Archive for December 2008

Addicted to blogs

December 29, 2008

Counting comment feeds, I just set a new record for the number of feeds in my RSS reader:  302.

Mind you, I probably read 25% of those.  As for the rest, I use Google Reader as a blog bookmarking service.  It’s far easier than trying to have 275 or so additional bookmarks, with the added benefit that checking the ‘bookmark’ comes with all the recent content – and it’s searchable, to boot.

Anyone out there do something similar, either in terms of the number of feeds or use of Google Reader?

… o/t (in my own post, even):  I just noticed there are 1,650 comments on Rhetorical Wasteland.  I had no idea there were so many.  Kudos to my few dozen readers!

o/t 2:  This is post #1100!


When the police state comes – oh, it’s already here. And we are asking for more…

December 29, 2008

From Don’t Tase Me, Bro!

Citizen surveillance system, costing $2 million and composed of 13 closed-circuit cameras turns citizenry in to “virtual deputies” surveiling the border for signs of suspicious activity and illegality.  21 thousand virtual deputies from all across the USA have already volunteered, sending over 1000 reports of suspicious activity on the border. The result: one pot smuggling bust. BlueServo, a social networking site that is hosting the video feeds, sees opportunity to roll-out this participatory panopticon nationally.

When I learned about the panopticon it was a bad thing.  Other things that pop into my head when I read things like this:  Mass hysteria & collective delusion.

Where’s my TAZ, dammit?  I’m tired.

On not trusting doctors

December 29, 2008

Marcia Angell lays some deadly-fucking-serious smack down on the medical profession in a New York Review of Books article:

The problems I’ve discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of TheNew England Journal of Medicine.

In the case you think that’s a big claim to make, Angell backs it up with over 4000 more words.  Go read ’em. The topic isn’t new to me, but even I was somewhat shaken by the sheer amount and type of evidence Angell is able to muster.

Calvin & Hobbs’ Explanation of the Mentality of the Auto Industry

December 28, 2008


I’d say it’s also generally indicative of corporate capitalism, but yeah, it really does peg the auto industry.

h/t cnd

How not to write a poll question

December 24, 2008

I have to say I think this is a terrible poll question.  From the LE:


I say that for two reasons:

1) It’s written in a biased fashion.  It lends itself to a ‘yes’ answer as a result.  A good poll question is worded in a neutral manner.

2) I don’t think it’s the place of a newspaper to promote one religion, period.  This question does.

Oh and 3) It implicitly delegitimizes the celebration of Christmas as a secular, cultural holiday, which kind of dumps on the millions of people who celebrate the holiday without religion.

Boo on the Lebanon Express for running this question – and this is an extra-special boo, given in addition to the fact that since pretty much all of the questions aren’t scientific, the whole enterprise is useless as journalism.

It makes me wonder if he understands cause and effect

December 23, 2008

Shorter Hering: Science should be ignored when it’s not convenient.

Profgrrrrl on teaching

December 23, 2008

I found this post while cleaning up my site.  It’s not that old – from 2008 – but I hadn’t thought about it in some time.  It’s frackin’ awesome:

Why I Teach:

If I had to put it in a sentence, I’d say –> I teach to break down the barriers between research and everyday life.

I have an endless sense of curiosity about people and the world and I like to share it with others. What I share with students isn’t necessarily the content — I’m not a walking lecture, a trove of trivia, or anything like that. I am an observer, a reflector, a processor. I share with my students a way of thinking, a position for viewing the world, a toolbox that will help them investigate whatever happens around them. At some level, my focus is always how to take theory and connect it to some human behavior/practice/social structure via research. This is my mission, whether starting with the theory and (dis)proving it via research on a human practice or starting with a human practice and connecting the phenomenon to an empirically proven theory.

Go read the rest.  That’s the kind of teaching I’d aspire to were I to enter the field.