thanks, Louis Black, for pointing me to the book!

from the pig book, a guide to governement waste online. (or why I think more people should vote, and pay attention to what their representatives support)

$273,000 added in conference in the state of Senate appropriator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.) for the Blue Springs Youth Outreach Unit for educational training in combating Goth culture.

$50,000 added by the House in the district of Lois Capps (D-Calif.) for a tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo.

$260,000 for asparagus technology and production in the state of Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee member George Nethercutt (R-Wash.). According to USDA officials, “This research will enable Washington asparagus producers to remain domestically and internationally competitive.” Since 2001, $484,000 has been appropriated for this research.

$12,800,000 for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP); Initially designed to capture energy from the aurora borealis (northern lights), HAARP is now being configured to heat up the ionosphere to improve military communications. Since 1995, CAGW has identified $82.8 million appropriated for HAARP. (I’ve loooooong hated the HAARP project…. bad tech, weak plans…, it’s the Sgt York of Star Wars Tech.)

in the defense budget – $1,500,000 for a large millimeter wave telescope. In fiscal 2001, appropriators added $4 million for this same project. This telescope, a joint project between the United States and Mexico, will help researchers study the formation of stars and galaxies billions of years ago and how stars are forming in our galaxy right now. (That’s cool, and all… but defense?)

$500,000 added by the Senate in the state of Senate Appropriations committee member Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) for bus and bus facilities in the ski resort, Village of Taos. (instead of more money to bussing the elderly, or infirm)

I don’t think all of the things listed are bad ideas, but many are far overpriced for what they are.

in other news – Researchers have discovered that the Argentine ants in colonies stretching over an area 3,600 miles long, are effectively one supercolony. In other words, ants from the Italian Riviera can be carried 3,600 miles and dropped into a hill there, and will get along just fine. Read the CNN story However, you won’t find a hint of speculation there about what sort of chemical or other cues might be operating across that distance to keep all those anthills “in synch” . . . or a guess about the sheer number of ants involved.

Could be a neat communications puzzle to work out.

I may not know much about art…but I know what I like. Here’s some concept art that’s just amazing. I can’t read Japanese, but the pictures are great.

one that I bet will bookmark – TextArc is a freaky little applet that will analyse the words in a text and process them occording to frequency, relevence to other words, and context. The app will then proceed to “read” the text and draw connections between the words in non-linear fashions. It’s hard to describe, but cool to look at. It’s sort of like watching your lexical field neurons firing… sort of an offshoot of good ol’ visual thesaurus

If you’re really looking for some conceptual network-building fun, you’ve got to check out DIRK. What’s the secret connection between Scottobear and Frank Oz?

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