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Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday midday.

* Followup on the Google-search climate crisis: Google says it's just not so. (via)

* The top 11 compounds in your drinking water.

• Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease

• Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union, but still used in the US, which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behaviour

• Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilising drug used to treat bipolar disorder, amongst other things

• Estrone, an oestrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender-bending changes in fish

• Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug

• Meprobamate, a tranquiliser widely used in psychiatric treatment

• Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence

• Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant that has been used to treat epilepsy

• Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used against the Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for tonsillitis and other diseases

• TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology

• Trimethoprim, another antibiotic
So gross. (Via Boing Boing.)

* Johann Hari in Slate considers environmentalism's great divide: the romantics vs. the rationalists.

* Bruce Springsteen is playing a free concert in DC one day before I get there for the inauguration. There is no justice.

* And Hendrick Herztberg notes in The New Yorker that the Bush years offer, for the first time, a precise measurement of the number of people who can be fooled all of the time: 27%.
The President-elect’s performance can’t fully explain the public’s welcoming view of him. Part of it, surely, reflects an eagerness to be rid of the incumbent. A gangly Illinois politician whom “the base” would today label a RINo—a Republican in Name Only—once pointed out that you can fool some of the people all of the time. We now know how many “some” is: twenty-seven per cent. That’s the proportion of Americans who, according to CNN, cling to the belief that George W. Bush has done a good job. The wonder is that this number is still in the double digits, given his comprehensively disastrous record. During the eight years of the second President Bush, the unemployment rate went from 4.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent and climbing; consumer confidence dropped to an all-time low; a budget surplus of two hundred billion dollars became a deficit of that plus a trillion; more than a million families fell into poverty; the ranks of those without health insurance rose by six million; and the fruits of the nation’s economic growth went almost entirely to the rich, while family incomes in the middle and below declined. What role the Bush Administration’s downgrading of terrorism as a foreign-policy priority played in the success of the 9/11 attacks cannot be known, but there is no doubting its responsibility for the launching and mismanagement of the unprovoked war in Iraq, with all its attendant suffering; for allowing the justified war in Afghanistan to slide to the edge of defeat; and for the vertiginous worldwide decline of America’s influence, prestige, power, and moral standing.
(Via Matt Yglesias.)