moldybluecheesecurds 2

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dear pastor: STFU

I'm getting really tired of this genre of story.  Prominent politician takes a stand on a controversial issue; media finds his pastor and sees if the two disagree; reporter casts issue as a "church-state" conflict.

Friends, fifty years ago, we actually needed a presidential candidate to say this:
"I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me." 
That statement still stands (at least for most Democrats).  Have we really made so little progress?

And by the way, if you like poking your nose in politics, Reverend, run for office.  Otherwise, get back to your shepherding.

It's worth the "distraction" of justice

Paul Krugman had a great column last week on why it's crucial to hold full investigations of illegal activities in the intelligence agencies and Bush administration - it's about recapturing America's soul as a nation of laws.

Why news and money-making don't mix

A fascinating piece on the struggles of CNN to maintain audience and objectivity in the face of partisan volleys from Fox on the right and MSNBC on the left. 

“There are several networks that reside in the cable news category, but only one that reliably delivers the news unbiased,” said Jon Klein, the president of CNN’s domestic network. “We would do ourselves a disservice if we thought that our main competitors were the other so-called cable news networks. They don’t have journalists on in prime time.”

...But [a] veteran CNN correspondent suggested that prime time might demand something more: “It’s not sexy to be in the middle. Klein’s got to make it sexy.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avoid ripoffs v1: HDMI is not expensive

An HDMI cable (for connecting digital video devices, like HDTVs) does not cost $16 per foot.  It costs $1.82 per foot (shipped).

If you buy an HDMI cable in person, you are paying 8 times too much.

This has been a moldybluenerd announcement.

Running shoes: no better than bare feet?

Interesting article from the British press on the relationship between running shoes, running, and health.  This hit home for me:
In a paper for the British Journal Of Sports Medicine last year, Dr Craig Richards, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed there are no evidence-based studies that demonstrate running shoes make you less prone to injury. Not one. [emphasis mine]
Other tidbits:

  • Runners wearing top-of-the-line trainers are 123 per cent more likely to get injured than runners in cheap ones. 
  • 'Putting your feet in shoes is similar to putting them in a plaster cast,' says Dr Hartmann. 'If I put your leg in plaster, we'll find 40 to 60 per cent atrophy of the musculature within six weeks. Something similar happens to your feet when they're encased in shoes.'

Friday, April 17, 2009

Go ahead, Texas

In case you missed it, Texas governor Rick Perry suggested recently that Texas may want to secede from the Union because the stimulus bill is such a blow to the Constitution.

One election blogger suggests that the Democrats should seriously consider this idea.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Make your own NPR name

If you listen to NPR, you know why you'd need to create your own NPR name to join the morning newscast.  Ranita Jablonski?

Get your own NPR name here.

Hat tip to Minnpost.

Okay, I'm impressed

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Test your talking head: experts as good as chimps with darts

A nice column on the problem with our tendency to trust experts to provide predictions (on the war, economy, etc) on radio and broadcast news programs.
The expert on experts is Philip Tetlock, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His 2005 book, “Expert Political Judgment,” is based on two decades of tracking some 82,000 predictions by 284 experts. The experts’ forecasts were tracked both on the subjects of their specialties and on subjects that they knew little about.

The result? The predictions of experts were, on average, only a tiny bit better than random guesses — the equivalent of a chimpanzee throwing darts at a board.
Indeed, the only consistent predictor was fame — and it was an inverse relationship. The more famous experts did worse than unknown ones. That had to do with a fault in the media. Talent bookers for television shows and reporters tended to call up experts who provided strong, coherent points of view, who saw things in blacks and whites. [emphasis mine]

Moldy's rule on talking heads: if you recognize them, then they're more likely than average to be wrong.  Turn off your TV.

Save medicines for humans, not pigs

When it comes to using antibiotics, the rule should be: two legs good, four legs bad.

Fortunately, someone in Congress agrees, introducing the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act last week.  Follow along at Govtrack.

Get more information on the problem of using antibiotics in livestock from previous posts.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Why isn't Norm Coleman labeled a sore loser?

Remember 2000?  Sore Loserman?

Is there some reason no one is calling Norm Coleman a sore loser?