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A relief

April 30, 2005 2 comments

Some idiot put up a flyer promoting Alex Jones’s work here in North Hedges. The first time I went by it I thought maybe he was coming here for a talk or something. I sort of doubt that would be allowed, but it’s not a pleasant thought. But, it was just a promotional thing, he’s not coming here.

If you don’t know who Alex Jones is, you can head over to Prison Planet or Info Wars. I don’t recommend spending much time there, unless you’re entertained by the sort of insane paranoia Jones offers. It’s essentially all the 9-11/police state conspiracies you’ve seen before, but without the blantant anti-semitism that normally comes from the extreme right. Actually, I don’t know whether you’d say Jones is right or left, but it doesn’t really matter. He does get an endorsement from Greg Palast, further showing Palast isn’t really worth listening to:

this guy is a national treasure, a light breaking through the electronic Berlin Wall of the US media establishment.

Granted, it’s a little more nuanced than that:

Jones is fearless and thoughtful. Do I agree with everything the man says? Heck, no. But then, he probably wouldn’t accept all my views either. This isn’t about opinions, this is about the dissemination of crucial news otherwise denied the American public by the mainstream media propaganda machinery.

He also calles Jones right wing, for what it’s worth. He seems mostly to be happy that Jones promoted some of his stories. Still, it certainly hurts what credibility Palast has.

Come to think of it, this is the second Jones flyer I’ve seen on campus, the other one being in Reid hall. Thankfully, I don’t think it’s there anymore.

Categories: 9/11, The media

How wrong can you be?

April 30, 2005 Leave a comment

Wulfgar and Matt both link to John Vincent’s demolition of a Chronicle letter from yesterday at the Gallatin Democrats’ website. Definitely a recommended read.

Vincent is apparently running against Koopman in 2006. Thank goodness for it, too. I liked Vincent in the governor’s forum here last year and Koopman is just crazy.

Categories: Montana

Mindlessness

April 29, 2005 1 comment

Salon has an interview up called “God? Sure, whatever,” about teenagers’ religious views. It’s sort of scary:

Smith and his colleagues discovered that while three-quarters of their subjects professed to be Christians, they’re dazed and confused when it comes to articulating their beliefs. “We go to church, and … God is coming back again and he’ll take us to heaven. And what was the other one?” was a typical attempt. One 14-year-old girl, through barely contained yawns, pointed to her Internet and cable connections as proof of God’s goodness. And she wasn’t the only one who saw God as a big cable guy in the sky. Most kids’ faith, says Smith, takes the form of what he calls moralistic therapeutic deism — God is an undemanding, all-fulfilling entity existing only to help us feel better about ourselves.

My grandmother would have a fit if she read that. Broadband is the accomplishment of God you come up with? I like having broadband as much as anyone, but isn’t that just a bit much?

This was another thing that really, surprised us — how conventional they were. Because teenager and rebellion are virtually synonymous in popular thinking. But they said, “This was how I was raised, what do you expect?”

There’s nothing wrong with believing what your parents believe, but there’s a complete lack of thinking going on:

Another thing that surprised us was how inarticulate they were when it came to talking about these matters. So many Christian teens of all denominations couldn’t talk about the most elementary Christian beliefs. Most of the highly devoted teens were certainly more articulate. But I would say maybe a majority of the regular or even sporadic church attenders certainly would just not be able to answer elementary questions. For example, they’d answer “Who is Jesus?” with “I don’t know.”

I suppose half-assed Christians are better than fundamentalists, but I’d like to see at least some sort of thinking going on. Along the same lines:

I interviewed some Catholic teens that told me the church has no teaching on sexuality. They weren’t aware that this was an issue. Sex was one thing you do under certain conditions and religion was something else.

I wasn’t aware it was possible to know anything about Catholicism and miss the sex stuff. I wonder if they know who the Pope is?

One 16-year-old boy in the book said his faith became stronger when he saw his prayers for his drug-addicted father answered. “I was like, if God can do that, than he can do other things too,” he says. It’s as if he sees God as an appliance — or, as you say, a “divine butler.”

The possibility that it had nothing to do with God isn’t even a thought. Wonderful.

They’re oriented toward being a good person and that God is out there — which, compared to being neo-Nazis or Nietzschean nihilists, is great. It’s just that it doesn’t have much rootedness — you ask them why and they don’t know.

I’m no expert on philosophy, but isn’t lumping together Nazis and nihilists a bit off? And maybe the scariest part of all:

Without roots, people become vulnerable to ideologues and demagoguery. Like the one kid we mention in the book who started off our in-person interview saying you should treat everyone lovingly. But then later in the conversation said, “Well, evolutionarily, if you had to kill a bunch of people, that’s fine too.” That’s scary. He hasn’t been trained in moral reasoning. Teens can’t give a good argument so they’re left with asserting. And assertions only go so far.

I guess we can look forward to the fact that someone will probably convince him evolution is false?

Categories: Religion

That's like….a while

April 29, 2005 2 comments

On the heels of another milestone, this blog is two years old today.

In other news, the semester is over! ‘Cept for finals, of course. What I have:

Biology – Won’t be too bad; it’s not comprehensive.
Programming Paradigms – His tests have been easy so far (93.5% and 97% being my grades), so I’m not worried about this one either
Geology – This one is going to suck, mostly because it’s comprehensive and there’s just a ton of stuff to study.
Theory of Computation – Ugh. I wasn’t worried about this one until he explained what’s going to be on it yesterday. I want uninspired compilations of previous tests, not 3 questions covering the entire year!
Image Processing – Probably going to be pretty easy. I wish I knew what my other grades in that class were.

Categories: Blogging, Personal

Random Music

April 29, 2005 Leave a comment

Blackfield – Open Mind
Morbid Angel – Chapel of Ghouls
Opeth – Harvest
Antimatter – Going Nowhere
Katatonia – Cold Ways
Led Zeppelin – No Quarter
Cynic – Textures
Killswitch Engage – Take This Oath
Incubus – Agoraphobia
Fates Warning – Damnation

Categories: Music

Bleh

April 28, 2005 Leave a comment

I’m done with everything! Hooray! Except for class tomorrow, of course.

Oddly enough, the two grades I received today were sixes. One of the sixes is decent, the other is not. And I’m really kicking myself for that one. My misreading of a simple problem cost me two points. There’s always the final, though. How’s that for cryptic?

Categories: Personal

My program has issues

April 27, 2005 3 comments

It apparently thinks a G is an M. To its credit, it does think G is the next closest letter after M.

I’m glad I’m pretty much done with this. It’s a royal pain in the ass.

UPDATE: It really seems to like M. If only the professor was testing our programs on Ms.

UPDATE 2: I’ve fixed the program’s M fetish.

UPDATE 3: I’m writing a program that takes in an image with a single letter and tries to determine which letter it is.

UPDATE 4: Done. With everything. Just have to demo this program tomorrow and that’ll be it.

Categories: Personal, Tech
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