Feed Your HeadCast

Junkfood Consumption For Your Brain


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How to Address the Issue

Oct 3 Presidential Debates - Lehrer and podiums

     I do believe that if and when I find myself agreeing or disagreeing with the news I’m hearing… then I’m not hearing news, you know?  Ideologically, I appreciate news that is critical of our government…  but that doesn’t necessarily qualify as a scientific standard for quality journalism. 

 Mad Magazine parody of Mitt Romney Immediately following the presidential debate, Fox aired commentators who were pretty much masturbating in my ears about how awesome it was to be in love with a guy named Mitt.  How Romney was forceful, honest and strong, and took it the president – who was weak, and elitist, and a buffoon, and only 1/2 black.  The emphasis of such an overwhelming victory was so hyperbolic that Eli, my 14-year old son, actually had a physical / emotional reaction where he turned from his piano practice and exclaimed aloud: “that’s not how it happened!”… Followed by a slow, creeping, and soul shaking realization that Fox news was broadcasting in our living room. 

 Nielsen Ratings for Oct 3 Presidential Debates

  “Are you watching Fox news dad?” he asks … like he’s caught me free-basing… or watching Glee anyway.  “Are… you… turning Republican?!” 

 Not that he comprehends political and ideological differences. He clearly dreads the circumstance in which he’d have to have “that” conversation with his mom… where he explains that I’m a great dad, but… you know… different.

 “No, no…”  I assure him that I simply want to see what is being said, “I’ve got an open-mind – separate from party politics, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Fox is just as good as any other channel for an opinion of what we just watched.”  And, watching a given news channel does not necessarily marry me to a political party after all… does it?

Mad Magazine paradoy of ObamaWhat followed was a very brief argument about how absolutely sure I was that any of the other channels, CNN, MSNBC – whatever that other one is – were spinning rhetoric just as hard in the opposite direction.  How they’d be proclaiming the president was so dignified, and patient, and studious… and 1/2 black. 

 A gentleman’s wager of 3 milk duds and I flipped over to MSNBC to watch anchorman Rachel Maddow and bespectacled chore-boy Chris Hayes grilling Rudolph Giuliani about how his private consulting firm– in spite of Rudy’s clear indignation – subsisted off the DOJ’s government teat.  Though I did not find the same masturbatory celebration of how awesome Obama had made his words all over Romney… the news analysis was clearly aimed at denigrating the credibility of the opposition party.  Never mind Rudy’s spin… his podium faced a wall in the men’s room and included a convenient trough for partisan pee.  This debate wasn’t about him… was it?

 Duds

We split the milk duds 2 to 1… he’s a growing boy (2), and I can’t recognize that I’m entirely wrong (1).

 And in that serene bliss of sugar-fueled reverie that follows all dud-induced comas, Eli lolled his head at me and said “You know what I think… I think George Washington was right… political parties are no good for this country.”  To which I murmured something about his being an elitist, and an irascible slave-owning revolutionary with totally non-photogenic teeth… then drifted off to sleep as a horrible re-run of Glee quietly hummed in the background.

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One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinionsand aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.

Washington’s Farewell Address – 1796.


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The Perfect Search

The history of search engines is actually modestly enlightening!  It’s the seamless integration of technology we come to expect – engineers making software work the way we expected their products to work in the first place – that allows these significant advancements to go almost un-noticed… or at least uncelebrated.

From Finger, Archie, and Gopher to the relevancy-based market-driven results of today’s search engines, Aaron Wall’s Search Engine History provides a depth of knowledge into the how and why of what we find on the World Wide Web.

Larry Kim’s article, the History of Search Engines, provides a nice graphic… if your tech nostalgia hungers for imagery.

What becomes clear is that market-driven search engine software necessarily dictates the bulk of what can be rapidly found in the digital age –  Exploiting that software represents a clear market advantage, controlling distribution of that software (MS, Google, Yahoo) controls the flow and availability of information, and the struggle to pre-dominate development is a long way from settled.


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And all this…. “science”…. I don’t understand

James R. Kirk

The great thing about any question that could possibly be raised about Star Trek is that an army of Trek researchers exists.

  • The gravestone Mitchell creates for Kirk says “James R. Kirk”. According to D.C. Fontana in the introduction for Star Trek: The Classic Episodes 1, when the mistake was discovered, Gene Roddenberry decided that if pressed for an answer on the discrepancy, the response was to be “Gary Mitchell had godlike powers, but at base he was Human. He made a mistake.” The gravestone also suggests that an important event marked “C” took place on stardate 1277.1: Kirk may have assumed command of the Enterprise on this stardate.


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Starveinge in the Belly of the Whale

this starveinge Tyme of Anglo America

After receiving a royal charter in 1606, the Virginia Company sent 144 men to Chesapeake.  Jamestown settlers were intent on realizing a profit at almost any expense.  Of the 105 survivors of the initial immigration, only 38 were found alive by 1608.  Some historical accounts indicate evidence of cannibalism.  “Between 1607 and 1622 the Virginia Company transported some 10,000 people to the colony, but only 20 percent were still alive there in 1622” (Taylor, 2001, p. 130).  The settlement in Plymouth began in earnest in 1620.  Originally under the same charter, the Plymouth colony actually landed north of the Virginia territory and established initial authority under the Mayflower Compact (in contrast to the royal charter authorizing Jamestown).  The New England territory was dominated by religious separatists – some of whom were pilgrims.  Despite arriving a decade after the first Jamestown settlers, New England also underwent a starving time through the first winter.  A full half of the original colonists perished.  The difference of migrating families, a focus on establishing farming areas, and the similarities in climate for English crops permitted a very different experience in the northern territories.