I was running up in Redwood Regional Park today and this very hippy couple in brightly colored hand woven South American fabrics came along the trail the other way with three dogs. Two passed in typical dog-like manner. But the last, a floppy moppet of a white spaniel or something comes running by and bites my leg on the way.
I thought at first it was just a smack and went on my way, but then I saw blood drooling down my leg, mixed with dog drool, so I ran back to the couple to make sure the dog’s shots were up. They didn’t even offer their names, which suggests to me that they were probably from Berkeley because it seemed more like Presumed Entitlement than Attitude, which would have suggested Oakland provenance. I had just started a 5.25 mile run and didn’t want to stop and deal with it, so floppy gets to bite another day.
In the end it doesn’t feel too bad, a couple of cuts on the bony side and one little puncture on the chewy side. The picture is after about an hour of running and then driving home and washing it off, but it did look butch with a rivulet of blood running down my shin and coloring my sock.
The movie What the bleep do we know is a pseudo-scientific exploration of using quantum mechanics to justify a human potential-like pseudo-religious concept. I have an undergraduate degree in physics from MIT, and so I recognized a lot of the arguments as absurd immediately, but I reached the limits of my depth, particularly on the history of QM in this argument. Most, but not all of the concepts could be easily refuted from an undergraduate understanding such as mine, some seem to require more depth. But the practicing physicists I reviewed my answers with seemed to think they had nothing useful to add to the discussion, in part I suspect out of the still-somewhat-in-vogue idea that the best way to confront anti-scientific ideas is to ignore them, viz the debate over intelligent design (which I think, personally, the flying spaghetti monster settled.)
Yesterday a “special edition” of the New York Times was handed out around New York. It is absolutely hilarious and I think one of the better pranks I’ve heard of.
Most of the satire is spot on. Of many examples that I found really amazing, the fake “Friedman” piece is one of my favorites. He was on The Daily show recently promoting his book and I couldn’t contain my disdain for his relentless errors and misinformation. Is there any penalty for being completely wrong? About everything? Yes! Perhaps only in satire, but yes.
The Satire is mostly about Friedman’s errors on Iraq, but he’s been wrong about just about everything: economics, social reality, the role of trade, and, of course, the war in Iraq.
I got a note about it from the Yes Men mailing list, the NYT article (real) about the Times (fake) has some details.
A bee in Telluride.
Carolyn and I were in Canada for the election. We saw it from the safety of a Russian themed bar called Pravda in Toronto, one of our favorites (the Chicken Kiev is amazing and Andrea the bartender is the best).
We watched on a projection screen as the results came in and the initial McCain victories were soon overwhelmed by a tide of… well… for once not being a land of morons.
We left once the electoral victory was inevitable and heard the results on the radio between Toronto and Guelph. We were happy but not surprised. We listened to people describing how happy they were, Canadian commentators speaking about how “The States” was now not a joke and might perhaps once again participate in the world’s stage as something other than belligerent idiots. It was good.
Now I have to admit a bit of wistfulness at the results. Not that I didn’t want Obama to win… but I’m sorry to see Palin go the way of Kathleen Harris. Palin is such a caricature of extreme white trash, of all that is idiotic and embarrassing in America: the Tonya Harding of Politics but with a body double for her sex tape. I’m sad that tonight Jon Stewart will be boring. That for the next eight (please) years the most ridiculous news will come from somewhere other than the white house. We could have had Palin there and every day would have been a delight of absurdity. I’d trade good leadership for comedy, but it is not an unmitigated win.
Today, on the way out of Canada, I saw something that demonstrated in a small way how monumental this moment of history really is. I followed a black American man through security screening. It was obvious he was used to being given a hard time for his color, for his culture. He expected it, reacted to the scan and the follow up as if it were part of the normal sweat inducing stress he had to live through every day. What broke his stride was when he collected his things after passing the secondary mass spectrograph screening and the Indian screener said to him as he turned away “Yay Obama!”
Across boarders, across centuries, across races this is a moment that renders irrelevant such trivialities as a global depression or wars.
It turned out the guy grew up about 20 blocks from me in Philadelphia. The world is interconnected and small and overnight the good people have a reason to be optimistic. Finally.
Our plane stopped on it’s way out of the gate, went back to the gate for a quick mechanical fix to the toilets, we were told. Outside I saw them loading a few more bags including Carolyn and Mine (the grey and yellow plastic ones).