Bigfoot is dead. Really.

Lovable trickster created a monster with Bigfoot hoax:

‘Ray L. Wallace was Bigfoot. The reality is, Bigfoot just died,” said Michael Wallace about his father, who died of heart failure Nov. 26 in a Centralia nursing facility. He was 84.

The truth can finally be told, according to Mr. Wallace’s family members. He orchestrated the prank that created Bigfoot in 1958.

Some experts suspected Mr. Wallace had planted the footprints that launched the term “Bigfoot.” But Mr. Wallace and his family had never publicly admitted the 1958 deed until now.’ Seattle Times


An Animal’s Place: Thanks to rebecca for pointing to this. I’ve had no interest in absolutist vegetarianism for several decades, but a more mindful and ethical take on my meat-eating is appealing, even overdue:

“For my own part, I’ve discovered that if you’re willing to make the effort, it’s entirely possible to limit the meat you eat to nonindustrial animals. I’m tempted to think that we need a new dietary category, to go with the vegan and lactovegetarian and piscatorian. I don’t have a catchy name for it yet (humanocarnivore?), but this is the only sort of meat eating I feel comfortable with these days. I’ve become the sort of shopper who looks for labels indicating that his meat and eggs have been humanely grown (the American Humane Association’s new ”Free Farmed” label seems to be catching on), who visits the farms where his chicken and pork come from and who asks kinky-sounding questions about touring slaughterhouses. I’ve actually found a couple of small processing plants willing to let a customer onto the kill floor, including one, in Cannon Falls, Minn., with a glass abattoir.” New York Times Magazine


Helping chickens come home to roost for Poindexter:

Eyeballing Total Information Awareness:

<a href=”http://sfweekly.com/issues/2002-11-27/smith.html/1/index.html

“>The SF Weekly‘s column by Matt Smith in the Dec 3 issue points out that there may be some information that John M. and Linda Poindexter of 10 Barrington Fare, Rockville, MD, 20850, may be missing in their pursuit of total information awareness. He suggests that people with information to offer should phone 1 301 424 6613 to speak with that corrupt official and his wife. Neighbors Thomas E. Maxwell, 67, at 8 Barringon Fare ( 1 301 251 1326), James F. Galvin, 56, at 12 ( 1 301 424 0089), and Sherrill V. Stant (nee Knight) at 6, may also lack some information that would be valuable to them in making decisions — decisions that could affect the basic civil rights of every American. cryptome


Bush anything but moronic, according to author. When Mark Crispin Miller began the Dyslexicon, compiling Dubya’s burgeoning catalogue of verbal blunders and malapropisms, he thought he was just out for the entertainment value. But he ended up noticing something far more sinister.

“Bush is not an imbecile. He’s not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he’s incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he’s a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss.”

…Miller’s rendering of the president is bleaker than that. In studying Bush’s various adventures in oration, he started to see a pattern emerging.

“He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he’s speaking punitively, when he’s talking about violence, when he’s talking about revenge.

“When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine,” Miller said. “It’s only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes.” The Star (Ontario)


Fuck hiphop

(yeah, that’s right, he said it): I was also sent here from the null device (I really should check in there more often!)

I know you’ve been thinking it. And if you haven’t, you probably haven’t been paying attention. The art we once called hip hop has been dead for some time now. But because its rotting carcass has been draped in platinum and propped against a Gucci print car, many of us have missed its demise.

I think the time has come to bid a farewell to the last black arts movement. It’s had a good run but it no longer serves the community that spawned it. Innovation has been replaced with mediocrity and originality replaced with recycled nostalgia for the ghost of hip hop past, leaving nothing to look forward to. Honestly when was the last time you heard something (mainstream) that made you want to run around in circles and write down every word. When was the last time you didn’t feel guilty nodding your head to a song that had a ‘hot beat’ after realizing the lyrical content made you cringe. applesauce


Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing

This site about the horrible babynaming practices committed in the name of misguided ‘uniqueness’ is getting much airplay. I was pointed to it from the null device, where you’ll find speculation about a rule of inverse proportion between the uniqueness of a child’s name (or a tortured [mis-]spelling) and the intelligence of her/his parents.


Subject Matter:

Rafe Colburn at rc3 writes about the double life of the weblogger who has a non-virtual life as well as her/his online presence. While some of my boundaries are abit different — Rafe not only doesn’t mention his boss or talk about competing products, as he notes, but does not appear to mention his work at all (I’m a casual reader; I can’t swear to the fact that a scholarly study of rc3 wouldn’t provide clues as to what he does…), whereas my being a psychiatrist is one of the things for which I think some people read FmH — I agree with his conclusion that confessional weblogs are only pseudo-intimacy. I’ve never met anyone in the ‘real world’ who had previously known me only from my site, whereas Rafe seems to do so with some frequency (why?), but it would probably freak me out far less than it would were I publishing an online diary. For example, you don’t want to know (and I feel no compulsion that you should) what just happened to me at work…

Rafe also points to this definition of bikeshed discussions, which, I agree, is a very useful metaphor I will file away for appropriate future use, although I further agree that (it’s a pity) no one will know what the hell I’m talking about when I make the reference.


The Rightward Press: This is one of my pet peeves about the crybaby Right. Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne nails it: “The fat is in the fire on the issue of media bias, and that is a good thing. It’s time to revisit a matter on which the conventional wisdom is, roughly, 180 degrees off.

You hear the conventional wisdom all the time from shrewd conservative commentators who understand that political pressure, relentlessly applied, usually achieves its purposes. They have sold the view that the media are dominated by liberals and that the news is skewed against conservatives.

This belief fueled the construction of a large network of conservative institutions — especially on radio and cable television — that provides conservative viewpoints close to 24 hours a day. Conservatives argued that hopelessly left-wing establishment news sources needed to be balanced by brave, relentless voices from the right.

But the continuing attacks on mainstream journalists have another effect. Because the drumbeat of conservative press criticism has been so steady, the establishment press has internalized it. Editors and network executives are far more likely to hear complaints from the right than from the left.

To the extent that there has been a bias in the establishment media, it has been less a liberal tilt than a preference for the values of the educated, professional class — which, surprise, surprise, is roughly the class position of most journalists.”


Falling arches:McDonald’s is under fire all over the world — literally. With restaurant bombings and shutdowns on the rise, can the fast-food conglomerate withstand the heat of global anti-Americanism?” The icon is readily transmuted into a target of the various species of contempt for what it signifies; ubiquitous brand recognition has its costs.

“In many parts of the world if people can’t reach the embassy, there’s always a McDonald’s,” says James L. Watson, a Harvard professor of anthropology who studies McDonald’s, particularly its function as a “worldwide political target.”

Fast-food bombings began after the Cold War, when opposition political groups — whether it was Chilean splinter group FPMR/D or the Greek Fighting Guerrilla Formation — started to focus more on the sources of “cultural power,” Watson says: “to questions of cultural imperialism as opposed to rather old-fashioned forms of military imperialism.” Salon

Starbucks beware…



Got Paper?

Beth Israel Deaconess copes with a massive computer crash: “The crisis began on a Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 13, and lasted nearly four days. Before it was over, the hospital would revert to the paper systems that governed patient care in the 1970s, in some cases reverting to forms printed ”Beth Israel Hospital,” from before its 1996 merger. Hundreds of employees, from lab technicians to chief executive officer Paul Levy, would work overtime running a quarter-million sheets of paper from one end of the campus to the other.” Boston Globe


Top Ten:

The Defining Moments in Digital Culture: “Film and TV have had them, as have music and books. What we’re talking about are those moments that have defined and redefined a genre, whether it’s a line, character, lyric, scene, or performance. The internet, though very much in its infancy compared to other mass mediums, has still managed to have many of its own seminal moments.” Shift [via Walker]

Also: Modern Humorist’s Top Ten Funniest Moments of the Past Ten Years: ” A laughably arbitrary and idiosyncratic list by John Aboud”.


What’s Normal?

A Look at Asperger Syndrome: “It was an exciting moment for me — and, I imagine, for other parents of children with the baffling neurological disorder called Asperger syndrome — when The New York Times Magazine published Lawrence Osborne’s “Little Professor Syndrome” in June 2000.

The title may have been condescending, but the article itself was terrific, perhaps the best yet about Asperger’s in a mainstream publication: a 4,500-word exploration, in remarkably vivid and sympathetic language, of a world that few readers had visited.

So it was doubly exciting when Mr. Osborne, a widely published health and science journalist, expanded the article into a book, American Normal, published last month.” NY Times


Different Diet-Acne Link Proposed:

Plague of pimples blamed on bread:

Eating too much refined bread and cereal, rather than chocolate and greasy foods, may be the culprit behind the pimples that plague many a youngster.

That is the theory of a team led by Loren Cordain, an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Highly processed breads and cereals are easily digested. The resulting flood of sugars makes the body produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).

This in turn leads to an excess of male hormones. These encourage pores in the skin to ooze large amounts of sebum, the greasy goop that acne-promoting bacteria love. IGF-1 also encourages skin cells called keratinocytes to multiply, a hallmark of acne, the team say in a paper that will appear in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology.

An Australian team will soon test the theory by putting 60 teenage boys with acne on a low-carbohydrate diet for three months to see if it makes a difference. New Scientist


Adding Insult to Injury:

Radioactive patients set off subway alarms: “Americans undergoing radioactive medical treatments risk setting off anti-terrorism sensors in public places, and subsequent strip searches by police, warn doctors at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

A 34-year-old patient who had been treated with radioactive iodine for Graves disease, a thyroid disorder, returned to their clinic three weeks later complaining he had been strip-searched twice in Manhattan subway stations. Christopher Buettner and Martin Surks report the case in a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association.” New Scientist


Slicing Spam…

…with smart email addresses: “Software that generates a unique email address for every message sent could help cut down spam, a US computer scientist believes.

This is because hidden in the address are encrypted rules determining who is permitted to reply to the address, as well as how many replies can be sent and when.” New Scientist


Interracial Intimacy:White-black dating, marriage, and adoption are on the rise. This development, however, is being met with resistance—more vocally by blacks than by whites.” — Randall Kennedy, The Atlantic

A white writer has a different take on the development:

In a world brimming with bad news, here’s one of the happiest trends: Instead of preying on people of different races, young Americans are falling in love with them.

Whites and blacks can be found strolling together as couples even at the University of Mississippi, once the symbol of racial confrontation.

“I will say that they are always given a second glance,” acknowledges C. J. Rhodes, a black student at Ole Miss. He adds that there are still misgivings about interracial dating, particularly among black women and a formidable number of “white Southerners who view this race-mixing as abnormal, frozen by fear to see Sara Beth bring home a brotha.”

Mixed-race marriages in the U.S. now number 1.5 million and are roughly doubling each decade. About 40 percent of Asian-Americans and 6 percent of blacks have married whites in recent years. — Nicholas Kristof, NY Times


Wolf in dog’s clothing

“Man’s best friend has been around longer than anyone thought. The great Dane, pit bull and Pekinese are all descended from a few far-eastern wolves that befriended humans at least 15,000 years ago.

Even the new world canines – such as Alaskan huskies and Chesapeake Bay retrievers – have DNA sequences which make them indistinguishable from European dogs, geneticists report in Science today.” Guardian UK


The Cultural Politics of the Sociobiology Debate — Abstract:

The sociobiology debate, in the final quarter of the twentieth century, featured many of the same issues disputed in the culture war in the humanities during this same time period. This is evident from a study of the writings of Edward O. Wilson, the best known of the sociobiologists, and from an examination of both the minutes of the meetings of the Sociobiology Study Group (SSG) and the writings of Stephen Jay Gould, the SSG’s most prominent member. Many critics of sociobiology, frequently radical scientists who were attached to the lineage of the New Left, argued for the same multicultural values promoted by radical humanities professors in this period. Conversely, liberal sociobiologists defended the universalist values of the liberals in the humanities. Journal of the History of Biology

With a link to a PDF of the full article.


Why we get ill at weekends

People who get ill at the weekend or while on holiday may be suffering from a ‘new’ medical condition.

Researchers in the Netherlands say a significant proportion of the population is suffering from so-called leisure sickness.

They have found 3% of people become ill with a variety of different complaints as soon as they stop working and try to relax.

Symptoms like fatigue, muscular pains and nausea are most common at weekends.” BBC