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December 28, 2007

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Pornography

August 28, 2006

From cnn.com:

NEW YORK (AP) — Pornographic movies now seem nearly as pervasive in America’s hotel rooms as tiny shampoo bottles, and the lodging industry shows little concern as conservative activists rev up a protest campaign aimed at triggering a federal crackdown.

A coalition of 13 conservative groups — including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America — took out full-page ads in some editions of USA Today earlier this month urging the Justice Department and FBI to investigate whether some of the pay-per-view movies widely available in hotels violate federal and state obscenity laws.

The coalition also is trying to draw attention to CleanHotels.com, a directory of hotels and motels nationwide that pledge to exclude adult offerings from their in-room entertainment service.

Though porn is now cheaply and readily accessible on the Internet, and through many other outlets, the activists chose to target the hotel industry in part because of the well-known brands of corporations that cater to family vacationers as well as business travelers.

PCaSD7gc52I&NR

NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK DUE TO LANGUAGE.

Is this porn? Perhaps it is. However, nutter groups do not have the right to decide what is porn or to use our tax dollars to decipher the question. Federal crackdown of what guests do privately in hotel rooms is just another NSA measure. Stay out of our hotel rooms, off our bodies and get out of Iraq already! If you don’t want to watch porn, then don’t order it. End of story.

As for cleanhotels.com. Any hotel that is on that list will not receive a dime from AG. It’s not that AG watches porn — it’s that repressed wingnuts do not have the right to determine whether an adult should have access or not.

Ojibwa Prayer

August 25, 2006

This is for Madame Rouge.  You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds
And whose breath gives life to everyone,
Hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children;
I am weak… I am small…I need your wisdom
and your strength.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever
behold the red and purple sunsets.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
and make my ears sharp so I may hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may understand what you
have taught my people and
The lessons you have hidden in each leaf and each rock.
I ask for wisdom and strength,
Not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able
to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ever ready to come before you with
clean hands and a straight eye,
So as life fades away as a fading sunset,
My spirit may come to you without shame.

{i heart grants.gov}

August 24, 2006

…because it keeps me abreast of all the neat-o things that the Federal Government is doing with my money!

To wit:

HETEROGENEOUS URBAN RSTA TEAM (HURT), SOL BAA 04-05, DUE: February 13, 2004; POC: Dr. John Bay, DARPA/IXO; 703-741-7853 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency?s (DARPA) Information Exploitation Office (IXO) is soliciting proposals for the Heterogeneous Urban RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) Team program under this Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). PROGRAM OBJECTIVES The HURT program will develop technologies enabling mission-driven command and control of a heterogeneous team of uninhabited platforms for the conduct of coordinated urban operations. The class of uninhabited platforms of particular interest in the HURT program is aerial vehicles. The roboticized RSTA team, under HURT control, will provide services to warfighters according to user demand as modulated by mission priority subject to resource availability. HURT technology will be used to decouple users from direct platform control and tasking. HURT Platform Modeling technologies will provide symbolic representations of platform, payload and algorithm capabilities that allow mission-level planning and tasking. HURT User Management technologies will permit multiple dispersed users to formulate and register mission-centric service requests and will provide context-dependent service arbitration mechanisms. HURT Planning and Control technologies will permit tasking/retasking of RSTA team resources based on symbolic representations of available capabilities, mission-level service requests, arbitration policies and subject to operational constraints. Importantly, technologies developed in HURT will permit rapid integration (disintegration) of platforms into (out of) the team. HURT will not be pursuing any platform-based autonomy, control, or sensing technologies; only collectively managing and controlling arbitrarily-teamed components. The HURT program has three objectives. First, allow warfighters to directly request real-time RSTA services from a team of unmanned assets in complex, three-dimensional urban terrain. Second, aggregate the information gathering capabilities of diverse platforms into collaborative teams that provide robust services on demand. Third, control multiple platforms to simultaneously and autonomously maneuver through the urban battlespace in order to deliver those services. Technical objectives include 1) Developing an expressive platform-independent representation for diverse RSTA assets, to include both mobility and sensing parameters, 2) developing a tasking prioritization mechanism that allows the system to serve RSTA data to multiple users who may lack a complete tactical picture, 3) implementing a planning controller that continuously and robustly serves user requests by appropriately controlling each asset through its native interface, and 4) demonstrating the RSTA team in multi-vehicle tactical experimental scenarios at a MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training site. BAA TOPIC AREAS This solicitation requests ideas in four topic areas. Proposals may be submitted in any, all, or any combination thereof, of the following HURT research topic areas: Topic Area 1: User Management: Design and construct the user interface mechanism, implementing tactical commands from a nominal original set and augmenting them throughout the program. Develop the mechanism for accurately prioritizing, queuing, and determining necessary quality-of-service parameters for user requests so that the best service can be achieved subject to commander?s guidance for mission achievement. Topic Area 2: Platform Modeling: Develop and implement the common capability representation, to include platform mobility, sensor models, and the semantics of any on-board autonomy, exploitation, or interoperability that might be available. The representation must be compatible with the planning and control component. Topic Area 3: Planning and Control: Determine and implement an appropriate planner, task allocator, and controller that accurately matches prioritized user requests with available RSTA team services. Perform plan monitoring, real-time re-planning, plan repair or a contingency capability for robustness, and manage the return of RSTA data en route back to the user. Topic Area 4: System Integration: Formulate a systems architecture for all the component technologies and assemble the pieces into a coherent, scalable, maintainable, and robust system, with the necessary platform interfaces and data interfaces between all HURT internal components. Include communications management as necessary. Interface with military test sites to perform experiment coordination, design, verification/validation, range safety, and data/metrics definition and gathering. Coordinate and lead the field experiments. It is expected that the System Integrator will provide and maintain a sufficient number of vehicles for development and testing for the duration of the program. PROGRAM PHASES HURT will be conducted in three phases, lasting 14 months, 16 months, and 18 months. Bidders should propose tasks for all three phases, but funding for later phases is entirely contingent upon meeting system-level performance goals established for earlier phases. Phase I ? Remote Autonomy: HURT must demonstrate that coordinated autonomy can be achieved through control by the external (i.e., off the platforms) HURT system. This will require coordinated flight in a small MOUT site with large, well-known obstacles. The system will have to accomplish the simultaneous tasks of persistent wide-area surveillance and the ability to dispatch a sensor to a single user-designated point for a rapid-reaction close-up look (?911 response?). Phase II ? Collective Autonomy: The HURT system must manage diverse assets such that they achieve the collaborative task of maintaining a moving area of regard (AOR) around a moving ground target (e.g., to follow a suspect vehicle, or to maintain a moving zone of blue-force protection). These tasks will be in addition to the tasks in Phase I. Phase III ? Tactical Autonomy: Through continued consultation with the military user community, develop, implement, and experiment with operationally critical tactical commands to the system. These tactical scenarios for HURT should illustrate the spectrum of collaborative platform control capabilities, and at a minimum must demonstrate the system?s ability to manage multiple users with conflicting priorities, demonstrate robustness to platform attrition, and implement a line-of-sight (LOS) communications infrastructure to a specified point Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches and techniques that lead to or enable revolutionary advances in the state-of-the-art. Proposals are not limited to the specific strategies listed above, and alternative visions will be considered. However, proposals should be for research that substantially contributes towards the goals stated. Research should result in prototype hardware and/or software demonstrating integrated concepts and approaches. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvement to the existing state of practice or focuses on a specific system or solution. Integrated solution sets embodying significant technological advances are strongly encouraged over narrowly defined research endeavors. Proposals may involve other research groups or industrial cooperation and cost sharing. This BAA shall remain open and proposals received up to one year following this BAA?s release. GENERAL INFORMATION The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/Information Exploitation Office (DARPA/IXO) has an electronic upload process for proposal submissions for BAA 04-05. The BAA tool is intended to facilitate an electronic process beginning with the proposal uploads through the review and evaluation of submitted documents. Instructions for use of the DARPA/IXO BAA Tool are available for download at http://www.darpa.mil/ixo/solicitations/hurt/index.htm. Failure to comply with these submission procedures may result in the submission not being evaluated. Proposers must be willing to cooperate and exchange software, data, and other information with other contractors if it contributes to the success of the program. This includes coordination with a contractor or integrator, chosen by DARPA, if appropriate. A statement of cooperation must be included in the final proposal. PROTECTION OF INFORMATION: It is the policy of DARPA to treat all proposals as competitive information and to disclose contents only for the purposes of evaluation and assessment. The Government may use selected support contractor personnel to assist in administrative functions only. Those contractors sign binding, non-disclosure agreements with DARPA. REQUIREMENTS/PROCEDURES: The Award Document for each proposal selected and funded will contain a mandatory requirement for submission of DARPA/IXO reports. These reports will be electronically submitted via the DARPA/IXO Technical ? Financial Information Management System (T-FIMS), utilizing the government furnished Uniform Resource Locator (URL) on the World Wide Web (WWW). Further details may be found in the Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP). PROPOSAL FORMAT All Proposers MUST register at: http://www.tfims.darpa.mil/baa 2 weeks prior to submitting a proposal. PLEASE NOTE: The deadline for registration is 30 January 2004, at the URL listed above. Only the lead or prime Proposer should register. One registration per proposal should be submitted. This means that a Proposer wishing to submit multiple proposals should complete a single registration for each proposal. By registering, the Proposer has made no commitment to submit. Proposal submissions must be unclassified. The Proposer must upload the electronic version of the full proposal to the DARPA website by 12:00 PM (ET) Friday, February 13, 2004, in order to be considered during the initial evaluation phase. However, BAA 04-05, HETEROGENEOUS URBAN RSTA TEAM (HURT), will remain open until 12:00 PM (ET), Monday, December 13, 2004. Thus, proposals may be submitted at any time from issuance of this BAA through Monday, December 13, 2004. While the proposals submitted after Friday, February 13, 2004 deadline will be evaluated by the Government, proposers should keep in mind that the likelihood of funding such proposals is less than for those proposals submitted in connection with the initial evaluation and award schedule. Proposers must obtain the BAA 04-05 Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP), which provides further information on the areas of interest, submission, evaluation, funding processes, and full proposal formats. The PIP is available for viewing or download at http://www.darpa.mil/ixo/Solicitations/hurt/index.htm. Proposals not meeting the format described in the PIP may not be reviewed. This notice, in conjunction with the BAA 04-05 PIP and all references, constitutes the total BAA. No additional information is available, nor will a formal Request for Proposals or other solicitation regarding this announcement be issued. Requests for same will be disregarded. The Government reserves the right to select for award all, some, or none of the proposals received. All responsible sources capable of satisfying the Government’s needs may submit a proposal that shall be considered by DARPA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) are encouraged to submit proposals and join others in submitting proposals. However, no portion of this BAA will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation due to the impracticality of reserving discrete or severable areas of this research for exclusive competition among these entities. Government contractors are required to register at the Government?s Central Contractor Registration site in order to negotiate contracts with most government agencies. This URL is provided as a reference: http://www.ccr.gov. Evaluation of proposals will be accomplished through a technical/scientific/business decision process with technical and scientific considerations being most important. Evaluations will be performed using the following criteria listed in descending order of relative importance: 1. Relevance to HURT mission objectives 2. Technical innovation and depth 3. Consistency with HURT program concepts 4. Personnel and corporate capabilities and experience 5. Cost realism and value of proposed work to the Government All administrative correspondence and questions on this solicitation, including requests for information on how to submit a full proposal to this BAA, must be received at BAA04-05@darpa.mil by 12:00 PM (ET) Friday, February 6, 2004. DARPA intends to use electronic mail for correspondence regarding BAA 04-05. Proposals MUST NOT be submitted by fax or e-mail; any so sent will be disregarded.

Did Hell Freeze Over When I Wasn’t Looking?

August 22, 2006

That’s the only way that I can think to explain this.  And I totally missed this a couple of months ago.  I’m waiting for the right-wing nut job religious fanatics to start protesting this and organizing a boycott of Wally World.  Not because of all the other horrible shit that they do, but because now they’re going to be involved with Teh Gays.

Margarita Pour-Off

August 18, 2006

If it wasn’t so hot, I’d be inclined to maybe go try a few of the samples at the Margarita Pour-Off this weekend.

Margarita

But what’s up with places like La Fogata, Tomatillo’s, La Margarita, Rosario’s, and Chacho’s not competing??

Maybe it’s not worth calling in sick to work and going after all.

{fortunate}

August 16, 2006

I ordered Chinese take-out for dinner tonight.  I got two fortune cookies.  Here is what they said:

“Your lucky SAT answers are: a, c, d, a, b, b, c”

and

“Don’t give in to cynicism.”

The dumplings were delicious!

Seriously?

August 16, 2006

Tucker Carlson is going to be on Dancing with the Stars?  I wonder if he’ll be wearing his red bow tie?  And I hope that he goes home before Jerry Springer.  Jerry!  Jerry!  Jerry!

Forget the World

August 14, 2006

I can’t get him off my mind lately.  He won’t be back for 3 more months and I miss him more than I thought that I would. 

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own
We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lay with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lay with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lay with me and just forget the world?

{sand between my toes}

August 13, 2006

Well, I’m back. I’ve just returned from a week’s vacation on South Padre Island, easily the most beautiful spot on the Gulf Coast (or at least the American portion thereof). The weeks preceding this little vacation were incredibly stressful, but I haven’t actually taken vacation time to, like, go on vacation in a very long time, so I was pretty determined to make it happen. Anyway, all that’s to say ‘sorry’ for my extended absence from Ye Olde Bloggesphere. I presume that all the prolific and successful bloggers have discovered some sort of secret that permits them to blog copiously while still having careers, attending to their personal lives and remaining sane. I have not discovered it. Huge thanks to AG for keeping the lights on. The coming weeks promise to be fairly hectic, but I’m determined to blog, even if I have to get up early to do it.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to try to post some pictures from my vacation. Here’s what I cooked up in the kitchen of our rented condo on Thursday night:

Crab cakes atop a slaw of jicama and chayote squash and topped with a Thai red curry sauce

Baja fish and shrimp tacos with mango salsa

Grilled vegetables

Grilled pineapple over vanilla ice cream

More tomorow. Tonight I’m sunburned, exhausted and…well…wishing I was still at the beach.