Friday, 28 September 2007

Tuesday Morning

Quoth Megan McArdle:

John Quiggin asks why Americans vote on a Tuesday.

Louisianans apparently vote on Saturdays, at least in state elections. Indeed, the only elections in Louisiana that are held on a weekday are federal general elections, which are on Tuesdays pursuant to federal law. (Yes, this means working at the polls this fall means I will miss seeing two football games, alas.)

So, all Americans don’t vote on Tuesdays—indeed, the modal American doesn’t vote at all in most elections. Or maybe Louisianans aren’t real Americans.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

WDSU-HD back on Cox cable

If only they’d done it a day sooner, I’d have been able to avoid scheduling manual recordings for Earl and The Office. All zero of my NOLA readers can see the announcement here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The contents of my APSA nametag barcode

Using the SWIPE Toolkit, I found out what Big Brother knew about me in Chicago due to the barcode on my name tag:


Nothing you couldn’t have figured out with Google, I suppose.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Photos by request

Alfie, as one of my sole remaining commenters, requested that I post the following photo.

Alfie loves Haley

My other pictures from Saturday are here.

Bad news blogger

Via Jonathan Rowe and Timothy Sandefur: one of my favorite writers and early blogging influences, Virginia Postrel, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer; the royal we here at Signifying Nothing will, like Mr. Sandefur, be keeping her in our thoughts.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Quiz of the day

Via Megan McArdle: are you smarter than a freshman at Harvard?

Monday, 17 September 2007


My OTB co-blogger Alex Knapp writes:

I am still baffled and amazed and thinking about “Blink”, which is not only the best episode of Doctor Who that I have seen to date, but also stands as probably the finest one-hour episode of television science fiction that I have ever seen…

Indeed, it’s probably my favorite episode of the series thus far. More Sally Sparrow, please.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Cox blows its chance at $22 (or more)

I found out last night that the faculty party I was planning to attend tonight was cancelled due to a family illness, so today I was left with the choice of whether to use my ticket to see Tulane play Houston or stay home tonight to listen to Ole Miss play Vanderbilt on XM. Then I found out the game is on pay-per-view… but apparently there’s no way for me to order it, since Cox’s sales office is closed after 5 on Saturday, the website only lets you sign up for a season subscription, Cox doesn’t give me access to ESPN360, and the stupid cable box Cox gave me doesn’t show it as a pay-per-view event.

So I’ll be listening on XM 232 instead, and Cox just blew its chance to sell me the game (or upsell me to the GamePlan season package).

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


The big football news this week is that everyone’s (well, everyone except Bill Simmons’) least favorite football coach, Bill Belichick, was caught having an assistant coach videotape defensive signals in Sunday’s Patriots victory over the New York Jets. Speculation about a penalty ranges from draft picks to a Belichick suspension, but to my mind Roger Goddell should be looking to how the NCAA, NASCAR, and soccer leagues around the world punish cheaters: hitting teams in the only thing the Patriots and their owner Bob Krafft really care about—standings and the win-loss record. Make the Pats forfeit their win over the Jets, or force them to—at best—be the #6 seed in the playoffs, in effect forfeiting a potential bye and playing all their games on the road (assuming they qualify), and the sartorially-challenged self-declared football genius will curb his misbehavior much more quickly than if threatened by mere fines or a meaningless sideline ban.

The big higher education news is SIU president Glenn Poshard’s apparent plagiarism in both his master’s and doctoral theses. If SIU‘s board of trustees had any guts, not only would they can the guy, they’d also revoke his degrees. Unfortunately, being an administration stooge seems to be an essential qualification for board membership at many universities, including at SIU and now at Dartmouth too.

Voting is hard

The sample ballot for my precinct next month’s state primary is giving me a headache… and I study this stuff for a living.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Vague productivity

I finished up some revisions to a manuscript and sent it out for review today—one down, two or three more to go.

Any apparent correlation between this burst of productivity and my need to send out job applications in the next couple of weeks is spurious at best.

Sunday, 9 September 2007


You know, if someone had told me earlier in the week that Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis would run for 226 yards and Seth Adams would pass for 305 today, I’d probably have been happy. But zero execution in the red zone and missed conversions = a loss to Missouri. I’d have consoled myself with a Mississippi State loss to Tulane, but no such luck, despite the game being tied at 17 at the half. What’s even worse is I was sitting next to a kid, so I couldn’t even shout profanities at the State fans or the referees.

So instead I consoled myself by seeing Superbad. That did the trick.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

New toys

It was a busy week in gadgets around the homestead:

Cell phone: I replaced my aging and bulky Samsung A940 with an LG Musiq LX570. I was originally tempted by the fancier RAZR2, but couldn’t justify spending the extra $150 for stuff I’d never use.

Motherboard and CPU in my office computer: I ditched the mysteriously-crashing (and also aging) AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (1.15 GHz) and Soyo motherboard in favor of an Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 (2 cores at 2 GHz), Intel DG965RY motherboard (I went with integrated graphics, since I have no plans to do anything fancier with 3D stuff than run Compiz Fusion), and 2 gigs of memory. I still need to figure out how to get Windows to boot again, but that’s not all that critical since the computer spends 99% of its life in Linux anyway.

Monday, 3 September 2007

There and back again

I got back from APSA in Chicago last night, after a relatively uneventful conference; most of the highlights involved locating the best bar specials on Goose Island 312, although I think I had a few good interactions at the meat market and got a couple of leads on other jobs. It was nice seeing a few old friends here and there, mostly all-too-briefly; with the exception of Frequent Commenter Scott and his grad school buddy John, I didn’t spend much time with anyone except Marvin and a few of his grad students at dinner Thursday, and Dirk and his family, who hosted a nice lunch for me and a couple of friends out in the ‘burbs on Sunday. (Particular apologies to Michelle, with whom I only interacted via cell phone.)

Alas, nobody seemed to take me up on my suggestion of creating a scene at the registration desk when their name tag appeared bearing the mark of the beast. One of these days I’ll figure out how to create mass mischief at APSA, but not this year.