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August 3rd, 2009

~Monday~ There were four people on the bus, and by the time I got off, there were about 10. Before I got off I noticed that I was the only white person on the bus. Back when I started riding the bus in September, I would have had that thought much earlier on in the ride, and I probably would have spent a good portion of the rest of the ride seeing if "someone like me" (white, not gay) got on. Eventually, I'm sure—I hope—these type of thoughts won't occur to me at all. I mean, why should they?

I'm going to go ahead and call this "quitter week," as I've not only quit The Audacity of Hope, I've quite the Kindle 2. I'll be returning it before its due date. Today, instead of reading then, I listened to some old podcasts on the way in. So old in fact, that they were the last three editions of the Slate Explainer podcast, that evidently closed down due to "budgetary considerations."

What Is the Most Disloyal Dog Breed? By Daniel Engber

The answer: Nobody knows.

The conventional wisdom among dog fanciers holds that each of the 161 breeds now recognized by the American Kennel Club has a distinctive temperament reflecting its history and original purpose. The terriers, for example, were once bred to hunt vermin; thus they're thought to be hostile to other animals. Working dogs that were originally bred to guard property might be seen as especially loyal.

But recent work suggests that the personalities of modern dogs may have little to do with their breed's history. A researcher at Stockholm University named Kenth Svartberg analyzed the behavioral profiles of more than 15,000 animals and derived several essential canine traits: A dog is more or less playful, curious/fearless, and sociable. Then he studied a few dozen breed types and rated them according to those traits as well as on their level of aggression. Rest of the story...

Self-Mutilation for Dummies: Is there a right way for Shiites to lash themselves on Ashura? By Brian Palmer

Thousands of Shiites marched in Karbala, Iraq, on Tuesday to mark the Muslim holiday of Ashura. According to a report in Reuters, men "cut their scalps with daggers and whipped their backs with chains." Can a Shiite self-mutilate any way he wants?

In a sense. A subset of male Shiites injure themselves on Ashura to represent their grief over the martyrdom of Hussein, grandson of the prophet, at the hands of the Ummayad army in 680. These people engage in violent rituals such as pounding their chests with their fists, lacerating their scalps with a knife or machete, or self-flagellation with a zanjeer—five blades connected to a wooden handle by steel chain. But none of these forms of expression is sanctioned by mainstream religious authorities; most prominent Shiite clerics object to all forms of self-mutilation, since it has no basis in early religious history and appears barbaric to outsiders. Rest of the story...

How Many Albinos Are in Tanzania? By Juliet Lapidos

Answer: More than you might think.

Three men armed with machetes killed an 8-year-old albino boy in Burundi last week and are believed to have smuggled his limbs to Tanzania, where witch doctors use albino body parts for potions. At least 35 albinos were killed in Tanzania in 2008, prompting police officials to set up an emergency hot line and a program to distribute free cell phones to all albinos. How many albinos are there in Tanzania?

A whole lot. Albinism, a genetic disorder characterized by lack of melanin pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes, is listed as a rare disease by the National Institutes of Health—meaning it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. Around the world, between one in 17,000 and one in 20,000 people are albinos. The prevalence in parts of Africa, however, is far higher than the global average. Albinos make up about one in 4,000 people in South Africa and perhaps one in 5,000 in Nigeria. According to a 2006 review published in the journal BMC Public Health, the prevalence in Tanzania is one in 1,400, but this estimate is based on incomplete data. Since Tanzania's total population is more than 40 million, that would suggest an albino community of about 30,000. A census is under way, however, and the Albino Association of Tanzania believes the total figure could be more than 150,000. Rest of the story...



I got to do a little create work at the end of my work day today. Yay for that.



The weather was totally ominous tonight with heavy downpours, bright lightening, and roaring thunder, which sounded a little too close for my taste. I put my sound machine on (white noise) and slept for a couple of hours.



I picked up Joe at the airport, and we spent a couple of hours down at Flex, where it was Karaoke night. Tonight's crowd was bigger than last Monday's, so maybe it will catch on.

I thought that perhaps David (Queerdonna) was going to be the regular emcee for Monday nights, but tonight it was Bob (Winnie Baygo), who did his (her) usual bitching-out-the-customers that's inevitably part of his (her) repertoire, tonight's rant being: "Don't be coming in here at 11:30 and think you're going to be able to sing. We start at 8:00 and for the first hour it was just me and Eric and Dave singing over and over. If you want to sing, get here earlier. I've got a real job to go to in the morning, and I have a call at 8:00 that I have to be on. We're stopping at midnight."

"Whatever."

Did I say, "Whatever?" I meant, "Whatever, bitch."

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