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User Journal

Journal Journal: Schadenfreude 1

Bill Cosby once said, "If a white man falls off a chair drunk, it's just a drunk. If a Negro does, it's the whole damn Negro race."

As someone who describes himself as a conservative, I know that the perception is that we're all closet hypocrites. We say one thing and do another, we hold others to a higher standard than we do ourselves. But I think there's more to it than that.
It's the idea that there can and should be objective criteria for proper behavior that is so hateful to some people. The idea that some things are just right, and other things are just wrong, no argument, end of story, is impossible for them to accept.
And if they can find someone who calls for such criteria faltering, they've got to jump on him with the "hypocrite" label.

I remember something my late grandfather said about Jim Bakker and his well-publicized fall. I was too young to remember Jim Bakker too well, but I remember what my grandfather said. The people who showed the images of Jim Bakker in manacles were happy because that was Jesus they were sending to prison. I think it's true, symbolically. Bakker, as a preacher, was a representative of Christianity for millions of people. His fall meant that what he claimed to stand for was no good, either, and all the people who stood for it were dupes or fools for believing in it.

There's a similar glee in the fall of Rush Limbaugh. This time it's not Christianity, though, but American conservatism. For years, Rush has been one of the preeminent faces of conservatism, surviving the Clinton years, outlasting Newt Gingrinch and others I can't even remember. The same charges of hypocrisy are leveled against him as they have been against William Bennet, most recently.

I guess what bothers me so much is the joy that people get from seeing a fellow human being suffering. But I guess it's what I should expect.

User Journal

Journal Journal: David Blaine 4

Illusionist David Blaine has been attacked again, this time with paint balloons. Could it be that Britons don't like this American coming to their country to act like an idiot? Or is it just a sad fact that people like to prod and annoy things in glass cases and cages? Maybe there should have been a sign warning onlookers not to thump the glass or something. I wonder what Blaine expected would happen as a result of this stunt?

Paint attack on Blaine

The Media

Journal Journal: Future Newspapers 1

According to David Gelernter, professor of Computer Science at Yale and author of "Mirror Worlds: Or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox: How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean", in an article entitled The Next Great American Newspaper, there is an opportunity for a new kind of newspaper which truly utilizes the power of modern computers and the internet, instead of the boring versions we have today which are only weak copies of real physical newspapers. What he describes seems similar to a blog to me, but a blog whose technology is more advanced, responding to voice commands. One good point he makes, that we're starting to see, is that people are going to ask themselves, 'Why do I need a new computer? What will it do that my old one doesn't?' I have this attitude myself. My computers are all several years old and are just fine. He writes, "The tycoon who founds America's next great newspaper will help save the computer industry too."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Tu Veux Poulet Avec Verre?

For non French speakers, or those afraid to admit it in the aftermath of Chirac's ridiculousness, that means "Would you like chicken with glass?"

ConAgra Poultry Co. is recalling 129,000 pounds of chicken because it may contain glass, the Agriculture Department said Thursday.

I'm picturing workers breaking beer bottles over the heads of chickens to stun them. How did this happen?

Full Story Here:
ConAgra Recalls Chicken Because Of Glass

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Right to Keep and Bear Rats Under Attack? 1

I just thought this (Fur Flies In Debate Over Rodent Pets) was funny.

My favorite quote:

âoeWeâ(TM)ve determined that exotic animal owners have no rights,â said Kendra Lester of Montgomery, Ala., a spokeswoman for the National Alternative Pet Association, referring to recently enacted state and local laws banning ownership of certain species. âoeIf they did the same thing to gun owners it would be World War III.â

She then cites a little-known amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

"A well regulated rodent populace, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Rodents, shall not be infringed."

--And I'll tolerate no Alabama jokes, it is my home.


Journal Journal: AP now calling Hamas terrorists 'activists'? 2

Maybe I just hadn't noticed that Associated Press is doing this until now.

Here's the story and the quote in question.

"Hamas activists fired mortars and homemade rockets at Israel, causing no injuries or damage. At one point, Israeli troops spotted two cars carrying Hamas activists driving away from rocket launching sites."

I thought an activist was someone carrying a sign or protesting something, not shooting mortars at people, or in this case, shooting at an entire country (I guess Israel is easy to hit, huh?).
Is this the policy at AP now? Terrorists are going to be called "activists"? When did this start?
So ends my morning rant.


Journal Journal: Spam and the Legislation That Loves It

After reading this article at The Weekly Standard, I am beginning to see that Spam (unsolicited junk email, not cross-posting or the canned meat-like substance) is seen by many as just too bad to not legislate in some ineffectual manner. I don't receive much junk email, but I attribute that to Yahoo's filters. This writer doesn't think much of technological solutions, but I wonder has he heard of this?

On a lighter note, why is this article at Slashdot filed under YRO when it's about spam?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Too Smart To Be So Dumb 2

This should be required reading for many of us here at Slashdot. Since we are of above average intelligence (which can no longer be assumed if you judge by the comments posted nowadays), we should remember that intelligence is no guarantee of right action.

Too Smart To Be So Dumb


Journal Journal: Rat-Brained Robots

Well, now that grabbed your attention with that catchy subject line :)

I went to Georgia Tech a couple of weeks ago to see Dr. Steve Potter lecture on animats

Basically, what he's doing is taking some mouse embryo neurons, growing them in a petri dish which is attached to an array of electrodes embedded in a computer chip, then using the signals from the neurons to operate a virtual mouse in a computer simulation, as well as a tiny wheeled robot. His purpose is to study the neurons and try to find out how they work; the robots are more of a thing to show people that is physical. They're also working with a larger robot (with Linux inside) which will actually house the neurons and be able to roll around in the real world. More later.

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