Archive for May, 2011

13
May
11

Roundup – Aurora Lapse of Time

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Line O’ the Day:

“For example, Pinker shows that if you put the word ‘fuckin’ in the middle of a word – for instance, if you want to say: ‘That’s fan-fuckin’-tastic!’ You have to put the word fuckin’ in a certain place in the word. It goes before a certain stressed syllable. You can’t say: ‘That’s fantast-fuckin-ic!’ – and no English speaker would ever say that. Everybody knows it. They have this rule in their brain, but nobody knows they have it. Teasing out that kind of thing is fascinating and so much more interesting than: ‘Oh my God! That person used ‘whom’ wrong…’”

– Robert Lane Greene, Interview: Robert Lane Greene on Language and the Mind [The Browser]

Best of the Best:

What Defines a Meme? [James Gleick on The Smithsonian]

For this bodiless replicator itself, Dawkins proposed a name. He called it the meme, and it became his most memorable invention, far more influential than his selfish genes or his later proselytizing against religiosity. “Memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation,” he wrote. They compete with one another for limited resources: brain time or bandwidth. They compete most of all for attention.

The House of B Must Continue [Smoove B on The Onion]

When I was with my one true girl I did not think of children. I thought only of bringing her pleasure. My mind was focused on taking her to the four corners of the world, places filled with exotic delights that stimulate the mind and body. Once we arrived in such a place, we would walk the strange streets together, basking in the unknown sights and smells. We would bargain with the charming shopkeepers to get the best price on tokens of our love. We would feed each other delicacies made especially for us by café owners who had never before encountered two people so perfect for one another.  Later I would hit my girl doggy style on the steps of an ancient monastery whose occupants would become so inspired by our love that they would renounce their vows and worship us as gods of beauty and passion.

The Sultan of Brunei’s rotting supercar collection [Michael Sheehan via Gizmodo]

As the Minister of Finance for Brunei (until 1997) Prince Jefri controlled the revenue from oil and gas. Thanks to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Prince Jefri’s investment firm collapsed under $10 billion in debt; audits later found Jefri himself had received $14.8 billion.  Much of the money went into a private life that included five wives, 17 children and a harem of about 40 women kept in a palace next to the car collection. The women in the harem were paid up to $20,000 a week in addition to opulent shopping excursions, or trips aboard Jefri’s 180-foot yacht christened “Tits.”

Prison Rape and the Government [David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow via The New York Review of Books]

How many people are really victimized every year? Recent BJS studies using a “snapshot” technique have found that, of those incarcerated on the days the surveys were administered, about 90,000 had been abused in the previous year, but as we have argued previously,2 those numbers were also misleadingly low. Finally, in January, the Justice Department published its first plausible estimates. In 2008, it now says, more than 216,600 people were sexually abused in prisons and jails and, in the case of at least 17,100 of them, in juvenile detention. Overall, that’s almost six hundred people a day—twenty-five an hour.

Ten Years Ago: Greenspan Sees Federal Debt Paid Off By End of Decade. Today: Bernanke Doesn’t Know What a Dollar Is. [Tim Cavanaugh on Reason]

When asked by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to define the word “dollar,” Bernanke today said a buck is an equivalent of “food, and gasoline, and clothes and all the other things that are in the consumer basket.” If Bernanke here is speaking as the Fed Chairman rather than as a wooly professor of economics, his answer is untrue. When calculating inflation, the Fed uses “PCE” or “personal consumption expenditures” rather than the “CPI” or “consumer price index” used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicates here, PCE actually leaves out food and energy costs. So if Bernanke believes food and gas (prices for both of which are increasing sharply, you may have noticed) should be factored into the maintained value of the dollar, he should tell the other folks at the Fed next time there’s a Fed barbecue.

10 Charts About Sex [Christian Rudder on OKCupid]

If someone tweets every day, it’s 2-to-1 that they’re #ingthemselves just as often. Like the “shorter relationships” thing, this is true across all age and gender groups.

Marines’ ‘Poster Boy’ for Suicide Prevention Kills Self [Newser]

When Clay Hunt killed himself at his Houston apartment last week, he became exactly the sort of grim military statistic he’d battled so hard against. The 28-year-old had faced survivor’s guilt and battlefield trauma head on, starring in a lauded public service ad campaign that urged his comrades to get help. But ultimately, the deaths of his comrades weighed too heavily on him. “When that last one in Afghanistan went down, it just undid him,” his mom tells the Houston Chronicle.

The Forgotten Fascist Roots of Humanitarian Interventionism: 100 Years of Bombing Libya [Mark Almond via Counterpunch]

The celebrations of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Italian unification in March, 2011, were overshadowed by the crisis in Libya. Coinciding with Italy’s birthday, Silvio Berlusconi’s government decided to make seven air bases available to NATO allies for the bombing of Colonel Gaddafi’s forces. By coincidence, this was one hundred years since the Italians invented aerial bombardment and initiated its practice precisely over Libya. A century later, the bomber returns to the scene of its bloody birth. Clio seems to take a perverse enjoyment in ensuring that history repeats itself, first acting as imperialism then as humanitarian intervention, without even needing to change the stage-set.

How To Free Yourself Of The Dreaded “Sketchy” Label [Drew Magary on Deadspin]

You got the sketchy label likely because one girl started talking shit about you to all her friends. And while the first and justifiable instinct is to key that girl’s car, you’re probably better off mending fences. Be friendly. Be courteous. Be helpful. Convince your accuser that you’re totally not the guy she thought you were. Then she’ll go back to her friends and be like, “Actually, I got to know him, and he’s not that bad.” It could reverse the stigma. And then, YOU HIT THAT SHIT DOGGYSTYLE.

Face Blind [Joshua Davis on Wired]

Hunn decided to see a doctor. She explained to him that she was a rapidly rising model – this should be the time of her life. It wasn’t. She was completely unable to appreciate her beauty, which had now become the centerpiece of her young life. When she should have been going out to parties and having fun, she chose to stay home. “Everyone looks the same,” she told the doctor, “so it’s hard to connect emotionally with anyone.” The doctor checked her eyes, made sure she didn’t have a tumor, and then recommended counseling for shyness.  In the summer of 2003, she traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, for the annual theater festival. On the third night, she saw a performer who was unusually memorable. He was a tall mime with white hair and vivid black eyebrows. She stared at him. He was the first person she felt she’d ever really seen.

Before Manny Became Manny [Sara Rimer via The New York Times]

Then he called a timeout, taking his right hand off the bat. But the umpire did not give it to him. Everyone who was there swears Manny did not have time to get his right hand back on the bat, that he swung with one hand. I can’t really say that I saw it. Maybe I was too busy taking notes. The ball went over the left-field fence and all the way to the old handball courts on the street below. It had to be more than 400 feet. His teammates and the fans were screaming: “Oh my God! Oh my God!”

Tornadoes Leave a Trail of Devastation: Nearly 300 Die in Six Southern States as City Neighborhoods and Farm Towns Are Leveled; FEMA Mobilizes for Cleanup [Wall Street Journal]

In Coaling, Ala., firefighter Reginald Epps and his wife tried to gather their three boys—ages eight, six and four—to protect them as the storm approached their home. They got the two youngest, but before they were able to get R.J., the walls of their house were sucked outward and R.J. was swept out into the storm. The parents dropped on the floor, covering their two younger boys and praying. A few minutes later, R.J. walked back into what had been their house. “I went up into the air,” the eight-year-old boy said.

Ron Paul Explains His Anti-Abortion Position [Nick Gillepsie on Reason]

Paul states that cases of unprotected sex and rape can be dealt with morning-after pills such as Plan B, which he correctly notes are not “abortion pills” but rather prevent conception from happening in the first place.  He also argues that he is against Roe v. Wade not because it legalized abortion per se but because it nationalized an issue that should be decided at the state level: ” I consider it a state-level responsibility to restrain violence against any human being.” It’s a nuanced argument for his point of view and deserves to be read in full, especially if you disagree with him on the matter (as I do).

An Essay About Osama Bin Laden’s Death, Constructed Entirely Out Of Athletes’ Tweets [Deadspin]

So we was looking 4 BIN LADEN that whole time in a Cave/moutain & this MOFO is hidden in a mansion watching the NBA playoffs! Oh hell naww! They have Bin Laden’s body. Never thought we’d see the day. Figured he would be like Hitler and commit suicide or just disappear. He ain’t gone be in rush hour 4!! Is it weird that i want to see a pic of his dead body? [W]e should start a campaign.. Hang osama’s body in time square. Then pass out darts. Anyone in?

Meet The Man Who Live-Tweeted The bin Laden Operation Unknowingly [Zero Hedge]

On Sunday, Athar found himself smack in the center of one of the year’s biggest news events. A 33-year-old IT consultant, Athar was on Twitter when the sound of a helicopter flying overhead drove him to write a series of frustrated notes. Over the next few hours, he compiled rumors and observations about an event that would soon have the world riveted: Athar tweeted the secret operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

Emerson Fittipaldi’s double-engined Volkswagen Beetle [Leo Nishihata on Brazilian Jalopnik via Deadspin]

The rear suspension was a Formula Vee semi-swing axle with coil springs. Wilson Fittipaldi explained that the car had “a tremendous torque,” and was built to go sideways through the corners, because “that was the only way to set a good lap time with that car.” The most difficult part was building the Beetle was figuring how to keep the pieced together engine cool. Wilson and Divilla eventually created ducts along the car roof, which fed air captured above the raked windshield to four pipes connected to the engines. To cover all this kludge they built a very light and thin fiberglass body over a structure which protected the pilot of the suicide machine.

If Pacquiao-Mosley Was A Snoozer, Arce-Vazquez Was A Goddamn Slobberknocker [Luke O’Brien on Deadspin]

For those of you who spent $55 to watch Shane Mosley preserve his brain cells last night against Manny Pacquiao, my condolences go out to you if the main event was all you saw. Because the Jorge Arce vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. bout on the undercard was unreal. It oozed with subtext: Mexico vs. Puerto Rico; heavy underdog vs. champion; an aging warrior hunting for glory in a higher weight class vs. the son of boxing royalty trying to vault himself into the superstar ranks.

Peter King Will Audibly Laugh For You, Jon Stewart! [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

Two good nuggets…

NUGGGGGGGGETS!!!!

…from my chat with (Rex Ryan)

1. “Peter, never try fucking on a pool chair if you weigh as much as I weigh.”
2. “Peter, taking a QB high is like wiping your ass blindfolded. You never know what you’re gonna dig up.”

Whimsical Remains:

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