Daily Archives: October 2, 2011

Bachmann’s Political Future?

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann in New Hampshire in June (Jason Claffey)

It is possible that Michele Bachmann could become the next President of the United States of America.

OK, that made me throw up a little in my mouth.

But more and more people are talking about her campaign crashing, even though she seems to have plans to go to New Hampshire.

From AP:

“Congress is too small for Michele,” said Jack Tomczak, a former political director for Bachmann’s congressional campaign. “Leadership has never given her the opportunity to do much. So I think she’s going to be looking for other avenues where she can be more successful.”

Maybe. But she does seem to be pressing forward:

The Minnesota Congresswoman will be in the Granite State from Oct. 9-12, including stops in Nashua, North Conway, Moultonborough, Henniker and then Hanover for the Oct. 11 debate at Dartmouth College, said Jeff Chidester, the candidate’s senior campaign adviser for New Hampshire.

My strong preference is that she stays in the presidential race long enough to not be able to run for Congress, embarrasses herself and her Tea Party a whole bunch, then fizzles.

The Three Best Halloween Costumes

With a science connection. OK, I admit not much of a science connection, but really, it’s hard to find them.

i-a2fc49baaf989cf8c2687d5a15fda273-man_in_ape_suit_halloween_costume-thumb-300x616-69617.jpgI’m trying to cover all the bases here, so I’ve got a suggestion for an adult, a child, and a dog.

For the adult, the obvious choice is this “Man in a Cage” costume, wherein a gorilla holds you in a cage. I’m not sure how much you have to pay the gorilla or if there are other options such as, maybe, an orang-utan. I’m sure this can easily be adapted to be a “Woman is a Cage” as you wish.

It is called the Man in a Gorilla Cage Costume and is available in fine costume stores on the east and west coast but probably not in the middle.

For the dog, the obvious choice is the Animal Planet Raptor Dog Costume. This will probably cause the other dogs to totally freak out. And cats. The cats will totally freak out. Or, even better, put this costume on your cat and see if the dog freaks out!


i-1f5b04bddca2b287b8a3660b6fbefaa0-infant_halloween_costume-thumb-300x281-69620.jpgAnd for the little one, this frog costume should do the trick. It is called the Little Frog Infant Costume, but really, it should be called the Little Infant Frog costume because as far as I can tell it is a costume of a frog to be worn by the little infant. But perhaps I’ve got that wrong.

For intermediate age children, you don’t need a costume. Do what I did when I was a kid, ever year and year after year: Get a cork and burn it. Let it cool down. Get your dad’s oldest and most beat up jacket. Smear the black stuff all over your face to make you look like you have been out in the woods too long and haven’t shaved, and wear the coat. If some wise-ass adult asks you what you’re supposed to be, you say “Your worst nightmare. Just give me the damn candy!” and you’ll be fine.

This Sandwich has a Subtext

I like to go into Subway and order a BLT.

“What would you like, sir?”

“A BLT on Italian.”

“Would you like bacon on that, sir?”

“Yes. This is a BLT.”

“What kind of cheese?”

“No cheese. Just a BLT.”

“Toasted?” (Read: “Cooked?”)

“Ah…yes, actually, that would be good.”

Wait for a minute while the BLT is “toasting” in the preternatural Subway oven.


“Yes. B-L-T.”

“Anything else on it?”

“Ah, yes. This is a BLT, so tomato would be good. BLT.”

“Anything else on it?”

“No, just mayo. That’s all.”

“Okay, anything else?”


Continue reading This Sandwich has a Subtext

Being Skeptical of Skeptics’ Skepticism

…I have spent a great deal of time reading blogposts and comments on skeptical sites on the Internet, and one important fact has become readily apparent: that many in our community aren’t aware of one of the most important things a skeptic should know.

I’ve seen opinions stated without any factual substantiation. I’ve seen self-styled “experts” make derisive comments about others’ lack of knowledge about a topic, only to find out that it was they who were, in fact, ill-informed. Why? Because too many of us don’t know what we don’t know.

That’s Skepticism and Ethics

Continue reading Being Skeptical of Skeptics’ Skepticism

If you link to something, do you own it?

Peter Van Buren Wikileaks Foreign Service State Department
Peter Van Buren, veteran US State Department foreign service officer: Linked to WikiLeaks, or merely linked to WikiLeaks?

When I first started working at the University of Minnesota over ten years ago, just when the WWW as we know it today was starting up, I found that Teh U had an interesting set of rules that were so crazy that it made me volunteer to be on the committees that made IT related rules so I could end the insanity. The insanity continued, of course. I remember asking the appropriate unit, at the time I was creating my first U-related web site, about the rule that said “If you link to an outside site you are responsible for whatever happens on that site.” Does this mean, I inquired, that if I am walking by a bank and glance at it while it is being robbed, that I’m a felon?

It too over six months for the appropriate unit to respond to my memo (which had about 20 questions on it). The answer was inadequate. But I digress.

Peter Van Buren, author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People has a blog, and on his blog he linked to a WikiLeaks disclosed item. Therefore, apparently, he is a bad person and must be fired.

As summarized by Wired:

Van Buren said he was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information — even though he had merely linked to documents that were already widely available on the internet. The cable was just one in a cache of more than 250,000 State Department cables that WikiLeaks allegedly obtained from former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning last year and has been posting piecemeal online with media partners in the U.S. and Europe since last November.

“In other words, a link to a document posted by who-knows-who on a public website available at this moment to anyone in the world was the legal equivalent of me stealing a Top Secret report, hiding it under my coat, and passing it to a Chinese spy in a dark alley,” Van Buren wrote this week.

I have no opinion of Van Buren or his work, but you can follow the links above to open more than one can of worms. Or can of something. Enjoy.