Archive for February, 2007

The Great Afterlife Debate: Michael Shermer v. Deepak Chopra

| February 28, 2007 | 1 Reply
The Great Afterlife Debate: Michael Shermer v. Deepak Chopra

Shermer and Chopra traded articles at Skeptic Magazine, but they really didn’t communicate.  Shermer got me on board with comments like this: Here is the reality. It has been estimated that in the last 50,000 years about 106 billion humans were born. Of the 100 billion people born before the six billion living today, every […]

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I just bought a $5 million hard drive at Best Buy

| February 28, 2007 | 5 Replies
I just bought a $5 million hard drive at Best Buy

What I actually did was to pay $199 for a Western Digital “MyBook” 500 Gb external hard drive.  While comparing hard drive prices, however, I stopped a moment to consider how incredibly far hard drive prices have fallen over the years.  I concluded that I was getting a windfall no matter what modern hard drive […]

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My attorney will only pay attention to my case two minutes per day.

| February 27, 2007 | Reply
My attorney will only pay attention to my case two minutes per day.

Missouri’s overloaded public defender system is threatening to stop taking new cases, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  This is “an unprecedented move that could put courts from St. Louis to Kansas City into turmoil.” With an average workload of 305 cases, the lawyers who represent 80 percent of the state’s criminal defendants say they are […]

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Poop song

| February 27, 2007 | 2 Replies
Poop song

I’ve previously written about the enormous number of synonyms for poop, speculating on why there are so many synonyms. I don’t know if my suggestions were convincing to others, but the issue still intrigues me. As an epilogue to that earlier post, I offer this video, one of many elaborate musical numbers comprising a truly […]

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Inconvenient federal prosecutors

| February 27, 2007 | 16 Replies
Inconvenient federal prosecutors

According to a little noticed change in the Patriot Act, the Bush administration is firing (not promoting or commending) some of its star prosecutors. Why? Because they became inconvenient. Worse, the fired prosecutors have all been replaced with political hacks whose jobs will include NOT prosecuting law-breaking friends of the Administration, among other nefarious duties. […]

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Seeing with one’s tongue

| February 27, 2007 | 2 Replies
Seeing with one’s tongue

What is the name of that organ we use to see? The brain, of course. Admittedly, our eyes are critically important for interpreting light rays, at least for those who have eyes that work. For those whose eyes don’t work, however, hope is on the way. Using a special device consisting of a camera and […]

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Bush’s new plans for Iran, Syria and Lebanon

| February 25, 2007 | Reply
Bush’s new plans for Iran, Syria and Lebanon

If you want to sleep well and not worry about Bush’s new plans for the Middle East, don’t read this New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh: “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” 

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The U.S. should stop characterizing China as an inevitable military threat.

| February 25, 2007 | 3 Replies
The U.S. should stop characterizing China as an inevitable military threat.

Dick Cheney and other conservatives constantly warn us of the “China threat.”  Check out these headlines and articles: Chinese bid for Unocal, Pentagon worries over military spending lead to fresh discussion of Chinese ‘threat’.  Revving Up the China Threat  US exaggerates China defense – report Cheney, the Neocons and China  This belligerent U.S. attitude that […]

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Stop your paltering!

| February 25, 2007 | 2 Replies
Stop your paltering!

You don’t know the word “palter”?  I didn’t either, until I read a recent paper by Frederick Schauer and Richard J. Zeckhauser of Harvard.  The paper’s abstract defines this incredibly useful term, palter: Abstract:      A lie involves three elements: deceptive intent, an inaccurate message, and a harmful effect. When only one or two of these […]

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