Friday, March 23, 2007

Charismatic megafauna rights update

Knut may not be "mega" yet, but he's got the "charismatic" part down. More pictures and videos of the latest and fluffiest ethical arglebargle at Reuters.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cute animal rights

My reaction to reading this (very short) article on Reuters:

I realize that it just because it's a cuddly wittle polar bear, but Herr Albrecht's assertion that it's an animal's "right" to be left to die and/or killed hacks me off.

(It is a really cute little bear, isn't it?)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Get ready for Pi Day

3.1415926... Take the first few digits, and it looks like March 14th. Some people go even further and say that you should celebrate at 1:59pm, but I don't know about that. a) It invites arguments over 12 versus 24-hour time format, or the unpleasant suggestion that one should celebrate at 1:59am. b) It's pi, dude. It describes the size of every circle ever, plus showing up in standard probability distributions and Buffon's needle problem - it's earned a whole day.

Friday, March 09, 2007

News I'd rather not use

Blues Traveler used to be one of my favorite bands, if not the outright #1, and though I sort of lost track of them after their fifth album, I still think they're pretty groovy. Then I read this in the Express this morning:

Blues Traveler's John Popper was arrested after the SUV he was in was clocked going 111 mph, the Washington State Patrol said Wednesday. Officers found marijuana, four rifles, nine handguns, a switchblade, a Taser and night-vision goggles. He told troopers the items were to prevent him from being "left behind" in the event of a natural disaster.
This doesn't change the music, but it's such an strange, unsettling image that I'm afraid it may be permanently associated with the band in my mind.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bring out the Sky Zamboni

Getting off the MARC train tonight, I looked up to see twenty or thirty con trails crossing the sky. I'd never seen so many, most of them stretching from one horizon to the other. Apparently they decided to turn off high-altitude wind today. Whatever the reason, it was striking. I'm a relic without a camera built into my mobile, so you don't get a picture, but I'm not sure that a picture - at least one that I could take - would do it justice.

But speaking of Zambonis, Kerry's taking me to a Capitals game tomorrow night. C-A-P-S, Caps, Caps, Caps!

Framing the debate

"Bush Versus Chavez: The battle for hearts and minds in Latin America"

So reads a skybox on the front page of today's Financial Times. Pity Latin America if those are actually the only two contenders.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Some translation

According to Deutsche Welle, the building at the heart of the riots in Copenhagen was a symbolic "Youth House". And "squatters" had actually been granted permission to live there in the 1980s by the city council. (An odd definition of "squatters", but permission was also extended to "punks", so there's still some mystery.) Anyway, the current owners of the building concluded it was beyond repair, so they've knocked it down, but not before rioters could do $2.4 million of damage (including to a school and a nursery) and accumulate 647 arrests.

Dave goes to school

See Dave go to school.
Go, Dave, go.

This week Dave starts working on his... hmm, I don't remember if it's a masters in education or some other sort of program. The point is, he's starting about a year of work that will lead to him being a high-school teacher of math or science.

Dave left Microsoft after seven years or so because it was time to do something else. "Something else" included 18,000 miles and 6+ months of touring around the US, seeing family and friends. All along the way, he went to classes, from elementary school art through law school, not just because he is a Renaissance man, but because of his interest in teaching.

Notwithstanding his preternatural social skills, Dave is a nerd who really enjoys math, coding, and word puzzles. I suppose another way to say it is that he likes to think. I am glad Dave is becoming a teacher because he's got the smarts and the personality to be good at it. I am excited for Dave because he might be able share his own enthusiasm for thinking with his students. It's a long shot - they'll be high schoolers, after all - but I think that Dave has as good a chance as anybody.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lost in translation

Hundreds of people are demonstrating throughout northern Europe because the Danish police have evicted 35 squatters from an unused Copenhagen theater, which was sold six years ago.

Umm, what? People are turning to violent protest because the city is selling an unused building? In Copenhagen? And this is mobilizing people in other countries, too? I'm obviously missing something.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Looking forward to being a parent

Readers of have no doubt noted that I don't write as much as Kerry, particularly about the incoming baby, and may even be getting the impression that I'm not all that excited about becoming a dad. Not so! As lame proof, I offer a link to Found, showing just one small example of why I'm looking forward to parenthood.