Archive for February 21st, 2008

Belated Blogiversary

I completely forgot; Monday was Multi Medium’s third anniversary, about 3300 posts ago. That’s 1100 posts a year, or about 3 per day, which is right around where I want to be.

So, um, hooray and stuff.

5 comments February 21st, 2008 at 11:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Good News/Bad News

The Good News: Dangerous Evil Satellite is probably shot down. (Also, that launch photo is pretty cool – click on it for a non-pixelated version)

The Bad News: I’m pretty sure there are sci-fi horror movies that start out this way.

February 21st, 2008 at 08:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Can’t Be Trusted

Ellroon was right!

Squirrels may be small and furry, but they’re also clever tricksters, suggests a new study that describes how eastern grey squirrels engage in behavioral, and perhaps even tactical, deception.

The study is the first to present evidence that any rodent deceives. It’s also one of the first to document deception in the wild, since most other related studies have been conducted on captive critters.

The free-living squirrels mislead to protect their stashes of nuts and acorns, which they store, or cache, for later consumption. When storing food, they first excavate a shallow pit that they dig with their front paws.

Then, with the food in their mouths, the industrious squirrels push the item into the base of the pit “often with several thrusts of the entire body.” Finally, they drag their paws over the site to cover it with soil and debris.

Scientists, however, noticed that the squirrels would turn their backs on other squirrels and go through the whole storage ritual without even dropping food into the holes.

(…)

Co-author Sylvia Halkin then led a second experiment on the campus of Central Connecticut State University. In the experiment, one person provided the squirrels with peanuts, a second monitored squirrel behavior and a third person actually pilfered nuts from the rodents.

(…)

When the squirrels detected the human peanut pilfering, they initiated their deceptive behavior by covering sites where no food had been stored. They also made more of an effort to cache nuts in more remote places, such as under bushes and in tree nests, stumps or cavities. They even resorted to eating nuts rather than storing them.

The squirrels did such a good job at digging fake storage holes that they often tricked the human pilferers, who had trouble finding the peanuts. Other squirrels, even with their heightened sense of smell, can also be foiled by the deception.

(…)

Lisa Leaver, a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter, said no one has yet proven that squirrels can understand the intentions of others, which would mean that they possess “theory of mind,” so she thinks it’s possible squirrels simply act based on trial and error.

[Lead author Michael] Steele, however, suspects that squirrels are indeed tactical deceivers. He hopes future research will confirm these suspicions that he and many a bird-feeding homeowner have.

No squirrels have been observed running for public office… yet.

1 comment February 21st, 2008 at 07:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Science,Weirdness

My Tasteless Analogy Of The Day

James Boyce makes The Swiftboating sound an awful lot like 9/11:

Democrats remain obsessed with stopping ‘swiftboating’ and ending the smears. They are lining up to fight the last war in droves, no one will get swiftboated this time, they cry.

Well, that part is right, no one will get swiftboated because the Republicans aren’t going to use the same tactic twice. Yes, swiftboating is a tactic not a strategy.

(…)

The strategy is to use the money of extremely wealthy Republicans, T. Boone Pickens, Bob Perry, men who invest in projects created by right wing consultants and strategists. Invest I say because the payout that they receive from winning the election is a tremendous return on investment….

The strategy then is to use the money to attack and destroy and ridicule the Democratic opposition in a race. With the Swift Boat Veterans, it was attacking John Kerry’s military record. With Democrats last cycle and the Economic Freedom Fund, funded with $5,000,000 of Bob Perry’s money, it was to go off the “Democrats will raise taxes” mantra.

The strategy is to lie and diminish and attack Democrats, always has been, always will be. Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, all greatly impacted by this strategy, none swiftboated.

Boyce then lists numerous reasons why the swiftboating was unique to Kerry (I would think the fact that neither Hillary or Obama ever served on a swiftboat would be sufficient, really), of which I found this one particularly interesting:

The failure of John Kerry to respond, personally and with full force.

Politicians and their advisors have learned this lesson, perhaps too well. Now, Democrats overreact and fight back too hard and too fast ironically.

(…)

It will never happen again.

And just as Democrats in 2004 poured money into Florida only to lose Ohio as well, so now, we seem obsessed with beating the swiftboaters.

They won.

Now, we need to look forward, not back.

Let me repeat that, they won. They won in August 2004 and as much as we want to keep fighting them, it’s over, done. John Kerry is not President. And all of the groups, focus, lamenting and 20/20 hindsight, mine including, will not, change this core fact.

They won.

Now there is a different battle, the strategy has not changed but the tactics will.

We, collectively, we have 90 days to game plan and create a fight back group that will fight the next war, not the last one.

So, in other words, the Democrats got caught with their pants down, and now they are doing everything they can think of to make sure they don’t fall prey to that same attack again. Which ends up being counterproductive and annoying.

Frankly, I don’t think I entirely buy this. Boyce does a good job of identifying the Republican strategy (money => smears), but I think he’s a little overspecific about what swiftboating means. I mean, it’s not like anyone expects the Republicans to accuse Hillary or Obama about their service in Vietnam, right? I always thought swiftboating referred to well-financed smears in general, and that is the Republican strategy. Yes, it’s vitally important to anticipate what those smears will be and counter them effectively, but I think the Democrats know that. I’m just not convinced that they can do it.

February 21st, 2008 at 07:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans

Spamela Anderson

Some more evocative comment spam for your reading enjoyment:

ague Alex?seventies hints:critter?…

instrumenting groceries Longfellow …

Jacobsen halter:nicked eliminating Mizar committeemen …

patterned loaders shirting keyboard …

puff!doers computationally …

lantern odiousness boatload.asynchrony?Magellan docile….

patients apprentices!tang hid scissors?bookkeepers …

pediatrician Sinbad verdure espouse?seashore,buggies….

recombining thrived:cat mortifying …

collided desire.grieves amid journeyed …

shipbuilding,verifications Mans credulousness …

seals Moloch!examining invaders …

And I’m still nowhere close to running out.

February 21st, 2008 at 11:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Grover Makes A Boo-Boo

Oopsie:

A former California Republican Party official who resigned last year in a controversy over his immigration status had no valid visa or work permit during his high-profile career as a Washington lobbyist for conservative icon Grover Norquist, newly filed court records show.

Michael Kamburowski, an Australian citizen who served briefly as chief operating officer of the state GOP, worked from 1995 to 2000 as a vice president of Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C., an organization headed by Norquist – an architect of modern conservatism who has advised President Bush and top GOP political leaders.

For Norquist, Kamburowski lobbied Congress on dozens of issues, including immigration reform, according to his resume. He also directed the Norquist organization’s Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, an effort to rename public buildings to honor the former president.

But when he went to work for Norquist, Kamburowski had no legal right to live or work in the U.S., according to documents filed recently in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., in connection with a wrongful-arrest lawsuit he filed against U.S. immigration officials.

Not to worry, though – I don’t think Republicans mind illegal immigrants nearly so much when they’re white guys.

(h/t kirk murphy)

February 21st, 2008 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Republicans,Wankers


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