Thursday, December 9

Moved to Library Grape

I've moved my blogging to the new Library Grape.

You might encounter a personal post here once in a blue moon, but EYAB is largely on ice.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 28

Thursday, November 18

The limits of the Wyden-Brown approach to state innovation


If state CDH plans aren't allowed yet state single-payer is, their compromise is worthless to those of us on the right, and actually a step backwards.

Has the fed been a failure?

Alex Tabarrok:
2013 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Fed.  What have we got for our money? Surprisingly little.  Inflation is clearly higher in the post-Fed era as is price variability. Deflation is lower, although there is nothing to fear from secular deflation. Barsky, Miron, Mankiw and Weil did find that the Fed dramatically reduced seasonal interest rate variability. I have always found this result puzzling--money is easy to store and seasons are predictable so why aren't interest rates smoothed without a very elastic money supply? In anycase, it's not obvious that smoother rates are better, although there could be small gains. The big question, of course, is the variability of output. It used to be thought that output variability had decreased post-WW II but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, Romer's work (see also Miron) has shown that when measured on a consistent basis there is no substantial decline in volatility comparing pre-WW 1 to post-WW II. (Note that is generously giving the Fed a pass on the Great Depression!)

Selgin, Lastrapes and White have an excellent review of the empirical literature on inflation, output and other variables and conclude:

The Federal Reserve System has not lived up to its original promise. Early in its career, it presided over both the most severe inflation and the most severe (demand-induced) deflations in post-Civil War U.S. history. Since then, it has tended to err on the side of inflation, allowing the purchasing power of the U.S.dollar to deteriorate considerably. That deterioration has not been compensated for, to any substantial degree, by enhanced stability of real output. Although some early studies suggested otherwise, recent work suggests that there has been no substantial overall improvement in the volatility of real output since the end of World War II compared to before World War I. A genuine improvement did occur during the sub-period known as the "Great Moderation." But that improvement, besides having been temporary, appears to have been due mainly to factors other than improved monetary policy. Finally, the Fed cannot be credited with having reduced the frequency of banking panics or with having wielded its last-resort lending powers responsibly.

Quantitative easing explained

Bipartisan negotiation

Democrats want GOP lawmakers to give up their employer's healthcare

A group of House Democrats has released a letter to Republican congressional leaders calling on them to announce which of their members will be forgoing their congressional benefit health insurance (which is subsidized by the government) in light of their party's opposition to health care reform overhaul legislation.
"If your conference wants to deny millions of Americans affordable health care, your members should walk that walk," four Democrats write in the letter, which is addressed to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican leader John Boehner. "You cannot enroll in the very kind of coverage that you want for yourselves, and then turn around and deny it to Americans who don't happen to be Members of Congress."
This is sadly revealing--when did we decide the state should treat citizens as employees?

Perhaps we should also join Members of Congress in drawing government paychecks? I seem to recall Lenin getting here first.

Changing of the guard

Monday, November 15

Yglesias argues for raising the Medicare eligibility age to 70

I truly wish more people thought this way.

My deficit eviceration plan

Finally got around to playing with the NYT's deficit reduction app, and here are my results.

I choose all the domestic spending cuts, almost all the military cuts (kept the F-35 and Osprey), and the majority of health and social security cuts.  I extended all the Bush-era tax cuts, but added a carbon tax and reduced the mortgage interest rate deduction.  And I'm especially fond of the Bowles-Simpson plan that zeros out tax expenditures to broaden the tax base while lowering rates--though I would want to lower rates even further than their proposal (since I'm saving so much on the spending side).

Ah well, we must allow ourselves to dream from time to time. Now back to the bleak art of the possible...

Saturday, November 13

Napolitano interviews the Pauls

Saudi Arabia bans Facebook?

gandhi_2 sends in a brief Associated Press piece on Saudi Arabia's blocking of Facebook. "An official with Saudi Arabia's communications authority says it has blocked Facebook because the popular social networking website doesn't conform with the kingdom's conservative values. ... He says Facebook's content had 'crossed a line' with the kingdom's conservative morals, but that blocking the site is a temporary measure." Some reports indicate that at least some individual Facebook pages can be reached from inside the kingdom. There hasn't been an official announcement; the source noted above requested anonymity. Earlier this year when Pakistan and Bangladesh banned Facebook, it was over particular content — cartoons of Mohammed — and the Saudi ban may prove similar once more details emerge.
Meanwhile, Turkey is more excited...

I chatted with a few Turks about this. It narrates the singer meeting his love on Facebook. He's one of those idiot celebrities who's disdained by most people in the country.

Friday, November 12

Why do people hate QE2?

Tyler Cowen:
[T]he libertarian right is having a hard time seeing the Fed as a relative ally over the last three years, which it has been. That admission implies an unappetizing shift in the goal posts for what is possible, and that sounds like a intellectual surrender to a lot of people I know. I think they are in denial. One alternative to acceptance is to view the Fed as sinister, which then leads you to fear anything they do, including QEII, their current major monetary policy initiative."

How to think about QE2

This post at Ezra's has a straightforward explanation.

Thursday, November 11

Make steak, not war!

A study out of Canada claims that seeing meat actually calms a person down. From the article: "Contrary to expectations, a McGill University researcher has discovered that seeing meat makes people significantly less aggressive. Frank Kachanoff, who studies evolution at the university’s department of psychology, had initially thought the presence of meat would provoke bloodlust, believing the response would have helped our primate ancestors hunt. But in fact, his research showed the reverse is true."

Gary Johnson on drug policy

Obamacare and the War on Drugs

Commerce clause karma bites.

Culture matters

Rich, Black, Flunking:
The black parents wanted an explanation. Doctors, lawyers, judges, and insurance brokers, many had come to the upscale Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights specifically because of its stellar school district. They expected their children to succeed academically, but most were performing poorly. African-American students were lagging far behind their white classmates in every measure of academic success: grade-point average, standardized test scores, and enrollment in advanced-placement courses. On average, black students earned a 1.9 GPA while their white counterparts held down an average of 3.45. Other indicators were equally dismal. It made no sense.

[..] [Professor Ogbu] and his research assistant moved to Shaker Heights for nine months in mid-1997. They reviewed data and test scores. The team observed 110 different classes, from kindergarten all the way through high school. They conducted exhaustive interviews with school personnel, black parents, and students. Their project yielded an unexpected conclusion: It wasn't socioeconomics, school funding, or racism, that accounted for the students' poor academic performance; it was their own attitudes, and those of their parents.

Ogbu concluded that the average black student in Shaker Heights put little effort into schoolwork and was part of a peer culture that looked down on academic success as "acting white." Although he noted that other factors also play a role, and doesn't deny that there may be antiblack sentiment in the district, he concluded that discrimination alone could not explain the gap.

"The black parents feel it is their role to move to Shaker Heights, pay the higher taxes so their kids could graduate from Shaker, and that's where their role stops," Ogbu says during an interview at his home in the Oakland hills. "They believe the school system should take care of the rest. They didn't supervise their children that much. They didn't make sure their children did their homework. That's not how other ethnic groups think."
(reddit, 1200 comments)

Wednesday, November 10

Class injustice

A redditor comments:
I'm in Law School and this illustrates how bad the system is rigged to favor the wealthy, and literally nothing can be done to change it.

Just as an example: The Plea Bargain - which the homeless guy most likely took.

The plea bargain is supposed to keep the court free and moving along, but what it does to the poor who can't afford a lawyer, is forcing them to plea to charges they are likely not even guilty of simply because their lawyer doesn't have the time or money to fight them (PubDef)

The AIG guy has a lawyer who will bury the ADA in paperwork. The ADA knows this, but has to get this guy in jail, but the AIG guy lawyer is good, and knows that he can drag out a trial over the next 2-4 years... the ADA doesn't want to do this... he's got fucking murders to try, so he offers the AIG [just] 4 years for a far more heinous crime... and he takes it, because no matter how well his lawyer fought, 2-4 years later, he'd be doing 20... the state just doesn't have the resources to take rich people to jail for 20 years.
Another adds the sort of explanation I was more familiar with:
I think it is more of how the laws are written, the poor guys was probably charged a federal crime for stealing from a bank. That is usually a violent crime, and as such carries a minimum amount of prison time much higher than fraud that isn't a violent crime.

Tuesday, November 9

Darunde's Sandstorm on a toy trumpet

For once I agree with the top youtube comment:
At first I was like -_- then I was like ∙___∙!!! then I was like :D :D :D

Good news I suppose

Reihan Salam directs us to the latest UN Human Development Index statistics:
1. Norrway (4,676,305)
2. Australia (21,515,754)
3. New Zealand (4,252,277)
4. United States (310,232,863)
5. Ireland (4,622,917)
6. Liechtenstein (35,002)
7. Netherlands (16,783,092)
8. Canada (33,759,742)
9. Sweden (9,074,055)
10. Germany (82,282,988)
I won't pretend to know what this really means, but apparently the US is doing well.

Political theorist Jacob Levy tweeted (in jest)
New Human Development Index released. Wasn't HDI's whole purpose to have Canada and Sweden outrank US? Fail.
Hah. I suppose progressives can try to praise health care reform (though it hasn't taken effect and has nothing to do with these numbers yet).

Dueling sequiturs

counter point
You can quibble with the simplifications in both, but I maintain the second is far more accurate.

Monday, November 8

Texas judge gives 7 year old right to decide custody

A seven year old boy was at the center of a county courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy had a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulation requiring that family unity be maintained to the highest degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried and said that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. After two recesses to check legal references and confer with the child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Dallas Cowboys, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

Oh lordy. Perhaps the kid could teach them a trick play:

Sunday, November 7

"There will be caving with frosting and sprinkles on top"

Go here for my take on Obama's future triangulation and how I imagine the activist left will respond.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inkissition

In peaceful protest of the Catholic Church's stance against homosexuality and gay marriage, a crowd of activists staged a massive "kiss-in" session in front of Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday as he limbered through Barcelona inside his bullet-proof popemobile—on his way to a mass in the city's new basilica, the Sagrada Familia.

"The Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family ... the indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context of human life in its gestation, birth, growth, and natural end," the pope said at the mass.

Reuters has video of the kissing protesters.

(cross posted at Library Grape)

Draft Mitch Daniels


He is way better than the GOP's current field.

My dream nominee would be Gary Johnson, but let's be real—there's no way he can overcome both neo- and social-conservative opposition.

Mitch Daniels will at the least have an outside chance of overcoming tea party populism.

I need to know more of how his foreign policy would contrast with Obama's before I could endorse him in the general. But let's also not get ahead of ourselves.

How to make a BLT


Saturday, November 6

Pet notes

"TIL: I can use cats as a successful medium for anonymous, old-school communiqué. I also learned that their owners don't appreciate it. "

A redditor adds:
An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard; I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar, 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar, 'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 and he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?'

Rachel Maddow responds to Olbermann suspension

For my part I feel a bit of schadenfreude at seeing Keith off the air; he's as insufferable to watch as anyone on Fox News.

Yet as Rachel argues, MSNBC generally isn't quite so badly behaved. They have a foot planted somewhat further into the news business, periodically airing something informative or beneficially thought-provoking.

Fox, as we know, is almost wholly devoted to pandering its viewers' bias and stupidity. One might snicker that this is true of TV news in general, but clearly Fox takes it a mile further.

Row, row, row your boat

Not so gently down the stream.

A history of spending

Quote of the day

One of life’s little ironies is that, over the long run, people who are willing to admit they could be wrong turn out to be wrong a lot less often than people who aren’t: the same is true in polling. —Nate Silver

Florida school cancels "To Kill a Mockingbird" play

...because it contains a racial slur! Way to miss the fucking point. What are we banning next, Huckleberry Finn? The Catcher in the Rye?

I'm not sure how I feel about this

But I have to admit it's pretty trippy.

What an idiot

Silly professor! Stars only come out at night. LOL!


Friday, November 5

Scientists overclock people's brains

(Slashdot) Researchers at Oxford University found that inducing a small current in a subject's parietal lobe boosted their capacity for numerical learning:
"The current could not be felt, and had no measurable effect on other brain functions. As it was turned on, the volunteers tried to learn a puzzle which involved substituting numbers for symbols. Those given the current from right to left across the parietal lobe did significantly better when given, compared to those who were given no electrical stimulation. The direction of the current was important — those given stimulation running in the opposite direction, left to right, did markedly worse at these puzzles than those given no current, with their ability matching that of an average six-year-old. The effects were not short-lived, either. When the volunteers whose performance improved was re-tested six months later, the benefits appear to have persisted. There was no wider effect on general maths ability in either group, just on the ability to complete the puzzles learned as the current was applied."
So: some day in the future our kids may have electrical currents applied from right to left across their brains while they're at school? Sweet!

Interest rate WTF

Tyler Cowen:
What's in your wallet? Less if you use Firefox or IE and more if you use Chrome. Here from J-Walk Blog are interest rates for a car loan from Capital One if you use IE.
and here are the rates if you use Chrome:
Consumerist: "Capital One Made Me Different Loan Offers Depending On Which Browser I Used"

Here's one commenter:
These are driven by statistics. I work in a group that does statistical analysis of web traffic, and any piece of information that is collected during a browser session is subject to analysis--including what browser you use. If statistical analysis of web traffic, correlated to account history, indicates that users of browser X are more likely to default or be a problem payer on a loan than users of browser Y, then that goes into the mix, and has absolutely nothing to do with the browser itself.

We analyze EVERYTHING: What bank your credit card is with, where you live, how many seconds you spend on each web page, how long your fargin' name is. Everything that can be analyzed IS analyzed, and correlations that give any 'lift' are folded into the lending process.
This could have flown under the radar if Capital One had decided to cache a history of previously-presented offers by IP address that expired after, say, six hours.

I doubt it was intentional, but the publicity this has generated on economics blogs must be good for them.

Quantitative Easin', ctd.

At Greg Mankiw's blog, a reader responds to the above with this ditty:
I heard it in the headlines
It's news all over town
We might be double dippin'
Green shoots have all turned brown

It's a balance sheet recession
With a housing overhang
But they've got a brand new program
And it will start you with a bang

And it's called, quantitative easing
They say results are always pleasing.
When liquidity all starts freezing
Just warm things up with quantitative easing

I will say it straight and simple
It's clear, just like a bell
There's some long term bonds to buy
There's some short term bonds to sell

Don't talk about the good times
Don't ask me where they went
Just move your inflation target
On up to three point five per cent

And it's called, quantitative easing
This ain't no joke, it ain't no teasing
When the GDP starts wheezing
Treat with a shot of quantitative easing

Good and magic things will happen
It might take a week or three
Unemployment plunging downward
Recovery shaped just like a V

You'll see Nobels at the Treasury
There'll be rock stars at the Fed
It'll take hair off of Krugman's face
Put it on top of Ken Rogoff's head

And it's called, quantitative easin'
This ain't no scam, so don't call no policeman
When the engine of commerce starts seizin'
Just add a quart or quantitative easin'

Show no mercy to the critics
Don't let no one stop your nerve
You can mock Ricardian Equivalence
You can laugh at the Laffer Curve

Tell that guy at the Minneapolis Fed
To shut up, or you'll break his legs
And if the Bond Vigilantes don't like it?
Well, they can go suck eggs

And it's called quantitative easin'
You know I say this for a reason
When the economy just sits there squeezing
Loosen things up with quantitative easing

Left Right, Left Right, Left Right, Left..Right...

Thursday, November 4

Fucking Magnets, How Do They Work?

(The meme, if you missed it) Perhaps this 1983 answer can satisfy:

Hayek vs. Keynes

Now, a sneak peak of the sequel from a gathering with The Economist.

But is Obama a Keynsian?

Sunday, October 31

A friend caught his wife naked with another guy recently

And he doesn't want to address it at all:
Friend lets New Dude move in with him and his wife. New Dude doesn't pay rent at the time because he's "trying to get on his feet." I think it's cool that they are trying to help New Dude out, especially since he doesn't speak English as a first language and doesn't have any marketable skills. Last week, friend told me he walked in on New Dude and his wife in the bedroom and they were both naked. He really doesn't seem to want to do anything about this. I brought up how f'ed up this is a couple times and he seemed uninterested in what I have to say, but I can tell he's been losing sleep lately and he's clearly losing a good bit of his paycheck to support New Dude. New Dude seems like a cool guy but I think it's messed up that my friend is going through this. It's only going to get worse. How should I approach my friend and get him to listen?

EDIT: I found a picture of New Dude to give you a better idea of the situation:

Halloween Has Become Too Commercialized!

Let's not forget the reason for the season.

Quantitative Easin'

Cartoon medley


(reddit, 350 comments)

Saturday, October 30

Looks like a real page turner

Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Baker Book House (1982)
Amazon: 1 of 5 stars

Turkey lifts ban on youtube

Turkey has lifted its ban on video-sharing website YouTube as material deemed insulting to Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has been removed, Turkish state-run news agency Anatolian reported Saturday.

Ankara's general attorney ruled the site, blocked since May 2008, should be now freely accessible to Turkish users.
The ban was widely criticized, even by Turkey's President Abdullah Gul who used his Twitter page to condemn the move, and said he had asked responsible institutions for a solution.

Under the country's penal code it is an offence to insult the Turkish nation and its institutions.

YouTube said in a statement on Saturday: "We've received reports that some users in Turkey are once again able to access YouTube...We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process."

"We are investigating whether this action is valid in accordance with our copyright policy," YouTube added.

Pumpkin "carving"

Friday, October 29

How Wisconsin got away from Russ Feingold

Apart from his blinders on campaign finance, Feingold was a very strong civil libertarian, and the one Democrat I proudly voted for this election.

My regret for his loss this cycle will be second only to that of Prop 19.

Marc Ambinder attempts to explain the loss:
Start from the sociological point: beer. Milwaukee. The Tavern League is a huge lobbying force. The Democratic base in the state is compromised of what Ron Brownstein calls "beer track Democrats": blue collar voters, ethnic whites who tolerate government when it helps but recoil from it when it seems intrusive and wasteful. They tend to be older. Sporadic and infrequent Democratic voters in the state come from the university towns like Madison. Wisconsin has had an unusually high rate of young voter participation, a trend that dates back to the mid-90s. People forget that Barack Obama won the state in the primaries, and that Democrats since Michael Dukakis have kept it in the blue column in presidential races. It's hard to argue that voters in Wisconsin are Democrats simply by habit. But at the same time, Democrats took back the state legislature only last year, and Feingold has never been reluctant to admit that he takes positions that are somewhat out of sync with his state. But culturally, he's one of them. Balanced budgets. Gun rights. And a beer drinker. 

Younger college-town Democrats and older habitual Democratic voters are clashing this year on entitlement spending; younger Democrats see the health care reform law and the stimulus package as down payments on their future. Older Democrats see it as a waste of money. This trend plays itself out culturally, too.

Beer-track Democrats tend to be the toughest to turn out this cycle. White men without college degrees have grasped onto economic libertarianism as a way out of the fiscal mess. And younger Democrats simply aren't turning out. 

Feingold has done everything he can to remedy this. Unlike many Democrats, he's run as an unabashed champion of health care, the stimulus, energy reform, and progressive cultural advancement.
[..] Feingold is unafraid to be the avatar of an argument that Wisconsin residents are just going to reject this cycle. Health care isn't popular. The stimulus is considered wasteful. The economy is tough and jobs aren't coming back. The profile of the electorate is much more conservative. Wisconsin has been run mostly by Democrats for eight years. It's not in very good shape. Feingold represents all of that.
True, unfortunately.

It didn't have to be this way. He would have had a fair shot had he de-emphasized the leftism.

I hope his political career isn't over.

Thursday, October 28

Obama signals gay marriage shift

One week before the midterm election, mindful of his disillusioned Democratic base, Obama holds a Q&A session at the White House with progressive bloggers. Transcript from AMERICAblog:
Q I was glad to hear that you and your staff appreciate constructive feedback.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that’s something we enjoy. (Laughter.)

Q We’ve been more than willing to offer that. We’ve certainly been more than willing to offer that from AMERICAblog, particularly on issues related to the LGBT community, which, you know, there is a certain amount of disillusionment and disappointment in our community right now.

And one of the things I’d like to ask you -- and I think it’s a simple yes or no question too -- is do you think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.

I think that -- but here’s what I can say. I think “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act. In theory, we should be able to get 60 votes out of the Senate. The House has already passed it. And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned -- something that’s unprecedented.

And so my hope and expectation is, is that we get this law passed. It is not just harmful to the brave men and women who are serving, and in some cases have been discharged unjustly, but it doesn’t serve our interests -- and I speak as Commander-in-Chief on that issue.

Let me go to the larger issue, though, Joe, about disillusionment and disappointment. I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any President in history. I’ve appointed more openly gay people to more positions in this government than any President in history. We have moved forward on a whole range of issues that were directly under my control, including, for example, hospital visitation.

On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have been as systematic and methodical in trying to move that agenda forward as I could be given my legal constraints, given that Congress had explicitly passed a law designed to tie my hands on the issue.

And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.

Now, I say that as somebody who appreciates that the LGBT community very legitimately feels these issues in very personal terms. So it’s not my place to counsel patience. One of my favorite pieces of literature is “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Dr. King had to battle people counseling patience and time. And he rightly said that time is neutral. And things don’t automatically get better unless people push to try to get things better.

So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing, but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.
Q So I have another gay question. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s okay, man. (Laughter.)

Q And this one is on the issue of marriage. Since you’ve become President, a lot has changed. More states have passed marriage equality laws. This summer a federal judge declared DOMA unconstitutional in two different cases. A judge in San Francisco declared Prop 8 was unconstitutional. And I know during the campaign you often said you thought marriage was the union between a man and a woman, and there -- like I said, when you look at public opinion polling, it’s heading in the right direction. We’ve actually got Republicans like Ted Olson and even Ken Mehlman on our side now. So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?

THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this --

Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.


Q People in our community are really desperate to know.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. I think that -- I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.

But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine.
And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.

And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)

Q It is an important issue, and I think that --

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s an entirely fair question to ask.

Q And part of it is that you can’t be equal in this country if the very core of who you are as a person and the love -- the person you love is not -- if that relationship isn’t the same as everybody else’s, then we’re not equal. And I think that a lot of -- particularly in the wake of the California election on Prop 8, a lot of gay people realized we’re not equal. And I think that that’s -- that’s been part of the change in the --

THE PRESIDENT: Prop 8, which I opposed.

Q Right. I remember you did. You sent the letter and that was great. I think that the level of intensity in the LGBT community changed after we lost rights in that election. And I think that’s a lot of where the community is right now.

THE PRESIDENT: The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going.

Q The arc of history.

THE PRESIDENT: The arc of history.
Q Well, can I ask you just about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” just following up? (Laughter.) I just want to follow up. Because you mentioned it -

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, sure. Go ahead.

Q Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to --


Q -- and you’re going to be involved?


Q Will Secretary Gates be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy.

Q Okay.

THE PRESIDENT: And, look, as I said --

Q Can we call it a secret plan? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I was very deliberate in working with the Pentagon so that I’ve got the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs being very clear about the need to end this policy. That is part of a strategy that I have been pursuing since I came into office. And my hope is that will culminate in getting this thing overturned before the end of the year.

Now, as usual, I need 60 votes. So I think that, Joe, the folks that you need to be having a really good conversation with -- and I had that conversation with them directly yesterday, but you may have more influence than I do -- is making sure that all those Log Cabin Republicans who helped to finance this lawsuit and who feel about this issue so passionately are working the handful of Republicans that we need to get this thing done.

Q Yes, I don’t have that relationship with them. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: But, I mean, it’s just -- I don’t understand the logic of it.

Q Nor do I.

THE PRESIDENT: You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate.

And I said directly to the Log Cabin Republican who was here yesterday, I said, that can’t be that hard. Get me those votes.

Because what I do anticipate is that John McCain and maybe some others will filibuster this issue, and we’re going to have to have a cloture vote. If we can get through that cloture vote, this is done.
Remember, Obama supported same-sex marriage back in 1996 and then shifted for most of his political career. It's unlikely his personal conviction ever wavered--this is just politics of the moment.

But given this signal, I'll be surprised if his 2012 campaign isn't fairly warm to same-sex marriage--perhaps emphasizing it as a state issue.  He just can't come out for national gay marriage before 2012 without losing nontrivial support in key purple states.

Tuesday, October 26

Smooth sailing for Rand Paul?

The recent stomping incident had me worried, but this Politico raff suggest his opponent is in pretty bad shape.


(reddit) This is Excalibur, billed as the highest climbing wall in the world, located in the Netherlands:

Monday, October 25

19 reasons to pass prop 19

Via the Dish, Russ Belville makes a list. The first reason:
It might seem counter-intuitive to some, but illegal marijuana is much easier to acquire than regulated marijuana because weed dealers don’t check ID’s.  Four out of five high school seniors, more than three in five sophomores, and two in five middle schoolers (8th grade) say marijuana is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get.  One third of 16-17-year-olds say marijuana is easiest to buy, not cigarettes, alcohol, or prescription drugs.  Two out of five teens say they can get marijuana in a day; almost one in four can get marijuana in an hour.  Obviously letting unregulated dealers control the marijuana market is not protecting your kids from access to marijuana.  On the other hand, aggressive enforcement of ID carding for minors, combined with public education have led to some of the lowest rates of teen alcohol and tobacco use ever recorded.

Saturday, October 23

Factoid of the day

The human brain is 2 to 3% of body mass, but consumes 25% of the body's energy. This is "metabolically expensive", and technologies like cooking food were important for facilitating the evolution of our large brains.

(From a TED talk: Heribert Watzke: The brain in your gut)

Quote of the day

"The line between the obvious and the esoteric is apparent and recedes as you approach it." —disconcision

Friday, October 22

Liberty and Justice

Hathos alert

#7 viral today:

Shoulda gone with the remix.

A carbon tax by accident?!

Via Yglesias, I hear the UK has so few veto points that's basically what happened.

That's freaking hilarious to contrast with the US experience.

Of course, I remain strongly in favor of veto points and divided government.  The amusingly positive idiosyncrasies possible in this technocracy don't come anywhere near outweighing the deleterious effect of the vast socialist state it enabled.

Andrew makes similar points on UK spending cuts.

Legalize it

Copyright and other intellectual property laws, especially patents, jumped the shark a long time ago.

But I was unaware they had reached such a risible height:

Engineer crashes vehicle to save lives

I always like me a feel good story that includes sentences like: "Basic Physics If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,"

Notre Dame flashmob

Why do the best artists always die young?

Infamy can inflate one's reputation to a point, but I gotta figure their personal struggles bring out serious creativity.

Reddit reminds that Elliott Smith, my favorite singer-songwriter, died 7 years ago yesterday—at 34.  He killed himself with two stab wounds to the chest.

I've queued up his two best albums in Grooveshark, Either/Or and Figure 8.  Enjoy!

However, the two tracks that most live in my mind are from XO, an album that's somewhat more upbeat and unique-sounding. I put these in a widget for the ADD crowd ; )

(cross posted)

Thursday, October 21

The longest fantasy series

List here.

UK plans deepest cuts to spending in 60 years

The Cameron-Clegg coalition delivers again:
LONDON — The British government on Wednesday unveiled the country’s steepest public spending cuts in more than 60 years, reducing costs in government departments by an average of 19 percent, sharply curtailing welfare benefits, raising the retirement age to 66 by 2020 and eliminating hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs in an effort to bring down the bloated budget deficit.

“Today is the day when Britain steps back from the brink,” a confident George Osborne, who as chancellor of the Exchequer is Britain’s top finance minister, told the House of Commons.

“It is a hard road but it leads to a better future,” he said, but “to back down now would be the road to economic ruin.”

He said that 490,000 public sector jobs would be lost over the four-year savings program and the size of government departments in London would be cut by one third. Public spending would be cut by around $130 billion by 2015.

Diminished reality

The future is now:

When in doubt, shout

In a new study, David Gal and Derek Rucker from Northwestern University have found that when people’s confidence in their beliefs is shaken, they become stronger advocates for those beliefs. The duo carried out three experiments involving issues such as animal testing, dietary preferences, and loyalty towards Macs over PCs. In each one, they subtly manipulated their subjects’ confidence and found the same thing: when faced with doubt, people shout even louder.

[..] In all three cases, Gal and Zucker found that doubt turns people into stronger advocates. More subtly, their study shows that this effect is stronger if someone’s identity is threatened, if the belief is important to them, and if they think that others will listen. It all fits with a pattern of behavior where people evangelize to strengthen their own faltering beliefs.

Karma bites

Zero tolerance

In Denver, a kid was suspended for bringing a nerf gun to school.

Wednesday, October 20

The primacy of free enterprise

Lovely email at the Dish today:
Where does Rick Hertzberg think society's ability to give people "enough to eat and a roof over their heads" comes from, if not from those economic liberties and rights he holds as secondary? It's all from the surplus created by the division of labor and comparative advantage. The overflowing abundance that marks modern society - where people like Hertzberg can make a comfortable living writing for The New Yorker without ever cultivating his own food, weaving his own clothes, building his own home, and so on - would not exist if not for the continued protection of free enterprise and private property. (And he dares to quote Adam Smith in his follow-up post!?)

Free enterprise comes before voting.

If I can steal generously from Hayek for a second, society didn't develop the complexity that it has today because everyone in a small village in 2,500 B.C., or 100 A.D., or 1640s New England got together and voted to divide their time and effort in order to provide goods and services for exchange; this happens organically. This happens because it has proven, over thousands of years, to be the most efficient and mutually-beneficial means of getting past subsistence and reaching a better life. Without this, there is no possibility for organized self-government and modern civil rights.

In what possible viable world view could the "right to vote" be valued more favorably than property rights and the freedom of enterprise? Let's leave the philosophical for a second and look at this empirically: What impact does my right to vote have on the world? Very little. I live in a gerrymandered Democratic district, as a classically liberal Republican. My school board has had the same self-interested bozos in office for twenty years. Forget about the U.S. Senate; the only numbers that matter in the Senate are the size of the caucuses, and not the relative impact of my vote in Pennsylvania. My various executives - county, state, federal - merely preside over a rapidly-growing administrative state that is increasingly autonomous, practically speaking, and far too complicated for any particular chief executive to influence at more than a 10,000-foot broad policy level.

Honestly, the only two reasons I even make the effort to vote are 1) that I want to enter politics and thus need to cover my tracks, lest I be criticized someday, and 2) if I vote in 50 straight elections in Pennsylvania, I'll get a certificate when I'm 68 years old. It's nothing more than a frivolous little game and good cocktail party fodder.

Let's be clear: of course, the right to vote and popular sovereignty are vital, and in a healthy republic, inviolable. But without free enterprise and private property, they are practically meaningless.
A-fucking-men, as Sullivan adds.  I also want to associate myself with this post by Radley Balko.

Why is medical so much cheaper in Mexico than in the US?

A redditor answers:
Having lived in San Diego for awhile, and having done medicine on both sides of the border I can tell you exactly why.

First, with dentistry, some dentists are really cheap and bad, but others are really good, but it appears that competition is based off of reputation and service, and not on regulations. On the US side, dentists do not get to their position by service, reputation, or competition but by regulatory capture. The number of people who can practice dentistry and who can get the proper schooling is very restricted. However, in Mexico I found that many dentists provide far better services at a far lower price. The poor people go to the lower quality dentists, and the rich people go to the higher quality ones, but in the end everyone gets care at a price they can deal with, and the rich dentists are still cheaper than then ones in the USA by several orders of magnitude.

Also, if I have an ear ache in the USA, first I must go to my primary, then I will likely be made to go see a specialist, they will probably run some tests, and then they will give me a prescription, which will almost always be to some patented overpriced drug, that I must wait several hours to fill, cost, at least $230 between the medicine and the doctors. In Mexico, you just walk into the pharmacy, say you have an ear ache, and they hand you a bottle of generic antibiotics, cost $25 max, within 10 minutes.

Even though the government does pay for health care and dentistry, medicine in Mexico is far less regulated than in the USA. They can't pull off the crap that we do in the USA, because if they did people would start to die all over the place.

Who said this?

"What governments spend on relief work is secondary to what it spends on its armies...Merchants are the knights who will save this region from famine and must avoid investing in worthless projects..."


(via Tyler Cowen)

Monday, October 18

Spider vs. millipede

Millipedes are tougher than you think.

See also giant centipede vs. tarantula.

And there's this Japanese Bug Fight website.  Encyclopaedia Dramatica "apparently has supplemental information" (via reddit)

Harder, better, faster, stronger maintenance

Viral Video Chart was down this morning. This is their downtime message:
Do not panic, do not despair! We are doing some maintenance work to make the site harder, better, faster, stronger...

Tilt-shift crowd photography

Sunday, October 17

Wednesday, October 13

Endless hours of amusement

  1. Visit Globe Genie
  2. Click "Teleport"
  3. Rinse
  4. Repeat

Riddle of the sphincter

Many--but not a majority--of women enjoy anal sex, and its popularity is on the rise. Counter-intuitively, having anal sex strongly correlates with more female orgasms. Slate has rounded up explanations for why this may be.

Saturday, October 9

Does school choice "work"?

Check out Frederick Hess's excellent essay in National Affairs.

For more bite-sized take there's Reihan Salam.

I also recommend Andrew Coulson on why public school merit pay doesn't work.

Thursday, October 7

Was TARP good for the taxpayers?

Mises concludes:
The TARP was crooked from the very start, using taxpayer funds to bail out some of the world's richest people from their own foolish investments. The claims that it made taxpayers money are unfounded. Even worse, TARP taught investment bankers an important lesson: During a boom, make as much money as you can, no matter how short-term the profits will be. When the bubble pops, the Treasury and Fed will be there with a taxpayer-funded pillow.

Not serfdom

See Tyler Cowen and Ezra Klein and David Frum.

Why should we care about economic inequality?

Derek Thompson asks. I have the same question.

Darwin Award Nominee


Edit: Of course it's already listed

Monday, October 4

Friday, October 1

Ahistorical conservatism

Kavin D. Williamson, National Review:
Whatever kind of conservatism is arguing that we should invest the president with sole, secret, unreviewable authority to order the assassination of U.S. citizens because the alternative is unworkable (!) in the considered view of John Tabin, because war exists (!) — I am not that kind of conservative, I suppose. I propose we call that school of thought ahistorical, morally illiterate conservatism.

We’ve had wars for a long time without authorizing the premeditated extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens. Treason is a crime. You get charged with it, dragged into court, tried by a jury of your peers, etc. The penalty for treason is not assassination without trial, and there is nothing in our Constitution or tradition to suggest that it is. This seems to me a deeply foolish and ill-considered argument.

It’s also worth noting that al-Awlaki mostly is accused of being a propagandist — giving sermons, writing articles, and otherwise behaving as “the bin Laden of the Internet,” as he is known. You want to try him for treason or inciting terrorist violence, I’m content to see him hang. If our covert-ops guys light up some al-Qaeda redoubt in the mountains and al-Awlaki bites the dust, no tears from me. But those are very different things from having the U.S. government draw up a list of its own citizens to be targeted for assassination. The fact that the Obama administration went out of its way to make this fact public tells us something interesting, too: It is making a specific political point, and establishing a specific precedent. It is crossing an old and important line, and conservatives should never let the rule of unintended consequences be very far from our minds
On an entirely different topic, David Boaz, Cato:
Charles Krauthammer calls same-sex marriage “the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history.” Really? Some might say that ending “till death do us part” was more radical. And maybe ending the requirement that the bride promise to “love, honor, and obey.” And how about the end of polygamy? Polygamy was probably the most common marital system in the broad sweep of human history, but now it is virtually unknown in the Western world; indeed, ahistorical conservatives warn that allowing two people of the same sex to make a vow of marriage could lead to polygamy.

In Google Reader, pressing "U" is useful

Also "J" and "K", if you don't use those already.

Good deal on The Economist

I've been wanting The Economist for years now but couldn't quite justify the premium $127 per year subscription.

That seems to be the price just about everywhere, including and Amazon.

Well here it comes to $71. You need the coupon code: WOOT

So, you know: woot!

Thursday, September 30

Nasty tricksy hobitses

I might have not quit piano

If my teacher had given me this to play.

Senate votes to turn down volume on TV commercials

WASHINGTON – Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it'll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

By day, I am Bud Wayne...

" night the cats, a cowardly and superstitious lot, call me... Batpug."

Wednesday, September 29

The Google Blacklist

2600 has compiled a list of words Google Instant doesn't like.

Their disclaimer: "This page is NOT suitable for children, ministers, senators, or the mass media"

Habitable exoplanet discovered

This is cool.

Monday, September 27

Scamming the scammers

This 419 Eater from 2006 is pretty brilliant; he got a Nigerian scammer to write a Harry Potter book out by hand!
Bonus points for posing as Arthur Dent BSC. HHGTTG. PhD. with the client Cyberdyne Systems.

It's wabbit season.

A Digital Media Primer For Geeks

I really dug this video primer ... I now feel like digital audio and video make a lot more sense to me.

ESR reviews:
This is, hands down and no exceptions, the best instructional video I’ve ever seen. It takes a complex, dry, detail-filled topic and presents it with lucid clarity and a sense of fun.

They’re not kidding about the “for geeks” part; the exposition is fast and dense and assumes the reader is able to handle having concepts as complex as Nyquist’s theorem thrown at them in one go. But the exposition is also very clear and direct, and delivered with a keen sense of which details need most emphasis. The effect is only secondarily to impart facts; what they’re attempting, successfully, is to give the viewer a feel for the subject matter, an overall grasp of how the pieces fit together which can be filled in by later deep-diving into the pieces.

Full marks to Monty for his delivery, which is excellent on all levels. I’m no slouch myself at presenting technical ideas in accessible language, but I will cheerfully admit that this is as good as me at the top of my form, or possibly better. I know how much skill and effort is concealed in making a performance like this look casual; if you don’t, just trust me that what Monty has pulled off here is quite impressive just as an act of presentation-fu.

And yes, this is a video – not just an e-book narrated by a well-spoken talking head. The uses of props, whiteboard, and special effects are tasteful and understatedly clever. I particularly enjoyed the playful use of special effects to illustrate things like sample-rate compression, signal-clipping artifacts and how YUV chroma representation actually works. That was a very effective way to tie those abstractions to experiential reality so the viewer won’t forget them.

The material was ideal for my level of knowledge at start. That is, if you have (a) programmer chops, (b) a bit of basic knowledge of the physics of sound, and (c) you’ve heard of Nyquist’s theorem before and broadly grasp the relationship between sampling rate and cutoff frequency, you’re going to eat the rest of the video up like candy. Probably (c) isn’t necessary; what it meant for me is that I started getting new material at the point where Monty explained about sample rates above 44.1 being a way to get away with cheaper bandpass filters.

Brett Favre Apparently Undecided If He Will Return To Vikings This Season

MINNEAPOLIS—ESPN analyst John Clayton reported Monday that, after throwing four interceptions and just one touchdown in the first two games of the 2010-2011 football season, Brett Favre is still undecided about whether he will return to the Minnesota Vikings. "His lack of presence in either game shows that he has not yet committed to a yes or a no answer, though it would appear that he is leaning toward no," Clayton said on SportsCenter, adding that three veteran Vikings players traveled to Favre's locker last Sunday and begged him to return to the team during halftime of the week-two loss to the Dolphins. "With a cumulative QB rating of 56.1, his heart clearly isn't in it. Maybe he's sending a message to Vikings brass that he's ready to call it a career." Following his television appearance, Clayton reportedly received a text message from Favre, who said he would make a decision about returning when he is ready.
I guess he returned Sunday?

Monday, September 20

Headline of the Day

"O'Donnell: No Witchcraft Since High School"

Then and now

A cautionary montage

Saturday, September 18

Friday, September 17

This is not a tree house

It's more like a tree apartment complex. More here.

Thursday, September 16

Why do we care if China manipulates its currency in our favor?

Mark Perry has some editing fun with Harold Meyerson's article in today's Washington Post:
"This week, committees on both sides of Capitol Hill will plumb the conundrum of Chinese currency manipulation. The conundrum isn't that -- or why -- China is manipulating its currency: By undervaluing it, China is systematically able to underprice its exports, putting American (and other nations') manufacturing consumers and businesses that purchase China’ cheap imports at a significant disadvantage. The conundrum is why the hell the United States isn't doing thinks it should do anything about it.

There are certainly plenty of senators and congressmen -- and Main Street Americans U.S. producers that compete with China -- who'd like to see the White House place some tariffs taxes on American consumers and businesses who purchase the underpriced low-priced Chinese imports. If the administration doesn't act, Congress may just consider mandating some tariffs punitive taxes against American consumers and business on its own."

Meanwhile in the Neutral Zone

Monday, September 13

One way to go

Caturday at IKEA

An English IKEA decided to release 100 live cats overnight. Why? Why would you question such a thing? The video is the most amazing and life-affirming event. Ever. Embrace it. Watch it a thousand times. Watch it ten thousand times.

As far as I can tell, the team at the wooded dorm-furnisher extraordinaire just let the cats run around the empty store completely for the hell of it, and the results are simply wonderful.

Sunday, September 12

Classic Movie 'Avatar' Updated For Today's Audiences

LOS ANGELES—Paramount Pictures confirmed Monday the Dec. 23 release date for Avatar 2KX, a remake of the beloved 2009 sci-fi thriller Avatar that will bring the story into the modern era with faster-paced action sequences and cutting-edge visual effects. "Avatar was a true classic of its time, but today's audiences demand a state-of-the-art immersive experience that goes beyond the kitschy charm of the original," said Paramount CEO Brad Grey, who ordered producers to cut 40 percent of the original script's dialogue, simplify the moral so that the humans are now the protagonists, and add several Na'vi sex scenes. "Our hipper, bolder, and updated movie is sure to resonate with younger generations and older fans alike." Grey had no comment on speculation that Avatar 2KX would feature cameos from one or more of the original film's surviving stars.

Saturday, September 11

Quote of the day

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." —Ann Coulter, 13 September 2001

Friday, September 10

Dolphin sightseeing with Fidel Castro

...and Ms. Guevara. Jeffrey Goldberg gets all the interesting assignments.

Wednesday, September 8

Tuesday, September 7

Monday, September 6

For those who take life too seriously

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
2. A day without sunshine is, like, night.
3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
8. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.
9. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
10. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
11. Remember half the people you know are below average.
12. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?
13. Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.
14. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
15. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
16. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
17. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
18. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
19. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
20. I intend to live forever - so far so good.
21. Borrow money from a pessimist - they don't expect it back.
22. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
24. Quantum mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.
25. The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.
26. Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.
27. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane and going the wrong way.
28. If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
29. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
30. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
31. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
32. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks
33. Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.
34. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
35. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
37. The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
38. The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.
39. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
40. To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
41. Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your life.
42. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.
43. Two wrongs are only the beginning.
44. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
45. The sooner you fall behind the more time you'll have to catch up.
46. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
47. Change is inevitable except from vending machines.
48. Get a new car for your spouse - it'll be a great trade!
49. Plan to be spontaneous - tomorrow.
50. Always try to be modest and be proud of it!
51. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
52. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand...
53. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
54. If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving isn't for you.

Thursday, September 2

Indian Superman

In case your day isn't awesome enough:

Not satisfied? How about a Turkish Superman.

You are here

The Earth and Moon viewed from the planet Mercury.

Survival of the fittest

There can be only one.

Wednesday, September 1

Programming as art

A redditor calls this mindblowing..I wouldn't go that far, but it's pretty cool if your address works. Some say it runs fine in Firefox and Safari in addition to Google Chrome.

Black tie beach

A bankrupt Finnish welfare state?

The 'greatest country in the world' may not be so great.


The taxi business could finally get some disruption.

Tuesday, August 31

A young Mexican boy walks up to his mother

...with his face covered in flour and says, "Look mami, I'm a white boy!" His mother takes one look at him and slaps him across the face. She replies, "Go show your father what you have done!"

So the little boy runs to the other room where his father is and shouts, "Papi look! I'm a white boy!" Just as the mother did, the father slaps him across the face and says, "Go show your grandmother what you have done, maybe she can knock some sense into you."

The little boy runs out to the garden where his grandmother is and says, "Grandma, look! I'm a white boy!" His grandmother slaps him across the face, grabs him by the ear and sits him on the floor. She gives him a long speech about why he should be proud to be Mexican and why he shouldn't try to ever cover up his true identity.

The boy then slowly walks back into the kitchen, past his mother. She asks him, "So, what did you learn?" The boy replies, "I've only been white for 10 minutes and I already hate you people."

Monday, August 30

Sunday, August 29

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