Wednesday, 28 September 2005
The Grip of Gas - Why you’ll pay through the nose to keep driving: “One of the oldest lessons economists have for thinking about what changes consumer demand is that moral exhortation doesn’t change people’s behavior. Prices do. Except that for a commodity like gasoline, even prices don’t do an impressive job.”
First pictures of live giant squid in its natural habitat
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
Audi and Jack Daniels, giving the (drive)shaft: “In other words, Audi themselves certifies that the car has not only passed, but ACED a 300-point inspection before they qualify it. Even Bret said that, reading this copy, he would believe that the previous sentence is true. Yet this car, as sold, did not pass, they qualified it anyway, and they refuse to address the issues, again claiming it’s between the dealer and consumer.”
One side can be wrong: “This would distract students from the genuinely important and interesting controversies that enliven evolutionary discourse. Worse, it would hand creationism the only victory it realistically aspires to. Without needing to make a single good point in any argument, it would have won the right for a form of supernaturalism to be recognised as an authentic part of science.”
Thursday, 22 September 2005
My friend James and his friend Al just set up SaveMyAss, which lets you schedule automatic flower deliveries to people on important days.
(Those of you who heard me talking about a system much like this in 2000 should note the key difference between this site and the business plan I have in my filing cabinet: these guys actually built the thing.)
Monday, 19 September 2005
Don’t dumb me down: “Because papers think you won’t understand the ‘science bit’, all stories involving science must be dumbed down, leaving pieces without enough content to stimulate the only people who are actually going to read them - that is, the people who know a bit about science. Compare this with the book review section, in any newspaper. The more obscure references to Russian novelists and French philosophers you can bang in, the better writer everyone thinks you are. Nobody dumbs down the finance pages. Imagine the fuss if I tried to stick the word ‘biophoton’ on a science page without explaining what it meant. I can tell you, it would never get past the subs or the section editor. But use it on a complementary medicine page, incorrectly, and it sails through.”
Friday, 16 September 2005
Show Me the Science: “Instead of spending more than $1 million a year on publishing books and articles for non-scientists and on other public relations efforts, the Discovery Institute should finance its own peer-reviewed electronic journal.”
Friday, 9 September 2005
FEMA director Brown recalled to Washington – update here.
Hughes Is Varnishing the Nation’s Tarnish: “Hughes replied that ambassadors are free to talk – if they use the talking points she sends them. ‘If they make statements based on something I sent them,’ she said, ‘they’re not going to be called on the carpet.’” – An explanation as to why State is becoming systematically understaffed is left as an exercise to the reader.
How Reliable Is Brown’s Resume?: “Before joining FEMA, his only previous stint in emergency management, according to his bio posted on FEMA’s website, was ‘serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight.’ The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 ‘overseeing the emergency services division.’ In fact, according to Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, Brown was an ‘assistant to the city manager’ from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. ‘The assistant is more like an intern,’ she told TIME. ‘Department heads did not report to him.’ Brown did do a good job at his humble position, however, according to his boss. ‘Yes. Mike Brown worked for me. He was my administrative assistant. He was a student at Central State University,’ recalls former city manager Bill Dashner. ‘Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I’d ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt.’”
He wasn’t even a horse lawyer: “And now we know that not only did Brown lack the qualifications to lead FEMA, he also lacked the legal qualifications to serve as its general counsel, his first position at the agency.”
Thursday, 8 September 2005
Blame Game Continues In Katrina’s Wake: “‘He’s done a hell of a job, because I’m not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm,’ said Kate Hale, former Miami-Dade emergency management chief.”
Project Backpack is a project started by some kids from my high school. The idea is for kids put together backpacks full of useful stuff (toys, books, school supplies, etc.) for kids who have been displaced by hurricane Katrina.
Wednesday, 7 September 2005
Normally when people gratuitously throw in the word “nano” we want a dollar refund.