Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from March 31st, 2010

Bzzzzzzzzz…

March 31st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Seems that we’ve come down with a case of the dreaded Osaka flu. Barely enough energy to type, let alone think deep thoughts. We’re doing out best to knock out the sickness with rest and caffeine (as opposed to more dubious remedies of yore). Back as soon as our head’s clear; in the meantime, check […]

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You’re Breaking My Heart

March 30th, 2010 · 4 Comments

Primarily known to Westerners through its association with Madonna, Malawi is one of the most socially conservative nations in Africa, if not the entire world. The country’s aggressive censorship board has long forbidden any hint of sex or violence, even when public health has been at stake. And the banning hasn’t just excluded allegedly raunchy […]

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The Inevitable Crackdown

March 29th, 2010 · 4 Comments

Today’s bombing of the Moscow Metro has elicited a predictable reaction from Ivan (and Ivana) Sixpack, who suddenly yearns for the KGB’s iron fist: “It’s the Chechens,” said Nina Ivanovna, a 57-year-old pensioner. “They will never let us live in peace. Solzhenitsyn correctly said that we should build a Great Wall of China to keep […]

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Thwarted by Ocular Weakness

March 29th, 2010 · 4 Comments

If you have even a passing interest in the nuts and bolts of warfare, we highly recommend this thorough exploration of Afghan marksmanship. We’ve all heard how rural Afghan boys are essentially born with rifles in their hands, and that meme has led to a belief that Taliban soldiers are expert shots. But the reality […]

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A Nightmare Even Orwell Couldn’t Conjure

March 26th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Thanks a million for your forbearance this week. All deadlines shall be met by sundown, and we’ll hopefully be back to full-on Microkhaning come Monday. Let us kiss off this dismal week, however, with a very special Bad Movie Friday entry: The Apple, a baffling stab at trying to combine a dystopian nightmare with a […]

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Gladiators on Four Legs

March 26th, 2010 · 7 Comments

Though this seems obvious when you really think about it, there’s nothing like an objective report to drive the harsh reality home: modern horse racing makes NASCAR seem like knitting: Based upon a year’s worth of data beginning November 1, 2008, from 378,864 total starts in Thoroughbred flat races at 73 racetracks participating in the […]

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The Liver Knows Best

March 25th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Of all the various methods that mankind has devised to foretell the future, none is quite as bizarre as the reading of entrails. We have no idea who first came up with the idea that a deceased animal’s innards could cast light on upcoming events, but the practice certainly dates back to the heyday of […]

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“The Mortician Bangin’ Your Pistons…”

March 24th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Once again, thanks for your patience this week as we work through a host of deadlines. Makin’ good progress, so all should be clear starting Monday. This afternoon, though, as we grapple with a way of expressing our skepticism about fMRIs, please check out the ultra-rare Godfather Don cut above. The DJ Premier remix came […]

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Where Sugar and Spice Shall Soon Be Rare

March 24th, 2010 · 2 Comments

The financial crunch caused by Microkhan Jr.’s increasing appetite for food and Cookie Monster paraphernalia forced us to drop our Economist subscription this year, so we’re late to the mag’s report on the drop in female births throughout much of the world. But it’s essential reading—a disturbing look at a trend that could lead to […]

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As We Write

March 23rd, 2010 · 5 Comments

Once again, thanks for bearing with us this week, as we slog through three distinct deadlines that could well determine our clan’s ability to maintain its current existence. Promise this’ll all be behind us very soon, and we’ll celebrate by reviving our dormant First Contact series.

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Even Nilgais Get the Blues

March 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Nature just hasn’t seen fit to color many terrestrial animals blue, which is why the mere mention of the concept usually makes us think exclusively of fictional beasts. But as it turns out, blue bulls are rather common in India, and they have recently been causing serious problems: Led by Una district committee of Himachal […]

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The Noble Effort

March 22nd, 2010 · 2 Comments

We need to invoke khan’s prerogative today and step away from the blog, on account of yet another brutal Wired deadline. In our absence, enjoy this archive of photos from the defunct League of Nations. The one above is of the Iranian delegation, circa 1920—we reckon that was the Golden Age of women’s fashion in […]

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“You’ll Talk About Him Forever”

March 19th, 2010 · 7 Comments

In reading about Universal’s decision to nix P.T. Anderson’s The Master, a movie obviously inspired by the founding of Scientology, we found ourselves heartily agreeing with several of The A.V. Club‘s commenters: Perhaps what the world needs isn’t a flick about L. Ron Hubbard’s quasi-religious scam, but a Hollywood-style biopic about the even more fascinating […]

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The Seeds of Blowback

March 19th, 2010 · 1 Comment

The Chittagong Hill Tracts rarely make the Western news, unless they’re being invaded by wave after wave of hungry rodents. But there is a great deal of conflict in that remote corner of southeastern Bangladesh, an area traditionally inhabited by tribes that are ethnically distinct from the nation’s Bengali majority. As settlers have moved into […]

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Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

March 18th, 2010 · 12 Comments

Yesterday’s New York Times featured a piece on the lavish lifestyles of South African president Jacob Zuma and his fellow African National Congress bigwigs. The article was accompanied by a photograph of Zuma sitting on a gilded banquet chair, which bears a striking resemblance to a throne. (Note to Zuma’s handlers: If your boss is […]

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The Cattle and the Mark

March 17th, 2010 · 4 Comments

The Amish generally prefer not to mess with the American legal system, but the Wisconsin left them no choice. Badger State authorities decided to make the Amish comply with regulations that made the registration of “livestock premises” mandatory. One farmer, Emanuel Miller, decided to fight back, claiming that the program infringed on his religious freedom. […]

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Losing Teeth

March 16th, 2010 · 2 Comments

If all goes according to plan, today’s the day we finally finish the second draft of our next Wired bit—the one about addiction that we’ve been yammering on about for a good two weeks now. Tomorrow will then be all about edits, as we scramble toward our 5 p.m. PST deadline. (The editorial mothership is […]

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The Last Beer Run

March 16th, 2010 · 4 Comments

The sign above, which features script that translates as “Attention: Drunks,” was briefly part of a safety initiative in the Romanian town of Pecica. The mayor was concerned that too many of inebriated pedestrians were getting mowed down by cars, and so sought to duplicate a series of warning signs that he had once encountered […]

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The Yngwie Malmsteen of Kazakhstan

March 15th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Totally immersed in addiction science this afternoon, which means we’re giving ourselves permission to half-ass it with a highlight from one of Kazakhstan’s most beloved variety shows. We have no idea what this song is about, but we must admit, that one dude in the shiny shirt absolutely tears it up on the dombra. When […]

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A Lovely Place to Say Goodbye To

March 15th, 2010 · 5 Comments

There is plenty of statistical candy to consume in the CIA Factbook‘s latest net migration figures. We had no idea, for example, that people were actually flocking to strife-torn Cyprus, or that Grenadians were so hot to leave the erstwhile Isle of Spice. But what really struck us was a stat that harkens back to […]

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“An Alligator Half That Size Would Starve in a Week”

March 12th, 2010 · 4 Comments

We’re a bit embarrassed to admit this, but we once wrote a magazine piece that seriously examined the physiological feasibility of Godzilla. We called various eggheads and asked them to assess whether a lizard-like creature as massive as Tokyo’s favorite monster could ever exist in the real world. The universal answer, of course, was nyet—Godzilla’s […]

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A Nation of Lushes

March 12th, 2010 · 6 Comments

So we’re starting the second draft of our addiction piece for Wired today, which means the majority of our mental bandwidth shall be dedicated to inebriation for the next six to seven days. A rough ride for us, as the topic is a beast—we’re still not entirely sure we understand what takes place in the […]

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Dyed by Their Own Hands

March 11th, 2010 · 11 Comments

For the umpteenth year in a row, we failed to take advantage of our Atlah locale and check out the annual Phagwah parade in Richmond Hill, Queens. But we got our Guyanese festival kick by checking out these shots, which amply demonstrate the splattery fun that was had by all. More great photos of Phagwah […]

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Ransom as Lifeblood

March 10th, 2010 · 7 Comments

For fairly obvious reasons, we find it unable to resist scholarly examinations of North Korea’s currency weirdness. Why would Dear Leader’s regime see fit to instantly vaporize what little wealth the Hermit Kingdom’s poor citizens have managed to scrape together? (We suspect the answer has something to do with the abuse of Hennessy, which has […]

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The Comfort of Statistics

March 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment

For those suffering from a grave case of ursinophobia, we provide the following snippet from Bear Facts, an informational brochure produced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Many bears live in Alaska and many people enjoy the outdoors, but surprisingly few people even see bears. Only a tiny percentage of those few are […]

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Essential Egg Tech

March 9th, 2010 · No Comments

Since far more learned organizations have the whole gadget scene locked down, we here at Microkhan rarely wax rhapsodic about the electronic toys that wow us. But we just couldn’t help ourselves upon coming across the Egg Shell Thickness Gauge, which now sits high atop our wish list. How many hours have we spent fraught […]

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Gaming the System

March 9th, 2010 · 4 Comments

When conducting business deals with their fellow private citizens, people basically tend to be honest. Perhaps this is because we all secretly fear retribution and punishment, no matter how unlikely the consequences. Or maybe it’s just that we’re wired to realize that society can’t function if we’re constantly preoccupied with suspicion. Whatever the explanation, the […]

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The Danites Are Coming

March 9th, 2010 · 7 Comments

While we’ve always been vaguely aware of the Mormon film industry, we never realized that its history could be traced back to the very dawn of popular cinema. Nor were we particularly familiar with the brief silent-era vogue for movies that cast Mormons as archvillains, which BYU film historian Gideon Burton identifies as part of […]

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T Minus

March 8th, 2010 · No Comments

Mere hours to go ’til the Wired deadline, and we’re scrambling. Really scrambling. Haven’t cut it this close in ages, due to the sheer complexity of the material (which is heavy on neuroscience, psychology, and junkie horror stories). More Microkhan’ing as soon as we’re able; in the meantime, watch the above and keep the ailing […]

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The Nollywood Math

March 8th, 2010 · 3 Comments

As the late Art Buchwald would have been happy to tell you, Hollywood’s accounting practices tend to be garbled at best, and borderline criminal at worst. Studio bean counters are masters of obfuscation and misdirection, with a knack for making blockbusters seem like middling hits, and profitable B-movies appear like money losers. Figuring out how […]

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