28 December 2005
There are a lot of blogs on the web. It is a sea of voices, not necessarily all worthy of hearing, but entitled to their vocalizations. It would seem that the need to vent in a forum that has the appearance of professionalism, is satisfying to many folks.
It gives each of us a chance to rant and rave, occasionally using facts and figures, to justify our own world view. I am not sure that it is sustainable. When even a well publicized and funded blog like the Huffington Post is ultimately doomed to a very small portion of the web. One need only check via Alexa to see the web rank of various sites.
As the internet matures, we will have more content available through more outlets (wireless phones, handheld devices, cheeseburgers). This will lead to the dilemma of choice. This dilemma is a simple one. In a world where the range of choices approach the infinite, the importance of that choice approaches zero. So here is the irony, in a place where there are less choices, those choices matter (think our present political divides – left and right are divided by very few issues and thus those issues matter). Conversely as the world becomes more and more integrated the choices of our companions will matter less and less.
I think I will call this the Citizen Deux Dilemma of Choice theory, or the CDDC theory…
26 December 2005
One year ago a devastating tsunami swept through Indonesia and surrounding nations. A year later the world still has no effective means of dealing with such an event, save to collect the fallen, comfort the injured and rebuild the destroyed.
It is perhaps fitting that we are reminded, periodically, (tragically) of our frail hold on existence. If not a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, then it is an earth quake in Pakistan. The names of the nations are not significant, only that in each incident there is massive human suffering.
We have no real recourse against these force majeure events. Our technology and science is no match for true acts of nature. This is not to say we should consign ourselves to some Nietzschean existence, awaiting the fall of Damocles’ sword.
But we should engage in meaningful, rational debate and discussion. Our limited resources should be directed against the critical few events which threaten the lives and health of our planet and its present dominant species.
I do not know if global warming is accelerated by humanity’s actions, nor do I believe anyone has a definitive answer on that topic. But I do know that mosquitoes carry malaria, lack of access to capital engenders poverty and intolerance breeds contempt and violence.
24 December 2005
May that wish continue unabated throughout the new year.
There are but three certainties in this world, we are born, we live and we die. Let us then, while we live,
Love one another.
21 December 2005
A federal judge has recently struck down Intelligent Design as a viable scientific curriculum. Rightly so. A discussion of mythology belongs in a course of religious studies, not alongside rigorous scientific discussions.
Let me state my position on this topic clearly. ID is camouflaged faith. Its proponents are the worst sorts of individuals imaginable. They use selective review, faulty science and the fears and prejudices of people to further a potentially malicious agenda. They are dissemblers
of the highest order.
Frankly, I rank these individuals with those folks who see a conspiracy in every corner. Ranging from vaccine paranoids, big government wackos and liberal and conservative rhetoric mongers.
Religion is a fine enough subject to study on its own merits. A real analysis and solid work in comparative religions will reveal much about the nature of humanity. It is not, nor has it ever been, science. A scientist may guide his actions by their own faith or beliefs, but in the cold light of public scrutiny, the truth will out.
PS – Kansas BOE – You deserve swift removal from office for failure to serve your state.
19 December 2005
I came across this interesting post on the WSJ. It lists a number of concerns with the overemphasis by our society on female issues. Despite the necessity in correcting some gross inequities, there has been a trend in recent time to marginalize men.
There has been a government funded report on the status of men in one state. The report, from a remarkably stoic and independent state, New Hampshire, is interesting in its own right.
Personally, I have often wondered at the fate of the male half of the human species. In an increasingly "civilized" world, much of our genetic advantages are no longer needed.
Reflecting upon a very recent unpleasant event, my older son asked me,
"why didn't you use your words?".
I could only reply that "sometimes words will not work."
I don't wanna go to school today! Everyone hates me! I just want to stay in my room.
Well, now thanks to the exponentially growing electronosphere, your elementary school tantrum can be a reality. In the underdeveloped world, a person was likely to live and die within a few miles of their birthplace. They would work, learn and raise families all within a relatively small geographic region.
The same was true in the developing world, until the advent of the industrial revolution. At that point folks simply started to move about. It is estimated in the United States that at any given time, 25% of the population is moving! This is a stunning statistic.
We are now entering, I propose, a period of contraction. There is now appearing a trend to not move and to minimize the range of exposures one must face. A recent paper published in the UK in 2001, addresses the issue of electronic governance and the rapidly changing role of business, government and its citizens.
We are now able to reach out to all corners of the globe via blogs, web cams, e-mail and a host of other virtual methods. But I see the backlash of this as people more often choose to sequester themselves in insulated realms of existence.
We can customize our information intake via a host of cable and satellite channels. We can choose only to converse in "realms" in which we feel comfortable. Our interaction with the outside world can be reduced to the basics, the exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen.
Faith Popcorn described this as cocooning in the mid 1990s. It's real and evidenced in a number of externally measurable metrics. The decline in movie attendance, the loss of membership in volunteer organizations and other indicators of social withdrawal.
The problem, as I see it, is that this cocooning is non-geographic. Each household becomes and island in which citizens become distanced from one another and become vulnerable to real issues which are related to location (i.e. storms, crime, etc.).
My prediction, we will see a return to small enclaves, although they will exist in the virtual most of the times. This will further fracture modern society as the ability of people to interact and develop legitimate understanding will wane.
16 December 2005
I have never been a fan of Apple products. Although I cut my computing teeth on an Apple][, there was something socially repelling to me about the Apple philosophy. Perhaps that says more about my occassionally dysfunctional views than I thought!
Nonetheless, I truly respect their innovative spirit and admire the idea behind the iPod.
By the way, for a truly interesting take on the iPod ads, see a friend's site.
Back to my beef with Apple, not so much a beef as a desire to run music on my Pocket PC. I have a trusty Samsumg i700. It's old now, but works great. I spent a few days loading my PC with all my old CDs via iTunes (a great piece of software). My problem is I am struggling with loading playlists to SD cards to play on my Pocket PC!
At present I am burning the lists to CDs and then reloading them onto cards. Great, once in a while, but a horrible waste of CDs.
What is the frosting on this cake, is the simple fact that the system does not readily acknowledge my ownership of the CDs! I swear, if anyone needs a whakc in the head with a frozen fish its the RIAA.
14 December 2005
Well the GLBT blogosphere has claimed victory over Ford in the case of a perceived slight. It seems that Ford met with members of the American Family Association over a number of issues.
Now Ford is a BAC (Big Ass Company) or BEC (Big Evil Company) depending upon your view. As a footsoldier in a BAC/BEC I can attest to the leviathan like nature of their actions. Most simply chug along, trying to avoid perilous pitfalls and just conduct business to avoid the fate of Enron, Kodak, US Steel or a host of other has beens.
After this "meeting" too place, Ford was accused of pulling ads from several GLBT magazines.
This was never proven. No news trumpeting the AFA strong arming Ford into submission appeared anywhere. Only innuendo and supposition on a few trade sites and within the CAIEAL (Corporation Are Inherently Evil and Always Liars) world.
Ford issued a strongly worded press release on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day for the uninformed.
This was clearly a lie.
Thus the might array or electronic unrest rose up to smite the unworthy giant.
Another meeting was held.
Ford issued another strongly worded press release.
Justice triumphs, the evil doers are vanquished.
Unless. Ford's messages were remarkably consistent. What if Ford was telling the truth the whole time? Meeting with a group is not the same as caving in to their demands (in both cases).
Ford, a progressive BAC/BEC has taken a beating it may not have deserved.
It is one thing to spite one's enemies, quite another to spite ones friends.
I am, by training, a scientist as well. And as such I value a rational argument, well documented and supported by testable facts. I have no issue with the teaching of intelligent design, as long as it is done in the context of a class on mythology.
Which brings me to today's musing, DDT. Many nations in the developing sphere are suffering from significant deaths due to malaria and other mosquito borne illnesses. Due, in large part, to the writings of Carson DDT is no longer available as a viable pesticide. It is time to reexamine the original reasons behind this chemical's removal from use. We have improved analytical tools and more sophisticated methods for evaluating the potential harm from this chemical.
It seems, however, that the debate on DDT is simply not even an acceptable topic.
This must change.
13 December 2005
space. If Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic can get going, the gates will be open to those who would cater to the financially well endowed. Within a few years, we could have more amateur astronauts than "professional" ones. It's about time we started to open the options outside our atmosphere for commercial ventures.
Our greatest hope on this planet revolves around the ingenuity and creativity
of our fellow humans, rather than some restrictive bureaucracy. For the
Branson initiative, I only wish it unparalleled success and that it is the
first of many.
12 December 2005
I am not a humbugger, but the recent nonsense over the "war on Christmas" is more ridiculous than Howard Dean's diary. Winter solstice events have been a celebration on this planet since we had the good sense to track the passing of time. They have been folded into whatever convenient package that particular society had need of at the time.
What many of the present zealots fail to remember is that the marketing of Christmas is a direct response to the will of the people. If no one wanted to purchase a digitally controlled, fully articulated animatronic Santa Claus on a chaise lounge and place him under a palm tree for their Key largo home, you would not find multiple items on E-bay.
What I would really like to see is a genuine return to the old standard Peace on Earth Goodwill to All.
Happy Kwanzaa, everybody!
10 December 2005
This is in light of the fact that the magnetic field of the earth was discovered in 1831.
And we wonder why our science reporting is so fraught with emotion and manipulation?
09 December 2005
Pictures of your capital city must be enhanced to cut through the smog
You purchase a second rate aircraft carrier in order to build a "recreation vessel"
You are in mortal fear of a neighbor one one hundredth your size
You routinely massacre your population
Or you are China
08 December 2005
Now that everyone and their psychotic aunt have a blog, I am curious as to where this will all lead. Will there be a huge coalescing of minds resulting in the creation of a great utopian understanding and worldwide “ah hah!”. Or will we niche ourselves into seclusion in which only our own bizarrely furnished world will exist and all conflict will be relegated to spectator enhanced flame wars on the web?
06 December 2005
Okay. As if I don't have enough to do, I will begin by working to make this a worthwhile endeavour. That said, I don't want to post meaningless crap.
Stay tuned for more...