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Nap Time!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

OMG Earth II!!!

A story on the discovery of an "Earth-like" planet in another star system.

First, off, though, check out the picture. Dude, WTF? Seriously. I might have to write the Daily Cal to ask "Dude, WTF?"

Anyway, what "Earth-like planet" means in this case is "planet-that's-not-a-gas-giant." So, you could easily call it "Mars-like," or "Venus-like," or even "Mercury-like." But that doesn't sound impressive at all.

But seriously. That picture. Dude, WTF? Who has the job of approving those things? The photo editor? The design editor?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/30/2005 12:09:00 PM #
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Monday, June 27, 2005

That's not marriage

That's odd. Molly McKay and her wife Davina claim to be married at heart, yet she claims:

We had already carried this commitment in our hearts for nine years, we already owned a house together in Oakland, shared one bank account and are as in love with each other today as the day we met. (emphasis mine)

That doesn't sound like a nine-year marriage at all.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/27/2005 11:09:00 AM #
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Not to sound all chauvinistic and all, but today we finally have a
funny, insightful editorial cartoon, and also, coincidentally, today we finally have another male editorial cartoonist.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/27/2005 11:00:00 AM #
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. . .

Learn to say no?

Everyone hates
military recruitment. It's totally different from, say, every other kind of recruitment in the world, and it just shouldn't happen.

UC Berkeley senior Ankur Garg, whose father is an Air Force engineer, said that although he grew up on a military base, he is bothered by the military's pressure to enlist.

Although his career plans do not include military service, Garg has received recruitment-related mail in the past.

"If I want a job, I can apply to the military as I so choose," he said. "I sure as hell don't want them recruiting."

I agree. Just think of all the pain and suffering he's had since someone asked him to work for them.

Here's an editorial on the subject, also justifiably outraged that people should be put into the position of having to say "no" to recruiters.

Recruitment officials say this will help make recruiting students into the military more efficient. Of course, it hasn't crossed their minds that perhaps the reason they can't seem to reach their quotas is that they're waging a costly and unpopular war. Writing dangerous and unethical laws to circumvent this issue is not the way to go about solving a problem.

Apparently it didn't cross the editorial-writer's mind that these aren't really related issues. Even if students were willing to join the military, it doesn't hurt to be more efficient.

In spite of claims that the data will only be used to place irritating calls to your home, the military can distribute it to nonmilitary organizations, such as law enforcement, state tax authorities and Congress.

Oh, no! Now the tax authorities will know who I am! I've been taking steps to avoid that! On an unrelated note, I filed my taxes earlier this year.

Oh, no! Now Congress will know who I am! Once they know who I am, they'll... uh... pass a resolution?

Oh, no! Law enforcement will know who I am! I've never had to identify myself to law enforcement authorities before! This is terrible!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/27/2005 10:57:00 AM #
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Calstuff already mentioned, but here's an excellent quote from that dude who found wealth by following clues in a children's book:

"I never actually read the book," he says. "I just got too bored with it."

Ouch. That's cold. Anyway, the dude, Jason Davis, is being courted for a re-enactment.

"Okay, Jason, now stare at that book and do boring calculations... good, good... more boring calculations... excellent! This'll blow football right out of the water!"

"'I knew you were going to do something significant. I just didn't know what it would be,'" Davis says his mother told him after he called her with the winning token in hand.

Uh... "When I grow up, I want to win a prize." "I'm soooo proud of you!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/27/2005 10:49:00 AM #
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Here we go again

More about
eliminating scholarships for National Merit Scholars.

Administrators, however, should not define merit "based on a criteria that is fundamentally flawed in terms of a test that is so undiverse in background," said George Blumenthal, chair of the council.

What exactly makes a test have an undiverse background? What is a test's background? How can it be "diverse"?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/27/2005 10:40:00 AM #
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Some people know how to win with grace. Like "I got illegally fired by the lab"
Dee Kotla, who will be using her settlement money to buy a LABLOST license plate.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/27/2005 10:34:00 AM #
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Friday, June 24, 2005

Need rocking chair

So, I added what may possibly be an Atom feed to this blog. Then again, it may not be, and frankly, since I'm not entirely sure what it is, I wouldn't know. If someone actually wants me to do something to it, she'll have to let me know.

By the way, this new technomological advancement stuff has me concerned I'm not going to be able to play games with Google anymore.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/24/2005 09:29:00 PM #
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I hope you've heard about the Kelo decision. It affirms essentially that local governments can seize land not only for things like schools and such, but also for "better" land-owners, who'll provide more jobs or taxes or whatever. We've seen locals use landmark ordinances to keep their neighbors from making changes. Now, it's time to start trying to get rid of undesirables. "My neighbor has a really annoying dog. I say we seize her land and sell it to someone who doesn't have a dog. That'll help everyone nearby sleep better, so it'll be 'public use.'"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/24/2005 02:21:00 PM #
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Thursday, June 23, 2005


You know you look gay when people beat the crap out of you because they think you're gay. Like
this dude.

[Punching bag Daniel Gohstand], a San Francisco resident, filed a civil suit against his attackers under California civil code, which "provides legal redress against perpetrators of acts of violence on individuals or property, based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex and sexual orientation."

Let me make sure I understand that properly... if someone beats the crap out of you 'just because' (i.e. not because of your (perceived) race, color, etc.), you have no legal redress in the civil code?

"We want to congratulate Daniel on his efforts," said Oscar Trujillo, an organization representative. "We believe through legal advocacy, we can empower queer victims to stand up against intolerance."

You know what else helps queer victims stand up against intolerance? Learning how to beat the shit out of people who try to beat the shit out of you. But that actually helps victims stand up against intolerance (and even avoid becoming victims) so we don't want to advocate that.

Gohstand advocated community support in combating similar incidents.

"We need to rally together to prevent (these crimes) in the future," he said. "Through understanding, compassion, love, and ultimately peace, we won't have to have these kinds of press conferences."

Riiiiiight. Maybe we need a "most stereotypical hippie comment" category for the Beatties.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/23/2005 12:03:00 PM #
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Wait... econ?

I never took econ. I guess it was too confusing to me. It was really statements like
this that did it for me:

Since UC and CSU systems are large energy consumers, their purchase of renewable energy significantly increases demand and lowers the cost for the public, Lehr said.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/23/2005 11:50:00 AM #
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Beetle Beatties

It's that time of year again. It's time for the Beetle Beatties! Nominate your favorite local figure for a Beetle Beattie today! Here are the rules:

It needs to be local. Preferably a local commenting on something in Berkeley.
It should be supported with an article or something.
Unless it's really, really good, it should be from the past 3-4 years.

The categories, with my initial nominations (I haven't really looked, yet, these are just the first examples I found to get the ball rolling), are:

Worst Daily Cal article
(As my sidebar suggests, I'd nominate
Silence, Wishes, and the Torment of War)

Worst Daily Cal picture
(Schematic missing boyfriend)

Worst Daily Cal editorial cartoon
(Pick your Rifkind cartoon.)

Dumbest "Person-on-Street" comment
(Probably from the Daily Cal, but it doesn't have to be. This is the category for the stupid comments people make to the newspaper without thinking. While I don't think they ever put it online, after the 2004 election, they asked people why they voted the way they did, and Angela Natividad said "I voted for Bush because Kerry is too idealistic for my country.")

Worst misspeech
(When you're not sure what you're saying, sometimes the words come out and say something else, like this from Matt Arkin: "We worked to draw in a lot of people who wouldn't have considered joining a fraternity and sorority by tailoring the message to appeal to more people based on what we thought were the weaknesses.")

Dumbest verbal blow job
(When people love others too much, they say things like Chelsea Collonge did: "I can't even imagine walking for an hour, much less five days.")

Most nonsensical protest
(I don't really feel like looking so let's take the protest Collonge was talking about: If we walk far enough, our student fees will go down. Anyway, this category is for those protests which don't quite seem to match their cause.)

Biggest overstatement
(The immediate comment that sprung to mind was one from Berkeley High African-American studies teacher Robert McKnight, on budget cuts rearranging the African-American studies department: "I think it's the manifestation of white supremacy at its zenith.")

Anyway, suggest nominations. I haven't put any effort into these, so they aren't necessarily the best, and don't necessarily deserve Beetle Beatties. You can even suggest other categories, though they're supposed to be the kinds of things we see all the time around here.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/22/2005 08:44:00 PM #
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He broke the law!

So, you probably heard the inexplicably huge news that
some killer got prisoneded. With a name like "Killen," what did you expect from him?

What's troubling about this story is that people want to put the justice system on hold because of the politics of the situation. Consider these quotes:

From a juror: "I think initially we were polarized by two positions," [Warren Paprocki] said. "On the one hand, this guy needs to be convicted and on the other hand, the state needed to present better evidence."

On the final hand, isn't it the jurors job to determine if the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt if Killen murdered/manslaughtered? Does it matter if the guy "needs to be convicted"?

From an editorial: In closing arguments, prosecutors asked the jury to send another message to the world: Times have changed in Mississippi, and the pursuit of the perpetrators of these hate crimes of the past would never end.

Once again, is the jury supposed to be in the business of sending messages? One could argue that Killen got off the first time precisely because the justice system was more worried about sending messages and whether someone "needed to be convicted" than whether Killen was guilty of murder.

It smells a lot like the Gwen Araujo case, where one of the jurors gave us an inside look in the EBX.

"We are strongly disappointed and saddened that Gwen, her family, her friends and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community won't get fair and swift justice," opined president Cheryl Jacques of the Human Rights Campaign in a press release. Funny, but I couldn't remember anything in our jury instructions about the need to provide swift justice for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

Stop and wonder. What if this was some other 40-year-old murder where the dude got away with it the first time? But you know, one without the PC message-sending overtones. Would the same effort be put on convicting that dude? Well, we don't really need to wonder. A few years ago, some folks from the "Symbionese Liberation Army" finally got nabbed for an old murder. None of them got more than 10 years. Sure, they're sorry, but who cares? Justice is justice, apparently conditioned on whether a political point needs to be made.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/22/2005 12:12:00 PM #
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Random Topic Rant!

That one guy. You know the guy I mean. I hate his guts. He's so annoying. What an ass.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/21/2005 08:22:00 PM #
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Oh, wow, what an excellent opportunity!

Jason Dixon, our incoming veep of academic affairs, sends an e-mail to all students informing us of this excellent opportunity to help our campus community: Students are needed to join the
Academic Senate and Campus Administrative Committees. Who wouldn't want to spend time researching nonsense, listening to complaints, sitting at boring meetings, and otherwise performing the duties of an administrator with none of the pay? Apply now!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/21/2005 08:17:00 PM #
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Monday, June 20, 2005



It's prolly related to the whole Professors-in-dorms thing. Maybe having professors in the dorms makes the dorm experience go away (or at least hide in the hamper). And the dorm experience starts to see if it's safe to come out as the student leaves, which makes perfect sense. Oh, wait...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/20/2005 11:23:00 AM #
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Friday, June 17, 2005

ASUC Pre-Awards

As vaguely hinted at, here are some awards based on the campaign material of our incoming ASUC officers. (As mentioned before, I couldn't get ahold of independent party candidate material)

The following officers promise, usually generically, to "bring the campus community together" or "build a strong community" or "promote campus dialogue" or some such: Chris Abad, Josie Alvarez, Manny Buenrostro, Anil Daryani, Rita Encarnacion, Oren Gabriel, Vishal Gupta, Ki-Hong Lee, Anthony Lin, Ashley Thomas, and Igor Tregub.

Manny Buenrostro wants to support pride in our campus diversity by bringing groups together to "provide a single voice for the university."

Oops, I said that backwards
Ahmad Huzair wants to protect us from infringements on our academic freedom, such as "students and faculty being placed under scrutiny for voicing unconventional opinions." And he wants to do this through the "Hate and Bias Task Force," to "ensure their protection." That is, he is concerned about freedom of expression, and wants to subject those who scrutinize other people's opinions to scrutiny.

But who watches the watchers?
Anil Daryani promises to meet with senators periodically to make sure they're keeping their campaign promises. Something tells me nobody'll be checking to make sure that promise is kept.

We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.
Anthony Lin wants all Asian students to put aside their differences and create an "Asian Pacific American/Asian Caucus." As he says, "Only as a collective can we work towards positive change."

Bonus: Our only problem is that we have no solution
Also for Anthony Lin, I'll just quote it right from the campaign site:
"Asian Pacific American students make up more than 40% of Cal's population, but we lack a cohesive space to come together. As a Community, we must look past our politics and understand that these issues are what connect us. My goal as a senator is to establish an Asian Pacific American/ Asian Caucus. This safe space will serve the purpose of allowing much needed dialogue about the issues facing our communities."
Apparently, the only issue facing APA students is that they don't have a space to come together. And they must have a space so that they can face that issue. Of course, once they get that space, there won't be an issue anymore.

Good Luck With That
David Kim wants to stop human rights violations in North Korea and Iran. From the ASUC senate.

Sharon Han promises to make a university education affordable. Good thing it's not under her control, so she can blame someone else when she fails.

Vishal Gupta says:
"Build South Asian Community
The South Asian student groups offer many opportunities for students in the UC Berkeley community. I intend on breaking cultural and ethnic barriers, because these groups are inclusive of the greater Berkeley population. I want to represent the South Asian community in the ASUC by bringing the South Asian student groups together. I would like to create a greater sense of community that can educate the greater campus community."

Vishal Gupta also wants to bring opportunities to the unpopular student groups, because "All students at Cal are involved in some way, and all deserve recognition."

Mad Libs
Jesse Yang's primary quality, according to the voter's guide, is that he is independent. He doesn't have any plans ahead of time, but hey, let him know what you want.

Useless Hippie
Lisa Putkey. Read her blurb in the
voter's guide.

Cramped Wings
Oren Gabriel is a third-generation Cal student. Dude. Seriously. Spread those wings a bit.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/17/2005 03:05:00 PM #
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Thursday, June 16, 2005


So, as you've noticed, I'm pretty tired of Beetle Beat. Lately it's been "Haha! That's something in the newspaper that's funny if you read it like I do! I'll go post it on my blog." But hey, without a newspaper, there's not a whole lot of that to go around. Thus, it's time to do something else with this blog. More to come when I actually feel like coming up with some ideas, but suggestions are welcome.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite quotes from the many years of Beetle Beat.

"To be a successful engineering student, you may need some number-handling ability and thought processes so rational that the concepts of right and wrong fade away into the genetically engineered smoke monster, but the number one quality to a successful engineering student is arrogance."

"Also, baseball is boring. Especially if it parallels life, because life is mostly boring. So boring, in fact, that a lot of people spend part of it watching baseball." (in response to a column by
Henry Lopez)

"There's more to life than just proving you're better than everyone else. You have to prove that you're also better than any hypothetical "ideal" person anyone might think of."

"We will scream without compunction, teaching you to graph the function!" (on disrupting classes for the purposes of education)

"We may as well do research on which way toilets flush on this side of the equator by flushing money down them. At least then we could get a government grant."

"Life is like a box of chocolates, if the chocolates were instead big hairy lions and the box was a cage that you're stuck in. Also, it has to be a living cage, which pokes you with stray bars and chickenwire. The chocolate lions taste a lot like regular lions, and their teeth are about as sharp. But not really as sharp, because they're only metaphorical lions. But these metaphorical chocolate lions have teeth as sharp as regular metaphorical lions. But there's also some really nice lions that'll protect you and share love and happiness with you, and they are so amazing that they deserve a different metaphor than chocolate lions. But, one of the many messages of life, which comes out perfectly clearly in this metaphor, is that neither people nor metaphorical chocolate lions always get what they deserve."

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to pray to God that it wasn't designed by the Japanese."

"Cultural leaders have declared today National Unprotected Sex Day. Also known as Phylogenic Arbor Day, people, especially youngsters, are encouraged to have romps of unadulterated passion (although adultery may be taking place). A mild outcry came from certain religious groups, including one priest who said "What kind of hard-headed... er... I mean thick-skulled person would participate in such a thing." States, facing severe budget crises, are planning lawsuits against Big Hormone."

"Berkeley Asians speak with one voice to oppose stereotyping."

"Jacob Chistopher filed a lawsuit today against General Motors demanding reparations for damages caused by gravity. "It is clear that gravity has caused my client a great deal of hardship," said Lewis Winter, Christopher's attorney. "While gravity itself is not a recognized entity and therefore not subject to lawsuits, General Motors has been profitting off of gravity for years." Christopher claims that he was a victim of an unprovoked attack by gravity and thrown down the stairs in his apartment complex, leading to a fractured leg and a broken rib. He is suing for unspecified damages in pain and suffering.
A General Motors spokesperson defended the company, saying, "While it is true that our vehicles do not function properly in the absence of gravity, we did not in any way encourage gravity, but merely adapted a business to it." Winter dismissed the claims. "Gravity is an unlawful attacker, and any profit gained from the action of this lawbreaker is, for all practical purposes, stolen money. Gravity is passively encouraged by corporate giants such as General Motors continuing to give silent consent to gravitational dominion."
Dozens of other defendants are coming out of the woodwork to support Christopher's cause, and experts say a class-action lawsuit is likely."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/16/2005 11:11:00 PM #
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Geez, I'm bored

With nothing better to do, it's time to bring back the RTR (Random Topic Rant). Suggestions?

Today's topic: Orange peels. Umm... Well, maybe a little too random.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/16/2005 11:04:00 PM #
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In support of the loincloth industry

You might want to read your words a bit more clearly, Bob Burnett. Here's his thesis: The evil Bush administration creates enemies, mobs, etc. Now that Islam isn't working, it's turning its attention to immigration, and painting immigrants as the evil invaders.

Of course, the Bush administration isn't exactly at the forefront of the sudden burst of interest in enforcing immigration law. That's mostly led by the individual states. But hey, don't let a few facts like that get in the way of a good complaint.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/14/2005 05:35:00 PM #
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Monday, June 13, 2005

Ow, my brain

From corrections:

Thursday's article "Lab Auditor Assaulted Before Testimony" incorrectly stated that Beth Daily, spokesperson for the Project on Government Oversight, said Los Alamos National laboratory lab auditor Tommy Hook has accused lab officials of allowing donations to Princeton University.

In fact, Daily said Hook has accused lab officials of allowing donations to Purdue University.

The same article incorrectly stated that Daily said that the owner of the Santa Fe, N.M. bar, Cheeks, told Hook's attorney he did not believe Hook was intoxicated.

In fact, Daily said the owner of the bar told the Santa Fe New Mexican he did not believe Hook was intoxicated.

Ah, so that's what he... uh... she... umm... it... said. A little italics wouldn't hurt, either.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/13/2005 10:05:00 AM #
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Monday, June 06, 2005

We solve problems by creating problems

You know,
these people could be looking for ways to help people not trying to kill themselves, instead.

Luckily, not only do we know that students are getting sued by the music industry, we know which songs they were sharing. Thank you, Daily Cal.

Do you keep your slaves in a bag?

It takes balls to complain about strings attached to free money. Especially when you say an organization "lost money" because the gov'ment decided to stop giving them free money.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/06/2005 09:04:00 AM #
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Friday, June 03, 2005

Reasons number 8 and 9 why changing the name was dumb

More on saving the children from the horrors of some dead dude's name.

The school was originally named for Thomas Jefferson, the second president of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. (emphasis mine)

Oh, yeah, people totally understood Jefferson.

One of our learning processes with the students that will continue out of the debate over the Jefferson name change will be what do you do when you have a difficult decision to make. How do you take a stand? How do you make courageous decisions?

That's from the principal, who was apparently high when she said it. Voting to change the name isn't courageous. What is courageous is trying to learn from something that might remind you of something painful. I could've voted to change the name, and I don't do anything courageous.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/03/2005 09:29:00 AM #
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Thursday, June 02, 2005

News in Brief

Here are some things that have happened over the past week.

I realized that CNN Headline News no longer does Headline News during primetime. Exciting. I wonder what the point of that channel was in the first place. Oh, well, I'm going to go watch music videos on MTV.

Danica Patrick got 4th in the Indy 500

Also, Dan Wheldon won the Indy 500
Deep Throat went from Hero to Zero in the time it took the press to discover that he was actually someone who had power at one point, and therefore would not receive the automatic whistleblower worship that other backstabbers do.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/02/2005 10:12:00 AM #
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We win, because we say so

On one of those
one-day strike thingies:

"The strike was incredibly successful," said the union's systemwide Director Dominic Chan. "Our major goal wasn't shutting down the university, but we wanted to focus public opinion onto the crisis in research."

While I'm sure he's right that the union will win, it's kind of odd to declare victory before you've won. All they did was get press coverage, but press coverage wasn't an end, it was a means to the end of getting more money or something (I hope). Unions have learned, of course, that the easiest way to hit a target is to shoot first and decide whatever you hit was the target. Sadly, union folks probably gobble this crap up.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/02/2005 10:08:00 AM #
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Haha, you're a loser

On gaming:

One college student playing at gLab declined an interview, asking, "Is this important? I'd rather play. Thanks."

But for psychologists and others at the gaming centers, the games do not eliminate social life, but rather they create one. Gamers collaborate and compete with each other over the Internet.

Notice that the implication above is that the dude who wouldn't interrupt having fun to answer a bunch of inane questions from some reporter is showing a lack of social life.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/02/2005 10:04:00 AM #
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Also.... Waa!

Jefferson Elementary School community members voted last week to change the school’s name to Sequoia Elementary following months of controversial debate about its namesake, former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, owning slaves.

Jefferson parents, students and teachers opted to rename the school after the three Sequoia trees on the school’s campus.

Oh, thank God! The horror is over!

Wait... I heard that those Sequoia trees have been using up light from the sun and halting development of plants in its shade!!! With such behavior, can we really allow the name of these trees to be on our schools? Fight for justice! Change the name!

The vote pleased those who had lobbied to change the name.

That's a shock. I wonder if it disappointed those who had lobbied to keep the name the same.

Jefferson parent Deborah Agre, who voted for Sequoia, said the debate was a good chance for the community "to try and understand feelings that are outside their own experience."

"I don't personally have a visceral response to the name Jefferson—to me it's just the name of the school," Agre said. "But I understand that other people do, and I think that's a good enough reason."

Wow... people pleasing 101. Anyway, it's good that the community could try and understand feelings outside their experience. And now that we've changed the name, we've ensured that such an attempt at understanding should never, ever happen again. Or... actually, that's a bad thing, isn't it?

Agre said the debate over Jefferson's slave-owning background convinced her 9-year-old son Eli Baum, who had intended to vote against the name change to ultimately put down "Sequoia" on his ballot.

"I said, 'Why did you vote for Sequoia over Jefferson?' and he said, 'Because Jefferson owned slaves,'" Agre said.

Oh, sure, that shows that the kids understood. Of course, any real parent might have asked "but that's not an explanation. Why does his owning slaves mean you should've voted Sequoia over Jefferson?" to which the kid would respond "Uh... uh... people said that it was the reason... uh... um..." (By the way, these kinds of incomplete justifications hardly end at elementary school... anyone who's graded a test, especially in lower division sciences, knows that. I wonder why college students haven't picked up these skills? I'm sure it has nothing to do with cases like this.)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 6/02/2005 09:52:00 AM #
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