October 23, 2008

Fun with Webtools

So this is making the rounds today, which draws on a map of metropolitan areas with surplus single males or single females that garnered some attention a while back claimed to show that the East Coast was full of lonely single women and the West Coast full of lonely single men. However, that map may have painted with too broad a brush, as Ezra Klein notes:
The original map counted all singles between the ages of 20 and 64. The new map lets you screw with some sliders for a data range. And the results are fascinating. On the young end of the spectrum, single men outnumber single women just about everywhere. If you hold the ages to 20-34, DC, for instance, has 27 extra single men for every 1,000 people. Shift the slider so it tracks folks from age 45 to 60, and DC has 48 more single women for every 1,000 folks.
One can find a kind of proof of this in another webtool that's making the rounds, which is a mashup of Craigslist personal ads and Google Maps. You can filter the results according to sexual preference, and the thing that jumps out most when one look at the DC area, say, is that there are considerably more men seeking women and men seeking men than there are women seeking men or women seeking women. This assumes, of course, that most of the people who post Craigslist personals are in the 18-44 age bracket, so take it with a grain of salt.

The Unchained Goddess

Scientists have been aware of global warming for decades, it turns out (via Matt Stoller):

It is a bit eerie to see that the problem was known about so clearly way back then. It's also a reminder of the production values of educational movies in the 1950s, which really was the golden age of the genre. St. John's alumni reading this, for example, will recall the infamous frog video set to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." Sadly, I can't find it on YouTube.

October 10, 2008

"The Edsels of the world of moveable type"

Blog posts are well known for their invective, and I've indulged that impulse on occasion. But I would be hard pressed to write anything that let spill so much bile and reveled so much in schadenfreude as this poem by Clive James:
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I rejoice.
It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
Beneath the yoke.
What avail him now his awards and prizes,
The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
His individual new voice?
Knocked into the middle of next week
His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys
The sinker, clinkers, dogs and dregs,
The Edsels of the world of moveable type,
The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
The unbudgeable turkeys.

Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyart with a forlorn skyscraper
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots--
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
"My boobs will give everyone hours of fun".

Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
Though not to the monumental extent
In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
To the book of my enemy,
Since in the case of my own book it will be due
To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error--
Nothing to do with merit.
But just supposing that such an event should hold
Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
By the memory of this sweet moment.
Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am glad.