Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In this Media Matters article, Jamison Foser explains that:

"The defining issue of our time is not the Iraq war. It is not the "global war on terror." It is not our inability (or unwillingness) to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Nor is it immigration, outsourcing, or growing income inequity. It is not education, it is not global warming, and it is not Social Security.

The defining issue of our time is the media.

The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruthlessness or the tactical and strategic superiority of the Republicans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is wrong with the Democrats.

The dominant political force of our time is the media.

Time after time, the news media have covered progressives and conservatives in wildly different ways -- and, time after time, they do so to the benefit of conservatives."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Neil Gaiman and Adam Rogers discuss The Myth of Superman in this Wired article.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mil Videolinkitos is a compilation of links to music videos from the 1980s. The list includes everything from David Lee Roth to Husker Du to Seona Dancing.

Monday, May 22, 2006

This video clip turns the movie "The 10 Commandments" into a very funny trailer for a new teen comedy called "10 Things I Hate About Commandments."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This New Orleans Times Picayune flash animation shows how Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans. This article further explains how the city was flooded.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Steve Martin performs his routine, "The Great Flydini" in this YouTube video.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This New York Times article explains why everything you know about lactic acid is wrong.

"Everyone who has even thought about exercising has heard the warnings about lactic acid. It builds up in your muscles. It is what makes your muscles burn. Its buildup is what makes your muscles tire and give out.

Coaches and personal trainers tell athletes and exercisers that they have to learn to work out at just below their "lactic threshold," that point of diminishing returns when lactic acid starts to accumulate. Some athletes even have blood tests to find their personal lactic thresholds.

But that, it turns out, is all wrong. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product. Muscles make it deliberately, producing it from glucose, and they burn it to obtain energy. The reason trained athletes can perform so hard and so long is because their intense training causes their muscles to adapt so they more readily and efficiently absorb lactic acid."

Monday, May 15, 2006

In this blog post, Brian Ross of ABC News reports that:

"The FBI acknowledged late Monday that it is increasingly seeking reporters’ phone records in leak investigations. “It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration,” said a senior federal official."

According to Ross:

"Officials say the FBI makes extensive use of a new provision of the Patriot Act which allows agents to seek information with what are called National Security Letters (NSL). The NSLs are a version of an administrative subpoena and are not signed by a judge. Under the law, a phone company receiving a NSL for phone records must provide them and may not divulge to the customer that the records have been given to the government."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Al Gore addresses the nation to discuss his first 6 years as president in this clip from last weekend's Saturday Night Live.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Bureau of Engraving shows examples of large denomination U.S. currency.

"On July 14, 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System announced that currency notes in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 would be discontinued immediately due to lack of use. Although they were issued until 1969, they were last printed in 1945. These notes are legal tender and may be found in circulation today; however, most notes still in circulation are probably in the hands of private numismatic dealers and collectors."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

As explained in this Stern article, Brazil's Pirahã tribe have one of the most unusual languages on earth:

"The language is incredibly spare. The Pirahã use only three pronouns. They hardly use any words associated with time and past tense verb conjugations don't exist. Apparently colors aren't very important to the Pirahãs, either -- they don't describe any of them in their language. But of all the curiosities, the one that bugs linguists the most is that Pirahã is likely the only language in the world that doesn't use subordinate clauses. Instead of saying, "When I have finished eating, I would like to speak with you," the Pirahãs say, "I finish eating, I speak with you." Equally perplexing: In their everyday lives, the Pirahãs appear to have no need for numbers."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Michael Tomasky explains why the opportunity for the Democrats in the 2006 elections is "far bigger than a few House and Senate seats if they can recognize -- and seize -- this unique historical moment," in this American Prospect article:

"The party has discipline, a tactical strategy as the opposition, and a more than respectable roster of policy proposals waiting to be considered should Democrats become the majority again. It’s quite different from, say, three years ago. But let’s not get carried away. There remains a missing ingredient -- the crucial ingredient of politics, the factor that helps unite a party (always a coalition of warring interests), create majorities, and force the sort of paradigm shifts that happened in 1932 and 1980. It’s the factor they need to think about if their goal is not merely to win elections but to govern decisively after winning them. What the Democrats still don’t have is a philosophy, a big idea that unites their proposals and converts them from a hodgepodge of narrow and specific fixes into a vision for society."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Eric Boehlert explains how, "the U.S. media abandoned its post as Bush led the country into a disastrous war" in this Salon article excerpted from his new book, "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

60 Minutes profiles Stephen Colbert in this CBS News article.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Joan Walsh explains the mainstream media's reaction to Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner in this Salon article:

"Colbert's deadly performance did more than reveal, with devastating clarity, how Bush's well-oiled myth machine works. It exposed the mainstream press' pathetic collusion with an administration that has treated it -- and the truth -- with contempt from the moment it took office. Intimidated, coddled, fearful of violating propriety, the press corps that for years dutifully repeated Bush talking points was stunned and horrified when someone dared to reveal that the media emperor had no clothes. Colbert refused to play his dutiful, toothless part in the White House correspondents dinner -- an incestuous, backslapping ritual that should be retired. For that, he had to be marginalized. Voilà: "He wasn't funny."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Angry Alien Productions presents, "The 30-Second Bunnies Theatre Library," in which a troupe of bunnies parodies a collection of movies by re-enacting them in 30 seconds, more or less. The site includes parodies of 21 movies including Star Wars, King Kong, and The Big Chill.

Monday, May 01, 2006

If you weren't watching C-SPAN this weekend, you probably missed Stephen Colbert's remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner. He spends 25 minutes roasting President Bush and the Washington media in front of President Bush and the Washington media. Links to video of Colbert's speech are below. They must have had no idea who he was when they booked him.