Goose the Blog 2.0

"Oh, ha! Sarcasm: The last refuge of sons of bitches!"

2/29/2004

don't change horsemen mid-apocalypse

by John at 2/29/2004 01:49:00 PM

I wouldn't usually advertise for someone else, but this is a funny t-shirt!

Update 3/1/04: The links above are dead. So, the t-shirt says "Bush Cheney 04" and then under that "Don't Change Horsemen Mid-Apocalypse".

2/22/2004

why are you funding your 401K...

by John at 2/22/2004 08:38:00 PM

...when "Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters"?

The Pentagon is predicting (or maybe just "contingency planning") that rapid global climate change will occur in the next decades, accompanied by famine, plague, pestilence, and war. Check out the Observer article (via The Guardian) here, or the Fortune article here.

For some background on abrupt climate change, look to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and this article in Physics Today (with a more detailed version here).

in the money!

by John at 2/22/2004 08:28:00 AM

Wendy and I both just got our big settlement checks from the CD Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation. That's $13.86 each! I think I'm going to go buy a book...

2/20/2004

secular paradise (revisited)

by John at 2/20/2004 03:27:00 PM

Looks like someone forgot to tell New Mexico that marriage was about the sacred union between a woman and a man for the express purpose of raising children and keeping our nation strong. It seems that their laws defining marriage treat it as a civil contract between consenting parties without mention of gender or purpose.

Marriage is contemplated by the law as a civil contract, for which the consent of the contracting parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential.

In fact, Sandoval County plans to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The county attorney said to not do so would open the county to legal action.

Borrowed from Atrios.

multiple personalities?

by John at 2/20/2004 03:20:00 PM

Multiple personality disorder (MPD) is no longer exists. Technically, at least, because the DSM-IV calls it Dissociative Identity Disorder instead.

Maybe none of that matters, because it's not at all clear that there ever was such a thing anyway.

back again

by John at 2/20/2004 02:26:00 PM

Hi all. No, I'm not sick or anything. I've just been actually working this week, and even spent a few days down in Charleston, SC. I can see from all the activity on the blog that you were all actually working as well.

But this post isn't about that stuff, this post is about diamonds.

2/13/2004

the uncanny valley

by John at 2/13/2004 11:37:00 AM

In 1978, Masahiro Mori discovered "The Uncanny Valley Effect" relating human emotional responses to human-like artificial creations. Roger Ebert postulates that the effect might have something to do with the success of Gollum and the failure of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

The basic premise is that as artificial characters become more humanoid, we find ourselves reacting positively to them (Asimo, Kismet), but that there is a dangerous point when they become so life-like, and yet not quite right, that we respond with revulsion. We notice only what is wrong with the character, instead of what is right. This is the uncanny valley, when we are confronted with zombie-humans instead of lovable animatronic pals.

Is this surprising? I don't think so. Humans are engineered by evolution for face recognition. It is such an imperative to us that we see faces even where there are none. We are also, of necessity, keen observers of facial motion, and easily recognize (or imagine) emotional states in other humans. What should happen when we are confronted with a human face that moves too quickly or slowly, or expresses odd emotional postures?

Pioneering roboteer David Hanson has been exploring The Uncanny Valley with his almost realistic robot heads.

Secular Paradise

by Weisshaupt at 2/13/2004 10:34:00 AM

Since the parakeet joke didn't go over so well, here is an example of the ideal secular society not wanting to tramp on anybody's rights (except for those of the religious)
by making sure that you have the ability to marry dead people.

The French are so much cooler than us. Maybe we should all move there. Or maybe we won't have to...

Here is a court challenge to legalize polygamy in Utah

Of course in Mass. there is an incredibly unfair suit against NAMBLA because one of its members raped and murdered a young boy after reading the literature on the website and reading publications like this one . Luckily the ACLU has taken the case and will ensure NAMBLA can keep promoting its agenda to make the rape of young boys legal. It goes without saying this suit is frivolous, as a site that promotes the cause of sex with young boys couldn't in anyway be promoting or encouraging illegal activity, unless of course sex with young boys was illegal.

Likewise, the ACLU will make sure those horrible Boy Scouts who restrict the access of Gay men from young boys (in much the same way as the Girl Scouts restrict the access of Heterosexual men from Young Girls) are punished for their heinous crimes against humanity. Besides, they say "God" in their pledge, so they must be religious, and don't deserve to get access to the city park on the same terms as every other non profit in the city.

Luckily, the Catholic Chuch has got the message and lets their Priests be homosexuals, even to the extent of protecting them when they get into trouble.

Thank God, the U.S. is becoming a secular haven :>)
It would be horrible if I or my children were exposed to those religious superstitions and weren't allowed to have sexual relationships at an early age and with whomever they wanted to.

(ok, I was TRYing for SmartA**. Did I make it?)



2/12/2004

I seem to have lost my diploma

by Bill at 2/12/2004 02:50:00 PM

Great editorial and transcript on the daily outrage regarding the missing service records on Bush's national gaurd tenure. Maybe he was abducted by aliens? Anyway, I seem to have lost my diploma from UW, but I still have a parking stub form the Health Sciences garage, does that mean I graduated?

2/11/2004

crisis in modeling?

by Bill at 2/11/2004 04:33:00 PM

There has been a lot of talk in this blog about what may be going wrong in this country both politically and socially. Maybe...maybe too much talk.

Anyway, I would like to point out a troubling issue that his been ignored by the president and the democratic hopefuls. Union Pacific plans on charging licensing fees for all model trains bearing there trademark. They are doing so in the name of "brand protection" and such. So be it, right? But do you think it is just or sensible to charge also for long defunct brands that had been bought up years ago. For example, Great Northern bought Northern Pacific, which later mearged with Burlington, which later mearged with Santa Fe (which was previously American Topeka Santa Fe), does BNSF really own the trademarks rights to Northern Pacific? Granted the licensing fee will only add 5 dollars on average to every 100 dollar piece. Still if you read the train forums you would think the sky is falling.

Check out this SF Gate artcicle for a well rounded discussion.

Thought it was kinda interesting and may pose some theoretical similarities to who owns online music rights. When does something become "common" property and who decides?


In closing, this Blog is not a rebel blog, this blog is...

fubar

by John at 2/11/2004 04:24:00 PM

It seems like the only time people talk about September 11, 2001 is to say it "changed everything." This article in the New York Observer thinks about it a little more deeply. FUBAR that morning, and still FUBAR today.

2/10/2004

if I watched you, I'd accept

by John at 2/10/2004 02:13:00 PM

Pundit O'Reilly Now Skeptical About Bush

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative television news anchor Bill O'Reilly said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers for supporting prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. [emphasis mine]

...

While critical of President Bush, O'Reilly said he did not think the president intentionally lied. Rather, O'Reilly blamed CIA Director George Tenet, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton.

"I don't know why Tenet still has his job."


Ha! I know why Tenet still has his job - you can only ask a man to fall on his sword once. Tenet is going to fall on his in October if things still aren't looking good for Bush.

the B diet

by John at 2/10/2004 01:42:00 PM

So you want to lose weight? Follow my simple 4 step diet plan.

1) Take a two week trip to Japan. Walk everywhere, carry a heavy backback full of travel books and cameras, have trouble ordering food, and subsist on fish, rice, and giant beers.

2) When you get home, be surprised that you lost 8 pounds.

3) Motivated by your weight loss, cut french fries, non-diet soda, and snacks from the vending machine by your office almost completely out of your diet.

4) Lose 5 more pounds in the next 8 months.

Welcome to a slim, sexy new you!

judicial review

by John at 2/10/2004 01:14:00 PM

I was going to add this as a comment to Jeff's post below, but it kept getting larger and larger, far beyond the 1000 character limit. So it got its own headline. See the above link to Jeff's post if it should drop off the page before this one does...

To quip, judicial activism is just judicial review when the results don't go your way. A ludicrous example is this editorial from the WSJ, in which Justice O'Connor is accused of judicial activism for upholding the McCain-Feingold Bill and for upholding the use of race in admissions by the University of Michigan. Our own views in these particular issues don't matter, but the politically motivated accusation of judicial activism is telling. In both cases, the Court by definition exercised judicial restraint, and yet an unpopular ruling was called "activism".

US history is replete with examples of both conservative and progressive judicial review - yet there are good arguments to be made against judicial review in general.

Some links:
Why Judicial Review is Bad
Judicial Review and the Supreme Court
The Reader's Companion to American History - Judicial Review

Of interest to some, John Adams (writer of Mass. Constitution, second POTUS) was the first president to "abuse" the judicial system by signing a law creating many new federal court positions just before he left office, intent to fill these new positions with Federalist judges in order to stymie the new Republican Congress and President. When Jefferson came into office, his Democratic-Republicans repealed the Judiciary Act of 1800 that Adams had signed. This led, in 1803, to the case Marbury vs. Madison in which the Supreme Court first established the power of the Supreme Court to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional (by invalidating a section of the Judiciary Act of 1789).

I am certainly no expert on this or any legal issues, but there seems to be a fundamental problem.

The Judiciary, filled with judges largely appointed for life, have since the 1803 decision, made themselves the arbiters of constitutionality. This is a potentially a problem because they are not accountable to the people.

However, the Legislature and the Executive, while accountable to the people, can not be trusted to determine when their own actions (since they are the only branches of government that have active power, e.g. purse and means) are unconstitutional.

Nor can we necessarily trust the people themselves to decide constitutionality, in order to prevent tyranny of the majority over the minority's fundamental rights (although some argue that this is exactly what we should do, depending on negotiation between multiple factions to somehow magically guarantee minority rights).

It seems evident that problems will arrive that had not been considered when the constitutions were written. The problem cannot be treated as outside the constitution (the ultimate law of the land), so the existing constitution and intent of the constitution's framers must be interpreted in order to be applicable to the problem case. The judiciary has been and will continue to be presented with cases for which there is no clear constitutional rule because the specific problem had never been considered before.

The issue that presents itself here is that, whether the majority of society approves or not, laws banning (or not-allowing-for) same-sex marriages may indeed be unconstitutional (at a state or federal level). In a similar fashion, Amendment 14 of the US Const. provided for equal protection under the law of all US citizens. This was later used to invalidate popular (at state level), although unconstitutional (by Supreme Court decision), Jim Crow laws.

It seems to me that if banning same-sex marriages is truly unconstitutional (at state or federal level), then constitutions must be amended by popular favor to eliminate same-sex marriage, regardless of the difficulty. Until that time, the law should allow for them.

So no answers here. Smarter people than I haven't been able to figure it out. Judicial review in support of unpopular ideas may very well cause backlash, damaging the very causes the judges support. I suppose that the issue of judicial activism may be self-correcting, although on a slow time scale. As executives and legislatures (responsible to the people) become frustrated with "activist" judges, they will appoint and approve fewer activists to the bench, and the pendulum will swing back to judicial "restraint" as activist judges die out. The judiciary can also reverse it's own decisions , although a change in membership would typically be required.

2/09/2004

Gay Marriage...

by Weisshaupt at 2/09/2004 10:35:00 AM

Justice Greaney concurred "with the result reached by the court, the remedy ordered, and much of the reasoning in the court's opinion," but expressed the view that "the case is more directly resolved using traditional equal protection analysis." He stated that to withhold "relief from the plaintiffs, who wish to marry, and are otherwise eligible to marry, on the ground that the couples are of the same gender, constitutes a categorical restriction of a fundamental right." Moreover, Justice Greaney concluded that such a restriction is impermissible under art. 1 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. In so doing, Justice Greaney did not rely on art. 1, as amended in 1976, because the voters' intent in passing the amendment was clearly not to approve gay marriage, but he relied on well-established principles of equal protection that antedated the amendment.

http://www.barrister2.blogspot.com/2003_11_16_barrister2_archive.html

Basically there is an attempt to claim the "right" to marriage under the Massachusetts Constitution (originally written by John Adams BTW) even though the amendment cited was only approved by the electorate under the proviso that it would not be used to enact gay marriage. This judge is basically willfully ignoring the stated will of the legislature and the will of the electorate and reinterpreting the article to satisfy his social values, in effect circumventing the process and balance of power between the legislature and the judiciary.

Regardless on one's values on this matter, one should be very worried about this abuse of power by the judiciary (and this is not an isolated case) in reinterpreting laws where it is obvious what the stated intent of those laws are.

I personally am for a reform in the way we think of marriage, but trying to ram this down the throat of the electorate is certain to result in backlash and disapproval and in fact heighten the conflict in a way that will serve no ones interests. And because of the way this was legislated from the bench, it now opens the door to legal challenges for those who want to marry sheep, their daughters or multiple individuals. You might claim they will be in the minority, but if Sweden's Gay Marriage rates are any indication, they is reason to suspect that the actual number of gay couples getting married will be quite low (of course Marriage in Sweden isn't terribly popular in general, so that may caused depressed rates of it amongst homosexuals as well)

Marriage is privilege (not a right in most places) that is granted by society to provide a stable cohesive unit for raising children. It is traditionally a contract not just between a man and a woman, but also with society at large. Hence, it does become other peoples business what goes on in the bedroom of a married couple. Before Modern Feminism (1970 or so) Marriage laws were meant to make divorce difficult and to protect the spouse who might be forgoing a career to take care the children. The current system of divorce laws encourages daycare and other arrangements which have been shown to, on average, be worse situations for children as judged by their ability to grow into properly functioning adults.

Traditionally, a married couple would be having sex, with the more often than not consequence of children. Modern and reliable birth control, as well as easy access to abortion have changed that. Marriage no longer equals children. Since the institution was founded from a societal point of view as a protection for children, we probably need to add a new stage to our process. Civil Unions for everybody, heterosexual or homosexual, and then an automatic upgrade to marriage upon the birth or adoption of a child. This would also enable us to keep the "no fault divorce laws" so loved by feminists and Playboy Magazine for dissolving childless marriages, and also allow us to enact the stricter, more difficult divorce laws for those with children.

I have looked and I can't find any reliable studies on the effects of homosexual parenting on kids. I would however suspect that it isn't any worse than being raised by a single parent, which is something that is now accepted if not condoned, by our laws.
However, if we are to codify homosexual parenting in our laws via a grant of marriage, it should be done with the agreement of the rest of society ( the 3rd part in a Marriage contract) and not forced upon society by lone social reformists. The legislature can do this in such a way that only Homosexuals will be admitted to the contract and still allow the exclusion of other family types (a Man and his goldfish). The welfare of children is greatly affected by the environment in which they are raised, and the admission of new societally condoned environments should be undertaken with extreme care.

2/06/2004

Honest Piracy

by Yuris at 2/06/2004 12:49:00 PM

The following partially translated article (originally in Spanish) came out on La Tercera on Feb 4th.

Pirate Harry Potter is plagued with mistakes


With sales estimated in more than 10 thousand copies, the illegal book that circulates in Chile has multiple spelling mistakes, syntax problems and notes in which the "traslator" confesses ignorance and omissions.

[...]

But the damages are not only economic. The illegal translation released in Chile, the first in the Spanish world, contains serious mistakes. Reiterated misspellings, aberrant grammar constructions, stylistic licenses, omissions and notes in which the translator confesses his incapacity to interpret complete words or phrases, comprise of the edition that has been read by thousands of Chilean readers, in its majority children.

If something is worth recognizing, its the pirate translator's "honesty". Already from first page of the book, the ghost translator recognizes the difficulty that finds to execute the entrusted task, introducing phrases between parenthesis as "here comes something that I am incapable to translate, sorry"; "no idea what that meant"; "I did not understand very well what the phrase in English meant, for that reason I interpreted it '".

Further along the reading, the translator shows desperation ("if somebody knows what this means - grip sloth roll- please that puts it in"), indifference ("N/T: I do not know what it says") or to franc annoyance (Harry had to ask what Nargles were-"if Harry does not know then what Nargles are, how do they expect me to know: note from the translator").

Although these "external" comments are found throughout the 777 pages of the illegal edition -116 less than the official in Spanish which will come out 21 February -, in other passages the translator saves commentaries, constructing phrases that are entirely unconnected, as if they had been put under an automatic program of translation.

From the notes, nevertheless, it is inferred that the illegal edition not only had at least a translator, but also with a proof reader. The evidence is in page 298: "Note of the corrector: I feel incapable of correcting this ", somebody writes down after a uninteligible phrase.

[...]

I can't wait to get a copy of this book.

terrorist makes White House look bad

by John at 2/06/2004 09:39:00 AM

Some terrorist has cleverly remixed words (2.0Mb mp3) by senior administration officials to make it sound like they said that Iraq was a dire threat to the United States and the world because the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction. He also makes them say several other misleading and incorrect statements. The terrorist has done a very convincing job, but we know the truth.

Some supporting documents:
Exaggerating the Threats 6/16/2003
The Stovepipe 10/27/2003
WMD in Iraq - Evidence and Implications 1/8/2004
Neglecting Intelligence, Ignoring Warnings 1/28/2004
We Had Good Intel - The UN's 2/9/2004

Finally, you can mix up your own lies here (requires flash and audio).

Update: Commentary on yesterday's speech by George Tenet, CIA director.

2/05/2004

Rumours

by Yuris at 2/05/2004 10:34:00 AM

Check out the "Rumors of War", an indexed a collection of links to pages discussing the various rumours to come out of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States of America.

rest of world discovers Casa Bonita

by John at 2/05/2004 08:21:00 AM

The folks over at boingboing.net have just discovered that the restaurant Casa Bonita, as featured in a recent episode of "South Park", actually exists.

Any Casa Bonita memories from current/former Denverites?

I'll start: I remember the Grotto, a cave-like room that looked out onto the lagoon, and a pirate's cave/jail cell. There was also a gorilla. Also, I remember a commercial with "It's the sopa... It's the sopa... It's the food!" but that could be from a different fun-family-Mexican restaurtant in Phoenix.

2/04/2004

eastern standard tribe

by John at 2/04/2004 09:16:00 AM

If you liked Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, check out his new novel, Eastern Standard Tribe, available in print or in many convenient and free electronic formats.

If you haven't read Down and Out... yet, I highly recommend it. You can get a copy at your local library and read it for free, or download free electronic versions here.

Also, you can buy both books and help support Doctorow's writing habit.

2/03/2004

Janet Jackson moment is the most Tivo-ed in history of Tivo!

by Wendy at 2/03/2004 08:22:00 AM

I know, you thought this blog was a safe refuge from celebrity gossip... but according to this article:

TiVo said that particular halftime stunt was the most replayed moment not only of the Super Bowl but of all TV moments that the young company has ever measured.

I'm not trying to start a discussion about Ms. Jackson's breast (but feel free if you're so inclined). I just find it disturbing that Tivo has the ability to measure these things among their audience - not just the programs that we're watching or recording, but the actual moments that we choose to replay.

(I'm also disturbed that the Budweiser commericial with the cute little donkey was NOT in the top 2, but I'll leave that gripe for another time)

2/01/2004

migraines and brain lesions

by John at 2/01/2004 01:11:00 PM

Dutch researchers have found a link between migraine headaches and the presence of brain lesions. CNN article here, and JAMA article here.

From CNN:
Using magnetic resonance images, the researchers found that for patients with both migraines and visual problems the risk of cerebral infarction -- tissue which has died due to lack of oxygen when a blood clot blocks an artery -- was 13 times higher than the group which had no migraines at all.

The problem increased with the frequency of migraine attacks.

Patients with migraine but no eye trouble had more than seven times the risk that would normally be expected. The problem occurred in the cerebellar region of the brain, which controls motor motions.