Friday, November 30, 2007

More Americans believe in the Devil than in Darwin

"More Americans believe in a literal hell and the devil than Darwin's theory of evolution, according to a new Harris poll released on Thursday." Read the entire article here.

(Without your permission) Facebook undermines your internet anonymity

Online companies partnered with Facebook to unleash a new advertising strategy called Facebook Beacon. Now if you purchase, save, or look at something on one of those websites, the website will send your data to Facebook. For example, if you buy a movie on, it will publish your movie selection to your Friends' News Feed WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.

I thought this was a hoax, but apparently, Facebook has given each site a piece of Facebook javascript to identity whether or not you are a Facebook user. Here is the story in the NY Times. Here is a blog entry about how to block the javascript (read: how to block Facebook Beacon). Here is a blog about the evolution of Facebook Beacon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Can Iran inadvertently help the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks?

Steven Erlanger poses an insightful theory about the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He says that many Middle Eastern countries are now supporting the peace process because they now have a more important goal: "stopping the rising regional influence of Iran and Islamic radicalism."

He claims that many traveled to the Annapolis Conference to gain a strategic alliance with the United Sates against Iran. He quotes Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, who said, "Everybody at Annapolis has something in common. It’s not love of Israel or the Palestinians. It’s fear of Iran. Everyone needs a relative to protect them from Iran." Read the rest of his argument here.

A disturbing internet hoax in St. Louis

This story has received a lot of media attention recently:
DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo., Nov. 21 — Megan Meier died believing that somewhere in this world lived a boy named Josh Evans who hated her. He was 16, owned a pet snake, and she thought he was the cutest boyfriend she ever had.

Josh contacted Megan through her page on, the social networking Web site, said Megan’s mother, Tina Meier. They flirted for weeks, but only online — Josh said his family had no phone. On Oct. 15, 2006, Josh suddenly turned mean. He called Megan names, and later they traded insults for an hour.

The next day, in his final message, said Megan’s father, Ron Meier, Josh wrote, “The world would be a better place without you.”

Sobbing, Megan ran into her bedroom closet. Her mother found her there, hanging from a belt. She was 13.

Six weeks after Megan’s death, her parents learned that Josh Evans never existed. He was an online character created by Lori Drew, then 47, who lived four houses down the street in this rapidly growing community 35 miles northwest of St. Louis...
Read the rest of the story here.

"To Muslim (American) Girls, Scouts Offer a Chance to Fit In"

Girl Scout attire helps Haidara fit into her American city:
MINNEAPOLIS — Sometimes when Asma Haidara, a 12-year-old Somali immigrant, wants to shop at Target or ride the Minneapolis light-rail system, she puts her Girl Scout sash over her everyday clothes, which usually include a long skirt worn over pants as well as a swirling head scarf.

She has discovered that the trademark green sash — with its American flag, troop number (3009) and colorful merit badges — reduces the number of glowering looks she draws from people otherwise bothered by her traditional Muslim dress.

“When you say you are a girl scout, they say, ‘Oh, my daughter is a girl scout, too,’ and then they don’t think of you as a person from another planet,” said Asma, a slight, serious girl with a bright smile. “They are more comfortable about sitting next to me on the train...”

Read the rest of the story here.

New police tactic: paintballs

Here is an interesting concept -- In France, the police are trying to calm in uprising in Parisian suburbs.
...The police have made more than 30 arrests but have been restrained in controlling the violence, using tear gas to disperse the bands of young people and firing paint balls to identify people for possible arrests later...
Read the entire story here.

"Israel and Palestinians Set Goal of a Treaty in 2008"

"Officials from 49 nations gathered Tuesday at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., for a one-day conference on Middle East peace." -- New York Times

This was the first time in seven years that the US played the peacemaker role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read the headline story here.

What is a "fundo"?

According to the WSJ, it is an Islamic fundamentalist. Check it out here.

Is it right to fire someone due to his or her religion?

What if the person follows a form of religious extremism and works for a nuclear facility in a developing country? Here is a WSJ article about the above question:
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -- Inside Pakistan's nuclear program, scientists are allowed to grow long beards, pray five times a day and vote for this country's conservative Islamist politicians. Religious zeal doesn't bar them from working in top-secret weapons facilities.

But religious extremism does. It's up to the program's internal watchdog, a security division authorized to snoop on its employees, to determine the difference -- and drive out those who breach the boundaries.

In an interview, a top security official for Pakistan's nuclear program outlined a multilayered system put in place over the past two years to try to avoid the kind of devastating lapses uncovered in recent years. A series of rogue scientists were found to have sold secrets or met with al Qaeda leaders, finally spurring a screening-and-surveillance program along the lines the U.S. uses -- but with a greater focus on weeding out an increasingly religious generation of would-be scientists and engineers...
The following is one of the most astonishing parts of the article. It's easy to forget that many countries have large disconnects between their civilian governments and the military:
...A major early problem [of protecting Pakistan's nuclear weapons] was weak oversight from the civilian government. Mr. Bhutto's daughter, Benazir, helped craft Pakistan's nuclear policies on exports and deterrence, yet says she was mostly kept out of the loop by the country's intelligence services while she was prime minister. Her successor, Nawaz Sharif -- who like Ms. Bhutto recently returned to Pakistan to challenge Mr. Musharraf's rule -- didn't fare any better during his two terms in office. At a 1999 meeting with President Clinton in Washington, Mr. Sharif says in an interview, U.S. intelligence informed him that Pakistani military transport planes were carrying used nuclear centrifuges, which can be used to produce weapons-grade uranium, out of the country.

"No, no," Mr. Sharif recalls responding. "That couldn't happen." But before he could check out the allegations, he says, his government fell in Gen. Musharraf's military coup. A former director of the centrifuge program was later arrested...
Read the rest here.

What is the definition of a market correction?

According to the NY Times, the answer is: "All three major stock indexes [The S&P, The Dow Jones, and the 10 yr Treasury note] have now dropped more than 10 percent from their highs, the generally accepted definition of a market correction." Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Google Trends

Google Trends is an awesome site. You could play on it for hours. On Google Trends, you can search how popular a term is on Google and compare it to the popularity of another search term. Check out the site here.

A Legendary Duke Shot - Sean Dockery against VT (December 4, 2005)

Incase you haven't seen it...

This is the infamous "This is why Duke sucks" video.

PS: Obviously, Duke >> UNC

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lifestyle Perks

Law firms across the country compete to find (and retain) the most talented. Modern workers demand more than a simple raise to stay at the firm. They want child care, dinners at fancy restaurants when they work late, sporting tickets, and other lifestyle perks. Firms are more than happy to oblige in order to keep their talent. Here is a clip from the article:
Even lawyers need a hug. When workdays stretch into worknights and the pressure to meet the quota for billable hours grows, lawyers and staff members at the firm of Perkins Coie can often expect a little bonus.

In Perkins Coie’s Chicago office, members of the firm’s “happiness committee” recently left candied apples on everyone’s desks. Last month, the happiness committee surprised lawyers, paralegals and assistants in the Washington office with milkshakes from a local Potbelly Sandwich Works, a favorite lunch spot.

“That’s the whole beauty of it all — it’s random acts of kindness,” said Lori Anger, client relations manager of Perkins Coie, which is based in Seattle. “We have pretty strict hours, so it’s a nice way to surprise people.”

The benefits for lawyers have burgeoned in recent years as firms pull out the stops to attract top-notch talent. While perks for the partners have always been common, many are now finding their way to associates — young lawyers who have not yet made partner...

Read the rest of the article here to find out what other perks lawyers can expect.

"We didn't think about getting old when we were young"

"John Cox Sr. serves free lunches at a subsidized apartment complex for the elderly in Machias." - The New York Times

The NY Times featured a report on the elderly poor in Maine. It's a sad but eye-awakening story. If you have a chance, check out this video. You can read the written article here. Here is a clip of the report:
MILBRIDGE, Me. — They have worked since their teens in backbreaking seasonal jobs, extracting resources from the sea and the forest. Their yards are filled with peeling boats and broken lobster traps.

In sagging wood homes and aged trailers scattered across Washington County, many of Maine’s poorest and oldest shiver too much in the winter, eat far more biscuits and beans than meat and cannot afford the weekly bingo game at the V.F.W. hall...

A modern Titanic

They were modern adventure travelers, following the doomed route of Sir Ernest Shackleton to the frozen ends of the earth. They paid $7,000 to $16,000 to cruise on a ship that had proudly plowed the Antarctic for 40 years.
But sometime early yesterday, the Explorer, fondly known in the maritime world as “the little red ship,” quietly struck ice.

There were the alarms, then the captain’s voice on the public address system calling the 100 passengers and the crew of about 50 to the lecture hall, according to passengers’ accounts on the radio and others relayed from rescuers and the tour operator...
Read the rest of the story here.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lucky people develop lucky habits

What makes someone lucky? According to an article in, luck is not attributed to chance, but to good habits. Here are some good "luck" habits:

...The human brain is amazingly good at detecting what it wants to find. When you are hungry, your brain focuses on finding food. When you are thirsty, it looks for liquid. The problem is, your brain can become so focused on seeing what it expects to see, it misses things that are obvious but unexpected. Lucky people tend to have a somewhat relaxed view of life. They are less concerned with mundane details and more prone to look at the bigger picture. Ironically, by trying less, they see more.

Exactly the same principle applies to the opportunities that bombard us in everyday life. In another experiment, I gave some volunteers a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. What I didn't tell them was that halfway through the newspaper I had placed an unexpected opportunity. This "opportunity" took up half a page and announced, in huge type, "Win £100 by telling the experimenter you have seen this." The unlucky people tended to be so focused on counting the photographs they failed to notice the opportunity. In contrast, the lucky people were more relaxed, saw the bigger picture and so spotted a chance to win £100...

Read the entire story here. (Thank you Jeremy for the find!)

Random useful pomegranate lesson

My sister, Cassie, taught be how to peel a pomegranate today. I am normally a disaster when I try to cut one up, spraying the juice everywhere. Check out this video to see how to avoid pomegranate stains. (Hint: use a bowl of water)

How To Peel And Seed A Pomegranate - The most amazing videos are a click away
The seeds sink to the bottom and the white stuff (?) floats to the top. Nice. is one of the most useful sites ever

I always use to book air tickets. I can't believe this site is free! It takes a few more seconds than normal travel engines to find the fares, because it searches airlines and travel websites (like, etc). Check out here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wish your dorm room had a "party mode" button? Zack Anderson's does.

MIDAS stands for "Multifunction In-Dorm Automation System". If you like the clip, you can find more information and diagrams on Zack's website here.

"MySpace Has Large Circle of Friends, But Rivals' Cliques Are Growing Too"

I had no idea that Myspace is so much more popular than Facebook. Check out the WSJ entry here.

"Test Question: Why is High School the New College?"

Here is an old WSJ column from 2006, but it still rings true. It talks about the craziness of high school and the "rat race" to get to college. Unlike other articles about overachievers, this one writes about some of the possible remedies. Check out the column here.

Cute Fat Mice

New York is getting safer

New York is getting safer, and killings by strangers are almost non-existent. These are impressive statistics for the city!
New York City is on track to have fewer than 500 homicides this year, by far the lowest number in a 12-month period since reliable Police Department statistics became available in 1963.
But within the city’s official crime statistics is a figure that may be even more striking: so far, with roughly half the killings analyzed, only 35 were found to be committed by strangers, a microscopic statistic in a city of more than 8.2 million.
If that trend holds up, fewer than 100 homicide victims in New York City this year will have been strangers to their assailants. The vast majority died in disputes with friends or acquaintances, with rival drug gang members or — to a far lesser degree — with romantic partners, spouses, parents and others.
Read the article here.

Is it ethical for a media outlet to hide a story?

I was reading an article about how the US funded Pakistan's nuclear program. Although most people are focusing on whether was right for the US to another country's nuclear program, something else caught my eye:
The New York Times has known details of the secret program for more than three years, based on interviews with a range of American officials and nuclear experts, some of whom were concerned that Pakistan’s arsenal remained vulnerable. The newspaper agreed to delay publication of the article after considering a request from the Bush administration, which argued that premature disclosure could hurt the effort to secure the weapons.
This brings me to a more important question: it it ethical for a media outlet to hide a story? I read the NY Times and trust that it gives me the most up to date news. If they wrote about the program, would it have jeopardized national security or would it have improved the program? Read the entire article here.

"Denial Makes the World Go Round"

The Science Times covered the four steps of denial:

1. Inattention -- An often benign form of denial; the activity passes under the radar
2. Passive acknowledgment -- the behavior is noticed, but little or no action is taken
3. Reframing -- exploitation or betrayal of trust is recast as a kind of mistake, a foul-up
4. Willful blindness -- the person keeps the topic off limits, perhaps even himself

Check out the details of denial here.

Proof that speedwalkers live longer

Here are the findings:
Researchers who followed the health of nearly 500 older people for almost a decade found that those who walked more quickly were less likely to die over the course of the study.
Ah ha, now I have a comeback when someone tells me that I walk too fast. Learn more here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Celebrating Abroad

I wish the best to all of the troops abroad. Thank you for protecting our freedoms. Read a tribute to them here.

Today is the day of tryptophan poisoning

Every wonder why you are so tired on Thanksgiving? Well you could have tryptophan poisoning (not really a medial condition...). Turkey has tryptophan, which can induce drowsiness. According to a new finding, it can also increase your sense of trust. Read the story here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Protecting the right to "keep and bear arms"

Courtesy of the NY Times:
Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns, a case that bears directly on whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to "keep and bear arms."
Read the story here.

BREAKING NEWS: Scientists produce stem cells without embryo

Courtesy of the NY Times:
Two teams of scientists reported yesterday that they had turned human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without having to make or destroy an embryo — a feat that could quell the ethical debate troubling the field.
Check out the details here. Check back in a few days as more details emerge.

A big (lottery) secret

Check out this news:
A woman whose husband has kept about $600,000 in lottery winnings from her says she has a number for him: half. And Donna Campbell is suing her husband in her attempt to get it.

But American Airlines mechanic Arnim Ramdass disappeared after his wife confronted him about the secret, so process servers haven't been able to hand him the lawsuit papers yet, Campbell's attorney said...
I'd also like to include the last line of the article. This wife has direction. I wouldn't want this marriage.
"Right now, all I want is justice," Campbell said. "With time, I will file for divorce."
Read the rest here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let's use Britney Spears as an examples for 25 year olds

This AOL Money piece uses Britney Spears as an example for 25 year olds (or really any age) to show them how to invest and save their money. Check it out here.

Do non-Arab Muslim countries exist? You bet.

Here are some non-Arab Muslim countries:
  • Iran
  • Pakistan
  • Turkey
  • Azerbaijan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tadjikistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Afghanistan

The fastest swimmer in the US is 40 years old

Check out her story. She spends more time out of the pool than in it:
Dara Torres, the fastest female swimmer in America, plunged toward the bottom of the pool, like a child scavenging for coins. She came up for a breath, grinning. The lanes next to hers pulsed with swimmers pushing themselves through 100- and 200-meter timed sprints, but Torres was under orders from her coach to rest, the better to let her 40-year-old body recover...
Read the rest here.

Biotech ( the high school classroom)

I wish I took this class!
MORE than a decade ago, after George Cachianes, a former researcher at Genentech, decided to become a teacher, he started a biotechnology course at Lincoln High School in San Francisco. He saw the class as way of marrying basic biotechnology principles with modern lab practices — and insights into how business harvests biotech innovations for profit.

If you’re interested in seeing the future of biotechnology education, you might want to visit one of George Cachianes’s classrooms. “Students are motivated by understanding the relationships between research, creativity and making money,” he says.

Lincoln has five biotech classes, each with about 30 students. Four other public high schools in San Francisco offer the course, drawing on Mr. Cachianes’s syllabus. Mr. Cachianes, who still teaches at Lincoln, divides his classes into teams of five students; each team “adopts” an actual biotech company...

Learn more here.

How do you cure an internet addiction?

Is internet addiction real? What are the symptoms? Can a military style boot camp cure the addiction? Find out the answers here.

At home DNA testing for $1000

What if you could "google" your DNA to find out if you are more prone to a disease? Amy Harmon wrote about her DNA decoding experiences. It's a facinating story. What if insurance companies got their hands on this? It would change the entire market. I'll give you the first few lines here:
The exploration of the human genome has long been relegated to elite scientists in research laboratories. But that is about to change. An infant industry is capitalizing on the plunging cost of genetic testing technology to offer any individual unprecedented — and unmediated — entree to their own DNA.

For as little as $1,000 and a saliva sample, customers will be able to learn what is known so far about how the billions of bits in their biological code shape who they are. Three companies have already announced plans to market such services, one yesterday.
Read the rest here.

"Russia: Doomsday Sect Threatens Suicide"

Courtesy of the NY Times:
About 30 members of an eccentric Christian sect have retreated to a cave on a snowy hillside outside Nikolskoye in central Russia, where they have been in a standoff with the police. They took to the cave about a week ago and say they will stay underground until the apocalypse they expect in May. Attempts by the police to coax them out or at least get them to release the children with them have been met with threats to blow themselves up. The sect’s 43-year-old leader preaches apocalyptic doom and reportedly sleeps in a coffin.

200 lashes for rape victim?!

This story is so foreign for US citizens. governments still sentence people to lashes?

A judge in Saudi Arabia ordered 200 lashes for a 19 year old rape victim. She was originally sentenced to 90 lashes for being in a car with an unrelated man. Her lawyer called the sentences of the nine men who raped her too lenient, and the court increased her lashes to 200. According to the NY Times, this has sparked rare public debate about the the treatment of Saudi Arabian women. Read more of the story here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What is the Palestinian Security Paradox?

I'll give you a clue:
Here's a safe prediction in advance of the Annapolis peace conference scheduled to take place in a few weeks: The Palestinians won't be ready to fulfill their obligation to provide security in the West Bank under the "road map to peace."

The Palestinian Authority simply doesn't have the people, the training or the equipment to maintain order in the territories.

Why is this so? The answer, in part, is that the Palestinians haven't built up their security forces because the Israelis haven't permitted them to do so...

...But so far, the Israelis have hindered parts of this effort. For example: Permission was denied for Palestinian security forces to use body armor that had been donated by the British government. The Israelis objected that the armor could stop Israeli bullets....
Find the rest of the answer here.

Modeling Ant Behavior

Why do fish swim like this?

Find the answer here.

A Long Overdue Reunion

Courtesy of the NY Times:
Efforts to reunite the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, split for nearly 1,000 years, took a cautious step forward as a joint commission agreed that the pope has primacy over bishops of both churches. But a declaration, to be officially released today, states that the two sides had not agreed on exactly what authority the pope might exercise if the churches came together again. Pope Benedict XVI has declared full communion between the churches a central goal of his papacy, though relations with the Russian Orthodox have proved particularly difficult. The Russian church did not approve the new document.

South Africa + break-in + nuclear weapons = many unanswered questions

Just after midnight four gunmen broke into a fortified nuclear facility in South Africa. They tried to steal a laptop, but guards from the facility stopped them. The gunmen got away, and now South Africa tries to figure out what happened. Learn more here.

Jean Nouvel's Tower

This is an impressive (and visually stunning piece of architecture):
Learn more about Jean Nouvel's design, which will be built next to New York's Museum of Modern Art here.

From Cloning to Stem Cells -- Future Medical Advances

Researchers in Oregon have created stem cells from cloned monkey embryos. The cells are genetically identical to an adult monkey, Semos, whose cells were used for the cloning. Imagine the possibilities if you could save people with their own tissue! Learn more here.

Every time you get an answer right at, they donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger. It's a fun game (and you feel good doing it)! Check it out.

How many calories do you consume on Thanksgiving?

Courtesy of, here is today's startling fact:

"The average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day alone, according to the Caloric Control Council. Surprisingly, most of these calories come from the all-day snacking in front of the TV while watching parades and sporting events."

Learn more here.

What if the person you love forgets you and falls in love with someone else?

I just read a story about Sandra Day and John O'Connor. Here is an excerpt:
Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's husband, who suffers from Alzheimer's, has found a new romance, and his happiness is a relief to his wife, an Arizona TV report reveals.

The report, which quoted the couple's oldest son, Scott O'Connor, focused on Alzheimer's patients who forget their spouses and fall in love with someone else. Experts say the scenario is somewhat common.

Offering a glimpse into the private life of a woman who has remained on the public stage since her Supreme Court retirement in 2006 to care for her husband, the report spotlighted John O'Connor, 77. He and the woman, referred to only as "Kay," live at a Phoenix facility for people with Alzheimer's.

I would be devastated if the person I loved forgot about our relationship and fell in love with someone else right before my eyes. Learn more here.

Comparing Math Scores in Countries vs. US States

Learn more here.

Modern US Spy -- Nada Nadim Prouty

Nada Nadim Prouty, a CIA officer, confessed to seeking illegally information about Hezbollah. Learn more here.

Patients contract HIV and Hepatitis C from Donor Transplants

This is a depressing/scary story. Here is the lede from the NY Times article:
Four transplant recipients in Chicago have contracted H.I.V. from an organ donor, the first known cases in more than a decade in which the virus was spread by organ transplants.

The organs also gave all four patients hepatitis C, in what health officials said was the first reported instance in which the two viruses were spread simultaneously by a transplant.

Though exceedingly rare, this type of transmission highlights a known weakness in the system for checking organ donors for infection: the most commonly used tests can fail to detect viral diseases if they are performed too early in the course of the infection. Officials say the events in Chicago may lead to widespread changes in testing methods...

...Although it is rare, other diseases like rabies, West Nile fever and a rodent virus called LCMV have also been spread by organ transplants. In all of those cases, patients died.
Learn more here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Soulja Boys and Girls

Courtesy of

Note: The video is large and it might have strange formatting -- but it is so funny!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kiwi! By Dony Permedi

This is Dony Permedi's descritption of the video:
My Master's Thesis Animation, which I completed while I was at The School of Visual Arts, MFA Computer Art, in New York City. Created using Maya, After Effects, and rigged using The Setup Machine by Anzovin studios. If you would like to download there is a small version at my website:

The music is orginal and is by Tim Cassell, someone I went to highschool with. The music is available here:

Moral of the story? Vote for Pedro!

David Brooks explains Lunch Period Poli Sci:
College is still probably a good idea, but everything you need to know about America you can learn in high school. For example, if you want to understand American class structure you'd be misled if you read Marx, but you'd understand it perfectly if you look around a high school cafeteria.

The jocks sit here; the nerds sit there; the techies, drama types, skaters, kickers and gangstas sit there, there and there. What you see is not class in the 19th-century sense, but a wide array of lifestyle cliques, some richer, some poorer, but each regarding the others as vaguely pathetic and convinced of its moral superiority.
Read the rest of his op-ed piece here.

Is there anything good about men?

Of course! And Roy Baumeister is going to lead you through some of the main points:
You’re probably thinking that a talk called “Is there anything good about men” will be a short talk! Recent writings have not had much good to say about men. Titles like “Men Are Not Cost Effective” speak for themselves. Maureen Dowd’s book was called “Are Men Necessary?” and although she never gave an explicit answer, anyone reading the book knows her answer was no. Brizendine’s book “TheFemale Brain” introduces itself by saying, “Men, get ready to experience brain envy.” Imagine a book advertising itself by saying that women will soon be envying the superior male brain! 
Nor are these isolated examples. Eagly’s research has compiled mountains of data on the stereotypes people have about men and women, which the researchers summarized as “The WAW effect.” WAW stands for “Women Are Wonderful.” Both men and women hold much more favorable views of women than of men. Almost everybody likes women better than men. I certainly do. 
My purpose in this talk is not to try to balance this out by praising men, though along the way I will have various positive things to say about both genders. The question of whether there’s anything good about men is only my point of departure. The tentative title of the book I’m writing is “How culture exploits men,” but even that for me is the lead-in to grand questions about how culture shapes action. In that context, what’s good about men means what men are good for, from the perspective of the system.
Read the rest of his argument here. It's a great read.

New Dirty Dancing

A couple preformed the Dirty Dancing dance at their wedding. Check out more stills here.

"Are Facebook's Social Ads Illegal?"

Saul Hansell examines Facebook's new ads.

Mark Zuckerberg promised no less than a revolution with his idea that ads you see on Facebook will be attached to the names and photos of your friends who like the products being advertised.

There is at least one problem with this idea: It may be illegal under a 100-year-old New York privacy law. The statute says that “any person whose name, portrait, picture, or voice is used within this state for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade without the written consent first obtained” can sue for damages. Moreover, such a use is also a criminal misdemeanor....

Learn more here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Facebook tells all of your friends what you buy online.

Check this out -- According to the NY Times:
Yesterday, in a twist on word-of-mouth marketing, Facebook began selling ads that display people’s profile photos next to commercial messages that are shown to their friends about items they purchased or registered an opinion about.

For example, going forward, a Facebook user who rents a movie on will be asked if he would like to have his movie choice broadcast out to all his friends on Facebook. And those friends would have no choice but to receive that movie message, along with an ad from Blockbuster."

This feels like a privacy invasion. Learn more here.

"Army's aggressive surgeon is too aggressive for some"

The NY Times covered a compelling story about one of war's hidden stories: treating the wounded. Under John Holcomb's auspices:
"Army surgeons have become aggressive users of a controversial drug called Factor VII, which promotes clotting in cases of severe bleeding. He has also guided a redesign of the transport system for wounded soldiers, encouraging helicopter pilots to take the severely injured to the hospitals best able to treat them, even if they are not the closest..."
Learn more here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wedgie Proof Underwear

No Gay People in Iran?

Here's a fascinating article by the Gaurdian:
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's ever-combative president, provoked his latest controversy in New York this week by asserting that there were no homosexuals in his country, he may have been indulging in sophistry or just plain wishful thinking.

While Mr Ahmadinejad may want to believe that his ideal of an Islamic society is exclusively non-gay, it is undermined by the paradox that transsexuality and sex changes are tolerated and encouraged under Iran's theocratic system.

Iran has between 15,000 and 20,000 transsexuals, according to official statistics, although unofficial estimates put the figure at up to 150,000. Iran carries out more gender change operations than any other country in the world besides Thailand...
Perhaps there is some truth to Ahmadinejad statement that there are no gays in Iran... if they all change gender?

Learn more here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

And Boston has the best sports teams in the nation...

Today's Boston sports summary:

Pats + Colts = Pats Undefeated + Colts defeated. The Pats are Super Bowl favorites.
The Celtics: Kevin Garnett Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen
Boston College currently ranked #2 in college football
Boston Red Sox World Series 2007.

Need I say more? Oh yes!! Hometown pride! Boston wins.

Full Episodes of Gossip Girl

You can watch full episodes of Gossip Girl here for free.

The show is on Wednesday at 9/8c, and CWTV promises to upload full length episodes on Saturdays. However, today is Sunday and CWTV still hasn't uploaded last week's episode, Victor/Vitrola. Not cool...

UPDATE: Turns out that Gossip Girl wasn't on last Wednesday (Halloween), and the Victor/Vitrola episode is coming up tomorrow, 7 Nov. The full episode will be online at on 10 Nov.

Living Apart Together

We've heard about unmarried couples who live together. But what about happily married couples that live apart? Read that story here.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Marathon Heartbreak

The NY Times reported a heartbreaking story:
A triumphant United States Olympic trials marathon turned somber yesterday morning when Ryan Shay, a 28-year-old veteran marathoner, collapsed during the race in Central Park and was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital.

It put a terrible twist on the victory by Ryan Hall, who exulted in the emotion of winning the race and capturing an Olympic berth. But he had no idea that the ambulance that had passed him on the course earlier was carrying Shay, his good friend and occasional training partner, a man whose wedding he had helped celebrate in July...
Learn more here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Paul Tibbits, the Pilot Who Dropped the First Atomic Bomb, Dies

Paul Tibbits piloted the B-29 Enola Gay Bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima passed away this morning.

According to the article, "He was 92 and insisted almost to his dying day that he had no regrets about the mission and slept just fine at night...Tibbets had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would provide his detractors with a place to protest, Newhouse said."

He was a strong soldier and figure after the war. Learn more here.

Raping a Prostitute is a "Theft of Services"?!

Ada Calhoun, a news blogger, reported that a striking story about municipal judge and a prostitute. According to her article:
The judge ruled that a woman forced by a client to have sex with three other men at gunpoint should be considered just "a robbery."'s Broadsheet quotes the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association's condemnation of the decision: "Even though the woman is a prostitute, it doesn't mean she couldn't be a victim. Once she says 'No, it's not okay,' then to have sex with her is rape."

It's amazing the judge could have thought otherwise, but she even defended the decision later to the press.

According to the AP article:
Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni heightened the furor when she defended her decision to a newspaper. ''She consented and she didn't get paid,'' Deni told the Philadelphia Daily News. ''I thought it was a robbery.''
Deni also told the newspaper that the case ''minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.''
Learn more about the back story here.

How can someone honestly think that a prostitute has fewer rights under the law than other women?

"In Rape Case, a French Youth Takes On Dubai"

The NY Times covered a story of a young French foreigner, Alexandre Robert. It's a hard story to read, but he deserves the media attention. I hope his courage encourages the Dubai government to punish his aggressors. Learn more here.

You can find his personal support website,, here.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .