Author Archive | Robalini

Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

Photo: Dinoguy2 (CC)

Cast of the fossil dromaeosaur specimen NGMC 91 (nicknamed "Dave", cf. Sinornithosaurus). Photo: Dinoguy2 (CC)

I remember reading long ago an article about how man’s own psychological and sociological biases can shape how they view scientific phenomenon. (Sadly, as this was in the pre-Internet days, I can’t locate it anywhere on the Web, so forgive me if the details are vague or off a bit.) Perhaps the best example: when the biological process of impregnation is usually presented, the model is a valiant army of noble sperm battling waves of defenders to the egg as it lays helpless from the attack without the surrounding protections.

This image evokes the idealized fantasies of the Age of Chivalry, turning the act of conception into a battle between knights and warriors over a chaste and passive queen.  (Talk about a Holy Grail.)  It also squares with the gender roles that dominate society, that of the male aggressor and the female as his prey.… Read the rest

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Not What the Doctor Ordered: 20 Million Could Lose Employer Coverage

Obama Signs Health CareIn all the hand-wringing over the last two months for Obamacare by “liberal” apologists, little has actually been said about the actual effects of the law. True, whether or not Obamacare is beneficial has little if anything to do with its constitutionality. (And the actual Constitutional issues involved, however valid, have little to do with the cynical politics behind the Supreme Court’s right-wing block in the case.) But you’d think if someone was gonna go to bat for a law, they’d at least acknowledge the law’s merits.

Hence one story that caught my eye in March: “20 million could lose employer coverage under Obama health care overhaul.” The source, the World Socialist Web Site, may not be acceptable to the media establishment, but the primary source for the WSWS certainly is: the Congressional Budget Office. Here’s what the CBO concludes:

As many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-sponsored coverage in 2019 under the health care legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010…
The CBO’s most optimistic estimate, which the federal agency says is subject to a “tremendous amount of uncertainty,” is that 3 million to 5 million could lose their employer health coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.
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The Women Who Named The ‘Big Mac’ Received A Plaque

Big MacHere’s the inside story behind the woman who came up with the name “Big Mac” for McDonald’s. Despite coining what could be the greatest marketing name in history, she never received any money for it. As Alan P. Henry wrote in the Glenview Lantern:

The next time you prepare to chomp into a Big Mac, take a moment first to thank Esther Glickstein Rose of Glenview. She’s the one who named it, and without her dogged persistence, the iconic sandwich may never have become a McDonald’s product.

The story begins 45 years ago on a snowy winter day in downtown Chicago in 1967. With ten dollars to her name, the 17-year-old Von Steuben High School graduate saw an ad for a secretary at McDonald’s corporate headquarters. Poorly dressed and soaking wet from the commute into the LaSalle Street office, she was spotted in a hallway by a company official, who promptly hired her.

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States of Depression

Reagan HopeHere’s an article from Paul Krugman in the New York Times about the state of the economy, and this quote pretty much sums up his verdict: “In fact, if it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was at a comparable stage of the ‘Morning in America’ recovery during the Reagan era.”

Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, is about as “liberal” (whatever the hell that means in 2012) as the korporate media will allow at this point. He has often been highly critical of Barack Obama, especially during the 2008 Democratic Party race, when he was one of the few to note Obama’s economic policies were already in campaign mode decidedly to the right of both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

That said, Krugman provides the following evidence:

One way to dramatize just how severe our de facto austerity has been is to compare government employment and spending during the Obama-era economic expansion, which began in June 2009, with their tracks during the Reagan-era expansion, which began in November 1982.

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