January 6, 2008

A belated Saturnalia greeting from Sir James George Frazer

I hope everyone had a happy Holiday with their families. I did, and that meant spending some time on airplanes. My favorite thing to do on airplanes is to read difficult books, because once I get on the plane, there's nothing more fun I could possibly do with my time, hence there are no distractions (once I've popped in my earplugs, anyway - never fly without them).

For several months, I've been working on The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941), that scandalous defining achievement of civilization in which Frazer very thoroughly and eloquently dissects the entirety of magical and superstitious practices across all cultures and eras of human existence. As it happened, on the night of December 24th I got to a passage about the origins of Christmas. It's not hard to see why the book ignited such a controversy (which Frazer tried to defuse by censoring it himself - a new abridgment restores the offending material).

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November 6, 2007

Objet trouvé, de mon courriel

I don't know what you've been telling them, but I seem to get a lot of advertisements for the same product in my e-mail. [Warning: not work-safe]

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October 28, 2007

Nobel laureates say the darnedest things

As you've probably heard, Jim Watson, co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA (with Francis Crick and really with Rosalind Franklin too), said a not-nice thing:

He says that he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa? because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really?, and I know that this “hot potato? is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true?.

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October 7, 2007

Blessed are the first-person shooters

This is unexpected: churches across the country are sponsoring Halo nights.

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October 5, 2007

Don't send gifts to me via UPS

Why are people in brown shirts always ruining the world?

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OMG! Stealing is teh illegalz!

Arrr! It turns out that even though everyone's doing it and no one expects to get caught, piracy is technically illegal.

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October 4, 2007

Dobson for President!

Yeah, I mean it!

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September 28, 2007

The Apple business model

This shouldn't surprise nearly as many people as it has.

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September 19, 2007

Don't waste the First Amendment on this guy

By now, I'm sure you've seen this and read the phrase "freedom of speech" with more caps lock and exclamation points than the Founders ever intended.

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August 7, 2007

Spring cleaning

I wonder if the U of M is doing this now that I've left.

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July 19, 2007

Troubled Times?

The juxtaposition of opinion columns in the New York Times is a little weird this week.

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June 17, 2007

Osama wins again!

This is just ridiculous.

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April 8, 2007

Screaming match

Everyone loves a good screaming match.

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April 6, 2007

Spam: Where's the BEEF?

I like to think of myself as a responsible Netizen, but there's only one of me.

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March 7, 2007

Don't be part of the problem, you pompous dandies

A recent study reports that today's college students are more narcissistic than previous generations. I'm not surprised.

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