No More Land Wars in Asia?

“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.” — Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a speech to West Point cadets Friday (via The Atlantic Wire)


Seattle eatery is a no-fly zone for TSA agents



‘KC McLawson works for a cafe near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and since the body-scan and patdown controversy last November, she says her boss has taken extraordinary measures to ensure the TSA knows of his displeasure.

“We have posted signs on our doors basically saying that they aren’t allowed to come into our business,” she says. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.”

…McLawson (an apparent pseudonym) explains:

My boss flies quite a bit and he has an amazing ability to remember faces. If he sees a TSA agent come in we turn our backs and completely ignore them, and tell them to leave.

Their kind aren’t welcomed in our establishment.

A large majority of our customers — over 90 percent — agree with our stance and stand by our decision.

We even have the police on our side and they have helped us escort TSA agents out of our cafe. Until TSA agents start treating us with the respect and dignity that we deserve, then things will change for them in the private sector.’ (via

First robot marathon

“Five knee-high androids have crossed the starting line in the world’s first marathon for two-legged robots.The contest is being held in the Japanese city of Osaka.The contestants are expected to take four days to complete the course, which involves 423 laps of an indoor track.Operators are allowed to change the robots’ batteries and motors but if the machines fall over they must get up by themselves.” (via BBC News) 


Obama: US Will No Longer Defend the Defense of Marriage Act

Same-sex marriage in the US (for demonstration)
Same-Sex Marriage in the US

‘President Obama, in a striking legal and political shift, has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — is unconstitutional, and has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court, the administration said Wednesday.

Advocates of same-sex marriage hailed the president’s decision; critics called it a politicization of the Justice Department.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision in a letter to members of Congress. In it, he said the administration was taking the extraordinary step of refusing to defend the law, despite having done so during Mr. Obama’s first two years in the White House.’ (via NYTimes)

Glenn Beck agrees he is ignorant


Apologizes for Reform Judaism remarks.‘On the radio this morning, Glenn Beck lead his show with an apology for comments he made Tuesday about rabbis of Reform Judaism. “It’s almost like Islam … radicalized Islam in a way,” said Beck. “Radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the Reform Judaism, it is more about politics.”

Beck called it one of the “worst analogies of all time.”

“I was wrong on this … and I apologize for it,” said Beck. “In this case I did not do enough homework.”

“Somebody has called me ignorant for what I said on Tuesday, and I think that’s a pretty good description of what I said.”‘ (via TVNewser).

How to leave your body

“Leave your body and shake hands with yourself, gain an extra limb or change into a robot for a while. Swedish neuroscientist Henrik Ehrsson has demonstrated that the brain’s image of the body is negotiable.” (via Phys.Org).

Can we build it? Yes we can!

Moody sun burst hovering over a trough at Kram...
Image via Wikipedia
“...a pair of papers in the journal Energy Policy by Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson and UC Davis’ Mark A. Delucchi, … “Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power:” Part 1 deals with the physical issues and Part 2 the economics. The conclusion of their exhaustive research is that is it entirely possible to run the entire world on wind, water (hydro-electricity) and solar power (both PV and concentrated thermal) by 2050. And they aren’t restricting themselves to the electrical grid. This includes replacing all fossil fuels with batteries and fuel cells… [Emphasis added — FmH]


How will we build it? Well, the numbers at first look daunting…. But given how rapidly a modern industrial nation can build things like tanks and airplanes — as the American experience during the Second World War proves — the author’s argument that we DO have the technology is pretty convincing.” (via Class M}.


A tour of the multiverses

NEW YORK - JUNE 10:  Physicist Brian Greene at...
“Arcane yet exciting physics, wrapped up in effortless prose. Yes, Brian Greene has done it again. His new book, The Hidden Reality, does for multiverses what his bestseller The Elegant Universe did for string theory: it provides the general reader with a thorough, engaging survey of the subject that manages to make highly abstract ideas sound implausibly comprehensible.” (via New Scientist CultureLab).

More on the Gelwan graffiti

Title page of a manuscript of the Prose Edda, ...
Image via Wikipedia

This is fascinating to me. I asked a Swedish friend of mine if he knew anyone fluent in Danish who could give me an accurate English rendering of the passage. He said that a Swedish-speaker can read Danish. (His translation of the passage is below.) He commented further:

“If you consider the variations existing within the “English” language such as Cockney, deep southern black drawl, Jamaican, Liverpool accents, Australian dialects some of those variations are probably of the same order of magnitude as exists between Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. When it comes to a dialogue with a Norwegian both of us can converse in our own languages and be understood 95% of the time. If you know to avoid certain words that have similar sounds but different meanings in the two languages you will do even better. My best friend in Sweden and my brother (were) …both married to Norwegian women with whom I could easily carry on a conversation. When it comes to Danish the written language is fairly easy for me to understand. The spoken language to the ears of the Swede sounds very guttural. (A Swedish joke is that if you want to speak Danish try to speak Swedish with a hot potato in your mouth.) For that reason I have a harder time understanding spoken Danish. The Norwegian actually does better with that than the Swede. So, yes they are distinct languages but they share a common origin in Old Norse (the language of the  Vikings) and have not traveled very far from one another. Icelandic (which I cannot understand either in the spoken or written version) is even closer to Old Norse and I have been told that they can still read the medieval sagas that were written pretty much in the language of the Vikings.”

Here is his translation of the Ekstra Bladet article:

“Gelwan E : Can You Solve The Code?
During the weekend unknown perpetrators have painted graffiti  on what is known as Denmark’s baptismal certificate, the Jelling stone. The word was: Gelwan E.
25 cm high letters with the word ‘Gelwan  E’  were written on the largest of the old stones that were erected about 965 by Harold Bluetooth. In addition a smaller stone, Gorm’s [father of King Harald Bluetooth] stone, an iron cross that stands next to these monuments and the church door to the Jelling church have been sprayed.
Lack of Respect
“It is clear that when we speak of our common historical monuments  we take extra efforts to find our way to the perpetrators. It is a decidedly idiotic act and I don’t believe at all that it is the type of act that will gain respect in the graffiti world. On the contrary it is lacking in respect” says police Detective Hans Hoffensetz who is the section leader in the investigation unit at Vejle Police which Jelling belongs to.
What? Who?
But what does “Gelwan E” mean or is it perhaps “Gelwane”?  IF you search on the internet you immediately get a number of very peripheral answers – there is several people named Gelwane on Facebook but it does not seem as if any of those could have anything to do with these actions?

Who or what is Gelwane? Do you know anything? Do you have a clue? Drop us a line!”

(Thank you, Sten)

Ekstra Bladet – ‘Gelwan E’: Kan du løse koden?

[Image 'er er Jellingestenen i computeranimeret original - FØR grafitti-hærværket. ' cannot be displayed]Do I have any readers who are fluent in Danish? This came to my attention today. The (very imperfect) Google translation seems to say something about the words ‘Gelwan E’ defacing a historic monument:

“‘Gelwan E’: can you resolve code? At the weekend, unknown perpetrators painted grafitti on the so-called Denmark’s appear, Jellingestenen. The word was: Gelwan E11:49, 14. feb 2011 | anders Kjærulffadvertisementhere is Jellingestenen in computeranimeret original – before grafitti-consider. Here is Jellingestenen in computeranimeret original – before grafitti-consider. *LAST of the nation*Valentines-day? Is there a new kind beer?15:27*’Gelwan E’: can you resolve code?11:49*the red must live with lokum in gården11:02*Birthe Rønn suffers from an even had the effrontery syge15:19*roll – the shot on the Taliban 4:51 PM*Hesteslagteren ask for more penge16:23*klamt: great hair-tot in arla-kartonen15:20*Muslim: sin of you who do not understand moskeer14:09*Father Rescued unemployed søn13:33*Pyha – must still keep her tasker16:17*Birthe Rønn went cold on direct TV13:32*NEW DR: Storbarmede vejrpiger11:19*Sexarbejder: I will also pay skat10:42*harsh criticism of Læsper Grønkjær10:19*has Wilbek Flattened delight in landsholdsfodbold? 10:04ADVERTISEMENT56KommentarerKommentérarticle here! Part of Messengerpart onMessenger! 25 CM HIGH letters by the word ‘GELWAN E’ was written in the largest of the old Stone around year 965 was raised by Harald Blåtand. The less stone, Gorms stone, a jernkors, which are at site, as well as kirkedøren to Jelling Church was there sprayet. Disrespectful- it is clear that in the case of our all historic monuments, then we will do us extra effort to find the perpetrators. This is an utter IDIOTIC action, and I think that even, that the sort will win respect in after-circles. On the contrary. It is all, says Commissioner his Hoffensetz, which is head of section of fraud in leads police force, which Jelling. What? Whom? But what does Gelwan E – or perhaps Gelwane? We are trying to the network will be applicable remote reply – there are several called Gelwane on Facebook, but they do not work as someone who could have something to consider that do? Who or what is Gelwan E? By du something? Have you a guess? Write including!”

I have an obvious curiosity about this and would appreciate anyone who could shed any light on this for me. Can you give me a more reasonable translation from the Danish? Thanks.

Longtime FmH readers may know, from past postings here,  of my intermittent interest in searching out other “Gelwans”, it being a very rare name. This incident and the post above raises an angle I had never considered; could “Gelwan” also have some relationship with “Gelwane“, a better-represented surname on the web?

Addendum: a slightly better translation from the Microsoft translation service:

” ‘ Gelwan ‘ E: Can you fix the code?

Over the weekend have unknown perpetrators painted graffiti on what are known as Denmark’s birthright, Jellingestenen. The word was: Gelwan E

Here is Jellingestenen in the computer-animated original-BEFORE graffiti-desecration.

25 cm high letters with the words: ‘ GELWAN E ‘ was written on the largest of the old stones, which around the year 965 was raised by Harald I of Denmark.
Also the smaller stones, Gorms stone, a jernkors, standing by the monuments, as well as the Church of Jelling Church, there were sprayet on.

-It is clear that in the case of our historical monuments belongs to, so we make us extra due diligence to identify perpetrators. It is a culture of idiotic action, and I think not even that the kind of want to win respect in graffiti-circles. On The Contrary. It is disruptive, says politikommissær His Hoffensetz, there is a section head in should be strengthened in Vejle police, who Jelling is subject.

What? Whom?
But what does the Gelwan E-or maybe Gelwane? To search on the net you get immediately very peripheral response-there are several named Gelwane on Facebook, but they don’t work as any that might have something to do with the desecration?

Who or what is Gelwan E? Do you know something? Do you have a guess? Type including!”

The Jelling Stones, commonly referred to as De...
The Jelling Stones

The internet’s dark heart

“The Offensive Internet, a collection of powerful academic essays, weighs the case that the internet offends as much as it empowers…



This is not a book for those already “living online”, many of whom may see feminism as a spent force and total exposure as harmless, even good. But it is for those who care how the internet has complicated privacy, speech and reputation, and for those who may have to rescue it from itself.”  (via New Scientist).

Happy Lunar New Year, 2011



The Lunar New Year, or more accurately the lunisolar new year, began February 4 and in most countries that celebrate it ushered in the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese zodiac. In China Lunar New Year is the most important date on the calendar and triggers over a month of holiday travel which is often described as the largest annual human migration in the world. Hundreds of millions tax the transport system. The new year also marks the beginning of the Spring Festival in China which continues until the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day. Lunar New Year is celebrated in many countries, with many different traditions as well. Gathered here are pictures of China’s travel wave and celebrations, as well as pictures from other countries’ Lunar New Year observations.” (via The Big Picture –