Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LOL: the Lorem Ipsum Wine

Just look at the label for this bottle of French wine.  Need some info about (do)lorem ipsum?

Startup Hopes to Hack the Immigration System with a Floating Incubator

Um ... what?   Hmmm ... Is it so crazy that it just might work?   I'm intrigued.  Blurb after the fold.

6 Ideas for the Ash Heap of History

Here's an interesting list from Foreign Policy

Great Moments in Research: Recipe Substitutions

So this is what researchers from Harvard, the University of Michigan, and the University of Bologna (Italy -- no lunch meat jokes, please) have been doing.  I suppose you could classify this as applied chemistry?  Oh, here's the full academic article as PDF via the Cornell University Library.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DO NOT WANT: Live-Action "Akira" Is Set In ...

Neo-Manhattan.  Ugh!  This thing is going to be a desecration, a total desecration.

Marmite Madness on the M1 Motorway

This one's for Alessandra and her mom who loves Marmite, though I'm sure 20 tons might be a bit ... much.  Here's the official Marmite website.

Quotes of the Day: Congress

I laughed out loud to read this snarky observation about Congress:
I remember when “Insane Clown Posse” was just the name of a band, and not a description of our political class.
Oh, absolutely.  The band's website, by the way, is here.  I can't help but give you one of my favorite quotations from Mark Twain:
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress ... but I repeat myself.
Now that the bon mots are crowding my memory, I must post one of my favorite lines from the fabulous musical film “1776”: 
I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm; and that three or more become a Congress!

Awesome: Epic Trick Shot Battle

On Tyranny, Liberty, and Founding Principles

Here is an interesting essay.  Constitution, schmonstitution?

String Theory: Violins and Mad Cow Disease

I don't even know what to say to this:
Musicians have warned that the works of Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi and Bach may never again be heard as their composers intended – because of EU rules to stop people catching "mad cow disease" from their instruments. 
Regulations which tightly control the use of certain types of animal tissue are unwittingly threatening the centuries-old technique of making musical instrument strings out of beef gut. 
The craft is covered by the same strict controls on raw materials from cows, even though campaigners say that to catch Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease, (CJD) – the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy – from violin or cello strings from an infected animal you would need to eat several metres of them.
I do think the word "unwittingly" is all too accurate.  Anyway, have you ever heard of anyone trying to eat violin strings? I mean, I know there's that romantic stereotype of "the starving artist," but this is ridiculous.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Awesome Ad: "The Last Dictator Standing"

This is an advertisement for Nando's, a chain of chicken restaurants in South Africa.  How many dictators can you identify?  Oh, and the parody of the famous scene from "Titanic" is just too perfect.

The History of the English Language in 10 Minutes


Classic Milton Friedman

Harvard econ prof Greg Mankiw has an intriguing post on what Milton Friedman might say to the Occupy movement.  Get a load of the dipstick in the first video who asks, "Isn't it necessary to forcibly redistribute wealth?"  Um, NO.  Note too how courteously Friedman disassembles these young clowns who have more idealism than sense.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thoughts on Constitutional Conservatism

Food for thought.  As for rule by technocrats, we all saw how well that turned out in Europe.  I repeat what Churchill once said: 
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe.  No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise.  Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.

Couch Potato Chronicles: "Star Trek: DS9"

Here's a shout-out to La Parisienne, who's currently marathoning Deep Space Nine, the second-best of the new Star Trek shows.  (The first and best is the Next Generation, natch.)  So here's a great little mashup of DS9 characters and moral alignment from the world of gaming:

I've always thought I was Chaotic Good myself.  Anyway, below the fold I've listed some of my favorite DS9 episodes.  (Oh, and Sisko totally looks waaaaaaaaaaaay better bald with facial hair.)

Dim Bulbs in the Government

Meanwhile, I'm stocking up on incandescents ... I mean, heatballs!

Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria

Unprecedented?  Blurb:

Privatizing Elephants

Here's something I'd never thought about!  More here.

LOL: the "Angry Birds" Pizza

Here is a hilarious version of "playing with your food":


The Economist has a piece on the eurozone crisis.  This other view has a wryly amusing choice of illustration.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

15 Songs You Know Without Knowing Their Titles

This is delightful ... and true!  

History Lesson: Flying the B-17

Check out this beautiful aircraft!  More here about the World War II-era bomber.  See this related photo from WASP training (and be sure to note the name on the aircraft's nose).

Movie Madness: the Worst War Movies Ever?

Hmmmm.  I am really amused too by the link itself:

In Identity Politics and Diversity Games On Campus, "East Asians Don't Count"

The writer of this piece actually comes out and says that.  Mini-rant below.

The Horror, the Horror!

No matter where you are or what the holiday, teeming hordes of frenzied holiday shoppers are always just a little bit terrifying!  When I was younger, I found it all exciting and fun, but now I hate crowds with a fiery passion.  Online shopping, though, is fun.  (Check out these photos of Amazon warehouses gearing up for the holiday rush.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Awesome: the Art of Paper Flowers


Movie Madness: "Akira" Film Project Finally Casts a Japanese Actor ... Maybe

No, really!  The Cinema-Mad Sibling and I were just discussing this.  It's supposed to be the live-action version of "Akira" -- "AKIRA" that icon of Japanese animation!  -- for goodness sake, yet the casting so far has been a whole bunch of non-Japanese actors -- and frankly I haven't been impressed with the caliber of these choices either.  Garrett Hedlund?  Kristen Stewart?  Are you freaking kidding me?

Now, though, there's a report that Ken Watanabe has been offered a role.  Watanabe is always fantastic -- do see him in "The Last Samurai" and "Inception" if you haven't yet.  Will he soon be running around dystopian futuristic Neo-Tokyo?  Here's hoping.

UPDATE: As I said in this digression:
"Akira" is Japanese to its last pixel.  This thing is a cultural, cinematic landmark.  In this case, I'm trying to make a point about source and adhering to the source.  I suppose what the next question is should be: is the new movie supposed to be a total remake in the sense that "The Departed" was a remake of "Infernal Affairs," or is it a live-action version of the original and therefore set in the particular, already defined, and now-iconic world of Neo-Tokyo?  Dude, I hope so.  Having people running around Neo-Los Angeles or Neo-New York just wouldn't be the same.

LOL: A Thanksgiving Song for George Lucas

There's a bit of swearing in it, but this song is hilarious.  Bonus: geek-tastic references to Joss Whedon, "The Avengers," and "Firefly"!

Hello Kitty Monstrosity of the Day: the Embossed Patent Leather Tote Bag

I know it's Black Friday today and everything, but even if this thing is on sale I'm not going to buy it. On the other hand, can you imagine me swanning into a Nerdmoot looking all professional until someone takes a closer look at my bag ... and realizes that it has tiny Hello Kitty faces all over it?  Shoot, now I'm tempted to do it just to mess with some people's heads.

Friday Fun Video: Goodnight iPad

Here's a hilarious parody of that famous children's book, Goodnight Moon:

LOL: Occupy Black Friday

Some demonstrators are actually thinking of holding protests outside the shops today.  You know what?  Go right ahead, darlings!  Be my guest.  I'd like to see you stand between the bargain-hunting, Christmas-shopping masses and the doors when the retailers finally open.  

LOL: the Macy's Black Friday Ad

Black Friday is upon us, people!  It's officially the beginning of the Christmas shopping rush, and Macy's does have a hilarious ad for the occasion:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Food, football, family, and friends ... and the annual day of national gluttony.  Let the games begin!  (This is for La Parisienne and Count Chocula especially, who are doing the hosting this year.  Me, I just put a homemade pumpkin pie into the oven.)

Oh, whom am I kidding? This is more our speed!  Yeah ... That's more like it.

Hello Kitty Monstrosity: the Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon


Not even on Thanksgiving Day can I escape the mouthless cartoon cat with ambitions of global domination!  I'm here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when suddenly my TV and my eyes are defiled -- defiled! -- by the image of a gigantic Hello Kitty balloon floating over the streets of New York City!  RUN!

William Shatner in "Eat, Fry, Love"

Shatner and State Farm have a delightfully funny but effective cautionary tale about frying turkeys and being careful.  More here.  Have a happy (and safe!) Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Movie Review Rant: "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"

The rant isn't by me, but it basically encapsulates everything I've been saying about the "Twilight" phenomenon.  Read the whole thing.  Blurb here:
People always make a big deal about how Bella is a just a human being fought over by two monsters. But to me she's always been as monstrous as Jacob and Edward. She has the superpower of draining away everybody else's emotional stability and sucking them into her endless melodrama. 
... Bella was growing into the most horrifying monster of all: a girl-woman with no drive to do anything but feed her bottomless hunger for adoration, luxury, and attention. She's a supernatural version of Octomom.
I do have one big objection, though, and that's to the cavalier labeling of the "Twilight" tale as a "conservative romance narrative."  What?  Kindly define what you mean by "conservative."  This center-right/libertarian and all her like-minded girl friends are all appalled by Stephenie Meyer's twisted, deplorable, utterly hate-able, emotionally and socially retrograde creation.  

Roving on the Red Planet: Charting Mars Missions

Look at this beautiful infographic charting all the missions to Mars!  UPDATE: Broken link fixed now.

Alessandra Recommends: Provencal Roasted Chicken with Honey and Thyme

The lovely Alessandra recommends this recipe, so you definitely should try it.

Ave atque Vale, Anne McCaffrey

To the woman who gave us a world of dragon riders.  She was 85.

Professor Niall Ferguson Speculates

What might Europe look like in 2021?  As usual, I should give you the caveat that historians are not futurists or oracles -- that what we're good at is looking at the past.  Still, a little speculation is amusing if you don't take it as an actual prediction.

Awesome: "What Occupy Harvard Should Tell Liberal Elite Parents on Thanksgiving"

I had already mocked Occupy Hahvahd here, but this piece is worth a read.  Short version: displaying undisguised snobbish, self-righteous condescension and contempt toward people with whom you disagree will not incentivize them to hail you as their cultural and social masters.  Well, DUH.  Here's a piece of it:
What you tell him is that he should put his life in your hands. Yet you scorn his religion. You mock his faith in the sacredness of conception. You deride his belief in family. You tell him that his love for hunting makes him a murderer, and that his terror at being economically displaced makes him a xenophobe and a racist. Then you emasculate his hope for the future by telling him that if his ship comes in—that dream of a ship that makes the grinding disappointment of daily life worth living through—you’ll help yourself to a big slice of it. And you expect him to believe your rhetoric about fairness and equality when, all the while, you are accusing him of gullibility in his politics and bad faith toward the least fortunate of his fellow citizens. When, all the while, you are living untouched by your own policies. When you are cushioned against life’s hardness, not by government, but by simply knowing other people in your class. You expect him to buy your talk about equitable distribution of wealth when you are sailing through tax loopholes off into the sunset.

Nerd News: Employment and College Majors

Here are 10 college majors whose students have almost 0% unemployment.  Here is the Wall Street Journal's interesting (and extensive) chart of numerous majors and employment, as well as commentary thereon.  

Kitchen Notes: the Buffalo Fried Turkey

Genius or madness?  Well, I see no reason why it can't be both ... and be spicy and delicious.  So, roasted turkey = old and busted while Buffalo Fried Turkey = the new hotness?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Fed Ex Domino Effect

Check out this cute ad from Canada:

Nerd News: Taking Back Higher Education?


Niall Ferguson on Cutting Defense Spending

Professor Ferguson has a few thoughts, including this:
Only if you believe the currently fashionable arguments that mankind is getting ever more peaceable, the Middle East is entering a happy new era of democracy and peace, and China does not pose a strategic threat to the U.S.
That is to say, HECK NO.

Euro Notes: Technical Difficulties ...

The trouble with rule by technocrats.  Money quote here:
... one irony here is that many of Greece and Italy’s current woes can be traced back to the original design flaws of the euro itself — which, of course, was dreamed up by unelected experts and policy wonks. Technocrats, even.
Well, DUH.  Meanwhile, the entire idea of unelected technocrats in power -- i.e., rule by unelected expert (or "expert") -- should give us all pause.  The key word is "unelected," boys and girls. More here.

UPDATE:  Commentary by Daniel Hannan:

Euro Notes: German-o-Phobia?

People are upset and all about the eurozone mess, but is lashing out at Germany really the answer?

Gaming While the Eurozone Burns

I'm not making this up!  Because the European Central Bank seemingly has nothing better to do, it's made Economia, a game about monetary policy. Then again, the game's opening image might be unintentionally truthful about the folks in charge:

But is it worse than World of Borecraft?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quote of the Day: the Online Echo Chamber and Its Perils

The ultimate "comfort zone"?  Here is something to consider:
The same progressives who bemoan the way Fox News has polarized political discourse in America, masquerading as news while never troubling its followers with anything that would disturb its most cherished and untested convictions, happily turn to the satellite radio station of their preferred genre or subgenre of music or seek out the support group or message board that fits their demographic, the political site that skews their way. Entering the realm of the other seems done solely to express rage.  
The rigorous division of websites into narrow interests, the attempts of Amazon and Netflix to steer your next purchase based on what you’ve already bought, the ability of Web users to never encounter anything outside of their established political or cultural preferences, and the way technology enables advertisers to identify each potential market and direct advertising to it, all represent the triumph of cultural segregation that is the negation of democracy. It’s the reassurance of never having to face anyone different from ourselves.
See too this recent TED talk:

Monday Therapy LOL: Hey Girl, It's Ryan Gosling

Oh, the life of an Internet meme!  OK, you have to go in order.  First there was this.  Then there was this.  Now there is this plus the accompanying photo in the aftermath of People magazine's pick of Bradley Cooper as Sexiest Man Alive for 2011 (itself a hilarious annual tradition):

I've given this the "eye candy" tag because apparently some people think Ryan Gosling really is all that and a bag of chips.  Me, I'm indifferent.  He's like any of the undifferentiated gaggle of Hollywood pretty boys who look like so many showy, overtanned, animated Ken dolls.  I look at them and laugh and think of this video.  That photo is still darn funny, though.

MM in the Kitchen: Roasted Game Hens

For an alternative Thanksgiving?  The idea of serving everyone a mini-turkey is kind of intriguing, actually.

EU Rules: You Can't Claim That Water Prevents Dehydration

What?  Apparently manufacturers of bottled water are now forbidden to make this claim.  So ... aside from this being completely silly, does the EU really have nothing better to do?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nerd News: Worst School Commute Ever?


Satire? Bad Joke? More on the New York Times "Let's Sell Taiwan" Op-Ed

Remember this?  Now the author says it was a satire or a joke or ... something.  Thanks for clearing that up, pal.  Pffft.  I second what Taiwan blogger Michael Turton says (as quoted in the linked article): 
Kane may have actually intended this as satire -- it certainly doesn't read that way, and there is nothing in his piece to signal the reader that he intends to satirize US Taiwan policy. Stupidity by itself is not a signal of satire, alas, the discussion about Taiwan issues is generally marked by stupidity and misinformation, especially in the media: almost every claim that he made in the piece has been advanced seriously in some major media venue. Thus a straight piece containing such abysmal nonsense in a major media outlet is not by itself unusual, considering the dreck that passes for analysis in the media. In writing "satire" Kane totally failed to understand the field, the target, the discourse context, and the audience.
Hear, hear.  Satire?  You're doing it wrong, Kane.  What might be even more infuriating is the sophomoric sort of "gotcha!" mentality that underpins this entire debacle.  People who take Taiwan seriously are not amused.  You get the "dirtbag du jour" tag.

Nerd News: College Sports as Multibillion Dollar Racket?

The question is timelier and more topical than ever in the wake of the Penn State scandal.  A historian has a few thoughts.

World of Warcraft's Virtual Economy

Occupy Azeroth?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Couch Potato Chronicles: New Trailer for the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special

History: Obsolete Sounds

History has an audio component, you know!

Nerd News: Paying Students to Quit Law School?


Friday Fun Video: Summer 2011 Pop Medley

Pop rocks.

Lessons from the European Fiscal Crisis

Consider this.

Quote of the Day: Wealth, Values, and "Exactly the Wrong Message"

Here are some timely observations by Tyler Cowen of George Mason University during an NPR interview about the Occupy Wall Street protests:

Bill Whittle Comments on OWS

This is brilliant.  I add that these people should also watch lots of "Dirty Jobs" ... and participate in some of them.  Oh, and I think everything applies double to these little fools.  Oh, and Whittle is always well-spoken and polite, but if you want a real rant, check out Frank Miller's (yes, that Frank Miller, the awesome graphic artist).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jon Stewart and Occupy Wall Street

No comment needed.  Just listen to these people talk when Samantha Bee interviews them.

Sci Fi Fundamentals: Essentials of "Farscape"

For La Parisienne especially.  So, people, which episodes of "Farscape" are the best ones?   Oh, John Crichton, how we miss you.

Book Reviews: 5 Excellent War Memoirs

Read up, my fellow history buffs!

LOL: A Modernist and a Medievalist Trade Insults

Via Pseudo-Polymath, here is something amusing!

Shocker! Fareed Zakaria Got It Wrong on Iran!


US National Debt Reaches $15 Trillion


Idiot of the Day: the Litigious Intern

You must be joking!  In an internship you are paid with experience, not money, duh!  The undergrad dipstick probably has no idea how self-defeating his lawsuit actually is.  I'm gratified to see that another film student has a better grasp on matters:
“Wow. I'm a film student and I can't even count how many times I've worked for free on small independent films. Meanwhile this guy can literally put Black Swan on his resume. Yes you have to do a lot crap work in the beginning without little in return. But, if you do your job well people will notice and you'll eventually start working your way up. You know what doesn't work your way up in the industry? Suing companies who let you on their set.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LOL: The Pampered Poseurs of "Occupy Harvard"

This is hilarious.

OWS: Decline and Fall?

Just about every thinking person should be sick of the OWS "movement"'s well-documented descent into disease, depravity, and --in four cases -- death.  This isn't about free speech anymore, and maybe it never really was.  There is something symbolic about how much clean-up is required after dislodging these disruptive yet utterly self-absorbed folks.  Whatever legitimate or quasi-legitimate grievances they had as the initial spark for action have long since been submerged in the waves of deplorable behavior that have alienated everybody else, especially the long-suffering locals.  

Book Review: New Biography of Eva Braun

British historian Andrew Roberts takes a look at Eva Braun: Life with Hitler by Heike B. Görtemaker (Knopf, 2011).  Here is a bit of Roberts' own assessment of the mysterious mistress:
Eva spent the Second World War skiing, swimming, gossiping about petty scandals, taking a visit to Italy, reading celebrity magazines, and enjoying the rest of her utterly trivial existence as her lover set civilization aflame.
Unkind but not inaccurate, perhaps.

Awesome: 24 Hours in Dubai

Check out this gorgeous time-lapse video.

What a Hottie!

Look at this gorgeous photo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Therapy: Best Business Card Ever?

It's Monday, so we're all back in the office or the classroom, and we might have need of business cards ... so I've found the best one in existence.  Of course it's a joke ... and a splendid one.  I need to come up with some awesomely hilarious cards, since the Opera Diva has done just that for herself.  I really want to put "freelance berserker," "scribe for hire," and "breaker of horses and freshmen" on mine.  For now, though, feast your eyes on this:

John Scalzi on the Penn State Scandal

Read all of this.  Scalzi is a great sci-fi writer, and his closing point is devastating.  Related posts herehere, and here.

Forgotten History: Foundresses of Australia

Here's the fascinating if rather R-rated history of the Lady Juliana, the ship bringing female convict-colonists to Australia in 1789.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Edupunk Nerd News: Online Schools

The changing face of education.  Still, there is no substitute for a real, live human being as a great teacher-mentor.  Of course, I've had a few duds along the way whom I would have gladly replaced with an app!

Northern Lightweights: Finland and Norway Squabble Over the Aurora Borealis

The short version:
The Norwegian tourist board is unhappy about an attempt by its counterpart in Finland to market the country using a video of the northern lights. The Norwegians claim the Finns are trying to "steal" the celestial phenomenon from them.
My advice to the Aurora Borealis: start a bidding war and then agree to work for the winner. Oh, and here is the offending (but very cool) Finnish tourism video ad:

History Lesson: World War I Archives Go Online

Here is fitting news for Remembrance Sunday: 400,000 documents from WWI are going online.  More here:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Recipe for Renewal: A Baker Rebuilds in Post-Tsunami Japan

Meet Masayuki Kimura as he rebuilds the baking business that has been in his family for three generations.  That's some serious courage, hope, and commitment right there.  I think I have something in my eye.  The article also has a slideshow and this linked video, which I embed for you here:

Social-Political Tribalism, Denial, and Supporting the Unworthy

READ THIS.  Blurb:

Taiwanese News Animators Vs. NY Times Op-Ed

I won't bother discussing this now-infamously disgusting and contemptible New York Times opinion piece that advocates literally selling out Taiwan (you can read this takethis by a law professor, Business Insider's response, Foreign Policy's first reply, and the Atlantic wondering if this is some kind of sick joke), but I will give you the Taiwanese news animators' riposte.  Their blurb is hilarious even before the video begins and gives that opinion piece the mockery it deserves:
"Commie pandas must have slipped something into the water cooler at the New York Times yesterday, because the paper ran a shockingly ignorant and naïve op-ed suggesting that the US sell out Taiwan to China if Beijing would write off the US$1.14 trillion in American debt it currently holds."
As for the video, here it is:

UPDATE: A bad joke?

Friday, November 11, 2011

LOL Movie Review: "Immortals"

OK, so this review's title made me laugh out loud: "Immortals Is Like a Perfect Lover: Beautiful and Stupid."  It begins like this:
We've all met them before, someone who is incredibly attractive, almost unbelievably so. It's like they were Photoshopped by nature. But then they start talking and you realize there is absolutely zero substance to them. Still, you keep talking to them, engaging with them, because it's just so damn pretty. That is exactly what watching Immortals is like.
Ha!  Of course, with reviews like that and this and this (the last one sent to me by my evil enabler extraordinaire La Parisienne), I now have to see this apparent exercise in eye-popping, brain-melting vapid beauty.  Oh, don't you judge me.  We all have our guilty pleasures.  Guilty, guilty, guilty pleasures.

LOL: Letterman and Top 10 Rick Perry Excuses

By now everybody's heard about Perry's mega-gaffe in the latest debate, so here's some fun with it.  Humor is the best damage control, really.

A Notable Day

Today is:
  • Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth)
  • A numerical oddity -- it's 11/11/11!
  • Nigel Tufnel Day for all you "Spinal Tap" fans, and last but not least,
  • The release date for "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" -- rejoice, video game geeks!

Friday Fun Video: Ph.Diddy and the Biotech Lab

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Great Moments in Research: the Nano-Car

Dutch scientists at the University of Groningen have created a tiny car that's measured by atoms.

Movie News: Michelle Yeoh as Aung San Suu Kyi

Yes, please!

Film Culture Commentary: 13 Movie Poster Types

Hilarious yet depressing.  Observe the descent into brainless formula.

Film Culture Commentary: Renters, Pirates, and The Movies They Watch

They rarely watch the same movies.
Netflix's most rented movies of all time was led by "The Blind Side," with "Crash" at No. 2, "The Bucket List" at No. 3, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" at No. 4 and "The Hurt Locker" at No. 5. 
TorrentFreak's most pirated films list was led by (no surprise here) "Avatar," followed by "The Dark Knight," "Transformers," "Inception" and "The Hangover." 
I don't pirate movies, but I've never seen any of the top 5 rented flicks while I've seen 4 of the top 5 pirated ones (I saw them in the theater, I swear on a stack of Bibles!).  De gustibus ... ?

LOL: the Best Buy Uniform Prank

The comedy troupe Improv Everywhere pulled this off in New York. In short, it's hilarious identity chaos as 80 people dressed in blue shirt and khakis walk into a Manhattan Best Buy.  Kudos, people.

When "Smart Power" Meets a Live Mic


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Nerd News: Protesting Professor Mankiw's Economics 10 Class

OWS sympathizers disrupt a Harvard economics class.  In the words of the econ prof himself, "Here's what happened: About 5 to 10 percent of the class participated in the walk-out. At the same time, some previous ec 10 students came in to sit in the lecture as counter-protesters. The lecture then proceeded as planned."  I say good on the class alums who returned as counter-protesters.  

Professor Mankiw links to coverage by the Harvard paper.  I like this bit from an op-ed in the Crimson:
The Occupy movement has become known for its many, and often contradictory, faces. Now we can add a new group of faces to that list—Ec 10 students.  Students in the popular introductory economics class walked out fifteen minutes into the class yesterday in a gesture of solidarity with the Occupy movement and to protest what the event organizers consider a class that promotes a “strongly conservative neoliberal ideology.”  We find it troubling that students would protest a class because of its supposed ideological bent at an institution dedicated to academic integrity.  Such an action sets a dangerous precedent of ideological discrimination against professors. 
... Furthermore, the students’ attempt to connect their classroom protestations to the Occupy movement illustrates the disjointed and often unfocused nature of the movement.  Indeed, it seems ironic that students in an introductory economics course at Harvard feel that by walking out of their completely optional lecture taught by a famous economist on the theme of income inequality feel that their actions ought to be considered a sign of solidarity with the Occupy movement.  Such protests don’t show solidarity, they show ignorance and a lack of self-awareness. 
You don't say!  (Also, Crimson editors, please fix that comma splice.)

UPDATE:  "... one major criticism of the Occupy movement is that protesters do not generally seem to be well-informed on the economic issues they care so strongly about. Walking out of an economics lecture will do little to quell this stereotype."  HEH!  Note that all this happened at Hahvahd.  Smart people can be idiots too -- a very special kind of idiot.

Nerd Journal: It's Too Early for Christmas Music!

I was at the mall today and heard Christmas music in the JCPenney's -- horribly cheesy Christmas music.  It literally drove me out of the store into the rest of the mall that was blessedly free of it.  I don't want to hear a single song about snow or Christmas or Santa until Thanksgiving's over.  BLERG!

Meditating on the Middle East: An Open Letter to the Foreign Policy Establishment

What do you think?

Awesome Geek News: The Fastest Computer in the World!

Via Pseudo-Polymath, check out Fujitsu's 10.51 petaflop K supercomputer.  Wowzers!

Get Off My (1960s Countercultural) Lawn!

A cri du coeur.  The oh-so-derivative faux and boringly predictable would-be revolutionaries are the dipstick du jour.

Time (and Past Time) for a Real Debate on Iran

Well, DUH.

Nerd News: Abuse Scandal at Penn State

Alleged crime and cover-up.  More sordid details here.

Arriverderci, Silvio

Berlusconi will resign.

Monday, November 07, 2011

“Warning: Over-Concern for Your Health May Be Damaging to Your Health.”

A British doctor considers the outbreak of E. coli in organic food in Germany that killed 50 and sickened thousands.  See too an article on the subject in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.  On a more or less related note, I hate sprouts.  In terms of texture and taste, I might as well eat the paper linguine from my paper shredder.  At least that won't give me E. coli!

History Lesson: The Font That Changed London

Here's a bit of intriguing historical detail.

Quote of the Day: the Euro Currency

Oh, my:
The Euro is a spectacularly misguided attempt at a currency union in a sea of nation-states with different national interests, languages and stages of economic advancement.

The Cult of "My Little Pony"

Ummm ... yeah.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nerd Victory Is Mine!

Remember the Shakespeare haiku contest?  The judges have deliberated, and I won second place!  Don't tell the Nerd Lords, though, who would be horrified to know that instead of working on Nerdpocalypse Now research and writing I'm running off to enter poetry contests, heh!  Admittedly I dashed off that haiku in 5 minutes while rushing out the door to go to school.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Nerd News: Huge Social Psych Research Fraud


Movie Madness: Infographics of Michael Bay Explosions

This is hilarious.  This too.  Recall this?

Satire Alert: Cthulhu for President!

As one fan of H.P. Lovecraft says
This site is dedicated to the Great Old One, who should return from his slumber to take over the U.S. government and make this country a whole hell of a lot better as the leader of our executive branch. Or destroy it and drive everyone insane, kill us all, or something really nasty! Remember, Cthulhu for President! Why vote for the lesser of two evils?
OK, but whom should Cthulhu get for a running mate?  I remember how bitterly disappointed the Cine-Sib and I were a few election cycles ago when we threw our support to the Picard/Riker ticket.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

LOL: Best Blog Profile Yet

The most engaging bloggers are the ones with a sense of humor as well as incisive analysis and a personal voice, but even in the wittier corners of the playful blogosphere, this blog profile stands out:
About Us
A secret society dedicated to the restoration of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania, the imprisonment of Esperanto speakers, and furthering the eschatological doctrine of the Return from Occultation of the Thirteenth Imam, Val Kilmer. Seriously, what happened to that guy? He was awesome in Tombstone
Well done, people.

"Hope and Change" Becomes "Fear and Loathing"


Quote of the Day: Science and Experts

Here it is:
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
Fascinating!  More here:
"Never rely on the consensus of experts about the future. Experts are worth listening to about the past, but not the future. Futurology is pseudoscience."

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

LOL: Stephen Colbert Occupies OWS

Hello Kitty Monstrosity of the Day: the Hello Kitty Pumpkin

Via Gormogons, the inevitable horror of a Hello Kitty-tainted Halloween.  That sound you hear is Cthulhu fleeing to hide, quivering and whimpering, under his bed.

Euro Notes: Greece and the Eurocrats

Oh, dear.   The slow-motion train wreck that is the Greek catastrophe in recent days has reached the point at which I am compelled to have "train wrecks" as an actual blog post category tag.

Self-evident metaphor.

History Lesson: New York in the 1930s-50s

See some remarkable photographs of a now-vanished world.

Firebombing Satire

Bad news from France.  Blurb:
The offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo have been destroyed by a petrol bomb, a day after it named the Prophet Mohammed as its “editor-in-chief” for this week’s issue.
UPDATE: More thoughts here.

Ah, Irony. Thy Name is Corporate Ice Cream


Nerd Fun: Shakespeare Haiku Contest

Let's have some fun with the horrible new Roland Emmerich film "Anonymous" and its championing of an execrable conspiracy theory.  A pox on it!  Take a look at this contest on a Shakespeare professor's blog!  The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM on November 3.  My entry is:
Want real fantasy 
Told with skill? Screw Emmerich. 
Go read "The Tempest."

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Satire Alert: "Remains Of Ancient Race Of Job Creators Found In Rust Belt"

The Onionistas strike again with this archaeology-flavored satire.

Awesome: Time-Lapse Video

Sci Fi Book Preview: How Meta!

This new book by John Scalzi looks like it will be a LOT of fun.  Trek fans, rejoice!  Here's the official synopsis:
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better...until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy belowdecks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is...and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
The title of this book? Redshirts.  The book comes out next summer.

Quirky Euro Files: Fun with Stereotypes

Hilarious, if you're not easily offended.