Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forgotten History: Ice Delivery in 1918

From a fascinating collection of colorized vintage photos comes this great image. Caption: "'Girls deliver ice. Heavy work that formerly belonged to men only is being done by girls. The girls are delivering ice on a route and their work requires brawn as well as the patriotic ambition to help.' September 16, 1918. Original black and white photo by American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917 - 1918, colorized by Dana Keller."


Satire Alert: The Onion vs. College Admissions

Does this kind of savagely incisive truth-telling even count as satire anymore?

Ave atque Vale, James Rebhorn

Veteran character actor James Rebhorn (even if you don't know the name, you probably know the face) has died, and he wrote his own obit.  Read it!  I think I have something in my eye.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

If You Strike Me Down, I Shall Become More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine: Turkish Twitter Edition

Shortly after the Twitter ban came into effect around midnight, the micro-blogging company tweeted instructions to users in Turkey on how to circumvent it using text messaging services in Turkish and English. Turkish tweeters were quick to share other methods of tiptoeing around the ban, using “virtual private networks” (VPN) – which allow internet users to connect to the web undetected – or changing the domain name settings on computers and mobile devices to conceal their geographic whereabouts. 
Some large Turkish news websites also published step-by-step instructions on how to change DNS settings. 
On Friday morning, Turkey woke up to lively birdsong: according to the alternative online news site Zete.com, almost 2.5m tweets – or 17,000 tweets a minute – have been posted from Turkey since the Twitter ban went into effect, thus setting new records for Twitter use in the country.

March Madness, Putin Style

March Madness: Duke's Out In the First Round

I didn't even have time to blink, much less get my Duke hate on, before the Blue Devils got eliminated from the Big Dance this afternoon.  And just who beat the #3 seed and basketball powerhouse?  Mercer. WHO?  Yeah.  Mercer, the 14th-seeded school that I had never even heard of.

You know, gigantic upsets like this are what make March Madness so great!  

By the way, that howling you hear is the sound of millions of college hoops fans lamenting their now-ruined brackets.

As for Duke ... BYE BYE BYE!

UPDATE: Need a tutorial in dancing the Nae Nae on the grave of Duke's tournament dreams?  We aim to please here at MM Blog!

Friday Fun Video: "What a Bunch of A-holes."

Yes, yes, I know the trailer's been out for a few weeks.  I've been watching it for that long because it is hilarious!  It never fails to make me smile, and - let's face it - with yet another wave of frigid temps and sleet/snow hitting the East Coast, we could all use a smile.  Anyone up for a crazy space adventure starring a quintet of desperadoes with a 1970s Swedish rock band on the soundtrack?  Oh, Marvel, you had me at "space raccoon with an automatic weapon."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LOL: Smaug on Twitter

I'm not sure what's funnier: the fact that some wag is on Twitter tweeting in the guise of Tolkien's dragon or that he can come up with things like this:

The Cat's Meow: Egypt in 3600 BC

The skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.

A River Runs Through It

Watch the Chinese Air Force bomb the iced-over Yellow River.  Note how the website filed this under the tag "WTF." 

I'll Take That As A Compliment

One of my students just called me a "badass"!

Monday, March 17, 2014

MM in the Kitchen: Guinness Chocolate Cake

In case you ever have too much Guinness (haha), you can have it for dessert!

Question: "Will Asians Kill Race Preferences in California?"

KILL THEM WITH FIRE.  Schadenfreudelicious phrase in the story: "spontaneous Asian-American backlash."  Let me tell you something, people: Do NOT screw with Asians with it comes to getting a good education.  (But what do I know, right?  According to all the race-preference academic crowds, I'm just a white girl.)

Public Service Announcement: When In The UK, Don't Order An "Irish Car Bomb."

Seriously, you might not want to, no matter how much you might like the drink here.

MM in the Kitchen: Cupcakes For St. Patrick's Day

Deliciously green.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Let It Go" In Multiple Languages

This song from the "Frozen" soundtrack has taken over the universe, but even if you think you never want to hear it again, you'll want to give this version a chance as Elsa sings in every language from French to Thai to Serbian and beyond.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nerd News: UK University Admissions Service Sells Access To Student Data

Selling out to the tune of 12 million pounds sterling.

Something's Fishy: the Robot Apocalypse Proceeds Apace

Check out the latest from MIT!

I Would Totally Hug This Tree

I make fun of treehuggers all the time, but this is no ordinary tree.  Save this gorgeous albino redwood, only one of less than a dozen of its kind!  IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE!

Curiouser and Curiouser

What is going on with missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370?  Theories ranging from banal to utterly preposterous are flooding the media and Internet.  The only one I haven't heard yet is "aliens."  YET.

A Dolphin Gets By With A Little Help From His Friends

Here's the video.

"Profoundly Dysfunctional": A Federal Bureaucrat Quits

Here's a piece of the letter of February 25:
I’m offended as an American taxpayer that the federal bureaucracy—at least the part I’ve labored in—is so profoundly dysfunctional.  I’m hardly the first person to have made that discovery, but I’m saddened by the fact that there is so little discussion, much less outrage, regarding the problem.  To promote healthy and productive discussion, I intend to publish a version of the daily log I’ve kept as ORI Director in order to share my experience and observations with my colleagues in government and with members of the regulated research community.
Read the whole thing.

An Interview with David Mamet

Fascinating.  It also yields our Quote of the Day:
"... man is a striving animal.  That’s what separates us from the poodles.  So, our unquenchable urge to investigate, reform, and reshape everything around us, not only makes the world, but destroys the world.  The question is how do we deal with human nature, and that is the ultimate question of drama."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Does China Need or Want Taiwan?"

Dignified Rant has an interesting new post on the topic.  Needing and wanting can entail all sorts of definitions and motivations ... though the bottom line is, as I think we've all been saying for a long time, Taiwan needs to make the price of invasion too high for China to pay. 

You know, Taiwan may be losing the public relations war (if this incident is any indication of how otherwise perfectly intelligent and reasonable people will naively believe the stupidest propaganda about Taiwan).  You know what?  Fight the PR war better, Taiwan, but at the same, arm up in case the moment ever comes when we go past words to sticks and stones.

Headline of the Day: The UK Education Secretary

"I always defended Michael Gove. Then I met him."  Ouch.

AWESOME: Colin Powell's Vintage Selfie

Kudos, sir!

The Fall of Piers Morgan

You can read the entire analysis, or you can cut to the chase: "To put it more succinctly, Piers Morgan is a supercilious tosser."  (The inimitable Jeremy Clarkson would agree, I think.)

Leaving Venezuela

A personal account.

Quote of the Day: The Wreck of Venezuela

And why has it come to this?  
The reason? A brain-dead rejection of basic economics, and a hardline, anti-market approach of the worst possible kind. There are maximum prices, other price controls, profit controls, capital controls, nationalisations, expropriations and every other statist, atavistic policy you can think of. An extreme left wing government has waged war on capitalism and won; and as ever, ordinary people are paying the price.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quote of the Day: Sanctions and Success

Oh, dear:
"Experts are divided into two groups: those who think sanctions usually fail and those who think they almost always fail."

Nerd News: Asians vs. Affirmative Action in California


As a friend once said, "Asians don't count.  You're too successful."  

Someone else not too long ago: "You don't count as a minority.  You count as a white person."  (Me: "You know that that was the same attitude in apartheid South Africa?")

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Movie Review: The LEGO Movie

Block Party.

I just realized that I forgot to write up a movie review for this flick, and I've already seen it 3 times with 3 different sets of friends.  (It got better each time!)  I had, admittedly, initially been reluctant to go see it: I thought it might be a horrible 90-minute-long ad for LEGO bricks, those little interlocking blocks from Denmark that you must never, ever step on.  I've never been so happy to be so wrong!  The LEGO Movie is an absolute delight - smart, funny, witty, inventive ... It's endlessly, creatively enthralling and unexpectedly touching on multiple levels that will make both kids and grownups happy.  

The animation is brilliant, the voice cast excellent (keep an eye - I mean, an ear - out for celebrity cameos!), the music outstanding, and the narrative instantly engaging.  I fully expect this film to collect mountains of awards; I think it's a shoo-in come Oscar time next year.  I'm almost at a loss how to review it without spoiling it and its wonderful surprises.  (There is one glorious moment in particular that had the entire theatre shrieking with joy at all 3 showings that I attended.  Trust me, when you go, you'll know.)  Actually, the less you know about this flick before you go see it, the better.  Can I just say that "everything is awesome" and send you to the cinema immediately?

Mad Minerva gives The LEGO Movie the grade of A+.  Yes, you read that right.  An A+.  (And no, that's not grade inflation!)

RottenTomatoes gives it the amazingly Fresh rating of 96%.

The official website is here.

The LEGO Movie runs 100 minutes and is rated PG for animated violence and some rude humor.

Nerd News: UK Universities Slipping In Rankings?

I personally don't put much stock in rankings, but some Brits are concerned about these new ones.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Blah Blah Blah: Useless White House Rhetoric on Ukraine

This is pretty much spot on

I add this reaction gif:

While we're at it, here's the Tweet of the Day by none other than Rob Lowe:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Fugly or Fabulous: 2014 Oscar Fashions

Here you go.

  • Everyone who wore a nude/beige/flesh-colored dress, and I do mean everybody. BOOOORING.
  • Emma Watson in a gray outfit with a weird high neckline. Sorry, Hermione, but you should have given this outfit the old Avada Kedavra.
  • Kelly Ripa.  Good grief, someone get that woman a sandwich.  Emaciation is not pretty.
  • Michael B. Jordan, what are those things on your feet?
  • Ireland Baldwin's total mess.   Somehow the lace makes it worse.
Worst of the worst: 

China: The Desolation of Smog


And the Oscar For Best Red Carpet Photobomb Goes to ...

Benedict Cumberbatch!  Well done, sir.