Ventus

 
 21 Sep 2007 @ 3:56 PM 

Karl Schroeder has released Ventus as a free ebook download.  It’s very good.  If you’re interested in nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, post-apocalyptic fiction (not strictly speaking, but a reversion to more primitive life yada yada), or just good speculative fiction about the future of humanity, give it a read.

Now to add a bunch of Schroeder books to my Amazon wishlist…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 21 Sep 2007 @ 03:56 PM

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 20 Sep 2007 @ 5:51 AM 

When the Republicans ran the Senate, they made a huge deal over not being able to put certain nominees for the Supreme Court and other appointments to a “up or down vote,” due to the threat of a filibuster from those evil Demoncrats.  The Dems, in typical spineless fashion, agreed to a “compromise” in which they agreed to not filibuster and the Republicans agreed to do whatever the hell they wanted to do.

Now, the Democrats are just barely in charge of the Senate, and they can’t get anything significant past the Republican filibuster machine.  Return habeas corpus?  Filibuster.   DC getting a Representative? Filibuster.  12 different spending bills?  Filibuster.  In fact, there are a record-setting number of threatened filibusters this month, with 56 cloture motions contrasted with 21 motions in the same period of 2005.

Why is this not a big story on the news?  In the GOP Senate, the cloture issue was brought up and the drum beaten loudly and frequently for all the 24-hour news networks to fill the airwaves.  Now, with arguably more important issues being blocked, it’s just considered business as usual.  I guess it’s true – marketers are all Republican.  These Democrats can’t seem to figure out how to get public support for anything.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Sep 2007 @ 05:51 AM

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 18 Sep 2007 @ 5:43 PM 

Is this normal?
smoky dishes

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2007 @ 05:43 PM

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Rights

 
 18 Sep 2007 @ 9:45 AM 

One of my coworkers was bemoaning the proposal to restore habeas corpus rights to the suspects in Guantanamo.  I tried to get him to understand that the rule of law is dependent on treating everyone, friend or foe, as a human being with certain inalienable rights.  That phrase may be in some document you’ve heard of but probably never read completely.

Anyway, I just don’t get it.  There are so many people who seem to think that, just because someone has been apprehended and stored in the extra-national prison in Gitmo, they are automatically evil and their life is forfeit.  Since when did accusation equal conviction?  How can allowing them a day in court in any way weaken our national strength or safety?

Just as popular speech doesn’t need protection, but only the unpopular speech, so too do obviously innocent people not need their rights protected as strongly as the suspicious ones.  Nobody would be able to get away with randomly throwing people into prison, one would hope.  But, if the selection wasn’t random, but instead fit in with preconceived notions of what a bad guy looked like, or where a bad guy lived, or what religion a bad guy held…all bets are off.  Making decisions based on emotion rather than on evidence and facts leads to a very slippery slope.  Of course, maybe this is all a vast conspiracy, and someone has been looking at ways of converting a democracy into an authoritarian dictatorship.  Hint: look in Austrian history in the 1930s, or Zimbabwe today.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2007 @ 09:45 AM

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 18 Sep 2007 @ 6:13 AM 

This is quite frightening.  55% of those polled think the Constitution of the United States established a Christian nation.  There is not one mention of any deity in the Constitution; not one.
Half say teachers should use the Bible as a factual textbook in history classes.  Seriously?  Did you know there’s no archaeological evidence for the Jews wandering in the desert for forty years?  Did you think that three million people might have left a slight impression?

56% think that freedom of religion applies to everyone.  The others say that there are some groups that don’t deserve the same freedom they want for themselves.
On the plus side, “only” 25% say the First Amendment goes too far, which is better than five years ago, when it was half.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2007 @ 06:13 AM

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 15 Sep 2007 @ 1:18 PM 

I have moved from the moribund and seemingly unmanned CCLHosting to the more vibrant and hopefully operational Dreamhost. We’ll see how this goes.

Right now, I’m hoping that the LJ crosspost plugin still works. And…it does! Woohoo!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:50 AM

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 04 Sep 2007 @ 7:44 PM 

At the Boy’s martial arts class today, I somehow didn’t avoid conversation with another parent. *sigh*

He started out with the usual stuff about Che Guevara being a commie – yeah, duh. Then it went downhill, with aspersions cast at those evil liberals. Apparently, the USA Patriot Act is not as bad as any rational person thinks, but it would be much worse if the liberals were in charge, as they’d certainly not have any sunset provisions. You remember the sunset provisions the conservatives have been so assiduously trying to extend into perpetuity.

The finale to this surreal trip down lala lane ended with a quick aside about how global warming is a crock. I have no response to this. Are other scientific findings equally suspect? Is germ theory also silly, since it makes no sense atavistically? I didn’t want to bring up evolution, but I think we can all guess where chucklehead would end up on that issue, eh?  He even claimed that Mount St. Helens has produced more greenhouse gases in one explosion than all of human historical input.  That’s incredibly wrong.  That’s orders of magnitude wrong. All the volcanoes in the world produce 130 million tons of CO2 per year.  Meanwhile, human activity per year produces 27 billion tons of CO2 per year.  For those of you who think math is hard, billions are larger than millions, and humans produce 200 times the CO2 of volcanoes per year.  That’s not Mount St. Helens, that’s ALL volcanic activity in the world.

There are days I’d really like to get out of this town. Fortunately, I can avoid these morons most of the time, and it is cheap here. Mostly. Anyone have a job in Monterey they need filled? Anyone? Anyone?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Sep 2007 @ 06:57 AM

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