Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Can't Stop Watching This

Teddy Bearborne Division Invades Belarus

Here's something odd, cute, and daring all at once:
After weeks of denial, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko admitted that a small Swedish plane entered his country's airspace July 4, dropping hundreds of teddy bears on tiny black parachutes, the Belta news agency reports. 
The teddy bears carried signs reading, "Belarus freedom" and "We support the Belarus struggle for free speech."
Cutest airborne division ever? Yet ... yet ... what if all the cuddly paratroopers turn out like Ted?  That could be the biggest psyop hilarity in a while.  More here, with video!  You can also go directly to the cheeky website of the folks behind the teddy bear drop.  Lukashenko is often called the last dictator in Europe.  Dictators, as you know, cannot bear (no pun intended) to be made ridiculous.  Oh, and look at this photo!  It's raining bears!  Subversive bears!

Even the French Are Sick of French Rudeness

Well, whaddyaknow?  I'm now just waiting for someone to call this the War on Rudeness.

It's the Economy, Stupid!

Ignore the distractions.  This should be the pivotal issue.

Here's a Thought on the Chick-fil-A Kerfuffle

Friday, July 27, 2012

LOL: the Olympic Opening Ceremonies Drinking Game

Click to enlarge.

Quote of the Day: Freedom of Speech

Very Voltairesque comment on the Chick-fil-A kerfuffle::
The government blocking a business from opening based on the owner's political views is a clear threat to everyone's freedom of speech—being unpopular doesn't mean you don't have rights. It's only by protecting the rights of those whose views we find odious that we can hope to secure them for ourselves.
And finally from a lefty publication, no less.( Check out the URL on that thing: "homophobes have rights too.") You will remember this.  As for the mayors of Chicago and Boston, they get the "dirtbag du jour" tag.  Shame on you.  

UPDATE: "Chicken Inquisition."  Heh.

Legally Blind South Korean Archer Smashes First World Record of the London Games

The opening ceremonies haven't even assaulted our eyes yet, and already world records are falling in London.  Congratulations to Im Dong-hyun!  (This also sounds like a glorious sports movie.)

Friday Fun, Olympic Edition: Boris Johnson's Introduction

Someone with entirely too much free time on his hands has come up with this hilarity featuring London's mayor:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Top 100 Books of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Let the debates begin about this list!  Hey, where's The Eye of Argon?  (Just kidding!)

Nerd News: A Brewing Revolution in Scientific Publishing

It's already begun, really.

You Have Got to Be Freaking Kidding Me


Behold the Double Bacon Corn Dog!

Terrifying yet intriguing ... Would you try it?  I think I just might if I had the chance!

Berlin's 450-Year-Old Debt

Blast from the past!  6% interest over 450 years = ?

Food for Thought

Read this.  "Do we really want a country where people won't do commerce with those who have beliefs different than their own?"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Awesome: Doing It Right

Christian Bale went to the hospital to visit victims of the Aurora theater shooting.  

Jon Stewart Vs. ABC News Idiocy

A Tale of Two Olympics

Here's some food for thought.

LOL: The Universe Has a Twitter Account

Check it out, along with these other Twitter-pated humorists.

Awesome: Insanely Gorgeous Rainbow

Feast your eyes!

Reading Recommendations From An Econ Prof

Usually this sort of thing would have me rushing for the doors, but econ professor Art Carden (Samford University) has some interesting-looking choices.  Carden also links to some cool TED talks and free online lectures.  Ain't technology grand!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

Christopher Nolan brings his Batman trilogy to a close by solidifying his place as the man who created the most artistic, intelligent, and substantive translation of comic book to film ever attempted ... and, more, achieved.   While the debate will rage on whether The Dark Knight Rises is the equal of 2008's monumental Dark Knight (and nobody but nobody can match Heath Ledger's Joker), the scope and scale of this film cannot be denied, and even with its flaws it still soars over the skyline of Gotham and our own imaginations.

25 Baked Alternatives to Fries and Chips

Some of these look pretty good, actually!

Film Culture Commentary: Analyzing Christopher Nolan

While I work on my Dark Knight Rises review, you can go watch it yourself or take a look at this consideration of Christopher Nolan as filmmaker by the British Film Institute.  It doesn't spoil the movie, though it'll spoil The Prestige and (kind of ) Memento if you haven't already seen those.

Well, We All Have Our Pre-Event Rituals

But not all of our little routines will set the Internet on fire like this Aussie athlete's has apparently done.  Oh, and Cine-Sib?  YOU'RE WELCOME.

All the Single Ladies: China's "Sheng Nu," Part Deux

I had previously blogged about this, but here's a fresh news story on the topic. Ugh.  You don't have to be mainland Chinese or even Asian at all to be in similar straits, and by this I mean being single, educated, independent, and working all the time and being too busy to date, really.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"The Dark Knight Rises" Opens Today!

Rejoice, fellow nerds!   The day has finally come.  I shall stampede with my buddies to the theater and return with a review! Here's the trailer:

6 Policies That Economists Love And Politicians Hate

Hmmmmmm (and on NPR, no less!). Here are two of the policies:
Three: Eliminate the corporate income tax. Completely. If companies reinvest the money into their businesses, that's good. Don't tax companies in an effort to tax rich people. 
Four: Eliminate all income and payroll taxes. All of them. For everyone. Taxes discourage whatever you're taxing, but we like income, so why tax it? Payroll taxes discourage creating jobs. Not such a good idea. Instead, impose a consumption tax, designed to be progressive to protect lower-income households.

"What A Wonderful World" and an Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MM in the Kitchen: Blueberry Scones

Perfect with tea.  Just perfect.

Chivalry Lives in Canada

Check it out!

LOL: Military Strategy for Taking Cinderella's Castle

Wanna conquer Disney's Magic Kingdom?  Check out one Marine's thoughts, Operation It's A Small War After All (complete with maps!).  Here's a bit of it:
Secondary Objective: While in Fantasyland we will have the opportunity to take down the menace of all parents everywhere. The "It's a Small World" ride will be within our reach. Our secondary objective is to eliminate the ride with extreme prejudice. This isn't a capture mission like the castle, but one of complete annihilation. Expect heavy casualties as their adorable repetitiveness burns into your skulls like white phosphorus in the jungle. Our sacrifices will be great, but our suffering is in the name of protecting others. 
Oh, and watch out for Disney's commando kitties!  Have fun storming the castle!

Thoughts From A Small Business

I had noted this current kerfuffle here and done it with an eye roll and a laugh, but you really should read this too. UPDATE: Oh, and this too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Movie Review: "Ted"

Toy Story.

There's a teddy bear in this movie, but you better keep your kids at home!  Ted is strictly a movie for grownups even as its stars are Mark Wahlberg as a 35-year-old Bostonian with a severe case of Peter Pan-ism and a sentient teddy bear as his sidekick and enabler.  Ted is the product of the fevered imagination of Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy.  Seriously, I could end my movie review right here.  If you appreciate the madcap, snarky, pop culture-savvy, and often gleefully profane and purposefully offensive humor of that cartoon, you'll probably enjoy Ted.  If you're a prude, you should go watch something else.  Everybody who likes some occasional sophomoric humor mashed into an intriguing one-off premise, read on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

3 Movies and Only 3 Movies

If you could choose only 3 movies from the entire history of cinema, which would you pick?  This sounds like an impossible question, but some cinephiles over at Ricochet are having a go at it.  I don't even know where to start.  Maybe I could do it if I could choose 3 movies from each genre.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remembering Pakistan's Outcast Scientist Abdus Salam

You'd think he'd be a national hero, being Pakistan's only Nobel Prize winner and the scientist whose work contributed to the Higgs boson research.  But nope!  The physicist has been purged from the textbooks and his gravestone ordered defaced by a magistrate(!) because ... This is too depressing.  Just read the news story.  UPDATE: More here.

The Oatmeal/Scumbag Lawyer Saga Reaches Glorious Apogee

The Oatmeal, after dealing with this entire mess, is even more hilarious in triumph. Kudos, sir, KUDOS.  He even leaves us with a moral of the story spelled out for your viewing pleasure: "Philanthropy > Douchebaggery."  Indeed.  Make that "Philanthropy with a Sense of Humor"!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Those Unsung Heroes of the Tour de France

Today's stage was full of horrifying crashes, but I did find something else worth pointing out about the Tour.  There are a bunch of hilarious people running a website that declares its intention as "Celebrating the unsung heroes of the Tour de France.  That's right.  The cows."  

Here it is in all its goofy bovine glory:

Foreign Policy Fiascos: A Summary


Disgustingly Cute: Customer Service Done Right

Kudos, people.  It's also the best example of a parental CYA conspiracy I've heard of in a loooooooong time!

How Do You Say "Let's Roll" in Mandarin?

Some terrorist hijackers got more than they bargained for on a Chinese plane.

Friday Fun: the Vet Can't Cure Henri's Ennui

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Law Prof Annotates the Declaration of Independence

A fascinating commentary for a glorious document. Commentator Randy Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts. Here's a bit of it:
The assumption of natural rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence can be summed up by the following proposition:  “first comes rights, then comes government.”  According to this view: (1) the rights of individuals do not originate with any government, but preexist its formation;  (2) The protection of these rights is the first duty of government; and (3) Even after government is formed, these rights provide a standard by which its performance is measured and, in extreme cases, its systemic failure to protect rights — or its systematic violation of rights — can justify its alteration or abolition; (4) At least some of these rights are so fundamental that they are “inalienable,” meaning they are so intimately connected to one’s nature as a human being that they cannot be transferred to another even if one consents to do so.  This is powerful stuff.

Awful or Awesome? San Diego's Fireworks Snafu

I'm going to call it "accidentally awesome." San Diego mistakenly set off all its fireworks at the same time last night.  It's being called the "Big Bay Boom." Check out the pyrotechtastic video of the biggest darn fireball ever at a Fourth of July bash: 

Felix peccatum.

Well, I'm Offended That You're Offended. Get Back to Work!

Hmmm.  Well, I do tell my students flat out that at one point or another in my class, they are going to be offended, so they should just get over it and get over themselves.  People are always offended when I say this - which is exactly my point.  They're always stunned by the idea that they could be exposed to things they personally don't happen to like and that I don't care.  This related bit has a fabulous anecdote about those annoying, sanctimonious, brittle, humorless people who presume to speak for a group of which they happen to be part:
About thirty years ago one of my cousins, a novice within a religious order, brought some of his confreres to a family summer party. One of the friars chose to take offense at some trivial chatter, and presumed to stand there and do it “as a Religious of the Roman Catholic church!” 
To which my cousin, walking by, responded, “oh, lah-di-fecking-dah, so am I” and shoved him into the pool.

Satire Alert: "Higgs boson becomes first celebrity particle"

Right on the heels of yesterday's big announcement comes this hilarity by the UK humo(u)r site the Daily Mash.  Enjoy!

Public Service Announcement: Iowahawk on Twitter

If you're not following the incomparable Iowahawk on Twitter, you're missing one of the most sublimely hilarious experiences ever in 140 characters or fewer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Nerd Fun: Signing the Declaration, Email Style

A Little Historical Perspective on July 4

Eureka! Higgs Boson Found?

Science lovers are totally freaking out.  I guess I can't wear this shirt anymore?  

July 4 Wishes from Israel

MM in the Kitchen: Peach Cobbler Ice Cream

Perfect for your holiday cookout!

Happy Fourth of July!

Have a glorious day, gentle reader!  Read the Declaration of Independence again, spare a thought for the hard-fought Revolution that made this nation possible, and then go celebrate America by enjoying your picnics and cookouts and parades and concerts and - of course - Sousa and FIREWORKS!  (Oh, and here's a holiday-related LOL too, along with a golden oldie.)  

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Destroying UNESCO-Listed Shrines in Timbuktu

Remember the Bamiyan Buddhas?  The same kind of thing is happening all over again.  It's infuriating.  Are these guys capable only of destroying?  They'd turn the world into a wasteland devoid of all beauty and culture if they could, probably.  Screw these guys.

Le Tour 2012: Come Obsess with Me

I've been busy with nerdwork and juggling Nerd Lord demands, so I haven't been as bloggy as usual, but don't you worry - my friends and I are as engaged in our annual July obsession as ever.  I still want a dress that's the same pattern as that polka-dot jersey!  (Wear with a big straw hat with a red ribbon and a floppy brim, a straw tote, and cute sandals ... maybe espadrilles.)

This Hilarious "Prometheus" Review Rules Them All.

I previously harshed on Prometheus here, here, and here.  Now I just stumbled across sci fi author Larry Correia's awesome takedown.  You should read it just for the uproarious laughs written into the conceit that the review is the spaceship captain's personal log.  Here's a taste of the snarky splendor:
I think the Weyland Corporation must not give a crap about this mission since they hired Insane Clown Posse to be our science team.

Great Moments in Research: UK Physics Grad Students Devise Formula for Kicking Soccer Balls

No, really!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Ave atque Vale, Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld

This guy's life should be a movie.  The obit reads like a spy thriller novel.  Look at this intro:
Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld, who has died aged 88, escaped from Occupied France to join the Special Operations Executive (SOE); parachuted back on sabotage missions, he twice faced execution, only to escape on both occasions, once dressed as a Nazi guard.

The Oatmeal Saga Continues

The end of Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad has turned out not to be the end of cartoonist Matt "the Oatmeal" Inman's ongoing hassle with Charles Carreon, the most annoying lawyer ever and today's pick for "dirtbag dujour."  Here's a tale of two legal actions

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Happy Canada Day, Eh?

Our neighbor to the North celebrates her 145th birthday today.  Happy Canada Day, everyone!  This celebrations of all things Canadian also gives me the perfect excuse to post this little video with one of our favorite Canadians: