Daily Archives: October 4, 2011

Amazon Kindle: Promises Broken, But I Still Want One. Well, Two.

The Amazon Kindle originally promised a technology that would improve your reading experience, at the same time cutting the cost of books in half. Those books would arrive on your Kindle through the magic of the Whisper Net, a free space age delivery service. The Kindle itself would be easier to use, lighter weight, and more readable than an actual book.

Well, there’s good news and bad news. As the Kindle technology and the eBook market have developed, all of those original promises have become either vapor or else very different than first imagined. Nonetheless, I want a new-old Kindle as well as a Kindle Fire. Let me ‘splain.
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Michael Mann … the Hockey Stick guy … speaks to the deniers

… Martin Hertzberg did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and my climate scientist colleagues …

It’s hard to imagine anyone packing more lies and distortions into a single commentary. Mr. Hertzberg uses libelous language in characterizing the so-called “hockey stick” — work of my own published more than a decade ago showing that recent warming is unusual over at least the past 1,000 years — as “fraudulent,” and claiming that it “it was fabricated from carefully selected tree-ring measurements with a phony computer program.”

These are just lies, regurgitation of dishonest smears that have been manufactured by fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers, and those who do their bidding by lying to the public about the science.


There is a lot more where that came from. Read it here.

I also recommend the commentary on Class M (and a hat tip)

Even Better than a Halloween Costume: Life Size Cutouts!

i-5416f37bac4a14e72a0f7ce2d58a80fa-Justin_Beiber.jpgI went to graduate school to study Anthropology, so naturally, there was very little funding. Some semesters, I paid the bills working as an administrative assistant for one Harvard Muckimuck or another, often at the Kennedy School of Government, but for a while, at the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. There, I was the assistant to the director, a man named Marvin Kalb. There is a chance you’ve heard of him as well as his brother, Bernard. Kalb was the Shorenstein Center’s original director and Edward R. Murrow Professor of Press and Public Policy. His brother Bernard is a journalist as well.

Working for Kalb was a blast.
Continue reading Even Better than a Halloween Costume: Life Size Cutouts!

Alabama “Church or Jail” plan awaits AG’s opinion

Remember the question of mixing church ad state in Old Dixie? It apears that the City Council of Bay Minette, where people who committed low level offenses were to be given the option of messing with the law or having the whole thing just “go away” if they went to church for a year, are slowing down their rush into the abyss. They have asked the Alabama attorney general’s opinion first.

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Nobel Prize for Physics: Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, Adam Riess

“In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role. …

“The two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected — this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. … For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice.

“The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma — perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.”

— the academy

What a Difference a Century Can Make

At the beginning of the 20th century, a traveler in Central Africa made mention of some strange people that he had come across. He was traveling among regular, run-of-the-mill natives…probably Bantu-speaking people living in scattered villages and farming for their food. But along the way, strange people came out of the forest. These strange people had sloping foreheads; they were short of stature, bow-legged and otherwise misshapen. They also clearly were, in the eyes of the traveler, of subhuman intelligence. The traveler described these people as a separate, subhuman race that lived in the forest. As I read this, I began to think that perhaps he was speaking of so-called “Pygmies” who live in this region, and as I began to think that, I started to get mad at this writer because so-called “Pygmies” do not look or act as he described.

Then, the writer totally surprised me by noting (I paraphrase) that “unlike the Pygmies, who live in these forests and are of perfectly proportioned shape and appearance, these subhuman creatures were rather grotesque.”

Continue reading What a Difference a Century Can Make