Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Punjabis, Illicit Players, MOBY and Dark Energy….

Wednesday now, and the week is stretching on endlessly with the end in obvious sight but seemingly unreachable. Grab a nice long Update and burn a few minutes of a lingering day…

Following succinctly up on the piece from yesterday on the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, we find, to no real surprise, that tablets are the hottest item on the floor. One worth noting, especially to my college student readers (holla, folks) is the MOBY tablet. It is designed with students in mind, which means a bit of a trade-off; some things will have lower quality capacity and function (typically memory, camera and GB) but will retail for a much lower price and have the right software for scholarly pursuit, namely Facebook, YouTube and maybe some type of notepad for class. The MOBY most likely will emerge as a sub-$200 tablet next fall, but it means that the lower price point will be filled, and, with any luck, flooded with more competitors by the end of the year. (The Bohunk apologizes for nerding out a bit)

The Bohunk noted this story yesterday, but waiting patiently for more details to…I do not intend to imitate Fox News by taking a report with almost no facts, making up facts, and then ignoring real information when it does not match up with the contrived report. On Tuesday, the governor of the Punjab Province in Pakistan was assassinated by his body guard in a busy market. The governor, Salman Taseer, had recently spoken out against the blasphemy law still on the books in Pakistan (and in Saudi Arabia, to note) a country that is, I am told, one of our biggest allies against terror in the Middle East. Taseer had been warned against using the guard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who had been investigated and found to hold ties with extremists as far back as 2004. Qadri had joined the police force in 2002, and was selected for “elite force course” in 2008, four years after experts warned of his religious ties. Qadri has confessed to killing the governor because “he did blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammed” by repeatedly referring to the blasphemy laws as “the black laws”. Qadri’s belief in a god caused him to put 26 bullets in the body of the man he had sworn to protect. For those unfamiliar, the blasphemy law in Pakistan forbids anyone from speaking ill of the Prophet Muhammed, the Qu’ran or the Islamic faith. A Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was executed (publicly, mind you) just this past November after being found guilty for insulting Islam in an argument with co workers in 2009. Obviously, there can be no more evil law than this. It is no different than being killed for speaking out against a political faction, and so, in a sense, is a sort of spiritual facism. Again, killing for your belief is like arguing who has the cooler imaginary friend, then murdering if the other person disagrees. A sad story, with more to come, but, my dear readers, we must not tarry here…

Salmon Taseer, the slain governor of the Punjab Province.

In the Ivory Coast, entrenched ex-President Laurent Gbagbo has announced that he will lift the blockade around political rival Alassane Ouattara, the new President-to-be. The softening of the embattled lingering Gbagbo may be to save his own skin. He wants to be sure he will not be prosecuted or, indeed, brutally murdered in the streets whenever it is he relinquishes power to the incoming President and his staff. Both men claim to be the winners of last month’s elections, though widespread fraud and foul play was reported by both camps. The runoff election, conducted on November 28th and confirmed December 2nd declared Ouattara the winner, but Gbagbo refuses to step down. Over 170 people have been killed in the ensuing violence. A recommendation by Billy Hanson, aged 4, from Nantucket, is to have a Rock, Papers, Scissors match, perhaps two out of three, then the loser should “sack it up and get lost, see?” No word on whether the advice will be taken.

In somewhat amateur football, the Illicit Five of Ohio State University beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in Le Sucre Bowl last evening. Five players from Ohio State, including Terrelle Pryor and Dan Herron, were found to have sold gear and rings for cash, in addition to accepting illegal benefits from a local tattoo parlor. All five players will miss the first five games of next season, but were allowed to play in Le Sucre Bowl…Why? For cash. Ratings with the five were higher than they would have been without. Head coach Jim Tressell reportedly man each player ‘pinky-promise’ to return next season in order to play, but just days before the game Terrell Pryor wavered, saying they promised their ‘intent’ to return, but no guarantee was written in stone. (The Bohunk thinks they should have been forced to tattoo the promise in a prominent place on their bodies, and at full price, too) The final score was 31-26, though it belies not the firm upper hand enjoyed by the Buckeyes most of the contest. They led 28-7 in the second quarter. Pryor, Herron and wide receiver Posey, all Illicit Players, scored for the Buckeyes…Take away their contributions, and Ohio State loses. The win did save the bowl season for the Large Dix, after other squads went a thudding 0-5 on New Years Day.

Not sure if this is pre or post Pinky Promise, but Pryor played in Le Sucre Bowl, nonetheless…

In space, dark energy is believed to be the factor behind the accelerated expansion of the universe. But NASA has put on hold a plan to build a craft designed to investigate dark energy and other stars and planets due to a massive lack of funds. The $1.6 billion budget needed to complete the James Webb Telescope is not popping up from behind anyone’s ear, and scientists believe it will be a decade or so until they have the money to continue preparation for the launch. The craft itself is still several years from completion, so the timetable is looking rather bleak. Twenty years ago, scientist found that the universe was expanding and an accelerating (accelerating, nor accelerated; it is not just faster,  but constantly getting faster and faster) which goes against most of the rules of gravity and physics. Einstein, in 1917, proposed a theory called the ‘cosmological constant’, which proposed that empty space serves as a sort of repulsive agent and causing things to push things apart. During his lifetime, the discovery that the universe was expanding at a constant rate (which we know now to be wrong) made the cosmological constant the most regretted thing of Einstein’s life, and even he admitted it. Now, however, he is proved correct, decades after his death and before he could have possibly had the materials and tools to even conduct research. Indeed, it seems Einstein simply thought his way to one of the most important scientific discoveries in history. Research now shows that things in the universe are moving apart 120 times faster than thought possible. We don’t know everything, we know almost nothing. The universe, my friends, is the greatest mystery.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the return on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart all this week on Comedy Central.

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