October 31, 2003
Do not reach into a New York City public toilet for anything.
CNN: Madonna: Ben 'n' Jen to blame for frenzy
Occasionally, Madonna displays remarkable perspicacity, but mostly not.
CNN: RNC asks to review 'The Reagans'
Republicans really are pretty uppity most of the time and some times they're down-right nuts.
CNN: High school quarterback honors his code
Justice and honesty are still alive. Bless him.
CNN: FDA: Food from animal clones safe to eat
If you're going to act based on faith and ignorance, don't bother with science at all.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor predicts that the U.S. Supreme Court will increasingly base its decisions on international law rather than the U.S. Constitution, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Can someone please go pull Justice O'Conner and explain to her that this is A-MER-I-CA? When we set this whole America gig up it was for the expressed purpose of NOT being under the law of another country and it would reasonable to assume that the notion extends to being free of any combination of countries.
By doing so, the court will make a good impression among people from other countries, she said.
Isn't there some saying about not being able to serve two masters?
I would also like to point out that this notion of "international law" doesn't actually exist. What we call international law is barely a set of rules that most countries agree to enforce so long as it suits them, which means that countries agree to break them when it suits them as well.
Madam O'Conner would do well to review the Declaration of Independence again to develop a more solid understanding of why it was we declared our independence in the first place and what it means to do so.
October 30, 2003
CNN continues to frollick in the Land of Loud-mouthed Leftist Loonies. I realize that people just going about their business, making money, paying their bills, and finding general bliss in their lives here in modern America isn't really newsworthy. But I’m not one to entertain the mewling hippies out there who would sooner get high than earn a paycheck.
I just want to comment briefly on some of the text from the article.
SUVs get blamed for worsening traffic, guzzling gas, and endangering bike riders who have to share the road with them.I realize that CNN is not making this assertion. Here CNN is just saying that some folks make these complaints. MY complaint is that these are not worthwhile complaints.
SUVs do not worsen traffic or endanger bike riders any more than an equivalent number of cars would accomplish. Poor driving endangers bike riders (and everyone else!) here in Athens. The same is true for traffic problems which come as a result of a combination of factors including the number of cars, the skill with which their drivers are able to negotiate the streets and even the layout of streets, but not by virtue of the size of cars or the number of SUVs. We're talking about a college town where most of the people on the road are fairly young and inexperienced motorists. Needless to say traffic, along with accidents, increase during the regular school year.
As for the guzzling of gas, perhaps, they do. But is that a characteristic exclusive to SUVs? I really doubt it. Let us take a brief excursion (PUN ALERT!) into the realm of fuel efficiency. A quick review of the data reveals that pick-up trucks along with vans are generally less efficient than SUVs. Why aren't they vandalized? And according to that same site, the most efficient stationwagon is comparable to the most efficient SUV as well. Further still, considering the least efficient of all vehicles, it is a couple of sports cars that "win," not some SUV.
So, what's up with that, criminales environmentalensis? Were your hands so tired after scratching up SUVs that you just couldn't make it to the other cars or were you just overwhelmed by a fit of stupidity?
Some students even go as far as linking large vehicles to the war in Iraq, arguing that the big cars' fuel tanks increase the United States' dependence on foreign oil.Briefly, one of the ideas communicated here that irks me here is in the word "dependence." (I do not want to talk about oil and the war in Iraq, although given the facts I’m discussing here, you should be able to draw your own conclusion about how that discussion would run.) Please note that owning an SUV does not cripple you. Your legs work just fine which leaves you open to all sorts of options for getting around should the SUV or all gasoline-powered vehicles fail you. Perhaps I'm just being picky, but I am not dependent upon much of anything. Then again, I am a pretty resilient individualist, which happens to also be the reason why I’d buy an SUV if I wanted.
Because I can and I want to.
Christopher Ingham, on the other hand, says he doesn't condone ecoterrorism, but believes "Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do."I am going to optimistically assume that this sentence is simply poorly constructed because if I read it properly, then Mr. Ingham DOES condone ecoterrorism as a class of activity that ”sometimes you’ve got to do.” For all appearances, I needn’t worry about Mr. Ingham’s judgment on much of anything because all I have to do to justify any frivolous or heinous activity, I have only to establish my need. (Can’t some say they NEED to go off-roading and haul a lot of gear, thus an SUV is the only appropriate vehicle?) Since I don’t know him, I would prefer to give young Mr. Ingham more credit than I would a silly marxist.
As the world's petroleum resources grow thin, Goodrum says…As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to consider the premises behind any argument. Here, the argument to seek out alternative fuels is based upon the assumption that the world’s petroleum resources are growing thin. As I understand it, that’s not exactly true, is it? Among those who would make proclamations about such and have a strong economic incentive to be right, world petroleum resources are characterized as abundant?
Allow me to quickly state my point of view on alternatives fuels: I’m tired of fossil fuels. We can do better. But until we do, I’m fine pumping gas. But I digress…
"I personally feel like the alternative fuel vehicle is a patch, a Band Aid solution to a larger problem," says Jacob Lindsey, the club's (Students for New Urbanism) vice president. "It is the automobile itself that creates mobility and many of the social inequities we have in the United States."Not everyone can have everything. Scarcity is just a concept in economics that reflects a fact of reality. For some reason these kids think this is actually a problem as if we should go around trying to change the fact that there is a finite amount of matter and energy in the universe. It’s the same problem that communists face: Wealth is created, not harvested.
Those who would mind their own business and enjoy life are telling all those slackers to sit down and shut up already.
October 27, 2003
Captain Sigurdur Petursson, known to locals as "the Iceman," ran into the shallow water and grabbed the shark by its tail. He dragged it off to dry land and killed it with his knife.Now, that is what I'm talkin' about.
October 26, 2003
That is one of the most profoundly stupid things that could possibly be uttered.
Tell me, do these same people think that Britain paid the Nazis to bomb Dresden? Would these knuckle-heads be willing to go on record as also being of the mind that the millions who have died at the hands of dictators like Kim Jong Il, the Shah of Iran, and Nigeria’s string of tyrants like Sese Seko or Zimbabwe’s Mugabe were just asking for it?
That’s right. I went to the ad hominem because this argument is well outside the reaches of rational debate and civility. Anyone who seriously believes that idea deserves to be escorted to the border – preferably one of the deep ones.
I linked to it before, but I didn’t get my rant in earlier so here it is again. This line is the one that inspired this post:
About 20 percent of all Germans -- and one in three younger than 30 -- believe that the United States sponsored the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to provoke a war.And I again want to mention that the use of the F! Bomb there is entirely appropriate. Be ye forewarned.
October 23, 2003
Anyone who knows me may not exactly catch the vapors to know that I am opposed to hate crime legislation, but I did want to take a moment to mention it here for the enlightenment of all the world.
Frankly, all crimes are hate crimes. Just because you are REALLY upset this time at how bad someone is beaten or killed and you can't believe that there are people living today who would beat or kill other folks while simultaneously not respecting their race, religion, sexuality, eye color, age, percent body fat, number of factors in their social security number, or GPA in Star Fleet Academy, does not mean that we should give them special treatment.
Of course I'm raising an eyebrow over why you didn't care as much the last time someone was beaten or killed, but I don't want to make a big issue of that.
It's just that beating and/or killing someone for non-self-defense reasons is pretty much a crime no matter who you ask. There really isn't any sense in punishing those who have poorly-chosen ideologies or simply don't possess the self-control not to utter epithets while committing the act of violence any worse than you would otherwise.
If you want to lock someone away for longer, go for it. I won't stop you.
Speaking as a person and not from my built-in-the-European-Union pedestal of Oppressed Minority-ship, I want to say that if I am beaten or killed, I would prefer that they be beaten or killed back. But due to the mundane nature of most of our punishments in this country, I will also accept the greatest amount of punishment afforded by the law.
If the law says, "Vandalizing Trey's property is punishable by life in a nice prison or life in an unpleasant prison," I want the criminal put in the unpleasant prison for life.
If the law says, "Beating or killing Trey is punishable by death by electrocution or death by lethal injection," I would prefer slow electrocution and then lethal injection for good measure, if some judicial discretion is allowed.
It's just that all people are granted equal protection under the law. Hate crime legislation actually affords some people a little more protection under the law.
Now, you might be thinking, "Laws don't really protect anyone. They really just outline the consequences for not following the rules." And I understand what you mean: Punishments for crimes certainly are not intended to deter anyone from committing crimes. They're just meant right the scales of Justice. An eye for an eye, if you will.
I might be tempted to say that criminal punishments are a kind of vengeance, but since we have judges and juries the idea is that the trial and punishment are fair and impartial. Vengeance isn’t ever impartial and it’s rarely fair. Otherwise, if you asked me what kind of punishment I would expect someone to suffer for poking me in the eye with a sharp stick; I would of course expect them to allow me to poke them in the eye with a sharp stick back and then rip out their uvula with pliers. Clearly, as the wronged party and even without a poke in the eye, I can easily lose sight of justice.
Hate crimes give sanction to this very type of blindness. (The lost-sight-of-justice kind, not the stick-in-the-eye kind. The metaphor is intentionally continued, the confusion is not.) Hate crimes allow folks with the best of intentions to say, "Hey. This was REALLY wrong what you did here and you're clearly a very bad person-- a fact demonstrated by your crime and the awful things you believe."
If I were allowed to call down the force of law against everyone who believes things I don’t believe, we would not be faced with a two-party political system today, and debate would consist of little more than, “But I disagr--” <sound of jail door or guillotine sliding into place>
Essentially, the convicted are punished for not just their crime but their stupidity as well but only in special cases where lots of really popular people happen to disagree with their particular stupidity.
If we're going to start punishing stupidity, I would much prefer a clearer definition so that I can launch my campaign of citizen's arrests. Hate crime legislation is simply not the way.
As a footnote to this, it is a well-known fact that everyone, according to legal precedence dating back to the Code of Hammurabi, has a right to be a ballerina. I, myself, am just waiting for the paperwork to clear before claiming my position as the star ingÃ©nue for a troupe in Pocatalico. I’ve already been suited for my tutu. I’m just waiting for them to call me back. They’ll call any minute. I’m sure of it.
Mergatroid saw much success in her career. Under the stage name, Anastasia Volochkova, she became world-famous. And then our poor, large heroine became the oppressed victim of one of the most insidious of social ills and fired. She, in all of her innocence, looked to her addiction to ice-cream (Even still the victim of big business’ campaign to exploit people with taste buds.) and alleged that she was terminated due to her weight. Finally, the Russian government, now not completely Communist, has stepped in to assist and demanded that she be given back her job.
They obviously can’t be allowed to fire her for being a fatty. She should definitely have her job back.
But I think the Russian government has wrong -- well partly -- and she is mistaken about why they fired her. The reason they fired her is both simple and evil: Racism. And this horror should not go unaddressed. They should fire all those male dancers who persecuted her, seemingly for her big-boned-ed physique. Here’s why:
1) The racism. It is so obvious one need not cite facts to support it. Their elitist, look-at-me-I’m-Papagano-with-the-Magic-Flute attitude is smeared across their bigoted little faces in the shape of a smirk. Some have reported that every time one of the male dancers breaks a leg or arm lifting Mergatroid there is a party later to sign the cast with hate-words against our victim.
2) And they are sexist, too. How dare they refuse to dance with her?!?! Clearly they are doing so because she is female. If that were not the case, why would they make such a point to call her a ballerina? Male dancers aren’t called ballerinas. They’re doing it just because she’s female and for that same reason they have refused to dance with her.
3) They cannot perform the duties of their job. They pitifully attempt to disguise their discriminatory attitude by claiming that they cannot lift her. It is part of their job to hoist this delicate flower of womanhood into the air and if they can’t do that, then they can’t perform their jobs.
4) These male dancers think they know everything. This makes them very hard to work with especially when they cannot find their way to the stage and refuse to ask for directions. This makes choreography impossible.
Reason number 3 above is really good because they can prove that in court. The irony of turning the tables on those haters is just too good to resist.
This would be but a small step in freeing the world of this plague of bigotry and discrimination. I only hope Mergatroid can work through this trial and continue to do well in her career as a great, big, nay, huge ballerina.
Not a whole lot of information is available in that article above, but one thing that I'm realizing about the popular meaning and the modern legal discourse regarding matters of discrimination is that once accused, it's better for businesses to simply pay the hush money than it is to defend themselves against the injustice.
In far too many cases, business is blamed for being "unfair" and "discriminatory" and even as bad as "bigoted." With the exception of perhaps my own political circles, people don't stop to point out the fact that one is well within one's rights to be those things. It is a failure of our government that refuses to recognize and defend this.
I'm not saying being a bigot is a good thing. I'm just saying that if you want to be that way, you should be allowed. And I'm allowed to not listen to you, not shop from you, not work for you, and not even acknowledge your presence.
What has happened to our freedom of speech? Property? Liberty?
In this case, this great, big, fat man claims he was discriminated against after arrangements were made for his McDonald's uniform. Really, if McDonald's wanted to be indiscriminate, it would hand uniforms of a single size to all of its employees. Afterall, how dare they acknowledge and make business decisions based upon physical differences between their employees?
What will people do when they realize that having separate bathrooms for Ladies and Gentlemen is also discrimination? SEPARATE IS NOT EQUAL!!!
This is a variation on the JadeGold mistake of confusing economic influence with the power of a gun; the power of the government.
Before waging a war, one must have a reasonable expectation of winning that war. In the case of business v. the government. Business doesn't stand a chance. So, it's no surprise to me that businesses settle in cases like this. I would probably do the same.
October 22, 2003
I don't really have much of a comment to make on this except a hearty
Industrial Robots. No joke. I love robots. I want a robot of my own. There should be MORE robots everywhere.
It's too bad that there are crazies out there (read: Democrats) who will probably use this information to outlaw all robots because of the jobs that it will cost us.
I think that we should pre-emptively pass legislation in protection of robots as an endangered species.
The Robot Protection Act of 2003. Who's with me?
Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Lousiana, Maryland, Columbus, Rome, Harrisburg... The list goes on and on! In Atlanta, we actually renamed our airport recently after passed (as in "away") Mayor, Maynard Jackson! THE HORROR!
We should not support cannibalism with these names any longer.
Further, due to the health problems that could be caused by eating inedible things, names such as "Rock Springs," "Haines City, and "Ivory Coast" should be changed as well.
Finally, misleading names like "Colorado", "Forest Heights," and "Los Angeles" should be changed as they may lead people to think that we eat things which we cannot or do not and any attempts to do so may lead to injury.
I need to start now composing my letter of thanks to PETA. Without their help, I may have been lead down a path of misery and stomachache!
Caption: Jodee Berry of Panama City, Fla., sits with her toy Yoda at her lawyer's office Wednesday. Berry, a former Hooters waitress, has sued the restaurant where she worked saying she was promised a new Toyota for winning a beer sales contest in April. Berry, 26, believed that she had won a new car, but she was blindfolded, led to the parking lot and presented a toy Yoda, the little green guy from Star Wars.
(Scanned image, again, courtesy of office-mate, Al-dawg. Where does he get this stuff?)
October 21, 2003
CNN: Judge raps ruling in Eminem case
CNN: California the place to look for single men
Reuters: What Is Yogurt? EU Grapples with Diverse Cultures
OK. That's really enough.
It's late and I need to read about "Unfair Labor Practices" for my Legal Studies class.
Type A personality is marked by tenseness, impatience, and aggressiveness, often resulting in stress-related symptoms such as insomnia and indigestion, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.I had no idea that the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language was created by a bunch of slackers.
I would like to point out that perhaps we Type A personalities are impatient because all of the Type B personalities who are being slow and/or stupid?
And I might add that if I weren't constantly having to pick up after, plan for, and work around the "free spirited" Type Bs that I might be more relaxed.
But you know what? Someone has to get stuff done on time. And for your information, I sleep just fine.
CNN: Gov. Bush orders effort to save brain-damaged woman
For starters, I think there is something just not right about people who want to be unplugged. I have absolutely no intention of dying and so long as there is even the most remote chance that I could be revived, I want all steps to be taken to keep me alive. Veggie or no. Keep me alive. I may even have myself frozen one dayjust to give science a fighting chance. I hope we're all clear on that in case there is some kind of horrible-horrible and a question comes up in court.
I think this story is a tragedy that has been denigrated to the level of legal farce.
To start, her husband is the only person on this planet who is even remotely qualified to speak to her wishes. Philosophically, the union of two consenting adults in a partnership such as marriage is a mutual statement of the involved that they share nearly, if not completely identical values.
If anyone knows what she would want in this situation it would be him.
Our laws very intelligently allow for this and so Michael Shiavo became the legal guardian of Terri Shiavo upon her incapacitation. That's how things ought to be.
But her family steps in to protest, which implies that they believe the marriage was a sham. They're basically saying, "That Michael doesn't know what she wants at all. She never loved him and he never loved her."
People completely lacking in civility (Sean Hannity) even cite the fact that after 13 years, Michael Shiavo has found a new partner, and should, therefore, not be considered a reliable source for decisions regarding Terri's health and well-being. It is appalling that anyone would say or suggest such a think in public and in earnest, but I heard it with my own ears on the radio today.
NOW, the legislature in the frontier state of Florida has given Jebby Bush one-time authority to not only override the courts decisions that upheld Michael Shiavo's rights as a husband and guardian but to remove those rights from him.
Hello? Florida? Yes, this is the Constitution calling and we need to talk...
(Those conversations hardly ever go well, you can trust me on that.)
You really do have rights to Life, Liberty, and Property -- just by virtue of being a human being. These are fundamental. And, speaking to that of Life, it means that you're allowed to go on living so long as it is practicible. It also means that you're allowed to NOT do that if you want.
Yes, you have a right to die.
On a short, morbid digression, I want to point out that you do not have the right to exercise this decision on the roof of my car from a far distance above. If you do, I will press charges against your estate for damages. Just so we're clear.
Euthanasia in the political realm isn't in itself a moral question. The question is whether or not you have the right to Life. Do you? Is it your life to do with as you please even to destroy? Natch.
So, not only does the grand state of Florida deem it acceptable to violate their own constitution with this bizarre contravention of the separation of powers, they think it’s acceptable to violate the basic rights of citizens.
I can hear them now, “Oh but it’s just a one time thing.”
What did I say about trusting dictators?
October 20, 2003
It really sounds to me like Iran is trying to avoid getting a boot to the face -- and not in the fun, Lucy-Liu-Charlie's-Angels, dominatrix kind of way. Probably because that's what they say they're trying to avoid.
My thought on this is, "You should have thought about that before you started up your barbaric little theocracy and began your crazy terror-war against us for the last 20-some-odd years." My suggestion to Iran would be that they simply stop being so rotten and that consists of quite a bit more than a promise to stop enrishing uranium.
And I wonder why I have such a deep-seated mistrust of dictatorships. hmmm...
Also, this story continues to illustrate CNN's lackluster reporting and biases. Here's a quotation:
Bush went to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction earlier this yearCorrect me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the war about Iraq's non-compliance with UN resolutions and not actually about the WMDs? In light of the debate raging over the specific issue of WMDs and the threat posed by Iraq, would it not be more responsible to find a different, more accurate way of describing the war? Perhaps a more accurate description of the impetus behind the war could be found in other, recent news stories.
Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.I'm starting to think I missed my calling. Perhaps I should be a journalist!
Here's a quick overview of Iranian history if you're interested. And if you're STILL interested, here's an in depth history of Iran.
And this is one of my favorite essays ever. It's called The Justice of War by Patrick Stephens over at the Objectivist Center.
October 19, 2003
Someone, anyone, please! I need to talk to the President. My Accounting exam be damned, I need to talk to him now! It's a matter of national security!
While I will admit that there are times when my memory, in the words of
Yosemite SamFoghorn Leghorn, is "about as sharp as a sack of wet mice," I do distinctly recall being through all of this with North Korea a couple of times before and we learned something very important: Kim Jong Il is a big, fat liar.
I guess I shouldn't be funny when the topic is serious, but really now. Am I the only one here amazed by this? Did not GW himself put North Korea on the list of people to beat to pulp?
Since when is it appropriate to make agreements (little a!) in order to get the baddies to behave?
Picture it: The killer is looming over you with a knife and you say, "Wait. If you put down the knife, I will lie down in the driveway behind your car and close my eyes. But I'll only do it if I really see you put down the knife."
I always thought the agreement was implicit: I won't bussa cap in your grille if you don't make me bussa cap in your grille.
Also, why is China our ally? Why does it seem like every country in some particular context or another is our ally? Do we not show any kind of ideological discrimination any more?
When I'm not profoundly disgusted by the state of politics today, I'm utterly baffled, which usually leads back to the disgust.
Well, I'm continuing my policy here on my blog.
In a recent post (Department of Justice and Wired Magazine: You Sorry, Little @ # $ F-bomb ! *& - if the link don’t work for you. My bad. I still ain’t worked that out yet.) I posited that open source apps are not ready for general consumption by businesses. This position was based upon the idea that open source represents too much a of a risk (and as such also cost) to businesses who enjoy the contract behind buying something which does not exist with open source software.
The debate has really wandered across the board only briefly ever touching on this first and most contentious point in my post. Briefly but with significance as you shall see.
The second point I made in my post was that much of the open source community supported the antitrust suit against Microsoft because it was an opportunity to wedge their products into the market.
Well, I was wrong.
Rather than just talking out of my elbow in generalizations, I decided that the best tack to take in confronting those (Pixy Misa and particularly Hans, whom I think has left an email for me as I write this) who would counter my position is to find some real numbers on the issue.
I went out looking for any statistics, survey results, whatever to show how many businesses-at-large have adopted open source software. Even the littlest bit would satisfy me.
First stop: The Internet. Google was not much of a help on this one, but I wasn’t terribly patient with it, I’ll admit.
Second stop: I decided to go to the source that started all this fuss: Wired Magazine and the very same issue that started my rant. I thought, “If the opposition proves my point, the argument will be that much stronger at least rhetorically.” It’s a coincidence that I didn’t notice before that this issue’s cover story, and thus lots of little spin-off stories, are about Linux.
Wired isn’t big on stats. You may or may not know this but well-cited information simply isn’t their standard fare and it’s hard to find data that are stated succinctly. They usually speak in vague, opinion-like sentences with colorful little twists and unimportant details. (Why do we care about the marital status of Linus Torvald's parents?) But, catch this quote:
About two-thirds of the servers that collectively make up the internet deliver webpages and other data through a program called Apache, developed by a band of programmers who receive no direct financial compensation for their work. The programming language Perl […] And most of the world’s email is routed through Sendmail, yet another mob authorship.This very site is built with Movable type and PHP!
Because citing Wired again leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, let me include a quote from Hans on the issue:
You will find that when the JBoss group, Apache group, or core Linux team label a product as a release, it is stronger than the industry average. These products have been proven viable.I’m still interested in the statistics on open source but, I nevertheless stand corrected. Clearly open source technology is widely used at present and it has been our (me and those I’ve been debating) agreed position that this will only grow.
That addresses my first point and renders my second point rather, well, pointless.
Clearly, I got carried away. Antitrust legislation is wrong. Intellectual property theft is vile. Wired Magazine sucks. And all the people I’ve ever talked to (save Hans and perhaps Pixie Misa) who vehemently support open source have been borderline communist loonies.
One position that I maintain through all of this, though, is that open source is still a vast, un-mined source of super-cool stuff. There’s a lot of money to be made out there! I don’t think that the collaborative nature of open source is anti-capitalist. I just think it’s fairly mysterious to a traditional business perspective.
Time to shift some paradigms, eh?
Post Script: A lesson to all. This is how debate among rational people is conducted. No ad hominum attacks. No yelling and screaming. Just identify the premises and test them. And if no agreement is met, then just let reality hash it out. Much thanks and respect to Hans and Pixie Misa for conducting the debate with me. Much love.
October 17, 2003
I'm not renewing my subscription, by the way. The magazine is almost pure garbage. The writing is shoddy.
p134 "scientific instruments have steadily transformed our conception..." "Concept" and "Conception" have only become synonyms due to misuse such as this. (Per descriptive linguistic theory, I guess it isn't misuse anymore, right?) Dija heard? And that doesn't even begin to excuse the cliche.
The journalism is questionable.
Same article entitled "Cosmic Reality Check." No sources cited. Just assertions about the physical nature of the universe laden with editorializations and 'colorful' twists of the tongue. Like 'conception' in place of 'concept.'
Their politics are blatantly leftist and sometimes overtly socialistic. (I guess that shouldn't surprise me since things that are blatantly leftist are typically, overtly socialistic sooner or later.)
I've only spotted one anti-RIAA/pro-intellectual property theft article in this issue but several references to file swapping. I'm thinking of making up a drinking game about it. "Every time Wired prints something derogatory toward those who would protect intellectual property rights, everyone does a shot!" Oh and peep the endorsement of some hippie anti-war protest book on page 44.
And they really ought to just stick to computers and not attempt these weak forays into science and medical journalism let alone politics.
It's been a long time since I resigned myself to the idea that I may be just a little more of a nit-picker than most, but I hang on to the idea that I'm this way for the good of mankind. (Clarification: The previous sentence is irony.) Ostensibly, my impact so far has be negligible since publications like Wired are still in business and Howard Dean is still running for president.
But what I wanted to write about isn't how crappy Wired is, but about one little quotation I found on page 157.
What everyone wants: a single, easy-to-use app that combines email, calendaring, address book, instant messaging, and file sharing...Am I the only one who roars with rage and pain over those 18ish words?
Not sure what I'm driving at?
Well, let me first say that the quote is pulled from a short column about an effort by the open-source community to develop some-such application. Nibble on this other quotation and see if you see where I'm going:
Why launch in...[this kind of desktop app market, which is] dominated by twin titans Microsoft (Outlook) and IBM (Lotus Notes)? Because in the face of this cozy duopoly, email innovation has slowed to a crawl.ARRRRGGG!
Remind me again why the Department of Justice went after Microsoft. Was it because the firm attempted to follow market demand and started bundling applications together to provide consumer with what they want, which is a robust, all-inclusive operating system/email application/browser/messenger/etcetera? Oh yeah, it was because of that, wasn't it? (Aside: It wasn't just that, I know, but don't deny.)
I come across this entirely by coincidence after a week of debate in my legal studies class about anti-trust legislation.
I don't intend to endorse Microsoft with all of this (even though their success speaks for itself. ) but the contradiction that this article presents casts a urine-tinted glare on the reality of antitrust. These people somehow without any burden of conscience snipe Microsoft for its success and its attempts to follow the market, then after the company is persecuted according to our backwards laws regarding the perpetually-undefined "trust activities" they gripe about the lack of innovation.
I know it hurts, but let's be honest here. Let's spill the beans about antitrust and open-source right now.
Antitrust legislation was written to punish the successful and to protect the weak. It was not created to stimulate the economy, protect competition, or to invite innovation in the market, thankfully, because it accomplishes the exact opposite of each.
And the open source community is crawling with anarchists, socialists, hippies, iconoclasts, and just plain-old non-conformists, all of whom find it difficult, if not impossible, to compete in a free market environment. Open source is, at present, not commercially viable and represents a heavy risk to any sane businessperson considering the use of open source applications.
If you doubt me, just give me the answers to these questions:
When your Open Source App crashes, who do you call to fix it?
Who guarantees updates to your Open Source Applications?
Who can guarantee the security of Open Source code? Stabliity?
I know the Open Source crowd is driven to improve the code by their zest for improving the lives of their fellow man and unshackling the proletariat and all, but business just don't work like that. I also know that there really isn't any good answer to the above questions that doesn't rely on someone acting out of the goodness of their heart. And I'll try not to mention that only a prayer buttresses the security of Open Source against those who would write malicious code and back doors into those programs. That and $4.01 will buy you a grande, low-fat, white chocolate mocha from Starbucks.
But right now, I'm just really galled at the audacity of these people. They criminalize Microsoft for providing most of us with tools we want and then blame it for not continuing to do so.
In the words of John Galt, (no, not those words) "Get the hell out of my way."
I was highly amused by the Pamela Anderson story and now I read this:
Indeed, one future contender to unseat the Taipei 101 from its position as the world's tallest building is the proposed Freedom Tower, designed to replace the WTC.Insert F-bomb where you see appropriate. You have got to be kidding me.
Although that has yet to get the go-ahead, many New Yorkers say they do not want the tower to be built in their city fearing it will prove a target for future attacks.
I visited New York in December 2001 and I refused to go to "Ground Zero." Why? Because it hurt. Because I refused to observe the destruction that those craven maniacs leveled on the city and nation to which I often refer as "the bright white-hot center of human civilization." I have no care or desire to see anything like that any more than I care to see the work of a serial killer.
Now, I'm telling you Americans and especially you New Yorkers who have allowed this fear to give you pause or even caused you to stop. Move. Move now. Go somewhere that will keep you "safe." Go somewhere that has buildings that are low to the ground. Go somewhere that won’t let you have a gun for fear you’ll put your eye out. Go somewhere that will birth you, raise you, and bury you without asking the question whether or not you’re worth the trouble.
I ask those of you who fear another 9/11/2001: Where is your self-respect; your pride?
Hear me now: I am an American and my people do not cower. We are not timid. We are not stopped by threats. We do not turn the other cheek and we do not stop building skyscrapers because of terrorists.
I am so furious about this obscenity that I've actually lost the ability to express it in words. I just keep hearing those two words over and over in my head and imagine the shame that those people should feel.
October 14, 2003
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.I love America so much. I could write at length about how much I love American and how the Flag of the United States is a symbol of individualism, rationality, justice, capitalism, and everything good that I can imagine in the context of proper politics.
But what I actually want to write about are two little words that were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. Those two words, as you know, are "under" and "God." (If you're interested, here's a nifty link to a brief history of the pledge, which, I might add, is not devoid of some significant irony.) To be perfectly honest, I just want to talk about the word "God" as I am infinitely less concerned about the geographical location of myth than I am the philosophical impact of the notion.
All the other issues aside, including those associated with the particular brand of faith to which you subscribe, but excepting those naturally spawned from a complete lack of faith,as is my case, the word "God" is nonetheless somewhat important if only by virtue of its widespread usage.
There are three possible cases in which one may use or consider the use of the word "God;" as a specific reference to the Judeo-Christian deity, a general reference to a supreme deity in any religious contexts, or as a metaphor for supreme goodness.
In the first two cases, there is a clear religious implication. The very use of the word "God" directly implies the existence of some supernatural and/or mystical reality.
The third case is how Aristotle or Plato or some other classical pagan might have used it. When you're reading The Republic and you happen across the word "God" you should not imagine that it is a reference to the baby Jesus, the dove pooing on his manger, nor the pants that violated the virgin. It's also generally accepted that neither should one literally imagine the pantheon at the invocation of this mighty term. In all, one should just hold the term to refer to some vague notion of "Greatest Good" floating out in the collective soul somewhere.
As an atheist, I don't really get in a huff over this particular use of the word "God." I myself often say, "Oh my god" or, when upset, utter an oath invoking the judgment of "god." I don't literally mean it, although I do think that the best practice would to simply say exactly what one means. Simply replace the word "God" with the concept of "the sum of all goodness" and you can see what those phrases accomplish.
Now, consider with me what the Pledge of Allegiance is. Not very surprising to anyone, the Pledge is a pledge… of… allegiance. That’s right. It is a vow to defend and uphold the fundamental premises of the United States of America. The Pledge handily names Liberty and Justice for all as two such fundamental concepts. The Pledge is, understandably, not a legally binding statement, but it should be considered as spiritually binding.
Do you or do you not support the United States? The Pledge is one of allegiance.
Which begs the question: What does the word “God” do for the pledge?
Historically, the words were added to the pledge for the expressed purpose of invoking the specific Judeo-Christian religious significance. However, even though it has only been a part of The Pledge of Allegiance since 1954, I believe it has come to bear the secular meaning of the word.
The tiny little prepositional phrase “under God” actually bears little literal significance to the Pledge. The meaning and impact of the vow are not greatly enhanced by the words if used in the secular sense, because the rest of the words stand for themselves. It is for this reason that early versions did not include the phrase. Poetically it may be argued to the contrary, but in plain English we’re no better or worse off.
With the religious meanings, however, the other words “Liberty” and “Justice” derive their significance from “God.” Conservatives such as David Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others are taking this position. Their stance is that the Pledge is not simply an expression of patriotism but one of their religion and a celebration of their freedom to express it.
It is on these grounds that the Supreme Court should rule against the inclusion of those two tiny little words in the Pledge of Allegiance.
See, even if there were no opposition to its use, the pro-undergodlies (or at least the ones in the mainstream and the ones who put the phrase there in the first place) intend the words to be used as a statement of religion. Public school officials, as agents of the state, by leading schoolchildren in the recitation of The Pledge including the words “under God” may thus be seen clearly as an explicit support of religion and in vivid contrast to those who would practice none.
So, if the plaintiff claims that the phrase holds religious significance and the defense does not disagree, then it would seem that the High Court has a rather short set of arguments to consider.
Perhaps another day I will analyze the proper role of government in religion, but today I’ll conclude by saying that judicial precedence holds that there must be a “separation of church and state” and that the use of the phrase violates this precedence.
But the Supreme Court doesn’t often follow reason. I find them rather capricious and would not feel comfortable wagering on the outcome of the case. I will, of course, be watching with some bemusement.
October 13, 2003
Several points to make about this:
1) The cruel irony of the fact that CNN reported this on the same day that they reported about chips in monkey's brains that allow them to interact with a computer just by thinking about it isn't lost on me.
One step forward, two steps back.
I guess it's only one step back but still. It's sad to me.
2) I like whales and all. Well, as much as a rational person can really like whales in a casual sense. Flipper was cool, right? And remember that movie Orca? But you know what I like more than whales? The Navy. And I would like the Navy to have all the best Navy toys like SONAR that we can get for them.
Also, I do not like this "Natural Resources Defense Council." Look at what they were doing here: Capitalism Magazine: Mahogany, Peru and Poverty: US Firm Fights NRDC's Eco-Libels Blasted eco-ninnies.
I think I'm going to stop recycling now because of them.
3) I don't know why I keep reading CNN. I need to find a real news source to keep up with because this article is an excellent example of how CNN is run by a bunch of crazed, tree-hugging, communist-leaning, "idiotarian" bozos. Look closely at the story.
We have the court case.
We have the agreement.
We have the evidence of the whales bleeding from their precious little ears.
How about some information on this sonar system, CNN? How does it work? Why does it do that? Why does the Navy prefer it over the other system? Give us some more information so we can decide for ourselves whether or not this sonar system is so bad.
Based on the opposition alone, I'm inclined to think that it's a REALLY good sonar system now. It probably kills terrorists on contact and cures baldness and makes mocha frappachinos and votes according to libertarian political values.
4) OK. I think I just had three things to say about it. I just think it's so totally lame that the Navy doesn't get to use its new, cool sonar.
OK. Scientists rock. This is freaking amazing. That's all there is to it.
October 12, 2003
If I were a brilliant scientist and I invented a new medicine to cure people of being completely stupid, the government would allow me to patent my medicine and sell it.
Patents, you see, are protection offered to special types of intellectual property. Here's what the US Patent Office says:
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. [...]
The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States.
I don't mean to get all kinneygarten on y'all about intellectual property, but there is a common lack of awareness on the topic and I would like to represent for a sec and keep it real for all you true playas out there.
Patents do not protect your invention from being discovered by other people. It also doesn't protect other people from talking about how your invention works. It doesn't protect your secret recipe from being published on the internet. Patents don't even give you the right to stop people from having television shows listing the weaknesses of your product.
Patents only give you the "right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling' the invention"
So, SunnComm Technologies Inc., please go sit down.
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