Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, June 19, 2008 7:22 am

The fire next time

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 7:22 am
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Gregg Easterbrook asks a darned good question: Why is NASA worrying so much about building a moon base when the sky could be falling?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 7:22 am

Because we all need a little redemption …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:22 am
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Friday, June 13, 2008 8:58 pm

” ‘Round, round, get around, I get around …”

Filed under: Odds 'n' ends — Lex @ 8:58 pm
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David gets around to the deep, dark secret behind getting around.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:03 pm

First we flood them out. Then we make them stupid.

The Louisiana House has voted 94-3 — 94 to 3!! — for a bill that apparently would allow the teaching of creationism in science classes.

Creationism isn’t science. “Creation science” isn’t science. And as much as the pro-creationist liars would like you to believe otherwise, there is no controversy within the scientific community about evolution.

Evolution is a theory as “theory” is defined in science, where “theory” is a term of art meaning a hypothesis that has been tested repeatedly and can be used to predict certain outcomes. Saying that evolution is wrong is like saying germ theory is wrong, or the theory of gravity.

This bill, if enacted, will be a crime committed against the children of Louisiana, who, frankly, have more than enough on their plates as it is.

Crummy drivers

If you think that many of the people on the road around you don’t know what in pluperfect hell they’re doing, you’re probably right. Via Al Tompkins at Poynter.org comes this scary little item from GMAC Insurance: According to a survey they did, more than 33 million Americans would flunk a state driver’s test if they took it today. (Not that I’m surprised; my kids are well used to hearing me say, “Choose a lane, pal,” at some indecisive driver in front of us.)

The GMAC site includes rankings by state. The state with the highest average score was Kansas, renowned in a story (perhaps apocryphal) from the early days of the automobile, when, supposedly, the only two cars in the entire state crashed into each other. North Carolina tied for 22nd. And the least safe? Surprise! It’s New Jersey.

But even in Kansas, the average score was just 84. That’s not reassuring.

I took the test and scored a 95. My one wrong answer, pertaining to safe following distance, was one in which I erred on the side of caution. My N.C. license isn’t up for renewal until 2010, so I’ve got some time to study.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 6:23 am

Words for my kids to live by …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:23 am
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… from Nancy Nall: ” … everybody looks stupid in a bike helmet, including Lance Armstrong.”

Thursday, June 5, 2008 7:49 pm

The curse of foresight

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 7:49 pm
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I’m old enough to remember John F. Kennedy’s assassination — because of it, there were no Saturday-morning cartoons on TV. And I remember hearing on TV that spring day that Martin Luther King had been assassinated and going to tell my mother, and I distinctly remember her saying, sadly, that she was not surprised.

And I remember, at the tail end of second grade, when Robert Kennedy was shot, how class was buzzing with the news when I walked in and the huge headline in that afternoon’s Charlotte News: “BULLET REMOVED FROM/SEN. KENNEDY’S BRAIN,” a headline that had, sadly, been overtaken by events by the time I saw it.

Even at the time, I grasped on some level that there was something special about Bobby Kennedy’s candidacy, and I have wondered many times how much better our country’s recent history would have been if he had lived and been elected … and that he would have been elected, I have no doubt.

A lot of people since then have said that Bobby Kennedy’s assassination was inevitable. Perhaps it was. I’m less interested in that question than I am in the question of whether all that many people thought at the time that it was inevitable. And now, we may have an answer.

Vanity Fair has excerpted a new book by Thurston Clarke, “The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America.” And if Clarke is to be believed, the inevitability of Robert Kennedy’s death was not a close-held, private belief:

As he started to leave, waves of students rushed the platform, knocking over chairs and raising more dust. They grabbed at him, stroking his hair and ripping his shirtsleeves. Herb Schmertz was left with a lifelong phobia of crowds. University officials opened a path to a rear exit, but Kennedy waved them off and waded into the crowd. Photographer Stanley Tretick, of Look magazine, watched the mêlée and shouted, “This is Kansas, [expletive] Kansas! He’s going all the [expletive] way!”

One reporter would call the Landon lecture the first indication that “we were embarking on something unlike anything we had ever experienced.” Cries of “Holy [expletive]!” and “What the hell are we in for?” echoed through the press bus as it pulled away from the campus. But once the excitement had ebbed, John J. Lindsay, of Newsweek, said, “Listen, I’m not sure we’re going to like how this turns out.” …

Before returning to the Kansas City airport, the Kennedy press corps stopped for a quick restaurant meal. Jimmy Breslin asked a table of reporters, “Do you think this guy has the stuff to go all the way?”

“Yes, of course he has the stuff to go all the way,” John J. Lindsay replied. “But he’s not going to go all the way. The reason is that somebody is going to shoot him. I know it and you know it. Just as sure as we’re sitting here somebody is going to shoot him. He’s out there now waiting for him. And, please God, I don’t think we’ll have a country after it.”

There was a stunned silence. Then, one by one, the other reporters agreed. But none asked the most heartbreaking question: Did Kennedy himself know it?

Heartbreaking, indeed. And more heartbreaking still: What of America was lost when America lost Bobby Kennedy?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 6:42 pm

Actually, no, Dracula need not apply

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:42 pm
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There are posters up around work urging us to give blood at the blood drive (which I’ve signed up to do), but one of them is a little bit eye-catching in the wrong way: The first thing that jumps out at your eye on the poster, even before the picture of the little girl with the ice-cream cone, is the line “Help us Lick Blood Shortages.”

But, no, they’re really not interested in vampires, so I guess it’ll be a pretty ho-hum blood drive.

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