Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia Page Altered One Day Before Nomination

“Sarah Palin is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 presidential election. Yesterday, someone close to Palin made a whole bunch of edits to her Wikipedia entry making it a little more palatable for the centrists. For those who are interested in the old page, check Google’s cached version or download screenshots (might be slow to load due to file size) from August 21st 2008 and August 29th 2008 and compare the notes for yourself.” (Headsetoptions)

Facial Frontier

The human face can reveal much about a person — whether they like it or not: “In his new book, The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head (Yale University Press), [Raymond] Tallis sets out to make his readers into ‘astonished tourists of the piece of the world that is closest to them, so they never again take for granted the head that looks at them from the mirror.’ He begins his examination with the face.” (National Post)

…including what is likely the first analysis of harrumphing.


God and Jerk at Yale

Getting over it: “The difference between having a college degree and not having one is far greater than where you go to college. But where you go can determine, to a large extent, who you become. Some of us become jerks. And others spend our lives trying to figure out what it meant to have been there — and how to get over it.” (Chronicle of Higher Education)

In Defense of the Beta Blocker

Skeletal formula of propranolol, the first cli...

A performance-enhancing drug that is fair to use? “From a competitive standpoint, this is what makes beta blockers so interesting : they seem to level the playing field for anxious and non-anxious performers, helping nervous performers much more than they help performers who are naturally relaxed. In the British study, for example, the musician who experienced the greatest benefit was the one with the worst nervous tremor. This player’s score increased by a whopping 73%, whereas the musicians who were not nervous saw hardly any effect at all.

One of the most compelling arguments against performance enhancing drugs is that they produce an arms race among competitors, who feel compelled to use the drugs even when they would prefer not to, simply to stay competitive. But this argument falls away if the effects of the drug are distributed so unequally. If it’s only the nervous performers who are helped by beta blockers, there’s no reason for anyone other than nervous performers to use them.” — Carl Elliott, University of Minnesota bioethicist (Atlantic)


Sukiyaki Western Django


“English-language Western by Japanese director Takashi Miike. The all-Japanese cast, augmented by Quentin Tarantino in two cameo roles, learned their English dialogue phonetically and attack their lines as if the words were small furry animals that need to be beaten into submission. The dialogue is crammed with weird, Christopher Walken-esque line readings and bizarre placement of emphases—phrases like “You old biddy,” “Dang!” and “You reckon?” become hilariously divorced from meaning. But, like an alcoholic reduced to drinking sterno, the more you drink, the more brain cells you fry, and the better it tastes. Before long you not only start to understand Miike’s “through the looking glass” English but also to appreciate the cadences. It’s something like the dialogue in Deadwood or Cormac McCarthy’s writing: stiff, alien, occasionally silly but not without a hypnotic elegance all its own.

But why? The answer is simple: It’s a Takashi Miike film. The hardest-working man in showbiz, he’s made close to 80 movies, ranging from the good to the bad to the ugly, and if he’s going to make a Western, then it’s going to pay tribute to the truth that Westerns have never been solely an American undertaking—they’re an international language. With a title that’s one part Japanese (sukiyaki: the everything-in-a-bowl beef dish) and one part Italian (Django: the title character of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti-Western classic), Miike offers up an explosion of influences that mocks the idea of a monoculture that’s immune to foreign influence. Sukiyaki Western Django is a blend of Buddhist philosophy, film noir fatalism, Shakespeare’s Henry VI, and Japan’s very own 12th-century Genpei War. It’s a Wild West pageant of American history seen through Japanese eyes, reducing our entire frontier mythology to an ultraviolent grab for gold.” (Slate)