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LBJ threaded the needle with one of the most jaw-droppingly sweet passes I’ve ever seen executed. Even if you care nothing for basketball, you have to see this pass, simply because you won’t believe he actually got it past the defender and through to his man.
Go to this page and press “Highlights”. The awesomeness happens at 54 seconds.
While you’re at it, check out a sweet cross-over, spin-move with which Caron Butler destroys LeBron James, making him look like a cross-eyed matador who’s just walked off of a merry-go-round. Mess occurs at 25 seconds.
Hell, while you’re still at it, check out the game winning shot by James at 1:40. It’s an awesome shot and all, but I would’ve sworn he moved his pivot foot before taking it. In fact, it seems so obvious that I’m mildly shocked it wasn’ t called. Does anyone else share in my lukewarm shock?
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I believe in the Threory of Evolution by Natural Selection. This is not unusual, though it is not nearly as usual as it ought to be. What is unusual, as far as I can gather from talking to people about evolution, is that I also find the process unproblematic and intuitively plausible. When I find myself discussing evolution’s plausibility, believers’ and non-believers’ minds are often boggled by the prospect of an animal with, for instance, no eyes having great great great great . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . great great great grand-babies that do have eyes. This Video does a good job of de-mystifying the process.
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This is scary stuff: A statistical study suggests that a community’s exposure to Fox News increases the Republican vote in that community.
Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative Fox News Channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of US towns. … Using a data set of voting data for 9,256 towns, we investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News entered the cable market by the year 2000. We find a significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share [for Republicans] in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000…. We also find a significant effect of Fox News on Senate vote share and on voter turnout. Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its viewers to vote Republican.
Crap! Now, I haven’t read the full article, because it costs $5 to do so, but I’m curious how the authors show that exposure to Fox News actually causes people to vote Republican, rather than simply correlates with an increase in people voting Republican. For example, how do they show that the preferences in the communities studied weren’t becoming more “conservative” due to some other factor, and that this increase in conservativism within the community contributed to both market demand for Fox News and an increase in Republican voting?
Either way, thanks to Peter for the link.
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I just read a Popular Mechanics article entitled How far can you drive on a bushel of corn? Crunching the numbers on alternative fuels. The Article gives a run-down of alternative fuels that are beginning to and/or could be replacing the gasoline in our cars’ tanks (and in some cases what will be replacing the tanks themselves). These include: Ethanol, Methanol, Natural Gas, BioDiesel, Electricity, and Hydrogen. The article is pretty interesting, and I’d say worth the read, but here are some points I found particularly interesting:
- I have always had my doubts about getting fuel from crops, given the enormous amount of petrochemicals we use to grow crops these days. According to the Article though, The Dept. of Energy estimates that ” the growing, fermenting and distillation chain actually results in a surplus of energy that ranges from 34 to 66 percent.”
- Perhaps More importantly, “the carbon dioxide (CO2) that an engine [running on ethanol or biodiesel] produces started out as atmospheric CO2″. This means that, if all your farm equipment was also running on ethanol or biodiesel, producing and using the fuels results in no significant change in greenhouse gases, something that can be said of non of the other options
- “A gallon of E85 has an energy content of about 80,000 BTU, compared to gasoline’s 124,800 BTU. So about 1.56 gal. of E85 takes you as far as 1 gal. of gas.”
- For all the talk about E85, it can’t replace our dependence on foreign oil (without introducing a dependence on foreign food): “One acre of corn can produce 300 gal. of ethanol per growing season. So, in order to replace that 200 billion gal. of petroleum products, American farmers would need to dedicate 675 million acres, or 71 percent of the nation’s 938 million acres of farmland, to growing feedstock [for ethanol].”
- “Even when emissions created by power plants are factored in, electric vehicles emit less than 10 percent of the pollution of an internal-combustion car.”
- Despite their initial expense, driving Electric (or plug in hybrid) cars can be very cheap:
“At the average price of 10 cents per kwh, it costs around 2 cents per mile.”
But using the power grid to power cars is not without problem:
“Only 2.3 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable resources; about half is generated in coal-burning plants.”
The Article talks about the amount of research going into hydrogen, which is a bit of a mystery to me. Since we hope to produce all that hydrogen with electrolysis, it seems to me like just a complicated, and somewhat expensive way to distribute electricity. For my money plug-in hybrids which store electricity from the grid for most short-range driving, but can burn gasoline or ethanol when necessary, are much better. Why waste all that time/money/energy turning H2O into H2 only to then waste more compressing the H2 when we can just store that electricity more directly in a hybrid’s batteries.
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I always figured that sooner or later we would develop ways to directly process information from electronic devices without having to look at a screen, but I never would have guessed that the first to achieve legitimate commercial or military use might be via the tongue (yahoo news via slate).
One of the people involved in the tests, an ex-navy seal, likened the sensation to pop-rocks, and was able to locate underwater objects by being hooked up to a digital compass and depth gauge. The technology has also been used to give blind people rudimentary sight, and restore balance to people with inner ear problems. The first practical, non-medical use will probably be helmet mounted sonar for navy seals, so that they can keep their hands and eyes free.
While this might feel like interpreting pop-rocks dots on your tongue for adults who learn to use the technology, it strikes me, in a frightening yet awesome sort of way, that if an infant were exposed to this sort of signal for its entire development, it might just be aware of the extra sensory information in the same ways that we are aware of, e.g., sounds, with no awareness of the sensory apparati that measure/transmit the data.
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Yet another reason to move or continue living in Seattle: Commemorating National Plumbers Day (did you remember to send the plumber in your life a card?), the results of a national survey reveal that Seattlites experience the fewest clogged toilets of any city in the U.S. Awesome!
The least clogged cities rank as follows:
3. Minneapolis/St. Paul
4. Orlando Area
And the cloggiest cities rank as follows:
1. New York
2. Miami/Fort Lauderdale
3. Los Angeles
8. Portland, OR
10. San Francisco Bay Area.
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I missed this when it was published, but the New York Times recently did a travel article about visting Fayetteville. The article recommends visiting, among other places, George’s, Hugo’s, Ed’s, BWB’s (not really) and, yes, the new Pub-rary.
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Everybody knows about Super Mario Bros and most know about King Koopa, the green-ass reptilian baddie serving as the top boss at the end of the first game. What I’d venture to guess none of you know about, however, (b/c it didn’t air in our part of the country) was that there was a King Koopa GAME-SHOW. Here’s an interesting article about a guy who found some old tapes of the show and anxiously watched them, only to find out (like happens so often) that those shows which once glittered so brightly in the eyes of a child lose lustre for the adult (I know my Thundercats did upon a recent viewing).
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I’ve before speculated whether Joel is a trendsetter, with his chronically unshaven face apparently now considered fashionable. But this may confirm it: Brad Pitt was recently photographed sporting a mohawk, only a month after our own Joelseph got one of his own.
Well done, Joel. Well done.
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I’m also interested in branding as means of manipulating perception. For a while now, I’ve come to realize (late, I know) that a school’s brand has far, far bigger implications on its students’ career prospects than the actual quality of education offered by the school or the students’ actual abilities. Of course, employers care much more about the latter two, but it’s hard to accurately guage quality of education or individual ability, so they just rely on the school’s brand as a short cut. The pathetic attempt by Cornell students to improve their school’s brand is just one example. We are, like, totally going to a good school guys!
But I’m also interested in how brands associate themselves with ideas and causes antithetical to the purposes of advertising and consumerism. According to this article, one ad for the ultra-hip American Apperal brand, for example, apparently features a model next to a copy of the nominally anti-consumerist, vaguely nihilist magazine, Adbusters. Yes, it’s a confusing attempt by American Apparel to play off Adbusters‘ anti-consumerism reputation by using Adbusters in its own advertisement!
Charney [founder of American Apparel] is equally savvy about his social mission. His efforts to provide a humane environment for his workers and to pay them well are laudable, but Charney also understands the way that political gestures and activism have become yoked to certain modes of consumerism. We now live in a time when buying a rubber bracelet is considered enough to make you feel as if you’ve made a meaningful contribution to the fight against cancer and when shopping at Whole Foods is sufficient to affirm your commitment against industrial agribusiness. As if in winking acknowledgment of this, Charney once published an American Apparel ad featuring a young guy in one of his T-shirts, sitting on a sofa next to a copy of the anticonsumerist magazine Adbusters.
What’s the alternative to consumerism? Pretending like you’re against consumerism!
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The more I read about media and advertising, the more I’m interested in it’s ability to manipulate people’s minds and the de-humanizing effects it may have on us one day. For example, I joined Myspace.com because so many of my real-world friends were using it and, frankly, I didn’t want to exacerbate my image as an out-of-touch luddite. And the result has been predictable: now much of the more intimate interactions I would have had with these friends (e.g. emails, telephone calls, and personal converstaions) has now been supplanted with frivolous, often impersonal interactions (e.g. the “bulletin”) on Myspace.
It’s not that I think these Myspace interactions are bad; but I think these interactions are to some extent replacing more meaningful interactions. Real interaction is hard. It costs time and it costs effort. Myspace interaction is easy. It’s a shortcut to real interaction, but it’s not the real deal.
And now that Myspace has successful begun detaching me from my real-world friends, the website, according to this article, is ready to perniciously introduce me to new “commercial” friends:
To expand ad sales, [MySpace] … wants to … turn advertisers into members of the MySpace community, with their own profiles, like the teenagers’ — so that the young people who often spend hours each day on MySpace can become “friends” with movies, cellphone companies and even deodorants. Young people can link to the profiles set up for these goods and services, as they would to real friends, and these commercial “friends” can even send them messages — ads, really, but of a whole new kind.
If these continue down this path, I will be as close to my real friends as I am to, say, Nokia brand cell phones.
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(I’m killing three hours while Honda service men are pulling my spark plugs out, putting them right back in, replacing my brakes, and charging me $850.)
San Antonio and Sacramento: The Spurs won last year, and the few differences between that year and this year: they added Finley (good) and most of the players have nagging injuries (bad). Because of the injuries, I really don’t think they’ll win this year, but Bibby and Brad Miller couldn’t beat the Spurs bench (and I don’t mean the players on the bench, I really mean the bench). What I’ll be watching for: Once again, just like the at end of the past five regular seasons, players are complaining about Bowen’s cheap defense and argue that his tactics are (or should be) illegal. Best of all, Artest has been one of the main voices of the anti-Bowen movement. I wondering if Bowen and Artest will be slowed-down by the machine guns stuffed in their underwear. The winner: Spurs.
Dallas and Memphis: I’m not interested in this series. Memphis is boring and Mark Cuban is annoying. Gasol and Dirk aren’t athletic enough to win a championship and they have a history of being lame ducks when it matters the most. I don’t pay attention to these teams and won’t. I hope they both lose this series. What I’ll be looking for: the channel changer. Winner: who cares?
Read the rest of this entry »
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Given that, to a certain degree, I make my living off of the fact that it is not very easy for most people to make a nice looking web site, and even less easy to actually get said site viewable the internets, maybe I shouldn’t be happy with Google’s announcement of Page Creator, but I am. I really like the mentallity that Google’s employees can just make cool stuff, it doesn’t matter yet when, how, or if it will turn a profit.
By going to the site I made with Page Creator you can kill three birds with one click:
- See what a page made with the service looks like
- Read a little review I wrote of the service
- See a design template that I do not recomend for your AC/DC fanpage
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Since half of us that read this site now know more about the NBA than is possible, I created a league on NBA.com for our NBA playoff predictions.
From NBA.com’s site, to their playoff site, to…
Pick N’Roll presents…
League name: JttM
Games start Saturday!
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I’d like to take a moment to point out the irony in the fact that Fox News anchor Tony Snow, already an unofficial mouthpiece for the Bush Administration, is being considered for the job of Whitehouse press secretary, where he would serve as the official mouthpiece of the Bush Administration.
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I was watching season 7 for the third time and I came across a joke I hadn’t caught before. But this is not the reason I’m sharing it. I’m sharing it because it’s freaking hilarious.
This is the brilliant episode (Team Homer) where Bart buys a Mad Magazine, which has an iron-on for his t-shirt that says “down with homework.” Bart wears it to school and all the students go crazy.
Principal Skinner: So: we meet again, Mad Magazine.
Bart: How do you know it’s from Mad?
Skinner: [walking to his window] The year was 1968. We were on recon in
a steaming Mekong delta. An overheated private removed his
flak jacket, revealing a T-shirt with an iron-on sporting the
Mad slogan “Up With Mini-Skirts”.
Well, we all had a good laugh, even though I didn’t quite
understand it. But our momentary lapse of concentration
allowed Charlie to get the drop on us.
I spent the next three years in a POW camp, forced to subsist
on a thin stew of fish, vegetables, prawns, coconut milk, and
four kinds of rice. I came close to madness trying to find it
here in the States, but they just can’t get the spices right –
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You all know I’m not usually one to gush over something like this, but I’m sorry, to this one I had to surrender…
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True news story: JoJo the cat, who was left outside in life-threatening cold temperatures, meowed his head off for hours hoping someone would let his freezing ass into the house. At 5 a.m. on Thursday the homeowner finally opened the door, but the homeowner found more than just a very cold cat at the door - there was also an abandoned newborn baby. The police were called and the baby was taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia. JoJo has received international recognition as a hero… but still can’t come inside. (see actual news article here).
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Winning our fantasy basketball league… yeah yeah, whatever. Collecting $5 from each of the nine fools who challenged me, PRICELESS!!!!!!!! (Well, actually $45). Time to pay up. ……….. On second thought, forget about paying me like Zach already has, because it was all about the fun anyways. Plus, $45 wouldn’t even put a dent in the bill for the crystal ball I bought the day before our fantasy league draft.
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At no other time do my obsession with coffee and my unrepentant capitalism come together more than when I see Bodum products for sale. And as this blog’s resident authority on all things coffee, I can’t help but update you on Bodum’s 2006-07 catalog. If you didn’t know, Bodum is like the Apple computers of the coffee world. They are single-handedly responsible for the popularity of french press brewing and for reviving vacuum brewing with their Santos line. Plus, their products all display a clean minimalism of design (”give up bad design for good” is their motto).
Mostly, their new line contains new french press designs, new double-wall glasses, thermoses, etc. But, two products have caught my eye, and I will be purchasing them as soon as possible. The first is the Venice grinder. I stumbled upon this grinder at an imports store in Madison a couple weeks ago and it is still not for sale on the internet, at Bodum’s online store or otherwise. What I saw was intriguing, and may be the perfect way for folks like Mohsen and D-thang to get their first burr grinder at a reasonable price ($40). Of course, like the Zassenhaus burr grinders I’ve spoken about before, you have to crank this thing. And another thing: though I couldn’t get too good a look at the thing, the burr set in this grinder appears to be made of plastic, which is something I’ve never heard of. But, knowing Bodum, it’s probably some kind of polycarbon-tastic plastic that is somehow better than metal.
The second is a foray into manual pourover drip coffeemakers (the Dripper and the Kona). Essentially, these are Chemex brewers with the notable addition of a permanent gold-plated filter, much like a SwissGold. I could make one of these myself, by jimmy-rigging my Chemex with my Swissgold, but then I wouldn’t be able to buy anything new.