Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Statz 4 life

A little background:
1. This was filmed by PhD psych grad-students at UO (that's Oregon, not Oslo)
2. It's ridiculous and nerdy but it makes me laugh

Milieu: Good word or bad word, you be the judge

When writing research papers is it a good idea to apply the term "milieu?" To me it sounds a bit pretentious and it's also a bit overused. But it does get old just using the word "environment" all the time. It really seems the best option of the following: atmosphere, ambiance, surroundings, situation.

I guess this is a classic example of writing what's on your mind.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cheney's Incredible Hypocrisy

Think Bush Cheney Inc. couldn't have anticipated the outcome of our Iraq occupation? Think again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Romney knows true sacrifice - Sod and RV trips!

Know what I don't miss?

Zealots. The religious ones. The scary ones who attend conservative churches the size of shopping malls.

Only about 5% of Norwegians attend church regularly (compared to the US' 40%). I find that to be a very comforting statistic. Contrary to what the shopping-mall-churchgoers say about the decay of society and religiosity, there actually is quite a bit of morality in Norway. The Nobel Peace Center is three blocks from my house, they believe that no one should be poor, and they know that everyone should be able to go to the Dr. regardless of their employment status (or the status of their employment).

But zealots take heart! Jesus will punish the Norwegians for such insolence I'm sure.

*Disclaimer: About 70% of Norwegians are members of the state church (there's a freaking cross on their freaking flag). However, the major distinction is that Norwegians don't allow religion to govern civil morality, won't tolerate theocracy, and apparently don't have any interest in making two issues (same sex marriage and abortion) the paramount political agenda. These are generalizations, but they're appropriate ones.

How bad is the food?

Someone, who shall remain nameless, asked me just how bad the food in Norway is. One word: Rakfisk.
is a traditional eastern Norwegian dish made from trout or sometimes char, salted and fermented for two to three months, then eaten without cooking.
Note that all recipes for rakfisk states that the fish must never be in contact with soil. This is very important because of the risk of the wrong bacteria growing in the fish, especially Clostridium botulinum which causes botulism.

What this article fails to mention is that the fish is spreadable. Eeeewwww! No, I haven't eaten Rakfisk and the only way I ever will is under Akvevit-induced lapse of reason. Come to think of it, I believe that's the traditional Norwegian method of Rakfisk consumption and probably has a lot to do with how the dish was invented in the first place.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Those Pesky Canadians Hate the Olympics

The Chinese government continues to suppress dissidents who are using the 2008 Beijing Olympics to highlight human rights abuses by China towards the Tibetan people.

Two Canadians were reported detained in China yesterday along with four others after they displayed a huge banner on the Great Wall calling for a free Tibet. Chinese authorities detained the six activists who were scaling down part of the wall with a 42-square-metre banner that says: One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008. The two detained Canadians have been identified as Melanie Raoul and Sam Price by the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet. Both are from Vancouver.
This is the Olympic spirit in action? C'mon, what's the big deal?
Child labor. Forced abortions. Religious persecution. Jailed dissidents. Cultural cleansing in Tibet and ethnic cleansing in Africa.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What else makes Norway different?

Well, besides the obvious consumption of whale (a trait they share with the Japanese), there are things that remind me that I'm not at home anymore.

For example, one can purchase all manner of meat products in tubes. That's right! If you're hungry for a snack why not grab a tube of bacon and cheese, liver and cheese, or fish paste. The consumption of tube-based meat is hardly an anomoly. It's a regular occurrence to see Norwegians of all shapes (skinny), sizes (tall), economic statuses (upper middle class), and religious orientations (quietly Christian) eating the stuff on a daily basis. If meat in a tube doesn't satisfy your hunger perhaps horse sausage will hit the spot.

(Unfortunately I have enough personal experience to say that horse sausage is even worse than it sounds.)

One might assume that I miss the food from home. One would be correct in that assumption. There are many great things about Norway, the food is certainly not one of them.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Psychology of Elections

Excellent article this weekend at the Washington Post on how the Democrats have relied on rational arguments, rather than emotional arguments, to their own election-day peril. Emory University professor Drew Westen wrote
For much of the last 40 years, Democrats have ignored their guts and searched for the best facts and figures. But the most compelling fact is that during those 40 years, only one Democrat has been reelected to the presidency. Bill Clinton was also the only Democrat who intuitively understood that the best appeals seize people with something emotionally compelling, lay out the alternatives posed by the candidates and "close the argument" with inspiration or outrage.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Olympics of Free Speech?

China continues to repress anyone supporting respect for Tibetian culture. A la Orwell, they clamp down on dissidents and muzzle anything determined even slightly anti-government. Here's the latest, covered by the Associated Press:

Police and army reinforcements were sent to the town of Lithang in western Sichuan province following the incident Wednesday at an annual horse festival that attracts thousands, according to the overseas monitoring group International Campaign for Tibet and the U.S. government-supported Radio Free Asia. The reports said a local man, Runggye Adak, was detained after he climbed onto a stage erected for Chinese officials, grabbed a microphone and asked the crowd if they wanted the Dalai Lama to return. Hundreds responded with a roaring yes, the reports said. A crowd later gathered a detention center to appeal for Runggye Adak's release, but officers fired warning shots to disperse the group, it said. RFA said about 200 Tibetans were detained following the protest, but gave no indication of whether they were still in custody.

This is the country where the Olympics are going to be held? Write a letter to IOC president here to tell him what you think of the Chinese actions in Tibet. Past Tibet posts can be found here, and more information about this issue here.

Chris Dodd takes Bill-O to the Woodshed

This guy is such a clown, it cracks me up, it's hard to believe this is serious.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bill-O vs. Kos

There's been lots of blathering on Bill O-Joke's show The Factor on Fiction News Channel and his bully with a big vocabulary Dennis Miller that O'Reilly's webpage gets "eight times more traffic" than the Daily Kos. Really?

Dick & Larry