Patterico's Pontifications

12/5/2009

Amputee Feels Sensations in Artificial Limb

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:37 pm

Amazing:

A group of European scientists said Wednesday that they have successfully connected a robotic hand to an amputee, enabling him to feel sensations in the artificial limb and control it with his thoughts.

Holy mackerel.

During the month he had the electrodes connected, Petruzziello learned to wiggle the robotic fingers independently, make a fist, grab objects and make other movements.

“Some of the gestures cannot be disclosed because they were quite vulgar,” joked Dr. Paolo Maria Rossini, a neurologist who led the team at Rome’s Campus Bio-Medico, a university and hospital that specialize in health sciences.

Ain’t science great? It can give you a robotic hand to flip people off with.

P.S. You know what this means, don’t you? Someone could chop off Obama’s hand (I’m not suggesting this, Secret Service) and he could still scratch his ear with his middle finger whenever he referenced a political opponent or one of their supporters. How awesome is that?

Having Fun for a Good Cause

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 10:29 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Check out the employees at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore., as they cut the rug on behalf of breast cancer awareness. My own sainted mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I found the video not only fun but affecting. Anyone so inclined (and who wouldn’t be?) can donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure by clicking here. Every dollar helps.

Thanks for watching.

–Jack Dunphy

Obama Administration: Let’s Just Spend the TARP Money

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 10:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration wants to spend unused or returned TARP money on a temporary jobs program:

“President Obama is almost sure to ask Congress Tuesday to use unspent TARP funds to finance a one-year jobs package that could cost upwards of $100 billion.

“That’s certainly one of the ideas,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, referring to spending TARP funds on a jobs package. “I think that’s likely.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first suggested tapping bank bailout funds to finance the Democrats jobs bill. After initial White House and Treasury Department resistance, the administration appears now committed to leveraging TARP funds.”

Republicans point out the TARP legislation requires that unused or returned TARP funds be used to pay down the debt:

“Congressional Republicans want unspent TARP funds – and loans repaid by the banks already – to be used exclusively for debt reduction. Republicans argue a section of the TARP law directs unspent funds and repaid loans to debt reduction. Congressional Democrats dispute this interpretation.

“It’s an outrage,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., ranking member of the Budget Committee. “It’s an absolute outrage. And you know who pays the bills? Our kids. It’s not right. It’s not fair and it’s not appropriate.”

Section 106 (d) of the TARP legislation reads as follows:

“Revenues of, and proceeds from the sale of troubled assets purchased under this Act, or from the sale, exercise, or surrender of warrants or senior debt instruments acquired under section 113 shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.”

Gregg said the White House and congressional Democrats see the TARP funds as a trough of unspent money, not one-time only funds raised in dire circumstances to stabilize a financial system on the brink of failure. Gregg said TARP funds should fulfill that limited purpose or pay down the federal debt, now just over $12 trillion.”

Administration and Congressional sources termed the TARP language a “distinction” that would not prohibit TARP funds from being “recycled.”

– DRJ

Sarah Palin at Gridiron Dinner

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:20 pm

Accounts are starting to come in. Here’s one:

If the election had turned out differently, she said, “I could be the one overseeing the signing of bailout checks and Vice President Biden could be on the road selling his book, ‘Going Rogaine.’”

. . . .

As for her hosts, she said she was glad to be appearing before an elite audience of leading intellectuals, “or as I like to call it, a death panel.”

And this one:

As for the president, Palin joked that she was looking at a magazine cover of Obama and Chinese president Hu Jinato [sic -- I think they mean "Jintao" -- P] during an airplane flight. A nearby passenger stated, “Hu’s the Communist,” she related.

And, Palin said, “I thought he was asking a question.”

Here’s how idiot journalist Andrea Mitchell screws up the joke on Twitter:

At press dinnerPalin “joked” person next to her on plane looked at picture of obama and chinese leader and asked which one is the communist

See, Andrea, the president of China is . . . oh, never mind.

AGW Defender: Let’s Not Engage in Character Assassination and Overheated Debate . . . You Asshole

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:42 pm

It’s literally 10 seconds from this:

It’s a real setback — not because there’s anything wrong with the science, but because the character assassination and the temperature of the debate which you can just see from our colleague in America is just obscuring the important issue, which is: has the world warmed in the last 100 years or not?

to this:

What an asshole.

Good stuff. As usual, via Hot Air.

Sarah Palin at Gridiron Dinner, Part I

Filed under: Humor,Politics — DRJ @ 6:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page is twittering from tonight’s Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C. Sarah Palin is the first speaker and she will be followed by Barney Frank. Here are Page’s first tweets from Palin’s speech:

#palin said if GOP ticket had won last year, she would be veep and Biden would be “selling his book, Going Rogaine.”

#palin at #gridiron: said she was addressing “leading journalists and intellectuals, or as I put it, a death panel.”

#palin said “sometimes you’ve got to trust your instincts and when you don’t, you end up in places like this.”

Patterico has Part II here.

– DRJ

Paul Anka: Still Slicin’ Like a Fuckin’ Hammer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:03 pm

This time it’s a domestic dispute with his wife:

Multiple police cars rolled out to the home of music legend Paul Anka Thursday morning after cops received two 911 calls about a domestic dispute between Paul and his wife Anna.

. . . [A]ccording to Paul, there was one hell of a stand-off.

TMZ spoke to Anka, who told us the couple has been having “escalating” problems for months and he’s been staying at a hotel. Anka says on the day of the incident, he had rolled by the house to take the couple’s kids to school, when he and his wife began arguing over the maid — who Anna had fired the day before.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Anna called 911 and told them she was afraid because Paul had pulled a gun on her during an argument the night before. But Paul says his whole house is under video surveillance, and when officers arrived, he played the tape — which showed no such incident.

She made a fuckin’ maniac out of him.

It’s ironic that this story would come us just after I randomly decided to link that hilarious Anka rant.

Upset Saturday

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 4:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Arizona beat USC and Alabama has a big lead over Florida. UPDATE: Alabama beat Florida 32-13. We have a new #1.

– DRJ

The Onion On Getting Stoked

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:33 pm

It starts off a little lame but it gets better as it goes along. Via Allahpundit on Twitter. Oh — language warning:

Maybe Palin Isn’t a Birther, But She Sure as Hell Was Pandering to Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:00 am

Quite a reaction in the post asking whether Sarah Palin is a Birther. Ace thinks Birtherism is stupid but has no problem with Palin’s “empty” answer; Allah thinks she should have repudiated Birtherism more clearly.

Here’s my take: Obama was born in the U.S. There is a legally valid birth certificate that is real and has been released to the media for inspection, coupled with a contemporaneous birth announcement.

At the same time, it appears clear that the state of Hawaii has a “long form birth certificate” that could be inspected by the media if Obama requested it. Not only has he failed to request it, but he has also spent a good deal of money fighting court battles instead of releasing it. This is what makes people suspicious.

Why is he fighting it? It seems to me that there are three possible reasons: 1) He really was born outside the U.S.; 2) there is something else about the long-form certificate that is potentially embarrassing; or 3) he finds it politically useful to keep the issue alive to argue that there is a fringe element that opposes him.

I find option #1 vanishingly improbable, based on the evidence cited above.

Whether the real answer is #2 or #3 — or something else entirely — I have no idea. I think it would be fair to point out the possibility that he is hiding something embarrassing — without endorsing, even implicitly, the ridiculous suggestion that he was born outside this country.

But that’s not what Sarah Palin did. She pandered to the crazy conspiracy theorists in the Birther movement.

If Sarah Palin didn’t mean to pander to the Truthers, then she misspoke. Because, despite the incredibly charitable reading many of you gave to her words, she called Trutherism questions “fair game” and an issue that was being “rightfully” raised. There is a difference between saying that someone has the right to raise an issue, and saying that the issue is “rightfully” raised. As Allah says:

The key point isn’t whether voters have the right to ask questions but whether a question is fair after a certain amount of evidence has been provided. That’s where Palin got in trouble last night, I think. Of course Truthers have the right to be skeptical about 9/11, but does anyone think it’s fair that they still are? Where you come down on the Birtherism debate depends on whether you think that level of evidence has been reached yet, and Palin’s initial comments to Humphreys — it’s a “fair question,” it’s “fair game,” potentially something worth raising in a debate — made it sound like she didn’t. Calling it a “stupid conspiracy” later on Facebook clarified that she did.

If I said that the question of whether Bush orchestrated 9/11 is “fair game” and is “rightfully” raised, any rational person would say I’m a moron.

Yes, 9/11 Truthers have the right to make stupid arguments about how fire does not melt steel. But they are idiots. The issue is not “fair game” but rather bullshit. It is not “rightfully” raised because it’s bullshit. And when you go around saying that a bullshit issue is “fair game” that is “rightfully” raised, without saying you think it’s bullshit, then you’re pandering. Pure and simple.

Like Allah, I’m glad Palin clarified her comments, and suggested (through the title of her Facebook entry) that Birtherism is a “stupid conspiracy.” But I also would have respected her more if she had said so more clearly in the radio show.

UPDATE: Naturally, Andrew Sullivan is using her statements to justify his investigations of her birth canal.

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