Friday, August 25, 2006

Why I was never good at science

I have been accused of "thinking too much" on more than one occasion, and without taking on the inherent value judgment of such a claim, I will say it's not a new phenomenon. When I was a kid in grade school and they taught us about the atomic theory and matter and molecules, I became so fixated on the notion that the vast majority of any object is actually space (this was how I heard what they were saying) that I couldn't move past that notion to whatever was next on the syllabus. Everyone else was talking about molecular structures and I was still thinking "shit, my chair is 90% space!"

Here it is something like 30 years later and I still find it all jaw-droppingly fascinating in a "goll-ee" kind of way.

And now it seems that scientists have found proof that dark matter does exist. Dark matter is like the Racer X to regular matter's Speed. It is almost invisible and it doesn't absorb or give off light. This week's National Geographic reports:

Scientists calculate that dark matter makes up about 25 percent of the universe.

By contrast, ordinary matter—the stuff that makes up stars, planets, and everything on Earth—makes up no more than about 5 percent of the universe.

The other 70 percent of the universe, scientists believe, is made of dark energy, an even more elusive force that is pushing the universe apart at an ever increasing rate.
That is some cool shit, folks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In context

Okay, Ed sent me the link for the Forbes article on marriage and prostitution and it appears that Salon quoted Noer out of context. The substance of that particular article (the one with the stellar wife/whore coke/pepsi analogy) was a summary of someone else's economic argument. I'm not saying Noer is a bra-burner or anything, just trying to be accurate here.

Who says we want to marry you?

Colin sent me a copy of this story. Normally I don't link to salon articles because of the extended hassle to actually read anything on their site, but this one is worth the trouble. Apparently Forbes published an article online called "Don't Marry Career Women" that, despite what you may think, was actually not a parody. The article has since been removed due to pressure from the blogosphere:
Sometime around 5:30 on Wednesday, Aug. 23, two days after its publication, "Don't Marry Career Women" disappeared from the Web site, along with an earlier story by Noer, titled "The Economics of Prostitution," in which he compared "wives" to "whores" and wrote that "the implication remains that wives and whores are -- if not exactly like Coke and Pepsi -- something akin to champagne and beer. The same sort of thing."
I mean, I don't even know what to say. Forbes and Gibson--the boycott list is growing. Really I just keep expecting to wake up to find this whole period of history was a bad, bad dream.

Here's another choice paragraph:
Noer's list went on. Rosie, your riveting bride, will be less likely to bear you children. If she does, she'll be unhappy because wealthier women are "used to 'a professional life, a fun, active, entertaining life,'" and will therefore be dismayed at the un-fun and un-entertaining responsibilities of child-rearing. If you marry one of these witches, "Your house will be dirtier," since studies show that a woman who makes more than $15 an hour "will do 1.9 hours less housework a week." Perhaps the saddest result of your careerist heterosexual union is that "You're more likely to fall ill." That because according to research he's unearthed, wives who work more than 40 hours a week "do not have adequate time to monitor their husband's [sic] health and healthy behavior, to manage their husband's [sic] emotional well-being or buffer his workplace stress."
Okay, I'll grant you the dirty house got me there.

Seriously, what the fuck is going on culturally that it's suddenly okay to say these outlandish things? It's not like I didn't know people still thought them but I thought we were past the point where it was okay to think them out loud. What do I know?

We are all refugee children

I know I've been living under a rock, but I only just heard of Gunter Grass' confession that he was a Waffen SS member as a teen. You know, I so want the world to be more black and white than it is. This news makes me really sad.


My biopsy results came back negative. I've never been so happy to fail a test in my life.

Barbie's dream tank

Here's something to entertain yourself with for at least a few minutes at work--make your own McDonalds sign. And while you're there, you can fill out the petition for McD's to drop their promotional with Hummer happy meals. (Though it does seem like a why-stop-there sort of issue to me. The girl happy meals are Barbies right now. I'm not really with that either. And then there's just the whole fact of McDonalds...but I digress.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When the rapture comes... don't even have to get out of your pjs.

Christianity is so freaking weird.

I mean, I know that's not a news flash or anything, but sometimes it just bears repeating. Thanks to C for the forward.

Friday, August 18, 2006

National Brotherhood Week

Here's one of those stories that has a sort of exponential bile-producing effect for me--Wal-mart and antisemitism. As if I needed more reasons to hate Wal-mart, they go and hire a bigoted Black as their PR manager. It reminds me of the infamous Hymietown comment that has made me forever wary of Jessie Jackson. It just makes no sense to be antisemetic if you're Black. You know, if you do a little research on the civil rights movement in the United States, you'll find that Jews were pretty much on the front lines. Not that it makes any more sense to be a racist Jews. Come on folks--we're all mud people in some folks eyes. Sigh.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How it's been lately

Andrea just sent me this in an email with the subject line "Someone else with your schedule."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Don't ask me to be rational

About this. Even though I know that something as asinine as a cartoon contest about the holocaust is pretty much designed to piss off the Jews and I'm only playing my part by getting enraged--oh well. This Jew is pissed off. "Why should questioning the Holocaust be a taboo?" they ask. And I'm brought back to the qotd below: Poor taste is nothing compared to immorality.

It's all so frustrating. It's such a scripted drama. This sort of shit is intended to make people like me say, "Gee we should just bomb the fuck out of those folks." All the better martyr-fodder, don't you know...

Red cape-bull-and so on.

(NB: The holocust may not have actually happened. The holocaust on the other hand...)

Pack up your troubles and smile, smile, smile

Via Shakespeare's Sister comes the news that Walmart's profits declined this quarter--first time in a decade. Not that America is wising up, mind you. It's the Germans. They didn't bite.

On the less jolly side of things is the news that there are as many Wal-mart employees in the US as high school teachers.

And rounding up the Wal-mart olio is the quote of the day, complements of Public Citizen's Wal-ocaust site: Poor taste is nothing compared to immorality.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Photo of the day

So Dell is recalling a zillion laptop batteries because they catch on fire. (And here let me say I am superstitious enough that if my laptop caught on fire I would totally take it as a sign from the god I don't believe in that it's time for a career change.)

The NYT has the story and this is the photo they ran this morning:

And this is the caption: A Dell notebook computer in Thomas Forqueran’s pickup truck caught fire in July, igniting ammunition in the glove box and then the gas tanks.

I know I'm going to hell but I found it amusing on so many levels.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Learning how to live right

So my life, as I've noted frequently recently, has been really event-filled of late--event-filled in the Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times" sort of way. I am really hoping things are mellowing. This week is totally groundhog week. Either K gets his cast off and I get happy biopsy results and the board approves my big project or we head into another who-knows-how-long of work and medical angst.

In the meantime, the Elbow and I rewarded ourselves for prevailing thus far with massages this weekend. He had Lucy Liu's little sister doing the honors, apparently--she danced a jig on his spine, or in his words, "she opened a can of whoop ass" on his back. Anyway, yeah--massages. If I can get out of work early enough tomorrow (and I'm still here right now at 8pm, so that tells you something), I'm going to get a pedicure before my evening meeting. And tonight after I do some more work from home, I plan to install myself in the tub and watch Shaun of the Dead on my Vaio.

In other news, my new car makes me way more ridiculously happy than a thing should. I have never had a new car and not only does it have that smell (who really cares about that smell honestly) it's zippy. Zoom zoom. And it's cute as hell. It looks like this.

All of which is to say, I guess, that I have now been pretty thoroughly corrupted by LA. And it feels pretty good.

Finding your way here

I don't think I've noted it before, but the two most frequent search terms, week in and week out, that people use to find this blog are "pronounce hegemony" and "Brazilian wax."

I really love that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How you know it's a California election

When Reuters' article about the candidates begins with a line like "Sporting new breasts..."

Which is to say, Mary Carey is running for governor again. She only managed to get 40 signatures on her petition to run as an independent (just 163,960 shy of the required number), so she's mounting a write-in campaign.

Have I mentioned that I love California? I do.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ill conceived

Some things just shouldn't be regarded as tee shirt fodder. That's all.

Joe quoted

From This Week on ABC: "I am not George Bush. I have been against George Bush on most things."

From today's "I'm a Loser" speech: "I went into public service to find solutions, not to point fingers. To unite, not to divide."

First, let's recognize that it's a really bad sign when you have to tell people "I am not George Bush." Second, if you don't want to be mistaken for GB, maybe you should think about hiring a different speechwriter. And third, when are the hawks going to stop labeling anyone who disagrees with the war--or who runs against them in an election "divisive." Fascism is the system you're looking for if you want national unification. Democracy is about debate.


In sum, I'm glad he lost. But then, I hate freedom, so what do I know?

Monday, August 07, 2006

First thing we do is kill all the yuppies

Picture taken at the Wolfgang Puck's counter today at lunch. I do love California. I really do.

Best Dilbert ever