Friday, October 17, 2008

Goat Friday

click to enlarge  —  image source

“Taming the Goat”
(Smithsonian Institute)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Insights on world poverty

This is actually not so new — the video below is of a talk given by Dr Hans Rosling in March 2007. The blurb reads:

Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide. Then he does something really amazing.

Indeed he does! And almost as amazing as Dr Rosling’s climactic stunt are those “cool data tools” — including Gapminder, an online software tool which allows users to view international longitudinal statistical data in very illuminating ways. (It’s easy to use, too!)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not a rap for Palin?

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone:

The defining moment for me came shortly after Palin and her family stepped down from the stage to uproarious applause, looking happy enough to throw a whole library full of books into a sewer. In the crush to exit the stadium, a middle-aged woman wearing a cowboy hat, a red-white-and-blue shirt and an obvious eye job gushed to a male colleague — they were both wearing badges identifying them as members of the Colorado delegation — at the Xcel gates.

“She totally reminds me of my cousin!” the delegate screeched. “She’s a real woman! The real thing!”

I stared at her open-mouthed. In that moment, the rank cynicism of the whole sorry deal was laid bare. Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket.

I sorta feel Mr Taibbi is somehow holding back...

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday definition

Cubism \'kyü-,bi-zem\ n, an avant-garde artistic movement of the early 20th Century which sought to delineate the better angles of our nature.

click to enlarge  —  image source

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso

Le guitariste (detail)

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Presidential race morphs into interfaith pecker contest

Arnold Conrad, former pastor of Grave Evangelical Free Church, recently addressed a McCain campaign rally in Iowa:

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his [John McCain’s] opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that You would guard Your Own Reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than You if that happens. So I pray that You will step forward and honor Your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.”

It’s not reported whether Rev Conrad then led the multitude in worship from the classic text:

O Lord
You are so big,
So absolutely huge.
Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Forgive us, O Lord, for this,
Our dreadful toadying,
And barefaced flattery.
But You are so strong and, well, just so super-fantastic.

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