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Archive for April, 2009

Tea Time

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Despite generally crappy weather, thousands of people across the country came out for today’s Tax Day Tea Parties to protest the Obama administration (or just Obama in general), big government, “socialism,” Congress, Democrats, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I don’t agree with these people, but seeing them make their voices heard about the things they believe in (even in this case, lol) reminds me of how great our country is.  I imagine that for many of you, most of the images will make your blood boil, but I encourage you to take a step back and appreciate what these protests represent—democracy.

More pictures below.  To read more about the “Tea Parties” across the country CLICK HERE.

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Thoughts?

—Travers

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Defiance

blood_86203dImages: The Guardian

I don’t agree with their method or most of their message, but from a photo-journalistic perspective these images from the anti-capitalism (among other things) protests/riots in London during last week’s G20 Summit GO SO HARD!

More photos below.

Activists or Anarchists?

—Travers

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jobapprPew Research Center for the People & The Press

Via Pew Research Center:

For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades. The 61-point partisan gap in opinions about Obama’s job performance is the result of a combination of high Democratic ratings for the president — 88% job approval among Democrats — and relatively low approval ratings among Republicans (27%)…

The growing partisan divide in presidential approval ratings is part of a long-term trend. Going back in time, partisanship was far less evident in the early job approval ratings for both Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. In fact, a majority of Republicans (56%) approved of Carter’s job performance in late March 1977, and a majority of Democrats (55%) approved of Nixon’s performance at a comparable point in his first term.

I think this is so telling of where we are as a country and where we’re going.  I must say, though, that I’m not at all surprised.  Just last week, both the House and Senate passed President Obama’s budget with ZERO affirmative votes from Republicans.

Thoughts?

—Travers

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Texas Toast

This makes me want a bike.

For more Click here.

Have a great weekend,

—Travers

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The European continent is having its first taste of President and Michelle Obama: The pair arrived in the French city of Strasbourg this morning, which is co-hosting a two-day NATO conference with the neighboring German city of Kehl. Obama is scheduled for one-on-one meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the conference. At the conference, he will push allies to pledge more NATO troops to Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told The Times of London that NATO allies need to “take a hard look at what they believe is their highest and best contribution”. She added, “We’ll begin talking in specifics at the NATO summit in Strasbourg.”

SOURCES: The Daily Beast, The London Times

Even though Nicolas Sarkozy makes me cringe sometimes, his ex-supermodel wife Carla Bruni makes me smile.  But despite her disarmingly beautiful looks, I must admit that the first thing that caught my eye in the picture above was Mrs. Obama. 

Nevertheless, the two ladies in the middle of that photo create a beautifully neutralizing effect to what would’ve could’ve been an awkward photo given Sarkozy and President Obama’s recent disagreements.

More photos below and after the jump.

—Travers

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The most recent Gallup Poll indicates that Americans’ favorability rating of Michelle Obama is even higher than her husband’s.  According to the March 27-29 poll, the First Lady barely edges the President out with her 72% rating to his 69% rating. (Both of which are particularly high).

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Now, it’s not at all uncommon for the First Lady to have a higher favorability rating than the President.  In fact, while they were in the White House, both Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton were more popular than their husbands.  But what makes Mrs. Obama’s rating especially interesting is how far she’s come in the minds of the American people.  At one point during the presidential campaign people thought that she might actually be a hinderance to her husband being elected.  Check out the graph below to see how her favorability has progressed:

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It should also be noted that Presidential Favorability is different than Presidential Job Approval—favorability is likability, job approval is quite literal.  Either way, the Prez is doing well right now as has consistently ranked in the low 60s in the daily Gallup job approval poll since he took office. 

Thoughts?

 More pics of the Obama’s first trip to Europe after the jump.

—Travers

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If you went to www.Google.com today to search for anything, you probably noticed an announcement just below the search bar that read Introducing CADIE: a singular upgrade to your online life.”   If you proceeded to click on the link, you were probably thinking “WTF?!?” But don’t worry, it was just the April Fool’s Day prank that Google pulls every year.  Read this year’s below:

Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity

Announcement
March 31st, 2009 11:59:59 pm

Introducing CADIE

Research group switches on world’s first “artificial intelligence” tasked-array system.

For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster.

Since then progress has been rapid, and tonight we’re pleased to announce that just moments ago, the world’s first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) was switched on and began performing some initial functions. It’s an exciting moment that we’re determined to build upon by coming to understand more fully what CADIE’s emergence might mean, for Google and for our users. So although CADIE technology will be rolled out with the caution befitting any advance of this magnitude, in the months to come users can expect to notice her influence on various google.com properties. Earlier today, for instance, CADIE deduced from a quick scan of the visual segment of the social web a set of online design principles from which she derived this intriguing homepage.

These are merely the first steps onto what will doubtless prove a long and difficult road. Considerable bugs remain in CADIE’S programming, and considerable development clearly is called for. But we can’t imagine a more important journey for Google to have undertaken.

For more information about CADIE see this monograph, and follow CADIE’s progress via her YouTube channel and blog.

Did you fall for it? 

—-Travers

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