Monday, March 31, 2008

Whatta Ya Mean "We," Kimosabe ??!

Today Condi said "we knew it would be tough, but we didn't know it would be this tough" speaking about Iraq. Wasn't it Cheney who said in 1998 and 2000 that they didn't go to Baghdad in Bush-41 because it would've been a quagmire??

Isn't he "we" ???!! The capital "W" in "WE"??

Spring Showers

Killer thunderstorms today! I stayed home this afternoon to work on our upcoming AAPA posters (easier to use my large computer screen here for the 200% size difference) and had 3 very attentive kitties hanging quite close as a result. Spring has sprung in the Midwest...


Oh well, it was a good run while it lasted. Hopefully they will be welcomed back to campus with cheers.

Tennessee Defeats Irish in Sweet Sixteen
March 31, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Missed One

Here's a story that should've been in the weekly "Random Bytes" - but it's good enough to stand alone. Although I question calling Joe Zias a "leading scholar", the article is a good summary of the controversy over the so-called "Jesus Tomb."

Not Dead Yet: The Lost of Tomb of Jesus
By Thomas F. Madden; March 21, 2008

Ice Hockey

Congrats Irish Icers, they're going to the Frozen Four. I have to admit, I didn't know there was a 'frozen four', but since this is apparently Notre Dame's first time qualifying for the event, it's a big deal on campus.

I hope there's comparable good news for women's basketball tonight.

Random Bytes

What's in a Passport File?All the information your bank tells you to keep secret, and more.
By Juliet Lapidos, March 24, 2008

Earth in Flux: An Antarctic Ice Shelf Crumbles
By Andrew C. Revkin, March 25, 2008

Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why
March 25, 2008

Gay Scientists Isolate Christianity Gene
by Michael McGregor, March 28, 2008
The Daily Tube

Neanderthals wore make-up and liked to chat
by Dan Jones,
27 March 2008

Who's bad? Chimps figure it out by observation
March 26,2008;

Evolution Gets a Boost: No Cost for Complexity
By Brandon Keim,
March 27, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Real Dedication (sort of)

Well...Earth Hour lasted 4 hours here. I fell sound asleep. Guess I really did my part for the globe ;-)

Cities Switch Off Lights for Earth Hour

AP, March 29, 2008
From the Sydney Opera House to Rome's Colosseum to the Sears Tower's famous antennas in Chicago, floodlit icons of civilization went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.

The environmental group WWF urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were...."What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."

...In Chicago, lights on more than 200 downtown buildings were dimmed Saturday night, including the stripe of white light around the top of the John Hancock Center. The red-and-white marquee outside Wrigley Field also went dark.

"There's a widespread belief that somehow people in the United States don't understand that this is a problem that we're lazy and wedded to our lifestyles. (Earth Hour) demonstrates that that is wrong," Richard Moss, a member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

...In Sydney, Australia — where an estimated 2.2 million observed the blackout last year — the city's two architectural icons, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, faded to black against a dramatic backdrop of a lightning storm.

Lights also went out at the famed Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand; shopping and cultural centers in Manila, Philippines; several castles in Sweden and Denmark; the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary; a string of landmarks in Warsaw, Poland; and both London City Hall and Canterbury Cathedral in England.

Greece, an hour ahead of most of Europe, was the first on the continent to mark Earth Hour. On the isle of Aegina, near Athens, much of its population marched by candlelight to the port.

In Ireland, where environmentalists are part of the coalition government, lights-out orders went out for scores of government buildings, bridges and monuments in more than a dozen cities and towns.

Internet search engine Google lent its support to Earth Hour by blackening its normally white home page and challenging visitors: "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn."

We are ND

'Tis the season when thoughts turn to football. Our season ticket forms came today, and Michael and I will begin our ritual dance. We get our tickets together to have 4 seats in a row, and we send in the form together each year with a letter signed by "Father Driscoll" asking for better seats. It's a bit hard to complain, our seats are indeed pretty great already, but they aren't on the 50 yard line yet, so we have room to improve ;-)

We approach tickets quite differently. He has to counter my insatiable greed which would have us sell all the sets of 4 for a small fortune (even in bad years...of which this will be one). I have to counter his hospitality which would have guests in every weekend to fill the 4 seats for every game.

Friday, March 28, 2008

International Endeavor

Join "Earth Hour" and turn off all your lights & non-essential electrical items tomorrow from 8-9 pm. Apparently this is an activity sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and a variety of major cities & companies around the world. Seems a pretty easy thing to do, and a nice sense of unity worldwide.

Earth Hour (North America)

Cat Bashing

Interesting program on Science Friday today about birds. I normally wouldn't care much, but having tried to take pictures of cool birds in Antarctica, I've gained a new appreciation (it's hard to do!). Also, they were unnecessarily harsh on cats for some reason... I know where my loyalties lie if sides have to be chosen!

Birds to Listen and Look For in Your Backyard

Death and Taxes

I've spent a chunk of this week pulling together my tax stuff, and I have to say, Huckabee's no income tax plan is looking pretty good at the moment. If the election were held right now, this very minute...I might just be able to overlook his fundamentalist, homophobic, anti-choice, creationist, death penalty platform temporarily...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oh Happy Day!!!

April 4th, Battlestar is back!! It's a bittersweet thing, since this is the final season - the sooner it begins, the sooner it ends. This Friday there are two specials to get us all ready for the premier. Woo hoo!! Quick Jaime, get cable!

New Dots

My Clustermap (to the left) finally updated yesterday - seems to take forever these days - and I found some fun new dots on the map. Tasmania??! I love it! And Alicia's Bangladesh dot is growing quite large. Oddly however, I seem to have lost an Amazon dot from Becky. And the Hudson Bay dot that was getting pretty large, is also AWOL. I feel robbed!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can't Make This Up

I've been finishing up a child abuse lecture for my forensics class tomorrow and came across this article. Is this sick, or what? I assumed I misread the title at first.

Dad Gets 25 Years for Microwaving Baby
NYTimes, March 26, 2008

Clinton Central

Chelsea was apparently well-received today, she spoke to about 500 students & faculty on campus. Hilary comes to town on Friday -- apparently the Clintons can't get enough of the area. Bill & Chelsea on Monday, Chelsea on Wednesday, Hilary on Friday. One would think Indiana might actually have a voice in this election. First time since I've lived here if so.

This time, Chelsea’s all policy: Hillary Clinton’s daughter tackles students’ questions on the issues.

By ED RONCO, March 26, 2008


The women pulled off an overtime victory last night. On to the next round against Tennessee.

Irish knock out Sooners in overtime
By FORREST MILLER, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

7X the Size of Manhattan

Some folks asked if I saw any evidence of global warming while in Antarctica (even tho' I never fail to mention it was 51° and sunny while there). Here's some clear evidence to assuage any doubt:

Massive Ice Chunk Collapses in Antarctica
AP, 2008-03-25

"Rudy" Hobbit Comes to Town

Chelsea Clinton and Sean Astin will be visiting campus tomorrow. No announcement yet on where or when, but I have a feeling it will be very well attended. It'll be interesting to see how it compares to Obama's upcoming visit next month. Let the wooing being ;-)

(I can't believe this is the first time I've used Lesley's Fighting Irish skeleton! Thanks Lesley)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Dyngus Day!!

In South Bend, we have a little known holiday that follows Easter. It involves politicians, drinking, pickled eggs, and more drinking. Politicians make the rounds, and this year Bill and Chelsea Clinton are coming to town. Apparently Nixon came as VP, as did Bobby Kennedy when he was running.

Here is the Wikipedia definition (somewhat abridged):

Formerly, the post-Easter festivities involved a week of secular celebration, but this was reduced to one day in the 19th century. Events include egg rolling competitions and, in predominantly Catholic countries, dousing other people with water which, at one time, had been holy water blessed the day before at Easter Sunday Mass and carried home to bless the house and food. The day remains informally observed in some areas such as the state of North Dakota, and the cities of Buffalo, New York and South Bend, Indiana.

Dyngus Day draws Clintons
by ED RONCO; March 23, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March Madness

Yay Notre Dame Women. Sadly the guys are out, but the women won decisively today. Hopefully one of many more to come!

Dominating Effort On The Glass Leads Notre Dame Past SMU
March 23, 2008

Random Bytes

How Realistic Is 10,000 B.C.? Did woolly mammoths help build the Pyramids?
By Chris Wilson, March 17, 2008

Writer Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90
By RAVI NESSMAN; Mar 18, 2008

Late to Rise: Does oversleeping make one feel more tired than sleeping a normal seven to eight hours?
By C. CLAIBORNE RAY; March 18, 2008

For Scientists, a Beer Test Shows Results as a Litmus Test
NYTimes, March 18, 2008

In Most Species, Faithfulness Is a Fantasy
March 18, 2008

Ranger held over gorilla killings; 19 March 2008

Life Expectancy Tied to Education
By Steven Reinberg
11 March 2008

Happy Easter

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Don't Mess with the Easter Bunny !!


My colleague Dan L. sent me the article below, thinking it somehow might apply to me?? I don't know. Apple/PC, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the use of terms found in readings on Byzantine monasticism -- I don't see the connection. Anyway, I thought I'd share excerpts:

The Thin Skin of Apple Fans

By DAN MITCHELL; NYTimes, March 22, 2008

Farhad Manjoo, a writer for Salon, argues that “new communications technologies are loosening the culture’s grip on what people once called ‘objective reality.’” He looks at an area where facts often become particularly slippery...Apple.

“Last year, I praised the iPhone in something of the way Romeo once praised Juliet: The device, I said '...marks a new way of life. One day we’ll all have iPhones, or things that aim to do what this first one does, and your life will be better for it.’ ”

But because he mentioned that the phone was a bit pricey, “several readers alleged that I was an Apple-hater.” One wrote him to ask, “Does Salon actually pay you or are you being paid under the table by rival companies?”

Anybody who has ever written about Apple products will tell the same story — introducing even a hint of negativity into a review or article will bring down the wrath of Apple’s most fanatical fans.

What explains this? Mr. Manjoo cites a study...that measured perceptions of media bias relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. People who held strong opinions on the conflict going in were more apt to perceive bias in news accounts. Pro-Palestinian subjects saw a pro-Israel bias, and vice versa.

“Psychologists call this the ‘hostile media phenomenon,’ and it goes far in explaining how both Apple and PC folks can see the opposite bias in the same news story.”

But the phenomenon is particularly stark when it comes to opinionated reviews — however laudatory — of Apple products. That’s because many Apple fans “care little for honest opinion,” Mr. Manjoo writes. “They want to pick up the paper and see in it a reflection of their own nearly religious zeal for the thing they love. They don’t want a review. They want a hagiography.”

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mac vs PC

Now I see why I'm voting for Obama. It all comes together ;-) A colleague sent this to me awhile ago, I was cleaning out my in-box and came across it again. Since all I've done today is work on a lecture, seems a nice substitute to fill a blog entry in lieu of a life...

Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC?
By NOAM COHEN, Feb 4, 2008

Book Recommendation

Finished an interesting book recently called "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova. Fun read and smart. You travel thru England, France, Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania on the protagonist's adventure, learn about Vlad the Impaler, archival research, Iron-Curtain politics, and the mythology of Dracula (or IS it a 'myth'??? Da da DAAAAAAA!!) Easy to see why it was a #1 National Bestseller.

Oh, and one of the protagonists is an anthropologist.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Good One

A nice retort to the Sean Hannitys out there. Part of Colbert's new "Democralypse Now" segment.

Ulcer-inducing Schlock

Okay, get out your Pepto for this one...or a glass of scotch. When you click the link below, you're in for 6 minutes of pain.

Nightline: Young Earth Creationist

Don't say I didn't warn ya...


Tuesday Obama gave an exceptional speech about race in this country; as Jon Stewart observed "he spoke to the American people as though we're adults."

Sean Hannity's response on Fox? While interviewing a gentleman (who was distressed that Obama read the speech from a teleprompter), Hannity asked "What if he (Obama) thinks like his pastor, will we be electing a racist and an anti-Semite??"

WHO THINKS LIKE THIS????!!!! How does one counter (or even anticipate) this kind of malice??!

Happy 1st Day of Spring

...we've got a Winter Storm Warning...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A 2-Year "Constitutional"

Could this be real?? I'm hoping a story from Ripley's Believe It or Not inadvertently made its way onto the AP. An April Fools joke a bit early?? Where did the guy go to the bathroom? Did the woman at least have a pillow for sleeping? A microwave and fridge nearby? I guess a ready water source would've been close, but come on?!! I don't know, something seems amiss.

Woman Sat on Toilet for 2 Years

By Martina Smit; 3/16/08

Year 6 Begins

"6 months" (Cheney), 6 years (starting today). Semantics??

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Daily Show

Really funny segment of "The Daily Show" by the "Senior Black Analyst" about the new governor of New York:

And an oldy but goody:

The Science of Sleep

Interesting 2-part segment on "60 Minutes" this Sunday about the importance of sleep. I stuck to their recommendations for a good night's sleep for one day...sadly last night I lost the battle to an unfinished lecture. I've included the video URL links (because there's something wrong with the "embedded" HTML code they provide).

Part 1:

Part 2:

The Morning After

This is of course only conjecture on my part....but given the low-ish number of students in class today, and the amount of yawning taking place....I think a wee bit o' the bubbly might have been consumed yesterday by much of the student body of Notre Dame.

Apparently one young man went running down the hall of DeBartolo yelling "Yeah, it's St. Paddy's Day" loudly, 2 liter bottle in hand. Don't know what became of him, but since it was rather early in the day, I don't think he made it to class.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Random Bytes

Skeleton Shows Ancient Brain Surgery
March 12, 2008;

Heated hobbit debate takes new turn with thyroid theory
James Randerson; The Guardian, March 5 2008
I don't buy it. There's a nice summary of refutation at John Hawkes blog, entry titled "Hobbit cretin FAQ"

800 Dogs Seized From Mobile Home


Pint-Sized Primates Were First in North America
By Jeanna Bryner; 03 March 2008

Archaeologists find structures older than Pala Era in Bangladesh; March 5, 2008
This one's for Alicia

Discovery Challenges Finding of a Separate Human Species
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD; March 11, 2008
Just gets interesting-er, and interesting-er.

Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

The Onion

Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

VATICAN CITY—The damage occurred when Pope Benedict XVI, who was on laundry duty, did not notice a brand new bright-red Hanes Beefy-T in the Holy Whirlpool washer.

Cultdom Threatened

I'm about to say something that hopefully won't get back to Steve Jobs and thus threaten my high ranking Mac Cultdom standing -- I HATE the new iWeb!! I never thought I'd bash a Mac product, but there it is. I had our website for the NSF program all nicely made on the former version of the program, then they changed it and I had to redo almost the entire thing. And I'm still not sure it loads properly but am going to stop working on it for now to avoid the looming aneurism.

I didn't even have time to blog, THAT'S how much work it required!! Arrrggggh! Clearly a program designed by a PC spy in the Apple organization!

Here it is -- check it out on your computer, see if things look okay:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Slavery in the US (Today)

I came home for lunch because I hoped for a power-nap (didn't sleep a wink last night). Unfortunately I listened to NPR while I ate some soup, and heard a story about the modern slave trade.

Modern Slavery in the US

Not in far-off lands, but in the US! Apparently there are more slaves in the US today than there were in the 1700s, when slavery was legal!! Even more disturbing is the cost of a human life. You should really listen to the story, it's amazingly disturbing.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Pretty humorous parody of the Clinton phone call political ad.

Serves her right...

SNL ‘Three AM’ Clinton Ad Parody