Monday, October 31, 2005


My blog is worth $1,693.62.
How much is your blog worth?

Then again, my friend's anime blog is worth an envy-producing $14,113.50.

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What Iraqi Casualties?

Heard a thought-provoking episode on the public radio show "This American Life" this past weekend. The episode, titled "What's in a Number?", included a discussion on a John Hopkins University study published last year in the British medical journal "The Lancet." The study (free registration required) concluded that approximately 100,000 Iraqis had died since the beginning of the war.

Although the study did not distinguish between civilian and combatant dead, its estimate was much higher than other numbers that had been posited. Apparently, the major media outlets either ignored the study altogether or gave it very brief mention. According to the report, many pundits attacked the study without even understanding the study's statistical method.

Also in this episode, an American soldier who served in Iraq is interviewed about his thoughts on Iraqi casualties. For full information about this episode, go to and look in the 2005 archive for episode 300, dated 10/28/05. You can listen to the episode on RealPlayer by clicking here.

Note: The Iraq Body Count Web site is mentioned in the episode.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

"The Tavis Smiley Show"

The Tavis Smiley Show, which concluded December 2004 when Smiley chose not to renew his NPR contract, is back on public radio. This time, his show is distributed by PRI (Public Radio International).

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Knitted Digestive System

Oh my God, I just saw a link to this from Boing Boing and had to link to it here. It's a knitted digestive system!

Made by craftster user "arrmatie"

You can also get plush microbes from

They come in pimple, syphillis, gonorrhea, flesh eating disease, bad breath, common cold, flu, HIV, mono, sore throat, stomach ache, ulcer, beer yeast, ebola and bookworm. Aww ...

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

"WAL-MART" Documentary to Be Released

"Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs" has been a popular article to e-mail this week on the New York Times Web site. Which reminds me that the documentary "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price" will be released the second week of November. The film is directed by Robert Greenwald, who also made "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" (which I haven't seen). What I find exciting about "WAL-MART" is that it's coming out on DVD, and Greenwald is encouraging people to host screenings in their towns. According to the screening list on the movie's official Web site, "WAL-MART" will be shown in churches, schools, cafes and living rooms across the country. You can sign up to host a screening or register to attend one through the movie's Web site.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Robert's Snow for Cancer Research

If you live in Boston, you might want to attend the 2005 kickoff of Robert's Snow. Robert's Snow was founded by my friend Alice's sister, Grace, and Grace's husband Robert, a two-time cancer survivor. Their campaign seeks to raise money for cancer research through the auctioning off of wooden snowflakes decorated by children's book illustrators. Last year, artists such as Marc Brown (creator of Arthur), Ian Falconer (Olivia) and Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express) contributed snowflakes to the campaign. (Grace herself is a children's book author and illustrator.)

For more information about the campaign, please visit The 2005 campaign kickoff will take place next Thursday, Nov. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Locco Ritoro Gallery in Boston. The 200 snowflakes that will be auctioned off this year will be on display at the gallery. You can RSVP for the event on the Robert's Snow Web site.

If you can't attend the kickoff, you can still view this year's snowflakes on the Robert's Snow Web site. And, of course, you can bid on a snowflake or snowflakes. They will be auctioned off on eBay beginning Sunday, Nov. 6 (link TK on Robert's Snow).

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

On Michelle Wie's Disqualification

On this week's edition of On the Media, they discussed the controversy surrounding Wie's disqualification from her first tournament as a pro. Thought it was worth mentioning because it concerns an ethical dilemma faced by a journalist. More on this later.

I've also uploaded the photos that I took at the anti-war march in Washington, D.C., last month. You can view them at my Flickr site.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The "Passion of Cruise" and the Devil's Work?

Best quote of the day, from "Miers Finds Support from Evangelical Churches" on NPR's All Things Considered:
"I think that she [Miers] is a wonderful person, and I just think that when opposition comes, it's a lot of times, it's just the work of the devil." -Audrey McKee

On the subject of religion (or "religion"), a satirical Web site has come under fire from the Church of Scientology, even though the Web site indicates that it's a satire and its main target is Tom Cruise. Now the site's creator, who lives in New Zealand, says he's being harassed by phone, e-mail and visits to his home. His site,, is worth a visit. refers to another Web site, which I vaguely remember for its involvement in another conflict with the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology either pressured or sued Google into removing the site, which is critical of Scientology, from its listings. I've only browsed the site, Operation Clambake-The Inner Secrets of Scientology, on a superficial level, but it's pretty interesting.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

I Never Knew ...

that a compost bin could have such personality (from the NYC WasteLe$$ Web site on recycling).

This little guy (a pile of mulch), also from the NYC WasteLe$$ site, looks slightly terrifying. At least the city's trying.

These images remind me of this article, titled "Graphic Artist Carefully Assigns Ethnicities to Anthropomorphic Recyclables," from The Onion.

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The News Today

I'm baffled by this article on IMDB, titled "Grace Horrified by Holloway Robbery." Here's an excerpt:
Josh Holloway's Lost co-star Maggie Grace is horrified to learn of the actor getting robbed in his home, because she knows he only just completed work on the dream property. ... And Grace, who learned of the incident during her current visit to New York City, knows just how much the home and vehicle mean to Holloway.
There's a brief description of the robbery and an even longer quote from Grace about her reaction to the incident.

Either the article should have been about the robbery and about how Holloway feels, or the article should have mentioned that Holloway could not be reached for comment. Instead, the article ends up sounding like it's trying too hard to make something (a robbery) out of nothing (comment from a person who did not witness the event and was not in the area at the time).

Maybe this was just an excuse to put up a portrait of Grace, who's in a movie that came out the same day this article was posted?

On a lighter note, I saw a commercial for an upcoming episode of NOVAscienceNOW that will feature a segment on fish surgery (!). Incidentally, I just read about fish surgery in Herd on the Street: Animal Stories from The Wall Street Journal, which I picked out from the library today.

According to this 2002 Wall Street Journal article reprinted in the book, there are only 20 or so vets in the entire country who operate on pet fish. The number of such vets might have grown since then, as the reporter noted that demand for such services is rising as increasing numbers of people install backyard ponds with fish.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This Would Be for Me

I found John Williams's article "Are Sudoku Support Groups on the Horizon?" quite entertaining and relevant. (You can get a password from Bugmenot.)

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Efficacy of Natural Remedies

I saw a report on the BBC about how honey is being used to treat "hospital infection 'superbugs' which are resistant to strong antibiotics." I can't access the original broadcast online because I'm not in the UK, but apparently the BBC first reported on this in a 2002 article. Here's an excerpt:
They discovered the high sugar content slowed bacterial growth, while the honey's texture acted as a seal against outside infection of wounds.

In its undiluted form, honey had the effect of killing off bacteria, which researchers believe could be linked to enzymes in the bees themselves or present in pollen.

I found this item interesting because I've been using honey lately for my severely chapped lips. Chapstick itself wasn't working; it wasn't until after I started smearing honey on my lips at night -- a remedy that I read about online -- that my lips began to heal. Another time, I had a case of poison ivy that refused to go away. It wasn't until after I took a bath with baking soda that I started feeling better. Benadryl, calamine lotion, nothing had worked prior to that.

It makes me wonder what other natural remedies work perfectly well for our physical maladies -- except our usual impulse is to purchase our relief in the form of a pill, cream or syrup. I'm sure there are manufactured products that are more effective and more convenient than the natural remedies.

At the same time, I wonder if the variety of products out there exists just so we as consumers come to believe all our problems can be solved by buying something. (And that goes as well for companies that specifically market "natural" remedies when a generic product would work just as well.)

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Penis Envy

You know where penises and the question of erectile function is involved, there will be "a raft of new studies."

"Women cyclists have not been studied as much ... but they probably suffer the same injuries," Dr. Irwin Goldstein is quoted as saying in a New York Times article on bicycle seat design. The article -- the most e-mailed one in the past 24 hours on the New York Times site -- also comes with a handy-dandy graphic, just in case you're, like, worried or something.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

For Fans Pt. 2

Found some more information about the mock trailer for The Shining. Apparently it was created for a competition sponsored by the Association of Independent Creative Editors. More details here.

In addition to The Shining trailer, see spoof trailers for West Side Story and Titanic, all made by assistant editors at P.S. 260.

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For Fans of "The Shining"

Have you ever thought movie trailers too indistinguishable from one another?

This mock trailer for The Shining (which I read about on Stay Free! Daily) proves that with careful editing, one can completely shape people's expectations of a movie. In most cases, studios want moviegoers to actually expect a good movie. I also love the use of music in this mock trailer. Could "Shining," a romantic drama, be next? The background music would have to be E.S. Posthumus's "Nara."

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Monday, October 03, 2005

I Will Not Love You Long Time

Usually I'm loathe to supply titles for my entries, but an obvious title presented itself for this entry. Saw an ad for, which carries the most awesome shirts. Besides "I Will Not Love You Long Time," the Web site sells the shirt below:
Pretty succinct.

I worked on my photojournalism assignment tonight, riding my bike around Park Slope and Prospect Park, keeping an eye out for potential subjects while bearing down on my brakes cruising down hills. The assignment -- environmental portraits -- was a perfect opportunity for me to stick my nose into other people's business and capture them unguarded. No one I approached refused to be photographed, though more than one was weirded out by my request. "It's just for class!" I'd assure them, at which point they'd "joke" about my bringing them a copy of their photo, which I'll do because hey, it's always good to cultivate potential sources, right?

I'm proud of the photos I took for my previous assignment, which was to cover a prearranged event. I traveled down to D.C. for the anti-war protest/march on the White House. Before the march, I purchased a three-pack roll of film and ended up buying a fourth roll because I just saw so much that I wanted to capture. After I get my photos back from my professor, I'll post them on my Web site.

One thing that struck me was how peaceful the march was. Not unexpectedly, the crowd consisted mostly of younger people, but I saw a number of older people, married couples, and families with young children. And a swarm of credentialed photographers.