British government officials are planning to deploy search-engine optimization in their war on terror, working with certain Muslim groups to push “positive” depictions of Islam up in the Google rankings.

Also in today’s links: watching your kids like a hawk, living like a pig, and more.

  • You might think that, if you were getting a cell phone for a 10-year-old, you’d get them something cheap that could basically call home and call 911. But some parents now need to get their kids smart phones, the only ones able to run some arguably creepy monitoring programs. Some parents say it’s a way to keep alert for predators; others are looking for “insight” into their kids’ lives. I’m going to call bullhockey on this statement by one father who secretly added such a program to his child’s phone: “When Green’s [15-year-old] daughter discovered the software on her phone, she wasn’t angry, he said. ‘She understood that I cared about her.'”
  • I’m also going to call bullhockey on the claim that a new study invalidates the theory of beer goggles. Researchers found that men who’d consumed alcohol were more likely to rate pictures of women unattractive. Sure — but looking at a photograph is a pretty different experience from drunkenly flirting in a bar late at night.
  • We can study pigs endlessly, but will all the data ever really capture what it’s like to get a loving nip on the ear from one? One man tried living high on the hog, although the portable toilet seems like it invalidates the authenticity of his experience.
  • The turkeys will be fine, bighorn sheep and mountain lions not so much. Conservationists are worried that the wall being built along the Mexico border will dissect some species’ natural habitats and hinder their migration.