Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Tuesday, 2017.03.28
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as
far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

		Albert Einstein

2008.05.26

CU Boulder: “Come Pretend With Us!”

Stanley Fish blogs in the New York Times, More Colorado Follies:

“I’ve just returned from New Zealand and find that in my absence the University of Colorado – the same one that earlier this year appointed as its president a Republican fund-raiser with a B.A. in mining and no academic experience – has gifted me again, this time with the announcement of plans to raise money for a Chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.”

The best quote from his piece is:

“[G.P. Peterson, the chancellor of the Boulder campus] acknowledged that the professor of conservative thought didn’t have to be an actual conservative, and pointed out that many teachers of French “aren’t necessarily French.” (Of course the analogy doesn’t work: you don’t get to choose your country of origin; you do get to choose your political beliefs.)”

So I wonder, does a professor of woman studies actually need to be a woman to be credible? Can a white professor of black studies lecture from an authentic positon? G.P. Peterson, chancellor, CU Boulder, must believe so. Because, you know, many teachers of woodworking aren’t actually made of wood.

2007.12.05

Doing The Jobs Illegal Aliens Won’t Do

Michelle Malkin asks: What was your worst job?

In high school, I did dock/janitor work for The Denver Dry company, which included cleaning the bathrooms. Having grown up with five sisters, there were no illusions on my part in regard what girls are capable of. Nonetheless, the lady’s bathroom chore was far and away the worse part of that job. “Powder my nose” masks all manner of…er…um…well…ah…gack…

But that job pales in comparison to the work I did in nursing homes for three years while working my way through college. There was much to that job which was rewarding and much that I’d rather not think about. Frankly, makes picking lettuce, mowing lawns, cleaning homes and working construction all look like a walk in the park. My take away lessons from that experience included a healthy respect, even at that age, for my elders, a good diet, exercise and retirement plans.

What made it possible to work these jobs was the belief they were stepping stones to better opportunities. I remember having a sense of the need to “pay my dues” in the trenches, as it were. Having worked these jobs lead to a much greater appreciation of the success I enjoyed later in life. Nearing 30 years later, I still remember those early jobs and the lessons I learned.

2007.11.19

The Columbia 70 – Calling It Like They Don’t See It

They keep telling us, dissent is the highest form of patriotism: Statement of Dissent From CU-FAC Statement, 61 Columbia Professors dissent from the 70 Columbia Professors’ statement criticizing Lee Bollinger.

To paraphrase the Columbia 61’s points:

1. The faculty is not supreme ruler of the university and need not be consulted on university budgetary and enrollment issues.

2. Contrary to the Columbia 70’s position, the university does have a responsibility to the wider community, in addition to its students, alumni and donors.

3. The Columbia 70’s logic suffers from scope creep as obvious as Rosie O’Donnell spilling over a size 4 bikini (apologies for the imagery, but it…um…fits.)

4. President Bollinger provided exactly what the Columbia 70 claim he didn’t.

Where, exactly, did the Columbia 70 acquire their skills at logic and analysis? Are a sizable portion of academics still busy contemplating their navels? If they had any ability to view themselves critically – potential damage to their self esteem notwithstanding – and consider the larger world then perhaps their views would have been better informed. Unfortunately for Columbia and their students, the Columbia 70 appear capable of little more than rear-search.

Not unlike the Duke 88, the Columbia 70 presume to speak for all those who have remained silent, until now, that is. It’s easier to tolerate the likes of the Columbia 70 when they stare at their navels. At least then they were somewhat sympathetic. Now they’re just laughable.

(H/T: The Volokh Conspiracy)

2007.11.15

From The Two-Plus-Two-Equals-One Department

The unanswered question is, which had the greater suction, the vacuum cleaner or the black hole at the center of this guy’s head?

A man using a vacuum cleaner to suck gasoline out of a vehicle was burned and his house damaged when the fuel exploded, the Albuquerque Fire Department said.

2007.10.31

A Peek Through University of Delaware’s Fish-Eyes

Just about any dissection can be a grisly, unpleasant endeavor and the dissection in this post of the University of Delaware’s statement of support for it’s ideological reeducation camp approach to “free” thinking is no different. Hold your nose and let’s get started…

UD’s response to FIRE’s report begins:

The University of Delaware residential life educational program has been misrepresented and its goals distorted in a report generated this week by an advocacy group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

When looking through a fish-eye lens, the world certainly looks distorted, unless you’re the fish. No doubt, UD really, really, really believes they’re the good guys and that thing we all see as bendy is, in their mind, quite straight, correct and as it should be. In typically Higher Irrelevance fashion, they really, really, really “know” we all got it wrong.

“The central mission of the University, and of the program, is to cultivate both learning and the free exchange of ideas,” said Michael A. Gilbert, vice president for student life at the University. “Far from stifling free speech, the residential life educational program seeks to encourage free speech.”

“Vice president for student life”? Does someone actually HAVE that title? This program is about as far from promoting free speech as a drowning person is from calling for help. Fish-eyes.

Students who choose to participate in the residence life educational program are not required to adopt any particular points of view but are presented with a range of ideas to challenge them and stimulate conversation and debate so that students can reflect on various topics, including diversity.

Ha! It would seem the only choice they had was whether or not to attend UD. After that, not so much choice. Meta-model time, big shots. Which “range of ideas?” Challenging how? Stimulate what specific kind of conversations and debate? Diversity for whom?

“Our goal as educators is to expose students to ideas and to engage them in self-examination of the roles they hope to take in society once they leave our campus,” Gilbert said.

“Expose students to ideas and engage them in self-examination…” Ug. Please, UD, keep the trench coat closed, for all our benefit. Here’s an idea: work to make your students better engineers, scientists, or what ever else you claim to offer as professional training.

Students in residence halls are not forced to participate, and certainly are not forced to agree with any particular point of view. Students are faced with questions, but the answers to these questions are their own. There are no “correct” answers.

Just be sure to leave your answers with the man behind the curtain on the way out of the interrogation exam question room.

“The notion that students at the University of Delaware can be coerced into any one point of view does a great disservice not only to the institution but also to the student body, which is bright, creative and represents a wide array of thought,” Gilbert said.

Patronizing fish-eyes. Let’s hope UD’s students are bright enough to see this for what it is. Apparently, I benefited from a public education which actually did promote critical thinking (although the Ward Churchill fiasco years later suggests CU has slipped a bit in this regard) and so has made UD’s shameful reeducation endeavor an easy read. From UD’s own reeducation camp material:

“[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.”

Just what is it about such a statement represents a “wide array of thought”? That statement is itself racist. The author (or authors) of that statement is the racist. Fish-eyes, baby. Fish-eyes.

The residential life educational program, which has been developed with the express intent of helping students think critically and analytically, has had the input of student leaders, faculty and administrators and is continually assessed through feedback from individuals and through focus groups.

And finally, UD contends the program is “continually assessed through feedback from individuals and through focus groups.” What we need to know…and I do mean NEED…is which individuals SPECIFICALLY. Which focus groups SPECIFICALLY. Reveal ALL details pertaining to this process so that it may, in the interests of CRITICAL and ANALYTICAL thinking, be evaluated by independent observers. ANYTHING less than this is smoke and mirror bureaucracy.

Further commentary from Michelle Malkin, LGF and additional documentation at FIRE.

[Edit History]

2007.11.23

Fixed typo in title.

2007.10.10

Nose Rings And Trusted Sources

Very interesting article at the American Thinker by Randall Hoven (H/T: LGF). “Media Dishonesty Matters” is a list of 101 incidents of false and misleading information from sources generally considered trusted. It’s an enlightening list and worth reading the whole article. The preamble to the list contains this comment:

I did receive a few complaints for not having “conservatives” on the list. There turns out to be a good reason for that: there just aren’t that many who pass the criteria for clear dishonesty in the public debate.

It highlights why I tend to trust “conservatives” more than “liberals” or “progressives” – they tend to be less emotional and more rigorous in substantiating their arguments with facts. I’ve also noticed, the more thorough an individual is in vetting a particular issue, the more likely they are to be “conservative” on such issues. When approached in such a manner, it isn’t that the individual is “conservative,” rather the dispassionate, reasoned analysis makes them appear so. Mind you, I find them every bit as compassionate as those from other tribes. As a generalization, however, they are less emotional. That makes for better decisions in highly charged situations.

A word about facts is in order. I’m thinking of those things that can be independently verified, points of knowledge that can be tested, replicated and shared. Issues like global warming, finances and what caused the World Trade Center towers to burn and fall all can be reduced to verifiable facts. Abortion and stem cell research debates as generally framed by those from the “conservative” tribe fail on the matter of fact. What the Bible, Koran or Betty Crocker says doesn’t concern me in the least on these issues.

But facts require patience and too few people have what it takes to collect and consider the requisite critical mass for understanding of complex issues. And if they do, there is often a failure to consider context and consequence when using those facts to derive a decision. As Mr. Hoven notes:

While I provide a source for every item, a single source is not usually sufficient to prove anything. You might have to do some of your own searching if you remain unconvinced of a party’s guilt. Space is limited.

So is time. But it’s easy once you get the hang of it. It’s your choice. Be lead by a nose ring or find your own path. Either way, it’s your choice.

2007.06.16

Immigration – The New Slavery

The trend over the past several decades, and becoming even more pronounced within the last five years or so, is to push immigration as essentially an Hispanic issue much like slavery in the mid 1800’s and civil rights issues in the mid 1900’s were, rightfully so, essentially a black issue. The American Idle appear to be swallowing this presentation without so much as a gag reflex. Consider this report from Fox News:

[California Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger, who immigrated to the U.S. from Austria, recently told a group of Hispanic journalists that immigrants should stay away from Spanish-language television, books and newspapers.

“You’ve got to turn off the Spanish television set,” Schwarzenegger said Wednesday night at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in San Jose, Calif. “You’re just forced to speak English, and that just makes you learn the language faster.”

This has upset many in the Hispanic community, including Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), who called Schwarzenegger’s idea a “typical sound bite solution to an important issue” and complained of long waiting lists (up to three years) to get into language classes.

Why aren’t the Hispanic businesses involved with communication (radio, TV, print) including English lessons, however minimal and brief, into their normal content? I’m thinking stuff like “English word for the day” or half hour languages classes or Sesame Street broadcast in Spanish followed by a repeat in English. I would predict Rep. Sanchez would require a subsidy to any business that would consider such bilingual presentations because, God forbid, they might actually take the initiative themselves for the good of their community. Hell, she doesn’t even like the idea of them doing something as simple as turning off the TV or changing channels.

So. Do you suppose there is anything, anything at all, the immigrants can be doing while they’re waiting? Rep. Sanchez’ knee-jerk sound bite solution is that nothing can be done until the State fixes it. And then there is this:

A Hispanic advocacy group said Schwarzenegger’s comments show his “ignorance on immigration issues.”

As Glenn Reynolds notes:

Because what would Arnold know about people who come from a different land, raised in another language, who want to make a life for themselves in America?

Don’t you get it Glenn? Schwarzenegger’s immigration doesn’t count because he’s not Hispanic. It doesn’t help that he did it legally, either.

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…

2007.05.14

They Chose…Poorly

What freaky non-reality are our educators swimming in before class?

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation “involved poor judgment.”

What’s next? Push the kids in front of a moving bus that stops just in time so they get that all valuable learning about evil, dangerous buses? How about forcing their hands on a stove burner that’s just rigged to look hot? Assistant Principal Don Bartch said this was intended as a “learning experience.” Just what were they expecting the kids to learn? Fear and terror as a way of life? Principal Stephens is right. Sadly, she probably fails to realize it involves years of poor judgment on the part of educators stretching back decades.

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]

2007.01.17

Lemming (Previously Duke) 88

Welcome, dear reader. You’ve come to hear the tale of Aquaville, no doubt. A place where blue and green people live in relative harmony and where all the buildings are painted a sparkling, bright nondescript color.

Well, almost all. A small number of blue people buck social convention and paint their house blue. Or perhaps just part of it. Or maybe a pale shade of blue. Or perhaps all the rooms inside are painted blue.

Same for a few green people who feel the town should be green and so paint their house green. Or perhaps just a part of it. Or maybe a pale shade of green. Or perhaps all the rooms inside are painted green.

One day…SCANDAL!

Egads! Someone, a person of green it turns out, has been doused with a bucket of blue paint. “I’ve been blued!”, the greenie cries. “And those blue derkreuz players did it!” There is now a person in Aquaville who is both blue and green. The Horror! Not in Aquaville! No!

Yes!

The Aquaville DA was the first to the microphone: “Twists and turns, this story has, yessssssssss it doesesssss, My Precious.” he says to the angry greenies and the dumbfounded bluies.

So, too, the Aquaville University Intelligentsia determine (at the weekly Ivory Tower Society Of Aquaville University Intelligentsia meeting) there is Obvious and Universal and Unquestioned Outrage at this heinous event. “Let us go forth to declare and impose our judgment upon the nematodes who pay our salaries.”, they proclaim. And thus they splattered their perspective upon the citizenry by way of a sacred “ad.” As in “advertisement.” You know, one of those thingies marketing types use to sell you all manner of shi…er…shiny objects.

We are listening to our students. We’re also listening to the Aquaville community, to Aquaville University staff, and to each other. Especially, to each other. Actually, only to each other. We don’t give a rat’s ass about the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of discoloration and splashism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday. The clueless bastards, but bless their molded minds. They know that it isn’t just Aquaville University, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster. Which is to say it’s nobody. But it is a disaster nonetheless. These students are shouting and whispering, simultaneously all at once, about what happened to this young greenie and to themselves. And we hear them.

Non-descript Universal Power be praised! Our Department of Discoloration and Splashism Studies has been saved! The agenda lives!

Aghast, were the four score and eight Ivory Tower Intelligentsia, at the base and growly response reflected from the cretins at their feet. “Pay your child’s tuition and be gone with you!”, they pronounced. But alas, the din from the great wealthy unwashed would not abate. So they did speak again unto the foul mass of check writers.

Recently, the Aquaville University community was rocked by terrible news. We heard that a greenie hired to perform at a party thrown by our derkreuz team had accused members of the team of discolorization. Neighbors, we were told, heard splashist epithets called out at the greenie. The criminal proceedings and the media frenzy which followed are perhaps beginning to wind down. But we won’t let that happen for we shall perservere and fan the flames once again. For us at Aquaville University, the issues raised by the incident, and by our responses to it, are not. How DARE the masses contradict our proclamations!

The ad we previously posted has been read as a comment on the alleged discoloration, the team party, or the specific students accused. Worse, it has been read as rendering a judgment in the case. You idiots. It’s not a rendering. Its a suggestion. Got it? Good! We understand the ad instead (and it is OUR understanding that counts, don’t you know) as a call to action on important, longstanding issues on and around our campus, an attempt to channel the attention generated by the incident to addressing these. We reject all attempts to try the case outside the courts, and stand firmly by the principle of the presumption of innocence, except insofar as it makes us look bad and prevents us from achieving the agenda from the Ivory Tower.

Come on, people! Just think of all the vast numbers of blue-green people who suffer each day under the yoke of discolorization. Have you NO sensitivity to the ISSUES of SPLASHISM? We. Need. This. Victim. Keep it up and you will force us to WRITE IN ALL CAPS!

There have been public calls to the Intelligentsia to retract the ad or apologize for it, as well as calls for action against them and attacks on their character. We reject all of these. Fie, we say to all you vermin! We think the ad’s authors were right to give voice to the unsubstantiated anonymous quotes we used, whose suffering is every bit as real as our world. They have tenured suffering and that must be respected. We also acknowledge, without the concomitant empathy stuff, the pain that has been generated by what we believe is a misperception that the authors of the ad prejudged the discoloration case. How were we supposed to know the masses would, like, you know, actually figure that out?

We stand by the claim that issues of discoloration and splashist violence on campus are real, and we join the ad’s call to all of us at Aquaville University to do something about this. Damn it! Get a Federal grant and DO SOMETHING! Hellooooooooo! We hope that the Aquaville University community will emerge from this tragedy as a better place for we Intelligentsia to live, study, and occasionally work.

Sadly, for the Intelligentsia, the overwhelming preference from the community was for the Intelligentsia’s head to emerge from their collective Intelligentsia arse.

2006.10.20

Blalock’s Conflict Model

Looking back over the past few days, I’ve the impression the Spirit of Rosanna Rosannadanna has been haunting me – “It’s always something.” It’s been a convergence of deadlines, personal tasks it’s just time to get completed, music lessons (voice, cello), health, things breaking down and cool things arriving in the mail.

One of the interesting projects I’ve been working on since the first of the year (and one of this week’s deadlines) has been helping a fellow DU student with her Masters thesis. Elizabeth Twomey approached me to write an application which would facilitate the use of Blalock’s general model for understanding conflict. We made the decision to create this as a web application and the prototype/proof of concept is posted on one of my big boxes. You can explore the results on the web site I built for Liz to demonstrate this part of her thesis.

2006.10.11

15 Down, 39 To Go – Maybe

The streak continues – straight “A’s” – but…

I wish it meant something. This last class was a disappointment, to put it mildly. To be more pointed, it was useless crap. That this would pass for graduate level studies has me rethinking my choice of universities. I needed the past six weeks to put some distance between me and the arduous experience of trying to stay awake during what amounted to graduate level crayon and paste studies. So now I feel sufficiently recouped to construct a formal complaint to Denver University in regard to their product. I’ll post more about that here as well as any response they may have.

In a nutshell, it seems the dumbing down of education has reach the graduate level.

2006.06.28

The Tortoise and the Hare

This past Sunday morning, like most Sundays, I got up, made coffee, fetched the paper. My dogs are too small to do the fetching. The Sunday paper is about as big as they are and “fetch” is not in their working vocabulary. They’re more likely to disappear down the street.

As usual, I sifted the paper to remove what is for me nothing more than fodder for the recycle bin – ads, travel section, style section (Ha!), movie listings ($15 for a crappy experience? No thanks.), want ads, classifieds, etc. That left me with 1/8 the original paper. What remained was gathered up to be tossed aside to be read here and there over the coming week. Hold on. Last week’s stack is still there. The stack even consists of bits from the week before that. And before that. Behind in my reading, I should say.

But I can’t say that. What I do once the chaff has been sifted from the paper is power up the laptop. I hit an “A” list of sites (Google News, Pajamas Media, Slashdot, Instapundit, Newsforge, Gateway Pundit and a few others) to find out what’s been happening. Then move on to a “B” list (Schneier on Security, Armed and Dangerous and Cato Unbound, just to list a few) which are updated less frequently and usually have more in depth analysis, opinion pieces and the opportunity to contribute to a dialog. These lists change depending on my interests and world events.

I read through the 1/8 of the paper that survived the sieve. As far as the news part of it is concerned, it was anything but current. Everything – and I mean everything – was news of which I was already aware. The interest pieces were not interesting. The entertainment pieces were boring (Is it me or just the hype which makes it seem like Angelina Jolie had been pregnant for 12 months?) The exceptions were the sports and opinions sections, being published to the web about the same time the hard copy goes to press. So I’d have to say I’m very much up on my reading. Its the hard copy newspaper which is behind.

The news race isn’t about covering the distance. Its about evolutionary speed. With blogs popping up like so many bunnies, its an abundance of riches – sort of. I still have to keep my chaff sifter handy as there is a lot of junk in the blogsphere. But blogs do a pretty damn good job of outing bogus news. This is something the MSM sucks at. In fact, they go the other way and are a significant source of problems when they work to manufacture the news they think I should be getting. Digitally altering pictures to fit a story or staging “news” such as Dateline NBC did when it sent Muslim-looking men to a NASCAR race with camera crew in tow in an effort to capture anti-Muslim sentiment among a collection of Americans NBC prejudiced as harboring such sentiment.

The Main Stream Media has become largely irrelevant and a source of little more than noise on its good days. And damn near dangerous on most of the rest. The arrogance is repugnant. Last year I dropped the daily delivery of the Denver Post and today I cancelled the Sunday only delivery. The TV news noise was solved ages ago with that handy little power button on the TV set. What can I say, Main Stream Mediocrity. Bub-bye news whores and purveyors of propaganda. See you in the funny papers.

[Edit History]

2006.07.08

The blogsphere is pretty damn good about dragging spineless, bitter, hateful slugs out into the sunlight as well.

2006.07.12

Some thoughts on a similar effect with the TV network news.

2006.08.06

More egregious MSM photo fakery vetted by Hot Air, echoed by Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin and critiqued by professional photographers.

2006.08.17

And then there is this:

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has begun an investigation of the use of video news releases, sometimes called “fake news,” at U.S. television stations.

Video news releases are packaged stories paid for by businesses or interest groups. They use actors to portray reporters and use the same format as television news stories.

The layers of fakery and fluff in the MSM news are thicker than Tammy Faye Baker‘s foundation.


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