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Line O’ the Day:
Red Sox 1, Tigers 0, with the fog and mist rolling in from right field making it seem like March in Scotland.
OW-AH MIST IS BETTAH THAN YOUR-AH MIST!
– Big Daddy Drew, Peter King And Dick Ebersol Are Breakfast Barons [KSK]
Best of the Best:
False Forbearance Obama breaks his promise to respect medical marijuana laws [Jacob Sullum on Reason]
During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly said he would call off the Drug Enforcement Administration’s raids on both medical marijuana users and their suppliers. In a March 2008 interview with southern Oregon’s Mail Tribune, he said, “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.” Two weeks after Obama took office, a White House spokesman reiterated that position, saying, “The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws.” In October 2009, David Ogden, then the deputy attorney general, sent a memo that seemed to fulfill this promise. “As a general matter,” he told U.S. attorneys, they “should not focus federal resources” on “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” Yet the DEA’s medical marijuana raids not only have continued but are more frequent under Obama than they were under George W. Bush. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which argues that patients who can benefit from marijuana should be able to obtain it legally, counts well over 100 raids in the two years and four months since Obama’s inauguration, compared to about 200 during Bush’s eight years in office. “The Obama administration really is being more aggressive than the administration of his predecessor,” says ASA spokesman Kris Hermes.
Sneak attacks from black bears baffle scientists [Esther Inglis-Akrell on io9]
Fatal black bear attacks occur when people don’t get the chance to get scared away. Over ninety percent of the fatalities have been when bears are hunting, not defending. Attacking bears are almost always young, male, and hunting their victims rather than scaring them. They tend to creep up on people, and then charge them in a surprise attack. Some male bears were sick or injured, which may be why they tried to creep up on slow-moving, foul-smelling humans rather than something tastier, but with the limited number of cases there was no way to be sure that the injury had caused the bear to attack.
The most important defecation-related scientific study ever [NCBI ROFL via io9]
Researchers at the University of Iowa began their 2006 paper for The American Journal of Gastroenterology by explaining their most crucial topic:
Whether defecation is influenced by body position or stool characteristics is unclear. We investigated effects of body position, presence of stool-like sensation, and stool form on defecation patterns and manometric profiles.
This is why people get into science, right here.
You’re living in a computer simulation, and math proves it [Ed Grabianowski on io9]
Questions about the nature of reality weren’t invented by high-as-a-kite college sophomores. Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi noticed sometime around 300 BCE that his dreams of being something other than human (a butterfly, most famously) were indistinguishable from his experience being Zhuangzi. He could not say with certainty that he was Zhuangzi dreaming of being a butterfly rather than a butterfly dreaming of being Zhuangzi.
Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery [The Guardian]
Close allies of Iran‘s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).
Speaking multiple languages can give you multiple personalities [Scientific American via io9]
Psychologists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University discovered that native Chinese students who were also fluent in English seemingly became “more assertive, extroverted, and open to new experiences” when using their second language. The researchers argue those are all traits more typical of English speakers than Cantonese, suggesting a link between language and personality traits.
High-Earning Households Pay Growing Share of Taxes [The Wall Street Journal]
As President Barack Obama pushes to raise income taxes on high earners, opponents are seizing on data that indicates these U.S. households already pay a large and growing share of taxes, even compared with high-tax European countries. And a new congressional study concludes that the percentage of U.S. households owing no federal income tax climbed to 51% for 2009. Republicans are expected to highlight these figures at a congressional hearing Tuesday. They oppose Mr. Obama’s proposal to increase taxes for high earners, defined as families making more than $250,000 per year, as a way to help close large federal budget deficits…For their part, Democrats note that the incomes of higher earners have been growing far more rapidly, so it’s only natural that they would pay a higher share of tax. As for those Americans who pay no federal income tax, most of them still pay Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes that can take a significant share of their income, Democrats said.
It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make.
And marry well doesn’t just mean your life partner — it also means who you do business with, who you befriend, who you choose to be around.
Derek Boogaard, The Quintessential Goon [Jack Dickey on Deadspin]
But it’s important to remember that Boogaard’s sport was, for all intents and purposes, fighting. It wasn’t incidental to the hockey. It was the only thing he could do, the only thing that’d take him from that tiny rink with its sad American and Canadian flags to a big rink in the middle of Manhattan. Fighting was the only thing that could make Derek Boogaard famous enough to become the avatar of an anti-fighting movement that would rid hockey of all Derek Boogaards.
Bin Laden’s Death Won’t End His Toll on American Taxpayers [David Lynch on Bloomberg]
Even in death, Osama bin Laden will be taking revenge on American taxpayers for years to come. The U.S. government spent $2 trillion combating bin Laden over the past decade, more than 20 percent of the nation’s $9.68 trillion public debt. That money paid for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as additional military, intelligence and homeland security spending above pre-Sept. 11 trends, according to a Bloomberg analysis.
A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq‘s weapons programme was drawn up “to make the case for war”, flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister’s chief spin doctor.
The illegal war in Libya [Glenn Greenwald on Salon]
This war, without Congressional authorization, is illegal in every relevant sense: Constitutionally and statutorily. That was true from its start but is especially true now. If one wants to take the position that it’s not particularly important or damaging for a President to illegally start and sustain protracted wars on his own, then it’s hard to see what would be important. That is the ultimate expression of a lawless empire.
A Night At The Boxing Circus With The Bros, The Modelbots, And Darryl Strawberry [Hamilton Nolan on Deadspin]
Boyd Melson is the Peyton Manning of boxing — he looks like Peyton Manning, he talks like Peyton Manning, and he’s so god damn all-American that you just want him to fail in the most spectacular way possible. He went to West Point, and he gives the prize money from each of his fights to some worthy charity for paralysis victims, even making a speech in the ring after he fights, exhorting the crowd to donate money. I’d seen his act once before, and I was sick of it. If I wanted to see inspirational all-American success stories plugging worthy causes, I’d watch G.I. fucking Joe. This was boxing, where kind men get hurt and dreams get soaked in blood. It just wasn’t right. Boyd Melson is not all that good, so I had high hopes that his opponent, Hector Rivera, might put an end to Melson’s reign of uprightness and cookies and milk.
Dead Wrestler Of The Week: “Macho Man” Randy Savage [The Masked Man on Deadspin]
Odd as this may be, it’s important to note that there was minimal distinction between Randy Savage the wrestling personality and Randy Poffo the real guy. To the extent that other wrestlers knew him personally, Savage was said to be the same person outside the ring as inside, sometimes to a fault. (Dutch Mantel said that he trained his voice to be the Macho Man voice — there was no put-on there either.) But in terms of his on-screen persona, his personal eccentricity was rendered as maniacal psychopathy, and it found a suitable venue in the WWF ring, which was even more an “arena for angry minds” (in Richard Hofstadter’s phrase) than the political realm. The “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” of the average Savage interview functionally defined the paranoid style in American pro wrestling. He was McCarthy on steroids.
National Sportswriter Of The Year Peter King Cites A Radio Interview That Never Happened [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]
Washington owner Dan Snyder said on Sirius Radio over the weekend that the ‘Skins and Steelers had a deal in place for Washington to trade the 16th overall pick to Pittsburgh for the 31st pick plus other choices … but the Steelers didn’t do the deal when it came time to pull the trigger. Seems the player Pittsburgh wanted was gone by the time the 16th pick rolled around.
Read that paragraph again. Seems like a good nugget, doesn’t it? Except that Dan Steinberg from the Post emailed me this…
Peter King had a long item today based on a Dan Snyder interview on Sirius over the weekend that apparently never happened. The Sirius PR guy says he has no idea what King is talking about. Waiting for more details.
SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR, PEOPLE. You try making baseless speculations off of radio interviews that never happened. That takes creativity. The Redskins also deny the interview took place.
In Your Face: The Rise and Fall of Zubaz [Ethan Trex on mental_floss]
When we think of Zubaz today, “utilitarian” probably isn’t the first word that pops into our heads. However, friends Bob Truax and Dan Stock actually had a practical purpose in mind when they created the garish pants. Truax and Stock owned a Minnesota gym that was popular with bodybuilders. The bodybuilding clientele had a problem: the hardcore weightlifters couldn’t find pants or shorts that comfortably fit their massive thighs while offering the flexibility they needed in workouts. In 1988 Truax and Stock began brainstorming a new kind of shorts for the heavy-lifting man.
Boys were more likely than girls to have developmental disabilities, while low-income families and those on public health insurance had a higher likelihood of having children with the disorders, the study found. Autism varies in severity and symptoms. Those with the condition may have trouble making eye contact, understanding facial expressions, and learning to share and follow instructions. Children with the disorder also may show compulsive interests or behaviors.
Commodity Prices and Paradigm Shifts [Rick Bookstaber]
Given our evolved interests a few decades hence, most of us will be spending a fraction of our income on consumption. There just won’t be a lot that we will demand that requires nonrenewable resources. What we will demand will be in the way of electronic products, which will only consume a few ounces of such commodities. We will basically eat, sleep, work and then veg out. Give us food, plumbing, heat and our two-hundred dollar experience machine games, and we will be happy as a clam. People who are staring at a tsunami of demand for commodities from the developing world and predicting a doomsday of $400 oil and $4000 gold are missing the longer-term retreating tide of demand as citizens of the developed world actually demand decreasing amounts of energy, large goods, and heavy infrastructure. We won’t be packing up and moving to Mars, as the science fiction solutions to resource depletion propose. We will pack up and move into the virtual world.
“We Are Crossing the Boundary Between Knowledge and Belief” [The European Interview of Rolf-Dieter Heuer]
We separate knowledge from belief. Particle physics is asking the question of how did things develop? Religion or philosophy ask about why things develop. But the boundary between the two is very interesting. I call it the interface of knowledge. People start asking questions like “if there was a Big Bang, why was it there?” For us physicists, time begins with the Big Bang. But the question remains whether anything existed before that moment. And was there something even before the thing that was before the Big Bang? Those are questions where knowledge becomes exhausted and belief starts to become important.
TIME TO FACE THE TRUTH ABOUT WORLD WAR II [Eric Margolis]
From this ancient fortress city, allow me, a former instructor of military history, to address three particularly misleading myths still lingering from World War II: First: France’s army did not simply surrender or run away in 1940, as ignorant American conservatives claim…Second myth: the forts of France’s Maginot Line were not tactically outflanked. The Germans struck NW of the Line’s end, through the Belgian/French Ardennes Forest, a route anticipated by the French Army which held war games there in 1939. The immobile French field army failed, not the Maginot Line. The uncompleted Line was too costly, tied down too many men, and came to symbolize France’s defensive attitude. But it fulfilled its mission to defend France’s vital coal and steel industries in Lorraine….Third myth: the US, Britain and Canada defeated Germany. Not true. The 66th anniversary of the Soviet victory in WWII just passed, totally ignored in the west. We must salute the valor of Russia’s dauntless soldiers and pilots who, like German soldiers, fought magnificently, albeit for criminal regimes.World War II in Europe was not won at D-Day. Germany’s army and air force were already broken on the Eastern Front’s titanic battles.
On Patriotism: Examining the Firmware of War [Fred Reed]
Of course the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor were patriots, as were the German soldiers who murdered millions in the Second World War. The men who brought down the towers in New York were patriots, though of a religious sort. Do we admire their patriotism? Of course not. When we say “John is a patriot,” we mean “John is a reliable member of our dog pack,” nothing more. The pack instinct seems more ancient, and certainly stronger, than morality or any form of human decency. Thus, once the pack—citizenry, I meant to say—have been properly roused to a pitch of patriotism, they will, under cover of the most diaphanous pretexts, rape Nanking, bomb Hiroshima, kill the Jews or, if they are Jews, Palestinians. We are animals of the pack. We don’t admire patriotism. We admire loyalty to ourselves.
Is The Human Race Doomed? Deutsche Bank On “One The Most Important (Future) Turning Points In History” [Sanjeev Sanyal on Deutsche Bank via Zero Hedge]
One useful way to think about trends in birth rates is to look at what is called the Total Fertility Rate (TFR). This is the average number of live births per woman over her lifetime. It is usually estimated by sampling women of child bearing age (usually defined as 15-44 years). In the long run, a population is said to be stable if the TFR is at the “replacement rate”. This is usually said to be 2.1 births per woman but in reality only developed countries can hope to keep their population stable with such a level. For developing countries, the required replacement rate is much higher because factors such as infant mortality and maternal deaths at childbirth. Thus, the replacement level of TFR is a little above 2.3 for the world as a whole. The TFR for most developed countries now stands well below replacement levels. The OECD average is at around 1.74 but there are countries like Germany and Japan that produce less than 1.4 children per woman 5. According to the OECD’s latest estimates, South Korea has a TFR of barely 1.15 – a level that foretells rapid aging and a sharp decline in population from the 2020s. However, the biggest TFR declines in recent years have been in emerging economies. According to the UN’s population division, the TFR in China and India were 6.1 and 5.9 respectively in 1950. The ratio has now fallen to 1.8 in China due to the aggressive one-child policy and to 2.6 in India due to a steady change in social attitudes. Similarly, Brazil’s TFR has fallen to 1.7 from 6.2 in 1950. These are large declines but there is reason to believe that the underlying dynamics are driving actual birth rates down even faster than suggested by the headline TFR. China and, to lesser extent, India have skewed gender ratios. The Chinese census suggests that there are 118.6 boys being born for every 100 girls, worsening from 116.9 in 2000. Similarly, India has a gender ratio at birth of around 110 boys for every 100 girls with large regional variations. Compare this with the “natural” ratio of 105 boys per 100 girls (notice that even the natural ratio is not exactly 1:1). A cultural preference for boys is usually held responsible for the deviation. Since it is women who give birth and not men, the future scarcity of women implies that the effective reproductive capacity for both countries is below what is suggested by the unadjusted TFR reading. After making the adjustment for the gender imbalance, China’s Effective Fertility Rate (EFR) is around 1.5 while that for India is around 2.45 – both below what is widely discussed. In other words, the Chinese are already far from replacing themselves while the Indians are only slightly above the replacement rate. If we make the same adjustment for the world’s fertility rate, we now have an EFR of around 2.4 which is almost at the replacement rate. In our view, the human race will no longer be replacing itself by the early 2020s. Population growth will continue for a few more decades because of momentum from the age structure and people living longer but, reproductively speaking, our species will no longer be growing. This will be one of the most important turning points in history.
Fed Gave Banks Crisis Gains on Secretive Loans Low as 0.01% [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc each borrowed at least $30 billion in 2008 from a Federal Reserve emergency lending program whose details weren’t revealed to shareholders, members of Congress or the public.
- Chinese teenager carries friend on back for eight years [International Business Times]
- Candle Maker Feels Burned [The Wall Street Journal]
- Oak Forest Police Respond to Standoff, a ‘Hoax’ [Fox Chicago News]
- South Korean man found dead on crucifix [AFP]
- If Prostitutes Are Slaves, How Can Punishing Them Be Just? [Jacob Sullum on Reason]
- Mosque leaders decry neighbor’s sign as “racist” [NBC]
- Solar cells more efficient than photosynthesis — for now [Kurzweil]
- Man uses Prey to track stolen MacBook Pro hundreds of miles, calls thief [The Unofficial Apple Weblog]
- First Alleged “Copyright” Dispute: 560 AD, Celtic Ireland; Battle Ensues; 3000 people die [Stephan Kinsella on Mises Blog]
- My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death [Noam Chomsky via Guernica]
- The Law of the Somalis [Let a Thousand Nations Bloom]
- The musical test that reveals the extent of brain damage [Esther Inglis-Arkell on io9]
- Can hot sauce be used as a substitute for electrical shocks? [Martin Gardiner on Improbable Research via io9]
- Worm regenerates a whole new body from a single cell [Rebecca Boyle on Popular Science via io9]
- Another reason why cuttlefish are masters of disguise [io9]
- Add sugar to your antibiotics and crush superbugs [io9]
- The magical substance that prevents snakes and spiders from killing you [Esther Inglis-Arkell on io9]
- Infographic explains the Phantom Time Hypothesis, in which the Middle Ages never happened [io9]
- Your spine keeps a record of all your body’s pain [Ed Yong on Discover via io9]
- New diamond aerogel is so light that it’s like “frozen smoke” made of diamonds [io9]
- The horrifying history of people who used the internet for murder [Annalee Newitz on io9]
- Koalas have exactly the same fingerprints as humans [LiveScience on io9]
- Ancient chemical weapons that were ahead of their time [Esther Inglis-Arkell on io9]
- Why don’t asexual fish hybrids rule the world [Physiological and Biochemical Zoology via io9]
- Pupfish are undergoing mysteriously supercharged evolution [Evolution via io9]
- Sepp Blatter Says FIFA Will “Be Sucked Into A Black Hole” If Sepp Blatter Is Not Reelected FIFA President [Deadspin]
- A Panicky Column About The Scandalous Thing Serena Williams Just Did [Emma Carmichael on Deadspin]
- How people are going to seal Chernobyl. Again. [Scientific American via io9]
- Superman has given up his American citizenship (and we’re all stupider for it) [Cyriaque Lamar on io9]
- A Rural Memoir [Fred Reed]
- Minimum Wage’s Discriminatory Effects [Walter Williams via Creators Syndicate]
- PAKISTAN ON THE HOT SEAT [Eric Margolis]
- Trump says public scorn greater than he expected [Reuters]
- Bar Discounted Beer Every Time The Pirates Lost; Team Bullies Them Into Ending Promotion [Jack Dickey on Deadspin]
- The Mystery Of The Mets Manbaby [Deadspin]
- “We’re On A Fucking Roll, Dude”: The 1993 Profile Of Lenny Dykstra That Warned Us What Was Coming [Bruce Buschel on Philadelphia Magazine, January 1993 via Deadspin]
- Can You Filibuster Your Own Execution? [Big Daddy Drew on Deadspin]
- The World’s 26 Best Cities for Business, Life, and Innovation [The Atlantic]
- Taco Bell and the Golden Age of Drive-Thru [Karl Taro Greenfield on Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
- Romney Seeks to Distance Himself From Health-Care Bill He Signed [Bloomberg]
- Illinois lawmaker backs away from comments on obese kids [Quad-City Times]
- Manufacturing Stages A Comeback [Joel Kotkin on New Geographer via Forbes]
- Shutting Out the Kids from the Family Fortune [Robert Frank on Yahoo! Finance]
- Romney Seeks to Distance Himself From Health-Care Bill He Signed [Bloomberg]
- Why CEOs Avoided Getting Busted in Meltdown [William Black on Bloomberg]
- A Short History of Goldman Spokesman Lucas Van Praag’s Most Withering Rebuttals [New York Magazine]
- Poker is a game of SKILL not luck, claims ‘Freakonomics’ economics professor [The Daily Mail]
- Confessions of a Car Salesman [Popular Mechanics]
- Book Review: Adam Fergusson’s When Money Dies [John Tamny on RealClearMarkets]
- NLRB v. Boeing Is An Abuse of Power [Diana Furchtgott-Roth on RealClearMarkets]
- Postal Service loses $2.2 billion in second quarter [Ed O’Keefe on The Washington Post]
- From Soviets to Sharks: How Seven TV Channels Changed Their Identities [Warming Glow]
- The Osama bin Laden exception [Glenn Greenwald on Salon]
- The always-expanding bipartisan Surveillance State [Glenn Greenwald on Salon]
- The quaint and obsolete Nuremberg principles [Glenn Greenwald on Salon]
- Is Facebook the Next MySpace? For Media Sales, Maybe. [GigaOm]
- The Case for Dennis Rodman: Guide [Skeptical Sports Analysis]
- Game Over [Wall Street Journal]
- China Is Now Top Gold Bug [Wall Street Journal]
- End-Times Talk Unleashes an Entrepreneurial Flood [Wall Street Journal]
- An Unfamiliar Face, Soon Everywhere [Wall Street Journal]
- IEA: More Oil Needed Urgently [Wall Street Journal]
- Al Qaeda releases posthumous bin Laden audio recording [Wall Street Journal]
- Vuvuzelas Spread Disease [Gawker]
- TV Execs Get An Unwelcome Visitor At Their Annual Upfronts [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]
- Doc Gooden: Lenny Dykstra Tried To Bust Me Out Of ‘Celebrity Rehab’ [CBS New York]
- We’re Gonna Need A Cleanup In Aisle 18: FBI busts man for alleged airborne masturbation [The Smoking Gun]
- Judgment Day? Five failed end-of-the-world predictions [The Christian Science Monitor]
- The Hot-Money Cowboys of Baghdad [Steve Lee Meyers on The New York Times]
- A Knight’s Castle in Tennessee [Wall Street Journal]
- Wearing Only a Smile, Nudists Seek Out the Young and the Naked [Wall Street Journal]
- Two Plagues Hit Louisiana: Farmers Suffer Floods Near the Mississippi While Drought Ravages Higher Ground [Wall Street Journal]
- Shattered Missouri City Digs Out [Wall Street Journal]
- Munich Re Says Prostitutes Attended Party for Ergo Agents [Bloomberg]
- In Rust Belt, manufacturers add jobs, but factory pay isn’t what it used to be [Washington Post]
- The History Of The World’s “Reserve” Currency: From Ancient Greece To Today and World Bank Sees Dollar Reserve Status Ending Over Next Decade [World Bank via Zero Hedge]
- Check Out the Future of Shopping [Wall Street Journal]
- Thirteen Years Later, We Still Miss You, Phil Hartman [Josh on Warming Glow]
- People Still Think The Onion Is Real News [Robopanda on Uproxx]
- In a Beef Over Branding [Wall Street Journal]
- How spam works, from end to end [BoingBoing]
- Agreeing on Groupon [Joshua Gans on Harvard Business Review]
- China hit by worst energy crisis in years as drought compounds chronic power shortages [Washington Post]
- “You Americans Are Funny” — You Start an IMF [Brian Domitrovic on Forbes]
- Global Search Volume By Language [Flowing Data via the Big Picture]
- Big Dogs of the Oil Patch Tangle Over Gas Subsidies [Wall Street Journal]
- Gold Companies May Face $100 Billion Liability for Sick Miners [Bloomberg]
- Civil war looms in Yemen, Saleh urged to quit [Reuters]
- Prophecy Fail: What happens to a doomsday cult when the world doesn’t end? [Vaughn Bell on Slate]
- Pensions, bestiality, citrus laws all signed [The Miami Herald]
- Should we have sunk the Bismarck? Tormented sailor reveals how Germans tried to surrender before ship was destroyed costing 2,000 lives [The Daily Mail]
- War-weary lawmakers push Obama to end Afghan war [Reuters]
- Fact and Fiction In Anti-Oil-Industry Demagoguery [Lawrence McQuillan on RealClearMarkets]
- Drug-Gang Battles Leave Mexico Region in Unruly State [Wall Street Journal]
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