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May 2010

Friday Ephemera

Seagull chutzpah. // Learning locomotion. // More alien abduction lamps. // Assorted illusions. // The Victorian organ command desk. // Tea-making contraptions. // Sperm whale. // A fish with hands. // Mike Johansson folds clothes. // The museum of pinball. // Pigeon: Impossible. // Smell like Shatner. // Sherwood Forest, California. // A partial map of the Tardis. // Japanese steamship travel posters. // Just add swing. // More fun with magnetism. // Kung fu films of note. // Iron Man 2 isn’t a great film, but it is rather pretty. // And speaking of armoured superheroes...

The Little People

Further to Jeremy Irons and his embarrassment of houses, here’s a refreshing moment of celebrity honesty. CNS reporter Nicholas Ballasy asks the actor, musician and environmental campaigner Dave Matthews what he’s done to reduce his own environmental impact. The full rambling reply may be of interest, but for brevity’s sake, here’s the money quote:

My carbon footprint, I think, I can say confidently, is much bigger than most people’s...  but I think trying to raise awareness has, you know, maybe offset that a bit... What I try and do is try and, with the knowledge that I have, is offset my contribution to [carbon emissions]. I think people that don’t move around as much as me can take a bike when it’s a nice day. Or walk

You heard the man. You should walk to offset his celebrity lifestyle. Because,

We’ve got to change the way that we’re living.

Though some more than others, it seems.

The attitude above is perhaps symbolised by an incident in August 2004, when the Dave Matthews Band was sued by the state of Illinois for dumping 800 lbs of raw human sewage over a bridge and into the Chicago River. The human waste not only violated water pollution laws but also, unhappily, landed on over 100 tourists in a boat passing below. The victims of Mr Matthews’ fallout included, “persons with disabilities, senior citizens, a pregnant woman, a small child and an infant.”

Elsewhere (22)

Heather Mac Donald spots some familiar sleight-of-hand in the New York Times

Any given violent crime is 13 times more likely to be committed by a black than by a white perpetrator - a fact that would have been useful to include in the Times’s lead, which stated that “Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely as whites to be stopped.” These crime data are not some artefact that the police devise out of their skewed racial mindset. They are what the victims of those crimes - the vast majority of whom are minority themselves - report to the police.

KC Johnson notes the rewards of academic extremism and dogmatic impropriety...

In any other profession, behaviour as outrageous as that exhibited in the lacrosse case by the faculty in Duke’s humanities and (some) social sciences departments would have prompted at the least intensive soul-searching and (in the corporate world, at least), dismissal.

And then rumbles yet another doctrinaire professor:

Doubtless Prof. Kimmel did not write an essay for a high-profile publication intentionally littered with factually inaccurate or wildly misleading statements... Indeed, I have little doubt that Prof. Kimmel actually believed that what he wrote was true. In the groupthink atmosphere that dominates so many humanities and social science departments, “facts” that conform to the prevailing narrative... get “remembered” in ideologically convenient ways, to such an extent that a prominent professor could pen an article for one of the highest-trafficked news sites on the internet and not even bother to check his assertions.

And the good people at FIRE show how freedom of speech can be turned on its head. In academia, of course.  

The Land of Make Believe

People must drop their standard of living [so] the wealth can be spread about. There’s a long way to go.

Spied over the weekend, the insights of millionaire actor, Jeremy Irons

He dismissed the idea that a recovery in consumption would help Britain out of recession: “You walk down the high street and it’s just clothes, clothes, clothes. How many clothes do people need?”

The above is immediately preceded by this:

Irons, who owns seven houses, including a pink castle in Co Cork, Ireland, believes a new economic vision is needed in the wake of the global financial crisis.

In fairness, Mr Irons describes his castle as “the colour of fresh rust.”

Launching himself as a green campaigner, Irons has revealed plans to make a documentary about sustainability and waste disposal, likening himself to Michael Moore, the controversial film maker, although “not as silly.”

Readers will be  heartened to hear that Mr Irons aims to be less silly than an overweight socialist who insists “capitalism did nothing for me,” while owning an agreeable Upper West Side apartment valued at $1.27 million and a spare, and no less agreeable, lakeside house in upstate Michigan, and whose estimated fortune is a mere $50,000,000.

Friday Ephemera

An approaching tornado elicits varying reactions. // Icelandic time-lapse. // Elvis Versus Godzilla. // Hardcore Iron Man fan. // The periodic table of super-powers. // The great sperm race. (h/t. Mr Eugenides) // Bacon syrup. // Home-made doughnuts in minutes. // Vintage “men’s adventure” magazines. // Hemp, murder and meth labs. // Fish condo. // Toothpick replicas. // People who collect. // More churches of note. // Synth cakes revisited. // Albert Khan’s early 20th century autochromes. // Super 8. // “Get out of there!” // Aquarium porn. // Horny brains.  

And We’re Back

With a visit to the environmental pages of a certain national newspaper, where Leo Hickman asks,  

What’s the one lifestyle change I could make that would have the most positive environmental impact?

The list of readers’ suggestions is of course vast and intriguing. It includes the prosaic,

Do not buy objects that are useless.

The ambitious,

Generate your own heat and electricity.

The confusing,

Have your house size adjust your necessities.

The philosophically resigned,

It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.

And the unwittingly surreal.

Become a permanent camper somewhere. That is how 90% of the human race now lives.

Inevitably, a theme emerges.

We do have two cats and want a child. We know that is not helping the green cause but we rescued the cats and we are looking at adoption.


I don’t think people will stop having the desire to have children, but they should stop at two.


Any more than two children is grossly irresponsible.

Then things get a little competitive.

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