Pundits sound so convincing, but are often wrong

From cannonfire:

"This video sequence offers a compendium of appearances (covering the 2006-2007 period) by Euro Pacific Capital president Peter Schiff, who is a frequent -- and frequently disrespected -- talking head on cable news shows. What astonishes is not just the accuracy of his dour predictions about the economy but the sheer arrogance of every other person appearing on these programs."

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Tech Room continues to rock

my office

Props upon props to the Tech Room in Costa Mesa. Every time I go in there to have my computer repaired I walk out impressed. These guys started as tech support for UCI Information and Computer Sciences, got it in their head that they could do it better and started a company that *is* doing it better.

Tonight I walked in with a sticky slash-key (death to us VI users) and walked out 10 minutes later with a fixed keyboard and no hassle. The only way the experience could have been better is if they had known I had a problem and showed up at my office door and fixed it there. But that would have had a high creep-factor....

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Advent Conspiracy

Advent Conspiracy. Subvert the dominant paradigm.

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World Philosophy Day was yesterday

From this BBC article


Consider a photo of someone you think is you eight years ago. What makes that person you? You might say he she was composed of the same cells as you now. But most of your cells are replaced every seven years. You might instead say you're an organism, a particular human being, and that organisms can survive cell replacement - this oak being the same tree as the sapling I planted last year.

But are you really an entire human being? If surgeons swapped George Bush's brain for yours, surely the Bush look-alike, recovering from the operation in the White House, would be you. Hence it is tempting to say that you are a human brain, not a human being.

But why the brain and not the spleen? Presumably because the brain supports your mental states, eg your hopes, fears, beliefs, values, and memories. But then it looks like it's actually those mental states that count, not the brain supporting them. So the view is that even if the surgeons didn't implant your brain in Bush's skull, but merely scanned it, wiped it, and then imprinted its states on to Bush's pre-wiped brain, the Bush look-alike recovering in the White House would again be you.

But the view faces a problem: what if surgeons imprinted your mental states on two pre-wiped brains: George Bush's and Gordon Brown's? Would you be in the White House or in Downing Street? There's nothing on which to base a sensible choice. Yet one person cannot be in two places at once.

In the end, then, no attempt to make sense of your continued existence over time works. You are not the person who started reading this article. "

Or "you" is something not bound to material goo but which can only experience sensations through that goo. And for the record British people are smarter - having this article in their CNN proves it. Q.E.D.

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Mobile Treadmill

These guys beat me to it. I totally wanted to create this.

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Quote of the Weekend

Directed to me.

"Wow, that's cool that you and J. biked here. More people should do that. You will be all set for Earth Day."

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Listening to Garbled Speech

Here is a link to a fun site which asks you to listen to a bunch of whistles and then translate it to English. The first time you hear the whistles this sounds like an impossible task, but after listening to the English translation it seems almost impossible, not to hear the phrase being spoken through the whistles. Neat-o-rama.

Go here

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A moment of teaching sympathy

Photo courtesy of Joriel "Jox" Jimenez

I request a moment of empathy for all the teachers out there whose only indication that they are doing a good job is that no one is happy in the class. "It is too hard" "It is too easy" "We follow the text too close" "We don't go over the text enough" "This is like an [easy] class" "I have no idea what is going on". All on one evaluation. It's like being a politician. You know you are doing a good job if everyone hates you, but you get reelected.

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Well, I guess "Some of us can!"

"No We Can't!" ... I will overcome

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Final Thoughts for Election Day

From CNN this morning - the final thoughts of the candidates:


From the Bible:

Micah 6:8 (New International Version):
" He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."

Barack Obama on Jesus Christ (more)

"You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away - because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.

"It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth. "

Philippians 1:18(New International Version)
"But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice."

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Political Parties and Bailouts

Let's take a quick look at presidents and bailouts. Which party is most likely to use government spending to bail out private corporations? Source of data is ProPublica

Red is Republican. Blue is Democrat.

Target of Bailoutyear(President)Cost in 2008 U.S. Dollars
Troubled Asset Relief Program2008 (Bush II)$700,000,000,000
Auto Industry2008 (Bush II)$25,000,000,000
AIG2008 (Bush II)$122,800,000,000
FannieMae/FreddieMac2008 (Bush II)$200,000,000,000
Bear Sterns2008 (Bush II)$30,000,000,000
Airline Industry2001 (Bush II)$18,600,000,000
Savings & Loan1989 (Bush)$293,300,000,000
Continental Illinois Bank1984 (Reagan)$9,500,000,000
Chrysler1980 (Carter)$4,000,000,000
New York City1975 (Ford)$9,400,000,000
Franklin National Bank1974 (Nixon)$7,800,000,000
Lockheed1971 (Nixon)$1,400,000,000
Penn Central Railroad1970 (Nixon)$3,200,000,000

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