Olympics 2016 Bid

posted by Stal on 2009.09.26, under Stal

I don’t generally delve into politics here, but as a Chicagoan, I am personally overwhelmed with pride to support the Olympics…in Rio de Janeiro.

It would be exciting to host the Olympics here in Chicago. But you know what would be even better? Rio de Janeiro. Just let Rio host the 2016 Olympics. We don’t mind. Honest.

The site is also chock full of historical facts and enlightening observations such as, “Head to head: signature events? Rio: Naked people dancing. Chicago: Chubby people eating.”


If you are serious about protesting Chicago’s Olympic bid, do show up on Tuesday, Sept 29 at City Hall (121 N. Lasalle) at 5:30 pm.

Tweets from North Korea

posted by Stal on 2009.07.22, under Stal

As the West is generally starved for news from the secretive hermit kingdom, I was thrilled to stumble upon North Korea’s Twitter feed! Under the handle DPRK_News, you can find such illustrative tweets as:

US Cable News Network reports racketeer president Barack Obama was born a slave in Indonesia.

DPRK life expectancy surpasses 90 years, while US president fails in ambition to pass health care law.

And my personal favorite,

Education Minister Kong Myun-Roh: Decadent parents of South teach children to play as “Zerg,” “Orks,” while DPRK children study Juche Idea!

Unfortunately, this appears to be a hoax, though you might not be able to tell the difference between this and the actual headlines coming from KCNA (North Korea’s official government-run news outlet):

Japanese Reactionaries’ Nuclear Hysteria Flailed

I should note that this latter Twitter feed is also unauthorized. The KCNA news account was set up to automatically syndicate news releases from the real DRPK news agency.

In a twitter conversation with Forbes, the author of the KCNA twitter feed admitted that he or she was a writer and Web master for the German-language parody site Stupidedia, based in Austria. “KCNA has unintentionally funny articles, and I thought it would be funny if an antiquated regime like North Korea had a Twitter account,” wrote the faux-Communist, who didn’t respond to requests for his or her name.

Republican Sex Scandal Flowchart

posted by Stal on 2009.06.29, under Stal

Joining the internet’s long-standing tradition of excellence in flowcharts, here we have the Republican sex scandal flowchart:

A Liz By Any Other Name

posted by Stal on 2009.06.23, under Stal

I’m not naming names, but there are definitely people out there who are particular about being called their full, formal name, rather than derivatives or nicknames. This can pose a problem with names like Elizabeth, for which there are many variations (Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Eliza, Liza, Lisbeth…) and people are prone to shortening your name for you. Well, there’s nothing you can really do about it, right? Wrong. In a series of heated emails, the office manager for Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Elizabeth Benton, makes it very, very clear that she is to be addressed as Elizabeth and no other name will do:

An executive assistant at McBee Strategic recently learned this the hard way. A few weeks ago, the assistant e-mailed Becton seeking a meeting with McDermott and a client, JPMorgan Chase. Days later, the assistant checked back in and unfortunately began the e-mail with “Hi Liz.”

Becton curtly replied, “Who is Liz?”

When the assistant wrote back with an apology, Becton turned up the heat. “I do not go by Liz. Where did you get your information?” she asked.

The back-and-forth went on for 19 e-mails, with the assistant apologizing six times if she had “offended” Becton, while Becton lectured about name-calling.

Becton told the assistant that if someone said using “Liz” was acceptable, then “they are not your friend”, and “If I wanted you to call me by any other name, I would have offered that to you.” Plus, it’s “rude when people don’t even ask permission and take all sorts of liberties with your name,” she said, adding: “Please do not ever call me by a nickname again.”

Here is the redacted version of the email exchange (highly amusing).

As of Tuesday, a McDermott spokesman said that an apology was being issued, saying “This isn’t reflective of the way we do business in this office.”

Blogging the internets

posted by Heath on 2009.05.28, under Heath

Since this blog has been heavily focused on internet culture, I thought I would keep my first post on-topic.

First, from the British magazine Prospect (via NYT), apparently they need an e-mail tax:

The time has come for a public sector remedy: a tax, perhaps no more than 2p, or 3c, on every email sent. Opponents will argue that collecting the tax is impossible or unfair. Yet the status quo is unworkable. Since early 2007 the global volume of spam has more than trebled. To stop this blizzard of unwanted messages, ISPs and most large businesses spend a sizeable chunk of their IT budget filtering out obvious junk. Despite this, most of us spend time each day clicking “delete”—and the deluge is getting worse. A unit tax on email would stop most spam.

The article brings up many of the most obvious objections; however, IMO, life would be less interesting without random people sending me e-mails with titles like “Become Superman” and “You Russia lvoe is her!”

In other internet culture news, the president is apparently planning on appointing a cybersecurity czar.  The czar “will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser”.  The czar will also be tasked with making sure nobody hurts the talking kittens. (h/t INFRASTRUCTURIST)