Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Puntastic

I don't think I need o explain why I like this link. It should be pretty self-explanatory.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: a few days
Current media: None

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Limited Free Speech Doesn't Work

The General Assembly of the United Nations has once again passed a non binding resolution condemning religious discrimination while idly saying that freedom of speech may be subject to limitations. This is the fourth year in a row the General Assembly has passed such a resolution, this year with a reduced vote (actually it only got a plurality, not a majority this time around).

This resolution is mainly backed by Islamic states and opposed by western states. Not a surprising division on the issue. The Islamic states backing the resolution say they don't want to limit free speech, they just want to stop things like the Dutch Mohammed cartoons from a few years ago.

The cognitive dissonance in such a statement is amazing. They don't want to limit speech, they just want to limit speech that upsets them. It's almost as if they don't get the idea that freedom of speech includes speech that upsets them.

Freedoms like speech are one of the things I tend to get absolutist about. Individual liberties are the foundation on which the rest of society is built. If you undermine those, you undermine society.

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Writing time: a while
Time since last post: too long
Current media: None

Dignity is Optional

Some interesting pics from the Korean National Assembly. The ruling party, expecting the opposition to not be in favour of the free trade agreement with the US decided that the best way to deal with such opposition would be to lock them out of the building. Said opposition then decided the best way to make the governing party listen to them would be to smash down the doors. And the governments rebuttal of this was to spray the fire extinguishers in the oppositions face.

This does little to promote the dignity of the democratic process, and in no way enhances the respect politicians get. Both sides acted appallingly, and this sort of thing should not be accepted in any country.

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Writing time: a few minutes
Time since last post: a few hours
Current media: jPod

Friday, December 19, 2008


A rather unusual case has turned up in Britain. A baby was born with a foot inside his brain. Apparently it was kind of a twin, which started growing inside of him, but all that managed to grow was a foot. Fortunately it has been removed and the kid is doing well.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: too long (I've had stuff that I've been thinking about, but haven't yet wanted to put up here for various reasons that should be coming soon)
Current media: none

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Financial Crisis Explained

Well, more properly, the sub-prime mortgage crisis explained.

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Writing time: 30 seconds
Time since last post: a while
Current media: None

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Quiz Time

I found a neat quiz today. Troy McClure Film or Actual Terrible Movie?

I'm happy with my score of 13 out of 15.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: a while ago
Current media: House season 1

Friday, December 05, 2008

Inferno, Canto XXXIV, tercet 139

Last Saturday night I was out rather late (or more accurately, very early on Sunday), and I saw something that I have not seen very much of in Korea.

After the taxi ride back from downtown, I was walking down the street looking up at the sky and thought to myself "ah, there's Orion". It took me a few moments to realize the significance of this thought.

For the first time during my stay in Korea, the sky, while not full, contained many stars. I believe I may have even identified Polaris, a star that has not been visible to me during the greater number of my days.

Apparently it was a combination of the late hour and the cold evening that let me see that which is normally invisible here.

It really is quite depressing looking up at the night sky and seeing just black with only the moon to break things up. It makes the universe seem such a hollow and empty thing, lacking the glory and wonder I know it has.

I have occasionally thought what would science have been like if the night sky had always been like this. Geocentrism would have been a lot stronger, although it would have fallen eventually. Telescopes would still exist, but would anyone bother pointing them upwards. Astronomy would have been stunted at birth, although its evil twin astrology would have been still born. I think science on such a world would still get to where we are, but it would be a slower process and lack some of the wonder we get to experience.

That's all.

For those wondering about the title of this post, the line referenced reads "and we came out to see once more the stars."

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Writing time: 39 minutes (although I was distracted by Wikipedia partway through)
Time since last post: I guess two or three days.
Current media: None (soon to be rectfied).

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sad But True

Metallica used to be cool. Now they're doing shit like this.

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Writing time: 1 minute
Time since last post: a few days
Current media: The Daily Show

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lucky Bastard

This guy is one lucky bastard. Getting paid to build lego models all day. Why isn't that my job?

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Writing time: 2 minutes (this isn't a very long post)
Time since last post: a day?
Current media: Stargate Continuum