Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Science Imitates Comic Books: Dark Jupiter

Go on, tell me "Dark Jupiter" doesn't sound like the name of a superhero (or supervillain).  Come on, you know it totally does.

Quote of the Day: WikiLeaks

What do you think?
In addition to their being no big lies, there are also no surprises–at least, no surprises for anyone paying attention to foreign affairs. Anyone really surprised by the fact that in private, Arab leaders are just as worried about a nuclear Iran as is Israel? Anyone really surprised that Nicolas Sarkozy has been said to have an authoritarian streak, that Silvio Berlusconi is too much of a party animal for his (and his country’s) own good, that democracy is dead in Russia, and that the Chinese are sick of the antics of the North Koreans? Oh, sure, the cables are very interesting, and informative. But are they all that shocking in their content? Hardly; we all are familiar with the storylines found in them. The titillating aspect of the cables is that they confirm what many have suspected regarding the opinions that are held by American diplomats, and that many of the cables make their points in interesting and colorful language.

Quote of the Day: Parenting and Common Sense in Politics

Read the whole thing:
I'm glad my children share my political orientation, but it bothers me when I hear them unthinkingly mock and dismiss the other side – as when my son recently said, "If Republicans want smaller government, they should quit their jobs in Congress."
Lately, I've found myself in the odd position of explaining and even justifying the conservative point of view on taxes, abortion, and regulation of private enterprise, just so my children will understand that people have reasons for their beliefs, even if we disagree.
... Contempt for the opposition may be profitable on talk radio, but it doesn't help the rest of us. All it accomplishes is to drive people further into their angry, fanatical corners.
This is the next political insight I'll be sharing with my kids.

Nerd News: Man Steals $4.5 Million From Columbia University


Nerd News: Public School Teachers More Likely To Place Own Kids in Private Schools

Hmmmmmmmm. Here are some numbers:
More than 25 percent of public school teachers in Washington and Baltimore send their children to private schools, a new study reports.
Nationwide, public school teachers are almost twice as likely as other parents to choose private schools for their own children, the study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found. More than 1 in 5 public school teachers said their children attend private schools.
In Washington (28 percent), Baltimore (35 percent) and 16 other major cities, the figure is more than 1 in 4. In some cities, nearly half of the children of public school teachers have abandoned public schools.
In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the teachers put their children in private schools; in Cincinnati, 41 percent; Chicago, 39 percent; Rochester, N.Y., 38 percent. The same trends showed up in the San Francisco-Oakland area, where 34 percent of public school teachers chose private schools for their children; 33 percent in New York City and New Jersey suburbs; and 29 percent in Milwaukee and New Orleans.
Michael Pons, spokesman for the National Education Association, the 2.7-million-member public school union, declined a request for comment on the study's findings. The American Federation of Teachers also declined to comment.

Dear TSA, Read my T-Shirt. KTHXBAI!

Check out this bit of "protest art" -- or, more specifically, "protest wear" designed to open more dialogue.  What do you think?  Here's the official website.  I rather like the idea!  This is how one of the metallic-printed shirts appears inside one of the TSA's new scanner machines.  Hello, Fourth Amendment!  And you're exercising your First Amendment too -- even as you don't have to say a word.  

RELATED POST:  Creative protest art in the modern age of ever-increasing governmental and bureaucratic lunacy is a gorgeous thing.  Every joke is a tiny revolution, after all!  Remember this splendid example of Aktionskunst from Germany?

Couch Potato Chronicles: Buffy, Joss, and the Idea of Heroism

Read this. Now.  RIGHT NOW.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Latest Weird History Nerd News: The Theory That Columbus Was a Polish Prince

Um ... what?

The Triumphant Return of Friedrich Hayek?

Interesting!  (The article mentions YouTube video satires on economic policy.  Recall this?)  See too related posts about Hayek. Hey, weren't we talking about the Hayek renaissance back in February?

Feline Fun with Patter and Patty-Cake

Here is a hilarious video made even funnier by the addition of a soundtrack.  Even wonder what those patty-cake-playing cats are thinking?  Wonder no more, my lovelies!

Life Imitates Satire: Royal Navy Auctions HMS Invincible Online

Is this for real?!

The Irish Collapse: Erin Go Broke

Is the euro to blame?  Or the EU?  Well, both, I think.  What a mess.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nerd News: UK Students Protest Tuition Hikes

Well, OK, protest away, but as soon as you start destroying property and behaving like hooligans, you've lost your moral standing.

Cartoon Commentary: The New Yorker and Airport Security

Notice the dates of these cartoons.  How prescient the New Yorker has turned out to be!  Here is one from 1972:

Nerd News: Censorship, Speech Codes, and the Closing of the Student Mind

Here's food for thought.  Heaven forfend that you actually think a single thought that has not been approved by the Edu-crats On High!

Almost-Satire Alert: The TSA BS-to-English Translator

Here's a little MM something for you on the busiest travel day of the year in the US.  An enterprising wag has inserted subtitles into the interview between CNN's Anderson Cooper and John Pistole, head of the TSA.  Whatever else you care to say about Pistole (and his alarmingly persistent smile and bland intonation), you've got to admit that he's a master of spin, spin, spin and the fine art of language that says nothing.  (Link via Boing Boing.)  Oh, and slight language warning in the subtitles.

17 Holiday Travel Tips From the Movies

This is hilarious!  Number 8 cracks me up.  Be safe out there if you're traveling today -- it's the single busiest travel day of the year.

Nerd News: University Speech Codes Reborn as "Anti-Bullying" Rules?

The fight for free speech on campus continues, I see

Nerd News: The Public Education System Flunks

Well, OBVIOUSLYOf course throwing money at the problem isn't going to solve it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nerd Journal: MM and Her Posse Love the TARDIS

Yes! I have successfully fled Nerdworld and am finally with my peeps, and we are having fun hanging out, running errands, getting ready for Thanksgiving, and trying to forget work and school.  We're also indulging our love of "Doctor Who."  But even as we like the new Doctor and loved the way the most recent season ended and are very much looking forward to the Christmas special, there is always the lingering memory of David Tennant as Ten.  "I miss him," even the famously stoic Alessandra said, and I do too.  Oh, Ten.  You'll always be my Doctor.  So let's just indulge this for about 7 gloriously musical minutes, shall we?  (Then it's back to holiday errands/preparation/fun.)

Quote of the Day: Ireland and Its Bailout

Here is the observation:
But it’s the utopians of European integration who should learn the hardest lessons from the Irish story. The continent-wide ripples from Ireland’s banking crisis have vindicated the Euroskeptics who argued that the E.U. was expanded too hastily, and that a single currency couldn’t accommodate such a wide diversity of nations. And the Irish government’s hat-in-hand pilgrimages to Brussels have vindicated every nationalist who feared that economic union would eventually mean political subjugation. The yoke of the European Union is lighter than the yoke of the British Empire, but Ireland has returned to a kind of vassal status all the same.

Movie Madness: Joss Whedon Comments on Joss-less Buffy Movie Project

First we had this.  (More here.)  Now The Whedon responds.  Oh, he is fabulous.  Also fabulous: David "Angel" Boreanaz, who responded with a photo on Twitter.

Are Dogs Smarter Than Cats?

Them's fightin' words!  Great choice of photo too for the news story.  Meeeeeow!

Life Imitates The Onion: Negotiating with an Impostor in Afghanistan

I can't make this stuff up if I triedUPDATE: Not really?

The HopeChange Chronicles: A Point of Agreement in the Middle East

All right, I concede that it is change.  But it's not a good change.  Read the whole thing.  Then read this too.  It's a three-way train wreck among Obama, Abbas, and Netanyahu, but a growing consensus opines that it's even worse because of the first one's blunders.   *facepalm*  

Quote of the Day: What Politicians Fear

Here's a snarky comment that's a bit too true:
Politicians fear lots of things — honest labor, easily understood and headline-friendly scandals, constituents who read Hayek — but above all they fear having their credit cards taken away.
Ha!  Read the whole article.  It's about the Irish bailout.

"Reckless Provocation": North Korea Fires on South Korea

From CNN:
North Korea fired artillery toward its tense western sea border with South Korea on Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines, the South's Defense Ministry said.
Fifteen other South Korean soldiers were wounded, five of them seriously, defense officials said. Three civilians were injured in the attack.
About 100 rounds of artillery hit an inhabited South Korean island in the Yellow Sea after the North started firing about 2:30 p.m. local time.
Here are a few other details, including a comment from Zhu Feng, professor of international relations at Peking University, who describes the incident as:
"It's reckless provocation. They [North Korea] want to make a big bang and force the negotiations back into their favor. It's the oldest trick."
BBC News has this (with video of the smoking island).  I'm supposed to be working on research and whatnot today, but you know that now I'll end up hunting for news.  We all know North Korea is insane and aggressive, and fresh evidence of said fact is most unwelcome.  Anyway, Pyongyang is claiming that South Korea fired on them first -- a blatant falsehood that nobody believes.  I have to say, though, that it was only yesterday that Alessandra and I were talking about North Korea and how it is more dangerous than ever.  Then I turn on the morning news and ...

UPDATE:  Hmmmm?   And hmmmm?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1"

In haste because I am running around getting ready for Thanksgiving ... I saw the latest Potter flick on opening night with some fellow fanatics, and I have to say that it was the best Harry Potter movie in a long while.  The enormous book was cut down effectively, and the cliffhanger came as I expected even as it still had been on tetherhooks until the final installment of the story. 

The plot focuses mainly on the adventures of our familiar companions Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) as they go on the run from the ascendant forces of Voldemort and the corrupted Ministry of Magic, which is fine, but I really wanted more of my other beloved characters.  For instance, the glorious Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) had only one, all-too-brief appearance, though I did get a bit more screen time from my beloved Weasley Twins (James and Oliver Phelps).  There is never -- never -- enough of Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. One flash of inspiration that must not be omitted: the ever-wonderful Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour. 

Still, if the movie is intended to bring home the creeping terror and horror of a world now overpowered by the English Patient  Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters, the atmosphere doesn't quite do it.  (Then again, this might not be the fault of the flick, really.  Maybe my inability to be readily terrified is a function of my surviving graduate school...)  Then again, I have never really bought Fiennes as Voldemort.  You-Know-Who has always been more frightening in my imagination than he has ever been on screen.  Well, enough of that.  Let's get to finding and destroying some Horcruxes, shall we?

MM gives this movie a grade of B.  RottenTomatoes give it a Fresh rating with 79% positive reviews.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" runs 146 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violence, frightening images, and one brief (and disconcerting) moment of fantasy sensuality.

What Fresh Hell Is This? Warner Bros. Reboot Buffy Without Joss Whedon


Nerd News: A Letter to SUNY Albany

SUNY Albany recently horrified many a nerd by announcing that it was eliminating programs in foreign languages, classics, and theater.  Now read this glorious letter of protest by a professor of biochemistry and chemistry. I give you a blurb:

Disgustingly Cute: Putin's New Puppy

Yes, Vladimir Putin shamelessly plays the Puppy Card of public relations.  Link via Presurfer, who notes:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin received a Bulgarian shepherd dog as a gift from Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov for signing a gas transit pipeline agreement with Bulgaria. Now he's asking Russians to give the puppy a name. Anyone can propose a male name for the dog by filling out a form on Putin’s official web site.

Look at Your YouTube -- Now Back to Me! The Old Spice Guy Remix

Check out this hilarious remix of the famous Old Spice Guy commercials! 

Hello, ladies.

You may recall previous Old Spice Guy entertainment here.

MM in the Kitchen: Roast Turkey

Oh, yes, kids!  Thanksgiving is coming up FAST, and I am obsessed with the glorious gluttony of it all.  Here is the turkey recipe that I have used for years.  It never fails, it is utterly lovely, it's easy, and everyone loves it.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

UNESCO Recognizes More Cultural Contributions

Here's the list of additions to the catalog of recognized cultural heritage events/objects/practices.  Some are simply, hilariously, gloriously quirky.  Three cheers for Turkey's Kirkpinar oil wrestling festival!  Huzzah for Luxembourg's "hopping procession of Echternach"!

A Thought About the New Touchy-Feely TSA and Traveler Outrage

I suppose, though, in the sense that folks are furious about the grope-tastic possibilities of the new patdown procedures, it's not THAT big a surprise, isn't it?  Because ...

Satire Alert: Iowahawk vs. the TSA

The "Don't Touch My Junk" kerfuffle provoked this hilarious outburst from the irrepressibly glorious Iowahawk.  The "Don't Tread On Me" Gadsden flag will never be the same again!  (See too Iowahawk's other takedown of the TSA here.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Economic Humor: Snarky Cartoons 1, Quantitative Easing 0

I found this video at Tigerhawk, who has this to say about it:
I don't care who you are, if you have the slightest shadow of a thread of a sense of humor and even if you work at "the Goldman Sachs," you will think this is funny.
So here it is, flaws and all.  The absurd juxtaposition between the cartoon figures and the economic policies they are discussing is SO absurd that I couldn't stop laughing.  The deadpan computer-generated voices are killing me too.  "The Ben Bernanke"!

Kitchen Notes: What Japanese Food Can Teach Us

Has an education ever been so delicious?

Good Luck, You Crazy Kids!

But the whole bit about the reuse of Princess Di's engagement ring -- is that cute or creepy?  Well, I hope it brings better luck to Kate than it did to Diana.

Disgustingly Cute: Candy Sushi

It's "sushi" made with Swedish Fish candy!  It's cute and all, but my teeth ache just from me looking at it!  Here, have some fun playing with Swedish Fish, why don't ya?

Nerd News: Higher Education Bubble Update -- Exploding Costs

The Insta-Prof and TaxProfBlog both link to this latest report of absurdity in the skyrocketing cost of higher education.  Blurb:
The ranks of the most expensive colleges have grown again: 100 institutions are charging $50,000 or more for tuition, fees, room, and board in 2010-11, according to a Chronicle analysis of data released last week by the College Board. That's well above the 58 universities and colleges that charged that much in 2009-10, and a major jump from the year before, when only five colleges were priced over $50,000.
May I suggest that if you don't want to be in nerd debt forever that you don't go to ridiculously priced schools?  You may also want to compound your rage by reading this.  I see absolutely no reason why a university president should have a million-dollar salary.

Thoughts on Riots and Subsidies and Social Disorder, Oh My

This makes an interesting read.  Bonus: this zinger of a beatdown on ... Well, read for yourself:
In the U.S., professional protesters, self-styled anarchists and pampered college students who spend too much time reading Foucault and Derrida run wild through the streets, vandalize private property, and set dumpsters on fire.  
Ha!  (It was not a week ago that another rebel nerd and I had hilarious fun hating on Derrida.  But that's another story.)  For a slightly more thought-provoking quote of the day, though, try this observation about all too many nations:
becoming tripartite states in which one-third of all taxpayers are employed by government at some level, one-third of the people are crucially dependent in some way on government support (welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, and a gazillion other untrackable support programs), and one-third produces the income (the tax base) paid out in supports for the first two-thirds.
The structure is untenable.  Just look at Greece and France to see what happens when you make promises you can't keep -- or when the government teat runs dry.  Thatcher was right after all: eventually you DO run out of other people's money.  And then what?  It's simply not good for massive segments of a population to be addicted or dependent on the government.  It just isn't.  It's even worse when the population's become demoralized and infantilized -- social engineering backfiring in spectacular fashion.  Cue the tire-burning, rock-throwing, window-smashing temper tantrums across the Atlantic.  Good grief.  Don't make me get on my soapbox about how being addicted to government goodies in the end makes folks selfish and unreasonable.  I want my goodies!  I don't care about reality!  You promised!  (It reminds me of recent protests over education cuts in California.  "Give us our money!"  "There ISN'T ANY."  "Give us our money!"  "There ISN'T ANY."  "Give us..."  ad nauseam.)

Nerd News: Paying People to Write Your Papers/Theses

*Sigh.*  See this anonymous account by one such write-for-pay scoundrel.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nerd News: Linguistic Fun as "Refudiate" is Named Word of the Year

The Sarah Palinism "refudiate" -- an apparent portmanteau of "refute" and "repudiate" -- is the New Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year for 2010.  Take a look also at the runners-up. (Yes, "vuvuzela" is on the list.)

Airport Security Farce Descends into Nightmare Kafkaesque Lunacy

So, just how exactly, oh TSA, does terrifying screaming 3-year-old little girls help security?  Or shall I mention this new and appalling tale from San Diego?  (I have to say, though, that Mr. Tyner's statement absolutely must be the Quote of the Day:  "You touch my junk and I'll have you arrested."  The counter-quote, remarkable for its sheer mind-blowing lunacy, was the TSA response: "By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights." THE HELL HE/YOU/I/ANYBODY DID!)

I'll end, though, with this piquantly accurate zinger from the aforementioned aggrieved Mr. Tyner:
Tyner points out that every terrorist act on an airplane has been halted by passengers. "It's time to stop treating passengers like criminals and start treating them as assets," he said.
Hear, hear.  Remember this that I posted in the aftermath of the Pantybomber incident?  And this. And this satire that seems too close to real now.  I swear, current events have become impossible to satirize.

Geez Louise.  I'll have to fly home for Christmas.  I'm not looking forward to this, and not just because holiday travel is so miserable in itself without the added stupid burdens of the Idiotic TSA Kabuki Theater That Everyone Knows Is Useless and Idiotic.  Ed Morrissey rightly calls it the "everyone must suffer equally" approach.  But the TSA will never have the stones to do what the Israelis do for air safety

Meanwhile, I shall raise a glass to this creatively rebellious suggestion by Jeffrey Goldberg, who suggests that all you fair lads of Scottish descent or inclination do something particular to join the National Opt-Out Day air travelers' protests and give the TSA more than they can ... er... handle.  (He has since come up with an even sassier idea. By the way, you may -- as I did -- get a laugh from this other cheeky Goldberg response to airport security lunacy.  Or this.)  And a philosophy professor says something that actually makes sense.

UPDATE:  In the interest of being fair, here is Napolitano's new defense of the TSA.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wealth Redistributionism in a Nutshell

Sometimes I like to play a little game with my liberal friends. Let us suppose, I say to them, that you have one hundred dollars with which you plan to purchase food for your family at a local grocery. Now let us suppose that I come along and rob you while you are on your way to the store, taking half of your one hundred dollars.

At this point I ask my friend: Is the robbery good or bad for you economically?  “Bad,” they invariably answer, for “I now have less money for groceries.” Then I ask them: Is my robbing you good or bad for the grocer?  “Bad,” they again answer, for “now he, too, has less money for his family.” Next question: Was it morally right or wrong for me to rob you? “Wrong, of course,” they answer, for “the money did not belong to you.”

Then, the coup de grace:  What if I planned to give your money to someone else, I ask, someone whom I felt was more worthy or deserving of your money?
Teehee!  Shall we have a little chat about property rights?

Movie Madness: Weasley Twins Visit Taiwan

Harry Pottermania!  I can't wait for the new movie to open this Friday.  So here's a bit of Potter-related news as the adorable twin actors James and Oliver Phelps (better known as Fred and George Weasley) visit Taiwan.

Holiday Humor: Ninjabread Men!

Everybody was kung fu fighting.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nerd Notes: British History in a Nutshell

Daniel Hannan has encapsulated the whole of British history into 6 key themes.  What do you think?
1.   Where we came from. The earliest Britons; the invaders – Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans; the Flemings, Huguenots and Jews; the Commonwealth settlers.

2.   How we became a country. The Acts of Union with Wales (1536 and 1542), Scotland (1707) and Ireland (1801); and the Partition (1921).

3.   The roots of our rights. Anglo-Saxon common law; the Great Charter; the Grand Remonstrance; the Levellers; the Bill of Rights; the Great Reform Act; the Chartists; the Suffragettes.

4.   When we fought each other. The Reformation; the English Civil War, and its associated Scottish and Irish conflicts; the Glorious Revolution.

5.   When we fought our neighbours. The intermittent French campaigns between 1340 and 1815; the Spanish Armada; the wars against the Kaiser and Hitler.

6.   Why the world speaks our language. The settlement of North America, and the American Revolution; the British Empire and Commonwealth; decolonisation.

You may also be interested in the lovely Brits at Their Best blog, which highlights the British inheritance and its contributions.  In a very real way, we all share that inheritance.

Nerd Fun: The Guy Fawkes Hacker at Washington State University

Yes, yes, I'm late since Guy Fawkes Day was a few days ago, but this story is too good not to share.  I do love a good student prank, though as usual the campus administrators and authorities are not amused.  My favorite bit of the speech?  The passionate call to arms ... against the campus squirrels.  (Nice use too of the "V For Vendetta" flick.)

UPDATE: OK, I can't resist posting this image. 

Aung San Suu Kyi Freed in Myanmar

The leader of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement is freed from house arrest.  Cheers!  The latest: the Nobel committee has invited her to Oslo.

Nerd News: The Secret Garden ... Tudor Style

Behold, a gorgeous piece of 16th-century horticultural history!  Bonus: The discovery of a lost Tudor garden was more or less accidental and initially due to ... the Luftwaffe.  No, really! Now, feast your eyes on this labyrinthine splendor:

Conan + India + American Express = Awesome Ad

In terms of commercials, this one is pretty darn epic.  Check out the behind-the-scenes commentary too.  Welcome back, Coco!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Fun Video: Philly Flash Mob Sings "Hallelujah Chorus"

Outstanding!  Just as much fun is the title of the video: "Random Act of Culture."  Who couldn't use a bit more lovely music in a day?  Besides, Handel is far too good to be heard only at Christmas.  Video via Assistant Village Idiot.

Forever and ever.

Book Review: New Biography of George Washington

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press, 2010).  Add this to my ever-growing list of things I want to read.  Certainly the lively book review by Kyle Smith is itself worth a read (as are his movie reviews, FYI).

Recession Art: The Value of a Dollar in Food Items

This photo gallery is rather interesting.  I have to say, though, that the Cine-Sib and I have long used our own Ramen Index of Purchasing Power ...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Awesome Photography: Wildlife in Black & White

Gorgeous!  Bonus: baby elephants!

Nerd Fun: 88 Proofs for the Pythagorean Theorem

Mathematical mayhem!

Nerd News: Political Correctness on Campus

Here are a few thoughts.

Couch Potato Chronicles: TV on Veterans Day

For us, we call it Veterans Day now.  For the Brits, it is Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.  The feelings are the same, though, and they are shared even by a certain Time Lord who remembers to wear his poppy.

It Is Veterans Day

Thank you.  To all who served, to all who are serving.

UPDATE: A thought about poppies in England.  Indeed.  I've been there and seen them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Disgustingly Cute: Baby Otters Learn to Swim

OMG!  So much cuteness cannot possibly exist in one place and one time -- it'll rupture the fabric of space and time.  The colorful rubber duckies in the pool are a nice touch.

Blast from the Past: Silent Cal Speaks

President Calvin Coolidge, famous for his laconic approach, earned the nickname "Silent Cal" ... but when he had something to say, he said it.  Check this out from a White House address in 1924, if only as a cool bit of historical archiving joy:

Transcript here.  Here is a blurb:
"Taxes take from everyone a part of his earnings and force everyone to work for a certain part of his time for the government ... I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry; this is the chief meaning of freedom.  Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty."

I Got Your Apocalypse Right Here: Global Debt

In debt up to your eyeballs.  There's a new report from the IMF.  

Cool Video of the Day: Leaf Piles

Here is some seasonal fall fun, since jumping into leaf piles is a time-honored tradition!  (Via the hilarious -- and hilariously named -- Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys.)

Make like a tree and leave.  

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Future Chocolate Apocalypse?


That Mysterious Launching Missile/Plane/Thingy Off California?

Obviously, that was just Tony Stark testing out his latest Iron Man suit.

Couch Potato Chronicles: Conan Is Back

And funnier than ever.  Check out the opening segment of his first episode of his new show on TBS:

I gotta say, late night TV hasn't been nearly as much fun since the NBC debacle ended.  I miss stuff like this.  Oh, and the Cine-Sib opines that out of all the late-night TV comics, Craig Ferguson is the funniest.  I do love Craig -- especially after this.

Here's a Crazy Idea, Kids

I rather like Tigerhawk's thought as a way to start: 
... an across-the-board cut of some percentage in every single program, including entitlements. Leave no department or agency or federal program unscathed. That is "shared sacrifice," ... and it is necessary to establish the credibility that will allow for more nuanced cutting down the road.
Cut a percentage from everything?  Why, that even sounds ... fair.

RELATED POSTS:  Let's rip into edu-crat jobs.  How about dumping the Department of Education?

UPDATE:  Lessons from London?  Thus spake the Insta-Prof.

Nerd News: A Teacher Ponders Teachers' Unions


Nerd News: "Fat Studies" On Campus

I can't make this stuff up.  Here's a nice takedown.  Good luck getting a real job with a degree in Fat Studies.  Or Gender Studies.  Or Insert-Grievance-Group Studies here.  Next up: Moron Studies?  Meanwhile, undergrads can't read, write, count, or think clearly.  Aaaand the idiotification of campus continues as feel-good social engineer-y nonsense replaces hard academics.  (Dude, someone remind again me why I'm in this field?  Call me Sisyphus.)  

The HopeChange Chronicles: US-China Relations

This Washington Post piece sounds gloomy.  Well, OK, but when will people wake up and smell the reality that in the end China will pursue China's interests with ruthless focus and bullying force?  Beijing doesn't CARE about playing nicely with others.  Meanwhile, here is a timeless bit of advice.

Nerd News: We Innovate in the Classroom, But Does Anybody Care?

*Sigh.*  Blurb:
Faculty members routinely change their courses from semester to semester, experimenting with both minor changes and major innovations, according to a national survey released Saturday by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. But while professors see curricular innovation as part of their jobs, they remain uncertain about whether pedagogical efforts are appropriately rewarded, the study found.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Nerdworld Soundtrack: Brad Paisley and "Welcome to the Future"

It's a charming musical celebration of that good old-fashioned American optimism -- energetic, playful, hopeful, confident, innovative, unafraid of hard work or hardship, and gloriously free.   Notice too the numerous historical references in Paisley's lyrics.  Note too that American optimism isn't only for Americans but for anybody who wants it.  Like Tigerhawk, I think the whole song is a darn good follow-up to the ballot box revolt of this past Tuesday.

"Every day is a revolution."

Monday Therapy: Aussie Paper Apologizes to Trekkies

All right, this is just hilarious as an Australian paper publishes an apology for its inaccuracies in a recent article about Star Trek.  The headline is "We're sorry for claiming Captain Kirk was in command of Captain Picard's starship" and the accompanying screencap is ... Well, see for yourself, ha!

I can't resist posting one of my favorite demotivators:

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Power of a Rant

The Cafe Hayek blog has this note about the famous Santelli Rant of February 2009, which I covered here and here.  As something of a ranter and connoisseur of rants myself, I must say, kudos, Mr. Santelli.  Rant on!

Awesome Photography: Horsing Around

Take a peek at these great shots.  Few things in nature are as viscerally gorgeous as a splendid, spirited horse.  Beauty, grace, and power all in one.  What fantastic creatures.

Movie Madness: The Cine-Sib Recommends "The Warriors Way"

What a mad mashup of East, West, ninjas, cowboys, South Korean movie stars, and American starlets!

Nerd News: the Rise of the Edupunk

Didn't you see this coming?  I mean, come on, now.  The Internet is the modern revolution the likes of which we haven't seen since the invention of the printing press, the rise of the vernaculars, and the explosion of literacy.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

MM in the Kitchen: Lemon Syrup Roasted Chicken

It's time to try something new!

Nerd News: High School Student Suspended For Being Awesomely Awesome

The kid deserves a prize, not a suspension!   (Link via Tigerhawk.)  Edu-crats are humorless killjoys if nothing else.  As for the 17-year-old knight on horseback?  Well done, Mr. Depaolis.  Well done, indeed.

Life Imitates Monty Python: Government-o-crats In Denial

You can read this, this, or this, or you can simply acknowledge the pithy wit of Dignified Rant, who captures the entire scenario perfectly with a blog post delightfully entitled "'Tis But A Scratch."

Nerd News: Arizona Bans Affirmative Action

Here's still another happy result of Tuesday's Election-a-palooza: the State of Arizona has banned affirmative action.  This includes public colleges and universities in the state.   Oh, I expect there will be the same usual sources and expressions of criticism, but that's fine by me.  I  hold to my long-held stance that affirmative action has now become (a) a tool of identity politics and demagoguery about "diversity," and (b) discriminatory in itself as a form of soft racism and even reverse racism.  

London Stalling: Is the Cure for Sidewalk Jams a Fast Lane for Pedestrians?

I think it's worth a try!

Satire Alert: Kim Jong-Un Privately Doubting He's Crazy Enough To Run North Korea

The Onionistas strike again!  Really, can anybody be as nutty as Kim Jong-Il, even his hand-picked successor?  Still, Kim Jong-Un would make a great North Korean version of pudgy, irate cartoon terror Eric Cartman ... RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!

200 Empty Chairs: China and Religious Freedom

200 Chinese Christians were conspicuous by their absence.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Disgustingly Cute: A Tiny Predator Practices

Look at this adorable little owl!  It's practicing its hunting technique.  Practice makes perfect, grasshoppah.

Girls and Big Government: Do Women Prefer Safety or Freedom?

Never mind that the question is far too reductionist.  Take a look at this thought that this election, plenty of ladies went to the polls and defied conventional wisdom.  (I do find that conventional wisdom to be utterly stupid, by the way.)  May I also remind you of this and this and also this and especially recently this?  Is it SUCH a surprise that some believers in rugged individualism, American exceptionalism, that good old-fashioned can-do attitude, and self-reliance are women?   Need I remind you that from the beginning there have been tough, resourceful, intelligent American ladies who have made a difference?  

Best Post-Election Headline/Commentary

Of course it's by a Brit.  Indeed we will NOT go gentle into that good night -- because the night isn't good, people.  It's MORNING in America.  And now I'm late for class.

Nerd Journal: Post-Election Morning

Oh, man.  I stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too late last night watching election returns.  Still, what an exciting night!  As the Insta-Prof posted, it's morning in America.  Yes indeed -- and what a GORGEOUS morning it is for all of us tired but happy Bible-thumping, gun-clinging, bitter, angry, old, racist, sexist, small-minded, stupid haters who need our betters to run our lives because we can't do it ourselves, heehee!  It's a morning that sees Nancy Pelosi ousted as Speaker of the House.  So, yes!  GOOD MORNING!  

Meet the New Governor of South Carolina

Her name is Nikki Haley -- or, more specifically, Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley.  The daughter of immigrants from India, she became a businesswoman and then the first Indian-American to hold public office in South Carolina, and she is now the new Republican governor of the Palmetto State.  Congratulations!   She joins Bobby Jindal of Louisiana in being Republican governors of Indian descent.  As an Asian immigrant's daughter myself, I can't help but love this. The American Dream is alive and well.  Plus, it's also a statement about inclusivity  and -- though I hate this campus buzzword -- diversity.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Nerd Journal: Miss Independent Goes to the Polls

It's a tale of 3 sassy, self-sufficient babes who went out today and voted as they bloody well pleased.  I'm talking about my peeps Alessandra and California Dreamer and me. So here are some of our Election Day stories, as we in 3 different states went to vote with a vengeance.  We frustrated folks have been waiting for today, people.  I know I have been.  Sure, I live in a blue state, but that's no reason not to get out there and give the smug leftists a piece of my mind via ballot.  Election Day?  It's really Accountability Day.  Ain't democracy grand?

A Short Story for Election Day

This is hilarious.  I give you a snippet of this tale by sci fi writer John Scalzi:
“Well, the local news just did a poll,” Latasha said, walking up to David, who was descending from the city hall stage where the evening’s debate would be held. The hall was beginning to fill up voters, press and political lackeys.
“Tell me I’m not in last place,” David said. He sounded tired, because he was. Two weeks of walking the district for votes had worn him out.
“You are in fact not in last place,” Latasha said. “Of the five candidates for the third district council seat, you are fourth. You are two tenths of a percentage point ahead of Nukka Farn Mu.”
“Remind me which one he is again,” David said.
“He’s the one whose entire platform is that we should be allowed to eat our neighbors’ pets,” Latasha said.
David rubbed his forehead. “So after two weeks I’m just barely ahead of the pet-eater,” he said.
“Yes,” Latasha said. “Although in the interests of complete honesty I have to tell you that the poll has a three percent margin of error.”

Nerd News: University Course in Lady Gaga

I am, if I may be as wicked as to use a Lady Gaga song title here, SPEECHLESS.  The course at the University of South Carolina is called "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame."  Huh.  (And academics wonder normal people find campus culture hard to take seriously.)  I now await fashion courses to research Lady Gaga's abattoir chic.

It's Election Day

Once more the oldest modern democracy goes to the polls.  Go do your civic duty, citizen!  Here is a nice thought for the day:
Voters don't want to be governed from the left, right or center. They want Washington to recognize that Americans want to govern themselves.
Oh, yes, indeed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Quote of the Day: Being Right, Wrong, or Completely, Impossibly Clueless

Here is a hilariously piquant little thought:
The nuclear physicist Wolfgang Pauli used to say of unsolicited student theses: “It’s not even wrong”, as if to suggest that being wrong would at least mean it was in the approximate area of being right.
The article in which this recollection appears is in itself a most read-worthy bit of social observation!  (Hmmm ... What DO my possessions say about me?)  OH, and I can't resist this bit of art criticism from that same article:
 ... there is good art, [and] there is bad art. Then there is good bad art and bad good art. The Miliband Painting is bad bad art. It is kitsch.
Oh, snap!

Nerd News: Gov't "Help" Increases College Costs

This is so not a surprise in the slightest.  *Sigh.*