Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I kind of agree.

Hayao Miyazaki is considered to be one of the greatest in his industry. This famed manga artist, film director, and animator has numerous classics under his belt, a list that includes Lupin III, Princess Mononoke, and the 1988 masterpiece, My Neighbor Totoro. If any of those things are a sign of his credibility, then you might want to listen to him when he says the iPad is "disgusting."

"For me, there is no feeling of admiration or no excitement whatsoever," Miyazaki said in an interview with Neppuu, a Studio Ghibli-published pamphlet. "It's disgusting. On trains, the number of those people doing that strange masturbation-like gesture is multiplying."

He compares this trend to how people had portable cassette players back in the day. He notes he got "fed up" when people in trains started reading manga, and later when they started using cellphones. He believes that the majority of these people use these products only as consumers, not as creators.

Miyazaki has revealed that he doesn't have his own computer, DVD player, and rarely watches any TV. He doesn't email enybody, he sends them letters the old-fashioned way. It's safe to say we can add the iPad to the list of things we'll never find in his house.

If there's anything you'd like to know about the iPad, like how to fondle it and how disgusting it could really be, check out our sister site, iPad.net.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This piece, excerpted from the Sunday Observer this week, was interesting. The British government is trying to take a pro-GMO approach. British media is delivering voluble objections.

Now that climate change appears to pose a greater risk, in the shape of absolute food shortages, reflexive opposition to GM crops could start to look, as Hilary Benn is hinting, like attitudinising. Already, he reduces the debate to a matter of safety: sorted. "The government's job is to ask if it is safe to eat and there is no evidence that it isn't," he told the Today programme.

"There is no evidence that it isn't"? As spectacular over-simplifications go, this is up there with the media's time-honoured reduction of the GM critique to Frankenprefixes and is, unfortunately, perfectly designed to rebut it. By focusing, to the exclusion of so much else, on the question of safety, the media have made it too easy for Mr Benn. He discovers no evidence of harm. But where would any intelligent person expect to find it?

While the investigation of safety, like every other aspect of GM, from research to patents to the sale of seeds to hard-up peasant farmers, is controlled by biotech multinationals, there will never be any trustworthy evidence one way or the other. The corporations are there to sell the world chemicals and seeds, not to look after it. Thus, the government's job is not, at the moment, to reconsider the safety of GM food. That can come later. Right now, it should explain how, in choosing to bring GM to Britain, it justifies placing this part of our national food policy under the control of a few fantastically aggressive and wholly unaccountable multinationals. Not that they can't be philanthropic. Monsanto recently gave a scholarly institution, the British Biochemical Society, a generous grant for educational materials, such as school websites.

...But the biggest question is for the government. Anyone can see why multinationals want control over our food production. But why on earth does Hilary Benn want to hand it over?
Genetically modified salmon may be approved in the US.
Wild insect species are also threatened by genetically modified organisms, some with mutation, and others, like the monarch butterfly, with extinction, as is detailed in the book that I've linked to.
Protesters destroy genetically modified grapevines at French government research site

By The Associated Press (CP) – 6 days ago

PARIS — Protesters have destroyed vines of genetically modified grapes at a government research site in eastern France.

The security chief for the Haut-Rhin region, Jean-Christophe Bertrand, told Europe-1 radio that 50 people were detained after the incident Sunday morning.

The government ministers for the environment, agriculture and research condemned the "intentional destruction" at the National Institute for Agronomic Research in Colmar.

In a statement, the ministers said the research on the biotech vines poses no risk to health or the environment, and was meant in part to study a virus that damages grapevines.

French environmental activists have routinely destroyed fields of genetically modified crops.

Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
Here's a recent comment that I made on biofortified, in a debate entitled "Ethics of Labeling on genetically modified foods. I've changed one minor typo in the text below, but otherwise this is the text in its entirety. Follow the link above to see the whole discussion, although the comment below is as yet awaiting moderation:

I also really appreciated the discussion on this thread, especially Duncan's interesting comments. I'm not sure if you're all Americans, but certainly the fight to label is far from over, with much of the current impetus coming from Europe. Essentially every single country with regulation in the entire world, with the exception of Mexico, Costa Rica, and America, voted against dispensing with labeling at the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Food Safety meeting, and many elements are preparing to try to introduce mandatory labeling the next time the meeting happens. Even Prince Charles waded into the fray, saying that there should be labeling within Great Britain. I think, given how this discussion has evolved, that a getting back to the basics post might also be warranted.

So here are my basics:
a) genetically modified foods have recently contaminated wild species. This has proven to be true with a study coming out to that effect in the last month that has been presented to the Ecological Society of America vis-a-vis canola in the United States: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/esoa-sft072110.php

b) some of the plants that are being modified are being engineered to produce pesticides that have a long term effect that may be deleterious to human health, as we cannot possibly study all of this over the long term. Other interventions include having plants that are more resistant to pesticide, causing farmers to spray at a level never before tolerated by the plants themselves, making pesticide levels the highest for these crops in human history.

c) control of the global food supply is in the hands of a scant few multinational corporations, which will not allow farmers to save their own seed, and continually come out with supervariations to sell more. Farmers are thus impoverished into a spiralling cycle of perpetual debt. The recent persecution of American farmers for saving seed is evidence of this.

d) Because plants are being genetically engineered to produce pesticides, or to take higher level of pesticides, many bugs are becoming so resistant to the chemicals that "superbugs" are at risk of being created, upon whom traditional sprays no longer work, creating a dependence on genetically modified crops because heirloom vegetables may not be able to physically survive the depredations of these new predators. As well, the new crops may require new and higher levels of pesticides that may prove carcinogenous, but there might someday be no choice but to do this for the entire population, as these types of bugs don't always respect borders.

Just some things to get started with. Ideas, anyone?
Thanks for a really thought provoking and informative dialogue.

Friday, August 20, 2010

This is from the Guardian.

Afghanistan war logs: Secret CIA paramilitaries' role in civilian deathsInnocent Afghan men, women and children have paid the price of the Americans' rules of engagement
(612)Tweet this (570)David Leigh guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 22.33 BST Article history
An Afghan girl lies on a hospital bed in Helmand after being injured in an airstrike by coalition forces in June 2007. Photograph: Abdul Qodus/Reuters

Shum Khan, a man both deaf and unable to speak, lived in the remote border hamlet of Malekshay, 7,000ft up in the mountains. When a heavily armed squad from the CIA barrelled into his village in March 2007, the war logs record that he "ran at the sight of the approaching coalition forces … out of fear and confusion".

The secret CIA paramilitaries, (the euphemism here is OGA, for "other government agency") shouted at him to stop. Khan could not hear them. He carried on running. So they shot him, saying they were entitled to do so under the carefully graded "escalation of force" provisions of the US rules of engagement.

Khan was wounded but survived. The Americans' error was explained to them by village elders, so they fetched out what they term "solatia", or compensation. The classified intelligence report ends briskly: "Solatia was made in the form of supplies and the Element mission progressed".

Behind the military jargon, the war logs are littered with accounts of civilian tragedies. The 144 entries in the logs recording some of these so-called "blue on white" events, cover a wide spectrum of day-by-day assaults on Afghans, with hundreds of casualties.

They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes, which eventually led President Hamid Karzai to protest publicly that the US was treating Afghan lives as "cheap". When civilian family members are actually killed in Afghanistan, their relatives do, in fairness, get greater solatia payments than cans of beans and Hershey bars. The logs refer to sums paid of 100,000 Afghani per corpse, equivalent to about £1,500.

US and allied commanders frequently deny allegations of mass civilian casualties, claiming they are Taliban propaganda or ploys to get compensation, which are contradicted by facts known to the military.

But the logs demonstrate how much of the contemporaneous US internal reporting of air strikes is simply false.

Last September there was a major scandal at Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan when a German commander ordered the bombing of a crowd looting two hijacked fuel tankers. The contemporaneous archive circulated to Nato allies records him authorising the airstrike by a US F-15 jet "after ensuring that no civilians were in the vicinity". The "battle damage assessment" confirmed, it claims, that 56 purely "enemy insurgents" had died.

Media reports followed by official inquiries, however, established something closer to the real death toll. It included 30 to 70 civilians.

In another case the logs show that on the night of 30 August 2008, a US special forces squad called Scorpion 26 blasted Helmand positions with multiple rockets, and called in an airstrike to drop a 500lb bomb. All that was officially logged was that 24 Taliban had been killed.

But writer Patrick Bishop was embedded in the valley nearby with British paratroops at their Sangin bases. He recorded independently: "Overnight, the question of civilian casualties took on an extra urgency. An American team had been inserted on to Black Mountain … From there, they launched a series of offensive operations. On 30 August, wounded civilians, some of them badly injured, turned up at Sangin and FOB Inkerman saying they had been attacked by foreign troops. Such incidents gave a hollow ring to ISAF claims that their presence would bring security to the local population."

Some of the more notorious civilian calamities did become public at the time. The logs confirm that an entirely truthful official announcement was made regretting the guidance system failure of one "smart bomb". On 9 September 2008 it unintentionally landed on a village causing 26 civilian casualties.

The US also realised very quickly that a Polish squad had committed what appeared to have been a possible war crime. On 16 August 2007 the Poles mortared a wedding party in the village of Nangar Khel in an apparent revenge attack shortly after experiencing an IED explosion.

It is recorded under the heading: "Any incident that may cause negative media". The report disclosed that three women victims had "numerous shrapnel wounds … One was pregnant and an emergency C-section was performed but the baby died". In all, six were killed. The Polish troops were shipped home and some eventually put on trial for the atrocity. After protests in their support from a Polish general, the trial has apparently so far failed to reach a conclusion.

But most of the assaults on civilians recorded here, do not appear to have been investigated. French troops "opened fire on a bus that came too close to convoy" near the village of Tangi Kalay outside Kabul on 2 October 2008, according to the logs. They wounded eight children who were in the bus.

Two months later, US troops gunned down a group of bus passengers even more peremptorily, as the logs record.

Patrolling on foot, a Kentucky-based squad from 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, known as "Red Currahee", decided to flag down the approaching bus, so their patrol could cross the road. Before sunrise, a soldier stepped out on to Afghanistan's main highway and raised both hands in the air.

When the bus failed to slow – travellers are often wary of being flagged down in Afghanistan's bandit lands – a trooper raked it with machine-gun fire. They killed four passengers and wounded 11 others.

Some of the civilian deaths in the list stem from violent actions by US special forces attempting to hunt down Taliban leaders or al-Qaida incomers. In a typical case, last November, the army files record a demonstration by 80 angry villagers who broke an armoured car window in the village of Lewani. A woman from the village had been killed in an assault by the shadowy Task Force 373.

The influence of the then new commander, General Stanley McChrystal, can be seen, however. Brought in last year with a mission to try to cut the number of civilian casualties, he clearly demanded more detailed reporting of such incidents.

The Lewani file is marked with a new "information requirement" to record each "credible allegation of Isaf [the occupying forces] … causing non-combatant injury/death".

McChrystal was replaced last month, however, by General David Petraeus, amid reports that restraints aimed at cutting civilian deaths would be loosened once again.

The bulk of the "blue-white" file consists of a relentless catalogue of civilian shootings on nearly 100 occasions by jumpy troops at checkpoints, near bases or on convoys. Unco-operative drivers and motorcyclists are frequent targets.

Each incident almost without exception is described as a meticulous "escalation of force" conducted strictly by the book, against a threatening vehicle.

US and UK rules require shouts, waves, flares, warning shots and shots into the engine block, before using lethal force. Each time it is claimed that this procedure is followed. Yet "warning shots" often seem to cause death or injury, generally ascribed to ricochets.

Sometimes, it seems as though civilian drivers merely failed to get off the road fast enough. On 9 July 2006 mechanic Mohamad Baluch was test-driving a car in Ghazni, when the Americans rolled into town on an anti-IED "route clearance patrol".

The log records: "LN [local national] vehicle did not yield to US convoy … Gunner on lead truck shot into the vehicle and convoy kept going out of the area." The townspeople threw rocks at the eight departing armoured Humvees. Baluch ended up in hospital with machine-gun bullets in his shoulder.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The fight to label ALL genetically modified foods is a serious one. But articles like this represent the first step. Congratulations to the author- he's doing the right thing.

Genetically Modified Gene Out of the Bottle and Running Wild

Read More: Genetically Engineered Foods , Genetically Modified Canola , Genetically Modified Crops , Genetically Modified Food , Health , Food News

What if our newest invasive species is one that started in the lab and was unleashed on an unsuspecting world, despite abundant warnings from scientists and others? And what if it is not even really "natural" to begin with? And what if this new invasive species, once liberated from a controlled setting, became even more potent and more persistent in the wild? Then you would be talking about genetically modified (GM) canola, which according to a report presented last Friday at the Ecological Society of America, is now growing in the wild and is busily evolving into a plant that will outstrip our best efforts to contain it. It also has the potential to cross-pollinate and swap genes with other non-GM wild plants.

More than 83 percent of the wild canola tested by researchers traveling through North Dakota tested positive for GM genes. But this is what's really terrifying: some of the plants tested positive for resistance to both glyphosphate (Roundup) and glusfosinate (Liberty). Commercial GM canola is resistant to either Roundup or Liberty, not both. The dual resistance evolved in the wild, after the plants had escaped. The wild canola is doing what living things do--mutating and selecting for traits that will best ensure its survival. And all without our help.

I've been blogging about the known and unknown risks of GM crops for awhile. But what we are now witnessing is true escape-from-the-test-tube science, and it could be devastating. The escaped GM canola, bred to be herbicide-resistant, is now in danger of transferring those genes to other wild plants. According to Scientific American there are eight species of wild weeds GM canola is most likely capable of hybridizing. According to an interview with Meredith Schafer from the University of Arkansas, who presented the report, "We really don't know what the consequences of the gene escape [are]. We don't know what these plants are going to do."

It's not hard, though, to see the potential consequences. The consequences are that, sooner or later, as GM evolves and genes are swapped between GM and non-GM plants, GM and wild will be one in the same--there could be virtually no such thing as a non-GM food plant or food crop. There will be no more choice between eating GM and non-GM food crops. And all will be resistant to our known herbicides. If GM canola can establish itself in the wild, evolve and potentially cross-pollinate with other plants, what about the other experiments lying in wait at the lab?

According to Dr. Cynthia Sagers, associate professor at the University of Arkansas and one of the two researchers who discovered the wild GM canola, other GM traits could raise different concerns, including human health risks. She added, "There have been 1,100 plants approved for field trials and who knows what those are -- pharmaceutical proteins, drought-resistant crops? Herbicide-resistances are very simple traits. Products in development are more complicated."

Do we want them running wild, too? Can we be sure it can be prevented?

I guess the best we can hope is that we can trust the claims Big Ag has been making that GM crops, even those that escape into the wild, present little to no risk. Although with the timely reminder of Jeffery Smith's recent "Anniversary of a Whistleblower" Huffington Post blog, I am not convinced.

It all started innocently enough. Meredith Schafer and her colleague, Dr. Sagers, spotted some pretty yellow flowers near a parking lot in North Dakota. They happened to have with them a test strip very similar to a pregnancy test. Using it, they were able to determine within minutes if the plant was carrying one or both of the two most commonly introduced genes in GM canola. It was. "Immediately we knew we needed to investigate it further," Sagers said.

They traveled throughout North Dakota, taking multiple samples, often from roadsides sprayed with herbicides where the only weed still surviving was wild canola. The duo speculated that a number of the plants were found on roads where they might have fallen off during transport. But some sites had no link to the transport routes at all, which points to the plants having established wild populations. According to Schafer, that's not supposed to happen.

I am not someone who advocates turning our backs on science and returning to the 13th century. Science has a crucial role to play as society progresses. What bothers me is the lack of oversight, caution and vigilance when science and business, in this case Big Ag, intersect. I've seen the damaging consequences over and over in farming: sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals leading to deadly antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria; Industrial chicken production leading to polluted and dying waterways; Massive animal warehouse operations leading to the decline of pastured farming and family farms and an acceptance of inhumane conditions; Monster GM farmed salmon.

These, however, are all circumstances that we can still control and are trying to reverse. But in our arrogance that we are masters of all we survey, it seems we've gone one step too far. In an interview with Discovery News, Sagers said, "I think the herbicide resistance is going to be a very serious problem for agronomists and farmers in the near future. I think it could be an environmental problem if we find we've created these herbicide-resistant weeds."

We are playing Russian roulette with our future and our children's future. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the consequences of trying to remake the natural world so it can turn a tidy profit for a privileged few. Nature has a way of showing us who's really the boss.

This blog also appears on the Animal Welfare Approved website.
Silk® Soymilk Announces Enrollment in the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program

Enrollment Validates Silk’s Long-Standing Commitment to Using Only Non-GMO Soybeans

BROOMFIELD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Silk® Soymilk, the leading soymilk brand in the U.S., today announced it has enrolled in the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program. The Non-GMO Project, launched in 2008, is a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers dedicated to the shared mission of ensuring the sustained availability of non-GMO food and beverage choices. Since the brand’s inception in 1996, Silk has been committed to providing non-GMO plant-based protein beverages. GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE).

“Silk Soymilk is enrolled in the Non-GMO Project because we believe it’s the right thing to do”

“Silk Soymilk is enrolled in the Non-GMO Project because we believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Craig Shiesley, Vice President for Silk. “This is an important way to demonstrate our continued commitment to sourcing non-GMO soybeans. Third-party verification through the Non-GMO Project helps ensure consumers are getting the high-quality products they pay for, enabling them to make informed choices and avoid products made with GMOs.”

The Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program is the nation’s first system designed to test whether a product has met defined standards for the presence of GMOs, providing third party verification that the best practices of GMO avoidance are in use. These standards include strict and comprehensive traceability, segregation and testing requirements. Silk began the verification process earlier this year. Once the verification process is completed, Silk plans to place the Non-GMO Project’s verification seal on its packaging.

Participation in the Non-GMO Project is just one of many things that set Silk apart from other soymilk choices. Silk already takes extensive steps to keep its soybeans free of GMOs, including following a comprehensive set of testing protocols to detect GMOs. From seed to manufacturing, Silk’s soybeans are tested four times to make sure they are non-GMO.

“Silk’s participation in the Non-GMO Project is a huge step forward in giving consumers everywhere the informed choice they deserve about GMOs,” said Megan Westgate, Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project. “When consumers see the Non-GMO Project seal on packaging, they know they can trust the product’s non-GMO status. We’re thrilled that Silk is integrating its existing non-GMO practices with the Non-GMO Project’s program, and look forward to partnering with Silk to educate consumers across the country.”

To further demonstrate its commitment, Silk plans to support the Non-GMO Project’s inaugural Non-GMO Month in October, which will include special retail promotions and consumer events leading up to Non-GMO Day on 10.10.10. Check out www.nongmoproject.org for more information, and Silk’s products are now listed on the Non-GMO Project’s Participating Products page.

Silk also is working on a new initiative that will provide transparency regarding the regions where its whole soybeans are grown, providing consumers an opportunity to discover how the soybeans used to make Silk get from crop to carton.

Over the last two years, Silk has worked closely with Conservation International, a global nonprofit dedicated to empowering societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and the well-being of humanity, to develop a Responsible Soybean Sourcing Program. This program helps guarantee the quality Silk consumers demand while also benefiting soy-growing communities and protecting the environment. With Conservation International’s input, Silk recently updated the annual Supplier Survey that will be used to help both the company and its farmers further enhance its sourcing methods over time.

To learn more about Silk, and to find the latest updates on all the brand’s efforts to produce soymilk sustainably and responsibly, visit www.silksoymilk.com, visit Silk on Facebook or follow Silk on Twitter.


Silk Soymilk was launched in 1996 and is the best-selling soymilk brand in the country. Not only do Silk products taste delicious, a cup of Silk soymilk contains as much calcium as a cup of milk and is loaded with soy protein, which when consumed as a part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.[1] Silk was founded on a promise to make the world a healthier place. We began by bringing soymilk mainstream, allowing more people everywhere to enjoy soy’s wholesome, natural nutrition. We recently introduced almondmilk as the next step in our proud tradition of good health and great taste. For more information, visit www.silksoymilk.com or www.silkpurealmond.com.


The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit multi-stakeholder collaboration committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. More information can be found at www.nongmoproject.org, and at www.facebook.com/nongmoproject, where over 17,000 people follow daily news and updates from the Project.

[1] In 1999 the FDA issued a health claim for soy and its role in promoting cardiovascular health. Food and Drug Administration. Food labeling, health claims, soy protein, and coronary heart disease. Fed Reg 1999;57:699-733.
"...the crisis adds urgency to the need for the U.S. and NATO to open talks with the Afghan Taliban. A huge influx of Pakistani Taliban into Afghanistan, recruiting thousands more fighters from flood-affected Pakistan as they go, would undermine the Afghan government and NATO." - Ahmed Rashid, in comments published today; exclusive to Postmedia news.
Afghan protesters block highway over 'civilian' killings

(AFP) – 3 hours ago

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Hundreds of Afghan villagers blocked a national highway Wednesday to protest the alleged killing of a father and son in a raid by NATO forces in the country's east.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the operation late Tuesday was in pursuit of a Taliban bomb-making expert linked to at least two attacks.

But provincial police spokesman Abdul Ghafor told AFP that two civilians had been killed when US-led coalition troops raided a house in Surkh Rod district, Nangahar province on Tuesday, and another three people detained.

"The coalition forces went into a house and killed a father and a son. They have arrested three people. They are innocent civilians, they are farmers and are not linked to any militant group," he said.

Ghafor said that police had contacted the interior minister and NATO to try to secure the release of those detained.

ISAF's statement said the international force had come under fire as it approached a compound, and had killed insurgents. The operation had not killed or harmed any civilians, it said.

"As the security force approached the targeted compound... they immediately received enemy fire from multiple locations. The assault force decisively engaged and killed two of the enemy fighters and disarmed a third," it said.

Up to 600 residents blocked the main highway in protest on Wednesday, an AFP reporter on the scene said. They chanted "Death to Americans" and "Death to Karzai," referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The blocked section of highway connects Nangahar to the border of neighbouring Pakistan to the east, and to Kabul to the northwest.

Civilian casualties are an incendiary issue in Afghanistan, often cited by President Hamid Karzai, who has repeatedly urged international forces to take preventative steps and to conduct operations jointly with Afghan troops.

The overwhelming majority of civilian deaths and injuries in the Afghan war have been blamed on the Taliban, who rely largely on roadside bombs and suicide attackers, which kill and maim indiscriminately.

Civilian casualties rose by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010, the United Nations said last week, with casualties among children up 55 percent.

The number of deaths caused by insurgents had risen from half in the same period last year, now accounting for 76 percent of the 1,271 deaths and 1,997 people wounded, it said in a report.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Drew Barrymore: Quote of the Day

The actress says all the mystique has been sucked out of dating by social networking sites. ‘I just don’t like this compulsive, instantaneous, over-information, lack-of-privacy, weirdo aspect of the world,’ says the 35-year-old.

‘If you meet someone, they already know everything. What about showing up on the date and saying, “What do you do for a living? Who are your friends?” Yes, you can avoid maybe a serial killer but who f***ing knows? I am a romantic and it scares me.’

Twice-married Barrymore says technology has killed romance: ‘Plans are made by text – I can’t stand it.’

Courage, they said, and pointed toward the land

I loved this excerpt from the NYT, about PUA (pickup artists) at a bar and a pool. The greatest thing was that it showed that there are some women who are getting wise to the hookup scene, like me, and who summarily reject what it has to offer. From a couple of days ago:

Mr. Weinstein had nicknamed the woman Bar, because he thought she looked like Bar Rafaeli, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. He never asked her for her real name. That was part of the game. Why inject unwanted intimacy?

Bar, who asked not to be named in the newspaper, said she was 25, working as a bartender and had spent the last five years traveling the globe. She was broke, and liked having wealthy men buy her drinks.

She was, she admitted, a bit of a hunter herself. Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Altschuler called her the perfect wing woman, because she introduced them to her attractive friends.

Soon, Mr. Weinstein was focusing on a waifish brunette lying next to him. He thought she was an actress; Mr. Altschuler thought she was a lawyer.

They made a $10 bet about it.

“Excuse me,” Mr. Weinstein said, turning her way. “We’re trying to figure out who you are. I think you’re a B-list actress or something, maybe on Bravo or whatever.”

She laughed, but refused to divulge.

When the mysterious woman lowered herself into the pool, he followed.

She told him that she loved sports cars, and that she bought a new one every two years.

Mr. Weinstein told her that he loved hot women. Then he told her about his girlfriend, quickly mentioning the open relationship.

The brunette told him that he would someday regret not settling.

“So what?” Mr. Weinstein asked. “I’m going to be that older guy with the hottest girl on his arm. Like he’s not the happiest guy on the planet?”

After some chitchat, the brunette excused herself to work on her tan.

“She was definitely into me,” Mr. Weinstein said.