Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Talk is cheaper

Every software announcement on the planet, these days:

We are excited that we have been workinghard on our awesome platform that helps you write great apps.

And don't even get me started on that other one.

P.S. The title was going to be My Kingdom for an Understatement but … yeah,

"The Lively Morgue"

The NYT, or a NYT employee, has a Tumblr that's worth a look. Looks like it's just getting started. Let's hope it keeps going.

Note to the young: a morgue in the newspaper sense is not what you might think. It is, or was, their word for an archive of clippings, back when that meant rooms full of paper in filing cabinets. No, really. We did that once.

(h/t: MK, via email)

Deep thought

Okay with you if I start describing biblical literalists as having minds that are hermeneutically sealed?

[Added] Damn, it's hard to be first on the Internet.

Cool paintings

Since I have a Google Alert set up for Allie Brosh, who has some lame excuse for not blogging lately, I happened across this, by Sam Spratt:

Which reminds of me of this thing I saw on JWZ's blog and kept meaning to pass along:

I think that's by muckle (whose last name is apparently Carruthers, not Flugga, I'm sad to report), and is called "Space Invaders Extreme To The Max, Yo - Textured." See also the non-textured version, equally cool.

Back to Sam Spratt, here is his Twitter avatar, which I'd guess might be a self-portrait:

Visit Sam's YouTube channel to see videos (greatly speeded up) of the first picture above, and two more of his paintings, being made.

Phew! Made it all the way through the post without cursing any of those three people for being so much more talented than me!


Just noticed a new arrival in the backyard:

Newly-sprouted crocus

Click it to big it. And here are three more, if you like:

Winter is hell, isn't it?

Now, Ezra, don't be afraid to tell the truth

We could let the double whos go, but the other blunder?


You want proof? Okay, fine. Here, via Newell, is a picture of Willard with all of his Michigan friends, plus a few hundred paid attendees.

Football stadium that is just completely empty.

(original | via)

What's that hashtag again?

Oh yeah!

(Found among this collection.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Brand tagline of the day

Sinterest. It should be easy to stash great

(site | h/t: TWiT #342)

Interactive Infographic?

Whatever it is, it's way cool: Version 2 of the Huang's Scale of the Universe.

(h/t: IMT)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blockquotes of the Day

Over at Vagabond Scholar, Batocchio has pulled some things you should read. And added some good commentary of his own.

All of it so sad, so true.

Good thing he put up that next post.


Oh, Bloggingheads ...

Could Rep. Paul Ryan enter the GOP primary and take the conservative base by storm? Conn Carroll and Dave Weigel weigh the possibilities.

Presuming that at least one of them (Conn, for sure) thinks "yes!!!1!," I can only say, what, have we given up on Our Savior already?

Above: Last week's presumptive GOP nominee,
Rick Santorum, giving some hot man-on-cone action

Pic. sources: screen shot of Bhtv home page as of this moment (video here)
and someone on canv.as

Line of the Day: 2012-02-26

Lends a whole new meaning
to "bully pulpit," doesn't it?
Said a few years ago, admittedly:

“Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.”
    -- Roger Williams

If I were susceptible to conspiracy theories, I could easily imagine that Rick Santorum is on Mitt Romney's payroll, to help Willard walk back his claim of being "severely conservative" come the general election.

In any case, the source of the above LOTD is Timothy Egan's latest Opinionator post, "Theocracy and its Discontents." It is well worth reading.

(pic. source)

What horses in Wyoming looked like 6000 years ago (give or take)

Below, Ms. Morgan and her great-great-... grandparent.

Of course, no mention was made of the jockeys. This proves once again that the NY Times is librully biased and that evolution is Just A Theory®.

Painting by Danielle Byerley, Florida Museum of Natural History. Image swiped from io9.

According to science, Rhode Island borders New York!

Cartographic science, that is!

I wouldn't have believed it, either, ...

... but I got to wondering how far away I was from a restaurant the NYT mentioned, and then, well, you know how it is when you start looking at a map.

Think you could win a bar bet on the title of this post? Try it! And if they still don't believe you, well, you know what to say.

The worst thing about Skynet is the literal-mindedness

(Screenshot from here.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interesting find from last year

Embedded below is an interview by Molly Wood of Steven Levy, which was posted on 21 April 2011. The whole thing is interesting, but the part I really wanted to call to your attention is the six minutes or so, beginning at about 26:19.

(alt. video link)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You thought A-R was bad?

Don McArthur saw my previous post over on Google Faceplus, and was reminded of an even more desperate condition he'd come across last month:

I have CDO. It's like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order AS THEY SHOULD BE.

I propose "Arial-retentive" as a synonym

Keming -- what you call it when the kerning isn't right.

I just heard this, from Joel Spolsky on SE Podcast #30. But I see it's been around for a little while. I mean, there's even a fuck yeah Tumblr about it.

Looks like David Friedman came up with it first.

"How to remove your Google Web History"

As you probably already know, Google has changed its privacy policies. The changes will go into effect a week from today, on 1 March 2012.

If you would rather not have what you searched for in the past using Google connected to other things you've done on other Google-owned sites, and/or if you'd like to prevent that from happening in the future, see Matt Elliot's how-to post.

Twitter bio of the day: @tabatkins

I put my pants on one leg at a time. If I had more legs, though, you'd see my approach is actually O(log n).
    -- (╯°□°)╯︵ɹſsuıʞʇ∀qɐ┴

Not that I feel like this EVERY day ...

Doormat that says, 'You read my doormat.  That's enough social interaction for one day.

Swiped from Pinehead.tv, via Jeff Atwood.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Upside Down"

Set this one aside until you have fifteen minutes to sit down and get into it. Or to jump up and dance. Your choice.

(alt. audio link)

That's a live recording from a recent performance by Fenibo.

Info, pix, and more music on ReverbNation. Track them as well on Facebook and Twitter. And if you're ever in the upper northeast US when they're playing, do not miss.

Wavy Gravy [updated]

Today's Google Doodle is great!

The CSM has a pretty good write-up.

[Update] An interesting (to those interested in webdev) critical response from Alex Walker: "Google’s Doodle and Why it Hertz my Brain!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wingnut ad of the day

Saw this on one of those biased librul websites:

Any guesses where it led?


Not the worst thing a retired catcher could do next

Logo of the Jorge Posada Foundation

Click the pic to learn more.

Blurry the Furry

Should Google Street View's automatic face-blurring be applauded for this result?

Person in a full-body bunny suit

The above was swiped from Jon Rafman's 9-Eyes project. Geekosystem calls the collection "found art." I agree.

NB: Some of the images will likely be disturbing to some viewers.

Finally, a result we can all agree to cherry-pick

I don't always read the Health section of the newspaper, but when I do, I prefer headlines like this:

Nutrition: Dessert at Breakfast May Help Dieters

Stay hungry, my friends.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Everything is a Remix"

A four-part video series by Kirby Ferguson, total running time about 45 min. Interesting historical notes, visually appealing, and in conclusion, a powerful message. Highly recommended.

I've chosen not to embed, because I think you should watch it in a larger format than will fit on this blog.

(h/t: Alex Goldman/On The Media)

Butchered cliché salad

Amazingly, not by Sarah Palin:

Mail clients are light years behind the eight-ball in terms of CSS support …


Note to Tim Slavin:

1. A light year is not a measure of time. It is a measure of distance.

2. Being behind the eight ball does not mean lagging or trailing. It means being in a precarious, perhaps no-win, situation.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What what kind kind of of vision vision??

In addition to the early afternoon fun of watching the latest installment of Linsanity (not to mention Novak-aine (because he numbs the opposition) h/t Brent Barry), there was also late night lightning out in Oklahoma.


Didn't really think about it until KK wondered aloud, but it's a rarer occurrence than I had thought. Found this and then looked a bit further and found this.

(Sorry if you're not a big fan of basketball.)

"The Obama Hate Machine"

Book cover 'The Obama Hate Machine'A guy named Bill Press has a new book out, titled The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions, and Personal Attacks on the President---and Who Is Behind Them. Until a few minutes ago, I didn't know anything about him, and I haven't yet read the book, obvs, but I thought I'd call it to your attention.

Here's as good an introduction as any: Bill Press appearing on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann. What's embedded below is the whole show; Press's segment runs from 14:39 to 26:36. [1]

(alt. video link)

It'll be interesting to see if the Kochtopus comes after him the way they did Jane Mayer.

Further reading and watching:

[1] Monty Python fans should probably watch for another minute or two after that. And who knew there was someone in the Oklahoma state legislature that we could applaud? You go, Sen. Constance N. Johnson!

[2] It's worth going to the Amazon page just to look at the wingnuts' "reviews." Unsurprisingly, none comes close to the ones the legendary reasonable conservative used to post, but you have to love the kneejerk fury and its semi-literate expression.

Awww. (Plus, they're math nerds!)

From Suzy Allman's NYT slideshow:

“We planned to make a “17” together, because we couldn’t find a Lin jersey. They’re all sold out.” — Jonathan Palmieri with Melissa Magner, both of Linden, N.J.

(h/t: KK)

When a robot hires spokespeople, this is what you get

I'd like to say this is dry wit, but considering the source …

“Sheriff Babeu has stepped down from his volunteer position with the campaign so he can focus on the allegations against him,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told TPM. “We support his decision.”

... not to mention the backstory …

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu — who became the face of Arizona border security nationally after he started stridently opposing illegal immigration — threatened his Mexican ex-lover with deportation when the man refused to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship, the former boyfriend and his lawyer tell New Times.

(h/t: Megaword Man)

[Added] Here (via) is thirty seconds of sordid video, featuring Babeu:

(alt. video link)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just sayin

The second person I thought of after Megyn Kelly was … well, let's just see what she's been up to these days.


If you're scoring at home: apart from the theater critic gig at Tablet, that's two outlets (Minding The Campus and City Journal) owned by the Manhattan Institute, three owned by Rupert Murdoch (FoxNews, WSJ, The Daily), and NewsMax.

And selling ad space to Ann Coulter.


Or ...


I don't know if you'll be able to make it through seven minutes of Erin Burnett (I failed to make it through two), but it's definitely worth seeing what Taibbi has to say.

Thanks again, liberal media!

(h/t: Jim Newell)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wyatt Cenac investigates PETA

Good all the way through, but the last two minutes are truly FTW.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Adam Rutherford)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Another note on the vanishing free press

Looks like* Philadelphia's newspaper situation is about to get even worse.

Wonder what that'll mean for philly.com.


* Hope the Blogger Ethics Panel doesn't come after me for linking to a piece by Buzz Bissinger.

I'd knock that shit off if I was you, Marvin

Just fired up Google Chrome. walked away from the machine, and when I came back, I saw a pop-up trying to get me to add McAfee secure search and browsing or some shit.

Can't be sure it was Google, but there's nothing else running that I'd suspect. Anyone else had this happen, and feel like it's because you just fired up Chrome?

I'm less inclined to make "Don't be evil" jokes than most people I know, but if they're starting to try to deliver shovelware just for using their browser, I'm going to become a Google-hater, too.

(title: cf.)

[Added] Probably not Chrome's fault. I had the McAfee SiteAdvisor add-on installed. WHICH I DON'T REMEMBER INSTALLING, but I'm willing to concede I might have, long ago. Threw that thing in the trash where it belongs, of course.

[Added2] But ugh. See SM's note in Comments.

“Mathematicians are suddenly sexy.”

I take issue with the adverb, and my degree has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

That aside, the article where the assertion appears is quite interesting. You know how you're worried about being tracked online? It's not just online.

Yes, you knew that. But maybe you didn't know the extent of it. And anyway, it's a fascinating and creepy read: "How Companies Learn Your Secrets."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wingnut fight!

The classic NY Post (or NY Daily News?) cartoon from the 1990s of Newt Gingrich dressed only in a diaper, stamping his foot, waving his bottle, and crying his eyes out.Probably you already heard about this, but just in case not:

The National Review Online called on Monday for Newt Gingrich to quit the Republican presidential contest and endorse Rick Santorum.

The editors of the conservative magazine said it would be a mistake for Republican voters to nominate someone with “such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity” to be the party’s standard bearer.

But wait. That's not the weird part. Here's the weird part:

“On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit,” the editors wrote.

Endorse Santorum? What about "poor judgment" and "persistent unpopularity?" On the NRO's editors' own arguments …

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Line of the Day: 2012-02-14

Snooki: Because it wouldn't be a worst-dressed list without her.
    -- Christina Anderson

Thought Robyn's outfit (slide 13) was far worse, though. And those look disturbingly like grannie pannies there, Fergie.

Yeah, you busted me. I clicked a HuffPo "most popular" link. In my defense, at least it was a mean one.

Attn: Gail Collins (and all other Willard-watchers)

News item from Raw Story:

... a protester with the group “Dogs Against Romney” was recently pulled over by police in Littleton, Colorado for suspected animal abuse after officers spotted a dog kennel with what appeared to be an animal inside, strapped to the top of a vehicle.

It turned out the man just had a stuffed animal inside and he was not cited.

Man, that just made my day.

As did the reason I jumped over to that story in the first place. Apparently, Romney has taken on a whole new meaning. As of this moment, Mr. Number Two (iykwimaityd) is number three on Google!

(h/t: Daniel Clark and Hebrewzzi)

[Update] Romney pointing to spreadingromney.com is down to sixth as of this moment. We'll hope that one of the items above it goes away soon, though.

A couple of things to know about the US Postal Service

First, from Bob Lucore at the Americans for Democratic Action, "Don’t “Save” the Postal Service by Destroying It:"

This recent earnings release from the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced a large loss for the first quarter of its fiscal year. It could, just as accurately, have said that the Postal Service made a net operating profit of $200 million delivering the mail for this year’s first quarter.

The difference between the announced loss and the operating profit is almost entirely due to an external condition imposed by a severe congressional mandate, that requires that the post office pre-fund 75 years’ worth of future retiree health benefits within the next few years. This pre-funding requirement added $3.1 billion in red ink to the USPS’s first quarter not loss figure.

Pre-funding retiree health sounds like a very laudable goal. However, the amount that the Postal Service has been required to set aside for this purpose far exceeds that which is necessary, and is unmatched by any private corporation or agency of the federal government. It is being required to fund a 75-year liability within a ten-year framework.


The Postal Service has been required by Congress to pay $5.5 billion annually, into what the IG calls a “war chest” that now holds over $326 billion. Even if no further funding was provided, and the fund simply collected a modest rate of interest, the account would be 100 percent funded in twenty-one years. In addition, the USPS has overpaid the federal retirement system by $13 billion.


The unprecedented pre-funding requirements are the work of Congressional Republicans. [...]

Shocking, I know. Worth reading the whole thing.

Second, an article from Reuters, "Special Report: Towns go dark with post office closings." Here's the nugget that made me start paying attention:

Nearly 80 percent of the 3,830 post offices under consideration are in sparsely populated rural areas where poverty rates are higher than the national average, demographic data analyzed by Reuters shows.

Moreover, about one-third of the offices slated for closure fall in areas with limited or no wired broadband Internet, Reuters found.

Time was when the USPS was lauded for providing a service to everyone in the US. Many a wild-eyed free marketer (well, at least one, anyway) who argued right after taking Econ 101 that the USPS should have to compete with private delivery services came to realize that it's a Good Thing that people off the beaten path don't have to pay ten or twenty bucks to send a letter, and that those sending to them don't have to, either. One might even say that this is what The Founding Fathers (PBUT) had in mind.

Long piece by Fallows on Obama

Stupid title, but a very good read. Nuanced and thoughtful, as you'd expect from James Fallows.

(h/t: TC, via email)

Monday, February 13, 2012

A new Pew report on online advertising and news sites

It's a monster, but I found it interesting enough to skim all the way through.

Here's how it starts:

Between 2011 and 2015, revenue from digital advertising in the United States is expected to grow by 40% and to overtake all other platforms by 2016.[1]

Yet how much of that growth will go to underwrite news remains in doubt and throws into question the financial future of journalism as audience continue to migrate online. What will happen pivots in part on whether the news industry can move into the more lucrative areas of digital advertising, particularly using consumer data to target ads, persuading major legacy advertisers to also advertise online and moving into new revenue areas.

A new study of advertising in news by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that, currently, even the top news websites in the country have had little success getting advertisers from traditional platforms to move online. The digital advertising they do get appears to be standard ads that are available across many websites. And with only a handful of exceptions, the ads on news sites tend not to be targeted based on the interests of users, the strategy that many experts consider key to the future of digital revenue.

Of the 22 news operations studied for this report, only three showed significant levels of targeting. A follow-up evaluation six months later found that two more sites had shown some movement in this direction, but only some, from virtually no targeting to a limited amount on inside pages. By contrast, highly targeted advertising is already a key component of the business model of operations such as Google and Facebook.

These are some of the findings of the study, which analyzed the advertising in 22 different news operations and 5,381 ads representing a cross section of media.

Most of us tend not to be thrilled about being tracked online, but what if your choice was be tracked and have access to lots of different news sites, or not be tracked and have access to fewer independent news sources?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Let's get scared!

As I tweeted back to Brad DeLong, dog-lovers are going to be impossible to be around for the next few days:

How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy

Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia? A biologist’s science- fiction hunch is gaining credence and shaping the emerging science of mind- controlling parasites.

Click, if you dare.

And can't you just hear Carl Zimmer cackling?

(pic. source, pic. source)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Niche of the Day. And oh, how I wish Julia Child were around to see this.

I bet she'd love it, actually.

Yes, it's Vegan Black Metal Chef. He's got a website! And a YouTube channel, with over 22,000 subscribers!

Episode 4 deserves its own special shoutout: "Hail Seitan."

But of course we want to watch them in order, amirite? So here is Episode 1: "Pad Thai."

(alt. video link)

See also the accompanying "Behind the video" post.

(h/t: John Seabrook)

Friday, February 10, 2012

There are some things that will never stop amazing me

And one of them, for sure, is the precision with which we can measure things, even remotely.

The tandem satellites, which are usually 137 miles apart, are sensitive to regional changes in the Earth’s mass and gravitational pull caused by the distribution of water and ice on the planet.

When the lead satellite flies over an area of increased mass, it will sense the increase in gravity and pull slightly away from the trailing satellite. Researchers can detect changes of just one micron between the two satellites …

How much is a micron? A millionth of a meter. Or put another way, the thickness of a human hair is about 100 microns.

So, we're detecting a difference of one one-hundredth the width of a human hair, on a scale of 137 miles, between two things whizzing 500 km overhead at 27,000 km/hr. (300 miles overhead at 17,000 mph, in American.)


You know what Randall would say.

In conclusion, this proves that global warming is a hoax.

(pic. source: NASA/the GRACE mission)

Looks like one of the Five Brothers after this past Tuesday, doesn't it?

(Actually, their eyes always look like that.)

Santorum did WHAT???

But seriously, a pretty cool little article, with bonus sound clip.

(title: cf.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

From the annals of online tracking

Here's an ad that was just presented to me, on YouTube (a Google property), where, as you can see, I was logged in.

Knowing what you do about me, can you think of anything less likely to appeal to me?


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Google+ bug report: links that get disabled

Starting yesterday, I noticed that links to my blog posts on my Google+ posts page, that I have put there through Blogger's share function, stop being links a second or two after my G+ posts page loads. Even weirder, it only happens when I'm logged into Google. Anybody else have this problem?

Following is the most exciting video evar a screencast that I made, using Screenr, to show the problem. You'll probably want to go full screen. The text that's displayed at the start of the video is reproduced below.

(alt. video links: YouTube | Screenr)

If you really want to scrutinize this video, click the Screenr alt. video link, and click the HD button when you get over there.

Google+ Weirdness

You may want to PAUSE THE VIDEO so you can read this whole page.

I use Blogger's Share function to cause my blog posts to appear on my Google+ posts page. Beginning yesterday, I noticed that the post titles, which are supposed to be permalinks back to blog posts, are no longer links.

More precisely, the titles are links for a moment, as the page is loading, and then they fade to gray and stop being hyperlinks.

This happens with Chrome and Firefox on a machine running WinXP, and with Firefox on WinVista.

But that's not the weird part. The weird part is that it only happens when I'm logged in to my Google account.

First, I'll visit my Google+ posts page while logged in and show that the titles are momentarily links. (I'll middle-click one of them, which will cause it to open in a new tab.)

Second, I'll log out of Google and then revisit my Google+ page, and show how the titles remain links.

My Google+ posts page is at http://gplus.to/bjkeefe.

The full URL: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102552943911220179348/posts.

[Added] A version of the above is also posted on Google Groups, in the Google+ Pages Discussion Forum.

[Update 2012-02-08 14:16] As of this moment, the problem seems to have gone away. Now, I'm not going to take all the credit, but that was some seriously good videography, wasn't it?

It was the best of Google doodles, it was the wor-- ...

I'm probably only about the millionth person to make that joke today, on the Internet.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Thought this was a fake ...

... when I saw it over at TBogg's place, but apparently, it's not.

(pic. source: The Frisky)

"... the malignant narcissim of malicious politicians ..."

Why, yes. That does pretty well sum up Newt Gingrich, doesn't it?

Here is a nice old southern gentleman taking Newt to school, courtesy of a nice young western gentleman.

(alt. video link)


P.S. Far be it from me to tell you I told you so, but told ya.


Here's a five-minute talk (because that's all Ignite allows!) by Tae Phoenix, aka Teresa Valdez Klein. It's about spending surprisingly tiny amounts of money to get your message out there, for example, on Facebook.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Baratunde Thurston on TWiT #339, via Don McArthur in G+ comments)

Wingnut Watch: Shadrack McGill

Alabama state senator Shadrack Mcgill: fundie and wingnut
Above: Mr. Soon To Be Posterized
on Tea Party Jesus. One hopes.
It's a great thing about the Internet that assclowns like Shadrack McGill can be named and shamed.

Start with kez's tweet.

And then see Cal Alabaster, Jr., for stops two and three.

(smug mug swiped from Out of Steppers)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Line of the Day: 2012-02-05

So now the Hairpiece has endorsed the Haircut, and not the Harebrained. Sweetheart, get me rewrite!
    -- Charles P. Pierce

Bonus at the link: outstanding caricatures by Donkey Hotey. Lots more on Flickr.

Another look at the cocoon

Remember that part I highlighted from the recent "New Rules" bit I posted last week?

Say it again:

But people in the mainstream don’t know a lot about that world. The worst thing that most people hear is a few seconds of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh when they’re in a taxicab. But if you spend time at Media Matters or the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Watch” blog, and so on, or, if, God help you, you go to a white nationalist conference as I did in Washington in September, you know that these ideas have real currency.

My worry isn’t that Newsweek would approach some right-wing guy and get a quote from him, but that they would do it without knowing just how right-wing he is.

[Links added].

The above is from Katie Ryder's interview of Arthur Goldwag, on the question of the New Hate and whether it's different from or worse than what wingnuts of old wallowed in.

Another statement from Goldwag that's well worth repeating:

... Ryan Lizza, the other week in the New Yorker, wrote about a study showing that in recent years the mainstream right has moved much farther to the right than the left has moved to the left.

And from that article:

Polarization also has affected the two parties differently. The Republican Party has drifted much farther to the right than the Democratic Party has drifted to the left. Jacob Hacker, a professor at Yale, whose 2006 book, “Off Center,” documented this trend, told me, citing Poole and Rosenthal’s data on congressional voting records, that, since 1975, “Senate Republicans moved roughly twice as far to the right as Senate Democrats moved to the left” and “House Republicans moved roughly six times as far to the right as House Democrats moved to the left.” In other words, the story of the past few decades is asymmetric polarization.

(h/t: KK, via email)

The One True

From Brian McFadden's "How to Have a Highbrow Halftime:"

And don't fail to click on the arrow at the side of the page when you've finished reading that one. Five more pages of goodness, featuring Newt, SOPA, and other reprehensibilities.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I would like to file a report: Truth in Advertising violation

Oh, wait. My bad. It doesn't actually say "Rational," does it?

Line of the Day: 2012-02-04

Fond memories:

I discovered the pleasures of YouTube around this time. Someone sent me a link to a music video, and I followed it to the site. The whimsical D.I.Y.-ness of the home page, with its clutter of clickable offerings, many sophomoric in nature, made the place feel like a college dorm. Adorable babies, angry cats, embarrassing falls, and child prodigies mingled with the music videos and great concert footage of bands I loved performing at their peak. I e-mailed links to my friends. One of them wrote back, “This is like public television was supposed to be!”

That's from Ryan John Seabrook's New Yorker piece in the Annals of Technology, "Streaming Dreams: YouTube turns pro." Haven't finished it yet (511: I'm reading the print edition in chunks, when nature calls, the way Harold Ross would have wanted it), but so far, so very good.

Seabrook also has a related blog post featuring videos from the dawn of (YouTube) time.

[Added] In Comments, nice guy Steve M. points to another article about YouTube for your reading pleasure.

Hey, Republicans. This is just like creeping Sharia, isn't it?

Church lawyer tells judge: 'Only Scientology law applies'

Actually, my biggest fear is running out of coffee

But this thing that I swiped from Rexi44's sidebar is still appealing.

Don't they already have about 365 of those every year?

Arizona GOP Lawmaker Wants A State Holiday To Celebrate White People

(Think Progress, via Rexi44)

Not sure how I feel about this, but ...

... it certainly bears further contemplation, and I definitely sympathize with the underlying motivations.

Ban The Box

Our “Ban the Box” campaign calls for the elimination of the questions about past convictions on initialpublic employment applications. Our aim is to win policy change through grassroots mobilizations, and to build a political movement of formerly-incarcerated activists. This campaign will allow us to target and challenge the many “boxes” on a variety of applications (i.e. employment, housing, social services, etc.) we are required to check that supports structural discrimination against formerly-incarcerated people.

Banning the box on public employment applications will contribute to public safety because it will promote stable employment in our communities. Communities of color and poor communities already are targeted by mass imprisonment, racial profiling, school closures, and low employment rates. People coming out of prison or county jails need to be able to feed their families, pay rent, and reunite with their families, and return their lives as productive members of the community. People with jobs and stable community lives are much less likely to return committing crimes in order to survive.

Ban The Box is a campaign being conducted by All Of Us Or None.

(h/t: Rexi44)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Shocking news

In case you hadn't heard, this happened, again:

See Jay Bookman for details.

(pic. source: Paul Boylan)

If you're feeling down on what we call our political process, don't watch this ...

... thing I randomly hopped to on the YouTube. But it is quite well done, I think.

(alt. video link)

What do you think? Seems dated? Or (discouragingly) current?

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Sounds like either way too many or not nearly enough, don't you think?

A Thousand Dildos For The Military Wives

In other sexytime news from PCMag (??? (well, both stories refer to robots, kind of, I guess)), iPhone users don't put out on the first date as frequently as Android users. But they do put out more frequently than Blackberry users.

I feel like Spock in real life

Screenshot of the advertising column on my Gmail inbox page, showing links to everything from locksmiths to Christian lyrics to help planning a birthday for my daughter.You know, that time when he sent the rogue computer into a nervous breakdown by commanding it to compute π to the last digit.

Not to keep being that guy on this, but I gotta say, what's shown at right indicates to me that after half a decade, at least, of being logged into Google and letting it examine what's rather hysterically called my personal data, the most powerful computer network on the planet still can't do any better than throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks.

The lesson? Spend a part of your day, every day, on Gmail, talking nonsense with your friends. That's how you defeat Skynet.

Oh, and have some more π. Mmmm, pi.

[Update 2012-03-16] Change image link from Imageshack (bad!) to Photobucket (good!)

Okay, yeah, they probably wouldn't prevent tranmission of STDs

But still, ladies, how cool would it be if instead of having to carry around condoms (due to the … uh, forgetfulness, yeah, that's it … of men who have something else swamping their minds), you could instead, in an intimate moment, reach into your purse or the bedside table, and PULL OUT A RAY GUN?

"Now, now, dear, this won't hurt a bit."

(h/t: Rufus Polk)

P.S. Because Uncle Eb will be mad if that's the only picture I use, let's have equal time, and present an ad for … uh, sneakers, yeah, that's it … that just happened to appear on the same page. (Thanks, Google!)

Appreciation for a valediction

Very nice, Twitter. What an elegant way to remind people that the blast of flame that they're about to send is actually going to be read by a human being on the other end.

screenshot of an email form, with the valediction hard-wired to be 'With love,'(embiggen)

Do your billing and cooing here!

"Some say Romney's comments being taken out of context"

The lazy journalist's two favorite words.

Not that I'm accusing FoxNews of being journalists, you understand.


"Baratunde Thurston teaches you 'How To Be Black'”

Here's the first couple of slides to get you started:

See the rest.

Baratunde, if you didn't already know, is digital director of The Onion. The slides are part of the pimping celebration of the release of his autobiography. Of course there is an affiliated website filled with fanciness, because, come on, digital director. [Insert joke about bossing around white people here. But keep it tasteful so as not to upset Charles Murray fans.]

Want to participate in a video chat? Friday 3 Feb 11am EST, on the WaPo's site. See his blog and Twitter feed, also.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Your worst nightmare come true

Check out the salutation. (Click it to see the whole thing.)

Sweeeeeeeht. Now, let me go get my buckets and head on down to K Street.

Kinsley gaffe of the day

Lucky for him you can't see his hands.

What, context? You want context? What goes around comes around, Willard. Ask anybody. Including the Salt Lake Tribune.

(h/t: KK | title: cf.)

[Added] Pareene rushes to his defense!

I suppose there must be something worse ...

... than re-posting a video which ran as a pre-roll ad and calling it "blogging," but I can't think of what it would be. But who cares, I love these.

(alt. video link)

I haven't ever seen the cougar one. Have you?

Good. Because there's nothing more tedious than a self-loathing Ruby script.

The process doesn’t daemonise itself ...

Wait. Wait wait wait. That's not the weird part.*

I happened across the above while looking to see if a semi-spammy-seeming email had anything behind it.

On a thoroughly unrelated note (except chronologically), and my weakness for nerd jokes aside, I did next find what I was looking for, and did the first thing you always do with a new search engine: type in your own name. Which didn't return much, but did lead me to discover that a phrase of mine apparently went sorta viral about a year ago.

I guess I have an OpenSalon post from The Majority Report to thank for that. So, thanks, Sam! (Or whoever actually runs that blog.) And let us hope a seed or two got lodged in Matt Bai's ear.

* (The part to which I refer starts at 0:24).

(alt. audio link | transcript)

I think I only ever saw that once, when it originally aired, but I've never forgotten it. (Although admittedly it did blur a bit -- if you know me AFK, you might have heard me say that the weird part is "a different golden retriever.")

Deep thought

What would happen if you ROT13ed l33t sp34k?

Sometimes, realizing you've gotten too old for today's pop music is actually not that bad

This week's Amazon "MP3 newsletter" (which, really, can have its good points way down at the bottom) featured a name that was completely new to me. Okay, we all know the drill. Tinker to Evers to Google, and … by Chance, look. at. that.

Elizabeth Grant (born June 21, 1986), better known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, is an American singer/songwriter. She has been described as a "self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra",[5] and cites Britney Spears,[6] Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain amongst her musical influences.[6][7]

Uh ... I was gonna say I, too, liked Kurt, but after typing those three dots, I've decided it's probably more honest just to say, Okay! Spectrum covered! Why SHOULDN'T everyone like you?


I did also listen to the title track of what I am told is her monster new album, and made it nearly two-thirds of the way through before giving it a considered "meh." Or "neh." Not sure. Already fading from memory.

It's going to be a long time before I'm able to floss my brain clean of "self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra," though.

Hey, wait! I've got a new complaint!

(alt. audio link)

So there's that.


Molly once said, "We have to have fun while trying to stave off the forces of darkness because we hardly ever win, so it's the only fun we get to have."

In that spirit and not at all because I obsessively test links, I typed my name into The Trustworthy Search Engine mentioned last post. On one of many pages featuring the burblings of Long Beach City College's finest,* I was presented with this advertising image:


Which is now linked as it should be. You're welcome, rightwingers!

(title: cf.)

* Never forget: SASQUATCH ISRAEL.

Alinksy!!!1! Exposed!!!eleventy!

I was going back and forth with C about the latest kowtowing to the American Taliban and that made me think of a clip emailed a couple of days ago by Special Agent Z200a.

Χιούμορ είναι αλήθεια:

(alt. video link)

I was and am grateful that FINALLY someone with a platform bigger than mine is talking about this. Not to claim superiority over Mr. Maher, of course, but I've been asking this since late '07, early '08 at the latest. Really. I'm no master of literature or anything, but I've got enough breadth to do a Sunday crossword puzzle, if you see what I'm saying, and the name Alinksy didn't even ring a bell when it first got trotted out, round about the time the Wright and Ayers cards finally went flaccid.

But the thing I really liked about this clip was that twenty-five second bit starting at 1:02 about totebaggers some liberals not realizing (or worse, refusing to believe) that there really, really is a disturbingly large chunk of the population whose world view begins and ends with such craziness. Like Alinksy is Teh Left's secret playbook. Or Obama hates America, because he's like Mao. No, Pol Pot. No, Castro. No, Stalin. No, Hitler. One of them. Or the answer to all of our fiscal woes is to go back on the gold standard and invest the rest in personal generators and automatic weaponry (which Obama stealthily plans to take away, doncha know), strictly intended for hunting defending Teh Constitooshin, of course. And God help you if you let Obama's seekrit FEMA police give your child a vaccine or make him eat green vegetables!!!1! Because Michelle is uppity angry!!!1! Also!!!1!

Believe it. Or don't, and see for yourself: go to The Trustworthy Search Engine and type in any of the above. Or any phrase from current events, or American history (1776-1789, 1860-1861, 1941-1945, and 9/11/2001-5/1  /2003 will work best), that comes to mind. And then wallow for a while. Or just browse around Summa Wingnuttia.

No need to panic. They're still a decided minority,* albeit noisy and redolent. But please, just be aware. They're not amenable to compromise, much less reason, and you'd do well to bear that in mind. Not saying it's time for a purge or anything like that. Just saying that you might be amazed what's in our midst.

--bjk +7. Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια.

(Pic. source: The Triadvocate | All Greek to you? Okay, here: 1, 2)


[Added] Oh crap. Googling around for one of the above links teaches me that once again, I am behind: that consarned Edroso has already been all over this one, too. Days ago!

Welp, if you, too, are just learning about this recent work from Roy, sorry for wasting your time, but glad I'm only the opening act, at least! Intro here, full column here. Go.

* The Republican primaries have not been considered in making this statistical assertion.