October 26, 2008

The Perils of Civil Religion: #27

"Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils."  - G. K. Chesterton

October 25, 2008

Links: Addendum

Forgot these:

2.  Nice long story from NPR on the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, a public high school and a 72-acre working farm.


1.  Map visualization of newspaper endorsements for the presidential race. (via)

2.  USDA issues proposed pasture regulations for organic livestock that ban CAFO's and require a minimum of 120 days on pasture.  Sounds like a rare "well done."

3.  My name:  

4.  Nitrous Oxide Emissions Respond Differently To No-till Depending On The Soil Type.

6.  Gillian Welch and David Rawlings' new record label, Acony Records, has released its first title - Swim from the The Whispertown 2000.  You can stream it here.  I like it.

October 24, 2008

NPR on Race and the Election

NPR's ongoing series entitled, The York Project: Race & The '08 Vote, continues to be extremely good.  To state the obvious, this is the type of reporting that they do so well and for which, as a medium, radio is particularly well suited.

Virtually True Crime

Fake marriage plus fake divorce plus fake murder (But it's also a suicide, right?  What do you call that?) equals real arrest.  

Note to self:  the Japanese take their avatars very seriously.

Aside:  On the off chance that you are a Harper's subscriber and haven't read it before this is a great piece on internet addiction across Asia, but focusing on China. Well, I haven't been able to find it before but it looks like this person cut and pasted the whole thing here, worth a read.

Aside 2:  When did Yahoo start that annoying "Read full article" tab thingy? 

October 21, 2008

October 20, 2008


1.  Good thoughts (as always) from Ethan Zuckerman on innovating from constraint in Africa.

2.  SEED Wayne gets some love from Ford.

3.  NPR's short story on the impact of the global financial crisis for the global poor.  If you've only been paying attention to how things are shaping up here in the states give it a listen.  Here is the Center for Global Development's blog.

4.  Biblioburro.  Too great for words.  Just read it.  (If you don't have a login and don't know already.) (via Chris Blattman)


5.  The October issue of Development Issues, the World Bank Institute's magazine, focuses on agriculture and is entitled, Making Agriculture a Development Priority.  I haven't had time to read it yet but it's sitting on the desktop.

7.  Seriously, I love this guy.  I'm reading between the lines but I'd be willing to wager that this particular musing has its roots in the political maelstrom we find ourselves in two weeks out from November 4th.  It's a good solid word for those who identify themselves as followers of Christ and a potentially interesting perspective for those who don't. 

8.  Sure, you might be able to game Intrade but the 7-Eleven coffee cup poll is gold baby.  

9.  Since the weather has turned chilly I've been giving Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago heavy rotation, solid autumn music my friends.

Ok, last one, I promise.

October 10, 2008

An Open Letter to the Farmer in Chief

I haven't even finished wading through the whole thing yet but Michael Pollan's centerpiece essay to the NYT Magazine's Food Issue out this weekend is already too good not to pass on.  No one gathers in seemingly disparate chords and ties them into beautiful intelligible little bows on complicated food related issues like Pollan and this essay doesn't disappoint.  I'll try to post a few excerpts later on but seriously, its worth your time.  In fact the whole issue looks really good, with a focus on actual food policy rather than the usual food porn that ends up in high profile mags like the NYT. Highly recommended.

October 6, 2008

The Penguin Swiftboats Batman*

* Alternate Title: What the Next 30 Days Will Sound Like

October 4, 2008

VP Debate Auto-tuned

Bipartisan?  Check.

Auto-tune?  Check.

Genius?  Double check.

(via Waxy)


1.  Cost To Drive - it's a broad brush but it's a pretty fair guess-timate I suppose (only includes cars from 1999 and newer).

2.  Two pieces on the so-called prosperity gospel caught my eye this week.  Did God Want You to Get That Mortgage in Time, and this piece from Peter Berger which will resonate with anyone who has spent time around the burgeoning pentecostalism of sub-Saharan Africa. 

3.  Staying in the same ball park Elizabeth Pisani comments on something we encountered in Botswana as well - navigating the tricky waters of faith healing (or simply "faith" for that matter), traditional medicines and ARV treatment for HIV.   

4.  PrintWhatYouLike.com - handy.

5.  Here's a quick vegetable stock recipe from Mark Bittman for your reference as we move whole-heartedly into soup season.

6.  Branagh to direct Thor?  I think it could work.  Thor was my favorite comic growing up (I was a mythology geek) and I've been skeptical of the forthcoming movie as even the comic had trouble walking the line between cheesy gravitas and realism, but Branagh's strong stage and Shakespeare background could pull it off.

8.  Female birds apparently lay bright blue eggs as a signaling device, but do so at the expense of their own health:
The blue in many birds' eggs comes from the compound biliverdin, a breakdown product of the heme unit in haemoglobin, which circulates freely in the blood. But biliverdin is not just a pigment, it is also an antioxidant used by the body to prevent cellular damage.
Previous research has proven that when females lay vibrant blue eggs, their partners are more likely to stick around and help rear the young. So researchers speculated that because the blue comes from an antioxidant, it is a signal to males of the female's health status. Some scientists have argued that the female is making a dangerous trade-off, giving up resources needed to sustain her health to convince her partner that her offspring are worth looking after.

October 3, 2008

Chasing Rabbits: Bronson Pinchot

On two separate occasions today Perfect Strangers came up and it made me curious what Bronson Pinchot had been up to, from Wikipedia:
In December 2002, Pinchot became a Freemason.

Since approximately 1999, Pinchot has spent a great deal of time in the town of Harford, Pennsylvania restoring the circa 1839 mansion of former Pennsylvania Senator Edward Jones.  He has since purchased a number of properties in the small, rural town of 1,300 in an effort to return the town to its 1800s appearance. He purchased the town store and demolished it. He paid the volunteer fire company to move outside of town. He is currently in the process of suing the town's historical society for the rights to a small triangular island, one of the last pieces of the town center he does not yet own
Here's a strangely surreal article from a local paper on Pinchot's vision for the town.

October 2, 2008

Sometimes Good Enough . . .

is in fact good enough.  

I'm not watching the VP debate, again, its the ancillary that interests me when it comes to politics.  And so far Intrade thinks Palin is getting the job done as the odds for her to be withdrawn have dropped almost 2 points since the debate began and almost 3 on the day:

Price for Sarah Palin to be withdrawn as Republican VP nominee/candidate at intrade.com

Update:  One last glance at Intrade before turning in and Palin is down another point or two. Looks like she's done well enough to stop the Eagleton talk, good for her, but there doesn't appear to be any movement either way on the big board.

Quote of the Day

Tyler Cowen discussing the fate of the dollar:
The negative scenario for the dollar is where the Chinese economy collapses, not where the Chinese become too afraid to buy dollar-denominated assets.

Bush, Bernanke, Paulson -- we call them leaders. The Chinese think of them as the customer service department. I suspect the Chinese get straighter answers from them than we ever do.

October 1, 2008

Sheeran Letterman Video

Here's the video of WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Letterman last night for those who missed it.