Friday Links (9/7/12)

Posted: September 7, 2012 in Friday Links, Uncategorized

It’s been a hectic week for me.  I’ve pretty much had to fully neglect blogging, reading friends’ blogs, social media, perusing dumb (and smart) shit online, and everything else internet-related.  I have, however, maintained something resembling my normal reading schedule, including newsy stuff.  So, here are a few interesting, frightening, and/or amusing things worth a look.

“Maryland politician out of line for attacking Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of gay marriage” – Dan Wetzl (Yahoo Sports, 9/6/12)

I don’t usually read, much less post, a lot of sports news, but this one was too good to pass up, especially since Wetzl does a nice job of rebuking the offending party idiot politician.  Per the article, a member of the Maryland State House of Delegates by the name of Emmett C. Burns Jr. went out of his way to attack Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo over the latter’s public support of same-sex marriage.  In a letter to the team, Burns wrote:

“I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player . . . Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.”

Besides once again proving that the GOP has no monopoly on hating gays and civil rights, and proving that politicians don’t give a rat’s ass about (or really understand) free speech, what is really laughable is that last phrase (in the added bold).  Think about it: the NFL is “strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement” . . . .

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Claim of Romney taxes theft a puzzling whodunit(AP, 9/6/12)

Assuming it’s not a hoax, the purported theft of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax returns has all the trappings of a high-tech whodunit: a politically themed burglary, a $1 million demand in hard-to-trace Internet currency, password-protected data and a threat to reveal everything in three more weeks. But can it be believed?

The Secret Service and FBI were investigating the case Thursday after someone claimed to have burglarized a PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting office in Franklin, Tenn., and stolen two decades’ worth of Romney’s tax returns.

There’s a lot to look at here: monetary vs political motivation, the probability of this being a hoax (anyone with knowledge of legit hacking incidents (I know, right?) is privy to the fact that most hackers prove they had access immediately), and the like.  What might be most interesting to me is the attention this is drawing to bitcoin from mainstream sources and audiences.  No doubt a moral panic over anonymous currency and a legislative effort to ban it will follow.

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In a scientific study that seems to be repeated and poorly reported at least once a year, Stanford scientists “proved” that organics have no real edge over so-called “conventional” (chemically-produced) food when it comes to nutrient value . . . and nearly every news outlet is like “TAKE THAT, HIPPIES!” and fully ignores that no one buys organics because they believe they have more vitamin X per ounce.  Frances Moore Lappé takes the study, reporting, and authors’ rhetorical choices to task in “Stanford Scientists Shockingly Reckless on Health Risk And Organics” (Common Dreams, 9/6/12):

[The] authors of the study— “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? A Systematic Review” — surely are responsible for its misinterpretation and more. Their study actually reports that ¨Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

The authors’ tentative wording — “may reduce” — belies their own data: The report’s opening statement says the tested organic produce carried a 30 percent lower risk of exposure to pesticide residues. And, the report itself also says that “detectable pesticide residues were found in 7% of organic produce samples…and 38% of conventional produce samples.” Isn’t that’s a greater than 80% exposure reduction?


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2012: The Year The “Meme” Meme Died” – Chris Menning (Modern Primate, 9/6/12)

“Meme” in blue and “anonymous” is in red (via: modernprimate.com)

Chris (full disclosure: I write for his site from time to time) looks at google search trends and the rise of memes into mainsteam internet culture over the last few years, focusing on how memes relate to anonymous and where we stand now in terms of all this messy, hard-to-track, an now-popular ROFLstuff.  He reaches the following conclusion:

[I]t seems like the average Internet user’s appetite for things that are immediately identifiable as memes, the memes that “look like” memes, are definitely losing their novelty. And there’s a strong chance that it’s directly tied to the overall trajectory of Anonymous. At least there’s correlation.

Time will tell if now is the actual plateau, of course.  However, no one who is paying attention doesn’t believe we have reached a saturation point (or will soon) with this.  The question of what happens to anonymous as the broader thing it once was (ie, not just the chanology/wikileaks/anti-sec/hacking/political stuff ) is quite interesting and worth thinking about and following.

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To finish up, here’s a lulzy, old, and very brief clip about James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway going out drinking. The site that posted it puts it better than I can [other than the nonsense about “greatest novelist”]:

The narrator of this rare clip describes James Joyce – arguably the greatest novelist of the 20th century — as a “small, thin, unathletic man with very bad eyes.” Ouch. And it gets worse. According to the voiceover, when Joyce and drinking buddy Ernest Hemingway faced a potential brawl, Joyce would hide behind his more imposing comrade and shout “Deal with him, Hemingway, deal with him!!!’

But we bet they were both just hiding behind Gertrude Stein.

I’m not even sure what that last bit means, but I laughed.  Here’s the clip:

Have a nice weekend.

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