Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Sunday, 2017.03.26
Prediction for 2035:  Baby conceived naturally...scientists stumped.

		Nostril da Moose

2007.06.11

Cool On Top

As in Cool Roofs:

Over 90% of the roofs in the United States are dark-colored. These low-reflectance surfaces reach temperatures of 150 to 190°F (66 to 88°C) and contribute to:

  • Increased cooling energy use and higher utility bills;
  • Higher peak electricity demand, raised electricity production costs, and a potentially overburdened power grid;
  • Reduced indoor comfort;
  • Increased air pollution due to the intensification of the “heat island effect”; and
  • Accelerated deterioration of roofing materials, increased roof maintenance costs, and high levels of roofing waste sent to landfills.


In contrast, cool roof systems with high reflectance and emittance stay up to 70°F (39°C) cooler than traditional materials during peak summer weather. Benefits of cool roofs include reduced building heat-gain and saving on summertime air conditioning expenditures. By minimizing energy use, cool roofs do more than save money – they reduce the demand for electric power and resulting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of Home Owner Association fiefdoms in the way of making something like this happen. There really are many, many simple solutions to the problem, but how do you whip up a fearful frenzy about white roofs? It’s much more satisfying to smack down a Hummer driver or gloat over that shiny new Prius in the driveway.

2007.06.08

That’s Not The Paris I Knew

I just don’t know what to think about the frenzied, feverish pitch in the press over Paris Hilton’s Plight. Give me a moment…

I got it! Nothing!

The main stream media has become worse than a parody of itself. In times past, the pen was mightier than the sword. But the pen wielded by today’s press is out of ink. But who am I to complain? Paris and the press are giving extra life to my little joke.

2007.06.03

When Napping Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Nap

Take a nap, go to jail No rest for the wicked? There will only be rest for the wicked.

A teenage girl could face criminal charges after the two toddlers she was baby-sitting drowned in a nearby pond in a rural Pennsylvania town.

The coroner says the deaths were accidental. But the 18-year-old, who is related to one of the girls, could be held responsible if she is found to have been negligent or reckless.

The baby sitter told state police she put the girls down for a nap Wednesday and took a nap herself. When she woke up, she said the two girls were missing from the house.

There are a few other clichés that could be rewritten to match the sentiment.

It’s a tragedy with potentially far reaching repercussions. I suppose the sitter was negligent, 18 years is certainly old enough to understand the responsibility – or at least it was when I was 18. My sense is that kids these days are more isolated from the ideas of consequences and responsibility. We can thank the shift toward a nanny state mentality in public education and draconian social services for much of this. But Dr. Helen asks:

So, if taking a nap while babysitting turns out to be a crime, what would napping while parenting be called? And if cases like this are prosecuted–isn’t it too dangerous to babysit for anyone, relatives included?

Glenn Reynolds observes:

Everybody wants to demonstrate that they care about kids by ratcheting the standards for parenting and childcare ever-higher. But in doing so we raise the costs of having kids — you can’t even go out, because who’ll babysit if the liability is so extreme? — and that probably does more societal damage.

I also note that when I was on the state’s Juvenile Justice Reform Commission, I heard a lot of child-welfare authorities who testified make the same kind of excuses for the neglect or abuse of children in their care that they refused to accept from parents, etc. — we’re so busy, there’s not enough money, it’s not our fault they live in a building that’s old and unsafe, etc. As Reverend Lovejoy said, when the state does it, it’s not wrong!

I’m not surprised that the same excuses are used by bureaucratic authorities. Government institutions are not made up of socially enlightened people with superior intelligence and impeccable moral vision (although they themselves may think they are such divine beings.) It’s much more likely the wheels are cranked by regular people who have a lot invested in having acquired the position they occupy. So they want to protect their position and do so with regular people excuses. In the worst cases, however, the wheels are cranked by folks matching the lowest common denominator. These people are scariest of all as they will actively work to insure there is a market for their “skills.” What do you suppose the Baby Sitter Police might look like and who would join the force? I can think of a few models in place right now.

[Edit History]

2007.06.06

There’s more to the story (H/T: Instapundit):

A teenager had been up all night drinking at a party before coming home to baby-sit her stepsister and another toddler, who both wandered outside and drowned in a nearby pond while the teen slept, state police said Tuesday.

“OK im finally done drinking and im rocked lol,” she text-messaged a friend — using the shorthand for “laughing out loud” — between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. last Wednesday, police said. A few hours later, the children were dead.

The emerging facts are more than a little disturbing. As it turns out, the teenager is actually 19 years old and is telling conflicting stories. I’ll say it again: “My sense is that kids these days are more isolated from the ideas of consequences and responsibility.”

2007.05.28

From The Good-Doggie-Gooooooood-Doggie Department

I don’t get it. This is America. We can put a man on the moon, evaporate milk and, most miraculously of all, find a way to entertain ourselves with the likes of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. So why is it we can’t figure out a way to get coyotes to attend some anger management classes? There ought to be a LAW that makes them behave, damn it! Please, think of the pets! If is saves at least one Bichon Frise it will have been worth it.

Coyote Warning

Came across this sign while on a bike ride this afternoon. Huge sections of field and brush were marked off, crime scene tape style, with these big scary red signs planted at regular intervals. Any PETA persons available to get in there and teach these pesky coyotes how to play nice in the neighborhood? I’m sure all you’ll need to do is sit down with them and show them you care. Perhaps some hugs and kisses will help, too.

2007.05.27

Beverage-Through-The-Nose Award For Ann Althouse

I’ve been intending to resurrect the old Java Zen awards here on the blog, but just haven’t been inspired to actually do the work. But this morning, I was inspired. While reading a post on Althouse, a classic beverage spewing moment occurred and a brief pause followed while coffee was cleaned off the computer monitor.

I’m late to the whole exchange between several blogs regarding a pill that ends menstruation. Within this exchange, Eugene Volokh comments:

It’s been amazing seeing my wife and other women deal with her first pregnancy. Immediately upon announcing to the world she’s pregnant, my wife was part of the “in crowd.” Every mother–whether she knew my wife well or not–could smile and talk about morning sickness, or finding out the baby’s gender, or feeling bloated, etc.

To which Althouse responds in award winning fashion:

Oh, for the love of…. like it’s a big, fun sorority. I’d rather be able to use my own body to write my name in the snow.

So here’s to Ann Althouse, and thanks for providing one of the better laughs I’ve had in a good long while.

2007.05.25

TSA – Safe Haven For Creepy Cretins With Stunted Self-Esteem

Ever since grade school, I’ve had to deal with a particular attitude among hyper-insecure short people whereby they have an impulsive need to somehow “prove” themselves by doing me harm. “Get the big guy, it’ll look good and if I lose, well hey, I lost to the big guy and I sill look good.” It’s not just me. All big guys seem to have to deal with this at some point. As the big guy, it means either way you loose. In grade school, it meant getting picked on a lot and occasionally beaten up. Wasn’t much of a fighter thanks, in part, to that “turn the other cheek” crap. On the rare occassion I did fight back, it was a net loss because the poor, smaller underdog usually gathered sympathy from those unaware the runt initiated the conflict.

When the teenage years brought muscle to my lanky frame, the intimidation factor pretty much closed the door on the physical proving grounds, even though I was still clinically shy and quite the accomplished wimp. (Adding an Aikido black belt to my set-O-skills sealed this avenue off permanently.) At this point, the weak-ass diminutive efforts at sniping hits of self-esteem off of others perceived as self-confident becomes much more covert. Also at this point, it is no longer limited to just males. The covert field is a level one that offers satisfaction for both genders.

It’s easy to recognize the attempts at marginalizing who I am or otherwise confine my choices like a hawk recognizes a rabbit. Water off a duck’s back, these days. Ignoring the attempt is all I have energy for. There are, however, occasions where I have no choice but to deal with such stunted emotional growth. And it’s always situations where the self-esteem starved cretin is on the other side of the fence, taunting from the safety of Mom and Dad’s porch, as it were. The secondary and tertiary consequences of September 11, 2001, and the rise in power of the TSA security agent at airports is a real time example of this environment.

It’s a low level job with a relatively low skill threshold to qualify. But you get the uniform and, with the full weight and power of federal law, you get to ply your trade from the safety of Mom and Dad’s porch. An attractive environment for the feeble-esteemed. What a joy they must feel, knowing that with a wave of their hand they can force whom ever to do the “little security dance” for their pleasure. (The fact most of the airport security hoopla is all theater belongs in a separate post. Better yet, go here.)

When traveling, I tend to get tapped for the extra security screening. Not that I’m sporting the terrorist look, rather, I suspect, because I’m tall, muscular and probably have a displeased look on my face due solely to the fact I have to squeeze my 6′ 5″ frame into a puny lawn chair inside an aluminum tube and remain frozen there for the duration of the flight. But maaaaaaaaaaaybe, I’m just having paranoid dilutions. So I started keeping track. So far, every time I’ve been tapped, it’s been by members of the 5′ 5″ or less ruck of TSA agents.

Still…water off a duck’s back. The strategy of choice is to acknowledge the runt only as much as necessary and get the hell out of there. But like with the school yard, the runt knows they get to win and all I can do is loose. So, I do the “extra security dance”, update the mental score card and go on my way. A recent trip to Dallas was a little different. It’s the closest I’ve come to empirical proof that this attitude exists within the TSA ranks.

It was a short business trip, so I had one carry on with everything I needed, including all those extremely seriously frighteningly dangerous liquids and gels sealed in the required 1 qt. zip-lock bag. I do my dance – shoes off, belt off, watch off, wallet out, laptop out, bag of extremely seriously frighteningly dangerous liquids and gels out, boarding pass held in my teeth…

All goes fine. I’m on the other side getting dressed again and I look up to see a short, fat, unattractive female TSA agent holding up my bag of extremely seriously frighteningly dangerous liquids and gels. She has one of those half grins going. And I think, “Uh-oh.”

“Is this yours?”, she asks. (No courtesy “Sir” at the end. Uh-oh.)

“Yes”, say I.

Slowly, deliberately she takes out the toothpaste. “This is too big.” I just look at her. She unrolls the end of the tube down a bit and points to the label, “It’s 5 ounces and has to be less than 3.” I just look at her. She is holding that more than half empty tube of toothpaste up with a condescending, self-satisfied smile on her face. I imagine the same smile slithers across her face after finishing off that quart of vanilla crunch ice cream each night back at the hovel. But there was more to the vibe. If I could read her mind (scary thought), I suspect there was something like “Go ahead, you bastard. Give me a reason to take you down. Make my day.” Given this blubbery TSA hag was wearing a TSA uniform – the most powerful, illogical, contradictory, uncaring authority on the concourse that can blow my life clean out of the water – I wasn’t feeling lucky.

I trade glances with the lady next in line and think, “I’ve already lost here. But, I still can choose how much I want to loose.” I could have helped TSA hag with the math, but that would have meant getting to know TSA hag much more than I cared to in this or any other life time. I chose to loose the toothpaste.

It’s schadenfreude, to be sure. Any bureaucracy that gives this kind of power over the minutia of other people’s lives gets exploited by the emotional runts it hires to implement it’s intrusive, ineffective policies.

[Edit History]

2007.05.25

I’m sure these petty types lash out at others for similar reasons against different traits. I happen to be tall and male, so that’s the filter I get. For being pretty, well dressed or intelligent…not so much.

2007.05.27

Grammar and typo fixes.

2007.05.23

It’s Holocaust’s All The Way Down, Baby

If it didn’t happen, why are they working so hard to convince themselves it didn’t?

And on a related meta note, if they don’t fear them so much, why promulgate such contorted logic to suppress them and beat them into submission?

2007.05.22

Are Greens Helping Heat Up The Planet?

Look what happened here. The environmentalists where on the verge of ending whaling. (H/T Instapundit)

So what went wrong?

One theory, explored in the BBC World Service’s One Planet programme, is that the environmental movement pushed too hard; that its strident calls helped to alienate Japan at the very point where it was prepared to abandon whaling, and to remove a key bargaining tool from the US armoury.

Did the environmental movement harpoon its own ambitions?

I strongly suspect this attitude is poised to rain havoc on the global warming cause. But hey! Al Gore snagged himself a purty golden doll. Feelin’ the love, feelin’ the love…

2007.05.08

Animals Are Such…Animals!

Another case, via the Darwin Awards, of a human being surprised by the fact animals are not human:

(August 2006, Florida) A scuba diver was bitten on the lip when he attempted to kiss a nurse shark. The bite was a surprise to the diver, as he had already kissed hundreds of sharks. He explained, “You pick ’em up, rub their belly, scratch ’em, hug them, you might as well give ’em a smooch while you’re out there.”

Yes, I’m certain with over 450 million years of evolution behind them, sharks have a highly developed sense of “hug” and “smooch.” This particular shark probably and a momentary lapse into the evolutionary dark ages and confused “hug and smooch” with “slash and tear.” Oooops.

Keep at it, Diver Dan. I hear the really big sharks are just as cuddly as a bear.

2007.05.03

Digg And The Church Of Global Warming

I had been waiting/searching for the past several weeks for a good example of where the global warming hype is likely to end up given it’s current trajectory. This past Tuesday, the diggbats delivered.

If you aren’t familiar with Digg, it’s a community driven site for ranking blog posts and news items. According to Digg.com, “Digg is all about user powered content. Everything is submitted and voted on by the Digg community. Share, discover, bookmark, and promote stuff that’s important to you!” As a blogger, it is fundamentally just another way to drive traffic to your blog. If the digg community likes your post, it gets promoted on Digg.com and web surfers visit your blog.

Simple enough, but a few in the Digg community with way too much time on their hands (the diggbats) have proved to be an unruly bunch playing in a sandbox that itself doesn’t seem to have any rules. At all. Rules of fairness? No. Rules of etiquette? Nope. Full disclosure? Ha! Copyright? Ha HA! Spend some time on Little Green Footballs (search for “Digg”) and you will get a pretty clear picture of what the diggbats are capable of. On Tuesday, the diggbats revolted, repetitively posted (as in thousands of times) copyrighted material and essentially took control of the site once Digg’s founder, Kevin Rose, surrendered to the diggbat pressures and joined the revolt himself.

So how does this map to the global warming zealots? The hysteria and blind actions among a small, yet very vocal and mobile, population of the community, for starters. Their ability to determine the direction of the overall course, for another. Digg’s founder is probably a nice guy. Most of the people working to address the possible issue of global warming are nice people. But, like Rose and the diggbats, the nice people involved with the global warming cause are getting run over by the zealots. I include Al Gore among the zealots.

Gore, like a few in the digg community, is whipping up the frenzy and hype surrounding global warming such that it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a reasoned discussion about 1) the causes and 2) the solutions. In an evengelical, rapture driven environment, it is quite possible, perhaps even probable, that any solutions coming out of such a logic locked irrationality will either have no effect or actually exacerbate the problem if for no other reason than delaying the implementation of a reasonable, workable plan. Carbon credits, for example. I have more faith in the stability of Monopoly money.

Consider this quote by Meg Worby, one of Gore’s environmental evangelists, as it appeared in The Bulletin:

“All of a sudden he just fired up and he wasn’t this smooth politician anymore. His hair, which is usually slicked back, was out of place, he had sweat on his brow, and he was gesticulating wildly. You could feel the energy from the back of the room. It was the moment when I felt I had touched on something real. That was the moment I really felt convinced.”

Wow. Gore must have be expounding some deep and profound thought at the moment. Pray tell, Meg, what lofty yet deep Truth was the Goracle inconveniencing you with at that moment?

“Al Gore was taking us through step by step to show us why the slides were in the order they were and how they build the case. I was trying to keep my concentration going and someone told him that we didn’t have much time left.”

Oh. He was sorting slides. The Gorelettes attending his camps to learn how to evangelize The Message (soon to be His Message) hang on his every gesture, his every syllable. Too bad they’re not holding on to them, stringing them together and then asking themselves if they make sense. That, too, is An Inconvenient Effort.

It gets worse from there. The evangelicals within the Church of Global Warming have openly declared that denying the “truth” of global warming is on par with denying that the Holocaust occurred. In effect, this puts Godwin’s Law into play and all rational discussion ceases. There are those who are even proposing jail time and fines for “global warming deniers.” This isn’t science. It isn’t even rational.

Understanding the problem no longer seems to be relevant. And in my opinion, based on reading the science, the issue is not at all understood. Solutions cannot be proposed to problems that are not understood. You might as well be rolling dice or throwing darts while blindfold. No one seems to be asking the question of whether or not global warming is, in fact, bad in the long term. I’ve said before, the earth doesn’t give a damn so it comes down to how it effects us, the selfish little we on the planet. Sure, there are dire predictions of rising sea levels and such, but the press is ignoring the positives that are occurring naturally from this change. (Exercise for the reader: These are not hard to find, just don’t expect to do your “research” on any of the MSM sites.) What seems to be rubbing people the wrong way is that it is a change in the status quo. “Damn it, the Earth should have a thermostat that man can adjust to his needs, right? Just fix it and fix it NOW. YOU better change YOUR ways so I don’t have to change MINE.”

However, like the diggbats, the belligerently vocal minority within the Church of Global Warming have, in my estimation, taken the wheel of the issue and will drive it in a direction they couldn’t care less about as long as it is they who drive it there. We, the global community, will likely pay the price incurred by the mad few. What this issue needs is a string of three or four years of hard freeze to get it back into rational territory. Maybe then we won’t be force fed incomplete science by a politician and ecological hypocrite.

[Edit History]

2007.05.03

Another representative example of the attitude toward global warming I’m concerned about (H/T Tim Blair):

 Is Global Warming being over hyped? Probably. But the planet needs to get out of the hole it currently is in by a world dominated by the oil and coal industries! The hype is necessary to try and remove the dependency from these money hungry, egotistical, evil SOBs!

For this commenter, it isn’t about understanding and solving the potential threat of long term global warming, it’s about sticking it to the man. For this commenter, it’s about good vs. evil. Where’s the science? Global warming is evolving into a convenient credibility cow on which to paint a personal agenda.

2007.05.02

An Inconvenient Effort

[This post dovetails nicely as an example to my The Truth Never Changes post. – GPE]

After the fourth email with the subject “Fw: FW: FW: FW: No Gas On May 15th …” showed up, it was time for a blog post. Apologies to the senders, some of them are family and friends and they mean well. But thresholds are thresholds and to paraphrase Rodney King, “People, I just want to say, you know, can’t we all just get beyond the bumper stickers?”

The subject line is irritating enough. Nothing says “I’ve thought this through and it’s good stuff” like successive “FW” tags, stacked up like so many cheep slaps to the face from some cheesy interrogation scene staring James Cagney. Besides, scientists have proven that clicking on the “Forward Message” button contributes to global warming.

So here is the message:

NO GAS…On May 15Th 2007

Don’t pump gas on MAY 15Th

In April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of
gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

On May 15Th 2007, all Internet users are to not go to a gas station in
protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most
places.

There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet
network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.

If all users did not go to the pump on the 15Th, it would take
$2,292,000,000.00 (that’s almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies
pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May
15Th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for
at least one day.

If you agree (which I cant see why you wouldn’t) resend this to all your
contact list. With it saying, ”Don’t pump gas on May 15Th”

Now let’s dissect it. And I’m so hopping, eye rolly mad, I’m not even going to use anesthesia.

In April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of
gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

I can’t find any evidence of this. What’s the source of this data? Did the price fall 30¢ over night nation wide or just at Earl’s Corner Gas N’ Go? In fact, I can’t find where it has fallen this much over night ever. It’s a big drop and likely to have been noticed.

On May 15Th 2007, all Internet users are to not go to a gas station in
protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most
places.

The negative command is painful enough, but…my bumper sticker cerebral lobe logic tells me high prices should be a good thing as it means people will drive less, produce less greenhouse gases, reduce global warming and bring about world peace and the long promised utopia. Why the protest? Bring it on! All things connected to fuel prices be damned.

There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet
network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up.

“Member”, eh? Gee, didn’t know I was part of a club. The various research data I was able to google indicated that roughly 40% of these members are children or young adults below the legal driving age. That leaves us with 43 million “members” in a position to fill ‘er up. But, how is it the average cost to fill up a tank of gas is between 30 to 50 dollars? An average would be one number because, well, it’s an average and not a range. So, using the members of the Internet of driving age figure and the average of $30 and $50 ($40) we get a total potential hit to the oil companies of $1,720,000,000. What’s more, the assumption is that this is pure profit for the oil company. There are taxes and costs incurred between the pump in the field and the pump at the gas station – R&D, labor, refining, transportation, etc. All those intervening steps are jobs for regular people with families, needs and dreams. And we all benefit from the taxes.

If all users did not go to the pump on the 15Th, it would take
$2,292,000,000.00 (that’s almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies
pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May
15Th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for
at least one day.

$2.3 billion is almost $3 billion like Danny DeVito is almost 6 feet tall. Anyway, the potential dent is $1.7 billion assuming 100% pure profit and 100% participation by all those driving Internet members. It’s a lucky election day if 50% from such a large pool of potential “customers” can be troubled to vote. The likelihood of 43 million people remembering to not do something is, in my opinion, negligible. And it is highly unlikely they will forego filling up their gas tanks ever again. They will simply fill up on May 16th. Presto! Zappo! the $1.7 billion is right back in the dreaded oil company’s pocket. Somehow, I don’t think the oil companies will mind, much less notice, they waited a day for the $1.7 billion.

If you really care to put a dent in the ol’ evil doing oil company’s revenues, you’ll need more of an effort. And that effort is likely to inconvenience you or otherwise crimp your lifestyle. For example, don’t drive on May 15th but still go to work and run a few errands. It will mean walking, using public transportation, car pooling or riding one of these (highly recommended!) But hey, don’t stop there. Start swapping out those regular incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. And while you’re at it, join the team and track the dent you’re making in the lower left panel of this blog.

I fill up my truck about once every two weeks. So I might accidentally participate in this protest if I happen to not gas up the truck on May 15th. But if I don’t participate, know that I protested for the 7 days before and will likely protest for the 7 days after May 15th. The rest of you slackers will have protested on one day whereas I will have protested on 14 days! Ha! Me feel green.

[Edit History]

2007.05.02

Added some thoughts on how to make a difference that really is a difference.

2007.05.17

Here are some numbers via George Will:

While oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gasoline, the federal government makes 18.4 cents (the federal tax) and California’s various governments make 40.2 cents (the nation’s third-highest gasoline tax). [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s San Francisco collects a local sales tax of 8.5 percent — higher than the state’s average for local sales taxes.

There you have it. The biggest gouger at the pump? Government.

2007.04.29

The Truth Never Changes

Except when it does. The Truth defined by Claudius Ptolemy stood for some 1,400 years before the Truth defined by Nicolaus Copernicus ground Ptolemy’s cosmological Truth to dust. The Truth had changed. When one Truth, however, stands as long and has as deep a roots as Ptolemy’s, it can take a great deal of time to be eroded by the new Truth. Such was the case with Copernicus’ Truth. When so many of a society’s beliefs have been built upon a particular Truth, society is loath to relinquish the old Truth in favor of the new.

It is the same for personal beliefs and what each of us perceive as the “Truth.” An attorney friend of mine leverages this inertia when questioning witnesses in court. He begins with “Would you agree the Truth never changes?” The answer to this question is usually “Yes.” The one exception I know of was when this question was asked of a research MD expert witness. Science types, if they learned the idea of science at all, know the Truth changes. But the average bear believes the Truth, as they understand it, is as solid as a block of stone. My attorney friend then skillfully guides the witness into acknowledging the Truth of the case he is presenting. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

When the battle is between one who knows the Truth changes and one who believe it does not, my money is on the one who knows they are dancing on quicksand.

There are, of course, areas of human experience where the unacknowledged absurdity of immutable Truth make the experience what it is. Take this for example…

The Bean

It’s “The Bean”, as the locals call it, in Chicago. I took this picture last week while there on business. Is it art? Does it reveal a Truth to you?

Most of the visual arts are lost on me. I know what I like. Asian calligraphy and the works of David Lee and Frances Ku are particular favorites. But “The Bean” wasn’t revealing any Truths for me that day. That is, not until I looked no further than my own feet. There it was. The Truth revealed just as clearly as if it had been, well, chiseled in stone.

AT&T Plaza

It’s a commercial. (I did say most of the visual arts are lost on me. That’s probably why I play piano and cello rather than muck about with paint or clay.) But what about this…

Wacker 1

Found this after wandering East on Wacker to Lake Michigan. Again, no Truths were revealed, not even chiseled in stone. But I do know it had puppies…

Wacker 2

I shall leave the subject of Truth from Art alone and instead focus on the Truth that drives, reassures and comforts most of us. It’s the Truth of “reality.” But here again, there is an often unacknowledged contamination of subjectivity. There is the Truth of facts and the Truth derived from those facts, the interpreted Truth.

Just West of where I live can be found baked into the stone footprints from some long dead giant lizard. Virtually everyone agrees to this fact. The footprints are there. The creature, and any such creatures like it, have long since vanished from the planet. Where the Truth of these footprints becomes schizophrenic is in how the fact of those footprints are interpreted. My interpretation, and the resulting Truth I carry around, says those footprints were left there millions of years ago. Others interpret those prints has being no older than a few thousands years, what with the Earth not being older than some particular reference claims. A single Truth of fact with two associated, yet incompatible interpreted Truths.

A popular and politically correct Truth to hang your hat on these days has to do with global warming and whether or not it’s an established fact. My read is that it isn’t. Man’s experience with the weather is just too small a window from which to claim having any kind of clear view of what the global climate is doing. One hundred years ago, some scientists and much of the press was all abuzz with claims that the next ice age had begun.

I believe it is a good thing to reduce the amount of pollution we, as a species, spew into the atmosphere. I’ve believed that since high school when the high pollution alerts in Denver, compounded by the city’s infamous temperature inversions, left the air smelling like a sewer for weeks. Today, even with the population having growing significantly, the air is much cleaner. The global warming hysteria has not deepened my conviction in this regard.

So Al Gore is burning tons of jet fuel to haul is ass around the globe in order to set up circus tents and parade his “An Inconvenient Truth” dog and pony show. (Sidebar: When was it the Academy created a slide show category for it’s award?) I’m left with several questions. Who’s Truth is Gore selling? Inconvenient for whom? How can such a complex issue contain just one Truth? Frankly, I don’t think the Earth gives a damn about us. 4 billion years ago it was a sea of molten rock with no atmosphere. Life has been wiped clean from the surface and recreated anew probably more times than we know. The hysteria about global warming is a self-serving one and those on Gore’s band wagon are more interested about their own skin that saving the planet. The planet will save its self and will do so with the same indifferent cruelty and violence from which it began.

Listening to Gore and his evangelists leaves me with the creepy feeling that the solution to the “problem” of global warming is for others to solve (usually through some sort of sacrifice) so that they can continue living the life to which they have become accustom. (Man, are they going to be pissed if some killer asteroid is discovered for which they can’t buy impact offsets.) Setting the problem to rights, assuming it exists, will take something Al Gore and the eco-elites are apparently incapable of: An Inconvenient Effort.

[Edit History]

2007.05.01

Interesting article from ScienceDaily (“Earth’s Climate Is Seesawing, According To Climate Researchers“) illustrates my point about our window to the nature of Earth’s climate being rather small. For all their credentials, the scientists really don’t know for sure what is happening with the climate. Those that claim to be sure, probably aren’t honest scientists. (H/T Bryan at Hot Air)

2007.05.02

Added link to David Lee’s work at Lahaina Galleries.

2007.04.08

Althouse’s Law

[The blue ribbon panel of scientists at the prestigious Java Zen Institute for the Proliferation of Inconsequential Science and Humanities debated long and hard on whether the effects described herein should more appropriately be labeled “Althouse’s Catch,” but in the end settled on “Althouse’s Law.” The simple reason being that law professors ought to have laws named for them. That and a threatened law suit from the Amalgamated Union of Catchers, Baggers, Trappers and Boxers. Since it couldn’t be substantiated that Althouse has caught so much as a single cold in her life, the panel elected to avoid a reckless and litigious war of definitions. Besides, catches should be named after judges. – GPE]

Althouse’s Law: A law of discussions whereby the central point of an argument is increasingly marginalized by exaggerating, accentuating or obsessing on either the example elements of the argument or trivial, yet entertaining, side bars. The most common end result when Althouse’s Law has taken effect in a discussion is that the examples initially used to illustrate the original point or the trivial side bars become themselves the central theme of the argument. The effect of Althouse’s Law is accelerated if the examples or trivial side bars include so called “hot button” references such as breasts, divas or tears.

Similar to Godwin’s Law, when a discussion is trapped by the effects of Althouse’s Law, all meaningful discourse related to the original argument is no longer possible. Left unchecked or unrecognized by those caught in the flow away from the original argument, the extreme and ultimate end of Althouse’s Law results in the unfortunate casting of the unwitting into Althouse’s Vortex1.

Althouse’s Law was named for University of Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse, who’s personal blog was instrumental in elucidating much of the underlying effects described by Althouse’s Law.

_______________________________

1 Althouse’s Vortex is a theoretical blogosphere construct. There is much anecdotal evidence that Althouse’s Vortex exists, however no one has ever returned from having been caught in such a structure so very little is know about its nature. What is know is that those who claim to “get” Althouse generally end up in the Althouse Vortex. There seems to be a force at work in regards to the Althouse Vortex that is similar to determining whether or not one is a “hacker.” You’re not a hacker until someone else, preferably a recognized hacker, calls you a hacker. Likewise, you don’t “get” Althouse unless someone else, preferably someone on the “gets it” list, says you “get” Althouse. This quandary was at the heart of the debate on whether to call the effect defined in this post Althouse’s Law or Althouse’s Catch.

Evidence of having fallen into Althouse’s Vortex usually comes in the form of repeated ad hominem attacks against a particular author even though the attacker may, in fact, agree with the author.

[For the record, I don’t get Althouse. At all. – GPE]

2007.04.04

Evil Twin

😈

I have one. Do you?

I’ll just let mine introduce himself…

Wow. He has birth certificates and everything. What he doesn’t have is a sense of responsibility for paying his own damn bills.

More to the story of my Evil Twin can be found here. I have more than 20 years of history in dealing with this idiot from time to time, frequently in response to risks against my credit rating. I suppose at some point all this background, plus much more, will be posted on the blog. But for now, all I wanted to do was experiment with how to embed audio files into my blog.

2007.03.20

Unbearable Cuteness

God’s Holy Trousers! Not again!

Allahpundit at Hot Air reports: Lethally adorable baby polar bear marked for death

By, um, animal rights activists. The zookeepers are domesticating him, which means he might have trouble interacting with other polar bears later, which naturally means it’s better that he die.

I’m not unsympathetic to their position. Cuteness at moderate levels is productive and useful, but cuteness this highly enriched could cause mass shock, seizures, and uncontrollable cooing. If it were ever to fall into the wrong hands…

Let’s just pray that day never comes.

I lived through the massive cuteness release here in Denver when the twin polar bear cubs, Klondike and Snow, were unleashed upon the world. It’s been 12 years and the effects can still be seen and felt – people smiling with fond memories, brisk souvenir sales of bear cub stuffed toys, bumper stickers.

I toughed it out, like any resident to their hometown would. You hunker down and endure. But like so many others, I felt compelled, obligated even, to visit ground 0 X 2. So I did and was overwhelmed. I’m not ashamed to admit I smiled at their playfulness, their delightful curiosity, their innocence.

Alas, the animal rights activists have a solution different from that found for Klondike and Snow.

🙁

[Edit History]

2007.03.23

But wait! Knut lives! Reckless, it is, for those zookeepers to be handling such a critter without cute tongs and anti-cuddle suits. Mark my words, they’ll regret it.

2007.03.27

Run for the shelters, folks! Run! (H/T Allahpundit)


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