Let me get this straight

by Kieran Healy on December 29, 2006

So Nouri al-Maliki pardoned Saddam Hussein to promote national healing and move on, Gerald Ford is making one last appearance at the Apollo theater, and James Brown will shortly be buried at Arlington cemetery, his long reign of terror having come to an end at last. No, that’s not right. I’ll try again.

While I puzzle it out, go read “Josh Marshall”:http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/011729.php pre-emptively cutting through the bullshit that will pile up around the gallows this weekend:

bq. Convention dictates that we precede any discussion of this execution with the obligatory nod to Saddam’s treachery, bloodthirsty rule and tyranny. But enough of the cowardly chatter. This thing is a sham, of a piece with the whole corrupt, disastrous sham that the war and occupation have been. Bush administration officials are the ones who leak the news about the time of the execution. … This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur — phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. … for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren’t grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting. … This is what we’re reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there’s nothing else this president can get right. What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30 or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?

Friday fun or frustration

by Eszter Hargittai on December 29, 2006

Time sink

If you haven’t seen the Grow Cube before then you are lucky and I do apologize for bringing it to your attention. I realize that it’s been around for a while, but some may have missed it. [No thanks to Marc Rittle for the link.]

If you don’t have hours to kill then a search for grow cube solution on your favorite search engine should do the trick. But I doubt you’ll appreciate it if you don’t spend at least a bit of time trying to figure out the solution on your own. No comment as to how much time.

Answers on NYTimes.com

by Eszter Hargittai on December 29, 2006

Answers.com has got to be one of my most visited sites. (Yahoo! Answers is another, but I’ll save that for later.) It is the site that Google uses for definitions and I use it often for spell checks.* I guess I find it easier to type a word in the search bar, press return and then click on the “definition” link in the upper right corner of the search results page than to designate Answers as my search engine of choice and type in the word there. This may be, because subsequent use of the search bar would then require another click to switch back to another engine.

In any case, today after I finished reading an article (this one) on the NYTimes site, I noticed the following below the piece:

To find reference information about the words used in this article, hold down the ALT key and click on any word, phrase or name. A new window will open with a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry.

So I placed my cursor on a word, pressed the ALT key and clicked with my mouse. Voila. A window popped up with information from Answers about the word. (I have a pop-up blocker and this still came up so it’s of a different variety. You are also given the option of having it come up in a separate tab or window in the browser.) Cool feature.

Alternatively, of course there is always the option of using the ConQuery extension on Firefox and adding the relevant Answers plugin from MyCroft. ConQuery is certainly my preferred way for locating addresses on Google Maps without having to retype them. But I like these little pop-up windows since they’re smaller, come up quickly and are easy to close.

[*] I have found that simply relying on the number of search results for a term is not a good indicator of correct spelling given the number of misspelled words out there.