Archive for February 12th, 2007

More Musical Monday Media Blogging

I wonder what’s going through Piano Kitty’s head. Is she mimicking what her human does? Does she like the sound of the piano? Or does she just like the way the keys feel? Or is it some combination of all three?

(Courtesy of Cute Overload, of course)

2 comments February 12th, 2007 at 07:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cuteness,Monday Media Blogging

What I Want

Since the comments on my Look On The Bright Side post have turned to what we want to see in 2008, and don suggested that Joe Lieberman should have a role in the new administration, I thought I would offer up my dream scenario of how I would like to see things play out.

1) Gore runs for president and wins. This is paramount.

2) Gore’s veep is either Edwards, Clark, or Feingold if he’s willing. I might have considered Boxer, but not after she backed Lieberman.

3) Clark is SecDef if he’s not veep; otherwise either don’s suggestion of Murtha, or one of the retired generals who spoke out against the war in Iraq (Zinni, maybe?).

4) This is the beauty part, but it may require a little finesse and a lot of flattery: President Gore entices Lieberman into a cabinet position (head of DHS, maybe?), treats him like Dubya treated Christie Whitman, then fires him the day after the deadline passes to declare for the CT-SEN election for Joe’s seat (appointed replacements only serve until the next election cycle), leaving the field clear for Lamont. Also, someone takes a picture of Joe’s face at the exact moment when he realizes he’s screwed, and e-mails me a very high-resolution copy so I can make it the new Multi Medium banner.

2 comments February 12th, 2007 at 06:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Lieberman,Politics

“I Don’t Know; I’ve Never Smoked Astroturf.”

Not for us to worry about yet, but I’m not entirely sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing:

In the world of p.r. and marketing, “astroturfing” is not a new term. It is the practice of creating a fake grassroots movement, or buzz. Companies will hire “influencers” in specific demographics to spread the word about a product or service, hoping to give it some street cred among consumers that are specifically resistant to traditional advertising.

In the Internet age, companies hire people to either write blogs that are favorable to their products or comment favorably on blogs such as this one….


Well, Europe has had enough of the astroturfers.

As part of an overhaul of its consumer laws, the European Union will make it a crime to falsely represent oneself as a consumer on blogs or other online forums, come the beginning of next year, reports the Times of London.

This is good news for Europe, if the law can be enforced without violating online privacy. Now, if only it would catch on here.

On the one hand, I would love to see this expanded to the political sphere so that Republican, and for that matter, Democratic operatives pay a price for masquerading as Just Ordinary Citizens Voicing Their Opinions (Note: Not just on blogs). On the other hand, I’m wary of anything that could potentially be used as a club against bloggers. Would bloggers or even commenters be forced to jump through fiery hoops to “prove” that they’re not affiliated with a political campaign? Would Republican dirty tricksters begin harrassing liberal bloggers with false accusations (“Duncan Black, who hides behind the pseudonym ‘Atrios’, is secretly in the employ of Media Matters, which is merely a front for George Soros, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, and Kim Jong Il!”)?

If there were a way to structure it so that only the guilty suffered, I’d be all for it – but when was the last time that was ever true?

February 12th, 2007 at 02:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Technology

Look On The Bright Side.

As long as Bob Shrum Jr. is on Hillary’s team, advising her never to admit error on voting for the war, there’s a good chance that someone else will be the Democratic nominee. I just wish the other options were a little more appealing. Al Gore, why have you forsaken

(h/t Atrios)

6 comments February 12th, 2007 at 09:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Iraq,Wankers,War

Monday Media Blogging

Okay, Natalie Imbruglia is officially A Very Good Sport.

And for those of you who can’t get enough Johann Lippowitz…
“Wherever I Lay My Hat”, by Paul Young.

“Don’t Look Back In Anger”, by Oasis.

February 12th, 2007 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Can You Get A PhD In Cognitive Dissonance?

Maybe he prefaces every paper with “If evolution were real…”

There is nothing much unusual about the 197-page dissertation Marcus R. Ross submitted in December to complete his doctoral degree in geosciences here at the University of Rhode Island.

His subject was the abundance and spread of mosasaurs, marine reptiles that, as he wrote, vanished at the end of the Cretaceous era about 65 million years ago. The work is “impeccable,” said David E. Fastovsky, a paleontologist and professor of geosciences at the university who was Dr. Ross’s dissertation adviser. “He was working within a strictly scientific framework, a conventional scientific framework.”

But Dr. Ross is hardly a conventional paleontologist. He is a “young earth creationist” — he believes that the Bible is a literally true account of the creation of the universe, and that the earth is at most 10,000 years old.

For him, Dr. Ross said, the methods and theories of paleontology are one “paradigm” for studying the past, and Scripture is another. In the paleontological paradigm, he said, the dates in his dissertation are entirely appropriate. The fact that as a young earth creationist he has a different view just means, he said, “that I am separating the different paradigms.”

He likened his situation to that of a socialist studying economics in a department with a supply-side bent. “People hold all sorts of opinions different from the department in which they graduate,” he said. “What’s that to anybody else?”

Isn’t this the very definition of Orwellian doublethink?

Those are “darned near imponderable issues,” said John W. Geissman, who has considered them as a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of New Mexico. For example, Dr. Geissman said, Los Alamos National Laboratory has a geophysicist on staff, John R. Baumgardner, who is an authority on the earth’s mantle — and also a young earth creationist.

If researchers like Dr. Baumgardner do their work “without any form of interjection of personal dogma,” Dr. Geissman said, “I would have to keep as objective a hat on as possible and say, ‘O.K., you earned what you earned.’ ”

Others say the crucial issue is not whether Dr. Ross deserved his degree but how he intends to use it.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Ross said his goal in studying at secular institutions “was to acquire the training that would make me a good paleontologist, regardless of which paradigm I was using.”

Today he teaches earth science at Liberty University, the conservative Christian institution founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell where, Dr. Ross said, he uses a conventional scientific text.

“We also discuss the intersection of those sorts of ideas with Christianity,” he said. “I don’t require my students to say or write their assent to one idea or another any more than I was required.”

But he has also written and spoken on scientific subjects, and with a creationist bent. While still a graduate student, he appeared on a DVD arguing that intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism, is a better explanation than evolution for the Cambrian explosion, a rapid diversification of animal life that occurred about 500 million years ago.

Online information about the DVD identifies Dr. Ross as “pursuing a Ph.D. in geosciences” at the University of Rhode Island. It is this use of a secular credential to support creationist views that worries many scientists.

Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, a private group on the front line of the battle for the teaching of evolution, said fundamentalists who capitalized on secular credentials “to miseducate the public” were doing a disservice.

This makes me nervous to say the least. On the other hand, if he’s teaching at Liberty, he’s preaching to the choir (so to speak) – I don’t think he’s going to be luring too many students away from a belief in evolution there.

Oh, and it appears I was not too far off with my little jest at the top of the post:

Asked whether it was intellectually honest to write a dissertation so at odds with his religious views, he said: “I was working within a particular paradigm of earth history. I accepted that philosophy of science for the purpose of working with the people” at Rhode Island.

And though his dissertation repeatedly described events as occurring tens of millions of years ago, Dr. Ross added, “I did not imply or deny any endorsement of the dates.”


3 comments February 12th, 2007 at 12:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Religion,Science,Weirdness

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