The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

'You shall not pass!'
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As a colleague pointed out, these pictures of Saddam’s medical examination make Iraq’s former dictator look like, well, the Balrog.

Which raises the question: Why have we not sent Gandalf to Iraq???

The only reason I can think of is that a pair of hobbits are slowly making their way towards Baghdad, and we wish to keep the Enemy’s great fiery gaze turned elsewhere…

Um, yes, so December 17 is one day away.

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The Fellowship of the Oscar
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rotk-metascore.jpg

Take a look at that universal acclaim, baby.

The score will drop as more reviews come in, I’m sure. But will 11 reviews so far, that’s still pretty damn impressive.

Robin and I already have our tickets. How about you?

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More News You Missed
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Mr. John Edwards also gave his foreign policy speech today. Thankfully, instead of posting the whole, high-fallutin’-rhetoric-having speech on his website, he presented it in a nutritious little bite-size five-part morsel. But Edwards’ and Dean’s ideas are basically parallel. His five planks, in brief:

1) Global Nuclear Compact: Everyone get together and non-proliferate!

2) UN Resolution: Criminalize terrorism-sponsoring and nuke-developing countries.

3) Secure Loose Nukes: Triple the amount we spend on threat reduction programs. To do this, we’d severely cut back our own nuke-developing efforts.

4) Homeland Intelligence Agency: This new government wing would take over the terrorist-tracking duties of the FBI. We’d also hire more intelligence folks.

5) Non-Proliferation Director: A new high-level administration position.

Dean’s outline was broader; he includes more money for non-proliferation efforts and assorted goodies like $30 billion to combat AIDS. But where does he plan to get these billions from? Edwards’ plan may be more realistic.

Of course, if the Dems lose Congress, neither plan will have much traction now, will it?

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News You Missed
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While the L.A. Times was running 19 pages of Saddam coverage (thanks, Kevin Drum), Dean was giving his major foreign policy address. Like all such speeches, it was long on rhetoric and short on specifics, but here’s the broad outline:

Saddam in custody is nice and all, but it don’t change much.

There are three parts to Dean’s terrorism-wrasslin’, mass-destruction-avertin’ plan:

1) Grant more resources to military and intelligence agencies, but less on nuclear weapons development and testing.

2) Rebuild our shattered alliances, giving special consideration to a NATO role in Iraq and foreign affairs in general, as well as to Latin America.

3) Focus the fight against terror by making it a global thing, and building up our homeland security institutions (bringing the National Guard back home, for example).

Extra goodies:

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Aristotelian
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'Farmers and their children waved from the ground'
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Wow. The New York Times‘ John F. Burns is just awesome.

His story about the capture of Saddam Hussein is the best piece I’ve read on the subject so far, in part because he sets the scene so well. Check this out:

The single-story farmhouse made of concrete blocks is edged by a courtyard and encircled by a fence of tree branches and palm fronds. Branches on orange trees hung low with fruit. Chickens and a single cow were cooped up in the yard, and dates and sausage were strung outside, apparently to cure.

And these closing grafs are incredible:

Mr. Hussein’s capture culminated a search over the last nine days that involved several raids in the Tikrit area. The target area was just over a mile long and a half mile wide. The farmhouse where Mr. Hussein was found is nestled along the reed banks of the Tigris River. As journalists flew in today by helicopter over the flatlands and banks, farmers and their children waved from the ground.

Military officials said two men at the farmhouse were also taken into custody, but they were not immediately identified.

The interior of the farmhouse was spare, with two beds. Possessions that the American military believed were Mr. Hussein’s were strewn about, including Arabic poetry books, new sandals, shoes, socks and unopened boxer shorts and T-shirts.

Over the door to the hut were the words, in Arabic, “Praise be to God, the most Merciful.”

Wow!

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XY.TV
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Whoah! While Al Gore was dorking around with Howard Dean and neglecting his cable news project, some dude named John Garabedian stepped up and started a channel for young people.

Okay, it’s not a news channel. But still, this sounds promising:

While the network figures to skew more female, it will feature original, reality-oriented programming on topics, Garabedian said, that are relevant to all young adults, including dating, education, style, drugs, trends and marriage. Shows include Common Ave., which seeks out responses to common issues from ordinary people; Dinner, a roundtable discussion of issues over a meal; and The Roomies, a The Real World-type series that places five young strangers in a house.

So will XY.TV be “NPR, except cool” or Open House Party 24/7? We’ll see.

Update: Uh-oh. When I read “roundtable discussion of issues over a meal,” I was thinking, like, “Do we need national health insurance?” Turns out it’s not quite that sophisticated.

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Sparkle Motion
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I am very happy Saddam was captured. I hope justice will be brought on the evil man, and to his wounded country. Great job, 4th Infantry Division.

I also hope The Washington Post puts this David Finkel article back up in a prominent spot on the front page. My infant crush on the WaPo has now developed from an unfertilized ovum into a full-fledged zygote with this piece. A sample:

Everyone turns to look at Hill, the only one with a hand in the air, and suddenly her status is clear. They will lose their jobs by the end of December. She will still be working in January. They are seasonal. She is permanent. They are Sales. She is Sparkle.

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"Monkeyboy" No Longer Just a Harmless Insult
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In Friday’s New York Times, Nicholas Wade writes of a quest to distinguish man from chimp:

The project received a lift two years ago when a large London family with barely intelligible speech was found to have mutations in a gene called FOXP2. Chimpanzees also have a FOXP2 gene, but it is significantly different. The human version shows signs of accelerated evolutionary change in the last 100,000 years, suggesting that the gene acquired a new function that helped confer the gift of speech.

I think we’re still underestimating nature’s hand in the nature vs. nurture tug-of-war. Yes, genetic differences within the human family are miniscule — but not insignificant. I’ll bet it’s a bit of a burden to have a gene that makes it more difficult to speak, ya know?

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Gore Endorses Dean
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Josh Marshall is stunned.

Bloggers everywhere are agog.

At CalPundit and at Daily Kos, armchair pundits (much like myself) read elaborate Machiavellian intentions and ramifications into the move.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, Al Gore has apparently decided to endorse Howard Dean tomorrow.

To me, this is unexpected, but not mystifying or nonsensical, by any stretch. Over and over again these past few months, Gore has indicated a desire to reach the exact same demographic that is currently falling all over itself for the good doctor — the young, tech-savvy, anti-war types that continue to make people stand up and notice Dean’s campaign. Gore’s and Dean’s most prized audiences align almost perfectly; it seems like a perfect fit to me.

Why all the shock?

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