Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Four Words: AP Sucks

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Apparently, the Associated Press, in a noble effort to appear as much as an obsolete dinosaur as possible, has rules barring bloggers from citing more than four words out of an AP article without paying fees. See the deets at Boing Boing.

This got me thinking: What would AP headlines look like were everything past the first four words chopped off. I checked out recent AP headlines and here are a few perfectly legal fair use citations from the AP, under their stringent rules:

“Bali bomber warns of”
“Hundreds of same-sex couples”
“Cuban TV shows new”
“Celtics rout Lakers 131-92″
“Clinton asks top donors”
“Mississippi River breaks through”
“Bush to urge Congress”
“Probe: Pentagon lawyers sought”

These spartan headlines are almost more eye-catching than the five-or-more word headlines available at the AP’s site. Perhaps I’m on to something.


Category business, humor, news | Tags: Tags: , , ,

Silver Lining (Buried Under Bad News)

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

While reading about the unsurprisingly bad consumer confidence numbers, I came across this article focusing on the Florida consumer confidence numbers.

In the midst of the numbers, and the suggestion that the stimulus checks (as I expected) had no effect on consumer confidence, I found a glimmer of good news:

Although most economists foresee price declines extending into 2009, [director of UF’s Survey Research Center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research Chris] McCarty said he expects many Florida housing markets to bottom out by July based on price patterns so far. Once these declines stop, consumers and lenders will know what homes are worth, as will potential buyers, he said.

There it is: Despite the fact that the U.S. is still in the middle of this long tunnel, Floridians can soon begin seeing the light at the end of it. Looking at the charts at Zillow, you can see that although both lines are still trending downward, the green line (FL average) is moving downward at a more steady rate, where the yellow line (U.S. average) is actually starting to dip at an increasing rate.

Oh, it’s minor, but it’s there. If McCarty is right, then the Florida housing market is going to hit that low point this summer. Just looking at it, I think July is a little too optimistic; September sounds about right. I’d say, we’ll see another $15k drop over the summer, but that will be the end of it. Meanwhile, it looks like the U.S. average has a long way to go, yet, and when it bottoms out, it’s going to be a slow climb back up. I think Florida’s going to come out on top, just like California did in the 1990s.

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Category business, news | Tags: Tags: , , , , ,

The Rapping Clerk of Courts

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts, 70-year old Harvey Ruvin, seems to have a, er, gift. Witness, as he raps about the dangers of global warming, war, and so forth:

Yes, that video was done by a 70-year old politician. He’s also up for re-election, and making the environment central to his campaign.

Apparently, his campaign is both frugal and environmentally sensitive: the campaign held a fundraiser whose (e-mail) invitations asked invitees not to attend, so as to reduce their carbon footprint; specified that there would be no food served, what with the famine and all; and asked that donors would use the campaigns website instead of writing checks, so as not to kill trees.

Hey, I’d vote for him if I still lived in Miami.

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Category humor, news, politics | Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Wanted: Solja Girl

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Some of you might have seen this video last week, wherein a walking stereotype of a woman verbally assaults a little old lady on an Atlanta subway by, among other things, reciting lyrics to “Crank That Solja Boy”. Really.

Well, now it appears the woman referred to across the internets as “Solja Girl” (for her knack for feminizing the song’s lyrics) has become a wanted woman. Via The Off Topic Forum, I found that the Atlanta chief of police apparently got wind of this and decided to take this solja girl down. No word yet on whether her arrest is being sought for threatening to kill the old lady, or for reciting lyrics to that song one too many times.

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Category humor, news | Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Don’t Hitch-hike in Turkey

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

An Italian woman who had been hitch-hiking to promote world peace was found murdered. From the BBC News article:

She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.

I guess that didn’t work out so well. Call me jaded, call me cynical, but God, that was a terrible idea.

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Category news | Tags: Tags: , , , , ,

Using a Meme to Sell Life Insurance? WTF?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

So, I’m minding my own business, reading Slate, and see one of those “family killed by ninjas, need money for karate lessons” pictures off to the right of the page. Then, I see it is an advertisement for life insurance. Oh, and the article in question was about John McCain visiting Mo Udall on his deathbed. Deathbed? Life insurance? Get it?

Here is the ad in question:

Accuquote ad brings the lulz

Flickr’s Tubes

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

We all know by now the internet’s not a truck, it’s a series of tubes. And it appears that Flickr has got its tubes chock full of material right now. Flickr has a knack for humorous error messages, and for its largest site outage in a long time, they’ve decided to give users something to do while the site is down.


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Category humor, news, technology | Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Six Ways to Fix MySpace in 2006

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

MySpace, you've hit critical mass. A giant media conglomerate owns you, every major-label band has a page, and you're sponsoring events and concerts all over the nation. It's time to realize that you're not a grass-roots little social networking website anymore. It's time for some changes: (more…)

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Drugs… A Thing of the Past?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

I came away from reading Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt's recent book, Freakonomics, with a Republican-esque disdain for the (illegal) drug industry. The crack boom helped knock blacks a few decades backward in catching up to white America's socioeconomic status, fuel a crime wave that lasted until the early 1990s, and basically fuck us up humanity in ways we'll probably never fully understand. But, now I'm starting to think that just as the "crime wave" peak of the 80s was followed by a just-as-large trough, we could be seeing the waning popularity of drugs in the coming years. (more…)

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Introverts Do It Better

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

I've always been introverted, and above average in the smarts department, but until now I only had years of As and high standardized test scores to back me up in my claim of intellectual superiority. I knew someday, some scientists would cook up something else for me to fuel my claims, and that day has come. (more…)

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