26 December 2008

Link roundup for 26 December 2008

JibJab has a year-in-review video up.

Yet another obsolete enterprise is asking Congress for a bailout.

Here's a collection of creepy beach sculptures (found via Mendip).

I'm not alone in recognizing Newton Day.

Does "manliness" mean being a medieval troglodyte?

Sentient Developments has tips on going vegetarian.

There's more to the symbiosis of bees and plants than pollination.

France wants to fight Google? Bring it on!

Republic of T. speculates on the right's hidden economic goals.

Credit where it's due: President Bush makes an honorable gesture.

Biden was right: Obama will be tested.

Don't be misled by the media's chosen gloom-and-doom narrative on the economy. Here (scroll down a bit) are some signs that the recovery is already beginning. In the same vein, the WSJ reports that retail sales fell 5.5% in November and 8% in December (year-on-year). But more than half the drop was accounted for by the fall in gasoline prices, which is a good thing, not a bad thing. Exclude that factor, and the declines are 2.5% and 4% respectively, with some of the drop being due to increased savings. Not very good, but hardly signs of looming disaster. Read this too.

The brand of shoe flung at President Bush by Muntadar al-Zeidi has suddenly become a hot seller in Iraq.

The Confluence looks at the Bush administration's horrific new "conscience rules" on reproductive technology.

Tough Chinese sailors fight off Muslim pirates with improvised weapons.

Blogger "Sultan Knish" (gotta love that name) takes a close took at the rising threat posed by the United Arab Emirates (found via Logistics Monster). More here.

The Russian regime is back to churning out crude anti-American propaganda, but it's a flop with Russian audiences.

Survivors of cruel medical experiments face ongoing physical and psychological problems. But in China, abused street performers fight back.

A Japanese satellite films "Earthrise" over the Lunar horizon.

The earliest common ancestor of Earthly life might have been a hyperthermophilic microorganism.

The Vatican's views on bioethics can be ignored.

A shift to LEDs could save vast amounts of money and energy.

New Japanese technology can show what people are seeing by reading their brain activity (found via Exit Zero).

Oxford University scholars present a comprehensive discussion (long PDF) of where we now stand on the road to uploading human minds into computers.

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