Friday, February 8, 2013

Things that make me not want to live on this planet anymore, part 1

Anti-Evolution Missouri Bill Requires College Students to Learn About Destiny

FTA: HB 291, the "Missouri Standard Science Act," redefines a few things you thought you already knew about science. For example, a "hypothesis" is redefined as something that reflects a "minority of scientific opinion and is "philosophically unpopular." A scientific theory is "an inferred explanation...whose components are data, logic and faith-based philosophy." And "destiny" is not something that $5 fortune tellers believe in; Instead, it's "the events and processes that define the future of the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, earth, plant life, animal life, and the human race."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you can redefine words by law to mean something completely different in order to fit your views. That's utterly nuts. And don't get me started on "destiny"... let me guess, the destiny of the entire universe was to deliver white Anglo-Saxon Christians to the promised land of the USA, with dominion over all others? Something like that?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time for reform in the land of the "free"

Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann: accountability for prosecutorial abuse

I agree that the prosecution of Aaron Swartz is much bigger than just the political ambitions of two federal attorneys. It's part of a calculated climate of fear and harassment towards whistleblowers, activists, and anyone else who challenges the elites. Just look at the disparity in the charges that bankrupted Swartz and drove him to suicide versus the slap on the wrist given to a bank that knowingly laundered money for drug cartels and terrorists. The bank doesn't get broken up, no banker is arrested or banned from his job (that was part of Swartz's plea deal, too) and any fine the bank agrees to only makes a small dent in its profitability.

The CFAA also needs to be reformed. Violating the terms of service (TOS), acceptable use policy (AUP), or end user licensing agreement (EULA) should in no way be a felony. Yet the government wants to make it a felony to use a fake name online. Insane.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back to the real world

Vacation is over but I am in no way ready to return to the "real" world. I had a good time but I needed to relax more than anything else and that's not exactly possible when flying coast to coast with small children. Last summer I took a short 3-day vacation by myself, maybe it's time to do that again. I am feeling very, very burnt out.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Purple crocuses

From my front garden. This is slowly but surely becoming a botanical blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's spring!

First crocus of the spring
Something got into me last fall and I bought around 200 spring bulbs. This was unusual for me because I have a love/hate relationship with landscaping. I want things to look nice but I dislike the entire concept of a lawn. I see a flat, perfectly cut grassy monoculture to be gigantic waste of time, money and energy and my lawn shows it. It's patchy, generally scruffy looking, and full of weeds and moss but it's also full of life. Insects and spiders of all sorts and a large number of monarch butterflies, since I mow around all the milkweed that pops up.

But back to 200 bulbs. Historically, I have not been a very outdoorsy person, especially not the dirt-under-fingernails variety. For most of my life, "outside" was the giant room with the bright light and the blue ceiling. It started looking more and more like a bad decision with all the work required to dig out sections of lawn or restoring neglected flower beds. It was certainly more work than repotting some plants and remembering to water them. It look a few weekends and some more weeknights, but I did it. I got them all in the ground before the first frost and some areas even look halfway decent. Now everything is coming up - crocuses, tulips, daffodils, giant alliums, leucojums, and hyacinths. I'm practically giddy checking what's popped up overnight or during the day. I have spring fever!

A good book on the history and ridiculousness of the lawn is The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession. It influenced my attitude towards the lawn and got me a bunch of dirty looks from certain suburban types on the commuter rail.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Aloe fhtagn

The aloe plant that I rescued from death by neglect in my son's room has taken a turn towards the Cthulhu.

I swear I just repotted it and watered it regularly, and didn't invoke an Elder God.