Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Washington D.C.

Thursday Links

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* IQ ‘a myth,’ study says. You mean almost everybody who lived a hundred years ago wasn’t learning disabled by contemporary standards?

Among the study’s other findings:

• While aging has a detrimental effect on reasoning and short-term memory, it leaves verbal abilities “completely unimpaired.”

• Smoking has a negative impact on verbal abilities and short-term memory but does not affect reasoning skills.

• People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.

• Products that are advertised to improve brain function aren’t effective. “People who ‘brain-train’ are no better at any of these three aspects of intelligence than people who don’t,” Owen said.

* Big MetaFilter post on Chris Ware’s Building Stories.

* We need DNA tests before you can vote: Iowa’s GOP Election Official Has Found Only 6 Examples Of Voter Fraud Out Of 1.6 Million Votes Cast.

* Why Nate Silver is Not Just Wrong, but Maliciously Wrong.

* Joe Lieberman’s last act as a senator is surprisingly not all that malicious or destructive.

* Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.

* Dinosaur Comics creator’s Choose-your-own-adventure Hamlet beats all Kickstarter publishing records.

* And Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up.

Monday Night Infinite Jest (and More)

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* The MLK Memorial opened today on the Washington Mall. Pretty visually stunning.

* zunguzungu has your Libya links.

* The headline reads, “The Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins.”

* Kaufman, who has a lifelong passion for American folk music, has just written a biography of Guthrie. And, much more unusually for an academic, he is singing his way across the US to promote it. He is performing Guthrie’s songs, which he mixes with short lectures and projected images in what Kaufman calls a “live musical documentary.”

* Grant Morrison: The Rolling Stone interview. More here. Via Bleeding Cool.

* The New Yorker profiles Clarence Thomas. Via just about everybody.

* Also via literally everybody: The Decembrists’ new Infinite-Jest-themed music video.

* Don’t miss Brad DeLong’s brief history of the Obama administration. Via Digby.

* 2010: Detroit apocalypse porn. 2011: Detroit is the new Brooklyn.

* Inside the mind behind Feminist Hulk. If you’d bet the account was owned by a graduate student in English literature, pick up your money at the front desk.

* Inside the Tea Party: a UNC professor has polled Tea Party supporters to determine that the Tea Party’s core values are “authoritarianism, fear of change, libertarianism and nativism.” I can’t imagine anyone anywhere will find this study remotely controversial.

* Kevin Drum asks: Can we fix the economy? Sign me up for Krugman’s Lament (first comment); we can fix this, we just won’t.

* Wikileaks implodes.

* And a look inside how Scrabble warps your brain.

Competitive Scrabble players’ visual word recognition behavior differed significantly from non-experts’ for letter-prompted verbal fluency (coming up with words beginning with a specific letter) and anagramming accuracy, two Scrabble-specific skills. Competitive players were faster to judge whether or not a word was real. They also judged the validity of vertical words faster than non-experts and were quicker at picking up abstract words than non-competitive players. These findings indicate that Scrabble players are less reliant on the meaning of words to judge whether or not they are real, and more flexible at word recognition using orthographic information.

Biblical

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

Friday!

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* First, the big news: Casey Affleck has admitted I’m Still Here is a hoax. Shock! Terror!

* Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will hold “competing” rallies on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to restore sanity and keep fear alive respectively. I think this is a good idea and I’m glad they’re doing it, but it’s frustrating to once again see legitimate criticism of Bush equated with totally insane criticism of Obama in the name of “balance” and “moderation.”

* Our long national nightmare is finally over: Karl Rove has surrendered to Christine O’Donnell.

* Science has proved Facebook causes flu and little kids have been mocking us this whole time.

* Understanding the Tea Party, from Glenn Greenwald. A good pullquote: Given all that, I’d really like to hear what it is about Christine O’Donnell, or Sharron Angle, or any of these other candidates that sets them apart from decades of radical right-wing elected officials who came before them?  They seem far more similar to me than different.  When was this idealized era of GOP Adult Reasonableness?

* The first Earth-like planet orbiting another star will be announced in May next year, if the discovery of extrasolar planets continues at its present rate, say researchers Samuel Arbesman from Harvard Medical School in Boston and Gregory Laughlin at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

* The U.S. poverty rate is at its highest level since 1994. Matt Yglesias:

Melissa Boteach, my colleague who focuses on poverty issues, points out that congress has the opportunity to act before things get even worse:

In just two weeks a job-creation engine known as the TANF Emergency Fund will expire, forcing states to begin shutting down successful partnerships with the private sector that have already created nearly a quarter-million jobs for low-income families. Congress must act before September 30 to extend the TANF Emergency Fund for another year and allow this innovative jobs program to continue.

Unfortunately, congress is typically more interested in the tax burden of millionaires than in the welfare of the poor and near-poor.

* Self-absorbed, self-indulged, and self-loathing, the Baby Boom generation at last has the chance to step out of the so-called Greatest Generation’s historical shadow. Boomers may not have the opportunity to save the world, as their predecessors did, but they can still redeem themselves by saving the American economy from the fiscal mess that they, and their fathers and mothers, are leaving behind. Via the latest MetaFilter post on the ongoing Third-Worldization of America.

* Making puppets with Jim Henson. Also via MetaFilter.

* And All-Star Superman will be made into animated movie. I don’t know why it hasn’t been green-lit for the next live-action Superman yet. Jon Hamm could kill it.

Behold, the Mother of All Saturday Linkdumps!

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* Polish President Lech Kaczynski has apparently been killed in a plane crash in western Russia, alongside much of the leadership of the country. Updates at MeFi.

* Yesterday Stevens made it official. The timeline. A shortlist. The politics of shortlists. An offbeat shortlist. How about Cory Booker? Why Obama shouldn’t shy away from a confirmation fight. Why Glenn Greenwald is lukewarm on frontrunner Elena Kagan. Why the GOP may use the SCOTUS hearings as another excuse to freak out about health care. Or maybe just another excuse to flip out period. Still more at MeFi.

* Totally independent of anything anyone anywhere has said or done, threats against members of Congress have increased threefold in recent months. It’s a funny coincidence that means absolutely nothing.

* George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

* Everything old is new again: Gingrich says Republicans will shut down the government if they take over.

* Tony Judt on crisis, neoliberalism, greed, the end of history, and the need for a new New Left.

For thirty years students have been complaining to me that “it was easy for you”: your generation had ideals and ideas, you believed in something, you were able to change things. “We” (the children of the Eighties, the Nineties, the “Aughts”) have nothing. In many respects my students are right. It was easy for us—just as it was easy, at least in this sense, for the generations who came before us. The last time a cohort of young people expressed comparable frustration at the emptiness of their lives and the dispiriting purposelessness of their world was in the 1920s: it is not by chance that historians speak of a “lost generation.”

If young people today are at a loss, it is not for want of targets. Any conversation with students or schoolchildren will produce a startling checklist of anxieties. Indeed, the rising generation is acutely worried about the world it is to inherit. But accompanying these fears there is a general sentiment of frustration: “we” know something is wrong and there are many things we don’t like. But what can we believe in? What should we do?

* Full with polls: The IRS is more popular than the tea partiers.

* “Kind of a Glenn Beck approach”: On male studies. More at Salon.

* Another great segment from the Daily Show about blatant Fox News dishonesty, this one on the lies they’re telling about the START treaty. But the quote of the day on this comes from who else but Michele Bachmann, who calls for the U.S. to commit to nuclear retaliation in the event of a devastating cyber attack.

* Matt Yglesias on Treme‘s battle between realism and sentimentality.

* Comic book cartography. Their link to the principles of Kirbytech from my friends at Satisfactory Comics is pretty great too.

* Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe? I’m surprised there’s even debate about something that is so trivially true.

Negative Twenty Questions, John Wheeler’s analogy for quantum mechanics.

* Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Welcome to the elderly age.

* Multicellular life found that can live entirely without oxygen.

* xkcd’s version of hell is now fully playable.

* Chris Christie working overtime to destroy public universities in New Jersey.

Outsourcing TAs?

* In Washington, D.C., you’re not a rape victim unless police say so. Via Feministe.

* HIV-positive Michigan man to be tried as bioweapon.

* Are we still waiting for the other shoe to drop on Greece?

* The Texas miracle? Wind power in an oil state.

* Two from Krugman: Building a Green Economy and Al Gore Derangement Syndrome.

* Somewhat related: Tim Morton on hyperobjects.

Hyperobjects are phenomena such as radioactive materials and global warming. Hyperobjects stretch our ideas of time and space, since they far outlast most human time scales, or they’re massively distributed in terrestrial space and so are unavailable to immediate experience. In this sense, hyperobjects are like those tubes of toothpaste that say they contain 10% extra: there’s more to hyperobjects than ordinary objects.

* The Illinois Poison Control Center has a blog. MetaFilter has highlights.

* And Gizmodo has your periodic table of imaginary elements.

More for Wednesday

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* The Catholic Church cancels all spousal health benefits within Washington, D.C., in order to avoid giving gay married people benefits. This is the same organization that already threatened to stop all charity in the city if marriage equality became law and which really did shut down its orphanages rather than let gay people adopt. This is what loving your neighbor is all about. Via MeFi.

* I’ve said many times before that health care passes in a vote or dies in silence. If Democrats didn’t think they had the numbers, they wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor. Instead, they’d swear their fealty to the project but turn their attention to other priorities and schedule their speeches on other subjects. But that’s not happening. Democrats are setting up their process, giving speeches and interviews, adding Republican ideas, and setting new deadlines. They’re bringing this to a vote. And that means they’re confident that they’ll win the vote. My inclination is to say not even the Democrats can screw this up, but of course they’ll just take that as a challenge. Here’s more from Jonathan Chait.

* Whales, it turns out, are carbon sinks.

* Mitt Romney is an all-time gold-medalist flip-flopper. Or, more directly, a liar.

* Bottled water sales fall for the first time in five years. Great!

* Judge Confirmed 99-0 After 124 Day Delay. Ladies and gentlemen, your U.S. Senate.

* And Sarah Palin makes another run at making my brain explode. Keep at it, Madame Governor, you’re almost there…

Wednesday Afternoon Legitimate Complaints

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* NASA reports that the Chilean earthquake has shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds and moved the figure axis of the Earth about 8 centimeters. Google has set up a donation tool for earthquake relief; my Chilean friend Ignacio also recommends a donation to Cruz Roja Chilena. The country is still suffering dramatically; while writing this post I received a news alert about a tsunami warning just issued for the coast, following a huge aftershock.

* DCist profiles the first few couples to file for same-sex marriage licenses in DC. Congratulations, folks!

* Bunning’s temper tantrum had consequences.

* Related: Nineteen senators I would sincerely like to see become unemployed.

* Obama calls for an up-or-down vote on health care: “At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem.” Mr. President, I have some bad news…

* Rachel Maddow, national treasure.

You are not making serious arguments, and you do not believe what you’re saying. It’s disproven by your record. In the case of Orrin Hatch, you are flat-out lying about the history of the tactic that Democrats are going to use to pass health reform. Doing that, lying about what’s been done, lying about the record, lying about this tactic is not actually a substitute for making an honest argument against health reform.

For the Washington Post to print something like this is bizarre. For these established, supposedly mainstream senators to try to get away with this is an insult to everyone they’re addressing, and to the media, in particular. And for us all to just let this slide and call it ‘politics,’ is to surrender to cynicism profoundly.

* Attackerman: Jewish Narnia Is Called Marvel Comics. More in this at MeFi.

* ABC, let Jon Stewart host This Week.

* Finally, a profile of Rahm Emmanuel sourced by someone other than Rahm Emmanuel:

…Emanuel is not the would-be savior of this presidency. For one thing, there really isn’t that much daylight between him and his boss, or between him and his top White House colleagues. Had things gone even more his way, it’s possible that he would have squelched a few more of what few bursts of idealism and principle survived Inauguration. But people looking for the reasons why the Obama presidency has not lived up to its promise won’t find the answer amid the minor rifts between key players. Nor will they find the answer in how well or poorly this White House has played the game of politics. The fact is that after a campaign that appealed so successfully to idealism, Obama hired a bunch of saboteurs of hope and change.

Rahm was simply their chief of staff. And now, this hypercompetitive bantam rooster is attempting to blame others for what went wrong. That’s evidently so important to him that he’s trying to take a victory lap around the wreckage of what was once such a promising presidency.

Emanuel’s greatest “victory” before this one, of course, was the one upon which he earned his reputation: Getting a bunch of conserva-Dems elected in purple states in 2006, winning the party control of the House while at the same time crippling its progressive agenda. This is what Emanuel is all about. For him, victory is everything — even if you have to give up your core values to win, and even if you could have won while sticking to them.

* OK, I think I finally see the source of all our problems: Americans are totally indifferent to the suffering of others and think nothing bad will ever happen to them. Consider a survey by Yale climate change research scientist Anthony Leiserowitz. The survey asked Americans, “Who will be most harmed by climate change?” Respondents said that climate change would mostly affect:

• Plant and animal species: 45 percent
• Future generations of people: 44 percent
• People in developing countries: 31 percent
• People in other industrialized nations: 22 percent
• People in the United States: 21 percent
• Your local community: 13 percent
• Your family: 11 percent
• You personally: 10 percent

* And Roger Ailes: Judas!

AILES: Well, I don’t think they’re whining over nothing and I think they have — look, there’s legitimate complaints that they could have. And I’ve had this dialogue with David Axelrod, who I like very much and, there are legitimate areas. I mean, Chris [Wallace] said that, that’s his words, that’s what he believes, and he had reason to believe that. But I don’t think its helpful to say that.

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