- Today's comic by Jen Sorensen is Gun nut or mass shooter?
- Here's an interactive panorama of the State of the Union speech: You can spin around and zoom in and out on your favorite
charactersrepresentatives, senators, etc.
- Comcast extends its reach with planned buy of NBCUniversal from GE:
Comcast said Tuesday that it's buying General Electric's 49 percent stake in the NBCUniversal joint venture for $16.7 billion several years early, as the company takes advantage of low borrowing costs and what CEO Brian Roberts called a "very attractive price."
The company is also buying from GE such assets as NBC's headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York and CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., for about $1.4 billion.
- Mississippi rates as most religious state, Vermonters going to hell:
Mississippi remained the most religious state in the union in 2012, with 58% of its residents classified as very religious. At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont remained the least religious state, with 19% of its residents classified as very religious.
- Charles Stross (via Brad Delong) on "Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship":
"[W]e've somehow slid into a developed-world global-scale quasi-police state, with drone strikes and extraordinary rendition and unquestioned but insane austerity policies being rammed down our throats… police spying on political dissidents becoming normal, and so on. What's happenin? Here's a hypothesis: Representative democracy is what's happening. Unfortunately, democracy is broken. There's a hidden failure mode, we've landed in it, and we probably won't be able to vote ourselves out of it…. Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change… converging on a common set of policies that do not serve the public interest, but minimize the risk of the parties losing the corporate funding they require in order to achieve re-election."
- Here’s How Geology Shows North Korea’s Nukes Are Getting Bigger.
- Forecasters stink: That's Paul Farrell channeling William Sherden, author of The Fortune Sellers: The Big Business of Buying and Selling Predictions. The bullet points:
1. Economists’ predictions are no better than guesses; 2. Government economists often worse than guesses; 3. Long-term accuracy is impossible;4. Turning points cannot be predicted; 5. No specific forecasters are better than the rest of pack; 6. No forecaster was more expert with specific statistics; 7. No one ideological orientation was better; 8. Consensus forecasts do not improve accuracy; 9. Psychological bias distorts forecasters and their forecasts; 10. Increased sophistication does not improve accuracy; 11. No improvement over the years.
- In case you thought the data were wrong, Arctic still on thin ice:
The September 2012 record low in Arctic sea-ice extent was big news, but a missing piece of the puzzle was lurking below the ocean's surface. What volume of ice floats on Arctic waters? And how does that compare to previous summers? These are difficult but important questions, because how much ice actually remains suggests how vulnerable the ice pack will be to more warming.
New satellite observations confirm a University of Washington analysis that for the past three years has produced widely quoted estimates of Arctic sea-ice volume. Findings based on observations from a European Space Agency satellite, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, show that the Arctic has lost more than a third of summer sea-ice volume since a decade ago, when a U.S. satellite collected similar data.
- High speed photo shows water balloon being popped.
- On today's Kagro in the Morning show, SOTU vs. Water-Gate. Greg Dworkin hit the highlights, and reported on dial-testing showing the President gaining ground, approval-wise, across the board. Next, the parallels between the availability of non-lethal weaponry to an increasingly aggressive police force, and the availability of low-risk strike capability to an increasingly aggressive national security complex. And the disparity in the way 2nd Amendment protest is treated versus 1st Amendment protest. Armando joined in on where we've gone on national security since the post-Watergate revolution.
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