if ( knowledge ) {

A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Friday, December 31, 2004

More on the Westboro Morons

In my previous post, I mentioned the Westboro Baptist Church and their unbelievable stupidity.

After wading through their website about as long as I can take, I found the final thing in their list of What the Bible says about other topics to be a bit contrived. Does this mean that the poor are evil? Sounds like it. We should kill them.

14. No Begging for Money

3 John
Because for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

Acts 8:20
But Peter said unto him (Simon), Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

2 Pet. 2:3
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.

Titus 1:11For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
They also tell us that long hair is an shame for men (J, good thing you cut it). Where's Bartlett when you need him?


DigitalGlobe has some amazing before & after photos of the Tsunami destruction.

Meanwhile, it is nice to see big companies like Apple and Amazon devote their home page to promoting the relief effort.

Finally, this article is disgusting. Stay far away from the Westboro Baptist Church. (Yes, this is for real. Scary!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sexy Math

In browsing book reviews, any title as incongruous as Mathematics and Sex is bound to stand out. This looks like a fun book.

Let's quote the review:
As an example of what this whole subject is like let me tell you about a long-studied model of interpersonal behavior that the author discusses in Chapter 3, a chapter titled "Road Testing the Bed"--I kid you not.

"You have to choose your life mate. The rules we adopt for this model are that you will be presented 100 choices one after another, you may date them, sleep with them, whatever. But, at the end, you must say yea or nay and if you say nay, you will never see them again."

What strategy should you adopt? Well, if you wait to the end, the odds are only 1/100 that the last person is the optimal choice; ditto if you choose the first person. The modeler then asks: what strategy should you adopt for optimum results? A little bit of mathematics involving infinite series gives the answer. You can prove mathematically that the best strategy is to look at (approximately) the first 36.787944117144235 people (rounding it to, say, 37 people) and then you should choose the first person from that point on that is 'better' then the previous 37 people. This increases the odds of your finding the best match from 1% to about 37%- roughly a 37 times improvement.

I may have to add it to my reading list. Heck, anytime there is some math that I can understand, I'm interested.

I'm am a Giant Rollercoaster!

I'm usullay not into the online quizzes, but this one was silly enough to mention, and its late at night and I'm bored.

What Disneyland Attraction are You? I am apparently Space Mountain. I'll take that.

Space MountainSpace Mountain: A thrilling rocket ride through the darkness of outer space! Futuristic and forward thinking, you have just enough 2001-esk elements without escaping Walt Disney's utopian vision for a brighter tomorrow. You represent speed, stealthness, and the promise of technology, while your Dick Dale surf guitar riff of a soundtrack makes you retro and mysterious, without being corny. Keep the lights low and avoid revealing too much, lest you ruin the show, you're only going 28 mph! Regardless of speed, you prove that in the vacuum in space, you CAN hear people scream!

Friday, December 10, 2004


There is a large tree that sits in front of my apartment. There is nothing special about this tree. It is not particularly beautiful, or extremely old. It is a very average tree. So average that I cannot even recall what kind it is. Deciduous, tall, straight. There is a little black squirrel that lives in the tree, right where the trunk splits to the large branches. He has a hole that he has been using to collect nuts for winter. It is his home.

Yesterday the City of Holland came to remove the tree. They arrived mid-morning to chop the tree up limb by limb load the branches into a chipper. The tree seemed healthy an harmless, but it was an average tree so I paid little attention to it.

Today, as the sun beats down on a tree-shaped part of the formerly-shaded earth, a new tree is growing. I cannot see it yet, but it is there - reaching for the sky and trying hard to poke through the ground. Soon, the squirrel will find a new home it its branches and he will thrive. Again he will gather nuts for winter. He will survive.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Fur Elise

Its almost Christmas and I'm not in the mood. Its not that I'm in a Grinchy mood, but my birthday and Christmas are around the corner, and I'm just not feeling it.

Maybe its because I don't have the end of a semester approaching. Maybe its because I don't have any decorations up. Maybe its because there isn't any snow.

Either way, as the annoying Old Navy commercial says "The Holidays will hit [me] like a brick." Shoot.

Oh yeah, and the post title? I'm trying.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Snow Falling on Mazdas

Burnsey has been giving me crap for not blogging lately. I don't have a coherent thought, but when has that stopped me? Sara, this one's for you.

Today I got estimates on my deer damage. The worst was $2000, but I'll be hard pressed to lower that to much under $1000. The ole Mazda will sadly never look the same, unless I want to pony up 2 grand...unlikely. Now where do I apply to be on Pimp my Ride?

In other news, it is snowing. Not for the first time, but certainly the best so far. Soft, fluffy calm. Just sitting in my living room watching it fall makes me happy. Hopefully it will stay this time.

After making soup tonight, Jeff, Ellen, Steve, and I went to 'Til Midnight for dessert. Good fun. We need to do that more often.

Finally, I have a new creation up and ready for viewing. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Now, everyone go get a copy of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (preferably the movie version - its really great) and turn to an evening of relaxing and happiness. Happy December!