Archive forJanuary, 2006

Blogging while intoxicated

There is a certain clarity that comes along late on a Friday evening, when one has imbibed (ew, what a dirty word… it’s meaning is so…. narrow!). It may be a Friday just before one faces the approach of the start of their 24th year (yes, you begin at the start of your first year, not zeroth). Or it may be another Friday. They’re all the same.

This blogger wonders many things. 23 years is a long time. Its long enough that this blogger is willing to write “23″ instead of “twenty three” and “23rd” instead of “tweny thrid” (sp ?). It’s long enough that this blogger is reflecting on what he has done in his 23 years.

What must one do, an intoxicated blogger might ask, to make a difference. Blogging or otherwise, what must one do?

Ceratainly this blogger hasn’t changed the course of history with this blog. But has he influenced one of the great minds of his generation, while attending college? Has he affected the people around him to create a better world? Ok, WTF(brb)! (yes, a real WTFbrb moment, if you didn’t experience it, go back and try again) Okay here is the truth. This blogger plans on spending the next 76+ years (yes, I will be dissapointed if I don’t live to 100 or more, even as a tall individual) both making the world a better place and enjoying himself, but isn’t going to gripe about what he’s done. He hasn’t done as much as he could have, but that is the last you will hear about what he hasn’t done.

Go him!

Ok g’nite. And don’t expect any more blog posts as contentless as this one for a while. It can only get better.


How to be offended

In light my roommates’ and my new Showtime priviledges, I have been watching the occasional episode of Penn & Teller:Bullshit!. Now, before you get all pissy about it, I acknowledge: sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they provide decent arguments, and sometimes they don’t, but regardless, the show is always funny and thought provoking.

Anyways, the duo aired an episode about college. They basically aimed to expose public universities as bastions of censorship by liberals, and they made a few good points, and of course gave us a few flawed arguments (including an altogether unsuccessful attempt to discredit Noam Chomsky as an academic that was almost sad to watch). Point being, they sort of vindicated one thing I’ve always felt, but didn’t know how to explain.

I used to say nobody should ever be offended. But what I meant, as Penn Jillette quite eloquently stated, is that you shouldn’t be scared or protected from being offended. I know, they seem diametrically opposed, but let me explain.

The reason I would say “nobody should ever be offended”, is because I saw the idea of taking offense as the primary reason for censorship. I was right, and in being right, I became offended and thought nobody should be offended. Oops. But, what Penn told me is that (read this carefully) people are going to be and should be and shouldn’t be prevented from being offended all the time, because a society that guarantees free speech is a marketplace of ideas. That makes sense!

If you’re never offended, either you’re not thinking for yourself at all even for a moment, or you’re living in a bubble. Aside: Remember that bubble of college, well I guess that ties together with the point Penn and Teller were making to begin with. No I don’t truly believe that there is a liberal agenda to keep campuses free of dissent. I think in fact that academia draws a certain type of crowd in general. That combined with the fact that younger people seem to be more liberal, (or young liberals are more politically vocal than young conservatives) gives rise to the idea that there is a liberal cabal running academia. End aside.

Anyways. Along with freedom of speech comes being offended, and probably offending others. (Alternatively, closing your eyes covering your ears and never talking, or, for that matter, letting anyone see you doing that.) So how do we cope. Well, the synthesis of the thesis of free speech and antithesis that is buttloads of knee-jerk reactions is nothing more than discourse. We just have to make sure we think about both what we hear and what we say. That you have to be offended to be truly free doesn’t necessitate needlessly offending others. Nor does it necessitate taking offense to everything. Agreeing to disagree, perhaps better, coming to an agreement are important considerations when people find themselves offending one another. I guess open minds and mouths are what is important in the marketplace of ideas.

Now tell me what you think.


Online applications r teh suq

That is, why not just an e-mail like some companies (thank you Google, D.E. Shaw) let you do. Why the big “resume builders” and stuff, I’ve already built my resume and am quite proud of it. And if you are going to have a big resume builder, at least make it pretty easy to use. For applicants. But don’t have one. We’ve already built it. I know you have access to Acrobat Reader, because you have made a pretty nice web page overall. That also means you can use openoffice if you get some .doc resumes too.

Also, why does my SAT score matter? Do you think I was a legacy admission? If you think that, just come out and say it!


It doesn’t even work!

Ok, not only is spying on citizens without a warrant illegal in this country, but, according to NYT, it doesn’t work! Apparently the masses of data given to the FBI by the NSA generally lead to innocent people. They are hard pressed to find cases where they gained any information about actual terrorism. Etc. Etc.

In addition the “leads” coming in to the FBI are just masses of unprocessed data. There is no real way of telling what exactly the “suspect”’s connection to anything terror is. It looks like a lot of FBI footwork is being wasted on, yes (classic), innocent schoolteachers.

Now, those in favor of the domestic spying program ask us for a better way to do it. My first suggestion would be to use the warning and leads you have to actually stop the plots, which the FBI and other gov’t agencies seem to already be decent at, (read: “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”).

Next, they’re obviously not dropping eaves on every citizen of America, that would probably require all of us to be in the NSA, and then terrorists would also be moles, and we’d have a 24 on our hands. That means they have reason to spy on certain people. Now, for the moment I will turn a blind eye to how they figure out who fits the profile (loaded word alert). But if you really think you need to spy on these people, get your damn warrants. It is not that hard. Especially when they have a secret court that will let them pay for thier warrants with plastic. (get it? its like a credit card for warrants…whatever).

No, Messrs. President and Vice President it’s not easy, but if it all were as easy as you want it to be, we wouldn’t need a government.

Comments (1)

Who said “buttslol!!!!”?

This is a response to a post on The Annalog.

What I meant by “buttsloL!!!!” (Which was not an anonymous comment, so i’m safe!) was, that this is an important issue, and there are multiple sides to consider. First off, yes it is the public sphere, and by blogging in the first place and also by allowing comments, a blogger is inviting criticism of their words.

However, consider someone you don’t know who anonymously posts a few harassing comments on a blog. First off, find them (since so few people are behind static IPs now, this’ll be tough to find for sure… are you going to try to ask SBC who was using some IP at such and such time? and if they’re on AOL, good luck.) That activation barrier crossed, you gotta take it to court!

Point being, this law is only going to be applied to cases where it needs to be—like the anonymous poster who posts until you cry—just like it is meant for the callers. (See: Scream).

As long as this law is enforced fairly, people will still be able to post anonymously, and even flame anonymously, within reason. So, we can continue leaving anonymous buttsloL!!!!s, within reason. Also, if its not anonymous, (and not intentionally libelious), flaming is still accepted with open arms.

That said, I see your point, Anna. A slippery slope may be tough to argue, but it certainly can develop. That is why I don’t forsee myself prosecuting Heywood or Pat anytime soon.


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