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Monthly Archive: August 2011

Aug 31 2011

Competitive lock picking

I am constantly amazed at the kinds of things that get made into serious competitions. In this video, Schuyler Towne explains what this particular sport is and how it is done (via Boing Boing).

Aug 31 2011

Iowa Tea Party fiasco

There is an interesting soap opera developing with Sarah Palin and Christine (“I am not a witch”) O’Donnell over who will appear at some event in Iowa on Saturday. So will they both show up on Saturday and exchange icy stares? Or will they both skip the event, leaving the organizers in the lurch? Tune …

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Aug 31 2011

Samosas for Jesus?

In more samosa-related news, I learned from the latest issue of The New Humanist (with its provocative cover photo of comedian Ricky Gervais) that the Islamist group known as al-Shabaab has banned samosas in the regions of Somalia controlled by it. Why, you ask? Because they feel that its triangular shape is suggestive of the …

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Aug 31 2011

Samosas and the soul

Samosas are a triangular shaped Indian pastry that can have any filling but usually consists of a spicy mixture of potatoes, peas, and other vegetables. Quite improbably, they became the focus of a recent legal case in New Jersey. As part of an India Day celebration in 2009, the plaintiffs placed an order at the …

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Aug 30 2011

Godspeak from AI machines

What happens if you get two Artificial Intelligence chatbots to talk to each other? Cornell Creative Machines Lab tried it out and a theological discussion broke out.

Aug 30 2011

And the financial skullduggery continues…

Matt Taibbi describes how the Obama administration and the Fed are part of the group trying to put the screws on New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman to get him to agree to a sweetheart deal that will let the banksters escape with a slap on the wrist for all their mortgage-backed fraud. David Atkins …

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Aug 30 2011

A national weight problem?

A new study suggests that obesity is increasing in the US: Currently, figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults at about 66 percent. But lead study author Dr. Youfa Wang of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore says that …

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Aug 29 2011

Jerry Lieber (1933-2011)

I tend to not know the names of songwriters. So I did not know until he died recently that Jerry Lieber was behind the lyrics to so many of the greatest songs of my youth. An old interview on Fresh Air of Lieber with Mike Stoller, who wrote the music, played excerpts of one great …

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Aug 29 2011

Important First Amendment ruling

Recently there has been a spate of events where police have prevented ordinary people from recording them and even public meetings of congresspeople. In a ruling on Friday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has now said that such prohibitions violate the First Amendment. Simon Glik was arrested for using his cell phone’s digital video …

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Aug 29 2011

Hurricane Irene

Cleveland was not in the path of Irene so we just observed it from afar but I am puzzled by those who now claim that it was over-hyped, merely because it caused less damage than expected. It is quite extraordinary that the National Hurricane Center is able to predict the track and intensity of a …

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