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Links With Your Coffee

  • Tyranny it's Everywhere

    tip to Pedantsareus

  • Home Schooled
    Home-schooling gets a bad rap from advocates of traditional education. Writer COLIN NISSAN defends his parents’ choice to create a high school at home, including a prom. It’s time to put your unfounded criticisms to rest, home-school critics. As a product of this system, all I can say is that I’m an extremely well adjusted, successful 38-year-old man who loves his mommy and daddy very much. I’m not here to convert people. “To each his own,” my parents always say. They’re full of little pearls like that. A couple of others I remember are, “You’re not lonely, you’re just hungry,” and “Everyone outside these walls will eventually try to kill you.”
  • Power of the hidden message revealed
    Negative emotional contents are more likely to register in the subconscious Advertising men once used it to try to increase sales of popcorn, and Formula One teams have been accused of indulging in it to sell cigarettes. But it turns out that subliminal messaging – flashing an image or words on a screen for a fraction of a second – works best if it leaves the viewer in a state of fear. An experiment by British researchers has found that even though subliminal messages are shown so briefly that the human eye cannot consciously read them, the brain is particularly good at picking up on the emotional meaning of a word if it is negative.

    tip to Pedantsareus

    All right, mate? Mind if I sit? Costa del Sol's so bloody crowded this time of year—can't find a seat at the bar even at 10 a.m.! That's why smart blokes like us get here at 9:30, right? Sorry, bit rude of me, haven't introduced myself. I'm the British Empire. Well, used to be. Hard to shake the name. Might remember the "old me" from the early 20th Century section of your history book. I was the big map. The sun never set on me. Bit exhausting really. And dangerous, especially with my complexion. Got a couple funny spots I have to have checked out. See this on my neck? Shaped a bit like China.
  • Red Squares Why are the Russians so good at chess?
    Two Russian chess grandmasters, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, faced off this week in a 12-game tournament in Valencia, Spain. As of this month, more than half of the Top 20 players in the world come from Russia or another former Soviet Republic. (The top-ranked player is Bulgarian.) Why are the Russians and their neighbors so good at chess? Because the Soviets subsidized the game. Chess has long been popular in Russia—Czar Ivan IV is thought to have died while playing a match in 1584. After the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, it became a national pastime. Soon after the revolution, Vladimir Lenin's supreme commander of the Soviet army, Nikolay Krylenko, laid the foundations for state-sponsored chess: He opened chess schools, hosted tournaments, and promoted the game as a vehicle for international dominance. The first state-sponsored chess tournament was held in Moscow in 1921. Six years later, chess prodigy Alexander Alekhine became the first Russian to win a world tournament. By 1934, 500,000 amateur players had registered with the state chess program. When Mikhail Botvinnik won the international title in 1948, he kicked off an era of Soviet domination that extended unbroken—except for a four-year streak by American Bobby Fischer—until the fall of the USSR.
  • When ShortList Met Ricky Gervais Our exclusive little chat with the King of Comedy
    No wonder Ricky Gervais smiles so much. He’s the biggest thing in comedy, he sprouts awards like some kind of trophy tree and he’s our most successful comic export since Peter Sellers. He’s a national treasure who didn’t so much crack the US as took a pneumatic drill to it, finding success as a screenwriter, actor, stand-up and children’s author. He’s in a happy long-term relationship and gets to work with his mates. He has every reason to be happy. Everything he touches turns to gold, which makes me quite nervous about shaking his hand when we meet. Mind you, a quick amputation and I’ll be driving a much nicer car.

    Bill Maher is still an idiot. Do we give someone credit for their correct views when it is likely that they get them the same way they get their incorrect views.

  • Atheists examine Christmas from angel-free angle
    It is a book about Christmas but there's not a manger, virgin birth or angel in sight. Buoyed by the success of their campaign which proclaimed There's Probably No God, Now Stop Worrying on the side of London buses, some of Britain's most prominent atheists have come together to publish a book for the festive season. The Atheist's Guide to Christmas features contributions on the theme of Christmas and God by scientists Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh and Adam Rutherford, agony aunt Claire Rayner, pop star Simon Le Bon, illusionist Derren Brown and Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker.



    ahhhh! that's so depressing about Bill Maher. It feels great, like liberal porn, to see him tear into the political bullshit of the day. But to see him say something so stupid as to avoid a vaccine? Ugh, my respect for him is dwindling fast. Anti-science is just as bad as theism...they are perhaps one in the same.

    Bill Maher has very often said things about women that have been infantile at best, offensive at worst (and I found it incomprehensible that he was friends with Ann Coulter but that's another story) but I like a lot of his political comments so I just appreciate that. I remember thinking his book, "When You're Riding Alone, You're Riding with Bin Laden," was pretty great and liking a lot of things he was saying when no one else was.

    And, I don't understand the expectation that if you agree with one thing you are going to agree with another. Christopher Hitchens says some things I like (and he says it is a beautiful, melodious voice) but he has this rabid hatred of Clinton and will carry on a completely disingenuous argument in order to avoid being called wrong.

    You speak a lot of truth and I'll still enjoy Maher's political commentary...but I lose respect for his intellectual integrity and consistency. It's good that Maher can come to some conclusions I can agree with, but I'd rather he do so with a reasonable methodology that makes sense rather than through whatever mechanism he is using currently that leads to an anti-vaccine stance. There is a screw or three loose.

    great bunch of links, best in a long time, thanks norm. and pedantsareus too- that "tyranny" cartoon was truly brilliant. don't know how funny, though...

    Yes Jonathan, I liked it, but the link I have takes me to a cartoon about violence! Matt Bors' work is good but I wish I understood these computery things.

    right, i was wondering what the "tyranny" connection was. still a great cartoon.


    Really? So what is your point, we should swallow everything pharmaceutical tell us is good for us? Yeahh you go right ahead

    No, I'm saying we should look at the evidence. The evidence for the efficacy of vaccines is good.

    So what is your point, that we should ignore the evidence because the pharmaceuticals are greedy bastards out for a profit.

    Yeah you go right ahead.

    The link for the "Tyranny" cartoon is here:

    Hope this works!

    I said I was no good with computery things - try this one for Tyranny Everywhere.

    For Maher - why can't we agree with him - or anyone else - on some issues and disagree on others? I can say the same for Obama - just different issues. Doesn't mean it's time for a recall.

    We should, however, feel free to voice out opinions in disagreements, staying logical as we do it.

    We do. There is a difference between someone like Obama and Maher in addition to the fact that we agree with them on some issues and not others. The difference is how they go about reaching their positions. I may not like everything Obama does, but I'm reasonably confidant that his method of reaching a position is based on an examination of the evidence. We may have different goals and so disagree on that count, but we both look at the facts and reach a logical conclusion based on those facts. I can't say the same for Bill Maher. He seems to rely more on emotion, cherry picking facts, and other illogical ways of reaching his positions which leaves him open to criticism on that count.

    We do.

    Ah - I did not mean to imply that 1gm writers weren't being logical in their criticisms, just covering the base that will spew out any old argument to be against someone.

    He seems to rely more on emotion, cherry picking facts, and other illogical ways of reaching his positions which leaves him open to criticism on that count.

    In terms of the anti-vax arguments that Maher puts forth, I completely agree with you.

    ON the other hand, Maher has been pretty good on rebuffing health care criticism, and I do agree with him that the Dems are out-matched by the GOP in getting out messages, especially when it comes to counter-attacks. This is the kind of thing i was referring to. I'll watch Maher, but won't like everything. I don't always comment positive or negative or at all with his clips, so there's not much of a record out there to support that statement, but that's how it is for me.

    I can add that when someone gets on the wrong side of an argument and stays there despite evidence to the contrary that my skepticism rises regarding other things the person says. Back to Maher on Leno, i agreed with what he said regarding the health care debacle. What he said about Sanford may be true in the sense of true love, but I don't feel that is the issue. To me the Sanford issue is how much of the South Carolina budget did he use to visit his "soul mate," and how much did he neglect his day job in his pursuit. I feel sorry for his wife, but an affair is their issue to work out together.


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