Thursday, January 28, 2010

#RIP Howard Zinn. You were extreme, but thought provoking.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Random Thought

When you were growing up was everyone afraid of tampered candy during Halloween? Growing up in Wisconsin, our local police force volunteered their scanner to ensure no metal was in our candy. What was up with that? How could anyone have ever believed this? We thought that there were people out there with enough smarts, resources and child hatred to take chocolate bars out of wrappers, insert razors or inject poison, then somehow seal them back? And these people are thinking, "I'm going to put a lot of time and energy into hurting random children who have the audacity to beg for milky ways. And this is despite the fact that I am one of only 20-30 houses they hit up, and so this crime will easily be traced to me. This is the perfect crime."
Obviously, it's an urban legend, but it's amazing that so many people believed it, and in some cases, continue to believe it.

And yes, I should be thinking about Christmas, I'm one holiday behind...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

how technology passes us by

I was helping my girlfriend's mother install some security software on
her windows vista PC and I began to realize how technology can pass us
by. I was trying to drag and drop her music into a folder and it
would just disappear and not end up where I wanted. For someone who
has spent decades with windows 3.1, 95, and XP, this was bewildering.
When you drag a file and drop it somewhere, it copies to that
location. After a little frustration, I realized that Windows Vista
was recognizing that I was copying music and put it in the "music"
folder instead, this was simply Microsoft trying to be "helpful".
These little changes will continue to compound until surely one day, I
will be an old person confusedly looking at a computer screen (or
perhaps image on a contact lens computer). I tend to think of myself
as a logical person who understands technology and is all up on
Facebook twitter etc... and yet I've found myself resisting Vista,
resisting Office 2007 (I just can't believe they got rid of the
structure of shortcuts in Excel). Will my resistance continue until
I'm a bewildered old man? Or will I just get a Mac at some point?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Once more time

Would DMB's lover lay down have been worse if DM had gone with the
grammatically correct "lover lie down"? I think it's obvious that
Dylan's "lay lady lay" would have been significantly worse and more
confusing if he had chosen the grammatically correct "lie lady lie."

Obviously "lover lie down" sounds worse, but is that only because
we've heard the song sung incorrectly a million times or because of
the inherent sound difference? In a somewhat related story, I was in
a college a cappella group and we once went on a trip to India. We
performed at a small club in Mumbai and when we finished, we heard the
crowd begin to chant in unison. It took a second before we realized
what they were saying in their accented english...
"Once more time! Once more time!"

I've told this story so many times that my entire extended family and
group of friends will chant this if prompted despite being completely
disconnected from the story. Some of my family members don't even
know the story, but will still chant on. I've now heard the refrain
so many times that it now doesn't sound as hilariously incorrect as it
did that night in Mumbai. While I'm intellectually aware of the
error, that specific grammatical alarm bell no longer rings for me.
That house song "One More Time" can now be "Once more time" and I
would not protest.

Monday, June 29, 2009

In this house called the universe...

 facts are the leaks in the roof and scientific hypothesis are pots that capture the water.  Often when those hypotheses pots overflow, people come and get bigger and better pots.  In some rare cases, a larger pot is exchanged for a smaller pot even before the water has overflown (i.e as in when Einstein comes up with relativity decades before evidence verifies it).  At its worst, religion consists of pots that are overflowing with water, at its best, religion constructs pots where there is no leak.  In other words, religion often makes scientific claims (about the origin of the universe, origin of life, miracles) that given our understanding of the world are unlikely to be true.  To the extent that religion makes claims that are by definition unverifiable (there is an abstract, consciousness that exists beyond our comprehension) they are placing pots where there are no leaks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Coincidentally, I'm going to an MJ tribute concert tomorrow in DC, crazyness.

RIP Michael Jackson

You were very messed up, a victim and a perpetrator, but nothing can
ever mar your unbelievably good music.