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from Rio de Janeiro >>>

Monday,  11/10/08  05:27 PM

The Ole filter makes a pass, from São Paulo, without sleep...

Obama and Bush meet!  "The Bushes welcomed the Obamas to the White House on Monday, offering a symbolic glimpse of what's in store for the country: a new first family along with a new administration.  President Bush and President-elect Obama met in the Oval Office, their first face-to-face session, while first lady Laura Bush and Obama's wife, Michelle, held their own meeting in the White House residence."  [ via Glenn Reynolds, who comments "They all actually look happy. Well, heck. Obama's glad to be President, and Bush is glad to leave." ]  It is early but the transition appears to be amiable, good for Bush, and good for all of us. 

I must tell you Obama is very popular in Brazil, not least because it is a racially mixed country, but also because they don't/didn't like Bush and want change as badly as the American people.  We tend to forget that our relationship with the people of other countries is asymmetrical; they care about us and what we do much more than we care about them.

Obama to use executive orders for immediate impact...  "President-elect Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas."  So be it.  Immediate action may be called for, and certainly enabling stem cell research would be good. 

This is amazing: AmEx becomes a bank.  "Seeking shelter amid a global credit crunch and consumer spending slowdown, American Express announced Monday it is becoming a bank."  Wow, may you live in interesting times, indeed. 

Huh, the iPhone is now the best selling phone in the U.S., with 6.9M sold in the last quarter.  Who would have expected that?  Well, okay, a lot of people, but I wasn't one of them.  They do seem to be everywhere now... 

PZ Myers with a nice post on entropy and evolution.  "One of the oldest canards in the creationists' book is the claim that evolution must be false because it violates the second law of thermodynamics, or the principle that, as they put it, everything must go from order to disorder."  Great timing for me as I read Dawkins' fantastic The God Delusion.  Really until you grok the details, you don't realize just how compelling the case for evolution has become. 

The trailer for Up is up (Pixar's next movie).  Jason Kottke thinks "this seems like the first Pixar movie that won't appeal to adults and kids at the same time."  He hopes he's wrong, and I do too... 

On Slashdot: Halliburton applies for patent-trolling patent.  Sadly, I am not making this up.