Archive for March 24th, 2005

The Museum of Natural Sciences announcement today describes how soft tissue was discovered in a T-Rex femur. Several important findings here. One that the soft tissue, the cells and blood vessels of T-Rex resemble those of an ostrich–supporting the dinos are big ass birds theory. The discovery is repeatable and has been repeated on two other T-Rexen and a hadrosaur. The scientific paper by NCSU’s Mary H. Schweitzer and Jennifer L. Wittmeyer will appear in the journal Science tomorrow.
[I refered to this announcement earlier as a reason to go to Raleigh]

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Tommy Hays was interviewed on today’s WUNC State of Things show on the subject of memory (yes you can catch is online). Tommy is author of “The Pleasure Was Mine” a novel about memory loss in age.
This is to help remind me that Tommy will be reading at McIntyre’s Books in Fearington on Saturday April 16 at 11 am.

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Charles Van Doren Faces the Press
Just getting around to seeing Quiz Show (1994). The scandal of the fixed quiz shows of the 1950s is revealed by a tight focus on three characters, contestants nerdy Herb Stempel and handsome Charles Van Doren — and the author/producer of the movie Richard Goodwin played Rob Morrow. Goodwin is by far the most complex character. Stempel is portrayed as a sort of stock character almost. Van Doren as an over privileged WASP trying to get his famous father’s attention.

Not unlike the phoney “news” shows of today, our phoney press conferences, etc, the quiz shows were seen by the networks and sponsors as entertainment while leading the public to see them as reality.

But the story after the story is more telling. The after credits tell us of the fates, as of 1994, of most of the important characters. Even a brief bit on Goodwin:

Richard Goodwin became a speechwriter for the 1960 Kennedy campaign and then a member of the White House staff. After the assassination of Robert Kennedy, he retired from politics to become a writer.

Doris Kearns Goodwin meets the Press
One bit of trivia not in the aftercredits is that his second wife — his first wife died — is Doris Kearns Goodwin. A Pulitzer Prize (1995) winning historian and author, Kearns Goodwin was discovered to have plagarized large portions of her books from others. The scandal was complex full of denials and cover ups and revelations as this longish description of the “developing story” from the History News Network from 2002 show. Slate’s Timothy Noah was less subtle writing an article in January 2002 entited “Doris Kearns Goodwin, Liar” that she not only plagarized and lied but that she also “paid hush money to one of the people she plagiarized.”

It makes you wonder what she was thinking as she was watching Quiz Show. What was in her mind when the Goodwin character questioned the Van Doren character about his book in progress on Lincoln? What is she thinking now as her next book, due October 2005, is “Master Among Men : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”

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Forwarded from many folks, most recently the poet Terri Ford. I am solidly in numbers 3 and 11 (but prefer the Weekly World News):

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country–if they could find the time and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country … or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

12. None of the above is read by the guy who is running the country into the ground.

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