Some random thoughts from perusing the web…
GOP Chooses Millionaires over Federal Employees – Democrats have been trying to extend the federal payroll tax, and in their plan, said they’d pay for it by a slight increase in taxes for people making over $1 million a year. Sounds fair, right, in a time when the wealth gap in the U.S. continually grows? Not for the GOP, who again have shown they will protect their rich sugar-daddies at all costs. In response to the Democrats plan, Republicans countered by removing the tax increase for millionaires, and instead extending a pay freeze for Federal employees to help pay for it. Federal employees already are in a 2-year pay freeze, and this would extend it another year. Occupy Wall Street protesters, you have yet more ammo. Again the GOP shows its true colors.
ESPN “Sports” News of the Day - One of my pet peeves is just how negative the media is in the U.S. Stories with a negative tilt seem to be what the public craves though. The negative tilt on news even extends to sports news. This evening I visited the ESPN.com main page. On the right, they have about 10 major headlines. The top headlines in all of sports included 1) Jerry Sandusky sex scandal updates 2) Football player fined for endzone dance 3) Feds conducting search of another sex-scandal coach 4) Another story about a NFL player fine…well, you get the idea. I would find it very depressing to be a sports reporter, only to get into the business and find myself always reporting on scandals.
Newt Gingrich – “I helped defeat Communism” - Wow. Gingrich says he helped defeat Communism, and also helped develop supply-side economics. The man certainly has an ego. Given that “occupy” movements continue to grow though, I’m not sure I’d be trying to identify myself as a supposed creator of Reagan-esque, trickle-down economics. If it were such a success, you’d think the economy would be booming right now, given that the rich continue to greatly expand their share of the Nation’s wealth.
Viruses Survive For Long Periods in Environment – I currently have the most god-awful cold that I’ve had in many years. I really don’t want my wife and son to get what I have, so I’ve tried to be very careful. I’ve stayed sequestered in a corner of the house, washed my hands constantly, and tried like heck to not spread my germs all over creation. I always assumed that viruses and bacteria really can’t live for long outside the body. However, the study in this story notes that flu viruses can actually live up to several months outside the body, if conditions are right. After reading this story, I have decided to personally take over our basement, lock the door, and keep the family away until mid-2012. Better safe than sorry.
Cain Blasts “Character Assassination” - Cain says “they” are conducting a character assassination on him. I assume “they” are not only the legions of women stepping forward to level accusations of disgusting sexual behavior against him, but also the media for carrying the stories. If Cain wants to accuse anyone of character assassination, all he really needs to do is look in a mirror. The man is a pig. Thankfully, he’s also a horrible politician, and unlike slick politicians who seem to often have negative press just roll off their backs, Cain’s campaign has been pretty clueless in terms of trying to respond to all of the allegations. Bye-bye Mr. Cain, your moment at the top is over. Now I just hope Gingrich’s run at the top of the GOP race is just as temporary.
Posted in Perusin' & Musin', Politics, Sports
Tagged bacteria, character assassination, Democrats, economics, ego, environment, ESPN, extension, federal employees, flu, GOP, Herman Cain, invent, mllionaires, negative, news, Newt Gingrich, pay freeze, payroll, press, Reagan, scandal, supply-side, survival, tax cut, trickle-down, virus
Random thoughts from perusing the web…
Kraken Pseudoscience – This link is from National Geographic, but this “news” of the potential discovery of a “kraken”, a gigantic sea-monster sized fossil squid, has been all over the “news” in the past week. I REALLY HATE when a citizen science site like National Geographic posts complete crap like this. Some wacko totally overinterprets a fossil find as being evidence of an intelligent Kraken, and you start to see “news” about a fossil sea monster discovery. It’s no wonder that so many Americans have a seemingly negative view of science right now, when complete hogwash like this is passed off as science on popular websites.
Sea-level rise projected to continue for centuries – A paper published in Global and Planetary Change finds that even in the most optimistic (aka, unrealistic) projections of when human beings will curb emissions of greenhouse gases, sea-level rise will continue for several centuries into the future. But hey, there is good news, as sea-level rise in YOUR lifetime may ”only” be a moderate global economic and environmental hardship. It’s just your children and grandchildren who will really see catostrophic levels of economic and environmental destruction. That kind of long-term consequence is way too far out into the future for most Americans to lose sleep over.
“Liberal” media hard on Obama? – The Pew Research Center evaluated press coverage of political candidates and politicians, and found that Obama actually gets more negative press coverage than do Republican presidential candidates. Shocking! What about that “liberal” media bias? I think the only media bias is towards people of prestige and power. The more power and prestige someone has, the harder the media tries to tear that person down. It’s not just the media, as tearing successful people down seems to be a growing American pasttime. Rather than try to emulate the hard work and dedication of successful people, rather than try to elevate YOURSELF to that level, lazy Americans find it MUCH easier to try to tear successful people down.
WeBird – Bird Song Identification App – I was hoping someone would make a smartphone app that does this!! By spring of next year, the WeBird app should be available, an app that will identify a singing bird for you. There are already a number of applications that have pre-recorded bird songs, which are indeed useful to have in the field. However, if you hear a completely unknown bird song, the WeBird app is supposed to be able to not only identify the bird species, but may also be able to identify an individual bird. The app has promise not only for recreational birders, but also for avian researchers. Automatic recording and identification of bird songs is already being done on a limited basis, but such an app could take the idea mainstream for birder and researcher alike.
Elizabeth Warren “Going for the Hick Vote” - I can’t imagine running for a public office with as much visibility as Senator or President. The intense scrutiny, the parsing of every single word that you say, would simply drive me nuts. Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown’s likely Senate opponent in Massachusetts, was heavily criticized in many quarters for jokingly saying she was “going for the hick vote” during an interview. Warren was making fun of her own Oklahoma background during the exchange, but of course the media parses out one line out of context and places Warren in a bad light.
World Population Set to pass 7 Billion!! – Not exactly cause for celebration, but the best estimates state that the World’s population will pass 7 billion by the end of October. As the article notes, what’s sad is that high population growth and poverty seem to go hand in hand. Humanity has shown they have about just as much of a committment to solving this long-term problem as they have to solving the long-term issue of climate change. We just seem incapable of addressing any issue over timescales outside of a decade or two.
Posted in Birding, Birds, Climate Change, Perusin' & Musin', Politics
Tagged 7 billion, bird, climate change, coverage, Elizabeth Warren, fossil, hick vote, identifier, Kraken, Massachusetts, musing, obama, perusing, Pew Research Center, population, press, Scott Brown, sea-level rise, song, WeBird