make a hobby (fetish?) out of it. I was first tempted to make fun of those people, but it is nearly impossible to make fun of something that is already a farce.

The Simple Dollar - 100 Great Tips for Saving Money

Billed as a list for people who are just getting started saving money. He makes his own laundry gell on his stove.

Money Saving Tips - 75 Painless Ways to Save Money

For some reason, whenever I call my credit card company demanding that they lower the interest rate, they just start laughing and hang up. Maybe it will work for you.

106 Money-Saving Tips for a Frugal Lifestyle

Otherwise known as the 106 extremely obvious ways to save money if you could be bothered.

The Frugal Law Student

Here is an interesting concept. While learning how to sue people into the poor house, this Law Student spends his billable hours saving money.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Title Town Roundup

The finest wine is not revenge, but that vintage known as gloat. If you are from Valdosta, here is a list of links to stories around the country about our Victory as Title Town. Some excerpts from the article are underneath the link Drink up!

Detroit Free Press

What? This is like Appalachian State all over again.

Except imagine App. State had not only upset Michigan, but also Ohio State, the Red Wings, the N.Y. Giants, the Boston Celtics and just about everybody else. ESPN's Titletown USA contest winner, announced Monday night on "SportsCenter," is Valdosta, Ga.

Once again ... what?

KUSports, Lawrence, KS

A national basketball championship and an Orange Bowl victory weren’t enough to secure ESPN’s TitleTown honors for Lawrence.

MLive.Com (Michigan)

Valdosta, Georgia wins 'Titletown' sweepstakes, swiping Green Bay's nickname...

Green Bay Press-Gazette

Sorry, Green Bay, but you're not ESPN's 'TitleTown USA'

Richmond Times Dispatch

So what do we have to do to get some poll power and respect around here, huh? Beg? Bribe?

The Gainesville Sun

When Florida won back-to-back national championships in men's basketball and another in football from 2006-07, many dubbed Gainesville as Titletown. A year later, ESPN says that moniker belongs 110 miles up Interstate-75.

The Florida Times Union

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is talking of tourist packages. Come watch one of the high school teams on Friday night and stay over and ride the coasters at Wild Adventures theme park and watch the VSU Blazers play Saturday.

Atlanta Journal Constitution

The link goes to Todd Holcomb's Blog where the crowd is disscussing the topic:
Do you agree with ESPN that Valdosta is sports TitleTown USA? Tell us why or why not.

The discussion is over 250 comments, and growing. Go there and lay waste to all those envy green Atlanta people.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Title Town Facts

Valdosta has been completely gaga over ESPN's TitleTown contest. I do not care to think how much money our various governments spent on banners, security, and whatever when we hosted the ESPN team at Cleveland Field.

Here are the sources for my facts in the Titletown Story:

This is the easiest site to get quick demographic data

Lowndes County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau

New York City QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau

Not only do they track internet penetration, but we are waaaay behind. This is a newstory so the links do tend to go away over time.

And now it gets really weird, the effects of testosterone levels on fans

Examining the potential causal relationship between sport team identification and psychological well-being. - brought to you by

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Free Ranging Cats - Background Links

I recently ended up reading the animal ordinance of the City of Valdosta. I know, what the hell was I doing that for? Well, the paper had a story on a new law for vagrants and I thought I might mine it for more comedy material. Surprise, surprise, surprise -- the paper had it wrong and the proposed ordinance wasn't posted.

While looking around I found the animal ordinance.

It is illegal to own more than 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 horses at a home in Valdosta. Thank God the boys never asked for ponies.

Even more interesting, who would believe that Valdosta would end up with a cat ordinance without so much of a howdy do?

City of Valdosta's Animal Ordinance:

American Bird Conservancy Website: Cat's Indoors! The Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats

Killer Housecat Studies

British Study Titled "Look What the Cat Brought In"

A Study in Witcheta KS that includes a prolific bird killing cat who is also declawed

Friday, July 04, 2008

Turning Algae into Gasoline

America is in an inventive turmoil not seen since the dawn of the industrial age when every tinkerer had a garage and a dream of being the next Marconi, Ford, or Wright brother. Only now, all the nerds in the garages have only one goal -- a cheap source of renewal energy.

Over in Europe, commentators are tut-tutting about the frenzy to invent in America. "Why don't those dolts just realize they aren't exceptional and settle down. Get used to doing with less like us superior Europeans."

I imagine we Americans will continue to upset our laggard cousins. Here are some of the things that are being created:

Sapphire Energy turns algae into ‘green crude’ for fuel, 2008-05-29, LA Times

Tifton Man Bioengineers Bacteria to Make Oil, 2008-03-15, The Tifton Gazette

The New Dawn of Solar 2007-12-01, Popular Science Magazine

Coming in out of the cold: Cold fusion, for real 2005-06-06, Christian Science Monitor

Turn Anything into Oil, 2006-04-06, Discover Magazine

And, if you really want some weird reading, here is a Russian theory that oil is not created by dead dinosaurs:

Abiogenic petroleum origin, Wikipedia