Tuesday, 6 November 2007
I Voted (Virginia off-year edition)
Virginia elects its legislature and County officials in odd years, so unlike much of the country, today was again Election Day here.
Went to the polls around 6:20am.
No line at all at that time. Zip in, zip out. And of course it was pitch dark and raining..
For my half of the alphabet I was the 15th voter.
The ballot had about 12 offices, bond issues & other questions on it. Busy election.
And of course the county continues to use WinVote, a computerized voting solution. Just like all computerized voting -- when you really, really want no reliable audit trail or chance for a recount.
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catching up a bit
NYT: Picky Eaters? They Get It From You
The message to parents: It's not your cooking, it's your genes. The study, led by Dr. Lucy Cooke of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August. Dr. Cooke and others in the field believe it is the first to use a standard scale to investigate the contribution of genetics and environment to childhood neophobia.
According to the report, 78 percent is genetic and the other 22 percent environmental.
Pretty interesting, except for falling in the Caveman trap: ("HAY I BET THIS CUZ OF HOW CAVEPEOPLE DIDZ IT.")
Most children eat a wide variety of foods until they are around 2, when they suddenly stop. The phase can last until the child is 4 or 5. It's an evolutionary response, researchers believe. Toddlers' taste buds shut down at about the time they start walking, giving them more control over what they eat. "If we just went running out of the cave as little cave babies and stuck anything in our mouths, that would have been potentially very dangerous," Dr. Cooke said.
That's quite an implicit claim -- that this phase is the default for humans all the way back to cave days. Is that really something this study established? If not, this sounds like armchair essentialism, which I'm trying to cut down on myself.
Absolute Nonsense from Dana Milbank on Social Security /Dean Baker's Beat the Press
While it would not be advisable to wait until the trust fund is empty, we are still 39 years from our next 1983. Mr. Milbank must think that this country is in great shape if he thinks this distant and relatively minor problem should be at the top of the national agenda.
Btw, if we changed our immigration rules so that the Post and other news outlets could freely hire more qualified columnists than Mr. Milibank at lower wages, it could eliminate close to half of the projected shortfall by bringing a larger share of wage income under the cap on the Social Security wage tax. This would be a real win-win policy. Where are the free-traders?
Stalin, Mao And ... Ahmadinejad? Fareed Zakaria @ Newsweek
Iran has an economy the size of Finland's and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran.
And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order?
What planet are we on?
Improvised Explosive Oversight by George C. Wilson @ CongressDaily / GovernmentExecutive.com
Weirdly written. Like, borderline unprofessional.
No doubt about it now, if there ever was: House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has planted more political IEDs [improvised explosive devices] under President Bush and his Republican allies than any member of Congress...
...not to use loaded imagery, or anything...
Hurricane Katrina. Evidence that taxpayers got ripped off on the cleanup effort because of the Homeland Security Department's non-competitive contracting and its lack of supervision of the work. Ka-boom!
Ka-boom?! So, oversight of government contracts is like.. violent destruction? Terrorism?
George C. Wilson goes on to list several more oversight issues the Committee is looking at, each with a "Ka-boom!", then writes essentially favorably of the efforts.
So, IEDs are good then?
Is there an editor in the house?
neat web developer tool that lets you try out css selectors
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Fed fast food of opinion, ESPN audience starves for reported fact - Le Anne Schreiber @ ESPN
ESPN Ombudsperson goes to town - lots of quotable stuff relevant to other journalism.
Too many people are involved to attribute motivation, which at any rate is a dangerous activity. All I can say for sure is that factuality has been devalued in 24/7 sports media. If you look at the proportion of airtime and cyberspace devoted to reporting fact versus delivering opinion on ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN Radio, it is clear that the main function of sports news is to serve as the molehill on which mountains of opinion are built. We don't have news cycles. We have opinion cycles.