Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We all liked Jack Klugman, and here's another reason why.

Just read this very nice piece over on Wonkblog, remembering Jack Klugman not just for his acting chops but for a little known piece of his life. He helped get the Orphan Drug Act of 1982 through an obstreperous congress.  Sometimes we can feel a bit irreverent towards stars and their causes, but on the right issue, it's all to the good.You can read all about it HERE.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Don Hertzfeld animation

I caught this over on Slate, where you can read all about it and link to more.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Michael Wolf's Tokyo Compression

Slate has launched a new photo blog and I think this piece about the lot of Tokyo's commuters was an arresting way to start.

It makes me feel a bit bad about how much I gripe about my ten minute bus ride that drops me off halfway up to the university campus. It's been packed sometimes, but not like this.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rolling Jubilee starts November 15

And here I was, thinking Occupy Wall Street had lost some of its momentum...shows how little I know.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How many people with your name?

I'm not on Facebook, but if I was, I would check out this fun tool to discover how many people with my name have already voted.

Fairly safe to say that in my case, there is at least one...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Josh Whedon on Romney

I'm not exactly in the core demographic for Whedon's filmwork, but I might rethink that...


Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern, R.I.P.

News that former senator and presidential hopeful George McGovern has died will stir some memories for people of a certain age. I hadn't remembered that he lost the presidential race in one of the biggest landslides in history. And I guess as a cautionary tale, I'll point out that the People, in all their wisdom, decided to re-elect the scoundrel Richard Nixon and his ilk instead.

Anyway, Slate has a very good piece by Ron Rosenbaum, conjecturing that the failure of the press to get off the campaign bus and out on the trail of more newsworthy stories may have contributed to this sorry state of affairs.

It hasn't been a good week for journalists, I'm afraid. Adrian McKinty put up a great blog post excoriating sports journalism for its failure to bring out the truth on Lance Armstrong earlier.

At the behest of my book group, I'm reading an entertaining old collection of Molly Ivins new stories called Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?

We could sure use you right about now, Molly...

Monday, October 15, 2012


I seem to be on kind of  a roll here with women's issues right now. I thought I'd link to the XX Factor piece on why the Taliban fear teenage girls, which is short and good. I was glad to see that Pakistan's populace turned out in prayer and sympathy for Malala Yousafzai,  a fourteen girl who was shot in the head by, well, misogynists, basically because she was more intelligent, articulate and charming than they are. To give them any greater political credence would be to flatter them.

Half the sky, people. Half the sky.

Footnite: I don't usually use this blog for advocacy, but if you'd like you can head on over to Avaaz, and sign their petition calling for the education of all girls in Pakistan.   

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ken Jennings News Quiz

Let me just start out by saying that I suck at this. But maybe you won't find it such a painful letdown as I do. In any event, the Jeopardy winner extraordinaire is putting up a quiz every week on Slate, and you can see how well you do against the average player as well as one of the Slate columnists. Don't be afraid--go ahead and try it. I think I just lowered that average substantially... 

Without further ado, the Ken Jennings news quiz.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

TJ Elevator Fan at Hampton Inn

Because every once in awhile,you have to reward a great ad...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Half the Sky, the documentary

I watched the first part of Half the Sky on PBS last night, and wanted to share the opportunity with others. I was happy to discover that the first half is now already on line and available to everyone, at least in the U.S. You can find it HERE. PBS actually very generously offers the embed for the whole film, but I thought I would just put up this trailer and you can head over to PBS for the viewing. If you're in the U.S., the second part is being broadcast tonight.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Japanese Sojourn

My sister Julie is using her blog to write up her current trip to Japan. She's always a good writer and now she's in Tokyo. Facing Typhoon Jelawat! Or, Super Typhoon Jelawat, as the news picture on her blog entry indicates. Her post however, is pre-storm, and well worth reading for the Japanophiles amongst us. Check it out HERE .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harvard University's Justice, with Michael Sandel

I know--I put Harvard in the title and you got intimidated. Either that or you thumbed your nose at it as too high-falutin' by half. But seriously, you should watch this series. It is one of the most popular courses ever taught at Harvard and you can be in on it for the price of, well, nothing. Sandel takes a room full of bright but not unfathomably bright students through a course on how we come to our ideas about justice. It is Platonic in the best sense of the tradition. I've been going through it slowly--each class is about half an hour long. Here is the LINK

I must once again thank Adrian McKinty for the lead, although he had to take down the post he did about it over on Psychopathology of Everyday Life because the video kept crashing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Law Short Film winners

Oxford has announced the winners of their law short film contest, which seeks to make law relevant to the likes of you and me. Here's the winning film.

I think it probably deserved the win, but they're all worth a watch and you can find them HERE.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Singing bowhead whales

I love my very local internet service provider. It's because of them that I come across news like THIS . 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Affordable Care Act, August news

August 1st marked the day that more features of the Affordable Care Act went into effect on August 1st. I didn't realize till I watched this video what a crucial date this is for women. Well, women with health insurance.

If you'd rather read the transcript, it's here. I thought I'd been following this stuff, but a lot of it came as a surprise.

And the National Women's Law Center has a complete fact sheet on how it may apply to you here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


While I was up visiting with my family over the weekend, one of my sisters asked what any of us knew out the Libor scandal. I hadn't even heard of it, and was surprised it hadn't even been touched on at the Rachel Maddow show. But when I got home and tuned in again, Ezra Klein, the most twinkly policy wonk you'd ever want to meet, made Libor his three minute challenge to explain. Take a look.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Down to the Sea in Ships: the Live Ships Map

I didn't know there was such a thing until I saw this on the Rachel Maddow Show the other night. But if you go to the Live Ships Map, you can see what's going on with ships all over the world right now. Right now! I'm not particularly a ship geek, but I do like these sort of live maps of the world.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The God Particle, explained--and in comics, no less!

Cruzio, my great local internet provider, posted a tweet to this truly painless explanation...

I don't know how many graduate students will randomly come across this post, but if you liked what you saw, you could do worse than have your thesis illustrated by this guy. Check it out HERE.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ted Conference in Qatar

My local internet provider has posted this great piece from the opening of the Ted Conference. Any sometime reader of this blog may know that I'm a fan of (non-violent) flash mobs. This is a flash mob to the, well, X.

TEDxSUMMIT - The Power of X from WE ARE Pi on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to prevent doomsday on Monday

I came across this interesting post on Slate just now, which is about how to make sure you will be able to still access the internet come Monday. Check it out.

Apparently, this blog will still be here...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dammit! I did miss it!

Don't ask me how, but I managed to miss the entire "ring of fire" eclipse here yesterday. Thank god for photography.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How common is your birthday?

Naively, I guess I assumed that all birthdays were kind of randomly distributed. Apparently, this is far from true .

Probably yet another thing that will be affected by global warning...

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Peter Rozovsky alerted me to this interesting piece on "Captchas", so I thought I'd link to it here .

Deciphering  this stuff can apparently only get harder...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ah, those crazy Swedes

If you get your news about the Swedes from crime novels, and, well, the news, you might think that the Swedes spend their lives righting misogynist wrongs and chasing down old Nazis on fast motorcycles. Sure, maybe that's what they do when they're working. But what they do on their lunch hour is something quite different. They dance.

Now in addition to being wholesome and inspiring, it also validates a kind of point of mine. Recently on my other blog I was talking about the origin of the whole 4/20 legalize marijuana day. One of my friends then questioned the idea that it could all be traced back to twelve high school kids with a code name for meeting up to smoke weed.

But here we see a much more recent phenomenon where it's apparently well documented that this all started with 10 Swedish office workers. And thus, a movement was born.

Twelve American high school students, or ten Swedes. That's all it takes to rock the world.

Happy May Day, everyone.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

H&R Block delivers a game for tax procrastinators like me

I'm not sure if they're trying to help us or bring us to our knees, but just in case you need a little diversion:

Click image to enlargeProcrastinator's Guide To Filing TaxesSource: H&R Block

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm Han Solo

A bit unlikely for me, I know, but Star Wars and dancing run in the family...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's April 1st

And that means two things. First of all it's the beginning of National Poetry Month. There are a ton of activities going on around this, but tonight I'll just mention that the April Poem A Day challenge is alive and well. Check it out over at Robert Lee Brewer's blog.

And then, on a very different writing front, Scriptfrenzy has begun! If you have any kind of script you've always been wanting to write, now is the time and this is the place. Check out the plot machine. You never know when you might be inspired...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Occupy Wall Street--from Within

Believe me, I am not a member of the 1%. But through some family inheritance type stuff, I do have some stock holdings. It's a little hard for me to get interested in this kind of stuff, but despite that I do get proxy ballots from time to time. They always leave me feeling sort of guilty. I have no idea what way I should vote on thngs like Boards of Directors ballots, but feel that I should use my vote for good if I can.

If you're like me, there is some good news at hand. It's called Moxyvote.com. You can sign up there, identify the causes that are important to you, and then the researchers there will help you vote your shares in the way you would want. 

Standing out on the street and calling the wealthy to account is great, but getting your opinion counted within the halls of the powerful can be a good thing to do too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Are there signs of intelligent life from other quadrants of the universe? Want to be one of the people looking for it? Why not sign up at SETILive right now and be part of this March's experiment?

At the very least, it's fun to look at the live map of people searching...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bob Kerrey sings

I caught this on Lawrence O'Donnell...

Kerrey lost his own leg in the Vietnam War, for those too young to remember that time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another reason not to shop online

For various not very important reasons, I was having a disgruntled day at work last week, and while I was working the cash register, I had a chance to spend the idle moment reading this piece from Mac McClelland in Mother Jones, and was glad to see just now that it was now on their website.

"Idle moment" would be the operative phrase here...

Monday, February 20, 2012

The We are Friends Project

Occasional visitors here may not know that my sister Julie is writing a great blog, loosely based around her experiences of learning Japanese and expanding out from there to other things about Japanese culture and life in general. Today she has put up a post about yet another thing I knew nothing about, namely two young Japanese guys filming their attempt at making friends from every country in the world. Their efforts are very charming and funny, but why not  head on over to Julie Learns Japanese and learn more about them?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Santa Cruz Bridge Mosaics

I don't actually if any local Santa Cruzans read this blog, or really, if anyone does, but this is a cool local project going on right now, and the video gives a good sense of the town for those who don't know it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Benton Harbor

I believe this clip speaks for itself.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stairwell duet

My ukelele loving sister passed this one along to me: