If Becky wasn’t going to be in her eighth month of pregnancy by then, I’d seriously consider making a trip to Boston for this game:
The UConn men’s basketball team will face Gonzaga on Dec. 1 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston in the second annual Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge. …
The Huskies and Zags have met twice previously, with UConn taking both meetings. The Huskies knocked off upstart Gonzaga in the 1999 NCAA Tournament West Regional final on their way to a first national title. UConn took a thrilling victory in the title game of the 2005 Maui Invitational thanks to a buzzer-beating baseline jumper by Denham Brown.
There have been some issues in recent days with my blog’s spam filter catching legitimate comments and throwing them into “moderation” because they link to URLs from perfectly legitimate domains (e.g., nytimes.com, sfgate.com, nasa.gov, house.gov) that have been automatically “blacklisted” by SpamKarma for some reason. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that some spammers are now deliberately including legit domains in their own spam messages, in order to get those domains blacklisted and thus create so many false positives that bloggers will weaken or remove their anti-spam defenses. Unfortunately, that’s not a possibility for me, because I get an enormous amount of spam, so I’m afraid I have to live with the false positives and correct them manually as best I can. I’ve whitelisted the domains in question for now, but I suspect similar problems will recur in the future. So, if you try to leave a comment and it gets sent to “moderation,” please shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll “approve” it as soon as I get your message. Otherwise, I may not see it for several days, if ever.
A classified intelligence report, leaked to the AP, says that Sauron has regained much of his former strength. He cannot yet take physical form, but his spirit has lost none of its potency.
Er, wait, wrong link, sorry. The report actually says that Al Qaeda has rebuilt its strength to pre-9/11 levels.
However, the Bush Administration denies yesterday’s ABC report that an “urgent meeting” has been called in response to new intelligence indicating that “a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.” That followed on the heels of a previous ABC report that Al Qaeda is planning a “spectacular” attack in the U.S. this summer. But White House spokesman Tony Fratto says, “There continues to be no credible, specific intelligence to suggest that there is an imminent threat to the homeland. … There is no emergency meeting.”
Becky has a pair of posts about the Iraq war. Meanwhile, Casey muses about the nature of love and relationships in an era of geographical mobility and volatility. All three are interesting and worth reading.
UPDATE: New on Becky’s blog, her Order of the Phoenix review. It’s not as effusive as mine, though the film was still her favorite of the five. And she writes, “After anticipating another cringe-worthy performance from [Daniel] Radcliffe, I was pleasantly surprised by his acting in this film.” (She also, ahem, seems to think he’s rather hot. But I guess I can’t complain, in light of my recent Megan Fox blogging. Heh.)
An important new study shows that several hurricanes in the 20th century would have caused Katrina-like devastation, if they’d occurred in more modern times:
If the Great Storm of 1900 had hit Galveston two years ago, it would have inflicted $72 billion in damage, nearly as much as Hurricane Katrina, researchers say. …
Under the new analysis, which adjusted for inflation, population and coastal development, Hurricane Katrina and its $81 billion cost ranked second to the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, which caused damage estimated at almost $140 billion. Another Galveston hurricane, in 1915, ranked fourth with $57 billion in damage.
Put simply, the devastation wrought by Katrina in 2005 was not unprecedented.
That’s significant in an era when some blame global warming for catastrophic hurricanes. The research concludes that economic damage from hurricanes, after being adjusted, has remained relatively constant during the last century.
Furthermore, scientists involved in the study say, a $500 billion storm in a major metropolitan area along the U.S. coast, such as Miami or possibly even Houston, is conceivable by 2020 if present development trends continue, as expected.
When it comes to hurricanes, these scientists say, coastal development Ã¢â‚¬â€ not warming oceans Ã¢â‚¬â€ should perhaps be policymakers’ biggest concern.
This is proof of something I was musing about the other day in the wake of the Bill Proenza kerfuffle: the need to increase funding for hurricane forecasting and research — for satellite systems, reconaissance aircraft, and all sorts of other important tools — should not be subsumed within the “global warming” debate. Indeed, given how thoroughly politicized that debate has become, proponents of increased funding are probably hurting their own cause by using the argument that “we need more funding because there are going to be more and stronger hurricanes.”
Even if hurricanes are getting stronger and more numerous (and, whatever one thinks about global warming, the jury is still out about the overall effects of a warmer climate on tropical development), it’s still not the best argument for adequately funding the NHC, HRD, etc. The best argument is that increased coastal development — which entails not only heightened potential for damage to life and property, but also increased costs for unnecessary evacuations — makes it absolutely imperative that we continue to improve the accuracy of hurricane forecasts as much as humanly possible.
Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson has died at her home in Austin,Texas.
Visit CNN for the latest.
Here are some of the costumed folks I mentioned earlier, waiting in line for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
As I said, I thought the movie was great. Given the inherent time constraints, I thought director David Yates and screenwriter Michael Goldenberg did a wonderful job. They took what looked, on paper, like the most difficult book to adapt into a movie, and turned it into the best movie of the series so far. I also felt the film was made with a level of care and attention to detail that was missing in Goblet of Fire. Whereas I was bitterly disappointed in what I felt were missed opportunities to do something truly awesome with several of Goblet’s crucial scenes, I didn’t feel that way at all about Phoenix. This time around, the stuff that should have been awesome, was awesome. Also, Daniel Radcliffe was much, much better (in part, I think, because Yates recognized the actor’s limits and adapted accordingly). Nothing in the movie made me cringe, and a number of things made me want to squeal with delight. It wasn’t perfect, but it was very good. Bravo.
And now, for the next big countdown:
Holy cow. HP5 = AWESOME. Easily, easily the best Potter movie. Not even a close call. Better than the first four combined.