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I come from Europe, where the history comes from, so I was not easily convinced to drive all the way to Jamestown last weekend, pay the hefty $30 entrance fee just to be able to smell overpriced hamburgers, and join my fellow Virginians in celebrating the 400th anniversary since the first (English-speaking) immigrants landed ashore with the hope of a better life. Colin Farrell performance in The New World as a rather sensitive Captain John Smith was convincing enough to make me battle the crowds. It was worth it – families, smiles, children, history, the American dream everywhere (especially in the rather posh neighborhoods surrounding Colonial Williamsburg). It made me dream of Star Trek America, where culturally diverse terrestrials bring their various qualities together to solve the problems of the Universe. Good times, good times.
Two studies, one by Clemson professor Todd Kendal and the other by University of California professors Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna, apparently arrive to the counter-intuitive conclusions that watching pornography online (the former) and watching violent movies (the latter) actually leads to a decline in sex crimes and homicides, respectively.
The American traveler/expat visiting Eastern Europe will often hear the story of post-WWII newly Soviet-occupied nations having waited for half a century for the Americans to come to their rescue. The United States (or rather, the West) never bothered.
Of course, this Eastern Europe problem is largely forgotten now that most of the countries involved have joined NATO/EU; and other pressing problems are at hand (see Iraq). However, the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising gives Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post the opportunity to wonder if the United States would ever be prepared to intervene in favor of democracy, given repeated failures to do so in the past.
MIT linguistics professor and political activist Noam Chomsky is most recently known for references to his book by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s "Satan was here; speech to the United Nations. No stranger to stirring up controversy, his book Counter-Revolutionary Violence was pulled off the presses during the Vietnam War. But he just might top that one with his recent interview for the Excalibur Online, a publication of York University, Canada, where Chomsky affirms that by the very definition used by US officials, America is a "major sponsor of terrorism." As an example, he cites the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, where the Reagan administration funded and trained some of the most radical extremists it could find.
Fox News has recently aired an exclusive three-part interview with President Bush. Bill O’Reilly visited the White House and asked President Bush – among other things – about the war in Iraq, progress against poppy-growers in Afghanistan, torture, his religious faith, and his reaction to the heavy barrage of criticism he is facing lately.
While the interview gave President Bush a chance to explain himself, did it actually add anything new to his political discourse? For those who actually watched the video segment, did Bill O’Reilly make President Bush look less Presidential? Was Bill O’Reilly ‘fair and balanced,’ even though he did shamelessly pitch his new book?
Everyone’s e-commerce favorite, Amazon.com, reportedly took a beating when it comes to web accessibility. According to this article on BBC.CO.UK, a blind UK journalist tested several websites and found out that Amazon.com is not exactly user-friendly for people with disabilities.
The same article states that a 2004 report from the UK Disability Rights commission found 800/1,000 failed to meet minimum accessibility standards. The article also outlines the difficulty of adjusting website design to meet those requirements.
While accommodating website design for people with disabilities would most likely require huge efforts for large online retailers, is this a matter the Government should regulate?
As reported in the Washington Post, NBC refused to air a TV commercial promoting ‘Shut up and sing,’ a controversial documentary released Friday, Oct 27th by the equally controversial Dixie Chicks. CW network also refused to air the ad citing concerns over public controversy.
The network rejection, submitted in writing, the Washington Post reports, states that NBC "cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."
An unforeseen use of Google Earth (other than spying on your neighbor’s house) seems to be that of aiding science. Google Earther "SuperGranny" pointed out a rock formation in Canada resembling an Aztec Warrior head listening to an iPod. While the facial traits are not as well-defined as those of Mt. Rushmore, the resemblance is striking. CBC Radio, which broke the news later syndicated on NPR, is now staging a naming contest. Could Google Earthers around the world be to Geology what amateur observers are to Astronomy?