Category Archives: interesting news

Hitchens gets waterboarded

I can’t decide if Christopher Hitchens’ article in Vanity Fair in which he willingly submits to being waterboarded in order to help him decide if it’s torture or not qualifies him to be considered like one of those spunky courageous first-person journalists of yore like Orwell or if it’s just an audition for Jackass: Celebrity Journalist edition. I’m guessing a little of both, leaning toward the latter. Because while it certainly shows a little more guts than many of his milquetoast bretheren, there are actually a lot of fairly courageous journalists actually covering the war at real, great personal danger. And it’s ultimately sort of a pointless stunt: maybe Hitchens personally wasn’t sure waterboarding was torture, but honestly, I don’t even think the Bush administration lawyers really believe deep in their hearts that it isn’t.

The Boston Globe: shit-free

Last week, the Dig noted The Globe’s comically priggish circumlocutions in printing the title of the new Yo La Tengo album.

The one that stood out like a sore thumb for me this week was this one, in a story about Kelley Link et. al.:

Like many genre categories, this one is a shape-shifter with an array of aliases, including “slipstream,” “new weird,” and even a variation that combines “weird” with a common scatological term.

One one hand, it feels like taking them to task for this is a little like trying to get the prissy kid to swear during recess. But really, the only reason that’s fun is because the kid is so prissy. Just saying “weird shit” somehow sounds far less offensive than “even a variation that combines ‘weird’ with a common scatological term.”

Extreme Fried Food

In case you missed your local autumn county fair of choice, like we did, you can live vicariously through the descriptions of food creations in this LA Times article

At the State Fair of Texas — known for introducing the first corn dog in 1942 — a vendor who won the best taste category last year for his deep-fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwiches has stolen headlines again this year for inventing deep-fried Coke.

Other items making the rounds include deep-fried macaroni and cheese, deep-fried spaghetti and deep-fried cosmopolitans — a pastry filled with cheesecake and topped with cranberry glaze and a lime wedge. And served on a stick.

Who’s really in charge…

From the NYT corrections page (emphasis mine):

A front-page article last Tuesday about foreign governments’ security concerns regarding satellite photography available through Google referred imprecisely to security measures applied to some of the imagery. Although images of the White House and its environs are now clear in the Google Earth database, the view of the vice president’s residence in Washington remains obscured. (Go to Article)

WSJ fesses up to global climate change

I’m finally trying to skim through the stack of 3 weeks worth of Wall Street Journals that have piled up by the door (there’s a reason that I don’t subscribe to daily newspapers unless they’re free), and there have only been a couple of articles that have caught my eye.

First, the Google founders are buying not just any jet, but a Boeing 767. That doesn’t bother me so much; I think it would be fun to have a 767. What kind of torques me off is this:

Larry Page, quoted in the article, said “part of the equation of this sort of machinery is to be able to take large numbers of people to places such as Africa. I think that can only be good for the world.”

Oh, come on, Larry. Just drive everybody to Africa in your damn Prius if you care about what’s good for the world. If you want to buy yourself a jumbo jet, just buy yourself a jumbo jet and say you’re buying yourself a jumbo jet. If you really want to ship people and gear to Africa, why are you renovating it to have two luxury staterooms and only hold 50 people?

Second, I actually found an article, yes, in the WSJ, stating that global warming is a fact. Not an unproven matter still disputed by scientists, but an observable demonstrable fact. In the science section? No. News? Nope. Editorial? <snort!>

No, it was in the travel section. “Climate Change Island Guide: As weather and geological disasters add new risks, we rank 40 destinations”. It even has an info graphic called the “Dow Jones Island Index” which goes through about 30 destinations and gives each a risk score and the change in degrees of in its average ocean temperature between 1974 and 2004.

While taking notice of environmental phenomena only as it impacts your vacation plans seems like an unbelievable cartoon of self-interest, I’m ultimately not going to knock it. Whatever makes people take notice and do the right thing. I think that business types are still basically rational humanists. I still just don’t understand their support for faith-based nut jobs.