Thursday, March 30, 2006

how to get more female scientists...

yes, another blatant reposting and repackaging of some pretty good material. this is kinda relevant based on an LA Times article today (see title link). I should mention that I got this from a google cache and it is not currently available live (AFAIK) enjoy!:

July 26, 2005 PM
The Depp Conspiracy by Aaron Voorhees

For Immediate Release: New Public Relations Director for Science announced. Yes, this may come as a shock for many of you, but I have officially nominated and voted myself in for the position. Already, I have designed up such ad campaigns as: “Science: Girls Get in Free”, “Science invented Rock & Roll”, and “Math - the Gateway Drug.”

You may be wondering what right a literature geek has to this title. “A man with the math and science skills of a trained poodle marketing science, pshaw” you may be muttering to your spouse or newspaper reading companion. Good for you I say, a sound observation. Let us take the hypothesis that I, like most Americans, am about as interested in Science as I am in soccer. As in, I like the uniforms and the concept, but I do not really dabble in it or even watch it that often. Can we change this law of science? Probably not. However, through clever advertising I aim to change this trend in America’s social science.
First, myself or one of my clever staff members need to write a clever screenplay about Galileo and get Johnny Depp to play the title role. This will fit in with my theory that Johnny Depp can make anything seem cool and that once he plays a dashing scientist that all the attractive women on the planet will begin to think hanging out in a laboratory is romantic and that lab coats are sexy.
The next test for our scientific method is to talk Sarah Vowel, or some other literate master, into writing a book about the history of one of the great Greek or Indian female scientists. Forget about the DaVinci Code and its holy grail quest. Let us see the New York Times Best Seller list when people realize that science was the godmother of religious scandal.
You may be wondering why such the fuss to get Americans back into science. Well, one day on an intelligent talk show I heard that the chance of the next Einstien coming from America are almost nil. That India had the best chance in the future. Not that I have any problems with India, but I would like to think that we could at least make a run for such an honorary title.
Now, as I go back to school to get my teaching credential, I want to someday be able to say, “2005, yes, that was the year I stopped caring so much about politics and started campaigning for Science.” Of course there is a good chance I will get fired from my self-appointed position, but if you think that is going to stop me from putting my foot in my mouth, then think again. Because I will keep on blindly cheerleading for science at least until next week when I put it on the back bunsen burner in order to play croquet with some college girls.
Hmmm. Historical aside here: Theano was the wife of Pythagoras and ran his school after his untimely death. She is credited with writing the treatise on the Golden Mean. Theano was born c. 546 B.C. which is many generations before Aristotle and his Golden Mean ethical treatise. Maybe this book or screenplay should have Johhny Depp, or I mean Galileo, travel back in time to meet the alluring Theano at a croquet match. Yes, you are correct, it was not invented yet. It will be a dream sequence.
Go ahead, start calling for my resignation. The good thing about being self-appointed; Nobody can vote you out.

Travelissimo – You Can Travel Easy, Or You Can Travelissimo

this is a guest post by fellow blogger Aaron Voorhees. I thought it was funny, so am blatantly (as in without permission) reposting here. so let's see if he can get a rise out of you readers:

August 12, 2005 PM

Why All The Opposing?

People often ask me, “Aaron why is it that you talk to an imaginary audience when you write your columns.” And I often say, “Please people, can you not see that I am writing an important piece of prose that may or may not save the world.” This is usually when my editor says, “Aaron are you arguing with imaginary people again. I think it is time you started seeing a psychiatrist.” Luckily, my editor fired me ages ago.
Let us get to the true meat of your question. You are wondering if this imaginary audience truly believes that I have something of relevance to say or if I just pay them to ask interested. To be honest with you, I am not quite sure myself. Sometimes I give mere acquaintances rides to the airport and then when they leave for the gate thanking me and promising to re-pay the favor, I casually mention I would appreciate if they read my column “at this web site, and here’s a card that has it in case you forget and if you are too busy to read these days maybe you could just read a paragraph on every commercial break for ‘Alias’ or ‘Spongebob Squarepants” or whatever you watch, and if the commercials are the Super Bowl quality ones you could always take a laptop with you to your next dental appointment.”
This brings us to the the little pink elephant of a question that you, my fantasy audience, are hinting at: “Why are you, Mr. Voorhees, writing a column for a web-site by the name of A jolly good question. The answer is simple. Although the opinions expressed by others on this web site do not always reflect my own, the people involved with creating content for this site all do have their own style of radical creativity. As a craftsman of written word, I look forward to being on this platform of spirited debate and quality artistic expression.
Thus, for the foreseeable future you can read my column every Monday morning here at . . . Feel free to tell all of your imaginary friends too. I might even pretend to pick them up at the airport.
For those of you who have been following my mentor Mickey Buckle and his diatribe about the state of humanity in the Belltown Messenger of Seattle, rest assured that he is enjoying his sabbatical and still will not comment about the “artistic differences” that led to said break in his working relationship with the Messenger staff. He is currently living on his boat and writing his highly anticipated novel, “I believe the Flowers are our Future.” He has asked me to tell all of you that, “The commie-pinko, Rupert Murdoch-puppeted, newspaper-machine will never silence him.” It is my honor to be able to say that Mr. Buckle has promised to join me in writing occasional travel-related pieces for an upcoming novella entitled “Travelissimo.” There is still some debate between the two of us on whether the subtitle will be “You can Travel Easy or You Can Travelissimo” or “Ride Till You Find Them and Kill them All.” If you know which of us has thought up which subtitle you have definitely turned the television off and become part of my hip, happinin’ imaginary audience.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

the intellectual snob test

are you a snob?
ok, just for yucks, I took the poll. here are the results (btw I'm not a snobby as the person who gave me the link):

The Snob!
You are 70% intellectual snob.
Congratulations, you're a bonafide snob. You probably know your James Joyce, your Salman Rushdie, and you've seen "Rashomon." You are the meat and pototoes of the black-wearing, novel-toating, library-frequenting intellectual crowd.
The UP side! Membership to any group feels pretty good...even those whose members all claim to be independent. It's fairly easy to spot your own; just crack open that well worn copy of Catcher in the Rye in front of some little greasy spoon and you've identified yourself as a member of the elite.

The DOWN side Intellectuals, just like high school preps, are constantly jockeying for position, and you're probably not at the top of the ladder. Y'know that one friend you have that you're constantly trying to impress? That's the alpha. Without some serious studying, he/she will forever look down on you as just slightly better than the slobbering illiterate masses you so despise.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

quotes for today...

"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs." - Scott Adams

"Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think." - Chinese Proverb

"All generalizations are dangerous, even this one." - Alexandre Dumas

Saturday, March 18, 2006

predestination for dummies (or "orange you glad I wore green"?)...

yesterday being a lenten friday, instead of celebrating st. patricks day with corned beef and green beer, we went to our local parish fish fry put on by the knights of columbus. there, during our meal, one of the topics my eight year old son was demonstrating to us his recent discovery of the middle finger hand gesture and it's meaning. some might have been shocked to see him do this at church, especially since just as he was showing this to my wife, a priest came wandering by to say "hi" and shake hands. I thought it was hilarious and was thinking "if I only had my camera!". it's that kind of funny crude humor that people really appreciate -- a little boy flipping off a priest to his face. but nope, that photo op was lost so you'll have to just picture it yourself (the pic of one of my favorite holy men - Johnny Cash will help). the priest seemed oblivious, he was just spreading good cheer and nicely shook Zach's middle fingered hand.

another dinnertime topic, it being st. paddy's day, was the tradition of the "wearing o' the green". do you know the significance of wearing orange on st. patricks day? it was done by protestants to distinguish themselves from the catholics as a form of protest or insult. historically this goes back to the Battle of Boyne in 1690 when the protestant King William (of orange, holland) defeated the british catholic King James. I asked my older son if he knew what a protestant was. nope. I explained they are christians that have some different beliefs from catholics. so inquiring minds want to know -- what's the difference?

I tried to explain with my rusty knowledge the doctrine of "by faith alone" and predestination - the split by John Calvin way back in the middle ages. I didn't get very far. so we moved on... to the fact that I had just noticed both my sons were wearing orange jackets over their green shirts. coincidence or...?

later, my interest piqued, I jumped on the net to do a little followup research. what is the significance of predestination? what were those people protesting that made them protestants? I remember one of the things was the practice of "indulgences" by which if you had enough money you could buy your way into heaven -- really! anyway, that's what some in the church wanted you to believe. to a certain degree that epitimizes what it was (and still is) all about. the catholic idea is that if you have faith, you will do the right thing; that faith without works is meaningless. and the "right thing" varies, but somehow "good catholics" all do it. protestants insist that they are saved from hell "by faith alone" - "solo fide"; that only God's grace and the forgiveness of Jesus wins us a place in heaven. the idea is that all knowing God already knows who will go to heaven, everyone will be judged and some will make it, some not. so if we are already doomed, there is nothing we can do, say, or think to earn a place in heaven. even if we have free will. contradictory?

both sides have plenty to say about the matter (see the links below).

so what is my take? are we all doomed because we're all imperfect sinners and have no choice? was it predestined that my son would accidently flip off the priest? was it predestined that I couldn't share a picture, but could share the story? was it predestined that you are reading this? who knows?

my favorite predestination example is about the lottery - your odds of winning millions are so small, there is nothing you can do to ensure a win. so you don't have to do anything - including buying a lottery ticket. because if it is meant to happen, it will happen and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. so don't bother trying because all effort is futile. and yet we still buy the tickets; without good reason people just won't give up. they still believe in luck or magical thinking. maybe that's the same with faith - we have no good reason to believe and yet we still do, still go through the motions and rituals even though it doesn't matter. because hey, you can't earn a ticket to heaven, it's a free ride. but we still try.
in the end, maybe that's what really matters.

predestination as the catholic encyclopedia 'splains it.
Not by Faith Alone: A Biblical Study of the Catholic Doctrine of Justification - read the reviews, particulary the 2 star rating by "theologicalresearcher".
the "troubles" of northern ireland in a nutshell.
northern ireland: more in depth material from bbc

Friday, March 10, 2006

the effect of Chris Pirillo...

just heard a rumor about my old lockergnome buddy: that if you mention him in a blog post, he will leave you a comment. such is the amazing power of our search engines. hard to believe but apparently true. well, can you prove that it is really left by him and not one of his merry pranksters? yes, very easily as a matter of fact. if you subscribe to his email newsletter you know that he always has some funky phrase in the suubject line. so Chris, alls ya gotta do is post your comment here BEFORE that particular newsletter is sent. otherwise we all know that the Chris Pirillo effect is an urban legend. of course, another likely event (if you peruse at my blog's paucity of comments) is that Chris (or one of his trained monkeys) will miss my little niche of the 'net - thus disproving the effect. ok, the testing has begun! I will post the results...

PS: if it IS true, I will attempt the same feat - mention tomawesome in your blog and I will leave a comment. that is the "tomawesome challenge"!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

just do it (anyway)...

this being Oscar sunday, what am I doing? went to church of course! first sunday of Lent, so seemed a good idea. (hey doesn't the statue look like he's praying?) heard a poem attributed to Mother Teresa that I wanted to share here. so as usual, I googled it to find the text and came across what seems to be just a bit of plagiarism. I guess we're all a bit sinner and saint eh?

1. The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

-this version is credited to Mother Teresa


2. The Original Version:

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

"The Paradoxical Commandments" were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.

on this day of rest
currently chilling to:
Q-Burns Abstract Message/Feng Shui Groove
Mr. Gone/Equation Boogie
Wagon Christ/Saddic Gladdic
VHS or Beta/Solid Gold

Thursday, March 02, 2006

chances are...

I was lost inside a daydream
swimming through or sailing
I looked at you and you breathed in
but that's the way it's always been.
it all comes down to creating time
you don't always have to make it rhyme
we'll all drive far in our hybrid lives
chances are,
we'll make it back.

I was doing time in the L.A. jail
my crime was living inside a failure
no matter how, it don't matter now
rest assured, the rest is blurred.
it all comes down to doing time
you don't always have to make it a crime
we'll all drive off in our hybrid lives
chances are,
we'll make it back...

Terence McKenna said
it is better to explore within
we were apes before we spoke of sin
the cosmos sits on the tip of a pin
it all comes down to creating time.
you don't always have to make it alright
we'll all drive by with our hybrid lives
chances are,
we'll make it back...

see also: