Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Methodology is Everything

I was somewhat excited when I heard on CNN about a study that purported to show differences in MRI brainscans between liars and truthtellers. Jim Lundgren at The Volokh Conspiracy dug a little deeper into the study and found some serious flaws. From the section quoted in his article:

Faro and colleagues tested 10 volunteers. Six of them were asked to shoot a toy gun and then lie and say they didn't do it. Three others who watched told the truth about what happened. One volunteer dropped out of the study.

Aside from the sample size, the issue Mr. Lundgren makes is that there are more than one variable in this arrangement. Those who are lying are also the ones who performed physical action, two areas where there is a difference from the other group. Therefore, it is impossible to say whether it was the lying or the memory of taking physical action that activates the additional brain regions.

A better set up for the experiment would be to have to groups, a group that is set before hand to lie to a particular question and one that will answer all questions honestly. While in the brain scan, each group will get the same list of questions. While answer all of the others truthfully, the first group will lie when given the key question. That way, comparisons can be made between responses in an unreliable individual's telling lies and truth, and between the unreliable person and the reliable one. In fact, you could have a third group instructed to lie all of the time. However it is done, the experiences of the subject will be functionally identical with respect to brain activity.

Update: Thanks to John of Boffoblog for bringing my attention to the more in depth look the study he took in a couple of posts. Looking at his posts, it is clear that it was the reporting on the subject that was shoddy rather than the study. One of the big issues I have is scientific illiteracy. Reporting like this tends to push the sensational, and the idea of a fool-proof lie detector is gold. It does not help the general issue of people uncertain about the real science. With reporting like this, it becomes all to easy for snake oil to sell and real medicines to be demonized.

WiFi as a Public Utitlity

As much as I like the idea of city-wide wireless internet, I have to stick by my guns and say that I don't like the idea of city or state governments doing the installations. Anytime you see numbers in a story like this, with respect to the project in Philadelphia:

The projected cost for installing antennas across the city's 135 square miles would be $10 million and another $1.5 million annually to maintain it, Neff said.

you will then know that if you double it, you will get a decent estimate of half the final cost.

Of course, this is a funny part:

Plus, the service could help make Philadelphia "hip" enough to stem the outward flow of college graduates, she [Barbara Grant, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street] said.

First, getting widespread wireless coverage will be a temporary edge at best as other cities get networks online. Second, anyone who still uses "hip" has other problems in the cool department.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Update on Dad

He repeated the barium swallow test this morning, aka the quality assurance test for the surgeon. Great news, Dad's stomach is once again functioning as a sealed unit. I don't think that anyone has enjoyed a drink of water as much as he has.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Not What is Meant by "Hot" Toy

I recall the frenzy surrounding Cabbage Patch Dolls. The clashes over Furbies are still seared in the national consciousness. None of that may hold a candle to the possibility that someone used pepper spray in a case of toy rage.

If this is the case, forget the toys, its the parents how are really teaching kids the idea of dispute mitigation through violence. I would like to end this post on a witty bon mot, but I'm drawing a blank. Feel free to supply your own.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Time For Definitions

This story about putting warning labels on science books is almost too silly for words. Evidently those doing the labeling know very little about science, as well as seeming to be proud of the fact.

The problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between facts and theories. Facts are incontrovertible. For that reason it takes a lot to get to that level. Nothing beyond single observations can truly be called fact, and even those might not be if the observation methodology is challenged, but that's another post. A theory, on the other hand, is an attempt to apply an organizing principle to facts. It is said that theories destroy facts. I prefer the analogy that theories consume facts.

For instance, if you have observed that a bus has stopped at a given spot at 10:00 am, 10:20 am, 10:40 am, and 11:00 am, you can say that a bus stops at the spot at 20 minute intervals. The specific observations of times are facts, while the statement of the twenty minute interval is a theory. You could test the theory by observing if a bus arrives at 11:20 am. All future facts within the scope of the theory must fit for the theory to remain valid. This is why it is often said that theories are of a higher order than facts, like "book" being of a higher order than "page". If the bus does not arrive until 11:30 am, then the theory must be ammended. (Assuming of course that the busses run on time, a tall stretch in virtually any town.) A theory can be simple (20 minute intervals) or complicated (20 minute intervals until 11:00 am, whereupon the busses run on 30 minute intervals).

So, strictly speaking, my assertion that the people that want stickers on science books are proud of their scientific illiteracy may be incorrect. That people want to put stickers on science books is a fact. That they are proud of their scientific illiteracy is a theory. I would welcome further facts to test my theory.

Friday, November 26, 2004

May I, Mr. Overlord, Sir?

I'd buy one of these Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanies, but my programming from the Orbital Mind-Control Lasers won't let me. If you will excuse me, I must now go and listen to Avril Levigne's new album as penance for even mentioning the Conspiracy.

Link via Instapundit.

Good Luck With That

We all know how long it took for video phones to become widespread features of people's homes. Oh, wait, they haven't yet. And the fact that I am currently bleary-eyed, fright-wigged, and, yes, pajama-wearing, kind of guarantees that it won't be happening around here.

So, in a way, I really have to admire the guys who are trying to market a hologram phone. Imagine, that telemarketer could determine just how big that zit on your forehead is while interrupting your dinner. Hope springs eternal, nonetheless:

It's also pricey. One cylinder costs 10 million yen ($97,100) although Tachi and Endo expect that to fall if the gadget is ever mass-produced.

Get it down to $150 and I might consider it. Considered, and No.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Sometimes its the Right One

I have been posting updates of my Dad's condition over the past couple of weeks. Latest news is a worry that the infection has drastically slowed the healing from the operation. That should only be a delay, however, and not a permanent setback.

Anyway, one of the pairs of eyeballs that came along this site belong to my uncle, my Dad's brother, with whom we've lost touch over the years. I figure, have to ask him, that he was Googling my Dad's name and up popped the blog. Kind of a scary way to find out that type of information about a loved one. Even with the names, my Uncle was able to put together enough clues (vis my tendancy toward injury) to make enough of a guess to drop his e-mail in the comments. Dropping that my injuries were orthopedic in nature closed the deal. He made contact with my Mom before I saw the comments and she told me how he found us.

One of the really cool things about blogging is that I can reach out to interested people all around the world. Today I had a visitor from Hungary, how cool is that? But some of those who come by are valuable for being closer to home, or at least should be.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggeddy Jig

Just got home from a job interview in the San Fransciso Bay Area. Driving nearly a thousand miles in three days is just so much fun (/sarcasm). A couple shots of Jim Beam and I am just about ready for bed.

I also note that I picked up 55 visits while I was away. Including hits directly to some pretty old stuff. Thanks for the eyeballs, but is this telling me that I should be spending more time away from the keyboard? I'm writing this late wednesday, so if anyone reads this on thursday, ask yourself if your time isn't better spent looking at a turkey or football or something.

Bonus Geek Points to the first person to identify the reference in the title. Double if you are geeky enough to be reading this post on Thanksgiving. I sure won't.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Status Report and Itinerary

Great news, Dad went off the ventilator yesterday and is now breathing unassisted. Today, delayed diagnostics to check the surgeon's work from the operation that got all of this started.

I will be catching up on delayed matters as well. I'm headed up to the San Francisco Bay Area this morning for a meeting and will come back home on Wednesday. I won't be here on Thursday, like anyone else would be on Thanksgiving, and blogging shall resume on Friday.

Catch you all later.

Did Anyone Consider the Symbolism?

Donald Trump's casino group is yet again filing for bankruptcy. Among the casinos involved is the Trump Taj Mahal.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the real Taj Mahal a tomb?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Marketing is Off to a Good Start

Oliver Willis has started a topic with the idea of creating a Brand Democrat. I couldn't help but nod my head to a few of these points. I particularly like the "What happens in your bedroom, stays in your bedroom," one.

Of course, this marketing campaign is potentially in danger of skewing off into territory that Democrats decry of corporate marketing, namely saying what sounds good rather than what the product delivers. The quotation ads are where it is the most obvious. From the JFK quote, as part of the hallmarks of a liberal:

Someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions...

Or the FDR qutoe about freedom of speech. There have been enough stories about hostility on college campuses and vandalism of Republican offices during the election, both to deafening silence from Democratic leadership, to show that the Democratic Party has fallen prey to ideosclerosis (hardening of the ideology) just as much as Republicans have.

Via Atrios

Friday, November 19, 2004

Nice Acceleration

From zero to 1,000 hits: approx 8 1/2 months.

1,000 - 2,000 hits: 8 weeks.

Thanks, Everyone.

Maybe I'm Missing Something...

But isn't the purpose of a limit to limit? What value is there to a spending limit when it can be raised when the powers that be feel like it? Please, there has to be some Republicans in Congress who, when they cast their vote, felt some qualm of conscience. I know, they are politicians, but hope springs eternal.

At some point, someone is going to have to realize that we can't afford all of this compassionate conservatism.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Check the Methodology

Via A Small Victory

There are two types of experiments that a scientist can perform. The first is to change one condition of the status quo and observe the results. A key element of this type of experiment is that one must know the status quo in order to know what is an outcome attribrutable to the change.

Therefore it often required to have experiments of the second type, like CHEERS, Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, where as many details of the status quo are noted with as little change to the system as possible. In this case, the goal is to measure the chemicals that children absorb from their environment. The thrust of the experiment is made very clear on the website, the goal is to measure the effects of normal life, as shown by the following question and response:

Is there any risk to me and my family?

No. You and your child will not experience any risks from participating in this study.
o We will not ask any parent to apply pesticides in their home to be a part of this study.
o You are not required to change any of your regular household routines.

One last time, this is a passive experiment. Any changes in the environment of these children would nullify the value of any data gathered. There are no lab rats here.

BTW, this Gamer is in no way associated with Gamersnook.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Quantum Economics

This is an idea that has been kicking around in my head for a while, and I think it is time to let it out.

Idea #1: Oftentimes in physiscs there are particles that do not have strictly defined characteristics. In these instances, all of the possible configurations of the particles have to be taken into account. Essentially, the particle is in all of the possible states it could occupy until the time at which it collapses into a single state.

Idea #2: A post I wrote way back when discussed economic flow a la Adam Smith. It sought to explain how a free market creates wealth. What stuck with me was how value increased in one direction while money flowed in the other.

Combining the two, I get the idea that money is value in an indeterminant state. It can be converted into other forms of wealth that may be more useful to the buyer while that form is more difficult to exchange for other types of wealth. In fact, the easiest way to convert wealth is to use the medium of money. In post-apocalyptic fiction the point is often made that cash becomes little more than kindling since it has little value aside from the agreed upon. Or another example, when people win the lottery they talk about what they are going to buy with the money as opposed to enjoying the cashiness of it. Okay, personally, I'd take out $200,000 in hundreds and roll around in them for a while, but they would still eventually get spent. The only value money has is that it can be converted into any another form of value, but none actually in and of itself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Million Times Better

The phone call never came. In fact, when my sister called to check on my Dad, the nurse told her that he was awake enough to weakly nod or shrug his shoulders when asked questions. When Mom and I arrived, we saw for ourselves that his blood pressure had raised to a respectible level and, better yet, was stable rather than going through thirty point swings. His fever has all but disappeared. By the time we left, he was trying to communicate with a letter board, but it was obviously frustrating him.

I'd go and see him today, but I have a cold now, and that is the last thing they want walking around a Critical Care Unit. Compared to what my Dad has been through, this ought to be a snap.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


I wrote below about my Dad's surgery. It was a complete esophagectomy to remove a number of pre-cancerous growths that resulted from years of acid reflux. The initial surgery itself went very well. He was even up and walking around a very little bit.

When my Mom got to the hospital to see him yesterday, things had changed. During the night he had trouble breathing, and that morning they took him into surgery to drain the fluid off of his lungs. It happened so fast that there wasn't time to call the family. The pneumonia turned to sepsis and that infection sent his body into shock. The last thirty-six hours have been a fight to keep his blood pressure up and bring his fever down while a machine takes over the burden of breathing. In the meantime, Mom, sister, brother and I are just waiting. Getting Mom away from the hospital has been tough, she and I slept in the waiting room last night. I'll be sleeping with an ear open for the phone to ring while praying it won't.

I suppose that part of growing up is coming to grips with mortality, your own and that of loved ones. I can't count the number of times my Dad tended my wounds, and believe me, there were a lot of them. If less than all of them had happened away from home, we would have had Children's Services going over our lives with a microscope. A few of those times included stays in the hospital. All of those times Dad was in the chair next to the bed all night, reassuring me that everything would be all right. This time is my turn. I can't tell if he can hear me, but I say them anyway. My Mom is more scared than I've ever seen her. Thank God that we have each other because we have been taking turns comforting one another.

Those of you who pray, please remember my father, Winston L. "Larry" Wade. On behalf of the rest of the family, I thank you.

Winston E. "Ted" Wade
aka Gamer

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Fun With Teasers

I finally found the photo at Michelle Malkin's site.

I was watching the local news last night and they kept teasing the story attached to this photo. The teaser left me to my own devices to fill in the blanks. Those who know me know that my devices are some strange, unnatural things, so here are the first two responses:

1. Sneaking into a party in the cake is so passé.

2. A kid in desperate need of a suger rush needs no stinking bats.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Gee, Thanks, Dude

So we should be thanking Yasser Arafat for all the security hoops and the fact that we must not say the word "bomb" in an airport.

It is quite the struggle being a good christian and not taking (too much) glee in someone's death, but this really makes it tough.

Who Makes the Hard Calls?

Via Atrios

This story is particularly tragic. Thirteen year-old Lauren Rainey has a multitude of medical problems, including an airway defect that leaves her very vulnerable to suffocation. She is also dependant on Medicare benefits that have been cut off.

Obviously this isn't just. That despite the rules that were created to be even handed, it leaves the decision in the hands of someone who is, by those very rules, separated from the impact. This is what happens when decisions are made by those distant, whether by location or emotion, from the case. So who makes the hard calls? Certainly neither the HMO's nor Medicare (an HMO people don't have the ability to opt out of) will deliver just results so long as people are just account numbers.

Any ideas?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Some Things Just Take Precedence

I haven't gotten particularly personal on this blog, but today is the exception.

Last march my father started undergoing tests to examine the tissue that had grown into his esophagus after years of acid reflux. The tests showed patches of high-grade dysplasia. For the medically illiterate like myself, it is cancer without the kill-all-neighboring-cells attitude. Today he had surgery to have his esophagus removed.

According to the surgeon, the prognosis is excellent. Catching this in a very early stage made it so that all of the dysplasia could be removed, and there was no sign of any cancer outside of the esophagus. Everything looks like he'll make the full recovery in a couple of months that the doctor promised.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

County By County Breakdown

Just finished looking at an electoral map put out by Princeton. A couple of thoughts.

1. When it comes to colors, this map could only be worse if it were red and green. (Christmas would be much happier for me if they would just change the color scheme) I can't keep track of one color to compare it with another. Is Los Angeles County as blue as the San Francisco Bay area?

2. Damn, some of those counties back east are tiny. Then again, some of the states back east are tiny. San Bernardino County could hold Vermont and most of New Hampshire.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Viva La Third Party

Michele Catalano once again takes on a commenter who claims that Bush's victory is a mandate for moral righteousness and that those who produced vulgarity shall feel their wrath. What gets me about that point of view is that the commenter, in using Bush's majority vote, is using Michele's vote in a way that she has been emphatic to disavow. There were a lot of one issue voters out there, yet the commenter failed to realize that there are a lot of "one issues" as well, and that everyone who voted for Bush was not choosing the same one issue.

I was tempted to vote for Bush. I believe that the war is of paramount importance, that Iraq, based on best intelligence of the time, merited "serious consequences", while believing that the Bush Administration has done less than necessary to achieve the best possible result-to-point thus far in that country. Meanwhile, I had zero confidence in Kerry's plan, whatever it was, to do what Bush had not. It was entirely too vague and was undercut by vocal unwillingness from our "allies" in Europe.

Regardless, if I had voted for Bush, it would not have been for any reason involving morals inside of our borders. I have written before about my preference for the government staying out of my moral decision making. The key reason that I did not cast a futile vote for Bush as a protest to Kerry is that I knew my vote in the popular number would be read as positive support for all of Bush's platform, which it most emphatically was not.

I voted for Badnarik. If my vote was going to be counted as an all or nothing Kool-Aid quaff, then I voted for having my vote misrepresented the least.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Beauty of Democracy...

Is that there's always a next election. Not only is it the next chance for the party of the short end to make a comeback, but it keeps the incumbents honest. The Democratic Party is in a very low point right now, much like the Republicans were in Clinton's second term. The comparison that I like to make is to the midterm election in Clinton's first term. That was the year we had Newt Gingrich coming out with his "Contract for America" and riding voter unrest into a Republican majority in Congress. The big reason for that was a combination of the Clinton Administration trying to do too much too fast (Pushing for removing the ban on homosexuals in the military) and the Democrats in Congress fighting amongst themselves as to whose agenda had top priority.

If the federal government rushes too far to the right, expect a major backlash in 2006.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I'd Like to Thank the Engineers, and NOT the Gorvernment

The Mars Rovers are living well beyond their projected lifespans. In fact, there have been a few times where their power has increased. The biggest factor limiting the lifetime of the rovers is the ability of their solar panels to receive enough light through the inevitable dust and grime. The only explanation for the increases in power is that the panels are somehow getting cleaner at some points. Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, believes it is little green men with squegees. Possibly, but that would mean the rovers would have to have a stack of the local equivalent of dollar bills. So, JPL, what's the deal?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Politics in an Analog World

Two things are happening in the blogosphere currently. One is trying to figure out what happened and why. (Link via Instapundit) The other is the intra-party bickering of who is truly loyal.

The roots of both of these debates are the urge to shoe horn people into categories, and just what those categories mean. The first article is about people trying to define others and not doing a particularly good job about it. The other is about people trying to define themselves and their erstwhile allies. The criticisms in both pieces turn on the fallacy that the votes for either side are monolithic, that on a chart they could be represented by a plane with a straight line dividing the two sides. The election would then be seen as the two sides trying to push the line deeper into the other side's territory.

I don't agree with that model because it reduces all of the points on the plane as very simple, deterministic units. If we use as our plane a model such as the Nolan Chart then each point represents a distinct political position, and in a population as large as a presidential election, each point will be populated by at least one voter. If you were to color each point by which side the voter in that position ultimately chooses, then conventional wisdom would have it that one side of the chart would be red, for the sake of argument, and the other side would be blue, with a straight line separating the two.

I don't like that image because it implies that it would be fairly easy to decide which of the polarities one belongs to, nor does it allow for the small yet consistent presence of third parties.

There is a fractal image (scroll down to the bottom of the page, upper left picture) that is created using a pendulum suspended over three magnets arranged in an equilateral triangle. The color of each point is determined by which magnet captures the pendulum when the pendulum starts at that point. The magnets are located inside the largest regions of their color. Note how the plane is not cut into neat thirds but instead has intricately folded seams of colors, even where another color is closer.

I've been pondering this image as a metaphor for politics for quite a while. The problem has been that it is a three part system with each part aquiring a third of the total, even if it is impossible to determine before hand all of the points that would be part of those thirds. The political arena, however, is dominated by two groups, while not completely extinguishing third parties, that can alter their total share of the electorate. Fortunately, I found the site linked above and its alteration of the trial to include variation of the strengths of the magnets. Scroll down and look at the bottom left image. Now we have two of the three magnets dominating the field while the third almost, but not entirely, disappears. Too bad it was the blue one that ended up disappearing rather than the green. It would have been easier on the eyes and made the comparison to politics more dramatic.

Pulling the analogy together: each of the magnets represents a candidate and his platform. The large blobs around each magnet are those whose choice of grape or cherry Kool-Aid was already set. Those who had to agonize over their decision, like this fellow, reside in the outlying regions. The ability of altering the strength of the magnets then represents the impact of campaigning and world events. I have a theory that a straight line drawn from the starting point to the candidate/magnet and the length in anyone one color is relative to the time spent by the pendulum in that region/voter in a camp before moving on to the next region/camp, but I have yet to see any information on that. The variation of attractive force can perturb the distribution of points on the plane and cause an unequal division of the points/voters.

This explains how there can be atheistic Pro-choicers for Bush and individualistic anti-regulators for Kerry. Fortunately, we only had chaos in who voted for whom, not in what the result would be.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Call to Sanity

The Backseat Philosopher has an excellent post-mortem and prescription to his fellow Democrats regarding this past election. I found myself nodding to most of his points. This one really rang a bell:

Many Democrats think that our patience and understanding are our weakness. "We don't know how to fight like the Republicans," we all told ourselves after Florida 2000. "We have to be more like them: tougher, meaner." "We have to energize our base more."

Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously.

I have no emotional investment in George Bush. If anything, the guy turns me off a little bit for his unwillingness to concede imperfection. Only a little bit, however, not nearly enough to build up into an automatic grimace of distate if his name should come up. That is why I was not persuaded by any of the "arguments" put forward by John Kerry and his Democratic backers. The bulk of their arguments was that anything would be better than Bush, and I didn't agree with that, so what did they have to follow up? Nothing.

Everything that Bush did was held up as being wrong in anyway anyone might find it to be wrong, and very little else was said. This failed in two ways. First, it failed to establish that Kerry's way, whatever it would be, would be better. Second, the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach told me nothing about what Kerry valued. The everything is wrong approach creates the appearance that Kerry was everything Bush was not. It would have worked if there was only one option for being not-Bush, but there are near infinite variations of not-something. Kerry failed to define his values, and thus himself, as anything positive. He counted on enough voters filling in the blanks for him, or not caring what he was so long as it was not-Bush, to carry him into the White House. And it almost worked.

An aside to Bush and the Republican Party: you don't have much to hang your hat on in this election either. Bush is the incumbent, and yet he had practically nothing positive to say about his four years thus far. You have really hurt yourselves by only being conservative in ways that limit freedom and choice. Stop spending our money like sailors on shore leave. On second thought, I take that back, I'm familiar at least one sailor, and I wouldn't want to impugn his thrift. Anyway, the Republican President and the Republican Congress have done very little to inspire my faith. The only reason I didn't vote for the other guy was that he failed to show me that he would be better.

I voted Libertarian, for Badnarik. When the world is crazy, vote for the wacko closest to your opinion.

Best Wishes to Mrs. Edwards

CNN is reporting that John Edward's wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. If anything should be bridge the partisan gap, it should be news like this.

Good News Already

Hoping and praying that the rumors of John Ashcroft potential resignation are true. I have heard a lot of talk about how Dick Cheney is the deal breaker when it comes to supporting the Bush Administration, but for me, Ashcroft has always been the lurking menace. Somehow I always had the feeling that he was too enamored with the power of federal law enforcement. At the very least I hold him responsible for misuses of the Patriot Act.

Be ready for a lot of "election conservative" bloggers to be showing their more libertarian colors with this story as well.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Federalist Solution

I like federalism, the idea that one can experience different modes of living without having to go through the hassle of re-naturalizing. It gets tricky trying to explain the appeal to others, however. How do you explain the idea that a person, while living in America, can have one set of rights in one state, while being denied many of the same rights in others? Andrew Sullivan addresses the issue of a looming culture war given Bush's re-election based heavily on support from the staunchly religious. Proposals to ban same sex marriage have passed in every state that considered the issue. How do we handle the divide?

Andrew's answer is almost exactly my own, federalism. Let each state and the majority in those states decide how they shall live. With fifty different options, there is bound to be somewhere that will meet your needs. Immediate question: "What about those in the minority who will have their lives disrupted?" I have yet to come up with a diplomatic answer for that. The core of the answer is that each individual or family will have to decide if the right they are being denied to them in one state is worth the disruption of going to another state. The Declaration of Independence says that we have the right to pursue happiness. Nowhere does it say that the pursuit would keep you where you were. This idea cuts both ways, if California's permissiveness is too much for you, you can take your family to where the neighbors will be more to your liking. Head on down South, I'm sure that there will be a gay couple down there looking to sell.

America can handle divisions. As Andrew said:

Forcing California and Mississippi into one model is a recipe for disaster.

Amen, brother.

Time For a Breather

The election is over, finally. Kerry has conceded, and Bush has made his victory speech.

Everyone around me is pretty bummed right now. California is the classic democrat bubble. One of my friends is convinced that Kerry should be fighting for the Ohio provisional ballots, hoping against hope that the apocalypse of a second Bush term does not come to be.

I have never had much passion for either candidate. Where I put my passion was the debate. I fought for objectivity, that the world is as the world is, regardless of how I felt about it. Too often I have seen previously respected thinkers make their decisions and then perform mental gymnastics to contort new data to fit their position. What I wanted was that if two back flips and one and a half twists was appropriate for their analysis, then it was good for the other guy's. Logic is objective, or it had damned well better be. Both sides lost track of what things were in their rush to set what those things mean.

I, for one, am very glad that this election is over, and perhaps I was a little quick about announcing the death of the concession call. What will please me all the more will be the blogosphere reverting back to a more diverse form where everyone pursues their individual causes as opposed to the constraining dichotomy of Kerry v. Bush.

I know I'm already feeling a load taken off.

I'm Sure They Would Have Preferred Florida

Really, would you choose to be in Florida or Ohio for the whole month of November? I'm sure that's what a whole mess of lawyers (I'm pretty sure that's the proper group name for lawyers) are thinking right now. So the issue is going to be how many provisional ballots are to be counted. I hope that the reason for why a person was casting provisional was listed, because I would prefer to keep it limited to those who were off the rolls due to honest error. But since lawyers are involved, the definition of "honest" will certainly get misplaced. If it is because the person just showed up at the wrong polling place, well too bad, so sad. In California, the sample ballots sent out weeks before the election tell you where to go, even if they are of limited usefulness. I looked on it as a small test of perseverence.

It does seem, however, that one of my earlier predictions has borne out. Too bad.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

This Seems a Little Too Familiar

Watching the first reports from after the close of the polls on the east, and I am recognizing a certain pattern. The sheer repetition of very little information reminds me of the news reports five minutes after an earthquake. There is no preparation for an earthquake coming, so no story is written yet. So far, all we have is how CNN is not going to make the same mistakes they made in 2000.

Wake me when it's over.

Polling Issues

God love the people who open up their homes, or at least their garages, to act as polling places. It must be a serious inconvenience, and I for one am grateful.

It does get a little problematic, however, when said garage is at the end of a culdesac in a housing tract. Even Map Quest didn't do a good job of providing directions. If anyone out there reading this is voting on Arrowhead Court, you need to look for Falcon St. (Ave. Ct. whatever) as that curves around to become Arrowhead. Your map may not include that bit of info.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Another Look at the Bin Ladin Tape

Has anyone else noticed that it seems like Osama was speaking from a studio? A podium, clean clothes (those whites really sparkled), a fabric backdrop. There was nothing rustic about that setting. The backdrop was clean, no wrinkles from having been folded up in a sack or backpack and carried for miles over rough terrain. Unlike previous videos, we don't see any stone, or clothes that look traveled in. My read is that he has new shelter somewhere civilized.

I would like to here some new ideas on how to hunt this guy down. It is a screaming travesty that we haven't found him yet, but just putting more boots on the ground in Tora Bora ain't gonna cut it. Let's here it, CIA, what have you got going? Isn't information, like someone's whereabouts, your line of work?

My Last Words on the Election, Hopefully

Virginia Postrel offers up her decision making on whom to vote for for president in "How Can You Vote for a Guy Like That?". She has a good point that kind of sums up why I am so bemused by the vitriol this election is creating. Virginia, like myself, never invested the emotion, positive or negative, into Bush that many other people have. Her closing paragraph:

Voting is an expressive activity, but it need not be emotional. Andrew Sullivan's invocation of "The deep emotional bond so many of us formed with the president back then" does not apply to me. Bush leaves me cold and always has. I never wanted to hang out with him, so I don't take our policy differences personally. I never idolized his leadership, so I don't feel he's failed me. He gets my vote in part because I don't identify with him. He's just a hired hand, and he's better than the alternative.

Over this past year, I have often jumped into a political fray on the side of Bush. Not that I am particularly enamored with the guy or his positions. Largely it is because of the lack of any philosophical consistency on the part of the opposition. The tactic seems to be to throw everything that anyone can find objectionable about Bush at him and hope it stains him in the eyes of at least a few people. The criticisms tell me nothing about what the opposition, namely Kerry and the DNC, finds truly objectionable.

As someone who knows that his candidate, Libertarian Michael Badnarik, is going to lose, I have been allowed a certain distance. And because I am not voting for Bush, I think that I make it clear that I am not pro-Bush in my defenses of him. I am, instead, anti-anti-Bush. My arguments are for searching for consistency in what a candidate and a voter wants this election. I want that to be a positive (My guy is good because...) rather than a negative (Anybody but...).

Neither side is evil.

Everything Has a Purpose

Everyone is familiar with pain. Or at least almost everyone. The article is about a young girl with a rare genetic disease that prevented the nerve cells that detect pain and temperature extremes from developing. I know pain having broken my arm a couple of times. There was nothing I wouldn't have done to stop the pain. Even the thought of trying to flex that arm caused a new stab. But that was the point. Any further movement would have set the healing process back to zero. So remember, pain is nature's way of saying, "Hey! Knock that off!"