An apology, from America, for Alex Jones

Dear British friends,

I am deeply ashamed, and mortified, on behalf of my entire country for the embarrassing phenomenon that is Alex Jones. I see you have learned now for yourselves, this disturbed, bizarre person, is quite possibly the worst guest you could have ever invited to be on a television show. I have enclosed the relevant clip below.

I feel the need to apologize, as Jones appears to represent the worst stereotypes of Americans; that we are loud, bullying, and rude, that we prefer to shout to win debates, that we have no manners compared to our cousins across the pond. Please understand, we find him just as awful as you do. He is just as uncivilized, rude, loud and obnoxious within our borders as he is without. If we could have avoided having him inflict his company on you, we would have, but sadly that is beyond our power.

I know you will say that you too have nutters that you have inflicted upon the world (David Icke comes to mind), but I would remind you that your nutters have always been unfailingly polite when they have visited us. I appreciate the enormous restraint Andrew Neil showed in only calling Jones an idiot while making the universal “crazy person” sign. I promise the next time I am in England I will try to offset some of this harm by buying rounds, speaking softly, and by no means mentioning the existence of Simon Cowell. I can see how you already have that problem in hand.

(start at minute 1:45)

Sincerely,
MarkH (on behalf of America)

Damn you Pubmed.org!

Somebody please tell me why the national library of medicine gave up their pubmed.com and pubmed.org domains? It used to be you could just type “pubmed.org” and get pubmed. Now, some cyber squatter has put some worthless spam search on the site. Before I realized it wasn’t a site redesign my search got me redirected to a celebrity gossip site, then experimenting with the same search I got a site selling anti-aging cream.

Really? How much does it cost to keep a domain a year? And for that matter, what cyber squatter thinks redirecting scientists at celebrity gossip sites is a great business strategy.

Is the budget really that tight at the NIH? They can’t fork over a couple hundred bucks a year to maintain some convenient domain names? I guess all that money being spent on security and a 10 foot iron gate around a science campus has them searching the couch cushions for pocket change. It’s certainly not going into grants given we’re seeing the lowest rate of funding for R01 applications in decades.

Stop Lurking Paul Krugman

Sometimes I’m reading essays in major newspapers and have to wonder if they’ve been reading denialism blog. Today, Krugman on Santorum:

Nor is this only about sex and religion: he has also declared that climate change is a hoax, part of a “beautifully concocted scheme” on the part of “the left” to provide “an excuse for more government control of your life.” You may say that such conspiracy-theorizing is hardly unique to Mr. Santorum, but that’s the point: tinfoil hats have become a common, if not mandatory, G.O.P. fashion accessory.

I just gave Santorum the tinfoil hat a few days ago!
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Is Krugman lurking around here? C’mon Paul. Come out and say hi. Please?

Is This Punk?

What is this business about the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot? Both the Journal and the Times have reported on it, and in the process, defamed an entire genre by describing Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong as a “punk” rocker.

This musical, which opened at the Berkeley Rep a few months ago (to an audience that will ovate any performance), was pretty disappointing. The musical is essentially a “buddy movie,” but typically in buddy movies, some great thing is accomplished. It might be some caper or venal activity, but at least one can care about its execution. Not so with this thing. These buddies hardly do anything. They wallow, and while the women in the play are more interesting, the playwright stripped them of identity such that they were mere appendages to the men (one of the women was named “Whatsername;” I don’t think this was ironic). In a momentary respite from appendagehood, one of the women ends her relationship with her manchild, perhaps because he was attached to a couch. I’m really not sure why the relationship ended, because I was adjusting my earplugs in response to the howls of joy emitted from the Berkeley Rep’s audience; they seemed impressed by this action in light of the general atmosphere of torpidity and self-pity.

I think Patrick Healy of the Times is trying to tell us something by closing his article with this description:

In a “ballet of rubber tubing,” as members of Green Day have called the choreography, the lovers tie themselves together with the kind of band that heroin addicts use to tie off body parts when finding a vein to inject. The lyrics declare, “My beating heart belongs to you.”

“To take this scene of Johnny and Whatsername doing heroin and turn it into some of the most beautiful and evocative shapes I’ve ever seen — it was an incredible moment,” said Mr. Dirnt, the Green Day bassist. “Real theater.”

Cross posted at teh Berkeley Blog.