Monday, October 5, 2009

Anne Frank: the only existing film images

From The Anne Frank House:


Friday, October 2, 2009

We left in the scenes with Cartman's mom and the horse as per our conversation.

Background and transcript here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hubble Catches Galaxies Stripping — Ram Pressure Stripping, That Is

More news from the insane, insane universe:

heic0911b1

I'll Trade Him Gay Marriage for the Public Option


The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
I don't believe an attempt to help more Americans to get their own health insurance implies that it is some kind of basic right that can be demanded of government. Some may believe that. I don't.
Gay marriage is a right, but healthcare isn't?

The unwritten rule: conservatives talk about their causes in stark, moralistic terms and progressives don’t

From the Nation:
After his GOP colleagues recovered from the shock of a Democrat actually calling them out, they demanded an apology.
Grayson returned to the House floor to announce that:
'I would like to apologize, I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.'"
Yglesias puts it perfectly:
I think the real issue—and the real import—of Grayson’s statement is that it involved breaking one of the unspoken rules of modern American politics. The rule is that conservatives talk about their causes in stark, moralistic terms and progressives don’t.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yes, It's About Race

LittleRockintegrationprotest3

They're not talking about economic redistribution of wealth - they never have been. They've been talking about redistribution of privilege this whole time. They called MLK a communist because he wanted blacks to have the same rights as whites, and to them that was a redistribution of the privilege that whites had 'earned'.
...
It's why the protesters will decry socialism today but wouldn't have under Bush - it's all tied to race and other social objectives and has nothing really to do with taxation, deficits, and big government. You probably missed it when you came to the US, but this is pretty old game - particularly to guys like Carter that grew up around it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kamikaze Obstructionism

Ezra Klein Kamikaze Obstructionism
"45% approve of Obama’s handling of health care, while 46% disapprove, which is up from his 41%-47% score last month. By comparison, just 21% approve of the Republican Party’s handling of the issue."

But daddy, Ayyyyy want a remote controlled cyborg beetle!

Oh brave new world, that has such bugs in it:

Flight of the remote-controlled cyborg beetle : Neurophilosophy: "the development of an implantable radio-controlled neural stimulating device, with which they demonstrate, for the very first time, the accurate control of flight in freely flying insects."
cyborg beetle.jpg

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crazy Dust Storm Turns Sydney Red | Wired Science | Wired.com

Wow.

amuller1

No Extremists at the Tea Party?

Little Green Footballs - No Extremists at the Tea Party?


Right wing heresy: what happens when you just can't go all the way

Little green footballs has long been one of the most popular right-wing blogs on the Web -- one of the right-wing blogosphere's pioneers. And I mean right-wing.

Not any more.

After dissenting from Glenn Beckism and the white surpremicist Robert Stacy McCain, he has been excommunicated.

He goes the way of Andrew Sullivan, former W. "axis of evil"-coining neoconservative speechwriter David Frum, Colin Powell, and the rest of the fuddy duddies who haven't been able to keep up with the let's-suspend-habeas-corpus-and-torture-people Obama-is-a-socialist-fascist-muslim crowd.

In other words, he is now a left-wing lunatic.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Anti-Religion

More often than not, it is entirely irrational. A case in point : Robert Wright defends himself very effectively against a sloppy review of his book The Evolution of God in the New Republic.

Today it is just as good to do religious homage to science and rationality without actually engaging in them as to call oneself a "Christian" and ... you get the picture. Wright himself is an evangelist of science -- it's just that his lack of fervor (his agnosticism) is not enough for his reviewer (and would-be excommunicater), Jerry Coyne.

Science does not need hot-headed, partisan defenders who think they are doing it a favor by engaging in theological debates when they've never thought seriously about -- and in fact have no interest in -- theology and the philosophy of science. (That's you, Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens). The anti-religious tirades of these proselytizers are premised on an idea (among others) that can be wielded just as much to the detriment of science as faith: the claim that one is in conflict with the other. In fact, they are not in conflict, and do not even touch. Properly conceived, not a single inferential thread runs between them. Some light reading should clear it up: http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/cpr/toc.html.

This is not to say that it might not seem that way -- a claim that seems to pop up almost verbatim everywhere as if it is the one bit of their faith vs. reason Cliff Notes that all of them have read, as in Coyne's "Over its history, science has delivered two crippling blows to humanity's self-image." You know, Galileo and Darwin. Coyne seems to relish the blow as if he himself had delivered it. But seems is not enough. Self-image is not enough. How it made the 9/12 protesters of the day feel is not enough. The harder philosophical problems -- involving conflicts between God and evil, (morality-grounding) free will and mechanistic determinism -- arrived before Galileo, Copernicus, and Darwin.

(I say this as someone who is agnostic, science-loving, decidedly un-post-modern, and has little tolerance for organized religion).

A Day in the Life of a Republican


A response from the comments section of Krauthammer's latest WaPo column:

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards.

He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised. All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo.
His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree- hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

If he drives to work it is 'socialism' that built the roads.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards.
Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills.
Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad's; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.
The house didn't have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.
After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good (He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day). Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I'm a SELF-MADE-MAN who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

SOCIALISM == Roads, volunteer armies, drafted armies, schools, sanitation, water, electric, gas, railroads, emergency rooms, free vaccines, Medicare, Medicaid, Firemen, Police, Judges, Courts, Universities, airports, shore management, pollution controls, safety inspectors, construction standards, etc, etc, etc,

That's what socialism is. We're already a socialist-capitalist country.

Friday, September 18, 2009

When We Were Dolphins

No one knows why we became naked three million years ago -- theories concerning looking good to the opposite sex and cooling off have but debunked. But one of the more promising explanations described in a recent New Scientist article suggests that we might be relatively hairless for the same reasons that dolphins and whales are:
None of this affects Hardy's theory that humans lost their body hair during an aquatic interlude. But his theory claims to offer one explanation for a whole range of enigmatic human features: bipedality, hairlesslessness, fat layer, descended larynx, loss of olfaction, and so on. If it turns out that the big two - bipedality and nakedness - arose at roughly the same time, that might shift the balance of probability some little way toward Hardy.

Martinis by the pool, anyone?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Healthcare in Massachusetts (with the public option)

An interesting summary of benefits and problems here.

My experience: I live in Massachussetts, which essentially has the healthcare system that is being proposed nationwide, including the public option. I would have loved to have selected the public option -- but my income was too high. What I was able to do was comparison shop on a single Mass-run website to decide between every available (private) health insurance company/plan. I found a "gold" rated plan -- the works, low deductible -- for a very good price. Mass is rated #1 in the healthcare in the nation, and it's by far the best experience I've had: perhaps this is just my primary care provider (Harvard Vanguard), but I've never had an exorbitant office wait time, and there's far less bureaucracy and better customer service than I've experienced in any of the many states in which I've lived.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"We are going to defeat you"

My brother points me to the following article and highlights:

Can Obama give 'em hell before it's too late? | Salon
"The New Left of the 1970s and 1980s, clashing with socially conservative blue-collar "hard-hats," were if anything even more hostile to the white working class, and sought allies instead among blacks, immigrants and various "social movements," most of them staffed and run by members of the college-educated upper middle class.

"They worry that if liberals rile up the crowd against Wall Street, the rampaging mob, like the torch-bearing Transylvanian villagers in the old Universal Pictures Frankenstein movies, might turn on the universities or carry out political pogroms against minorities.

"It follows that liberals should focus on keeping the public calm, while carrying out reforms on their behalf -- but without their participation -- on the basis of negotiations among politicians, public-spirited nonprofit activists, and enlightened interest groups. The Obama administration's approach to healthcare reform has followed this script exactly.

"The two arguments on which the administration has rested the case for healthcare are calculated to appeal to elites, not the general public. One argument holds that it is immoral to allow a substantial minority of Americans [20% or less], who are disproportionately poor, to lack health insurance. This argument appeals to progressive Democrats in the academic and nonprofit communities for whom politics is a form of charity. The other argument is that healthcare cost inflation will wreck the economy in the future, unless it is brought under control. This argument appeals to the Wall Street donor wing of the party, symbolized by Robert Rubin, whose protégés, including Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner and Peter Orszag, surround Obama in the White House.
And suggests I may be related to the author:

Michael Lind

White South African Claiming Racist ‘Persecution’ Is Granted Asylum in Canada - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com

White South African Claiming Racist ‘Persecution’ Is Granted Asylum in Canada - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com:

The Lede asks us to be shocked by the following:
South Africa plans to ask Canada to review a ruling last week by an immigration board in Ottawa granting asylum to a white South African carnival worker who claimed that he was forced to flee his homeland after being attacked seven times because of the color of his skin.
But it fails to mention that this is not a new story, and not merely obviously without merit, as per the following Newsweek story:
Fleeing From South Africa
Fourteen years after apartheid, why are the best and the brightest leaving Africa’s most successful state?
http://www.newsweek.com/id/184783
The primary driver for emigration among all groups, but especially whites, who still retain the majority of South Africa’s wealth, is fear of crime.

Another largely unnoticed problem is the growing number of attacks on South Africa’s white farmers. As in neighboring Zimbabwe, some of the attacks appear to be racially motivated. Others seem simply opportunistic, but the result is that white farmers’ numbers continue to decrease, leading to fears that despite the government’s good intentions, a Zimbabwe-style crisis—where the flight of skilled farmers led to an agricultural collapse—is possible here too.







The "Intolerance" Party? GOP Strategists Worry Ideologues Are Bad For The Party's Future

The "Intolerance" Party? GOP Strategists Worry Ideologues Are Bad For The Party's Future:
A major rift has emerged within the Republican Party. On one side: Ideologues who are inciting the base with wild rhetoric and banking on a 'great American awakening' that will sweep conservatives back into power. On the other: Strategists, who see the party's growing intolerance as a prescription for minority status.

So far, the ideologues are winning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Episode 7: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: What Is There and Can We Talk About It? � The Partially Examined Life

Episode 7: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus: What Is There and Can We Talk About It? - The Partially Examined Life

Check out our latest podcast: everything that's fit to be the case.

Chris Matthews Slams GOP Governor Rick Perry For Involvement With New Secessionist Group: "Ignorance Of These People Is Unbelievable" (VIDEO)

Chris Matthews Slams GOP Governor Rick Perry For Involvement With New Secessionist Group: "Ignorance Of These People Is Unbelievable" (VIDEO)
Despite the ridicule Texas Governor Rick Perry received when he suggested during a 'tea party' protest that Texas could secede from the Union if it wanted to, that hasn't stopped him from continuing to promote the notion.

Ezra Klein - The Gang of Six Appears to be Dead -- But How Many of Them Know It?

Ezra Klein
- The Gang of Six Appears to be Dead -- But How Many of Them Know It?
The White House has, for the first time, spoken out against a member of Max Baucus's "Gang of Six." After Mike Enzi used the GOP's weekly radio to attack the Democrats' health-care plan for promoting "the rationing of [America's] health care," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs fired back that Enzi "clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship and decided that it's time to walk away from the table."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Liveblogging the Obama Inauguration

Yes, I got lucky and got tickets the inauguration. I'll be liveblogging it with photos Jan 20.