Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Friday, February 27, 2004
 
A couple of articles from yesterday's Slate.
Laurie Snyder's Whence the Beef? - The gruesome trip from pasture to platter (and how to ensure that it's not so bad).
Daniel Gross's Hummer vs. Prius:
The surprising winner in the war for America's auto soul.


The last one made me happy.
 
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
 
Genocide in Darfur, Western Sudan

Some serious news. A Washington post article about an unnoticed genocide going on in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
"Despite efforts by the regime to stop it, a widening stream of information is reaching the international community, from tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to Chad (which shares a long border with western Sudan), and according to accounts from within Darfur. Amnesty International has led the way in reporting on Darfur; one of its recent releases speaks authoritatively of countless savage attacks on civilians by Khartoum's regular army, including its crude Antonov bombers, and by its Arab militia allies, called "Janjaweed."
-----
The racial animus is clear from scores of chillingly similar interviews with refugees reaching Chad. A young African man who had lost many family members in an attack heard the gunmen say, "You blacks, we're going to exterminate you." Speaking of these relentless attacks, an African tribal leader told the U.N. news service, "I believe this is an elimination of the black race." A refugee reported these words as coming from his attackers: "You are opponents to the regime, we must crush you. As you are black, you are like slaves. Then the entire Darfur region will be in the hands of the Arabs." An African tribal chief declared that, "The Arabs and the government forces . . . said they wanted to conquer the whole territory and that the blacks did not have a right to remain in the region."

There can be no reasonable skepticism about Khartoum's use of these militias to "destroy, in whole or in part, ethnic or racial groups" -- in short, to commit genocide.
"
-----

An article on the Genocide, from Afrol.

Amnesty International's Page
on the subject.

Rememember, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees helps refugees.
 
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
 
GO BEARS!

Wowza. Check out

CalPhotos.

"CalPhotos is a collection of 60,451 images of plants, animals, fossils, people, and landscapes. A variety of organizations and individuals have contributed photographs to CalPhotos. Please be aware that these various contributors maintain copyright and follow the usage guidelines provided with each image. "

Respecting Copyright is a good thing, and three cheers for a website that makes it easier to do that. And what fantastic photos.

courtesy of linkfilter.
 
 
Why I love Online Journalism writing:
You get nicely technical, nitty-gritty articles on things like legal and political ramifications of CA Attorney General Bill Lockyer's response to the San Francisco Gay Marriages from Slate's Dahlia Lithwick--with great sentences like this:
"So, while Lockyer seems to be dragging his feet in California, Pryor was not exactly Speedy Gonzales when it came to ousting Moore."

We all know what she's talking about, it's fun, it's not cliche, and she isn't talking down to us. Good stuff.
 
Monday, February 23, 2004
 
GAH.
Ignoring the First Amendment: Bizarre Homeland Security Issues & Scientific Publishing.


Let me open this up with a quote from the First Amendment, as it hangs above my bed, emblazoned on an American Flag:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peacably to assemble, and to petittion the governemnt for a redress of grievances.

Okay. Got that? Now read this quote from a 2/19/04 Nature article that was forwarded to me by my sister:

"Iranians struggling to secure free speech at home are
facing a fresh set of restrictions from the US government.

The US Department of the Treasury has ruled that editing or publishing
scientific manuscripts from Iran,
Libya, Sudan and Cuba violates the trade embargo on these countries. And
US publishers and scientific societies are divided over how to respond.

. . . .
Questions about interactions with Iran first arose in 2001 when the IEEE
tried to rent a conference room at a Tehran meeting, and was
told that this would violate the US trade embargo. In ensuing
conversations between the organization and the treasury department's
Office of Foreign Assets Control, it emerged that publishing could also
be restricted. According to a 30 September 2003 letter from the
office, editing content from an author in a restricted country is
"prohibited ... unless specifically licensed."


Excuse me? Excuse me? Editing content is prohibited?
Not just in matters of national security. Not science that has to do with bombs or weapons. No, just anything. Period. Prohibited.

This would appear to violate the First Amendment. It's also really stupid policy. How are you going to offer bright dissident scientists a ticket out if they can't publish here?

Dr. Marc Brodsky at the American Institute of Physics told me that "no one has asked us to comply" yet, so for now it's business as usual there. IEEE apparently took the initiative to ask the treasury department what they were allowed to do. (Click here for IEEE's statement, thanks to Rishi!) As far as I can tell, OFAC hasn't actually gone after other organizations and complained about their publishing scientific work originating in these countires. And according to IEEE's website, they have clarified with OFAC that even under the embargo laws, it is not publishing but editing which can be construed as a violation. But in my even that kind of prohition is a violation of the First Amendment.

Even if this policy isn't being implemented in any real way by G-men, this quote from the Nature article:

"At a meeting in Washington on 9 February, David Mills, the treasury
official in charge of implementing the policy, told
representatives of 30 publishers that anyone wanting to publish papers
from Iran should seek a licence from the treasury
department. He also suggested that US scientists collaborating with
Iranians could be prosecuted."

is disturbing in its reflection of this administration's attitude towards science and foreign policy. Publishers shouldn't be in the business of asking for licenses.

Seattle Times article on the issue.
 
 
The Alabaman National Guard Brigadier General and the Donor List; Arabian Nights & Photography; some notes from Tom Paine

Buried in Atrios/Eschaton's prolific posting , an item entitled Fact Checking:

"It's time for the media to recognize that they cannot put everything the RNC and their goons claim as fact into print. They lie. When you print their lies, you are lying too."

Ouch. The article he cites (as an example of fact-checking, not of lying) is fascinating: a blow by blow account of figuring out why people to think that Brig. General Turnipseed, the first man quoted as not recallling Bush in the AL National Guard, is a Democrat--when, in fact, he is a loyal Bush voter.
Reading this, I would like to know the answer to two totally tangential questions. 1) Why is he a loyal Bush voter? and 2)Is it not odd (and nothing more) that there are not only two different people named Turnipseed in this article, but two different people named Calhoun? Or is that just the way the South is? Update: my clever sister points out the article quotes first says,
"That's largely because, in the past two weeks, Turnipseed's credibility, even to some extent, his reputation, have come under fire.

Conservative columnist William F. Buckley Jr. snickered in his nationally syndicated column that Turnipseed had "a name Charles Dickens would have lost sleep for not having invented."

and then caps off the article with:
"Friday afternoon, the Register contacted the Bush-Cheney'04 campaign and informed it of the true identity of the Edwards donor. Reed Dickens, a Southeast region spokesman, called back with a short response.

Said Dickens, "The statement was inaccurate, and we regret it."


I guess Dickens isn't losing much sleep at all.

------
And now for somethings completely different.

1001 Arabian Nights

A lovely website that allows you to navigate through the chaotic and charming confusion that is 1001 Arabian Nights. Asad loaned me his copy from class when we were Juniors, and I was so loathe to give it back to him I think I only finally did when he left for graduate school more than a year later. That edition, by Husain Hadawy, was particularly lyrical, apparently aimed at a direct translation that does not smooth out the edges. As one reviewer from Amazon writes, "It has a feeling of authenticity, as if it is truely an oral story being passed down through the ages, as it once was." Another reviewer writes, "Previous translators have sought to colorize or edit the tales, but here the translator sought to stay true to the text." Referring, probably, to the old and classic translations by Andrew Lang & Sir Richard Burton, which are what power the website---nonetheless, they are still a lot of fun.


Photography.

While working on last week's New Media story (which didn't get nearly enough play on this play. It was a lot of fun, I was just totally exhausted by the time it finished. Get the hint? Go read it, please! ) I was repeatedly and viscerally struck by the power of good photography. I am lucky to work with some of the best photographers in our class in New Media. Lane Johnson, my partner from last week, only took photography with me last semester, but wow, isn't he talented! As I told my professor from last semester, "Perhaps I didn't do so wonderfully in your class but I did learn to spot the great photographers." Waiting with breathless anticipation for the upcoming website of professional photographer and classmate Alexandra Huddleston.
I think the web is a particularly powerful place for showcasing photography, what with the proliferation of beautiful new LCD screens. The Justly Married shots Patrick Nielsen Hayden used in his "Our Fellow Americans" post I noted yesterday lead me to some more interesting sites, and I thought I'd just repost a few photography websites here.

Ephemera.org -- from the man who brought you Justly Married.
Heather Champ --apparently, his fiancee.
Rachel Brown --formerly Rachel Giese. Ireland, among other subjects.
Stephanie Sinclair
One of Moises Saman's Newsday Photojournals from Iraq.
And the legendary war photographer James Nachtwey.



--------------
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

A note from Richard Blow on TomPaine about last week's gossip-burst. This is a little weird--in some sense Blow is writing about people like me (though I was only ever engaging in meta-observation of the story), and I am in the process of researching a paper about people like him--i.e. people who wrote for George Magazine and similar political publications, and what they envisioned.

And an article by Berkeley Linguist George Lakoff about "gay marriage" and "civil unions," also from TomPaine. As usual I find his tone somehow subtly lacking in objectivity; while I certainly don't believe that objectivity (or the pretense of objectivity) requires one give equal play to both sides (or all sides) of an issue, it still seems he's not quite playing fair* somehow. I rather like his conclusion as a general concept:

"The media does not have to accept the right wing's frames. What can a reporter ask besides "Do you support gay marriage?" Try this: "In San Francisco, there has been a lot discussion of the freedom to marry, as a matter of equal rights under the law. How do you feel about this?"

Reframing is everybody's job.
"

especially since I'm generally in favor of attempts at reframing and thinking out of the box. But I'm still grappling with the continual ability of certain thinkers from my beloved alma mater to make my back stiffen and my reactionary side come out even when I basically agree with them. Ah well, Go Bears.

And I didn't know there was a Rockridge Institute! More west coast think tanks are always a good thing, though I'd be more enthusiastic if I could find an address.

*An intuitive way of assessing objectivity proposed to my National Reporting class by the incomparable Bill Blakemore last week.


 
Sunday, February 22, 2004
 
San Francisco's Gay Marriages, Shakespeare, Flowers, Cambodia, History, and Love.


Wow, I hadn't really absorbed the impact of the events in San Francisco. I just woke up, and couldn't go back to sleep, so I surfed on over to Electrolite: Our fellow Americans. Amazing. And you can send them flowers. With blessings from the King of Cambodia. Some interesting letters over at TalkingPointsMemo--I found this one especially telling:

"Josh,
I'm 62 years old and grew up in Missouri. When I married my first wife, who as Japanese American, we had to do so in another state. At that time it was against Missouri state law for interracial marriages to take place. Times change.

40 years later the pain of that state-sanctioned inequality, which made some couples second-class citizens, still stirs an old, deep-felt resentment.
"


Some more of the photos. Some of my favorites:
Groom in a kilt.
Bride in a White Shalwar Kameej with Bride in an Embroidered Brown one.
Political Art with Abe Lincoln.


Tangentially, I recently stumbled upon these photos of courthouse weddings. I certainly belong to a generation for whom marriage often doesn't really matter that much as a legal institution, yet here are people to whom it clearly does. (Stumbling thanks to blogger Robert Stribley.)
 
Saturday, February 21, 2004
 
A little bit of silliness, since it's the weekend.

Saheli Datta

Siamese Fighting Fish
Agility
9
|Strength
5
|Stamina
8

Battle Rating
22

Origins
Saheli Datta was hatched from an ancient egg, uncovered in the arctic


Can your fishy beat Saheli Datta ?



(type in your name, please.)



 
 
Same-sex marriage certificates briefly issued in New Mexico.

And it's not just San Francisco anymore folks. The times, they are a'changin'.
 
Friday, February 20, 2004
 
And we're Live.

Why oh why didn't I choose a print concentration. . .
 
 
Journalism professor fights back.

Grrrr-ah.
 
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
 
Patronizing the Deaf

Neil Gaiman writes about a story I would dearly love to report on. . .but no time, no time.

Palm Beach Post: FCC cuts funding for tons of closed captioning for the deaf, apparently using a rather patronizing criteria.

National Association for the Deaf posts a list of disapproved and approved shows and their press release.
 
 
Belated Disclosure from the WashingtonPost almost shouldn't be an editorial, since the editorializing part (disclosure is good, and should be made in time to be useful) is almost so trivially obvious as to not serve as an opinion. Read it for the reporting.
Information about our public life may not be free but it sure needs to be. Thanks to Brian.
 
 
Haiti not doing it for you, Secretary? Whaddaya need?

Cheerleaders with Pom-Poms? Motivational Speakers? Wolfowitz breathing down your neck?

''There is frankly no enthusiasm right now for sending in military or police forces to put down the violence,'' Powell said of the strife that has left 60 dead as armed gangs push to topple President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Who cares about Haiti anyway?
 
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
 
Awesome. I made it onto Dave Barry's Blog. Thanks, Judi "Stealth Bloggerette" Smith!
 
Monday, February 16, 2004
 
Money Makes the World Go Around.

You know what? Let's stop talking about sexual scandal. Let's stop talking about military scandal. Let's even stop talking about Iraq or the environment. Let's just talk about something we know all Americans believe in. Money.
More concise observations by Joshua Micah Marshall:

"Even my frail grasp of mathematics tells me that's a deterioration in the nation's fiscal health of roughly three-quarters of a trillion dollars in the three years he's been in office. And for almost all of that time the president's party controlled both houses of congress.

And he says the Democrats are a danger to the nation's fiscal health?

This is the arsonist in your house telling you that stranger outside with the hose can't be trusted."


and Brad DeLong:


"It turns out that, at least as far as economic policymaking is concerned, things inside the Bush White House were worse than I had imagined possible--even though I thought that I had already taken account of the principle that things are generally worse than you imagine. "
 
 
We Didn't Start The Fire is a lovely flash animation that cheered me up. Thanks to Rishi.
 
 
The Law of Karma Applies with A Vengence to Journalism.

Greetings to all the clickers from counterspin.blogspot.com. You're probably here because of the Spectator Story.

I have to say, I'm not totally pleased with how I came off in that, though I feel, oh, just a little ridiculous, about complaining. On Friday, besides confirming that a certain Name did in fact belong to a former student at the J-school, I did not actually do anything to investigate that Name other than keep track of changing Google and Google News searches on it. I never had any enthusiasm for the story itself, just for the opportunity I had to watch it actually develop on the web virtually from its start. Yesterday I felt bad that I had displayed even that much interest because of how drastically the Name's Google profile had changed. It's not because I think I actually changed the situation, but still. You can use the archive links to go see this for yourself. I also think that the headline might be slightly confusing--I don't know of anyone who verified rumors one way or the other; in the end, apparently, all the Journalism students I know aborted their interest in actively investigating the story within a few hours. In fact, my very blogging about this is pretty ridiculous--I haven't been to the school since Friday afternoon and have actually, believe it or not, been working on other stuff all weekend. But to me this story is not about The Story, but about how quickly someone's virtual footprint can shift and grow.

So, again, if you want to read about Columbia Journalism Students investigating The Name, your best bet is to go the ultracasual, though you're likely to be disappointed there too. His permalinks don't seem to be working, scan down a few entries to the on Friday.

Oliver likes to say that we sometimes learn more in a week's worth of blogging than in a semester of class. I'm getting a little exhausted with this learning process. Inspired by the dynamics of more significant blogs in this latest brouhaha, MemeFirst's Felix Salmon has a long, nice looking post on the ethics of blogging that I'm going to ruminate over later; feel free to look at it now. Or you can look at Rhian Salmon's lovely, lovely photograph of an ice cave in Antarctica. Mmmm, science.
 
Sunday, February 15, 2004
 
The Jon Stewart Daily Show clips are on Comedy Central. Requires Real Audio. Worth it.

Meet the Prez: Summary of the Meet the Press Interview

The Press Corps: A Jon Stewart Editorial

The Wrath of Khan.

Crying Wolfowitz.

Interesting commercial that plays afterwards.
 
 
Fixed my visited states map, finally.
 
 
Rehabilitating a Byline's Google Rankings

Okay, so I officially feel bad about my little contribution to the Google deranking of an admirable and once strong byline. It's amazing how in two days a Google search can go from bringing up interesting and important articles by a talented AP writer to bringing up pages of inaccurate squalor. So in the small hope that my little blog can try and make up some of the difference, despite it's low Google toolbar PageRank of 4/10, I'm going to link back to some of those great articles. If enough pages of rank link back to these articles, they may bubble back up in the Google rankings. Fight the system!
-------------------


Searching for Alex Polier or Alexandra Polier? Read these.

Young People Without Health Insurance

Helping Men Getting Back On Their Feet Get Dressed

Magic Johnson Promoting HIV Drugs.

Teens Spend Billions on Prom.

The Athleticism of Modern Ballroom Dancing.

Building a Better Education While Building a Robot

-------
Alex Polier Alexandra Polier Alex Polier Alexandra Polier Alex Polier Alexandra Polier
I've posted a text file with the HTML source for the above set of links on my webpage so that you can copy and paste it into yours. (You have click right click for save as, download the file, then open it up in Notepad-- IE, at least, automatically starts interpretting the html.) Let's see what a little linking can do.
----

Oh, and while you searchers are here: Donate Blood! Support Civil Society! Please! Thanks.
 
 
I don't know much about San Francisco's new mayor Gavin Newsom. My more liberal friends still in the Bay Area didn't like him, while Salon.com's lefty Joan Walsh seemed pretty contemptuous of his rival. But from this distance it seems possible that he might be a political and financial genius. He's just reshaped his base. It can't possibly actually cost the city $82 to file a marriage license. Some high percentage of that $82,000 gross take has got to be filling San Francisco's badly starved coffers. There are a lot of gay people in California who are angry about the discriminatory backlash they suddenly face, a lot of committed families wanting to make a statement. I'm hoping this can make the city at least a quarter of a million before it gets stopped. Make a political statement and raise some money for the other The City? Sounds good to me.
 
 
"They should try Craigslist," writes Scott, suggesting novel layers of sophistication for the CIA's brilliant new means of searching for WMD's. I wonder if they'd even be ranked among the best. Or perhaps they should file under rants & raves.
 
Saturday, February 14, 2004
 
I think this Economist article is my favorite of the history of Valentine's Day round ups.
 
 
Ha! I knew that rattle snakes love each other.
Harry Greene gave a talk to the Society of Cal Integrative Biology UnderGraduateS (SCIBUGS) back when I was secretary and he was still at Berkeley, and he was all excited to tell us that he had just observed rattlesnake mommies being tender to their babies.

Anyway, I prefer my Mommy any day. Remember elementary school when we didn't buy our valentines but made them out of construction paper and old lace? Well in that spirit of general love, Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
 
Friday, February 13, 2004
 
Excellent. Good triumphs over. .. evil? Well, definitely mischief.
Though I find my classmates' and Wonkette's insistence that the lack of publication of "the name" in domestic papers is some kind of Rubicon somewhat disingenous. Hello, people. It's called the WORLD wide web.

 
 
What a confusing world we live in. If these Military Records are so comprehensive, why didn't he just release them 2000?
 
 
Yay, I think it's all over. Credit to Wonkette.
 
 
Someone who shall go unnamed just introduced me to the timesuck that is the best of Craigslist (and no, I don't recommend you go digging around there) and I rather enjoyed this one:"You should speak in English!" - a Fairfax moment retrospective
 
 
Oliver Ryan's sister-in-law starts a blog about her intensive course at the French Culinary Institute:

"But I will share a little lesson in agriculture. According to the University of California Agricultural Extension, it takes about 23 gallons of water to produce a pound of potatoes. And so it could be argued that with each potato we slice apart into little Cocotte morsels, we are sacrificing almost six gallons of water. That’s almost three flushes on the water-saving toilet we just had installed. The toilet that, ehem, only gets flushed when absolutely necessary."

 
 
Valentine's Day = Hearts = blood, yay!

Remember, tomorrow many places are having a blood drive!! Donate Blood! And keep it up! Please! Thank you!

 
 
A certain caustic friend of mine who wishes not to be named, cuts to the chase as usual:

"That story is bull----. You can be a drunk and a coke-head, talk to (a) God, lie to send thousands to their untimely death, and choke on pretzels but you're politically poisonous if you f--- some chick. . . This story was broken by the Sun ...
The Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Rupert Murdoch is an uber c--------- Republican. His corporation is the propaganda wing of this administration. Media regulations have been obliterated under Bush..."

and Brian adds the voice of mellow reason:

"Isn't this story lame? I mean, you have a guy who's a career politician and married to an heiress; does anyone really expect that he hasn't messed around. It's a terrible thing to say, I guess, but at this point I really think that these baby-boom generation politicians all have similar skeletons in their closets."



 
 
I guess this makes me officially trashier than Wonkette. But I still hold that once it's on Google news, it's on Google news.
 
 
So yeah, it seems like I didn't screw up, and the Google News engine really did just make the connection between the two stories that name Ms. Polier and the rest of the Kerry dross.
Searching for "Alex Polier" & "John Kerry" on Google Web, however, still pulls up nothing. . .not even this page! Oh, I'm so wounded.

New thought: So let's see how long it takes Google's spiders to come and find me. . .
 
 
Wow, it's happening right before my very eyes. My idealistic classmates, previously bent on saving the world, are combing through the databases to find out about our newsworthy predecessor. Political sympathies aside, all someone has to do is toss us journalists the scent of a possible story, and we'll all converge upon the idea that this somehow matters.
 
 
Ha! Apparently the Dean won't let any of the students grab old copies of the facebook.
 
 
Update: 12:09 Whoah. Did I screw up, and just not see the other 44 articles that google news pulls up. . .or did the Google news search engine just in the last hour or so make the connection between those two articles and the rest of the articles on John Kerry's alleged affair? As far as I can tell, not all 44 of them have Polier's name.

Unfortunately, there's no way for me to check the exact same Google news search that I did about an hour ago. It is gone, gone forever. Alas.
 
 
Okay, so apparently it all started with The Sun. I find it highly amusing that it's gotten picked up by newspapers with severe time differences. Does this mean that the print news cycle still matters? And why isn't The Sun picked up on Google News? A lesson for me.
 
 
Check it out:
NYC24. Real. New York. Stories.

(it's more fun when you say it melodramatically like that.)

Check out Story Two! Prepare for Danger!
 
 
At 11:21 Eastern Time searching for "Alex Polier" on Google news gets you only this.

Apparently she graduated from the J-school last spring.

I think this is a silly story, but I am intrigued by the opportunity to watch it actually develop from the start. I just hope it sputters out and dies. Unlikely, of course.

Update: 11:49, EST. Aw yeah. Hindustan Times of India picks up the story. And ooh! The age changes. The place of exile changes. Lesson: don't trust anything you read in the early days. Perhaps in the later days. Just wait and see.

 
Thursday, February 12, 2004
 
Maybe I'm grumpy. But what the hell is this doing on the AP Wire? And on Salon's left hand side AP feed? I'm all for fun and quirky news, but this is pure
pandering to an idiotic PR stunt by a noxious corporation.
 
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
 
Why I wish I had a tv. Opens up a .mov file of Jon Stewart on the Meet the Press Bush interview.
 
 
What a surprise. Smoking sure is sexy. Courtesy of ultrafastx on linkfilter.
 
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
 
Fantasy and historical novelists take note. Make sure the world of your book has good roads before you use a pigeon to carry a major plot point.
 
 
A fascinating analysis of Bush's appearance on meet the press that gets mildly derailed by Saletan's overfondness of his Plato-Aristotle analogy; keep scrolling and read The Fray as a chaser.
 
Monday, February 09, 2004
 
I need to travel more. . .





create your own visited country map




create your own visited states map




Courtesy of pitpat
 
 
Wow. This is really stupid. Why is Sony being so stupid? The webmistress of Bollywhat has exactly the right idea, and if Sony wants to make money by promoting Indian films abroad, they should either encourage her or make their own website. They could even just give her permission. (Best Naseerudin Shah voice goes here)

"Idiots."





Even so they can't ruin the catchiness of a song that sounds a lot like
"Everybody sing SONY!" I guess I'll just have to sing along only half understanding what I'm saying. But I won't be giving this album to my non-desi friends anytime soon without a translation of the lyrics.

". . .It's the time to disco!. . ."

 
 
So Jet Blue has DirecTV. And I was really planning on sleeping through the night, and I mostly did. But not before I watched the President's interview on meet the press, as blogged by Talking Points Memo. And I found it disturbing on multiple levels, in ways that I would not have anticipated. It made me regret my policy of not generally not watching the president on TV unless absolutely necessary--I couldn't really evaluate his performance properly, having not seen enough of them previously.
 
 
You know, that wasn't so bad. Just landed at JFK---one of my earplugs magically disappeared before landing and I was ready to totally panic in anticipation of the pain of landing without them, considering how bad my landing in Oakland was with them. But I used my pinkies, and was resolute in leaving them in and yawning till we hit the ground, and it didn't hurt that much.
But it's such a silly problem to have and I really should do something about it. Otherwise I really like travelling.

An artcle about animal rights activists in Boulder who found GPS sensors on their cars. Strangely difficult to read, but maybe that's because it's so early. Thanks to Test Cod on linkfilter.
 
Sunday, February 08, 2004
 
If anyone can figure out how someone landed on my blog from Dave Barry's Blog I'll. . .try to give them a cookie.
[Does a doubletake]
Dave Barry Has a BLOG!
[Ceases to get any work done at all.]
 
Friday, February 06, 2004
 
Free Wireless at JFK! Now this is what I call an airport!
 
 
Once again it's either entirely too early or entirely too late to be at the Journalism School.
 
Thursday, February 05, 2004
 
"I really need to find an uptown boyfriend."--a classmate who lives in the East Village, somewhat daunted at the prospect of going home from Morningside Heights at 1 am.
 
 
"I had ideas about saving the world when I was young. They go away"--a speaker in my new media class, on working at a business magazine.
 
 
Some great posts, as usual, from Talking Points Memo, about GWB's dubious time in the National Guard:

"A couple weeks shy of turning thirty-five myself, I'm old enough to understand that the president was pretty much a kid when at least some of this stuff happened -- 22 when he signed up. But if the president is going to run this campaign covering himself in martial glory then this stuff is more than fair game -- especially if he's not coming clean about it.

And the probable Democratic nominee was a kid too -- and he took a different path."


And a little later, a great story suggestion:

"But clearly many guys who were lucky enough to get a slot in the Guard, but screwed up once they were there, found themselves shipped off to Vietnam. (That appears to have been the prescribed punishment -- though we're trying to track down if there were any relevant emendations -- for those who "failed to serve satisfactorily" in the Guard under Executive Order 10984 of 1961.)

A lot of those guys must be out there -- at least the ones who weren't killed during their service. A lot of the commanding officers who blew the whistle on them must be out there too. It would be interesting to do some reporting and find some guys who didn't get cut any slack and got shipped off. Seems like a national news organization could shed some light on that question with a little reporting.
"


 
 
In the so true department: Brad DeLong's Ten Year Old Questions the San Francisco Chronicle's News Judgment. I don't know if it's just the Chronicle, which I think often tries hard but somehow doesn't quite satisfy, or a commentary on the banalities of modern journalism in general.
 
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
 
A fascinating, if extremely technically informed and geeky 1986 Essay/Tallk:You and Your Research, by Richard W. Hamming, a well known former scientist at Bell Labs during its glory days. He spoke about how one could do significant scientific work, but it seems like it ought to apply fairly generally to all kind of long-term intellectual endeavors. A similarly gritty version for journalism would be fantastic. Courtesy of Kushal Chakrabarti, a student of my friend Lior.
 
 
Check out the Ultracasual Lifestyle. Produced by one of my colleagues.
 
 
17 Cried the Hum-Blog!

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 17.
What is your score? Get it here.
 
 
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! The ground is covered in slush, but look at the sky, the sky. . .
 
 
While I suppose it is possible for this allegedly racist dog to have been trained to bite black children, or even somehow to have something against them, I would be wary of drawing such a conclusion from two data points.

I'm more worried about the fact that the dog bites children, period.
 
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
 
Donate Blood.

Today my friend Scott, who is a deeply committed blood donor, sent out a mass email Call To Action asking his friends to join him at the Oakland Red Cross's Valentine's Day Single's blood drive. He writes,

"They need your donations thoughout the year, especially in winter, but this is a great opportunity to meet some cute, pre-screened fellow donors with guaranteed social conscience.

Appointments can be made anywhere, almost any time, by calling:
1-800-GIVE-LIFE
1-800-448-3543

Pease take this chance to feel good about helping out. Please pass the invitation and request along to anyone you want. Please remember this is just as important a month after Valentine's Day, or any time of the year."


If you're in the Bay Area on Valentine's day, go to the Rockridge Center in Oakland, CA, and he might help you pick someone up! Actually, I don't see why there isn't a blood drive for couples--seems like saving lives together is pretty romantic. See below for some links for finding your local blood center.

I spent most of today listening to the stories of sufferers of Hepatitis C , many of whom were diagnosed when they donated blood. There are a lot of people who are not eligible to donate blood--some for obviously good reasons, like people with Hepatitis C or HIV, some for somewhat silly reasons (gay males, despite the fact that straight women are just about as likeley to have HIV), and some for really odd reasons--me, for instance. I can't give blood because I've spent more than three months in the UK between 1980 and 1996. Apparently this implies that I might have mad-cow disease, which is particularly galling because I don't eat cow and never have. But, those are the rules. This means that it's even more crucial that those of you who are eligible to donate blood please do so. You can see if you're eligible to donate blood here.

According to this press release, New York City is experiencing a crucial shortage of even frozen O-positive blood, the most common type.

  • A New York City Blood Drive on February 12, 2004


  • New York Blood Center.


  • East Bay Blood Donation Centers.


  • New England Blood Services.


  • Southern California Blood Services.


  • Find a blood center near you.



  • ----


    And an article in the Berkeley Science Review that talks about the ban on blood from those who have spent extended amounts of time in the U.K. (a pdf file.)
     
    Monday, February 02, 2004
     
    Today's Gratuitous Muppet Moment brought to you by the letter S. . .

    This Salon article has a dubious thesis that speaks to everything I dislike in American politics--though if its premise is correct, more power to John Kerry this time around. More importantly though, it rather randomly features this great link.
     
     
    For all of you people worried about cellphones and brain tumors: more evidence that you can stop worrying. Courtesy of ultrafastx on linkfilter.
     
     
    This Election 2004 Presidential Tracking Poll from Rasmussen certainly gives one food for thought. As Crooked Timber points out, it's all dependant on how good Rasmussen is.
     
     
    Noooo!!! Six more weeks of Winter!!! b I want to go home.
     
     
    At least Salon doesn't only go for the jugular in its assessment of Wesley Clark's blink rate---it does point out the good with the bad. While this is fascinating--and almost turned into a fascinating piece of science writing--I really hope it doesn't become a campaign issue.
     
    Sunday, February 01, 2004
     
    Renee has a blog. As usual, she manages to do exciting things, like go to Mexico. I want to go to Mexico.
     
     
    My colleague Oliver Ryan ruminates on Janet Jackson's Superbowl exposure, something I missed,having spent the evening sans Superbowl. And just as he predicted, the spin begins.
     
     
    More mathematical art by Helaman Ferguson. This stuff is much more organic looking and obviously aesthetic than Snelson's work, but also a little more staid. The website needs a bit of maintenance. This snowflake is lovely.
    Courtesy of Sudeep.
     
     
    Engineering geek names son version 2.0 Cuz, you know, it's just so
    hard to just give the kid a new name.
     
    Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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    Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
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    Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
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    The Decembrist
    Brad DeLong
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    Green Ink!
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    Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
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