Friday, April 29, 2011

Tech Support? - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

MemeCats: Wii Won’t Take “No” 4 an Ansur! - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Worst/Best Analogies of High School Students

Great list of pretty bad stuff.  One favorite:  "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."  Or a longer one:

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at asolar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it."



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Gus DiZerega on the Promise of Diversity

DiZerega is a political scientist and a Pagan, and argues that there is strength in diversity.


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Mashable Humor: Secret Life of Goldfish

Keynes/Hayek Economists Fight Rap

I'm not knowledgeable enough to know how well this represents the arguments of the two economists, but it's a fun way of trying!


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Journal of Universal Rejection

A xcholarly journal of the highest calibre. You can be sure of it, because they say so.


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The Serious Side of Birtherism

It is easy to laugh at the birther nonsense, but this post/video shows the real pain it causes black Americans.  I think he is right that it debases people who have struggled so very hard to achieve the same rights as other Americans.  So many of my heroes are from the Civil Rights movement, the people who fought for justice and were arrested, assaulted, and murdered for it. I don't remember all of their names, by any means, but here are some:  Martin Luther King.  John Lewis.  Robert Moses.  Fanny Lou Hamer. Fred Shuttlesworth.  C. T. Vivien.  Ella Baker.  A. Phillips Randolph.  Rosa Parks. Diane Nash... and many, many more.


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Tornadoes and Climate Change?

Nice Boing Boing article on why scientists don't yet know if global warming is causing more severe tornadoes.


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Quote of the Day

From an email:

"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind" — William Blake

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Blog Post is Not About Kate and William

Gail Collins, as usual, makes important points with humor.


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Harry Potter Trailer Out


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Endeavor Live Interview to be Streamed to YouTube

When the last Endeavor shuttle flight goes up soon, commanded by Mark Kelly.


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Best Wishes to The Storm-Damaged

As far as I know, all my family and friends are ok bar some flooding in my brother's house.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost family, friends, or property.  It hits home pretty hard when you know the areas affected - where my brother lives and I lived for years in North Alabama, there's a lot of damage.  I also went to library school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  The University is relatively undamaged, but McFarlane Blvd., which was so heavily damaged, is the main drag through Tuscaloosa.

The only time I remember equal to it was the many tornadoes of April 1974, which devastated a line from Ohio to North Alabama.  I was a teenager, and my family had a pizza restaurant in Athens, Alabama.  The storms were so bad that my Mom brought home a customer who was traveling and couldn't get any farther and he spent the night with us.  Some of our employees in the restaurant spent the next morning digging another of our employees and his family out of their destroyed house.  No serious injury except to our employee who required surgery on his back..  My mom and I went and viewed some of the damage in the county and what I most remember are the peach orchards in flinders and huge power towers, built to withstand wind speeds of hundreds of miles an hour, lying crumpled on the ground like a giant's discarded toys.

So my thoughts are very much with those affected today.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Culture and Science Denialism

Very interesting blog post on why people often will not accept the view most indicated by scientific evidence.


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Timeline of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions

Nicely done with excerpts from works and more.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Talk to Pagans

A great post reiterating something I talked about earlier.... if you're a Christian and your only interest in me is in converting me, don't bother.  I want to talk to someone who views me as a person and respects my views.


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Two from Brayton on Current LGBT Issues

The first is that there have now been four credible polls in which a majority of Americans polled favor same sex marriage.  The other, very important but not a surprising conclusion, finds that in the areas of the country where there is more support for LGBT rights, there is a smaller rate of suicide by gay teens.  Which is one major reason why so many who are gay, straight or bi work for these rights - people's LIVES are at stake.





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Weirdest Academic Article Title of the Day

Talk Derby to Me: Emergent Intellectual Property Norms Governing Roller Derby Pseudonyms


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Paul Krugman on the Current Deficit and Taxes Argument

Useful Article on Taxes

from the blog Get Rich Slowly.  The article attempts to answer how high our taxes are, currently and historically, and how we compare to other countries.


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Awesome People Web Site

From Marylaine Block's Neat New Stuff:

Awesome People

J.D. Roth, already one of my favorite bloggers for Get Rich Slowly <>, has started this blog of appreciation for the achievements of remarkable people. After a surfeit of gloom and doom on the news, this is a nice place to be reminded that the world is full of wonders as well.


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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

Just watched the episode of Beauty and the Beast in which Catherine's father dies.  She reads the following passage, a dialog between two children's toys:


by Margery Williams

NY: Half Moon Books, 1983.





"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."



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Maturity and Popular Culture

And isn't it a shame that the two have so little to do with each other?

Netflix has the TV series Beuty and the Beast available streaming.  I loved it when it aiired in the late 89s, and I've been rewatching it now.  I'm about halfway through the second season.  It is rather like meeting your first love again after years of being apart, at least at first.  You can see why you loved that person, but you've moved on.  But now I've fallen in love with it all over again, but I think for mostly new reasons.  When it first aired I suspect I loved it for the romance, a beautiful love between two people, one of them different, and an outsider - which is what I always felt like, having grown up fat and so not sexy or lovable in my mind, and never feeling it at home until finding communities of like-minded people after college.  But now I see the series in a new light.  I've always adored series that express maturity, but I've had a hard time explaining what I meant by it.  I'm just beginning to start defining it.

Mature series, to me, deal with the complexities of human life, human thought, and human feeling.  It shows people in difficult situations where there are no easy answers, where there is pain no matter what the resolution of the problem, if indeed the problem can be resolved.  It means to me facing up to the problems with courage, with an awareness of one's capacities and abilities, and with a mindfulness of other people and seeking the best solution for all.  Not simply mindfulness, but to attempt to understand what drives other people.  To face our responsibility for our actions and seek to alleviate the harm they may have done.  To protect those weaker than ourselves where possible, and to be just, where justice is holding other people accountable for their actions when necessary, but with compassion for what led them to that place in their lives.  To not seek conflict but to deal with it according to ethical principles, but again with compassion.  To live one's life the best one can, and where a succesful life means balancing the heart, mind, body, and soul.  And to know in the end that such materurity isn't easily achievable, but a goal to strive for.  That all fall short, but that the essence of life is the striving for something better that feeds the soul.

Where does Beauty and the Beast fit in?  It is a part of popular culture, whch is a thing that both shapes who we are and is in return shaped by who we are.  In our current popular culture I see little that models mature behavior.  Blowing things up vicariously is fun, but it isn't much on which to base a life.  Violence and vengeance as models create a culture of insanity.  Beer and booty create an immaturity that never ends.  Considering only what benefits one's self rather than the greater whole creates endless conflict as each seeks their own advancement at the expense of others.  In Beauty and the Beast I see instead modeled community, love for others even when it means sacrifice, compassion and justice balanced, the courage to be responsible for one's actions, and much more.  Sadly the third season of the show turned dark and away from these ideals, and I'm sorry for it and remember feeling bewildered by it at the time.  Like all else in life, it is imperfect.  But because it did strive for so long for something fine I will always love it.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

TPM on Debt and Deficits

Some useful statistics to keep in mind - one of which to me is that debt and deficits will fall if more people get back to work and are paying taxes and not getting unemployment.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Geek History of the Day: Birth of Ctrl +Alt +Del

Article explains why and by whom this odd bit of finger exercise was invented


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sad News: Elisabeth Sladen, Sarah Jane Smith in Dr. Who, Passes Away

Not much in the way of details yet.  She was only 63.  I have not yet seen but one of the Doctor Who arcs she was in, but have seen and greatly enjoyed the first season of the Sarah Jane Adventures.




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Monday, April 18, 2011


Hm... this might be perfect for me, to scare me away from chocolate since I'm not supposed to eat it...


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Google Books on the Romantic Poets

Google Books blog isn't published that often, but is almost always interesting.  This post is about the Romantic Poets and how they changed poetry.


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An Out Sports Figure on Kobe's Comment

While I mostly deplore the influence of sports figures on popular culture, I can't deny they have a major inluence.  Here's a well-done plea for them to pay attention to how they use their influence.


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Furniture for the Bibliophile

Custom end tables designed with your favorite books in mind.


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Who's On First As Shakespeare Would Write It

Excellent video, along with the original Abbott and Costello skit.


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Friday, April 15, 2011

Goggie ob teh Week: Bumpin’ System - Loldogs, Dogs 'n' Puppy Dog Pictures - I Has A Hotdog!

Animal Attractions

Ok, couldn't resist this video - this woman is amazing in imitating animals:


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The Master is Gonna Laugh in Your Face! - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Biopunk, not a new William Gibson novel, but a series of articles on biohackers trying to create new forms of DNA on their own, without the support of big labs.  So far it is a two-article series, well worth reading both.


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Ed Brayton: Dishonest Use of Budget Numbers

Not that long an article, and well worth reading if you wish to assign blame for deficits.


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Rent Liechtenstein for $70,000 a Night

For when your event really requires a whole country.


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Video on the Movie The Hobbit

Hven't had a chance to look at this video yet, but sounds like it is worth sharing:


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LEGO House out of Lovecraft

Fundamentalists Objections to the Day of Silence

Ed Brayton has this post about a fundamentalist Christian objecting to the Day of Silence, when high school and middle school students who choose stay silent to protest anti-gay bullying and discrimination.  Is there still a need for a Day of Silence?  Yes, LGBT students are far too often not safe in their schools.  They face not only verbal intimidation, but physical violence.  Though it happened long ago, this comment on the post shows the horror they face:

I would like to inform Ms. Harvey that the metal plate in my face - the one that ensures my shattered eye socket, cheekbone and nose remain in place - is not a "monumental con job." Rather, it is the result of two nice "Christian" boys who decided 6 1/2 years ago to smash a brick into a faggot's face.

Futhermore, the physical and verbal harassment that I faced every single day of Junior High was not a "monumental con job," although it did occur 30 years ago. Rest assured, Ms. Harvey, that the attitudes behind it have not disappeared. Why in the last few months alone I have heard the term "fag" or "faggot" at least 6 times, including several instances when it was directed at me, and my brother-in-law, who lives in Massachusetts of all places, demanded I not mention my sexuality again when around "his" two teenagers (apparently my sister did not have a hand in their births).

If you'd like to discuss "monumental con jobs," however, let's start with the perversion of Christianity you claim to practice.

Posted by: CPT_Doom | April 13, 2011 1:46 PM


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We Have a Punny Government

Just looked at the new U.S. government website  Right under the title of the website is their slogan:  "Your best shot at good health."   Grrrrooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnn.


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Jon Kyl is a Twit

Or at least the subject of a lot of tweets from Stephen Colbert and followers.  The background is that Kyl made a statement that over 905 of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions.  The actual number is 3%.  When called on it, Kyl responded that his was not meant to be a factual statement.  So Colbert and followers started tweeting things about Kyl with the hashtag #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement.  Tweets range from the blue to the innocuous.  Here's one:  "Jon Kyl is an accomplished nude hula dancer. He is not welcome in Hawaii."  Or "Citing religious reasons, Jon Kyl refuses to utter the number 8."


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Know a Socially-Responsible Company

A New York Times article on becoming a B corp:  "To become a certified B Corp, or benefit corporation, a business must pass an examination of how it treats its employees, the environment and the community. A non-profit organization called B Lab sets out the requirements and certifies businesses that meet the standard. The idea is that while any company can claim to be a good corporate citizen, a B Corp can prove it — something valuable for consumers and investors."  Great idea!


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Where the Spending Cuts Are

Clean energy, environmental protection, and scientific research are among the losers - all things that could be drivers of new industires, much less helping save the planet from ecological disaster.


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Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2010

Censorship, or attempted censorship, lives on.

I understand wanting children to read age-appropriate books, but that is something that parents must take part in deciding.  As for other censhoship attempts, I'm entirely against them.  If you don't like a book's point of view, don't read it, or read it and refute it somewhere - there are plenty of places for expressing your opinion these days.  But don't tell me I can't read something because you don't like it.

Seems to me that those who want to censor have a weak faith in their own arguments against a point of view.  If an idea or argument can't stand up to critical scrutiny, it isn't worth much.


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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Onion on Viral Memes

Nick Kristof on Our Dysfunctional Government

Bravo, Mr. Kristoff, you've spoken for what I would guess is the majoirty of American voters.


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Quote of the Day

Found through Ed Brayton

"Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?"




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Conservative Economists Criticize Republican Budget

Jon Stewart Parody of Glenn Beck

...on the announcement that Beck's show will be ending.  Even more briilliant than usual, Jon.  Want to tech kids critical thinking?  Get them to watch The Daily Show.


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Video: Baldwin vs. Dawkins on Evolution

Via Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars:




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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paul Krugman on Deficits and Economy

Slashing government spending as the Republicans propose will not increase employment, but decrease it.


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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why to Fund Planned Parenthood

From a recent report:

Despite declines since 1991, the teen birth rate in the United States remains as much as nine times higher as in other developed countries, and significant racial/ethnic and geographic disparities exist in the United States. Compared with births to adult women, births to teens are at greater risk for low birth weight, preterm birth, and death in infancy (5,6). Teen childbearing also perpetuates a cycle of disadvantage; teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, and their children are more likely to have low school achievement, drop out of high school, and give birth themselves as teens."

Only 3% or so of Planned Parenthood's expenditures go to abortions.  About a third goes to birth control.  THIS is how to reduce abortions, as well as lessen the number of teens who get pregnant and don't abort.




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NASA Mars Science Laboratory

Boing Boing seems to have a lot of space stories.  This one includes lots of photos.  Timely for me, since my department just hosted a program on The Post-Shuttle Age: The Future of NASA, which fortunately went very well.



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Joseph Stiglitz on the Corrosive Effects of Income Inequality

Stiglitz is a Nobel-prize winning economist.  He talks here about the bad effects on democracy of our high levels of wealth concentration.


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4/12 - 50th Anniversary of Human Spaceflight

Called Yuri's night.  Website has news, events, shopping, resources, and more.


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Writers Do Research

Suzanne Adair is an email and facebook friend, and I have read her books and enjoyed them - they are historical mysteries set in the South during the Revolutiionary War.  She also has a blog full of interesting articles, such as this one on the length writers go to do research.


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The internet - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Buy Recipes for Disaster Relief

Mashable: Primer on Mobile Payment Systems

Nice brief introduction to what is going on in the field of paying for purchases by smartphone..


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Humor: Judgemental Ostich Bookseller

Picture of an ostrich wearing large glasses with funny captions a bookseller might say.  Pages and pages of it - some real gems among them, such as "Snooki wrote a book?  And by "book" do you mean "kindling"?"  "The Little Prince by Machiavelli?  Let me run it by my coworker".  "Thanks for putting the books you were looking at wherever you happened to be - our romance readers just luv them some James Ellroy".


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Your Next Computer May be Made with Blood: ReadWriteWeb Article

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Onion is Digitizing Their Older Issues

Single Page - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

Acting Like Animals: Beware of Dog? - Daily Squee - Cute Baby Animals


Today's example of cognitive dissonance.

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Gus diZerega on A Pagan Take on the Problem of Suffering and Disasters

This article is the first of a discussion by diZerega, who writes A Pagan's Blog.  The question of suffering is one of the most difficult of theological questions, and diZerega is a thoughtful writer.  Not an attempt to proselytize, but to open a discussion based on one person's point of view and experience.


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Corporate Taxes

Let's have a little perspective when asking teachers, friefighters, and public safety employees to sacrifice in these lean budget years.  This post mentions not only companies that earn billions in profits but get large tax rebates, but the fact that corporations used to account for 30% of the federal tax base and are down to 6% and still shrinking.  Companies are also getting tax breaks from state and local governments.  I suspect that not only does this put more burden on individual taxpayers, but on small businesses that do provoide a lot of jobs.  More equity is needed.


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Monday, April 4, 2011

More Humor Sites

A list of five humor sites you might not know about from  I like the cake in Cake Wrecks about the Windy city (tried to upload image, didn't work, go see for yourself). ;-).


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More Late April Fool's Day Stuff

Some really good ones in this list.  I particullarly liked the lineup of new ABC shows, including "White Castle - fast food, faster justice".






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A Late April Fool's Joke

I know, it's late, but I always see the best stuff after the day.  This is a good one from Wolfram/Alpha.


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Ed Brayton on Violence and the Koran Burning

As usual, he says what I feel and does it better.


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Internet Public Library Post on Children's Literature

Parents and teachers might find some useful resources here.


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Great Response to the Anti-Abortion Billboard

...pointing out that abortion is not the top priority for so many people in these difficult times, and that, as some people have commented, Life Does Not End at Birth.


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Article on Emotional Life of Animals

Did not mention cats, but a friend of mine who has raised several generations of one family of cats has observed grieing rituals and many other emotions.



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Friday, April 1, 2011

Humor: Moussa Koussa's facebook Page

Joke facebook page of the Libyan former foreign minister who defected.  And yes, that's his real name.

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Extreme Planet Makeover

Design your own planet!  From NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


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Dim Bulbs

I just love Gail Collin's writing style, and in her latest column she covers the light bulb controversy.


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Nick Kristof on Egyptian Democracy

Top 10 April Fool's Day Fake News Items for 2010

And another way to share the fun on April Fool's Day!


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Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes

Humor: Newspaper Blooper Site

They note that it is sad print newspapers are going away, but I've seen plenty of bloopers online as well.


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George P. Burdell on Linked In

I am now connected to George P. Burdell on Linked in, which I find amusing.  If you're not from Georgia Tech, George P. Burdell is a mythical student/professor created in the 1920s and who has reached amazing heights of influence since - including leading in the voting for Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2001 until he was removed from the running..



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