Friday, April 22, 2005

It may not run any of the software I want it to run
(like this for instance) but darn it looks cool. Why don't any PC vendors make stuff like this?
Home schooling reason #28
With a hat tip to BOTW:
Bomb scares at a high school in Schuylkill County mean a new rule for students: leave the bags at home.

Starting Friday, students at Tamaqua Area High School can only bring books, notebooks and things to write with to school. Book bags, purses and gym bags are banned. Lunch bags will be inspected.
I used to be a pretty big fan of Seseme Street,
at least, that is, when I was a child. I think the show's downfall was the death of Jim Hanson. Elmo was a side character when Hanson was alive. It wasn't until after his death that that grammatically-challenged shammy became central to the show.

David, I share your loathing of Elmo. God, I hate that thing. It's almost as grating as Barney.

I've also wondered about the sock-puppet's lack of grammatical skills. If Seseme Street is so all-fired intent on making sure everything they have on now is purely educational, with no silliness allowed, then how do they explain why Elmo constantly refers to himself in the third person?

And this brings up another thing: The silliness factor. I know you've always appreciated the rather random cat food cartoon (with the cat vainly head-butting the cat food can). I've always liked the Bert and Ernie rhyming skit ("Hey there, lamp. That's a nice shade."). Is there room for that kind of thing anymore?
David, your recent recollection that
you are Neo caused me to take the quiz. I'm the Oracle. That's fitting, because I also like candy.

You are the Oracle-
You are The Oracle, from "The Matrix."
Wise, kind, honest- is there anything slightly
negative about you? You are genuinely
supportive of others. Careful not to let people
take advantage of you, though.

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
"Phil: The Monster Who Sometimes Likes to Eat a Cookie"
Sesame Street and its defenders say they are just trying to do their bit in the war against child obesity. That’s nice. But at what price? The whole point of the Cookie Monster character was to have a character who was silly because he ate so much. If Cookie Monster were a Greek god, he’d be the god of gluttony. Wouldn’t it have been more honest and simply better to implore kids not to be too much like the Cookie Monster rather than make the Cookie Monster like everyone else? We all understand we shouldn’t be like Oscar the Grouch.
I blame Elmo. Seriously. That freakin' muppet has wrecked that show. If they want to set a good example for children, fix that thing's grammar.
Challenging the conventional wisdom
that reducing oil imports would be beneficial:
An important danger with the call for energy independence is that it can lead to greater government involvement in energy markets. Whether it's subsidizing uneconomic alternative fuels, or schemes to promote conservation, government planning rarely identifies efficient alternatives. As soon as funds are set aside, industry lobbyists will begin the effort to influence spending and program decisions.

The view that reducing our dependence on foreign oil would benefit the United States remains the consensus view of policymakers and politicians in this country. Sadly, this misdirected view ignores the realities of global-oil markets.

Efforts to reduce oil imports will not protect from us from the higher prices associated with supply disruptions, prevent shortages, or reduce our presence in the Middle East.
Read the whole thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hear, hear:
Jay Nordlinger (emphasis mine):
Dean also said, “This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it’s going to be an issue in 2008, because we’re going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay, saying, ‘Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?’”

Um, excuse me, but Terri’s mom and dad wanted her to live, and so did her siblings. Whether Michael Schiavo at that moment qualified as a loved one . . . I don’t know. Beyond which, an individual has rights simply because she exists.
George Will says we're a nation of wussies
and we feel good about it (hat tip to the QandO Blog):
Because children are considered terribly vulnerable and fragile, playground games such as dodgeball are being replaced by anxiety-reducing and self-esteem-enhancing games of tag in which nobody is ever "out." But abundant research indicates no connection between high self-esteem and high achievement or virtue. Is not unearned self-esteem a more pressing problem?

Sensitivity screeners remove from texts and tests distressing references to things such as rats, snakes, typhoons, blizzards and . . . birthday parties (which might distress children who do not have them). The sensitivity police favor teaching what Sommers and Satel call "no-fault history." Hence California's Department of Education stipulating that when "ethnic or cultural groups are portrayed, portrayals must not depict differences in customs or lifestyles as undesirable"—slavery? segregation? anti-Semitism? cannibalism?—"and must not reflect adversely on such differences."
Reason #27 why we home-school.
I never would have thought there'd be a demand
for Christian ASP.NET web hosting. Does God care if your web server is, er, kosher?
What ever happened to Spock?
I'm wondering if the CDC really has such a position (emphasis mine):
Oddly enough, after years of spouting the flimsy 300,000 and 400,000 figures, Dixie Snider, the CDC's chief science officer, told the New York Times that it's "too early in the science" for the agency to embrace the new study.

Seriously, though:
This latest statistical malfeasance from the CDC brings up an important, more fundamental lesson: What we eat is simply no business of the government's. No matter how well-intentioned the researchers, government science and government science translated into policy is too prone to incentives, misplaced motivation, and the prodding and influence of special interest groups to be taken at face value, particularly on a matter so intimate and vital as nutrition. It's possible that even these numbers are wrong, which is exactly why basing policy decisions on them is such a bad idea.
In principle, yes. But unfortunately, as long as the government is so heavily involved in providing health care, it will stick its nose into such business. They will dictate such things with the excuse that they must manage the taxpayers' burden.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Makes me want a Maserati:
This made me laugh (read the whole thing):
Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that things are good. My car is my newest and most favorite thing, but I will also stand up in support of iPods, TiVos, laptops, elliptical trainers, Relax the Back chairs, and Sonicare toothbrushes. (A dental hygienist once confided in me, though she would deny it, that if I used my Sonicare every day, I really wouldn’t need to floss. No floss! What a world!) I don’t mean that things are “good” as opposed to “evil” — things don’t have moral content. But inarguably, things can make us happy. The Beatles sang, “Money can’t buy me love.” Exactly, Beatles — money can buy you things! Want to test the theory? Give something really cool to someone who doesn’t have anything really cool. Watch their face. That ain’t sadness and ennui, Mr. Aptly-Named Lennon.
I've been looking at some of the headlines
following the election of Pope Benedict XVI (I was really hoping for Urban), and have noticed a silly theme -- the general lament that the new Pope isn't going to radically change fundamental church doctrine. The best I've seen is MSN's main page, which is "The hard line: New pope clings to old doctrines." (Their article is here.)

What'd they expect? "In his first act as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI banned Jesus and declared the return of Roman orgies, with the role of Vestal virgins to be filled by local nuns. Pig-Latin will now be the official language of Mass. Abortion is now a sacrament."

I'm unclear as to the mindset of some of the Pope's new critics. The Catholic Church teaches (rightly or wrongly) that abortion is a mortal sin. I can't see how a Pope is going to say, "Hey, whoops. Turns out Jesus loved those."

I've seen nothing from mainstream pundits saying why certain Church doctrines should be reversed other than appeals to modernity. The fact that something is "now" or "current" or "popular" doesn't make it right. In fact, I would think it inverts the intent of morality in general and Christianity in particular. Christ doesn't change for man; man changes for Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (yes, I know, he's Lutheran, but I imagine that Catholic and Lutheran doctrine would agree on this point) wrote strongly against those who place conditions on their reverence for Christ. Either Jesus is Lord or He isn't. If He isn't, then skip along and pay Him no mind. If He is, then it's your duty to follow.

Remember the stories of those who came to Him and said things like the man who said, "I will follow you, but let me first bury my father." Christ rebuked him ("Let the dead bury the dead.") for trying to make the Son of God accept terms other than unconditional support.
Google can do it all (including maps now)
and 3rd-party developers can take advantage of it. This is pretty cool.

Monday, April 18, 2005

And for some reason,
I'm only 5% mid-western, but I'm 20% Yankee. Must be because I call soda pop "soda."

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Yankee

10% Dixie

5% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

David, given that I'm younger than you,
I'm not too heartened by this.

You Are 35 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Of course, I've never liked high school/college aged people. Even when I was one.
Hmmmm...figured I'd have at least some Midwesterner in me.
Then again, a lot of folk consider Ohio as part of the Midwest, whereas to me it's pre-coastal.

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

15% Dixie

15% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

I presume the Yankee stuff comes from 2 years in Boston and the Dixie comes from almost two years in Southwest Missouri (which is not quite Dixie, for sure, but has far more of a Southern feel than anyplace else I have lived [well, duh, it's the furthest South you have lived!] Oh, shut it).

UPDATE: Considering I'm 31, this quiz may be the most accurate ever (aside from the one that says I'm Neo, which is spot on):

You Are 30 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

10,000 points to Jacob Sullum
for using post hoc, ergo propter hoc without being facetious. That takes effort.
I'm not worried about this.
Bruce Willis will save us.