Charles Oliver - Econ/Media-Boy
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Charles C. Watson - Science/Tech-Boy
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Ron Campbell - sushi-bait.
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Even a blogger needs to eat. This blog is primarily Charles' hobby. But if he is intent on continuing to woo the Hooter's waitresses in Chatanooga he needs something that pays.... wings don't come free you know. Here's a link to his day job where he works the education beat and, assuming he can't annoy enough people that way, is sometimes allowed to write opinion pieces.

Need perspective? Watson offers readers all they could possibly eat. For a unique view on current events, namely how they look from orbit, here's Chuck's Real-Time(ish) Satellite Imagery of Areas of Interest. Whenever it strikes his fancy, and there's good telemetry, Chuck will process and post near real-time images of locations in the news. Eminently engrossing.

Wanna get into the head of a Japanese salaryman? Why, for Chis'sakes?! Well, assumin' you do, feel welcome to check out the on-line journal of Campbell's English class. Everyday, a group of disaffected salarymen are required to spill out their inner-most thoughts about life, the universe and everything in broken English. Amazingly prosaic.

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Shoutin' across the Pacific
Chiizu taberu koufuku shiteiru saru ga kangei-saremasen.
Monday, March 29, 2004
Nobel Laureate in economics and Letterman semi-regular (no, really) Robert Mundell is back on The Late Show tonight doing "You might be a redneck..." jokes (no, really). Those on the West Coast may want to keep an eye out.

posted by Charles at 11:48 PM

Sunday, March 28, 2004
True Wisdom.When I was a young boy, my father sat me down and said "Son, some things in life just aren't funny. And one of those things is Al Franken."

- Jeffrey Ross

posted by Charles at 2:50 PM

Saturday, March 27, 2004
Fun for the Whole Family. Via Will Wilkinson I discovered Disinfopedia.

As Will notes, "It's a wiki apparently published by the Center for Media and Democracy, the sort of left wing organization dead sure that there is indeed a vast right wing conspiracy..."

But wikis can be edited by anyone who looks at them. And following Will's example, I edited a couple of the entries to make them more balanced. It will be interesting to see how long the changes last.

posted by Charles at 7:42 PM

Friday, March 26, 2004
Homeland Insecurity. The next time I'm interviewing some GOP pol and he tells me that the big spending and big deficits of the last five years are because republicans had to beef up national security, I'm going to mention this.

Yes, nothing is so vital that it can't be corrupted by Congress's need for more pork.

posted by Charles at 10:07 PM

Thursday, March 25, 2004
Good Grits are getting harder to find. But this sounds interesting.

Actually, I'd really like to try the corn meal.

posted by Charles at 12:33 PM

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Contrasting Styles. Domenic asked a while ago if I knew anything about Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO who is running for Senate. He's been through Dalton a few times, but I've never had the opportunity to meet him. Other reporters have handled those visits. I do know that if the people who attend the monthly meetings of the Whitfield County Republican Party were the only ones voting, Cain would win a landslide.

posted by Charles at 9:41 PM

Saturday, March 20, 2004
Why Do "Skeptics" Believe Weird Things? When I first encountered Michael Shermer's Skeptic magazine a few years ago, I was mildly interested. I was hoping that someone could take popular skepticism beyond the debunking of Bigfoot and ESP that the Skeptical Inquirer repeats over and over.

And to an extent it did do that, but I quickly learned that Shermer and his magazine had their own peculiar biases. He seemed to have a much higher opinion of Stephen Jay Gould and his work than most scientists I know have. And his adulation of Carl Sagan seems similarly out of line with Sagan's real accomplishments.

Most oddly, he and the magazine were big shills for the work of psychologist Frank Sulloway and his claim that birth order is the most important force in human history. Now any time any social scientist or psychologist says that any one factor can explain as much as Sulloway did, my own skeptical antenna goes up. Shermer's didn't.

And Sulloway's ideas struck me as particularly nutty.

Now, thanks to Alexander Tabarrok I know they are as goofy as I thought. And Sulloway's response to his critics, which I didn't know about, should have set off some bullshit detectors, too.

Sulloway, by the way, is also one of the co-authors of a study last year that claimed that the underlying psychological motivations that mark conservatives are "fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; uncertainty avoidance; need for cognitive closure; and terror management."

I gave up on Shermer long ago, so I don't know how he treated those claims.

Brian Carnell looked at both of Sulloway's theses last year.

posted by Charles at 10:08 PM

Friday, March 19, 2004
Clayton Cramer Confuses Me. Paul Reubens had charges against him of possessing kiddie porn dropped. Paul Reubens was caught masturbating in an adult theater to a heterosexual porn film in 1991. Therefore, Cramer concludes, gay men are interested in sex with little boys.

Am I the only one who doesn't follow the logic?

And why are social conservatives so fixated on the sexual practices of gays? I can go for days without thinking about men having sex with each other. If I didn't read Cramer and John Derbyshire, I could probably go months without thinking about the subject.

posted by Charles at 7:45 PM

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Happy St. Patrick's Day. Other bloggers seem to be using this as an opportunity to tell whether they are Irish or not.

I'm not. Judging from their surnames, my mother's ancestors are Dutch and French. The Olivers are part of that large group sometimes called Scotch-Irish. But that's not quite accurate. It's a name that comes from the Border area of Scotland and England. Actually, the Olivers were a Reiver clan. Some of you may suspect that your ancestors were horse thieves. I know that for a fact. And my my maternal grandmother's surname sounds French, but I think it's actually of Norman origin.

I really can't think of any snappy ethnic jokes playing off my mixed ancestry.

posted by Charles at 12:36 PM

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Hannity Drops the Ball. The only question is was it intentional.

The big news from his interview with Mel Gibson is that Gibson expresses "doubts" about George W. Bush, especially about the weapons of mass destruction.

Hannity tells the Today show:

What I got from the interview was that Mel likes the president, and I'd bet that if you asked him he would say he will vote for President Bush.

Really? Why didn't you friggin' ASK HIM?

Having listened to the interview, Hannity clearly and quickly changes the subject when Gibson expresses doubts about Bush. The only question is whether he just bungled things or whether, realizing the interview was going in a direction he didn't want, he deliberately didn't ask the obvious follow ups. I know which option I think is the more likely.

posted by Charles at 10:19 PM

Sunday, March 14, 2004
The Boys Are Back In Town. Thanks to Domenic for alerting me to the fact that cicadas are about to return to the Southeast.

There are at least 13 broods of 17-year cicadas, plus another five broods that emerge every 13 years. The last brood to emerge, Brood IX, was seen last spring in parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Two years ago, Brood VIII emerged in parts of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia.

But this year's emergence is Brood X, the so-called ``Big Brood,'' with a range that stretches from Georgia in the South, west through Tennessee and to isolated pockets of Missouri, north along the Ohio Valley and into Michigan, and east into New Jersey and New York.

``This is one of those years we kind of dread,'' said Paris Lambdin, professor of entomology and plant pathology at the University of Tennessee. ``We had an emergence a couple years ago around Nashville, but nothing like what we expect this one will be.''

While the name Brood X is pretty cool, I'm not sure that "dread" is a word I would use about cicadas.

posted by Charles at 6:30 PM

Saturday, March 13, 2004
Update: I've fixed the broken Ryan link.

posted by Charles at 9:30 AM

Friday, March 12, 2004
7, 8, 9 This is Jack Ryan. This is his former wife Jeri Ryan. And this may be the secret of those sealed divorce papers.

Personally, I think there may be photos, and if Jack Ryan is in politics long enough, they may come out. So if you live in Illinois, vote for Ryan.

posted by Charles at 7:58 PM

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Testing, Testing. I don't know why the blogosphere has suddenly discovered Bryan Caplan's Libertarian Purity Test. I took it years ago, and iirc, got an 83.

posted by Charles at 11:25 PM

Thursday, March 04, 2004
People in Alabama shouldn't take long trips.

posted by Charles at 1:20 PM

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