Wait- Did They Just Say That?

Listenting to NPR, they're talking about presidential scandals. The speaker was droning on saying "Johnson had Vietnam, Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Lewinsky..." Hehe. Had Lewinsky.


This American Life... Wrong!

During this week's This American Life, entitled, I Enjoy Being a Girl (Sort Of),
Writer Sarah Miller attends a class on how to walk and talk and act like a man.
What she hears and "learns" in this class is pretty much the worst dreck I've ever heard. To summarize, being male is all about being crass, unclean, arrogant, possessive, unengaged, etc. It was really, really bad. And it was taught by a woman. Hmmm...

Funny Things Seen Around Town

A big sign in the front window of the Bearly Stitchin' Sewing Center proclaiming there will be a Super Bowl Sunday Sale! That's right ladies, come spend your money on notions and sewing machines while your men are otherwise occupied...


Shaun of the Dead

Watch this movie- it is really good! Had a ton of clever references, was really quite well done.


Mish eard

During a piece on NPR about Grand Theft Auto, a reporter misspoke, saying "Grand Theft Otter" which suggests to me a rich genre of spoof game titles...
  • Grand Theft Otter (as above)
  • Grant Theft Auto
  • Grand Thrift Auto
  • Ground Theft, Otto
  • Grand Theft: A Toe


If I Only Had a (popular) Blog...

This is why we need to become wildly popular bloggers. Free trips are good.


Working the Brains Out

Cannot... think... much... more...


Sitting, Waiting, Surfing

Here's a silly little mouse-based game. How long can you last? I can do >30 seconds. This is insanely hard on a laptop trackpad.

Are jellyfish delish?

My guess would be no. This one looks downright terrifying. Apparently these humongous beasties (up to 6'7" in diameter!) are causing huge problems for the Japanese fishing industry. If people don't start finding ways to turn them into food (or reduce the population in some other manner), they will continue to wreck their jellyfish havoc.

Jellyfish Havoc? Band name, anyone?


Green ham and eggs?

I do not like pigs turning green.
I do not like their unhealthy sheen.
I would not turn on a black light;
I could not work past the fright.


Glad for Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, author of such gems as The Tipping Point, and Blink (both fine books) has an archive of his New Yorker pieces here. I frankly think that he's better as a long-piece journalist than an author of books. That's not intended to be anything other than praise; he's a fantastic feature-length magazine writer.

Finally... peace

My first first author paper has been accepted for publication. After production editing, it will be appearing in Optics Express. Yay, me.


I've been listening along to the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings while I work. As with the previous ones I've heard, there's a pretty consistent refrain of both nominee and (Republican) questioner:

Can't prejudge! Can't prejudge!

Now, as far as it goes, this is a pretty reasonable restriction; you don't want an adjudicator to say what he thinks of pending litigation. However, the companions (I guess offered by way of explanation) to this refrain are:

Can't precommit to ruling a certain way!


Need specifics!

These rationales seem to me to be b.s. One need only apply the second to refute the first. It is damn near impossible that a real case a nominee (or justice) might hear would correspond in the specifics to a briefly outlined hypothetical question answered in hearings! Further damning this first explanation down the river is the willingness of the questioners to accept a nominees offer of "that was my opinion then" as "undoing" their previously held opinions. If it is possible that the nominee changed their mind on an issue (say, "Should government discrimination against women be permitted?"), then "prejudgement" does not matter, as events and changes in procedure occurring after the "prejudgement" can change the conclusion.

The second issue is a bit more reasonable- at least with regard to existing cases. It doesn't make much sense to avoid answering a fairly general question (say, "In what ways is it possible for the President's Article II powers enable him to overrule or ignore the legislation of the Congress?" (Possibly a poor example, as this may be in litigation soon)). General questions don't really call for specifics.


Mary Had a Little Dog...

Wow- an interesting poem by Billy Collins. A hauntingly effective edit by Kieran Healy, of Crooked Timber. Really evocative, both. Found at Grammar.police.


Them's some powerful courts in Italy...

According to this article, there's a court case in Italy right now that blows all this "intelligent design" blather completely out of the water.
"Cascioli says he didn't exist. And I said that he did," [Roman Catholic priest Enrico Righi] said. "The judge will decide if Christ exists or not."
Uh huh. That's gonna happen.

Stuff on my cat dot com

Somehow I get the feeling we'll be submitting photos here at some point. To quote the site's tagline, "stuff + cats = awesome"


The Return of the Coworkers

My office-mates have, at long last, returned. True, Chris was back on Friday, but now Matt is also returned: we have a full complement of dorks. Perhaps there will be snort-laughing, perhaps not, but you better bet that we'll be applying physics concepts to analyze human behavior. Which always works. Really.

Chris, the underwater hockey player (really- he's an alternate on the "national" team), mentioned that the lack of oxygen after a workout or game is such that he feels stupid for a while thereafter. I comment that it's great that he intentionally stupids himself up before coming to work.