Apples and Oranges – the Gonzales 8 firings

I have my own planned article on the firings last year of 8 Attorneys General. In the meantime, try to learn a little bit how this event differs from the standard clean-up of federal prosecutors that takes place with each incoming President.

There is so much disinformation and misinformation floating around cyberspace these days about the firing of eight federal prosecutors that you would almost think people on one side of the debate and the other are writing about and analyzing two completely different stories.

. . .

…let’s all stop trying to compare the “Reno 93” with the “Gonzales 8.” Even Republican lawmakers are growing uneasy with that inapt comparison. One legal scholar after another, and one veteran Justice Department watcher after another, has come forward to say that it is extraordinary for a White House to fire a federal prosecutor mid-term, or even mid-presidency, absent some extraordinary misfeasance or malfeasance on the part of the U.S. Attorney. Here is just the latest to do so.

One important thing to note about these 8 attorneys is that they were republican appointees. I mention this, because I know some people feel they should have been fired when Bush took office since Clinton appointees should not stay in under the new President. Just trying to share some information with those that haven’t read up on a lot of the controversy.

Interesting facts about Google

I learned something new today. I suppose I can go back to bed. Here are a few trivialities on Google for you to ruminate over.

  1. The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn’t know HTML and just wanted a quick interface. Infact it was noted that the submit button was a long time coming and hitting the RETURN key was the only way to burst Google into life.
  2. Due to the sparseness of the homepage, in early user tests they noted people just sitting looking at the screen. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked ‘Whats up?’ to which they replied “We are waiting for the rest of it”. To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.
  3. One of the biggest leap in search usage came about when they introduced their much improved spell checker giving birth to the “Did you mean…” feature. This instantly doubled their traffic, but they had some interesting discussions on how best to place that information, as most people simply tuned that out. But they discovered the placement at the bottom of the results was the most effective area.

Plus over a dozen other interesting bits about Google. (via Digg)

[tags]Google founders didn’t know HTML, Interesting trivia about Google[/tags]

The art of deception

Last year, posted an article by Massimo Polidoro from The Skeptical Inquirer on how so-called psychics deceive their audiences to give the appearance of supernatural or paranormal powers. He writes of what he learned from the Amazing Randi how many of these deceptions occur. I found the article so fascinating that I’ve read over it a couple of times, and held on to the bookmark with plans to post it. Finally, I’m putting this up here so others can learn how we are fooled, and how often we are willing fools for it.

The great fake psychics are great improvisationists. This means that a really good pseudo-psychic is able to produce phenomena under almost any circumstance. A quick mind and a good knowledge of the techniques and psychology of deception are all that is needed. Sometimes, only a quick mind is enough.

In one early test of telepathy, in 1882, pseudo-psychic G.A. Smith and his accomplice, Douglas Blackburn, were able to fool researchers of the Society for Psychical Research. In a later confession, Blackburn described how they had to think fast and frequently invent new ways of faking telepathy demonstrations.

Continue reading “The art of deception”