The “beckoning cat” turns out to be Japanese, not Chinese, and is properly rendered as a ceramic sculpture, rather than shiny, gold plastic. It’s beckoning passersby to enter the establishment, although the gesture doesn’t really translate, since in the West, that’s how we wave hello and goodbye. They appear to date to the 1870s. →
Category Archives: ShortLinks
This is what I did for the White House from November–February—create Ethics.gov. I’ll have to write a lot more about that whole adventure, now that the site is public. In short, though, A++++ WOULD WORK THERE AGAIN. →
Peanut allergies are fantastically rare, even among people who ostensibly have peanut allergies.
It’s been known for some years now that very few people who believe that they have peanut allergies actually have peanut allergies, but the precise number hasn’t been known. The University of Manchester tested this by giving peanuts to a bunch of kids with peanut allergies (a bold move, to be sure) and found that …
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CBS News calling a spade a spade.
Further to this happy trend of media outlets pointing out when the subject of their coverage is lying comes a piece by Lucy Madison, writing for CBS News, regarding Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke: “In her testimony, Fluke largely discussed the high cost of contraception and the important medical benefits it can offer women. She …
The final vote on 2008’s budget bill (SB30).
Remember in 2008, when every Republican senator in the General Assembly voted against the the budget bill, how they were labelled “obstructionists”? Yeah, me neither. →
An archive of reports issued to the General Assembly.
The state legislature routinely puts together commissions that conclude by issuing a report about its assigned topic. Dozens of reports have been published this year, on topics as varied as “Management of State-owned Bottomlands on the Seaside of the Eastern Shore” and “Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors in Virginia.” Although most of the older …
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Clouds are getting lower.
Here’s something I never thought to wonder about: the average height of clouds. From March 2000–February 2010, clouds got 100–130 feet lower. There’s no long-term monitoring, so it’s not clear whether this is part of a larger trend. One theory is that this might be part of a negative feedback loop as the planet responds …
List of the most common U.S. place names.
The ten most common place names in the country are, in descending order of frequency, Greenville (49), Franklin (30), Clinton (29), Springfield (28), Salem (25), Fairview (24), Washington (24), Madison (23), Georgetown (22), and Arlington (21). Hawaii is the only state without a Greenville. →
It turns out that AIDS/HIV deniers still exist.
Back in the 1980s, it was hypothesized that HIV caused AIDS. That proved to be true. But there remain a small, vocal group of conspiracy theorists who are convinced that the HIV/AIDS connection is a huge scam. That group includes people with HIV. But as those people die of AIDS, that group keeps getting smaller, …
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The notion that the Bible prohibits abortion is more recent than the invention of the Happy Meal.
In 1968, Christianity Today (Billy Graham’s magazine) pointed out that Leviticus 24:17 commands capital punishment for murder, but Exodus 21:22–24 lays out a specific scenario under which, if a fetus is killed, the offender must pay a fine to her husband. The author concluded that, according to the Bible, a fetus does not have a …
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