As you would expect, I spent some time this morning watching a public access rebroadcast of New Tong Dynasty Television's coverage of a comic book convention. Good stuff.
The book, I think, was
Now a new paper, published by the journal Contraception, culls evidence from several studies to argue that withdrawal is actually nearly as effective as condoms in preventing pregnancy. The paper reports that couples who practice withdrawal perfectly over the course of a year -- meaning the male partner always pulls out before ejaculation -- have only a 4 percent pregnancy rate. More "typical" couples using withdrawal (those who sometimes mess up) have a pregnancy rate of 18 percent. |Dana Goldstein|
I heard “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas while switching between radio stations in my car. The words “I got the that rock and roll, that future flow, that digital spit, next level visual shit” piqued my curiosity so I decided to listen to the rest. As the beat kicked in, I remembered sort of liking the Peas’ first album and dreamily wondered whether T-Pain and Kanye West have inspired an amazing new genre: cyber rap. Just as I was starting to smile at the prospect of a Funkadelic generation for the 21st century, Fergie’s brute battle screech crushed all my hopes of space-hop grandeur with just one verse: “I like that boom boom pow, them chickinz jackin’ my style, they try copy my swagger I’m on that next shit now”.
I like a little supersonic boom as much as the next guy, but until one of these Peas can be a little more specific about their zooming space shit I’m afraid I just don’t buy it. What exactly makes this song futuristic? Help me out. Until then I’ll try to avoid saying “You’re SOO two thousand and LATE” in my lexicon and look to the cosmos for answers.
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Called "Daisy," The RNC's new 30-second Web ad uses footage of the now-infamous 1964 Lyndon Johnson commercial by the same name that showed a young girl picking off the pedals of a flower as a nuclear explosion is heard in the background.
That ad, which only ran once but was widely criticized as being extreme, ends with the image of a mushroom crowd and Johnson declaring, "We must either love each other, or we must die."
The New RNC ad splices the image of the girl with Obama's earlier declaration suggesting that closing Guantanamo Bay is "easy." This time the girl asks "To close it? To close it not?" as she picks off flower pedals.|CNN|
Prince finished 17-20 in three seasons at KSU. It was the the second-shortest coaching tenure in Big 12 history behind the two seasons Dave Roberts coached at Baylor. |ESPN|
According to new research from Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson:The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness
By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging -- one with higher subjective well-being for men.
I am not at all sure how to interpret this finding. It sounds like either the women's movement was a mistake or subjective happiness is not the right objective.
"I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters," the [Gingrich] said in an interview with ABC Radio. |CNN|
It can’t possibly be the operating assumption of the US government that members of congress and their senior staff are traitors. And if there’s something that genuinely needs to be kept secret for national security purposes, then you have to assume that honest and patriotic members of congress aren’t going to leak damaging information. But it’s clear that in the case of this waterboarding business, there was no real security need for all this operational secrecy. Instead, the Bush administration wanted to keep it secret because it was illegal and if people found out that it was happening they were likely to blow the whistle on the illegal torturing that was happening. But helping powerful people cover-up illegal activity is precisely what classification isn’t supposed to accomplish. |Yglesias|
At the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project, where thousands of samples of seized marijuana are tested every year, project director Mahmoud ElSohly said some samples have THC levels exceeding 30 percent.
Average THC concentrations will continue to climb before leveling off at 15 percent or 16 percent in five to 10 years, ElSohly predicted.
The stronger marijuana is of particular concern because high concentrations of THC have the opposite effect of low concentrations, officials say. |CNN|
Remember how the Reagan administration became a laughingstock for allegedly trying to classify ketchup as a vegetable?
This week, the Obama administration warned that Cheerios are a drug. |The Fever Swamp|
In a warning letter, the FDA cited the claim that “you can lower your cholesterol by 4 per cent in six weeks” by eating Cheerios regularly.
It objected to Cheerios’ assertion that “eating two 1½ cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol”.
The claims – a central plank of Cheerios marketing for more than two years – go beyond the tightly defined health benefit claim for foods with soluble fibres, such as Cheerios, approved by the FDA for use in food marketing.
Dr Steven Sundloff, head of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety, said the action was “not to impugn Cheerios”, which he called “a product that can be part of a healthy diet”.
But he said: “The packaging clearly carries a drug claim.”|Financial Times|
In conventional psychological tests, subjects recall words they’ve had a chance to study better than words they’ve seen only briefly. Bem reversed the usual order of events and found that his subjects were significantly more likely to recall words they would study later than words they wouldn’t study at all. Extroverts show the most precognition.
What’s more, certain independent games are entering a phase – familiar to historians of jazz, comics and indeed 20th-century literature – of vigorous experimentation with techniques of narrative. (An evening with the frightening and baffling The Path, rather like an Angela Carter story siphoned through The Sims, will show you what I mean.) And with book sales falling, it may not be long before prose writers jump ship for a medium that offers some of the most exciting possibilities of the new century.
Our experience of stories is, by and large, a lateral one, in which the writer commands every aspect of the world the reader inhabits as well as the process by which it reveals itself. Fine; it’s worked for centuries. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that gaming – which increasingly promises a narrative space for the player to make his own way, never having the same experience twice – is where at least some of the great writers of tomorrow will make their names. At which point, as with comics, everyone will get a terrible headache over trying to think of a new name for the medium. |Telegraph.UK - Tim Martin|
A correlation has been observed between the US GDP and the number of sunspots as well as between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the number of sunspots. The data cover 80 years of history. The observed correlations permit forecasts for the GDP and for the stock market in America with a future horizon of 10 years. Both being above their long-term trend they are forecasted to go over a peak around Jun-2008.©2007 Elsevier Inc. | via |
The Sun is the dimmest it has been for nearly a century.
There are no sunspots, very few solar flares - and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.
Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.
According to Prof Louise Hara of University College London, it is unclear why this is happening or when the Sun is likely to become more active again.
“There’s no sign of us coming out of it yet,” she told BBC News. | via |
“The question is, how much time and energy do I want to spend chasing these guys,” Stephen King wrote in an e-mail message. “And to what end? My sense is that most of them live in basements floored with carpeting remnants, living on Funions and discount beer.”
Afghan civilians blame US airstrikes for 100+ civilian dead; the United States is investigating the possibility that the Taliban executed the civilians with grenades in order to blame US forces.
Either scenario is pretty plausible; but either way the PR fiasco falls in the lap of the international forces, so the bottom line is the US needs to rethink its counterinsurgency strategy. |LGM|
Leonard Nimoy: I’ve met [Obama] twice. The first time was a couple years ago, very early on when he had just announced his candidacy. He was in Los Angeles, speaking at a luncheon we were invited to. There was a very small crowd — minuscule compared to the crowd that he gathered later — at a private home in Los Angeles. And we were standing on the back patio, waiting for him. And he came through the house, saw me and immediately put his hand up in the Vulcan gesture. He said, “They told me you were here.” We had a wonderful brief conversation, and I said, “It would be logical if you would become president.”
Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended 50 games starting today, The Times has learned. |LA Times|
One overpowering cause of black social failure is the breakdown of marriage in the black community. Nationally, the black illegitimacy rate is 71%; in some inner city areas, it is closer to 90%. When boys grow up without any expectation that they will have to marry the mother of their children, they fail to learn the most basic lesson of personal responsibility. A community without the marriage norm is teetering on the edge of civilizational collapse, if it has not already fallen into the abyss. Fatherless black boys, who themselves experience no pressure to become marriageable mates as they grow up, end up joining gangs, dropping out of school, and embracing a “street” lifestyle in the absence of any male authority in the home.
If the black illegitimacy rate were not nearly three times the rate of whites’, I would have few qualms about gay marriage. Or if someone can guarantee that widespread gay marriage would not further erode the expectation among blacks that marriage is the proper context for raising children, I would also not worry. But no one can make that guarantee. |Heather MacDonald|
Last year, when law professor Joel Reidenberg wanted to show his Fordham University class how readily private information is available on the Internet, he assigned a group project. It was collecting personal information from the Web about himself.
This year, after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made public comments that seemingly may have questioned the need for more protection of private information, Reidenberg assigned the same project. Except this time Scalia was the subject, the prof explains to the ABA Journal in a telephone interview.
His class turned in a 15-page dossier that included not only Scalia's home address, home phone number and home value, but his food and movie preferences, his wife's personal e-mail address and photos of his grandchildren, reports Above the Law.
And, as Scalia himself made clear in a statement to Above the Law, he isn't happy about the invasion of his privacy:
"Professor Reidenberg's exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any," the justice says, among other comments.
A Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed to the ABA Journal in an e-mail that the Scalia blast to ATL "is accurately attributed to Justice Scalia."
In response, Reidenberg tells the ABA Journal that the information gathered by his class about Scalia was all "publicly available, for free," and wasn't posted on the Internet by the class or otherwise further publicized. He views the dossier-gathering about a public figure as a legitimate classroom exercise intended to spark discussion about privacy law, and says he and the class didn't intend to offend Scalia.
The availability of such information on the Web makes it possible for the government to conduct surveillance that otherwise would be much more difficult or even impossible to pursue through court orders and other official mechanisms, Reidenberg contends. And aggregation of various bits of information also can lead to more troubling use of the compiled information, he says.
"When there are so few privacy protections for secondary use of personal information, that information can be used in many troubling ways," he writes in an e-mail to the ABA Journal. "A class assignment that illustrates this point is not one of them. Indeed, the very fact that Justice Scalia found it objectionable and felt compelled to comment underscores the value and legitimacy of the exercise." | ABA Journal via BB via Egg |
Nelson’s problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. “At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game,” Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a “deal breaker.”
"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.
"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."