Category Archives: Science

Second-guessing the visually-impaired

First, some necessary background: Thursday Night Football games are pretty much the worst, and while the NFL seems disinterested in discontinuing them, at least it does what it can to improve the viewer experience. For example, after New Jersey’s New York Jets and New York’s Buffalo Bills faced off last season, some fans complained they had trouble differentiating between the Jets’ all-green and Bills’ all-red “color rush” uniforms. So when those teams met again on a Thursday night earlier this season, the league came up with a simple solution: the Jets wore all-white instead of all-green. Problem solved. (Or, at least, one of them. Thursday Night Football remains a terrible idea.)

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Why Trump really went after that crying baby

On August 1, just after Donald Trump spent his post-DNC weekend waging an unusually-misguided jihad against Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Stephen Colbert opened his Late Show by exploring one simple question: “Is there anyone Donald Trump won’t attack if they say something bad about him?” A series of brief experiments revealed that Trump would not attack “a kindly old lady” or “a kindergartner with an adorable speech impediment”, but was more than happy to take on a kitten who equated him with Hitler:

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The subtle sexism of closed captioning

After Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated for President by a major political party in the United States (one helluva baseball stat), a lot of ink was spilled in the matter of her outfit. To many, the fixation on the female nominee’s sartorial decision-making was clear evidence of sexism. For the media to give the same sort of attention to what a man chose to wear, they pointed out, would come off as absurd.

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Third Eye Blind let the RNC off pretty easy

Until this morning, I was not aware that Third Eye Blind is still a thing. That’s when I spotted the numerous headlines hailing the band’s heroic performance at some sort of RNC after-party. According to Vox, the band was guilty of “surprising guests with messages of gay rights and science and serenading them with some of the band’s more obscure songs.” Off with their heads.*

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Tonight’s debate inspired me to write a little song about Trump

During tonight’s dick-measuring contest Republican debate, Donald Trump treated the viewing audience to the following iron-clad, completely convincing refutation of Marco Rubio:

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The original Stephen Colbert made Stephen Colbert’s job that much harder

Erstwhile right-wing pundit Stephen Colbert famously introduced us to the concept of Wikiality coming up on ten years ago. On the now-defunct The Colbert Report, he explained that — under the rules of Wikipedia — in order for something to be considered true,

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That’s my joke, dammit Colbert! Part II

The day after Groundhog Day, Colbert outed himself as a ‘Groundhog denier’: “I don’t think all the science is in on whether weather-forecasting rodents exist.” I’d share a link to the clip, but sadly, last Tuesday’s episode will only be up for a few more hours before it disappears into the virtual oblivion of CBS All Access (a gross misnomer, given that a number far short of “All” can access it).

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Astronaut Scott Kelly is a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean. And mean. And mean.

He may have lost a character and gained a show, and I may have taken a seven-month break, but one thing hasn’t changed: I still watch Stephen Colbert on the nightly. And that means you can continue to count on regular commentary for some time to come.

Friday night, Stephen’s guest was Scott Kelly — and Colbert lobbed him a softcomet: “This is hardly your first mission to the International Space Station. You were on the ’99 mission that fixed the Hubble telescope, a second mission in 2007 that added new equipment to the station, and on your third mission, in 2010, you spent 159 days in space. How long are you up this time?”

Continue reading Astronaut Scott Kelly is a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean. And mean. And mean.

I expect better from a website called *Tree*hugger

California is running out of water. Almonds take a lot of water to grow. California accounts for 80% of global almond cultivation (and 99% of U.S. production). The obvious conclusion, as the BBC put it, is that “almonds are sucking California dry“. You can tell a similar story about walnuts and pistachios, if you wanted to.

But misguided as that conclusion may be, some people have taken this set of facts as a reason to reduce their overall nut consumption — and, as usual, the internet is here to help them out. Last month, Treehugger published an article titled “5 nuts not grown in California”. It explained, “National almond, walnut and pistachio crops are very thirsty, and predominantly grown in drought-stricken California; if you’re looking for alternatives, consider these.”

Seems reasonable enough. So let’s find out: which five nuts does Treehugger have in mind (cumulative nut count in parentheses)?

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Knocking down Joel McHale’s theoretical straw man

Joel McHale was a panelist on last night’s Nightly Show when the conversation turned to hashtag deflategate. McHale came down hard for Tom Brady, so much so that he advanced a completely spurious and silly argument in Brady’s defense.

Now, admittedly, he might have realized how silly it was, because Joel only got about half the point out of his mouth before pulling up:

If you give the balls to another team, they’re going — just like — every — this is so dumb. It is so overdone, it’s ridiculous.

Figuring out what McHale wanted to say is going to take some serious sleuthing. I could parse the sentence slowly word by word, but here’s how I read the argument as a whole:

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