As she races through Iowa in the days before next week’s caucuses, Hillary Clinton is taking few chances. She tells crowds that it’s their turn to “pick a president,’’ but over the last two days she has not invited them to ask her any questions.
Before the brief Christmas break, the New York senator had been setting aside time after campaign speeches to hear from the audience. Now when she’s done speaking, her theme songs blare from loudspeakers, preventing any kind of public Q&A.
If she’s not listening to you right now, what do you think she will do when elected?
Rumours abound that hip hop star Just Blaze has told all about Apple’s much talked-about sub-notebook, after he was promised one for performing at a recent Apple Christmas party. The mystery machine is allegedly to be announced at Macworld in January…
Speculation about the sub-notebook itself isn’t new, we reported on the latest rumours regarding this back in July.
However, according to website boygeniusreport, Mr Blaze was one of several music celebrities who performed live at the company-sponsored music event for Apple’s employees. In exchange for their work, each artist was promised a free notebook that will be unveiled at the Macworld expo in San Francisco.
Parentists, the dogmatic believers that parents alone are the source of Christmas presents, may have new reason to believe, with the scientific approach of External Delivery. Of course, some skeptics have opined that External Delivery is just Santa Clausism with a pseudoscientific veneer. Other commentators are more forgiving, and point out the great strides that ED has made in the study of Yuleogy.
Iraq’s food rations system was introduced by the Saddam Hussein government in 1991 in response to the UN economic sanctions. Families were allotted basic foodstuffs monthly because the Iraqi Dinar and the economy collapsed.
The sanctions, imposed after Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, were described as “genocidal” by Denis Halliday, then UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. Halliday quit his post in protest against the U.S.-backed sanctions.
The sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, and as many adults, according to the UN. They brought malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines. Iraqis became nearly completely reliant on food rations for survival. The programme has continued into the U.S.-led occupation.
But now the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has announced it will halve the essential items in the ration because of “insufficient funds and spiralling inflation.”
The cuts, which are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, have drawn widespread criticism. The Iraqi government is unable to supply the rations with several billion dollars at its disposal, whereas Saddam Hussein was able to maintain the programme with less than a billion dollars.
Solomon Asch, with experiments originally carried out in the 1950s and well-replicated since, highlighted a phenomenon now known as “conformity”. In the classic experiment, a subject sees a puzzle like the one in the nearby diagram: Which of the lines A, B, and C is the same size as the line X? Take a moment to determine your own answer…
The gotcha is that the subject is seated alongside a number of other people looking at the diagram – seemingly other subjects, actually confederates of the experimenter. The other “subjects” in the experiment, one after the other, say that line C seems to be the same size as X. The real subject is seated next-to-last. How many people, placed in this situation, would say “C” – giving an obviously incorrect answer that agrees with the unanimous answer of the other subjects? What do you think the percentage would be?
A team at the Harvard School of Public Health could not find any studies showing whether the time-consuming process of X-raying carry-on luggage prevents hijackings or attacks.
They also found no evidence to suggest that making passengers take off their shoes and confiscating small items prevented any incidents.
The researchers said it would be interesting to apply medical standards to airport security. Screening programs for illnesses like cancer are usually not broadly instituted unless they have been shown to work.
Note the defense by the TSA:
“Even without clear evidence of the accuracy of testing, the Transportation Security Administration defended its measures by reporting that more than 13 million prohibited items were intercepted in one year,” the researchers added. “Most of these illegal items were lighters.”
This is where the TSA has it completely backwards. The goal isn’t to confiscate prohibited items. The goal is to prevent terrorism on airplanes. When the TSA confiscates millions of lighters from innocent people, that’s a security failure. The TSA is reacting to non-threats. The TSA is reacting to false alarms. Now you can argue that this level of failures is necessary to make people safer, but it’s certainly not evidence that people are safer.
The TSA measures “Success” by how much they harass you. Typical for inefficient government organisations is that they tend to measure their success based on how much “stuff” they’re doing, not on whether they’re actually reducing the problem they were created to solve.
How many cars are in this picture?
The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor’s living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches.
And so the 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Fla., area pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer, the evangelist whose frank talk about recovering from childhood sexual abuse was so inspirational. She wrote checks to flamboyant faith healer Benny Hinn and a local preacher-made-good, Paula White.
Only the blessings didn’t come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn’t strong enough.
“I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them,” she said. “I’m angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don’t watch anyone on TV hardly.”
All three of the groups Fleenor supported are among six major Christian television ministries under scrutiny by a senator who is asking questions about the evangelists’ lavish spending and possible abuses of their tax-exempt status.
America: the country of the “have”s and “been-had”s.
More than one-third of all PCs worldwide now have LimeWire installed, according to data jointly released by Digital Music News and media tracking specialist BigChampagne. The discovery is part of a steady ascent for LimeWire, easily the front-running P2P application and the target of a multi-year Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawsuit. For the third quarter of this year, LimeWire was found on 36.4% of all PCs, a figure gleaned from a global canvass of roughly 1.66 million desktops.
PC Pitstop collected the data required for this report though voluntary systems scans.
PC Pitstop, LLC hosts a web site, (www.pcpitstop.com), that allows individual PC users to run their PC system through a battery of online tests and diagnostics. The primary purpose of these tests is to identify things that might help improve the performance of the PC in question. Based on the results of these tests, the service offers tips and suggestions to the user for improving PC performance or enhancing the PC experience.
So, 36.4% of computers of users who are dumb enough to use a site like that have Limewire installed? Most people I know would never run anything like that, and thus we’ll never get counted. Since most only go there because they’re a) stupid and b) already infected with some crap that slows down their machine, the only meaningful statistic I get from that is that the people that click yes to “free” anything (free screensavers, free porn, free download enhancers, free performance scans) also want free music.
Number 58 on the list of 101 Dumbest Moments in Business, according to Fortune:
Can’t wait for the follow-up album, ‘In Debt’
British rock band Radiohead makes its new album, “In Rainbows,” available for download on the Internet and lets its fans decide how much they want to pay. Sixty-two percent, according to comScore, decide to pay nothing, while the other 38% voluntarily fork over an average of six bucks.
So a band trying out a new business model for music getting 3 million bucks without a penny going to the labels is “dumb”? I think Radiohead can live with that… especially if you see how the labels promote a record, like Sony on nummber 60.