April 2008 Archives
"How Roses Handle Water"
A team of chemists from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China figured out why tiny water droplets seem to get stuck to petals of red roses. Not unexpectantly, the mechanism, known as the Cassie impregnating wetting state, is a result of nanostructures ("hierarchical micropapillae" and "nanofolds") on the surface of petals.
"How Roses Handle Water," medGadget, April 29, 2008
Reminds us of the invention of Velcro by George de Mestral.
The World's Best Restaurants?
First published by Restaurant magazine in 2002 and now in its seventh year, The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants is recognised around the world as the most credible indicator of the best places to eat on Earth.The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants. In the US:
- 5. The French Laundry, Yountville, CA [Yelp]
- 6. Per Se, New York [Yelp]
- 17. Jean Georges, New York [Yelp]
- 20. Le Bernardin, New York [Yelp]
- 21. Alinea, Chicago [Yelp]
- 37. Chez Panisse, Berkeley [Yelp]
- 38. Charlie Trotter's, Chicago [Yelp]
- 41. Daniel, New York [Yelp]
Rounding out the top 100:
52. Nobu, New York [Yelp]
54. Masa, New York [Yelp]
63. WD-50, New York [Yelp]
85. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York [Yelp]
87. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Las Vegas [Yelp]
"Hillary is Dunkin Donuts, Barack is Starbucks"
Hillary is minivans and American sedans, Barack is Range Rovers and Hondas. Hillary is cross-trainers with jeans, Barack is Abercrombie and Fitch and Banana Republic. Hillary is Dunkin Donuts, Barack is Starbucks. And their supporters are equally vocal, in different ways.
"Primary concern: Nasty fight between Obama, Clinton could blow it for Democrats," by Lisa van Dusen, Edmonton Sun, April 22, 2008
John McCain is Costco.
"McCain Knows Where to Vote Shop: Costco," Washington Whispers, April 18, 2008
These Yorkies love riding on the Piaggio MP3
Useful Yorkie Stuff | Piaggio MP3
Since the military suppression of the anti-China protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa last month, the focus on China’s treatment of its Tibetan population has intensified. But while it has been the West doing the focusing, the Beijing Olympics has provided the lens. Everything related to the games, as French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent threat to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony shows, has now become an opportunity for moral grandstanding, an opportunity to portray China as everything we in the West are not. The 31-mile journey of the Olympic torch, from Wembley in north-west London to Greenwich in the south-east, was to prove no exception.
Yesterday morning at the British Museum stage of the route -- one of the protest points for the campaign organisation Free Tibet -- the air was already thick with indignation.
"Grown-up politics goes up in flames: Yesterday’s public grappling with the Olympic torch shone a light on the self-satisfied, cartoonish nature of contemporary China-bashing." By Tim Black and Brendan O’Neill, spiked, April 7, 2008
The attacks on China’s boys-in-blue looks like history repeated as farce. In much of the coverage of the torch relay, commentators have talked about the ‘supine’ British government and the ‘cowardly’ Bush administration which are failing to stand up against the brutes from the East, while cheering the French protesters and the Australian government for taking the Chinese on. As in the past, the driving force behind this outbreak of China-bashing is a perception that the West is in political and social decline, and the East might take its opportunity to snuff out ‘our’ civilisation once and for all. That 15 men in tracksuits could give rise to such an hysterical, out-of-control, fin-de-siècle, prejudicial debate reveals so very much more about contemporary Western fear and irrationalism than it does about Chinese wickedness.
"The invasion of the robotic thugs: The attacks on the ‘horrible, ominous, retarded’ Chinese men guarding the Olympic flame are historical prejudice repeated as farce." By Brendan O’Neill, spiked, April 9, 2009
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is apologizing to those who were disappointed when the Olympic torch relay route was changed Wednesday. However, the mayor isn't apologizing for his decision.
Faced with thousands of anti-China protesters, San Francisco authorities pulled a last-minute switch during the torch relay yesterday. The late change rerouted the torch away from thousands who had crowded the city's waterfront to witness the flame's symbolic journey to the Beijing Games.
"San Francisco Officials Defend Torch Decision," KCBS, April 10, 2008
In many respects, Ribbon Culture is an analysis of several apparently contradictory aspects of contemporary culture. The ribbon is, explains Moore, ‘both a kitsch fashion accessory, as well as an emblem that expresses empathy; it is a symbol that represents awareness, yet requires no knowledge of a cause; it appears to signal concern for others, but in fact prioritises self-expression’.
. . .
It is the commercialisation of causes, which both empties them of all content and transmits messages that are negative and misleading, that Moore sees as problematic. In seeking to understand why the individuals she interviewed wear the ribbons or wristbands that they do, Moore’s account stands out through her refusal to pander to the rhetoric of ribbon culture, which emphasises ‘awareness’, ‘caring’ and engagement with a cause. In reality, these positive rhetorical sentiments mask an anxious, self-obsessed, depoliticised culture.
"The relentless rise of the ribbons," by Jennie Bristow, a review of "Ribbon Culture" by Sarah Moore, spiked, March 2008
2008 Congressional Pig Book
The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW's annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2008 Pig Book identified 11,610 projects at a cost of $17.2 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal 2008. A "pork" project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.
A pork-barrel project is a line-item in an appropriations or authorization bill that designates funds for a specific purpose in circumvention of the normal procedures for budget review. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition:
- Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
- Not specifically authorized;
- Not competitively awarded;
- Not requested by the President;
- Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
- Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
- Serves only a local or special interest.
The pork label is not a subjective judgment of a project’s merit. Rather, it refers to lapses in the procedures erected by Congress to review and consider the wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
"All About Pork: The Abuse of Earmarks and the Needed Reforms," by Tom Finnigan, Citizens Against Government Waste, March 7, 2007
Also see CAGW's blog, The Swine Line.
For links to selected CRS Reports, legislation and articles on earmarks, see TheCapitol.Net's Federal Budget Links and Research Tools. Also see our blog posts about earmarks and OMB's Earmarks database.