I don't know if it is because I am getting older, or because I tend to read more crap on the internet now than when I was a kid, but I seem to notice mentionable people dying more often these days. Today, it was the Evil himself, at age 69, that left the building
Freddie King singing Ain`t No Sunshine When She`s Gone
is pretty sweet, and I can't complain about his rendition of Have You Ever Loved A Woman
, either.there.. pictures. are you happy?
At a friend's behest, I listened to Ane Brun
's 2005 album Duets yesterday. And today. It is good stuff, if you're into that folkyness that oft trickles down to us out of the Scandinavian fjords. This gal comes from Molde, Norway, the hometown of a friend of mine, and I highly recommend her music. Nevermind that, at least in this picture, she looks obnoxiously similar to Meg Ryan.
I sat on the couch last night with an Economist between me and the tele in an attempt to avoid as much of the prime time as I could, despite my unending appetite lately (or, perhaps it is just complete laze, no mind). The article that made me chuckle the most outlined America's Climate Security Act (ACSA)
.. it is sponsored by John Warner, a Republican who once opposed all such measures.. it has won the support of Max Baucus, a senator from Montana, whose coal-mining constituents hate the idea.
Already suspect, if only because people don't change their minds overnight, me thinks. I'm guessing the support has more to do with the questionable schemes and loopholes built into the bill than anything to do with saving the actual environment.
The basis of the bill, at first look, seems alright:
ACSA involves a cap-and-trade scheme: the government sets an overall limit on emissions and then sells or gives away an equivalent number of tradeable permits to pollute. This allows the firms that find it cheapest to reduce their emissions to do so, leaving those for which cuts would be costlier to buy permits.
Which means that companies that can cheaply reduce emissions (cheaper than the cost of permits) will make that choice for economic reasons, whatever the company's green outlook. That is fine and dandy, until the market of emissions permits becomes a monster of its own. Manipulations will no doubt arise and large amounts of money will change hands for the right to continue to pollute, which begs the question: where will this money go?
Most bills envisage compensation of some sort for dirty industries, which would suffer most from an emissions cap. Friends of the Earth estimates that ACSA would dole out $324 billion to the coal industry, for example, in addition to awarding it free permits worth hundreds of billions of dollars more. Beyond that, most congressmen want to funnel any spare cash to pet causes: renewable energy, biofuels and perhaps even nuclear plants, even though they produce no emissions and so should prosper under a cap.
But we need to stop and ask ourselves if renewable energy will prosper and, if it does, why that has anything to do with whether or not we should be subsidizing it. Earlier posts on this very blog point out the hypocrisies in many subsidizing situations (think, agriculture, for example) so would it be so horrible to support companies that intend to wipe out the very need for emissions-producing industries, even if it is unfair
? Where do we want to be in 20 years? 40 years?
Some senators worry that the costs of a cap-and-trade scheme may spiral out of control. They suggest that the government should cap the price of permits by agreeing to sell more of them at a fixed rate if they get too expensive. That, in turn, has angered the green lobby, who say that it is the bill's environmental benefits, rather than corporate profits, that should be sacrosanct. ACSA attempts to square this circle by setting up a sort of central bank of carbon, which would allow firms to borrow permits against their future allocations. That might help to smooth out spikes in the carbon price, without lifting the overall cap. The bill also allows firms to pay for “offset” schemes to reduce emissions in industries that do not have a cap, such as agriculture and forestry, in lieu of making cuts of their own.
So now we have already heard a number of caveats and buts and ifs that work heavily to make the bill moot; no more than a shuffling of money, permits and credits. A bill that protects heavy pollution industry.
What's worse, in our age of global markets, is yet more protectionism:
ACSA's biggest concession to industry, however, is a clause that would penalise imports from countries that do not have an emissions cap. To get such goods through customs, importers would have to buy permits to cover the greenhouse gases emitted during their manufacture.
And you can guess who likes those ideas.
Last week I declared the Kindle, Amazon's pricey ebook reader, a complete failure. I have never handled one, and the limited information I did have included a not-too-negative Salon review and a few small images. How did I think I knew?
First, I looked at the picture and came to an immediate conclusion: iBookReader
this is not. I'm not an Apple fanboy and I don't necessarily think that Apple has a stranglehold on quality interface design, but take a (virtual) page out of their success book, why don't you? It seems fairly clear to me that in this day and age of excessive technology, people want slick, simple, easy, and quick. People don't want a bunch of small buttons and scroll tabs that get in the way. Come on, this isn't rocket science. Secondly, did anyone use this thing before its release?? At a minimum, two words: user studies
! Would that be so hard? There is talk that the device smells of a rushed release but I'm not sure why, other than perhaps the upcoming holiday season. Oh well, Bezos, this one is a bust - even if it has already sold out.
Now, after having read a few books on the thing, famous technorati Robert Scoble has generally bad things to say about the Kindle as well
. A couple of big points:
- Usability sucks. They didn’t think about how people would hold this device.
- UI sucks. Menus? Did they hire some out-of-work Microsoft employees?
If you haven't been paying attention then perhaps you have missed some recent Facebook goings-on. Nevermind the insipid way that "invitations" by friends to use applications that they have added are worded in such a way as to sound personal, when they are completely auto-generated. Nevermind the craptastic sharing of your personal data that must be agreed to, almost universally, if you want to add any of those applications. Now you get to share your shopping habits, without being informed or having the option to opt-out
"Facebook should explain why they chose at the last minute to put the wish lists of corporate advertisers ahead of the privacy interests of their users," MoveOn spokesman Adam Green said in a statement from the organization. "Facebook has the potential to revolutionize how we communicate with each other and organize around issues together in a 21st century democracy. But to succeed, they need the trust of their users. The fact that Facebook proactively chose to make it harder for their users to keep private information from being made public will rub a lot of Facebook users the wrong way. The ultimate act of good faith would be to switch to an opt-in policy."
Not surprisingly, Facebook is doing the run-around, proving that better interface design and pokes
does not necessarily imply that Facebook is any more caring of the end user than Myspace.
Meanwhile, Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing puts into words what we have all been thinking about social networking
for some time:
.. For every long-lost chum who reaches out to me on Facebook, there's a guy who beat me up on a weekly basis through the whole seventh grade but now wants to be my buddy; or the crazy person who was fun in college but is now kind of sad; or the creepy ex-co-worker who I'd cross the street to avoid but who now wants to know, "Am I your friend?" yes or no, this instant, please.
It's not just Facebook and it's not just me. Every "social networking service" has had this problem and every user I've spoken to has been frustrated by it. I think that's why these services are so volatile: why we're so willing to flee from Friendster and into MySpace's loving arms; from MySpace to Facebook. It's socially awkward to refuse to add someone to your friends list -- but removing someone from your friend-list is practically a declaration of war.
I linked a link to the article on BoingBoing, not the Information Week article itself because of the comments on the BoingBoing post, pointing out all the other things people hate about Facebook, and social networking in general. Some even predict a bursting of the "bubble" that is this little craze.. Sadly, I have my own personal doubts that any significant social networking recession will arise anytime soon. Some things are fads, like bell bottoms. Other things, like TV and AIDS, are a lot more impossible to shirk once they've attached themselves to your society. The bottom line is that, for every person who is worried about privacy concerns and actual, useful social networking features, there are 10 tweens in the O.C. that don't care so long as their pictures show up and their pokes get through.
Acting like a lost child, Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris explains why the record industry dropped the ball
on keeping up with the innernector age:
"There's no one in the record industry that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"
Oh, bravo. What gets my goat is that Doug has been CEO since 1995 and, for example, I'm pretty sure there were commercials for IBM back then, just as there are now. IBM, a giant hundred-year-old company that helps businesses adapt in the technology age. Nevermind that I have a very hard time believing that there were no "technologists" working in his company at the time.
This sounds like a complete cop out to me and makes me wonder why he still has a job instead of a ginormous severance package.
I was gone for some days. It was nice, in that I hadn't strayed from the confines of the Portland "metro" area in quite some time, unless you count jaunty outings into the nearby countryside for frisbee golf,* and bonfires. It wasn't all roses and sunshine, however, as the thermostat on the audi went kaput and we suffered through a five hour drive over the white mountains with no heat. Ah, this is the holidays.
In the meantime I kept a measurable distance from the blog - a break, of sorts - hoping that, perhaps like so many movie moms and tv dads, running away would somehow cultivate or energize the tepid love of this immovable type** that I seem to have lately for this space.
Bah, hum-bug. Always at odds with the direction of things, I can usually be found twirling in the corner like a wallflower pinwheel, spurting comedy water out of my mid-center, squeezed from a hidden bulb. I never know whether to post it all - every link, article, comment, thought - piecemeal (for certainly the essence of time is one best enjoyed not wasted on editorial preening, especially if there is no journalistic date) or if I should censor the unending flow of nonsense. My wallflower petals, aflutter with a sense of quiet inserenity, perhaps insanity, make up the crooked singularity of a solo bouquet. It is, therefore and unsurprisingly, difficult to soundboard, given that wide-open expanses of empty space lack boards even if the sound is there.When they sing you cant hear, theres no air
Sometimes I think I kind of like that and
Other times I think I'm already there
For this, I ask you, forgive the occasional youtube link. Really, I see the sad pale frailty in it all and I'm sure Viacom or some such body will manage to shut down the 'tuber soon enough so, really, let us enjoy our vapid American dreams while we can, shall we?
Now go enjoy this Jonathan Coulton Project video, IKEA
, and enjoy the Norsemen.* I spent quite some time discussing the relative merits of that comma with myself and, by the time I was done with said monolithic conversation, I had come to enjoy that comma and all that it offered; its stoic reverence for me, its creator. Its inclusionary nature; bringing together different words while still providing the hint of fracture, a society of words based on individuals.
** get it?
You might have heard it somewhere else first, but to be sure you hear it here too: the new Amazon e-book reader will fail
(check out the Kindle at Salon's Machinist blog
for one of the many many first-look reports).
So why will it fail? Because I said so. Because, without sounding like a know-it-all technocrat, it seems pretty obvious. Because it is pretty hideous, and that is coming from someone who doesn't really care too much about that sort of stuff, and the buttons look horrible. The first rule of technology is usually that interface matters. Sadly, it sounds like the Kindle already dropped the ball on that one because someone somewhere said something bad about it. I'm not being a wise ass, either. The problem with first generation technology is that it has to really go above and beyond the core expectations to convince the large number of people required to make it a success. No, Kindle is not really "first gen" in the sense that ebook readers have existed for quite some time. But it is about as "first gen" as the iPod was when it first came out, because it is a significant departure from what we expect out of an ebook reader. The fact that the average consumer has probably never even held an ebook reader, let alone one that can download all the newspapers and blogs you read, has likely not been lost on Jeffy B., who probably thinks he can be the next Steve Jobs if he tries hard enough.
I dunno, maybe he can. The wireless is free, provided through EVDO cell technology.. I don't think that is anything to scoff at, even if it isn't broadband. But for the sake of sensationalism, I'm going to say here and now that it isn't what the public wants. We sort of want it, but we don't want DRM and subscription fees and, at the end of the day..
.. Do Americans even read anymore?
For those local readers, BoingBoing TV covers the Cryptozoology Musuem
here in Portland, ME.
Lego Yeti, GO!
I fall in and out of love with random people on the internet every day - and really, it is just their pictures that are doing the selling. I'm buying the dream. I leave work on Friday a republican and return on Monday as a democrat. I'm chasing the belief. I can't decide if life goes too fast or if life goes too slow. Every time I save a dollar I think I should be spending it but a penny saved is a PENNY THAT MAY NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY EVER AGAIN.
You don't want to lock up pennies for eternity, do you? That would be horrific and inhumane. Or in..centane---er, insane
? Unless they were terrorist pennies I suppose.
Unirregardlessnessious, I do have some respect for anyone who can stay on point longer than this rambling idiot, like those tv writers struggling in the streets of NY and LA, fighting the good fight with catered food and free candy. It must be rough.. but why am I belittling them? Given their adversaries, it would seem we're on the same team somehow:Jason Ross, Daily Show Writer, spoofs John Stewart and Daily Show while attacking Viacom spoofing itself spoofing.. all over his face?
Whatever, you get the picture.
This comes at a somewhat fortuitous time for the writers, who no doubt are a savvy bunch and think they can leverage some sympathy from us consumers given the last few years of RIAA/MPAA DRM/Copyright garbage that has been forced up our collective rear ends.. and brings me to my next link, Warner Music's boss Edgar Bronfman says "oops, we were wrong" :
"We used to fool ourselves,' he said. "We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."
At least that is what the major news outlets will probably tell you. As strange as it sounds, he seems to think the constant, ongoing, and very directed attacks on consumers in the form of DRM lawsuits was "inadvertent". You might have to dig deeper to see that he was talking at a conference on mobile technology. Then dig one step further to see what he was really
saying, which is that they want to continue screwing us over, only in the cell market this time:
"By packaging a full album into a bundle of music with ringtones, videos and other combinations and variation we found products that consumers demonstrably valued and were willing to purchase at premium prices. And guess what? We've sold tons of them. And with Apple's co-operation to make discovering, accessing and purchasing these products even more seamless and intuitive, we'll be offering many, many more of these products going forward."
And guess what? Nothing has really changed.
A man who had gone into a diabetic coma on a bus in Leeds was shot twice with a Taser gun by police who feared he may have been a security threat..
Mr Gaubert said he was on his way to meet friends when he suffered a hypoglycaemic fit on the bus which left him slumped on his seat clutching his rucksack.
Armed police were called to the bus depot in Headingley and when he failed to respond to their challenges he was shot with the Taser.
He said as this was happening, another officer was pointing a real gun at his head.
He was restrained and eventually came round in the police van.
He said it was only then that the officers realised it was a medical emergency, despite him wearing a medical tag round his neck to warn of his condition, and took him to hospital.
In the quiet of darkness at night as I stare blankly at the inorganic glow of minerals and metals sloshed together *poof* - magic - greeting me in square unnatural patterns, images pixelated and glaring, with the slow hum of a tired hard drive platter spinning at 5400 revolutions per minute and the easy throb of tendinitis putting me to sleep, I sometimes pause (midpass
word) during entry of yet another "login" on yet another "account" on yet another "page" during yet another "surfing" sessions. All of these words and concepts unavailable to us such a short time ago and now, like ice cream and coca-cola, budweiser and sno-cones, they're all part and parcel of our tiny existence here in the little bed & breakfast we call earth.
But what I probably spend more time thinking about is the sheer hilarity, the knock-down-piss-fight sickness, the mind-blowingly huge-normous anaconda of a bitch ass snake that is, proverbially, in our mother fucking hizouse of a plane. A snake called What The Fuck
that is the sort of ugly fucker that you wouldn't bring home to your mother, you wouldn't invite out on a date, and you wouldn't even tell your friends if you picked them up at a bar, but it is there and it is everywhere and none of it really makes any sense whatsoever.
Case in point. This year, we've heard plenty of talk about the new Airbus 380, an airliner capable of carrying 853 passengers from New York to Hong Kong on a single tank of gas. Try that in your Prius, bitch. The 380 is capable of a maximum take off weight of well over one million pounds and can carry over 80,000 gallons of fuel. That is enough to power roughly three hundred Prius hybrids for an entire year.
Meanwhile, a first world country that dreams of war, talks about war, makes movies about war, glorifies war, in fact creates its own war that has now lasted longer than even the world wars, doesn't even have a very good grasp of the sort of really nasty war and famine and outright impossibility of life in places such as sub-saharan Africa. You'd think they'd be researching the shit out of that sort of stuff as it makes for great movies. But they're not, they're busy.
They are, instead, watching America's Top Model. This is good, though, because the alternatives aren't that appealing. Like prostitute orangutans
. That probably sounds funny at first, but:
Pony is an orangutan from a prostitute village in Borneo. We found her chained to a wall, lying on a mattress. She had been shaved all over her body..
.. You could choose a human if you preferred, but it was a novelty for many of the men to have sex with an orangutan..
.. It took us over a year to rescue her, because every time we went in with forest police and local officers we would be overpowered by the villagers, who simply would not give her up.
That seemed like an obvious hoax to me, but I did a crossword yesterday where the word 'hoax' was an answer and I figured the fates wouldn't do that sort of thing to me twice in a row. I also did some research and the people involved and the organizations mentioned, at least, do exist.
Reading something like that, in Vice of all places, might cause me to reach for the 'ol remote myself on some occasions, but I'm a glutton on more than one level. And what is there to show for it but gold digging pedophilia millionaires
No, really. I got tired of saying "I couldn't make this shit up if I tried" a long time ago so you'll have to do without, or maybe close your eyes and imagine me saying it instead, animated into gyrations of emphatic ellicitations as I personify the incredulousness that you will
have when I get around to finishing the story:
A forerunner to YouTube, [the Digital Entertainment Network - DEN] was brought down by the pedophile appetites of founder Marc Collins-Rector, who had promised to build "the last network," burying TV forever. Its three founders lived in a VC-funded mansion in L.A. where boys -- promised stardom in Web clips -- [filed lawsuits claiming to have been] raped after decadent parties.
What happened after the three founders -- including Disney child star Brock Pierce -- fled the FBI by heading for Spain? An investigative report by Radar Magazine catches up with Marc Collins-Rector, who is walking rakishly free in London...and his protege Brock Pierce, whose giant company IGE -- which buys and sells cash in "World Of Warcraft" and other games -- is winning rave write-ups in Fortune and other magazines. In our long investigation, we discovered strong evidence that Collins-Rector -- who is hiding his money from child abuse victims -- may have helped fund IGE.
Plus you can now watch their hilarious/twisted flagship Web show, "Chad's World," a pedophile fantasy based on the founders' own lives.
But I am probably not the first one to point out the great potential for aural comedic gold that is the name of a man who enjoys anal sex with young boys, Collins-Rector
And just like that, I - slack jawed, wide-eyed, scratching my head in complete mystification over a world where all of these puzzle pieces and orangutans and jumbo jets could possibly all fit together - find myself with a lack of energy and no conclusion, *poof* - magic - those mystery dots of the humanverse, pixels of perceptions, words, poems, prose, people's very thoughts and ideas up on the screen.. when you are done with them, when the sentence has finished, they will no longer embody me or mine, acting on my behalf in your brain - they'll be just pixels, plainly.. periodic shifts of electrical light.
What happened? Where am I? Who am I? Somewhere along the line I got horribly derailed and things changed and life got in the way and I tripped over it and got up and dusted myself off and fell down again and maybe I forgot where I was going that first time I tripped or the second or I forgot how many times I fell down.
This blog has suffered as a result. I write this at a time when more comments are coming in from more people than ever before, at least consistently so, and I'm beginning to see a readership that is interested in the articles I link to and the economic musings I mess about. Some people would say that is not a blog that suffers but a blog that is coming into its own; thriving, even. I say it is not what I intended in the first place and I don't know how to reconcile with those differences.
Is that OK? I would like to think that life can be many things at once but often times everything has to be one way or another, specific, directed. Otherwise it is all so much gray in a world of black and white; confusing, unclear, like this blog post.
But one of the basic tenets of this blog from the start was the belief that almost anything I could or would type out and
publish was, in some small way, worth it. If I could put that much energy into creating it and then even more energy into validating it then there must'a'been some value to it, no? Thoughts not shared or written down become lost children in a make believe world and when - if - they are ever found again they come back as allegorical garbage with comical villains and trite lessons about life and happiness. That isn't what I ever intended. That isn't what I ever wanted. I hate Disney.
Okay, so there is something to be said for chitty-chitty-bang-bang and never-never land but those places are pages in a book. They aren't the places that I go when I close my eyes and stumble downward into the abyss of stories and ideas and dark spaces and light faces and all that jazz being played in the bowels of my brain. That is what this blog was supposed to be for. The jazz. The bowels. My brain.
So maybe I tripped and I forgot to get up. Maybe somewhere along the way I couldn't stomach all this internal belly-aching babble anymore and I sort of clammed up and turned instead to quotes of Keyes and the needs of Maslow and..
I wax cynical about income inequality and big corporations and consumerism and and and I've been ignoring the real dialog this whole time - the one inside - the one that actually started here
and not in some newspaper or not by a talking head on the television and not one that has been beaten to death by a hundred thousand million Democrat/GOP/leftist/conservative/elephant/whales.. It's not that I don't care anymore, it's almost like I can't
Luckily, life has a way of reminding me of things I need to do. There are the elephant and whale reminders: an email telling me my insurance policy must be renewed. But there are also those less tangible reminders: tiny little things like a penny on the sidewalk with the face shining upwards that turn wispy wheels of waxy philosophics into grinding gears of grounded thought - and they get me here with these words and you here, still reading them. That is worth something, isn't it?
So sure, I'll continue with the facts and figures. I'll spend time trying to make sense of it all, the dollar signs and the daily grind, but I'm going to try to remember what brought me here and why I stayed, too. Back to the roots, as they say, that wily web of reason and wisdom that spills forth from our mental innards like steam from a geyser, water from a well - not
what I'm told, or read, or see, or hear, but what is actually from the inside
, where nobody goes.
Cute: Go around twice if you're happy
. Read the "construction signs" and emote through driving choices, a youtube video from Dubai.
In the last few years I've experimented with a number of different ways to present articles and information on this blog that are from other sources, but I always do a few things:
- italicize quoted material
- link to the article
And, like most blogs,
Dated posts in blogs are so standard they're almost part of the idea of the blog itself. So why, pray tell, do so many mainstream publishers refuse to clearly mark their articles and/or material with any sort of publication date?
Case in point, I found a brief blurb on the 2009 Audi A2, a subcompact European car that we will unfortunately never see here in the states, on Motor Trend today
. The only dates I could find on the webpage were the copyrights ("© 1996-2007 Source Interlink Media, Inc.") and the URL itself gave no clues other than the fact that it was probably published in 2007: .. /features/auto_news/2007/112_0707_audi_a2/
If I cared enough, I could perhaps concoct a theory on what "112_0707" means and that, perhaps, the date of the article is encoded in that somehow, but is that my duty as a reader?
I will also say that this phenomenon seems to be more prevalent on the websites of old traditional print-media companies. Like Motor Trend. I can only presume that, in their infinite wisdom, they believe they are pouring the elixir of life down the throats of these dated articles, giving them eternal life. A little Ponce De Leon thinking gets them to a place they feel better about being at: more reusable content to slap web-ads on, drawing us poor internet-using shmucks into a cyclic cycle of repeated redundant information - but, luckily I am sure, with fresh ad content.
And they won't even tell us when it was published.
I'm going to stop using the word.. hip
.. and replace it with schtick
If you've ever had to build some 3D computer models or have played with a CAD/3D modeling package you know that they're a pain in the ass and/or have steep learning curves.
On that note, if you haven't seen Google's Sketchup software
, you should check it out. It is a 3D modeling tool and it they use it for the Google Earth building/briges/etc models. Somehow I missed this little nugget of gold in the coal mine of the innernector, but no longer. I downloaded it today and it has an interface that is slicker than a vodka shit on ice.Microsoft's initiative
on this front is a collaboration with Paris based Dassault Systèmes. From the International Herald Tribune
In partnership with Microsoft, Dassault also introduced a free online application two weeks ago that allows users to create 3-D models and put them on the map, sharing them on Microsoft's Virtual Earth and with online communities.
It appears to have a similar interface, so it is unclear who is actually responsible for it.
It's just too bad that the whole of my artistic talent fits on my pinky nail, and I accidentally chewed that off a long time ago in a fit of anxious worry. Damn.
This one is for my buddy Alex, the kitesurfing, freestyle frisbeeing, rubics cube solving idiot.. and yes, it is a Youtube link:Wingsuits
From the Wikipedia Wingsuit article
Wingsuit flying is the art of flying the human body through the air using a special jumpsuit, called a wingsuit, that shapes the human body into an airfoil which can create lift. The wingsuit creates the airfoil shape with fabric sewn between the legs and under the arms. It is also called a birdman suit.
Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, weighs in on the Farm Bill debate in the NYTimes
Far from what you would call a "standard economic indicator", Jay-Z's latest video has, perhaps unconsciously, made a social comment on economic mindshare. At least that is what this piece argues
.. it wasn’t sex, drugs, violence or explicit language that shocked my conscience.
It was the Euros.
The Jay-Z video flashed large stacks of $500 Euros.
When I start seeing rap stars flashing euros instead of U.S. dollars, I know our economy is in trouble.
I don't even know where MTV is on my dial* so I can't say I've seen the video myself but it does make one stop and think. At what point will we see the first giant gold € hanging around an American rapper's neck, accessorizing his precious metal teeth?
But that isn't it, the world's highest paid supermodel isn't too keen on our greenbacks, either
[Gisele Bündchen] has reportedly reacted in her own way to the sliding value of the US dollar - by refusing to be paid in the currency.* - my, isn't dial an antiquated word? How long before a teenager turns to you and asks you what the hell you're talking about, you old coot - tvs have remotes! What's a dial?!?
The website Social Explorer
has a pretty useful interactive map for exploring census data. Check it out.
I had seen the headlines about the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland being shut down for an overhaul, but it wasn't until today that I read (at Wired) that the real reason for the shutdown is that Americans are fat and the boats in the ride bottom out
.. the boats routinely bottom out under the weight of super-sized riders, bringing the popular ride to a grinding -- literally -- halt. That's increased the wear and tear on the fiberglass boats, which have been in use since the ride opened during the 1964 World's Fair, when Americans, on average, weighed 25 pounds less than we do today.
This is a list of the top 10 artists for my state of Maine, according to Gracenote's very nifty Map
- The Beatles
- Pink Floyd
- Led Zeppelin
- Grateful Dead
- J. K. Rowling
- Bruce Springsteen
- Eric Clapton
- Bob Dylan
- Carrie Underwood
Statistics of note: Brits comprise 50% of the list, and the only two females on the list are also the only two that started their careers after the Berlin wall came down.
I caught this nugget on BoingBoing - Library's clever answer to network filtering
The 'unfiltered' [bank of computers] faces the reference desk so the librarians can monitor usage but they say it has reduced abuse and given adults uncensored access to the internet.
This is a hair below the airspace I usually concentrate my radar on, but what the hell. It is
britcoal: how dirty is this?
xxxxxx: i think i just threw up in my mouth
britcoal: yah, I did too
britcoal: then I gargled
britcoal: and swallowed
britcoal: and liked it
Mmmmhm, this is a good one... Congress is debating the Farm Bill
The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.
The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.
While that middle sentence , which is highlighted, sounds a bit vague ("much of which"? How about some numbers?) it is still a bit worrisome. Seriously, make sure to check the link and dig the food pyramid
. They present it next to a pyramid of government food subsidies and, surprise surprise surprise, the two pyramids don't seem to jive with each other very well.
However, I'm not sure what is worse. On the one hand we have a government that prescribes one healthy diet but "provides" another (I use the term provide here, since subsidizing certain foods is, in most respects, increasing the supply of them - and not by a little. Over 70% of government subsidies are for meat and dairy? Ghastly). On the other hand we have a government that participates in a systemic corporatization of agriculture which is perhaps cheaper on a base economic scale but wholly questionable on a moral and ethical level (nevermind my recent link to the plight of the small farmer
Luckily, the AMA has:
RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support efforts (1) to reduce health disparities by basing food assistance programs on the health needs of their constituents
Whoa - they think maybe food assistance programs should take into account the kind of assistance people need. I'm going to go ahead and say that again; whoa. They've really hit on something here, and I will illustrate with an example. The government's approach to this issue (and general lack of awareness) is sort of like giving an alcoholic homeless man beer coupons for assistance. The AMA's response, and "support of efforts" (by whom?) is sort of like the local homeless shelter "supporting efforts" to have the government, you know, not hand out beer coupons to alcoholics
. Are they going to do anything about it? Who knows. The AMA is like the great wealth of liberal lefties in this country that, somehow, forget to vote at inopportune times. They "support" democrats.. as long as they don't have to do much about it.