September 29, 2008
What makes people vote Republican? by Jonathan Haidt
A response to the piece comes from Michael Shermer, with The Conscience of the Conservative
Someone has come up with better camouflage for deer hunters, which must be nice for the hunters - although rather less sporting, surely? - and not so nice for the deers.
Apparently women rather fancy guys in camouflage ... if they can find them ... while guys like camouflage because it's a fashion statement (does that also, finally, explain the mystery of the baby blue safari-suit thing?).
"... no matter how carefully the patterns have been computed, no matter how precisely the new hunter’s digital camouflage is calibrated to deer’s vision, there remains one large uncertainty: Will hunters wear overalls covered with pixelated squares that look like computer-generated abstract art? Or will they stick with their traditional preference (see cave paintings) for representational art?
Getting soldiers, at least the male ones, to switch to digital camouflage wasn’t easy, Dr. O’Neill says, because for many men camouflage is less about invisibility than fashion. Some soldiers hung on to the old-fashioned designs because of what Dr. O’Neill called the C.D.I. factor: Chicks Dig It.
If male hunters feel that way about their old overalls, there may still be lots of shrubs and trees toting guns and bows during hunting season. These guys may or may not be right about women going for this look. But the deer probably appreciate it."
September 28, 2008
September 24, 2008
September 22, 2008
September 21, 2008
The potential end of the world and sucky into a man-made black hole has been delayed, due to ... technical problems.
First an electrical glitch, then a helium leak.
See, it's not as easy to build a reliable earth-ending machine as everyone thought.
Sure, whipping up a Large Hadron Collider sounds simple, but see what happens when you try it in your kitchen.
Two month halt
"If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done." Peter Ustinov
P.S: Timmy - the hysteria stems from fear of science, the whole "Frankenstein" terror that lurks at the back of the human mind. Human distrust of science has never - will never - go on its merry way. It's why people come over all apoplectic about genetically modified foods, as if their gardens, their animals, their foods - even their children - haven't already been genetically modified. Humans don't trust humans. Humans don't trust science. The fear that human kind will destroy all of human kind with science, or that a Frankenstein of unimagined ugliness will be unleashed, is ever present, like some caveman belief in the boogieman. The flipside of that coin is the irrational and obsessive need to self-flagellate, ever more so the more advances humans make, hence why global warming / climate change has been ranked as infinitely more important than human suffering. Climate change is the apex of self-flagellation; the pestilence that will rain down, and rein, for imagined human sins.
When someone noticed last fall that Price’s second ghostwritten novel had outsold the entire Booker Prize short list, there was much wailing about the death of literature. This year, when one of her children’s books (“My Pony Care Book”) was nominated for a British Book Award, the Society of Authors was flooded with complaints from its members. (This was Price’s second nomination for a British Book Award; in 2005, she lost to Bill Clinton in the biography category.) Joanne Harris, author of “Chocolat,” groused in The Times that the awards “should be open only to people who write books, not to somebody who lends their name to a book, or who would have written a book if they had time but didn’t.” (Mark Booth, Price’s publisher, defended his author somewhat breezily: “I don’t see what the fuss is. It’s no different to the way the recordings of the Monkees were put together.”)
I brought up something her publisher had told me. “There is this thing about British celebrity,” he’d said. “There’s a kind of multilayered irony to it. And it’s often not clear who is mocking whom. Katie Price is completely tuned into that sensibility. Her presentation of herself is highly ironic.”
I asked her if that was true.
She looked at me blankly. “What do you mean?”
September 20, 2008
Under Labor's system, small-business employees will be entitled to one warning and a "reasonable opportunity" to improve their conduct before being at risk of dismissal.
"It's as simple as that," Ms Gillard said. "Multiple warnings are not required. There is no requirement for 'three strikes and you're out'.
By 2030 we might be needing super-duper extra flat extra wide extra tall extra cold extra icy refrigerators.
Arctic may be ice free by 2030
"But as for that v.p. talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it, exactly, that the v.p. does every day?"
Sarah Palin, July 31, 2008, CNBC's "Kudlow & Company"
September 17, 2008
September 14, 2008
The new president finds his way to the White House thanks to the Electoral College, not the unwashed voting masses. The plebs, the ordinary Americans, only vote for electors.
The American Electoral College
There are six steps to America's Electoral College picking a president by proxy:
One: Each state gets a number of electors equal to its number of U.S. representatives (which is proportional to its population), plus its number of U.S. senators (which is two).
Two: Before the popular election, the candidates supply election officials in each state with lists of people pledged to support them. These people are, in effect, candidates for the Electoral College.
Three: On election day, voters cast ballots for the slate of electors in their state that has pledged to support their preferred presidential candidate.
Four: The slate of electors that gets the most votes in a particular state wins all of that state's Electoral College spots, except in Maine and Nebraska, where two electors are chosen by statewide vote and tallies within congressional districts decide the rest.
Five: On the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, the selected electors meet in their state capitals and cast votes for the president and vice president. At least one of their votes must be for a candidate not from their home state (one reason the two candidates on party tickets never call the same state home). Then they ship their ballots off to the president of the U.S. Senate.
Six: On January 6, the president of the Senate reads the Electoral College votes before both houses of Congress. As long as one candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes (that's half the total, plus one or more), that candidate is declared president. If no candidate receives an absolute majority, the U.S. House of Representatives chooses the president from the top three contenders.
Why is it so?
The Electoral College was born during the final days of America's Constitutional Convention, when the country's creators alighted on a presidential selection process that neatly negotiated some of the thorniest issues they faced at that time.
The framers had to balance the concerns of small states against those of larger ones. And a direct popular vote would have favored the big states like Virginia over those of small states like Connecticut.
Also, national campaigns would have been extremely difficult in 1787. The country simply didn't have means of transportation and communication to support political campaigns in the way we know them today. Besides, the founders didn't like the idea of campaigning in any case, believing that "the office should seek the man," not vice versa. Some - believe it or not - even doubted the average voter's ability to make a smart choice.
The Collegiate Solution
The Electoral College was a compromise.
To address big-state versus small-state issues, the framers built on their previous compromise regarding the design of Congress, giving each state a number of electors equal to its number of representatives plus its number of senators.
To hedge against home-state favoritism, they ruled that one vote per elector had to go to an out-of-state candidate.
To maintain a balance of power between federal and state governments, they allowed the states to determine for themselves how to choose their electors.
The founders never imagined how the system would develop, especially after the emergence of political parties. They had hoped an Electoral College, consisting of each state's best and brightest, would simply convene and choose the best man for the job, with no need for anything as degrading as political campaigning.
Truly, that's what they thought!
Now if that's not worth a snirtle, a sniggle, a smirk and s snort, nothing is!
September 12, 2008
"Semi-naked" being, allegedly, stripping down to his teeny-weeny undies, then dancing on his green leather couch ... oh, and the whole simulated sex thing with Noreen - on the floor ... with Nor's adult daughter watching ...
Jeez, I know I've never been known to celebrate a state budget night with such abandon. Never.
A federal budget, on the other hand - oh hell yes!
Police minister quits over sex antics
September 11, 2008
September 10, 2008
September 9, 2008
On Wednesday, the biggest, most expensive scientific experiment in history, the gigantic $8.6 billion-plus atom-smasher - the Large Hadron Collider - will be switched on, and that might, claim a few deeply consternated scientists, be the end of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun, either in an instant, or over a period of a few months, during which time we could enjoy a long goodbye with the whole of humanity.
A lawsuit lodged at the European Court For Human Rights by the small group of extremely alert and alarmed scientists argues that if the LHC destroys the universe, it would "violate the right to life and right to private family life".
"In the first scenario, there is little warning.
For maybe a month, there would be no sign that life was about to come to an abrupt and nasty end for us all.
Then, earthquakes would start unexpectedly, alerting geologists to something terribly and unimaginably amiss.
After a few days, the seismic disturbances would reach catastrophic proportions.
Cities would be leveled and swollen oceans, in a series of mega-tsunamis, would slam into the continents' coasts.
The fact that the earthquakes were striking randomly, instead of along well-known geological fault lines, would be proof something devastating was afoot.
Finally, the end would come, in a disaster of Biblical proportions.
Earth would start to crack up; molten lava would wash over the land and the seas would start to boil; mega-hurricanes and cyclones would level buildings and forests; eventually, mountains would crumble as Earth's crust continued to disintegrate.
The fabric of the planet would start to disappear, trillions of tonnes of rock, water, air and life sucked into a whirlpool of unimaginable force.
From space, our blue-and-white home would appear to vanish down a plughole in a flash.
At least in that scenario we would have a little time, perhaps, to come to terms with the end.
But a second doomsday scenario is even more terrifying, with no warning.
In an instant - about 1/20th of a second - Earth would simply vanish from space.
Less than two seconds later, the moon would follow.
Eight minutes later, the sun would be ripped apart, followed by the rest of the planets in the solar system and onwards, a wave of destruction caused by a rent in the fabric of space itself, spreading out from our world at the speed of light."
Err, indeedy, it would.
And winning said lawsuit would be a tad pyrrhic if the universe is all sucked asunder, or whatnot.
Anyhoo: good luck to you all! Love you heaps! You've been absolute treasures!
September 7, 2008
Levi Johnston's now removed MySpace page revealed:
"I'm a fuckin' redneck who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes. But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some shit and just fuckin' chillin' I guess. Ya fuch with me I'll kick [your] ass."
His status was set to "in a relationship", with the qualifier: "I don't want kids."
September 6, 2008
Arrrhhh, yep, all those millions of left-over Hillary supporting feminists ought to really go for Palin.
Palin locks up the feminist vote
September 4, 2008
"A day after the Google Chrome browser was released, a controversial clause in its "End User License Agreement" (EULA) has been removed following concerns it breached people's privacy and copyright.
Users who downloaded the free browser yesterday were asked to agree to a clause that gave Google a "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly, perform, publicly display and distribute" any information they typed into a website.
Part of the same clause allowed Google to share the information with "other companies, organisations or individuals with whom Google has relationships".
September 3, 2008
An art gallery in Britain that exhibited dozens of plaster figures including Mickey Mouse, ET and Jesus Christ - each with their very own erections (size of engorged genitals not specified) - has been taken to court by a devout Christian lady.
The prosecution is claiming that the gallery outraged public decency, caused harassment, alarm and distress to the public.Art gallery in court over "Jesus with erection"
Lindsay Lohan, of lesbian fame, is offering advice to American candidates.
"I've been watching the news all morning, like everyone else - and keep hearing about the issues related to 'teen pregnancy.' ... Well, I think the real problem comes from the fact that we are taking the focus off of getting to know Sarah Palin and her political views, and what she can do to make our country a less destructive place"
Lohan further opined that Palin should:
"focus on delivering some words and policy with stronger impact like Joe Biden".
September 2, 2008
For months I've been attempting to improve my time management, to re-priorities my existence, to carry out my day-to-day work, whims and fancies with a machine like efficiency and precision.
If my little blog persists with giving off a whiff of neglect, and if my blog commenting out in the wider and fondly held reaches of the metaverse are fleeting, sparse and all but virtual, it's not some ugly horrible misunderstanding. It's all true.
It's me, not you.
I will keep trying and probably failing.
Like running through treacle.
Meanwhile, GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin has made John McCain proud. Getting off to a flying start - barely a blink of an eye after she was named as his running mate - Palin has announced that her 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant and will marry the baby's father. Palin also announce that she has hired a lawyer to act on her behalf as state legislators investigate whether she abused her power in firing the state public safety commissioner who refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper. A report into the findings of the inquiry is expected to be released right before the US Presidential election date.
To the GOP VP selection due diligence team: nice job.
No, really, take a bow.
Fucking beautiful work.