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Leave those hicks alone

I waited all morning (and into the afternoon) for the fine folks at Crooks and Liars to share the Stephen Colbert clip from last night in which he tears into Australian Prime Minister John Howard (after first tipping his hat in agreement) for criticizing Barak Obama.  It's a brilliant illustration of some of the sentiment I saw expressed in the blogosphere yesterday, for example this piece at Captain's Quarters.  Like Joe Gandelman, I felt myself give a mental Scalia Sicilian salute to Howard when I read the story.

I had similar feelings watching this video of some British guys who decide to taunt people in Alabama and end up nearly killed (sadly confirming some of the gross stereotypes they set out to mock).  Most folks online see it as a funny joke but I couldn't help but feel a little defensive.  Hey you jerk, those are our hicks.  If they need mocking, we'll handle it.  Why don't you go find some soccer yobs in your country to provoke into threatening your life?

UPDATE:  That YouTube link is dead but DailyMotion has the whole episode of Top Gear in two parts.  The Alabama segment is in part 2.  Scroll the timeline about an inch (sorry, no counter). Part 1 is here if you want to watch the whole show, which is about a half hour long.  The show itself does an interesting job waking the line between funny and offensive and I can't quite decide if it would be different if the players were American. 

Speaking of Barry, there was a talking head on Hardball last night who predicted we'd eventually see his speech from 2002 versus Hillary's speech of 2002 and she'd come out looking bad.  (They were talking about whether her answers on the war would be sufficient in her campaign.)  Anyway, here's the Obama half.

Speaking of Iraq, here's the PowerPoint slide show of the government's case for Iran in Iraq.

The science of Godzilla.  Better than the science of zombies.

Ethnomusicologists against music as torture - It took me the longest time to figure out what I thought this was weird and finally I realized that the objection seems to be about the abuse of music, not about the abuse of humans.  It's like People for the Ethical Treatment of Music.

Speaking of uncommon causes, Ezra Klein raises the issue of prison rape with a few anecdotes from victims.  Prison rape is such common knowledge it can be the poster joke for a Hollywood comedy.  I can't think of any politician who would dare stand up for the rights of the incarcerated; being "tough on crime" is such an easy political point to score.  Still, it's pretty sick.

World Press Photos of the Year 2007 NOTE: Several disturbing war photos

Speaking of professional photography, I don't remember what brought me here, but I've been enjoying The Online Photographer blog.

The only thing I want to hear from a urinal cake is flattery.

Someone's going to have to explain OscarTorrents to me.  Are they seriously offering every Oscar nominated movie for download for free?

The brain scan that can read people's intentions - This is as "Minority Report" as it sounds.  I'd like to see the actual study because the connection between what the brain scan shows as "intention" and the resulting action is not clear to me.  Surely there's not much more than a split second between brain signal of intention and actual action.

IT, YouTube and the wealth gap - In what way does the digital divide contribute to the wealth gap.  The blunt argument is that the wealthy have more access to technology which makes them more productive and more efficient at making more money.  The actual situation may be more nuanced.

Candy heart for Valentine's Day.

Dear Boston authorities, this is a marketing trick.  Don't panic (or cause panic).

Speaking of that mess, Osama Team Hunger Force - NOTE:  There is occasionally NSFW material on CollegeHumor and just below this video are four random photos that may contain a thong or something.

How to crash an in-flight entertainment system

While checking out the new techPresident site mentioned in yesterday's Times (the hook was that they track the number of MySpace friends each candidate has) I appreciated the candidate blog round-up that goes with the follow-up item that one of the embattled Edwards bloggers quit.  The most interesting angle on this whole story now is whether campaign blogs (and bloggers) have to be boring by definition.  In the ideal there's an idea that candidates having blogs will mean candor and insight and I have to say that part of why I didn't think the Edwards bloggers would be a big deal is because I thought they'd be advising in the background, not actually cultivating personalities of their own online as part of the campaign.  Of course candidates should be doing their own blogging, that's the whole point.  For all the jawing politicians do about opening a channel of communication with the people, this is the one tool that will actually allow them to do so in a manageable way.

FBI lost 160 weapons and 160 laptops in last 44 months - and that's the good news.  "In any organization the size of the FBI, equipment is going to be lost, misplaced, or stolen, so perfection is not to be expected."  I'm not sure I agree with this one.  I'm sure there are corporate formulas for what an acceptable amount of loss is, but I'd expect weapons and laptops to be particularly well guarded.

Canterbury tales in World of Warcraft.

Stem cells used for 'natural' boob jobs - It's funny that in almost every place I saw this story they included a gratuitous photo of a large breasted woman.  I didn't even think it was a legit story, but after some Googling I was able to find out quite a bit more information.  When you think about it, being able to grow breast tissue and even a whole breast is actually a really big deal in terms of fighting breast cancer.  The "excesses of vanity" angle does the research a disservice.

Speaking of growing new body parts, "Researchers ... have now shown that continuous tooth generation can be induced in mammals."

Hysterical parody of someone calling IT for help with a book.

I'm not sure I really understand the reason for building a V6 hybrid sports car other than to refute the reputation that hybrid cars are wimpy.  Still, doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose?  (And don't get me wrong, that's a hot car. I'm just saying...)

Top 10 Fashion Suggestions for Nerds - The site is kind of weird and made me wonder if it was some kind of spam, so I clicked through to the blog.  The whole thing is an AdSense Earnings Adventure.  Pretty fascinating if a bit cynical.

Commuter Click: How Not to Talk to Your Kids - The Inverse Power of Praise.  This is the second NY Magazine Commuter Click in a row, but since I liked the last one I'm sticking with them.

*** Can anyone settle this bet?  In the Pink Floyd song, do they say, "Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone" or "Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone" or what?  Does it depend on what version of the song you hear?