Archive for December 19th, 2007

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

#1 search result for quotes about petty bullshit.

I think that has to be the most perfect one ever. Hell, if my blog had a tagline…

1 comment December 19th, 2007 at 11:38pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

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

Hmm. Maybe we liberals haven’t been giving Reagan enough credit…

(By Douglas Maron)

Ronald Reagan[‘s]… kind and benevolent spirit is… back on earth helping people in need.

“He helped me get a job after I was laid off by putting in a good word for me with my new boss,” says Justin Calling, 33, of Akron, Ohio.

And according to Washington-based investigative reporter Phillip Kennerling, who’s tracking the sightings, the Gipper’s ghost also:

o Broke a skydiver’s free fall and dropped him gently on the ground after his parachute failed to open.

o Gave a rookie surgeon a “heads up” when the young doctor inadvertently dropped a college ring into a patient’s abdomen and started to stitch him up.

o Chased away a rabid raccoon that tried to bite an elderly woman who got lost in a national forest after wandering away from home.

“Every time I head one of these stories I just have to shake my head and say, ‘Wow,'” says Kennerling, who’s already hard at work on a book about the sightings.

“These aren’t crackpots we’re talking about. These are rock-solid Americans who have absolutely no reason to lie.

“It’s almost as if Reagan stored up energy over the 10 years he suffered with Alzheimer’s, and now that he’s passed over to the other side, he’s making up for lost time.”

Paranormal researchers agree that Reagan’s spirit returned to earth quickly, and in the words of one, “just might be the hardest-working ghost I’ve ever investigated.

“It’s not just the frequency with which he’s being seen, it’s also the quality of the sightings,” says the expert.

“Reagan’s ghost isn’t rattling around in an attic or making stairs creak in the middle of the night. He’s appearing in broad daylight – and he’s changing people’s lives.”

The WWN then provides case studies of three individuals whose lives were touched by the Ghostly Gipper:

MARLA MONTAG[‘s]… 3-year-old toddler Eric fell into the family’s new swimming pool while she was applying fingernail polish in an upstairs bedroom.

“I heard Eric screaming for help and when I looked out the window I couldn’t see a thing,” she explains. “All of a sudden Ronald Reagan splashes up out of the water and he’s holding Eric in his arms.”


PAUL KOSYN… says he fell asleep at the wheel of his 18-wheeler late at night and when he woke up, he was trapped in the burning wreckage. “Suddenly somebody ripped the door off the truck and dragged me to safety,” he says. “I looked into the man’s face and as God is my witness, it was Ronald Reagan – the Gipper himself!”

“He said, ‘Well… I guess you dodged a bullet this time, old buddy.’

“Then he just chuckled and disappeared.”

RITA TERAN… says the Gipper’s ghost materialized in her mobile home as she wept bitter tears wondering how she was supposed to buy $300 worth of blood pressure medication with her $79 unemployment check.

“President Reagan put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Don’t cry, Rita. You’ll get your medicine.’ And he vanished into thin air,” she adds.

“And when I looked back down at the table, there were three $100 bills right there in front of me.

“God bless you, Mr. Reagan. Thanks to you, I got my medicine.”

Teddy Roosevelt better watch his back – I think he’s just been keeping that spot on Rushmore warm for its rightful owner.

December 19th, 2007 at 09:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News


Hey, remember what a great uplifting story it was about how Mike Huckabee went on a special liquid diet and lost 110 lbs. in just one year? Well, um, about that…

It has been rumored that Huckabee’s weight loss was due not to diet and exercise but to gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery. This blog seeks to examine the evidence that is publicly available, to determine whether weight loss from diet/exercise or bariatric surgery is more likely. Because evidence such as witnesses, money trail, etc are lacking, the analysis is primarily medical. The principle used is the Law of Parsimony, a medical application of Occam’s Razor, in which the validity of a diagnosis is gauged by the degree to which it explains all the clinical findings, without the need to add further diagnoses.

The findings are as follows:

  • Huckabee’s vague history of diet/exercise doesn’t adequately explain his astonishing result.
  • Massive and persistent weight loss with bariatric surgery is about 100x more common than with diet/exercise.
  • Bariatric surgery has a highly characteristic weight loss pattern that Huckabee’s weight loss record fits exactly for rapidity, amount and maintenance. This pattern is not at all like that of diet/exercise.
  • Huckabee demonstrates changes in physical appearance that appear bariatric both in general and the specific (hair loss and skin changes).
  • His particular diet habits are tellingly bariatric.
  • Just prior to his rapid weight loss he took an unusual vacation with a furtive itinerary and end date which provided a plausible window for a private hospitalization and recovery.


  • While running marathons Huckabee is shown carrying that energy supplementation, that is both expected of, and associated with, bariatric marathoners.
  • The lack of any identified witnesses to the bariatric surgery/hospitalization is adequately explained by medical privacy ethical standards as well as the rigor of Federal HIPAA privacy regulations.

In applying the above mentioned Law of Parsimony, it is evident that the one explanation of bariatric surgery readily, even exactly, satisfies every clinical finding.

Diet/exercise alone is not sufficient to explain the findings; its use as a explanation depends on first compiling a series of highly improbable findings (rapid, massive weight loss), and then introducing new conditions and diagnoses (e.g. rare hernias, hair loss). Making the clinical finding fit bariatric surgery is as effortless as diet/exercise is labored.

This is, in fact, only a summary – the complete case with the specifics behind each bullet point can be found here. For what it’s worth, the blogger is a Republican worried about Huckabee winning the primary and being exposed in the general.

(h/t Perlstein)

2 comments December 19th, 2007 at 08:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Huckabee

If Only

Well, here’s an intriguing notion:

As the political season reaches its Iowa caucus climax, momentum is building for Sen. Chris Dodd to parlay his presidential campaign into a bid to challenge Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV, for Majority Leader.

Almost all of the support for this effort now comes from the netroots, much of which favors such a move. But talk of Dodd making a run at the post has slowly crept into the corners of Capitol Hill as well. And in light of the Connecticut Democrat’s successful filibuster threat this week over granting immunity to telecommunications firms that conducted warrantless surveillance, some in the progressive community see the framework for a potential shakeup.

“Dodd is an effective legislator, he is practiced and experienced and is articulate,” said Joan Claybrook, president of the nonprofit group, Public Citizen. “He also knows how to make the process work. I think Harry Reid has an entirely different style and likes to work things out behind the scenes. He’s had to be a negotiator and people don’t like that sometimes. They want to see someone take a stand and win, but that is hard in this Congress and with these issues.”


“I like Harry Reid enough, but it’s clear that we live in a climate in which the type of leadership we need is better provided by Chris Dodd,” Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos told the Huffington Post. “Republicans have been laughing at us all term, refusing to compromise because they know the inevitable capitulation on any given issue is always just a couple of days away. Those Republicans need to be re-taught how to negotiate, and step one is to have a Democratic caucus that will tighten the screws when necessary. Yesterday, that person wasn’t our leader, it was Chris Dodd.”

Similar sentiment has been exhibited at other prominent progressive blogs like FireDogLake.

Still, a major obstacle for a Majority Leader Dodd remains: Senate Democrats are, by and large, happy with the work of Reid. Many note the difficulties in working with a one-vote majority and say he has done the best with the hand he was dealt. In the wake of an April 2007 Washington Post column that was highly critical of Reid’s leadership on Iraq, every single member of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed a letter to the paper, challenging its assertions.

“If it were to happen, the pressure would have to come from the outside,” said an aide to a prominent senator, not from Dodd’s office. “I haven’t heard of anyone being upset with Reid. There has been, in fact, an awful lot of support.”

Those two quotes I bolded are the nub of the problem: Reid is providing the kind of leadership that the Senate Democrats want – that is to say, as little as possible. When a majority of Senate Democrats wants to take a stand, and not fold every time the Republicans hold their breath and stamp their feet, that’s when they’ll elect Dodd (or someone a lot like him) as their Majority Leader. But for now, it looks like going-along-to-get-along suits most of them just fine.

4 comments December 19th, 2007 at 06:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Dodd,Politics

New York Glass Art Photoblogging

Fun with glass (or possibly acrylic) – the relative hosting Grandpa’s birthday party is a bit of an art collector:

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December 19th, 2007 at 11:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging

I Repeat, Science Is Cool!

Maybe I need to start checking out the iTunes U…

Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at M.I.T. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace.

Professor Lewin’s videotaped physics lectures, free online on the OpenCourseWare of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have won him devotees across the country and beyond who stuff his e-mail in-box with praise.


Professor Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTube’s greatest hits. He is part of a new generation of academic stars who hold forth in cyberspace on their college Web sites and even, without charge, on iTunes U, which went up in May on Apple’s iTunes Store.

In his lectures at, Professor Lewin beats a student with cat fur to demonstrate electrostatics. Wearing shorts, sandals with socks and a pith helmet – nerd safari garb – he fires a cannon loaded with a golf ball at a stuffed monkey wearing a bulletproof vest to demonstrate the trajectories of objects in free fall.

He rides a fire-extinguisher-propelled tricycle across his classroom to show how a rocket lifts off.

He was No. 1 on the most downloaded list at iTunes U for a while, but that lineup constantly evolves. The stars this week included Hubert Dreyfus, a philosophy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Leonard Susskind, a professor of quantum mechanics at Stanford.

Last week, Yale put some of its most popular undergraduate courses and professors online free. The list includes Controversies in Astrophysics with Charles Bailyn, Modern Poetry with Langdon Hammer and Introduction to the Old Testament with Christine Hayes.


With his wiry grayish-brown hair, his tortoiseshell glasses and his intensity, Professor Lewin is the iconic brilliant scientist. But like Julia Child, he is at once larger than life and totally accessible.

“We have here the mother of all pendulums!” he declares, hoisting his 6-foot-2, 170-pound self on a 30-pound steel ball attached to a pendulum hanging from the ceiling. He swings across the stage, holding himself nearly horizontal as his hair blows in the breeze he created.

The point: that a period of a pendulum is independent of the mass – the steel ball, plus one professor – hanging from it.

“Physics works!” Professor Lewin shouts, as the classroom explodes in cheers.


A fan who said he was a physics teacher from Iraq gushed: “You are now my Scientific Father. In spite of the bad occupation and war against my lovely IRAQ, you made me love USA because you are there and MIT is there.”


Chasing rainbows hooked Mr. Boigon, the San Diego florist. He was vacationing in Hawaii when he noticed the rainbow outside his hotel every afternoon. Why were the colors always in the same order?

When he returned home, Mr. Boigon said in a telephone interview, he Googled rainbows. Within moments, he was whisked to M.I.T. Lecture Hall No. 26-100. Professor Lewin was in front of a few hundred students.

“All of you have looked at rainbows,” he begins. “But very few of you have ever seen one. Seeing is different than looking. Today we are going to see a rainbow.”

For 50 minutes, he bounds across the stage, writing equations on the blackboard and rhapsodizing about the “amazing” and “beautiful” physics of rainbows. He explains how the colors always appear in the same order because of how light refracts and reflects in the water droplets.

For the finale, he creates a rainbow by shining a bright light into a glass sphere containing a single drop of water.

“There it is!” Professor Lewin cries.

“Your life will never be the same,” he tells his students. “Because of your knowledge, you will be able to see way more than just the beauty of the bows that everyone else can see.”

I loved teachers like this when I was in high school and college; sadly, there were precious few of them.

2 comments December 19th, 2007 at 07:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science

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