Saturday, September 29, 2007
Dr. Richard Leakey
A global thinker, influential environmentalist and the world’s best paleoanthropologist, Richard Leakey has made international headlines for more than 30 years.
Spend an evening with one of the Greatest Minds of the 20th Century (Time Magazine) and the explorer of the origins of man.
Please join us for this once in a lifetime opportunity. This event is free and open to the public.
Monday, October 8, 2007, 7:00 pm
Dr. Leakey presents: “Climate Change and the Future of Life on Earth”
CFA Auditorium, Informal Reception to Follow in CFA Lobby
Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 7:00 pm
Dr. Leakey presents: “Why Our Origins Matter, (including history, background on origins of man)
CFA Auditorium, Informal Reception to Follow in CFA Lobby
Friday, September 28, 2007
Note from the admin: We are now the #2 google hit for 'sophie c. currier' behind the Crimson article.
One of the things I loathe above all the things I loathe is arguments for fabricated equality. The idea that X ought to be treated like and have access to the things of Y, but in actuality X is treated like and has access to (X+C+Y) where C equals those things which are required to put X and Y on equal footing.
It's the paradigm of self-serving, ill-conceived bullshit. It's one of the biggest self-inflicted problems of the human race. And today we have another delightful example of this asinine aspect of ill-defined equality, brought to us by Sophie C. Currier:
A Harvard student must be given extra break time during a medical licensing exam to pump breast milk, a Massachusetts appeals court judge ruled yesterday.
The argument is that, "she risked medical complications if she did not nurse her 4-month-old daughter, Lea, or pump breast milk every two or three hours." So what does the judge rule?
"Judge Gary Katzmann said yesterday that she needed the extra time so she could be on “equal footing” with men and nonlactating women taking the test."
And it gets better.
In the 26-page ruling, Judge Katzmann said refusing to allow additional time meant that Ms. Currier must choose to either “use her break time to incompletely express breast milk and ignore her bodily functions, or abdicate her decision to express breast milk, resulting in significant pain.”
“Under either avenue,” he wrote, Ms. Currier “is placed at significant disadvantage in comparison to her peers.”
Now, combine all of that with one more delightful tidbit from the article:
Ms. Currier has already received some accommodation from the board for dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She can take the test over two days instead of one, for example.
Do I really have to articulate what is wrong with this situation? Does it merit explanation? Sophie C. Currier wants X. 33,000 other people want X. Those 33,000 other people must attempt to obtain X by the standard means of obtaining X. Sophie, on the other hand, receives accomidations for her dyslexia, her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and her lactating breasts.
Because that's what "equal" means.
Even if we ignore the fact that we don't want people to have medical liscenses if they have ADHD, dyslexia, and a lack of knowledge of birth control is it fair to the 33,000 other students that the rules are bent for Sophie? And more fundamentally, is it far to us? If the test is a means of discerning who is capable of X does it make any sense at all to modify the situation of one person when taking the test? If the test is indicative of an individual's clinical knowledge how can the test be modified and still communicate one's clinical knowledge? Couldn't all students be allowed 2 days, longer breaks, etc.? Why not level the playing field to that of the lowest common denominator, instead of attempting to elevate the lowest common denominator to the level of the 33,000 others? I sure as shit do not desire medical aid from someone who only has their liscense because the testing facility ignored all of the things that would have prevented the person from obtaining their liscense.
And the most fucking absurd part of this can be found in the judge's ruling where it states that Ms. Currier “is placed at significant disadvantage in comparison to her peers.”
Yes! That's the fucking point! If a person has no depth perception they suck at ping pong. You don't change the fucking game to accomodate them. They just fucking suck at ping pong. The same is true of every other god damned situation. If you cannot pass a test in the standard manner of passing a test then you suck at that test. You don't get X if you can't obtain X by the standard fucking means of obtaining X. Welcome to reality.
Because if we continually adapt tests and games and situations to try and level the playing field we are stuck in a perpetual mess of constant retardation of reality. By continually giving head starts we create a situation wherein those who obtain X by means of a head start are in a perpetual state of requring assistance to maintain that X. And eventually? That assistance goes away.
And then they're fucked.
As they should be.
So how about instead of trying to maintain this faux equality, instead of pretending that everyone can or ought to be able to do everything, instead of helping dipshits, we just create standards. And people who don't meet those standards can go fuck themselves.
Or just sit in their apartment milking themselves.
Edit: I'm going to add this point of clarification since people are actually reading this post. My point is that if Sophie C. Currier has additional time to take the test then everyone ought to have additional time to take the test. If Sophie C. Currier gets longer breaks then everyone ought to have longer breaks. Because that would be fair. And that would provide a universal means of assessing ability with regard to this test. Also? This is a blog post and not a nuanced, structured, proofread academic work. Treat it as such.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
So, here's what Bill-O said:
"I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship. There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming 'M-Fer -- I want more iced tea."
When Media Matters posted the clip on their website O'Reilly accused Media Matters of taking his quotes out of context. Which lead to many stories on the subject. Bill-O currently maintains the position that if you listen to his entire broadcast hour it puts the quote in context.
Bill-O is certainly good at his job.
So this pissed me off.
Before the iPhone came out Apple played up the ability to write 3rd party applications for the iPhone. Remember that Press Release in which they said, "Third-party applications created using Web 2.0 standards can extend iPhone’s capabilities without compromising its reliability or security."
Apparently 3rd Party Apps void the iPhone Warranty (2nd Source).
Because when you make a product and laud it's ability to do X it's often best to later state that doing X voids the warranty. And when, exactly, did Apple become Sony? Who thought that was a good idea?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, was on the Daily Show last night. During the interview President Morales said that one of the detrimental aspects of Western Culture is "Needless Extravagance". Ignoring the fact that "needless" extravagance is a redundant phrase, the idea itself has been bothering me. At first one's reaction is that Needless Extravagance is, of course, needless. So we certainly ought to rid ourselves of it. But then when one thinks about this in any manner they ought to arrive at the question, "What is needless?"
Extravagance is an odd notion. To understand it one must first quantify "need" for one cannot know what is needless before one knows what it needed. But need can only be quantified in a context. Need occurs "for some end". For example, to stay alive humans need food, water, shelter, etc. To travel 30 miles quickly one needs a car. But if one denies that context of keeping humans alive or travel the need disappears. So in order to assess what is needed one must first assess which contexts are needed.
That's where I am stuck. Because there is no fundamental starting point of need or necessity. We pick and choose the contexts about which we care. And why ought one context of necessity be more necessary than another if necessity is itself subjective?
We can certainly be extravagant within a context in which we have defined need. If we define one car as necessary then any additional cars are extravagant. But what supports our claim that one car is necessary? Why are two cars not necessary? Why would the arguments for either position have merit?
Apply this to any subject: Do human beings need pets?
P: Well, human beings need companionship and pets can provide companionship.
C: Do human beings need companionship?
P: Companionship makes people happy.
C: Yes, but do human beings need to be happy?
Most arguments of this manner will result in a person proclaiming a fundamental assumption to be true despite arguments or questions to the contrary. Since fundamental assumptions cannot be proven it creates quite a problem for anyone who desires to attain non-contextual truth with regard for need.
C: But why do we need a non-contextual truth?
P: Because truths which are contextual can be contested and are only significant within their contexts.
C: But is that problematic?
P: See the discussion we are having.
Needless Extravagance sounds like a phrase which means something. And, yes, people can argue for or against need in any context. But if you really think about it? They're really just arguing fundamental assumptions. And those are mostly meaningless except to the people to whom they have meaning.
C: But I don't agree.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
See what I did there?
Anyway. Senator Larry Craig will not attend the hearing on his guilty plea.
Because when you're convinced of your innocence it's best to stand by your convictions. And by "stand by" we of course mean "Hire a lawyer to stand in court so you can fuck off to the Senate Bathrooms."
Hey, now that chapter 1 is done (along with most of the research) i am going to be post a lot more stuff over at Torture in Pop Culture.
I've already posted the chapter outline from my proposal, along with a scan of some of my crrrazy notes.
more to come in the days and weeks ahead
Monday, September 24, 2007
I have never played Halo. I've never owned an xbox, i don't plan on owning an xbox. But that doesnt mean i cant hate the game
and its not even the game that i hate really. I don't even hate the idea of a game.
its just a fucking FPS like ever other FPS to come out in the last 12 years.
i just find it very strange that this game, of all games has become such a cultural touchstone.
please enlighten me
When a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, sparked protests from groups of Fundamentalist Islamists many Americans found the protests to be silly and needless. After all, our inherent belief in freedom of speech means that anyone ought to be able to say or print anything they want. This week Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting New York. So, it's time for a bunch of dipshit Americans to be hypocritical.
From "The Evil Has Landed" Headlines to "Go To Hell!" signs, the American People have enbraced their idoicy, entrenched themselves in their ignorance, and have basically forgotten everything they ever learned in their American History classes.
I don't know why Ahmadinejad laying a wreath at Ground Zero would have been problematic. I don't know why people's vaginas have filled with sand at the thought of him addressing a group of college students. But mostly I'm ashamed of these people. Ignorance and isolation won't help anything. Denying a man the ability to make his case isn't helping anyone. Protesting his visit, calling him names, and generally acting as if he was the single greatest threat to democracy is sheer lunacy.
Let him lay his wreath. Let him say what he wants to say. Hell, if he wants to take a dump on the steps of the Capital then by all means allow him to do so. It's not hurting anything. It's not causing a problem. Fuck any notions of idiotic symbolism and just let the man say what he has to say and lay his wreath. Because if you keep acting like irate lunatics it won't help anything. Though, it might provide some nice B-Roll for a terrorist recruitment video.
I was reading a thing today and i can across the phrase "dutch uncle." not knowing what that is, me and my officemate Justin went to the only place that awesome guys / nerds like us would god - The Oxford English Dictionary.
Dutch Uncle is not in the OED, but the word Costermonger. That is a person who sells apples.
if you are a dutcher, your job is to harden quills
i thought you all might need to know it.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
[14:57] Courfeyac: did Marcel Marceau die?
[14:58] Darthbert: let me consult my magic 8 ball
[14:58] Darthbert: It said, "Who?"
[14:58] Courfeyac: yep.. he did.
[14:58] Courfeyac: probably the world's most famous mime.
[14:59] Darthbert: I wonder what his last words were.
[14:59] Courfeyac: hopefully a foul curse.
[14:59] Courfeyac: oh holy god.
[15:00] Darthbert: They can't get to the body because it's trapped in an invisible box?
Area Man has Sad Little Routine for When He Needs Cheering Up.