Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stimme (voice)

Matt 3:3 reads in part:
Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers in der Wüste
φωνἢ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ
A voice of one crying in the wilderness

Believe it or not, German Stimme has an English dialectal cognate, steven:

G Stimme < OHG stimna < Gmc *stemnō, stiβnō > OE stemn, stefn > E dial. steven.

According to the OED, steven (with a short vowel almost like /stevven/) means "voice," esp. a "loud voice", "outcry," "noise," or "tumult."

Possibly related is Greek στόμα, "mouth."

Buße tun (to repent)

The revised Luther translation renders μετανοεῖτε ("Repent!") in Matt 3:2 with Tut Buße!

Now, Buße means "repentance," "penance," "fine," or "damages." It actually has a direct cognate in English:

G Buße < OHG buoza < Gmc *bōt- > OE bōt > E boot.

No, not the footwear boot but the commercial term:
Cash or other property added to an exchange or a transaction in order to make the value of traded goods equal.
Whence comes phrase "to boot."

taufen (to baptize)

German taufen (to baptize) has no direct reflex in English, though a reflex of it enters English as to dope via Dutch:

G taufen < OHG toufen < Gmc *daupjan *gt; MDu dopen > Du doopen, noun doop (sauce) > E dope.

A relative of Gmc *daupjan, however, has both English and German reflexes:

G tupfen (to dab) < OHB tupfen < Gmc *duppjan > OE dyppan > E dip.

Glaube

The German word Glaube, "faith," is actually a partial cognate of English belief:

G Glaube < OHG giloubo < WGmc *galaubon > OE geleafa > E belief with a different prefix.

Online Etymology Dictionary

Monday, December 10, 2007

What She Said

WATSON v. UNITED STATES:
Justice Ginsburg, concurring in the judgment.

It is better to receive than to give, the Court holds today, at least when the subject is guns. Distinguishing, as the Court does, between trading a gun for drugs and trading drugs for a gun, for purposes of the 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(1) enhancement, makes scant sense to me. I join the Court’s judgment, however, because I am persuaded that the Court took a wrong turn in Smith v. United States, 508 U. S. 223 (1993) , when it held that trading a gun for drugs fits within §924(c)(1)’s compass as “us[e]” of a firearm “during and in relation to any … drug trafficking crime.” For reasons well stated by Justice Scalia in his dissenting opinion in Smith, 508 U. S., at 241, I would read the word “use” in §924(c)(1) to mean use as a weapon, not use in a bartering transaction. Accordingly, I would overrule Smith, and thereby render our precedent both coherent and consistent with normal usage. Cf. Henslee v. Union Planters Nat. Bank & Trust Co., 335 U. S. 595, 600 (1949) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting) (“Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Historical Amnesia

Aides choose royalties over loyalties - Yahoo! News:
Plenty of press secretaries have written behind-the-scenes views of the West Wing. But such glimpses have traditionally been available only after the president has left office. George Christian, for instance, published "The President Steps Down," about the end of President Johnson's administration, a year after LBJ left the White House.

Others waited even longer. President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, wrote several books about the administration but only after the president's death.
Did this journalist forget when Kennedy died?

Friday, November 09, 2007

25 or 6 to 4

Apparently, the song is about pulling an all-nighter trying to come up with lyrics around 3:34 or 3:35 in morning, i.e., 25 or (2)6 to 4 (o'clock).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scientists Kill Oldest Living Animal

Clam claims oldest animal record | Science | Guardian Unlimited:
"Its death is an unfortunate aspect of this work, but we hope to derive lots of information from it," said Al Wanamaker, a postdoctoral scientist on the university's Arctica team. "For our work it's a bonus, but it wasn't good for this particular animal."

Friday, October 12, 2007

"The Full Gore"

James Kottke:
Amazingly, Al Gore now has an Emmy, an Oscar, and now a Nobel Prize. All he needs is a Grammy for the full Gore. (thx, brent)
The quoted link takes you to a discussion of the term "the full Ginsburg."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Top 25 U.S. Contemporary Worship Songs (Aug 2007)

From Christian Copyright Licensing, Int'l for the Aug. 2007 reporting period:
  1. How Great Is Our God (Tomlin, Chris; Reeves, Jesse; Cash, Ed)
  2. Here I Am To Worship (Hughes, Tim)
  3. Blessed Be Your Name (Redman, Beth; Redman, Matt)
  4. Open The Eyes Of My Heart (Baloche, Paul)
  5. Forever (Tomlin, Chris)
  6. Come Now Is The Time To Worship (Doerksen, Brian)
  7. Holy Is The Lord (Tomlin, Chris; Giglio, Louie)
  8. You Are My King (Foote, Billy)
  9. Shout To The Lord (Zschech, Darlene)
  10. Lord I Lift Your Name On High (Founds, Rick)
  11. God Of Wonders (Byrd, Marc; Hindalong, Steve)
  12. We Fall Down (Tomlin, Chris)
  13. You Are My All In All (Jernigan, Dennis)
  14. You're Worthy Of My Praise (Ruis, David)
  15. The Heart Of Worship (Redman, Matt)
  16. Breathe (Barnett, Marie)
  17. Trading My Sorrows (Evans, Darrell)
  18. Beautiful One (Hughes, Tim)
  19. Friend Of God (Gungor, Michael; Houghton, Israel)
  20. Better Is One Day (Redman, Matt)
  21. Draw Me Close (Carpenter, Kelly)
  22. Indescribable (Story, Laura)
  23. Days Of Elijah (Mark, Robin)
  24. Give Thanks (Smith, Henry)
  25. Lord Reign In Me (Brown, Brenton)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rock Lobster

Librarians under new management - Yahoo! News

Librarians under new management - Yahoo! News:
MEDFORD, Ore. - A big, red 'Closed' sign has been plastered across the front door of the library here since mid-April, when Jackson County ran out of money to keep its 15 branches open.

In a few weeks, though, the sign will come down and the doors will be flung open again, now that the county has come up with an unusual cost-saving solution: outsourcing its libraries.
The county still owns the building and books, though.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saaremaa

From the Estonian Beer Guide:
MA VAATAN PAADIST KIIKRIGA

Ma vaatan paadist kiikriga,
Kui kaugel on see Saaremaa.
:,: Ei paremat ole kuskil maal,
Kui suisel ajal Saaremaal. :,:

Seal Saaremaal ei kasva muud,
Kui kadakad ja männipuud.
:,:

Mu pruut on valge nagu tui,
Ma nägin teda mullu sui.
:,:

Tal mustad juuksed, valge kael
Ja kaela ümber sametpael.
:,:

Tal roosipôôsas voodi ees
ja ööbik laulab selle sees.
:,:

Ma rüüpan merest soolast vett
Ja räägin armsamale tôtt:
:,:

Kui tahad naiseks tulla sa,
Pead Saaremaale sôudema!
:,:
Some of these verses differ from those I learned.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pace

languagehat.com: PACE.:
I have always pronounced the preposition pace ('with due deference to' or 'despite,' from the ablative of Latin pax) in the traditional anglicized way, PAY-see, and assumed that was the universally accepted pronunciation. Now I discover, having seen the casual aside “Pace (that is to say, aloud, pa che)” in this Pepys Diary thread, that the Church Latin version, PAH-chay, is equally acceptable (the OED gives it second place for U.K. usage, first place for U.S.). So it's time for another Languagehat straw poll: if you use this slightly obnoxious Latinism, how do you say it?
You mean the right answer isn't "payss"? Good thing I've never pronounced it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Civic Literacy Report - Civics Quiz

Yes, I took that Civics Quiz for American college students mentioned in the papers:
You answered 59 out of 60 correctly — 98.33 %
Average score for this quiz during September: 74.1%
Average score since September 18, 2007: 74.1%

You can take the quiz as often as you like, however, your score will only count once toward the monthly average.
Yes, I missed the bond question too.

Frankly, I found the test to be pretty hard. It had questions about some matters I didn't learn about until law school.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Serendipity of a Sauce

I've always wondered how certain delicacies were devised in the first place. Here is the story of one from an article about the Roman garum, "Ancient ketchup":
The India-inspired English Worcestershire sauce is another. Worcestershire was invented quite by mistake in the 1830s, after a barrelful of an attempted anchovy sauce turned out too pungent and was left in a basement and forgotten. When it was finally opened years later, the liquid was discovered to be quite tasty, and Messrs Lea & Perrins (whose basement it was) marketed it very successfully.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Han shot first

From Wikipedia, Han shot first:
In the original version, Solo shoots Greedo under the table after uttering the line 'Yes, I'll bet you have.' In the 1997 Special Edition version, Greedo shoots at Solo from point blank range and misses. Han shoots him in retaliation afterwards. Thus, the phrase 'Han shot first' is a retort to director George Lucas's explicit assertion that 'Greedo shot first.' In the original release of Star Wars, only one shot was fired, and it was fired by Han Solo. The ire of some fans led to an online petition demanding that the changes be retracted.
To put it another way, these fans held the 1977 original release to be canonical but not the 1997 Special Edition.

What American accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Northern. Whether you have the world famous Inland North accent of the Great Lakes area, or the radio-friendly sound of upstate NY and western New England, your accent is what used to set the standard for American English pronunciation (not much anymore now that the Inland North sounds like it does).

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?



Sunday, July 15, 2007

Unless he ate the last one, that is.

Times Online:
Fears that one of the world’s rarest creatures had been driven to extinction have been allayed by a tribesman who told conservationists he had recently eaten one.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bogus Chemistry Alert

chem2 activity:
13. Chemical reactions can be written as chemical equations. For example, when mixing vinegar and baking soda, the equation is:
CH3COOH NaHCO3 --> CO2 NaCO3 H2O
(vinegar) (baking soda) -> (carbon dioxide) (sodium carbonate) (water)

This equation is not balanced but it can give the students an idea of the reactants and products in the reaction.

Actually, it produces sodium acetate CH3CO2Na, not sodium carbonate (whose correct formula is Na2CO3 anyway), and, yes, the correct equation does balance.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Law School Papers and Law Review Articles

Instapundit says:
Like a lot of the Bush Administration's arguments, this is one that would make an interesting law school paper topic, or law review article, but that is politically idiotic and legally self-defeating.
Did he just call a bunch of law school paper topics and law review articles "politically idiotic and legally self-defeating"?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Famous Celebs I Never Herard Of

Forbes has put out a list of the The Celebrity 100. Others have have listed those they haven't heard. I've heard of 90 on the list, and here are the 10 that didn't ring a bell:

  • Michael Schumacher
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Ronaldinho
  • Kimi Raikkonen
  • Gore Verbinski
  • Valentino Rossi
  • J.J. Abrams
  • Dane Cook
  • Rhonda Byrne
  • Hayden Panettiere

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Links for Citation Plagiarism

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Whitespace Programming Language

What is Whitespace?
Most modern programming languages do not consider white space characters (spaces, tabs and newlines) syntax, ignoring them, as if they weren't there. We consider this to be a gross injustice to these perfectly friendly members of the character set. Should they be ignored, just because they are invisible? Whitespace is a language that seeks to redress the balance. Any non whitespace characters are ignored; only spaces, tabs and newlines are considered syntax.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stealing Ideas

Robin Hanson, Overcoming Bias: Choose: Credit or Influence (Jun. 12, 2007) writes:
Some advise academics not to post working papers, as others might steal your ideas. Many fiction writers are afraid editors will steal their ideas. Many are afraid that venture capitalists will steal their business idea instead of funding their team.

Howard Aiken said 'Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats.' I don't think it is quite that simple - people can and do steal ideas. But if what you want is influence, instead of credit, the choice should easy: you should want people to steal your ideas. So think about it: how much do you or should you care about credit, versus influence?
Of the three examples in the first paragraph, I think the least to worry about are the academics posting their working papers. First, publishing on the net gives them a provable priority date for any plagiarism dispute. Second, it is already hard enough to persuade others to accept one's original ideas, even when fully argued--"you will have to ram it down their throats."

Friday, June 01, 2007

Quiz: True art, or a fake?

Is the distinction between true art and fakes bogus? Well, here is a quiz that tests your eye, Quiz: True art, or a fake?:
True art, or a fake?

by Mikhail Simkin

Some of the images displayed below are True Masterpieces of Abstract Art, created by Immortal Artists. They carry profound meanings, which are, however, beyond the apprehensions of the vulgar. The rest were produced by the author of the quiz. They mean nothing.
Click on the link to take the test.

For what it's worth, I got a 92% (one wrong), but not because of my eye for art. I used a different criterion.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Non-Canonical Pachelbel

Some people may be sick of Pachelbel's Canon in D, but I love this rendition:
Here's one by the arranger, JerryC:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Par-5 Hole in One

Par-5 Hole in One - Aces on Par-5 Holes:
But there's also one hole-in-one known to have occurred on a straightaway par-5. This monster drive was achieved at altitude on the No. 9 hole at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver in 2002. The shot was 517 yards in length, and the golfer who got the ace was Mike Crean. This ace is believed to be the longest ever recorded. (See a diagram of the hole here.)

What is a hole-in-one on a par-5 called? 'Condor' is sometimes recognized as the 'proper' term, but triple-eagle and double-albatross are also correct.

Idol Top 4 Report Card

It was Bee Gees night, with three females and one male, but, since a lot of the songs were originally sung in a falsetto, it didn't turn out too bad for the women.

I have a new favorite, now: Jordin Sparks. She can out-sparkle Melinda Doolittle, but Melinda is more consistent. If Jordin can consistently put in a top performance, she can win. Otherwise, it will be Melinda.

Here are my grades:
  1. Melinda Doolittle, A
  2. LaKisha Jones, B
  3. Blake Lewis, B
  4. Jordin Sparks, A
LaKisha and Blake are the most vulnerable. There are two other soul singers but only one guy, so LaKisha will see her votes split, not Blake. My prediction is LaKisha to go even though she's technically better than Blake. (Blake will go the next week unless Jordin has an off night.)

UPDATE: LaKisha and Blake were in the bottom 2, and LaKisha went. I'm having an easier time predicting now that Sanjaya had been voted off...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

YouTube - Tony Blair félicite Nicolas Sarkozy (en français)

Tony Blair congratulates the president-elect of France in French:
Yes, he's got an accent, but mine's worse.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sarkozy 53% -- Royal 47%

According to the French Interior Ministry's results for all of France, France entière (résultats complets), the result was M. Nicolas Sarkozy 53.06% and Mme Ségolène Royal 46.94%.

Boy, that IPSOS poll of a couple of days back was really accurate, within half a percentage point. Much better than American polls.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Intersective and Appositive Modifications

Arnold Zwicky, Droning On (Language Log; Feb. 8, 2007) explains the different between intersective and appositive (e.g. restrictive and non-restrictive adjectives):
Intersective modification: the denotation of an Adj N combination is the intersection of the denotations of the Adj and the N. That is, Adj N has the same denotation as N plus a restrictive relative clause containing Adj: N that/who is/are Adj.

...

Appositive modification: the denotation of an Adj N combination is the same as that of N plus a non-restrictive (a.k.a. appositive) relative clause containing Adj: N, which/who is/are Adj.

Plenty of Adj N combinations are, out of context, ambiguous between intersective and appositive modification; but context, background information, and reasoning about other people's intentions are usually enough for us to decide which reading is the appropriate one.
Note to self: Investigate whether attribute and predicate position in Greek is intersective and appositive (respectively).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ipsos Poll on French Election

Présidentielle : 53,5%-46,5% pour Nicolas Sarkozy (Ipsos-Dell au 03/05)

The French Presidential Dedate

Apparently the big highlight of the French presidential debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal people are talking about was where, contrary to expectations, he didn't lose his cool but she did. However, my own impression of the scene from this video excerpt via Le Figaro is that she came across as forceful, even indignant, and the talk of her supposedly losing it is overblown:


Move along, there's nothing to see here.

For another American's impression of the debate, see Boz's Thoughts on the Debate.

BONUS: Here's a clip of their previous encounter back in 1993:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

An Epidemic of Art?

Here's a passage from an intriguing article from Gene Expression, Toxoplasma gondii's South American origins and its influence on culture:
To return to the theme of genius germs, artists show a stronger bias toward being born during the Winter and Spring than scientists, which is consistent with the hypothesis that an early infection (more likely during the 'flu season') starts the individual's personality off on a more Neurotic groove. So perhaps the flourishing of T. gondii among a virgin European population contributed to the explosion of artistic creativity that we see starting about the 17th Century. Greg Clark's new book, A Farewell to Alms, argues that the Industrial Revolution could not have happened far earlier than it did, in part because the English were simply not genetically prepared for it -- they were predisposed to abandon rather than conscientiousness. Maybe the same is true for artistic revolutions -- a population may have to wait for an outbreak of nuttiness in order to produce a Beethoven or a Goya. As the population adapts defenses against pathogens that affect personality, and as sanitary conditions improve, the frequency of bona fide weirdos diminishes, and what remains are faux iconoclasts like we see in Modern Art. Andy Warhol is a good example: his eccentricity was probably little more than an affectation.

The case of Western Classical music is particularly instructive, and anyone's theory of what produces artistic genius has to contend with this medium and time-frame. Unlike all other art forms, there is almost nothing of impressive value from "Ancient music" or even most Medieval music. There is a hint of sophisticated music during the Renaissance, and then suddenly there is an explosion during the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras -- after which there is a figure here or there who you might compare to a "mediocre" Baroque composer, but none you would comfortably rank alongside Bach. The early great works of the Baroque begin about the 1720s, and by the mid-1800s most of the rest of the Greats were dead; Wagner died toward the end of the 19th C., and most of the leading candidates for "Great 20th Century compositions" debuted before 1920. How can the near entirety of an artistic domain have been created within scarcely 200 years, burning out as abruptly as it caught fire?
Since I love Bach, I can excuse whatever excesses of conjecture this blogger is making...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Idol Top 6 Report Card

This was Bon Jovi week, and the soul singers were at a big disadvantage. Luckily, they get to have last week's vote added to their total (from inspirational music week) and I think they'll all survive. Of the three, Jordin had a bad song pick, and Melinda showed how much of a pro she was. Simon liked LaKisha's singing, but I just didn't feel it.

Of the guys, Blake saved up his "fan service" for this week and, as a result, saved his skin for another week. Both Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson however did an inauthentic "karaoke" rendition that sounded too much like the original and not enough like themselves. By the way, I am now officially impressed about how good singer Bon Jovi was.

Here are my grades:
  1. Phil Stacey, B
  2. Jordin Sparks, C
  3. LaKisha Jones, B
  4. Blake Lewis, A
  5. Chris Richardson, B
  6. Melinda Doolittle, A
Jordin will stay on account of last week's performance. Phil and Chris will go, but perhaps LaKisha instead of Phil.

UPDATE: Called it right this time. It's gotten a lot saner now that the Sanjaya factor is not throwing a wrench into my calculations.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Narrative Exadaptation

Gene Expression: How the Sabians saved civilization?:
One of the historical myths of our era is that the Arab Muslim saved the Greek achievement for Western civilization. The argument is that there runs a line of tradition starting during the Greek Classical period down to the modern post-Enlightenment era which was preserved by the efforts of the House of Wisdom. This is false insofar as the Byzantines also transmitted Greek works to the West, and the refugees who washed up on the shores of Italy during the late medieval period as Constantinople fell before the Turks helped spark the Italian Renaissance. But the Byzantine role is not sexy because it doesn't serve a multicultural narrative (before the contemporary period the emphasis placed upon Islamic civilization's role in preserving Greek learning was used as a cudgel against Western Christianity).
Razib may be wrong (or right) here, but I find it interesting that some narratives continue to exist long after the relevance of their original purpose has attenuated. Like exadaption in biology.

Gere faces Indian arrest warrant

BBC NEWS:
An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Hollywood actor Richard Gere after he kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in public.
Apparently, three pecks on the cheek might get him an obscenity rap.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Disney's Robin Hood and the Dukes of Hazzard

Just good ol' boys,
Wouldn't change if they could,
Fightin' the system like a true modern day Robin Hood.
(Theme song lyrics sung by Waylon Jennings)

Recently, I've been watching Disney's Robin Hood (1973) because of my kids, and I was struck by the parallels with the TV show, The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985). Both of these feature a minstrel / balladeer and a bumbling Southern-accented sheriff, with two brotherly countryfolk fightin' the system (Robin Hood and Little John / Bo and Luke Duke). The correspondences continue: Maid Marion morphs into Daisy Duke, King John into Boss Hogg, and Friar Tuck into Uncle Jesse. Of course, there are differences. Peter Ustinov's portrayal of an effete King John (a lion) is miles from Sorrell Booke's gluttonous Hogg. Nevertheless, the similarities impress me more than the differences.

Homage, rip-off, or coincidence?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Conclusory

Mark Liberman of Language Log looks at what that legal profession's term of art of means: Language Log: Conclusive = good; Conclusory = bad.

That very word, "conclusory," is what you learn quickly your first year in law school when you find out that your first attempt at legal writing is no good.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Way of the Fathers: Which Church Father are you?

Which Church Father are you?

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!


You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.


Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Fundamentalist Scientists

Razib of Gene Expression discusses the presence of scientists and engineers among fundamentalist movements in "Nerds are nuts".

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Idol Top 9 Report Card

I was on vacation so I skipped last week, but booting Gina Glocksen from the competition while retaining both Sanjaya and Haley was a travesty. I read that the producers were warning her that she risked losing middle America with her tongue stud, which is a shame since she had been growing the most in the competition.

Laptops in Class?

Thoughts on banning laptops in class.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Idol Top 10 Report Card

Gwen Stefani was the musical guest this week and the idolists had to pick her songs from her band, No Doubt, or from those who inspired her.

For the gospel singers, this meant Donna Summer, with Melinda Doolittle pulling it off, but LaKisha Jones not so much.

For two of the guys (Chris Sligh and Phil Stacey), this meant The Police, which reminds me how great of a singer Sting has been. Actually, Phil did pretty well and picked up some fans, as did Gina Glocksen.

Only three attempted No Doubt songs, resulting in the good (Chris Richardson), the bad (Jordin Sparks), and the ugly (Sanjaya Malakhar). Only Chris picked up fans with his effort, I think. Jordin is facing the difficulty of changing directions with her niche, and she may have alienated what fans she had.

The beatboxer Blake Lewis picked "Love Song" from The Cure, which was OK but he should have done some fan service (i.e. beatboxing) to make it interesting. Haley's problem is that she doesn't have a fan base and her rendition of "True Colors" did nothing to build it.

Here, then, is the report card:
  1. LaKisha Jones, B
  2. Chris Sligh, B
  3. Gina Glocksen, A
  4. Sanjaya Malakhar, C
  5. Haley Scarnato, B
  6. Phil Stacey, A
  7. Melinda Doolittle, A
  8. Blake Lewis, B
  9. Jordin Sparks, B
  10. Chris Richardson, B
My bottom three would be Sanjaya, Haley, and Jordin. If there's any justice, Sanjaya and his po(ny)-hawk hair finally goes.

RESULTS: 1/3. That's pretty poor. Of the bottom three, I only called Haley. The other two were Phil Stacey and Chris Sligh. Phil was safe and Chris was outta here.

Chris's problem, though he had the nicest of the male voices, was that his lurching from one obscure song to another never managed to define a niche that could build a fan base. When he finally picked a song that people knew, it was the last straw.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Biblical, Jewish, and Early Christian Book Search

Biblical, Jewish, and Early Christian Book Search Has links to the scanned Migne volumes on Google Books.

So You Want to Write a Book With MS Word

So You Want to Write a Book With MS Word:
If you intend to assemble and manipulate large amounts of text in Word and would like to minimize the time you spend fighting Word, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how Word works.
I wrote a book with MS Word, but it's always a good idea to get more advice about this finicky program.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Top 10 of the OCLC Top 1001

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) has amassed a Top 1001 list of the most widely held titles (books, music, etc.) throughout the world's libraries. Here is their top 10:
  1. The Holy Bible
  2. The Census
  3. Mother Goose
  4. The Divine Comedy (Dante)
  5. The Odyssey
  6. The Iliad
  7. Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
  8. The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)
  9. Hamlet (Shakespeare)
  10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
Number 1001, by the way, is Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History.

(via Kottke)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Idol Top 11 Report Card

This week was 60s British invasion putting the gospel singers at a disadvantage. This turned out to be the first time LaKisha Jones had an off-performance, but one still better than most of the others. Overall, the performances have been getting better, with only Sanjaya being painful to watch.

At any rate, here is the report card:
  1. Haley Scarnato, A
  2. Chris Richardson, B
  3. Stephanie Edwards, A
  4. Blake Lewis, B
  5. LaKisha Jones, B
  6. Phil Stacey, B
  7. Jordin Sparks, A
  8. Sanjaya Malakhar, C
  9. Gina Glocksen, B
  10. Chris Sligh, A
  11. Melinda Doolittle, A
I'm guessing that the bottom three would be Sanjaya, Phil, and Gina, with Sanjaya getting the boot.

RESULTS: I was completely wrong. The bottom two were Stephanie Edwards and Chris Richardson, with poor Stephanie getting the boot. She was a great talent, but perhaps there were too many great singers in her niche (LaKisha Jones, Melinda Doolittle, even Jordin Sparks) to stand out.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Conglomerate: Bluebook Pet Peeves

Christine Hurt has some Bluebook Pet Peeves on citing blogs in legal scholarship. I too don't like the idea of omitting the name of the author from single-authored blogs.

Beware the Ides of March

From Plutarch, Caesar 63.5-6:
οὐ γὰρ ἂν φύσει γε συστῆναι ζῷον ἀκάρδιον. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ταῦτα πολλῶν ἀκοῦσαι διεξιόντων, ὥς τις αὐτῷ μάντις ἡμέρᾳ Μαρτίου μηνὸς ἣν Εἰδοὺς Ῥωμαῖοι καλοῦσι προείποι μέγαν φυλάττεσθαι κίνδυνον, ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας προϊὼν ὁ Καῖσαρ εἰς τὴν σύγκλητον ἀσπασάμενος προσπαίξειε τῷ μάντει φάμενος· „αἱ μὲν δὴ Μάρτιαι Εἰδοὶ πάρεισιν“, ὁ δ’ ἡσυχῇ πρὸς αὐτὸν εἴποι· „ναί, πάρεισιν, ἀλλ’ οὐ παρεληλύθασι.“
Or, in North's translation:
Furthermore there was a certain soothsayer that had given Caesar warning long time afore, to take heed of the day of the Ides of March, (which is the fifteenth of the month), for on that day he should be in great danger. That day being come, Caesar going unto the Senate-house, and speaking merrily unto the soothsayer, told him, "the Ides of March be come :" " so they be," softly answered the soothsayer, " but yet are they not past."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Idol Top 12 Report Card

It was Diana Ross night for the American Idol contestants, putting the already lackluster boys at a disadvantage. Their goal is survival with the least damage. Perhaps the shrewdest tactic was by Blake "Beatboxer" Lewis, who, knowing that he will pale by comparison to the original, did some fan service by funking it up with an electronic beat.

At any rate, here's my report card for the twelve perfomances:
  1. Brandon Rogers, C
  2. Melinda Doolittle, A
  3. Chris Sligh, B
  4. Gina Glocksen, B
  5. Sanjaya Malakhar, C
  6. Haley Scarnato, B
  7. Phil Stacey, B
  8. LaKisha Jones, A
  9. Blake Lewis, B
  10. Stephanie Edwards, A
  11. Chris Richardson, B
  12. Jordin Sparks, A
Either Brandon or Sanjaya should go; the other will be lucky to survive the next week.

UPDATE (3/14): Bottom three was Brandon, Sanjaya, and Phil. Phil was safe, so I called the bottom two. Brandon was eliminated.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Cal.): first openly nontheistic member of Congress

The Secular Coalition for America has put out a press release with the following information: Rep. Pete Stark (D-Cal.): first openly nontheistic member of Congress:
There is only one member of Congress who is on record as not holding a god-belief.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a member of Congress since 1973, acknowledged his nontheism in response to an inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America. Rep. Stark is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is Chair of the Health Subcommittee.
Interestingly, the press release did not describe Rep. Stark using his own preferred self-description, as Friendly Atheist explains:
When the Secular Coalition for America wrote to him, he filled in the choice that read:
“I am a nontheist* and describe myself as: _________________. I also agree to allow the Secular Coalition for America to release this information to the general public.”
In the blank, he filled in “Unitarian.”
I had known that Rep. Stark was a Unitarian and, given their diversity of beliefs, not particularly surprised to find out that he is one of them who consider himself a "nontheist." I am annoyed, however, that the Secular Coalition for America did not think that his own self-designation was important enough to put into their press release.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Idol Predictions for Final Round of 12

Of the boys, Blake Lewis, Chris Richardson, Chris Sligh, and Phil Stacey should make through it to the final round of 12. Of the four remaining, the weakest are Sanjaya Malakar and Sundance Head, though neither Brandon Rogers nor Jared Cotter are completely out of danger. Predictions: Sanjaya and Sundance out.

Of the girls, Antonella Barba and Haley Scarnato are the two weakest and should go. All the remaining girls are very strong, the most vulnerable of which are Gina Glocksen and Jordin Sparks, and they're still better than the boys.

((Wrench in the works: Vote for the Worst is plugging for Sundance and Antonella. If this campaign is able to spoil the voting, I'd expect to see Brandon take Sundance's rightful place, and Jordin Sparks to take Antonella's.))

RESULTS: 2 out of 4. I was right about Sundance and Antonella; both of them sang their swan songs better than earlier in the week, indicating that they were actually decent singers but yet unable to handle the pressure of competition. The big shocker was Sabrina Sloan's going instead of Haley Scarnato. I didn't see that one coming. Less shocking, but still disappointing, was the survival of Sanjaya, with Jared (not Brandon) being the guy to go home.

Oh well, next week the people most in danger remain Sanjaya and Haley, but we'll see how the singing changes it. So far, the best singers looks like LaKisha Smith and Melinda Doolittle. It's hard to imagine at this point one of the guys making it to the final two.

Bradley Wright's Weblog: Blogging as American Idol for columnists

Bradley Wright's Weblog: Blogging as American Idol for columnists:
I would imagine that in the coming years, newspapers and magazines will routinely turn to successful bloggers for columnists. Blogging is a proving ground for essay-writing in which anyone can participate. This makes blogging like the American Idol for essayists--many sign up at the auditions and a few make it to the big-time, and those few are arguably the most talented.
Brad nails it.

Tim Lewis on Reoralization

Tim Lewis's category on Reoralization at Source Theory.

Wikipedia to seek proof of credentials - Yahoo! News

Wikipedia to seek proof of credentials - Yahoo! News:
Following revelations that a high-ranking member of
Wikipedia's bureaucracy used his cloak of anonymity to lie about being a professor of religion, the free Internet encyclopedia plans to ask contributors who claim such credentials to identify themselves.
ADVERTISEMENT

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in interviews by phone and instant message Wednesday from Japan that contributors still would be able to remain anonymous. But he said they should only be allowed to cite some professional expertise in a subject if those credentials have been verified.
Growing pains.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Jury Instructions on Circumstantial Evidence

The jury instruction in the Lewis Libby lying trial includes a boilerplate instruction on the legal (in)difference between direct and circumstantial evidence:
DIRECT AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
There are two types of evidence from which you may find the truth as to the facts of a case -- direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. When a witness states that he or she has actual knowledge of a fact, such as an eyewitness, that witness’s testimony is direct evidence. A chain of facts and circumstances indicating the guilt or innocence of the defendant is circumstantial evidence. The law makes no distinction between the weight you should give to either kind of evidence, nor does circumstantial evidence require a greater degree of certainty than direct evidence. In reaching a verdict in this case, you should weigh all of the evidence presented, both direct and circumstantial.
Generally, people who exclaim "It's all just circumstantial evidence" don't know what they are talking about.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Magic Roundabout (Swindon)

As an American used to traffic signals, I'm already wary of driving through a roundabout, but the Magic Roundabout of Swindon looks positively intimidating.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Etymology of "Foo"

RFC 3092 (rfc3092) - Etymology of "Foo"

headsup: the blog: While you're at it? Spell his name wrong

headsup: the blog: While you're at it? Spell his name wrong:
Mm-hmm. For those who don't recall the flap over the 'James Ossuary,' let's just point out that there are some inherent risks in inferring a relationship between inscriptions found in the 20th century and events of the Second Temple era. (The 'Bush/Cheney MMIV' sticker is not a reliable or valid indicator of how the Holy Family voted.) But let's get back the claim in the lede: What about those 'sound statistics'?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Estonia to hold first national Internet election | CNET News.com

Estonia to hold first national Internet election | CNET News.com:
The Baltic state of Estonia plans to become the world's first country to allow voting in a national parliamentary election via the Internet next month--with a little help from the forest king.

Overcoming Bias: Think Frequencies, Not Probabilities

Overcoming Bias: Think Frequencies, Not Probabilities: Apparently Bayesian reasoning is easier for a lot of people (including me) to do if the numbers are expressed as frequencies (8 out of 10 women) instead of probabilities (80% chance).

Bradley Wright's Weblog: Why my papers gets stuck at revision

Bradley Wright's Weblog: Why my papers gets stuck at revision: Includes a nice little chart too.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Strange Maps: East Germany Lives On - As A Tiny Carribean Island

According to Strange Maps, East Germany Lives On - As A Tiny Carribean Island:
Most people think East Germany ceased to exist in 1990, when the (East) German Democratic Republic was absorbed by the Federal Republic of (West) Germany. So did I. Turns out I was wrong: the GDR lives on, and in a very comfortable climate to boot: a small island off Cuba is the last official territory of the good old Deutsche Demokratische Republik.

Friday, February 16, 2007

On the Importance of French

BBC NEWS | Africa | Mauritania pilot outwits hijacker:
The pilot of a hijacked Air Mauritania plane deliberately made a rough landing so passengers and crew could tackle the gunman, Spanish officials say.

He tipped off passengers about the plan after realising the hijacker spoke no French, one official told AP agency.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

DNA Evidence Now Links Etruscan Cattle to Anatolia

More support for the Anatolian hypothesis for the origin of the Etruscan comes in the form of DNA studies on Tuscan cattle. According to a NewScientist.com article, On the origin of the Etruscan civilisation (Feb. 14, 2007):
The team found that almost 60% of the mitochondrial DNA in cows in the central Tuscan region of the country - where the Etruscan civilisation is thought to have arisen - was the same as that in cows from Anatolia and the Middle East. There was little or no genetic convergence between cows from the north and south of Italy and those from Turkey and the Middle East, the researchers say.
This corroborates the human DNA evidence I discussed earlier, Lydia Origin of the Etruscans has new DNA Support (Feb. 7, 2007).

(via rogueclassicism)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More on DC Vote Proposal

Following up on my post, D.C. residents may get vote in Congress - Yahoo! News (Jan. 2, 2007), the Volokh Conspiracy has a post mentioning that a recent report by the Congressional Research Service held that D.C. Vote is probably unconstitutional. So much for the claim in the now gone news article that "Most — but by no means all — scholars say an amendment is unnecessary."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cats or Dogs

Cats or Dogs is a website that asks people to select among various either-or choices, cross-tabulate them, and indicate how much one choice is a predictor of the other.

Some of the predictions are pretty obvious. For example, one of the crosstabs (party vs. politician) concludes (χ2 = 38.8, “extremely significant”):
People who prefer Republicans to Democrats are 4.3 times more likely to prefer Bush to Hillary.

People who prefer Democrats to Republicans are 46.0 times more likely to prefer Hillary to Bush.


Other results are interesting. For example, beer and wine drinkers have different preferences for their color of wine2 = 7.9, “very significant”):
People who prefer wine to beer are 7.5 times more likely to prefer red wine to white wine.

People who prefer beer to wine are 50% more likely to prefer white wine to red wine.


Finally, some results are just bizarre. For example, comparing one’s choice of Star Trek character with one’s preferred byte-order layout yields the following (χ2 = 4.6, “significant”):
People who prefer big endian to little endian are 6.0 times more likely to prefer Tribbles to Klingons.

People who prefer little endian to big endian are 6.0 times more likely to prefer Klingons to Tribbles.

As for the last, PCs are little endian and MACs are big endian, so perhaps this is saying that MAC owners prefer warm and fuzzy things (tribbles), while the PC owners are stuck with the cold pricklies (Klingons)!.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lydia Origin of the Etruscans has new DNA Support

Alessandro Achilli et al, Mitochondrial DNA Variation of Modern Tuscans Supports the Near Eastern Origin of Etruscans, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 80 (2007):
The origin of the Etruscan people has been a source of major controversy for the past 2,500 years, and several hypotheses have been proposed to explain their language and sophisticated culture, including an Aegean/Anatolian origin. To address this issue, we analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 322 subjects from three well-defined areas of Tuscany and compared their sequence variation with that of 55 western Eurasian populations. Interpopulation comparisons reveal that the modern population of Murlo, a small town of Etruscan origin, is characterized by an unusually high frequency (17.5%) of Near Eastern mtDNA haplogroups. Each of these haplogroups is represented by different haplotypes, thus dismissing the possibility that the genetic allocation of the Murlo people is due to drift. Other Tuscan populations do not show the same striking feature; however, overall, ∼5% of mtDNA haplotypes in Tuscany are shared exclusively between Tuscans and Near Easterners and occupy terminal positions in the phylogeny. These findings support a direct and rather recent genetic input from the Near East—a scenario in agreement with the Lydian origin of Etruscans. Such a genetic contribution has been extensively diluted by admixture, but it appears that there are still locations in Tuscany, such as Murlo, where traces of its arrival are easily detectable.
Note that this is mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed from mother to child, not from the father.

Other evidence connecting the Etruscans to the Anatolian region includes the Lemnian stele and the hearsay of Herodotus.

(via About Ancient History)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A List Apart: Articles: Multi-Column Layouts Climb Out of the Box

A List Apart: Articles: Multi-Column Layouts Climb Out of the Box

Language Log: The theme of this year's superbowl ads

Language Log: The theme of this year's superbowl ads:
As far as I can tell, what's lingering just below the surface of this year's superbowl ads is Americans' too-long-supressed desire for more linguistics in their life.
He's got the examples to prove (?!) it.

D&D as Religion?

Kay v. Friel, 2007 WL 295556 (D. Utah Jan. 26), has this (unsuccessful) claim for a prisoner's religious freedom:
More importantly, however, Plaintiff has not alleged any facts showing that the items being withheld from him--tarot cards, Dungeons and Dragons game, and metal religious symbol--are necessary to the practice of the Wicca religion.
Someone uses a D&D set to practice their religion???

Monday, February 05, 2007

Yahoo! UI Library: YUI Theater

Yahoo! UI Library: YUI Theater

Carolina On Your Mind?

North Carolinian 79%
 

Wow!! You are quite knowledgeable about the splendid state of North Carolina!! You have experienced and seen a lot!! You have an appreciation for everything North Carolinian from the spectacular mountain regions to the breath-taking Outer Banks! You are a Tarheel at heart!

Carolina On Your Mind?
Create MySpace Quizzes


I'm actually a Virginian.

Quiz: Do you know the Bible?

You know the Bible 100%!
 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes


This quiz has been going around.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Religion Clause: NFL Says Church Super Bowl Parties Violate Copyright Laws

Howard Friedman of Religion Clause notes this article: NFL Says Church Super Bowl Parties Violate Copyright Laws:
Yesterday's Indianapolis Star reports that the NFL is telling churches-- even through demand letters sent by overnight express-- that they will be violating the copyright laws if they host Super Bowl parties on large-screen TV's.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

YouTube - Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

I love math. In a couple of years, I'll have to be on the watch out for this issue in elementary school mathematics education:


Here's a (supportive) response by an infuriated mathematician:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rolling Estonia

Rolling Estonia:
'The stuff you see in the press about Estonia,' Diel told me, 'about the Miracle Republic--most of it really is true. Estonia's unofficial goal is to become one of the five richest nations in Europe.' Could that happen? 'They'll never be richer than Switzerland, but it's not impossible to imagine that they'll come close. Estonia is still pretty homogeneous, with a government that agrees on the core issues. That's Estonia's secret. It's not that divided. Estonia wants to be Western.' Diel's biggest impetus for staying in Estonia, he told me, other than his predictably lovely Estonian wife, was 'lifestyle.' But, when I expressed some curiosity about possibly moving with my girlfriend to Tallinn, Diel advised: 'Make sure she comes in the summer.'

Who I Want to Win the Superbowl

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Email Blog Interface

This is a test of the emergency broadcast blogging system.

Had this been a real emergency you have been given instructions how to blog.

Sitemeter Flaky

Sitemeter for me has been getting more and more behind:
The statistics for visitors from the last 2195 minutes are not yet available.
Yeah, eventually no statistics will be available because I will have switched to someone else.

UPDATE: Looks like it caught up today (Jan. 27).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm testing a YouTube embed. Let's see if this works:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Half are Below Average?

Charles Murray, Intelligence in the Classroom:
Today's simple truth: Half of all children are below average in intelligence. We do not live in Lake Wobegon.
Somebody please tell Mr. Murray the difference between the median and the average.

Dihydrogen Monoxide - The Truth

Dihydrogen Monoxide - The Truth:
Dihydrogen Monoxide Facts
Dihydrogen monoxide:

* is also known as hydric acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
* contributes to the Greenhouse Effect.
* may cause severe burns.
* contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
* accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
* may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
* has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.
And yet I just can't stop using it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Muffin Top?

"Lynneguist," who runs the delightful separated by a common language blog, announces her Words of the Year 2006. Pretty interesting, but I have a problem with "the winner of best AmE import to BrE":
muffin top
the roll of fat that bulges over the waistband of (BrE) trousers/(AmE) pants that are too tight and too low
I think it is a wonderfully descriptive term, but my problem is that I don't think I've ever heard the term in America (or anywhere else) before. So it just doesn't feel to me like an export for the Brits to import.

But maybe the problem I have is with me....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My Local Library System Responds

Classic Literature at the Fairfax County Public Library by Edwin S. Clay, III:
You may have recently read an article -- or comments generated by an article -- about classic literature in the Fairfax County Public Library. I would like to correct the misleading impression given in the article and by others about this issue.

There are classic texts that are widely regarded as some of the most important literature in western culture. These include works by Aristotle, Hemingway, Proust, Faulkner, Bronte, Fitzgerald, Angelou and many others. We are committed to offering classic texts by important writers like these in our library system.

Recent media reports have misled readers to believe that we’ve eliminated all copies of classic titles from our branches. This could not be further from the truth. Although we occasionally have to trim the number of copies we offer in a particular branch, we definitely keep multiple copies of these works in the Fairfax County Public Library. In some cases, we’re even able to offer the text in multiple formats: in large print, on CD, as an e-book, or in languages other than English.

Because there’s a growing demand for more and more books in more and more formats, we have to balance the need to offer classic literature, and satisfy public demand, with the physical limitations of our finite shelf space. We are physically unable to warehouse every book that every resident may want to read. Therefore we have to make difficult decisions about what items to keep in our collection.

These decisions are based on standard industry practices refined by library professionals over many years. We use complex formulas, computer data and the expertise of librarians with decades of professional experience to decide which items to offer to the public. If you’re interested in understanding this very complex process, feel free to ask any of our branch managers.

In the meantime, as the director of the Fairfax County Public Library, I want to assure you that we take our stewardship of public property very seriously. We make every effort to manage the public’s investment in library materials in a prudent, reasonable and rational way.

Sample classic literature available in the Fairfax County Public Library:

Works of Aristotle by Aristotle -- 107 copies of various titles
Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner -- 99 copies on CD, cassette, large print and regular print
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway -- 108 copies on VHS, cassette and regular print
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee -- 359 copies on CD, cassette, DVD, VHS, large print, e-book and regular print
Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams -- 116 copies on VHS and regular print (including in some volumes of collected plays)
Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak -- 50 copies on CD, cassettes and regular print
I was afraid the article was misleading. It was, but even in ways I could not predict.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Unofficial Qur'an for an Unofficial Swearing-In

First Muslim in U.S. Congress to use historic Koran - washingtonpost.com: "
Representative-elect Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, requested the 18th century copy of the Koran for the unofficial part of his swearing in on Thursday, according to Mark Dimunation, chief of rare books and special collections at the Library of Congress in Washington.

. . .

Members are sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives as a group with no Bibles or other books involved; but in a country where three out of every four people consider themselves Christians, the Bible has traditionally been used in ensuing unofficial ceremonies.

These unofficial events among other things provide each member with a photo opportunity for themselves and their constituents.

. . .

The English translation of the Koran from Jefferson's collection dates to the 1750s. Jefferson sold his collection to the U.S. Congress after its library was lost when the British burned the Capitol during the War of 1812. Much of his collection was destroyed in an ensuing fire in 1851 but the Koran that Ellison will use survived, Dimunation said.
My understanding is that "translations" of the Qur'an lose their inspired character, so we're looking at an unofficial Qur'an being used for an unofficial swearing-in.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Douglas Crockford Videos on JavaScript

Yahoo! Video - Results tagged as douglascrockford

D.C. residents may get vote in Congress - Yahoo! News

D.C. residents may get vote in Congress - Yahoo! News:
Most — but by no means all — scholars say an amendment is unnecessary. The Constitution says that the House shall be composed of members chosen by 'the people of the several states.' But it also gives Congress the power 'to exercise exclusive legislation' over the seat of the federal government, interpreted by some to mean that Congress can, if it wants, give D.C. voting rights.
I doubt "most ... scholars" is correct, but this argument has been mooted by former judges Kenneth Starr and Patricia Wald in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post:
Finally, and equally important, the most analogous legal precedent addressing Congress's authority over the District confirms that Congress can act now to give the vote to D.C. residents. That precedent concerned the fact that Article III of the Constitution confers on federal courts jurisdiction to hear suits brought by citizens of different states against each other. But the Constitution did not give any such express jurisdiction over suits brought by or against citizens of the District of Columbia. As a result, Congress, relying on its broad Article I power over the District of Columbia, remedied that unfairness through legislation that extended the right to District residents. In a 1949 case called National Mutual Insurance Co. v. Tidewater, the Supreme Court upheld that extension and also said that Congress was entitled to great deference in its determination that it had power to address this inequity. The logic of this case applies here, and supports Congress's determination to give the right to vote for a representative to citizens of the District of Columbia, even though the Constitution itself gives that right only to citizens of states.

Hello, Grisham -- So Long, Hemingway? - washingtonpost.com

Hello, Grisham -- So Long, Hemingway? - washingtonpost.com:
The weight of the new choices falls on the local librarian. That's especially hard at the Woodrow Wilson branch in Falls Church, one of the smallest in the Fairfax system. It's a vibrant place popular with Latino and Middle Eastern immigrants, the elderly and young professionals. Branch manager Linda Schlekau, who has 20 years of experience, says she discards about 700 books a month.
When I was growing up, Woodrow Wilson library was the local branch of the public library for me. I remember when it was expanded and doubled its floor space. Now it's not enough.

What the article does not tell us, however, is how many new books and other media the library gets a month. That should put the discard rate of 700 books a month into some perspective.

Monday, January 01, 2007

First Swede in Space

2006, the year that was - Robert’s talk:
If you’re Swedish, there’s no chance that you’ve missed that we have now had the first Swede in space. Christer Fuglesang went on a NASA trip to the International Space Station, ISS, and successfully performed his missions. No doubt, the media coverage here has gotten overwhelming and a bit too much for some people, but please don’t blame poor Christer for that.

ETP - Etruscan Texts Project

ETP - Etruscan Texts Project Looks pretty good if you're into the Etruscan language.