Saturday, September 6, 2008
I am no Alec Baldwin fan, but I am sorry that he is having such a hard time in life finding happiness. Just because you have success that others would love to have does not mean you are going to find happiness. For some, finding happiness is a struggle. I hope Alec finds happiness.
Researchers in Italy and Britain have found that the main active ingredient in marijuana — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — and related compounds show promise as antibacterial agents, particularly against microbial strains that are already resistant to several classes of drugs.
If there is a shame here, it’s a national shame — a failure of our puritanical society to accept and deal with the facts. Teenagers have sex. How often and how safely depends on how much knowledge and support they have. Crossing our fingers that they won’t cross the line is not an intelligent strategy.
To wit, our ridiculous experiment in abstinence-only education seems to be winding down with a study finding that it didn’t work.
Regardless of whether abstinence only education works, it is not domain of the government to undermine a message that parents want to convey to their children. If some parents want to teach their children that they should not have sex, the state should not intervene and undermine this message.
We have had sex education in public schools for several decades, and I have not seen any evidence that it has some great benefit to society. Certainly, not enough to force parents to surrender their own personal convictions regarding sex education to the dictates of the state.
The Iowa Electronic Markets have offered real-money trading in political futures since the Bush-Dukakis campaign of 1988. Over the past 20 years, the IEM has been at least as accurate as political polls when it comes to picking the winners.
The problem with Political Future Markets is that people are aware that they have had predictive value in the past. Consequently, people may be placing money on Obama simply because that is where the "smart" money is currently. Hence, Political Future Markets may not be as valuable in the future at predicting who will win.
"Don't be fooled," Obama told the crowd surrounding him in a large barn. "John McCain's party, with the help of John McCain, has been in charge" for nearly eight years.
The Democratic party has been in charge of Congress for the last year and a half. From Obama's quote, it is unclear if he is aware of that.
Where the following comment caught my eye:
Barack Obama attacks Wal-Mart...
Democrats are fond of saying that they are the party of the poor, and they get offended if anyone suggests that they are elite and out of touch. The reason that I mention this is if the Democratic party was really in touch with the poor they might realize that Walmart is very popular among poor people.
There are definitly some songs that I enjoy that I have noticed could be used to provide deep psycho-analytical insights about me, so when I saw this report I was intrigued.
Is it a good thing for Republicans when people want to switch the order of the ticket? Also, what is going to happen when Palin and McCain go there separate ways to campaign and Palin's crowds are larger and more enthusiastic than McCain's? It could be an embarrassing problem.
...newborn Trig Palin was passed up and down the line like the campaign prop he's become. Palin's mixed message says: Please respect the privacy of my family—as I exploit them. Respect my family's privacy, but let me wrap myself in baby Trig to prove my anti-abortion stand. Question for the Commission on Presidential Debates: If you let Palin nurse Trig as she debates Joe Biden on Oct. 2 at Washington University, will you level the field by letting Biden bottle-feed one of his grandchildren? If such questions are disrespectful to the Palin and Biden families, where do I submit my apologies?
To answer Jack Shafer's question, directly in private to the Palins, then in public on Slate.
In case Jack Shafer has not noticed, people like holding babies, and there is nothing surprising that a newborn would get passed around. Additionally, the Palins have no control over what images the press shows. By Shafer's reasoning, the Palin's should keep Trig hidden from the world. Of course if they did this, they would probably start getting questioned as to why they are embarrassed about having a child with Down Syndrome. Considering all of this, Shafer's questions were disrespectful and he should deliver on the apologies he alluded to.
Update: I sent Jack Shafer an e-mail answering his question. His response was "In a pig's eye". I guess he thinks that only a pig would think that it is rude to assume the worst in others. Oh well, his definition of manners and mine differ. In fact, I am convinced his answer shows how rude disrespectful Jack Shafer is.
Update II: Jack Shafer sent me the following link http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/in+a+pig's+eye to clarify what he meant by "In a Pig's eye". I think that I misunderstood what he was implying, and I have apologized for saying his answer shows how rude and disrespectful he is.
Beating the press always attracts votes, but rarely enough to turn an election.
This election is being fought on the margins where every vote attracted by definition might be enough to turn the election.
On the 2008 race, Winfrey's clearly partisan. And because of that fact, Winfrey has said all along that she wouldn't bring either Democrat or Republican candidates on the show this fall. Winfrey never endorsed a candidate before, and took a professional risk by publicly supporting (and campaigning for) Obama, leaving open the possibility of alienating viewers.
That was evident during the primaries, as Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters often voiced their frustration in the comments board on Winfrey's website. It was reported that her ratings may have suffered. And now, instead of competing with other talk shows for an exclusive interview with the first woman on the Republican party ticket, Winfrey's already taken herself out of the race for ratings gold.
I am no Oprah fan, but this article made me respect her for placing greater value on her principles than her bank account.
As Sarah Palin transforms herself from obscure Alaska governor to the Republican Party's newest rising star and most effective attack dog, Barack Obama's campaign will largely sit back, watch her rise and hope she falls.
Normally, I would think that this is the right approach to dealing with a VP candidate. However, in this case, the public perception (fairly or unfairly) is that Obama, Democrats, and/or their progressive allies picked a fight with Sarah and ended up getting mauled in the process. If the Obama campaign can not figure a way to reverse that perception, they are in deep trouble with the way the public will view Obama.
Just 15 years ago, a different Republican vice president was ripping into the creators of Murphy Brown for flaunting a working woman who chose to become a single mother. This time around, there's no stigma, no shame, no sin attached to what Dan Quayle would once have mockingly called Bristol Palin's "lifestyle" choices.
I do not think anyone wants to get into a 15 year old disagreement, so I think anyone who brings up an issue this contentious 15 years later should have the intellectual integrity to treat the issue as fairly as possible. I do not think the way Hanna Rosin treated Dan Quayle's speech is fair, which can be viewed by the fact that the noted "conservative" intellectual Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) said there was merit in what Dan Quayle said (http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19980601.asp#3):
Asked about that flash point in May 1992, when then-Vice President Dan Quayle attacked her TV character for having a baby out of wedlock, Bergen said: "We were all kind of bushwhacked by it." Yet she said it was "the right theme to hammer home...family values...and I agreed with all of it except his reference to the show, which he had not seen....It was an arrogant, uninformed posture, but the body of the speech was completely sound."
"Do you really want to have a guy as commander in chief of this country when you can question whether or not he really loves his country?" Inhofe asked, in an interview with the paper."That's the big question.''
If Obama loves America, he should thank Inhofe for questioning his patriotism and giving him a chance to once again profess his love for America and explain why he loves America so much. If Obama does not love America, it is a fair question.
As for those who are outraged that people might question whether Obama loves America, I would say it is a natural reaction to amongst a great many other things Obama spending 20 years attending a church where he continuously heard milder versions of the Sermon "God Damn America".
It's a bittersweet story of folly and coming of age. Bristol's boyfriend is 18. He got her pregnant out of wedlock. But Bristol will carry the baby to term, and, according to her parents, the young couple will marry. A boy and a girl made a mistake that has forced them to become a man and a woman. They are, in Palin's words, shouldering the responsibilities of adulthood.
Yet Palin refuses to treat a young woman in this position as an adult. She thinks the parents of pregnant girls should have veto power over the most life-changing decision their daughters may ever face.
It is a shame that people as intelligent as William Saletan can not seem to grasp the logic of Pro Life parents in cases such as this.
Let me try to explain the logic via a hypothetical. Assume that rather than being pregnant that the young woman has already had the baby. Furthermore, assume that the parents of the young lady learn that the young woman in a moment of emotional despair intends to murder her new born baby. There are legal options available to the parents that would allow them to protect the new born baby and prevent the young lady from making a horrible decision.
Now, I respect that to a pro-choice person my hypothetical has nothing to do with the question at hand because they do not believe that an unborn baby has the same moral standing as a new born baby. However, I think that pro-choice people such as William Saleten should respect that to pro-life parents the hypothetical that I have presented is the moral equivalent as a young woman seeking an abortion.
William Saletan does a great disservice to civil discourse when he claims that parents who seek parental consent laws in order to prevent what they deem to be murder are attempting to turn their children into chattel.
...so cavalier are conservatives about Sarah Palin's wreck of a home life that they make the rest of us look stuffy and slow-witted by comparison.
It is not the actions of conservatives that make this author look slow witted, but instead it is her own words that accomplish that effect.
Additional thoughts on the article here:
I hope it is a picture book.
Shawn Klein was my cyber-sherpa.
If my church had been like this, I would have never stopped going.
I want to know what he was going to do with those 10 boxes of condoms and an energy drink. It is pretty depressing to think that this drunk homeless man in a wheel chair clearly has a more active sex life than I do.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Villagers say the U.S. does not understand how complex alliances, violence and even drugs play out in their culture. The eyes of elderly Malik Bakhtiar well with tears as he recalls his brother's arrest by U.S. troops for apparently running a drug laboratory in his home. In certain regions of Afghanistan, people grow opium for their livelihood.
"They don't understand us," Bakhtiar says. "Every house has a gun. Every house has opium."
If America loses in Afghanistan, it will be because we insisted upon making the Afghan people our enemy in the war on drugs rather than our allies in the war on terror. Unfortunately, that is an unpopular view and embraced by almost no politicians.
I suffer from pretty severe depression. A few years ago, it was pretty bad, and I was wasting my life. Independently of Dr Anthony's teaching, I came to embrace an outlook on life that is pretty similar to what is described in the link. It made a huge positive impact.
...the presidential candidate — whose central goal is usually to broaden his appeal, move to the center, and try to bring new voters into his camp — is to elevate himself into the realm of World Leadership. He wants people to be able to imagine him in the Oval Office, and to like what they imagine; leaders, it was once presumed, had to remain above the partisan fray.
We have a nation reared on WWE and the NWO. After Hulkamania diminished, the most popular stars of wrestling were the ones who relished a fight. If you want to reach those who were reared on wrassling, you probably want to act more like Stone Cold Steve Austin than Hulk Hogan.
But that is what [Russia is] undoubtedly seeking to achieve and there's very little - or so it seems - the West can do to stop them.
The conventional wisdom is that logistics and the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), preclude any western military intervention in Georgia. However, I disagree with the conventional wisdom.
The west has a superior conventional military capability to Russia, and could defeat Russia in an conventional war (if it came to that), and hence has no reason to launch a nuclear first strike against Russia. Consequently, any nuclear war would have to be started by Russia.
However, the only reason to start a nuclear war is if there is an existential threat to the state. Any war between Russia and the West would be solely about evicting Russia from Georgia, which is not an existential threat to the Russian state. Consequently, the only real threat of nuclear war is by accident or by Russia acting incredibly irrational (which can not be discounted as a possibility).
In my experience, if you call someone unethical, they are going to get defensive and try to explain why their actions are not unethical. Every time that conservatives complain about media bias, they are implicitly calling journalist unethical. If conservatives want to end media bias, they need to find a way to point out the bias with out making journalist feel that they are unethical.
Most people would think Palin would have been a hypocrite to have an abortion, but this author actually calls her a hypocrite for doing the opposite and having the child:
Her supporters say that Trig signals that she practices what she preaches. But
her to decision to have him is also a sign of her hypocrisy.
Kinsley argument is basically that MAD dictates that if a nation is in a position of use or lose it with their nuclear weapons they should use their nuclear weapons. However, that is not the logic of MAD. The logic of MAD is that you should use your nuclear weapons when it is in your strategic advantage to use them.
So, how does the logic of MAD dictate that America and Israel should launch a nuclear first strike against Iran? Because once Iran gains nuclear weapons both America and Israel would be in a position of hoping Iran respects the logic of MAD when Iran has shown signs that they do not respect the logic of MAD. To avoid this, America and Israel could try to halt the Iranian nuclear program. However, this entails 2 problems. The first is that such attacks are not certain to halt the Iranian drive to acquire nuclear weapons. The second is that such an attack will undoubtedly result in costly counter strikes by Iran. The logic of MAD dictates that these costly counter attacks and the uncertainty over Iran's willingness to respect the logic of MAD should just be avoided by unleashing a nuclear first strike against Iran. Once again, I am not advocating such an attack, I am merely pointing out what the logic of MAD dictates.
I am linking to them now because in a later post I want to follow Kinsley's argument to its logical conclusion regarding Iran. However, since I do not fully endorse Kinsley's argument, I want to point out the flaw in his argument before I use his logic to make the case about what should logically be done with regards to Iran. Kinsley says the following in one of those articles:
Furthermore, under the theory of MAD, we leave ourselves vulnerable in certain ways ...because it is in our own unilateral self-interest. Specifically, it is important to be vulnerable to a "second strike"—that is, a retaliatory strike by an arsenal crippled by your potential "first strike." Why? Because you don't want anybody with nukes pointed at you to think they have to use 'em or lose 'em. As long as they can rain cataclysmic damage on us by striking second, they have no more incentive than we do to strike first.
The arms race shows that Kinsley was wrong on this point. The whole point of the arms race was to gain an advantage in which one side could unleash a "first strike" to which the other side could not respond. There is no logical reason to engage in an arms race otherwise. If Kinsley were right in his logic, once you have enough weapons to destroy your enemy, there is no logical reason to acquire anymore. Kinsley's logic should have stalemated the arms race at both sides holding only a very few nuclear weapons. The fact that both sides tried to gain a decisive first strike advantage, and then other side responded by trying to get back to par shows that both sides felt that there was a huge strategic advantage in being able to unleash a first strike that the other side could not respond to.
Many people are convinced that George W Bush will go down in history as one of worst presidents ever, if not the worst. I, on the other hand, am convinced that history is going to treat him far kinder. I think when the history books are written, many historians are going to embrace the view that George W Bush was one of the most consequential Presidents ever. I think that the strategic choices that he has made in India, Iraq, the middle east, and Africa will leave historians no choice but to rate him highly.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
- Don't have sex more than once every 48 hours. http://www.seductionlabs.org/2007/06/05/human-penis-size-evolution/ ; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070210170428.htm If you have sex more than once every 48 hours, you are actually reducing the probability that you will conceive, not increasing it.
- Spend as little time with your partner as possible. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070210170428.htm Male sperm count is inversely proportional to the amount of time the man spends with his mate.
- Either time your orgasm to coincide with one another, or have the man orgasm first followed up by the woman having an orgasm. (I can not find the link, but I am pretty certain there is a study that says that these two outcomes of sex are the most likely to result in pregnancy)
- Role play that you are strangers who are just meeting for a sexual tryst. http://www.denversyntax.com/issue12/essays/andrew/andrew.html
The law of physics that dictates that this must be the case is the law which says that information can not be lost. I am pretty certain that Humans meet the definition of information. According to this law, information can be destroyed, but it can not be lost. What that means is just so long as you can retrieve all the bits of destroyed data and put it back together to recreate the original, you have not lost information. Hence, death would represent the destruction of information. But, since information can not be lost, it logically follows it must be possible to reverse death through resurrection.
I think it also logically follows that the essence of who we are does not cease to exist when we die. Hence, essentially we have a soul that outlasts the body. I would presume it is decaying just like our body, but it is waiting to be resurrected into the original body.
Curious as to what all the fuss was about, I did a Google search on him that directed me to this site:
Where, I read the first chapter of his book The God Delusion. The following passage was of interest to me:
Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles - except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don't yet understand. If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural. As ever when we unweave a rainbow, it will not become less wonderful.
Upon reading that, my thoughts were that the laws of physics contradict the 2 following believes of Dawkins:
...there is ... no soul that outlasts the body...
...If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural.
The laws of physics, particularly the law that says information can not be lost, dictates that there must be a soul that outlasts the body. The second law of thermodynamics dictates that the natural world will always be imperfectly understood, and that which is mysterious will always exceed that which is known. I talked about how chaos and disorder will always exceed that which is knowable in a previous post. I will use a follow up post to explain why I have stated that the laws of physics dictate that there must be a human soul that outlasts the body.
But I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday To be holdin' Bobby's body next to mine
And suddenly, the most stirring line in that speech seemed nothing more than a plagiarized Kris Kristofferson Lyric.
That is the whole point after all. For, after [a woman has] taken [a man's] confidence and squashed [him], it is easier to keep [him] in line, and then mold [him] into what [a woman] wants [him] to be.
Then she laughed and said "I'm just kidding". Then I laughed, and said "unfortunately, you are not".
I mention this because I think all men should be aware that if they are perplexed by what has motivated their woman to act the way she has, it is probably because the woman is trying to destroy the man's confidence. So men be strong, and don't let women kill your confidence.
...there are still some interesting questions, such as why she flew to Dallas and back when she was this pregnant....At first, I found this curious myself, but then I thought back to a video of Elizabeth Hasselbeck saying she was flying out to visit the doctor who would be delivering her baby (I cannot find the video, otherwise I would provide the link). In the video, she said she wanted to (paraphrasing from memory) "introduce her parts" to the doctor. That comment plus Todd Palin saying "You can't have a fish picker from Texas", led me to think that there is nothing curious about the flight. If you do not understand my point, let me put it this way:
How would you like to have a complete stranger staring at your vagina for however long it takes to give birth.
I am not a woman, but if I were, I would do everything I could to avoid that.
I am thinking that right now is probably not the best time to mention that I am pretty close to being legally blind.
Planet Google: One Company's Audacious Plan To Organize Everything We Know today. I followed the link, and upon reading the following in description:
In this spellbinding behind-the-scenes look at Google, New York Times columnist Stross (The Microsoft Way) provides an intimate portrait of the company's massively ambitious aim to organize the world's information.I thought to myself either Google will succeed and the laws of physics will cease to exist, or Google will fail and the laws of physics will hold. Normally I would figure that the laws of physics would hold, but since this is Google that we are talking about, my bet is that Google will defeat the laws of physics.
The particular law of physics that Google has to overcome is second law of thermodynamics. Google is trying to bring order out of chaos. However, the second law of thermodynamics dictates that chaos will increase over time. Hence, every effort that Google makes to achieve order will merely result in an increase in chaos rather than an increase in order. How is this possible? Well, it is possible that as Google organizes information, they will decrease the cost of gathering information. Hence, others will be able to create information faster than Google can organize it.