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God Save Alaska

Photo from the official government of Alaska web site
I have to admit that when I pick up the Metro now and then, I flip to the celebrity section and read about the exploits of Paris Hilton, the Spears sisters, et al. The same pleasure centre of my brain that is fascinated by other peoples lives tingles every time I read any little tidbit of Barack Obama. McCain’s initial attacks on Obama comparing him to a celebrity did strike a chord with me. Could I believe in a politician’s views and ideals because he or she wields the powers of celebrity: a shining smile, good looks, and adoring crowds?

And yet it’s no surprise that McCain has chosen to fight celebrity fire with fire by selecting Palin. She is already the badass celebrity who will have the paparazzi following her in the wake of scandal that follows. Former beauty queen? Check. Pregnant unwed daughter? Check. Bad guy husband with unruly past? Check. Gets dragged into court in the full public eye? Check. Palin is Paris Hilton: the badass celebrity.

What could be better for McCain? Palin is like a black hole that will draw all the attention to his campaign and what is worse (or better if you’re a Republican) is if and when McCain, with a steady fatherly hand, makes this badass daughter good in front of glaring eyes of the nation.

God save Alaska.

Posted in How to Read  •  1 Comment

Armchair Political Consultant

With this plush political device, Chris Ellis will conquer the minds of the G8.
I am not going to lie — the more turbulent the political world gets, the more I like it. Like many of you, I am a newsfreak, an armchair political consultant. Let’s be clear, I would never want to be an armchair politician. Rather, I want to the person sitting in the shadows, in an armchair, whispering sweet nothings into ears of world leaders. So, in fact, I am an armchair-armchair political consultant.

After all the hem-hawing over Russia’s latest chess move, an article has finally come through that sets out who did what to whom. Quite interesting — from the Moscow Times.

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How to Survive a Bear Attack

Photo by Sasha Petite

Let’s make this clear: This post has nothing to do with a certain issue in the news about a certain post-Soviet country’s recent military activity.

Excerpts taken from a page on the Yukon government’s web site, “In a Bear Encounter…”

- “Except in some remote areas, most bears have had some previous experience with people. Whatever a bear has learned from these experiences will influence its behavior during the next encounter.

While it’s always safest to prevent encounters, there are many situations in which bears and humans interact.”

- “Some bears avoid larger more dominant bears by using areas close to human activity. This increases their risk of conflict with people.

Food-conditioned bears may be bold and approach deliberately to get to your food. They can come right into your camp, rip into your tent, or enter a building.

Your response to a bear encounter or attack should be different depending on the bear’s behavior and the circumstances, not the species.”

- “A predatory bear will be intensely interested and focused on you as a potential meal. A bear that is initially curious or testing you may become predatory if you do not stand up to it.”

- “A defensive bear is a stressed bear. You have entered its personal space and the bear perceives you as a threat. The bear may retreat, or remain nearby, nervous and uncertain. It may approach you… or charge.

Whenever a bear approaches or charges… Stand your ground.”

- “Try to appear non-threatening. Talk to the bear in a firm voice. This may calm the bear as well as yourself.”

- “If an attack is prolonged or the bear starts eating you, it is no longer being defensive. You must now fight back with all you’ve got! Your life depends on it.”

- “The two main types of serious attacks are defensive or predatory …

- “A defensive attack is when the bear is trying to remove a threat. A predatory attack is when the bear is intent on eating you. Your initial response to both should be the same… stand your ground!”

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sasha Petite

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Posted in How to Read  •  2 Comments

Daily Toast: July 17th 2008

Daily toastThe great walled cities of Iraq—nothing ancient here. From Subtopia. Link.

Go sit down and read a book! From Boing Boing. Link.

Lawrence Lessig’s take on swiftboating on Lessig.org. Link.

The environmental impact of the Irish and Scottish settlers in Canada and New Zealand. A podcast from World’s Fair. Link.

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Daily Toast: July 16th 2008

Daily toastDiscussion about the Kindle and Sony ebook reader on the Oxford University Press blog. Link.

The spread of information from blog to blog. From Data Mining. Link

Movable type hoax. Interesting—maybe. From The Technium. Link.

The magazine layout process in a time-lapse video. From magCulture. Link.

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Daily Toast: July 15th 2008

Daily toastThe economics of love, from NYT. Link.

A colour e-ink tablet from Fujitsu, from Engadget. Link

Digg’s changing traffic patterns—print media is sliding. From Hitwise. Link.

Craig, please save what’s black and white and read all over. From PaidContent. Link.

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Daily Toast: July 11th 2008

Daily toastThe throw down: paperbacks vs eink. From Pocket-lint. Link

iTunes, the iPhone, and a little thing called the digital book. Will this actually change anything? From tech.blorge. Link

The new-new Amish. From the Technium. Link.

The Bear in repose. A gallery from The Morning News. Link.

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Daily Toast: July 10th 2008 – I am back

Daily toastNew York’s newsstands. From NYT. Link.

Ahhh, the Readius – ugly eink. Also from the NYT. Link.

Dead and ghostly swimming pools via Bldgblog. Link.

Search by colour. Link.

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Daily Toast: June 30th 2008

Daily toastBack in the saddle again…

A fairly direct opinion piece from Friedman at the NYT. Link.

E-ink newspapers and flying pigs. From Portfolio. Link.

The showdown: iPhone vs Kindle. From CNET. Link.

Search trend for two scary words: SUV and GAS. Link.

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Daily Toast: June 18th 2008

Daily toastHow to nap. From Boston.com via Boing Boing. Link.

It’s ‘ok’ to be inefficient. From Web Worker Daily. Link.

Vanity Fair piece on Cuban baseball players. Link.

Here we go. Print-on-demand magazines. Link.

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Daily Toast: June 17th 2008

Daily toastMy first computer, the Mac Classic. From CNET. Link.

Kids books online. Link.

Race issues in France. From the NYT. Link.

The future of money. Via Boing Boing. Link.

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Daily Toast: June 13th 2008

Daily toastAbandoned gas pumps, from the NYT. Link.

Inflation and gas prices—not just for loose cash policies after all. From the BBC. Link.

The beauty of print magazines. From The Independent. Link.

The melancholy pursuit of happiness. From Smithsonian. Link

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