June 2008 Archives

Off the beaten track

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Wandering the intertubes today took me to Crooked Timber which took me to John & Belle have a blog which took me to Design*Sponge which reminded me of how much fun there is in making something yourself. It's also perplexing in that I do so much less of that now that there's this thing called the Internet.

Amazing Grace

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One of my favorite songs.

Items of Interest

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-- I think that Pharyngula sussed it correctly in his post, "The consequences of the erosion of critical thinking", which reports that a child abuse case was opened because a teacher's aide went to a psychic and the psychic said that a child with a name beginning with v was being sexually molested and the school took it seriously. No, really, they did. The complete story is here.

-- Clever woman. Glad her genes are staying in the gene pool.

BBC Report on The Spaghetti Harvest in 1957

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I ran across this on Time's The Curious Capitalist blog. I have a faint memory of having heard about this when I was young but I'd never seen the video itself. From the BBC and someone with a great sense of humor on April 1, 1957:

Quote for the Day

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Via Sully:

"I refuse to be lectured on national security by people who are responsible for the most disastrous set of foreign policy decisions in the recent history of the United States. The other side likes to use 9/11 as a political bludgeon. Well, let's talk about 9/11.

The people who were responsible for murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11 have not been brought to justice."

They are Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and their sponsors - the Taliban. They were in Afghanistan. And yet George Bush and John McCain decided in 2002 that we should take our eye off of Afghanistan so that we could invade and occupy a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The case for war in Iraq was so thin that George Bush and John McCain had to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein, and make false promises that we'd be greeted as liberators. They misled the American people, and took us into a misguided war.

Here are the results of their policy. Osama bin Laden and his top leadership - the people who murdered 3000 Americans - have a safe-haven in northwest Pakistan, where they operate with such freedom of action that they can still put out hate-filled audiotapes to the outside world. That's the result of the Bush-McCain approach to the war on terrorism," - Barack Obama, 6-18-2008.

Wired: The Little Spacecraft That Could

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Wired has an article with lots of exclusive embedded video about the next generation NASA spacecraft:

NASA scientists have built a dynamic little spacecraft in record time. It may someday rendezvous with asteroids, orbit Earth or Mars, and land on the moon -- for roughly one tenth the price of a conventional unmanned mission.

"This spacecraft will allow NASA to launch more missions, for less money," says William Marshall, a member of the team that built the satellite. "In the 1960's landing on the Moon took a team of thousands of people. Today that same task can be done with 30."

The new vehicle is designed around what Marshall's team calls a Modular Common Spacecraft Bus. It has a versatile octagonal box shape that can carry up to fifty kilograms of instruments so long as they can fit within the space sits atop the engine.

Go check out all the video. It's pretty cool.

Looking for Wi-Fi?

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Lev Grossman has an entertaining post about his wi-fi mooching days in which he passes along this tidbit.

A website called ThinkGeek.com sells a T shirt with a battery-powered wi-fi detector that displays the ambient signal strength wherever you happen to be standing. It's supercool, though if I'm too cheap to pay for broadband, I'm definitely too cheap to spend $30 on a T shirt.

And now for something completely different

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The Pondonome was bragging about his selection as a top commenter on the NYT science blog TierneyLab. TierneyLab had asked for "suggestions for a plot for an work commissioned by La Scala: an opera based on An Inconvenient Truth." His opera proposal borrowed from Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny. Sure enough, someone slipped this in for all of us to enjoy.

So as Sully says, here's a mental health break.

Michelle on The View

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Update: barackobama.com has it uploaded in one clip vs. 5 so here it is.

Michelle Obama appeared on The View yesterday as co-host. It's not a show that I ever watch but I thought I'd check it out on youtube. She did a great job. pe11201 has patiently uploaded the show in 5 parts. Here's Part1A

Here's Part 1b - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

Al Gore endorses Barack Obama

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Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in front of a crowd of 20,000 in Detroit last night. KerryVision has video up of his complete endorsement. And there's more on what happened in Detroit and how it was received in this report at Mlive.com including a great picture of Barack and Al.

I listened to Al's speech. His quote of JFk struck me as particularly significant as it sums it up for Obama as well. Here's the quote and the context.

And we all know that a long tenure in Washington DC is not the same as judgment, wisdom and vision. Nevertheless, the other party seems to think that age and experience are factors that will work in their favor during this campaign. But our shared experience as a nation tells us otherwise.

I remember when one prominent Republican wondered out loud whether the Democratic nominee really is, and I quote, "really grownup enough to be president". Another used the phrase, quote, "naive and inexperienced". Yet another said, quote "the United States cannot afford to risk the future of the free world with inexperience and immaturity in the White House", end quote.

Who are they talking about?

Every single one of those quotations came from the campaign of 1960 when the Republicans attacked John Fitzgerald Kennedy for alledgedly lacking the age and experience necessary to be president. Richard Nixon's slogan in that campaign was "Experience counts" to which John F. Kennedy responded and I quote:

"To exclude from positions of trust and command all those below the age of 44 would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from commanding the Continental Army, Madison from fathering the Constitution and Christopher Columbus from even discovering America."

Where would our country be without Thomas Jefferson? Where would it go without Barack Obama? I shudder to think.

McCain's Illiteracy

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As was noted elsewhere, McCain's site has undergone a revision which looks like it used the Obama website as its inspiration but went downhill from there under the direction of less-capable web designers. Given the news of McCain's inability to use a computer of any sort, this picture was the next logical step.

mccain computer

H/T to dailykos

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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