Archive for the 'Misc' category

And Max the king of all the wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.

May 08 2012 Published by under Education, Family, Misc, Uncategorized

And sailed back over a year
And in and out of weeks
And through a day
And into the night of his very own room
Where he found his supper waiting for him

And it was still hot.

Goodnight, Mr. Sendak. The world is better for having known you.

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Preliminary Injunction Issued in ACORN Bill of Attainder Case.

Dec 12 2009 Published by under Misc

Earlier this evening, Judge Nina Gershon issued a preliminary injunction barring the government from enforcing a law that bars any Federal money from going to the controversial community group ACORN, or any of ACORN's "affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations". Gershon's ruling will remain in effect while ACORN's lawsuit challenging the law is active.

Predictably enough, the decision has sparked an epidemic of exploding Conservative heads, with Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) leading the charge:

“On the same day that ACORN’s violation of Delaware state lobbying laws was revealed, a liberal, Clinton-appointed activist Judge has ruled to usurp the prerogatives and authority of the United States Congress. This left-wing activist Judge is setting a dangerous precedent that left-wing political organizations plagued by criminal accusations have a constitutional entitlement to taxpayer dollars. The Obama Administration should immediately move to appeal this injunction.”

There are already others on the right expressing outrage, and there will undoubtedly be more as word of the ruling spreads. It's inevitable that others will parrot Issa's misrepresentation of the ruling, probably very soon, and probably in multiple mainstream media outlets.

I'm less confident that those same media outlets will actually take the time to inform their audience about what the judge's ruling actually does and doesn't do, say, and mean. Since all of those things are important to understanding what's actually going on, it might be a good idea for us to look at them.

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10 responses so far

Correcting some of Chris Matthews Misunderstandings: More on the Fort Hood Shootings

Nov 05 2009 Published by under Misc

The amazing amount of uninformed speculation that's coming out of the mouth of Chris Matthews right now is mind numbing. Speaking as someone who lives and works on a military post, I have absolutely no doubt that I have a better understanding of the dynamics of the military base than he does.

I'm just going to hit some of the major issues.

1: In the United States Army, it's hard to describe a Major as a "high ranking officer". It's typically a mid-career rank. Given that there are somewhere around 5000 officers assigned at Fort Hood, I would be surprised if there were fewer than 500 Majors assigned to the post. I would not be surprised if there were 1000.

2: As one of the guests has repeatedly pointed out to Matthews, it is not yet certain that there was more than one gunman involved. It's possible that the two additional people arrested were involved. It's also possible that the MPs were erring on the side of caution, and grabbed everyone who might have been involved. Any speculation about motives is just that - speculation.

3: Given that Gov. Perry didn't have the updated number of injured when he made his statement, I'd give the 3-star's statement that the arrested suspects are not confirmed shooters more credence than Perry's statement that all 3 were shooters.

4: Regarding the "lax security" question that someone asked in Perry's press conference: there's only so tight you can lock down an active-duty post and still keep things functioning.

5: Rep Sestak is discussing this as a mental health issue, and an issue regarding mental health care available to the military. Whether that's relevant to today's tragedy or not - and it's looking increasingly likely that it is - he's right.

6: Regarding the recent promotion of the identified shooter: the criteria for promotion to major in the medical corps are not very rigid at all. If you don't massively screw up, you get promoted.

7: The more details I here about Hasan, the more bizzare this sounds. He's apparently a psychiatrist who graduated from Uniformed Services University Med School. That's about the least likely person I can think of to be involved in this.

8: Matthews is even less informed this hour than he was at 4. That must have taken some effort.

9: The lack of information about casualties is not a surprise. It's likely that at least some of them do not have local next of kin, and notifications may take some time.


Yeah, Chris Matthews is a flaming idiot. Army Officers, even psychiatrists, are expected to know how to shoot a handgun.


11: Pete Williams has some knowledge deficits, too. Hasan would have been treating patients throughout his residency. And it's entirely possible that he only found out about the deployment very recently. It's not at all unusual for doctors to get last minute orders. Doctors are frequently last-minute plugins for deploying units.

12: No, he got the MD first, then the MPH.


13: I'm somewhat surprised that Olbermann is going with his regular program. But at least it will cut down on the massively uninformed speculation about Ft. Hood.

11 responses so far

A Few Words on Operating Systems, Evil, File Sharing, and Kool-Aid.

Oct 27 2009 Published by under Misc

Yesterday, Greg Laden posted a short response to my post about the recently discovered Apple patent application for an ad-supported operating system. Some of the comments that people left on Greg's post raise issues that I want to respond to. Since I'm lazy, and writing something up in the software I use for blog posts is easier and more convenient for me than leaving a lengthy comment on his blog, I'm responding here.

Azkyroth brought up a two-year-old post of mine, writing:

Given his singularly mindless knee-jerk defense of simplistic anti-file-sharing moralization back in the day, I can't say I'm surprised.

While I had almost forgotten about that post, I still agree with the basic point that I was making, and I think that there is a parallel between my views on file "sharing" and what should be done with operating systems.

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12 responses so far

Apple's Ad-Based OS Patent Application: Not Evil.

Oct 26 2009 Published by under Misc

A number of people (including another blogger here at ScienceBlogs) have weighed in on the recent revelation of a patent application that describes a way to integrate advertising into computer operating systems. The patent application covers both traditional personal computer operating systems and a wide range of portable devices, including mobile phones. The system proposed in the patent application incorporates methods that ensure that the users will have to pay attention to the ads, and includes an option that would lock the operating system if advertisements are not locked. The patent was applied for by Apple, and the first-listed inventor on the application is Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

I've read through a few of the (predictable) objections to Apple's plan. I was bemused both by the overwrought nature of some of the complaints ("evil", "burn in hell"), and by the fact that virtually all of the complaints about the possibility of an ad-based operating system appear on websites that are either directly or indirectly supported through ad sales. That aside, most of the objections seem to miss something very important - the potential that Apple's innovation has as a way of reducing the digital divide both within the USA and globally.

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18 responses so far

The Racists of Tangipahoa Parish

Oct 18 2009 Published by under Misc, Politics

You would think that it would be hard to find a statement more outrageous than hopefully-soon-to-be-former-Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell's attempt to prove that he's not a racist:

"I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

For that matter, you'd think it would be hard to find conduct more outrageous than Bardwell's repeated refusal to marry interracial couples. Unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case. It's almost painfully easy to find both more outrageous statements and more outrageous conduct. All you have to do is look at what other Tangipahoa Parish officials have said and done when confronted with the blatant racism of Keith Bardwell.

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36 responses so far

RIP Mary Travers

Sep 17 2009 Published by under Misc

Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame, passed away this morning from complications of leukemia. She was 72.

3 responses so far

Satire, or not satire? Who the hell can tell anymore?

Aug 25 2009 Published by under Misc

I don't know if it's me, or if it's really becoming harder and harder to figure out what is actually a right-wing rant and what's satire. Case in point: an anti-Steven-Colbert rant written by someone who bills himself as, "an Investigative Journalist, Motivational Children's Party Entertainer and Antique Soda Bottle Collector all in one special, blessed package!" The rant appears over at, and is well worth the read.

And it is satire.

I'm pretty sure, anyway.

3 responses so far

STS-127 Launch Pictures

Jul 15 2009 Published by under Life in an Army Family, Misc

I just saw a shuttle launch! I haven't been this excited since Christmas Eve, 1985!

I would have mentioned I was going to the launch ahead of time here, but things happened kinda quick. Here's a condensed version of events:

As you might expect, there's extensive medical support at shuttle launches. One of the layers of support falls more or less into the "let's really, really, really hope we don't need these guys" category - medical personnel who support a rescue operation, if one is needed. Many of the doctors who work those standbys are military personnel, because the job description requires a bunch of stuff - flight certification, water survival training, that sort of thing - that aren't part of the average residency training program.

My wife is certified to provide that sort of shuttle medical support. Yesterday, she was asked to get down to KSC if at all possible today, because they were going to be short of people if the mission got bumped to tomorrow. She spent the rest of yesterday and part of this morning getting all the permissions in order, and at 8:30 this morning - CDT - we had the family in the car and on the way from Ft. Rucker to the space center. We rolled in to Space View Park in Titusville at about 4:45 this afternoon, EDT, and were in time to secure decent viewing spots along the Indian River for the 6:03 launch.

The launch went off on schedule, and definitely was one of those experiences - even at a distance of 10 miles - that can't be fully captured. You really do have to be there.

Some of the pictures I took of the launch are below the fold:

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11 responses so far

Packing Up Again

Jun 16 2009 Published by under Misc

For those of you who are wondering where I've been, we're currently in the middle of our third family move in the last 25 months. We're starting to get good at it, but it still takes a while. Since I've got a few minutes to spare this morning - and I'm fed up with boxes and tape - I thought I'd share a few of the tips I've picked up.

Given how often academics move, I'd guess that some of you have your own hard-learned moving tips. Feel free to share them in the comments.

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14 responses so far

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