Saturday, December 31, 2011

Read This Now - The GOP War On Voters

Ezra Klein has a good quick rundown of the various attacks on voters that the GOP has come up with over the course of 2011 in the course of shining a bright light on the hypocrisy that the Republican presidential primary candidates are now displaying after many of them failed to register to be included on the Virginia primary ballot...

The open secret of these laws is that they hurt turnout among Democratic constituencies such as students, minorities and low-income voters, which helps Republican politicians get elected. Virginia is just an odd case where restrictive ballot-access laws are hurting Republican politicians.
Read the whole thing for the details and links to other articles.  You could also take a look at this recent post from Charlie Pierce about Mitch McConnell's belief that democracy does not work.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Post Power Point Proposal

Power Point presentations are pretty awful, most folks agree on this and see them as pretty much the only available option which is what keeps them in use for the most part.  John Bohannon has a fun and only slightly tongue in cheek proposal for moving beyond power points, dance...

You can check out some of the Dance Your PhD videos here.

If you haven't seen Prezi yet you should check it out, it can take a little longer to build out your presentation than power point but the results can be very compelling.

(via W-M, where John and I both spent part of our junior year, but not at the same time)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good TV, Bad Exchange Of Ideas

I'm glad to see that Barney Frank still hasn't lost his spark since deciding to retire, and I'm not surprised to see that George Will is still unwilling to actually have a discussion or exchange of ideas; he just likes to throw bombs and darts from a comfortable remove not get up close and personal and engage with anyone.

Someone will step up and give Frank his own show once he's retired right?

(via The Politics Blog, which I'm very glad to have finally found)

Read This Now - Can I Get A Fact Check?

Actually, no.

Ezra Klein has a good rundown on the problem with fact checking organizations in today's political climate and partisan arena.  It boils down to the fact that they can't manage to stay out of the he said she said model of reporting that fact checking ostensibly should be immune to.

And that, ultimately, is the problem with the fact checker model. They have no actual power, so their only influence comes from the public’s sense of their legitimacy. And about half of the public leans towards one party and about half of the public leans toward the other. That means PolitiFact and these other outlets need to find some uneasy balance between the parties, too. But that just means the parties will have plenty of opportunities to decide that these are hackish, partisan operations. Conservatives got there a few weeks ago, and now liberals are following.
Take a look at the whole thing, it'll only take you a couple of minutes.

And remember everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Strunk & White Get Krunk'd

Are the kids even still saying that?  If you never got around to cracking open your copy of The Elements of Style here's a video cliff notes version...

The Elements of Style from Jake Heller on Vimeo.

Not the greatest thing ever, but still pretty fun.  Poynter has an interview with the folks who put it together.

If you're jonesing for some more literary references check out the Condescending Literary Pun Dog (via MoJo).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Valuing Nature

Pavan Sukhdev gives a pretty good explanation of why and a little bit of how we should be valuing the natural world more accurately...

The idea of natural capital isn't new but it is gaining interest and starting to become more mainstream, which is a very good thing for our long term survival.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Living Through Stories

As Sarah Kay points out we each only get one life to live, and while a lucky few of us manage to cram it full of different experiences stories, especially well told ones, let us glimpse at least the other view points and experiences and lives that stretch out beyond our own...

Perhaps not surprisingly Kay reminds me a little of Salman Rushdie, who is my benchmark of a great story teller.  She's also an impressively composed and captivating speaker.

You can watch another great talk from Kay on the TED website.  Go ahead and live through her stories for a few moments...

(this talk has been making the rounds of late so no specific via note)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Can You Speak Whale?

Dory speaks several dialects including a little humpback and maybe some orca...

Orcas and pilot whales actually do have dialects (different groups of whales are known to use different songs and sounds) and scientists studying these whales are looking for some citizen scientist crowd sourcing help in their research.

Through the Whale FM project you can help sort through thousands of recorded whale songs and the corresponding spectrograms looking for similar recordings that can be grouped into a matching category to help scientists work to decipher the calls.

Scientific American has partnered with researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the University of St. Andrews to put together the website and they've done a wonderful job of making the project straight forward and accessible. You should give it a try if you have a few minutes or just check out the site if you want to learn more about the project.

Weekend Edition had a nice story on the Whale FM project recently and you can learn more about citizen science and other on going projects via Scientific American.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Endangered Species

Most folks have heard about the Endangered Species Act (ESA), I wonder how many of them think (incorrectly) that it is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)...

Cute cartoon, I think it would have been a bit more poignant with a polar bear or maybe a wolf and referencing the proper agency would be a nice touch as well, if more complicated.

The ESA is administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with FWS taking fresh water and all terrestrial based species and NOAA in charge of marine creatures.

Wikipedia has a pretty good rundown of the ESA as well if you want some more info on the Act.

(Cartoon from Paul Noth in the December 5, 2011 issue of the New Yorker)

A New Spin On Worth A Thousand Words

Not photographs but sculptures this time around, and these bad boys actually contain thousands of words.  Indeed words, it could be argued, are the very building blocks of these incredible works of art.

An unknown artist took the Edinburgh literary / culture / arts world by storm over the past year or so with 10 incredible pieces of art constructed from books and 'in support of libraries, books, words, ideas.....'

All 10 pieces are fascinating and the corresponding story is wonderful as well.  It's an all around entertaining and uplifting snippet of life, be sure to check it all out.

(via RCC on fb)

Recognition: Authors, Portraits & Society

I know that the December 5th, 2011 cover of the New Yorker ('black friday' by Daniel Clowes) is at least most overtly about the demise of books (in actual physical form) and small bookstores but I was much more interested in the depiction of authors on the cover.

I was struck by how quickly I recognized the male authors and my complete lack of ability to place the two women.  I was a little surprised at first but when I thought about it I couldn't recall seeing lauded female authors' depicted regularly whereas the many of the men are frequently portrayed in pop-culture items like those shown on the cover.  Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this says a little something about society as well.  Seems like it's still harder to make it as a writer, at least an iconic one, as a woman than as a man.

Hemingway, Twain, and Shakespeare I didn't even have to think about.  James Joyce (in the hat) took me longer (my first thought was Tolstoy to be honest) and I would never have placed Virginia Woolf or Emily Dickinson without googling the cover.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Read This Now - Keep It To The Limit

Greater Greater Washington has a nice rundown on the benefits of traffic cameras both generally and to the DC area specifically.  The bottom line is that traffic cameras reduce speeding and make the streets safer for everyone...

We need more traffic cameras, not fewer, and should place them in the real danger spots. DC is getting 9 new permanent cameras, but it's been over a year that MPD has been trying to bring in a more comprehensive system. There would be mobile cameras that they can deploy temporarily at high-danger spots, and cameras to catch box-blocking or failing to yield to pedestrians. 
I'm a fan of traffic cameras, yes it's annoying when you get a ticket in the mail but the driving is noticeably safer and less reckless where cameras have been installed and that's something I can support as a driver, pedestrian, and occasional biker.

Read the whole thing for links on how traffic cameras make us safer and GGW's thoughts on blocking the box cameras (talk about a good idea).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fishy Brain Teaser

Coudal Partners says Einstein came up with this one and that he claimed only 2% of the world population would be able to solve it.  Who knows if that's true or not but these types of puzzles can be a lot of fun.

There are five houses in a row in different colors. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The five owners drink a different drink, smoke a different brand of cigar and keep a different pet, one of which is a Walleye Pike.

The question is-- who owns the fish?

1. The Brit lives in the red house.
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Dane drinks tea.
4. The green house is on the left of the white house.
5. The green house owner drinks coffee.
6. The person who smokes Pall Malls keeps birds.
7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhills.
8. The man living in the house right in the center drinks milk.
9. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
10. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the one who smokes Dunhills.
12. The owner who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Princes.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.

There are no tricks, pure logic will get you the correct answer. And yes, there is enough information to arrive at the one and only correct answer. 
Coudal Partners has some other hints and answers via links and a pdf (handy for printing out) available.

Sometimes It Is Easy Being Green

At least the new Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability at UBC makes it look pretty easy...

It's been pretty wild watching the limits of green and sustainable architecture rapidly expand.  Buildings that were cutting edge a few years ago when they opened are way behind now.  I do wonder if there is a way to design green buildings with future upgrades etc in mind...

Climate Progress has more details on the CIRS building and all the relevant links for more info.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eat Your Veggies

Congress undeniably did a number on children's health and common sense when they passed the latest ag bill, in which they basically did the bidding of big ag and big food industries in just another sad reminder that our government serves those with the most cash to spread around these days.

Kermit and SNL got in on the raging meme that pizza is now a vegetable...

While the Really?! directed at congress is entirely justified, it is worth noting that they didn't actually declare pizza a vegetable.  Sarah Kliff gets into the nuance of the situation here.

Meanwhile Marian Burros shines some light on the dirty inner workings of how the deal went down on the incomparable Obama Foodorama

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Flexibility is increasingly a buzz word in business and management arenas and in their overlap with environmental management where I encounter the meme quite a bit.

This is a different and more original form of flexibility...

Break ton Neck from Alex Yde on Vimeo.

I was impressed.

(via AF on fb)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Read This Now - Wall Street Is Doing Fine, How About You?

In the WaPo Zachary Goldfarb gives the quick and dirty synopsis of how the Federal Government helped the big banks and Wall Street regain their footing and enjoy a quick return of record profits and growth while main street and the majority of Americans have been left to wallow in the depths of the Great Recession.

“There’s a very popular conception out there that the bailout was done with a tremendous amount of firepower and focus on saving the largest Wall Street institutions but with very little regard for Main Street,” said Neil Barofsky, the former federal watchdog for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the $700 billion fund used to bail out banks. “That’s actually a very accurate description of what happened.” 
I think the bigger takeaway is actually how quickly we've returned to business as usual with the big banks and Wall Street getting right back to crazy profits and no interest in fixing the things that got us into this mess.

It's a quick and worthwhile read.

(via @DRGrist)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Republican Field Redux

Herman Cain is looking even less put together and Rick Perry is looking, well to be honest he looks pretty hammered.  Take it away Jon...

Here's the rest of the highlight reel from that Perry speech...

Um, just wow.

(via ND)

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Don't Watch TV Often...

And when I do it's online and with as few ads as possible and it never includes a whole episode of Jimmy Fallon's show; but every time he has Justin Timberlake on and they do one of these it's worth the time...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Republican Presidential Field

Ladies and gentlemen, your current leading GOP hopeful is Herman Cain...

Good luck with that.

The original ad is here.

(via TPM)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oil Spill Skimming Breakthrough

So the BP Gulf Oil Spill last summer inspired an X Prize for oil skimming with a target of 2,500 gallons recovered per minute.  The industry average is about 1,100 gallons per minute and the team from Elastec won $1 million when they nearly doubled the 2,500 gallon per minute target.

(via NPR)

Police Academy Sound Effects Flashback

 We all remember Micheal Winslow even if we don't know his name, the Police Academy series forever cemented him and the Gute in the collective consciousness of our generation (I saw Tackleberry on something the other day as well).

Kottke unearthed this clip and I want to share it as well, forget everything you know about beatboxing and sound effects, Winslow's "guitar" work is quite literally unbelievable...

The host's face when Winslow gets going is classic.

Winslow has a website these days with more video and the like, apparently he does live shows as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On Food

It makes us happy, it keeps us healthy (if we eat the right things in the right amounts), it's pretty important, and it's the subject of the 2011 Blog Action Day - that's right Food!

I don't have a lot to say today on the subject, who are we kidding, I love food and have a lot to say and plenty of opinions.  Instead of rambling on and on about food though I'm going to share a couple of articles on seafood issues that have been bouncing around my to share list for a while now.  Most of these will make you think a bit, keep in mind that fishing and eating fish are complicated issues these days and no one article is ever going to give you all the info that you need or want.

Generally speaking my advice is to try to get closer to your food.  Where it comes from, who grows / raises / catches it, and how you prepare it.  Which sort of translates to stay away from overly processed stuff.

Talking Salmon - Good Food World takes a look at Alaskan Salmon fisheries and Pacific Northwest seafood retailers.

A Little Piece of Maine - Earth Justice put together a nice story on Port Clyde, ME one of the leaders in the community supported fishery movement.

To Eat or Not to Eat - A great back and forth from that I've only skimmed among a bunch of leading fisheries experts and researchers, it does get pretty wonky so be warned.

Every Last Bite - Four Fish author Paul Greenberg tells of making the most of his cod using an old Marcella recipe in the NYT.

That'll give you something to chew on for a while (see what I did there?).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How The World Works

Often, a picture's worth a whole bunch of words...

Steve Sack at the Star Tribune nails it.

People Want Jobs

Via the Morning Plum comes this nugget from the latest NBC / WSJ poll...

The jobs bill would cut the payroll tax rate, fund new road construction, continue to extend unemployment benefits, and give tax credits to companies who hire and train long-term unemployed workers. The plan would be paid for by increasing taxes on the wealthy and increasing taxes on businesses by closing some corporate tax loopholes. Do you favor or oppose this plan?
Favor 63
Oppose 32
That's pretty cut and dried if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Camouflage That For Me

You may already know that octopi are pretty freaking cool.  You're probably aware of the fact that they do some chameleon like things and you might have heard the story about the octopus in the aquarium that was climbing out of his tank every night, walking across the floor, climbing into the reef fish tank, hunting the fish, and then getting back in his tank (after putting the lids back on both tanks) before any of the staff showed up in the morning (they finally figured it out with a security camera).

But I bet you haven't seen anything quite like this...

Chameleons have nothing on these guys.

(via ES from fb)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Money Balls

Moneyball was a great book and while I haven't seen the movie yet it is on my list, I hear good things.

I mean any movie that spawns quality spoofs like these has to be pretty good...

This feels like a good time to note that, once again, the two top payroll teams will not be meeting in the world series.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Promoting Scientific Integrity

It's a big lift, and one of the ways that the Union of Concerned Scientists tackles the mission is with an annual scientific integrity editorial cartoon contest and calendar.  This year's winner and the 12 cartoons for the calendar were announced recently...

Congrats to John Klossner and all the other entrants.

You can see more of the cartoons on the UCS site.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Grows Some Legs

The Occupy Wall Street protests started to spread this past weekend and they also started to pick up some news coverage.  One piece that didn't make it on air was this Fox News interview, I can't imagine why they left it on the cutting room floor...

Ezra Klein put together a good little link primer to get you up to speed with the protests.

Maybe this will actually spark something, I hope so.

Isolated Power

Islands have energy needs just like the rest of the world.  The folks who live on islands still want and need to be able to drive cars and boats, and have electricity and all of the modern comforts that it affords.  Most of the time this means shipping in fossil fuels and burning them in big noisy, dirty generators.  The generators tend to have issues and not function all that well all the time, not too mention the cost of shipping in the fuel.

A few island communities are starting to make the move to renewable energy sources, which allows the communities to power themselves without having to ship in so much fossil fuel.  The islands of Tokelau are the latest to get on board the bandwagon.  According to New Scientist by the middle of 2012 solar photovoltaic cells will power the grid on Tokelau with coconut oil generators picking up the slack.

Now all they need is a fleet of electric cars...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Read This Now - On Academic Careers, Teaching, & Opportunities

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm working my way through a back list of articles from earlier this year that I read and enjoyed either when they first hit the interwebs or that I finally had time to get to now (being under-employed has some advantages I suppose).

The latest in this series is a great little story from David Eisenbach about his (mostly) failed career as an academic and how seizing the opportunity to work with Larry Flynt (yes, The Larry Flynt) let him succeed as a teacher in a whole new and exciting way...

Next we moved on to a packed theater for a discussion about the book. For an hour, Flynt and I entertained more than 1,000 people with our stories. Afterward, during the book signing, a middle-aged woman said something that I'll always remember: "If only my teachers taught history like you just did, I would have been a history major." That was my career goal all along—to be a great teacher who turned people on to history. In a strange way, my failures in the academic world had helped me achieve that goal on a bigger stage.
Read the whole thing, it'll be 10 minutes of fun added to your day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Read This Now - Moving Medicine Forward

This isn't the first time I've told you to go read something from Atul Gawande and it certainly won't be the last (I'm pretty sure I'm on the record somewhere saying that everyone should read everything he writes).

This particular nugget was his commencement address at Harvard Med School this spring covering why medicine needs to look to pit crews...

We’re all specialists now—even primary-care doctors. A structure that prioritizes the independence of all those specialists will have enormous difficulty achieving great care.
We don’t have to look far for evidence. Two million patients pick up infections in American hospitals, most because someone didn’t follow basic antiseptic precautions. Forty per cent of coronary-disease patients and sixty per cent of asthma patients receive incomplete or inappropriate care. And half of major surgical complications are avoidable with existing knowledge. It’s like no one’s in charge—because no one is. The public’s experience is that we have amazing clinicians and technologies but little consistent sense that they come together to provide an actual system of care, from start to finish, for people. We train, hire, and pay doctors to be cowboys. But it’s pit crews people need.
Gawande also hits on how health care costs are adversely affecting our education system and the necessary skills they don't cover in med school.  

Go read the whole thing, it won't take you too long and you'll be glad that you did.

Gawande is also on twitter now (see that note above about reading everything he writes)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Read This Now - Roid Rage

This piece is from last winter but it's point is still extremely valid and timely and as baseball's regular season draws to a close I'm wrapping back to say you should take a look and think about how we talk and think about the steroid era in the big leagues.

Craig Calcaterra links to a Matthew Artus piece on why we can't have an intelligent discussion about the topic.  Artus's point is that all the vilification going on means that there is no incentive for players to open up about the steroid era and we may never get around to figuring out how to think about baseball during this period, we lack a contest to discuss the players of this era as compared to all time greats (this becomes more important as we get in to the HoF candidacies of steroid era players).

I think Calcaterra makes an even more important and interesting argument in pointing out that MLB has led the way in making the main issue of the steroid era who used and who didn't and the press has just followed along.  No one has been willing to ask or answer the more interesting questions about what steroids mean or meant and how they effected the game.  He makes the damning point that MLB and the press are just sticking with the approach they took while steroid use ran rampant through the league in the 90's, lets sort of ignore it and then sweep it under the rug sums it up pretty well.  The Mitchell Report, in this light, was nothing more than an attempt to close the door on the subject and move along.

Like the Mitchell Report, the current take by most of the baseball press on steroids is lazy, misleading and close to useless.
It will only take you a few minutes to read the piece and it'll be worth the time, maybe it will even make you think a little bit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Best Thing I've Seen All Week

Who cares that it's only Monday, this is great...

Pretty much sums up the feeling I get every time I read the good doctor's column.

(via BDL)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Talk About A Train Wreck

It's really early in the cycle but there is no mistaking that the 2012 Presidential Election season is upon us, especially given the amount of coverage the media has been devoting to the early Republican debates.

I only really catch what NPR has to say about them in the mornings, and last night's debate seems to have been quite the debacle at times.  The level of discourse and the adherence to facts displayed by the candidates are astonishingly low (not that I was expecting much).  The coup de grace was definitely delivered (if you can call it that) when Rick Perry stumbled his way through what I think was supposed to be an attack on Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper...

I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of — against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it — was before — he was before the social programs from the standpoint of — he was for standing up for Roe versus Wade before he was against first — Roe versus Wade? Him — he was for Race to the Top. He's for "Obamacare" and now he's against it. I mean, we'll wait until tomorrow and — and — and see which Mitt Romney we're really talking to tonight.
Unbelievably that transcript makes it sound better than it was, you can listen to the sequence here (it starts about the 2:40 mark) and somewhere there is sure to be video but I haven't looked for it.  The transcript comes from this NPR blog piece.

Also worth noting (as others have) that the crowds at these Republican debates have been cheering and jeering for some pretty embarrassing things; cheering executions and letting the uninsured die, and booing an active duty soldier in Iraq (just wow on that last one).  Not that everyone who is a Republican agrees with the folks doing the yelling but it's still ugly and at the very least it means that this nastiness is a piece of what the Republican party base believes in these days.

It's gonna be a looong election cycle...

Prompted by Greg Sargent, I want to add that the real problem and travesty isn't the way the crowds (or individuals in them) have been acting but the ways in which the candidates have reacted.

Sesame Street Gets After Glee

I don't remember Sesame Street being quite so into spoofs and/or rip offs when I was growing up, then again it isn't like you remember everything that happens when you're a kindergartener so who knows if this is a new thing or not.

Which is all just to say that I really enjoyed the Sesame Streets sponsorship by the Letter G the other day...

It helps that I've been sucked into the Glee vortex so I get all of the references and know who the characters are, which lets me say this is really spot on, right down to the jokes about the teacher's use of hair product.

It has to go way over the heads of the majority of Sesame Street's viewers and target audience though (doesn't it?).  I suppose it's nice to be able to have some actual learning about the letter g and the sounds that makes wrapped up in some nods to an older audience who is probably watching along.

(via SE)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Looking Back At The Wire

I'm far from the only person who has called The Wire one of, if not the, best things to ever grace a TV screen (even if I thought the last season drifted past credibility at times).  I think that this interview with David Simon conducted via email by Nick Hornby for The Believer back in 2007 does the best job of capturing why so many people have felt so strongly about The Wire.

Tim Carmody, who pointed to the interview while sitting in for Kottke this past spring, did a really nice job of expanding on the Greek Tragedy aspect that Simon brings up in regard to Omar Little.

If you enjoyed the show, or even if you haven't seen it and wonder where all the hype comes from, or even if you don't care about The Wire or TV at all but are interested in the art of writing and story telling you need to read this interview.  Simon's take on how The Wire is different and what it takes to tell a story the right way are fascinating. 

My favorite bit made it into the pull quote to lead off the piece...

My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.
Which also led to an exposition on Simon's shows as travelouges and the issues that smart people have with most TV.

Just go read the whole thing already!

Read This Now - In Cherokee

Click through to check out a comic book style history of the written Cherokee language from artist Roy Boney.  Even if you skim it you'll learn something: I had no idea the Cherokee Nation was printing an internationally distributed newspaper prior to the Trail of Tears.

(via botm)

Monday, September 19, 2011

In Orbit

This time lapse video from the ISS has been making the rounds over the past couple of days (this embed code comes via kottke) and when I finally watched it, well it was much cooler than I had expected.  Which means you should take a minute to watch it as well...

I think that the lightning is my favorite part. The video flies down the west coast of North America to start.

Hang 10

I only tried surfing once and it didn't go too well (I blame the cheap foam boards and the confused surf to make myself feel better) so it isn't like I know what I'm talking about but this inflatable surf board appears to be the real deal. It boggles the mind a bit in that I really don't think this should work...

More on the Surf Air can be found here (warning no one has told the designer that having music play on your website is a terrible idea).

(via DB)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We Keep On #Winning

I don't get the worst place in the world these days so I probably won't actually watch this, but the trailer alone is awesome...

Gotta love Martin Sheen getting in on the action!

(via CC on fb)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Save Seafood Since It's Scrumptious

I've done a fair amount of fisheries work over and while it is more nuanced and complicated than a simple little statement like this post's title, if I had to boil my reasons for saving seafood down to a sound bit that would be it.

It seems that the folks at Legal Seafood are on the same page...

(the embed code is only working for one of the three videos I've seen, head to blogfish for the other two)

It should be noted that Legal has a history of poking sustainable seafood folks with a stick, and I'd bet that these ads don't actually signal some sort of commitment to redouble the chain's efforts to help make sure that seafood remains on the menu for future generations (seems like it would be a good thing to have in the business plan for a seafood restaurant though).

I'm a little surprised that they didn't do one for bluefin, speaking of scrumptious...

(via blogfish)

I Fell Into A Bowl Of Oatmeal

The comic that is.  It all started with this doozy from RG on fb...

The rest of the what we should have been taught in high school series is pretty good as well, particularly the sex ed and english lessons.  I also learned how follow friday is supposed to work and got a lesson in semicolon use.

Ah the interwebs...

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Fresh Local Fish

This Community Supported Fishery actually got started this summer so I'm a little late in sharing this video, but it does a nice job of quickly introducing CSF's and this project in particular, and man does that salmon look good...

For more info on CSF's be sure to check out

Friday, September 2, 2011

Long Walks On The Beach

I haven't gotten around to reading Ian Frazier's piece in the NY'er on Dutch artist Theo Jansen yet, but after the teaser video it's high on my list...

There are lots of other videos out there of Jansen's creations and his Strandbeest website is a good place to start.  Here is his 2007 TED Talk on the project...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Read This Now - How Broken Is Our Political System?

Very, says Ezra Klein and this shouldn't be news to anyone who has been paying attention.  I fully agree that we've hit a new low though, and I'm willing to put a fair amount of the blame on the media for continuing with the he said she said story telling mantra instead of reporting facts and making sure that the public is actually informed.

Ezra's run down is too good to not share here, you should be reading all of his stuff especially the morning wonkbook.

The last year or so in American politics has been a tragedy. With unemployment over nine percent and underemployment closer to 16 percent, Washington has stopped talking about how to create jobs and turned its attention to cutting deficits. But it couldn't get that done, either. Having agreed to focus on the wrong question, the two parties proceeded to disagree over how to answer it.

When Republicans had the opportunity to strike a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal with President Obama, they refused on the grounds that the deal would include around $1 trillion in new revenue, even as it extended $2.6 trillion in tax cuts. So far, we've passed less than $1 trillion in actual spending cuts, and the cost of doing even that was we nearly defaulted on the debt, which delivered another blow to an economy that was already trembling.

Last night, we descended into farce. Having failed to agree on the big issues, Washington descended to squabbling over a very, very small one: whether a mostly meaningless speech would happen on a Wednesday or a Thursday.

The White House tried to get a little cute here: they left the date of the speech open and then decided to schedule it at the same time as the GOP presidential debate. But they say they ran that by Speaker Boehner's office and didn't get an objection.

Then Boehner got a little cute: he pretended that the logistics were simply impossible -- a security sweep couldn't be assured on such short notice -- and, breaking with precedent, refused to schedule the address.
Eventually, the White House agreed to schedule the speech for Thursday. That may or may not have been the best political decision -- perhaps they could have just moved the address to a roomful of the unemployed -- but it was the adult decision. It would have been a shame for an argument over the venue to overshadow what is supposed to be a proposal about jobs.

Nevertheless, in the parlance of Washington, Boehner "won." And perhaps he did. But the rest of us lost. If it wasn't already clear that Republicans in congress have no intention of working with the White House on further help for the jobless, it's plenty clear now. If it wasn't already clear to the business community that the two parties absolutely hate each other and there is no reason to believe that Washington will be able to help the economy if what little recovery we have turns south, it's plenty clear now.

To paraphrase economist Brad DeLong, last night was one of those nights when you remember that even taking into account the fact that our political system is performing worse than you could possibly imagine, it's performing worse than you can possibly imagine. Washington has made many more consequential missteps than this one. But few of them have been so thoroughly depressing, so insistent on showing us us, with brutal clarity, what the greatest nation in the world has come to.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Doctor Is In

I've been waiting for this one for a long time...

(via Speakeasy)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Break In The Hiatus

We'll get back to regular posting soon, it's been quite an eventful month and not just because we survived the Great DC Quake of 2011 the other day...

In the mean time here's Andy Samberg and Walter Ioos Jr getting things ready for the US Open:

(via YM on fb)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not Your Average Adorable You Tube Video

But adorable is what I call it...

The free beats are provided by Chris Sullivan who has a day job on PBS's The Electric Company.

(via kottke who went with charming as his descriptor of choice)

What I'm Talking About

I haven't followed the details of the Walmart to DC saga other than to be aware that plans are in motion.  Apparently Walmart is refusing to talk about their plans though, at least according to the group Respect DC...

You'll have to make your own call on Walmart in DC, but however you come down that's a fun video.

(via DCist)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What Did They Think Would Happen?

When they called Bill Maher sexist (he drops an f-bomb so don't crank the volume if you're at work)...

That's pretty good stuff right there.

(via CC on fb)

We're Living In The Future

I knew in a theoretical sense that 3-D printers were in the works, but I figured they were sort of like the 3-D jigsaw puzzles of famous buildings.  Boy was I wrong...

Everyone was thinking it, but XKCD actually said it...

Click through for the scroll over joke...
(via kottke)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Don't Play That Funky Music

If Republicans are declaring as Presidential candidates again we can be assured of at least one thing, they'll use music that they don't understand (you'd think someone on the campaign would read the lyrics at least) and get slapped with cease and desist orders by the musicians.

Michele Bachmann has already been hit for using Tom Petty's American Girl and Katrina and The Waves Walking on Sunshine.

Raise your hand if you're surprised...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Read This Now - Political Accomplishments

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was instrumental in securing the passage of marriage equality in New York last week and lot's of folks have been recommending this NY Times article offering a peak at how he got it done...

The story of how same-sex marriage became legal in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from gay couples who wish to be wed.

But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.

And it was about a Democratic governor, himself a Catholic, who used the force of his personality and relentlessly strategic mind to persuade conflicted lawmakers to take a historic leap.
Granted the US as a whole is not NY but the state isn't too far off as a microcosm of the country in terms of politics (more conservative in rural areas and more liberal in urban ones) and I would encourage President Obama and his administration to take some notes on getting shit done (there are plenty of great things that the Obama Administration has accomplished but I do think that on the whole they are falling short of their potential).

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Dear Photograph Project

Taylor Jones has a very cool little project going that he'd like your help with.  Dear Photograph involves taking a picture of a picture from the past while holding that picture up in the same spot it was taken, then write the photo a note.  It's much easier to show you than to explain...

Dear Photograph,
I looked good in a tux.
See what I mean?  I like this one a lot because you can see how the trees have grown and the place has both stayed the same and changed.  There are several pages of submissions up so far and I'm sure more will be forthcoming some are a little sappy, or have more personal nostalgic value than artistic value but they're all interesting in their own way..  Check out the site for details.

(via DB)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Read This Now - Dare To DREAM

We need the DREAM Act, it is at its core a representation of the ideals and beliefs upon which America was founded.

If you don't want to take my word for it read Jose Antonio Vargas' story in the NYT...

There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own. 
Read the whole thing right now.You can follow Vargas on twitter @JoseIsWriting

(via EK)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Read This Now - The Weather Report

Climate change is real, you can see it's effects on the news nearly every day and more and more people in the US and around the world are experiencing the effects first hand this year as extreme weather events become more and more common.

The saddest and most shocking part is that no one in the US Government seems to care, especially those who know better.  It's one thing for pandering blowhards to rail on as idiot deniers and skeptics of climate change and it's another all together for those members of the government who know just how serious the challenges we face are and who choose to ignore them since the politics aren't pretty.

Elizabeth Kolbert has a good rundown in this week's comment in the New Yorker...

For decades, climate scientists have predicted that, as global temperatures rose, the side effects would include deeper droughts, more intense flooding, and more ferocious storms. The details of these forecasts are immensely complicated, but the underlying science is pretty simple. Warm air can hold more moisture. This means that there is greater evaporation. It also means that there is more water, and hence more energy, available to the system. 

What we are seeing now is these predictions being borne out. If no particular flood or drought or storm can be directly attributed to climate change—there’s always the possibility that any single event was just a random occurrence—the over-all trend toward more extreme weather follows from the heating of the earth. As the cover of Newsweek declared last week, “weather panic” is the “new normal.” The larger problem is that this “new normal” won’t last. Each additional ton of carbon dioxide that’s spewed into the atmosphere contributes to further warming, thus increasing the risk of violent weather.

It isn't pretty and it can be depressing, but that's all the more reason everyone should read the piece (and pretty much everything that Kolbert writes these days).

See also the sordid tale of how climate change legislation fell apart last summer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Billy Beane Is In The Money

If you like baseball and haven't read Moneyball, you should.  Then again this fall you can watch it...

Suffice it to say I'm excited, and as BN put it "How psyched is Billy Beane right now?"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sam Jackson Helps Out New Parents (Slightly NSFW)

Without further ado...

(via kottke)

Read This Now - Meet Jose Bautista

Bautista has emerged on the scene this season as baseball's current undisputed best hitter, simply put he's crushing it this year, just like he did last season.

In this day and age PED's are never far from conversations surrounding late blooming hitters, or just one's who seem to come out of no where and Bautista is no exception.  This great piece from Jeff Passan in The Post Game examines Bautista's story and takes a look at how he became an exceptional hitter...

History says with no malice that Bautista should not be doing this. He disturbed baseball's neat order. It was no random stretch, no burp in the matrix. It demanded an explanation. And so for the last 14 months, the scouts and the statisticians and the fans have probed and prodded and dissected Bautista's ascent, the sort that gives divers the bends. They turned accomplishment into interpretational gymnastics. One set of numbers, 50 theories behind it, all trying to answer the same question.


Baseball's calculus changed with steroids. No ophthalmologist can fix the lens through which the public now views accomplishment. Success -- out-of-nowhere, what-the-hell success especially -- begets skepticism. There must be a reason, a plug-and-play, easy-to-digest, quick-and-dirty catch-all that makes way for the next question. 

"Sometimes there is a reason," Bautista says. "It's just not simple."
It's a little long, but well worth the read.  Be sure to check it out.

(via HBT)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Everything Old Is New Again

Which is really just a polite way of saying it's been quite a while since the entertainment industry had a really original idea...

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

It isn't always a bad thing, and not everyone is so blatant. Watch episode two for a take on Hollywood though.  Also check out the Everything is a Remix homepage, and see plenty of comments etc from the project's creator Kirby Ferguson.

(via kottke)

Doonesbury's Still Doing It

The thing I miss most about getting a daily paper is the comics, there are only a handful that I really want to read and I know I can get them all online these days, but for whatever reason I don't.

So thanks to the Best Defense for pushing Doonesbury today...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nature Is Worth More Than 1,000 Words

This catchy little video from the Natural Capital folks helps drive the point home...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Trails Food Pyramid

My Plate is in the house.

Check out the new website as well at, it's pretty good and easy to navigate.  The bottom line is we need to do a better job of educating folks about how to feed themselves well.  Hopefully this is another step in that direction.


There's an introductory video as well...


(via OF)

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Am Not Keith Hernandez

But this dude is, and the movie is very entertaining although it certainly isn't all exactly true etc etc.  The film maker (Rob Perri)'s site is here and has all the important details (basically it's a version of the truth mixed with some satire).

I'm Keith Hernandez from water&power on Vimeo.

Keith's wikipedia page is worth a look, and man that was some of the best of Seinfeld when he was on.

You can click through to a bigger and better version on vimeo proper.

I don't recall where I first encountered this little internet gem, but it's certainly a high light so thanks to whoever did bring it to my attention.

United Britain?

Every so often the difference between England and the United Kingdom and Great Britain comes up in conversation.  I'm not sure exactly why it does, but I am sure that I'm not the only person this happens to.  I'm also willing to bet that I'm not the only person who never remebers the details.  Until now I always headed over to wikipedia to sort it all out. 

From now on I'll be hitting play on this video when I need a refresher...

(via AKC on fb)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Read This Now - Wins Are A Silly Stat

You don't have to take my word for it though, Joe P lays it out so much better than I ever could...

After Wednesday's non-win -- Reyes made sure on this one by giving up back-to-back doubles to start the game and five runs in three innings -- reporters surrounded the man of the hour. The whole scene was bizarre. Hey, here's one of those kooky joke stats: What pitcher has made the most consecutive starts without pitching at least five innings and exiting with his team in the lead in a game that the team ends up winning?

And people make fun of BABIP. Sheesh.
This is a rare instance of RTN where we gave you the conclusion.  Joe P is the best sports writer working these days (and one of the better writers out there period) for my money, so make sure to check out how he tells the story.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Read This Now - Baseball Players Can Write

At least Michael Cuddyer can, he's been doing a column for Fox Sports North this season.  The only one I've read all of is his great tribute and goodbye piece to Harmon Killebrew...

Now, at that time, I didn't have the prettiest of signatures. As a matter of fact, it was downright awful. It was pretty reminiscent of an EKG that you would get from one of your physicals. You could make out the M and the C, but after that, it could have been Miley Cyrus who signed your ball for all you knew. Once Harmon was notified that the signature in question was mine, he told me that if he saw this ink spot go through the line again, he was going to walk away and stop signing. The only person the people would have been mad at if Harmon had stopped signing was me. From that moment on, I have made it a point to sign my autograph so fans can actually read it. Every single autograph I have signed since then, I have heard Harmon in my head saying, "If you are going to take the time to sign your name, you better make sure people can read it."
They're all worth reading though, and the column is probably a solid RSS candidate.

The Twins and Minnesota as a whole have sent Killer off in style.

Crossed Up

Don't worry we aren't doing anything we shouldn't with the streams, and these guys can do amazing things with a basketball...

As far as I know only Tim Hardaway actually had a name for his cross over, it's hard to top (or stop) the UTEP Two Step.

(via kottke)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tax Cuts Increase National Dept

It's pretty simple math actually, and here it is in graphic form in case you don't like words...

Any serious discussion about reducing the debt load has to include not only avoiding tax cuts, but raising taxes on individuals and corporations that are paying well below their share.

(via TPM)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Barack Goes Home

The President is kicking off his European trip with a visit to Moneygall.  NPR has the real story which is nice but I really just want to remind you that...

NPR says the Corrigan Brothers are getting some new versions ready, a welcome home one and a re-election special - "He's as Irish as Riverdance, Guinness and Joyce. In 2012, there's only one choice!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Common Sense

I'll just let Jon break it down for you (and O'Ridiclousness)...

p.s.: I have no idea why a fan of fox news would have posted the video.

(via DB on fb)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


They are an integral part of sports and the Red Sox - Yankees one is right up there in its notoriety, especially for the fans.  Big Papi is kind of irresistible though...

I have some friends who kept ending up at parties with him a while back and they swear he really is that friendly and charismatic.

(via Hard Ball Talk)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Read This Now - The Internets Are Here

This is a late breaking Read This Now, a Read This Now If You Haven't Already if you will.  I'm catching up on New Yorker's from the spring so there may be a few more of these in store as well.

Cutting the chatter though, if you didn't get a chance to read Adam Gopnik's take on the Internets and the range of books and prognosticators take's on whether they make life better or worse in the Anniversary Issue way back in February you should take some time to do so.

He breaks them out into three categories; the Never-Betters (the internets herald a new utopian age), the Better-Nevers (the internets are destroying civilization as we know it), and the Ever-Wasers (there's always something like the internets happening).  Among the most interesting tidbits were the comparisons to other new pieces of technology and the reactions that they spawned before becoming accepted pieces of everyday life.

The odd thing is that this complaint, though deeply felt by our contemporary Better-Nevers, is identical to Baudelaire’s perception about modern Paris in 1855, or Walter Benjamin’s about Berlin in 1930, or Marshall McLuhan’s in the face of three-channel television (and Canadian television, at that) in 1965. When department stores had Christmas windows with clockwork puppets, the world was going to pieces; when the city streets were filled with horse-drawn carriages running by bright-colored posters, you could no longer tell the real from the simulated; when people were listening to shellac 78s and looking at color newspaper supplements, the world had become a kaleidoscope of disassociated imagery; and when the broadcast air was filled with droning black-and-white images of men in suits reading news, all of life had become indistinguishable from your fantasies of it. It was Marx, not Steve Jobs, who said that the character of modern life is that everything falls apart.
Be sure to read the whole thing, and maybe even pick up a couple of the books he mentions.  There are also a number of multi-media tie-ins to the piece most of which you can find here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Long National Nightmare Has Come To An End

Actually I'm not even going to dignify any of the 'carnival barker' road-kill stapled to his head guy fueled nonsense with a response (I heard Bob Schieffer on CBS handled it nicely though).

Instead here's a video that's entirely worth your time, and that of any kids you might know...

I'm a fan of Beyonce and the Let's Move campaign.

(via GOOD)

Slow News Day

There actually was a fair amount of news today, but I'm busy and thought I'd share this video (a little slow but a lot of fun)...

Fun and pretty spot on but I am disappointed that there isn't a "You're gonna need a biggah hamma" pose.

(via KM)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Feed That Addiction

I prefer to think of these types of little flash games as inventive and fun time wasters as opposed to true addictions, but they certainly can be hard to stop playing...

I just spent a good half an hour at least trying to get past level 10 of Gluey.  Hint: rapid clicking when the blobs are bigger seems to be a decent tactic, then again I washed out after 9 levels so what do I know?

From Kottke's stash of addictive flash games.

There's The Truth And Then There's What Republicans Say

Reality has a long standing and well recognized liberal bias, maybe folks are finally starting to realize that.

Paul Krugman has been pointing it out for years and Andrew Leonard had a great look at the Republican look on taxes the other day...

Republicans are nothing if not consistent. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they stick to the script. There's no better proof of this than their adherence to that classic fundamental pillar of supply-side economics: the theory that cutting taxes raises revenues.

Here's Rep. Joe Walsh, (R-Ill.) the self-styled "conservative Tea Party activist" who upset Democrat Melissa Bean in the 2010 midterms, on ABC's "This Week."

"In the '80s, federal revenues went up," said Walsh. "We didn't cut spending. Revenues went up in the '80s. Every time we've cut taxes, revenues have gone up. The economy has grown."
Walsh may be a freshman in Congress, but he's got the party line down pat. Here's Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying in July that the Bush tax cuts "increased revenue, because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. " Here's Speaker of the House John Boehner saying last June that " over the last 30 years... lower marginal tax rates have led to a growing economy, more employment and more people paying taxes," he said.

You'd be hard pressed to find a more orthodox Republican viewpoint. But you'd be equally hard pressed to prove that the assertion is true.
But it isn't just commentators on the left pointing out the Republicans' problems with the truth these days.  Fred Hiatt, long a defender of Republican nonsense, went after the right wing for their stance on climate change and their fact defying arithmetic last week.  As Brad DeLong pointed out, if you've lost Fred Hiatt the end may be in sight.

The most shocking, and rewarding, calling out of Republicans came from Paul Ryan's constituents at a recent town hall meeting though.

(via HTWW)