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Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008
Law degree negatives
The National Law Journal report:
When Dina Allam graduated last spring from Ohio State University with a joint law and master of business administration degree, she thought the combination would catch the eye of employers who could appreciate a mix of analytical skills and business know-how.

But after months of looking for a nonlawyer job that would put all that education to work and help pay off some of the nearly $85,000 in student loan debt, Allam began to think she'd made a mistake by going the law degree route.

"People don't see the value in the joint degree. They think I'm confused," she said.

They think worse things than that. There are some explanations here.

Saturday, Nov 22, 2008
Another intolerant leftist gets fired
Charles Karel Bouley, aka "Karel", was recently fired by KGO AM talk radio in San Francisco, for saying “F__G__D__ Joe the G__D__M__F__ plumber! I want M__F__ Joe the plumber dead.” He said it over a news story about Joe the plumber. You can hear it yourself here.

I listened to Karel on another radio station this morning, and he was unrepentant. He blamed the radio station for not hiring more experienced engineers to monitor and block his offensive comments. He continued to rant about how much he hates Joe the plumber. Karel is a flaming gay man, and talks about gay issues a lot.

KGO is the same radio station that had to fire Bernie Ward when he was indicted (and later convicted) of distributing child pornography.

Karel and Ward were prime examples of leftist hate speech. They are always giving monologues about how evil the Republicans are, how they hate the Republicans, and how Republican views should not be tolerated. I think that those two jerks should have been fired long ago.

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2008
Judicial supremacists are confused
Just a few months ago, California Supreme Court Justice Kennard said this about same-sex marriage:
Whether an unconstitutional denial of a fundamental right has occurred is not a matter to be decided by the executive or legislative branch, or by popular vote, but is instead an issue of constitutional law for resolution by the judicial branch of state government. Indeed, this court's decision in Lockyer made it clear that the courts alone must decide whether excluding individuals from marriage because of sexual orientation can be reconciled with our state Constitution's equal protection guarantee.
Today, she voted not to hear any same-sex marriage cases, now that the California voters have spoken. Has she learned a lesson in judicial supremacy?

Sunday, Nov 16, 2008
Human evolution deniers
Here is another example of a prominent evolutionist who denies that humans are evolving:
4:53 pm: Sydney Brenner is about to come up. He’s gonna tell us if this was a successful talk.

4:54 pm: Starts off with a zinger: “Biological evolution for humans has stopped.” ... He uses an analogy about how if we feel cold, we don’t ‘adapt’ we just kill an animal, skin it, and wear its pelt as evidence of relaxed natural selection.

Brenner won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for his genetic research.

No, humans are evolving faster than ever. I have previously commented here and here.

Saturday, Nov 15, 2008
More on Ptolemy
A reader points out that portions of Ptolemy's Almagest can be found here and here, and Ptolemy does say in the Almagest that the Earth is stationary and at the center of the universe. But he bases it mostly on terrestial arguments and acknowledges that others hold a different view.

I still don't agree with those who are so eager to say that Ptolemy was wrong to use a geocentric system, or to use epicycles. His system was brilliant, and as scientific as those from later astronomers like Copernicus.

Ptolemy believed in astrology and other kooky things that we do not accept today. One could still use his system to predict the night sky whether you believe in the Earth being stationary or not. Even today, planetariums are built with a geocentric system, and nobody says that they are wrong.

In some ways, Ptolemy was ahead of Copernicus. Ptolemy's system used an equant to create eccentric planetary orbits and variable speed planets. Copernicus kept the epicycles but eliminated the equants.

Thursday, Nov 13, 2008
Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes
A UK paper reports:
Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.'

We need more nuclear energy. Unfortunately Barack Obama has allied himself with leftists who hate nuclear energy.

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2008
The bailout boondoggle
The financial bailout has been a failure before it even started. The NY Times reports today:
Mr. Paulson said the $700 billion would not be used to buy up troubled mortgage-related securities, as the rescue effort was originally conceived, but would instead be used in a broader campaign to bolster the financial markets and, in turn, make loans more accessible for creditworthy borrowers seeking car loans, student loans and other kinds of borrowing.
This is amazing. There were lots of economists and citizens who said all along that the bailout was foolish and that it would not help for the feds to buy the troubled securities.

I think that John McCain should be kicking himself for not opposing the bailout. We now have Paulson himself admitting that it was a bad idea.

Instead, Paulson wants to give away money in other ways, such as this:

With attention focused on the $700 billion bailout plan for banks, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson quietly slipped the banking industry an additional $140 billion tax windfall in late September, Washington Post reports.

Tuesday, Nov 11, 2008
Lawyers take over
A law journal reports:
Better Question: Who Isn’t a Lawyer on Obama’s Transition Team?

President-elect Barack Obama and his VP-elect Joe Biden wasted no time assembling their transition team, which features a number of attorneys. (Graduates of Harvard Law School, Obama's alma mater, also proliferate.)

It then lists all the lawyers.

Monday, Nov 03, 2008
Why I am voting for John McCain
  • McCain is a patriot. Obama has a history of associations with America-haters. I just don't trust Obama to act in America's interest.
  • Foreign policy. McCain has been right about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and would be an excellent commander-in-chief. Obama shows no grasp of what is going on over there.
  • Taxes. McCain has a long history of voting for lower taxes, and Obama has a history of raising taxes.
  • Character. McCain is exactly what he appears to be. Obama is a phony. Obama's main accomplishment is his autobiography, but it was ghostwritten. His main qualification is his 2002 Iraq War speech, but his Iraq story is a fairy tale, as Bill Clinton said. Obama's racial attitudes are disturbing.
  • Courts. McCain voted for Justices Roberts and Alito, who have turned out to be excellent. Obama voted against them, with no good explanation. Obama taught constitutional law, so he should know something about the subject, but all he says is goofy leftist platitudes.
  • VP. Joe Biden may turn out to be the dumbest VP in my lifetime. He makes Sarah Palin look like a genius.
  • Energy. McCain wants nuclear power while Obama wants ethanol subsidies. McCain's policies will be better for the economy, better for the environment, and better for global warming considerations.
  • Economy. Obama is more interested in redistributing the wealth than in growing the economy. McCain has a record of pro-growth policies.
  • Kool-aid. I have never seen so many people follow a leader so blindly. Nobody can tell me why Obama would be a good president, except that he advocates change, he's not G.W. Bush, and he is an inspiring speaker. It seems like mass hypnosis to me.

  • Sunday, Nov 02, 2008
    Ptolemy was not wrong
    I am wondering whether Ptolemy ever really said that the Sun orbits a stationary Earth.

    Ptolemy was a 2nd century Greek/Roman who wrote great treatises on astronomy, geography, astrology, and other subjects. His astronomy Almagest had a mathematical model of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets. His geography had an atlas with maps of the known regions of Earth. Those works were preserved by the Arabs and used for well over a millenium.

    Of course, his maps were wildly inaccurate by today's standards, and he did not even know about the Americas. But he did know that the Earth was round and yet he drew flat maps anyway.

    Does anyone ever say that Ptolemy was wrong because his atlas portrayed a flat Earth? No, because people understand that flat maps have practical utility.

    So why does anyone ever say that Ptolemy was wrong for saying that the Sun revolves around the Earth? Geocentric models have practical utility in much the same way that flat maps do.

    Here is the introduction to Ptolemy's astrology treatise, where he starts by explaining the difference between astronomy and astrology:

    Of the means of prediction through astronomy, O Syrus, two are the most important and valid. One, which is first both in order and in effectiveness, is that whereby we apprehend the aspects of the movements of sun, moon, and stars in relation to each other and to the earth, as they occur from time to time; the second is that in which by means of the natural character of these aspects themselves we investigate the changes which they bring about in that which they surround. The first of these, which has its own science, ...
    He goes on to explain that astronomy, as described in his own Almagest, is much more scientific than astrology.

    The point here is that he defines astronomy as how we view the sun, moon, stars, and planets relative to the Earth. (He uses the word "stars" to include both stars and planets.)

    Assuming that this translation is accurate, it is possible that Ptolemy never even expressed an opinion about whether the Earth really goes around the Sun, or the Sun really goes around the Earth. He may have taken the completely correct position that he was modeling relative motion.

    Encyclopædia Britannica says:

    Ptolemy was preeminently responsible for the geocentric cosmology that prevailed in the Islamic world and in medieval Europe. This was not due to the Almagest so much as a later treatise, Hypotheseis ton planomenon (Planetary Hypotheses). In this work he proposed what is now called the Ptolemaic system -- a unified system in which each heavenly body is attached to its own sphere and the set of spheres nested so that it extends without gaps from the Earth to the celestial sphere.
    The Almagest was the book that astronomers used for a millenium to predict planetary positions. This suggests that the Almagest itself may have been neutral on whether the Earth moved. Putting the Earth at the center of the universe may have been just a hypothesis that he published later, but it was not essential to his theory or something that he necessarily believed in.

    I mention this because Ptolemy is always used as an example of someone who was unscientific and wrong. His astrology was a little misguided, but that is not the complaint. People say that he was wrong because he was too stupid to realize that the Earth moved, and because he invented epicycles to help explain planetary motion. But he was a brilliant astronomer, and not wrong.

    Saturday, Nov 01, 2008
    Foreign mag pushes leftist agenda
    The British journal Nature has endorsed Barack Obama.

    The only specific issues mentioned were carbon emissions and ethanol subsidies, and the editorial actually likes John McCain on both of those issues. So what does it like about Obama? It says:

    On a range of topics, science included, Obama has surrounded himself with a wider and more able cadre of advisers than McCain. ... But a commitment to seeking good advice and taking seriously the findings of disinterested enquiry seems an attractive attribute for a chief executive.
    In other words, they would drink the kook-aid if they see their friends drinking the kool-aid. I would think that a science journal could do better than this.