Archive for June 13th, 2007

Who Knew?

Apparently, non-Republicans are Americans too:

Conventional wisdom says that the American public is fundamentally conservative – hostile to government, in favor of unregulated markets, at peace with inequality, wanting a foreign policy based on the projection of military power, and traditional in its social values.

But as this report demonstrates, that picture is fundamentally false. Media perceptions and past Republican electoral successes notwithstanding, Americans are progressive across a wide range of controversial issues, and they’re growing more progressive all the time.

This report gathers together years of public opinion data from unimpeachably nonpartisan sources to show that on issue after issue, the majority of Americans hold progressive positions. And this is true not only of specific policy proposals, but of the fundamental perspectives and approaches that Americans bring to bear on issues.

Nor is the progressive majority merely a product of the current political moment. On a broad array of issues, particularly social issues, American opinion has grown more and more progressive over the past few decades. In contrast, it is difficult to find an issue on which the public has grown steadily more conservative over the last 10, 20, or 30 years.

Whenever the media claim to describe the opinions of mainstream American voters, they almost invariably end up describing the opinions of mainstream Republican voters instead. It’s like the rest of us simply don’t exist.

2 comments June 13th, 2007 at 06:27pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Polls

Tastes Great, More Landfilling

I think this may qualify as an “only in New York” story:

Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro is having a meltdown over a frozen treat called Staten Island Landfill – one of eight flavors made by New York’s own 5 Boroughs Ice Cream.

“I’m outraged and disgusted that you would name your Staten Island-themed ice-cream Landfill,'” Molinaro wrote in an angry letter to the company founders.

(…)

Kim and Scott Myles, the Queens couple who founded 5 Boroughs Ice Cream in their Astoria kitchen in 2002, said they wanted to take the Ben & Jerry’s concept to an urban extreme – and they meant no harm.

“It’s got chocolate hearts because it’s a flavor with heart,” Kim Myles, 33, said of Landfill, a vanilla ice cream stuffed with brownie chunks, heart-shaped chocolate crunchies, chocolate fudge and cherries.

Landfill does seem a bit harsh compared with the other more whimsical flavor names: South Bronx Cha Cha Chocolate, Bay Ridge Amaretto Amor and Jackson Heights Mangodesh. And there’s NYPB, a peanut butter-flavored chocolate ice cream, with 5% of the profits going to the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. But another flavor has a cold bite to its name: Upper East Side Rich White Vanilla.

“The upper East Side suffers from a stereotype, that everybody is white and everybody is wealthy,” said the chairman of the neighborhood’s Community Board 8, David Liston.

“Having said that,” Liston said, “if the ice cream is good, I’ll eat it.”

I have to admit, Molinaro’s suggested alternative, “Ferry Berry,” actually sounds pretty good…

June 13th, 2007 at 11:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Yet another kind of computer virus to worry about:

Mass.–Watch out, PC owners. There’s something far worse for your computer than malicious hacking: dry hacking. “At least that’s what it sounded like,” said astonished business-computing specialist Walt Sasser. “My computer’s cooling fans would spasm every few minutes, coughing out little blasts of air.

“And something had scrambled the machine’s text-encoding subroutines. A message popped up on the screen: ‘Systeb Error! You will lose all udsabed idforbation.’ I’d never seen anything like it.”

Soon Walt’s friend Peter Lenart–summoned from his studies at nearby Pauli Tech– discovered the cause of the malfunction.

“Peter told me the computer had probably caught a human virus,” Walt said. “Back at Tech, Pete’s nanotechnology experiments involved viruses able to bind with particles of silicon. The bugs in my computer represented a similar strain, infecting the machine’s silicon-chip microprocessors.”

“Once inside the chips, each virus’ protein coat had become covered with silicon particles. The gilded viruses became tiny electrical conductors, effectively rewiring the processors.”

As a result, the computer suffered from amazingly human symptoms. “We saw increased processor speed,” Walt said, “accelerated activity that elevated the machine’s temperature, just like a fever.”

Walt also observed green and yellow discharge from the machine’s ports. “It’s called a ‘runny node,’ in networking lingo,” Walt explained. “It comes from melting wire insulation.”

Lacking established troubleshooting protocol, Walt and Peter treated the digital ailment just like an ordinary cold.

“We bundled the computer in a wool blanket and stuck a thermometer under the CD-ROM tray to monitor overheating,” Walt said. “We also kept all of the programs closed–so that the machine was running nothing but a temperature. And we made sure it got plenty of Sleep Mode.”

Within a week, the machine’s fever burned off the viruses. Now Walt and Peter are working hard to find a faster cure.

“Peter’s churned out some disease-management programs called e-Chinacea and Vitamin C++,” Walt said. “And I’m experimenting with virus-resistant zinc-based computer hardware.”

(…)

Epidemiologists haven’t officially documented any human cases yet, but Walt presented harrowing evidence of the grave risks computer users face.

“Pete knew a professor back at Tech who accidentally broke a vial full of silicon-clad viruses,” Walt reported. “He was never the same again.”

“He was freezing all the time–not actually cold, but blank, unresponsive, with an hourglass-shaped glint in his eye.”

(…)

The symptoms suggest that silicon from the viruses’ protein coats can accumulate in the brains of infected humans, like the deposits of aluminum found in cortical tissue of Alzheimer’s Disease sufferers. The resulting damage to infected humans’ mental abilities is likely to be permanent.

“So, to be safe, we recommend staying away from an afflicted computer, and covering up its fans with handkerchiefs,” Walt said.

“It’s just not worth the risk,” he added. “We can treat an infected machine with a little warmth from the motherboard. But if you’re exposed, you’ll end up on the junkheap.”

Nothing about giving the afflicted PC fluids or chicken soup, oddly enough. Or maybe some Compudafed.

1 comment June 13th, 2007 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News


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