Thursday, 4 December 2003

Blog off!

I find the use of the word “blog” to describe an individual post in a weblog incredibly annoying. It makes no sense. Would you call an individual entry in a logbook a “log“? An item in a diary a “diary“? No and no.

Signifying Nothing is a blog. This posting is an entry, a post, or a diatribe. Got it? Good. End of today’s class.

Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest.

Stephen Karlson at Cold Springs Shops notes that the verb form of “blog” has an accepted precedent (and I don’t disagree—or have a problem with statements like “I so have to blog this conversation); my ire is actually directed at those who use the word “blog” as a noun to describe a single entry in a weblog. Just to clarify…

Failing the rational basis test

California’s idiot regulators have banned a glow-in-the-dark fish because it is the product of genetic engineering. Let’s watch the regulators explain the scientific basis for their decision:

“For me it’s a question of values; it’s not a question of science,‘’ said Sam Schuchat, a member of the state Fish and Game Commission. “I think selling genetically modified fish as pets is wrong.‘’

Now, if only the right to own glow-in-the-dark fish—let’s call that “economic liberty,” just for kicks—was as important in the eyes of our legal betters as the right to have sex with random people, maybe the courts would get involved…

Plame jumps the shark

The whole Valerie Plame business is rapidly approaching Theatre of the Absurd levels; Steven Taylor of PoliBlog and Glenn Reynolds have all the gory details. I’m not quite ready to proclaim the whole business “bogus,” but the bogosity meter is definitely edging toward 11 on the Spinal Tap scale.

From the job trail

Seen at the bottom of this ad for an otherwise normal-looking tenure-track position at Texas A&M University at Texarkana:

This is a security-sensitive position. Criminal background checks will be conducted on finalists.

I’m simultaneously amused, intrigued, and (slightly) disturbed.

Perot versus Nader

Both Jane Galt and Steven Taylor ponder why Ralph Nader and Ross Perot elicit different reactions from “hard-core” partisans.

Interestingly enough, neither Nader nor Perot gained heavy support from self-identified strong partisans; the typical Nader voter wasn’t a hardcore Democrat, but rather a hardcore liberal with weak party identification—an important distinction to bear in mind. In a two-candidate race, the typical Nader voter would have been predisposed to favor Gore over Bush; however, that assumes he or she would have bothered to vote at all, something I’m not sure is the case. One other data point: more self-identified Democrats voted for Bush than for Nader.

The evidence that Perot cost George H.W. Bush the 1992 presidential election is very weak. If anything, Perot’s 1992 and 1996 candidacies hurt Democrats over the long term by costing Clinton the appearance of a mandate—bear in mind that Clinton didn’t receive more than 50% of the popular vote in either 1992 or 1996, thereby weakening his position.