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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Criminal Acts Admitted by Utah Attorney General

I recently sent the following email to friends@foxnews.com. I think it speaks for itself. Let's see if we get an answer.

I was extremely troubled by a segment on your show Wednesday, August 30th.

Your guest, the attorney general of Utah, admitted that his office had known for 5 1/2 years about polygamists under his jurisdiction and only now had chosen to act against them (trggered by a recently arrested polygamist from Utah in Nevada).

An attorney general is sworn to uphold the law. Is he not breaking the law by failing to act on this information?

The subject of preventing the abused of women is an important issue in our home. Don't you think that for the taxpayer's prosecutorial dollars we would do much better by forcing this criminal (the attorney general) out of office through prosecution and replacing him with someone who will actually enforce the existing polygamy laws?

Wouldn't far fewer girls and women be abused at the hands of the polygamists with an attorney general who actually enforced the laws regarding polygamy?

It seems like this attorney general is making a showcase of prosecuting the "polygamist of the day" rather that doing his job on a regular basis.

Sincerely
todd@just-got-lucky.com

Friday, August 25, 2006

Engineering Leadership

An article from volume twelve, issue six, August 2006 of the Pittsburgh TEQ magazine titled "America Need not Cede Engineering Leadership". The author? Pradeep K. Khosla.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gender Incompetence

My wife's friend thinks that today's twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings are gender confused. By this she of course means that society tells them through the marketing of gay activism, equality of the sexes, etc. that concept of gender is all in their minds and that they are whatever gender (or combination thereof) they imagine they might want to be. She reasons that these messages are confusing them.

Evidence of this can be seen today on virtually any social web site where there are much larger collections than expected of bisexual, androgynous and gay youths.

I respectfully disagree with my wife's friend. Instead, it seems to me that these youths suffer from gender incompetence. I define gender incompetence as "the act of functioning against ones biological gender." A simple example of this would be someone that sees a television story or reads a story or visits a web site glorifying some alternate gender choice and subsequently acts as if they themselves are now a person of that alternate gender.

(Note that I do not attempt to define "biological gender" and that one first has to have determined their biological gender in order to act against it.)

Confusion vs. Incompetence

The definitions of incompetence, according to Merriam-Webster is 1) not legally qualified, 2) inadequate or unsuitable for a particular purpose, 3) lacking qualities needed for effective action, and 4) unable to function properly. Confusion, on the other hand, is a mental state where one fails to make appropriate distinctions or differentiations (see Merriam-Webster here). So I argue that being confused about anything, much less gender, is a common human occurrence but that choosing to act in a confused manner regarding gender renders one incompetent.

Your biological gender is what you are. You may not like it but it is what you were endowed with by your creator.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Teaching Your Child


I participated in a remarkable conversion a few days ago. An experienced teacher had recently participated in a workshop on the differences between boys and girls (the instructor is supposedly to appear on a John Stossel 20/20 episode on September 15, 2006). The instructor was not identified, but it may have been Michael Gurian or his logical equivalent.

The teacher was shocked to learn there are differences in how the two sexes learn. Apparently this workshop struck a chord because many common problem classroom situations, with boys in particular, where elucidated.

From the conversation I gathered that since the 1970's teachers have been instructed that boys and girls are "the same" relative to how they learn (supposedly due to "woman's lib"). The teacher was beside herself because it was completely clear that whatever had been going on in his classroom was highly stilted toward favoring the "female" learning model. He realized that the boys were being "made into girls".

(As an example: Little Johnny scribbles outside the lines. Little Suzy colors neatly inside the lines. Little Suzy is praised for doing a good job while little Johnny is chastised for his coloring ineptness. Johnny subsequently tries to emulate little Suzy. As time goes by little Johnny realizes he is inferior to Suzy as a boy and hence works to emulate her due is native male competitiveness. The point being that little Johnny learns coloring differently and coloring outside the lines may not (no pun intended) outside the lines of Johnny's ability relative to little Suzy and their respectively equal numerical ages.)

The conversation expanded into how much this teacher was expected to do in the classroom already and that making up for the lack of teaching skills shown by the younger teachers was now also becoming a problem. An example of this was a situation where newly graduated teachers were unsuccessful at teaching junior high school grammar and spelling - apparently because they (the newly graduated teachers) themselves did not have a good grasp of these subjects.

This combination of revelations lead the teacher to lament his future survival - particularly in retirement.

Well, its about time! Sadly no connection was made relating the product of the educational system and the skill levels of newly graduated teachers - nor was a connection evident between the "sissifying" of boys and the educational system.

I suspect its too late for hope....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

TSA Fun

According to today's Wall Street Journal gel-filled bras will no longer be allowed on airplanes. We do we go from here? Certainly lubricated condoms cannot be far behind (no pun intended); no doubt to be followed by breasts or penises containing liquid implants - though removing those prior to boarding might be a problem.

I suppose that one could conceivably have to remove one's blood as it might actually be a concoction of explosive and artificial hemoglobin. Hmmm... You could probably make a sub-critical mix of uranium or plutonium and artificial hemoglobin and transfuse enough into two children so that when they came into proximity to each other a critical mass would be created - so blood has to be out.

(Note: Yes the +Enlarge tag at the bottom of the image is really there.)

So to, probably with artificial bones, limbs metal plates - same problem.

But wait! Singling out the handicapped (or large breasted women or well-hung men) for special searches just because the prosthetic parts just might be considered profiling or discriminating.

So, soon everyone will have to line up next to the giant portable atom-smasher that bombards your body with "special" radiation to illuminate your insides - lest someone be lying about the nature of your underwear or your breast or penis implant.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Global Dimming

Below is an excerpt from a BBC programme called Horizon (link here). It discusses the effect of having all US airplanes (as well as airplanes from other countries as well, I suppose) grounded for three days right after 9/11. They discuss some unquantified temperature measurements from 48 states (about 5,000 measuring stations) from areas "that was[sic] most dominantly affected by the grounding".

Excerpted from the previous link

DR DAVID TRAVIS (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater) We found that the change in temperature range during those three days was just over one degrees C. And you have to realise that from a layman's perspective that doesn't sound like much, but from a climate perspective that is huge.

BCC NARRATOR One degree in just three days no one had ever seen such a big climatic change happen so fast. This was a new kind of climate change. Scientists call it Global Dimming.

Follow the link for a complete context to the comments below.

Hmmmm..... this sounds like a very subjective measurement (areas dominantly affected by the grounding). Though it seems obvious that fewer jets means less pollution and contrails; hence more sunlight reaches the earth's surface; hence more of the sun's energy reaches the earth. Particulates (like coulds) help keep the heat absorbed by the earths surface from radiating back into the sky (this is why, all things being equal, cloudy winter days are usually much warmer that days without clouds). So without the layer of particulates, the earth heats and cools more quickly.

There are several troubling aspects to this. First, its hard to imaging the "global warming" scientists missing out on something this important (see previous posts). Second, what does this do to the "standard" climate models, i.e., is it accounted for?? Third, maybe carbon dioxide is keeping the planet habitable while the climate is really being destroyed (thrown into an ice age) by aircraft contrails.

Another troubling aspect is that somehow these local effects are thought of by scientists as "climatic". What is described in the BBC article is an extremely temporary, local effect which affects the "temperature" of the earth by a degree or more C (temporary because things go back to "normal" when air traffic returns). This effect can be generated by flying a few thousand (not sure on the exact number) airplanes at high altitude for a few hours each day. This means that someone could easily control the amount of energy reaching the earth's surface.

Over all, this seems to create a "hole" in the "climate models".

Global Dimming!?!

Apparently its a surprise to scientists that as the amount of pollution (particulates in particular (no pun intended)) increases less sunlight reaches the surface of the earth. This remarkable fact is now called "global dimming". Global dimming means less solar energy is reaching the surface of the earth. Where does it go if not to the surface? Why, its reflected back into space.

Maybe the fact that since the 1970's the amount of particulates has decreased (due, for example, to the clean air act) - hence the dramatic increases "global warming".

Bottom line - no one really knows....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

MRSA (Mer SaH)

Troubling medical news - not for what the story says (see story here), but for what the story implies, particularly about parents and doctors and how they care for children.

MRSA is a serious staph infection. This article describes research into how common MRSA is becoming in the community. MRSA had generally been a problem only in nursing homes and hospitals, but now community acquired MRSA (acquired outside of these places) is becoming more common. This particular article covers staph skin infections (which can be serious should the infection enter the blood stream). For older folks, this is the old "watch for red streaks around an infection".

Over prescription of antibiotics, i.e., prescribing antibiotics when an non-antibiotic treatment will work just as well or better, has created drug resistant strains of staph that can cause "flesh eating" wounds and pneumonia... (but I paraphrase the article here).

Now for the troubling part. Parents apparently bring their children to hospitals with what they describe as "a spider bite that's not getting better or a pimple that's not getting better.” What do doctors do (and apparently have been doing) - prescribe antibiotics.

Why is this troubling? Because its unnecessary, as the article goes on to point out. Simply cleaning out the area (and draining the pus) offers the cure most of the time.

(For those to young to know - what this (cleaning out the area) means is opening an infected area, e.g., breaking open a pimple and picking off a scab, and flushing the area thoroughly with something like over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide. Usually several treatments are required. Other "home remedy" style treatments can include soaking the infected area in boric acid water or using something like iodine in place of peroxide.

Why is this not done? Well, for one thing it hurts. So little Suzy or Johnny will cry and all the adults will feel bad - and we can't have that. Much better to prescribe a fruity tasting pill.

Another reason is that things like boric acid are harder to buy than they used to be. Why? Because they are dangerous or, in this case, poisionous. So little Suzy or Johnny will eat the stuff and die. So the medical community has replaced a $.02 cure (a 1/4 pound of boric acid costs are around $5.00 US and will last a decade) with expensive prescription drugs.)

You have to ask yourself:

1) Why don't the parents clean out the area themselves (using iodine, mercurochrome, peroxide, boric acid, etc.)?

2) Why don't the doctors (or nurses) clean it out at the hospital?

3) Are the doctors simply prescribing antibiotics to do their (or the parents) job for them?

I have personally noticed that simple cuts don't heal quickly unless their cleaned thoroughly as described above. In the past I did not notice this - it could be because the pesky bacteria are more stubborn now or it could be because I am older and don't heal as quickly. In any case, these treatments have so far not failed me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Creative Outlets...

For those that are interested (and there are few) some of my music can be heard at here and here and my photography can be seen at here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Global Warming Science...


Someone in the global warming research department forgot something... the sun! Yes, its true. Current global warming models apparently consider the global warming contribution of the sun's as constant over time (centuries). Apparently some people have a problem with this at www.space.com.


The reflectivity of the planet's surface (a thank's to my friend Rob for the heads up on this) is also not part of the model. Some things, like clouds, reflect more or less light than others.


As for the sun, well, suprise, its measurable output is increasing (a good reason to ignore it, I think). The apropo comment from the previous www.space.com link is Sun's possible influence has been largely ignored because it is so difficult to quantify over long periods. Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Discipline, the Other White Meat

What is an IED? Apparently its a new mental disorder (seems like the three letter acronym space is getting crowded) - not an Improvised Explosive Device.

The state is characterized by "a mental state marked by anger, violent outbursts and abuse of spouses" known in medical parlance as intermittent explosive disorder (IED).

Here's the surprising conclusion - "Experts think the treatment should be a combination of talk therapy and medication" - at least according to the article. The proposed drugs (Zoloft and Prosiac, of course) "in 70 percent of cases [the] drugs give patients a longer fuse before they blow up".

"IED can happen in childhood and it is a challenge to detect it and treat it in children, says Kessler." - Ronald Kessler, the author of the study on which this is based is, surprise, a professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School.

Now, this is scary. This guy every spend time with two-year-olds? IED is the standard currency of every and any tired two-year-old.

Throwing toys on the floor, throwing themselves onto the floor in a fits of crying rage, etc. Hmm... Has he ever heard of discipline? The cure for this "disorder" is simple - discipline - and its never too late to start (even into adulthood).

Around the house we often say an adult with this problem is "not grown up." But this guy thinks that rather than concern ourselves with discipline or making some one "grow up" we should drug them - then it just takes longer for us to piss them off.

I personally have cured individuals with this problem by "getting them to grow up." Its easy, really, simply, as they say, let them "twist in the wind" whenever an IED situation comes up. Someone beating their spouse - call the police - time in the slammer will help them out. Someone acting like an ass in your car - put them out at the side of the road and let them walk. Someone breaking things - make them pay to fix them.

Another effective solution is "shame" and "embarrassment". Put the person in a situation where people they respect can observe the IED in action. Publicize the consequences of the IED - "oh look grandma, there's little Johnny being hauled away in the paddy wagon."



Finally, of course, there is, for small children, the spanking. Having grown up with a generation of "spanked" children, why, there is no more to say...

But wait, anyone who tries these "cures" must be "mean" or "intolerant", or, god forbid, a child abuser. But then again, there were far fewer problems in the olden days - I mean, after all, if you ran out into the street from between parked cars you died - and it was your fault.

The full links to the quoted articles can be found here and here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Posion Ivy Risks...


It was reported today in this weeks Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that posion ivy will be getting "meaner" as the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases over the next forty or fifty years. Why is this? Apparently because when you provide the plant more nutrients (such as CO2) it grows larger. (Of course, this will be caused by global warming. Of course, the "amount" of CO2 added is based on "estimated" increases in CO2 related to man descruction of the environment. Hmmm... Seems like we're doing poison ivy a favor.)


The lead author of the study, one Jacqueline E. Mohan, a post-doctoral scientist at the Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, at Woods Hole, Mass. said "It makes the forest an even scarier place, but not just forest -- backyards too. Poison ivy is a remarkable plant. It can grow just about anywhere." (Hmmm, just like weeds...)


(Just in case you were interested, the oil (urushiol - from the Japanese word "urushi" for lacquer) produced by the various related poison plants such as poison ivy and sumac is composed of a saturated and unsaturated component. The saturated component causing more irritation than the unsaturated component. Apparently the larger plant produces more of the staturated component than today's varieties.)


I bet the Poison Ivy pictured above would also get larger (and perhaps meaner as well) if her nutrition were significantly increased over the same six year study.


I recall solving problems similar to this in third grade as part of my "politically incorrect" education.


Question: Given more food a plant will (1) grow larger, (2) stay the same, or (3) not grow as large.


Answer: (1)


I distinctly recall the sarcasim of the nuns when students would not correctly answer questions such as this.


More troubling, however, is that this passes for science in today's world. (And Google found 245 related articles - all which more or less reprint the basic press release.)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thoughts on myspace.com...

I first found myspace through a Wired magazine article last October. myspace.com is a personal networking site with a strong music orientation.

Since I'm interested in music I figured that creating a profile for my music as a "band" would be interesting. I set myself up as "Just Got Lucky" at http://www.myspace.com/justgotlucky in November of 2005.

Below are some thoughts on myspace...

What is myspace.com?

Basically, myspace gives you a web page which anyone can see. You can do a variety of things to customize it (create a personalized layout, add decorations, upload or link to images, text, audio and movies, blog, etc.). You can also block parts of your page so only "friends" you invite (see below) can see the blocked parts.

The interpersonal networking element of myspace is focused on "friends". You invite people or bands to be your friend. If they accept, then they appear in your friend list (which you can edit and manage) and which other people can see. You can also belong to groups. You can search for bands and friends through a variety of means including looking through other people's (or band's) "friends" lists or search by name or geographic location. Most of this works through manipulation of little thumbnails with one line captions that represent the band or friend.

Friends can also leave comments on your page - which can include images and other random HTML (including links, animated GIFs, movies, etc.)

Bands and individuals people are differentiated by the web page only - this means that until you follow the "friends" link you cannot tell if its a person or a band. Band web pages tend to have a "standalone player" which is a fancy html music player that lets you hear whatever tracks the band has put up on their page for you to listen to. Bands also have less "personal" information about the band (generally only a "profile"). Personal pages tend to have a lot of personal data such as body type, religion, sexual preference, and so forth.

The main idea (I guess) of myspace is to build up a network of "friends" that relate to your and your personal interests.

The interesting part of all this is that the thumbnail and one-line description often hide who is really behind it.

Using myspace...

For me personally there were are surprising number of people and bands in myspace that I already knew or had some relationship with - even though I am a relative "old geezer" at fourty eight in myspace (which tends to be focused on the twenty-something demographic).

As an example - I like playing blues live so I am always interested in finding new local blues bands, open mics and songs to listen too. Easy enough - log into myspace and using a search or my own network of blues-related "friends" begin chasing "friends" links to new music. How you pick a "friends" link is where the fun begins. Below is an example of some of my "friends".



For the most part these are bands. Some are individuals. I generally communicate (email or IM) at least a little bit with any individuals I add that I don't personally know. This is easy enough a child could do it...

If you follow links from "Just Got Lucky" you will eventually find something that looks like this:



Why is this interesting...

Looking at these links things are less clear. "ryan aka..." does something called "raveling", "font" is some married guy into computers and games, "Fuck Holl..." is a band, "d'etolie" is a young woman, and "JAEWONG.COM" takes you some guy with four thousand friends - many of whom you might not want you child to be on a first name basis with (or asking you if their lifestyle choice is a good one or whatever).

(Now don't get me wrong - I am not complaining *in any way* that any of this is objectionable - it certainly seems like protected free speech to me - just like this blog.)

The problem here is that stupid parents think that somehow letting hormone-engorged little Johnny or little Suzie surf away unsupervised isn't going to cause some sort of problem. And the more I look at it the more I think that dear old mom or dear old dad (since most kids only have one or the other these days) have f*cked up little Johnny and Suzie completely beforehand.

Some examples: One woman (a married disc jocky in her forties) told of how fourteen year old boys!?! were emailing video clips of themselves "relieving themselves" of their sexual tension. Another woman described how a fourteen year old girl emailed her telling her how hot a "MILF" she was and wanting to have sex with her. And certainly there are examples where the myspacer is encouraging this behavior. But for the most part the "myspacer's", my self included, seem to be intolerant of dealing with things that are not what they are there for in the first place.

What does this all mean...

Well, myspace is linking to cell phones - presumably with web cams - so now little Johnny can solicite forty something women in real time. And, no doubt, the FBI has plenty of "fake" fourteen year old girls looking for sex with forty something men - no doubt again right from the comfort of the city bus seat via their Treo's.

Who know what this all means - not me. I enjoy myspace for what I use it for - music. Fortunately no one is bothering me for anything else. Beyond that who knows...

Certainly myspace didn't f*ck up little Johny and Suzie - so don't blame them.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Live!


Playing live music for the last half year or so has been a great experience.

Special thanks to Fran, Marcy, the Genuine Pub, Tex, Gil, the Witches and of course, Donna, for all the support along the way.

Its easy to see how this plays with your head - you start playing, look up and hours have passed.

It's really not as scary as it might seem - at least for me. The only stage fright I experience is soloing on things I don't know...

Perspective is important, too. There are always incredible players out there - but who cares. You do your thing and they do theirs... Learn what you can from them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How Big Companies Profit from Illegal Drugs...

In case you haven't noticed, there are ever more penalties, restrictions and service fees on bank accounts, cell phones, and any other personal service that can be turned into quick cash.

For example, someone I know (let's call her Cindy) has a relative (let's call him Bob) involved in drugs. Cindy ordered a second phone (in her name) for Bob, who was to pay the bill. Unfortunately, the Bob fell off the wagon and began using the cell phone to get drugs - calling in for pick ups, loaning it to the dealer for quick cash, etc. When Cindy tried to have the phone provided to Bob "shut off" the cell phone company declined - even though the phone was in Cindy's name.

Another example, Joe has a teenage daugher Melinda. Joe trusts Melinda and provides her ready access to cash and bank cards for trips to the mall. Melinda's friend Tina, a drug user, discovers Joe's bank card in Melinda's purse, "borrow's" theh cards and overdraw's Joe's account. The bank is happy to profit from this by dinging Joe for each overdrawn check. Joe, embarrased by what's happened, end's up paying for Tina's drug use because he can't prove what actually happened.

Personally, I believe that banks want people with drug problems turning their credit cards over to drug dealers for quick cash. Why? Because everyone profits. I loan my dealer my credit card. The dealer runs out and buys a thousand dollars worth of fencible goods - TV's, DVD players, etc. The dealer then provides drugs. The merchant sells goods. The bank makes money on the merchant fees, and, if its a debit card, the overdraft fees. (Why, if I owned a bank and was unscrupulous, I would make sure every dealer in town suggest this use of a bank card to all their clients.) And, if its a responsible persons bank card - so much the better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More Wisdom...

To quote my father-inlaw - "A sober man's thoughts are a drunken man's words."

Made up myself - "Watch out what you say - the microphone might still be on."