Archive for October, 2007

And kill it

October 29, 2007

Boffins dredge up oldest living animal | The Register:

The ocean quahog clam was dredged up off the coast of Iceland, and researchers calculated its age by counting the rings on its shell. Professor Chris Richardson, from Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences explained that the rings on the clam’s shell provide researchers with information about growth conditions year-by-year, and so provide a record of the environmental changes during the animal’s life.

Reminiscent of the death of (probably) the oldest bristlecone pine.


It’s also the best way to fight crime

October 29, 2007

Greg Saunders: Put Down That Hose, Comrade – Politics on The Huffington Post:

Since the President was so concerned about “socialized medicine” that he vetoed SCHIP expansion, can we assume that his trip to Southern California tomorrow is to deliver a lecture about the evils of socialized firefighting? After all, if the free market is the best way to fight poverty, injury, and disease, I’m sure the invisible hand would have no problem putting out a few fires.


October 29, 2007

Jon Ronson on telling his son the worst swearword in the world | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited:

I’m going to tell my son the worst swearword in the world

Any evening now

October 29, 2007 – Homepage Observing – See Comet Holmes Tonight!:

Less than a week ago Periodic Comet Holmes (17P) was a dim and distant 17th-magnitude blip out between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But on October 24th, skywatchers looked up to see a bright new yellow-orange “star” shining in the constellation Perseus.

How to bias Quizzes

October 29, 2007

Select a Candidate 2008:

The WQAD candidate survey is based on the original SELECT A CANDIDATE survey developed by Minnesota Public Radio

But leaves out a bunch of the longer, more thoughtful questions, as you can see here

MPR: Select a Candidate 2008: President:

Please answer the following questions. If no answer is acceptable to you, leave it unanswered.

It also reorders a bunch of the potential answers in a way that might seem to some suspiciously like a push poll. But on closer examination, the answers seem to biased because they’re taken from the candidates’ public positions on the issues, which make Dorothy Parker’s “gamut from A to B” look positively diverse.  For example, there seems to be no one who thinks that we should do anything about immigration that doesn’t include beefing up the current security regime, which includes stop-and-search of whatever car the ICE folks want up to 200 miles from a border (which is to say, about half the country).

There’s also the problem that many of the yes/no questions don’t really admit of yes/no answers. The death penalty as a punishment for particular crimes? Maybe. For the crime of being innocent and having a lousy lawyer, or being mentally retarded or psychotic, or killing a victim the state cares about? Maybe not. Subsidies for biofuels made from sustainable nonfood sources? Sure. Subsidies for assholes to bid up the price of corn so that some people don’t eat as well? I don’t think so.

Blah blah blah.

Sounds like a good idea to me so it’ll never happen

October 29, 2007

CEPR – The Subprime Borrower Protection Plan:

Gives homeowners facing foreclosure the option of renting their home for as long as they want at the fair market rate. This rate is determined by an independent appraiser in the same way that an appraiser determines the market value of a home when a bank issues a mortgage.

There’s a little bit of it the should be clarified — Baker talks about adjusting rents according to the CPI for local rents, as monitored by the Labor Department. That number can be a little dicey (it does all kinds of imputation) and could well stand improvement.

But for one page it’s a pretty good fix.

Holy crap

October 29, 2007

I thought you were supposed to know something about a subject before you started writing about it for a big newspaper:

“Maybe I’ll be able to give you an intelligent answer once I’ve written about economics for a while. It’s hard (for me, at least) to know what the impact of deficits are. I keep hearing they are bad, but we keep running them and (so far) interest rates remain low and the economy seems to hum (until lately, at least). But maybe it is like a house of cards that one day will collapse.”

The Washington Post used to have economics writers who actually knew something about economics. The mind boggles.

The Phoenix in the Closet

October 22, 2007

Making Light:

Rowling says so, and she’s the only one who would know for sure.

Then again, she might not — think how Edgar Rice Burroughs was sure all his heroes were straight…

The one reason this administration will being troops home

October 20, 2007

Because they might have to pay their education benefits

On my list of things to do.

October 20, 2007

The bastard already leave me messages touting services I don’t want, and I have to spend money to find out that’s who the messages are from.

Skydeck : Get Ready For More Advertising On Your Cell Phone:

I called 1-800-333-9956 and opted out of sharing CPNI.