Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yellow Science.

In the late 19th century, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer developed what would come to be known as yellow journalism. By disregarding what had been standard journalistic methods, particularly in regards to the verifying of sources, these two publishers were able both to push their country toward war with Spain and dramatically increase the circulation of their respective newspapers.

Man has always had a healthy desire for knowledge, and it is the feeding of this hunger that ennobles journalism. Hearst and Pulitzer were acutely aware that man has a less healthy but no less voracious desire to believe that he has knowledge, particularly knowledge of something sensational. It is the feeding of this hunger that irreparably disgraced journalism, and a century later now threatens to do the same to science.

The Top 10 Foods Only America Could Have Invented.

The Turducken. Top that Europe.

God I love this country.

When it comes to food, America gets a bad rap. It’s a common refrain that America has no cuisine to call our own. We’ve got apple pie and hot dogs, but that’s about it. (And when you really get down to it, the Germans invented hot dogs, and the British were eating apple pie like 1,000 years ago.

But the truth is, America does have a cuisine to call it’s own. Over the past 232 years we’ve invented some of the most creative, daring, and yes, downright craziest dishes the world has ever seen. Sure, they can be overly greasy, a little too cheesy, and sometimes fried a few times too many. But they’re ours. So to celebrate Independence Day, we’ve put together this list of the best foods that only a country with just the right combination of greed, grit, and gluttony could have possibly dreamed up.

The list is here.

Is Section Eight Housing Driving a New Crime Wave?

In a effort to free America's downtrodden from the effects of concentrated poverty, cities gave former residents federal “Section 8” rent-subsidy vouchers and encouraged them to move out to new neighborhoods. In some places the cure may have been worse than the disease.

While fewer Americans live in high-poverty neighborhoods, increasing numbers now live in places with “moderate” poverty rates, meaning rates of 20 to 40 percent. This pattern is not necessarily better, either for poor people trying to break away from bad neighborhoods or for cities, Galster explains. His paper compares two scenarios: a city split into high-poverty and low-poverty areas, and a city dominated by median-poverty ones. The latter arrangement is likely to produce more bad neighborhoods and more total crime, he concludes, based on a computer model of how social dysfunction spreads.

Studies show that recipients of Section8 vouchers have tended to choose moderately poor neighborhoods that were already on the decline, not low-poverty neighborhoods. One recent study publicized by HUD warned that policy makers should lower their expectations, because voucher recipients seemed not to be spreading out, as they had hoped, but clustering together. Galster theorizes that every neighborhood has its tipping point—a threshold well below a 40 percent poverty rate—beyond which crime explodes and other severe social problems set in. Pushing a greater number of neighborhoods past that tipping point is likely to produce more total crime.

Read the whole thing.

How To Give a Cat a Pill.

1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3) Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8) Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9) Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10) Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss-back another shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12) Ring fire brigade to retrieve the f------ cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13) Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14) Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15) Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

*****
How to Give A Dog A Pill:

1) Wrap it in a piece of cheese.

A Vision in Concrete.


Today, the city is quite correctly regarded as a colossally wrong turn in urban planning—but Brasília, paradoxically, contains some of the most graceful modernist government buildings ever produced. All were designed by Oscar Niemeyer (now 100 years old and still working), who helped select Costa’s master plan and who was the creative influence behind the building and shape of the city. Both facts must be considered in any effort to reckon the legacy of Niemeyer—the last great architect of the modernist ascendancy—and his relationship to modernism, a relationship that both spurred and warped his creative achievement.

Contraception, Abortion, and the Eugenics Movement.

Jonah Goldberg reminds us who Margaret Sanger (founder of what would become Planned Parenthood) really was.

A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugenics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey.