Why does CitySearch …

… (you know, CitySearch) think I’m gay?

I’m online looking for a vacation hotel in Austin, TX [jeesh ... I probably shouldn't have said that out loud -- now my groupies will give me no rest when I'm there], and CitySearch — proudly owned by Barry Diller’s own InterActiveCorp — is serving me ads for a very gay version of Match.com. Undoubtedly, this is due to some kind of behavioral targeting technology they’ve developed.

All’s I can say is … Well, it’s very bad.  My real-life alter ego is an online media buyer … let’s just say that this is noted.

Battle of the Pseudo Archaeologists

I love archaeology … have ever since I first watched “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (the first of approximately 50 viewings).

Of course, unlike James Cameron, I understand that the adventures of Indiana Jones do not constitute actual science.

I find myself strangely compelled by this new Jesus saga Cameron’s brought to life.  On one hand, if actual physical evidence of Jesus were to be found, doesn’t that ultimately strengthen the position of the various Christian churches?  Leaving aside the larger theological and ecclesiastical questions it would raise, in my opinion physical evidence of the existence of a figure that’s been heretofore somewhat mystical can only give additional weight to the faith and to the faithful.  On the other hand, there are those for whom the theological and ecclesiastical questions are tantamount … the Catholic Church may as well have the motto “never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” and the same can be said for many of the Protestant denominations as well.

What’s really interesting to me about this is that, so far at least, it seems like Cameron’s “research” is about as scientific as that which shows that Noah’s Ark is resting atop Mr. Ararat, or that the dinosaurs and man lived together in peace and harmony only 6500 years ago.

If Cameron’s trying to be ironic, and point out the limitations of the pseudo-science snakes like the Discovery Institute use to cow the faithful, he’s picked a very clever way to do it.  I can only imagine what the religious right must think about this … now they’ll be forced to actually critically examine psuedo-evidence and refute it using things like “logic” and “reason” … the anethema of too many social conservatives.  And for some of them, the exposure to using the power of their minds to draw reasonable conclusions based on actual — scientifically valid — evidence can only be a good thing.

Colorado River Troubles

Following up on last week’s post, where I alienated all of our Southern Nevada readers by refusing to provide them with adequate water supplies, John Judis writes [$] in The New Republic today about a new study on the fate of the Colorado Basin.

There are two main reasons for the crisis: one, the massive influx of people to the American Southwest over the past few decades, and two, global warming, which is reducing snowpack and evaporating some of the water that remains. Judis concludes:

The report predictably recommends a “comprehensive, action-oriented study of Colorado River region urban water practices and changing patterns of demand.” That’s what one would expect from academics. But one cannot read the report without imagining a darker scenario–one in which desert cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas, which were built largely for tourism and leisure, will eventually go the way of the gas-guzzling Concorde. They will be victims of capitalism’s unsuccessful attempt to subdue nature, while older cities like Cleveland–once termed “the mistake by the lake”–may have the last laugh.

The study is here.

Greenspan’s Long Reach

Oy. Exit stage, already, Alan.

NYT notes in an article discussing the sleigh ride that the market’s become:

… investors were still digesting comments by the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, who told a conference in Hong Kong on Monday that a recession in the United States is likely.

When in human history has so much depended on the cryptic utterances of a stoop-shouldered old man? Especially one who is nominally retired?

Talks!

Talking with North Korea turned out so well, it looks like the U.S. may finally be getting ready to talk to Iran:

The announcement today that the United States will take part in two sets of talks between Iraq and its neighbors, including Iran and Syria, represents a major shift in President Bush’s foreign policy, which has eschewed direct, high-level contact between Washington, Damascus and Tehran.

While these talks are to focus on stabilizing Iraq, they crack open a door to a diplomatic channel, which has long been sought by administration critics who say that Washington should do more to engage Iran and Syria to help stem the violence in Iraq.

Caveats, of course: the talks are limited to Iraq policy, not the more direct issue of Iran’s nuclear program. But it’s a start.

Richardson Surges!

Well, not really. But he’s now the clear 4th-place candidate among national Democrats. Suck it, Biden! Clearly all the positive press has been helping.

Lots of interesting nuggets in the poll. For one, Edwards’ supporters are the most fervent — just one in four think they’ll bail on him, compared to half of Clnton’s and Obama’s folks. Also, Obama beats every Republican nominee in the general.

Climate Change

Five Western States have banded together to create a common carbon market in an effort to reduce climate change. Witness the boldness of Gov. Gregoire:

“We must implement what we all have put in place, and work together to develop a regional market approach. Together, we can reduce our climate pollution, grow jobs and move toward energy independence,”

Gregoire added, “but it’s also really important that we build a giant, pollution-spouting elevated roadway through the heart of our state’s largest city.” *

* – no, she didn’t really say that.

Update: similar thoughts from Erica Barnett.