Lifes Worth Knowing

The Weekender

In Current events, Fascinating, Interesting, Justin, Politics, Uncategorized on January 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

The Underwritten States of America. This map proves that health reform is not just a modern issue. From 1855, the cartography shows the USA divided up into different “risk zones” for the purpose of writing health insurance. Apparently Californians are much more expensive to insure than New Yorkers.

That’s Punny! A new study shows that puns help us to improve recall and memory in general. While I’m not sure exactly how it works, my wife will be subjected to more and more bad puns as a result

The Most Epic Comet Ever. Video of the recent comet lovejoy making a an earthrise (cometrise?) from the view of the international space station. Set to epic music, of course.

Wait, that’s an Actual Award? So, as an unabashed cartophile – I loved this story about the “Best in Show” award at the Cartography and Geographic Information Society that went to one man who spent seven days a week for two years working out of a farmhouse in Eugene Oregon to create the map. It’s incredibly beautiful and easy to read, but no word on whether Buster Bluth approves of it.

Octofish? So, apparently there is a creature called a mimic octopus that can change its appearance to look like a sea snake, a fish, or a jellyfish depending on what type of predator it is trying to trick. Now, they just discovered a fish that hangs around the tentacles of the octopus, and changes it coloring to match the octopus exactly so as to appear as a ninth arm of the octopus. Brilliant.

Meet one of Iraq’s most prolific Photographers – He is eight years old. This kid is amazing, he has already one several awards for his photography, and he is only eight years old. Check out his portfolio and an interview with him. (via Boing Boing)

The Sportscenter-ization of Politics. A must read. This article hits the nail on the head with its critique of political reporting. Cable news outlets use the same style of reporting that Sportcenter uses to create a sense of urgency and immediacy on topics that have little relevance (Coming up! The latest on Big Ben’s ankle controversy! – Up next! Is Obama secretly Muslim?) It all leads to reporting on the emotional issue of who is winning and who is losing as opposed to reporting on the actual issues – I have to include my favorite anecdote from the article, because once you think about it in this context…our political polarization make so much more sense.

“So what happens when long slog of public policy gets the ESPN treatment? Consider “Obamacare.” The pending legislation rarely was covered as a touchy balancing act between the competing self-interests of doctors, insurance companies, drug makers, hospitals, the AARP, uninsured citizens and others; in fact, it rarely was covered as a health-care issue at all. Rather, it was given a snappy, inaccurate nickname and framed as a political fight, as apocalyptic and over-the-top as a college football bowl game: You are watching live! Democrats versus Republicans, Obama against the Tea Party, two men enter, one man leaves, the fate of American freedom and your sick grandmother on the line! “

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