Archive for the ‘Awesomeness’ Category



April 6, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.


A Little Tweak

March 29, 2010

…and lo, people change their behavior. Check out the startling behavioral changes that a teensy-weensy bag tax has inspired in Washington D.C.

In its first assessment of how the new law is working, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue estimates that city food and grocery establishments issued about 3.3 million bags in January, which suggests a remarkable decrease. Prior to the bag tax taking effect Jan 1, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer had estimated that about 22.5 million bags were being issued per month in 2009.

Five cents per bag buys you a reduction from 22.5 million bags/month to 3.3 million bags/month.


For My Students

March 28, 2010

Tips on outlining for an exam. Also of interest is this nice overview of San Francisco’s proposed “sit-lie” ordinance.



March 11, 2010

This is a little crude, but if you’re not above crude, you might enjoy it as much as I did:

I am Locking the Wikipedia Article on Our Sex Life:

Dear Josie,

After repeated instances of vandalism and abuse, I have taken the step of locking the Wikipedia article on our sex life. Although I have previously banned both your user account and your home IP address, malicious edits have continued, both anonymously and from newly registered users “alanequalswanker” and “ooohImabigimportantadmin.”

I know that’s you, Josie…

Click here to read the rest.


Scrabble for Cheaters

March 7, 2010

Congrats to my sister and her husband for taking first place in the NYC Cheaters Scrabble Tourney. News isn’t yet posted, but I’m sure it’ll be up there soon.


Darwin’s Nightmare

March 3, 2010

This trend has obviously been brewing for a while, but it’s interesting to see skeptics about evolution also now including climate change in their list of things about which to be skeptical.

In Kentucky, a bill recently introduced in the Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss “the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,” including “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”

The bill, which has yet to be voted on, is patterned on even more aggressive efforts in other states to fuse such issues. In Louisiana, a law passed in 2008 says the state board of education may assist teachers in promoting “critical thinking” on all of those subjects.

Hey, awesome. I’m a fan of critical thinking too. What they should maybe require is that philosophers of science teach those courses. It’d be a win-win, since the classes could only benefit from having well-trained philosophers introduce the complex epistemological concepts associated with critical thinking about science, and many well-trained philosophers are currently failing to find employment.


Tweetle Dum

February 1, 2010

Count me as bummed. Too cool, I thought last week, that Jürgen Habermas is on Twitter. I don’t know anything about twitter, but if “der grösse Jot” is on Twitter, it may well be worth signing up for an account. Too bad it’s been revealed as a big hoax.


Dirty Laundry

January 10, 2010

I always get a wee bit nervous whenever an article quotes or cites me. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I get my red-face on. Here’s a nice little bit from the Washington Post’s travel section. To be frank, when Juliet told me that she wanted to write an article on this, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what her angle might be, even though this is exactly what she told me she’d write. Here are the relevant passages:

Benjamin Hale, an environmental studies and philosophy professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was attending the December climate talks in Copenhagen when he noticed something odd about his three-star hotel: It kept giving him fresh towels, even though he was hanging up the ones he’d used in accordance with the hotel’s advertised policy of allowing guests to reuse towels as a conservation measure.

“I kept wondering, why are these towels getting washed? Because I’m trying, I’m making an effort” to reuse them, recalled Hale, who stayed at the Copenhagen Strand Hotel when delegates from 193 nations gathered in the Danish capital to debate how best to save the planet. “It’s become this unfulfilled promissory note.”


Smells Like Butterflies

January 3, 2010

If the movie Avatar doesn’t introduce a new wave of Anorexic Blue Man chic, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. “Long, skinny, and four-fingered” has my money for the fashion vogue of the new millennium. Expect trash-bins full of severed pinkies arriving at a teen fan-base near you. Want a little bang for your buck? Buy stock in laundry detergent and black lights.

All kidding aside, the movie really is a sight to behold. It’s certainly worthy of praise as one of the most engrossing sci-fi pictures I’ve seen in a long time. Among other things, it shifts special effects expectations to a new level. The imagery is surreal. The colors are vibrant. The scope is mind-boggling. The reality is virtual.

To put it differently, this ain’t your pappy’s 3D. It’s a whole new experience in holy shit.

Even still, I couldn’t help feeling that the mythology of the movie was drawn a bit too much from yesterday’s environmental movement. The story, in a nutshell — and I don’t think I’m giving anything away, but if you are worried about spoilers, stop reading now…

Here, I’ll even give you a standard screamer…SPOILER ALERT!!!

Read the rest of this entry ?


Accidental Misintepretations

November 29, 2009

My son Jasper and I were watching Wall-E last night. In the middle of the movie, he turned to me and asked:

“Dad…so, if we throw our garbage all over Colorado, then the robots will be able to live here?”

He’s three and a half.