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Home Safe

The trip home yesterday went fine, not much to note there. I took some time today to update the Durbuy photoset and add a photoset for our short hike around Sy on Sunday before heading out.

I'm spending today taking care of things around the house, and return to work tomorrow.

Prepper...

Wow, it's been so long since I posted anything that wasn't a movie review... I'm not sure I even remember how to write anything without a rating attached to it. I am, for the most part, packed, except for those few items that I need to wait till morning to pack (toothbrush, shaver, etc.). I've gotten a few twinges of excitement, but more surprising is the lack of the all-consuming fear and anxiety I typically get before a big trip. I am going to take that as a good sign and avoid thinking about how I am way too tired right now to manage much anxiety. Maybe it's also that I've done this once before and have at least some vague idea of how all this is going to go down. There are still some unknowns, but I am fairly confident I can handle these tasks.

Now to get ready for bed... When next I post, I shall probably be waiting for something.

Thank you Twitter

I just learned from Twitter that Osama bin Laden is dead. Then, out of nowhere, there were a bunch of little people with curly shoes dancing a jig and offering everyone lollipops. Much rejoicing. I guess I should go turn on NPR and get the real story, though.

The Vatican and IP Rights

My personal feelings about the Catholic Church aside, I really have to agree with Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi on the issue of intellectual property rights and how richer nations need to stop their excessive zeal for IP rights:
supporting IP rights in general does not always mean supporting tougher patent and copyright rules; "better" does not always mean "stronger."

Read the full article.

False Advertising

David Moorhouse's Jack Russell terrier, Rocky was stolen a few years ago. The dog had been chipped and when it turned up "on the grid" again, the microchip provider refused to provide Moorhouse with Rocky's new address claiming it would breach the UK's Data Protection Act. When Moorhouse asked the court to compel the chip provider to reveal the address, the court sided with the provider. The police also refused to get involved. Full story

So let's summarize. Man has his dog chipped so it can be located if lost or stolen. When dog is stolen, the chip provider refuses to reveal the dog's location for fear of violating the privacy of the dog thief.

If nothing else, I feel like this company that provides and tracks microchips might be misrepresenting its business if it is unable to provide the service it claims to provide.

Should respectable news sources allow comments on news stories?

The more I read of these comments, the more I think the answer should be no. I'm not really against comments on opinion pieces, it seems reasonable that if an opinion writer posts his thoughts, the news outlet should provide a way for readers to comment back with their own opinions. I'm not sure the same needs exist for "real news" stories. I was just reading an article about Lady Gaga hosting a rally in Maine to get the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy repealed (by showing support and hopefully convincing Maine's two Republican senators to vote in favor of the repeal). It seemed like a normal enough article... and then I scrolled down to read the comments and came across this treasure:
Marijuana causes people to become liberal and more often than not also leads to homosexuality. I suspect that Lady G has smoked her share of the illicit drug. Now she wants to use her fame to corrupt our youth and lead them into a lifestyle of drugs and homosexuality. The ignorence[sic] of these people is just overwhelming.

I'm not clear on how comments like this benefit the greater community and more than anything, they make me sick to my stomach that we have people like this in the country. I mean, I know we have people like t his, but when I have to see it it makes me sick. It's fine if people want to post their opinions, but I'm not sure it's necessary right there on the same page as the article. Or, on the site at all. If people really want to respond, they can get a blog and link back to the article and post all the hate, vitriol or supporting comments they want.

And then there are the truly insightful posts such as:
Gaga's junk: B==========D

Everybody else in here's junk: B===D

So much jealousy in here!

And then there are the people confused by the Constitution who think they have a right to free speech on a privately owned website.

*headdesk*

Are you sure?

Yes. Because now there's a real study that suggests the heaviest users of Facebook are narcissists and people with low self-esteem. Though, I really feel like a 100 person sample (of college students) really isn't enough to make this conclusion statistically significant. I thought the most value came from this:
Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook was written by York University undergraduate student Soraya Mehdizadeh. Speaking to CTV.ca, she summarized how everyone participates in social media, saying "you very carefully construct the image of yourself that you want people to see."

Mehdizadeh went on to say "that's why so many people get paranoid if their boss sees them on Facebook. They're worried that they don't project the same image there that they project in their workplace."

Which I can definitely see and agree with. We post what we want others (who don't know us) to see and suppress the rest. Why? Because we can. But how different is that from the real world where we might suppress some of our more jerk-like tendencies? If we don't express those jerk-like tendencies, does that mean we aren't a jerk or just that we aren't a jerk "most of the time?"

Alright, thinking about this got me to places I wasn't expecting... I guess that's a good thing?

Quantum Leaps to the Big Screen

I am consistently surprised by the number of people who have never seen an episode of Quantum Leap, one of the best science fiction dramas of the late '80s, early '90s. Well, word on the street is that a Quantum Leap movie is in development. The implication is that the Sam Beckett character will be played by another (younger) actor, but I expect it's possible there will be a different character in the role of the leaper.

I'm a little torn over all this. I loooove the idea of new Quantum Leap anything, but I really don't think a movie would be able to adequately capture the charm of Quantum Leap without making it feel like a two hour special. I would still much rather have a regular series, say, on SyFy. Please?

News Flash: Wall Street is Greedy

I found an article on Forbes about what are called high-frequency programmers, the people who code the trading algorithms for companies like Goldman Sachs, complaining about their unsatisfying six-figure salaries. These coders feel that because their programs bring in up to $100,000 a day, they should be paid more than their measly $150,000 salaries. Particularly since their bosses are paid millions to simply manipulate the algorithms they write. They also feel they should be able to take their code with them when they leave. I'm sorry, it's tough for me to write this through all the tears streaming down my face for these poor unfortunate slaves being taken advantage of by the evil nobility.

To me it sounds like they are living in some sort of fantasy land. When I write code for my employer it is owned by my employer. Just like, if I designed a car, that design would be the property of the employer. Just like if I made widgets, they would be owned by the employer. Also similarly, the person who makes widgets probably gets paid less than executives who market or sell those widgets. This is pretty much the understood process of a business. So how greedy can these people be to say that their six-figure salaries just aren't enough?

The correct answer is "pretty frickin greedy."

Epidemic of Failure...

Found on 2TheAdvocate:
During the board’s meeting Thursday, several board members expressed an interest in the teaching of creationism, an alternative to the study of the theory of evolution, in Livingston Parish public school classrooms.

Board Member David Tate quickly responded: "We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?"

Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, "I agree … you don’t have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom."


Yes, because it's clear public education has failed all of the adults on this board, let's ensure their children experience the same overwhelming failure of education as well!

Keep the creationism lessons in Sunday school, but don't mix your spiritual life with science in the publicly funded classrooms of a country that believes in the separation of church and state.