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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ford Galaxie spotted in Durham 

Check out the cool old Ford Galaxie one of our photogs spotted in Durham.

According to Wikipedia the Ford Galaxie 500 was made from 1965 through 1974.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Go to college 

An excellent article in the much maligned New York Times this weekend by David Leonhardt defends the case for going to college. He says the anti-college for the masses argument ends up being an elitist one, for me and not for thee. He notes the parallels between this debate and the debate about high school for the masses that occurred at the end of last century. The American cultural decision, high school en masse, has been widely validated, especially when compared to parts of Europe.

More education for all! How can we disagree. Leonhardt quotes a recent study by The Hamilton Project, showing that college tuition has delivered an inflation-adjusted annual return of more than 15%; for the stock market, the historical return is 7%, for real estate, it’s less than 1%.

Read his whole piece here.

Thanks to Lyneka for pointing us this way.

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Kia spoof? 

Is this Kia advert a spoof?

Side one

It reminds of us of an even more racy fake Puma ad we posted about a while back. The Cleveland Leader says it is not a spoof. And that in fact, it won Kia an award at advertising's Cannes Lions Festival. We wonder. Really with the obvious sexual implications here? France, qui sait?

Side two

Follow this link to see the panels shown side by side.


Map of Baseball Caps 

This awesome illustration maps the history of baseball cap logos from the 1950's forward, from the team with most, the A's, to the team with the fewest, the Yankees.

A grateful thank you to one of our Chicago readers, the Cleary Man, for sending this our way. Much obliged! View it full sized here.

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A fascinating little video clip here via the Twitter of Courtney Roskop.

Not at all clear on the context, but love the premise.

It would appear that the video game's characters are being played by actors who are musing on the morality of giving this kind of über-violent game to intelligent people. How would those people react? But before they can give an answer, they are interrupted by the squirrel and have to go back into shoot'em up mode. No time for thinking!

What a wonderful little Möbius strip of thought.

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Californian parents are apparently upset about billboards advertising the video game, "Duke Nukem Forever," a first-person shooter game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The reason for their angst supposedly resides in the salacious nature of the game rather than in the locations of said billboards, one is across from elementary school, the other near a church.

The Clarion Content would have preferred these folks fought the initial construction of an advertising platform near these important places, as opposed waiting to object to particular subject matter. This smacks of a First Amendment issue. The Clarion Content is loathe to use the Constitution to defend businesses right to advertise. We would prefer to argue that if corporations were not treated as persons under the law, no such right would exist.

"Duke Nukem Forever" is labeled "Mature" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, suitable for those 17 and older. Read more about the game and the debate here.

Apparently luckily for the parents, the gameplay isn't all that good, so the kids may hate it, of their own volition, for an entirely more utilitarian reason.

How about the use of the American flag here if you want to talk about salacious degradation? Backwards, at that.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

NBA Draft talent 

The Clarion Content can't comment on the Europeans leaguers and other global b-ballers who were drafted by NBA franchises the other night in what Bill Simmons says will be remembered as the "Foreigner Draft."

The Clarion Content does have some strong opinions on the players that got drafted, starting with Kyrie Irving. Word out of Duke is that he is a strong character kid, hope so, because it is very tough to get drafted number one overall by the franchise that lost LeBron when you have played less than twenty college basketball games and don't have the body of NFL defensive end. We think Irving becomes a successful pro, with a reasonable NBA career, never quite an all-star, but a nice blend of some of the skills of say Mo Cheeks and Vinny, "Microwave" Johnson. Good distributor, streaky hot shooter, small defender who has to play the point or is a sixth man, a 3rd guard.

We would rate him a the fourth best NBA career arc coming out of this draft. Number one we like Nolan Smith of Duke and now the Portland Trail Blazers. A leader with guts and heart, Smith is a tenacious battler who will win off the dribble and be able to get his own shot, even against much bigger players. He is unselfish to a fault and this will lead him to even greater heights in the NBA than he reached in college.

Number two we like, Derrick Williams. The guy can score. He can play the three or the four in today's NBA. He is the anti-Michael Beasley, who the Clarion Content warned about before he was drafted, Williams is level-headed and a diligent worker. Unfortunately, he got drafted by a team that is schizophrenic. They have Beasley, are run by Kahn, are dangling their coach Kurt Rambis from a meat hook, haven't integrated Ricky Rubio... etc. We do like Kevin Love.

We agree with the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, whom we rate as the number three NBA career in this draft. Guys who have little help in college don't look as good as they are because of the focus the other team's defense and coaching put into stopping them individually. This same issue applies to another guy who will definitely have a long NBA career, Jimmer Fredette. Other teams keyed on him constantly, built their defensive game plans around stopping him, and the guy still scored with minimal quality help around him. These kind of guys succeed in the pros. Steph Curry anyone? The difficulty is identifying them.

We rate Leonard above Kyrie Irving, Fredette below. Time will tell how good our eyes was.

Top College Draft Prospects 20111

1) Nolan Smith, Duke
2) Derrick Williams, Arizona
3) Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
4) Kyrie Irving, Duke

Kawhi Leonard

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Charlie Smarts; Tony Robbins 

This man dresses like he speaks the language of excellence...

A new to the office hip-hop act has been getting some air play in the Clarion Content's back rooms, Charlie Smarts aka Kooley High. Check him out here musing on amongst other things, NLP guru Tony Robbins.

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Reality Rumor 

Before leaving for Italy

Word is they are breaking up the Jersey Shore gang. This season, number five, currently being filmed in Italy, will be the last one for Pauly D, The Sitch, Ronnie, Sammi, J-Woww, Snookie and the rest of the cast. From Hollywood, CA to Belmar, NJ, beware! We have no idea where they are heading off to. Readers, your thoughts, on what's next for them?

Calm down, calm down, reality junkies! There are no plans to end the show, the Jersey Shore endures, a whole new crew of Jersey peeps are going to be cast to replace them. We can only pray they tape the auditions.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

HNMTF rocked the Garden 

Durham’s own Hammer no More the Fingers rocked Duke Gardens last night. In what the trio said was, “the most intense set they had ever written” the band delivered their tightly coherent sound which runs the gamut from haunting, lilting, melodies to powerful guitar and bass riffs.

This range is what makes HNMTF so hard to pigeonhole. Their full breadth was on display as the band did a wonderful job adapting their hardcore downtown club ready music to the Duke Gardens environment and audience. The typically Durham crowd was all colors and all ages. The youngest enthusiastic dancers we saw couldn’t have been over twenty-four months, meanwhile there was plenty of head-bobbing in the fifty year-old set, and a mini-mosh pit of some of the bands most loyal teenage followers. The sound quality was excellent for an outdoor event.

The show had that personal Durham quality, that sets this place apart. Hammer no More the Fingers sent well-wishes to a friend and expectant Mom in the crowd, asked their roomies permission to mount a new golden hammer in the living room, handed out free ice cream, and admitted to having come together and written a song over their bonding days as Duke Hospital valet parkers. In a moment of levity, Duncan did sincerely hope that their old boss, Dave, was not in the audience. Cue nervous laughter.

It was feeling good times all around as the laid back crowd kicked back and enjoyed. The band draws comparisons to Umphrey’s McGee, RAQ and the Disco Biscuits but really transcends labels, as owners of their last album, Black Shark will attest. Check out the video to the first single, “Leroy,” here.

We saw (a) Jeff mosh with these cats...

Joe Hall, Jeff Stickley, and Duncan Webster are Hammer no More the Fingers...

Check out more pictures from the show here, at Scenes from my Lunch Hour...

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Challenge em 

Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Paul Ryan (R-WI)

The Republican's have yet to come up with a coherent answer to the argument that they prefer tax cuts for the wealthy over medicare cuts for the elderly. Obviously, any even semi-sophisticated analysis will note that tax cuts and medicare are not a zero-sum game. They do not trade-off with each other directly.

The Clarion Content, while willing to see taxes raised for the highest earners and the biggest estates, is just as earnestly interested in seeing the defense budget cut, along with the expenditures on foreign wars and futile nation building exercises.

The Republicans are going to have to develop some kind of narrative for when their electoral opponents accuse them of being willing to bargain off Granny's health care and retirement for their fat cat friends' tax cuts.

As yet, they have been unable to produce one. Read here a transcript of how a freshman Republican Representative from Arkansas, Rick Crawford, fails to handle this question in a town hall meeting with constituents. Representative Crawford starts out with the tack that, well, Medicare is broke anyway, but is unable to stick to this line of reasoning. John Q. Public points out, if Medicare is broke, it is hardly fair to give tax cuts to the richest of the rich in such a moment.

Time for a better answer, time to come up with it soon, or the Republicans will face Congressional trouncing in November of 2012, regardless of what happens at the top of the ticket.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breakout talent? 

Keep an eye out for this kid!

The Clarion Content does not have a staff member assigned to watch America's Got Talent, but even we heard about eleven year-old Anna Graceman's stunning rendition of Alicia Keys hit, "If I Ain't Got You." We had to go to AOL of all places to dig up a link to the video. Check it out here... The B listers who are serving as celebrity judges obviously passed her along to the next round of their competition in Las Vegas.

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Checking in from Honduras 

Returning to the pages of the Clarion Content for the first time in over a year, his last dispatches were filed from Africa, check them out here and here, we heartily and gratefully welcome back, JCoop, this time filing his report from Honduras. Follow his adventures on his own blog here. To check out other Clarion Content guest columnists, and we have had a passel of good ones, click here and scroll down.

Mountain Biketastrophe in Honduras

It took a mountain biking accident today to inspire the revival of this column (almost assuredly a short-lived revival). The plan for Saturday was to head up to Parque la Tigra, the first national park in Honduras, in the mountains about 22 km outside of the capital of Tegucigalpa. I was there last weekend with some friends, and took my new Honduran mountain bike along to bomb down the steep road from the park. I would ride up while my three friends took the truck, we'd hike in the park for 5 or 6 hours, then we'd come down from the mountain, again me on the bike and them in the car.

This photo doesn't really fit this part of the narrative, but who wants to read a blog post that starts with four paragraphs of text and no pictures? I know I don't.

The road is like many rural roads in Honduras, made of rock, dirt, and gravel, and wide enough for one car, where passing is only possible in certain places or if one car goes into the ditch. It makes for some excellent off-road biking, with stunning mountain views and all the dogs and chickens you could possibly hope to narrowly avoid.

This week, I had carefully conditioned and prepared myself to not only bike down from the park, but also on the way up to the park (the strict training regiment mostly involved abstaining from generous helpings of Honduran beer the night before the ride). The road is quite steep in many places, with loose gravel contributing to tire slippage. It's about 12 km to the top, with the last 3 km being particularly steep and loose -- the sort of riding where you put it in granny low gear, spin like crazy, and inch up the hill praying that it will flatten out a little around the next corner. Anyway, this week I was determined to get to the top to earn the reward of the downhill after our day hiking at the park.

About 2 km from the park came the last big descent before the steepest and longest hill leading all the way to the park entrance. It was a pretty long, straight, and steep descent with a corner at the bottom. I had been feeling good all morning and was carving the corners pretty well, so I probably carried to much speed into this one, maybe 25mph. As I got close to the corner and looked for a place to brake, the road got looser and had some nice ruts in it. After binding up the brakes, it became apparent in a split-second that I was going to eat it. Despite hours spent on the bike, my inner ear has never been my best quality, so fortunately for me I have crashing just about down to an art at this point. I went down on my left side, hitting my knee then hip then elbow as I tucked and rolled onto my back where I rode out about a 10-ft. slide down the hill.

Here's a photo that Alan took of me as they were approaching in the truck after my crash. I had just been passed by a school bus full of tourists.

Upon coming to rest in the middle of the road, I knew immediately that I wasn't seriously hurt and nothing was broken. Sweet. If I had stuck out a hand or foot to break the fall it might not have turned out so well for the respective limb. My cyclocross instincts kicked in and I hopped up quickly to haul my bike and body out of harm's way to the ditch on the side of the road. I sat down to wait for my friends following in the truck.

I knew I was in a little pain, but I hadn't had a chance to assess the damages yet. At this point, was still entertaining the idea that I could continue to the park in the truck and go hiking with them, or at least hang out at the visitor's center while they got their sight-seeing in. I knew how much Alan was looking forward to the 5-hour hike to the park's famous 40-meter waterfall that we hadn't had time for the weekend before. I took a peek at my throbbing knee, an noticed that there were some pretty deep and dirty lacerations with the skin flayed back. Blood was already pooling on my sock. I poured some of my water over it to clean it a little, at least superficially.

Now my friends are closer, and they can start to see that I'm hurt and not just sleeping in a gutter after too much tequila.

Being the pragmatic sort that I am, my thoughts quickly turned to what I had done wrong, and how I could prevent the same outcome in a similar situation in the future. I identified three tactics I could have employed.

When I got home later in the afternoon, I decided to consult an expert source.

To my dismay, I learned that my crash was not caused by any of the isolated faults listed above, but something more troubling: a lack of belief in myself. This is a not a problem I was aware that I had. Could this lack of belief manifest itself in other ways to undermine other endeavors? Has this condition led to shortcoming in other facets of my life, unbeknowst to me? If so, how long has this been going on? Months? Years? And most importantly, is there anything I can do to resolve this issue?

Fortunately, after pausing the video and writing the above paragraph, I continued on to learn that the solution was to "just keep practicing". This tactic can lead to many desirable outcomes including:

After getting to the side of the road, all that remained was to relax as much as possible and wait for my friends who were following along not far behind in the truck (because of how rough and curvy the roads are, most stretches can actually be navigated more quickly on a bicycle). My friends wisely talked me into returning to town to get checked out and cleaned up. I still feel really bad that they didn't get a chance to make it up to the waterfall, but now there'll be another reason that Alan has to return to Honduras and work with me again in the future (haha! I sure showed him!).

After the initial impact on my knee, my back and arm took the brunt of the fall as I slid down the hill. It was just like sledding, except I got a 25 mph head start, I was on my back and upside-down, and the snow was made of rocks.

I'm lucky to have such good friends, who cleaned my wound with water, bandaged it with their T-shirt, and got me to the clinic where I got my abrasions and cuts cleaned up. The doctor told me he would have to put two stitches in my knee to close the wound. One of my friends gave me 3 sticks of gum to chew on during the process, and I got a tight grab of a pillow with my good arm. My friends told me that it was OK if I needed to cry, because we are all friends, and they wouldn't tell anyone. I was very touched by their support and understanding in these circumstances. But I didn't cry, because what kind of sissy little bitch to you take me as?

As the doctor stitches up my knee, I try to imagine the most soothing and comfortable scenarios I can, like heavy narcotic usage in the bedroom of my childhood with the dinosaur blankets.

I got some local anesthetic, so the stitches didn't hurt too bad. I ended up needing four in total. The worst part was when the doctor grabbed my knee and twisted it all around from side to side to make sure all my ligaments were intact. My ligaments responded by saying, "Ow, stop yanking on us, you jerk". Then he did the same thing to the good knee, just to make sure both were equally responsive and uncomfortable.

And that's pretty much it. Fortunately I have two days to recuperate before getting back to work on Monday.

The end.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Selling alcohol earlier 

Found this picture Google image searching for: "Buying Liquor at 5am."

Not sure how we feel about this one here at the Clarion Content. As libertarian leaning, get the government out my business, kind of people, we know in principle we ought likely be in favor, but practically having knocked back an alcoholic libation or two in our day, we wonder...

The North Carolina State Legislature is considering changing the law to allow liquor sales Monday through Friday to begin at 5am rather than 7am. Theoretically, why is that even the government's concern period? We certainly do not hold with the state's monopoly on hard liquor sales here in North Carolina. But in practice, from no limited experience, we can definitively tell you, dear readers, that very little good comes of alcohol that must urgently be purchased at 5am rather than 7am in the morning.

There are very few healthy, wholesome reasons why folks must have alcohol at 5am. Again, it is generally our contention that the State should stay far away from regulating the wholesome-ness or lack thereof in an individual's behavior that is not threatening to other citizen's lives and well-being. Ah, and therein lies the rub and not just in this case, not threatening to other citizen's lives and well-being.

Specifically, here, how high is the risk to other citizen's lives and well-being in allowing early morning alcohol purchases? The sun is never really up at 5am. This and more is what the State Legislature must weigh, in addition, the bill contains a slew of other provisions and changes to existing alcohol sales law. Read more here.

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Tweet of the Day 

Only in math problems can you buy 60 cantaloupes and nobody asks what the hell is wrong with you... heard from lyneka little

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Spotted in Durham 

How about this precarious load?

We hear you can get $5.00 a pallet.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Johnny Damon, Hall of Famer? 

Some regular readers accuse the Clarion Content of having a too expansive criterion for selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. It is a claim we vociferously dispute. Jim Rice, Tony Perez, Bert Blyleven and Andre Dawson were all deserving. We did not, however, support the candidacies of Dennis Eckersely or Kirby Puckett, simply to cite a few examples on both sides. The borderline cases, of course, produce the most debate.

It is with interest then that we read a note from the Associated Press this morning about an exclusive club Mr. Johnny Damon joined last night while batting for the gritty Tampa Bay Rays. Damon doubled down the leftfield line and became the 11th player in baseball history to have 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 homers and 2,500 hits. All the others, a prestigious list including names like Musial, Gehrig, Ruth and Brett, are in the Hall of Fame.

Is Johnny Damon a Hall of Famer? It is a fascinating question to ponder for the next few years.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Through the front door 

More than 200,000 Citi credit card customers had their accounts hacked earlier this month. The thieves got their names, account numbers, e-mail addresses and transaction histories. The fascinating part of the story is the criminal element came in through what was an essentially an unlocked front door, the main customer service website.

This site is publicly open and available to all of Citi's customers. The hackers exploited a flaw in the number strings of the site's urls. When the site redirects its customers internally, it uses their credit card number as part of the website's id. The credit card thieves were able to exploit this vulnerability, writing code that inserted potential credit card numbers into these long url strings, over and over, until they hit actual account numbers. When they did, the customer's private credit card data was all theirs.

The only good news? Citi reports that the attackers were unable obtain expiration dates or the three-digit security code on the back of the cards, making the stolen data more difficult to use.

Read more here in the New York Times.

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Klosterman IV 

Cultural insight from Chuck Klosterman from his book Klosterman IV

American culture is... obsessed with health. We are obsessed with pleasure. We are obsessed with speed. We are obsessed with efficiency. In simplest terms, we are obsessed by the desire to accelerate every element of our existence in a futile attempt to experience as much life as we can in the shortest possible time. We have all entered in a race to devour the largest volume of gratification before it kills us.

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Presidential topics 

The second Republican Presidential Primary debate was held last night in New Hampshire. The reviews? It was very vanilla. Only Minnesota firebrand Michelle Bachmann stood out. The Washington Post offered this note, a keen insight to the topics that will decide the 2012 general election. Domestic issues dominated the debate; candidates spent 105 of a potential 120 minutes on domestic policy. The only foreign policy question that got extended treatment was the American military presence in Afghanistan.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Durham success story 

The Clarion Content is happy to report on the success story that is taking place at #916 Lamond Avenue under the roof of the Reality Center. Full disclosure, one of our editors teaches a Saturday morning SAT Prep class at the Reality Center. But that is not the reason for this post.


Here we want to note the success of the New Horizons Academy of Excellence (an alternative high school) that is operating out of the same facility as the Reality Center. New Horizons is an independent alternative school for at-risk youth. They take in kids that have been permanently expelled from the Durham Public School system. These are students with nowhere else left to go. Many are difficult, high maintenance students who need devotion and dedication to counter the influences they have already felt, who need strong love to know they are wanted and cared for.

The head of the school,Martina "Coach D" Dunford stood by her students, in good times and in bad. Last week she, the teachers, along with parents, family and friends were able to celebrate their first graduating class. Read more of the heartwarming story here in the Durham Herald Sun.


Time for a study 

Something to consider

The New York Times ran an interesting article this weekend in the wake of the Congressman Anthony Weiner racy pictures scandal. (Weiner has been outed for sending naughty snaps via the interwebs.) The article observed that a casual look around the political landscape would say that female politicians have been embroiled in far fewer sexual scandals than their male counterparts.

We know, we know, the plural of anecdote is not data. But how about a study? The NY Times speculates, "Women have different reasons for running, are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw -- all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected."

Here at the Clarion Content we read it as another good sign for the millennium of women.

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Dogs rolling with the SAS 

The British Special Air Service or SAS has been a model for special forces detachments of armies throughout the Western world. The SAS traces their history to World War II. The British government has largely veiled the SAS and refuses to comment on matters concerning their missions.

It was fascinating to read then, in the British tabloid, The Sun, that SAS soldiers have been rappelling into combat raids with German Shepherds strapped to their bodies. The dogs, renown for their police work, have proven incredibly useful in commando raids, including, apparently, the one that killed Osama bin-Laden. The dogs are equipped with infrared night visions cameras and are often used by troopers to scout ahead. Our furry four-legged friends typically wear body armor to protect against knives, gunfire and grenade shrapnel. Apparently some pooches have even been trained in the use of oxygen masks and have made parachute jumps, following in the giant footsteps of their forebears.

Read more here.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

John Cryer 

If all you know of John Cryer is the CBS sitcom and Charlie Sheen vehicle "Two and a Half Men", here is where the previous generation met Mr. Cryer in his immortal role as Duckie in the John Hughes joint, Pretty in Pink. Dude was crazier than we ever thought Charlie Sheen would get.


Thursday, June 09, 2011


Say goodbye to the legendary Kacey Jordan aka Courtney Nicole. One woman who ruled the porn business rather than letting it rule her. She has deleted her Twitter feed, which was post-post modern reality genius to the Nth degree. She went out with one last wild two weeks f*cking her fans and devotees at a Nevada prostitution ranch.

Says here she is a star who will be heard from again...

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Facebook loves you 

But maybe a little too much... As the Clarion Content has warned for some time, Facebook has no respect, nor interest in the privacy of its users. We were once again reminded of that basic postulate today by an article in the New York Times about Facebook's auto-enabled facial recognition software.

It is called Tag Suggestions. And it highlights, once again, how Facebook users give the company control of their personal image. Tag Suggestions uses auto-deployed facial recognition software that users must opt out of to disable. The facial recognition software means when anyone else uploads a photo of you (Facebook user) to Facebook, the company's servers search their database to see what faces it recognizes. If it recognizes (or thinks it recognizes) yours it prompts the uploader of the picture to tag it with your name and identity.



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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Silly human race 

Much like the watched pot, the too closely observed upload never finishes.


Monday, June 06, 2011


Defending Dirk Nowiztki? It is a tough job both for opposing players and for the player's supporters. Undoubtedly Nowiztki has been great in these playoffs, and his numbers are those of a Hall of Fame career.

Also indisputably, in the biggest moment of this season's playoffs so far for Dallas, Nowiztki had the ball twice in the last thirty seconds of a tie game in a tied seriess. Sandwiched around a missed LeBron James three pointer, Nowiztki turned the ball over, throwing it out of bounds, and missed his signature step back sixteen footer.

Tough to defend a guy with a reputation as a shrinking violet when he does that...

The team that has won Game Three has won the last eleven NBA Finals, all of them since the league switched to the unbalanced 2-3-2 format.

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Distance deconstructed 

Her wish list is on-line...

We recently published an article on the front page of the Clarion Content about an Indian teenager who sold his kidney on the internet. We wanted in it an anecdote to provoke thought about the collapsing of distance and temporal barriers to global transactions.

How is about this for another one?

Remember those distant stars of silver screen from days of yore? No, we are not about to tell you about how you can follow their every thought and musing on their Twitter feeds. Better.

How about you can look up your starlet's wish list on Amazon and buy her a present off of it. For reals.

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Atlanta Hockey is no more 

The Clarion Content has long derided the National Hockey League for its move into warm weather United States cities. Locally, the Carolina Hurricanes have been the exception to the rule. The exception proves the rule? Bringing the Clarion Content's northeastern Original Six hockey biases to the table, we have never bought into hockey in warm places. This is the national sport of Canada. This week the NHL agreed.

The Atlanta Thrashers were the weakest warm weather franchise this side of the Phoenix Coyotes (in bankruptcy and league receivership while sucking money out of the City of Glendale). True North Sports & Entertainment bought the Atlanta franchise and is moving it to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The underlying premise? Canada loves hockey. How much? Winnipeg sold out its 13,000 season ticket plans almost immediately.

Atlanta is lukewarm about all of its sports teams. The team was 28th in attendance in a 30 team league. Hockey doesn't play well in warm weather cities. Only one warm weather city is in the top half of the league in attendance, though to be fair San Jose, just outside the top half, plays to sellout crowds.

Bottom line, this was an obvious move for the league.

Next up what Canadian city takes the Phoenix Coyotes?

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Friday, June 03, 2011

Postmodern Globalism run amok 

The world market emphasizes the delights and upsides of being able to sell anything and everything from anywhere. This range is supposed to virtuous in and of itself. The presumption is that more choice is always better. Despite recent studies debunking that idea, it has proved a hard meme to dislodge.

While as our friends over at the MEP Report are fond of reminding us, the plural of anecdote is not data, sometimes the solid illustrative anecdote can serve as a beacon to shine a light on the reams of transactions taking place below the surface knowledge of the Empire's paperpushers.

To wit, the story of a seventeen year-old Chinese kid who decided to sell one of his kidneys over the internet to finance the purchase of new electronics gear; a laptop and iPad 2 amongst the haul. The Clarion Content has long hooted about the flourishing grey market for organs in China. The teen thought he had gotten away with it, having handled the transaction on his own without his parents knowledge. But his mother, not surprisingly, noticed the new computer equipment and then found her son's deep red scar. The BBC and a local Chinese TV report indicate the authorities are concerned.

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Postmodern globalism run amok 

The world market emphasizes the delights and upsides of being able to sell anything and everything from anywhere. This range is supposed to virtuous in and of itself. The presumption is that more choice is always better. Despite recent studies debunking that idea, it has proved a hard meme to dislodge.

While as our friends over at the MEP Report are fond of reminding us, the plural of anecdote is not data, sometimes the solid illustrative anecdote can serve as a beacon to shine a light on the reams of transactions taking place below the surface knowledge of the Empire's paperpushers.

To wit, the story of a seventeen year-old Chinese kid who decided to sell one of his kidneys over the internet to finance the purchase of new electronics gear; a laptop and iPad 2 amongst the haul. The Clarion Content has long hooted about the flourishing grey market for organs in China. The teen thought he had gotten away with it, having handled the transaction on his own without his parents knowledge. But his mother, not surprisingly, noticed the new computer equipment and then found her son's deep red scar. The BBC and a local Chinese TV report indicate the authorities are concerned.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

UNC, hold your head high 

Special to the Clarion Content...
Open letter to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fans, alumni, students, faculty, administrators, and staff:
When I moved to North Carolina in 1997, transplanted as it were, with a girlfriend attending UNC Law School, I found out rapidly that as an avid sports fan, it was necessary to choose sides. [Or at least be able to make a good case why you hadn't.]

I grew up in New Jersey. I went to college at Indiana University. Naturally, I chose Duke. Duke is the state university of New Jersey of the South. Coach K was weaned under legendary Indiana Coach Bob Knight.

My UNC friends said, fine, or more accurately, "Whatever!!"

They reminded me, don't forget us. We're special. We're different. We do things the Carolina Way. I respected Carolina, but I didn't really know what they meant. When I arrived in the area the Dean Smith era was ending, I didn't appreciate the concept.

Since I have been here, I have seen the highs and the lows athletically for University of North Carolina as an institution. In football, from the depths of the Carl Torbush era to the heights of Mack Brown's run. In basketball, from the depths of the Guthridge-Doherty transition to the heights of two national championships. Carolina is always in the running for what used to be known as the Sears Cup, which is awarded annually to the university with the most success overall in collegiate athletics. All this warranted respect. And I respected Carolina.

Yet, I never truly understood what was meant by the Carolina Way. I knew the connotation of the Carolina Way was deeper than winning. Sometimes to see things clearly it takes a crisis.

This year, during the heart of a football scandal that enveloped the school, I finally started to get it. The recent counter-example of how a similar football scandal was handled at The Ohio State University this year hammered the point home. The Carolina way meant appreciating the fundamental Nixonian and Judeo-Christian lesson. It is the cover-up, not the crime.

All of us, as humans, are fallible. It is not whether or not we will fail, it what we do after the failure. President Nixon was disgraced and forced to resign his office in shame, not so much for the crime, as for repeatedly lying to the American nation about it. The Judeo-Christian culture and American society are very forgiving of our politicians, athletes, celebrities and frankly, each other. It is a bedrock of who we are. But forthrightness, honesty, a willingness to admit wrongdoing is the key.

Last season, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was embroiled in a football scandal and media maelstrom near as sketchy sounding as the one that has enveloped Ohio State. It was agents, assistant coaches and loose money in Chapel Hill, tattoo, cars and cash for uniforms and access at Ohio State.


In both cases.

But how did these two universities proceed to handle these crises?

The University of North Carolina preemptively suspended twelve football players for the opening game and arguably the biggest game of its regular season against top-tier program LSU. The suspensions included several players who were ultimately cleared by the investigation.

The Ohio State University petitioned the NCAA to allow five players who have been shown to be in the middle of the dirty dealings that the coach knew about at the time to participate in the Sugar Bowl.

The University of North Carolina extended and expanded its review as fully and completely as possible.

The Ohio State University limited the scope of its investigation and prematurely attempted to clear their coach.

The University of North Carolina thoroughly interrogated their football coach, Butch Davis, and ultimately elected to go forward with him.

The Ohio State University initially suspended their football coach, Jim Tressel, two games, a wrist-slap, then a further half-measure, making the suspension five games, before ultimately facing it had to fire him.

The University of North Carolina's Athletic Director Dick Baddour pushed the investigation in an attempt to find and expunge any and all dirt. Compare; Baddour, "it is likely that the review would extend beyond the start of the season...as an institution, we must learn from these mistakes and work with the NCAA and others who love the game of football to repair the environment in which they occurred."

The Ohio State University's Athletic Director Gene Smith gushed over his coach and attempted to quash the investigation. Compare; Smith, "Wherever we end up at the end of the day, Jim Tressel is our football coach. All the speculation about him being terminated is pure speculation. This case, in my view, does not warrant it...He is our coach and we trust him implicitly."

What about the university's respective leadership?

The University of North Carolina's Chancellor Holden Thorpe, in the beginning,
"We will find out what happened. We will do everything we can to keep it from happening again. And we will not let these mistakes define our university and what we stand for."
and in the end,
"We pledged that we would go where the facts took us, that we would find out how this happened, and that we would do everything we could to figure out how to keep it from happening again. In crises like this, it is tempting to come up with a quick fix, but it is almost always better to endure the speculation while the facts are gathered...we have found no information that Coach Davis was involved in any of the problems that surfaced...All along, my chief concern has been protecting the University’s academic integrity..."

The Ohio State University's President Gordon Gee made clear where he stood in the hierarchy when asked in March about firing Tressel, "No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear: I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me."

UNC fans, alumni, students and administrators, hold your heads high. The Carolina way really is different, even if it took the Ohio State University for this Duke fan to see it. You should be proud of your distinction. The right way is not synonymous with the easy way. We all do wrong, the measure is in what do we do after we do wrong. The University of North Carolina did not shy from its mistakes and missteps. It plunged in and met the challenge head-on, in the process doing much to secure its deserved reputation as a place of honor.

Keep up the good work. Much respect.

Aaron Mandel
Durham, NC

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California is not gaining any new Congressional seats from the 2010 Census. This is the first time in the state's history that it has not gained enough population between censuses to garner additional representation in Congress. (Its population was up by 5 million folks or 14.6%.)

The state has yet to reverse the historic outflow of domestic migration. California lost approximately 72,000 residents to other states in 2009-2010. It is the fifth consecutive year of domestic migration outflow, something never previously seen in California's history.

It is something the Clarion Content believes must have a profound message for those who analyze the American psyche and American dreams.


Practice what you preach? 

Not so much for Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey; Governor Christie prefers do as I say, not as I do.

The governor, who has been slashing school budgets and social services in New Jersey, while wringing his hands about the state's budget crisis, apparently is ready to spare no expense when it comes to his personal indulgence.

The incident in question? Wednesday, Governor Christie decided to use a state police helicopter to attend his son's baseball game against St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, Bergen County, NJ. Surely the governor must have traveling from official business and wanted to see his family? What kind of scrooge would begrudge a person that?


Governor Christie's last engagement on his official schedule before his son's baseball game was a private meeting Tuesday night at the governor's mansion with a group of Iowa donors who are trying to pursuade him to run for president.

Shady, Mr. Governor, shady.

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