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And Speaking About Being in the News It sure seemed like I've been giving a bunch of interviews lately, so I decided to have a bit of a look around. Yup. I have been.There was the Globe piece about online TV. And the CTV interview on the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death about public displays of grief. Then, wondering about why Toronto has such a large Facebook network. And finally, the Kingston Whig-Standard asked me about university students connecting via Facebook to coordinate their annual "Night of Mayhem." And there's probably something that will appear in The Ryersonian within the next couple of days about privacy, revelation and consequences on Facebook. And, in response to the most frequently asked question during these sorts of interview ("what's your title?"), here's how I see my identity being constructed lately: I am a PhD researcher at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Generally speaking, I explore the complexity of changes in society that are em [From: What is the (Next) Message?, September 23, 2007] 285975

Microbial species: some papers [Evolving Thoughts] One of the things I have previously discussed (see the "Best of ET" tab) is microbial species concepts. Two new papers have come out on this, and it seems to be a hot research topic right now. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post... [From: ScienceBlogs Select, September 23, 2007] 285971

Saturday Links for the Week - September 22, 2007 The Wisdom of Crowds?: Chart shows value of US Dollar versus a basket of other currencies. With unrepayable government, corporate and personal debt levels, high vulnerability to interest rates, dependence on China's ever-fragile and reckless economy, and dependence on cheap oil, the market is beginning to realize that the US dollar is essentially worthless. Only psychology and fear are keeping it from crashing, and plunging the world into an horrific recession. What is bizarre is that (like in 1929?) the stock market is at record highs. Two Signs That We're Heading For a Wall: Staking Claims for Future Resource Wars: The invasion of the Middle East over oil is just the most obvious sign that countries are starting to realize that huge scarcities of resources are looming, and hence starting to stake claims for what little is left. Both the US and Russia have put Canada on notice that they do not recognize Canadian sovereignty over Canada's oil- and water-rich Arctic. And now, [From: How to Save the World, September 22, 2007] 285897

Dave "interviewed" by Scranton newspaper There's a short interview with me at the Scranton Times-Tribune -- it's their Saturday "Five Questions" feature so it's supposed to be funny rather than serious. Read the comments on this post... [From: Cognitive Daily, September 22, 2007] 285894

Night musings I wouldn't usually blog I'm experimenting more with single-dimensional algorithms for choice... [From: Marginal Revolution, September 22, 2007] 285885

If Pet Turtles Were Outlawed, Only Outlaws Would Have Pet Turtles [Terra Sigillata] Just one last comment on the recently passed FDA legislation. I know that Terra Sig readers must be tiring of this issue already, but this aspect was too good to pass up. I started writing this post on a lark but the topic actually has serious public health implications. John Mack at his Pharma Marketing Blog made the clever observation that while DTC restrictions were not in the Senate bill, a provision "prohibiting the FDA from restricting the sale of turtles less than 10.2 centimeters in diameter as a pet DID make it into the bill (Title VII - Domestic Pet Turtle Market Access; Section 703)" As John seriously points out, pet turtles can be a source of Salmonella poisoning. A strain of Salmonella that killed a 4 week old baby in July was identified as coming from the Florida family's pet turtle. MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) also documents several other cases of turtle-related salmonellosis in 2004. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post... [From: ScienceBlogs Select, September 22, 2007] 285877

SELF-QUOTING AT THE OED. I was just trying to see what the OED had to say about white in the sense of 'reactionary' (Metternich having talked about "white radicals" in 1834) when I was struck by the subentry for whiter than white 'extremely white' ("In mod. use popularized as an advertising slogan for Persil soap-powder"). After a nod at Shakespeare's 1592 Ven.&Ad. 398 "Teaching the sheets a whiter hew then white," the first citation is the following:a1924 N.E.D. s.v. White sb. 23, Exceeding or surpassing white, ‘whiter than white’. So wait, you get to use it yourself in the first edition, then quote that use as a citation in the second? I know, I know, the quotation marks imply the phrase was in current use, but it still makes my head spin. [From:, September 22, 2007] 285876

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone -->This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License and is copyrighted (c) 2007 by Connective Associates except where otherwise noted. --> [From: Connectedness, September 22, 2007] 285782

Last chance to vote in the BPR3 icon contest Just a quick reminder: The voting on the BPR3 icon contest closes on Monday, September 24. If you haven't voted yet, head on over to BPR3 or this CogDaily post and make sure your voice is heard. Read the comments on this post... [From: Cognitive Daily, September 22, 2007] 285780

Scream this from the rooftops, a continuing series Indeed, the health-income gradient is slightly steeper in Canada than it is in the U.S.Here is the paper (can anyone find a non-gated version?), which offers many other interesting points of comparison between the two systems. Here are previous installments... [From: Marginal Revolution, September 22, 2007] 285753

This idea should be well-known, not novel A small Michigan insurer is trying a novel way to woo young, healthy people who lack health insurance: let them buy lots of coverage after they get sick. American Community Mutual Insurance Co. is rolling out an unusual two-tier coverage... [From: Marginal Revolution, September 22, 2007] 285754

I am not laughing any more Here's another hilarious video from the Onion. Hilarious that is, until you read the extension. 'Students First In Line' Program To Offer Job Training At Needy Schools [From: Marginal Revolution, September 22, 2007] 285752

Jenny McCarthy and Oprah Winfrey: Two crappy tastes that taste crappy together on autism [Respectful Insolence] I have to tip my hat to Kevin Leitch. I really do. He's done something that I couldn't manage to force myself to do, at least not completely. He's subjected himself to the entire episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in which Jenny McCarthy showed up to plug her new book about her fight to "save" her child from autism, Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism. Far be it from me to attack Jenny McCarthy for wanting to help her autistic son. Her devotion is admirable, and virtually all parents, other than crappy parents, want to help their children. The problem is that, in seeking to help her son, she's seriously drunk the Kool Aid and believes that vaccines contributed to her son's autism. Moreover, like so many parents, she's been subjecting him to a wide variety of "biomedical" treatments whose rationale is dubious at best and for which there is no good evidence of efficacy to try to "cure" his autism. Now, she's using her B-list celebrity to peddle a boatload of misinfor [From: ScienceBlogs Select, September 22, 2007] 285748

House and Senate to Vote on Children's Health Insurance Expansion Despite Veto Threat [The Scientific Activist] Congress appears to be on track for another major standoff with President Bush. The Washington Post reports today that the House and Senate have reconciled their differing versions of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP or CHIP) expansion and will be voting on it this coming week (Tuesday in the House, Thursday in the Senate). Predictably, President Bush still promises a veto of this bipartisan compromise legislation, a position he took long before the bill was voted on in either chamber. The current bill, which calls for a $35 billion expansion of SCHIP over the next five years, most closely resembles the version passed by the Senate in August 2nd. Passed one day before, the original House version was much more ambitious, instead reaching for a $47 billion expansion. Unfortunately, the House version passed by a tight 225-204, along party lines. The Senate version, however, passed by a veto-proof 68-31 majority, and there are hopes that such a supermajority can b [From: ScienceBlogs Select, September 22, 2007] 285741

Sometimes, women's bodies just are [Signout] Much as activism kind of annoys me--I blame my polite mother--I am fairly solidly behind the woman who's fighting facebook for banning pictures of her breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is really good for babies, and I'm all for making it as easy for moms to do as possible. That might mean overcoming our discomfort at viewing the breasts of women we don't know. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post... [From: ScienceBlogs Select, September 22, 2007] 285738

KOTOBA, HEIDEGGER, AND SHONAGON. I have a lot of work to get through, so I'm just going to point you in the direction of a most interesting discussion over at Conrad's philosophitorium of Heidegger's (to my mind completely loony: "Koto, then, would be the appropriating occurrence of the lightening message of grace [das Ereignis der lichtenden Botschaft der Anmut]") interpretation of Japanese kotoba ('language; word' in the world inhabited by normal people), with enlightening and informed commentary by the lively and learned Matt and the equally learned literary estheticist Gawain, and Gawain's post in response, In which he is a Japanese scholar, with further analysis of the word and his excited discovery that "the semi-divine authoress of the Pillow Book, my Sei Shonagon, the truest love of my life (see my post on her here) wrote the word kotoba as — 詞." It's all good stuff, and I want to know more about the putative rivalry described by Gawain's commenter Peony:It is essential to keep in mind that the court w [From:, September 22, 2007] 285732

Vanishing hyphens With the appearance of the 6th edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary -- see the statement by editor Angus Stevenson on 9/13/07 -- the media have been abuzz (not a-buzz) about the disappearance of about 16,000 hyphens in... [From: Language Log, September 22, 2007] 285728

Ask Language Log: On a scale from one to snowclone Justin Fetterman writes: I've noticed what might be a new snowclone cropping up. As in this article, where, right before the picture, we have the phrase "a scale of one to crazy". Recently, a friend of mine used the... [From: Language Log, September 22, 2007] 285729

The Crockus and the Bassoon The folks over at Metafilter have picked up on the emerging science of crockusology, and the usual lively discussion has ensued. One of the commenters asked an especially insightful question: "Is the crockus related in any way to Shatner's... [From: Language Log, September 22, 2007] 285730

Punctuate this How right Arnold Zwicky is to refuse to follow the dumb punctuation-sequencing rule that American publishers and copy editors all insist on (occasionally to the point of hypercorrection): the rule that small punctuation marks (the comma and the period but... [From: Language Log, September 22, 2007] 285731