matthew's blog

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How to recognize a conspiracy theory

In this age when conspiracy theories abound and you can find entire communities devoted to group-think, finding dragons in the clouds and believing them to be real, I think it's a great idea to revisit Michael Shermer's Conspiracy Theory Detector. Summary below the break.

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Colloquialisms: Canary in a Coal Mine

Conversation with my staff over the phone in India today. I love colloquialisms.

Me: "In this case, our application is just the canary in the coal mine. "
Them: "A what?"
Me: "A canary in a coal mine. If it is dead, it's not because it had a pre-existing health condition."
Them: "What health condition did it have?"
Me: "... Uh. It was poisoned. By being in a coal mine."

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Who are the Secessionists?

Comment thread: https://www.facebook.com/ihenpecked/posts/10151254231702458?comment_id=2...

This morning, I decided to sit down and analyze some statistics, and from them I arrived at a hypothesis that I still need to validate. What do you think?

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George Washington on Political Parties

For those who missed it, here was George Washington's 1796 farewell address to the nation, touching on political parties:

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US Congress Partisan & Ideological Makeup

If you have a few minutes and are interested in an unbiased graphic of political trends in the House and Senate, check this out. It shows the shifts in power based exclusively on economic voting bloc patterns of the House and Senate over time. There are some fascinating patterns here, especially if you click the "large" graphic and pan around...

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Open Letter to Republican Strategists

I just read an Open Letter to Republican Strategists, and gotta say I can't agree more. I'm not quite as affluent as this guy, nor do we align on every issue.

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Veteran's Day: Fears For The New Civil War

Today, like each Veteran's Day for the past several years, I am grateful for veterans who have defended our country. Even those on both sides of the conflict dating back to 1860, when the Confederate states illegally seceded, roused others to support their secession due to the election of an unpopular President (Abraham Lincoln), then took violent action at Fort Sumter to spark the Civil War.

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Chain E-Mail of Obama "Firsts" analyzed

Got this note in my Facebook inbox. Tough to address so much misinformation, but I'll try. This list of "Firsts" is clearly in the league of "throw enough poo, some of it will stick", but I was asked by a friend to provide some answers, so here goes.

Quit trashing President Obama's accomplishments. He has done more than any other President before him. He has an impressive list of 34 accomplishments:
First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

Flatly false. This claim is based upon an April Fools joke article that Birthers took seriously. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/occidental.asp

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How I'm voting for 2012

I know you're all just DYING to know how I'm voting for 2012, so here it is!

If you're in Utah, all the voter information packets are online, as well as in polling places and supermarkets shortly: http://vote.utah.gov/on-my-ballot/candidates/

Here's how much of my ticket is going to look. Some of this may not apply unless you, too, are in RIV002 in Utah :)

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Day 1: Always fun

Day 1 of Induction to jump-start a lower carbohydrate eating plan is always kind of fun. Note I say "lower", instead of "low", because I'm a believer that one's nutrition should be tailored to activity level. At present, my activity is slow jogging, swimming, cycling, with moderate weightlifting. My injured shoulder precludes a lot of the intensity I'd like to bring to each sport, so I'm really not exhausting my glycogen stores.

Anyway, yeah, it's a special sort of "fun".

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