Friday, December 31, 2010

Sprinting to the finish line

Got a new (FREE) Android phone and a new carrier, Sprint. I almost feel like I'm in the 21st century.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ancient humans, dubbed 'Denisovans', interbred with us

Ancient humans, dubbed 'Denisovans', interbred with us
By Pallab Ghosh | Science correspondent, BBC News
22 December 2010 Last updated at 13:03 ET

"Scientists say an entirely separate type of human identified from bones in Siberia co-existed and interbred with our own species.
The ancient humans have been dubbed Denisovans after the caves in Siberia where their remains were found."

Wow. This is, as Mr. Spok would say, fascinating. I wonder what it would have been like if there were two different sentient species on Earth. No, it would never happen. We'd kill off the other one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

You know you're getting old when. . .

It's Christmas morning (well, afternoon, really). We go down to open presents and what do I find for me under the tree?

A six-pack of underwear.

Guess what? I was THRILLED! I really needed some new underwear. My son got some cool things and a bit of ca$h and I was probably as excited as he was.

Yes, I'm getting old.

Friday, December 24, 2010

BioWare Defends Gay Relationships in its Games

BioWare Defends Gay Relationships in its Games
December 24, 2010

"Dragon Age senior writer David Gaider and author of the prequel novels, defended BioWare's decision to include same-sex romances in its fantasy RPG. Posting in the BioWare forums, Gaider said that romances are optional content, so it did not make sense for players to rail against content they would not see unless they actively pursued it. In other words, unless you are seeking a gay relationship, you will not see it in the game."

This seems like a reasonable situation to me. If you have a problem with homosexuality then don't go looking for gays to hook up with in game. Is that really so difficult to understand?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Solstice-eclipse overlap first in 456 years

Solstice-eclipse overlap first in 456 years
BY REBECCA LINDELL, POSTMEDIA NEWS DECEMBER 16, 2010

OTTAWA — "This year's winter solstice — an event that will occur next Tuesday — will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn't been seen in 456 years."
[...]
"The eclipse will start just after midnight Eastern Time on Tuesday, with the main event starting at 1:30 a.m. ET and lasting until 5:30 a.m., when the moon reappears."

This should be at it's zenith at 3:17am Tuesday morning. Well worth setting your alarm for.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mobile Format Added

Blogger has added a mobile layout feature. This is supposed to make things better for mobile access. Since I don't have a smart phone (yet) I can't tell if it's worth using. However, I've enabled it just in case. If anyone "out there" hits the blog on a mobile device could you let me know how it looks? Thanks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

LHC spots no black holes, eliminates some versions of string theory

LHC spots no black holes, eliminates some versions of string theory
By John Timmer

"The results continue to pour out of the LHC's first production run. This week, the folks behind the CMS detector have announced the submission of a paper to Physics Letters that describes a test of some forms of string theory. If this form of the theory were right, the LHC should have been able to produce small black holes that would instantly decay (and not, as some had feared, devour the Earth). But a look at the data obtained by CMS shows that a signature of the black holes' decay is notably absent."

More cool science news from the LHC.  A while back I remember watching something on the Science Channel (if I remember right) about the origins of the Universe and how the mathematics of String Theory wasn't working.  Here's some practical experimentation to go with the theoretical side of things.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Study: Depression, Not Violent Media, is a Predictor of Aggressive Behavior

Study: Depression, Not Violent Media, is a Predictor of Aggressive Behavior
December 14, 2010

"New research by one Dr. Christopher Ferguson from Texas A&M International University finds that depression in young people has more of a correlation to aggressive and violent behavior than gaming does - at least among Hispanics. While the study was narrowed to one demographic, the conclusions are nonetheless interesting."

Anyone who's into gaming knows that this is true.

Is WikiLeaks DDoS a cyberwar? Not by a long stretch

Is WikiLeaks DDoS a cyberwar? Not by a long stretch
December 14, 2010 — 10:43am ET | By Paul Mah

"Angered at various companies who declined to help keep WikiLeaks online, a loosely associated group who calls themselves "Anonymous" have banded together to exact vengeance against companies such as Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa. And what better way to demonstrate their displeasure than to launch crippling Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks on these companies and bring their business-critical infrastructure to their collective knees?"

It's all about perspective. Read this and then imagine what a real attack would be like.

Navy’s New Railgun Shoots at Mach 7, Can Hit Targets 100 Miles Away

Navy’s New Railgun Shoots at Mach 7, Can Hit Targets 100 Miles Away
December 13th, 2010 3:58 PM | by Jennifer Welsh in Physics & Math, Technology

"Last week the Navy took its best shot – and it was a doozy. The shot, fired on December 10th, broke the world record for the most powerful shot, as the 23-pound aluminum projectile rocketed out of the Navy's electromagnetic railgun at a reported speed of Mach 7, or seven times the speed of sound."

Awesome doesn't begin to describe this feat. When this technology becomes field operational it will have a serious impact on the battlefield.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The wind is no longer at Voyager’s back

The wind is no longer at Voyager's back
December 13th, 2010 3:13 PM | by Phil Plait in Cool stuff, Space

"But now, after 33 years, that has changed: at 17 billion kilometers (10.6 billion miles) from the Sun, the spacecraft has reached the point where the solar wind has slowed to a stop. Literally, the wind is no longer at Voyager’s back."

This is a distance that is mind boggling. That is 515,151,515.1K a year; 1,410,407.98K a day; or just under 58,767K an hour. Thirty-three years at nearly sixty thousand kilometers an hour and we've barely left our own neighborhood.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Czech "peter meter" test for gay asylum seekers slammed by EU

Czech "peter meter" test for gay asylum seekers slammed by EU
Andrea James at 7:16 AM Thursday, Dec 9, 2010

"If you think a TSA grope is bad, gay men seeking asylum in the Czech Republic are forced to drop their pants and get hooked up to a penile plethysmograph to find out just how gay they are. After the "peter meter" device is attached to their penises, they are subjected to all kinds of pornography to see what happens to their junk. This test then determines if they can seek asylum."

This is a multiple reminder of how great it is in the US. We complain about the TSA pat-down when others are forced to endure much worse. Second, we are in the middle of a debate for the rights of gays to marry when gays in other countries are lucky if they aren't killed or imprisoned. I am, and have been for a long time, a supporter of gay rights. But every so often it is sobering to see how much better the situation is in our little corner of the planet.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Got Game: How to Keep Girls Interested in Computer Science

Got Game: How to Keep Girls Interested in Computer Science
By Suzie Boss 12/9/10

"When the regular school day ends at Maryland's Springbrook High School, the fun begins in earnest for girls who are part of an after-school club that focuses on game programming. They not only excel at technology challenges, says their teacher, Pat Yongpradit, but they are breaking a longstanding -- and worrisome -- trend in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Instead of avoiding higher-level classes in computer science, these girls are signing up in droves."

This is a great program that more schools should be implementing. Getting girls involved in STEM is, in my view, a critical need. Recent studies have shown that girls are not inherently inferior to boys when it comes to the "hard sciences." They may, in fact, be inherently better. The biggest impediment for girls are the social biases most cultures have. Even now, ten years into the 21st century, in the US, there is still a cultural bias that penalizes smart girls. It is getting better, slowly. To slowly, in my opinion. Luckily, there are a number of places on the web where girls can find like minded peers. . .
These sites aren't just for girls, though.  Anyone who likes anything related to techieness[1] will find all kinds of fun and interesting things there, regardless of gender.

[1] Yes, I made that up

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Belmont faces criticism for gay coach's departure

Belmont faces criticism for gay coach's departure
By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer – Wed Dec 8, 9:54 pm ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – "Students at Belmont University protested the departure of the women's soccer coach again on Wednesday, calling on the school to make amends after her players say she was let go for telling them she is expecting a child with her same-sex partner."

Someday someone is going to explain to me why the hell people care about who others are sleeping with. And I'm not talking about fabricated nonsense like the rhetoric spouted by the pseudo-religious zealots. I want a honest, meaningful, rational reason. But I think that is where the problem lies. There is nothing rational about hate.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Sexism in the Open Source world

Recently, I ran across a number of great posts about women in the open source world that, realistically, could be extended into the entire tech industry. I encourage everyone to read them -
I have been in the tech industry for almost 30 years. I've seen this kind of behavior and, to my regret, been an occasional party to some of it in my much younger days. As a male techie, I realize where this comes from. However, it doesn't take much for any person to overcome these kind of actions and reactions. There truly is no reason for women to be seen as anything less than the great minds and quality techies that they are.

Due to this behavior, some have come up with an "Example anti-harassment policy for conferences." This is a good place to start to try and squash this scourge from our industry.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thai court set to rule on fate of ruling party

Thai court set to rule on fate of ruling party
AP foreign, Monday November 29 2010

BANGKOK (AP) — "Judges from Thailand's Constitutional Court are deciding whether to disband the ruling party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over charges it misused government funds."

More instability in Southeast Asia. The troubles in Thailand have been going on for quite a while. Unfortunately, with the situation on the Korean peninsula being what it is, this will not help stabilize the region. It would behoove the Western nations to do more for the countries in the area. Not necessarily monetarily, but politically.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Trivial trivia for you

On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed. This is common knowledge the world over. What you might not have know is that, for three days after, there were no reported suicides in the US. That means that people resumed killing themselves on November 26th, 1963. Which reminds me... A happy birthday wish to my sister, who is 47 today.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dark energy and flat Universe exposed by simple method

Dark energy and flat Universe exposed by simple method
By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News | 24 November 2010 Last updated at 13:45 ET

"Researchers have developed a simple technique that adds evidence to the theory that the Universe is flat.

Moreover, the method - developed by revisiting a 30-year-old idea - confirms that "dark energy" makes up nearly three-quarters of the Universe.

The research, published in Nature, uses existing data and relies on fewer assumptions than current approaches."

The concepts of Dark Energy and Dark Matter are fascinating. Their implications make for exciting conceptual visions of reality.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Airport security and the American soul

Airport security and the American soul
By Kevin Connolly
BBC News, Washington | 24 November 2010 Last updated at 15:13 ET

"As Americans count the blessings which providence has showered over them this Thanksgiving holiday, a division has emerged over how they should view the security staff on duty at the nation's airports.

Should they acclaim the staff of the Transportation Safety Authority - who are, after all, working on a public holiday - for protecting them with their ceaseless vigilance?

Or should they find something sinister in the new full-body screening machines and pat-down procedures which are making air travel here an ever less joyful experience?

At the heart of the debate are conflicting impulses within the American soul towards state authority.
"

This is a very interesting take on the whole TSA "pat-down" issue. As a US citizen who spent the majority of his life growing up in Europe (17 of my first 25 years, including 12 straight from the age of 13 to 25) I think I have a unique perspective here. I can see both sides of the debate. This article should help those citizens who have no experience outside of the States see things from a different angle.

This issue is not as black and white as it might seem.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tensions high as North, South Korea trade shelling

Tensions high as North, South Korea trade shelling
By HYUNG-JIN KIM and KWANG-TAE KIM, Associated Press – Tue Nov 23, 5:49 pm ET

NCHEON, South Korea – "North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday along their disputed frontier, raising tensions between the rivals to their highest level in more than a decade. The communist nation warned of more military strikes if the South encroaches on the maritime border by "even 0.001 millimeter.""

Heaven above! I really do not want WWIII to breakout in my lifetime. Nor in my sons.

I am serious, people. North Korea has nothing to lose by starting a war. Even the worst despots in the Middle East don't want an all out war.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scientist: NKorea built uranium enriching facility

Scientist: NKorea built uranium enriching facility
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press - Sun Nov 21, 11:00 am ET

SEOUL, South Korea "North Korea's claim of a new, highly sophisticated uranium enrichment facility could be a ploy to win concessions in nuclear talks or an attempt to bolster leader Kim Jong Il's apparent heir.

But whatever the reason for the revelation, which a seasoned American nuclear scientist called "stunning," it provides a new set of worries for the Obama administration, which is sending its special envoy on North Korea for talks with officials in South Korea, Japan and China this week."

Maybe now others will see why I have been much more concerned about North Korea than anything happening in the Middle East or Asia. Al Qaeda is sending bombs in printer cartridges. North Korea has ICBMs with multi-warhead capable payloads.

Duck and cover? I don't think so.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Antimatter atoms produced and trapped at CERN

Antimatter atoms produced and trapped at CERN
PR22.10 | 17.11.2010

Geneva, 17 November 2010. "The ALPHA experiment at CERN1 has taken an important step forward in developing techniques to understand one of the Universe's open questions: is there a difference between matter and antimatter? In a paper published in Nature today, the collaboration shows that it has successfully produced and trapped atoms of antihydrogen. This development opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen, which will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter."

One step closer to warp drive.

Or total annihilation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Proof of extra dimensions possible next year: CERN

Proof of extra dimensions possible next year: CERN
By Robert Evans
GENEVA | Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:03pm EST

(Reuters) - "Scientists at the CERN research center say their "Big Bang" project is going beyond all expectations and the first proof of the existence of dimensions beyond the known four could emerge next year."

This is very exciting news! I am so stoked to see if this comes to fruition. Imagine the possibilities.

Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick

Dog owner can't forgive Michael Vick
November 16, 2010|Bill Plaschke

"While Michael Vick was screaming toward the sky, a black pit bull named Mel was standing quietly by a door.

On this night, like many other nights, Mel was waiting for his owners to take him outside, but he couldn't alert them with a bark. He doesn't bark. He won't bark. The bark has been beaten out of him.
"

Can there be any forgiveness for something like this? I have to honestly admit that I am torn in this case. On the one hand, this kind of cruelty is unspeakable. While not as horrendous as if the victims were human, it is but a small step down from there. On the other hand, he did "pay his debt to society" and does have the right to reclaim his life back. However, on the gripping hand, there is no way to tell what is in his heart regarding the actions and deeds he has done. How can we know if he has truly repented for his crimes?

I can't answer that question.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is North Korea poised to revolutionize cyber warfare?

Is North Korea poised to revolutionize cyber warfare?
By Kevin Coleman
Nov 15, 2010

"A recent cyberattack on South Korean government websites that compromised classified documents shows the skill of the adversaries we face in the cyber realm. The event, allegedly carried out by the North Korean army's elite hacker unit, went all but unnoticed by the vast majority of cyber stakeholders. It is one of several recent cyberattacks of importance attributed to North Korea."

This is one of the reasons why I still fear North Korea more than Iraq, Iran or anywhere else in the Middle East. They have nothing to lose.

Life Won’t Be Same for MoH Recipient Giunta

Life Won’t Be Same for MoH Recipient Giunta
November 16, 2010
Stars and Stripes | by Leo Shane III

WASHINGTON -- "Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta has made no attempt to hide just how uncomfortable he is with the attention and accolades surrounding the Medal of Honor that he’ll formally receive on Tuesday."

I feel so proud of this kid. Like every other MoH or Silver Star recipient, he doesn't see himself as a hero. As he put it, “I’m a regular line Soldier".

There was an NCIS episode titles "Call of Silence" in which Charles Durning played a WWII MoH recipient. Durning actually did serve in the war and was awarded several decorations, including the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Hearts. He was also one of a few survivors of the infamous massacre of American POWs by German SS troops at Malmedy, Belgium. The character he played in this episode was very much like himself. And, like Sgt. Giunta, the expression of being nothing special and not really deserving of the accolades is part of the character makeup these kind of hero's exhibit.

They were just doing their job.

Monday, November 15, 2010

School's not out yet

Just finished a meeting with my sons teachers.  He's been having some difficulties in school lately. Well, more like always. It's a combination of him and the school system(s). Things should be much better going forward, though. I think his teachers actually listened to me this time. Hopefully he listened, too. Just a little more elbow grease on his part and he'll be kicking @$$ all over the place. This kid has got what it takes to really make something of his future.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Epic Event: CERN's Large Hadron Collider Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'

Epic Event: CERN's Large Hadron Collider Generates a 'Mini-Big Bang'
November 09, 2010

"CERN's enormous Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang" by smashing together lead ions instead of protons on 7 November, creating temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun. The LHC is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near Geneva."

All I can say is...

AWESOME!

You really can't imagine how cool this stuff is for me.

New 'Call of Duty' blasts last year's sales record - Yahoo! News

New 'Call of Duty' blasts last year's sales record - Yahoo! News
By BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK – ""Call of Duty: Black Ops" shattered entertainment records this week when it raked in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale, once again proving that video games have cemented their place in our lives as mainstream entertainment on par with movies and music."

The previous record was MoH: MW2 with 4.7M copies. CoD: Black Ops pushed 5.6M copies. I haven't gotten either of these, yet, but they are on my "I Want This!" list.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mother: 'My Son Is A Silent Hero'

Mother: 'My Son Is A Silent Hero'
Posted: 9:19 am EST November 7, 2010
Updated: 8:54 am EST November 9, 2010

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. -- "Four people charged with killing a teenager appeared before a Douglas County judge on Monday morning.

Quantez Devonta Mallory, Horace Damon Coleman, Emmanuel Benjamin Boykins and Tracen Lamar Franklin are accused of stomping, punching and kicking Bobby Tillman at a party, a beating Tillman's mother called unprovoked."

This is beyond senseless.  The boy was beaten and killed because he was "the next male that walked by."  I don't have words to describe my feelings on reading this.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Irena Sendler, Lifeline to Young Jews, Is Dead at 98

Irena Sendler, Lifeline to Young Jews, Is Dead at 98
By DENNIS HEVESI
Published: May 13, 2008

"Irena Sendler, a Roman Catholic who created a network of rescuers in Poland who smuggled about 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto in World War II, some of them in coffins, died Monday in Warsaw. She was 98."

This was an amazing woman.  If you don't know the story you should look it up.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Is it forest or trees, leaves or weeds

Every so often there is this feeling of total blueness that comes over me. I have mentioned before that it feels like the song "Man in the Wilderness" by Styx.  It has been slowly seeping into my bones for a little while now and finally gained a foothold.  Hopefully this won't last to long.  It has already played havoc with my schoolwork these last two weeks.  If I drop/fail any more classes I'll fall below some predefined limit and could get dropped from the school.  At least that is the worst case scenario.

As I type this there are thirteen minutes until the time switch.  And five more days until my next anniversarial day. Now there's only ten minutes.  Mum just stopped in to see how I'm doing.  I lied and said I'm ok.

Whatever.

I'm going to bed.  Someone wake me for New Years.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Egypt author threatens to sue over Hebrew translation

Egypt author threatens to sue over Hebrew translation
by Marwa Awad; Editing by Peter Graff - Sat Oct 30, 1:35 pm ET

CAIRO (Reuters) – "An Egyptian author said on Saturday he would take legal action against the publishers of an unauthorized Hebrew translation of his bestselling novel, released without his permission by a Jerusalem-based group."

Hmm... Anti-Semitic or pro-copyright? I wonder how the different viewpoints will see this. If the author has the work copyrighted, and it's virtually certain it is, then he is right.  Even though I believe the copyright laws are incredibly horrible and need to be tossed and rewritten from scratch, The "Right to Copy" is, like the rest of the US Constitution's Bill of Rights, an important one.

Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company

Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company
By Paul McDougall, InformationWeek
October 30, 2010 04:00 AM

"I believe that Microsoft as we know it may not be around in another decade--maybe not even in five years. There's hardly a single tech industry trend line pointing in Redmond's favor right now, and some of those curves are about to get a lot steeper, real fast.

So it's hardly surprising recent Microsoft-related news has been pretty much on par with where things stand for the company these days — mostly all bad.
"

It is no secret what my opinion is of Microsoft, the company and their products. But putting that aside, I think that the author here has some very valid points. Microsoft might be the 800 pound gorilla but when things change at light speed that size becomes a handicap. Adapt or die. Microsoft has not been doing well at the former.

Rare Korean reunions go ahead despite gunfire exchange

Rare Korean reunions go ahead despite gunfire exchange
By Jack Kim – Sat Oct 30, 9:09 am ET

SEOUL (Reuters) – "One hundred aging South Koreans drove across a tensely guarded armed border into North Korea on Saturday to be reunited with relatives they had not seen since the 1950-53 Korean War despite tensions between the two sides."

This is interesting in that no one actually got shot.  Makes me entertain some unthinkable thoughts.

Clinton urges calm after China-Japan row at summit

Clinton urges calm after China-Japan row at summit
By Yoko Kubota and Arshad Mohammed – Sat Oct 30, 7:48 am ET

HANOI (Reuters) – "The premiers of China and Japan met at an Asian regional summit in a bid to defuse a territorial dispute on Saturday, while the United States urged Asia's two big economies to cool the standoff and proposed three-way talks."

Somebody needs to sit these two sides down and give them the Gibbs Head Slap.  You know, if Chiang Kai Shek had prevailed instead of Mao, Japan would probably not be a sovereign country today.  But that's beside the point.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Walkman Obit: Remembering the portable player

A Walkman Obit: Remembering the portable player
By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer – Mon Oct 25, 9:01 pm ET

NEW YORK – "The Walkman, the Sony cassette device that forever changed music listening before becoming outdated by digital MP3 players and iPods, has died. It was 31 years old. Sony announced Monday that it has ceased production of the classic, cassette tape Walkman in Japan, effectively sounding the death knell of the once iconic, now obsolete device."

"Memories...  Like the corner of my mind."

I remember when this came out.  It was the Summer between my junior and senior years in high school.  You can't imagine what kind of impact it made.  Before that it was all about carrying the biggest Boombox.  That was fun, but those things got a tad heavy after a while.  Also, the Walkman did more for running/jogging than any shoe company ever did.  (Side note: I never ran or jogged with one but that's only because I never ran or jogged)

Friday, October 22, 2010

WSJ: MySpace, apps share user IDs with advertisers

WSJ: MySpace, apps share user IDs with advertisers
– Fri Oct 22, 8:28 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – "MySpace has been sharing with its advertisers data that can be used to identify user profile pages, but the company doesn't consider that to be a problem."

It's that ever fluctuating definition of private data that'll get you every time.  It doesn't matter who it is or what they profess to be (e.g. "Do no evil"), when it comes to money (re: advertisers), all bets are off.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DADT Conflict Explained: Why Obama Administration Lawyers Fight For A DADT Policy Obama Opposes

DADT Conflict Explained: Why Obama Administration Lawyers Fight For A DADT Policy Obama Opposes
MARK SHERMAN | 10/21/10 06:57 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — "President Barack Obama opposes the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, so why are Obama administration lawyers in court fighting to save it?"

This was interesting. It's a good look into the workings of the Federal Government. At first, it seems counter productive. But once you think about it, it isn't so bad.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oldest Object in Universe Found

Oldest Object in Universe Found
By Irene Klotz
Wed Oct 20, 2010 01:00 PM ET

THE GIST
* The earliest known astronomical object is a galaxy appearing about 600 million years after the universe formed.
* The previously known most distant object was a short-lived gamma ray burst.
* The newly discovered galaxy is interesting to astrophysicists trying to understand how these early objects changed gas in interstellar space.


This is beyond cool.

I know, I'm a total geek.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider
Oct 19, 2010 By Carl Lundstedt in

"Muons and mesons and quarks—oh my! Never fear, Dorothy, the Large Hadron Collider and open-source software willsave the day.

What is at the heart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments? It should not surprise you that open-source software is one of the things that powers the most complex scientific human endeavor ever attempted. I hope to give you a glimpse into how scientific computing embraces open-source software and the open-source philosophy in one of the LHC experiments.
"

Open Source and the LHC. Two of the greatest things to happen in the last 100 years.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Groups challenge expanded Mass. obscenity law

Groups challenge expanded Mass. obscenity law
By Denise Lavoie, Ap Legal Affairs Writer – October 19, 2010 - 15:38

BOSTON – "Internet content providers have asked a judge to stop Massachusetts from enforcing a portion of an expanded obscenity law that includes electronic communications that may be harmful to minors."

You know, at some point we have to ask ourselves just what are we protecting our children from? The less they know about the world the more trouble they get into. Don't teach them about drugs, they go and do drugs. Don't teach them about sex, they go and have sex. Just banning information that is arbitrarily designated as "harmful to minors" is ridiculous. The only way that this could be accomplished is to remove the Internet, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, everything.

One other thing about this that angers me is the lack of responsibility that parents are taking for their children. Instead of raising and teaching their children, they want the government to do it. Now, I'm not going to claim I'm the best parent ever, but I'm not going to pass off my responsibility as a parent to anyone else.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants

Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants
By Anne Flaherty, Associated Press Writer – Tuesday 19, 2010 13:12

WASHINGTON – "A Pentagon spokeswoman says recruiters have been told that they must accept gay applicants, following a federal court decision striking down the ban on gays serving openly in the military."

As so it begins. I hope that things go smoothly during this initial foray into don't ask do tell.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water Crisis - Blog Action Day 2010

Seventy-one percent our planet is covered by water. There's more water than anything else on the surface of the world.

Yet thousands die for lack of it.

Recently we have seen two disasters that have done major harm to the water; the Gulf oil spill and the sludge pouring out of Hungary. Yet these two "disasters" are, if you'll pardon the metaphor, like spitting in the ocean compared to the 2 million tons a day of waste polluting the worlds water supply. What is this waste?

It's shit.
Literally human waste.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.
Join the global conversation around water on October 15th.

What can be done about it?

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Year in Sanity: Constance McMillen

The Year in Sanity: Constance McMillen
When her high school tried to exclude her and her girlfriend from prom, the teen kept a cool head -- and won big
By Thomas Rogers

"Teenagers have endless reasons to be crazy -- the stress of school, the rush of hormones, Justin Bieber's haircut. So just imagine being Constance McMillen. Last winter, the gay 18-year-old was told by officials at her school, Mississippi's Atawamba Agricultural High School, that she couldn't bring her girlfriend to her senior prom. From that low point, things just got worse. After McMillen circulated a petition to protest the decision, the school board canceled the prom altogether, turning her into a target of peer scorn and her cause into a national story."

Hopefully this story will be a lesson to the future bigoted schools. I doubt it, though. Closed minds that hate aren't changed no matter how much they are punished. It just makes them even more stubbornly closed minded.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Judge orders military to stop enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell'

Judge orders military to stop enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell'
By Adam Levine, CNN
October 12, 2010 8:58 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- "A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the U.S. military to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, putting an end to the ban on openly gay troops.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' permanent worldwide injunction -- praised by gay rights organizations -- orders the military "immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced" under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"

A step in the right direction. Still, if the "soldier on the ground" doesn't buy into this there will be problems. If this is going to work the Brass need to make this look like it's not being forced on the military.

Good luck with that.
Powered by ScribeFire.

MoH to Green Beret Killed in Afghanistan

MoH to Green Beret Killed in Afghanistan
October 06, 2010
Associated Press

"With the war in Afghanistan about to grind past another milestone, President Barack Obama on Wednesday honored the sacrifice of an Army Green Beret who died there by awarding him the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor."

The stories of these MoH recipients can't be told enough times.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Missionaries of Hate: Vanguard Trailer

Missionaries of Hate: Vanguard Trailer

"Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Uganda to trace the influence of American evangelical leaders on a proposed law that could make being gay punishable by death."

Originally aired Wednesday, July 14 at 10/9c on Current TV, this is one of the most frightening things I've seen in a long time. Words can't explain how insane things are getting.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Schneier on Security: Stuxnet

Schneier on Security: Stuxnet
October 7, 2010

"Computer security experts are often surprised at which stories get picked up by the mainstream media. Sometimes it makes no sense. Why this particular data breach, vulnerability, or worm and not others? Sometimes it's obvious. In the case of Stuxnet, there's a great story."

The more we know about security the better prepared we are to react to attacks. Bruce Schneier is one of the top experts in computer/technology security. Well worth following even if you aren't a techie.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Officials: wall of Hungary sludge lake will fall

Officials: wall of Hungary sludge lake will fall
By Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writer – Sun Oct 10, 9:10 am ET

KOLONTAR, Hungary – "The wall of a reservoir filled with caustic red sludge will inevitably collapse and unleash a new deluge of red sludge that could flow about a half-mile (1 kilometer) to the north, a Hungarian official said Sunday."

As I said earlier, this has the potential of being much worse than the Gulf oil spill. These are the kind of environmental dangers we should be working on. Instead, we send millions to the fictitious "Global Warming/Climate Change" racketeers.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

North Korea Opens up Internet for National Anniversary

North Korea Opens up Internet for National Anniversary
Martyn Williams – Sat Oct 9, 10:00 am ET

"North Korea appears to have made its first full connection to the Internet. The connection, planning for which has been going on for at least nine months, came as the reclusive country prepares to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea with a massive celebration and military parade."

Interesting, this. One might be tempted into thinking that maybe there are some cracks in the wall of North Korea's isolation. I, however, am skeptical. An old saying comes to mind, here.

"A leopard can't changes its spots."
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Women in tech: The reality and the movies

I happened upon two articles recently that made a good bookend to the topic of women in technology. The first was published in Salon and titled Female programmers on "The Social Network". This one looks at how women are portrayed in the now film. The second, published in Radar by O'Reilly, is titled Women helping women get into tech.

The former basically shows women as, and I quote, "gold-diggers, drunken floozies and that 'bitch' who got away." If this movie were made as late as the early 90's it wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption (though it would still be incorrect). But we're into the second decade of the 21st century. Women have proven that they are at least the equal of men in the industry. In my experience they are usually better. The latter article is an interview with Sara Chippsco, founder of Girl Develop IT. This is a "place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment" that is focused on helping women.

My career in the Tech world started in 1982 but I've been a techie allot longer than that. Over the decades I have seen the kind of reactions the male dominated world of tech, particularly the arena of computer programming, women receive. While it has gotten better (subjectively, I admit), most of the time women are either seen as not smart enough so they got the job by "other" means or are hit on by everything with a pulse. In all honesty, I have been guilty of the second characteristic in my youth. But I digress.

During my time, however, I have met some women who were incredible programmers. For a while I worked with a girl named Stef who was, well, I'll never be as good at programming as she was. I have met women who are extremely accomplished programmers that now teach programming. Some have even been my instructors. There was some research recently (apologies, I can't find a reference for it) that showed girls are more capable of understanding and dealing with math than boys. It is only the sociocultural stereotypes that make girls think they can't do math. This is something we need to fix. The Girl Develop IT program is a great step towards rectifying things.

Half the world is girls. To not cultivate and nurture that resource is only holding the advancement of the human race back by centuries. If not eons.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hungary: Toxic red sludge has reached the Danube

Hungary: Toxic red sludge has reached the Danube
By Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press Writer – 19:14 Oct 7 2010

KOLONTAR, Hungary – "The toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian factory's reservoir reached the mighty Danube on Thursday after wreaking havoc on smaller rivers and creeks, and downstream nations rushed to test their waters."

More ecological disasters. No one is going to be going ballistic over this one, though. This one has a far greater potential to cause damage than the Gulf oil spill.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Change.org|Start Petition


"An infant born in sub-Saharan Africa is 520 times more likely to die from disease than a child born in Europe or the United States."

This is tangentially related to my previous post about Gliese 581g.

Found: The Holy Grail of Planetary Science

Found: The Holy Grail of Planetary Science
Michio Kaku on October 5, 2010, 4:06 PM

"Recently, a nearby earth-like twin was found in outer space—perhaps capable of harboring life. The planet is called Gliese 581g, and is 20 light years from Earth (about 120 trillion miles). In width, it is about 20% to 30% or so bigger than the Earth, but weighs about 3 to 4 times more. What is exciting is that the planet is inside the Goldilocks zone—meaning it is not too close to its sun (where water would boil) or too far (where water would turn to ice), but just right to have liquid water, one of the most precious substances in the Universe."

This is incredible news. It's the first hard evidence that there really could be life out there. That the possibility isn't just speculation.

I am excited about this
Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Double-Amputee Returns to Combat

Double-Amputee Returns to Combat
September 27, 2010
Associated Press

ASHOQEH, Afghanistan -- "When a bomb exploded under Dan Luckett's Army Humvee in Iraq two years ago -- blowing off one of his legs and part of his foot -- the first thing he thought was: 'That's it. You're done. No more Army for you.'"

Needless to say, he wasn't quite on target with that assumption.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

North Korea leader son takes key party post: report

North Korea leader son takes key party post: report
SEOUL | Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:39pm EDT

(Reuters) - "North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's son and heir-apparent to the dynastic state, Kim Jong-un, has been named vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful Central Military Commission, state media said on Wednesday."

Looks like they are preparing for a changing of the guard. Kim Jong-il must be on his last legs.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Judge orders lesbian reinstated to Air Force

Judge orders lesbian reinstated to Air Force
By GENE JOHNSON | AP
updated 9/24/2010 7:48:25 PM ET

TACOMA, Wash. — "A federal judge ruled Friday that a decorated flight nurse discharged from the Air Force for being gay should be given her job back as soon as possible in the latest legal setback to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy."

Could this be the beginning of the end for DADT? I'm not sure if this ruling is a good thing or a bad thing, to be honest. As one can see in this blog, I am a strong supporter of Gay Rights. However, I have also spent the majority of my life living and working with the Military. Right or wrong, this issue cannot be forced on the services. Should gays be aloud to serve openly? Yes, there's no rational reason for them not to. But that is the whole sticking point. The real problem is based on irrational reasons. And you can't make someone be rational.

Common sense says that being gay should be no more significant than being tall or short. But, until everyone in the country is educated enough to understand this, there will be negative reactions to the idea. And that is just going to make things worse.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Lesser Spelled Namesake Dies

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Lesser Spelled Namesake Dies
Mon., Sep. 20, 2010 5:33 PM PDT by Natalie Finn

"Leonard Skinner, whose rule against boys in his class having long hair stuck in the band members' craw and ultimately inspired their singular name, died in his sleep Monday at a nursing home in Jacksonville, according to his daughter. He was 77 and had Alzheimer's disease."

I was surprised by how many people didn't know he was the inspiration for their name. I was also surprised that he was still alive until now.
Powered by ScribeFire.

China media warn Japan over escalating sea row

China media warn Japan over escalating sea row
By Chris Buckley and Huang Yan
BEIJING | Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:44pm EDT

(Reuters) - "Chinese media Monday warned Japan it risked intensified reprisals over a sea dispute and claimed that many back military force to settle a long feud over islands between Asia's two biggest economies."

More international saber rattling. I don't see how the animosity between China and Japan will ever be reconciled. They both claim the same stretch of islands and there's likely no way that China will ever forgive Japan for what happened during WWII.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Living Afghan War Vet to Receive Medal of Honor

Living Afghan War Vet to Receive Medal of Honor
September 10, 2010
Stars and Stripes|by Leo Shane III and Megan McCloskey

WASHINGTON -- "Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, a Soldier who risked his life to stop Taliban fighters from kidnapping a fallen comrade, will be the first living U.S. service member from either Iraq or Afghanistan to receive the Medal of Honor, White House officials announced Friday."

If you haven't read the story of why he was awarded the MOH you should do so now. There isn't anything I can say to this soldier but...

Airborne!
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Difficulties Abound

This month has been a tad wearing. My Swiss cheese memory is even worse than usual. My concentration, well, just isn't. My body is unhappy with everything in the universe. And, to top it all off, it is still to hot for me to get any decent sleep. In fact, I think I am going to take a short nap in a few minutes. When I come back I'm going to try and get myself a little organized. Maybe that will help things a bit.

Oh! Almost forgot. I found my first wrinkles. Got a couple of lines on my forehead. This is not bad news, though. I've been looking for them for months now. Yes, I know, it is completely backwards to be happy to find wrinkles. What can I say? It is like seeing my hair & beard turn gray or watching my hairline recede. Every reminder that I am getting older is just more proof that I'm still alive.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Halo Reach Gets Price Cut (Really?)

Halo Reach Gets Price Cut
By Paul McDougall | InformationWeek | September 16, 2010 08:43 AM

"Gamers looking to get their hands on a copy of Microsoft's Halo Reach won't have to pay quite as much for a copy of the basic edition as they would have on launch day Monday.

Amazon has cut the price on the game by 3%, from $59.99 to $58.10, according to the online retail giant's Web site. The price was still $59.99 as of early Thursday at other major outlets, including Best Buy and Microsoft's own online store.
"

This is beyond stupid. There's an article in InformationWeek that touts a price cut of ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-NINE CENTS!!!

Someone shoot me.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Physicists investigate fate of five-dimensional black strings

Physicists investigate fate of five-dimensional black strings
September 10, 2010 By Lisa Zyga

(PhysOrg.com) -- "While black holes in four-dimensional space-time are stable and can persist for a long time, their higher-dimensional analogues are usually unstable. One such theoretical analogue is a five-dimensional black string, which is unstable to perturbations and tends to decay into different forms. But like all unstable "black objects," it's difficult to determine what the end state of the perturbed system might be. Using a new computer code, physicists have been able to simulate the evolution of five-dimensional black strings well beyond earlier studies, leading them to predict that the strings eventually turn into five-dimensional black holes."

Man, I really can't get enough of theoretical physics. I just wish I was more versed in the details and specific sciences. I understand this from a generalized perspective but not enough to really dig into it. I think if I hadn't ended up a computer geek I might have been a physicist. After all...

Physics is Phun!
Powered by ScribeFire.

Another Microsoft virus hits the 'Net

'Here you Have' Virus Tries to Delete Your Security Software
Alessondra Springmann – Fri Sep 10, 2:14 am ET

"On Thursday, a new worm hit the Internet, and it’s been spreading by emailing the address books of infected users, according to McAfee Labs. By masquerading as a benign PDF, the worm looks something like this when it shows up in your inbox:
Subject: Here you have (or “Just for you”)
Body: This is The Document I told you about, you can find it
Here. [link]
Please check it and reply as soon as possible.
Cheers
As you may have guessed, the URL doesn’t actually take you to a PDF"

Yep, another virus that is specific to Microsoft. Those of us using non-Microsoft products don't have to worry about this stuff. If you are on a Linux box or a Mac, you actually have a system that is capable of doing more than a Windows box as well as far more secure. No, they aren't 100% safe, there is no such thing as a 100% secure computer unless it is never powered on. But using Microsoft products is like leaving the doors and windows open in your house and putting a big sign in front that says,

"Come in and take or break anything and everything."
Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Origin of magnetic fields may lie in special relativity's spacetime distortions

Origin of magnetic fields may lie in special relativity's spacetime distortions
September 9, 2010 By Lisa Zyga

(PhysOrg.com) -- "Magnetic fields play an important role on scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the cosmic, from particle spins to galaxy clusters. Although scientists know how to create and manipulate magnetic fields, as well as use them for a variety of applications from computers to credit cards, they still don't have a universal theory of how magnetic fields initially originated in astrophysical settings. In a new study, two scientists have proposed a new primary generation mechanism for the magnetic field that is based on the spacetime distortions caused by special relativity."

More really cool physics stuff. Gravity is starting to look even more like the fundamental power in the universe.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Researchers hear puzzling new physics from graphene quartet's quantum harmonies

Researchers hear puzzling new physics from graphene quartet's quantum harmonies
September 8, 2010

"Published in this week's issue of Nature, the new research raises several intriguing questions about the fundamental physics of this exciting material and reveals new effects that may make graphene even more powerful than previously expected for practical applications."

I know no one who might actually be reading this blog would probably care about this stuff. But I find it very fascinating.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Changing one of nature's constants

Changing one of nature's constants
If correct, new finding could upend physicists’ view of universe
By Ron Cowen
Web edition : Friday, September 3rd, 2010, 6:31 pm

"The constants, they may be a-changin’ — and so may some of the fundamental laws of nature, a controversial new study suggests.

Studying the pattern in which gas clouds absorb the light from distant quasars, astronomers say they have found evidence that one of nature’s physical constants changes in a lopsided manner.
"

Wow! This is amazing. Seems that physics is turning on its head lately.
Powered by ScribeFire.

BLACK SABBATH Can Teach Christians A Lesson Says Cleric

BLACK SABBATH Can Teach Christians A Lesson Says Cleric
Posted By KK on 09/02/2010 in Features

"Christianity can learn a lot from Black Sabbath, and heavy metal in general. That’s the view of Church Of England priest Rev. Rachel Mann."

This is a wonderful perspective. All of us Metal Heads have always understood the fundamental truth of the metal message. It is nice to see it being expressed in such a positive way.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hamilton wins Belgian GP to take F1 lead

Hamilton wins Belgian GP to take F1 lead
By Paul Logothetis, Ap Auto Racing Writer – 11:56 am

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium – "Lewis Hamilton overcame a late scare to win the Belgian Grand Prix and regain the overall lead of the Formula One championship Sunday.

Hamilton ran off the track with nine laps to race but recovered to keep the lead and edge second-place Mark Webber of Red Bull.
"

I haven't been following Formula 1 as much these last few years. I'll admit that when Michael was forced out retired it lost much of it's appeal for me. But this year there have been some very interesting results happening. Looks like it is time to get back into the game.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Obama’s Old Deal

Why the 44th president is no FDR—and the economy is still in the doldrums.
by Michael Hirsh
August 29, 2010

"Barack Obama was “incredulous” at what he was hearing, said one of his top economic advisers. The president had spent his first year in office overseeing the biggest government bailout of the financial industry in American history."
[...]
"But the banks were barely lending, and the economy was still mired in high unemployment. And now, in December 2009, the holiday news had started to filter out of the canyons of lower Manhattan: Wall Street’s year-end bonuses would actually be larger in 2009 than they had been in 2007, the year prior to the catastrophe."

Make of this what you will. As for me, I see it as a symptom of our time. Rich people arguing with other rich people about who is entitled to all of "our" money. We should dump all the Wall Street "fat cats" and all the politicians (from every party!) in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

Ok, maybe not something that drastic. I am not a fan of anarchy in government. But the idea does make me feel better.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No, Seriously, What Killed the Dinosaurs?

No, Seriously, What Killed the Dinosaurs?
Analysis by Michael Reilly
Sat Aug 28, 2010 09:33 AM ET

"Seems like an easy one to answer: an asteroid around six miles wide slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula. Continent-wide firestorms, planet-enshrouding dust cloud, massive plant death, toxic ozone, carbon monoxide poisoning ... and that's it: one resounding mass extinction all wrapped up in a pretty, hellish package and explained by a big hole in southeastern Mexico, right?"

Interesting take on extinction. This seems to indicate a more optimistic outcome if/when the next big asteroid hits the planet.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Facebook “Friending” Leads to Jail

Facebook “Friending” Leads to Jail
Analysis by Benjamin Radford
Fri Aug 27, 2010 08:53 PM ET

"A man was recently sentenced to federal prison for allegedly violating the terms of his probation, including “associating” with an environmental activist from whom he accepted a “Friend request” on Facebook. Rod Coronado, an animal rights and environmental activist, was contacted by Mike Roselle, who co-founded the group Earth First!, and is a former director for Greenpeace U.S.A. Coronado accepted the friend request, and it cost him four months in prison."

Ok, I'm all for keeping law and order, but this might be a little bit over the line. While I do believe that social media can be nearly as interactive a communications vehicle as meatspace, revoking someones parol over a friending seems a little over reactive.

But maybe I'm just being naive on this one. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parents, do you know what these texts mean?

Parents, do you know what these texts mean?
By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
August 26, 2010 11:57 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- "Do you know what this means: %*@:-( ?
Or this: ~~#ZZZZZZ ?
If the answers are no, you're not a teenager who uses alcohol or drugs.
"

This is an article that every parent should read and follow up on. And if you're thinking, "My kid isn't doing this kind of stuff," you need to read it twice.

srsly!
Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Freedom of Religion?

Yes, this is going to be about the "9/11 Mosque" brouhaha. But I promise to make it quick.

There are a lot of "facts" being thrown about over this issue. Most of them are about as factual as anything one can see on Fox News, CNN or read in the Washington Post. In other words, they are total crap. But let's break this down to it's fundamental element; freedom of religion.

The ☛scum☚ that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks have as much to do with Islam as the Schutzstaffel did with Christianity. Should we remove all of the Christian churches from the vicinity of "Ground Zero?"

I know that there's nothing I, nor anyone else, can say that will bring some reason and rationality to either side of this "debate." People get so blinded when they hold hatred in their hearts. Still, it would be irresponsible for me not to say something. This was my something.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blogger's New Comment System

The new anti-spam feature in Blogger's new comment system is nice. Don't know why but there is one post from way back that gets at least three of four spam comments a week. Guess it's because of the subject matter.

Oh well, whatever.

Never mind. ☂

To Shave or Not to Shave

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Proposition 8: Here come da judge!

Last week Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage known as Proposition 8. Needless to say, this ignited both celebrations and protests throughout the country. While this is a significant milestone in the debate, there is still a long way to go before there is any kind of final decision made.

However, there is something that has come out of this which is, for me, troubling. It seems that there is a question about Judge Vaughn's sexual orientation. Those opposed to gay marriage are now claiming that he is unfit to rule on the issue. The implication is that a gay judge could not make an unbiased decision on the issue. This is, without a doubt, an extremely ridiculous assumption to make. Following this logic, a judge who was deeply religious or one who was divorced would be equally unfit to rule on the issue. The fact is that the legal teams for both sides state that the judge made his decision based on the legal merits of the cases presented.

There is an interesting perspective on this whole thing, too. A noted theologian, seminary professor, and ordained minister wrote a piece stating "Why Judge Walker's Proposition 8 Ruling Is Theologically Correct."

I don't know how the issue of gay marriage will turn out. Hopefully reason will triumph over rhetoric. I do, however, know, that when one side shifts from arguing the facts to personal attacks, that side is losing the debate.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Landmark vote opens door to Ground Zero mosque

Landmark vote opens door to Ground Zero mosque
By TOM TOPOUSIS
Last Updated: 10:22 AM, August 3, 2010
Posted: 10:05 AM, August 3, 2010

"The Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the thumbs down this morning to giving a lower Manhattan building historic status -- paving the way for a controversial new mosque to open just blocks from Ground Zero.

The 9-0 vote opens the door for the demolition of the 152-year-old building on Park Place, where construction is planned for the mosque.
"

I think this is a good decision. The US needs to learn that Islam does not equal Terrorist. Could there be some nefarious goings on there? Possibly. But it is just as possible to find the same type of "goings on" in a synagogue or church.

All Christians are not White Supremacists or Black Panthers.
All Jews are not Zionist.
All Muslims are not Terrorists.
Powered by ScribeFire.

The Most GAY-FRIENDLY Colleges (PHOTOS)

The Most GAY-FRIENDLY Colleges (PHOTOS)
First Posted: 08- 3-10 08:43 AM | Updated: 08- 3-10 08:50 AM

"Campus Pride, a non-profit devoted to creating safer communities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students, recently released its 2010 Climate Index of gay-friendly colleges. The group collects its data through the careful analysis of campus LGBT policies across America; schools that are seen as most accepting are given five stars -- an honor bestowed on just 19 out of 230 universities. See below a selection, in no particular order, of five-star schools -- and visit Campus Pride for the full list."

Nice pictures of some nice Universities.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chile senator to sponsor gay marriage bill

Chile senator to sponsor gay marriage bill
SANTIAGO | Sun Aug 1, 2010 9:09pm EDT

(Reuters) - "The head of Chile's Socialist party, Fulvio Rossi, told reporters on Sunday that he planned to sponsor a bill to legalize gay marriage in the country, as occurred last month in neighboring Argentina."

Looks like South America is getting some common sense going. Wonder if this will ever take hold north of the equator.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Physicists Dream Up the Antilaser

Physicists Dream Up the Antilaser
By Alexandra Witze, Science News
July 30, 2010 | 3:53 pm | Categories: Physics, Tech

"Fifty years after physicists invented the laser, ushering in everything from supermarket scanners to music CDs, scientists have conceived its opposite — the “antilaser.”"

This is so cool*. Even if it is never practically implemented the concept is fascinating.

* Yes, I know. I'm a total geek.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mass. Legislature approves plan to bypass Electoral College

Mass. Legislature approves plan to bypass Electoral College
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

"The Massachusetts Legislature has approved a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote."

I have been saying that the Electoral College is no longer of any use. It was needed 200+ years ago, but since the ubiquitous usage of TV, Phone and now the Internet, there is no reason at all to have this extra layer in out electoral system. Now all that is needed is to keep poll results unreported until the very last poll closes and we'll start to see election results that actually reflect what the populous truly wants.

Monday, July 26, 2010

At Physics Conference, Scientists Say They Are Closing In on 'God Particle'

At Physics Conference, Scientists Say They Are Closing In on 'God Particle'
By Rebecca Boyle Posted 07.26.2010 at 2:15 pm

"As particle physicists gather this week for a conference in Paris, they’re reporting progress toward finding the elusive Higgs boson, with two groups suggesting a Higgs discovery may not be far off.

Physicists from Fermilab in Illinois announced they combined the results of two experiments to refine their search for the Higgs, sometimes called the “God particle” because it is thought to endow particles with mass.
"

I really hope they find this while I'm still alive. The only reason I would ever want to live forever is so that I could learn EVERYTHING.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Texas mom challenges transgender widow's marriage

Texas mom challenges transgender widow's marriage
By Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jul 22, 8:00 pm ET

HOUSTON – "The family of a southeast Texas firefighter killed in a July 4 blaze has sued to void his marriage to his transgender widow and prevent her from getting his death benefits because she was born a man and Texas doesn't recognize same-sex marriages."

This couldn't be any more wrong if it tried. But there's a silver lining in this. If the injunction/lawsuit/whatever is upheld, then every same-sex-with-one-party-being-transgendered should go there and get married. If the law in Texas says it's the DNA then two guys or two girls getting married should be just fine if one is trans. I bet they also have a law there that says same sex marriage is illegal. Can't have it both ways, now, can you.

You know, I used to hope that this stupid hubbub over gender preference would be banished from the world in my lifetime. Lately, though, I'm just hoping my great-great-grand kids will see it done.

[Side note: I think the headline is not using proper grammar. Shouldn't it be "Texas mom challenges transgendered widow's marriage"]
Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Israeli Palestinian man to appeal rape-by-deception conviction

Israeli Palestinian man to appeal rape-by-deception conviction
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 22, 2010 3:56 a.m. EDT

Jerusalem (CNN) -- "The lawyer for a 30-year-old Palestinian married father of two who has admitted in a plea bargain to rape by deception said Wednesday he will appeal his client's sentence, which was handed up Monday.

"Eighteen months in prison is too much," said Adnan Aladdin. He is representing Saber Kashour, the Israeli Palestinian who admitted pretending to be a single Jewish man before having sex with an Israeli woman.
"

I'm all for strict laws against violent crime but doesn't this seem a little over-the-top? If everyone who told a lie to get laid were jailed, all of us would be in jail. Or am I missing something.
Powered by ScribeFire.

NASA'S Hubble Shows Hyperfast Star Was Booted From Milky Way

NASA'S Hubble Shows Hyperfast Star Was Booted From Milky Way

WASHINGTON -- "NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected a hypervelocity star, a rare phenomenon moving three times faster than our sun."

This is really fascinating. At least to me it is. I remember doing a report on stars when I was in grade school. Still like learning about them.
Powered by ScribeFire.