Monthly Archives: March 2016
Bernie Sanders receives an endorsement from Finches!
So… The week began with a bomb in Brussels and a baseball game in Cuba. On one side of the Earth, images of terror and oppression; on the other, images of joy and freedom. It forms a literal global Yin-Yang reflecting the best and worst of human goals and actions.
From such high stakes and matters of import, the week quickly descended into the sewer, as the National Embarrassment led the Republican Party to new lows this election cycle.
5 Comments | tags: Anyone But Trump, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, birds, Brussels, Cuba, democracy, Democratic Party, democratic society, election 2016, finches, freedom, GOP, politicians, President Obama, Republican Party, Trump is a loser, Trump is a monster | posted in Politics
The First Family planting seeds of democracy.
To those who would disparage President Obama’s comportment (or even just presence) at the historic baseball game in Cuba yesterday, might I suggest there is, perhaps, no greater expression of American freedom, liberty, and values, than the simple joy of a baseball game?
What better way to flip the bird to those who would destroy our way of life than to take a moment to say: Nope, not afraid of you, not gonna let you own this — or any — day!
At first I thought maybe there was a point to be made regarding his comportment. Was the wave necessary? How dare he enjoy himself so much!
But what better response to horror and tragedy is there but joy and love?
And, oh, by the way: Not so much just a “baseball game” as planting the seeds of freedom and democracy with our neighbors. What you might call the opposite of terrorism, so nah-nah-nah-nah-nah.
After all, baseball is one of those things you can be “as American as!”
3 Comments | tags: Barack Obama, Brussels, Cuba, democracy, democratic society, freedom, President Obama, social change | posted in Baseball, Politics
Coo coo ca choo!
So. It’s been a day. A bombing in Brussels, Belgium, and an historic baseball game in Habana, Cuba. President Obama was at the latter, and so was Mrs. Robinson (the one the song isn’t about). Set against the background of “Super Tuesday #4: The Continuing Horror” it all weaves an interesting tapestry of stark contrasts and lurid splashes of color.
Baseball and bombs. Diplomacy and terrorism. Policy and politics. It’s terrible and fascinating how the world offers so much hope and so much despair — all in a day. The best there is in people set against the worst there is in people.
So, it’s been a day.
4 Comments | tags: Anyone But Trump, Barack Obama, Belgium, Brussels, Cuba, democracy, democratic society, election 2016, freedom, Habana, Plato, Plato's Cave, President Obama, social media, Tampa Bay Rays, terrorism, Trump is a loser, Trump is a monster | posted in Baseball, Politics
In Greek mythology, the hero Theseus, who slew the Minotaur and escaped its maze, returned from Crete to Athens where the Athenians preserved his ship in seaworthy state for more than a thousand years. It was an emblem of courage and a reminder of a national hero that many Greeks considered more legendary than mythological.
The Ship of Theseus was carefully maintained. Parts that rotted away were replaced with exact replicas. And in a ship made almost entirely of wood, crude iron, rope, and sail, everything rots, so eventually everything gets replaced.
Which makes the identity of the ship an interesting question.
32 Comments | tags: brain mind problem, consciousness, Discworld, human brain, human consciousness, human mind, identity, Ship of Theseus, Theory of Consciousness, Theseus | posted in Philosophy, Sci-Fi Saturday
I can’t believe, with so much Trump-water over the damn dam, that people still support this guy. Not since Creationism has there been such a clear and present example of how disconnected from reality is the thinking of many people. Never in my lifetime have I seen such a frightening example of all I disdain in the human race.
This is thoughtlessness and irrationality, bigotry and brutality, nationalism and populism. It’s childish, selfish, ignorant, and stupid! It boggles my mind.
It’s gotten to the point of basically stunning me into insensibility.
13 Comments | tags: Antonin Scalia, Anyone But Trump, Bill Clinton, Comedy Central, democracy, Democratic Party, democratic society, Donald Trump, election 2016, FLOTUS, GOP, groupthink, Hillary Clinton, HRC, John Oliver, Josh Earnest, Nancy Reagan, POTUS, President Obama, Republican Party, Samantha Bee, SCOTUS, South Park, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, The Nightly Show, Trevor Noah, Trump is a loser, Trump is a monster | posted in Brain Bubble, Politics
Well, it’s Pi Day once again (although this date becomes more and more inaccurate as the century proceeds). So, once again, I’ll opine that Tau Day is cooler. (see: Happy Tau Day!)
Last year, for extra-special Pi Day, I wrote a post that pretty much says all I have to say about Pi. (see: Here Today; Pi Tomorrow) That post was actually published the day before. I used the actual day to kick off last Spring’s series on Special Relativity.
So what remains to be said? Not much, really, but I’ve never let that stop me before, so why start now?
10 Comments | tags: irrational numbers, normal number, pi, pi day, tau, tau day, transcendental numbers | posted in Math
Blessed be the Force!
As long as I’ve been picking my own reading material, a huge fraction of it has science fiction. I’ve been doing that picking since about 1963-ish, so let’s just call it 50+ years. Up until around the mid 1990s, it would have been hard to name a science fiction book or movie I didn’t know (and in many cases, own).
But somewhere near the end of the last century science fiction became a full-fledged mass-produced commodity that through sheer over-exposure became dull and uninteresting. In a way, I blame George Lucas and Star Wars, so I split SF into two eras:
Before Lucas (B.L.) and Anno Stella Bella (ASB).
17 Comments | tags: Anno Domini, Anno Stella Bella, Before Christ, Before Lucas, Fantastic Voyage, Forbidden Planet, Isaac Asimov, Lucky Starr, Plan 9 From Outer Space, robots, science fiction, SF, Star Wars | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday
I think I’ve come full circle on Donald Trump. It’s an opposite circle from the one I traveled with William Shatner (and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama). This time I started out appalled, began to rethink my position, but moved back to appalled after all. So while I’m back to liking Shatner, Clinton, and Obama, I’m also back to hating Donald Trump.
His disgraceful apparent behavior, regardless of who he really is behind the circus ringmaster, is enough to disqualify him from politics (let alone from the Presidency of the USA).
His slogan claims he’ll make America great again. The “again” deserves some unpacking, but I got to thinking about the “great” part…
17 Comments | tags: Anyone But Trump, democracy, democratic society, Donald Trump, election 2016, GOP, politicians, Republican, Republican Party, social change, Trump is a loser, Trump is a monster, US Postal Service, USA, USAnian | posted in Politics, Rant
I was watching part of the Congressional hearing investigating the conflict between Apple and the FBI. Both sides have an arguable point of view, which I’ll touch on, but what really struck me was that this issue is a direct consequence of our digital media world. What’s at stake here has never been at stake before.
It’s also an example of a theme I’ve hammered on several times here: It was not ever thus. This is an example of a new thing. Never have we put so much of our lives in a digital vault that depends completely on digital encryption for security.
The outcome of this debate is crucial to our future!
24 Comments | tags: Apple Corporation, backdoor, computer code, computer program, court order, decryption, encryption, FBI, iPhone, judicial order, operating system, passcode, SCOTUS, security, Tim Cook | posted in Opinion, Politics
A while back I realized I had an Engineer’s Mind. I’ve always had a sense of that. What I realized was the significance of the Engineer’s Mind category. And of other categories of Mind — for example an Artist’s Mind (which I didn’t discover I also had until high school; see My Life 2.0).
Having a given Mind doesn’t mean one is necessarily good at something (skill takes practice), but it does suggest a predisposition or talent for it. Our minds seem to come pre-wired in two ways: core wiring that makes us human; and “flavor” wiring that gives us (some of our) basic traits. For instance, some people have — or strongly do not to have — a Math Mind.
I’ve found Mind a useful metaphor as well as a game to play.
7 Comments | tags: art, artist, brain, engineer, engineering, engineers, human brain, human mind, mind, mind-set, teacher | posted in Basics, Life