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Pirsig on Perspective May 26, 2008

Posted by Jacob in quotations.
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We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness and call that handful of sand the world.

–Robert Pirsig

HT: Whiskey River

Request For Comment: NomNom May 15, 2008

Posted by Brent in technology, what "you do here".
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using System;

namespace Silly
{
/// <summary>
/// Wrapper to facilitate the nom-nom-nom anti-pattern
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name=”T”></typeparam>
public static class NomNom<T>
{
public static void Nom<WTF>(Func<WTF> action)
{
try { action(); }
catch { } // this is the om nom nom nom pattern
}

public static void Nom<WTF>(Action<WTF> action, WTF input)
{
try { action(input); }
catch { }
}
}
}

private static void TestSilly()
{
NomNom<int>.Nom<int>(OMGBOOMZ(), -1);
}

private static Action<int> OMGBOOMZ()
{
return x => { –x; List<int> xx = new List<int>(); xx[x]++; };
}

Polar bears ‘threatened’ but won’t get protection May 15, 2008

Posted by Lumpmoose in environment.
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According to a recent CNN article, polar bears are now listed as a threatened species according to the Endangered Species Act. This decision was only arrived grudgingly after being forced by a federal court order. Quote of the day:

Listing the polar bear as threatened can reduce avoidable losses of polar bears. But it should not open the door to use of the Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants, and other sources,” said [Secretary of the Interior Dirk] Kempthorne. “That would be a wholly inappropriate use of the ESA law. The ESA is not the right tool to set U.S. climate policy.”

They were resistant to list polar bears as threatened for so many months because they may be the first species to die off solely due to the effects of global warming–the decline of their natural habitat of arctic sea ice. The problem for the Bush administration is that the Endangered Species Act says that “an action [that] is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat must include a discussion of any ‘reasonable or prudent alternatives’ which FWS or NMFS believes would avoid the jeopardy, destruction, or adverse modification.” Or as Wikipedia puts it “Federal agencies are prohibited from authorizing, funding or carrying out actions that ‘destroy or adversely modify’ critical habitats”. This would obviously cause problems for an oil-happy government that refuses to admit global warming causes any ill effects on the environment.

Instead we get another example of the infamous Bush scientists at work. They’ll say polar bears are threatened but brazenly state right in the decision that they shouldn’t get any of the useful protections that are mandated by the ESA.

God of the Aliens May 14, 2008

Posted by Jacob in news.
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2 comments

At least the Vatican isn’t threatened by the prospects of extraterrestrial life, compared to some religious groups.

The Vatican’s chief astronomer says that believing in aliens does not contradict faith in God.

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, says that the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes says that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures.

The interview was headlined “The extraterrestrial is my brother.” Funes said that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom.

Link to the AP article

Cost of Gas: My Real Data May 8, 2008

Posted by Brent in knowledge.
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I began collecting statistics of my car and gas purchases around June 1, 2004.

There’s a gap that’s not represented in this graph for when I was in Maryland without a car for 10 weeks (summer of 2005).

Important facts from the graph:

  • All prices are from the Twin Cities metro area
  • First point is roughly June 1, 2004
  • Last point is May 8, 2008
  • Min Price: $1.86
  • Max Price: $3.66

Real data!  Not made up!

Is Grand Theft Auto too good to hate? May 1, 2008

Posted by Lumpmoose in games.
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Just to put a bow on my last post, the New York Times has written a very positive review of Grand Theft Auto IV, focusing on the meticulous reproduction of the sights and culture of New York City. It makes me wonder: could the controversy surrounding GTA’s release be defused before it starts merely because the game is so good and none of the anti-parent advocates can stop playing themselves? The issue may, unfortunately, depend on this guy:

http://kotaku.com/385459/rockstar-makes-a-grand-theft-auto-iv-fan-of-jack-thompson

But it seems he’s already getting his game on.