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The Sweet Science Versus Sour Apples


Last night’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was a bit like our presidential election: Not the event we expected, but probably what we deserved.

On the one hand, you had the boxer, a veteran of combat whose success has actually had a souring effect on reputation, perhaps because of its regularity. On the the other: a loud-mouthed outsider whose success seemed primarily an architecture of hyperbole.

Wait. Where have I heard that?

The fight itself wasn’t much of a battle, either. The veteran made precision jabs, the product of relentless repetition and practice. The outsider was clearly uncomfortable in the ring and the gloves, though he did manage to land some solid roundhouses, perhaps because he threw so many.


In the end, the boxer scored a technical victory, though the scrapper won the war of public opinion, carried on shoulders and hailed (incorrectly) for being politically incorrect, a scrapper deserving of worship because he took on the system.


When the final bell rang, the boxer walked to the center of the ring and announced his retirement. Mayweather complimented McGregor for being better than he thought, and said it was time to take his aging body into gentler waters. McGregor, too, complimented Mayweather, saying he always appreciated a good fight. He did not dispute the judge’s votes, which clearly went Mayweather’s way.

Forget that. The fight was nothing like the election.

Now, for less bullshit-ty analytics:

  • 42% of of highly-mobile and regular home workers worldwide suffer from insomnia, as opposed to 29% of regular office workers, according to a UN study.
  • Hydra, the quarter-inch invertebrate, is composed primarily of stem cells, meaning its lifespan is limitless.
  • The Kindlifresser, or “Child Eater”, is one of oldest statues in Bern, Switzerland, and nobody is sure why it has a baby half stuffed into his mouth, and three more over its shoulder.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t arrested for killing JFK. He was actually arrested for fatally shooting a police officer 45 minutes after the death of Kennedy.
  • Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany hold elections on weekends or have made election day a holiday. All surpass America in voter turnout.
  • Similar to “fake news”, the “Lügenpresse” accusation was used by the Nazis to discredit unsupportive media outlets.
  • Down syndrome has been disappearing in Iceland since prenatal screening tests were introduced in the early 2000s. Almost 100% of women who had a positive test for Down syndrome decided to terminate their pregnancy.
  • Robert E. Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments.
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Just the Factslap (K-line K-9 Remix)


  • Dogs poop in alignment with Earth’s magnetic field.
  • The world’s oldest lived to 29. 
    • Humans and dogs first became best friends 30,000 years ago.
    • Every dog’s mitochondrial DNA is 99.9% the same as a gray wolf.
    • In English-speaking countries, the most popular names for dogs are Max and Molly.
    • Dogs and cats only sweat from their foot pads and nose.
    • Dogs have 13 blood types, horses have 8, cows have 9 while humans only have 4.
    • Paul McCartney recorded an ultrasonic whistle audible only to dogs at the end of A Day in the Life.
    • In South Carolina, the maximum sentence for beating your dog is longer than the max sentence for beating your wife.
    • A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than humans’.
    • Humans and dogs are the only two species known to seek visual clues from another’s eyes. And dogs only do it with humans.

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We the Press People



Enough with the attempts to define news.  Enough with the mock outrage over a lack of objectivity. Enough with pretending that “social” media is somehow different from its “mainstream” sibling.

It isn’t. Make no mistake: They are siblings, if not identical twins.

That we in the ancient media of print and television ever tolerated the term “social media” is something of a grim miracle. It’s hard to imagine other professions that would tolerate such a mangling of the terminology of its trade. Or that the public would so wholeheartedly embrace the mauling.

How many businesses or people, for instance, would hazard a flight on a plane steered by a “social pilot?” How many would reserve gurney time for an appendectomy by a “social surgeon?”

Yet, like running a hotel or driving a taxi, being a journalist has become the province of amateurs. Thanks to blogs and free vomit buckets like Facebook and Twitter, the idea of being published hinges less on linguistic dexterity than determinism.

Yet so many in the media claim to be outside its Ivy League walls, forbidden entry by out of step gatekeepers. And we’re not just talking conspiracy slackwits like Sean Hannity or Alex Jones.

Really smart people — like, Noam Chomsky-, Sam Harris-, Neil deGrasse Tyson-, Richard Dawkins-smart — make similarly ridiculous claims.

Take Harris, a neuroscience author of staggering eloquence. In his podcast, website and books, he is quick to lament that “the mainstream media refuses or is unable to see” most issues that underpin our society, from religion to economics to politics. The schism, Harris contends, was a leading contributor to the victory of the Trump administration.

Yet in the same talk or web posting, he will wonder aloud how his podcast became so popular, his Twitter account so swamped with activity.

It’s because you’re in the mainstream media, Sam.

Just do the math. While podcast numbers are not officially tallied (like Nielsen ratings for TV, and yes, that’s a hint), Harris has been publicly flabbergasted by a podcast following of 400,000 that exceeds all of his book sales — combined. He has 888,000 Twitter followers.

The Washington Post has a circulation of 740,000. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, If Harris’ Twitter fanbase alone were a newspaper, it would be the fifth largest in the nation

He’s hardly alone in the confusion. There isn’t an outlet in America that doesn’t distinguish between “mainstream” and “social” media.

But what is the real difference? The largest newspaper in America is the Wall Street Journal, with a circulation north of 2.4 million. (It’s also owned by Rupert Murdoch, in case critics of a liberal media forgot).

Compare that to Facebook, which functions like any other news outlet, with curated headlines and all-flavored news and feature stories. A recent Pew Research study found that 68% of Americans have accounts on Facebook.

That’s a circulation of 218 million.

The same applies to myriad “social” media sites: Instagram would have a circulation of 89.9 million; Pinterest, 83.5 million; Twitter, 67.4 million.

Even the term in a misnomer. If something qualifies as social media, by definition it is also renting property in MainstreamVille. How do we even claim separation, particularly when the largest news outlet in the United States decided a presidential election? How does it remain spared of fake news claims?

The truth is, media is like pizza. You get what you ordered, or you go out of business. Does anyone honestly lay claim to the notion that “mainstream” media refuses to report real news because it would rather report on Kim Kardashian’s ass? That it wants to secretly slip the public pap, like giving a fussy baby a spoonful of Gerber’s by making an airplane noise?

So let’s ratchet down the vitriol, Mr. Harris, Dawkins, Tyson et al. You’re criticizing a club to which you belong.

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