Thursday, May 31, 2007

Don't know how this domain was still available...

...but I'd say it's getting put to good use. Scroll down the page for a classic Angry Pat moment...and a little further for a couple of Jerry's greatest hits...those crazy kids...and whatever you do, don't forget to check where the Rapture Index stands today!

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And Thereby Fox News Is Explained

Several studies lately casting doubt on, well, the intelligence of conservative types. Here's another, with some more depth. Actually, while it affirms that "[p]olitical conservatism is associated with less openness to experience . . . , and highly positively correlated with fear of uncertainty," it's more about the average conservative's lack of creativity. The correlations between three measures of creativity and conservatism were between -.15 and -.21, not large but highly significant statistically in the study (meaning that the two variables were inversely related). What was especially interesting was that the gap between the two widened as aging was taken into account--the older conservatives were even less creative.

Now, for an organized system to balance on that creative edge of chaos, conservatives are needed to pull back on the levels of creativity that threaten to push the system over that edge. But the danger for that system comes when they have too much influence and pull the system toward inertia. The balance is the key, and we're clearing tipping too far the other way right now in a world of US economic precariousness, foreign adventures, and global warming (water, energy). Right now we need more creativity, not less, less conservatism, not more. This study helps to explain why, and, frankly, why conservatives produce such mindless crap (although the Gibsons, Limbaughs, and Stallones certainly haven't impoverished themselves selling to those folks). And it explains why Fox News and its copiers are so relentlessly one note and incapable of taking on Stewart, Colbert, and Mahers.

Sorry, have to go compose a few symphanies, finish that novel, and invent something now.
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Weather, Water, Energy 5-31-07

On the same day that we get the “global warming and cutting forests for biofuels may wipe out the great apes” story, word that AK (Alaska, not Arkansas) alone is looking at $10b. in infrastructure loss from the warming, and the story that even Germany’s biggest power producer plans to cut its carbon emissions to half its 1990 amounts to slow the warming, we get this moron running NASA:

Michael Griffin NASA Administrator has told America's National Public Radio that while he has no doubt a trend of global warming exists "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

Here's the relevant part of the entire interview:

INSKEEP: And I just wanted to make sure that I'm clear. Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?
GRIFFIN: I have no doubt that global -- that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change.
First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings - where and when - are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.
INSKEEP: Is that thinking that informs you as you put together the budget? That something is happening, that it's worth studying, but you're not sure that you want to be battling it as an army might battle an enemy.
GRIFFIN: Nowhere in NASA's authorization, which of course governs what we do, is there anything at all telling us that we should take actions to affect climate change in either one way or another. We study global climate change, that is in our authorization, we think we do it rather well. I'm proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to quote "battle climate change."

Like they always say, never argue with fools. They’ve been at that level longer and are much better at living in it. But how do we get to this nonsensical state wherein major gov’t scientists can be such idiots in public and not have to pay? Well, maybe it’s the press. Michael Tobis goes off over at Grist on the media for its failure to cover the recent statement on warming by the nat’l science academies of the G8 nations:

Let me be as polite as I can stand about this. Where in the @$#! is the press? A unanimous statement by what amounts to all the world's scientists is not some transient breeze in the to and fro of politics. These are the facts, according to almost all the extremely smart people whom we ask to figure out what the facts are. Everywhere.

I have friends in the press, and I hate to be confrontational, but this is beyond inexcusable. Can we please draw people's attention to this, at least a hundredth the attention directed at cheap Hollywood scandals?

I'd appreciate some bell clanging in the blogs about this. I am unhappily astonished by the deathly silence that has greeted this remarkable statement. Let's fix it. Thanks in advance.

But note that even Michael is part of the problem. You hate to be confrontational? It’s only our existence on the planet, but you hate to be confrontational? This country is where it is right now because we all hate to be confrontational more than confronting the evil that is playing out. So much bad is covered over by politeness and niceness (thank you so much again, Mister Rogers), and so much good has been done historically by confrontation, but we “hate to be confrontational.” Only when we wake up the dangers of “nice” will we have a chance. And if the Tobises of the world have to apologize for it even now, even in the middle of a worthy rant, you wonder if we have it in us to do so. Well, actually, no, there’s no reason to wonder.

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Ad of the Week

I think changing the Photo of the Week to Ad of the Week is a little more up my alley. So this week's winner is for the Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Championships.
More info here

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

An SNL Note...

...I read Bill Simmons' day-long chats (so you don't have to), and I found a quote I wanted to pass along...

Davs (Washington, DC): Hey Bill, doesn't Kristen Wiig have to go down as the hottest female cast member in SNL history? i mean, seriously, who else is even in the running?

Bill Simmons: Hmmmm... that's a great point. I always thought Victoria Jackson was kinda cute. Nancy Walls looked good during her one season. There was a British female cast member named Pamela Stephenson during the Crystal-Short-Guest season who was cute. It's not a long list.

Bill Simmons: PS: Not a bad SNL season this year. Every time they have a smaller cast, it's always a decent season. I continue to enjoy Bill Hader's work. And Samberg had some funny moments. It's really the ultimate TiVo show, you can blow through it in about 10 minutes.
I think I've actually made the "ultimate TiVo show" comment before...why yes, yes I have (I knew you read GN, Simmons!)...but beyond that, I want to echo that Hader and Samberg are finding their niche, Jason Sudeikis is a solid-never-spectacular guy who is always useful in a cast, Keenan Thompson isn't asked to do too much, and the 3-female cast has really come up huge. The season finale was a letdown (they tried to reprise every funny moment or character from the season, only they didn't bother doing much more with the characters than bringing them out and reminding you they're funny. If the season had ended with the Molly Shannon episode, it would have been a much nicer final note. Oh well. A second season with basically the same cast could be very nice...

And yes, Kristen Wiits not only has a lot of talent and potential, but she is indeed the hottest SNL cast member since...I dunno...ever? A young Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Chris Farley in the Gap Girls skit? I mean, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph are both attractive, and Tina Fey had the 'hot nerd' thing going on, but...Wiits has them beat.

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Only 524 days to go...

...all I can say is, RUN, TOM, RUN. Holy crap, would this be awesome. We've already got a Law & Order actor who thought being Senator was too much work (though being President apparently wouldn't) jumping into the fray...the only thing we're missing is a low-IQ fanatic. And Newt, one of the most disliked politicians in decades. Then the field would be complete. I'm giddy.

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Music Bullets, 5-30-07

  • Well...the DRM-less iTunes files are ready for download...the price for the individual DRM-less songs are $1.29...which is a TON for a single song...however, entire albums are still $9.99. Considering I only buy full albums, that makes me very happy.
  • A couple of interesting notes from Salon...if you’re not a subscriber, you’ll have to sit through an ad...but if I’m linking to it, it must be fantastically wonderful and worth it, right? First, whoever convinced 50 Cent to take 10% stake in the vitamin water company (and convinced them to give him 10%) instead of a set amount should, honestly, run the music industry. Good god, that’s a lot of money. Let's spell it out in all caps to see if it seems like even more. FOUR HUNDRED TEN MILLION DOLLARS. Yup, that makes it seem like even more.
  • Next, an interview with Rufus Wainwright, one of the most interesting and unique (for better or worse) people in music. As good as Want One was, I’ll probably end up with this album at some point.
  • And finally, not from Salon...looks like Amy Winehouse has officially made it big... we take all kind of pills to give us all kind of thrills, but the thrill we’ve never the thrill that’ll getcha when you get your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone...

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Weather, Water, Energy 5-30-07

Too much for detail, just hit the links and learn:

From Terra Daily, days of snow melt rising in Greenland, Moscow recording record heat, circulations changing in Indian Ocean due to weakening winds caused by warming, China (knowing the US will jerk the world around, too) refusing to work with Europe on greenhouse gas emissions targets as usual, US and Australia refusing to work with Asia on carbon trading system, India making Gandhi proud by refusing to cut greenhouse emissions because they might hurt its economy, the CA Public Employees Retirement System (one of the biggest in the country) calls out Exxon-Mobil on their evil regarding global warming, and Pelosi proving Dem leadership just as worthless on global warming as on Iraq, economy, race relations, edu . . . well, everything.

From Grist, David Roberts noting the enormous subsidies already on the table for coal liquefication here and here (while demonstrating the superiority of conservation) and lauding CA for its recent crimping of coal-fired plants.

From Christian Science Monitor, more on the “tipping point” in our warming future and how that temp may be less than current models have been predicting, yet another indication that, yes, the models are wrong—reality will be worse, and a thoughtful review of Bill McKibben’s latest book on “deep economy.”

From the Environmental News Network, word from Oxfam that it will cost $50b. yearly to fight global warming and that the Oxfammers believe the wealthy nations should pick up the tab, including 44% of that coming from the US. I’m generally one who believes it’s better to confront problems rather than stay silent and hope they work out, but this is one time when these do-good groups would do the most good by shutting up and not generating these kinds of headlines. Just plays into the Busheviks and their “hurts our economy” crap.

And from state news sites, an interesting and hopefully precedent-setting partnership between the U of AK (Alaska, not Arkansas) and the gov’s subcabinet on climate change as the state probably most immediately affected by global warming takes it seriously while the rest of us vote multiple times on “American Idol,” other states “getting it” including several Western states which are seeing growing populations and dwindling water from rivers like the Colorado, a FL article encouraging people to start that hurricane protection planning NOW and another one on Lake Okeechobee’s lowest levels on record and the effect on south FL’s water supply (not good), and finally, going solar (at least partly) in all state buildings in OR.

See why I didn't do individual comments on each?
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Saw two movies over the weekend. One was "Waitress," a sweet, well-done story of a young wife with an abusive husband and a talent for making pies who discovers forlornly that she is pregnant but, by the end, she has reversed her life and welcomed her beloved daughter into the world. The other was "Waitress," an unforgettable love letter from a mother, who wrote, directed, and co-starred in the movie just before being murdered by a construction worker she argued with over his noise downstairs, to her just-born daughter, who is star Keri Russell's daughter in the final shots. The first might make you think of "Alice," with the acerbic cook and two loved girlfriends and the not-to-be romance with an off-limits guy, but "Alice" wishes she were "Waitress." The second is one of the saddest movies I've ever seen, knowing that Adrienne Shelly had written it while pregnant and intended it in part to show her daughter her thoughts and growing love but that, instead, it will stand as the most perfect, most tragic legacy of pure love that a mother can leave a daughter. As I watched the final scenes, I couldn't help but wonder at what age the girl's father will let her see this movie. Is he already? At what age will the girl shift from a vague understanding that this movie has her dead mother in it to a realization that she was the intended audience for this emphatic "I love you so much" from a woman she will never know? How will that girl respond? Being a man, of course, I didn't cry. But I didn't talk much during the walk from the theater to our car. It was truly a unique experience, watching one movie that was really two, enjoying them each, recommending the first, never forgetting the second.

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Brain vs iPod: Wilco Edition

In addition to my ongoing Primer Series, I thought I’d look a bit into how the iPod has made its way into my life and how it has affected my tastes and habits. Being that Wilco just released a pretty strong album, I’ll use them as the guinea pig for this experiment.

Wilco has released six albums (not including the lovely Kicking Television live album or their Mermaid Avenue releases with Billy Bragg). Below are how I would rank them completely off the top of my head, with no regard to anything but the regard in which I hold each release:

1. A Ghost Is Born (2004). For reasons unbeknownst to me, this album brings out a lot of emotion in me. As I’ve said about other things before (“Desolation Row”, Huff), this is like listening to an anxiety attack. It’s tense, it’s technically proficient, it’s emotional, and “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” is my favorite Wilco song.

2. Summerteeth (1999). The fun songs are as fun as Wilco has gotten, and the dark songs are as dark as Wilco has gotten. Quite the roller coaster, but it works...and it was a giant leap up from Being There.

3. Sky Blue Sky (2007). Every album is more mature and technically sound than the last, and that trend has continued with the latest. I’ll have to expand on it later, but it’s good.

4. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002). This was a sonic leap for the band, and they justifiably got a lot of attention for it (go pick up Greg Kot’s Learning How to Die for detailed information about the drama that was this album...seriously, do it now...great read...) there are plenty of fantastic songs (“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”, “I’m the Man Who Loves You”), but it’s just not as enjoyable a listen.

5. Being There (1996). I love that this album has a Pekin, IL, reference (“I wanna be your kingpin, living in Pekin” from “Kingpin”)—it is my father-in-law’s hometown, and until a couple of decades ago, their school nickname was amazingly the Chinks, and writing about this song finally gives me the opportunity to mention that—plus, songs like “I Got You (At the End of the Century)” are fantastic live; however, it’s just not quite as enjoyable as any of the four albums above.

6. A.M. (1995). It's good--and extremely Uncle Tupelo-esque--but it has been surpassed (in my ears) five times in the twelve years since its release. Wilco has matured deeply with each album, but they had to start somewhere.

For the most part, I’m ranking these albums based on the fondness and feeling I have for them. In all, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was far more of an achievement than Summerteeth, but I enjoy listening to Summerteeth more (same with a band like Pearl Jam—Ten and Vs were bigger achievements at the time, but gimme Yield any day of the week). I’m pretty sure everybody does basically the same thing.

But what does my iPod tell me about how I think?

A while back, I wrote about how the iPod has changed my tastes and listening habits, and I thought I’d revisit the issue by looking at how I rated the songs on each album. If you remember (and I’m sure you do), I give a song a star rating while listening to the iPod in the car or at work—I can pretty much do this without taking my eyes off the road at this point, so fear not, mid-Missouri drivers. Here are the Wilco albums ranked in order of the average rating I’ve given to each songs.

1. Summerteeth: 4.14. Five-star songs: “Can’t Stand It”, “A Shot in the Arm”, “I’m Always in Love”, “Nothing’severgonnastandinmywayagain”, “Via Chicago”

2. A Ghost Is Born: 4.09. Five-star songs: “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”, “The Late Greats”, “Hell Is Chrome”, “Company in My Back”

3. Sky Blue Sky: 4.00. Five-star songs: “Walken”, “What Light”, “On and On and On”

4. Being There: 3.95. Five-star songs: “Misunderstood”, “Monday”, “I Got You (At the End of the Century)”

5. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: 3.91. Five-star songs: “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”, “Heavy Metal Drummer”, “I’m the Man Who Loves You”

6. A.M.: 3.62. Five-star songs: none

Okay, it’s roughly the same. What does this mean exactly? Well, if you know Wilco, you realize that a majority of the 5-star songs are the rockin’ kind...Jeff Tweedy does navel-gazing and introspective as well as anybody, but when he and the band let their hair down, they rock as well as any band I know.

This probably also explains why I enjoy Summerteeth so much...while it has plenty of downbeat songs like “She’s a Jar” and “We’re Just Friends” and “Via Chicago”, it also has lots of good hard rock songs.

Unlike my last iPod post, when I realized that an album like Counting Crows’ Hard Candy had ‘ratings’ as good as Exile on Main Street*, my song ratings seem to be a pretty accurate and telling representation of the album as a whole, which is good, because I was wanting to use my song ratings in part to create a Best Albums of 2007 list soon. I also figure this is a fun way to discuss bands that people are more familiar with (and therefore really don’t need a ‘Primer’ type of write-up), so stay tuned. I’m sure you will.

* I should note that, after a little friendly mocking from Michael Atchison, I revisited Exile on Main Street, and it turned out that I must have been in a really pissy mood when I rated Exile songs...upon further review, I upgraded the ratings for about half the damn songs on the album, and it now rates higher than Hard Candy. Justice has prevailed.

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Weather, Water, Energy 5-29-07

When Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report both run major stories in the same week on the water crisis we are in the early stages of right now, you know that we're not just blowing smoke here. And keep in mind how many of the "solutions" to the weather and energy problems you hear depend on the unlimited availability of water that we're used to.

Fix those leaks.

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The Tree Is Rotten

You've probably already read that Cindy Sheehan has quit her protest of our Iraq policies but not before issuing the truest critique of not just the Busheviks or the Dems but of this entire country that anyone has put out in a while. The problem isn't Georgi or feckless, gutless Dems. It's us. Her words apply to all of us:

"I have tried ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years, and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."

If the US were a tree, with all its dead parts (Repubs) and disease (Dems, media, us), every tree surgeon would advise cutting it down. We tool along thinking that, even with Iraq, global warming and its water and energy brothers, the declining economy, sharpening divides by race and class, and anything else you want to add, we only need to trim the status quo here and prop it up there. Meanwhile, the rot proceeds. Through a grief that made her look at this nation through the lens of reality, Cindy Sheehan discovered a painful truth, much as, say, Mark Twain did in another time. Yes, something called the United States may exist after the flood of the next few decades recedes.

But it won't be the "United States."

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy, Memorial Day Edition

Just links today, but follow them through. Lots of good stuff.

At Climate Progress, permafrost melt and crooked buildings in AK (Alaska, not Arkansas), turkey poop for fuel, Prisoner's Dilemma issues in getting climate action started (but also "first-mover" advantages), and James Hansen quotes and why linearity in warming events is bad enough but the future is likely to be nonlinear (and worse).

At RealClimate, why climate models are good globally but harder put locally and whether glacier melt will level off or go all the way to zero.

At Grist, praise for the latest National Geographic catching our glacial world before and as it disappears, proof that airlines (especially the odiously happy and self-impressed Southwest) are immoral, Schwarzenegger blowing smoke on warming as he promotes sprawl and cuts mass transit, Australia as a role model of what not to do and will we in the US pay attention (short answer: no), and the definition of "greenwash" (BS from corporations claiming now to be "green"--the dictionary actually has a more formal version).

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)

We’ve all been there. We did something wrong (incorrectly, evil, whatever, take your pick). But we’re capable, we’re good, so this can’t be true. There has to be another explanation. Somebody else’s fault. Not wrong, just not right yet. This is what I actually intended. This is even better. As I’ve said here before, Jeff Goldblum nailed it in “The Big Chill”—we can go a long time without sex but we can’t go a day without a rationalization.

Social psychologists have long had a term for it—cognitive dissonance, when two realities collide in our belief systems and force us to either make them fit (however bizarrely) or jettison or deform one or both of them. Cognitive dissonance is the theme of Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson’s Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts.Tavris and Aronson are two of the best known social psych folks, and this book should be required reading for anyone laying claim to intelligence. It’s extremely easy to read, except for all the dogearring, margin-writing, and quoting you’ll be doing to anyone close by. And it’s applicable to every reader and everyone they know. Except you and me. Here’s their thesis in a nutshell:As fallible human beings, all of us share the impulse to justify ourselves and avoid taking responsibility for any actions that turn out to be harmful, immoral, or stupid. . . . The higher the stakes—emotional, financial, moral—the greater the difficulty.

It goes further than that: Most people, when directly confronted by evidence that they are wrong, do not change their point of view or course of action but justify it even more tenaciously. Even irrefutable evidence is rarely enough to pierce the mental armor of self-justification. The authors then spend the rest of their book illustrating exactly how with examples from politics (which is built on cog diss), science, wealth, personal memories (which are readily and frequently unreliable), psychoanalysis (and false memory debacles), alien abductions, love and relationships, fixing the starting point of blame. And, importantly for our constitutional future, trials and sentencing.

The section on how government officials, in this case, judges, prosecutors, and cops, can explain away their many errors has obvious implications for what is going on with Iraq, global warming, virtually everything happening on most levels of government today. Picture this. You send the wrong guy to prison. Do you admit being wrong? Or do you deny it, claim the new evidence is wrong, the guy’s a “bad guy” who’s done other things. You’re still a “good guy,” you’re still possessed of truth and righteousness, God still personally makes you His spokesperson on justice. “The alternative, that you sent an innocent man to prison for fifteen years is so antithetical to your view of your competence that you will go through mental hoops to convince yourself that you couldn’t possibly have made such a blunder.” IOW, the “bad” prosecutors we highlight here when they make these ridiculous, self-protective, God’s representative statements, like the OR DA they take to town for his blowhard hubris over and over.

Once cops and DAs zero in on someone, their training and experience over and over bracket off any contradictory info, and you don’t need this book to know that, although far too many of them do deny it themselves. The authors’ detailing of deceptive interrogation techniques that allow no refutation is scary, as scary as DAs' active efforts to block mitigating evidence from freeing innocent people. (Scariest, and the best proof of where their heads really are and what they really believe in, is their apparent indifference to reopening the cases in which this happens and finding who really did do the crime.) They know what they know, and disagreers are just wrong, despite all those facts and evidence on their side.

You come away from this book with many feelings, none good. Foremost is the realization of just how little contact someone really has to have with reality to survive and even prosper on this planet. You’d think all the wake-up calls we’ve gotten from sweeties and those we wished were in our lives would alert us to our innate confusion and blindness, but apparently not. They were stupid, and, really, they weren’t that hot anyway.

The book also gives us a very good answer for why evidence and reason, despite Al Gore's fond recall of them from this country's good old days, find such tough sledding and will likely never be what its advocates want it to be, the answer to those questions about “why don’t people listen to reality???” Unless the costs of ignoring the evidence are just so high that all but the diehards recognize the need to change, the old guard will resist. The authors thankfully include the example of the doctor who figured out that washing hands before sticking them on patients would save lives made progress only funeral by funeral of the old guard doctors who refused to believe it. Why wouldn’t they, why won’t the current policymakers and practitioners? Because accepting the evidence would mean admitting they’ve been WRONG all these years, that they’ve put people away who shouldn’t have been, or for longer than they deserved. Who wants to own up to that? So it’s “you can prove anything with statistics” or “yeah, but I had a case once . . . .” La, la, la, can’t hear you.

Tavris and Aronson don’t promise us remedies to all these dilemmas and disasters that our cog diss can lead us to. What they do offer is a thorough and unforgettable overview of what it is and does so that we can try to overcome the problems. “Drivers cannot avoid having blind spots in their field of vision, but good drivers are aware of them . . . . We cannot avoid our psychological blind spots, but if we are unaware of them we may become unwittingly reckless, crossing ethical lines and making foolish decisions. . . .” Until we get that fact and reality are more important than our beliefs and egos, we will keep blundering along with dogma and illusion governing our society and, frankly, our personnel lives. We will keep being the unserious people who will make up such a large part of the future American history books. Tavris and Aronson should be required reading for anyone who claims to take reality seriously. And even more so for the vast majority in this country who don't.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's too bad...

...stem cell research is all, like, evil and sure does seem to hold the most potential for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and now diabetes...but whaddo I know...

Stem cells taken from the umbilical cords of newborns can be engineered to produce insulin and may someday be used to treat diabetes, U.S. and British researchers reported on Friday.

They said they were able to first grow large numbers of the stem cells and then direct them to resemble the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas that are damaged in diabetes.

“This discovery tells us that we have the potential to produce insulin from adult stem cells to help people with diabetes,” said Dr. Randall Urban of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, who directed the study.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 5-25-07

  • Sorta losing any respect I had for Australia, not just because of its idiot PM. Now they've gotten a poor Aborginal tribe with some open land to give up land for nuclear waste for what sounds like $21 in beads. OTOH, it does set a precedent for the rest of the world to consider. As one opposing Senator said, "This is the first step to making Australia a global nuclear waste dump." I think I can go for that.
  • Warm spring in Britain. Nature getting confused. Not funny. "We are concerned because the change seems to be so rapid. And we know there is a mismatch of timing, so, for example, when insects would pollinate flowers, the flowers are coming out earlier than the insects are available, and we know this is happening. It is very difficult to tell what that means, but certainly we know that wildlife is under pressure."
  • Shape of things to come. Czechs don't like their emissions allotment, going to court. Politics sure to follow. Multiply this by every other country and every company and corporation that will protest their allotments under cap-and-trade systems and multiply again by the money and power the politics will involve and tell me again how cap-and-trade will be better than carbon taxes.
  • Indonesia's hopping on board Japan's train toward 50% reduction of emissions by 2050. That's the good news. The bad? These are the same people cutting down forests for palm oil and claiming nothing bad is going on. The proper response? Yes, indeed, “stop p—sing on my leg and telling me it’s raining.”
  • State news. AZ is letting rural counties set limits on development unless the developer shows adequate water supply. And MD has reversed the Repub gov's favors to utilities in the state (including naming some of their officials as his own regulators) and is starting to enforce regulations to get emissions down. Imagine that.
  • Speaking of MD, my 6 years living there gave me great appreciation for mass transit, despite its status as poor stepchild in the whole "what do we do for energy?" debate. Well, with these improvements in efficiency, maybe it'll be back on the table. Learn these words: "Please step away from the doors."

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Stan, your problem is, you just don't know how to get comfortable...

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