Tungtide

Archive for June, 2008

Overreaching

Posted by tungtide on June 30, 2008, 7:12 pm

If you are planning to travel to Sydney anytime in the month of July, you might want to check your desire to express yourself at the door. Because of World Youth Day the police will be granted:

Extraordinary new powers will allow police to arrest and fine people for “causing annoyance” to World Youth Day participants and permit partial strip searches at hundreds of Sydney sites, beginning today.

People who fail to comply will be subject to a $5500 fine.

The laws, which operate until the end of July, have the potential to make a crime of wearing a T-shirt with a message on it, undertaking a Chaser-style stunt, handing out condoms at protests, riding a skateboard or even playing music, critics say.

The article from the Sydney Morning Herald is here, while Sean’s blog was where I stumbled across the subject in the first place.

Update (7/7/08): Sean was not arrested for wearing his hat.

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You Might Want to Check That

Posted by tungtide on June 30, 2008, 4:35 pm

I’m hardly the first, second, or thrid person to see this, but I couldn’t pass up posting it myself. It seems that the Americal Family Association’s OneNewsNow website will run a find-and-replace on words in news articles without looking into the context of the article. You can imagine, then, what happens when Tyson Gay appeared in an AP story about the Olympic Trials. The article has since been corrected.

Find-and-replace is not your friend

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IT Humor

Posted by tungtide on June 28, 2008, 1:39 pm

Just because I’m a big geek and have often thought about doing q few of these, I’m linking to Skippy’s List of 42 Things I’m No Longer Allowed to do in I.T. A few of my favorites are below.

Not allowed to randomly rickroll users upon login to the application.
Lolspeak is not appropriate for error messages.
Not allowed to use Star Wars references when naming new applications/modules; it makes Legal nervous.
If something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that doing it will get me an invite to the HR Director’s office.
Not allowed to continue to explain to users what an ID10T error is.
Not allowed to put up “Happy Birthday” fliers for non-existent employees.
“If it was in your ass you’d know,” is never an acceptable answer.
Not allowed to execute a DoS attack on the network admin’s PC.
Not allowed to hide all but the decaf coffee.
Not allowed to name applications/modules/procedures in such a way that their acronyms would be sexually suggestive (Data In, Logical Data Out).

I don’t work in IT but suddenly I feel like quitting grad school just to sign up. Granted, I can do any of these as long as I have access to the network and administrator access.

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Insensitive Horror

Posted by tungtide on June 27, 2008, 7:46 pm

Update (7/7/08): The girl was granted the right to an abortion.

My travels across the blogosphere found me at The Information Paradox reading about an 11-year-old Romanian girl who was raped by her uncle. Wait, it gets worse:

Twenty church groups on Thursday urged a government committee not to allow an 11-year-old girl raped by her uncle to travel to Britain for an abortion. The pro-life Christian Orthodox groups also threatened to press charges if the girl were allowed to have a termination in Romania on exceptional grounds.

Who do these people think they are? What right does a church have to tell a victimized child that she must carry her baby to term?

…the church groups offered “material, spiritual and psychological help” to the child’s impoverished family, adding they would also raise the child in a church institution if the family was unable to care for it.

A girl in this situation needs help in many ways, but spiritual is hardly one of them. I may be splitting hairs but it also appears that the church groups are offering their assistance to the family and not specifically the child. Whether or not that part is true is irrelevant.

One of my biggest issues with the so-called “pro-life” movement is their seeming distaste for those already living over the unborn. The wellness, feelings, and future of this girl appear to fade into the background while twenty churches attempt to force a child to become a mother.

Various other members of the pro-life movement fail to see the hypocrisy in killing abortion doctors to further their cause. I can’t remember where I read it but someone more talented than I am asked why an adult doctor with a family and chidren was more expendable to society than an unborn fetus that is incabable of independent survival. I am off-topic a little, so I’ll bring this to a close with a glimmer of hope:

…the Romanian Orthodox Church [stood in contrast to the other twenty groups], which said the decision should be left to the girl’s family.

The Romainan Orthodox Church may disagree with abortion in every way, shape, and form, but understands that this is not their decision to make.

Posted in Blogs | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Genomic Mutation and Playing Cards

Posted by tungtide on June 25, 2008, 2:18 pm

I’ve been pondering how to write about mutation and evolution for a little while now, knowing that I would need a good example before I could branch off into more details about genomics and molecular biology. My usual scientific musings are still going to remain over at Scientician but since that’s Q&A format I’ll throw in some science over here as well.

P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula has posted a blog on Synteny (conservation of chromosomal sequences among species) and uses excellent examples with hands of cards. He plans to continue on the topic of genomics in a future post but lays an excellent groundwork even for those non-scientifically minded people.

My plan then, is to recommend that my reader (readers?) will follow the link and brush up on the subject. I’ll be using it as a starting point for my own discussion of evolutionary science.

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Lazy Update

Posted by tungtide on June 23, 2008, 9:46 pm

Between my highly sleepy weekend and the (now canceled) obligation for jury duty this week I haven’t had anything to post in more than a few days. Instead, I’ll link to a post at the Thoughts From a Sandwich blog on How To Create A Religion. In short, the answer is something like this:

How to successfully create a religion. Identify the problem. Resolve the problem by requiring humans to do something. Rationalize the dilemma of the problem continuing. Emphasize how special all the followers are.

I’ll likely find something in the next five minutes that will make me want to post again, but that’s just how this always goes.

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Photo ID

Posted by tungtide on June 17, 2008, 1:42 pm

I am required by the department at my school to have an official ID badge. I had my picture taken and submitted my approval through the online system. The result was this message:

Thank you for submitting the application for a [department ID] card. Your information is being your forwarded to [person] for verification. Once verified and processed, you will be notified as to the location where you may pick up the card. Please remember to bring a pictured ID card so we may ensure your card is being delivered to you only. (emphasis mine, spelling copied directly from website)

Why do I need a picture ID to pick up a picture ID? I’m pretty sure that my face should match the ID you’re handing me.

Posted in random | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

View from the Future

Posted by tungtide on June 16, 2008, 10:55 pm

I’ve been working my way through The God Delusion and came across an interesting subject independent from my usual ranting about religion: how will my comments (and by extension, those of the friends and bloggers I spend time reading) be seen in the future? I’m not talking about hundreds of years but simply a few decades.

The segment of the book was referring to the changing social Zeitgeist and how concepts such as racism, sexism, genocide, and slavery all changed in they way they were perceived by society over time. My thought, then, was how my view on religion would be seen in a future light. As I stated in a previous post, I am not going to be including any classic posts from my old website (circa 2000-2002). In the six years or more that have passed since I composed most of those posts I’ve found that my opinions on the subjects have changed and matured.

I think that it is important for me to define exactly where I stand at this point on the subject of religion. My posts alone don’t paint a complete picture and I’m sure that when I come back to this work in another five years (independent of whether the blog is still running at that point) I’ll have grown and changed my opinions for the better in that intervening time.

I see religion as a damaging force in society because it prizes faith and unwavering loyalty to a group and set of ideas. That’s it, really. Certainly there are more details involved but my biggest issue isn’t evangelism, murder, or bigotry because those issues are all byproducts of blind faith. Take the time to reevaluate beliefs, look at those beliefs held close as well as those that seem odd or unusual. Find wonder and joy in your daily life. Try living a day as a Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or pastafarian.

The reason I post links to other blogs and news stories such as the one in the previous post is because I wish to highlight the problems in the world brought about in the name of religion. Belief in the supernatural should never be used as an excuse for actions against other people that are crimes by any other definition. There are, I am sure, actions by atheists that are equally as reprehensible and I will gladly post those as well. Disbelief in the supernatural is no more of an excuse for committing crime than belief.

To bring this long-winded rant to a conclusion I’ll say that I would be happy in a world where religious belief prevailed if that world lacked the divisiveness and vindictiveness associated with religions today. Sadly, this is not a likely scenario.

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More Than Unnecessary Violence

Posted by tungtide on June 16, 2008, 9:53 am

Update (7/7/08): Her blog has been shut down, and in the process my link has been lost. Currently, I don’t have another source to link to for this topic.

The Pakistani Heretical Girl has a post about violence against medical students for the “crime” of believing in the wrong flavor of Islam. The best part? The school blames the victims. Read the whole post, since this is a subject on which I have almost no knowledge on which to base an opinion.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

No “Classic” Posts

Posted by tungtide on June 15, 2008, 10:45 am

I’ve just spent the last couple hours going through the archives of my old website. There’s nothing from that site that I wish to port over here. A couple of the articles are mildly entertaining but lacking context. My writing style is terrible (although not much improved on this site), and there are spelling mistakes throughout.

I had indicated in one of my earliest posts that I was considering dusting off the archives, but instead they will remain buried on my hard drive forever.

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