Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things to watch and read, the March 10 edition

I've been hunkered down with my book manuscript of late, giving public officials in Eastern Europe and Portland, Maine a much needed break from my pedantic questioning. But I still procrastinate from time to time -- this early morning for instance -- and occasionally find things worth sharing. This week those include:

How to Make a [BBC] News Report: Spot-on satire from a BBC-4 comedian. If only U.S. news reports were structured as intelligently as the ones he's mocking. [Update: For comparison, here's an Onion parody of the much stupider CNN structure.]

If Harvard and Disney Had a Showdown, Who Would Win? Disney, apparently, by a long shot. Today's New York Times has a disturbing report about how Harvard has retaliated against the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood after the non-profit advocacy group won a major victory over Disney for erroneous claims about the merits of the conglomerate's "Baby Einstein" videos. Sure looks shameful, and Harvard ain't talkin'.

Wikileaks on Life Support: Wikileaks, a non-profit clearing house for leaked internal documents exposing corruption, malfeasance, and criminal behavior, has been in crisis this year for lack of money and is trying to raise funds. My colleague Andrew Marshall has some background over at his informative Qwerty 2009 blog.

A Better Shit Bag: As Nick Wadhams writes from Nairobi, many people in the developing world have no indoor plumbing and "go" in a plastic bag, which is then usually thrown out on the street. Now a Swedish organization, PeePoople claims to have a better bag. (No, it's not satire.) Puts America's problems in perspective, perhaps.

Synchronized Olympic Pee Breaks: During the gold medal hockey game between the US and Canada last month, residents of Edmonton, Alberta weren't going to miss any action just to go to the bathroom. The water utility there published an amusing graph of the unusual water use pattern that evening and the correlations with events in the game, which you can see over at The Vigorous North.

My coffee is cold; must be time to get back to work....

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