Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from August 31st, 2009

A Dose of Burmese Glamour

August 31st, 2009 · 3 Comments

Not that we’re insensitive louts or anything, but we generally fail to get riled up by charges of religious blasphemy. As such, we really can’t say we understood the recent, rather obscure to-do over the photo above, in which a Burmese film star named Min Maw Kun was accused of disrespecting Buddhism. No, what made […]

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Twenty Years

August 31st, 2009 · 2 Comments

It’s been ages since we’ve discussed Sri Lanka, one of our pet topics dating back to this blog’s earliest days. And so it pains us to revisit the island nation under such disturbing circumstances—namely, today’s news that Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for violating the sweeping Prevention of […]

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Done, the Sequel

August 28th, 2009 · 3 Comments

After an insanely hectic five weeks of virtually non-stop mental toil, we can proudly state that we hit our deadline. The second draft of the Now the Hell Will Start screenplay is safely in our boss’s hands, which means it’s time for us to enjoy a rare moment of peace—a moment that’s sure to include […]

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Let the Right One In

August 28th, 2009 · 3 Comments

For all of mankind’s scientific advances in recent centuries, many elemental mysteries still persist. Among the most puzzling is the reason that right-handers far outnumber their southpaw peers. There’s a bevy of theories as to why this is the case, but no single one seems ironclad. So in the absence of a definitive explanation for […]

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The Homestretch

August 27th, 2009 · No Comments

We’re getting down to the wire on a major, major deadline, and thus don’t have even a neuron to spare for poor Microkhan this afternoon. As previously promised, we’ll be back to full strength on Monday. Thanks for bearing with us as we toil elsewhere. As a small token of our immense gratitude, please enjoy […]

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The Grain Curve

August 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Inspired in part by the “Meat is the new bread!” daring of the much maligned KFC Double Down, we recently found ourselves keen on learning more about the history of America’s love affair with flour. There is, of course, good reason that one of our most patriotic songs goes out of its way to shout […]

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“I Charm Freaks and Bomb Geeks…”

August 26th, 2009 · No Comments

As noted yesterday, we’re absolutely swamped with paying gigs between now and Friday, so posting here will be lighter than usual ’til Monday. In the name of picking off some low-hanging fruit as we scramble on multiple deadlines, we’re posting the above classic Big L vid—a tune we never tire of, in part of because […]

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The Analyzer’s Sad End, Cont’d

August 26th, 2009 · No Comments

The first hacker we ever wrote about, Israeli national Ehud “The Analyzer” Tenenbaum, could end up serving 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to bank fraud charges in New York. We wrote about The Analyzer’s odd career during Microkhan’s formative days, all the way back in February. He really had a chance to […]

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Winged AA

August 26th, 2009 · No Comments

Is it possible to ever tire of zootherapy research? We reckon not, and this study (PDF) from the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine supports our thesis rather strongly. The paper looks at the use of animals as medicine in a rural corner of Northeast Brazil. Our favorite listed remedy involves the Gray-breasted martin, known to […]

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Pockmarked Immortality

August 25th, 2009 · No Comments

As of this very moment, we have a new life goal: becoming one of the scores of celebrated creative types with a Mercury crater to their name. Yes, we realize the odds of this happening are slim to none—we’ve got a long way to go before we join the hallowed ranks of Utagawa Kunisada or […]

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A Word from Our Sponsor

August 25th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Apologies, but posting will be a bit more sporadic than usual over the next few days. We’re in the homestretch on Draft Two of the Now the Hell Will Start screenplay, and we’d really like to avoid imitating the bloke above by blowing our chance at the end. We’re also swamped with an epic Wired […]

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Mortality as Morality, Cont’d

August 25th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Eleven days ago, we questioned whether it might be immoral to keep certain animals captive in zoos. Our hunch is that a species’ ability to thrive in a zoo is based not only on its physical needs, but also its intelligence—animals who become aware of the limits of their existence will certainly suffer psychological stresses […]

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Why the Jack o’ Lanterns?

August 24th, 2009 · No Comments

We admittedly do too many posts on ’80s nostalgia, especially now that Microkhan Jr.’s existence has us thinking a lot more ’bout our own formative years. But our worldview back during the Reagan Era was pretty American-centric, so we missed out on plenty of great, junky pop culture from more distant corners of the globe. […]

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“The Mills of the Gods”

August 24th, 2009 · No Comments

With next year’s Census already sparking so much political heat, it’s worth looking back at one of Microkhan’s favorite-ever technology stories: the 1890 Census, the tabulation fiesta that have birth to (semi-)modern programming. For the hardcore geeks in the audience, this is already a well-known tale, featuring one of the true rock stars of the […]

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A Fiberglass Romance

August 21st, 2009 · 3 Comments

Had Corvette Summer been blessed with a better casting director, perhaps it would have escaped the ignominy of our weekly Bad Movie Friday slot. But no—they just had to cast the 27-year-old Mark Hamill as a high-school student, and noted character actress Annie Potts as a Vegas sexpot (a far cry from her ideal role […]

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An Advantage in the Air?

August 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

In response to our post on athletic gender testing earlier this week, one of our most treasured commenters posed this stumper: Are there no sports where being a woman might be a competitive advantage over being a man? Equestrian events maybe, or long distance swimming? Tough one! We’ve long been familiar with some research vouching […]

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When PR Underwhelms

August 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment

To be quite honest, we have no idea whether or not Allura Red AC (aka Red 40) causes kids to become decidedly non-mellow. But we do know that the food dye’s advocates would be well-advised to spiff up their flagship website, which thousands of concerned folks certainly visit every day via The Google. For starters, […]

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Another Kabaddi Legend

August 20th, 2009 · 5 Comments

The rest of our day is all about the Now the Hell Will Start screenplay, so we’ll outro with yet another clip of kabaddi mastery. Today’s legend is the late, great Harjit Brar Bajakhana, perhaps the best Indian raider to every play the game. Keep in mind that he performed at such a high level […]

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“What More Do I Need?”

August 20th, 2009 · 10 Comments

The first big magazine feature we ever wrote was about near-death experiences (NDEs). We have vivid memories of taking a prop plane from Washington D.C. to Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to interview a pair of psychologists who specialize in studying the effects of NDEs. What struck us most about their research was how the whole […]

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Carbonated Vicodin in a Can

August 20th, 2009 · No Comments

We generally shy away from Red Bull, due to a bad experience we had after consuming four cans of the stuff one night. (Suffice to say our earthly vessel did not appreciate the deluge of taurine.) But perhaps we should reconsider our aversion in light of this Winona State study. Because Red Bull may have […]

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The Murder Project: Crocodile Tears

August 19th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We have to duck out for a few hours, to work on a big Wired piece that’s simmering on our front burner. Back as soon as possible; in the interim, please enjoy the above “gotcha!” clip of Dalia Dippolito, who was recently busted for trying to get her husband offed. Like so many murder-for-hire amateurs, […]

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“The Requirements to Compete as a Woman”

August 19th, 2009 · 4 Comments

In reading this quickie AP bit about a female runner whose gender is in question, we were left wondering about the shades of sexual grey that the International Association of Athletic Federations must contend with in the age of hormones. A quick peek in the pants, alas, is no longer sufficient to determine whether a […]

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Citrus is Your Friend

August 19th, 2009 · No Comments

Yesterday we touched upon medicine’s tendency to stick with certain treatments even when there’s a lack of credible evidence attesting to their efficacy. But there’s a flip side to that foible—some physicians’ genius for concocting cures on the fly, with no lab or patient data to assist them. Such was certainly the case with scurvy, […]

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First Contact: The Apache

August 18th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Mea culpa for letting our First Contact series lapse. It’s been nearly two months since we discussed Martin Frobisher’s encounter with the Inuit, and that’s far too long to do without primary-source accounts of the clashes of civilizations. But we’re back with a dandy today, courtesy of the Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. Though […]

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Scared Sober?

August 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We don’t have too many hobby horses here at Microkhan, but one of them is a steadfast belief that many long-accepted practices are far less effective than advertised. This is typically because our species is easily seduced by logical facades, and thus pays too little attention to actual evidence. You can understand, then, why the […]

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A Raider for the Ages

August 17th, 2009 · 4 Comments

When the conversation turns to the all-time greats of kabaddi, the name Ameen Jatt must invariably be mentioned. The thick-bodied Pakistani raider was a dominant force in the 1990s, and still much-admired among the sport’s rabid fanbase: An awesome player, simply put out of this world! In 1995 World Cup he led Pakistan into the […]

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The Lakers of Poultry Judging

August 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We’re in the midst of working on a Wired piece about agricultural science, so you can expect Microkhan to dish up a plethora of farm-related factoids in the coming weeks. We’ll start today by highlighting a world us big city types know embarrassingly little about: the collegiate poultry judging circuit. Our journey began as we […]

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A Death Less Ordinary

August 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

It’s probably a bit of stretch to file 1999’s Deep Blue Sea under our ever-popular Bad Movie Friday heading. While the premise of the film could scarcely be more ridiculous—hyper-intelligent mako sharks?—the sunken-laboratory thriller is not without its guilty pleasures. Chief among them is this classic scene, which features Samuel L. Jackson at his edgy […]

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Mortality as Morality

August 14th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We’ve yet to fully sort out our feelings about zoos. On the one hand, we obviously love us some exotic animals, especially those who occasionally turn on Man. (Yes, we’re macabre like that.) But the concept of captivity makes us more than a wee bit uncomfortable; we’ll never forget our last trip to the Bronx […]

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Where the Smoke Jumpers Are

August 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments

In the midst of trying to learn everything there is to know about the Air Tractor 802 “Fire Boss” model, we stumbled across one of the coolest data aggregators we’ve seen in eons: Pitney Bowes’ Fire Locator, which provides (almost) real-time updates on the nation’s raging wildfires. When you take it for a spin, we […]

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