Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Seymour Hersh answers the question, "Where is the Iraq war headed next?" in this New Yorker article:

"There are several proposals currently under review by the White House and the Pentagon; the most ambitious calls for American combat forces to be reduced from a hundred and fifty-five thousand troops to fewer than eighty thousand by next fall, with all American forces officially designated “combat” to be pulled out of the area by the summer of 2008. . ."

"A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capability of even the weakest Iraqi combat units. The danger, military experts have told me, is that, while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what.

“We’re not planning to diminish the war,” Patrick Clawson, the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me. Clawson’s views often mirror the thinking of the men and women around Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “We just want to change the mix of the forces doing the fighting—Iraqi infantry with American support and greater use of airpower."

Hersh discusses his article in this interview.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Men's Health presents 18 Tricks to Teach Your Body:

"5. Clear your stuffed nose!

Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you'll feel your sinuses start to drain.

10. Unstitch your side!

If you're like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground."

Monday, November 28, 2005

With less than a year to go until the 2006 elections, the Democrats are looking for new strategies to win Congressional elections. As explained in this Newsweek article, one strategy the Democrats are trying is to run candidates who are Iraq War veterans. So far eight Iraq War veterans have announced that they are running for Congress as Democrats.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pitchfork Media presents "The Worst Record Covers of All Time."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Play Risk on Google Maps of the Earth here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One Red tells the story of Kyle MacDonald, who started with a red paperclip and began making a chain of trades for bigger or better objects. He wants to keep trading until he gets a house. Currently he has a 1000 Watt generator.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

In this New York Times article, Carl Zimmer discusses recent sleep research:

"Scientists have offered a number of ideas about the primordial function of sleep. Dr. Tononi believes that it originally evolved as a way to allow neurons to recover from a hard day of learning. "When you're awake you learn all the time, whether you know it or not," he said.

Learning strengthens some connections between neurons, known as synapses, and even forms new synapses. These synapses demand a lot of extra energy, though. "That means that at the end of the day, you have a brain that costs you more energy," Dr. Tononi said. "That's where sleep would kick in."

He argues that slow waves weaken synapses through the night. "If everything gets weaker, you still keep your memories, but overall the strength goes down," he said. "The next morning you gain in terms of energy and performance."

Monday, November 07, 2005

"I/O Brush is a new drawing tool to explore colors, textures, and movements found in everyday materials by "picking up" and drawing with them. I/O Brush looks like a regular physical paintbrush but has a small video camera with lights and touch sensors embedded inside. Outside of the drawing canvas, the brush can pick up color, texture, and movement of a brushed surface. On the canvas, artists can draw with the special "ink" they just picked up from their immediate environment. Watch the I/O Brush video."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Google has scanned the full text of over 10,000 books that you can search using Google Print. This New York Times article has more information on Google Print.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The 2005 World Beard and Moustache Championships were held last month in Berlin, Germany. Although there was no overall winner, crowd favorites included Germany's Elmar Weisser who won first place in the freestyle full beard category and America's Toots Joslin winner of the sideburns category. Links to photos of the winners in all 17 categories can be found here.