Friday, April 29, 2005

Bush's torture advocate threatens kids...

y'know this news spinning is fun!

excerpts from todays LA Times article by Lorenza Muñoz and Jon Healey...

Students Do Not Share Gonzales' View on Piracy

Attorney general says downloading bootlegs is illegal, but many at seminar are unfazed.

In his first trip to California as the nation's attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales told a group of high school students to just say no to online piracy.

But, for many of the students, the response was to just say "why not?"

During a daylong UCLA seminar featuring Gonzales, students peppered speakers with tough questions about the real effect of piracy. Some even suggested that government should focus more on tackling poverty and improving education than on jailing kids who download movies, music and software.

"Isn't the government using morality as a means for studios to make millions of dollars?" asked 18-year-old senior Kate Schwartz of Santa Monica's New Roads High School.
Angel Aparicio, 18, a senior at Belmont High School, said his uncle had to take a second job because piracy slowed production at the DVD plant where he works.

"What stops actors and stuntmen from just getting another job like a normal citizen?" he asked.
Bobby Brathwaite, a 26-year-old junior, said downloading on campus was pervasive and would continue well into the future.
"It's kind of the new business model and it's here to stay," he said, noting that he has about 200 song files on his computer. "Record companies are using the courts and law enforcement to try and protect their profit margins…. When I buy a CD I feel like I'm paying for corporate lawyers and corporate headquarters and, no offense, but I don't want to do that. And I don't have to."
Others questioned whether the punishment for pirating movies — as many as three years in federal prison for a first offender with no commercial motive — fit the crime.
Unfazed by the students' skepticism, Gonzales said this was only the beginning of an intensive educational outreach effort. He wanted to let the students know that intellectual property theft was illegal, carried consequences and could permanently stain their records.

"Sitting through a one-hour, two-hour session may not be enough…. It takes awhile to educate people," he told reporters later. "

hmmm, maybe he's really trying to say he wants to send them indefinitely to re-education camps in Gitmo? "no child left behind" indeed!

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

thoughts on GOP Christian politics...

read a good editorial by Jack Hitt in yesterday's LA Times. He attacks "Evangelical Christians" and other religious group members for robotic adherence to their leadership. it's a common habit of individuals to take the easy way out and agree with the prepackaged opinion of whatever group we've already identified ourselves with. it's the KISS method, right?

the problem is that buying this package of beliefs engenders an intolerance, hypocrisy, and dogmatism which is not faithful to Jesus' words...
a few excerpts:

"...When the pope died, CNN's Wolf Blitzer introduced former Clinton aide Paul Begala and right-wing pundit Robert Novak this way: "Bob is a good Catholic; I'm not so sure about Paul Begala." At the bottom of the screen, CNN ran an informative factoid for the audience: "Many Catholic doctrines are conservative."

note: "catholic" means "universal". so if you're Catholic but not a "good Catholic", what are you? (I detect some "moral relativism" here.)

"...Jesus provoked his followers into thinking for themselves. His preferred media outlet? A literary genre called the parable. It's a style of Q&A wherein the teacher doesn't give the answer but challenges the listener with a half-finished story that forces him to think through to the answer by himself. The radical right has swapped out this genius preacher for some easy listening. They insist that everything will be fine if we just nail the Ten Commandments above every courthouse.

Curious. Jesus updated the Ten Commandments in his most famous speech, the Sermon on the Mount. In it, one finds the Eight Beatitudes. Why don't we ever hear about nailing those somewhere? Here's why: It's not simply the law in the Ten Commandments that attracts fundamentalists. Rather, it's the syntax. The authoritarianism of so many "Thou Shalt Nots."

The Jesus who speaks in the Gospels is nothing like the fuming Republican Jesus I see on TV now. Jesus was a leader who understood that ambiguity and doubt are not to be feared but are, simply, facts of life that a great teacher exploits to guide his followers on their own paths toward conviction and belief.

Here is a quote from Jesus that you almost never hear: "What do you think?" It's right there in the Bible. Jesus asks this question all the time.

One parable Jesus taught was this one, from Matthew: "What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go." Jesus' disciples all strenuously raised their hands. They knew the answer! The first son was the most virtuous!

Whereupon Jesus (whose sense of humor is underrated) replied: "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you."

something to think about, eh? anyway, I'm content to wait and let others go into the kindgom of God before me :)

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

boyhood at it's finest...

one of my funnier flickr pics:
Northwoods Inn
"Wowee, they don't teach this at school!!"

Monday, April 25, 2005

study finds email worse than marijuana...

After 80 clinical sessions the result of a study out of King's College London University has found that office workers constantly bombarded by phone calls, emails and text messages who feel compelled to respond immediately to the distractions are suffering from a higher loss of IQ than marijuana smokers. Dr. Glenn Wilson reported the study showed a 10 point drop in IQ by the office workers which is the equivalent of the IQ drop seen in those who loose an entire nights sleep. Marijuana smokers who were studied had only a 4 point drop in their IQ.

thanks to Is It Just Me? for sharing the story. gee, maybe I could get a study funded showing how blogging is better than pot. of course I'll have to get some smokers as a control group...

my earlier Einstein interest is spreading...

lifted pic from todays main page. notice the way I have of tapping into the groove (see earlier posts)? keep reading my blog and you'll see.

also I found out that the Skirball Cultural Center in L.A. has a special exhibition on the super genius going on now. maybe the awesome family will go see it...

"my father's house has many rooms..."

this weekend was a spiritual one for the awesome's, in a variety of ways. first, we went to a real native american pow-wow which was a first for me and very cool. I connected with the great spirit via drums, chants, dancing, burning sage and shaking hands with about a hundred people.

next up saturday evening was a traditional passover seder. not a first, but I did get have a first experience with slivovitz plum brandy (from hungary). a tasty spirit.

lastly (the first will be last) was church yesterday from which the title of this post comes. the gospel was John 14, a very important chapter which I may later further expound upon. you can check the title link for a cursory look. please don't be confused; I may be a "doubting Thomas", but I am also an "American Catholic" (oh yeah, that really straightens it out, Tom). just don't ask me to explain/defend Mother Teresa.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Winslow Homer original?

I was at an older friends house the other evening who showed me this newly framed work he owns, "Waterfall in the Adirondacks":

he's had the piece for many years. he bought it at a museum that had a Homer exhibit at the time. as it turns out, it may be an original - from which the litho's were made. I forget what the term for it is; not a "master" but some sort of proof or something is stamped on the back. nice watercolor.

maybe something to take on Antique Roadshow next time they're in town?

Friday, April 22, 2005

random thoughts...

I was wondering how they did this shot. maybe the easiest thing to do is photoshop the speed?

trackback test

the link is to a story about water. he's got a trackback thing which I clicked and posted here. so I'm guessing that now that I've posted his link, his trackback counter should increment. I'm figuring this out for myself because (as so often happens in life) relying on others to help is often fruitless.

update -- well obviously I still don't know what I'm doing, as you'll find if you click on the link. but that's how we learn, eh? feel free to comment (is that a cry for help?)

Gadget of the Day: Buffalo LinkTheater Hi-Def Wireless DVD Player

"Buffalo Technology's media player has most of the right features for a streaming media player. First of all, it is wireless. 802.11g and 802.11b are supported. You can also use a wired connection if necessary. It connects to your computer which runs special server software. Or you can connect an external USB hard drive to it. It will search the drive for videos, music, and photos. The easy user interface and remote control provides a simple way to watch or listen to your multimedia. And that can even be hi-def. It will upscale if required your video source to 720p or 1080i. There is also a progressive scan dvd player if you just want to watch a quick movie. This is perfect for the home theater rack. What I really like is that it will play both DivX and WMV-HD."

(thanks to
for the info)

I've seen these things before. the thing that bugs me is you have to have your pc on. this device is interesting in that this allows you to connect a USB drive. so with the wireless access, could this player also share that drive - act as a server in other words? that would be sweet, 'cause I could do file transfers as needed from PC to USB drive, but keep the two machine independent.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

random quotes...

If you think you're too small to make a difference, you've never been in bed with a mosquito.
- Anita Roddick, Founder, The Body Shop

Artsy Science

Artsy Science

kewl micro-photography. hey maybe this one should be on my blogroll? check on that and get back to me, will ya?

Enterprise Architecture Compendium

Bhavesh is spending some brainpower and sharing. worth reading.

Enterprise Architecture Compendium: "Enterprise Architecture Compendium "

from the mind of Brain...

I've actually got an old book this guy wrote on Win32 Services. A collectors item fer sure (lemme know if ya wanna buy). he's totally a futurist now. this is a story about how a computer can replace management...

"Depending on how you want to think about it, it was funny or inevitable or symbolic that the robotic takeover did not start at MIT, NASA, Microsoft or Ford. It started at a Burger-G restaurant in Cary, NC on May 17, 2010. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time, but May 17 marked a pivotal moment in human history. "

Pop Culture stats

Dead Leaves & the Dirty Blogg

movies, music, books... hey what's not to like?

Technorati Tags: ,

my kids say it's awesome, so...

<< OK, y'all know I'm not a Star Wars fan, but I have to admit this sounds like a hoot... a Star Wars video game where everything is built out of animated LEGO blocks!

"Things blow up with fiery explosions, sure, but only a litter of LEGO blocks remain. The illusion is never fiddled with: This is Star Wars (from the original saber and blaster sounds to every character imaginable from the new trilogy), and this is LEGO (from the hairpieces, cup-holder hands, and stumpy block legs that are just as unflattering for Mace Windu as for Princess Amidala). The game's ridiculousness is never lost, either: this is LEGO and this is Star Wars, simultaneously."

(thanx to for the post)

Technorati Tags:

Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003

see the real plans for global domination. naw, not really; it's just more of that paranoid liberal media agenda. ok, don't believe me -- read it yerself!

Technorati Tags:

Charging RINO: Some Final Bolton Links (for Today)

gee, I just don't get what's not to like about the guy? I think the Republicans need a LOT more people like Bolton :)

Technorati Tags:

Technorati Tags bookmarklet

not that I really know what it does. I'm posting it to see. TIA for the code, dude!
Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Einstein and Asperger's (more info)...

news release from couple years ago...

Scientists Wonder if Einstein, Newton Were Autistic
LONDON (Reuters) - Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were geniuses but British scientists believe they may have suffered from Asperger syndrome -- a form of autism.
The condition, first described by Viennese physician Hans Asperger in 1944, is a disorder that causes deficiencies in social and communication skills and obsessive interests.
But it does not affect learning or intellect and many people with AS have exceptional talents or skills.
Although it is impossible to make a definitive diagnosis in people who are dead, Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University and Ioan James of Oxford University studied the personalities of Einstein and Newton to see if the two scientists had symptoms of AS.
"Newton seems a classic case. He hardly spoke, was so engrossed in his work that he often forgot to eat, and was lukewarm or bad-tempered with the few friends he had," New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.
Baron-Cohen said Einstein was also a loner and as a child he repeated sentences obsessively. Although Einstein made friends and spoke out on political issues, Baron-Cohen suspects he showed signs of Asperger syndrome.
"Passion, falling in love and standing up for justice are all perfectly compatible with Asperger syndrome," he told the weekly science magazine.
"What most people with AS find difficult is casual chatting -- they can't do small talk," he added.
But Glen Elliott, a psychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, said geniuses can be socially inept and impatient with other people without being autistic.
"Impatience with the intellectual slowness of others, narcissism and passion for one's mission in life might combine to make such an individual isolative and difficult," he told the magazine.
Baron-Cohen said he hopes the research can improve understanding of Asperger syndrome and make life easier for people who suffer from the condition.

Technorati Tags:

Einstein and Asperger's Syndrome

item I found (emphasis mine):

"Visual thinking is also associated with being intellectually gifted. Albert Einstein was a visual thinker who failed his high school language requirement and relied on visual methods of study (Holton 1971-72). His theory of relativity was based on visual imagery of moving boxcars and riding on light beams. Einstein's family history includes a high incidence of autism, dyslexia, food allergies, high intellectual aptitude, and musical talent, and he himself had many autistic traits - an astute reader can find evidence of them in Einstein and Einstein (1987)."
Einstein, A. & Einstein, M.W. 1987. The collected papers of Albert Einstein. Princeton University Press.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, April 18, 2005

more on Einstein

the book Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (Living Philosophers Volume 7) by Paul Arthur Schilpp (Editor) (Hardcover - March 1, 2001) has been recommended to me, and now from I to you. that is, if you really want to know more than those unsusbstantiated quotes (which I understand may be fake -- gee does that mean they are up for grabs?) anyway, it can be had used for as little as $8.45. Only catch is it's in German (with translation, I believe). so maybe I'll see if it's at the local library...

Technorati Tags:

blog blocks

my moments of lucidity are generally not accompanied by pc monitors, keyboards and writing pads. if I had a tool just take a mental snapshot of my thoughts and publish that, I'd produce much more writing. hopefully frequent posting will get me past these blocks.

Einstein quotes (I can't vouch for their accuracy):

"God does not play dice."

"The essential in the existence of a man like me is what he thinks and how he thinks, not what he does or suffers."

"One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality."

"It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day."

"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

"A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from their self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive."

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible...
But not simpler!"

"The truth of a theory is in your mind, not in your eyes."

" of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought."

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"Its a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

"When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?""

"I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation."

"No problem can be solved at the level of abstraction that created it, we need to move a step higher."

Technorati Tags:

Monday, April 11, 2005

wiped it out...

well, not that it is any great loss, but yesterday after I made a template change, my posts disappeared. or was it that I changed the blog title? just a little disconcerting.