26 December 2007

Ideas for a World-Class City, no.3

In the UK they have roundabouts. In Swindon, they have a MAGIC ROUNDABOUT. As the city's website explains:

All they did was combine two roundabouts in one - the first the conventional, clockwise variety and the second, which revolved inside the first, sending traffic anti-clockwise.


You'll have to peruse the photos for a while to discern how it works. These additional photos will also help. Keep in mind two things: they drive on the left side, and "peruse" means to read or study carefully.

Brilliant, eh? (And yet it wasn't enough to win the 'best roundabout' award from the Roundabout Appreciation Society which is a real thing).

But is there a place for roundabouts in America? Arizona thinks so. Here's what ADOT says:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety research indicates a Modern Roundabout approach to traffic management can reduce injury accidents by 75 percent and fatal accidents by as much as 90 percent. Intersections with a high volume of left turns are better handled by a Modern Roundabout than a traffic signal because more vehicles can pass safely through the intersection in a shorter time period.

Are roundabouts a sensible option for Cincinnati? For the burbs? For future OKI regional development?

For the city and burbs perhaps a 'smart' traffic light system makes the most sense. It would accomplish almost the same thing as the roundabout and Americans would not have to learn a new skill, which is a big plus. I have no idea why this hasn't been invented yet. Any engineers who want to make a gazillion dollars please contact me.

Perhaps the regional option makes the most sense. Think about it in terms of adding an extra street to a planned 4-way intersection: It would allow 25% more vehicles without congesting the other streets and it would offer 25% more street frontage for development. The increased land value can be offset by tax incentives for businesses and property taxes for residents. Businesses will move in. Residents will move in. Cincinnati, forced to compete with its neighbors, will either start becoming a world-class city or collapse and change its name to East St. Detroit.

And that is how people driving in circles will determine the Queen City's fate.

25 December 2007

History of Modern Dance

In science there are many complex and abstruse concepts which are difficult to explain and convey in ordinary language. In these circumstances scientists often use the language of dance. This is why scientists are typically the best dancers.

Judson Laipply, performing his comedic routine on the evolution of dance, is surely one of our top scientists.

18 December 2007

Gustatory Recommendations

Izzy's Tongue Sandwich. I've seen it on the menu for years but like everyone else I end up with a corned beef or reuben, sometimes a Spicy Delight. But a few months ago I got the tongue. I liked it. I got it again and then a third time. It is similar to roast beef in texture and taste (after all, it is meat, not organ) so it will not freak out your taste buds. It is not "bizarre foods." It's a good sandwich, try it sometime.

Additional notes: First, Izzy's potato pancakes are greasier than they used to be (try blotting them with napkins). Second, you can buy a whole tongue from Mackie Quality Meats at Findlay Market for $4.

Wensleydale cheese. Delicious; good with beer, chardonnay, and gala apples. Recommended by Wallace & Gromit. I found it at Party Source.

Pecorino Romano cheese. I top my pasta with this instead of parmesan. It is like a stronger, more pungent parmesan. It is also about half the cost.

Burrito Pollo Picante at Javier's Mexican Restaurant. I never went to Javier's when it was on Court St. But I've been to their new location on the corner of Walnut & 8th (across the library) a few times. I've had the burrito pollo picante (spicy chicken burrito) and the fish burrito ("breaded cod burrito"), both of which I liked.

There are 3 sauces at the tables: chipotle, picante, and habanero. I don't recommend the chipotle sauce. It has that smokiness but I didn't care for the flavor. I am 99% sure that it's just Open Pit BBQ sauce. I liked the picante and habanero sauce. Yes, the habanero is hot but as long as you go easy and don't drench your burrito it's fine. I did notice that my habanero sauce was red whereas some of the tables had a green one. Don't know if there's a difference.

Stuart Taylor on Extremists in Academia

Stuart Taylor, one of the best legal commenters, gave a recent speech about the "cancer" of liberal extremists in academia. It's an issue that came to the front of his mind as he followed the Duke lacrosse joke case.

This is not a "The liberals are coming! The liberals are coming!" talk radio moment. The issue is whether ideological diversity is actually achieved and what is the effect on academic quality and integrity.

A quote (lifted from Al Fin):

...Over the decades, academic extremists have taken over more and more departments, like cancers metastasizing from organ to organ. For example, the 88 Duke professors who signed a disgraceful April 2006 ad in the school paper spearheading the mob rush to judgment against falsely accused lacrosse players included 80 percent of the African-American studies faculty; 72 percent of the women's studies professors; 60 percent of the cultural anthropology department; and lots of professors in romance studies, literature, English, art, and history.

Taylor talks more about the Duke case and the rush-to-judgment bandwagon that so many were quick to jump on.

It's not a video clip; it's the entire speech which is about 1.5 hrs.

All You Need to Know About EIPBN

Here come the holidays again. That means food, fun, friends, and family. In my family we also like to look at the winning entries from the Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam and Nanofabrication Conference micrograph contest.

These are amazing (and often comical) pics and vids of the nanoscale world that all the kids are talking about. If you have any geek in you at all, you need to check this out. Right click to play the vids.

10 December 2007

Ideas for a World-Class City, no.2

Cellphones that can read hi-tech bar codes.

The most promising way to link cellphones with physical objects is a new generation of bar codes: square-shaped mosaics of black and white boxes that can hold much more information than traditional bar codes. The cameras on cellphones scan the codes, and then the codes are translated into videos, music or text on the phone screens.

In Japan... millions of people have the capability built into their phones, and businesses, in turn, are using them all over — on billboards, street signs, published materials and even food packaging.

Read the article for more impressive examples of information that users can access instantly.

A city could use this technology to provide directions, event information, schedules, traffic updates, menus, restaurant reviews, etc. Seems like a great way to market a city and make it attractive to YPs.

(h/t Fat Knowledge)

Previous Idea for a World-Class City: Greener Parking Lots.

09 December 2007

As Close as I'll Come to a Meme

The weather outside is frightful but inside it's delightful because I've rearranged my blog links in glorious alphabetical format. Previously they were totally random.

I also discovered another local blog from where I got this meme. I won't tag anybody because that's not the way I roll, but feel free to post your own answers.

What was your first "real" job?
I was a summer day camp counselor. I had the 5th & 6th graders. My group had the two worst kids, Drew and Lucky. Lucky was one of four siblings, all of whom were named after gambling terms: Shake, Seven, Silver, and Lucky.

Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
Howcome nobody asks where people go to spark their logic? Anyway, the only creative thing I can legitimately claim is photography. So if I'm feeling creative I pick up a camera. Haven't been creative in a while, though.

Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when...
I'm with a girl and I have to go potty.

What values did your parents instill in you?
Good: Education is important.
Bad: Judge people by their money, status, and job.

Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
The 'turned-up' collar.
Leg warmers.
The redoubtable 'Members Only' jacket.

06 December 2007

SW Ohio Good Place for International Students

The Flyer News reports that UD was just ranked no.1 in a survey of international student satisfaction in universities. The survey, called the International Student Barometer, surveys students at several dozen universities. Most are in the UK but a few US institutions are included.

The ISB, which is the world’s largest survey of international student satisfaction, placed UD ahead of more than 55 other universities with international programs. The ISB relied on feedback from more than 150,000 international participants in the survey, who ranked schools based on learning services, living services and support services.

Last year, UC came in first in the survey. The current ISB results for UC can be found on this page.

05 December 2007

Nuking Tumors

You won't find this in a cookbook...

Heating breast-cancer cells with focused beams of microwave energy after chemotherapy can significantly shrink and kill tumors, according to results from a new clinical trial. The treatment increases blood flow into tumors, allowing chemotherapy drugs to more easily invade cancer cells.

...researchers aimed to use the microwave treatment in combination with chemotherapy to shrink tumors enough to allow patients to undergo lumpectomy--breast-conserving surgery--rather than radical mastectomy, or removal of the breast.

Fifteen of 28 patients received two cycles of chemotherapy, followed a few hours later by thermotherapy... After the combined treatments, 14 of the patients' tumors decreased enough for lumpectomy: the volume of the tumor shrank by about 88 percent, compared with 59 percent in patients who received chemotherapy alone.

The researchers estimate their method to get FDA approval around 2010. The obvious question: will it be effective for other types of tumors?

04 December 2007

Ohio Has an Oil & Gas Lobby?

Sure does. The Post has a piece titled "Energy Drilling Surges in Ohio" that had this little surprise:

The General Assembly passed a bill in 2004 (HB 278) that removed the legal authority of municipalities to regulate drilling in their towns. According to the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, the bill

...provided that the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management was the sole permitting authority for wells drilled in Ohio, and eliminated the need to obtain separate drilling permits from cities and townships.

...to assure consistent regulation based on sound regulatory principles and the orderly development of the state’s oil and gas resources, H.B. 278 in effect repeals the statutory authority local governments asserted over oil and gas wells.

The result is the effective elimination of township and municipal regulation that has disrupted orderly oil and gas development.

A cynic might think the industry just wants to maximize its profit margin, local democracy be damned. But that would be wrong, possibly even liberal. This wasn't about profits, it was about preserving corporate individual freedom:

H.B. 278 was needed because too often local regulations, when combined with the NIBY [I assume they meant NIMBY] effect, were intended not to regulate oil and gas drilling but rather were designed to prohibit it. Legislators, sympathetic to landowners who consented to drilling only to have local regulators deny them the opportunity, soon came to view the legislation as not only much-needed energy policy but a critical property rights issue as well.

Fortunately for Ohioans the industry is still championing property rights. Specifically, rights to drill on state property. That's what it wants in another bill,SB 193, which removes state agencies' authority for leasing state lands and puts the authority in a new entity called the Oil, Gas, and Timber Leasing Board.

SB 193 is currently in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee which is chaired by Tom Niehaus... the same Tom Niehaus who sponsored HB 278. The Ohio Oil & Gas Association has given him $5500 this year, part of the $39,150 total he has received from energy interests.

01 December 2007

Clermont County GOP Sets Historical World Record


Worst Insult Ever.

Clermont County’s Republican leaders snubbed Heimlich Wednesday night in his bid to replace U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt as the GOP’s candidate for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District seat. After hearing speeches from both Schmidt and Heimlich at its meeting Wednesday, the Clermont County Republican Party Central Committee voted to give Schmidt the party’s endorsement. She received a whooping 82 percent of the vote among party members.

Sweet Jesus, people. What we have here is a new reference standard for having a life not worth living. There is someone out there that people consider WORSE than Jean Schmidt.

Sucks to be him, as the kids say.

UPDATE: A gem from The Daily Bellwether: Heimlich found Jesus while inside a Michigan Big Boy.

Obligatory snark: He's not the first Republican to find Jesus or to be in a big boy.

Listen to the audio of his speech. His friend says Heimlich is LESS arrogant and pompous than he used to be. Wow. This guy must have been the habanero of assholes.

29 November 2007


Cell phone battery explodes, kills man.

An exploding mobile phone battery is thought to have killed a South Korean worker...

"We presume that the cell phone battery exploded," the police official said on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way.

Kim Hoon, a doctor who examined the body, agreed.

"He sustained an injury that is similar to a burn in the left chest and his ribs and spine were broken," Yonhap news agency quoted Kim as saying. "It is presumed that pressure caused by the explosion damaged his heart and lungs, leading to his death."

Meanwhile, a New Zealand man said the battery in his Nokia mobile phone exploded while he was recharging it last night... A loud bang woke Norman Sievewright, from Auckland, in the middle of the night, the website said. He found that his Nokia mobile phone, which had been charging next to his bed, had exploded.

non-Clintobamwards Election Coverage

I rarely post items about national politics but I've been thinking about making an exception for items that are not about "Clintobamwards," as one blogger termed it . I encourage other bloggers to do the same.

Here is the NewsHour interview with Chris Dodd. You can read the transcript, download the mp3, or watch it via stream. It's a chance to inform oneself in a way that is rarely possible in a corporate media environment.

28 November 2007

Ten Little Nincompoops

The National Association for the Advancement of Political Correctness has another, ahem, feather in its cap, thanks to Gary "you can call me Al Sharpton" Hines.

Ohio Dave posted a thoughtful perspective on the matter and points out the difficult position the school was in. But one thing he didn't mention was the Hines factor, which, to me, is clearly at the center of this manufactured controversy. This is apparent from both the Enquirer and Pulse-Journal articles. And check this out from the comments on Ohio Dave's post:

I am a student at Lakota East. I am very involved in the theater program there...

...the school did try very hard to work with the NAACP to create a "teachable moment" out of this situation. It could have been a great step forward for diversity in West Chester. An essay on the racial content of the original title was written by cast member Alicia Frost to be included in the program, and the NAACP was invited to help in a dialogue about the play. However, they refused this course of action and instead filed for a permit to protest the play.

The school then caved under this increased pressure. Gary Hines does have a very real history and finacial interest in promoting an image of my school as intollerant. While I agree that a discussion on racial issues is necessary in Lakota, Mr. Hines has chosen an unfortunate course of action in his attempts to generate that dialogue. Regardless of his intentions he has caused true and unfixable damage to the Lakota East theater program, and has tarnished the reputation of the NAACP in the minds of some of the school's most socially liberal students.

This has absolutely nothing to do with diversity, tolerance, justice, or racism. This has to do with yet another Sharptonite who perpetuates racism so he can make a living. God forbid this guy should set an example for black youth by getting a real job and emphasizing education as the cornerstone of success. They might stop believing his self-serving excuses. They might start turning out like this guy. Or this guy. Or this guy. Or the gentleman I mentioned two posts ago. Even women could be afflicted with success, like this one.

Like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Damon Lynch III, and Chris Smitherman, Gary Hines is just another parasite feeding off the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm just glad King isn't around to see his greatness putrefied by these scum-sucking bottom feeders.

Yeah, I'm mad. Why shouldn't I be? All I see here is a self-righteous megalomaniac exploiting people and situations for his own benefit. The color of his skin is irrelevant. To me, he's cut from the same cloth as Karl Rove, Pat Robertson, and Wal-mart.

Or maybe I'm just a racist. After all, I did see this play at the Playhouse when I was in junior high...

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard

Headlines I Can't Pass Up

If you don't want to suck you must learn to blow, music teacher tells wind players.

Kearney Helps America's Dunders Mifflin

From the Business Courier:

Senate Bill 258 would require 10 percent of all state purchases to be made from small businesses, according to a news release from Kearney's office. A small business is defined as a company that is majority-owned by U.S. citizens with fewer than 500 employees.

Kearney, a Democrat, represents most of the city of Cincinnati, along with Norwood, Golf Manor, Deer Park, Silverton, Cheviot, Addyston, North Bend and Cleves.

25 November 2007

Dog Bites Tiger

Football has a high risk of injury but I must admit this is one I haven't seen before...

ESPN's page has a review of the game with better (but shorter) video of the strange incident.

22 November 2007

Mike Huckabee Fisting for President

If awful campaign ads were the NFL then this ad would be the New England Patriots.

Click to view this video

Not even more cowbell could save such a fetid plea.

Maybe it's just an election time thing but Canada seems better and better all the time.

21 November 2007

Why Catholic Girls Like Barry White

Recent anthropological research:

Deeper voice pitch predicts reproductive success in male hunter-gatherers...

The anthropologists studied the reproductive patterns of the Hadza, a Tanzanian hunter-gatherer tribe that lives much the same way that most human beings did 200,000 years ago... The females gather berries and dig for tubers, while the males hunt animals and collect honey.

The researchers found that, controlling for age, males with lower vocal pitch had more surviving children.

Previous studies have also shown a relationship between testosterone and deeper vocal pitch, and so increased testosterone may contribute to the male's ability to hunt.

“It’s possible that vocal dimorphism has evolved over thousands of years, partly due to mate selection,” said Apicella. “Perhaps at one time, men and women's voices were closer in pitch than they are today.”

20 November 2007

Greener Parking Lots

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Toronto is a great city and is a great model for Cincinnati to follow if it wants to become a world-class city.

Here's another great idea from our friends up north. Look at the before & after images to appreciate the transformation.

19 November 2007

God, Gays, & Guns Visit Regional Campuses

Shorter this group: You really shouldn't do that. It could lead to dancing.

The first American Iraq casualty comes to campus to advocate more dancing.

OSU frat party ends in gunfire.

World Toilet Day bonus: Check out what passes for satire in a "conservative" student newspaper. Pathetic. But it helps one understand how someone like Ann Coulter fits in with the sensibilities of college Republicans.

18 November 2007

Rude Foods

Grated Fanny
Perky Nana

These are just a few examples of words that describe food and drink around the world.

(And if you like that then you'll certainly want to peruse this list of place names like Dikshit, Big Beaver, Clit, Fucking, Lickham Bottom, Twatt, and so many more)

16 November 2007

15 November 2007

World O' Crap

Ironically enough, it was this Foodie Report post that sent me clicking around, eventually landing at the site of the World Toilet Summit which was just held in New Delhi.

Among the goals decided at the international crap conference:

India aims to eradicate open-air defecation by 2012 by building toilets for hundreds of millions of its poor and homeless, well ahead of a global deadline to do so, a government minister said.

An estimated 2.6 billion people, or about one-third of global population, do not have access to a proper toilet, according to the WHO.

More than half that number live in India or China, with India accounting for about 700 million people...

I've visited both those countries and have witnessed the problem. Now that I think about it, I've also seen it on a side street near Findlay Market and on N. Sheridan Ave. in Chicago. But not quite 700 million times.

While reading about the poop problem, I came across the "WTO" acronym a few times. Good to see them helping out the little guy, I thought. But it's not the World Trade Organization... it's the World Toilet Organization.

Two WTOs and they both pursue crappy projects. Go figure.

Visit the site. Click on 'toilet entertainment' and take the "what kind of toilet paper are you?" quiz. Or take the bathroom chemistry quiz. Or play 'Catch a Shit'. Or read about the World Toilet College.

Let me take a moment to thank everyone for having nothing better to do than read this blog. Since this blog is a piece of shit I thought this was a good subject for a post.

I wish all of you a very happy World Toilet Day (Monday, Nov. 19).

12 November 2007

Reagan Redux Ruduxed

Paul Krugman recalls some "innocent mistakes" by the popularly and profoundly overrated President.

Skyline Chili in NYC!

Cincinnati expats jonesing for hometown chili in NYC have an option: Edward's.

Click on "Cincinnati Night."

The owner (that would be Edward) is the uncle of Kevin Youklis, a Cincinnati native (Sycamore H.S.) and proud owner of a new World Series ring. I presume Edward is the sibling of one of Kevin Youklis's parents and that's the Cincinnati connection.

So give it a try, New Yorkers!

(P.S. Your meal is not complete without Graeter's ice cream)

08 November 2007

Two Things You Didn't Know About Ron Jeremy

1) Ron Jeremy (yes, THAT Ron Jeremy) has a master's degree in special education.

2) Ron Jeremy was at BGSU last night for a debate:

Last night in the Union, a debate raged -- the horny vs. the holy, the seedy vs. the sacred, the pervert vs. the preacher. Porn star Ron Jeremy, who has appeared in nearly 9,000 adult videos, and Chris Gross, an anti-porn advocate, argued over the effects of the pornography industry on society.

Predicting the Future of the Past Tense

Mathematical biology researchers at Harvard have quantified the rate at which irregular verbs become regular over time, at least in the English language. But the result is so precise that it is hard to imagine it wouldn't hold true for other languages.

Irregular verbs become regular at a rate that is inversely proportional to the square root of their usage frequency. So if verb X is used 1/10th as often as verb Y, it will become regular 100 times faster.

Lieberman and Michel's group computed the "half-lives" of the surviving irregular verbs to predict how long they will take to regularize. The most common ones, such as "be" and "think," have such long half-lives (38,800 years and 14,400 years, respectively) that they will effectively never become regular. Irregular verbs with lower frequencies of use -- such as "shrive" and "smite," with half-lives of 300 and 700 years, respectively -- are much more likely to succumb to regularization.

Lieberman, Michel, and their co-authors project that the next word to regularize will likely be "wed."


07 November 2007

Cincinnati Voters Make Strange Statement

Of all the scenarios I imagined, I have to admit that electing all 9 incumbents was not one of them.

We all know that incumbency has benefits. But when one considers that the Enquirer, CityBeat and local blogs all endorsed non-incumbents, it becomes more puzzling. Furthermore, WBDZ and Dan Hurley's NewsMakers also featured extensive forums with non-incumbents.

Do people around here even bother to learn about candidates anymore? I'm skeptical.

The most surprising result to me is the failure of Greg Harris. He was probably the most qualified candidate in the entire field. Nobody brought as much to the table as Harris. He was endorsed by the Enquirer, CityBeat, and local blogs, and his appearances on NewsMakers and WBDZ's forum were very impressive.

I'm guessing the reason for the council outcome has to do with the lack of a hot, divisive issue. There was such an issue, but it was a county issue that had nothing to do with council. That took the heat off council. There was nothing council-related that got voters hot under the collar. The only issue that came close was The Banks, on which there was minimal disagreement because everyone wanted "to move forward."

No heated issues, no divisive positions... incumbency.

Compare that to Kentucky, which booted out its corrupt Governor (and Atty General) with extreme prejudice. I guess Kentucky is more interested in moving forward than Cincinnati. Maybe Greg Harris should move there.

I'd be interested in further analysis of the council election. Maybe one of the CityBeat reporters can do so after Greg Flannery's orgasm is over.

06 November 2007

A Warning About the Chicken Gyro at Chicago Gyros

Don't get the chicken gyro at Chicago Gyros (in Clifton).

The regular gyro is fine, and its deliciousness has been lauded by many, including me.

But I took home a chicken gyro a few weeks ago and it was awful. The chicken was tough, stringy, and tasteless. And it wasn't gyro style meat. There were only a few pieces (mercifully) of tough, stringy, tasteless chicken lightly seasoned and cooked on the grill. The meat must have come from a 100-yr old bird. I took 4 or 5 bites and into the garbage it went. Totally unacceptable.

Was this an anomaly? Does anyone else have a chicken gyro experience to report?

4 Things

"Oh, my head hurts so much. I'm never drinking again... at least not without my portable microchip capillary electrophoresis system."

Alex Boase's list of the 10 wackiest experiments ever.

“They filled me with disbelief, astonishment, disgust and — best of all – laughter. With hindsight, perhaps there is a deeper message. These experiments are not the work of cranks. All were performed by honest, hardworking scientists who were not prepared to accept common-sense explanations of how the world works.

Is Outsider the world's fastest rapper? (Even more impressive here, where he comes in at about the 4:30 mark).

Your good vocabulary can send free rice to the hungry.

05 November 2007

3 Things...UPDATED!

Nonopus? Look closely... count the arms!

An interactive public art display you'll never see in Cincinnati.

Girl with eight limbs scheduled for surgery.
update: see the CNN report

04 November 2007

Colts vs. Patriots: Final Thoughts

It was a great game. I'm glad that it's over, though. There's only so much anticipation, prediction, and pre-game analysis one can take in the course of a week. The completion of the game marks the halfway point in the Colts-Patriots-Manning-Brady inundation of the sports airwaves. This week will be filled with post-game analysis. Once it's over, I can start watching ESPN again.

I think the Colts made two key flubs that sealed their fate. The first was in the late 3rd or early 4th when they had third-and-2 and went for a long pass instead of a run. I didn't understand that. A run or short pass would have been more sensible options. Furthermore, Addai was excelling in both those areas. The long pass failed and the Patriots got possession.

The second flub came halfway through the 4th quarter when the Colts were trying to run the ball and eat up the clock. They got 2 consecutive penalties that gave them third and long. They couldn't do it, and gave the Patriots possession at midfield with just under 4 minutes left.

Everybody knows you don't give Tom Brady a chance at a game-winning drive, because he will make you pay, and that's exactly what he did.

But it was a good game, perhaps the only competitive game the Patriots will play all year.

It was disappointing to see that Bill Belichick is still a fat, fucking weenie. What the hell is wrong with that guy? What a petulant little snot-faced brat. I can't believe a guy who can't even act like a grownup has three Super Bowl rings. Ridiculous.

In other football news, I am revising my previous forecast of the Bengals postseason chances from 50-50 to zero-zero.

31 October 2007

Fried Catfish Sandwich Late-Night Snack

It was a Tavern Wench post that inspired me to post my procedure (or "recipe," as people who grew up outside of labs call them) for a fried catfish sandwich. After years of letting my late-night hunger pangs succumb to the lure of Camp Washington Chili, I needed a new direction. The pan-fried catfish sandwich helped me, and it can help you, too.

The bread I use is a whole wheat baguette from Shadeau Breads. I cut off 1/3 and slit it into a hoagie bun. I get my fish from the two places at Findlay Market that sell fish, neither of which I can remember the name of even though I've been there four score and seven times. Remember to smell fish before you buy it. If it smells fishy, buy more.

Heat up about 1 Tbsp oil in a pan (or even better, an iron skillet like the one I bought dirt-cheap at an antique store in rural Kentucky) on medium-high. Coat the fillet in equal parts flour ("all-purpose," if you want to be technical) and cornmeal. You can dip it in milk or buttermilk first, but I just sneeze on it and rub the mucus around.

Fry the fish, about 4 minutes per side. Add salt & pepper to the face-up side, and then again after you flip it. Remember, you're pan-frying, not deep-frying. The point is to be MORE healthy than a 3-way.

While that's going on, put a couple of spoons of mayo in a bowl, add some curry powder, salt & pepper, and some lemon juice. Don't add too much because it will become too soupy and lemony. Just a teaspoon, if you're the measuring type (I'm not; I just squeeze about half of a half-lemon). If you add too much lemon then just add more mayo. No rocket science here.

Mix it up, spread it on, add the fish, and eat it up.

The key thing is to make the curried mayonnaise. It makes all the difference.

In addition to being a healthy meal that you can have the satisfaction of making yourself, catfish is not one of the mercury-laden fishes that should be avoided by childbearers, future childbearers, children of childbearers, and pretty much anyone else that doesn't want their brain to turn to Bush mush.

3 Cool Things

One possibly perfect gift for the person whose birthday falls on Halloween.

Paintings that Gaudi might have made if he were a painter and from arctic Russia.

Sculptures that you'll like if you like the first two items and you wish you could be friends with Hieronymus Bosch.

23 October 2007

How to Cut a Whole Chicken

Chicken Butchery 101 (from the Niagara Culinary Institute), one of the better videos I've found on the procedure:

22 October 2007

Malone, Cooper, Winburn, Bates

This blog salutes WKRC's Dan Hurley for providing the only substantive program on local issues. I once saw him at the Clifton Graeter's, and if he wasn't already at a table, I might have bought him ice cream myself in gratitude for his good work. This was a few years ago when I was in my chocolate shake phase (chocolate shake w/ vanilla ice cream).

Hurley has been hosting non-incumbent candidates on Newsmakers for several weeks now. Yesterday, he had Malone, Cooper, Winburn, and Bates. If you missed it, you didn't miss much. Here's the recap:

Malone: A comment at Porkopolis called Malone's performance "borderline retarded." I don't know that I'd go that far, but it's safe to say that "Sam Malone" and "genius" have never been in the same sentence. And yet amazingly, he turned out to be the smart one on the show. As I recall, he was the only one who actually had something resembling a plan to reduce crime in hotspots.

Cooper: I don't know much about Minette Cooper except that she served on council before. I have never heard her speak before, and, based on what I heard, I find it unbelievable that she served on council. She was poorly informed, unintelligent, and appeared confused. I would not be surprised to find out she was on medication at the time.

Winburn: I can see why he has the nickname "Charlie Windbag." He said almost nothing of substance, instead serving up vague platitudes about how he will provide leadership on council and fight crime.

Bates: Bates has about zero charisma, which won't help her, but that's not a reason not to vote for her. The reason not to vote for her is because she is poorly informed about local issues and didn't have any clear ideas about crime, the Banks, or fiscal issues. She also didn't understand the streetcar issue, which she thought was just something that would look fun and nice. The host had to explain that it was about economic development.

The most generous description I can give about these four candidates is that they barely meet minimum expectations, if at all. I know I'll be looking for something more on Nov. 6.

17 October 2007

Hospitals and Mortality Rates

From Medical News Today:

Patients have on average a 71 percent lower chance of dying at the nation's top-rated hospitals compared with the lowest-rated hospitals across 18 procedures and conditions analyzed in the tenth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, issued today by HealthGrades, the healthcare ratings company. The study, which documents a wide variation in the quality of care between the highest-performing hospitals and all others...

The HealthGrades study of patient outcomes at the nation's approximately 5,000 hospitals, the most comprehensive annual study of its kind, covers more than 41 million Medicare hospitalization records over the years 2004 to 2006.

The top-rated hospitals were in the upper midwest (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH). The lowest were in the lower midwest (KY, TN, AL, MS). So it will behoove you to be close to home if plagued by something on this list:

Atrial fibrillation, bowel obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary bypass surgery, coronary interventional procedures (angioplasty/stent), diabetic acidosis and coma, gastrointestinal bleed, gastrointestinal surgeries and procedures, heart attack, heart failure, pancreatitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, resection/replacement of the abdominal aorta, respiratory failure, sepsis, stroke, and valve replacement surgery.

15 October 2007

Why I'm Not for Peace

That's the title of an Ellen Willis piece I found via a random click. She died last year, I believe. This article is from 2002 and, in my opinion, it accurately articulates what is wrong with the American left, why it has failed in effecting substantive change, and why people like me are so unimpressed and disappointed with it.

There is no shortage of articles examining defects of the right so it's nice to read something like this for a more holistic perspective.

It expounds on ideas expressed in a Chris Hedges speech when he recalled the warnings of a teacher who had lived through Nazi Germany:

He despaired of liberals, who he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil nor the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand wringing by Democrats in the wake of the election, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them "demonic" and "satanic," would not have surprised Adams. Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the Biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.

I can't post excerpts because the Acrobat file won't let me, so you'll just have to read it. The article is from Vol. 29, No.1 (top left).

I'd be interested to know what you think.

(h/t 3QuarksDaily)

(Added: These are the people we're talking about, photographed by 5chw4r7z)

Trashy Ideas for Cincinnati

From the Business Courier:

The Green Cincinnati Recycling Plan launched this week by Mayor Mark Mallory and city council members would increase recycling by 50 percent in the next four years.

Cincinnati now recycles about 9 percent of its total waste. By upping recycling to 15 percent, Cincinnati would increase the rebate it receives from the Hamilton County Solid Waste District, which would reduce the cost of the city's recycling program. The city now gets a $26 rebate for each ton of recycling. The rebate increases to $30 per ton if the city recycles to 10 percent of its trash, and to $34 per ton by recycling 15 percent.

And up in Butler County they're having a "Recycled Sculpture Contest" for grade schoolers. The kids made art out of trash. See an example here. The best of the bunch are on display at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton (no mention of the contest on their web page, though).

Could this be a good idea for the students in our beloved inner city? It certainly could. It's an out-of-the-box idea to stimulate creative thinking and it might just impress an awareness of their environs on them.

If anyone out there is a member of the Mayor's Kitchen Cabinet, think about it. It's not as if it would cost much.

14 October 2007

How Many Ways Can You Tie a Shoelace?

Over 43,000, according to the shoelace mathematics expert (don't laugh... his article got published in Nature).

Here's a few dozen you can try yourself. I might try the "double helix" myself.

12 October 2007

Appendix Might Actually be Useful, Say Researchers

But it still can't stand up to the spleen or gall bladder.

From Bio.com:

Drawing upon a series of observations and experiments, Duke University Medical Center investigators postulate that the beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterwards to repopulate the gut.

The gut is populated with different microbes that help the digestive system break down the foods we eat. In return, the gut provides nourishment and safety to the bacteria. Parker now believes that the immune system cells found in the appendix are there to protect, rather than harm, the good bacteria.

As always, the best course of action is prevention: don't get diarrhea in the first place. An erstwhile college friend worked construction one summer, building fast-food restaurants. He never ate fast-food after that and advised me to do the same, although he wouldn't tell me why. But the look of contemplative disgust on his face suggested that I was better off not knowing the specifics.

So try to avoid fast-food, no matter how attractive the value.

Peace Prize Goes to Gore

Well, it's official. Al Gore has something to put in his lockbox.

The worst part is the inevitable querulousness and logical fallacies sure to emanate from the right-wing echo chamber: the Nobel Committee has a liberal bias, the U.N. is irrelevant, the "jury is still out" on climate change, and so on.

The ostriches on the right can't win the argument on scientific grounds, so their only option is to discredit their opponents.

I suggest the ostriches establish their own award ("The Inhofe Prize", perhaps?) for advances in rejecting overwhelming scientific consensus. Let the people decide which award they want to take seriously. Let the marketplace decide. The prize can be endowed by Exxon, which shouldn't be any problem.

11 October 2007

Study Correlates Hip Size and Breast Cancer Risk

From BBC News:

A study led by the University of Southampton found breast cancer rates were more than three times higher among women whose mothers had wide hips.

Rates were more than seven times higher if those mothers had already given birth to one or more children.

The researchers said their work supported the hypothesis that wide, round hips reflect high levels of sex hormone production at puberty, which continue into adult life, and impact on the embryo during pregnancy.

...breast cancer risk may be raised for a daughter during the first weeks of pregnancy if the embryo's developing breast tissue are exposed to particularly high levels of oestrogen circulating in the mother's blood.

That's bad news for a lot of women, but especially those in developing countries, where 70% of future breast cancer cases are expected to arise, as TIME's new cover story explains.

Physics Nobel Breaks New Ground

The physics prize is typically awarded for advances in the understanding of how the universe works on a cosmic scale or quantum scale. But this year it was awarded to two scientists for a nanotechnology breakthrough.

From the MIT Technology Review:

This year's Nobel Prize in physics has been given to a pair of researchers who discovered a magnetic property that opened the way for today's fast and compact hard drives, making possible everything from iPods to the massive data centers that serve as the backbone of the Internet. The discovery has helped improve data storage density by at least an order of magnitude. And it is paving the way for several experimental technologies that could increase it even more.

...in awarding the prize, the Nobel committee pointed to the wide-ranging importance of GMR in opening up the new science of spintronics, in which both the charge and spin of electrons is manipulated. The discovery, which the committee describes as one of the first payoffs of nanotechnology, has in turn now become "a driving force for new applications of nanotechnology."

The physics prize may not be the only award to break new ground this year. It would be something new if Gore wins the Peace Prize because it is usually awarded for direct efforts to rid violence and injustice in a specific part of the world.

09 October 2007

Answers not in Genesis

One of the best college classes I took was a course in American philosophy. And one of the best thinkers was William James. And one of the best things he wrote was The Varieties of Religious Experience.

An excerpt:

WERE one asked to characterize the life of religion in the broadest and most general terms possible, one might say that it consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto. This belief and this adjustment are the religious attitude in the soul. I wish during this hour to call your attention to some of the psychological peculiarities of such an attitude as this, or belief in an object which we cannot see. All our attitudes, moral, practical, or emotional, as well as religious, are due to the "objects" of our consciousness, the things which we believe to exist, whether really or ideally, along with ourselves. Such objects may be present to our senses, or they may be present only to our thought. In either case they elicit from us a reaction; and the reaction due to things of thought is notoriously in many cases as strong as that due to sensible presences. It may be even stronger.

Now, over 100 years later, we understand (well, some of us) that the question is not whether God exists, but why the human mind thinks God exists.

This SciAm article is about some recent neuroscience experiments which investigated the relationship between religious experience and brain activity. An excerpt:

Michael Persinger of Laurentian University in Ontario sought to artificially re-create religious feelings by electrically stimulating that large subdivision of the brain. So Persinger created the “God helmet,” which generates weak electromagnetic fields and focuses them on particular regions of the brain’s surface.

In a series of studies conducted over the past several decades, Persinger and his team have trained their device on the temporal lobes of hundreds of people. In doing so, the researchers induced in most of them the experience of a sensed presence—a feeling that someone (or a spirit) is in the room when no one, in fact, is—or of a profound state of cosmic bliss that reveals a universal truth. During the three-minute bursts of stimulation, the affected subjects translated this perception of the divine into their own cultural and religious language—terming it God, Buddha, a benevolent presence or the wonder of the universe.

Persinger thus argues that religious experience and belief in God are merely the results of electrical anomalies in the human brain.

Sorry if it ruins your day, but if gets Rod Parsely off the air, it will be worth it. Also, the God Helmet is now available at Wal-Mart.

(h/t Al Fin)

07 October 2007

Holy Vanillin!

In my family, we like to gather for brunch every Sunday and discuss the latest developments in dung research. As you can imagine, we were very excited over the latest news.

Mayu Yamamoto, a former researcher at the International Medical Center of Japan, has won this year’s Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize for developing a method for extracting vanillin — an ingredient in vanilla fragrance and flavoring — from cow dung.

Yamamoto says that widespread adoption of her method could help the environment because companies would make greater use of cow dung, which arguably contributes to global warming.

As a bonus prize, Toscanini’s Ice Cream in Cambridge, Massachusetts has invented a new flavor — Yum-A-Moto Vanilla Twist — to honor Yamamoto...

The annual Ig Nobel Prizes are meant to honor scientific achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think,” according to the founders...

And hopefully that stretch of I-65 between Lafayette and Chicago will smell better someday.

05 October 2007

Music as Performance-Enhancing Drug

Barry Bonds vs. Barry White?

Technology like the mp3 player is revolutionising sports psychology, according to an expert who says these devices are allowing athletes to harness the psychological benefits of music as never before.

"It's certainly going to add a new level to [athletic] potential," says Terry, who has been to seven Olympic Games as a sports psychologist and published widely on the power of music in enhancing athletic performance.

But he says the technology could create a whole new conundrum for sports authorities by making them redefine whether the use of performance enhancing music is cheating.

In 1998 Haile Gebreselasie set an indoor world record for the 2000 metres by synchronising his stride rate to the song Scatman.

The question of cheating may become even more fraught with the prospect of tiny mp3 players that can be worn under the skin.

Seems a little far fetched; I think by the time music technology gets to that point, other performance-enhancing methods will have advanced considerably enough to be far more worrisome. Still interesting, though.

04 October 2007

Medical Miracle of the Day

Man lives after chair leg penetrates eye socket and throat.

During a brawl, another 20-year-old, Liam Peart, threw a metal-framed chair at Fahkri. The chair leg went through Fahkri's eye socket and down into his neck. Amazingly, Fahkri not only survived but did not lose his eye, which was pushed to the side by the chair leg.

Medical Mystery of the Day


DOCTORS ARE predictably baffled by what would appear to be a medical mystery. Over the last three days, assorted plant leaves and seeds have been continuously popping out from one of the ears of Aman Deep, a 12-year old boy in Faridabad.

ENT specialists, and the radiologists who performed a high-resolution CT Scan of the boy's skull on Friday, looked clueless after the test as they sought to find an explanation. The boy's ear poured out two leaves even during the investigation at the diagnostic center here. As the doctors tried to figure out the mystery, others are already attributing it to superstition and something that was beyond the world of medicine and science.

01 October 2007

Bush's UN Speech Written FONE-EH-TICK-LEE

Bush is a moron, episode 2175:

...a glimpse of how the President sees his speeches was accidentally placed on the UN website along with the speechwriters' cell phone numbers.

Pronunciations for President Bush's friend French President Sarkozy "[sar-KOzee]" appeared in draft #20 on the UN website. Other pronunciations included the Mugabe "[moo-GAHbee] regime" and pronunciations for countries "Kyrgyzstan [KEYRgeez-stan]" and "Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]."

The press asked Dana Perino about the matter and she responded with a logical fallacy:

...when asked if the president had a hard time pronouncing some of those country names Perino declined comment saying, "I think that's an offensive question."

Solar Power Without Solar Panels?

A few months ago I read that one hour's worth of solar energy (if it could all be captured) would be enough to provide power for the entire earth for one year.

Currently, solar technology is the least advanced of all the renewable energy technologies. Most of the technical advancements are being made in the area of increasing efficiency of solar cells. But one problem with current technology is that solar cells require solar panels, and solar panels require large areas to set up an array. With land being a finite and increasingly precious resource, that is a problem that can only get worse. Furthermore, solar arrays are only practical in sunny climates.

Japanese scientists are developing an interesting solution to both these problems by putting solar panels on orbiting satellites, which collect the energy and beam it to ground-based power stations in laser form.

Unlike earthbound solar power stations, which are subject to night-time darkness and cloudy conditions, JAXA’s SSPS will be able to make use of solar energy 24 hours a day. With slight improvements in the solar-to-laser conversion efficiency and by incorporating solar collectors measuring 100 to 200 meters long, a single satellite will be able to match the output of a 1-gigawatt nuclear power plant, the researchers say.

30 September 2007

Yet Another Republican Guilty of Corruption

This time it's Alaska State Rep. Pete Kott, an erstwhile House Speaker. From the Anchorage Daily News:

[Kott] was convicted Tuesday by a federal jury of conspiring with Veco Corp. executives to push an oil tax favored by industry.

Jurors convicted the Eagle River Republican of conspiracy, bribery and extortion. They acquitted him of a fourth felony charge, wire fraud...

The evidence was compelling, said state Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, who helped the FBI in its investigation and sat in on much of the trial. The recordings of people laughing and swearing about “jerking the public process around” generate a gut level impact.

Jerking the public process? That's an understatement, based on this unbelievable nugget from the White Collar Crime Prof Blog:

Kott was one of a group of legislators supporting the interests of the oil companies who called themselves the "Corrupt Bastards Club" that included a hat with Veco's logo on the front and the initials "CBC" on the back -- not a very helpful picture for a politician accused of corruption.

There are more than a few who could wear that hat.

25 September 2007

2010: A Space Odyssey

About this time last year I realized that I had developed an extreme distaste for modern TV and cinema. Some of it is good, yes, but there are two things that I just can't stand anymore.

I call it the "drunken telephoto" school of camera operation. I think you know what I mean without an explanation. I blame NYPD Blue for starting this stupid fad. I blame them for David Caruso, as well. Every day, I awake hoping that this will be the day that modern camera techniques will be recognized for what they are: the legwarmers of cinematography.

Too much camera movement and too many close-ups. This is why I watch TMC and AMC 99% of the time. Sometimes when I watch old movies I look at the scene, set, and character interplay and imagine how they would be ruined by modern cinematic technique. Seriously, how much talent and training does a person need to film close-ups while staggering around because you're eating a sandwich at the same time?

So I'm glad to report news of a movie that I think will actually be pretty damn cool. Unfortunately, it won't be here until 2010. But it will be worth the wait.

Hubble telescope to star in IMAX film

Offbeat News from Around Ohio

Offbeat news from around Ohio:

What would you do if you had a disagreement with a contractor? Hopefully not what Rodney Rogers did.

Ohio U now has a SWAT team in case the next gun-toting psychopath ends up on its campus.

A man from West Virginia is making his way to Colorado... via horse and buggy. He's somewhere in eastern Ohio now, so keep an eye out for him.

Ohio has shrimp? If the aquafarm at Buffalo Wills Aquaculture works out, we'll be able to get fresh shrimp grown in the state.

24 September 2007

Oktoberfest Observations

The crowd was big, but not so dense as to make it difficult to get around. I think they sectioned off the right amount of area.

Lots of Bengal jerseys. Seemed like the most popular were Houshmanzadeh and Palmer.

Saw a middle-aged man wearing a t-shirt, red skirt, and red heels. Anybody else see this guy?

The card magician was pretty cool.

Plenty of annoying losers asking for change. One woman asked me for precisely 38 cents ("38 cent," actually. Never use the plural, that's the code).

I liked the kielbasa served at the corner of 5th & vine. And that huge pot was unbelievable! He told me they found it at the World's Longest Yard Sale. That thing had to be 4 or 5 feet in diameter.

And finally, the Bengals. As my preseason forecast predicted, success this year depends on good defense and a good running game. Once again, both were largely absent against the Seahawks. Worse, it's getting hard to imagine pass coverage improving. When cornerbacks are in the wrong position, that's one thing. But to get flat-out beaten over and over... I don't know if that's something that can be fixed.

This is going to be a tough season to watch.

22 September 2007

MoveOn Ad Actually Proving Effective?

Yes, the MoveOn ad was silly. Yes, the Senate condemnation was sillier. When people asked me what I thought about the ad, I said it was pretty much what I expect from MoveOn. And Senators wasting time debating an ad? Yeah, that's pretty much what I expect from them, too.

But all this silliness has apparently been very lucrative.

Did I Just Witness NSA Spying in Action?

An interesting thing happened this evening. I was riding in a car with 3 other people, on the way home from dinner (at the Mekong Thai restaurant in Kenwood; the food was delicious and I recommend it).

Mr. V's cell phone rang. He answered it, but it seemed the connection was bad so he said "I can't hear you" and hung up. During this time the caller kept talking as if he couldn't hear Mr. V.

The phone rang a 2nd and 3rd time, and it became clear that the caller was not in fact calling Mr. V at all. He was calling a completely different person, but the conversation was audible on Mr. V's phone and neither the caller nor the "callee" could hear Mr. V or knew that he was on the line. The phone continued to ring a couple more times until Mr. V turned it off.

I asked which provider Mr. V used and he said Cincinnati Bell, which uses the AT&T network. You may recall that AT&T is the company that gave information to the NSA and allowed the NSA to use screen its network.

I remarked that Mr. V's phone was functioning like an eavesdropping device, ringing when a call was made and allowing him to listen without being detected.

Has something like this happened to anyone else?

19 September 2007

Ohio GOP Throwing Children Under the School Bus?

Last week I posted news about Ohio AG putting the screws on failing charter schools. Apparently this has prompted the Ohio GOP, ever committed to special interests, to play fun and games by filing suit against public schools.

The AP reports that the suit was filed by Republican Bill Todd. He has no standing in the case, unless you count his desire to be mayor of Columbus. Todd is suing the BOE, claiming that the method of funding (by property taxes in each school district) is unfair.

I don't know what planet Bill Todd has been living on, but here on Earth the Ohio Supreme Court has declared the school funding system unconstitutional FOUR times. It's his friends in the state legislature who haven't done anything. But he won't pressure his colleagues in the legislature (which his party still controls); he wants to file a lawsuit instead.

I thought only communist liberals pushed their agendas with lawsuits? I guess it's only communist if you sue a corporation.

The Dispatch's Robert Vitale reports the unsurprising news that Todd has ties to pro-charter groups White Hat and School Choice Ohio. And that explains why Todd would rather push a pro-charter agenda with a lawsuit rather than pressure politicians for productive fixes to the system. It's not about giving children better schools; it's about serving a key GOP special interest.

What was Kevin DeWine saying just the other day...?

18 September 2007

Airshow at Blue Ash Airport this Weekend!

I thought about it recently, and I decided that I like planes. Other flying machines, too-- and there are many; one company is even trying to make a commuter blimp.

Hence, I'm thinking about the "Airport Days" airshow at the Blue Ash airport this Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10 ($8 if ordered online) for those 12 and over. Proceeds benefit Children's Hospital. And if the airplanes don't do it for me, I can always ride the monster truck SUDDEN IMPACT for $5. A gigantic mud pit would make that very hard to resist.

Got Irony?

Two items ironically juxtaposed in the Wilmington News Journal. First is the letter "Another vote of no confidence for Bush". This is followed by the article "DeWine: Republican Party Still Strong".

The irony continues, as one would expect from an article quoting a Republican:

Kevin DeWine said he has learned that people want smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal discipline, moral character and ethical conduct.

In other words, people want the opposite of what Republicans have been doing.

13 September 2007

I Swear I am not Making this Up

Another public service announcement from the Clark St. Blog...

GladRags, a leading manufacturer of alternative menstrual products, is pleased to announce the Moon Cup. The Moon Cup is a tampon alternative made from medical-grade silicone that is designed to "catch" the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it... Soft and durable, the product should last for 10 years before needing replacement and can save a woman as much as $800 over the lifetime of the cup. The Moon Cup is made in the U.S.

It is estimated that a woman will use as many as 16,000 tampons over the course of her life. A 1998 study concluded that 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads were disposed of in one year's time. These products, often laden with chemicals such as dioxins, end up in landfills and sewer systems, sometimes even washing up on U.S. coastlines.

Yes, the company is actually called GladRags. Here's the website in case you still think I'm making it up.

12 September 2007

Abramoff/Ney Associate Receives Sentence

I know he helped prosecutors, but shouldn't slapping democracy in the face deserve more than a slap on the wrist?

A former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio was sentenced to probation Wednesday for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, avoiding a stiffer sentence because he has been so helpful in prosecuting others.

Prosecutors asked Huvelle to sentence Volz to home confinement, but she instead gave him two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine.

The Justice Department probe of influence peddling by Abramoff and his team of lobbyists has led to convictions of a dozen people, including Ney, former White House official David Safavian and former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles.

Volz, who went to work for Abramoff after leaving Ney’s staff, provided information about trips to Scotland, New Orleans and Lake George that Ney went on, largely paid for by Abramoff.

Volz received abusive phone messages from Ney – which Volz provided to the government — when the congressman suspected Volz of cooperating with prosecutors.

Ohio AG Goes After Charter Schools

First of all, Ohio's Attorney General should be Subodh Chandra, not Marc Dann. As I pointed out in this post and then this post, Chandra was a superior candidate and a rock star on the campaign trail. The only reason ODP endorsed Dann is because it prioritized party loyalty over qualifications, as detailed in this post. And the ODP wonders why it's the object of ridicule and scorn.

But Dann is doing the right thing in going after under-performing charter schools. The Dayton Business Courier and the Daily Briefing report that Dann is filing suit against two Dayton charter schools which have together received $17m in public funding.

One of the Dayton schools, New Choices Community School, has met only 1 of 29 academic performance standards during its six years of operation as a middle school...

The other, the Colin Powell Leadership Academy, has met only 1 of 61 standards in six years of operation.

Both schools also received an 'F' on the state performance index.

And it's not just public money that the schools are wasting. The Thomas B. Fordham foundation has given $75k to the New Choices school and over $275k to the Colin Powell Academy for these underwhelming results.

Children deserve better.

09 September 2007

Bengals Forecast

I think the Bengals' success this season will be determined by the running game and the defense. The passing game is always solid; we can always count on that. But it does create a problem: the fast-scoring passing offense means that our defense has to spend more time on the field dealing with the opponent's offense. And that hasn't worked out so well.

Hopefully our new additions to the defense will improve its woefully lackluster performance of last season. There is (or was) some concern that CB Leon Hall might get beaten by some of the better WRs, but is there a better way to prepare for the NFL than practicing on Chad Johnson, Houshmanzadeh, and Chris Henry? I doubt it.

The offense can take the pressure off by increasing time of possession with a good ground game. This is why the loss of Kenny Irons could turn out to be pretty serious. An ACL tear is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to an RB. Let's cross our fingers for a full recovery.

But as far as this season goes, the burden pretty much falls on Rudy Johnson's legs once again. If he stays healthy and the Bengals use him wisely then things might fall into place.

So basically the situation seems to be this: the running game is same as last year and the defense should be better (but to what extent, I'm not sure). I'd guess the odds of making the postseason at 50-50.

04 September 2007

Local School Cafeterias Utilize Biometrics

In a previous post I linked to a story about a Dayton grocery store which installed biometric scanners as an alternative to traditional cash or credit payment.

Now comes news of Covington Catholic H.S. using finger scanners to debit student accounts for lunches:

The school was motivated to make the high-tech change by teen absent-mindedness that found some students often forgetting their cash or debit cards and holding up the line while they searched, she said.

The lunch room's three cashiers staff computer terminals that bring up the name and photograph of each student and how much money is left in his account. After a couple of clicks that take a few seconds to complete, the money is deducted and the student is on his way.

Austin Wise, a junior, said the system could move more smoothly.

The problem?

"Guys using cash slow things down."

Get used to it, old timers!

31 August 2007

Strickland Outlines Energy Plan for Ohio

From the Post:

...his plan seeks the development of new sources of energy: clean coal, new nuclear power technologies, wind, water and the sun. He wants 25 percent of the power produced in Ohio to come from such sources.

The goal is to bring stability and predictability to Ohio's electric power industry. That in turn will attract new jobs and keep existing ones here, Strickland said. "Other states are, in fact, outperforming us," Strickland said in announcing the plan Wednesday.

Erin Bowser, executive director or Environment Ohio, a nonprofit advocacy group, said her group would have liked to have more of an emphasis on "clean" renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.

"Because we have lumped coal and nuclear power into this plan, we are continuing to not give the lift we need to renewables to develop," she said.

Ms. Bowser may have a fair point, but Strickland is correct that Ohio needs to step up and develop a more progressive and technologically advanced energy policy.

Wind power in particular can make a substantial contribution around Lake Erie, which is pretty much the only part of the state with consistently exploitable wind. But my feeling is that, wherever wind can be exploited, it should be.

Nuclear power is controversial, but my take is that it is "conditionally good," by which I mean that it's a good idea only if there is a high level of oversight, regulation, and transparency. Companies will do what they can get away with to reduce costs and increase profitability. It's human nature. The only way to prevent it is to keep them under constant scrutiny. So I think that's a necessary condition for nuclear power to be a viable option.

29 August 2007

Huckabee and Brownback on Cancer

Lance Armstrong's cancer foundation held a Presidential debate on Monday. Of the Democrats, only Clinton, Edwards, Richardson, and Kucinich came. Only Brownback and Huckabee came from the Republican side.

This is the only debate I can recall not put on by the corporate media. It's worth noting for that alone. Since it discussed issues that would never show up in the typical debates, I thought it was worth posting some of what was said. I have to say that as I searched for articles, I discovered two things: First, the event seems not to have been covered very widely. Second, the only two articles I found were at TheHill.com and the Des Moines Register, and both discussed only the Republicans' comments.

Since that's all I found, here's what Brownback and Huckabee said:

Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, promised to rejuvenate a “war on cancer” as president, but disagreed over the need for a federal ban on smoking in public places.

Brownback restated his campaign pledge to end cancer deaths within 10 years through a "substantial increase" in federal money for research - as much as triple the current $6 billion - and likened his plan to President Kennedy's promise to reach the moon.

Huckabee committed to signing a nationwide smoking ban in public places, should such a measure win approval in Congress. Brownback said he would let states and local communities continue to control anti-smoking efforts.

[Huckabee] added that he would put more emphasis on preventing chronic illnesses, including cancer. The primary policy goal should be “universal health,” not necessarily universal healthcare coverage, he said.

28 August 2007

U.S. Open Men's Draw Analysis

Looking at the brackets, there is distinct possibility of some surprises at this year's Open.

Federer will run into trouble early when he meets John Isner in the 3rd round. Isner won the NCAA college championship at Georgia. He's a 6'9'' and hits aces pretty much every time. His 1st round victim, Jarko Niemenen, said Isner had the best serve he's ever seen.

I'm not a fan of players that win with cheap points, but the fact is that Isner could give Federer plenty of trouble. On the other hand, Federer beat Sampras, Philippoussis, and Roddick on grass so I guess if anyone can handle it, it's Federer. This should be one to watch. Mind you, it could be painful.

If Federer makes it past Isner, he'll meet Roddick in the QF. I presume he'll make sausage out of him as usual. In the SF he'll face either Blake or Davydenko. Blake has had a strong summer, but sometimes he's off his game whereas Davydenko is more consistent. I'm picking a Blake-Federer SF with Federer prevailing.

In the other half of the draw, the match to watch will likely be this weekend between Djokovic and Hewitt in the 3rd round. If this match isn't great, I'll be pissed. I'm picking Djokovic to win this and go all the way to the final, beating Youzhny and Nadal on the way. If Nadal goes out early, it will be to Tipsarevic in the 2nd or Tursunov in the 3rd. But I think he'll grind it to the semis.

The champion? A couple of weeks ago I picked Djokovic. I'll stick with that, but I'm less sure now that Federer seems to be his old self again.

24 August 2007

Brian May Receives PhD in Astronomy

No, I am not making it up...

Nearly 37 years after beginning work on his dissertation in astronomy at London’s Imperial College, the guitarist for Queen successfully defended his 48,000-word thesis, “Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud,” in a three-hour oral examination.

Impressive. I wonder what American rock guitarists are up to...

23 August 2007

Astronomers Discover Foreign Policy Metaphor in Outer Space

University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen "dark matter." While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.

"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota...


Northwest Ohio Pummeled by Rain, Flooding

Nine inches in 48 hours... that is a lot of water, and most of it is above ground right now.

From the VanWert Times-Bulletin:

Besides Van Wert County, the state of emergency is also in effect for Allen, Crawford, Hancock, Hardin, Putnam, Richland, Seneca, and Wyandot counties in northwestern Ohio... Altogether, 21 counties in Ohio have been affected by flooding and wind damage.

I remember the last Ohio River flood back in the early 90s. Serpentine Wall was entirely under water. I remember looking at it and seeing just the top of a flagpole sticking out from the water. Crazy.

The VanWertVoice has links to some videos of the current flood.

17 August 2007

Erin Burnett: Cuter When Quieter

I had to take a break from my delicious grilled chicken and vegetables to post this. I'm sure BlurgGurl would agree this surely deserves an AssHat Award:

The MSM... still in a holding pattern above Stupid, USA.

The Cincinnati Masters Report

What is going on at the Cincy Masters?

Novak Djokovic beats Federer in Montreal but loses here in the first round. Rafael Nadal, about as close to a machine as a human can get, gets heat exhaustion and retires in the first round. Andy Roddick fucks it up again and loses to a guy I've never even heard of. Roger Federer plays like crap but barely manages to beat Marcos Baghdatis, who plays even crappier.

Ah, yes, 100 degree tennis. Glad I gave up my ticket for today.

Thank you, James Blake, for giving us at least one match worth watching. And good luck against Sam Querrey (He'll need it... they played a few weeks ago and Querrey won, 7-6,6-7,7-6. At one point he served 10 aces in a row).

I don't know what's going on with Federer. The last time I saw him play well, it was 20 degrees outside. I can assure you that he'll be in big trouble at the U.S. Open, where his current "hanging in there" style will not get him a trophy.

Based on what I've seen this year, I'd pick Novak Djokovic for the U.S. Open title. And I think Lleyton Hewitt might surprise some people, too.

Getting the Lead Out

The news of lead in children's toys has been a hot topic recently. The adverse health effects of lead have been known for decades, so it's a bit puzzling that these stories still appear from time to time.

Regardless of the reasons why the problem still persists, the fact is that it still does and parents with young children need to be vigilant and take precautions. The neurological damage is irreversible.

For those who can use such information, here is an article that explains how lead can get into the home and how to prevent it.

16 August 2007

I Am not Making This Up

Imagine your task is to find someone to send to Iraq to help set up the country's legal system. Who is the least competent, most under-qualified, absolutely last, worst person you would choose for the job?

Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Saturday, his third trip to the country, and met with Justice Department officials there to try to help build the country's legal system.

AP story...

Secondary Smoke Linked to Childhood Asthma

Childhood asthma (as well as other pulmonary problems) has been on the rise for decades. The cause, however, has remained something of a mystery.

Recently published research in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology puts forth damning evidence for cigarette smoking. Researchers analyzed data on cigarette use and asthma incidence over the past 100 years and noted parallel increases in both. Their conclusion:

We present one possible factor that may be contributing to the epidemic of childhood asthma. We hypothesize that (1) there has been a marked increase in smoking during the past century, (2) this increase in smoking has resulted in a substantial increase in exposure to environmental tobacco smoke among children, and (3) increased exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has contributed to the increase in childhood asthma.

A report in the August Infectious Diseases in Children adds:

Children breathe more air than adults and have narrower airways, so environmental tobacco smoke is a greater causal risk factor for asthma in children.

Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, especially in the home, increased a child's likelihood of developing asthma by 63%...

Smoking. It pollutes, it litters, it stinks, and it contributes to asthma in children. But it's a synonym for freedom, according to at least one person (and read those comments to see who hates our smokings).

14 August 2007

Does Cincinnati Need a Signature Tower?

That's the question posed at UrbanCincy. He makes the point that many great cities don't have a signature tower and that such a monument is not what makes a city great. Strictly speaking, Cincinnati does not need a signature tower.

I think one of the best things Cincinnati can do to make itself a world-class city (for those 3 or 4 of us who think about Cincinnati in such fantastic notions) is to focus on architecture and design across the whole city, not just a building or two downtown. A city characterized by great architecture is a city where people want to live, play, and visit.

Two words: Columbus, Indiana. If not for its notable architecture, this town would be nothing more than a place to stop for fast food on the way to IU. But its commitment to architecture and design makes it a regional attraction and brings in revenue consistently. You don't have to be a huge metropolis to have great architecture.

Three words: Paul Brown Stadium. Putting aside issues of boondoggling taxpayers, it's a great stadium. That's what I'm talking about. Imagine what the Banks could be if modern architecture were a priority. It could be the coolest urban development within 299 miles (since Chicago is 300 miles...).

Let's also remind ourselves that we have one of the best architecture and design schools in the country. It frustrates me that city government has repeatedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on east coast consultants rather than take advantage of top-tier resources right up the street.

Still like the signature tower idea? Check out MOMO's page on tall buildings. Very cool.