Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Data shows overuse of the word 'pandemic' becoming 'global pandemic'

One example:

Isn't "Global pandemic" a bit redundant? Also, is the term "pandemic" even appropriate, or the most appropriate, to describe an Internet-based malady? Pandemic implies distribution over a large geographic area.

Plenty more

And thankfully I found this article criticizing this trend: The 'Pandemic' Epidemic

Sunday, December 4, 2005

DoJ staffers trumped by political arm

Daily Kos: Justice Determined DeLay Redistricting Illegal, Overruled By Political Hacks

More ugliness from the repugnicans made public.

Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan.

Calling BS on the "War on Christmas" News | How the secular humanist grinch didn't steal Christmas

A great article in Salon with actual _facts_ instead of anecdotes. Remember kids, anecdotes is not the plural form of the word data.

one can in fact offer Christmas greetings without legal counsel. Christmas trees are permitted in public schools. (They're considered secular symbols.) Nativity scenes are allowed on public property, although if the government erects one, it has to be part of a larger display that also includes other, secular signs of the holiday season, or displays referring to other religions. (The operative Supreme Court precedent is 1984's Lynch v. Donnelly, where the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a city-sponsored Christmas display including a cr�che, reindeer, a Christmas tree, candy-striped poles and a banner that read "Seasons Greetings" was permissible. "The display is sponsored by the city to celebrate the Holiday and to depict the origins of that Holiday," the majority wrote. "These are legitimate secular purposes.") Students are allowed to distribute religious holiday cards and literature in school. If the administration tries to stop them, the ACLU will step in to defend the students' free-speech rights, as they did in 2003 when teenagers in Massachusetts were suspended for passing out candy canes with Christian messages.

In fact, there is no war on Christmas. What there is, rather, is a burgeoning myth of a war on Christmas, assembled out of old reactionary tropes, urban legends, exaggerated anecdotes and increasingly organized hostility to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Possible investigation of Oil CEO lying

Lautenberg wants criminal investigation of Oil CEOs

Unbelievable to watch the CEOs lie on CSPAN and unfortunate that it took The Daily Show to point out that the prick who runs the committee prevented the Oil execs from being sworn in. Else they would be guilty of perjury.

I'm glad that my senator from the great state of Washington, Maria Cantwell, was the one who tried to get Ted Stevens (the aforementioned prick) to swear them in.

How not to demolish a building

Funny video of a real life demolition in Sioux Falls, SD that intended to cause the building to fall over but instead just shortened it by about a third.

Geeky Xmas gifts for under $100

MAKE: Blog: MAKE's Mostly Under $100 Gift Guide 2005!

What a cool list. I'm sure I'd enjoy anything on this list--even the PVC pipe (I do have a kitchen remodel coming up...)

Science Toys you can make at home

Science Toys

Make toys at home with common household materials, often in only a few minutes, that demonstrate fascinating scientific principles.

Hours and hours of fun just _reading_ about what you can build.

I've built a couple of the things on the site before. Will have to dig up some of my electronics stuff from the basement!

Nature is beautiful

Atmospheric Optics

Very beautiful photographs and explanations of optical effects in nature.

I never knew there was a "fogbow"