Saturday, July 19, 2008

Truth in Labeling

Corrected label for "fat free half & half"

If You Own a Dog, You Should Have One of These

Because you just never know when you'll need it.
Keep one in the car, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Startling Statistic

Maybe it's because they live so much longer?

Update: I thought this was an interesting point of view, so I looked into the AAPS just a little. A smorgasbord of other AAPS headlines "in perspective":
  • The Dark Side of Peer Review
  • 32,000 Scientists Dissent from Global Warming "Consensus" *
  • US Scientists Back Autism Link to MMR **
  • European Population in Decline, Welfare State Threatened
  • Thank Hillary Clinton for Flu Vaccine Shortage


  • Ron Paul’s “tea party” breaks fund-raising record
  • Ron Paul sets one day GOP fundraising record
  • Ron Paul supporters aim to break record for contributions on Nov. 5
  • Michigan GOP leader wants Paul barred from future debates
  • Ron Paul introduces bill to rein in the FDA


* 32,000 Scientists Dissent from Global Warming "Consensus"

Um, not really. The petition web site as of today lists 31,072 people (not 32,000, and not scientists, as we shall see) who mailed in a postcard. While the web site says that signers must have degrees in "appropriate scientific fields", the organizers seem to be pretty casual about what those might be. Your family doctor apparently qualifies. So does Fluffy's veterinarian. And anyone with, say, a B.S. in electrical engineering. Are they really qualified to voice an informed opinion on the science of global climate change?

I think it's quite interesting to note that, of those 31,072 signers, exactly 40 claim a degree in climatology. Four-oh. About one-tenth of one percent.

Moreover, having a B.S. doesn't make you a "scientist" by any stretch of the imagination. Nurses generally have a B.S. degree or equivalent. God bless 'em ev'ry one, but do you know many nurses who refer to themselves as "scientists"?

Now, the list of "scientists" posted on the site does not include locations or institutional affiliations, so it's pretty durn hard for anyone independent to validate them. Is "R. Payne" qualified? Who knows? There's no way for us to check, is there?

The petition organizers claim to have validated "most" of the signers, but, just for fun...

...I picked a name at random from the list and fired up Google. I'm sorry, Alison. Alison M. Azar holds a B.S. in chemistry and is Vice President of Sales for the M.F. Cachat Co, "a regional technical sales organization focused on the marketing and distribution of specialty chemical products." Previously she was Midwest Regional Sales Manager. Her professional affiliations include the Institute of Food Technologists and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.

I feel quite certain that Alison is a very fine person, but is she a "scientist"? In an "appropriate scientific field"? If she is, then so am I (and I'm not, I assure you).

** US Scientists Back Autism Link to MMR

Um, not really. Their own article has no statement from any scientist saying anything remotely like that. This is all they can say:

The vaccine strain of measles virus has been found in 85% of samples taken from the guts of children with regressive autism, according to a study to be presented in Montreal, Canada, this week by Dr. Stephen Walker of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.

Right, probably because 85% of the kids he studied had been vaccinated. I'll bet he found milk in 95% of 'em, too. I think the real cause of autism is probably milk.

In point of fact, Dr. Walker himself warns that his study does not indicate a link between MMR vaccine and autism: "That is not what our research is showing."

I guess the good scientists at AAPS have forgotten what they learned in their high school science class: correlation does not imply causation.

  1. Sales of ice cream cones increase during summer months.
  2. Drownings increase during summer months.
  3. Therefore, ice cream cones cause drowning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Say It Ain't So, CSI

Get out! New York cops don't work out of spacious, pristine, dimly-lit, ultra-modern offices? Crime scene technicians are not heavily involved in pursuing and apprehending suspects? NYPD does not have the technology to obtain a recognizable image of a suspect by enhancing the reflection in an eyeball from a fuzzy security camera video?

I can't believe this. I am so depressed.

(Note also that CNN remains obsessed with Miss USA falling down.)

Tempest in an Inkpot

About that New Yorker cover. I see a lot a stuff that's just silly.
It's not funny.

It's not supposed to be funny. New Yorker covers rarely are. They can be wry; they can be satirical; they can be pretty. Sometimes they are subtle enough to require study before they are understood; sometimes they are blunt instruments. Occasionally, yes, they may elicit a subdued chuckle. But funny? Not so much.

It's racist.

No, it isn't. It's anti-racist.

The New Yorker thinks that the Obamas are gun-toting, flag-burning, America-hating Islamic terrorists.

No, it doesn't. It thinks that the Obamas are none of these. The cover isn't characterizing the Obamas; it's ridiculing the smears that are being used against them.

I'm going to boycott The New Yorker

OK. Conservatives already do, so you must be a liberal. Let's think this through. Better yet, let's look at some stuff that's appeared in The New Yorker:

This is a tiny sample, believe me. This is the magazine you want to boycott?

They shouldn't have used it because [insert your favorite demographic here] won't understand it.

Sorry, but that is not The New Yorker's problem. The magazine is written for its readers. Most magazines are. It seems a little off the mark to say that a magazine should tailor its content for people who don't read it.

They put this on the cover to sell magazines.


Update: Jon Stewart excoriates The New Yorker for printing satire that some people might not get. Daily Show correspondents reveal that this kind of horrible stuff permeates the magazine: in addition to believing that Obama is an Islamic extremist, it supports baby-killing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fall Girl

Yes, CNN, it was necessary to show this poor girl falling six times in your 45-second video clip. The slo-mo was especially effective, I thought, in driving home your point. She definitely fell down. No question about it.

See the shocking video and decide for yourself.

A Mysterious Accident

Quite mysterious indeed. At this point, authorities will only say that it happened sometime after he was hit by a baseball. (Yes, Boy will be OK.)

Source: Yahoo News, 12 July 2008

They Lend Horses, Don't They?

I get a lot of spam. So do you. Most of it falls into predictable categories, right? Herbal supplements. Male enhancements. Financial and work-at-home opportunities. Meet singles in your area.

I have to admit, this one is original. Not that much of my spam falls into the "large animals available for lending" category. Nice work, "Laurance"! Almost made me want to open it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Great Performances

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn't belong
Can you tell me which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Source: Yahoo News 11 July 2008

It's Comcastic!

I hadn't planned, when I started this blog an hour ago, to use it for rants. But then this happened.

We have Comcast digital cable, but cable boxes for only two of our four TVs (yes, of course we need four TVs; there are four people in the house). So, the unfortunate two get only the analog stations. We noticed the other day that some of the channels we watch regularly--to wit, the D.C. network affiliates--had been disappeared. They were still on the two TVs with boxes, but not on the other two. Just snow. Easily solved, right? Just check the Comcast web site.

Oh dear, nothing there. The channel lineup shows them just where they always were.

OK, well, I'll just call Comcast. Not quite as convenient, perhaps, but they'll be able to tell me.

Let's try the local number first, the one they give us to call for trouble and such. Surprise, an automated response system! Yes, I speak English. Yes, I'm a current customer. Here's my phone number.

Welcome to Comcast's automated bill payment system. Oops, not what I really wanted. And I don't have my 14-digit account number handy. Oh, wait, it's OK: Press 0 at any time to speak to a representative. Good, they're transferring my call...ohhhh...Our normal business hours are 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday. Please call again during normal business hours. Damn. It's Saturday evening.

No worries, I'll call the big kahunas at the real number. 1-800-COMCAST, those guys really have all the answers.

A little dialing music, Paul (thanks for that one, Dave)...yes, I speak English...yes, I have cable...yes, I have trouble...Comcast repair service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week...Comcast, we're here when you need us...(now we're getting somewhere!)...

Welcome to Comcast's automated bill payment system.

It's not really all that Comcastic.

A Really Smart Pricing Scheme

If you don't buy any books, it's quite expensive.


So what is this, anyway? It's just a place where I can put stuff that amuses or interests me. Maybe some of it will amuse or interest you, too. Anything to lighten your day (which is, by the way, probably a few degrees hotter than it really should be).