Thursday, January 28, 2010

Indianapolis has an art museum?

The next time an NFL team pleads for public financing for a stadium and needs to argue for the public benefit to the community, it should consider the bet made between the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

If the Saints beat the Colts next Sunday, IMA will loan NOMA J.M.W. Turner's The Fifth Plague of Egypt. If the Colts win, NOMA will loan IMA Claude Lorrain's Ideal View of Tivoli.

Be sure and read the art world's attempt at trash talk.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What would we do without social science?

According to Hazel Markus of Stanford University, "...the enormous opportunity for growth and self-advancement that flows from unlimited freedom of choice may diminish rather than enhance subjective well-being."

So, basically, Stanford is only getting around to discoveries that New Wave groups understood thirty years ago.

(Note that Wikipedia gets this song totally wrong, claiming it's about Aesop's Dog and the Bone when it's pretty clearly about Burdian's ass, dog and bone metaphors nonwithstanding.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A brief discussion of political budgeting

It has come to my attention that Idaho's governor, Butch Otter, has proposed a budget that contains cuts to education and parks. Naturally, the public is up in arms... which is just what I think the governor wanted.

I think Governor Otter is looking for political capital to increase taxes, using the time-honored strategy of presenting the most popular services as the first ones to be cut. For example, any time anyone wants to cut public broadcasting, "Sesame Street" is the first show headed for the chopping block, and President Obama got rid of the world's most advanced fighter jet rather than some other military program. So, obviously, the only way to save these popular programs is to pony up more money.

Now, some would say that Governor Otter is opposed to tax increases, and perhaps he is, personally. But in his role as governor, he has to favor higher taxes and more services, because it increases the power of his office to distribute benefits to the people who elected him, and makes those same people more reliant on his re-election.

There's another time-honored method the state could use if it wanted to pay expenses the voters didn't want - lawsuit funding. Under this plan, organizations that are facing budget cuts sue the state for some reason or another, and the state mounts an ineffective defense (or, if nobody in the press is paying attention, defaults). The state is ordered to make the payments, and the politicians get to blame the "activist judges" for ruining their sure-fire plan to end government waste.

Then again, the city that pioneered that strategy isn't doing so well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Programmed in multiple techniques

So, science has finally got around to creating a robot lover.

This seems like a mistake, as the first-generation models are likely to be so expensive that only the wealthy and powerful can afford them, and you would think that the wealthy and powerful don't really lack for lovers. Oh, sure, you could pitch in with some of your buddies and co-own one, but that might be unsanitary.

The second problem is that the market for robot lovers has fallen off since its peak demand in the late 70s and the 80s, when robot love was as popular as Cabbage Patch dolls and ninjas. Don't believe me? Try the following examples:

Dee D. Jackson's "Automatic Lover" (1978), which might be the funniest thing you'll see today
"Heartbeeps" (1981), based on the premise that it's not creepy if the robots fall in love with each other
ELO's "Yours Truly 2095"(1982), displaying advances in robot voice technology since 1978
Paulie's robot in "Rocky IV" (1986), which had an implied sex component
"Cherry 2000" (1987), with a cameo by Gort
Data and Yar getting it on in a 1987 episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Two Shatner posts in a row? Yes, The Shat will be hosting WWE Raw on February 1.

In my dream world, the end product would look something like this.