Saturday, June 30, 2012

First Black Marines Receive Congressional Gold Medal for WWII Service

Now that's a nice headline as the first black members of the Marines receive official recognition for their service in a  time when segregation was very much a reality.  You'll recall that Truman desegregated the armed services in 1948.  Here's video from June 27:

Fugly or Fabulous? Workin' It in 1890s Russia

Look at these guys rocking their 1890s military uniforms.  I suppose the "Blue Steel" hadn't been invented yet?  Just look at this dude.  It takes a certain kind of self-confidence to pull off a huge freakin' dragon on your helmet.  Then again, maybe that was a chick magnet back in those days.  "Wear a dragon on your helmet, man.  Girls love dragons on helmets."

LOL: Talking to Leftists


Nerd News: A Remarkable Scottish Lecturer

Caveat: it's not because of his teaching or research.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Fun Video: Acappella Wedding Music

The 10-member acappella group known as Gentleman's Rule is based in Chicago, and these guys are fantastic.  Take a listen for yourself (it gets good at the 1-minute mark):

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beijing's "Rat World" for Migrant Workers

I better not hear you complaining about your dorm room ever again.

Post-SCOTUS Decision: A Thought and a Giggle

In the wake of this morning's announcement, I give you an intriguing thought from the Anchoress (are we ultimately going to figure out that today's victory is actually a Pyrrhic one? hmmm) and a big giggle from the Star Wars-loving Internet:

And Now for an Update on Impending Robot Apocalypse

Quote of the Day: Iowahawk on the Supreme Court Obamacare Decision

The Supreme Court finally announces today, and as usual, the hilarious Iowahawk nails it:
As a longtime connoisseur of overwrought political hysterics, it's CHRISTMAS MORNING.
It's going to be an uproarious day. Time to make a huge tub of popcorn, kick back, and watch the pageant of crazy from all sides.  

UPDATE:  The individual mandate survives ... as a tax.  I still hate it and the coercion of it, just as I oppose an increasingly overweening, overbearing national government that's perfectly happy to run roughshod over ... well, everybody.  How about instead of moaning and wailing, we repeal and replace this monster?

UPDATE 2: Dignified Rant has some thoughts.  Law prof Althouse will soon be doing a full analysis of today's decision (she's reading it now), but for now she notes that it's a huge tax on the middle class.  Well, apparently now ObamaCare can claim to cover both death and taxes, eh?  Law prof Instapundit also has thoughts and links.  Oh, and here are 4 excellent sentences from the dissenting opinion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Greatest Globe in the World

Signed by 85 of the greatest explorers of modern times!

Disgustingly Cute Nerd News: A Graduation Gift 13 Years in the Making


Quote of the Day: Waiting for the Supreme Court

I found this rant rather refreshing amid the increasingly fervid utterances from Left, Right, and Center about the Supreme Court's forthcoming decision on Obamacare and the individual mandate.  What do you think?
The very idea that we sit on the edge of our seats, eyes toward Washington DC, waiting on the deliberations and dispositions of nine mortals to tell us how much of our liberty we get to retain is preposterous.  It is offensive and repulsive to a free people.  

Go West, Young Photographer

Check out these remarkable photos from the American West as it looked 150 years ago.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fifty Shades of Terrible, Fifty Shades of Snark

For La Parisienne especially and for everyone who (a) appreciates good writing and (b) takes pleasure in shredding bad writing.  If you thought Twilight was bad, wait until you get a load of Fifty Shades of Grey!  Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fanfic.  That should tell you something.

Now behold the intrepid soul who is reading Fifty Shades of Craptastic so you don't have to!  It is to Fifty Shades of Sewage what Reasoning with Vampires is to Twilight.

Have I personally read Fifty Shades of Abominable?  No.  I've only encountered snippets and excerpts, but they were enough to convince me that I'll never read the whole thing.  Am I really not going to read the book?  ABSOLUTELY. "But, but, Minerva!  Isn't this unfair?  Doesn't this fly in the face of your usual demand for intellectual rigor and solid research and ... ?"  There's an exception for every rule, sweet cheeks.  Read this again and grant me a dispensation just this once, mmmmkay?  Twilight was bad enough because it's clearly Stephenie Meyer's weird personal fantasy.  I have no desire to get involved in someone else's fantasy about that fantasy.  Nope, you'll find me off reading Jasper Fforde or Daniel Silva.

Fugly or Fabulous? Custom-Painted Shoes


The Oatmeal and the End of Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad

Here's the latest, fellow Oatmeal fans!  (Need the background?) 

Here's Some Nobel Peace Prize Winner-on-Nobel Peace Prize Winner Verbal Violence

I'm probably evil for being this amused, but there you are.  Here's the sordid tale.

LOL: the EU's Hilarrible Ad for Women Scientists

Apparently this is not a joke.  This really is the EU's attempt to encourage girls to study science.  Come on, really?  Some ladies are not amused.  I laughed out loud, though.  It's so blatantly stupid.  Dude, they replaced the "i" in "science" with a lipstick!  Here's the actual website.  

Look, I'm on the record on this blog saying that girls should feel free to be themselves in academia, and if "being themselves" means enjoying nice shoes and clothes and whatever, then that's great!  My point is that you should feel free to express your femininity and your personality however you please instead of constraining yourself inside someone else's arbitrary expectations ("you have to look like a frump in order to be taken seriously," etc.)  At the same time, I don't think you should construct yourself as a sexpot to order to get attention.  Your work should speak for itself. This EU propaganda, though, isn't about that at all.  The geniuses behind this would have done better to appeal to the intellect and highlight actual women scientists past and present ... oh, you know, people like Ada Lovelace or Marie Curie or Rosalind Franklin or Barbara McClintock or the growing number of female astronauts or ... You get the picture.  Oh, and see this too as long as we're talking about scientific stereotypes.


New Technology and Creative Disruption

Here, read this.  Innovation isn't for sissies, and - you know - that's as it should be. Oh, and here's a cool quote:
Every new technology that becomes profitable causes people to scream about the plight of existing producers. Then it turns out over time that the sector itself thrives as never before but in ways that no one really expected.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

MM in the Kitchen: Chinese Green Onion Pancakes


Update: the Oatmeal Vs. Idiot Lawyer

Remember this?  Here's the latest.

Nerd News: 7 Commencement Speakers from Hollywood

Graduation season's basically over, but these commencement speakers are too entertaining to ignore.

Sympathy Violin: the Left's Campaign Donation Scrooges

Behold the return of the "sympathy violin" tag, which in this case is linked inextricably with the "Schadenfreude" tag as if they were BFFs.  As the Transterrestrial blog did say, "You’d have to have a heart of stone to read this story and not laugh out loud."

I laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.  Awwwww.  Poor baby!  Boo freaking hoo!   Apparently the heady days of HopeyChangey 2008 are long gone and now replaced by the hand-wringing whinging and near-panic of 2012.

You really can't read the story and not connect it with another recent instance of fundraising in sheer laughable bad taste and unwittingly contemptible venality.  Oh, sure, some people are offended, but the rest of us are busy guffawing and tweeting our derision.  Come on, man.  The president of the United States of America is hankering for your birthday money and wedding gifts, citizens!  What, stooping to this?  Are you freaking kidding me?  Apparently it's so ridiculous an idea that people have gone to Snopes to see if it can be debunked ... but it can't, because it's actually true.  Here's the thing in all its garishly undignified and utterly blind stupidity, straight from the official Obama-Biden website.

Oh, FYI to my posse: If any of you tries to tell me that you didn't give me a birthday present in order to make a political donation instead, I will curl up my perfectly manicured fingers and proceed to punch you in the face, OK?  I'm glad we got that all straightened out.

You know, I've never donated a single red cent to any political campaign in my whole entire life.  I have to say, though, this one-two punch of fundraising bullcrappery from the Left makes me want to give my lunch money to that human Valium Mitt Romney - not so much as a donation for Romney as much as one against the clowns on the other side.  In fact, it's enough to make one wonder if there's some GOP operative buried deep undercover in the Obama campaign who suggested this entire "in lieu of gifts" idea in the first place.  Alas, I think in this case that simple overt foolishness is at play instead of glorious subversive cunning.

Nerd Fun: Professor Drezner and "the best paragraph I have ever read in a dissertation prospectus"


Fugly or Fabulous? DIY Comic Book Heels

Whatever else they may be, these heels certainly are eye-catching!  (I'm not sure about the red stockings, though.)  Here are the instructions to make these mad shoes

Saturday, June 23, 2012

50 Years of Shakespeare in the Park

Half a century of glorious (and free) Shakespeare in the summer and the open air.  Here's a nice comment by one of the artistic directors:
"It was the idea that culture in a democracy should be the property of all the people," [Oskar] Eustis says, "regardless of their educational attainment, regardless of their financial status or class status — that everybody had the right to own the best that our culture had to offer. And it's a beautiful vision that still lives."
*kisses for the Swan of Avon*

Internet Freedom and "Error 451"

"Error 451: the government has censored this content."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ryan Gosling Blows Up the Internet. Again.

Maybe he really does have the best guerrilla PR team in history. This video from 1991 is currently setting the Internet on fire, and a gajillion people have emailed it to me, so I have no choice but to post it.  Yes, that's 11-year-old Ryan Gosling with his sister Mandi at a talent show.  I suppose this is what the "Disgustingly Cute" tag has been waiting for all this time.   UPDATE:  Here's the tale of that recording.  I guess you never know what kind of dirt your childhood friends and neighbors might have on you!  (What a terrifying thought.)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Hungry Dragon: China and Raw Materials

Zambia-born, Oxford-trained economist Dambisa Moyo has a new book out on the subject, and her conclusion is sobering.

Flame On!

This is a surprise to just about nobody.  Still, the story reads as though it's blaming Israel for ... something.  So ... is this like playing "good cop/bad cop"?  Like saying, "Sure, Iran, we and Israel teamed up to make this awesome cyberweapon to eat your computers, but then those darn loose-cannon Israelis went off and did stuff on their own, so you should be better to us since we're not like that"?  (Good luck with that, pal.)  On a geekier note, I'm tickled that Flame hid by masquerading as a routine Microsoft software update.  On a nerdier note, I'm tickled again that the thing is called Flame and that it was part of an operation code-named Olympic Games.

A 25-Year Veteran of the Media and His Parting Shot

Oh, my!

Awesome Ad: "Unleash Your Fingers: Next Generation""

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Amuse yourself with adorable photo galleries of famous dads both past and present.  All together now: Awwwwww.  Oh, and though I am a childless unmarried monster myself, I do think this is pretty darn hot.

There's No Shortage of Idiotic "Analyses" About Taiwan

The always-fascinating View from Taiwan blog points to and then disassembles a fresh bout of idiocy that was printed in the New York Times.

MM Out of the Kitchen: Let's Grill Something!

Happy Father's Day, all you dads!  Let's grill something on this lovely summer day, shall we?  Here are some veggies for the fire, along with some splendid dead animal to make you glad you're an omnivore!

Quotes of the Day: Nanny Tyranny

From G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Call Me Maybe" Explains the Euro Crisis—Seriously

Hilarious.  A taste of it:
The only thing more maddening than "Call Me Maybe" is the euro crisis. One is a banal string of saccharine statements, punctuated by swift choruses of action. The other is a pop song.

Election Politics Turn Into "Midsummer Night's Dream"

Because I can't find another way to explain Bill Clinton's metamorphosis into Puck.  This time  I really have to hand it to the guy for the delayed timer on this beauty.  Playing the long game, are we, Bubba?  Even if this all is simply accidental, it's too good to ignore.

Euro Notes: Quote of the Day on the Spain Bailout

Heh (via Samizdata):
Could Brussels have been taken over by saboteurs, a secret army of eurosceptic infiltrators and spies masquerading as officials? 
I only ask because it now almost seems as if Spain’s bailout was deliberately designed not merely to fail but to inflict maximum damage on the Spanish economy and the entire Eurozone. Rarely have I seen such incompetence.

Great Moments in Research: Judge a Woman By Her Shoes

No, really!  Some people from Wellesley and the University of Kansas actually did research on this!  Here's the actual journal publication information.  I kid you not.  So apparently you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a girl by her shoes.  (Hmmm, I just bought some adorable strappy cork wedge sandals on sale.  What does that say about me?)

Nordlinger in Taiwan

Jay Nordlinger of the National Review is in Taiwan and filing interesting reports.  Here's the latest (with links to previous entries).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

LOL: William Howard Taft

Hilarious speech bubble, though I don't think Taft ever served in Congress: 
he was President and then Chief Justice.

Nerd News: A Different Kind of Commencement Speech

Here's an actual commencement speech that takes a different approach!  Here's a teaser: "... we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement."

UPDATE: Video.

Awesome: Cartoonist 1, Idiot Lawyer 0

In case you thought the Oatmeal couldn't get any more awesome than he already is.  I love how the dirtbag is whining in the news article about Operation BearLove Good Cancer Bad.  Let's go enjoy some fresh Oatmeal this morning instead.  Lesson?  If some dirtbag punches you, punch back twice as hard and laugh when you do.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nerd News: Academic Conservatism by Liberal Instructors 1, Mushy Programs 0?

What do you think?

SpaceArchaeology.Org Harshes on "Prometheus"

Their review might be summed up by this assertion about Noomi Rapace's character: "she was personally responsible for everyone’s deaths by being the worst xenoarchaeologist ever."  Oh, snap!  My own review is here.  I just found this take-no-prisoners review.

Nerd Analysis: The Screwed Generation

Well, that's just freakin' great.  Let's eat the young.  I'm weirdly reminded of The Grapes of Wrath and Rose of Sharon breastfeeding not a baby, but a starving old man.

MM in the Kitchen: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Hmm, worth a try, I think!

Quote of the Day: Obama on Syria and Sudan

Here's a piece of an interesting op-ed:
... his policies toward both Syria and Sudan increasingly seem lame, ineffective and contrary to American interests and values. Obama has shown himself comfortable projecting power — as in his tripling of American troops in Afghanistan. Yet now we have the spectacle of a Nobel Peace Prize winner in effect helping to protect two of the most odious regimes in the world.
What might be even more interesting is the fact that this op-ed was in yesterday's New York Times.  Well, well, well.  The worm turns?  Hopechange!  Of course, that Nobel Peace Prize was a joke as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Movie Mini-Review: "Prometheus"

"You still don't know what you're dealing with, do you?"

Yup, I was there opening weekend.  Ridley Scott's Prometheus is visually spectacular, though in narrative terms, it has some substantive problems, and overall its ad campaign promised far more than the film itself could deliver.  It tried to take the monsters-in-space, body-horrific theme of Scott's 1979 Alien and then add some ambitious (and - let's face it - rather pretentious) metaphysical aspects about the origin of humanity, and the result is definitely a mixed bag.  There were gaps in logic and also moments of characters doing things so astronomically stupid that I wanted to throw popcorn at the screen.  

Still, if you want some half-cover-your-eyes, cringe-in-your-seat, creepily and gloriously disgusting slimy xenobiological horror, you've come to the right place.  There's certainly some fuel for nightmares in here!  I'll do a full review soon, but for now I'll just say that the best thing about it acting-wise is Michael Fassbender as the ambiguously motivated android David, and the most memorably harrowing scene involves medical equipment in an enclosed space.  Rotten Tomatoes gives Prometheus a Fresh rating of 74%.  I'll give it a B.  It wasn't bad, but it should have been better, and that kind of unrealized potential is itself a kind of failure.

Here's the trailer: 

Hello Kitty Monstrosity of the Day: Hello Iron Man

Awesome: Ghiberti's Gate of Paradise

California Dreamer just told me this lovely news about the restoration of a Renaissance masterpiece.  How awesome is it?  So awesome that it impressed even Michelangelo himself.

Thoughts on Expressed Rage

Centuries ago, the Roman philosopher Seneca said ira brevis insania - anger is a brief madness - and he had a point.  More recently,  British thespian Tom Hiddleston wrote a fantastic editorial that took a moment to ponder the destructiveness of anger.  All is this my prelude to this link: Ace of Spades, usually so snarky-cool, has a serious post about anger and discourse.  Do read.  I hope there hasn't been too much rage of the destructive sort on the MM blog.

Friday, June 08, 2012

DVD Review/Rant: "The Lovely Bones" (2009)

Them bones, them bones, them dry bones.

Bones?  The very word makes me hear in my imagination McCoy snapping, "I'm a doctor, not a moviemaker!"  At least McCoy knows his own limitations.  Some people certainly do not, which would explain why Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson's attempt to adapt Alice Sebold's bestselling 2002 novel is a complete train wreck that will henceforth be held up as a prime example of how not to adapt books for film.  There's absolutely nothing that the talented cast can do to save this thing no matter what they do, not even Stanley Tucci.  They're hemmed in on all sides by the director and his pet writers.  The real winner here is Ryan Gosling ... because he was actually supposed to be in this flick until Jackson fired him at the last minute and replaced him with the unfortunate Mark Wahlberg.  Gosling's probably breathing a sign of relief and thanking his lucky stars in retrospect that he dodged this crapulous bullet and subsequently made movies that were actually, you know, good.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Nerd News: Too Much Cheering at Graduation = No Diploma

Oh, come on!  This is stupid.

20 TED Talks Not to Bother Watching

LOL!  Usually I enjoy TED talks a lot, but here's a hilarious list of 20 that aren't worth your time.  #8 made me laugh out loud.  An  entire TED talk about how to tie your shoes?  Come on, people.  If you want a truly great TED talk, do watch this one, Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine.

Estonia: The Mouse That Roared (on Twitter!)

This is even better than a huge pot of coffee on this morning: watch as the president of Estonia takes down the insufferable Paul Krugman.  (Also noted on Foreign Policy.)  It's absolutely a flame war to savor as a head of state mixes it up with an econ Nobel Prize winner.  I had honestly not paid much previous attention to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, but I gotta say that as of right now, I love you, man.  You now get your own blog tag!  The "nerds behaving badly" tag goes to Krugman.

UPDATE: Ilves hits back twice as hard and reminds us of a recent news report on the Estonian economic success.  More on Ilves - a Columbia man (which explains his tweeted potshot at the Princeton background of Krugman, hahaha).  Note too this piece that Ilves wrote back in March.  Follow him on Twitter here.

All the Single Ladies: China's "Sheng Nu"

Well, given China's gender imbalance, this was inevitable.  As for sheng nu, the term is being translated as "leftover ladies."  Hey girls, we can all be childless unmarried monsters together!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Today in History: D-Day 68 Years Ago

160,000 Allied soldiers, 5000 ships, 13,000 aircraft, 50 miles of beach, 9000 casualties, and 1 crucial day.

Fashion PSA: Suit Up, Guys

I stumbled across this hilarious image online, and I simply had to post it because ... well, I think it's mostly true.  I even gave you a real-life bit of evidence after the fold.  Oh, and you'll recall my previous bit of fashion advice. (What do you think, La Parisienne?)

Let the Preference Cascade Begin: "Obama Is Overmatched"

Well, this seemed pretty painfully obvious, but nothing is so obvious that it doesn't need to be said:
Whatever fault one wants to ascribe to Obama’s predecessor, and whatever excuses the president can dream up, what is now beyond any reasonable dispute is that Obama has no clue how to fix things. That is not a political judgment; it’s an empirical one. 
Barack Obama may be well-intentioned. He may be a fine father. He may have an excellent jump shot. And he may be a first-rate community organizer. But as president, he is simply — and by now almost undeniably — overmatched by events. By Obama’s own standards – by what he said and by what he promised — he is a failure.

So, Scott Walker Supporters, What's For Lunch Today?

I have just the thing.  Come on, gentle reader, don't you know what is best in life?  Watching the unhinged Walker-haters freak out and wail and spit with rage is pure comedy gold.  Anyway, do also check out the intrepid Professor Althouse, who live-blogged the recall election that saw the clear vindication of Governor Walker.  Note too that Wisconsin independents favored him over his opponent, and this mattered greatly since everyone else voted heavily on party lines.  Are we looking at a portent of November?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

LOL Nerd News: Attending Too Many Nerdmoots?

See Professor Drezner's Top Ten Signs That You Are Conferenced Out

A Law Prof Ponders the HHS Mandate Catholic Lawsuit

You recall the recent slate of lawsuits filed by 43 Catholic institutions.  I had previously linked to an opinion by a Hahvahd law professor.  

Now here are some thoughts by a professor of constitutional law at the Catholic University of America as he eviscerates the New York Times' editorial on the subject: "The Times is wrong in every conceivable way about the mandate, religious-liberty law, and the lawsuits."  Oh, my!

Nerd Journal: I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Miss me?  After endless rounds of dim sum dementia, sushi silliness, and general gluttony with the family, I'm back in Nerdworld and (supposedly) working on nerd stuff.  Well, we'll see how that goes!  I'm really just itching for the June 8 premiere of that much-anticipated sci fi thriller, Ridley Scott's Prometheus.

Euro Notes: Who Thinks They're the EU's Hardest-Working?

Here's an absolutely hilarious link in the Economist.  I've posted the even more uproarious chart from the survey after the fold. Remember this?