February 13, 2003

linkage/filibuster

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at February 13, 2003 5:54 PM So the Democrats have grown a spine. I'm pleased; not only because the thought of a close personal friend of Ann Coulter on the bench frightens me, but also because I've always found the concept of an old-style filibuster hilarious. There's just something delightfully absurd about these senators standing up for hours on end reading out of the phone book or reminiscing about their teenage years, all as a legitimate political tactic.

Not to state the obvious here, but didn't Bush campaign as a "uniter, not a divider"? Wasn't he always appealing to "bipartisanship"? What's with all the right-wing nutjobs? Of course Estrada is just an alleged right-wing nutjob, since he won't reveal any of his opinions on anything. In any case, I wonder if the Dems are willing to pull this again when Charles Pickering's renomination comes up for vote. (Free registration required on that link.)

Plastic is of course discussing this (Estrada, not Pickering), but more importantly they are discussing whether Valentine's Day is an abomination or merely really lame. A refreshing change from last year's V-Day discussions, which I am too lazy to look up but to the best of my recollection were rather saccharine. (Was that word invented to describe Valentine's Day, or what?)

Wired answers the question I raised a few days ago regarding the source of spammers' income. The answer is that they all buy lists of e-mail addresses from each other so they can send more spam. How is it that the dot-com bubble burst but this cycle is still around? My guess is that the pornographers are the only ones making money off their product, and they're injecting some of that back into this system.

Completely switching gears, here's a delightful page explaining the theory of relativity in words of four letters or less. It's more clever than illuminating since four letters is a pretty strong constraint. However, this does force the author to avoid pretty much all jargon. (This page has evidently been around a while - apparently it appeared on Fark back in 1999.)

No link for this one: an excerpt from the minutes of a faculty-grad student meeting in my department. Funny, but accurate.
Required courses, prelim exams, and residency create undue stress on grad students, especially during their first year. Better information would help students deal with that stress.
Proposal: Invite residency official to Orientation Week gathering to explain residency to new grad students.
Action: Committee endorses proposal despite recognition that it is impossible to "explain" residency.

That's it for today - I'm off to send an e-mail to Barbara Boxer recommending some physics textbooks to read on the Senate floor, and then back to the homework that's slowly draing my life energy until I'm an empty husk. Tags:
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