Monday, April 30, 2007


I haven’t been playing with Ubuntu much, lately. But they’ve just released version version 7.04—Feisty Fawn—and I’d like to give it a try. It sounds like there are some good improvements, especially in the area of wireless networking.

I’m hoping that there will be some improvements for multiple monitor support, too—so that Ubuntu will be able to figure out if there is one or not, when I boot up the laptop—but I haven’t seen it explicitly mentioned.

I could just upgrade, but I think I’ll probably wipe out my existing installation, and go from scratch. Then I’ll have the ability to update the wiki with details relevant to Feisty.

Um… and that’s all I had to say. I’d thought this would be a longer post, but I guess not.

Do you miss me, when I don’t post?

If there are any regular readers of this blog, I hope you have a decent RSS reader, and that you’re not just coming back here over and over again, day after day, week after week, never knowing if you’re going to find a post or not. With an RSS reader, you could be notified instantly, as soon as any of my brilliance gets posted.

If you’re not a regular reader, and just came here because you told Blogger to send you to a random blog, and this is the one it chose, then you can ignore the previous paragraph. I’m an avid blogger, and you should come back all the time, to bask in the wit and wisdom that I’m constantly sharing with the world. But don’t feel the need to comment, as my huge ego can’t take the competition—I want all of the attention! No attention for my readers!

Anyway, I’m writing to say sorry for not posting that much recently. I’ve been doing pretty well with the serna Bible Blog, posting almost every weekday, but the “main” blog has gone practically dormant. There are those who might be thinking “I told you so”—smarmy jerks—but I stubbornly refuse to give up on this blog, so I’m going to keep posting here. Sometimes.

I think my main problem is that work has been crappy lately. We, as bloggers, tend to write about what annoys us, meaning that the thing I’d most be tempted to blog about is work, but I don’t post about work, so the thing that’s on my mind is off limits for the blog.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wrapping Up “Roll up the Rim” for 2007

If I had a hit counter on my blog, I’m sure that it would be spiking lately, as thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of people flock here. And if I had one of those hit counters that showed me the search results that brought people here, I’m sure they’d all be coming from people going to Google and searching for “how did serna do on his roll up the rim winnings?”

Well today you get your answer. First of all, so that you’re not in suspense, I’ll get this out of the way: I didn’t win a car. Out of 56 coffees that I bought, I won 4 free coffees, and 3 free doughnuts. That’s a 12.5% win-rate. (I don’t bother calculating based on the values of the items, just the raw number of winning cups.)

If you’re interested in the whole spreadsheet—and, judging by past comments, you’re all just dying to see it—here it is.

Not that it makes much difference, but I kept track in Calc, instead of Excel, so if it looks a bit strange, that’s probably why.

Hmm. After all the fun I had tracking all of my coffees, this post seems a bit anticlimactic. Oh well. People don’t come to this blog for excitement—they come here for the pie charts.

Friday, April 20, 2007

serna Health Update

It’s been a long time since I posted a “serna Health Update” so I guess it’s time for another one.

I’m sick. I’ve been sick for a long time now; probably close to a month. It started out as a normal cold, but then it just hung in there, and refused to fully go away. If you have me on your MSN Messenger list, and have been noticing that my message hasn’t changed much in a week or two, it’s not that I forgot to change it—it’s that my nose really was running all that time.

Well, this week the cold germs decided to regroup, and give it another shot. I guess the head of the germs—who, I assume, is named George W. Virus, or Cold W. Germ, or something—decided for a “germ surge”. It didn’t work—hopefully he wasn’t surprised by that, nobody could have thought that a few extra germs would actually kill me—but it was a minor inconvenience for a couple of days. A couple of days that I spent on my couch, drinking tea and chicken broth, watching bad TV, and occasionally sleeping. And drinking SoBe Green Tea, which supposedly has echinacea in it. (I just realized, when looking up their web site, that they spell it “SoBe” instead of “Sobe” which is how I’ve always spelled it. Whoops.) Oh, and also sweating a lot; for some reason, this particular cold was really making me sweat.

That’s the bad news. The terrible news is that I’m back at work now. I actually preferred being sick to the foolishness I’m dealing with at work, these days.

But, since I don’t post about work on this blog, I guess this is where I’ll stop typing, and click Submit.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Kitchen Faucet

I finally fixed the kitchen faucet, last night. I say “finally” because it’s been leaking since we moved in, a couple of years ago. (At first, we noticed that when we turned it off, we had to position the handle right in the centre, or else it would drip. Later, we realized that the faucet was also leaking water, from the base, when we used it.)

I took the handle off, Sunday night, to see if it was something simple. Maybe it just needed a new rubber washer, or something. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a problem. Even more unfortunately, when I put the handle back on, I couldn’t get it on properly, and couldn’t turn the water off at all. So I had to use some pliers to manually force the faucet off, so that I could turn the water back on, and the decision was made for me: I’d have to replace it altogether.

Now, if you know me, you know that I’m not mechanically inclined. If I try to replace a faucet, we could just as easily end up with a lake in our kitchen as a new faucet. So I wasn’t looking forward to this event. And, of course, as with all of my home repairs, this one didn’t go smoothly: I had the water off, and had removed the old faucet, when I realized that I needed some extra “flexible pipes” to hook up the new one, and had to rush to Home Depot to find them. And I do mean “rush”, because it was about 8:30 at the time, and I was afraid the store would close before I could get there. (I would have had to reconnect the old faucet, so that I could turn the water back on, and then wait until Tuesday to get back to the store.)

And, since nothing is ever easy, I got the store and discovered that there are various kinds of flexible pipe, and there was nothing to indicate to me what type I might need. (Also, to add to the confusion, the type of piping that I needed was in a different aisle than the faucets. So there was an aisle with faucets and piping for dishwashers—which didn’t look right—and then, in the next aisle, there was the type of piping that I needed.) So I bought two different kinds, hoping that one of them would be right, said a little prayer, and returned home.

Now here is where the story takes a bizarre twist: From this point on, everything went smoothly. We now have a new kitchen faucet—with a little spray attachment and a soap dispenser—and it doesn’t leak. I spent the rest of the night (what little there was left) occasionally peering under the sink, to look for water coming out of the various pipes I’d connected together, but to all appearances, they’re connected properly.

At one point, I thought of using the camera phone to capture various stages of the repair (e.g. a shot of the old faucet, in many wet, rusty pieces, sitting in the sink). However, the thought hit me as I was driving to Home Depot, and, at the time, I was still worried that things weren’t going to go smoothly—I didn’t feel that dealing with the camera phone, at various stages, would be a good idea.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No Heaven

A few weeks ago, I had a few minutes to kill—I think we were getting ready to leave, and I was just waiting for Andrea—so I turned on the TV to MuchMusic. When you only have a minute or two, there’s no point in watching anything other than music videos, right?

Anyway, I turned it on, and happened to see the video for No Heaven, by Maxime Morin, aka Champion. I’d heard this song on the radio, a few times, and I like it. There’s something about its simplicity, and yet, because it’s being played, instead of looped, the guitar part sounds different all the way through, not repetitive. So I was interested in the video, and, frankly, it mesmerised me.

If you haven’t seen it, you can view it on YouTube. I get the feeling, when watching it, that there’s a point to it, that I just don’t get. Something just out of my mental reach. It has a bunch of loops of people dancing, yes, but it seems that there’s more of a method to the madness than just looped people dancing. (And the counter that keeps getting superimposed probably has a meaning, too…)

All in all, I think this is a video that fits the song perfectly. I’ve only seen it twice, though—once on MuchMusic, and once on YouTube, when I was looking it up for this post—so maybe if I watch it a few more times, I’ll suddenly have a eureka moment, and figure out what it’s all about.


For anyone who has children who watch Dora the Explorer, this SNL spoof will probably crack you up. (I’ve never even seen the show Dora, and it cracked me up…)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jim Jones

We watched a documentary on the Jonestown tragedy, last night. I didn’t know much about it, ahead of time, so there were some surprising things I learned. For one thing, the sheer number of people involved! Over 900 people died; I’d had no idea it was so many.

One of the things I learned, which I hadn’t known, was that Jim Jones’ early church was exceptionally accepting of African American members—at the time, churches were still very segregated. When we first put on the documentary, I was expecting—naively, I know—that the whole thing would be about how crazy the man was, but that he would probably be described as very charismatic. I wasn’t expecting the first thing I learned about him to be that he was so much in favour of equal rights.

His church—originally named the Wings of Deliverance, and then renamed the People’s Temple—was also very concerned with social justice. Which is very unfortunate; it seems that churches, in North America, are polarised on the issue of social justice; they either strongly support social justice, at the expense of the Gospel, or they completely ignore social justice issues, claiming that they are focusing on the Gospel. It’s incredibly disheartening that churches can’t accept the Word of God as truth, and be led by the Word to crusade for social justice. It happens elsewhere in the world, just not in North America, where Christians have grown incredibly lazy, by their wealth.

Jones’ church was one of the worst examples of this. In it’s early days, it was nominally Christian, and was affiliated with a Protestant denomination. However, as the church grew, he seemed to abandon Christianity more and more, until, by the end, they never really claimed to be Christians at all, even though they were still concerned with social justice. (During the documentary last night, a former member was interviewed who stated that she had never believed in Heaven, even though she was part of the church.) So concerned for social justice, in fact, that, according to the Wikipedia article on the church:

Jones and his church earned a reputation for aiding the cities’ poorest citizens, especially racial minorities, drug addicts, and the homeless. Soup kitchens, daycare centers, and medical clinics for elderly people were set up, along with counseling programs for prostitutes and drug addicts who wanted to change their lives. The Peoples Temple made strong connections to the California state welfare system. During the 1970s, the Peoples Temple owned and ran at least nine residential care homes for the elderly, six homes for foster children, and a state-licensed 40-acre ranch for developmentally disabled persons. They had a college tuition and dormitory program at Santa Rosa Junior College. The Temple elites handled members’ insurance claims and legal problems, effectively acting as a client-advocacy group. For these reasons, sociologist John Hall described Peoples Temple as a “charismatic bureaucracy”, oriented toward Jones as a charismatic leader, but functioning as a bureaucratic social service organization.

Why can’t the real church function like that?!? Why can’t Christians, who claim to have the love of God working in their lives, show that love and compassion for their fellow neighbours? Why is it only crazy cult leaders like Jim Jones who are willing to care for the less fortunate? Christians are very quick to condemn Jones for his craziness—and well we should, because he led a lot of people astray, to their physical and spiritual deaths—but if we’re honest, we have to admit that he shamed us, when it came to social justice. (And isn’t that a stinging indictment?) We merely listen to the Word, we don’t do what it says (James 1:22–24).

For people like Jones, the problem with Christianity, of course, is that it teaches that God is God, and nobody else is—that’s a bit too limiting, because he needed to be the supreme leader. He published a pamphlet, titled The Letter Killeth, in which he pointed out what he felt were “contradictions, absurtities, and atrocities in the Bible”, although it also claimed that the Bible also “contained great truths” (quoted from the Wikipedia article). He also claimed to be an incarnation of Jesus, Akhenaten, Buddha, Lenin, and Father Divine.

Eventually, there was so much scrutiny of the church by outsiders that Jones decided to move the whole thing to Guyana. Of course, the contradiction, which is probably obvious to most people, is that the church claimed to be interested in social justice, in making the world a better place, and yet decided to move to Guyana, to live in isolation. How are you to make the world a better place, when you’ve isolated yourself from it?

The big tragedy—and I’m not saying anything new, here, I don’t have any great insight—is that the members of Jones’ church were spiritually seeking, like everyone else is, and found his church, instead of Truth. At the end, when they all drank the poison, they did it because they’d put all of their hope in Jones, and he let them down—as any human would. By the end, when they realized that Jones wasn’t going to give them paradise on Earth, they felt they had nothing left to live for, so they simply drank the poison and died.

If they had only found Christ, instead! If they had only found the Truth, instead of Jones! They should never have lost their zeal for social justice, but they should have worshipped the true God, who would not have let them down, instead of a false one. It was heartbreaking to hear the tapes of the church’s final moments, when Jones was instructing people to drink the poison—because the man taped everything, including the final moments—and the whole time, the phrase which kept running through my mind was “if only… if only…”

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Fear not! This post is not about Tim Horton’s, or the Roll up the Rim contest.

In the last six days, I’ve spilled three coffees on myself. And the kicker is, none of them were winning cups.

It started on Friday. I was drinking a coffee, trying to hold two things and open a door at the same time, when I somehow managed to spill it all up and down my arm. Unfortunately, I was wearing a white shirt at the time. “Oh no!” thought I. “Coffee stains badly! I’ll never get this out!” Luckily, my shirt is apparently made out of Saran Wrap: with one wipe of a paper towel, the coffee came off, and the brown mark that was left could barely be seen with the naked eye. If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t have found it. So, sure, the shirt feels like cotton, but it must be made out of plastic—what other explanation could there be?

The second time was on Monday, and it took place during a meeting, when there happened to be quite a number of people looking at me. It was a very small spill, but the embarrassment factor was higher, because there were so many witnesses. (Actually, the spill almost became very bad; when someone noticed I had spilled, he was about to helpfully throw me a roll of paper towels. Luckily, a colleague stopped him, or else it probably would have hit the coffee cup, and spilled the rest of it on my pants. After all, I’m proving myself to be pretty clumsy—would I really have been able to catch the paper towels?)

And the third time was today (Thursday). I was on the escalator, with a fresh cup of Tim’s in my hand, when a colleague behind me said hello. Somehow—and I can’t even explain how I managed to do this!—as I was turning around to return the greeting, the cup fell out of my hand. I watched, seemingly in slow motion, as the cup turned over a couple of times before hitting the escalator step, spilling out its precious cargo on my shoe. I bent down to get it, but apparently I did that in slow motion, too, because by the time I got the cup, it was mostly empty.

Luckily, as it turns out, my shoe is also made of Saran Wrap, because I don’t see any kind of coffee stain on it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hell (Joke Post)

I’m locked in a room with no windows, these days, hashing out the high-level design for an application that we’re building. So I won’t really have the ability to post here.

To make up for it, I’ll put up a joke post. Enjoy!

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question:

“Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with a proof.”

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

“First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So, we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

“As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

“Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities.

“#1 If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

“#2 Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

“So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Therese Banyan during my Freshman year, that ‘it will be a cold night in Hell before I sleep with you’, and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in sleeping with her, then #2 cannot be true. Therefore Hell is exothermic.”

This student got the only A.

The “this student got the only A” part makes this sound like a true story, but it’s not, according to Snopes.

Incidentally, this is my 666th post, and it’s talking about Hell. Pretty spooky, eh? (Actually, it was about to be my 665th post, but then I put up a placeholder. So I guess it’s not that spooky…)


Don’t bother to read this post. It’s simply a placeholder.

You just don’t listen, do you?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blogs (again)

Remember a few weeks ago, when I wrote that I’d been clicking the Next Blog» link up above, and reading random Blogger blogs? (If not, click the link in the previous sentence, and refresh your memory.) Well, I tried it again. And this time, I didn’t find a single one that I was interested in reading.

In case you’re interested in why I wasn’t interested in any of the ones I found, here’s a breakdown:

Some of those categories might not be self-explanatory, so here’s what they mean:

  • Music: Any blog I visited that had music playing I simply disregarded immediately. The last thing I want when I’m reading a blog is to have crappy MIDI music playing!
  • Crazy: These were blogs by people with, ahem, non-traditional subject matter.
  • Too Specific: I didn’t bother reading a blog if it was a “so and so fan blog”, especially if I’d never heard of “so and so”.
  • Family: Some person keeping a blog of their childrens’ lives, or that sort of thing.
  • Spam: There are various blogs that are set up with no real content, just as a placeholder for Google Ads, so somebody can make a couple of bucks.
  • ALMOLST: These ones were almost interesting enough to keep reading, but not quite
  • Non-English: Self explanatory
  • Webcams / Sex: Also self-explanatory, but I was surprised at how many I found, out of the blogs I looked at
  • Boring: Catch-all category. If I find it boring, I’m not going to read it.
Keep in mind that this isn’t meant to be judgemental. (Well, I guess it was judgemental for some of the ones I listed as “boring”.) Just because I don’t happen to be interested in a particular blog, doesn’t mean it has no use. (A perfect example is the family blogs; they have a use, and they’re not intended to be read by me.)

But I will say this: If you have a blog, and you have music playing, for the love of all of your current and potential readers, please take it off. It’s annoying.

I have a need to communicate… something.

Do you ever get an urge to log into your blog and write about something, even though you have absolutely nothing to write about?

Well, okay, sure, many of the readers in my huge audience base probably don’t have blogs, so the question wouldn’t apply to them. And others used to have blogs, but then got bored of them and stopped posting, so I guess their answer to the question would be “no”.

And, of course, there are other readers—you know who you are—who think anyone who has a blog is a loser in the first place; so their answer would also be a resounding “No, serna, I never have the urge to log onto my computer and type out a post for all of my loser blog friends. That never happens.”

But for all of you, whether you have blogs or not, whether you understand blogs or not, whether you think I’m a loser for having a blog or not, can probably agree on one thing: Reading this post was a waste of your time.

Minor Change

I decided to change my Archives section, over on the right, to use the new Blogger style, instead of the old drop-down that used to be there. (It was only a minor configuration change in Blogger, so I figured what the heck?)

Not that it probably matters to anyone, but feel free to comment as to whether you prefer the old way of doing things, or the new way.

Book Review: Censored 2007

Full Title: Censored 2007, The Top 25 Censored Stories
Author: Peter Phillips and Project Censored

First off, don’t be confused by the title; this book isn’t the top 25 censored stories of 2007, which has hardly begun; it’s the top 25 censored stories of the past year or so. It’s a compendium of censored news stories, which they put out every year—this is simply the 2007 edition.

The concept of the book is flawless: the media is biased—whether because of some grand conspiracy, or because of media consolidation, or because that’s just the way it is—and this book looks at media bias, from the point of view of important stories that were not covered, or were under-covered, by the mainstream media. Project Censored monitors the media, and reports on stories that the mainstream media refuses to. (Or gives such short shrift to that the general public is never aware of the story’s significance.) The project is managed through Sonoma State University’s Department of Sociology.

Unfortunately, the execution of the book is poor. They obviously didn’t have a strong editorial staff, and a lot of sloppy writing, poor grammar, and punctuation mistakes made it through. The most common problem I found was that the author would begin a quotation, with open quotation marks (“), but never close it. For example, consider the following paragraph, in the Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran story:

Collins supports the legislation, stating, “It prevents U.S. corporations from creating a shell company somewhere else in order to do business with rogue, terror-sponsoring nations such as Syria and Iran. The bottom line is that if a U.S. company is evading sanctions to do business with one of these countries, they are helping to prop up countries that support terrorism—most often aimed against America.

This paragraph was at the end of a section, so there was no following paragraph. There are two sentences, after the open quote, so my question is: Did Collins utter both sentences, or just the first, and the second is the author’s comment, expanding on Collins’ sentence? There’s no way to know. This is the first example I found, as I went looking for them for this post, but this was a common mistake that I found throughout the book.

I also found an air of “breathless journalism” throughout many parts of the book. (Not the entire book, mind you; it seems to depend on who the main editors were for any given chapter.)

Another problem I had with the book is that it sometimes showed poor judgement. For example, the first chapter in the book, The Top Censored Stories of 2005 and 2006, was mostly good. There were some stories I knew about, but agreed had been under-covered, and there were some that were new to me. But there was also one called Physicist Concludes Official September 11 Explanation is Implausible, in which they expand on the theory that, yep, you guessed it, the buildings didn’t crash on September 11th because they were hit by planes, they came down because of demolition. In other words, the U.S. purposely brought down their own buildings, and just blamed it on the terrorists.

This is a theory being put forward by the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement. Fortunately, this theory has been thoroughly debunked—the “science” involved by the people trying to prove the buildings were demolished is not solid. But the theory causes a lot of problems for the general public anyway; click here for an article describing why this crackpot theory is more than just a nuisance (my words, not the article’s author). The fact that this story was included in the book brings the book’s credibility level down a notch; while much of the book is centred on credible news, it also has this section which gives credence to a crackpot theory, which leads me to question any other stories I wasn’t familiar with.

On a positive note, however, I loved the chapter called Junk Food News and News Abuse. I’ll let the book speak for itself on this one:

One early criticism of Project Censored was from editors and publishers claiming that what the project refers to as censorship is simply a disagreement with the decisions they make regarding what is or is not newsworthy. During the first published volume of Censored research in 1993, founder Carl Jensen addressed this complaint and discussed the reasoning behind his creation of the Junk Food News chapter:

“Many news professionals have said that the issue isn’t so much censorship (or self-censorship) per se, as it is a difference of opinion about precisely what information is important to publish or broadcast. They also point out that there is a finite amount of time and space for news delivery—about twenty-three minutes for a half hour network television evening news program—and that it’s their responsibility to determine which stories are most critical for the public to know.

This struck me as a legitimate argument, so I decided to review the stories that editors and news directors consider to be most worthy of filling their valuable time and space. However, in the course of this research project, I did not find an abundance of hard hitting investigative journalism. Quite the contrary. Indeed, what did become evident was a journalistic phenomenon I call Junk Food News (JFN), which, in essence, represents the flip side of the “Best Censored Stories.” The typical JFN diet consists of sensationalized, personalized and homogenized trivia…. The problem is not the lack of time and space for news, but the quality of the news selected to fill that time and space. We’re suffering from news inflation—there seems to be more of it than ever before, but it isn’t worth as much as it used to be.

News should be nutritious for society. We need more steak and less sizzle from the press. The news should warn us about things that make our society ill, whether economically, politically, or physically. And there is such news out there, as Project Censored has revealed time and again.”

Carl Jenson, Censored 1993

In essence, this chapter of the book covers some of the biggest “Junk Food News” stories of 2005 and 2006, while contrasting them with the stories that the mainstream media didn’t cover. To give the first example in the chapter, on March 20th, 2006, there were a few interesting stories that the mainstream media could have covered, such as:
  • An Iraqi police report charging U.S. troops with the deaths of local, non-combatant civilians.
  • A study by glaciologists warning that the world’s mountain glaciers are melting at a faster rate than at any time in the last 150 years
  • The Archbisohp of Canterbury announced that he did not believe Creationism should be taught in schools, and called on U.S. fundamentalists to discontinue their campaign to force the issue in public classrooms. This one was big news in Europe, even though it wasn’t covered in American news.
Why weren’t these stories covered? Because the mainstream media was too busy covering the fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might have gotten married. Might have gotten married. Oy.

This was one example. Here is the list of JFN stories that made it into this issue of Censored:
  1. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get together
  2. Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson break up
  3. American Idol hits an all time high
  4. The Runaway Bride that didn’t
  5. Martha Stewart is back in town
  6. Brokeback Mountain breaks through
  7. Britney Spears (it just wouldn’t be a list without her)
  8. Myspace infiltrates our space
  9. Steroids in Baseball get pumped up
  10. The DaVinci Code ad nauseum
In addition to the “Junk Food”, they also have a section of the chapter dedicated to “News Abuse”. These are stories which, in the Censored editors’ opinions, really were newsworthy, but that got so much air time that their importance was skewed. In addition, because these stories get so much air time, other newsworthy stories go untold. Here is the list they presented in this edition:
  1. Natalie Holloway
  2. Bird Flu
  3. Finger in Wendy’s Chili Bowl
  4. Dick Cheney Shoots Friend
  5. Katrina Criminals in Superdome
The “Bird Flu” one especially interested me, so I’ll quote it here:

Like the terror alert updates in 2002, forewarnings of avian flu pervaded the twenty-four hour news channels throughout 2005. The specter of a world wide influenza pandemic is nothing to be taken lightly and news editors were warranted in their decision to cover such a possibility. But most U.S. coverage of the avian flu focused on the potential for genetic mutations that would make it more deadly, and comparisons to the 1918 influenza pandemic that took some 500,000 lives (despite the fact that Avian Flu has, as of 2006, caused less than 125 deaths worldwide).

In 2005, the fact that a U.S. company had developed a vaccine for the avian flu, and its stock price was increasing, received some scant coverage in the press. Yet, though the information was readily available, no one in the mainstream mentioned that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was chairman of the board of Tamiflu’s parent company (Gilead Sciences) until he became Defense Secretary in 2001—and that he is still a major stockholder. Since Rumsfeld became Defense Secretary, Gilead’s stock price has gone from around $7 per share to slightly above $50 a share in 2006. In October 2005, as Tamiflu was becoming the hottest drug in the world market, the Pentagon announced it had stockpiled quantities of Tamiflu for members of the military.

Hmm. So the Avian Flu scare, while somewhat valid, was also very much overhyped? And the person initiating the over-hyping, the Defense Secretary, was also getting rich from it, but the mainstream media never bothered to mention it? You can see why a book like Censored 2007 is so important.

All in all, although it pains me to say it, I don’t really recommend the book, unless you have time on your hands, and are able to research some of the stories yourself. Aside from the grammatical mistakes, which our minds are capable of working around, the main thing that worries me is the story claiming that the World Trade Center was brought down by the U.S. and not by the planes. If they let a story like that get through, what other stories are lacking in credibility? So if you see any stories in the book which you didn’t know about ahead of time, you then have to do some research on your own, to find out if they’re real stories. Maybe that’s what the authors wanted, but in effect, all it does is place this book in the “conspiracy theory” camp. Which is a shame, because there are other stories in here which I know are true, and the main thrust of the book is right on: They’re stories that should have been told, and the mainstream media let the public down by not reporting them.