Archive for September 27, 2007
If you’re not scared or angry at the thought of a human brain being controlled remotely, then it could be this prototype of mine is finally starting to work. –John Alejandro King
Really scaring me…:
Could be worse. Could be Klingon furries. All dressed up like targs.
I think there’s an idea here without a clear term to point to it: ideologies that require or encourage a kind of willful ignorance. Those can be cured, but only by breaking with the ideology.
Frex, a lot of economic determinists (Marxists and neoclassical economists) seem to have the idea that they don’t need to know much about the world to understand it, because their economic models give them the fundamental insights. I think the screwups in Iraq have largely been caused by very smart people whose ideology led them to think that they had grasped the essentials of the situation there, despite scary stuff like not knowing the difference between Shia and Sunni. I think there’s also a widespread idea in management that you should be able to manage things whose details you don’t understand all that well. (But that’s way outside my field or interests, so I may just be misunderstanding.)
The hard thing is, you *have* to have simplifying models — they’re what make a fiercely complex world usable. But your model can really screw you, by convincing you that you know the important stuff, even when you’re frightfully ignorant of the details. And people with very powerful or convincing models often get screwed in just this way, as they try to apply their powerful model from one situation into a different one. Even worse, some models’ strength is that they make for good rhetoric, and when tested against the real world, they fail horribly. But group decisionmaking is largely done through rhetoric — both national politics and internal politics of most groups. You can have disastrous ideas that win all the arguments, sound great, and reliably gain power — I’d say that the rhetoric about the Middle East being ripe for democracy, democracy leading to peace, etc., is a good example of that.
Science Fiction Writer Admits Unstoppable Killing Machine Based On Mother: Sure, you only think the Onion made it up.
Second Hand Songs: a cover songs database.
Why should God bless America? Because if we have people like this in the country, we need all the blessings we can get.
Thoof has done some analysis of the data collected by their recommendation algorithm, and discovered some interesting differences between Mac users and Windows users. For example, it seems Windows users are 20% more interested in religion, but 6% less interested in intellectual property law.
Marcel Marceau, whose lithe gestures and pliant facial expressions revived the art of mime and brought poetry to silence, died Saturday. He was 84.
…what were his last words?
…and too many people would break my ribs if I did.
WEEHAWKEN, N.J. – George Clooney suffered a broken rib and some scrapes on Friday when the motorcycle he and a friend were riding collided with a car as the actor tried to pass the other vehicle, authorities said.
Weehawken Police Sgt. Sean Kelly said the collision occurred at 3:30 p.m. as Clooney and friend Sarah Larson were traveling north on Boulevard East and sped up to pass on the right a 1999 Mazda Millenia that was preparing to make a right turn.
Kelly said it is not known if the driver of the other vehicle, who has not been identified, had used his turn signal. Boulevard East is a narrow road with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.
“It’s a he-said, she-said right now, but you can’t pass on the right in Weehawken or anywhere in Jersey,” Kelly said.
Kelly said the accident remains under investigation and no summonses have been issued.
The 46-year-old actor was treated at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen and released, spokesman Stan Rosenfield said in a statement.
“He’s doing fine,” Rosenfield said. “He has a broken rib, it’s very painful and it’ll take a long time to heal.”
Larson suffered a broken foot. Both she and Clooney were wearing helmets, Kelly said.
SYDNEY, Australia – President Bush had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at the Sydney Opera House.
He’d only reached the third sentence of Friday’s speech to business leaders, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, when he committed his first gaffe.
“Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit,” Bush said to Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Oops. That would be APEC, the annual meeting of leaders from 21 Pacific Rim nations, not OPEC, the cartel of 12 major oil producers.
Bush quickly corrected himself. “APEC summit,” he said forcefully, joking that Howard had invited him to the OPEC summit next year (for the record, an impossibility, since neither Australia nor the U.S. are OPEC members).
The president’s next goof went uncorrected — by him anyway. Talking about Howard’s visit to Iraq last year to thank his country’s soldiers serving there, Bush called them “Austrian troops.”
That one was fixed for him. Though tapes of the speech clearly show Bush saying “Austrian,” the official text released by the White House switched it to “Australian.”
Then, speech done, Bush confidently headed out — the wrong way.
He strode away from the lectern on a path that would have sent him over a steep drop. Howard and others redirected the president to center stage, where there were steps leading down to the floor of the theater.
The event had inauspicious beginnings. Bush started 10 minutes late, so that APEC workers could hustle people out of the theater’s balcony seating to fill the many empty portions of the main orchestra section below %u2014 which is most visible on camera.
Even resettled, the audience remained quiet throughout the president’s remarks, applauding only when he was finished.
A logistical glitch added to the woes.
APEC security workers would not allow the members of the media who travel in Bush’s motorcade to enter the Opera House along with him. This even though the journalists allowed into the president’s entourage are extensively screened and guarded by the Secret Service, which has more stringent security standards than about any operation in the world. And even though they always accompany him into public events.
As a result, while Bush spoke, the traveling media cooled its heels outside the landmark Opera House, shooting pictures and watching boats in the harbor.
(Via Eric Avedissian.)
There are a few people who have complained about my paucity of posting over the summer– even though I’ve been blogging at ComicMix semi-regularly, they want to see stuff that doesn’t have to deal with funnybooks.
You have but to ask. Back to an occasional theme here: Celebrities without makeup, stars without makeup, dress up and make up gallery.
I mention this one in particular because of this picture of Katherine Heigl, most recently seen in the movie Knocked Up. A number of folks complained how unrealistic it was for a hottie like Ms. Heigl to hook up with a shlub like Seth Rogen. I’d like to point out that Ms. Heigl doesn’t always look like a million bucks either. If she can clean up to the levels we see in film and TV, so can Mr. Rogen. And so can 90% of the people in the world, if not 95%.