zero sum beauty

Last night, while watching “Extreme Makeovers,” I had what I think is a pretty good idea for a TV show. It would kind of be the opposite of “Extreme Makeovers.” On this show, beautiful people would be hunted down, abducted and then surgically altered.

Actually, that’s just one component. There will also be the ugly people becoming beautiful. I’m thinking of calling it “Zero Sum Beauty.” It would work just like “Extreme Makeovers” only for every “improvement” that’s done to one person, the exact opposite has to be done to someone else.

Enhance one women’s chin / remove one woman’s chin.

Suck ten pounds of fat out of a fat persons thigh / pump ten pounds of fat into a thin person’s thigh.

This way the level of beauty stays the same in the world and we don’t mess with the delicate equilibrium that God created between butt-ugly and model-perfect.

relative beauty
On the same subject, it now occurs to me that I very well might grow less and less attractive, relatively speaking, with time, as more and more people choose to go the surgical route. That had never occurred to me before.

Have you ever seen that episode of the “Twilight Zone” where the girl, when she reaches adulthood, is given the choice of something like six different female bodies to move into? All the bodies are perfect. There’s a blonde, a brunette, a redhead. The girl objects at first, but then she eventually gives in. She gives in and she’s happy. Everyone looks the same, or almost the same, as there’s a bit of variation between the different model numbers, and everyone is happy.

The “Twilight Zone” was a brilliant series. I’m sure the writers had no idea just how close they would often come to predicting the our actual future.

thong diapers are right around the corner
I just read an article on a new doll in the Barbie line. She’s called “Lingerie Barbie.” As much as I’d like to think that I’m being kidded, I suspect that it’s probably real.

Read the article yourself and then see if you still think that Jihad against the west is a bad idea?

my proud wife
Linette is all impressed with me because I said that I’d rather sit here and write about lingerie Barbie than watch the season finale of “Survivor.” How sad is it?

’tis the season for total information awareness
If you got one of my Christmas cards this year, it probably said one of two things on the back. It either said, “Total Information Awareness, it’s coming,” or “Here’s hoping that we all have Total Information Awareness in the new year.” I guess you could say that the government’s big crack-down on privacy has been on my mind a lot this holiday season.

Well, you might not care right now, but I’m going to keep harping away.

Today “Business Week” ran a story called Snooping in All the Wrong Places that I found really interesting. You might enjoy it too.

Essentially, the author’s point is this… Yes it’s scary and yes we should be concerned about giving this level of snooping power to the federal government, but that’s not even the main point. The main point is, this monolithic information gathering system will not make us any safer from terrorist threats. If anything, centralization will make it easier for terrorists to bypass.

Here are a few clips (in case you’re not the type to follow links):

The 2002 elections proved one thing: The promise of security wins votes. The GOP campaigned on a pledge to make the country safer, and it brought home one of the biggest midterm victories in decades. That huge win may have emboldened the Bush Administration to ignore widespread criticism of the Defense Dept.’s $240 million effort to develop a Total Information Awareness system (TIA).

The outrage over TIA doesn’t seem to have reached the President’s ear, but it should. It’s not too late for him to realize the folly of such a plan. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project would combine every American’s bank records, tax filings, driver’s license information, credit-card purchases, medical data, and phone and e-mail records into one giant centralized database. This would then be combed through for evidence of suspicious activity.


DECENTRALIZED INTELLIGENCE. It’s time to switch gears. America doesn’t need huge centralized databases that track each and every citizen. What it needs is decentralized intelligence. And that means extensive training for law-enforcement and government personnel on the ground, across the country. The country needs Customs personnel who know what to look for at the borders, like the officer in Port Angeles, Wash., who noticed a suspicious driver trying to enter the U.S., investigated further, and found a load of bomb components intended for attacks on Millennium celebrations…

I don’t want to get much further into it here, but her argument is persuasive. If you’d like to read the article, click here.

history weeps
Today in 1732, Benjamin Franklin, under the name Richard Saunders, began publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

Today the new issue of Crimewave, complete with a cartoon of a man holding his daughter by her wrists and ankles while she sprays piss against a wall in Sienna (something we saw in Italy), lands of shelves at Borders.

If the lingerie Barbie didn’t make you feel sick and dirty, I thought that might.

good government site on clean energy
In looking around, trying to figure out what our government was doing to cut our dependence on petroleum, I stumbled across this site. It’s not nearly enough, but I thought that it was worth mentioning.

They also have a pretty good overview of what is meant by “clean energy.” If you want to see it, just click here.

a note from doug skinner
A giant pig was scaring the people of New Jersey; it was described as “ghostly,” and was quickly dubbed “Pigfoot” by the locals. But you can come out from under the bed — the animal was caught. And no, you cannot eat it; some nice inhabitant of the Garden State plans to keep it as a mascot, if its owner doesn’t turn up.

After he was done taunting me about being afraid of giant pigs, he set about making me jealous by telling me 1) that he had an article posted on Shavertron, and 2) that he’d just seen the Cheap Suit Santas, in the East Village.

rat brain robot
Rat brain neuron cells on a silicon chip are behind a new Georgia Tech robot. story

beautiful baby leah
As depressing as things are with the “Extreme Makeovers,” “Lingerie Barbies,” “rat brain robot Barbies” and all the rest of it, occasionally something happens that gives me hope.

This is my friend Dan and his new daughter, Leah. Dan and his wife, Jen, welcomed her into the world a few days ago.

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