Archive for March 1st, 2007

Juxtaposition Of The Week

The text of this spam I got is pretty pedestrian, but any time I get an e-mail from “clitoris” that says it’s “Looking forward to seeing the redesign,” well, that’s going to get my attention.

Should the redesign include penis bones?

March 1st, 2007 at 06:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Rooting For Novak… Maybe

I find myself in the unenviable and highly unpromising position of hoping that Robert Novak is right – with reservations, of course:

[Republican push-poller Kieran] Mahoney is trying to prove a point widely accepted in Republican ranks. None of the three front-line candidates is a natural fit for the nation’s right-of-center party. Without question, there is a void. The question is whether [former VA governor Jim] Gilmore or anyone else can fill it.

Heh. The Republican party is “right of center” in much the same way that the ’62 Mets were “below .500.”

The most commonly mentioned potential void-filler is not Gilmore but Newt Gingrich. A straw poll by the right-wing organization Citizens United of its political contributors showed Gingrich leading with 31 percent (followed by Giuliani at 25 percent, Romney at 10 percent and McCain at 8 percent)….

Novak then describes how Maloney told his poll subjects about McCain, Giuliani, and Romney’s various liberal heresies and pumped up Gilmore’s conservative credentials to get his percentage up from 1 to 31.

That suggests at least the theoretical success of a campaign to knock down the conservative credentials of the big three and build up Gilmore’s. “I have the best track record of any of the candidates,” Gilmore told me, adding that McCain and Giuliani are “not conservative” while Romney was a “liberal governor of Massachusetts.”


At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is attracting right-wingers from across the nation to Washington this weekend, Citizens United will distribute a 23-page attack on McCain. “He’s no Ronald Reagan,” it begins, and concludes: “John McCain is not a conservative.” (McCain is the only announced Republican presidential hopeful not scheduled to speak at CPAC.) Simultaneously, McCain operatives are putting out material that depicts Giuliani riding into City Hall on the shoulders of the New York Liberal Party as a throwback to the old Tammany Hall Democratic machine.

Part of me would love to see Novak proved right (so to speak), and see the Republicans nominate an obvious fire-breathing far-right psychopath with positions way out of the political mainstream. In theory, any halfway competent Democrat should be able to mop the floor with him.

On the other hand, what worries me is that the media will fall over Senator/Governor Whack A. Loon for his “authenticity,” while simultaneously reassuring everyone that all that stuff he said in the primaries about deporting all the Mexicans and Arabs and gays and abortionists and atheists and hippies was just stuff he had to say to win the nomination, but he’s really a pragmatic moderate who’s looking forward to working with the Democrats in a spirit of compromise. And that the Democratic nominee will be a defenseless naif like John Edwards who doesn’t know how (or why) to combat smear attacks. The Republicans will accuse him of being a serial rapist, and he’ll just assume that it’s so obviously untrue that he doesn’t have to dignify it with a response. Which might work if we had an objective, truth-seeking media.

But the reality will be more like this:

The non-partisan group Rape Victims For Truth, which is totally not affililiated with the Loon campaign in any way, launched a series of compelling commercials in which they accuse Senator Edwards of being a savage blood-drinking immortal responsible for a series of brutal rapes and murders over the past 300 years.

The Edwards campaign could not be reached for comment, but one anonymous congressional staffer said, “Yeah, I could totally see that. He shuns the daylight and always has these mysterious stains on his clothing that he can’t account for.”

Couple that with more vote suppression and possible tampering, and we could very easily elect Genghis Khan (he’s strong on defense, and he knows how to treat prisoners!).

All the more reason for us to fix the media and the electoral process (check back next Tuesday) ASAP. Justice Stevens ain’t gettin’ any younger.

3 comments March 1st, 2007 at 11:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Polls,Republicans

Great Moments In Science

Oh my.

Promiscuity is common among female rodents, leading to competition between the sperm of rival males over who fertilizes the eggs. It now seems that possessing a longer penis may give males an advantage in this competition, according to new research to be published in the March issue of The American Naturalist. Dr. Steve Ramm, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Liverpool, UK, compared the relative size of the penis bone in several mammal groups: “The data for rodents seem pretty clear cut. Species where sexual competition between males is most intense also tend to have the longest penises. But, interestingly, a similar pattern was not detected in either primates or bats.” Understanding the reasons for these differences will require a better understanding of the precise mechanisms through which male rodents benefit from longer penises, something which comparative data alone cannot address.

Overall, the rodent with the longest penis bone relative to its body size in the study was the Western harvest mouse, Reithrodontomys megalotis. “Everything’s relative of course,” explains Dr. Ramm, “so although big for its body size the penis bone in R. megalotis is still only 7 to 8 mm long. I donít think the phrase ‘hung like a harvest mouse’ will be catching on any time soon.”

Am I in the wrong field?

As for why penis size isn’t an issue in bats, I would theorize that bats’ poor vision is a significant factor, as penis size is something that probably cannot be determined by echolocation. And primates, well, it’s clearly due to our highly advanced emotional maturity and ability to focus on characteristics that are really important when selecting a mate and companion… like breast size.

(“Penis bone”??? Mice have penis bones?)

h/t to WaPo’s Achenblog.

3 comments March 1st, 2007 at 11:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Science,Weirdness

Random Oakland Photoblogging

No, not that Oakland. Photos from my photo excursion to Pittsburgh’s college district.

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Warehouse windows.

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Um, a building.

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Same building, different angle.

March 1st, 2007 at 07:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

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