We're All Going to Die 
Saturday, March 29, 2008, 10:03 AM
The NYT reports that two men filed lawsuit in a Hawaii courtroom to prevent a European NGO from operating a large particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider, outside of Geneva. Aside from the obvious lack of jurisdiction, what makes this so hilarious you ask? The men are afraid that activation of the device will create a black hole that will swallow up the Earth.

Interestingly enough, scientists have actually taken the time and money to perform several studies that disprove this theory.
Dr. Arkani-Hamed said concerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, "the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up."

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Think of the Children! 
Friday, March 28, 2008, 02:36 PM
From a study in the UK looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games, some surprisingly clear-headed conclusions in the executive summary:
Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe – this isn’t just about a top-down approach. Children will be children – pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.

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Where's Mr. Greenspan? 
Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 11:14 AM
Bernanke may be the one feeling the heat to fix the current woes of the financial system, but some critics say that the trouble fomented under the reign of the much-celebrated Alan Greenspan. The Economist notes:
Alan Greenspan, formerly chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in 2005 that “increasingly complex financial instruments have contributed to the development of a far more flexible, efficient, and hence resilient financial system than the one that existed just a quarter-century ago.” Tell that to Bear Stearns, Wall Street's fifth-largest investment bank, the most spectacular corporate casualty so far of the credit crisis.

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For Want of Rice 
Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 10:17 AM
A facinating article from the British magazine The Economist, discusses the looming shortage of rice in Asia. The prospect of many who have just escaped poverty being pushed back under because of a food shortage is not helping to stabilize a region with many unstable governments.
Robert Zeigler of the International Rice Research Institute, one of the driving forces behind Asia’s 1960s “green revolution” in farming, says that governments are now reaping the results of years of neglecting agricultural research, irrigation and other means to aid farmers. They have lost much prime land, water supplies and labour in the rush to industrialise.
...
The region needs a new green revolution, especially if it wants to avoid revolutions of the blood-stained variety.

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Presidential Race Madlib 
Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 06:48 PM
If you're into Madlibs, then I have one for you. It's an implementation of of a Swampland creation by Ana Marie Cox.
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Effort and Such 
Sunday, March 23, 2008, 04:58 PM
From the song Champagne Supernova:
Where were you when we were getting high?


I was studying, damnit. And yet somehow this pot smoker is making millions more than I ever will.
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Free Lunch 
Saturday, March 1, 2008, 01:44 AM
According to the NYT (no longer reliable post-McCain story, but still my most common read), the subsidized school lunch program was initiated in 1946 after many Army recruits for WWII were found to be malnourished.

Wow.
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DNC 
Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 04:15 PM
Please tell me there's going to be a floor fight at the convention.
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On Stupidity and Other Unhelpful Additions to the National Debate 
Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 11:36 AM
A quote by Debra Sweet from a NYT blog post on Army recruiting: "These troops are being trained to carry out war crimes." Yes that's right, the secret is out -- military personnel are being trained to carry out war crimes. Why I remember with fondness my "Indigenous Peoples (and How to Slaughter Them)" course, held during freshman orientation.
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Obama the Phenomenon 
Saturday, February 16, 2008, 10:46 AM
The Economist, the respected British magazine, considers Obama the president versus Obama the Phenomenon. On policy:
Even if he never voted for the Iraq war, his policy for dealing with that country now seems to amount to little more than pulling out quickly, convening a peace conference, inviting the Iranians and the Syrians along and hoping for the best. On the economy, his plans are more thought out, but he often tells people only that they deserve more money and more opportunities. If one lesson from the wasted Bush years is that needless division is bad, another is that incompetence is perhaps even worse. A man who has never run any public body of any note is a risk, even if his campaign has been a model of discipline.


Couldn't say it better myself.
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