Thursday, December 22, 2005
I'm still on vacation, but
Now, while we were all shocked by the discovery that our national spy agencies engage in spying, Geoffrey Aden accidentally makes a good point:
I will not even make a comparison to National Socialism of the 1930s. This is an impeachable offense. No question about it.
I agree. In fact, we should put it in the constitution. "If a president makes a comparison to the Nazis to score a political point, that president shall be impeached."
The rest of his letter is also accidentally ironic.
Big Brother is now upon us. I advise every school in America to have its students read or reread George Orwell's "1984."
And if they don't, they should be sent for reeducation. I remember reading 1984. I feel we're a bit short of it, though. By 'a bit short of,' of course, I mean 'not even close to.' Was this discovery even a discovery to anyone?
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Friday, December 16, 2005
Right, so, in case you didn't notice, I'm on vacation.
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Sunday, December 11, 2005
With no sense of irony
It's always a laugh when a newspaper refers to "the media" without taking any responsibility for what "the media" does. Hey, newsboy: You are the media!
Here's an example. It's a news story about how SF Mayor Gavin Newsom had to abandon his cops at the slightest hint of controversy, rather than waiting for an investigation. Why? Because "the media" would criticize him for dragging his feet, as "the media" is oversensitive to these kinds of issues.
But there's no hint of responsibility-taking on the part of The Chron.
But any prospect of letting the investigation run its course before acting was set aside the next day by Newsom and his advisers after his office began receiving media inquiries about the videos.
Media inquiries. But... uh... hey, we're not media. We're just the major newspaper in town.
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Saturday, December 10, 2005
Joel Wiener is named properly.
The Pentagon has a different terminology for re-enlistment rates. It is called stop-loss, the practice of extending terms of duty for servicemen after their agreed-upon commitment expires. The military is forced to do this because it is having trouble signing up new enlistees. Most outside experts attribute this trend to the danger of serving in Iraq.
Fascinating. So... uh... what do inside experts think? And preferably, ones with names.
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Friday, December 09, 2005
I think it's broken
Someone has a broken bot or something, because I'm getting an absurd number of hits from this search page.
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Well, today is the last Daily Cal. I guess I'll have to rely on things like the SF government throwing its cops to the dogs for entertainment.
Jackie Patt knows that the way to fight a Republican Congress is to try to convince folk at Berkeley to convince their representatives to fight a Republican Congress. Which is actually a rather good idea, since before Patt's done anything, victory is already achieved.
Still not convinced that the bill is a bad idea? Here's why we cannot scrap the act: The ESA is the most important piece of legislation regarding wildlife conservation. Of the more than 1200 species listed, only nine have gone extinct. A UC Davis professor estimated 190 species would have gone extinct if the act were not in existence or lacked its regulatory strength.
Note that the professor isn't named, and the study isn't identified, so we can't go look up what was used as a "control Earth" to get that number.
The world is experiencing a mass extinction rate 200 times greater than all past extinctions due to human impact.
"All past extinctions" is a number of extinctions. An "extinction rate" is a rate of extinctions. Comparing the two is like saying "My car is going 50 times faster than the distance between my house and the street!" Yeah, somehow I don't find Jackie's understanding of science convincing.
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When you can't find racism, start to reach. Really far:
The DVD also contains a clip of an Asian American bicycle officer having trouble riding his department-issued bike, authorities said. The clip closes with the officer about to crash into a captain's car, Cohen said.
Officials said they were concerned the skit could be interpreted as a takeoff on the stereotype of Asians as poor drivers, though the clip makes no direct reference to that effect.
Why would anyone even interpret that? People who fall off/crash bicycles are funny, regardless of race. The fact that someone made this interpretation shows racism in the interpreter, not in the video-maker.
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Thursday, December 08, 2005
Am I missing something here? If the examples they give are the extent of "racism, sexism, and homophobia," I think we may as well just toss the labels as useless.
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Accept our diversity! None of it matters to you people, but why aren't you paying attention to it?
Yet many say they often feel pegged as simply "homeless" and subsequently ignored by residents and students. Instead of a uniform people, the homeless see a diverse population, and say the differences they embrace are ignored by others.
This is because the details of the differences between the homeless aren't important. "Homeless" is accurate enough.
Jaqueline "tr[ies] not to plan things," and somehow ended up homeless.
Charlie is homeless because the government is corrupt and lawless, yet somehow most people seem to do just fine under the exact same government.
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Okay, maybe it is possible. Ahem:
Thousands of miles away from UC Berkeley, graduate student Anthony Levandowski applied his industrial engineering talents in the waters of Australia to become a "human dolphin" for Animal Planet's new show, "Chasing Nature," last week.
Now, Levandowski is not, to my knowledge, an industrial engineering grad student. (I acutally can't confirm that he's a mechanical engineering grad student as the article claims, but meh, let's just assume they're right). Apparently, to The Daily Cal, industrial engineering, the design of industrial systems like factories, production lines, transportation networks, etc., is indistinguishable from mechanical engineering, the design of things like machines and dolphin-leapamabobers.
But what do I know? I'm just a chemistry grad student, according to The Daily Cal.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Hispanics. Didn't notice you guys there. Hell, at only 11% of the university's population, you're almost invisible. I mean, seriously, name one group that makes up less than 11% of the university's population that is visible. I mean, except for almost every major's students.
Organizers said the event is aimed at making a statement about the low numbers of Hispanic students on campus by encouraging Hispanic students to wear brown shirts and gather at Chicano Corner.
Hmm. Brown isn't even the mode.
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Let me check if I have the math right:
I have something I want.
In order to convince people to give me what I want, I need research that says that what I want is good.
I will hire people who will put out research that says that what I want is good.
I will then expect people to be convinced that the research is properly reflective of the reality, rather than just an attempt to provide a partial view in order to make what I want seem good.
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Editing? Who needs it
Two letters today describe two archetypes of college whiners. The "I'm so cloud-headed I'll describe everything poetically so that it makes no sense but somehow still believe I'm reaching people" chick and the "Hey, the technicalities are in my favor, I must be right" dude.
Martin A. Kohan wastes no time in defending his bold call for a petition to suggest that maybe the ASUC should start to consider possibly trying to convince, with limited success, In-N-Out to start an unprofitable store on campus.
The petition itself, which can be found at www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~sino, merely seeks to put a statement on the spring ballot asking that ASUC work to attract an In-N-Out to campus. Hence, it does not force ASUC to do anything without a majority of the students' consent.
That is technically accurate, because the petition doesn't force the ASUC to do anything even if it does pass. Still, the idea that passage on the ASUC ballot is "a majority of students' consent" is pretty laughable.
As attested by the enormous popularity of In-N-Out's location in San Francisco, which lacks a drive-thru, given its heavy pedestrian traffic, toursim activity, and large Southern California population.
How about asking the ASUC to try to attract some independent clauses?
Kamara Rose O'Connor has a stupid name. Reading her piece is kind of painful, though you can pretty much get the gist of it from the first paragraph:
As some of you may or may not be aware, our lovely school, UC, has announced plans to renew its vows to Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory. The ceremony will be held on Dec. 1, when the U.S. Department of Energy consecrates their union: Mama Bomb and Papa University, together forever. Here is why we, as the neglected foster children of this dysfuntional marriage, should be concerned.
Check the date. Also check out what didn't happen on Dec. 1. Okay, so she (or The Daily Cal editorial board) is behind the times. But if you follow the metaphor, you can discover that she is advocating that neglected foster children of dysfunctional marriages have a responsibility to try to cause their parents' divorces. Try passing that one by youth rights advocates.
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I'm not really sure I want to know what's going on here.
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I'm afraid I can't really buy Ben's justification for their "No on Prop. 73" efforts.
ASUC Senator Ben Narodick agreed, saying the statement printed on the flier, which was situated at the bottom of the quarter page in underlined font, informed students of the senate's position but was not intended to influence students' votes.
"The statement was informing, it was in no way campaigning," Narodick said. "Obviously we want the students to know that we are taking positions, but we never at any point asked people to vote either way."
Why bother, then? Why should folks care what the ASUC has to say on the issue?
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Yay! Price hike!
Freshman Lauren Apter disagreed, saying she would not mind sacrificing the programs even though she frequents the gym nearly every day.
"I didn't like a lot of the exercise classes I tried and would prefer to eliminate programs than pay an increased membership due," she said.
I think we should insert into that first sentence so that it reads:
"...she would not mind sacrificing the programs that she doesn't use even though she frequents the gym nearly every day."
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Monday, December 05, 2005
I have a blog. I forgot. People haven't been saying dumb stuff loud enough for me to hear, so I'm pretty parched for material. I'm down to The Daily Bruin. I think I've mentioned this before, but democracy is that voting thing, not that "no government-funded news stories" thing.
The action of paying newspapers to print false news stories is so blatantly hypocritical of the Bush administration, it almost defies description. We'll check our dictionaries, but isn't "freedom of the press" one of the cornerstones of democracy and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
Well, okay, should we mention that the U.S. Constitution is not the final arbiter of what democracy is in countries that aren't the U.S., or is that too easy?
An Instapundit commenter probably explains the situation far better.
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Friday, December 02, 2005
What's on the abscissa here? You can see that "Iraq Strategy '05" spans more distance than the the region from 9/11 to Saddam, so it can't be time.
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Wow. A study funded by Campaign for College Opportunity found that spending money on education was good. These results are highly reliable.
As a curiosity, have you ever heard of some political advocacy group funding a study, and then finding out that they were wrong?
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Some dudes named Emelie C. Gunnison and Steven Friedman defend their efforts to stop the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams because they are opposed to the death penalty in general. They are responding to a Debra J. Saunders column accusing Tookie defenders of bullshitting. So you have to ask, if the issue is that the death penalty is wrong, why are they putting such an effort into painting Tookie as a reformed dude? Does it even matter? Is it because they're... you know... bullshitting?
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Thursday, December 01, 2005
Is there an alternative?
Matt Smith is angry because tobacco companies stopped marketing smokes to kids and instead said they were for adults only when they had reason to believe doing so would increase kid smoking. While on the face his argument makes sense, you have to wonder what he's proposing as "the right thing to do"? Should they have kept marketing to kids? Can you imagine the reaction that would get? It wouldn't matter if they could point to reports that said doing so might decrease teen smoking. And why not some criticism of governments that banned sales of tobacco to minors? Shouldn't they have hired someone to do this study and draw the same conclusion?
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Speaking of caricatures:
SF has high fees. Blah blah blah I don't care, I don't live there. Among the complaints is the $8,000 dying fee. Psshhaaw, says one Supervisor:
"I think a lot of the dead are grateful to be properly treated, and the ungrateful living moan all the way to bank," said Supervisor Jake McGoldrick. "Somebody's got to deal with the cost of people who die … We want it all but we don't want to pay for it, and somewhere in the middle the rubber meets the road. A dollar only goes so far."
How many more lame sayings can you cram into a comment? One of the reasons the living complain more about costs than dead people is... wait, an SF Supervisor really needs this explained to him?
McGoldrick said it is unfair to compare San Francisco to San Jose, citing their different demographics. While acknowledging it is difficult for the middle class to live here, he said there is always a question of balance, pointing toward rent control as one measure that keeps lower-income people in The City.
First he complains about the different demographics, then points out that the individual cities get to control their demographics. Are lower-income people really that valuable to the city? Why not just say "It's unfair to compare San Francisco to San Jose, because they're doing better than us"?
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Linking Industry and Academia, Institute Aims to Develop Cures for Major Diseases
Gee, that's original.
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Are clouds at eye-level?
Negative energy, duuude! Some photographer-dude named Chris Honeysett had a bunch of pictures stolen, and got some of them back.
Honeysett, whose photographs are often depictions of landscapes and architecture, said he was especially disturbed by the theft because it contradicts the peaceful nature of his art.
"When I work, I interpret the world and try to convey a positive atmosphere with my photography," Honeysett said. "It's shocking that something so negative would happen."
Yes, shocking that your art doesn't actually impact the real world, even through "positive atmosphere." They do, however, get some dude arrested. Do these people enjoy being caricatures?
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