Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Mitt Romney’s Financial Mysteries"

WillardProfessor of tax law Michael J. Graetz (a former HW Bushie, interestingly enough) makes a good point:

PRESSURE is mounting for Mitt Romney to release more of his financial records. Mr. Romney has made public only his 2010 tax returns and has said his 2011 documents will be released soon.“That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” he said recently. He is “simply not enthusiastic,” he also said, … [that those additional records will be, you know, scrutinized or something, I paraphrased.]

But it is a good bet that Mr. Romney’s vetters have picked through more than two years of returns of his vice-presidential contenders. And the Senate typically requires more for confirmation to a cabinet or even a subcabinet post.

Maybe we can place a silent hold on Willard's nomination? Well, Prof. Graetz doesn't go that far. But he does next say this:

Until Mr. Romney recognizes the right of voters to understand the finances of their leaders, all we are left with is speculation.

Hmmm. That sounds oddly familiar. Perhaps he is encouraging us?

I'm no car expert, but isn't that a Subaru?


(h/t: KK, via email)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Voter Fraud!!!1!

flashing light!!!1! OMG IT'S TRUE!!!1! Drudge siren!!!1!

oh noes!oh noes!oh noes!oh noes!

What's the matter, Chick-Fil-A, you don't think ...

... Santorum, Huckabee, and Palin love you enough already?

(cf., cf.)


Reporting from the Skynet watch:

The combined level of robotic chatter on the world’s wireless networks — measured in the digital data load they exert on networks — is likely soon to exceed that generated by the sum of all human voice conversations taking place on wireless grids.


Machine-to-machine communications has been around for more than two decades, initially run on landline connections and used for controlling industrial processes remotely. With advances in mobile broadband speeds and smartphone computing, the same robotic conversations are now rapidly shifting to wireless networks.

When the total amount of data traffic generated by machines overtakes that created by human voice conversations — or possibly before — mobile operators will have to choose who waits in line to make a call or receive an e-mail — the machine or the human.

Or, you know, the healthy competition in the telecommunications arena will cause rapid innovation and network expansion, in response to demand.

Oh, wait.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Twilight of the Bombs"

Repeating something, in case you didn't see me mention it on the Twitter.

Highest possible recommendation: a one-hour talk by Richard Rhodes, followed by forty minutes of Q&A, mostly with Stewart Brand. Starts bleak, ends hopeful.


2022-08-25 Video no longer available. Sorry.

David has started watching, and likes it.

And as for the new book idea, mentioned at the end, I wonder if we could get it done through Kickstarter. Or maybe one of you has an in at the Gates Foundation? Rhodes is, as you probably already know, one of my favorite authors, and I'd love to see him funded for that new project.

Uh, which I will still say even as I now see that I have read about one-eighth of his canon.

Always a delight to have a wrap-up of Jonah Golberg's recent (in)activity

A pallet full of remaindered copies of 'Liberal Facism'Made my afternoon. Thanks, Pareene!

And this I did not know:

Alex Pareene's annual Hack List is so popular -- and useful -- we thought we should spread it out over the year. This column is a regular feature taking a deeper look at our media's most pernicious hacks, which we'll rank in order at year's end.

Bookmark that, because obviously. And here's the complete 2011 Hack List, in case you missed it.

(pic. source)

[Update 2021-09-21 13:46] Backup copy of image (because old image host is going sour):

Line of the Day: 2012-07-29

Believe nothing until it's been officially denied.
    -- Claud Cockburn, as quoted by James Wolcott

(h/t: Roy Edroso, who has also written a remembrance of Claud's son)

"The Conversion of a Climate Change Skeptic"

CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming.

That is the beginning of an op-ed by Richard A. Muller which is well worth reading in its entirety.

If you don't know Muller, the short version is that he was for some time the darling of the denialists, being the most credible critic of climate change research, a rare person who could legitimately be called a skeptic in the best scientific sense. In April of 2011, he became dead to the denialists. The op-ed is a distillation of the findings he first reported then, and of follow-up work since.

Those bent on denialism may try to cherry-pick some fragments from the end of the op-ed. If so, maybe I can save them some typing by stating that I don't dispute anything from the end, any more than I do from the lede. What I would really like is not to blunder into some wild set of programs pushed by the most zealous alarmists, but to get to a rational starting point, where everyone agrees on Muller's fundamental conclusion.

Finally, to the so-called agnostics: Yes, you could still make the case that this is yet another argument from authority, that you will insist that you remain unpersuaded because you haven't had the time to study the problem yourself. If so, so be it. But I do wish you would ask yourself how many other aspects of life you accept, entirely because the experts in those fields have converged.

(h/t: Jack, via email)


[Added] You'll be shocked, shocked to see that Andrew Revkin has rushed about gathering up brickbats for Muller, but you might find some worthwhile bits, if you're the sort who follows this Debate© closely. (h/t: John Horgan)

[Added2] Also via Jack, a delightful catch from Roy. Connoisseurs of homo wingnuttia are encouraged to follow the links Roy offers to the Power Tool blog posts, but this bit from the second one is just too good not to quote:

Hmm, maybe the Kochs are actually interested in good science after all, and perhaps their critics might want to give some benefit of the doubt to other Koch-supported research projects?

Man. Lipstick on a pig doesn't even come close.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Meanwhile, back in the medieval United States

Cardinal William J. Levada ... told nuns they should consider a church critique “an invitation to obedience.”

In step!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Of all the things Congress lets slip into bills unnoticed, ...

... why oh why couldn't this have been one of them?

Well, I suppose my inner grammar/spelling/punctuation/usage scold approves.

"Cerf: I would happily fertilize my tomatoes with Crovitz' assertion."

C|net's Charles Cooper has an interview with Vint Cerf, motivated by the recent op-ed by some wingnut on the WSJ opinion page (but I repeat myself) that claimed "the gummit had nothing to do with the creation of the Internet!!!1!"

I hesitate to give even a tiny bit more attention to Gordon Crovitz, but since the MSM is once again going all Shape of Earth: Views Differ on yet another completely specious claim by a mindless rightwing ideologue (but I repeat myself), I suppose it's worth having an authoritative rebuttal at hand.

Cerf concludes, "Articles like Crovitz' distort history for political purposes and I hope people who want to know the real story will discount this kind of revisionist interpretation."

Nuff said.

(h/t: This Week in Google #156, about 81 minutes in)

So funny it could work!

Imagine hooking that up to a charity of your choice. (Or, if oversleeping is really a problem, to a charity you can't stand.)

Swiped from Bonkers World, perhaps best known as the creator of the world's greatest org charts.

(h/t: This Week in Google #156, about 56 minutes in)

Line of the Day: 2012-07-26

Now, there is something reasonable about a company actually being willing to cannibalize its own older offerings with something more modern. But a key warning sign that something is wrong is that they're not moving customers to something that's better and cheaper -- which is what you normally see in a truly competitive, innovative market. Instead, they're moving them to a more limited, more expensive offering. That's what you tend to see when there's not nearly enough competition in the market, and a few established players whose customers have little choice.
    -- Mike Masnick

At what point do we acknowledge that, first, there is almost no competition when it comes to providing Internet access to homes, and second, that the tubes are infrastructure, no different from roads, and start offering some public options?

Yeah, I know. Socialism.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Good afternoon, moon

My favorite picture of Donald Duck

Just saw the waning goddamit so much for my great new mnemonic waxing crescent moon heading for the western horizon, which reminds me that I was happy to notice it, high in the sky, this afternoon, while sitting for two hours in the parking lot politely called "the Van Wyck Expressway." It made me think, as it always does, of a story my college roommate told me, about being in a science class way back in elementary school or junior high, when he dared to contradict the teacher when she said that the moon was never visible during the day.

"Do you want to flunk this class?" she explained, and so Bob chose discretion as the better part of going Galileo.

This is not meant to support some Republicanesque call for incompetent teachers to be fired, every day, so that we can pay the remaining ones even less, because Free Market!!!1!. It is just to suggest that a refresher course in pedagogical mentoring & science might sometimes be in order, although I admit the initialization could use some work.

[Added] Yeah, well, I still can't say "van gockhkhkhk" without feeling pretentious, either.

[Added2} What I saw was a bit less mixed with clouds, but M. Bouffant has captured the essence, as he so often does.

[Added3] Some more pictures, sent in by Ocean, below the fold.

Hey, look! An online calculator!!!1!

Snark aside, I like it. Nice to have the option, even if I'll probably still just type in what I want to calculate.

You know that you can use Google for a calculator, right? Well, check out this new wrinkle.

(h/t: KAPT_Kipper)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Great minds think alike? Or echo chamber?

If it were anyone other than Roy Edroso, I might actually be worried. In this case, however, I'd say, what, ONLY fifty-six people who follow me also follow Roy? Rest of y'all don't know what you are missing.

Shit. Only 61?

Sally Ride has died. She was a good woman, and deserves to be in our thoughts, at least for a little while.

Perhaps one way to augment that is to have a look at the article that the NYT recommended I read next, when I got to tbe bottom of the obit.

Unmanned spacecraft, after all.

Yet Another Baseball Quandary

If there's a thing that baseball fans like to do even more than argue over statistics, it is to contemplate edge cases in the rule book. And so, inspired by Jordany Valdespin's first inning at bat, this.


As you may already know, the batter cannot call time out. The batter can only request time out from the home plate umpire. Nonetheless, from time to time, especially when the pitcher is taking a long time to deliver the next pitch, this results in the umpire granting time at the same time as the pitcher finally commits to throwing the ball. Usually, the pitcher just stops, without a problem. Sometimes, because coaches always tell you to do this when you're a pitcher, you avoid the possibility of injury that might result from an sudden, unnatural stop by completing the pitch. The pitch does not count, of course, and no one thinks ill of the pitcher for letting it fly.


Since the pitch does not count if the umpire has signaled time out, what if the pitcher fires the ball into the batter's ribs? Shouldn't be a hit-by-pitch because time is out, right?

Someone whose batting average was lower than his ERA


[Added] To clarify ....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Line of the Day: 2012-07-22

Says the guy who, de facto, ran the most recent campaigns of Schwarzenegger and McCain:

The Republican Party in the state institutionally has become a small ideological club that is basically in the business of hunting out heretics.
    -- Steve Schmidt

Which brings to mind a cliché: As California goes, so goes the nation.

I mean, of course it's already happening nationwide, and has been for years. What we hope is that the MSM dares to speak this truth out loud.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Been a while since we remarked upon the Bush Legacy

Mr. Newell uncovers the real dirt while the MSM pretends W "declined" an "invitation" to attend this year's Republican National Convention.

Today in political silliness

"Mapping the social web against your political preferences." As measured by how people click Facebook Like buttons, so, y'know, pass the salt.

Click image to enlarge; see Garance Franke-Rutta for details.

I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing that I don't recognize only three of those logos.

Turns out, there IS something worse than the talking paper clip

Maybe Steve Ballmer just didn't want to be the fattest sweatiest one anymore liked his looks?

“With a strong set of products and an exciting pipeline for the next year, Mark’s experience and out-of-the-box thinking will help us more effectively reach new consumers and grow market share,” Mr. Ballmer said in a statement.

Yeah, Mark.

Mark Penn.

The epitome of "out-of-the-box thinking."

(pic sources: Ballmer | Penn)

[Added] See also.

A patent troll gets slapped for once. Hurrah.

Once again, our friends across the pond win on civility:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) was ordered by a judge to publish a notice on its U.K. website and in British newspapers alerting people to a ruling that Samsung Electronics Co. didn’t copy designs for the iPad.

The notice should outline the July 9 London court decision that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s registered designs, Judge Colin Birss said yesterday. It should be posted on Apple’s U.K. home page for six months and published in newspapers and magazines to correct any impression the South Korea-based company was copying Apple’s product, Birss said.

And just in case your geeky friends didn't already tell you about this part:

Birss said in his July 9 ruling that Samsung’s tablets were unlikely to be confused with the iPad because they are “not as cool.”

[Added] Lest ye think poor Apple comes up with these designs all by itself, see here. As I heard a few days ago, creativity is the art of hiding your sources.

Thanks for all your (inadvertent) help!

The Bits blog takes another look at Siri's rival. Loved this part:

If Google is better, it is most likely because it has roots in a product Google introduced in 2007, called Google-411, or Google Local Voice Search. Ostensibly a product that provided free directory assistance, Google was mostly interested in capturing the way different people pronounced words.

Reminded me of how we have also been helping, again mostly unaware, to clean up their scanned corpus.


(h/t: KK, via email)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mmmm. That burn sauce tastes so sweet.

The really great part of this story starring Connie Schultz is realizing that even though he is unnamed, the wingnut Citizen Journamalist nonetheless has totally pulled his blankie over his couch cushions pillow fort. Expect not to see him for, oh, let's say ten news cycles.

(h/t: rickmaci/Wonkville)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

McCain spanks Bachmann on floor of Senate

Well, metaphorically. And not by name. And in a sloppy reading monotone kind of way. And, as Rebecca Schoenkopf notes, this, sadly, amounts lately to "one of his biannual decency jags."

But still, he deserves props for doing it. It's not like anyone else in his party would, after all. So take a few minutes to listen.


2022-08-25 Video no longer available. Sorry.


From a few back:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Willard is now paying to promote his Kinsley gaffes, apparently

Okay, so I blurred out a few words. But it doesn't really change the point, does it?

Monday, July 16, 2012

What will all those religious scolds (the GOP base) think when they see this?

When campaign funds are unlimited ...

#Willard #fail

Apparently, Willard "Me, too!" Romney saw an ad he thought was effective. And so, he responded!

Sadly for him, I got to news of it a little late, I guess.

How ... perfect.

[Update] Shockingly, wingnuts are furious.

A Skype bug to be aware of

It appears that the latest version of Skype has a bug in it that is causing a few people to report that their instant messages are being sent to random others.

Fix should be coming in a few days; meantime, probably best to avoid transmitting sensitive info through that channel.

(h/t: Tech News Today #543)

When Willard Whimpers

Swiped from TBogg, who advises Mittens not to listen to Bill Kristol. Original source: Leaning Left of Center.

Line of the Day: 2012-07-16

If I ask Google Voice Search a question, like, “Who is Tim Cook?” it responds with an answer. (He’s the chief executive of Apple.) If I ask Siri the same question, the response is: “I don’t see Tim Cook in your contacts.”
    -- Nick Bilton

[Added] There's some good Apple news, though.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New record set for Inside Baseball

With a little clicking and scrolling, you'll find yourself down a delightful rabbit hole here: "New Statistics Unveiled, Oddibe McDowell Likely a Hall Of Famer."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

From the Department of Not At All Creepy And Of Course The Cops Won't Abuse It

Did you know that your e-reader sends info back to the mothership about the books you're reading and how you're reading them?

Have a listen to On The Media's interview of Alexandra Alter (about six minutes long) and/or read her article in the WSJ.

Via Rolando's comment on the former, I see this is not breaking news -- NPR did a piece on it in 2010. Also, happily, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been on the case for at least that long (e.g., e.g.).

Possibly useful minor Firefox thing

You know how when you're scrolling with your mouse wheel, the page goes up or down by several lines, no matter how little you move the wheel? Once in a while you might like a little finer grain control. If so, hold the Alt key while scrolling, and then you'll go one line at a time.

Assuming you haven't changed the default setting in about:config, I mean. Search for mousewheel.with to check (screenshot).


However, I have not actually read Donald Douglas's post.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The truest thing you will see about Willard all month

Click below to see the whole screenshot, in case this link no longer works.

(h/t: Rufus Polk, RTing this)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Eh, maybe. But what about being bored by Collins vs. Brooks?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sick joke

True, unfortunately (emph. added):

A boy who the police say was bludgeoned to death by his mother … was declared dead at the apartment, and his mother, Tenika Revell, was taken to Woodhull Medical Center for evaluation. Ms. Revell, 40, was charged with murder, manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

He's not even trying to fake sincerity anymore

Blurb for an article you're probably about as interested as I am in reading:

Days after his spokesman said the requirement that people have insurance was not a tax, Mitt Romney said it was, aligning himself with the conservative voices in his party.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Euphemism of the Day

The NYT is calling the astroturf group formed by Big Soda "grassroots-style."

Pretty good shirt, though: