TED Talks – James Howard Kunstler – The Tragedy of Suburbi

26 07 2008

James Howard Kunstler attacks design and city planning in America.

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The Dark Knight and the Misguided Message

24 07 2008

So I just saw the new batman flick.  It’s only redeeming quality is that Heath Ledger actually does a good job.  What disturbed me most was the take home message of the film.  I’ll just come out and say it – it might have been made by the Bush administration.

What The Dark Knight tells us is that when there is danger in the world, and when people are afraid, it’s not only acceptable but preferable that we forget about civil liberties.  It’s okay to lie to the public, to trick them, to work in the shadows – because damn it, that’s what they need.  They need to believe in a hero, in the possibility of goodness – and god knows they’re too stupid to be treated like anything other than children.

There’s even a scene where Batman rigs up some sort of system where he can spy on everyone via their cell phones.  Morgan Freeman’s character feigns indignation about it, but ultimatly agrees to do it, because, you know, there are bad guys out there.  But only this once, surely it is okay just this once.

Civil liberties, government transparency – these are things that can not and should not be suspended or revoked at anytime for any reason.  Otherwise, where does one draw the line?  Evidently one draws the line at a psychopath in clown makeup.  When there’s one of those around civil liberties go out the window.





The Word – Flying Teapot

21 07 2008

Bertrand Russell wrote:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

It was an analogy put forth to show that the burden of proof should not be put on the sceptic but on the believer.  People who believe in something highly improbable should be responsible for proving it is there.

So with that in mind I give you the picture of this store located in the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.  It is a religious store that sells bibles and whatnot (no word yet as to whether they sell indulgences).  What I find odd however is that their sign is in the shape of a teapot – and to make it look more like a dove I guess they went through the trouble of drawing wings on it.  That’s right – a christian store that’s sign is a teapot with wings – I love it.

For those of you interested, it’s on East Colfax.





TED Talks – Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

16 07 2008

I was sure I had blogged about this, but couldn’t find it . . . so here we go.

Sir Ken Robinson gives a short and entertaining talk about how schools kill creativity, why they do it, and why that’s a problem.





Church Gives Children Semi-Automatic Assault Rifles

14 07 2008

And god saw that it was good.

According to 9News a church in Oklahoma City cancelled it’s annual gun giveaway because of a “foot injury”.  The AR-15 semi automatic assault rifle they purchased as the prize in the shooting contest will be given away at next year’s event.

Past attendees also defended the conference, stating the focus is on helping teens find faith, and not on firearms.

“You make a lot of new friends down here. You get to meet new people,” said Vikki Goncharenko, who attended the conference. “There’s a bunch of things going on.”

A lot of people, children with a proclevity to insanity (they’re religious aren’t they?), and assault rifles.  Yeah . . . that sounds like a great time.





Obama is Putting Faith in the Middle

1 07 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama has a problem – and that problem is that he believes the only way he can win in November is to pander to the middle.  Most recently, he has announced:

I’ll establish a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

If you’re thinking it is just a rename of the office of faith based initiatives, you’d be right.

Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, criticized Obama’s proposed expansion of a program he said has undermined civil rights and civil liberties.

“I am disappointed that any presidential candidate would want to continue a failed policy of the Bush administration,” he said. “It ought to be shut down, not continued.”

Obama says he will maintain the strict separation between church and state – but he is in pretty murky waters here.  You can read about this fiasco here.  Obama may think he has a better chance at getting elected if he finds ways of appealing to everyone.  I think that very few people respect someone without a spine.