Friday, February 01, 2008

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Irony of Weather

There is a certain irony about living in the South, especially after living up North for so many years. In the North, the temperature is decent 9 months out of the year but December - February is not pleasant; In the South, it is nice 9 months out of the year but June - August are unpleaset.

Here is an interesting article from Slate about humans avoiding weather. If there were no air conditioning, the university I am at would not be a major university. Though, when the university turns on the air in all of the buildings, it seems as if it is set for 65; if it were 65 degrees outside, then most people would turn on their heat.

Last fall, a student walked in to class a few minutes late. He wore a winter jacket (a skiing jacket) and a winter wool cap. I looked at him and reminded him it wasn't that cold out. It was 58 degrees.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Democracy Rising II

You mean even poor people should vote in a Democracy.

Democracy Rising

Except when it isn't.

I love the smell of freedom in the morning.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Anonymous Authorship

Authorship and You Tube:

This video raises interesting questions about anonymous “invention,” especially for those who do it.

I write anonymously; a lot of people I know do, especially if they are not connected to a major outlet. Writing anonymously may allow for individuals to write “freely.” However, it can also cover “interests.” An example from Youtube and ABC News:

The Daily Show Effect?

After the presidential elections of 2000, scholars argued that those who watched The Daily Show were politically aware and that a good number of people received the "news" from the Daily Show. Now, there is "The Daily Show Effect" by Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan S. Morris from American Politics Research 34.3 (2006). Here is the abstarct:

We test the effects of a popular televised source of political humor for young Americans: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. We find that participants Exposed to jokes about George W. Bush and John Kerry on The Daily Show Tended to rate both candidates more negatively, even when controlling for partisanship and other demographic variables. Moreover, we find that viewers Exhibit more cynicism toward the electoral system and the news media at large. Despite these negative reactions, viewers of The Daily Show reported Increased confidence in their ability to understand the complicated world of politics. Our findings are significant in the burgeoning field of research on the effects of “soft news” on the American public. Although research indicates that soft news contributes to democratic citizenship in America by reaching out to the inattentive public, our findings indicate that The Daily Show may have more detrimental effects, driving down support for political institutions and leaders among those already inclined toward nonparticipation.

This article raises a few interesting questions:
(1) Do viewers of The Daily Show need to understand the context of a story for the irony to work (this may undermine the "soft news" aspect of this article? With Irony, you need to "be in the know" to get the joke).
(2) Is the viewers possess the contextual knowledge and more knowledge on the topic of politics, are they to be more skeptical, even without The Daily Show?
(3) This study examined the 2004 elections, one of the most polarized in US History. How did that alter the findings?
(4) They conducted their research from Political Science Students. Can they separate the students' knowledge from the Daily Show with their other political knowledge maybe even other political shows?

Friday, August 04, 2006

If this is true...

I would not know what to say: From Raw Story. Here is an excerpt. Click the link for more.

"Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith is claiming President George W. Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the President ordered troops to invade Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End, Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

A year after his “Axis of Evil” speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites."

When is a Civil War a "Civil War?"

Since the Bush Administration announced "Mission Accomplished" 1,190 days ago, sectarian violence errupted betwen the Sunni and Shi'a and one of the main obstacles to stability in Iraq. The division between the groups is not major news since these two groups have been fighting a political battle since 632 C.E. over succession of leadership after the Death of the Prophet Muhammed. The current Iraq War and the lack of security after the war only exacerbated this division and violence.

But who has the power to define the Civil War in a Iraq a "Civil War." Isn't this question important to the fall mid-term elections?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I wish I spoke German

«I write differently from the way I speak, I speak differently from the way I think, I think differently from the way I should think - and so it goes on into the darkest depths of infinity»
(Letter to Ottla, July 10, 1914)

The Kafka Project seems like an excellent site for research, especially if you speak/read German. Kafka's manuscript on The Trial would be a great place to observe the insight of an author and the choices an author makes when writing.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Terrorism and the Consent of the People

From the "Worst Person in the World Segment" from Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

"But [our] winner tonight, comedian Rush Limbaugh, suggesting that civilian deaths in Lebanon are necessary to stop terror. “Until those civilians start paying the price for propping up these regimes, it not going to end, folks.” It would be a little less alarming if didn‘t echo something another commentator said nine years ago. “The American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility because they chose this government and voted for it, despite their knowledge of its crimes.” That was said by Osama bin Laden.

Rush Limbaugh, following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden, today‘s 'Worst Person in the World.'"