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Thursday, November 15 2018 @ 04:34 AM CST

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Morning Whip, 3/14/05

The WhipChina threatens force against Taiwan--Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says:
“The law is not aimed to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait,” he said. “It’s for the peace and stability in the area.”

Somehow I'm not relieved by Wen's concerns for "peace and stability."

The fields are set:
NCAA Men's Basketball tournament
NCAA Women's Basketball tournament
National Invitation Tournament
Women's National Invitation Tournament

NASA gets a new administrator: Michael D. Griffin, a Johns Hopkins physicist.

Tax on toilet paper? Florida legislator Al Lawson thinks it's a good idea.

What made an Airbus rudder snap in mid-air? The money paragraph:
Despite these and earlier assurances, some pilots remain sceptical. The Observer has learnt that after the 587 disaster, more than 20 American Airlines A300 pilots asked to be transferred to Boeings, although this meant months of retraining and loss of earnings. Some of those who contributed to pilots' bulletin boards last week expressed anger at the European manufacturer in vehement terms. One wrote that having attended an Airbus briefing about 587, he had refused to let any of his family take an A300 or A310 and had paid extra to take a circuitous route on holiday purely to avoid them: "That is how convinced I am that there are significant problems associated with these aircraft."

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Big Dance (W), Selection Sunday Edition

In (30):
Eastern Kentucky (23-7), Ohio Valley
Western Carolina (18-13), Southern
Canisus (21-9), MAAC
Santa Clara (17-13), West Coast
TCU (23-9), Conference USA
Tennessee (26-4), SEC
Temple (27-3), Atlantic 10
Michigan State (28-3), Big 10
North Carolina (27-3), ACC
Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-3), Horizon
Stanford (29-2), Pac 10
Middle Tennessee State (23-8), Sun Belt
Oral Roberts (22-8), Mid-Con
Connecticut (23-7), Big East
Holy Cross (20-10), Patriot
Liberty (24-6), Big South
Old Dominion (22-7), Colonial
Bowling Green (23-7), MAC
St. Francis (PA) (21-9), Northeast
Texas-Arlington (21-9), Southland
Rice (24-8), WAC
Coppin State (22-7), MEAC
Hartford (22-8), America East
Stetson (17-13), Atlantic Sun
UC Santa Barbara (21-8), Big West
Dartmouth (17-10), Ivy
Alcorn State (21-8), SWAC
New Mexico (26-4), Mountain West
Montana (22-7), Big Sky
Baylor (27-3), Big XII
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Big Dance (M), Selection Sunday Edition

In (25 teams):
Pennsylvania (18-8), Ivy League
Eastern Kentucky (22-8), Ohio Valley
UCF (24-8), Atlantic Sun
Winthrop (27-5), Big South
Chattanooga (20-10), Southern
Gonzaga (25-5), West Coast
Old Dominion (28-5), Colonial
Creighton (23-10), Missouri Valley
Niagara (20-9), MAAC
Oakland (12-18), Mid-Con
Louisiana-Lafayette (20-10), Sun Belt
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (24-5), Horizon
Fairleigh Dickenson (20-12), Northeast
Montana (18-12), Big Sky
Bucknell (22-9), Patriot
Vermont (24-6), America East
Louisville (29-4), Conference USA
Delaware State (19-13), MEAC
George Washington (22-7), Atlantic 10
Washington (27-5), Pac-10
Ohio (21-10), MAC
Syracuse (27-6), Big East
Texas-El Paso (27-7), WAC
New Mexico (26-6), Mountain West
Utah State (24-7), Big West

To be awarded today (6):
SWAC autobid, Alabama St. (15-14) vs. Alabama A&M (17-13)
ACC autobid, Georgia Tech (19-10) vs. Duke (24-5)
SEC autobid, Florida (22-7) vs. Kentucky (25-4)
Southland autobid, SE Louisiana (23-8) vs. Northwestern St. (21-11)
Big XII autobid, Texas Tech (20-9) vs. Oklahoma St. (23-6)
Big 10 autobid, Wisconsin (22-7) vs. Illinois (31-1)

At large bids to be awarded today: 34.

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Morning Whip Saturday Edition 3/12/05

The WhipSome of Filbert's favorite things:

All-time favorite TV show: Mystery Science Theater 3000. Second place: Babylon 5.

All-time favorite RFC: RFC 1149 - A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers.

All-time favorite band/music artist: A tough one, which goes in cycles. The Replacements, when I'm feeling the need to get a bit out of control. REM, when I can ignore the purile politics and focus on the gorgeous music (which is fairly often, actually). Sheryl Crow, occasionally. Warren Zevon, RIP. Many others, which someday I'll document on the Entertainment page.

Favorite day: Saturday.

Favorite dog: Whippet.

Favorite dessert: Carrot cake.

Favorite author: Terry Pratchett.

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"End of Late Fees" my left little finger!

My oldest and dearest friend commonly says he'd "give his left little finger" for some vaguely favorable outcome. Over the years, saying "so and so--my left little finger!" has come to mean something similar to "like hell," a skeptical commentary on whatever "so and so" was about.

So, with that utterly extraneous intro, I present for your reading pleasure the article discussing thirty states which are investigating Blockbuster over their "End of The Late Fee" marketing gimmick. The hell you say!

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We Support The Marines As Long As They're Democrats

Well, now we know where the UAW stands regarding "supporting our troops." In short, a UAW local has allowed Marine reservists to park in their lot during weekend drills, but now, if a Marine has a George W. Bush sticker on the car, the UAW won't let them park there any more. Now, this isn't really surprising. Sad, but not surprising. From americandigest via One Hand Clapping.
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Free Speech Online

If you care about free speech, go sign this petition about the Federal Election Commission and our trustworthy (snicker) politicians' trial balloon about regulating internet web logs.
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Morning Whip, 3/11/05

The WhipThe brief experiment in individual postings was, well, unsatisfying. So, if you don't mind, I'll go back to the routine of a quick review of whatever the heck happens to catch my attention first thing in the morning. Plenty of time for the individual postings later, right?

My sister points me to The Fishbowl. Appears to be a nice little political gossip site.

An oldie but a goodie, the Internet Storm Center, for all of your uber-geek network security needs.

Alton attorney accidentally sues himself. The headline is unfortunately more amusing than the actual story, which descends into actual lawyer stuff. Ick.

The Bush Was Right toteboard now stands at 37,000 Google hits. Today's feature from Newsweek via MSNBC. Special bonus article: Macleans Magazine, from Canada.

Today's lesson in "don't quit" comes from the Kansas State women's basketball team, who started their game down 17-0 to Texas in the Big XII tournament, and came back to win.

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Could YOU be a South Park Republican?

From Tech Central Station:

The name stems from the primetime cartoon "South Park" that clearly demonstrates the contrast within the party. The show is widely condemned by some moralists, including members of the Christian right. Yet in spite of its coarse language and base humor, the show persuasively communicates the Republican position on many issues, including hate crime legislation ("a savage hypocrisy"), radical environmentalism, and rampant litigation by ambitious trial lawyers. In one episode, industrious gnomes pick apart myopic anti-corporate rhetoric and teach the main characters about the benefits of capitalism.

Are you sure? Here's what the Freepers think . . .

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Are We There Yet?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Berkeley scientists have discovered a regular 62 million year cycle of mass extinctions.

Richard Muller and his graduate student, Robert Rohde, are publishing a report on their exhaustive study in the journal Nature today, and in interviews this week, the two men said they have been working on the surprising evidence for about four years.

"We've tried everything we can think of to find an explanation for these weird cycles of biodiversity and extinction," Muller said, "and so far, we've failed."

The idea that mass extinctions happen on a regular cycle isn't exactly new. Most theories such as the Alvarez meteor/comet theory described a 26 to 30 million year cycle. Interestingly, Mueller worked with Alvarez at Berkeley.

Muller's favorite explanation, he said informally, is that the solar system passes through an exceptionally massive arm of our own spiral Milky Way galaxy every 62 million years, and that that increase in galactic gravity might set off a hugely destructive comet shower that would drive cycles of mass extinction on Earth.

Rohde, however, prefers periodic surges of volcanism on Earth as the least implausible explanation for the cycles, he said -- although it's only a tentative one, he conceded.

Of course, according to the Chronicle article, the last major extinction happened 65 million years ago, so we're obviously doomed. "More study is necessary" of course, so keep sending those tax dollars to UC Berkeley, folks.