Were I not in a better mood, this would've been another one of those "kill me now" posts. But seriously, New York Times … really? REALLY??
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
... but it's worth noting for the record, and, I suppose, encouraging that "[t]he report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements."
You can download a copy of the full report, Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious from the International Humanist and Ethical Union's website, or just click this direct link to the PDF.
Friend of lowly bloggers everywhere, Batocchio, the Vagabond Scholar, has once again put in a bunch of time soliciting and assembling "the best blog posts of the year, as chosen by the bloggers themselves." This is, of course, a tradition started by the late great Reasonable Conservative, and it is carried on in his memory. And you even get to start off with a cat pic!
Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Wingnut who scolds other Jews for not being Jewish enough is furious that Google says "Happy Holidays"
It's not easy feeding the insatiable thirst for manufactured outrage.
I hope K-Lo doesn't get mad that you're on her turf, Ben.
Oh, you love Billie Holiday huh? Well, I LOVE BILLIE CHRISTMAS BECAUSE I'M AN AMERICAN AND THESE COLORS DON'T RUN USA USA #WARONCHRISTMAS— landon d. mise (@landondmise) December 24, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
I'm always up for a jargon list. "Battle of the Somm" lets us in on what those people with the long upper lips are saying about us in the back. And by "us," I don't exactly mean to include myself among the whales, however much I am in other contexts interested in deep oceans. I'm more of a cork dork, admittedly. And definitely an A.B.C.
Although certainly I could be persuaded to hang with someone who orders cougar juice. I don't judge.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
William Horman, the headmaster of Winchester and Eton, included the Latin form 'Mater artium necessitas' in Vulgaria, a book of aphorisms for the boys of the schools to learn by heart, which he published in 1519.
Which leads, just one screen later, to Frank Zappa, in a connection for which I have just begun to kick myself for never having made.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
A famously mysterious military space plane operated by the US Air Force has launched from Florida, the third flight in a secretive test programme.
The reusable, unmanned craft is designed to operate in Earth orbit for extended periods. Its prior missions in 2010 and 2011 lasted 224 and 469 days.
The US government kept the timing of Tuesday's launch secret and has not said how long the mission will last.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Did you know there is actually such a thing as a "Hello Kitty" model of the AR-15 assault rifle? Thanks to Jesse Taylor, now I do!
Maybe the best way to control guns would be to require that they all be painted bright pink. What do you think, Conservative flake?
New friend Doug recommended Portishead to me. My first reaction: I like them better than I like most bands upon first reaction, so, I will give a second listen. "Scorn" ("Embedding disabled by request") stood out, if you care about my tastes.
Meanwhile, the lead singer's voice, especially on some other songs, reminded me of an old favorite. (Song, I mean. The video may or may not appeal. I don't judge™.)
No, it's not actually about the Republicans in Congress. It's a short, smart piece by James Surowiecki from the 3 December 2012 issue of The New Yorker about what it costs to clean up after a hurricane versus what it would cost to build preventative measures.
Spoiler alert ...
... the latter is way cheaper than the former.
Of course the political realities will not change any time soon (for which, okay, it's fair to blame the Republicans, to a large extent), but this is a long-term problem and so it's worth trying to nudge the supertanker onto a slightly different course, as it were, starting now.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Had the remote control in hand and everything, ready to turn off the teevee for the night.
But just five seconds too slow to avoid the commercial wherein the lamest of the lame identifies himself as Jack Reacher.
As Jack Reacher.
You didn't need the money that bad, "Lee Child." And you're for sure not getting any more of mine.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Ah, the obliviousness of wingnuts. Glibertarians, especially.
STARVE THE BEAST: How to GO GALT: Don’t forget the library - Excellent source of free materials!! Reading, CD’s. everything.— FreeRepublic.txt (@FreeRepublicTXT) December 12, 2012
Good thing the steering wheel's on the wrong side.
[Added] Belinda responds thus.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Welp ... The Whore of Babylon, perhaps related to the bunch of stories in the right column following the lead one (Hosing the influence of evolutionist rats out of Britain before more British college women enter the sex trade!); recitation of line 1 of the The Creed (One thing you can be very sure of: The world is approximately 6,000 years old.); some sports news (The liberal media continue to prefer failure rather than support playing the conservative Tim Tebow. Today the Jets barely squeaked by the 2-11 Jaguars.); and that's just the first glance.
One of those.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
In Comments under this past Friday's post, M. Bouffant refers us to another one of his, posted five years earlier. It's about his father's experiences on that day in 1941. Definitely worth a read. Plus, more pix here.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
The conclusion of a piece on how even his colleagues are now laughing at sad clown Dick Morris:
At one point, after Media Matters began seeking comment from Hill staffers, a "mass email" went out to the paper's reporters "specifically instructing us not to talk," according to one staffer who had agreed to speak, but indicated it would not be possible after receiving the email.
Managing Editor Bob Cusack then emailed Media Matters stating: "I am the best contact for any piece you are writing about The Hill. Thanks." He later requested questions via email rather than participate in a phone interview.
Media Matters emailed Cusack several questions asking about his view of Morris, the columnist's future at the newspaper, and what Cusack thought of staff members' concerns.
His email response: "We're not going to comment."
I predict her downward spiral will continue until she lands a part-time gig as Ann Althouse's guest blogger.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Buy this shirt! Wear it! Show your support for the cause!
[Update] Boo hiss on Photobucket for deleting the above and substituting this.
From “The Conflict Against Al Qaeda and its Affiliates: How Will It End?”, a talk given by Jeh Charles Johnson, General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Defense, at the Oxford Union, Oxford University, on 30 November 2012.
“War” must be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs. War permits one man – if he is a “privileged belligerent,” consistent with the laws of war — to kill another. War violates the natural order of things, in which children bury their parents; in war parents bury their children. In its 12th year, we must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the “new normal.” Peace must be regarded as the norm toward which the human race continually strives.
49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn't exist anymore.
The exact question (PDF), in case you were wondering if these people were somehow tricked:
Q8 Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election this year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?
Interestingly enough, 2% of those who voted for Obama also believe ACORN stole the election for him. (Don't tell Willard. It will just make him sadder.)
Belated thanks, Willis Whitfield.
If you didn't already know:
Half a century ago, as a rapidly changing world sought increasingly smaller mechanical and electrical components and more sanitary hospital conditions, one of the biggest obstacles to progress was air, and the dust and germs it contains.
Stray particles a few microns wide could compromise the integrity of a circuit board of a nuclear weapon. Unchecked bacteria could quickly infect a patient after a seemingly successful operation. Microprocessors, not yet in existence, would have been destroyed by dust. After all, an average cubic foot of air contained three million microscopic particles, and even the best efforts at vacuuming and wiping down a high-tech work space could only reduce the rate to one million.
Then, in 1962, Willis Whitfield invented the clean room.
Which brings to mind a favorite piece of understatement, from the first article on nanotechnology that I ever read, thirty or so years ago: At these scales, a drop of oil is not a lubricant.
Gotta love this part:
Particle detectors in Mr. Whitfield’s clean rooms started showing numbers so low — a thousand times lower than other methods — that some people did not believe the readings, or Mr. Whitfield. He was questioned so much that he began understating the efficiency of his method to keep from shocking people.
“I think Whitfield’s wrong,” a scientist from Bell Labs finally said at a conference where Mr. Whitfield spoke. “It’s actually 10 times better than he’s saying.”
And of course, no blog post would be complete without a salute to the superiority of the free market, unencumbered by gummint regulation!
The clean room was patented through Sandia, and the government shared it freely among manufacturers, hospitals and other industries.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Saturday, December 01, 2012
No, no. Not Willard and Dreamy. I'm speaking of Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Some recent advances in really hard computer problems:
Deep-learning systems have recently outperformed humans in certain limited recognition tests.
Last year, for example, a program created by scientists at the Swiss A. I. Lab at the University of Lugano won a pattern recognition contest by outperforming both competing software systems and a human expert in identifying images in a database of German traffic signs.
The winning program accurately identified 99.46 percent of the images in a set of 50,000; the top score in a group of 32 human participants was 99.22 percent, and the average for the humans was 98.84 percent.
Getting better at listening, too:
Deep learning was given a particularly audacious display at a conference last month in Tianjin, China, when Richard F. Rashid, Microsoft’s top scientist, gave a lecture in a cavernous auditorium while a computer program recognized his words and simultaneously displayed them in English on a large screen above his head.
Then, in a demonstration that led to stunned applause, he paused after each sentence and the words were translated into Mandarin Chinese characters, accompanied by a simulation of his own voice in that language, which Dr. Rashid has never spoken.
The feat was made possible, in part, by deep-learning techniques that have spurred improvements in the accuracy of speech recognition.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Hate to pass along this sour note on what should be a day of good cheer, but denialism like this should not pass unremarked.
In an op-ed article for the Cincinnati Enquirer today, [Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Obvs.)] said that “we need to repeal Obamacare” because it adds to the debt and is unaffordable. As a result, he wrote, “the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation’s massive debt challenge.”
That ignores the plain words of the most reliable and non-partisan judge of these things — the Congressional Budget Office — which said in July that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t add to the debt, it lowers the debt. Repealing the law would add $109 billion to the debt through 2022.
Oh, it gets better.
Who denies the reality of anthropogenic global warming, at least.
The National Climatic Data Center has just reported that October was the 332nd month in a row of above-average global temperatures. As the environmental Web site Grist reported, that means that nobody younger than 27 has lived for a single month with colder-than-average global temperatures …
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Of course she is not, but I would like to imagine the woman in the ad to the right is getting residuals.
(Remember way back in 2010?)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
And apparently, that point has come for Atlas Shrugged Part 2, Longer, Lamer, and Even More Expensive. Big sale in the online store! says their recent email. Get cool stuff like that thing over there on the right, for 25% off! Or 40%! Or more! And they also have lapel pins! (Comments are a must.)
You may remember a few weeks ago, when we celebrated the results of the first ten days. I was going to update the charts several times, but for some reason, Box Office Mojo never showed any more data after Day 24. So I guess this is the final report?
Better get in line now for tickets to Part 3!
Writers like Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison tend to be ...
On the other hand, Daniel, it was David Brooks doing the lumping together.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
... (your good taste already in evidence from your choice of online reading material) but sometimes, when you're traveling, especially for work, say, in a place like Orlando, Florida, you might be presented with main streets filled with corporate franchise Neighbo®hood ®estau®ants. I am speaking of places like Papa John's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Applebee's. You don't want to, but there doesn't seem to be much choice, and hey, one's pretty much like another, right?
In many ways, yes. But maybe not all. So if you're a patron of any of the above, however reluctantly, I encourage you to read "A Children’s Treasury of CEOs Throwing Very Grown-Up Tantrums Over Obamacare."
Job creators? Nah. Plutocrats. And that's how they do.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
HOWEVER. Let this not diffuse the important effort pointed out to me by KK.
The Environmental Protection Agency declined on Friday to relax its requirement on the use of corn ethanol in gasoline, rejecting a request from several states related to a steep decline in the nation’s corn production.
A summer drought that withered crops led to a spike in prices, hurting the livestock industry and others that depend on corn for food. Estimates indicate that as much as half of the nation’s crop will be used to produce ethanol this year to meet the federal renewable energy standard for transportation fuel.
That would put some environmentalists in rare alignment with the oil industry, which is required to use an increasing amount of ethanol in its fuel production but complains that its system is glutted with the substance.
Since Congress specified a year-by-year gallon quota for biofuels in 2007, total fuel demand in the United States has dropped, so the percentage of ethanol fuel in gasoline has reached unexpected highs.
I don't know enough about the issues to comment, beyond agreeing with the environmental point of view that ethanol made from corn isn't much of a clean energy alternative, but I thought both the article excerpted above and the link in the blockquote were interesting enough to pass along.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Since there are some parts of being a 14 year old boy I've never outgrown, you will be unsurprised what my first question was for my niece, the new EMT. Her answer:
... and no, I haven't driven more than 100 mph yet. I tried! But there's a safety feature on the ambulances - you can't go over 90, so I've done that a few times.
(Hope her mom is still boycotting my blog.) ;)
Thursday, November 15, 2012
And he even gets through it without mentioning WAR.
For baseball nerds only: "The Statistical Case Against Cabrera for M.V.P."
[Update 2012-11-17] Nate's argument evidently did not persuade the voters.
Cabrera, the third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, won 22 of 28 first-place votes in the American League, a somewhat surprising margin of victory over Mike Trout, the electrifying rookie outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
When Ohio was called, it really caught me off guard: Right in the middle of furtively scanning the returns from Virginia, or wherever, I heard them announce in the background, "Obama has won Ohio, and with it, is reelected." I could finally stop worrying! It was over! We won! Yeehaw! By that time I had 25 tabs open in my browser and was refreshing 10 of them at a time and flipping back and forth between them like a hyperactive gerbil. (Can gerbils use mice?)
--Jack, via email
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Nothing against his actual biological offspring, mind. It's just that this is the image that comes to mind when I hear the phrase "Breitbart's Children."
Now, who will clean
up his Twitter account?
It was 70° yesterday, but piles of snow remained, and hence, driving conditions were still hazardous
And here's an early-morning shot of vestiges from the storm before that:
Driving to work was an amazeing experience for a few days there.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Thursday, November 08, 2012
In 2009, White House communications director Anita Dunn called Fox News "either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” I don’t know about the “or” part. With massive funds and infinite air time, Roger Ailes’ little network that could spent the past four years demonizing president Obama (after a year of demonizing candidate Obama), and obsessively churning up non-news to scare the shit out of white guys and feed into the GOP bloodstream: from the Black Panthers’ remarkable rise to political power to that thing about the guns and Mexico named after an awesome Vin Diesel movie to the multifront war on Christmas/Christians/Christ to The Great Benghazi Conspiracy of 2012.
And what do they have to show for it? Not a Republican president. Not a Republican Senate. Not a repealed health care law. Adding insult to Tuesday’s injury, Eric Holder is still a free man.
-- Allison Benedikt
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
While I think Mozy is a fine company ...
Dear Mozy Customer,
We’re pleased to announce an exciting new way of managing your Mozy account and accessing your files. Effective later today, when you log into mozy.com, you'll go directly to your files.
Increasingly, our MozyHome customers have told us that they come to the Mozy website to quickly access their files. We've facilitated this by updating the default "log in" location as your backed up and Stash files, instead of the "Account Home" details page. [...]
... I do not think saving me one mouseclick is "exciting."
Monday, November 05, 2012
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
First bits of an email just in:
Dear Brendan Keefe<(>,<)>
Great news! Your Crucial memory order is packaged and ready to ship
On second inspection, though, that's almost cool enough to think about deploying in the same spirit as those typey things I've heard that the kids use, with their instant AOL messages and such. You know, lalcatz, or something?
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
i'm late to this, but it's still a must-read: Jane Mayer's The Voter-Fraud Myth; nyr.kr/S6I4Rq— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) October 25, 2012
Full link here, if you're leery of those shortened ones.
In conclusion, if by some chance he should lose this election, I hear there's an opening that he'd be perfect for, in the cartography department at FoxNews.
Court Upholds the Taxation of Lap Dances
The state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled on Tuesday that the lap dances performed at Nite Moves [a strip club in Latham, N.Y.] were not “dramatic or musical arts performances,” as Nite Moves had argued. The 4-to-3 decision said that Nite Moves did not qualify for the kind of tax exemption that ballet companies and Broadway producers are allowed to claim.
Save us, Mitt Romney!
Diamond Jim’s Isabella Queen strip club … is located in vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's home town of Janesville, Wis.