Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 6:49 am

Arriba Chile

(Photo links to Red Cross donation site)

(This is a sticky post, which means it stays at the top of the blog’s front page. New content appears directly underneath.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 11:53 pm

Snake and dinosaur, interrupted

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 11:53 pm
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Because we here at Blog on the Run are nothing if not All About the Reptiles, here’s a story from NPR about an 11-foot, 67-million-year-old snake and a newly hatched dinosaur, both fossilized just as the former was about to eat the latter:

“The sauropods, these big dinosaurs, would come in, they would use their hind limb and probably kick out a small depression,” [University of Michigan professor Jeffrey] Wilson says. “They would squat down they would lay a clutch of six to twelve eggs, they would cover it up with a little layer of sediment and maybe some vegetation and then they would leave it.”

And the snakes knew that.

How’s that for an ominous 5-word paragraph? Well done, Christopher Joyce!

“It’s ‘Anaconda meets Jurassic Park,’ ” says Jason Head, a paleontologist at the University of Toronto who worked with Wilson’s team. “These sauropods would lay these huge fields of eggs that we find in India, just kind of kilometers of dinosaur eggshell, and so with these hatchling dinosaurs it must have just been a smorgasbord where a whole ecosystem of predators could basically come in and feed on them.”

In this case, a sudden avalanche of sand or mud must have intervened and buried both prey and predator like the human life scenes entombed by the eruption of Pompeii.

(h/t: Vanessa on Facebook)

Ancient Chinese philosophy, updated

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:42 pm
Tags: ,

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding.” — Lao-Tzu (via Jude on Facebook)

“Whoever says water is fluid, soft and yielding has never jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.” — Lex

ACORN: Guilty?

Filed under: More fact-based arguing, please — Lex @ 6:28 am
Tags:

Not so much, at least in New York. Earlier: ACORN tapes were doctored.

Davidson: Two 3′s in 2.2 seconds. For the win.

Filed under: Wildcats — Lex @ 6:22 am
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See more funny videos and Sports Videos at Today’s Big Thing.

UPDATE: The video has disappeared. Copyright issues, I guess. The question is, how could code that was in MY WordPress account be deleted remotely by someone who’s not me? I change passwords regularly. Anyone at WordPress want to step up to the plate?

ANOTHER UPDATE: YouTube FTW!

Monday, March 1, 2010 8:54 pm

Idiot/crook du jour: Trent Franks

If, like me, you’d never heard of him until a day or two ago, you need to know that Trent Franks 1) is a Republican congresscritter from Arizona; 2) believes that African Americans were better off under slavery than they are today; 3) is probably a crook; and 4) is supporting Sen. John McCain’s re-election bid against primary challenger (and fellow crook) J.D. Hayworth, most likely because McCain is keeping secret some records that likely could hurt him.

Because you can’t tell the players without a scorecard …

Flying blind

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:53 pm
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Der Spiegel offers a chilling compilation (no pun intended) of what investigators now know happened during the last four minutes of Air France Flight 447, the Rio-to-Paris flight that crashed into the Atlantic the night of May 31-June 1, 2009. Short version: The external airspeed-measuring mechanism iced up in a storm at high altitude, leaving the pilots blind and the automatic pilot and flight computers shut down. The pilots weren’t able to correct before impact.

Yes, the airline and the pilots knew this was a potential problem. And, yes, this could happen again — “at any time.”

Meet Harry “Cassandra” Markopoulos

OK, Cassandra wasn’t Greek, she was Trojan. But she was the chick to whom the god Apollo gave the gift of prophecy … and, because she then wouldn’t be  his girlfriend, the curse of never being believed.

Harry Markopoulos can relate. He was a money manager who was ordered by his bosses to find ways to equal Bernie Madoff’s return on investments. He calculated that it was statistically impossible, then spent years trying unsuccessfully to bring the wrath of the Securities & Exchange Commission down on Madoff. It turns out that Markopoulos was right, that the reason Madoff’s “returns” were so high was because he was running a $65 billion pyramid scheme that cost a lot of people (including, I am reliably informed, some folks right here in River City) a ton of money, and that the SEC was “comatose” (if not on the take, I hypothesize).

Not surprisingly, Markopoulos doesn’t think very highly of the SEC, and the feeling apparently is mutual:

Why do you think the S.E.C. failed to wake up to Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme until he turned himself in?
They weren’t even asleep at the switch; they were comatose. They didn’t respond to heat and light, much less evidence of wrongdoing. They were not engaged in the fight.

This was when William Donaldson was head of the S.E.C.?
Donaldson was too tough on Wall Street, so he got the ax. Then you had Christopher Cox, because he wasn’t going to do his job. That’s why he got the job.

You met last year with Mary Schapiro, the current head of the S.E.C. How did that go?
I would say she was coldly polite. Her general counsel, David Becker, did most of the talking. He and I did not get along at all. He was getting ready to come across the coffee table and strangle me.

(h/t: Ed)

Nope, still haven’t seen “Avatar” …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 1:26 pm
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… and, like this guy, I’m not likely to. It’s just that the more I hear about it, the less interesting it sounds … to me. Your mileage is welcome to vary.

Tired of hearing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on TV and in movies?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:44 pm
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All that royalty income notwithstanding, so is Cohen.

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