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Archive for March, 2006

Music!

March 24, 2006 Leave a comment

The “I still haven’t really gotten into Fly Pan Am yet” edition.

Anathema – [Alternative 4 #08] Regret
The Haunted – [One Kill Wonder #11] One Kill Wonder
The Mars Volta – [Frances the Mute #03] L’ Via L’ Viaquez
Pineapple Thief – [12 Stories Down #10] Start Your Descent
Killswitch Engage – [S/T #07] Numb Sickened Eyes
Opeth – [Blackwater Park #01] The Leper Affinity
Esmerine – [Aurora #01] Quelques Mots Pleins d’Ombre
The Crown – [Possessed 13 #11] Zombiefied!
Joe Satriani – [The Extremist #07] Tears In the Rain
The Cure – [Disintegration #12] Untitled

Categories: Music

You're out of luck

March 22, 2006 1 comment

Somehow, Sitemeter recorded a hit from someone searching for hip hop spelling checker.

One can only imagine what was going through the searcher’s head when executing that.

Categories: Silliness

Ugh

March 22, 2006 Leave a comment

I’m just going to point out that trying to make Java Media Framework work correctly on Linux is a royal pain in the ass.

Categories: Tech

Book buying spree

March 21, 2006 Leave a comment

So I’m thinking:

The Assassins’ Gate – George Packer
Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe – Erik J. Wielenberg
The Empty Tomb – Robert M. Price & Jeffery Jay Lowder (eds)
The Cold War – John Lewis Gaddis

I don’t know if I feel like spending all that money, though.

Then again, one of two things will happen in the next few weeks. I will do some coding for a company I’m interviewing with. Which, by the way, is a pretty cool thing to have people do when interviewing with your company. That will either get me a few hundred dollars or a job, both of which mean I can probably afford to spend the money.

Since this seems to be a blog post of the “I ate cornflakes for breakfast” variety (I can’t take credit for that label, mind you), I’ll go find something better to do. Like wondering if I’m going to get a response from an Agape Press columnist I emailed. I was much more polite that he deserved, so I probably won’t get anything interesting. Not that I should post it on here anyway.

Categories: Personal

Stay away

March 21, 2006 3 comments

I just wanted to say that judging from the previews, Stay Alive may be one of the stupidest movies ever made.

I’m approaching the level of hate I had for The Fast and The Furious (and the sequel). Which is really saying something.

Categories: Culture, General

Misunderstandings of evolution

March 20, 2006 1 comment

You often see creationists attacking abiogenesis as too improbable to have happened. P.Z. Myers points out that their view is often an extremely simplified version of it, a version that does seem improbable. In fact, it’s why I considered myself a deist up until a few years ago. I was under the impression that a one-celled organism had to pop into existence, which is a gross misunderstanding of abiogenesis. I was set straight (or pushed in the right direction, at least) on Daily Kos of all places. I read the Talk Origins article on the subject and gained a whole new understanding. Suddenly the idea was much more conceivable and I was on my way to considering myself a full blown atheist.

Contrary to the above paragraph, the point of this post isn’t my deconversion story. I don’t really have one of those, as I can’t remember why I stopped being Christian. Not that I ever really was. I went to church, but God never really seemed real. It felt like I was praying to my ceiling. So somehow I went from half-ass Christian to deist to agnostic to atheist. I just don’t remember exactly how that happened. I remember considering myself a Christian as a sophomore in high school and a deist as a senior.

I digress. Awhile back I had a discussion about abiogenesis with a kid in my old high school who had essentially the same misunderstanding that I had. In high school, if you learn about evolution at all, you almost never learn anything about abiogenesis. That may be the right way to go, but I think it breeds misunderstanding. That misunderstanding can lead to deism, at a minimum. The general idea about evolution is that it explains how we got here. It explains the history of life on this planet. If you’ve heard about evolution, you understand the significance of it. That leads to the misapprehension that it completely explains the origin of life. Naturally, that extends to the earliest forms and their chemical precursors. Natural selection, variation, and mutation are at a loss, for the most part, to explain what goes on at that stage. So when you put the two together, that evolution is our explanation for life and that its mechanism appears to be inadequate at a certain stage of the origin of life, you find a gap. A little creationist probability misinformation and you get an seemingly solid argument against a natural explanation. “God of the gaps” is intuitively appealing, so you have a reason to believe in God.

How do we fix this misunderstanding? More than a cursory look at abiogenesis is probably not a good idea for high school students. But maybe a cursory look is enough. An explanation of the problem would probably be good enough to correct honestly misinformed people like me and the kid from my high school.

Categories: Religion, Science

Morris Dees

March 20, 2006 Leave a comment

Morris Dees is giving a lecture here next month. I’ll probably go check it out, even though it costs money. The promotional poster for the lecture includes this line:

Using the law like a sword, Dees has dismantled hate groups…

That’s probably a good example of why he receives some of the criticism he does. Hate groups shouldn’t be dismantled through the law unless they are involved in criminal acts. Hate groups are often (almost always, even) involved in those sorts of acts, but I still don’t like the assumption that they should be attacked legally just for being hate groups.

Outside of that, Dees and the SPLC have done a good job informing and educating us about the activities of hate groups, so we can fight them in the realm of ideas. That is to be commended.

Categories: Civil liberties, Montana

Miscellany

March 18, 2006 Leave a comment

I got the new Evergrey album. I can’t say I’m all that impressed. I could really do without the vocal processing. It also has rather stupid cover art. Maybe it’ll grow on me.

My bracket is holding up pretty well. I got 23 out of 32 first round games correct and lost only two Sweet 16 teams.

I’ll be driving back to school tomorrow. I have a feeling the final half of this semester is going to be extremely busy for me.

Categories: Culture, Personal

This is funny

March 18, 2006 Leave a comment

I’m sort of surprised AgapePress put this up:

Canadian Student Newspaper in Hot Water Over Controversial Cartoon of Christ

(AgapePress) – Canadian Christians are calling on the University of Saskatchewan to shut down its student newspaper after it published a pornographic cartoon blaspheming Jesus.

It sounds so familiar. The author addresses this starting in the third paragraph:

Randy Donauer, a spokesman for the Christian Centre, says The Sheaf controversy cannot be compared to the news story involving Muhammad cartoons and the ensuing Muslim violence.

“This is not a news story at all,” says Donauer. “This was not pertaining to a current event in Saskatoon, Canada, or the world. This was not pertaining to a religious event, or political event, or any event on campus.”

In fact, he says, “this was just an editorial cartoon that really serves no other purpose but to take a jab at the Christian community in our city and to do it in the most perverse, vulgar manner possible.”

Was that supposed to be convincing? The Danish cartoons were unnecessary provocations. The story could have been written without the cartoons, which they knew would cause an uproar.

Donauer says tax dollars should[sic] be used to fund a newspaper that is so offensive. But a spokeswoman for the university claims The Sheaf is an “independent” publication and is not publicly funded. Donauer contests that statement.

He says even though the school may not receive tax dollars in the form of a “straight check” from the government, “there is an agreement where they give a certain percentage of that over to The Sheaf for its operation.” In reality, says Donauer, the whole university is publicly subsidized. “It’s a government-owned institution, government-owned buildings, government-run everything.”

In other words, they want the government to exert its influence on public universities. What’s next, firing professors who publish something the government finds offensive? Maybe student newspapers should publish only news that reflects positively on the current administration? I’m sure they’d say they don’t want to go that far, but it’s essentially what they’re asking for. At least they’re in Canada (not that I wish them on Canada).

But hey, they aren’t rioting over it. Excuse me for not congratulating them.

Categories: Church and State

St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2006 7 comments

So, apparently a long time ago this guy named Maewyn Succat heard voices in his head, moved to England, became a priest, changed his name, heard more voices, decided to convert Ireland, performed a few miracles, then died.

We now celebrate this fact by getting as drunk as humanly possible on green beer.

I’m confused.

Categories: Religion, Silliness
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