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26 October 2007 @ 11:41 pm
Survived! - 26 October 2007  
Made it through yet another week of work. Remarkably, no limbs lost, no persons killed, and nothing went horribly, horribly wrong. Not that I ever expect something like that, but it’s always nice to know you made it to Friday after work without major incidents. It’s different working a full-time job - all those errands that I could do whenever have specific times and availabilities, and the weekend fills up pretty fast. It’s different.

If you are a Verizon customer, note your billing statement carefully, or read how Verizon is going to sell your private data to third parties. If you don’t opt-out after thirty days of receiving your notice, they assume you give your consent and will sell your data. If you don’t want that, call the number (1-800-333-9956) and follow the prompts - you’ll need to key in your telephone number, the billing ZIP code, and then the last four digits of your SSN/Tax ID #.

University of Washington researchers find that predicting climate change accurately may be too complex a task for computers. (Current computers, anyway.) Which is why in addition to climate change benefits, it would be a good idea to find an additional reason to continue research and production of environmentally conscious methods and products. Even if global warming turns out to be semi-cyclical, even with as much as humans might interfere with it, it’s still worthwhile to have nonpolluting and renewable energy resources and goods.

The House of Representatives passed a revised SCHIP expansion bill, not in veto-proof majorities, but they’re trying again, this time for a $35 billion increase and supposedly taking into accounts concerns about illegal immigrants. Will we see another veto? (Can we still count the amount of vetoes in the Bush Presidency on our fingers?)

A reporter was arrested covering a story about high school violence, and charged with trespass and carrying a concealed weapon onto school grounds. The reporter has a concealed carry permit and insists that he was on a public sidewalk, where his concealed carry permit would allow him to have the weapon within 1000 feet of a school, although not on the grounds itself. He has also been charged with resisting an officer without violence for insisting that he was on a public sidewalk when the officers told him to move.

The Terror Watch list tops 755,000. For a moment there, I wondered whether stock prices had just shot up through the roof. Alas, this is one of those secret lists that you can get on without knowing, and that it’s difficult to get off of if you’re on it. It’s not the no-fly list, which is even harder to get off of, but I doubt that the number of terrorists is that high. If it were, they’d be a lot more successful. There may be friction in the al-Qaeda ranks, as supporters innundated al-Jazeera with anger at the netowrk's discussion as to whether Osama bin Laden was showing weakness in criticizing insurgents in Iraq. Most of the commentary says that the excerpts misrepresent the Saudi leader of the organization, and that the full video should be shown and distributed.

Contributing to the idea that cockroaches will survive just about anything, Russian scientists discovered that a cockroach gave birth in space. Other animals may be able to do so as well, according to the experiment, but chalk one more thing that won’t stop the Roach Revolution. With the first potential primate extinctions possibly occurring soon, there may be space for the bugs to take over.

Let the speculation begin. No, not about Dumbledore, we know that. A French philosopher claims that the Harry Potter series is a diatribe against the successes of Thatcherite Britain and the American consumerist way of life.

Smell that warm quiche baking? To whet your appetite, view a plan to provide private disaster relief services, because the National Guard and other home-response teams are off in Iraq, fighting a war. Possibly even under contract with a government entity. Earth to administration - you tried the privatization experiment once already. See how well that’s going before you start another one.

The United States continues to escalate tensions with Iran, passing even more sanctions in a bid to get Iran to stop developing a nuclear programme. The U.S. continues to insist that the programme is a cover for building weapons, but denies that the additional sanctions are a prelude to military action.

House passes bill establishing thoughtcrime? In the name of preventing “homegrown terror” (from the 755,000 on the list?), the House of Representatives passed a bill that aims to find root causes and work out strategies for defeating homegrown terrorists, working singly or jointly. The problem is that there isn’t exactly a clear definition of what “homegrown terrorism” or “violent radicalization” actually is. Latitude in that kind of arena is dangerous, when what an extremist belief system isn’t well-defined and that someone can be accused of homegrown terrorism merely by thinking to do harm to the country. I don’t expect there to be arrests for a stray thought here and there, but if there are federal agents believing that the Quakers are a potential extremist group, the rest of us certainly aren’t safe.

Continuing in that vein, Jason Rantz at Family Security Matters posts his list of the top ten most dangerous institutions in America. Making the list are ThinkProgress, the Muslim Student Association, the ACLU, Media Matters, MoveOn.org, and basically all colleges and universities, among others. 80% liberal, 10% religious whackjobs, 10% secessionists.

University of Florida police who subdued and tasered a student repeatedly were justified in their use of the stun gun, according to the results of an internal investigation.

Ann Coulter, never one to miss a chance to feed, spoke at the USC campus as her part of Islamofascism Awareness Week. Her speech was appreciated with cheers and jeers from the audience, but I’d like to draw your attention to a choice quote.

“The fact of Islamo-Fascism is indisputable . . . I find it tedious to detail the savagery of the enemy . . . I want to kill them. Why don’t Democrats?”


If you are so very inclined to kill your enemy, Ms. Coulter, there is probably a military recruiting office near you. Go for it. Perhaps the reason that the Democrats are not nearly as gung-ho about killing your “enemies” is because they can appreciate the multi-dimensional thinking that this week is supposed to be promoting. By calling attention to a radicalized small portion of an otherwise benign religion and denouncing them, but continuing to put out rhetoric that all members of that religion are as bad as the radicals, you’re tonight’s winner. Maybe if you clean up quickly, you can go play some Ultimate Frisbee with your new pie tin. Might learn a thing or two about what your targets and opponents actually thing, too, if we’re lucky.

The Democrats are having their asses handed to them in defining the terms of political engagements, an internal study shows. Getting the message out seems to be a bit of a problem, as is folding up when the Republicans show a little tooth. This problem persists despite the populace actually favoring the Democratic ideas on things like health care. If you want a good example of how much the Dems are sucking it up, consider how "pro-life" still means "anti-choice" in most people's heads. Similarly, a list of anti-choice lingo, where things that should mean one thing are bent to meaning another, or what an anti-choice person really wants is bowdlerized into something more palatable. Say it with me. I'm pro-life, and you, who are anti-choice, are not. The war of words is being won by those without your best interests at heart. That’s almost a guarantee, no matter who’s claiming control of it.

Next-to-last for tonight is Teaseproofing your children (in PDF), an approach that teaches those picked on to take the tease, utter a pithy one-liner, improvised or rehearsed, and then to leave the area so as not to present an attacker with a second opportunity. From the stories related in the pamphlet, a zippy one-liner is enough to disarm a teaser while they gape in shock at being dissed so casually and easily. That very well could be true. And effective. For small children. Once the tease progresses to the bully and the physical element is introduced, I don’t think a one-liner and turning away is going to be the end to the matter. Unless, of course, as others have related to me, it takes the teaser sufficient time and processing cycles to realize they’ve been slighted and a lead has been built that wouldn’t be overcome regularly. And, of course, one can always hope that maturity sets in before too long to the teasers.

Last for tonight, consider the following - a surgical procedure exists to point one's ears, in the Elvish, Vulcan, faun, or other traditions. These are not prosthetics, but an actual surgical procedure. Transhumanists, take note? Others think that the Eloi-Morlock split is likely to happen over time. Mind you, it’ll be long after all of us are passed on (unless life extension gets really good while we’re still alive).

I, however, am bedward bound.
 
 
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महेश्वरदस: Cthulhuprzxqgl on October 27th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
do you live on south L street, between south 35th and south 36th, on the east side of the street?
Silver Adeptsilveradept on October 27th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
In Tacoma? Nope, nowhere near there. I'm over on the west side of that area, technically not even in Tacoma, even though Google Maps says that it is.
महेश्वरदस: Cthulhuprzxqgl on October 27th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
weird... i wonder who this is then... IP address 24.19.229.89 and they were all over my blog yesterday around midnight...
Silver Adeptsilveradept on October 28th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
Yesterday around midnight? That might be me, actually, checking for responses on your blog, since I don't get comment notices mailed to me or anything like that. Although I'm not sure if the service I'm on rotates IPs at a certain time here and there. Or only presents a small set of them forward to the world at large. In any case, that could have been me, but your location is definitely wrong.
महेश्वरदस: Cthulhuprzxqgl on October 28th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
it could also be that another person from tacoma was perusing my blog at midnight... i do know other people in tacoma, after all... 8)
Silver Adeptsilveradept on October 28th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Of course. Always possibly someone else. Or the IP address was registered to the corporation that provides Internet services, and so the locator found the server farm or the location where the corporation has offices, too.

Surprisingly, though, if it started in the right general location, the description you had pinpointed would probably correspond to my address.
महेश्वरदस: Cthulhuprzxqgl on October 28th, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
a commercial server farm in a residential neighborhood? not likely...

i've discovered that googlemap's depictions of where certain things are according to their GPS coordinates is a bit skewed. this was driven home to me when i was calibrating my GPS unit to googlemaps and googlemaps showed that i was between 500 to 1000 yards east of where i actually was. i know i am right and googlemaps is wrong because googlemaps said that i was in the middle of the columbia river, which i definitely was not...
Silver Adeptsilveradept on October 28th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, that would do it. Google Maps doesn't actually believe that I live where I live, and so it has to always ask for extra information before it will let me find directions from where I clearly am to where I am trying to be.
Reiverreaverta on October 27th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC)
Just a minor nitpick: The loonie in the last link has failed to take into account the basic principles of evolution.

To have an 'ugly underclass' due to those unable to get hold of medicine etc having, from previous generations, lost their natural immune system, would require people to not select for partners that had a better one to deal with it anyway.

Look at the 'barbaric' africa, which lacks oh so many of our technological advantages of even today... how many of them are ugly? Curiously enough, the attractive and healthy still come out on top. They may not be as attractive as the artificially-enhanced, but they will certainly be short of Murlocks.

Any Murlock that gets born tends to die childless. The exception is in the upper classes, where genetic value is outweighed by social aspects... Ah, irony. ¬¬
C2dlife on October 27th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
The loony in the last link is crazy for more reasons than that. Then again, he's not really a scientist, merely an economist who's read too many SciFi novels.

Speciation is a complex concept. There has to be a divergent force that overcomes a naturally convergent force (there is a natural tendency to maintain gene pool diversity). There is no divergent force present in his model, therefore: no speciation.

Examples of a divergent force: a second niche opening up in the ecosystem (see Darwinian finches), a sudden and insurmountable geographical split (see old world vs new world monkeys). Enforced selective breeding won't work (sure, we can maintain dog breeds but left to their own devices, dogs will naturally mix genes and make millions of mutts). Thus without enforced segregation, this genetic split will not happen naturally.

The author seems to suggest that economics would be sufficient to divide the classes. I doubt it since it is possible to transcend economic classes within one generation or two and history suggests that upper classes seem to not be able to resist mixing it up with the hoi polloi.
Reiverreaverta on October 28th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Bingo. Though I was arguing against, rather than the reasons required for, you're entirely right too. He's pretty much talkin' crap no matter how you look at it.

Really, the sad thing is that he makes the news; whilst even an hour or three of actual study would have debunked his theory for him entirely.
Plain Rebecca Janeannaonthemoon on October 27th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the verizon info. I'm sure I have the notice buried SOMEWHERE. Was able to opt out me, mom, and my aunt. huh, maybe that's why I was getting "unknown caller" all last week until I picked up the phone and told them to stop? Also, it's amazing how well saying "this is a private cell phone. Stop calling it" works on a telemarketer.

I'm not sure I completely understand the "pro-life" articles. For one, I don't feel "pro-abortion" should be used to describe pro-choice. And secondly, I'm not really sure I'm understanding what they are trying to say. Are they trying to say that pro-choice is really pro-life in concept? I don't see how pro-life is pro-death, unless they're referring to the women who could have complications and die from pregnancy, or if they are using it as some kind of euphemism for "you're going to have a baby and your life is now over" or something. Can you explain it better?

Pointy-ear surgery - One more thing for people to waste money on.



Silver Adeptsilveradept on October 27th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
That article's trying to unpack the hidden meanings behind what an anti-choice person mean when they say X.

They do believe that pro-choice is fundamentally a pro-life concept, because the people who want to enforce pregnancy on everyone who has sex have very little concern for the life of the mother or of the child once its born. They don't care if the mother (and baby) dies in childbirth, and they certainly don't care about caring for the child after its born, or there would be many more adoptions and lots of programs to provide food, shelter, medicine, and schooling to the children and their mothers to improve the quality of life. They could care less what happens if the child ruins the family economically, contributing to a shorter life for the family, or forcing the mother into doing dangerous things just to support her family. They want children to be a punishment, not a blessing, and don't really seem to care if the child dies soon after being born because of accidents or just an inability to give proper care. For all those reasons, anti-choice is pro-death.