We’ve been lied to

When watching horse races, you are not actually hearing horses race (via the Atlantic’s Alex Madrigal):

As the former BBC producer, Bill Whiston, related it on a 99% Invisible podcast, here’s the story:

When we do our horseracing, you’re not going to get somebody running around the course after the horses. There is no way. And occasionally you’ll come across very close up pictures of the horses of the far side, which is done off one of our roving cameras. But you have engine noise in that case, so therefore you wouldn’t want a microphone on that, because all you would hear is a car revving up and a cameraman cursing.

So, basically, the way you cover all of that sort of stuff is to run a tape which has the sound of horses hooves galloping, which is actually, if I remember correctly, a slowed down buffalo charge. That’s pretty much a standard thing, and I think it’s probably the same recording that they’ve used for years.

Click through and you can listen to (apparently) the sound of every recent horse race.

Science update

Well, my 12-year old did not get 12/12, but he did get 11/12, putting him the 80th percentile of Americans (and performing quite well for his <HS education level).  He missed the stem cell question.  And as for adults in the Greene household, we’re a perfect 24/24.  Yeah science!

Democrats really are learning

to act like Republicans for electoral gain, that is.  Now, this probably won’t make any real difference, but as far as keeping the subject of Romney’s income tax returns and using Congress for pure partisan gain, this is smart politics:

The push on the Hill represented a full scale legislative assault on Romney over the tax issue, as Democrats sense they may be getting traction over Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of tax information.

In the House, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) is proposing legislation that would require presidential candidates to release 10 years worth of tax returns and disclose any overseas investments.

And in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) are proposing beefing up financial disclosure forms for all candidates for federal office to require disclosure of overseas investments, including Swiss bank accounts.

The House bill would also require new disclosure of off-shore investments but specifically targeted the tax return issue. Rep. Sander Levin said Romney should “set the example” for future candidates and release his returns. But then he said the law must be changed so release of tax information is not at the discretion of candidates.

Democrats know this has 0% chance of becoming law, but to whatever degree (apparently, a small one for now) it keeps the focus on Romney’s personal finances, that’s only good for Obama.

Yeah, science!

Pew has a Science Knowledge quiz.  I was so worried I’d embarrass myself at less than 100%.  Fortunately, it struck me as pretty easy.


After you complete the quiz, there’s interesting demographic breakdowns of the results.   I’ve posted them here below the highly relevant Breaking Bad clip:








Photo of the day

Creepy London Olympics mascot photos.  How could I not love these?

Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

74 years ago today

My mom was born.  Alas, 3 1/2 years ago today she died.  She was my political inspiration.  I really miss her.  I’m really sorry she did not get to see me publish my book (it’s dedicated to her as well as my dad and Laurel’s parents), but mostly that she never even got to meet her youngest granddaughter.  She would have adored Sarah.  Anyway, felt like sharing.  (My mom was pretty awesome– if you are curious– learn more).

Quote of the day

As mentioned, I’m not  the biggest fan of HBO’s the Newsroom, though I feel a lot better after listening to an Aaron Sorkin interview where he said he intends the show as fantasy.  And, he sure does have some great lines.  One from this week’s episode is classic:

“First of all, I’m a Republican. I only seem liberal because I believe hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not by gay marriage.”


That’s the official turnout figure for North Carolina’s primary run-off yesterday.  Can we say pointless waste of government resources?  I do like the idea that you need at least 40% to win a primary outright to prevent fringe candidates without any broad support skating by in multi-candidate races, but the obvious solution is instant run-off voting.  Back in May, we actually had 36% of registered voters participating in the process as to incredibly anemic figures earlier this week.  And I do not blame the public.  When 96% of the public is not doing something, there’s something wrong with the system, not the public.

Personally, I dutifully voted in the only race I could– Democratic primary for Labor Commissioner (strikes me a a sure loss against the Republican incumbent– once you get in that office you have your name/picture in every elevator in the state– talk about a huge advantage in a low information race).

The local news channel did a nice story–four precincts in the state actually had 0 voters!!– and I got to make the argument for IRV.  I was a little surprised that they used some of the clips where I was less the scholarly professor and more the outraged citizen (I start at 2:20 in).  Now, IRV is not perfect, but it sure is a hell of a lot better than what we just had.  It kind of amazes me the people who always seem to be grasping at whatever straws they can find to oppose IRV (voting  machines! corruption! voter confusion!) and defend a system with results like we had Tuesday.

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