Archive for June, 2009

While “Creation” wouldn’t have been my choice for a title, it’s cool that they’re making a movie about Darwin, scheduled for September release. Apparently it focuses on the conflict that grew between the agnostic Darwin and his religious wife as he pursued his theory, but I guess it would be too much to expect a movie to try to grapple with the scientific concepts in an intelligent manner (2 hours just isn’t enough time, really).



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A distant third, apparently. BTW, where in the Bible does “Be the hammer, not the nail” come from? I’m pretty sure it’s not the Sermon on the Mount.

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Evolutionary psychology gets a grilling by Newsweek. This strikes me as a bit slanted, and overly willing to dance on the grave of ev psych, but it’s still well worth reading. I’d say it’s required reading for anyone who’s read a persuasive book or article supporting ev psych, just for the sake of balance. As for me, I was always a bit perplexed by the notion of “mind modules” put forth by the ev-psych gurus, but I still think it’s fairly obvious (as the article doesn’t dispute) that evolution has shaped our brains in profound and powerful ways that we’re poften only dimly aware of. The trick, of course, is not using that as an excuse for labeling (or even justifying) every widespread tendency in a society as “natural,” inborne behavior.

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beckThe always interesting and often awesome Beck has a new project where he covers a classic album in one day, starting with “Sunday Morning” from “The Velvet Underground and Nico” (that’s the one with the yellow/black banana peel on the cover). A really cool concept, but to me this version only works for people who think the languid pace of the original “Sunday Morning” is too peppy. I’m shuddering to think what the tempos on “Venus in Furs” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties” will be like. (via MeFi)

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I have found the formula for awesome: Marching Band + Monk Robes + Segways + Philip Glass + Fire = Awesome.  (via MeFi)


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Pass the Mic, Tom Beautiful mashup of “Tom Sawyer” and “Pass the Mic” from Rush and the Beastie Boys, two bands that are both widely dissed but still awesome. And I love that the video includes the snippet captured below, from Rush backstage at “The Colbert Report,” trying to play “Tom Sawyer” on the videogame Rock Band:


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“In 1994, von Brunn was upset that The Star Democrat of Easton wouldn’t run an advertisement for an anti-Semitic program on a public-access channel, recalled executive editor Denise Riley.”Associated Press story

I’m the guy who flagged that ad, 15 years before von Brunn shot up the Holocaust Museum. Here’s the story:

In 1994 I was working at The Star Democrat as Entertainment Editor during the week, and on Saturday nights I was the Wire Editor, second in command to the Sunday Editor, who handled the front page and local news while I handled the Nation, World and Maryland pages with copy from the Associated Press. In those days, pages were composed manually, with stories and ads being pasted up in the Composition room, and we’d go back there to proofread pages and sign off on them before they went to press.

Our job was to check our own and each other’s stories, headlines, photos, etc., not the ads. But there was an ad on one of the pages that caught my eye — it was for a video about the Holocaust, with an address you could write to and get a copy of the video. It didn’t explicitly say the Holocaust never happened, but it was clear to me from the wording of the ad that it was making that claim.

I went to the Sunday Editor (a crusty, curmudgeonly guy named Dick Billman, who might not have had a fifth of Jim Beam in a desk drawer but otherwise perfectly fit the stereotype of the old-school journalist — he was awesome), and asked him to take a look at the ad. “Do we have a policy on this sort of thing?” I asked him. “Do we run ads like this?”

He took a look at it, and decided we should just yank it off the page (this was around 11 p.m. on a Saturday night), rather than try to call someone to get approval. So we pulled the ad, stuck it to a piece of paper and left a note for the executive editor explaining what we did.

Apparently some short time later, the guy who tried to run the ad also tried to get the video aired on the local cable system, and the executive editor assigned a reporter to find out who this idiot was. Here’s his story.

And here’s another account by The Star Democrat’s news editor, who interviewed the main players in the confrontational interview with von Brunn that turned into a scuffle that led to his ejection from the building.

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