Friday, 13 February 2004

Lies, Damned Lies, and Advertising

On page W5 of today's Wall Street Journal there's a full-page adversitement for Suunto, which makes "wristop computers," i.e. geeky watches that tell you the temperature, stock quotes, and your GPS coordinates. From the first paragraph of the ad copy:
Even remotely superstitious people tend to be a little suspicious around Friday the 13th. Actually, studies do show that the number of accidents can increase by, like, 52.4% on this particular date.
Studies also show that, like, 63.7% of all cited statistics are just made up.

More on titles

Steven Taylor has a followup tonight to my post on academic titles from a couple of days ago; James Joyner comments as well.

Going AWOL

The Baseball Crank plays whiffleball with some Bush AWOL critics. In the process, he notes this Jackson Baker piece in the Memphis Flyer, picked up by Kevin Drum of CalPundit.

For the uninitiated: Baker is both the bête noir and inspiration of Memphis blogger Mike Hollihan; the classic quote about the Flyer is that the alt-weekly “has never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” I caught Baker redhanded flat-out distorting quotes from politicians back during the Tennessee “tiny towns” debacle in 1997. Baker is the worst kind of political reporter: a man who virtually fellates his sources in print, an unabashed Democratic partisan, and a man who routinely substitutes innuendo for fact. While his work is often amusing, if you’re looking for credible, nonpartisan reportage or commentary without an ideological axe to grind I’d suggest going to Atrios or The 700 Club first.

Update: Dean Esmay has more, indicating that the end may finally be near.


This weekend’s Herculean coding task: port Textile 2.0 syntax to Python. Mark Pilgrim ported the 1.0 syntax, but has since put the project aside due to limited time. The Perl module is 2260 lines, not including the POD-formatted docs (I guess I’ll have to make that a docstring), so my work is cut out for me.

Anyway, it’s a welcome distraction from job applications…

Perceptual screens

The folks at The Dead Parrot Society can now safely run their diff between the new and old versions of the blogroll. I’m not going to name names, but I purged a few people whose blogging had ceased to have any value to me. (I also purged a few blogs that have been dead for several months.) Once the Kerry zippergate and Bush AWOL stories go away, I will consider restoring the removed blogs, if it turns out I start visiting those sites again. Judging from visits today, however, I think I made the right decision.