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July 02, 2011

Overnight Open Thread

Hey don't you have something better to be doing than hanging out here?

No?

Okay then come on in.

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Illinois is Dooomed
They have the least funded public pension system in the entire country and given the blue state competition that's really saying something. How bad is it? So bad that each IL household owes $30,000 just to cover existing public pension and retiree health care obligations. Is there a term for a government run by and for government employees? Mandarinocracy? Because that's what Illinois is becoming.

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US Teens Don't Know Much About US History

The vast majority of American 12th-graders — more than three-fourths — didn’t know China was North Korea’s ally during the Korean War, and only 35 percent of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to national history test scores released Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In Florida, for example, stiffer standards and more comprehensive tests have yielded impressive results, according to Heritage Foundation education expert Lindsey Burke. As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says, “What gets tested, gets taught.”
While I don't doubt that teens today know far less history than they should, I always take a grain of salt with any studies showing that American students are ignoramuses since they're usually run by groups that have a vested interest in getting more funding to fix whatever problem they've uncovered. If they don't include the actual administered test, I get very suspicious.

And it also turns out that that British teens are also ignorant about US history. But at least his guesses sound somewhat plausible and more entertaining than the usual shoulder shrugs you get.

Handicapping the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature
With less than a 100 days left here are the current odds so get your bets in soon. Personally I'd put some money down on Murakami and McCarthy - but only at 5-to-1 or better odds:

They have Cormac McCarthy (9/2) just ahead of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (11/2), with Don DeLillo and Murakami Haruki at 6/1, then Assia Djebar (8/1) ahead of Philip Roth (10/1). Despite only offering 18 authors to bet on, Bob Dylan does make the list too (at 100/1 -- but, hey, he's also a finalist for what may well be the second most prestigious international author prize, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, nominated by Andrea De Carlo ...).
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Original Star Trek, Enterprise & Voyager Now Available on Netflix Streaming
So you can satisfy your Trek yearnings 24 hours a day.

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Red wine: Exercise in a bottle?

As strange as it sounds, a new research study published in the FASEB Journal, suggests that the "healthy" ingredient in red wine, resveratrol, may prevent the negative effects that spaceflight and sedentary lifestyles have on people. The report describes experiments in rats that simulated the weightlessness of spaceflight, during which the group fed resveratrol did not develop insulin resistance or a loss of bone mineral density, as did those who were not fed resveratrol.
Why take chances? Drink red wine AND take resveratrol capsules.

Got Guitar?
Well here's your chance to pick up a decent electric 6-string for just $84. Fame and groupies await.

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Chicks Now Getting Into Competitive Eating
This year there will be a women's table at the Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Look out Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi.

"These are suffragettes for a new era," Major League Eating President George Shea told AOL Weird News.

"When we went out on the circuit looking for female competitors, we had no idea what kind of response we would get and it's been really terrific," said Shea. "In a way, this has opened up the sport to women."

Top female eaters like Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas and Juliet Lee have celebrated plenty of victories eating against men, but women remain rare in a sport some consider unladylike. In fact, female eaters account for just 3 to 4 percent of all Major League Eating competitors, according to Shea. But with a victory in Coney Island -- the sport's biggest stage -- female contestants see a future where women will be lauded for eating huge portions.

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Sad: The End of Allison Stokke's Athletic Career

According to the results yesterday from Tucson, Arizona, Stokke took passes on her first two attempts and a no height on her third at 12-6 3/4. With no successful vault, the Queen of Sports Blogs was finished.

Why is this shocking? Because Stokke finished 8th at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year after clearing 13-11.75 to set a Cal indoor record in March.

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The Yahoo AoSHQ group. Bla bla bla. And don't forget about the Job Bank.

Tonight's post brought to you by expectations:

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Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by Maetenloch at 09:14 PM

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