Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quote of the Day: Blue Model Implosion

From the mayor of San Jose, California:
"This is one of the dichotomies of California: I am cutting services to my low- and moderate-income people . . . to pay really generous benefits for public employees who make a good living and have an even better retirement."
Yeah, I'm sure this is going to turn out just awesome.

Razing Arizona

The completely unnecessary mess in Arizona was an embarrassment to everyone.  This is as good an analysis as any:
In a doomed effort on a superfluous bill, Arizona legislators created a political disaster for themselves, short-term damage to the business community, massive fundraising and PR victories for the Left, and a national black eye for social conservatives. Not to mention a lovely media distraction from Obamacare. 
In fact, the whole thing was so awful that I'm tempted to hatch a conspiracy theory that those Arizona legislators were Democratic infiltrators and agents provocateurs.

Kerry on Syria: "Transparently Futile ... Profoundly Wrong"

The WaPo editorial board rips into the hapless, hopeless Secretary of State.  The guys at the American Interest add a piquant comment of their own:
Future Presidents and Secretaries of State should take note: This is what happens when your foreign policy dies and goes to hell. Later, historians will rake your bones over the coals.

Nerd News: Publishers Withdraw 120+ Fake Research Papers

Here's the sordid tale:
The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense. 
Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril LabbĂ© of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. 
The "nerds behaving badly" tag is for the publishers who clearly had sloppy vetting practices.  My response:

Nerd Journal: With Friends Like These ...

Thor: The Dark World came out on Blu-ray yesterday, and when I got home from class, I found a copy of it waiting for me, courtesy of those evil enablers Count Chocula and La Parisienne.  I may or may not have played it 4 times in the last 48 hours while helplessly cursing Loki for being so wickedly splendid.  I'm not sure how it could possibly be any worse.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Never Give An Order You Know Won't Be Obeyed: Connecticut Edition


Nerd News: Academic Assessment Gone Mad

You don't say!   This glorious "satire" hits too close to home:
We will establish a Workplace Agency for Success and Teaching Excellence (Waste) to oversee the large number of Committees on the Recording and Assessment of Professors (Crap) that must be established in order to make these assessment efforts possible. We estimate that this office will need a staff of 60 highly trained Waste managers and appropriate Crap support staff with an annual budget of £100 million. We believe that these funds can be readily obtained through efficiency savings garnered from the large amount of instructional waste present on campus. Further savings will be obtained through the use of more contingent staff and by increasing charges to staff for renting office space and for car parking.
In other words, the admin will eat the faculty in the name of education.  It's already happening.  Do you know that for the average price of one college VP you could hire an entire battalion of lecturers who actually - you know, this is a revolutionary thought indeed - teach students?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You'll Laugh. You'll Cry. You'll Curl.

I just love this photo from the Sochi curling competition.  From the hilariously dressed fan to Team Norway's famous trousers to the exuberance on both sides as Team Norway's skip responds to the cheers, this photo is brilliant and one of my favorite images yet to come out of Sochi.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Awesomeness: "2 Guys In A Pizza Shop Perform The Best Cover of 'Africa' by Toto You've Probably Ever Heard"

Seriously, this is awesome:

Bawl-ympics: NBC Hits New Low with Emotional Abuse

You know, I didn't post on this last night because my Olympic-viewing buddies and I were in a complete frothing, cursing rage, and I thought it would be better to wait until this morning and see if I were any less mad before commenting.


The crew and I were furious last night when we all sent nasty messages and tweets to NBC, and we're still furious.  We're talking about NBC's unacceptable treatment of skier Bode Miller. I refuse to link to NBC itself, but sports blogs are all over this, aside from Twitter, which had a meltdown.

NBC seemed bound and determined to hound Miller until he broke down on camera ... and when he did, they still followed him like a flock of voyeuristic vultures.  It was absolutely disgusting to see this pack of heartless ratings-grubbers openly exploit a man's raw grief over the death of his brother.  It was abusive.  It was wrong.

Miller took the high road and tweeted this:
I beg to differ. It was her fault, and it was NBC's fault for making this sort of thing acceptable, and it was NBC's fault again for choosing to broadcast this interview over and over.  SCREW THIS HORRIBLE NETWORK.

But lest we all forget the really important part: Congratulations, Bode, on your bronze medal and making skiing history!

PS: See too this point.

Monday Therapy: Coffee Plumbing

Sunday, February 16, 2014

800-Pound Snowball 1, Campus Housing 0

You've got to see the photos of the monster snowball that got away from its two math-major creators and smashed into a Reed College dorm, cracked its wall, and knocked it off its studs.  Nobody was injured, so we call safely laugh out loud at this!

I personally love this caption on one of the photos: "Runaway 800-lb snowball puts dent in RCA #7.  Math majors were involved."

You know, as a teacher I'm not supposed to say things like this about pranks that cause damage to campus buildings, but this was my honest reaction:

"I'm impressed."

The Sochi Games: What's Hot and What's Not

Are you au courant?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Quote of the Day: Green Purges Are Still Purges

It's the desire to purge that should worry us immediately, no?  This news piece just reinforces my conviction that a lot of these Greenie/lefty folks are crypto-tyrants constrained only by the puniness of their actual power:
Imagine if there were a campaign to sack every senior government adviser who didn’t believe in God. There’d be outrage, and rightly so. Purging politicos from power on the basis of their private beliefs, on the grounds of what lurks in their conscience, would be seen as an intolerable assault on freedom of thought. 
Well, the Green Party is proposing just such an assault on senior government advisers – not on the basis of whether they believe in God but on the basis of whether they accept the climate-change consensus.

"Conservative Friend Annoyingly Not Racist": The Onion Nails Liberal Bias

As usual, you often get the best commentary from humorous and satirical sources.  Take a look.  This is supposed to be satire but nearly not.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Nerdworld Soundtrack: Valentine Schmalentine!

Ow-lympics: The Great Russian Curler Faceplant

All together now: ouch.

A related thought: NBC actually posted this with the actual word "faceplant."

Forgotten History: The 1924 (Inaugural) Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix

Take a photographic journey back to days when curling teams used actual brooms and speed skaters wore suits and ties.  Everyone looked very dapper indeed!

Jon Stewart vs. Diplomat Buyers Club


Happy Valentine's Day!

Food = love.  If I could, I would make bacon hearts for everyone!

Aww-lympics: Saving the Puppies of Sochi

This silver medalist has a heart of gold:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Taste of Sochi

When in Rome, eat as the Romans eat!  When in Sochi, check out the local dishes. Georgian-style dumplings with beef and lamb filling? YES, PLEASE.  I might try making these soon as a massive snowstorm rolls over the entire Eastern seaboard and I won't want to go outside!

LOLympics: Trouser Trouble

Honestly, I love these guys with their crazy outfits.  I think it's wonderfully fun. So do a lot of other folks, and the colorful patterned outfits of the Norwegian men's curling team have become celebrities in their own right.  See, for instance, a daily tracker of the different patterns!

So fugly it's fabulous.

So, inevitably, there will be haters.  Apparently now the haters are squeaking complaints demanding to know if the pants are legal to wear under the terms of the IOC and the World Curling Federation.  Neither organization has really responded, but the Norwegians did, and this made me laugh out loud.  The team, in response to the kerfuffle about their pants, posted this photo:

Don't like our colorful trousers?  Fine, we won't wear them.

Kudos, guys!  That's world-class sass right there, especially the fellow at the far right.  

The only way this could be better is if the undies had the same loud, colorful patterns as the actual competition outfits, but I don't think the guys had enough time to arrange custom undies.  Hey! How about this for an idea: make a Norwegian Men's Curling Team CALENDAR?

PS: I found the pants in a form I would wear in warmer weather.  Cute, no?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

LOLympics: There Should Be Medals For Humor

Even on (especially on?)  the world stage, parents can still be hilariously embarrassing.

Be careful: your face might stick that way!

William Shatner himself is impressed with the doorbusting exploits of US bobsledder Johnny Quinn:
This Audi ad is probably fake, but it's still brilliant:

Sunday, February 09, 2014

PSA: Godwin's Law Does Apply Internationally

In this spat between the Philippines and China, the Filipinos went Godwin first.

Forgotten History: London's Frost Fair of 1814

Imagine a festival on top of the frozen Thames!


I'm too horrified to come up with any other blog post title for this news item from Denmark:
COPENHAGEN Zoo turned down offers from other zoos and 500000 euros ($760000) from a private individual to save the life of a healthy giraffe before killing and slaughtering it to follow inbreeding recommendations made by a European association. 
The 2-year-old male giraffe, named Marius, was put down on Sunday using a bolt pistol and its meat was fed to carnivores at the zoo, spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was dissected.
Oh my God.  That second paragraph is a nightmare.

LOLympics: "Sochi Problems" on Twitter

Since there seem to be plenty of technical and construction issues in Sochi, some wag has taken to Twitter with hilarious commentary with Sochi Problems.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Kentucky High Schoolers Sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"

I fear I've been too negative today on this blog, so here's something really wonderful:

According to Neatorama, this is the context:
The Kentucky All State Choir performs at the Kentucky Music Educators Association conference in Louisville every year, and hundreds of the best high school singers from across the state stay in the same hotel. Last year they were at the Hyatt, which has an 18-story atrium. It is a tradition during the conference that at 11PM (curfew time), everyone comes out of their rooms to sing "The Star Spangled Banner." The performance was captured in its entirety on video. This tradition has been going on for at least twenty years, maybe longer.
The 2014 conference just ended.

LOLympics: The Internet Comments On the Failed Ring

Some of these are hilarious.  For instance, take a look at:

Potemkin (Olympic) Village

A friend sent this link: Sochi, $50 billion and perhaps the most corrupt Games ever.  You know, for spending $50 billion you'd think Sochi would have doors that worked and bathroom taps with water that isn't toxic when there even is water.  Just sayin'.

Possibly more annoying/distressing: some of my friends are turning into actual Sochi apologists, arguing that we shouldn't judge Sochi facilities by "Western" standards and that we're being nasty for doing so.  Uhhh ... NO.  Excuse you, but if Sochi wanted the Games so badly for a two-week-long Putin-a-Palooza to impress the world, then it's clearly doing it wrong.  If you put yourself out there on purpose on the world stage, then you should bloody well expect people to judge you by pretty high standards.  The Sochi apologists should try staying in one of the wretched hotels for a while themselves.  Then again, some people never miss a chance to parade their own preening moral superiority.

If you're going to use the Sochi Games to put up a 2014 version of a Potemkin village, then perhaps you should reacquaint yourself with just what a Potemkin village is.

OK, OK, so there's also going to be an argument about how Russia is unfairly judged, how journalists can be subject to biases and preconceptions, etc.  Maybe.  But there is plenty of fodder for legitimate complaint without dipping into old-school prejudices that Russia is a cold, backward, vodka-drenched, lawless wasteland populated by people who drive like lunatics or whatever.   We don't even have to go there.  You don't want to judge the facilities and creature comforts?  Fine.  Let's just judge Russia's political leadership, then.  Is that less touchy for you?  All we have to do is look at Putin.  Should we say "Iran"? "Syria"? "P*ssy Riot"?  How about the ugly legal assault on the rights of gay Russians?  Come on.  Come on.  

And NO, the fact that you're hosting the Games doesn't mean that you're immune from criticism.  I lambasted Beijing relentlessly during those Games, and I think in part I did it because I could tell some Western journalists were holding back (fears of being called racist?).  You know, you can tell people are holding back now too.  Screw the apologists.  SCREW 'EM.

The Geopolitics of Winter Olympics Medal Counts

Oh, the medal count is always geopolitically charged.  Let's not pretend otherwise, mmmkay?

Sochi Opening Ceremonies: As Bizarre As You'd Imagine. Plus Geopolitical Nerd Fight

You just KNEW it was going to be a weird night when the Trololo song ended up in the proceedings and this happened:

As for the rest of the evening, I should preface this by saying that in my corner of Nerdworld, watching the thing with a bunch of fellow nerds turned into an argument about geopolitics. Whoever keeps trying to say that the Games are non-political is a fool.  You know, I wasn't going to bother blogging about the nerd fight, but why not ... You saw the ceremonies yourself and know the extent of its content. But you weren't in my living room. So if you want to hear what happened, it's all after the fold.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday Gluttony: Totchos

It wouldn't be a Super Bowl party without a mountain of food.  Yeah, I know buffalo wings and such are traditional, but let's not fall into a rut.  Here's a deliciously creative twist on nachos.   Why didn't I think of this? 


UPDATE: Link fixed. Sorry.