Jan 29, 2013

Rationalization, in many words

"Let it be clear, my boy," Rebaudengo explained, all formality now gone. "What I produce are not forgeries but new copies of genuine documents that have been lost or, by simple oversight, have never been produced, and that could and should have been produced. It would be forgery if I were to draw up a certificate of baptism from which it appeared - forgive the example - that you were a son of a prostitute, born near Odalengo Piccolo," and he chuckled with amusement at such a shameful idea. 
"I would never dream of committing such a crime because I am an honorable man. But if you had an enemy, so to speak, who sought to get hold of your inheritance, and you knew he was definitely not the child of your mother or your father but of a whore from Odalengo Piccolo, and that he had conveniently lost his certificate of baptism in order to obtain your inheritance, and if you were to ask me to produce that missing certificate in order to confound that rogue, I would assist, so to speak, the truth by proving what we know to be true, and I would have no remorse."
From The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco 

Jan 28, 2013


No one needs better health care more than the South, but it fights it off so long as Obama is offering it, its governors turning down funds for Medicaid. This is a region that rejects sex education, though its rate of teenage pregnancies is double and in places triple that of New England. It fights federal help with education, preferring to inoculate its children against science by denying evolution.
No part of the country will suffer the effects of global warming earlier or with more devastation than the South, yet its politicians resist measures to curb carbon emissions and deny the very existence of climate change—sending it to the dungeon with evolution and biblical errancy. 

Jan 24, 2013

Cheese fire

No, not the type you get after eating fondue.

In Norway, a truck full cheese caught fire and burned for six straight days.
"This high concentration of fat and sugar is almost like petrol if it gets hot enough," said Viggo Berg, a policeman.
Link courtesy of kottke.org

Jan 18, 2013

Winning and human decency

On Grantland, Klosterman and Gladwell discuss Manti Te'o's made up girlfriend. Skipping over this topic for a 
Or remember Pete Sampras playing an epic five-setter with Jim Courier just after hearing that his coach, Tim Gullikson, had suffered what appeared to be his third stroke within three months, on his way to dying of brain cancer. Deep in the match, a spectator yells out, "Win it for your coach, Pete," and Sampras, suffering through severely blistered feet, bursts into tears. 
The crucial element of this kind of story is that the off-the-field tragedy does not diminish the importance of the game (as you would expect, logically, that it might). It makes the athlete take his task even more seriously. Sampras goes on to win the match. (Of course.)

In that epic Courier-Sampras match, when Sampras breaks down in tears, Courier says to him: "You all right, Peter? We can do this tomorrow, you know." Here we have part of the reason why Sampras was a better tennis player than Courier: Sampras is the kind of person who could block out the real world (the impending death of his coach) in the service of winning another tennis match. Courier couldn't. He saw someone suffering and wanted to set tennis aside. But if Courier wasn't the better player, for his decency he is certainly the better human being, isn't he?
Do we like Sampras or Brett Favre because they care less about people than winning?

Jan 11, 2013

Weather IS getting weirder

From kottke.org:
China is enduring its coldest winter in nearly 30 years. Brazil is in the grip of a dreadful heat spell. Eastern Russia is so freezing -- minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and counting -- that the traffic lights recently stopped working in the city of Yakutsk. 
Bush fires are raging across Australia, fueled by a record-shattering heat wave. Pakistan was inundated by unexpected flooding in September. A vicious storm bringing rain, snow and floods just struck the Middle East. And in the United States, scientists confirmed this week what people could have figured out simply by going outside: last year was the hottest since records began.

Jan 10, 2013

Morning routine

I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning if my face is a little puffy I'll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

A day with Hunter S. Thompson

Jan 4, 2013

How do you view Twitter?

Josh Miller asked his fifteen year old sister about how she views different technologies. This is what she had to say about Twitter:
“Nobody uses it. I know you love it but I don’t get it. I mean, I guess a a few kids use it but they’re all the ones who won’t shut up in class, who always think they have something important to say.”
More here about her views of Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. 

Sherlock doing what he does

Jan 2, 2013