Jon Stewart is still really confused by his religion

Jon Stewart is Jewish, but as has been thoroughly documented on this blog, that doesn’t mean he knows too much about the religion into which he was reluctantly born.

Last Wednesday, he hosted Jessica Chastain, and their conversation quickly turned to gestation crates, which are used to confine pregnant pigs for up to 80% of their lives (for more details, see the earlier segments of the show). Chastain casually mentioned that those earlier segments horrified her as a vegan (even though? because? vice versa? the precise causal relationship is unclear).

That revelation prompted the following conversation (around 2:17):

Continue reading Jon Stewart is still really confused by his religion

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Why can’t every religious conference have drone panoramas?

Thousands of rabbis gathered this past weekend in Brooklyn for the 31st International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. Naturally, the occasion called for the help of a drone:

Continue reading Why can’t every religious conference have drone panoramas?

Microsoft has some bad news for Seattle

I asked Cortana (that would be both the Halo Artificial Intelligence and Siri for Windows Phone) for some help locating the latest* incarnation of the New York Times’ 36 Hours in Seattle. She came back with some very bad news:

Continue reading Microsoft has some bad news for Seattle

Here’s the right way for Ebola Healthcare workers to get undressed

An article recently appeared in WIRED, How Ebola Healthcare Workers Get Dressed, documenting the laborious process by which Ebola healthcare workers must suit up to combat the disease (and avoid contracting it themselves).

All very interesting, but as CNN’s Sanjay Gupta helpfully demonstrated, the danger to doctors and nurses is greatest while they’re taking the protective gear off. Luckily, I’m here with the solution — just run the following in reverse:*

Continue reading Here’s the right way for Ebola Healthcare workers to get undressed

Yes, the ISIS/Israeli flag video from Berkeley was widely presented as an experiment

[Give this article a few seconds to load; the embedded Facebook posts take a little while.]

Coupla days ago, I published a short post exhorting you all to stop sharing the Berkeley ISIS-Israeli flag video. One of my arguments against the way that video has been presented began, “Even with [unedited] footage, this would still be nothing resembling a controlled experiment.”

A few of you pushed back against my allegation that many of those who shared the original video treated it as some sort of experiment. In short, you claimed that I constructed a straw man: an imaginary person who watched the video and then shared it under the premise that it was an experiment. So as not to call out anyone I know — I’ll just quote a comment someone left on this very blog:

Continue reading Yes, the ISIS/Israeli flag video from Berkeley was widely presented as an experiment

Did all that litter really undermine the People’s Climate March?

We’re coming up (tomorrow) on the two month anniversary of the People’s Climate March, which was the largest climate gathering in history, and which has been credited by some (OK, by one of its organizers) as laying the groundwork for the recent landmark agreement between China and the United States.

But the parade also left behind another legacy: the need for mountain-trash removal. Predictably, cynics (and some with more nefarious intentions) penned headlines that screamed “People’s Climate March Leaves Trail Of Trash” and gleefully linked to tweets depicting — and commenting on — the mess left behind, like so:

Continue reading Did all that litter really undermine the People’s Climate March?

Why are you sharing the ISIS/Israeli flag video from Berkeley?

You probably saw the video circulated heavily in recent days that purported to depict strikingly different reactions to one man waving two flags on Berkeley’s campus. To avoid calling out any specific friends — or linking to the video myself — I’ll let former Ambassador Michael Oren explain:

I’ll make this quick, but tl;dr, the video is preposterous and reinforces a narrative of victimhood unwarranted by its content, and you should probably stop sharing it. Here you go:

Continue reading Why are you sharing the ISIS/Israeli flag video from Berkeley?

The surprising American consensus on coal

While reading the New York Times coverage of Obama’s new carbon compact with China, I was stunned to learn that only “twenty-one percent of Americans think producing electricity from coal is a good idea.” For the sake of comparison, a study published in February found that twenty-six percent of Americans could not correctly answer, “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?”

Continue reading The surprising American consensus on coal

LeBron James doesn’t think his children are as tough as he is

LeBron James made headlines Friday* when he informed ESPN of his Decision not to let his sons play football because of “the health dangers”. Presumably, James is concerned about “the health dangers” posed by concussion and other violence-induced head injuries that have driven down participation in youth football programs by over 10% in over just a three-year span (2010-2012). Those are legit.

But don’t let James fool you into thinking he is taking some sort of principled stand against the dangers of participating in sport.

Continue reading LeBron James doesn’t think his children are as tough as he is

Mitch McConnell’s outrage over Obama’s deal with China is certainly ironic

I was sitting in bed reading about climate change when I idly fired up the NYTimes app on my phone. New stories quickly updated, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that “US and China Reach Climate Deal After Months of Secret Talks“. Under the plan, China committed for the first time to capping its emissions (rather than simply slowing growth), while the United States promised to accelerate the pace of its decarbonization efforts. All in all, a positive step that will hopefully pave the way to a worldwide agreement next year.

But some have expressed skepticism over Obama’s ability to follow through on his commitments, both now and after he’s gone. From the AP story:

Continue reading Mitch McConnell’s outrage over Obama’s deal with China is certainly ironic