This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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March 2006
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Blast from the Exploding Whale Past

This is one of those video clips I’ve actually had a copy of saved on my hard drive for probably around a decade or so, so it is not new by any means. But it had been many years since I actually watched it. I stumbled across it again today. Gotta love the exploding whale.

Annotated transcript of the video
(theexplodingwhale.com)

The dynamite was buried primarily on the leeward side of the big mammal so as most of the remains would be blown toward the sea. About seventy-five bystanders, most of them residents who had first found the whale to be an object of curiosity before they tired of its smell, were moved back a quarter of a mile away. The sand dunes there were covered with spectators and landlubber newsmen, shortly to become land-blubber newsmen. For the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.

Our cameras stopped rolling immediately after the blast. The humor of the entire situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival as huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere. Pieces of meat passed high over our heads, while others were falling at our feet. The dunes were rapidly evacuated as spectators escaped both the falling debris and the overwhelming smell.

(via Hugh Hewitt)

Note: Check out the actual video and the whole exploding whale site too.

Six Degrees to Iraq Abuse

Well, actually, most of what is reported here was in 2004. Some of it was after the Abu Ghraib pictures were public, some of it was before. And it looks like there WERE active investigations of the abuse from above. So I’m not sure how much of this is really NEW, but one thing about half way through the article got my attention…

Before and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused Detainees
(Eric Schmitt and Carolyn Marshall, New York Times)

As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein’s former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government’s torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.

Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, “NO BLOOD, NO FOUL.” The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: “If you don’t make them bleed, they can’t prosecute for it.” According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. “The reality is, there were no rules there,” another Pentagon official said.

The new account reveals the extent to which the unit members mistreated prisoners months before and after the photographs of abuse from Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, and it helps belie the original Pentagon assertions that abuse was confined to a small number of rogue reservists at Abu Ghraib.

General Brown’s command declined requests for interviews with several former task force members and with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who leads the Joint Special Operations Command, the headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C., that supplies the unit’s most elite troops.

General McChrystal, the leader of the Joint Special Operations Command, received his third star in a promotion ceremony at Fort Bragg on March 13.

(via Daily Kos)

If I am not mistaken, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is one of the brothers of a certain other person with that same last name who ran a company I used to work for.

Luckily Should Not Affect Us

At the moment I’m in Bellevue, not Seattle, and this is mostly about elementary, not middle, and we’re hoping to get into and figure out the private school route, but this kind of thing is why we started looking that route in the first place…

Parents may get less of a choice
(Tan Vinh, Seattle Times)

Seattle’s difficult school-closure process is under way, but ahead may loom another far-reaching — and potentially contentious — change: reducing elementary-school choice.

District officials say the popular choice system — which, since 1989, allows families to apply for slots in schools beyond their immediate neighborhood — may need to be scaled back to cut transportation costs.

The issue could come up for discussion as early as this fall, and if the School Board approves, students would have fewer enrollment options as early as fall 2007.

“We are not eliminating school choice, but we want to reduce it,” said board President Brita Butler-Wall.

They Don’t Often Emerge

SXSW to MPAA: STFU
(Derek Powazek, Just a Thought)

What followed was an hour-long firing squad as one audience member after another directed angry questions her way. The feeling of pent-up frustrations with the movie biz was palpable, especially as her claims of flexibility and excitement within the MPAA to find “creative new solutions” to the problems raised by the audience rang more and more hollow, the more times she repeated them.

(via Boing Boing)

Out of Boat

Went to another building for a meeting a couple of hours ago. This is a shot from my Treo looking back toward my normal building from the 17th floor there. It goes up to 50 I hear, but we didn’t go that high.