much ado about nothing

Spanish Olympic basketball team

When the Spanish basketball team did it, it was “racist“. Even the Angry Asian Man complained!

But Walter Lohman (see his picture here), ironically Director of the Asian Studies Center for the Heritage Foundation, gets a free pass:

The U.S. must be engaged with China. China is too big to ignore. … But let’s keep our eyes open. At this point in history, and for the foreseeable future, China’s vision is too narrow to leverage the value of “responsible stakeholderhood”.

Probably not intentional, but still very funny.


There are reports the Fort Hays State University professor William Shanahan who mooned a colleague during a student debate has been fired.

Professor Shanahan became a YouTube celebrity when a video showed his debate style, from behind.

The “60 Minutes” interview with Obama was another loving hand-out from the media. Presidential dog, presidential mother-in-law, college football playoffs. What a waste of time.

But not a complete waste of time though. There was indeed a good moment where a serious question was posed.

Kroft: Where is all the money going to come from to do all of these things? And is there a point where just going to the Treasury Department and printing more of it ceases to be an option?

Obama: Well, look, I think what’s interesting about the time that we’re in right now is that you actually have a consensus among conservative Republican-leaning economists and liberal left-leaning economists. And the consensus is this: that we have to do whatever it takes to get this economy moving again, that we’re gonna have to spend money now to stimulate the economy. And that we shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after. That short term, the most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession.

Of course, there was no follow up.

Full video here or here, transcripts available in CBS website.

This guy took apart his camera lens:

The insides on a camera lens

The insides on a camera lens

In the blog very poorly titled “Intelligent Science”, Eric Kemp discharges some warped or misunderstood concepts of his own, enlisting the help of colleagues. Although there is a bit of Intelligence, there is very little Science.

The latest episode is “The Fine-Tuning Argument“. The post itself contains a good review of the idea, although it slowly transfigures into a “fact”.

Going through post and comments is an entertaining yet painful experience, as we watch distorted scientific statements or simply plain falsehoods. To much surprise, theoretical research about the Big Bang and early stages of the universe is discarded or devalued as “just theory”, as if any research on the first second of the universe were applied science.

But when those theories are agreeable with their own chosen understanding of the universe, then scientific theoretical results get upgraded to the status of certainty, mixing up with distorted and/or misunderstood science statements that also had become “facts”.

To top it off, an utter refusal to research on your own leads to some interesting reference-picking: the poster read one book and quotes from it, yet turns down the chance to learn from other books or papers.

There is nothing wrong with ignorance, for we all have to start somewhere. But the refusal to learn or at least try to understand, that tells a different story.

On another note, most of the followers of that blog seem to share a common misunderstanding about the nature of “theory”. “Just a theory“, “could/would vs facts”, reflect how people normally have no idea of what it takes for an idea to become a scientific theory. “Theory”, it seems, refers to an imaginary concept that is too weak to stand on its own.

Such widespread mistake might reflect some basic educational handicap for a society that tries to reach the 21st century. On the other hand, before our schools get to the basics of what theory is, we should focus on simply high-school-level math:

I actually happen to know a bit about the Cyclic Model’s mathematics. And if I’m not mistaken, it was first figured out by Hawking, correct? And in his formulas he used the imaginary number “i” did he not?

So “i” is really imaginary… On that point, I threw the towel.

The only thing better than remembering the 80s is spoofing them!

Slate thinks choosing Sarah Palin shows questionable judgment. Politico on the other hand thinks choosing a down-to-earth, gun-clinging, mother-of-a-pregnant-teen newcomer politician is actually helpful to connect with ordinary voters. And all this time Biden is praised as a foreign-affairs specialist that can fill in the gaps of Obama’s resume’.

Conventional wisdom says the VP should be strong on the areas and states the main candidate is weak. But at the same time he/she can’t be contradictory or think different on policy issues. The VP candidate is supposed to be complementary yet similar. In all theories, the VP choice will bring more votes to the ticket.

Questions about McCain’s health are wishful thinking, and the “ready if needed” argument is fragile to say the least: since LBJ took over for JFK 45 years ago, no vice-president had to take over the presidency. It shows lack of understanding on the VP’s role in government (a role largely changed in two decades of Gore-Cheney), as if the vice-president stayed on the sideline warming up before getting in (in which case he might want to get one of these).

Does the VP choice really matter? In other words, does anybody change the vote because of the candidate for Vice-President? Probably not. Actually, the numbers show that clearly not.

In the end, the candidate of change chose 35-year Washington insider as VP, and the candidate of experience chose the half-termed governor of Alaska. Waste of time. Fortunately another season of American Idol is starting, and the country will focus on some serious decisions.