Stanton's Corollary To Santayana's Theorem.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

"I remember the past, but the present I'm a little unclear about."
- Stanton Jonas

In a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Stanton Jonas argues [scroll down to the last letter] that the United States should aid Libyan rebels, calling it "one chance to oust Moammar Gadhafi and free the Libyan people."

Well, maybe, maybe not - even taking as read the argument that the country is currently ruled by a despot, that's still no guarantee that the next government will be any better.

But my favourite part of his letter is te part in which Mr. Jonas cites as a model for the action he proposes the American "'intervention' which led to the ill-equipped Afghans defeating the mighty Russians in Afghanistan."

Because things in Afghanistan have turned out so well.

Why HAL9000 Beat Ken Jennings Like A Rented Mule:

Lisa de Moraes wrote in the Washington Post about the Jeopardy! match between former champions Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and an IBM computer called Watson. Watson won handily, demonstrating advances in programming and machine intelligence unimaginable only a few years ago. Watson was able to collate and correlate chunks of information not necessarily directly related - what programmers call "unstructured data" - to understand plain-English questions and answer them. Until Watson, you couldn't ask a computer "who's the American icon who supposedly had wooden teeth?" and have it tell you 'Thomas Jefferson.' Kidding! See what I did there?

Everyone is suitably impressed. Well, mostly everyone - commenter sjcsando wrote:

Of course Watson will beat the humans. He's programmed to respond or "buzz in" faster than a human. IBM needs to reprogram him so that his response times are on equal footing with his human competitors.

Reprogramming Watson might be a little drastic - let's start with reprogramming sjcsando to help him be able to not miss the entire point of the exercise first. If that doesn't work, then we can reprogram Watson. Hell, let's put the boots to him, get out the pitchforks, or BURN IT WITH FIRE!

And once we've taught Watson a lesson about being too smart for his own good, we'll have Ken and Brad face off against my old Aptiva 486 while sjcsando matches wits with a couple of vacuum tubes, a battery and a small light.

You never see people on tv talking about how they never read books.

In Hank Steuver's review of Thursday's live episode of "30 Rock" on NBC, he goes on at some length about the 'meta' aspect of the enterprise - how the show is a show about a show and how the jokes often curl back in on themselves, and how the last shot featured a character asking if they were still on the air. "In that moment," Steuver writes, "meta became more meta than meta ever was."

And then, when his review went up on the site, it became even a little bit more meta. 

One commenter wrote:

Never saw this show. I feel sorry for people who waste their time with tv.


Well, of course you do. After all, you could be doing much more important work, like, I don't know, reading articles about things that don't interest you and then taking the time to comment about them. Why not weigh in and share your thoughts on the mating techniques of drosophila melanogaster while you're at it, or are you already busy commenting elsewhere about the weather in some place you've never visited?

Another commenter, whose political leanings we might deduce from his username - TheChileanPresidentIsMuchBetterRespondingToDisastersThanObama - shares in the disappointment the previous commenter feels about the rest of us:
It is kind of sad that some people watch so much TV and really get into it such as this writer does. I read instead. I work to improve my station in life, not zone out. I wish more Post readers did as well. It's kind of sad.


Maybe it is sad that some people watch as much tv as they do, ChileanblahblahObama. Steuver, especially, must be distressed - after all, you were able to concisely express your opinions about television even though you apparently watch little or none, and here poor Hank can't even do his job without it.

Now that's meta.