Lies, lies, lies

I’ve been meaning to point this Slacktivist post and its followup out for a while, and now’s as good a time as any.

As always, Fred Clark is worth reading all the way through. For both posts.

A moment, from the second post:

I continue to believe that when you encounter someone who is saying something that they know is not true, there is great power in saying as much. When someone says that they believe health care reform will lead to socialist tyranny, simply tell them that, “No, you do not believe that. It is not true and you know it is not true.” When they say that “abortion is murder and America is a blood-stained, murderous country,” simply say, “No, you do not believe that. It is not true and you know it is not true.” You will not need to raise your voice. Truth doesn’t require amplification to dispel falsehood. The falsehood wasn’t ever really there in the first place.


This video is pretty cool: time lapse footage of a spiderweb being built, plus slow-motion footage of subsequent bug capture, and — as a bonus — some spider-on-spider food theft.

What a smoking gun looks like


A newly disclosed document reveals that Vatican officials told the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they had serious reservations about the bishops’ policy of mandatory reporting of priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.

The document appears to contradict Vatican claims that church leaders in Rome never sought to control the actions of local bishops in abuse cases, and that the Roman Catholic Church did not impede criminal investigations of child abuse suspects.

Hold them accountable.

Stuxnet Explained

The NYT has a nice long piece on Stuxnet today. Basically, it’s pretty much clear now that the worm that did major damage to the Iranian nuke program was a joint project of the US and Israel.

This is what “cyberwar” looks like. We released a targeted computer virus that did real-world damage to an enemy’s offensive capability.

How you are probably wrong.

How many spaces do you put after a period?

If you said anything other than “one,” you are unequivocally and completely wrong.

If you think two is correct, it’s probably because of your (outmoded) typing training:

Most ordinary people would know the one-space rule, too, if it weren’t for a quirk of history. In the middle of the last century, a now-outmoded technology — the manual typewriter — invaded the American workplace. To accommodate that machine’s shortcomings, everyone began to type wrong. And even though we no longer use typewriters, we all still type like we do.

The problem with typewriters was that they used monospaced type — that is, every character occupied an equal amount of horizontal space. This bucked a long tradition of proportional typesetting, in which skinny characters (like I or 1) were given less space than fat ones (like W or M). Monospaced type gives you text that looks “loose” and uneven; there’s a lot of white space between characters and words, so it’s more difficult to spot the spaces between sentences immediately. Hence the adoption of the two-space rule — on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read. Here’s the thing, though: Monospaced fonts went out in the 1970s. First electric typewriters and then computers began to offer people ways to create text using proportional fonts. Today nearly every font on your PC is proportional. (Courier is the one major exception.) Because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.

Like a Boss

Mark Ingram is so awesome that he’s already signed a 7-figure deal with a sports marketing company before he’s even been drafted. I guess a national championship, a Heisman, and no hint of NCAA impropriety will do that for you. Go Mark!

(Just don’t go to the Pats, please. Or Dallas. Christ, please not Dallas.)

People, this is what “serious badass” means.

You think Julius from Pulp Fiction was a bad motherfucker? Did John Wayne embody “tough sumbitch” for you? Yeah, they’re pansies. Check out Samuel Whittemore, hero of the American Revolution:

Samuel Whittemore (1694 – February 3, 1793) was a farmer. He was eighty years old and living in Menotomy, Massachusetts (present-day Arlington) when he became the oldest known colonial combatant in the American Revolutionary War. […]

On April 19, 1775, British forces were returning to Boston from the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the opening engagements of the war. On their march, they were continually shot at by colonial militiamen.

Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore loaded his musket and ambushed the British from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols and killed a grenadier and mortally wounded a second. He managed to fire five shots before a British detachment reached his position.

N.B. that the revolution was fully 100 years before “firing five shots” was possible without reloading, manually, 5 times. Whittemore was, of course, not yet done:

Whittemore then attacked with a sword. He was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen times, and left for dead in a pool of blood. He was found alive, trying to load his musket to fight again. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 98.

7-0. War Eagle.

They’re not my favorite SEC squad by a damn sight, but Auburn money put food on the table at my house growing up, so they’re not my least favorite, either.

Auburn did the SEC proud tonight, shutting down Oregon’s tempo attack and bagging the conference’s fifth consecutive title, and preserving the SEC’s status as the only league to never lose the title contest; we’re now 7-0 in title game play.

As long as we’re counting, the SEC is also the only conference to send so many teams to the big game (5: Alabama (2010), Auburn (2011), Florida (2009, 2007), LSU (2008, 2004), and Tennessee (1999)). The runner up, by the way, is the Big XII, with 3, only two of whom won (Texas in ’06, Oklahoma in ’01).

See you next year.

I swear to God this isn’t gloating

I just got this on the only Alabama alum mailing list I’m on (thanks, Hatch). I checked; it’s actually excerpts from a Michigan State sports board thread during the Capital One Bowl. I highlighted a couple favorites.

“Julio takin’ us to schoolio”

“why are they allowing Alabama to play with 35 players on defense?”

“I think their punter is currently drinking around the world in Epcot.” [from the early 3rd quarter]

“If we played 10 times, they would win 15”

“If Cam Newton costs $200,000 for a season, how much is a 2nd half rental?”

“and now [MSU starting QB] Cousins is dead”

“If I was our QB I would hire an attorney and sue them for negligence or intentional infliction of physical and emotional distress.”

“I’m ready to accept MSU boosters paying for an offensive line. If we get caught I can deal with it.”

“This is getting out of hand…an Alabama d-lineman just popped out of my TV and threw me 10 yards behind my couch.”

“Do you think this is how Custer felt?”

“We’re going to have a wing named after us at Orlando Regional Medical Center by the time this game finishes.”

“This is embarrassing. So are we officially a basketball school again?”

“I want to know how many times in the history of organized football that teams have punted on 4th and goal”

“So this is what they mean by team speed”

“if i’m [backup QB] Maxwell, I fake an injury on the way to the huddle” [Maxwell was knocked out of the game three plays later.]

“good lord. Their 4th string running back just ran through our entire defense and all we could do was swing our purses at him.”