Most research outlets completely unaware of what’s actually going on around them, new evidence suggests.

The phenomenon of popular news outlets completely garbling, sometimes spectacularly, the findings and/or implications of scientific experiments and academic research studies that they cover has been well-documented. “Often,” Michael Crichton once said, “the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the ‘wet streets cause rain’ stories. Paper’s full of them.” It was with this in mind that I scanned a recent article from The Independent titled Chimpanzees Love Horror Films, Research Finds. Continue reading Most research outlets completely unaware of what’s actually going on around them, new evidence suggests.

Wolves, lambs, and, sometimes, men.

I remember thoroughly enjoying the last New Jersey gubernatorial debate. Chris Christie spent the full ninety minutes mercilessly tearing his Democratic challenger, a woman from the NJ senate named Buono, into small shreds, and then shuffling them around the stage with his feet like dead leaves.

It was obvious to me then that Christie was adept at this. I was a bit surprised, therefore, to see that he was one of the five candidates from Fox’s recent 10-man prime-time debate whose poll numbers declined in its aftermath. I guess I oughtn’t have expected as much from him as I did: Looking back on it, Buono should’ve lost the debate had Christie not even shown up, so devastatingly bad was her performance. Out of many great moments to choose from (a dazzling cavalcade of nonsense which included such gems as the suggestion that Hurricane Sandy might never have happened if Christie had only done more to prevent global warming) my absolute favorite was when the poor woman opened her response to a panelist’s question which had included the phrase “passive resistance” with these exact words:

“I like that. ‘Passive resistance.’ I’m going to coin that phrase.”

In the pageantry of our politics, Christie was the wolf and Buono was the lamb. And while the ability to trounce a mental defective may not qualify Christie to compete against the big boys, it might at least teach the establishment something. Considering the two Fox debates, what’s really striking isn’t Christie’s comparative weakness, but the much more abject unsuitability of the establishment-backed candidates. Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina (whose post-debate bounce was more aggressively spin-propelled than one of those rubber band and balsa wood airplanes) are sacrificial lambs in the mold of Mitt Romney. Continue reading Wolves, lambs, and, sometimes, men.

Movie Review: Pom Poko

Pom Poko is a 1994 feature length Japanese cartoon about a colony of tanookis living in the woods near Tokyo. Some developers are building human houses in their habitat, which is something of a crisis for them. So, at first blush, almost FernGully kid’s fare; there’s a sort of kid-wavelength ecology message, and the style is very cartoony.

But (and you knew this was coming)…

This isn’t a cartoon for children.  Ah, Japan. Continue reading Movie Review: Pom Poko