Patterico's Pontifications

12/1/2008

Body-Swapping Now

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm

Via Hot Air Headlines comes a link to a fascinating story about inhabiting other’s bodies . . . today:

Swedish researchers presented evidence that the brain, when tricked by optical and sensory illusions, can quickly adopt any other human form, no matter how different, as its own.

. . . .

The technique is simple. A subject stands or sits opposite the scientist, as if engaged in an interview. Both are wearing headsets, with special goggles, the scientist’s containing small film cameras. The goggles are rigged so the subject sees what the scientist sees: to the right and left are the scientist’s arms, and below is the scientist’s body.

To add a physical element, the researchers have each person squeeze the other’s hand, as if in a handshake. Now the subject can see and “feel” the new body. In a matter of seconds, the illusion is complete.

If you could inhabit another person’s body, whose would it be and why?

Today’s Sullivan Award Is Awarded to . . . Andrew Sullivan

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:49 pm

I think it’s time for a new award: the Sullivan Award. This award, named after the excitable Atlantic blogger, Andrew Sullivan, is given for blog posts that leap to unwarranted conclusions that could have been avoided with even cursory research.

Today’s winner of the Sullivan Award is: Andrew Sullivan, for this blog post:

(I have to screenshot the whole thing, because Sullivan has a habit of completely taking down his most embarrassing posts.)

By giving Bill Handel the “Hewitt Award,” Andrew Sullivan is telling you that Handel’s ad is a serious attempt to label Obama as the Antichrist. This becomes clear when you look at Sullivan’s description of the “Hewitt Award”:

The Hewitt Award, named after the absurd partisan fanatic, Hugh Hewitt, is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics.

But Handel is doing nothing of the sort. Over at The Jury Talks Back, Justin Levine neatly debunks Sullivan’s lazy assumption:

Facts: KFI host Bill Handel is in favor of socialized medicine, is the most pro-gay rights host in terms of major radio personalities, and voted for Obama in the last election.

He did a segment commenting on this article and a viral e-mail that was going around suggesting that Obama was the anti-Christ. Handel naturally debunked it, but with his typical sense of irony.

You can listen to what he said for yourselves here.

Justin kindly says that he still respects Sullivan, but calls this post of Sullivan’s “pretty lazy.”

By contrast, I don’t respect Sullivan at all — because this is what he does, all day, every day.

The Newest Senators

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There are still 4 5 Senators who will serve in the next Congress that have not yet been determined:

1. The Minnesota recount between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.

2. Georgia’s runoff between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.

3. New York State’s junior Senator replacing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

4. Delaware’s senior Senator replacing Democrat Joe Biden.

5. Illinois’ junior Senator replacing Democrat Barack Obama.

The Democrats are assured of holding Senate seats 3, 4 and 5 but, interestingly enough, they seem to be focusing on legacies:

  • A placeholder in Delaware who will hold the seat for Joe Biden’s son Beau.
  • A Cuomo, Clinton or Kennedy in New York.
  • Even in Illinois there is a legacy in the race — Jesse Jackson, Jr. — but there is speculation the Governor will pick Chicago Congressman Danny Davis.
  • Democrats have won their most impressive victories (Carter, Clinton, Obama) by focusing on change but it looks like what they really mean by change is to replace an -R with a -D after every politician’s name. That’s probably true for the media and liberal elites. Maybe it’s enough for the voters, too.

    – DRJ

    Obama Announces Secretaries of State, Defense

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 4:57 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Barack Obama promised “a new dawn in American leadership” while officially naming centrist Cabinet appointees including Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and the Bush Administration’s Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense:

    “While his new team may be a bit more centrist – some war opponents might even say hawkish – than many Obama supporters might prefer, he said the withdrawal timetable he emphasized in the presidential campaign is still “the right time frame.”

    Clinton, as secretary of state, and Gates, remaining as defense secretary, will be the most prominent faces – besides Obama’s own – of the new administration’s effort to revamp U.S. policy abroad.

    At a Chicago news conference, Obama also tapped top advisers Eric Holder as attorney general and Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations. He named Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be homeland security secretary and retired Marine Gen. James Jones as White House national security adviser.”

    If Clinton and Gates are new leadership, what does it take to be considered old?

    Nevertheless, I’m glad Obama has backed down on Iraq but he still talks like President Bush is his biggest enemy:

    “Denouncing White House “group think,” Obama signaled a break from President Bush’s tendency toward an insular management style and go-with-the-gut diplomacy.

    “The time has come for a new beginning,” said Obama, flanked by flags on a stage with Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his six newest appointees. While Gates will stay at the Pentagon, Obama said the military’s new mission will be “responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.”

    He said a newly completed agreement between Iraq and the Bush administration covering U.S. troops signals “a transition period in which our mission is changing.” He added: “It indicates we are now on a glide path to reduce our forces in Iraq.
    ***
    Referring to his security team, Obama said: “They share my pragmatism about the use of power and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world.”

    Obama’s early appointments paint him as the pragmatist he claims to be but so was President Bush. The more Obama tries to distance himself from Bush, the more they look the same.

    – DRJ


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