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Mideast Specter

George F. Will: “Saudi Arabia's regime may be changed by reverberations from action against Iraq, particularly if that action is seen to be the prelude to democratization.”

Another article arguing that a side-effect of regime change in Iraq will be regime change in Saudi Arabia, without stating whether this 'side-effect' is indeed an intended effect.

Ecological Footprint Calculator

ecological footprint calculator

“The calculation presented here is obviously a gross simplification and does not take into account many details that will add or subtract from your footprint. This calculation will perform poorly for people outside North America, since it is calibrated to the average North American lifestyle. Also, those North Americans who live an atypical lifestyle, for example by avoiding owning cars and new products, by growing their own food, by living on a boat, or by buying fewer material goods, may not be represented accurately by this calculation.”

This we learn in a popup window, not part of the introductory text. Lesson learned? Always Read the Small Print.

Throttle Open Wide

MidasMulligan: “(We didn't know what had happened after the first one, but after the second I knew immediately is not accidental - you know that distinct noise jet engines make when they open the throttle? That motherfucker actually opened it wide - in essence, floored it - in the last couple of seconds before it hit. Sorry about my language - still hard to even think about this).”

Just a quote that I remembered about, earlier today, upon finishing William Langewiesche's part 1 on the collapse of the WTC towers in The Atlantic Monthly's July/August issue. Apparently all three parts (excerpt of part two) will be made into a book, and if the two remaining parts are even half as good as the first, Langewiesche deserves a Pulitzer.

Quote that made me remember the above link, from the Langewiesche piece (part one): “[The plane that struck the South Tower] was minimally loaded that morning for the Boston-To-Los Angeles run, with only sixty-five people aboard and about half of the maximum fuel, and as it approached the building it weighed about 137 tons. It was flying at about 586 mph, which was 150 mph above the airplane's designed limit at low altitude. In the cockpit the overspeed warning must have been warbling loudly.”

Not that the pilots were paying much attention.

Langewiesche has written a lot about airplane accidents, and his piece on the ValuJet crash is especially good, and argues that “"in complex systems some accidents may be 'normal' -- and trying to prevent them all could even make operations more dangerous”.

Maybe it's about time I start a "Favourite Authors List", complete with pronunciation guide for the hard-to-pronounce ones, like Langewiesche.

25 Questions Men Want to Ask Women

25 questions men want to ask women by Ted Kluck

Why no link? Stupid piece of crap, the URL changes every half hour or something. Well, the questions can be found here.

Every question here is on our minds. No, seriously.

I'd be more than satisfied if just #25 alone were answered.

[I thank Felix for the link]

Amis Swings at Hitchens

Martin Amis swings at Stalin and hits his own best friend instead by Anne Applebaum

Christopher Hitchens is one of my favourite authors. Apparently his friend Martin Amis' book about Stalin is crap, which is the point of the above-linked article. Despite what Applebaum writes about Hitchens (and the disagreement I have with much of Hitchens' politics), it doesn't dissuade me from liking Hitchens' rhetorical flair and passionate nonconformity.

Blah, all I wanted to do was brag that I've read three of Hitchens' novella-length books (seen here; too lazy to link each book) and all his recent Vanity Fair and Atlantic Monthly articles and can't get enough of him--er, his writings I mean.

Pseudo-shops

Pseudo-Shops

The hooligans over at The Daily Nonsense present a subsite of photos of pseudo-shops (possibly infringing on trademarks of Mr. Pseudo himself, Paul of pseudodictionary and pseudofamous, er, fame), which are eateries that, in the words of Puffy, "fuckin' bite" on established brands. My favourite (with only two entries) are the Mac's pseudo-shops. Just because Mac's is the quintessentially Canadian convenience store brand (even though it's really just a knockoff of 7-Eleven).

Oh, and check out the hottie eating the chocolate donut. Mmm, chocolate.

Off-Duty Bush Home on the Range

Guardian Unlimited: Off-Duty Bush Home on the Range

“''I'm able to clear my mind and it helps me put it all in perspective,'' Bush said as his pickup bumped across a field, country music playing on the radio. 'Problems don't go away when we're here, but you can see them in a different light.'”

That's pretty funny, you gotta admit. Like, what a redneck! Actually, I was looking to find President Bush's physical routine and diet. This is a guy who has the most stressful job in the world, but who also runs a 7-minute mile.

Foot.com: Middle-age Men Try To Keep Up with President Bush's Fitness Routine

In a moment of indiscretion, talking about his fitness initiative, he said: Bush said the following: "I expect you to -- I think you're -- I know, I don't think, I know you're a better worker if you exercise on a daily basis." He knows he doesn't think?

From his physical examination in 2001:

“Exercise: The President currently runs (on average) 3.0 miles, 4 times weekly. He also routinely cross-trains with swimming, free weights and elliptical trainer.”
[...]
“Resting heart rate (seated): 43 bpm”
[...]
“The President is in the top 2% of men his age in cardiovascular fitness. This fitness level would place him in the Excellent category for men 40-44 and Superior range for men 45 and older.”

Remarkable Conflict of Interest

George F. Will: <q cite="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1118-2002Aug9.html"">Unlike the NFL and the NBA, both of which adopted their basic economic arrangements after (and because of) the advent of television, baseball's economic model predates radio. And flight. And the internal combustion engine. Today, as when the National League was founded in 1879, locally generated revenues stay with the local owner.

It's weird that Lying in Ponds gave Will a 100% partisan score (on the side of the Democrats, no less) for mentioning that he was part of the same committee which featured George Mitchell. Interesting: George F. Will advises both the Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres, which, in the opinion of one, due to his (Will's) serving on the committee he mentions in the article, constitutes a “remarkable conflict of interest”.

The Sanctity of Elements

Meg Hourihan: “Nielsen speaks on behalf of the users' wants, and points a finger at us developers for using these elements in non-standard ways. But the blame does not lie solely with developers. Many developers do not choose to make bad design decisions; they are forced to because of circumstances.”

Whoa, attribution theory in full effect here.

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