Sunday, November 30, 2008

!Es muy Caliente!

Chopping down Christmas trees probably contributes to global warming, but I'll be buying ours this week. What will poor Santa do if the North Pole melts? The new green Mexican film, Navidad S.A. shows us...

Baldness Gap

A couple of months ago, NPR science reporter Robert Krulwich did a cold war analysis on baldness. You can see that the Russians alternate between baldies and hairies even up to this day, with Vladimir Putin (who has even less on top than me) to Dmitri Medvedev (hairy).
The US on the other hand, has had Dwight Eisenhower, who ran against the equally folically challenged Adlai Stevenson, and Gerald Ford. If Ford had gone the route of Joe Biden and received hair plugs back in the early seventies, maybe history would be dramatically different.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The WAR on Xmas starts NOW!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Sci Fi dying?

Is science fiction dying, asks Marcus Chown.

If science fiction dies, does that mean that genetic engineering will have eliminated nerdy nearsighted teenage boys and their need for escapist power trips featuring women in skin tight space suits and killer robots being blown up with death rays? I hope not.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The "antidemocratic personality" arising from the "authoritarian syndrome"

Over the last few years I've heard about several studies exploring why liberals and conservatives seem to think differently. One study suggested that conservatives are often happier than liberals. My interpretation wa s that conservatives tend to believe that social success is a result of merit, therefore social inequalities show a lack of hard work or ability, while "bleeding heart" liberals fret over such things.
Another recent article that received attention in the media associated uncertainty and threat management with ideological extremism or extreme forms of conservatism. This followed up an an earlier work that showed people traumatized by 9/11 were likely to become more conservative.
A liberal friend of mine forwarded this abstract to me last year:
Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism
David M Amodio
, John T Jost, Sarah L Master & Cindy M Yee
Nature Neuroscience 10, 1246 - 1247 (2007)
Political scientists and psychologists have noted that, on average, conservatives show more structured and persistent cognitive styles, whereas liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty. We tested the hypothesis that these profiles relate to differences in general neurocognitive functioning using event-related potentials, and found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict-related anterior cingulate activity, suggesting greater neurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual response pattern.

It turns out a lot of the articles over the past few years exploring differences in liberal/conservative thinking were co-authored by John T. Jost. Check out his webpage at:

REVENGE of the Swamp Thing

The latest in global warming news comes from the journal Nature Geoscience with a study entitled "Global Warming Predicted To Hasten Carbon Release From Peat Bogs." Billions of tons of carbon are sequestered in the world's peat bogs, which may be released into the atmosphere in the coming decades as a result of global warming. Such an atmospheric release of even a small percentage of the carbon locked away in the world's peat bogs would dwarf emissions of manmade carbon, say scientists at Harvard University, Worcester State College, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Return of the MUGWUMPS

All Democrats are insane, but not one of them know it; none but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive it. - Mark Twain

I was a mugwump. We, the mugwumps, a little company made up of the unenslaved of both parties, the very best men to be found in the two great parties--that was our idea of it--voted sixty thousand strong for Mr. Cleveland in New York and elected him. Our principles were high, and very definite. We were not a party; we had no candidates; we had no axes to grind. Our vote laid upon the man we cast it for no obligation of any kind. By our rule we could not ask for office; we could not accept office. When voting, it was our duty to vote for the best man, regardless of his party name. We had no other creed. Vote for the best man--that was creed enough.- Mark Twain's Autobiography (North American Review, Dec. 21, 1906)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Marxist Youth Camps!!!

From the office of the President Elect
"Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start."
Conservative bloggers like Gateway Pundit see this as evidence that Obama will brainwash our youth with Marxist ideals and re-institute slavery. Other bloggers are urging their readers to stock up on guns and ammo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Triumph of the Swill

This morning I searched the Google for videos of Barack Obama's speech in Grant Park to show my class. The first hit was a clip from the Nazi documentary Triumph of the Will.  Next was a rascist rant about Muslims being turned away and something about Obama wanting "more white people" on camera. There was also a right wing rant about the economy, and another racist video about "the Spics" and "Boos." My students ended up not seeing the speech. 

Silver lining

Several conservative blogs have whipped out their "Don't blame me, I voted for McCain" bumperstickers for sale within an hour of McCain's concession. See, Obama's stimulating the economy already!