Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Both the Bush administration and Richard Clarke believed that terrorists threatened the United States, but they disagreed on the source of the threat. The administration thought the threat came from countries like Iraq and North Korea, while Clarke believed the most serious threat came from groups of terrorists not supported by a country. Fareed Zakaria explains the difference in this Newsweek column.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This New Yorker article discusses anthropometric historians, who study the history of human height. They have found that height is determined more by nutrition and wealth than by genetics. They are trying to figure out why Europeans have grown taller over the past 50 years while Americans have not. The average Dutch man is now six feet one, while the average American man is five feet nine and a half.

Monday, March 29, 2004

More Fun with Zip Codes

Marketing companies divide the country into market segments by life style and zip code. The marketing company Claritas uses a system of 66 distinct lifestyle types. They cross-referenced their lifestyle types and zip codes on their "You are Where You Live" website. Go here and type in your zip code to "get your neighborhood's top five segments, along with some descriptive detail about each segment's lifestyle traits."

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Fundrace is a website that allows you to find out who has made presidential campaign contributions. You can search by zip code or name.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Cartoonist Joe Sacco takes a look at this year's presidential campaign in his comic strip "Meanwhile in America."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Today Richard Clarke testified before the 9/11 commission. He began his testimony by saying:

"I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened and what we must do to prevent a reoccurrence. I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11. To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed.

And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and for your forgiveness.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I'll be glad to take your questions."

Fred Kaplan provides a good summary of the testimony in this Slate article. You can read a transcript of Clarke's testimony here. (It begins near the bottom of the page.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Here are two more articles on the Richard Clarke kerfuffle. First, Fred Kaplan explains that "Dick Clarke Is Telling the Truth" in this article from Slate. Second, Todd Purdum analyzes the effects of Clarke's accusations on the presidential campaign in this New York Times article.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Today the Bush Administration responded to last night's 60 Minutes interview with Richard Clarke with several counterarguments. This Center for American Progress article shows that these White House arguments are just misinformation.

You can find more commentary on the White House response to Clarke at Intel Dump, Talking Points Memo, and Eschaton.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

According to former White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke, the Bush administration ignored terrorism before 9/11. Clarke appeared on 60 Minutes tonight and said, "Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We'll never know." Clarke also says that after 9/11 the Bush administration decided Iraq was to blame, even though there was no evidence Iraq was involved. You can read a summary of the 60 Minutes report here.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

In this Boston Globe article, Michael Gilbert wonders whether the recent transformation of Howard Stern's radio show into "a rabidly anti-Bush talk forum" could have an effect on the presidential election.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

This Harper's Magazine article tells the story of David Hahn, a teenager who almost built a nuclear breeder reactor in his mother's potting shed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The Exorcist was originally made in 1973, and a modified version was released in 2000. Several other versions have also been produced. First, here's a review of the Turkish Exorcist. Second, here's the Exorcist in 30 seconds re-enacted by bunnies.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Gadflyer is a new "progressive Internet magazine" that features articles and columns on politics and public affairs and a weblog called Flytrap.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Astronomers have detected what could be the Solar System's 10th planet.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Here are two articles on politics and the media. First, Campaign Journal previews George Bush's new television ad, which "is the first ad to use the image of a dark-skinned man who is obviously meant to be a terrorist." Second this CNN article discusses the new liberal Air America Radio network, which will begin broadcasting on March 31. Al Franken will host a 3-hour midday show that he has named "The O'Franken Factor."

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The Calvin and Hobbes Extensive Strip Search is a database that allows you to access all 3150 published Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. You can search by description or date. For example, here's the first Calvin and Hobbes strip published on November 18, 1985.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) is the world's only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms. MOBA has made several bad art works available as part of its online collection .

Monday, March 08, 2004

Have you ever wondered how news travels on the Internet? Well, Stephen VanDyke researched this question and presents his findings in a diagram he helpfully calls, "How News Travels on the Internet."

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Although the presidential election is 8 months away, political ads are already being shown on television. Some of these ads have become controversial. According to this CNN article, the Republican National Committee is warning TV stations not to run ads from the Voter Fund. The RNC claims these ads violate campaign-finance laws.

The Bush campaign has also started running TV ads. Jimmy Breslin explains in this Newsday column why he is offended by the Bush campaign's new ads that feature film of "dead bodies, or body parts, covered with an American flag being taken through the smoke and flames of the world trade center attack." According to Breslin, "In his first campaign commercial, George Bush reached down and molested the dead."

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Here's a website on the history of the Soviet Exploration of Venus. This page shows some surprisingly good pictures of Venus, including photos of the surface of the planet.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

This posting from the blog, The Big Picture, takes a look at the projected Electoral College vote in the 2004 presidential election. According to a recent Zogby Poll, Kerry leads Bush in electoral votes by 226 to 176, with several states too close to call.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

This New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh discusses the nuclear weapons black market. Hersh interviewed former United Nations weapons inspector Robert Gallucci who says, "There’s nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons. The most dangerous country for the United States now is Pakistan, and second is Iran. Gallucci went on, “We haven’t been this vulnerable since the British burned Washington in 1814.”

Monday, March 01, 2004

You've probably never heard of Paul Arnold, but he "is the best quarterback in college football history. Over his 10-year career, Arnold won four national championships for three different schools and was a nine-time All-American." Why have you never heard of Paul Arnold? Because, as Josh Levin explains in this Slate article, Arnold played flag football.