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Exit Through the Gift Shop

Mar. 26th, 2011 | 11:45 pm

Is the winner of the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary, "Exit Through the Gift Shop," even a documentary? That's one of the unspoken, self-referential questions at the heart of this film about the meteoric rise of street art into the auction house. Documentary or not, it's absolutely brilliant, provocative, and hilarious.

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nuclear disaster and robots

Mar. 17th, 2011 | 09:11 am

I'm curious why Japan, which has long been a leader in the field of robotics, doesn't appear to have any nuclear disaster contingency plans involving robots. It seems like such an obvious way to respond to a high radiation situation. Of course, there are many complicating factors, such as tsunami damage, hydrogen blast damage, etc., that would make it difficult for a robot to maneuver, but what I haven't heard in any news report is a single reference to emergency response robots.

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Authority and American Usage

Mar. 2nd, 2011 | 03:54 pm

Who'd a thunk a 50-page review of a dictionary of modern American usage could be such a rollicking good time? David Foster Wallace's "Authority and American Usage," one of the heftier efforts in his collection of essays Consider the Lobster, is a sprawling masterpiece, akin to his fiction masterwork Infinite Jest, except considerably shorter and, being focused on a much narrower subject, more accessible. If you don't read any other essay about "the seamy underbelly of US lexicography" (DFW's own description of his topic) this year, be sure to at least check out this one.

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my daughter's amazing sun drawing

Feb. 21st, 2011 | 09:07 pm

Check out the details on this.

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Interactive: The Chopping Block

Feb. 19th, 2011 | 12:51 pm

Try your hand at cutting $100 billion from the discretionary portion of the US budget.

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Sundance nadir

Feb. 2nd, 2011 | 07:03 am

I've been enjoying Sundance since 1985, but, sadly, this year was the lowpoint of the experience. I saw one movie this year, and I didn't much care for it. The one movie I saw was ostensibly an intellectual thriller called The Ledge, about a man who's contemplating jumping off a building, recounting the story behind this desperate act to the detective charged with talking him down. The movie turned out to be desperately short on both thrills and intellect. It got picked up by IFC, so you may get a chance to judge for yourself. Here's hoping that next year I can see more, and more interesting, movies!

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Jan. 22nd, 2011 | 01:40 pm

Technology is turning our children into pale, self absorbed monsters. Where once children ran and played, exercising all of their bodies and faculties, you're now just as likely to find them hunched over their newfangled devices, oblivious to the world around them, ruining their eyes in solitary, single-minded slavishness. Besides ruining their health, this misplaced devotion also seriously impedes their social abilities, fixated as they are on the object in front of them, frequently unable to respond to even simple requests. By allowing this kind of thing to proliferate, we risk raising up a generation unaware of anything other than what is right in front of their noses. What is this crippling technology that threatens our youth? I speak, of course, of the book.

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Senate rules reform

Jan. 5th, 2011 | 07:17 am

I'm fascinated to see how the whole Senate rules reform effort goes down. I hadn't realized that several (obviously unsuccessful) attempts have been made over the years to reform the rules. How about a little less deliberation, a little more legislation? Not least of all because the Senate is already, by nature of its grossly unproportional representation, skewed towards the undemocratic.

One possible solution to this problem? Stop having the hoi polloi directly elect these august persons! The Senate should be the province of back room deal making by state legislatures, the way God intended. Repeal the 17th!

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Jan. 4th, 2011 | 06:31 am

The proper remedy for abhorrent speech is not censorship, but eloquence.

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Dec. 14th, 2009 | 04:07 pm

Katie: Why can't pollution smell like a flower?

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Posted via email from not just my opinion

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