Monthly Archives: April 2013

On ‘squishes’

Reading about Sen. Cruz calling other Republicans ‘squishes’ because they were not, at least in his telling, as hard-line as he is, reminded me of when I lived in the UK and the late Margret Thatcher and her supporters derided their less-immoderate fellow Tories as the “wets”.

It also made me wonder about the national differences the two terms imply. Am I alone in thinking that there’s some suggestion of unmanliness about ‘squishes’? And if so, is that in fact tied to a national difference, or just to the gender and general sexism of the particular speaker?

Wikipedia tells me that,

Historically, the term “wet” was English public school slang for someone judged to be weak, feeble or “soppy”. Within the political context it was used both as a noun and an adjective to describe people or policies which Thatcher would have considered to be weak or “wet”.

So maybe it isn’t all that different after all?

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze, UK | Comments Off on On ‘squishes’

In Which I Join the EPIC Advisory Board

EPIC has announced the 2013 members of the EPIC Advisory Board. They are Michael Froomkin, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law; Sheila Kaplan, student privacy advocate and founder of Education New York; Eugene Spafford, a/k/a/ “Spaf,” professor of Computer Science at Purdue University; and Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School and author of “The Master Switch.” The EPIC Advisory Board is a distinguished group of experts in law, technology, and public policy. Joining the EPIC Board of Directors in 2013 are current Advisory Board members David Farber, Joi Ito, and Jeff Jonas. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC Advisory Board.

–EPIC, Froomkin, Kaplan, “Spaf,” and Wu Join EPIC Advisory Board

The EPIC Advisory Board is a large group of privacy luminaries, and I’m proud to join them. (The 2013 members are the new members, not the whole Board.)

Posted in Personal | Comments Off on In Which I Join the EPIC Advisory Board

Almost As Strange as Fiction

The discovery of a new, more solid, superionic phase of water, made me think of Kurt Vonnegut, who in his novel Cat’s Cradle imagined an ultimately deadly state of water he called ice-nine, which was solid at room temperature. Fortunately the real stuff requires vastly greater temperature and pressure than found on the Earth’s surface:

One lesser known phase of water is the superionic phase, which is considered an “ice” but exists somewhere between a solid and a liquid: while the oxygen atoms occupy fixed lattice positions as in a solid, the hydrogen atoms migrate through the lattice as in a fluid. Until now, scientists have thought that there was only one phase of superionic ice, but scientists in a new study have discovered a second phase that is more stable than the original. The new phase of superionic ice could make up a large component of the interiors of giant icy planets such as Uranus and Neptune.

Posted in Science/Medicine | Comments Off on Almost As Strange as Fiction


The TEDxMIA website doesn’t seem to have been updated since early 2012.

Posted in Miami | 1 Comment

No UM Food Workers’ Strike After All?

I was working up a long post on the looming food workers strike against Chartwells, which operates the food court and dining areas at UMiami, but it looks as if there may not be one. Responding, undoubtedly, to pressure from the U, Chartwells has agreed to the workers’ demand for a card check election regarding a union.

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI STATEMENT ON UNIONIZING EFFORTS The University is aware of a possible work stoppage as part of a unionizing effort. Today, we have learned that Chartwells offered the union a card check, and the University is hopeful this will resolve the issues. The University assures the campus community that residential college dining halls and our food court operations will continue as scheduled through the remainder of the semester. The University values its faculty and staff, as well as employees of its contractors, including Chartwells.

This is very good news for the workers and for the rest of us. I would like to think that the faculty letter I and about 300 others signed, and the subsequent action by the UM Faculty Senate played at least a small role in this development.

Posted in U.Miami | 1 Comment

Couldn’t Resist

A request for a correction in The New York Times:

Article Headline: Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide

Date Published: 4/21/13, Print (National Edition, p. A1)

Phrase in Question: “As president, he rarely had a chance to rest….”

Your Concern (please limit to 300 words):

In the page A10 continuation of the front-page article in today’s paper by Peter Baker, “Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide”, Mr. Baker writes,

“As president, he [Bush] rarely had a chance to rest….”

In fact, George W. Bush spent 32 months at his ranch (490 days) or Camp David (487 days) — an average of four months away every year, according the the Washington Post’s POTUS tracker (as cited at

I understand Presidents sometimes take their work with them when they travel, but I submit that there were plenty of chances to rest in those 977 days.

Posted in The Media | Comments Off on Couldn’t Resist