(2014-12-12) — In a nearly unprecedented act, a user at YouTube.com watched a three-and-a-half minute political video all of the way through before posting his thoughts about the subject in the comment section below.
“Normally, I just skim the headline and then let ‘er rip,” said the YouTube commenter, “But this time I accidentally hit the play button on my iPad, and then, for some reason, watched the whole thing.”
While he said that “3:26 seems like an eternity when you’re waiting to post your opinion,” he acknowledged that he would have written a much different comment had he not actually watched the video.
“The main purpose of YouTube, I’ve always thought, is to give me a chance to let the world read what I think,” he said. “It turns out that YouTube also offers a platform for ideas and entertainment in video form, in addition to providing a blog space for me.”
Asked if the experience might inspire him to watch more videos in their entirety before commenting, the man said, “Not intentionally.”
(2014-12-4) — With just days to go before Saturday’s run-off election in the race for Senator in Louisiana, a draft of Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu’s purported victory speech has leaked.
The speech, handwritten on yellow legal paper, leaked to a reporter from a waste can in Landrieu’s Washington D.C. office, where the Senator had apparently placed it for safekeeping.
On the document, titled “Victory Speech,” Landrieu offers the customary gratitude to her family, friends and supporters, and to the Democratic National Committee and President Obama “who were instrumental in bringing about this incredible, unbelievable, virtually-impossible outcome.”
“If it weren’t for the money and ground troops that poured in from the DNC, I’d be making a humiliating concession call tonight, handing over the last Democratic Senate seat in the deep South to a Republican,” Landrieu plans to say.
“And if it weren’t for the wisdom and skill President Obama has used to turn this economy around, to unite our country around traditional American values, and to restore America’s reputation in the world — well, then by Monday I’d be scrounging for work as a lobbyist in the Louisiana State House, or begging relatives to get me a job as a roustabout on an oil rig, just to make ends meet.”
“It’s humbling how much the president and the DNC care about me, about the people of Louisiana, and specifically about female political candidates,” she’s slated to say. “They could have turned off the spigot and walked away after I won only a narrow plurality in November, cutting their losses while they licked their wounds from the Republican thrashing we got in so many other states.”
“But that’s not who we are as Democrats,” she’ll say. “We believe in our principles too much to make decisions for craven political purposes. I stand here before you tonight proud to say, ‘I’m Senator Mary Landrieu. I’m a woman, and I’m a Democrat!”
(2014-11-24) — Increasing worries about anti-competitive American dominance of the internet have driven the European Union (EU) to vote on a motion to break up Google. The symbolic, but morally significant, vote could come as early as Thursday.
If the vote succeeds, Google says it will comply “to maintain European goodwill and to avoid being evil,” by splitting into publicly-traded entities named ‘Go’ and ‘ogle.’
‘Go’ will be the “action service,” aimed at those who use the internet to run a business, or to conduct academic research. ‘ogle’ will handle the other 99 percent of Internet traffic, largely pornography.
(2014-11-18) — President Obama came to the defense of millions of Americans today, rebuking Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber for public statements that the Affordable Care Act’s passage came due to “the stupidity of the American voter.”
“I disagree with Mr. Gruber,” Obama said, “The American voter is not that stupid. My advisors tell me that many of them are capable of amazing things. In 2008 and 2012, for example, millions of Americans drove to a polling place, walked in, and voted for me. I don’t think Mr. Gruber realizes all of the brain functions that go into that one task. You can’t be very stupid, accomplish that, and still return safely to your home.”
The president noted that many Americans also have purchased his books, “an achievement that requires visual-spatial navigation, at least rudimentary communication skills and perhaps even literacy.”
Gruber, an MIT economics professor, also misstated the “lack of transparency” that he said facilitated the bill’s passage.
“Everyone knows that our lack of transparency was no secret,” the president said. “Our surreptitious negotiations, and closed-door hearings were well publicized. No one can now claim they didn’t know that we were obscuring the details of the Affordable Care Act behind 1,200 pages of legalese. We were very open about our lack of transparency, especially with regard to the tax and/or penalty behind the individual mandate.”
European scientists behind the Rosetta mission to Comet 67P had hoped that by landing a probe on the comet surface they might determine its essential properties, and be able to deduce answers to larger questions about the universe, the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system, planet Earth and about humanity itself.
Early results from Philae, the European Space Agency (ESA) probe which touched down Wednesday, have exceeded expectations, according to one source.
“The telemetry and photographs tell us a great deal,” said an unnamed Rosetta mission engineer. “They tell us not just about the comet, but about the fundamental essence of the universe — about who we are.”
“Initial data indicates that we are cold, dark, lumpy and adrift in the cosmos,” said the engineer, who has devoted more than a decade to the project, yet whose name remains unknown to most of humanity despite the glorious, ennobling nature of the mission, and likelihood that this is the very zenith of his short lifespan.
“We’re looping endlessly around the sun for no apparent reason,” he added. “We’re harsh, stony, dirty and bleak — tumbling, enduring desolation, and periodically spewing our waste into the vast vacuum of space where it dissipates without a trace. That’s who we are, if you really want to know.”
The European engineer added that he’s not sure it was necessary to spend nearly $2 billion and two decades to determine this, and that he should have suspected as much after his first philosophy class at university.