Tuesday, November 30, 2004

You can find information on every fake rock band that, uh, never existed in The Rocklopedia Fakebandica.

Monday, November 29, 2004

A 15-year-old Wisconsin girl became the first known human to survive rabies without vaccination. According to this Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, a team of eight specialists at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin intentionally placed her in a coma and "treated her with a four-drug cocktail - two anti-virals that helped salvage her brain and two anesthetics. She was never given a rabies vaccine because it is considered ineffective once clinical symptoms develop."

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Common Dreams presents Ten Reasons Not to Move to Canada.

Monday, November 22, 2004

According to this Washington Post article,

"A $388 billion government-wide spending bill, passed by Congress on Saturday, was stranded on Capitol Hill yesterday, its trip to the White House on hold as embarrassed Republicans prepared to repeal a provision that could give the Appropriations committees the right to examine the tax returns of Americans.

Top GOP lawmakers disavowed the provision, expressed surprise that it was in the bill, and blamed both the Internal Revenue Service and congressional staffs for incorporating it into the omnibus spending package funding domestic departments in 2005."

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Last August I linked to this Morning News article by Matthew Baldwin that revealed the trade secrets of several professions. Now Baldwin has started a weblog on trade secrets called Tricks of the Trade.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Robert David Sullivan goes beyond red and blue to analyze the 2004 election using his map that divides the country into 10 political regions in this CommonWealth magazine article.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In this New Yorker article, Roger Angell looks back at the championship season of the Boston Red Sox, and finds that the Sox remind him of another team.

"Watching the unkempt Red Sox brought back to me a different frazzled and talented bunch, the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, who lost a seven-game World Series to the Cardinals that year. Three veteran swingers in their lineup—Ben Ogilvie, Cecil Cooper, and Gorman Thomas—combined for a hundred and five homers that season, while two others, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount, were heading for the Hall of Fame. Grunge and three-day beards were a specialty with the frowzy Thomas, who wore the same pair of lucky stockings in every game of the year, and Pete Vuckovich, a hulking right-handed starter who later played the heavy in the movie “Major League.” Despite resemblances, the style gap (and the income gap) between the two teams is hard to grasp. These Brewers were working guys, grizzled clubhouse rats who lingered over their card games, and later helped out behind the bar at Cesar’s Inn, a nearby factory-clientele bar owned by manager Harvey Kuenn and his wife, Audrey. It would never have occurred to Harvey’s Wallbangers (as they were known) to goof around like adolescents in the clubhouse or the dugout; they were grown men, and private. Were they better hitters than the 2004 Red Sox? Maybe not."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

According to this Associated Press article, former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth "has been riding for several weeks with a New York ambulance crew in training to become a paramedic, The New York Post reported Tuesday.

"I have been on over 200 individual rides now," said Roth. "Not once has anyone recognized me, which is perfect for me."

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Bush administration has finally discovered that the problem with American intelligence is that the CIA is a "hotbed of liberals."

According to this Newsday article by Knut Royce, "The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Montana is one of the most conservative states in the country. George Bush won the state by more than 20 points in this year's election. But, according to this Washington Monthly article, "in November, a Democrat, Brian Schweitzer, won the state's race for governor. Schweitzer not only won, but he also won decisively, beating his opponent Bob Brown, the Republican secretary of state and a two-decade fixture in Montana politics, by a solid four points. His victory was so resounding and provided down-ballot party members such strong coattails that Montana Democrats took the state senate and four of five statewide offices.

How did Schweitzer pull off such a dramatic victory in an election year when Democrats seemed to have lost their capacity to win red states? The answer should give Democrats everywhere some hope and Republicans reason to worry."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

In this New Yorker article, Malcolm Gladwell considers The Ketchup Conundrum. If mustard now comes in dozens of varieties, then why has ketchup stayed the same?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Will Shetterly looks back at the 2000 election and wonders "What if George W. Bush had been elected president?"

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

According to this Wall Street Journal article:

"Brad Anderson, chief executive officer of Best Buy Co., is embracing a heretical notion for a retailer. He wants to separate the "angels" among his 1.5 million daily customers from the "devils."

Best Buy's angels are customers who boost profits at the consumer-electronics giant by snapping up high-definition televisions, portable electronics, and newly released DVDs without waiting for markdowns or rebates.

The devils are its worst customers. They buy products, apply for rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at returned-merchandise discounts. They load up on "loss leaders," severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then flip the goods at a profit on eBay. They slap down rock-bottom price quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its lowest-price pledge. "They can wreak enormous economic havoc," says Mr. Anderson."

Monday, November 08, 2004

Neal Stephenson answers questions about money, science fiction, and the singularity in this Slashdot Interview. Stephenson also answers the question "In a fight between you and William Gibson, who would win?" His answer begins:

"You don't have to settle for mere idle speculation. Let me tell you how it came out on the three occasions when we did fight.

The first time was a year or two after SNOW CRASH came out. I was doing a reading/signing at White Dwarf Books in Vancouver. Gibson stopped by to say hello and extended his hand as if to shake. But I remembered something Bruce Sterling had told me. For, at the time, Sterling and I had formed a pact to fight Gibson. Gibson had been regrown in a vat from scraps of DNA after Sterling had crashed an LNG tanker into Gibson's Stealth pleasure barge in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. During the regeneration process, telescoping Carbonite stilettos had been incorporated into Gibson's arms. Remembering this in the nick of time, I grabbed the signing table and flipped it up between us. Of course the Carbonite stilettos pierced it as if it were cork board, but this spoiled his aim long enough for me to whip my wakizashi out from between my shoulder blades and swing at his head. He deflected the blow with a force blast that sprained my wrist. The falling table knocked over a space heater and set fire to the store. Everyone else fled. Gibson and I dueled among blazing stacks of books for a while. Slowly I gained the upper hand, for, on defense, his Praying Mantis style was no match for my Flying Cloud technique. But I lost him behind a cloud of smoke. Then I had to get out of the place. The streets were crowded with his black-suited minions and I had to turn into a swarm of locusts and fly back to Seattle."

To read the read of his answer read question 4 of the Slashdot Interview.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

E. J. Dionne gives his view of the election in this Washington Post column:

"Let's be honest: We are aghast at the success of a campaign based on vicious personal attacks, the exploitation of strong religious feelings and an effort to create the appearance of strong leadership that would do Hollywood proud. We are alarmed that so many of our fellow citizens could look the other way and not hold Bush accountable for utter incompetence in Iraq and for untruths spoken in defense of the war. We are amazed that a majority was not concerned about heaping a huge debt burden on our children just to give large tax breaks to the rich.

And we are disgusted that an effort consciously designed to divide the country did exactly that -- and won. With all his failures, Bush could not count on a whole lot more than 51 percent. Karl Rove and company calculated perfectly, organized painstakingly, greatly increased conservative turnout and produced a country divided just their way."

Monday, November 01, 2004

This TAPPED post wonders, "Are Early Voters Different? Reports from the early voting are trickling in and, at least in two make-or-break battleground states, show a pretty dramatic preference for John Kerry over George W. Bush. In Florida, the latest Gallup poll showed that about a third of the polled voters had already cast ballots and that Kerry led 51 percent to 43 percent among them. In Iowa, according to The Des Moines Register, 27 percent of those polled by Saturday had already voted, and Kerry was similarly favored 52 percent to 41 percent by the early birds. In both states, those who had yet to vote were more pro-Bush than those who'd already cast ballots. So what explains the difference?"

After looking at information on early turnout in Iowa, Florida, and Tennessee, the post concludes, "Turnout has also been extremely high in Georgia and Nevada. All of which suggests to me that the people turning out in record numbers and voting early may actually be representative of voter preferences in their communities and turning out because of heightened interest in the campaigns and the convenience of early voting, rather than because of any specific voter preferences. Which would mean that if Kerry's ahead in certain states among the early voters, he's likely to be ahead in them when all the votes are counted, as well."