Jan. 26th, 2012

I have thoughts about Newt Gingrich

Well, yes, I have many thoughts. Some of which are full of colorful language. These thoughts in particular about his whole 'space program thing'.

So, for my non-American readers, the Republican Party is currently trying to decide who they want to run as the official Republican nominee for President in November. Most of my thoughts on the candidates involve 'gentlemen, your policies are 99% bigoted garbage that I think will be horrible for America, and you seem engaged in a contest to see who can be the worst human being'.

But, Newt Gingrich, in an effort to distinguish himself from Mitt Romney*, decided he was going to be all 'Space is awesome, you guys!'.  )

Sep. 16th, 2010

(Icon is sadly relevant... it's also why it's not my default any more.)

It sucks when you find out that an author who you like, read the blog of, and in the past has written some good essays on politics and cooking is, at the most charitable*, exceedingly ignorant and privileged about immigration and adaptation, and more likely wrote some damn bigoted things when before she had called out bigotry as what it was.

And, hell, by her analogy, since she advanced the position that immigrants should shut up and assimilate as their civic duty, I should be typing this in Iroquoian or Omaha-Ponca, or Massachusett, rather than English.

I'm gonna have to move that one to the 'used only' file. As much as like getting books, I'd rather support used bookstores (and/or use my stock of credits from trading books) than authors I disagree with, even if I do enjoy their books.

(In other news, still pondering what to do about DeviantArt. It basically comes down to whether I want to treat it as a platform like LJ of sharing stuff or a community in of itself, which changes my opinion on how I use the site. Kind of embarrassing if I go back, after I flounced. Or implied I was going to. But more important to be true than proud.)

* More charitable than even I'm comfortable being.

Jun. 5th, 2010

Sometimes I hate humanity...

Or at least despair about it.

But, first, a tangent. I have a lot of first cousins. Two of them are my cousins Tracy and Lindsey, who are sisters. Tracy married a man from the Dominican Republic and Lindsey married a man from France. Tracy has two little girls, and Lindsey has a boy and a girl. Even though Tracy moved to Texas, the kids are pretty close -- Tracy and Lindsy are the oldest of my cousins and the first to have kids. (My cousins Martha and Dylan also have children, but Killian and Aidan are still in diapers. My sister is waiting til she finishes grad school for reproducing and the rest of this generation of the G family is unmarried.)

What disheartens me is that some day Tracy may have to explain to her kids why they will get more shit rained on them than their cousins, because their daddy happens to be from Latin America and is Hispanic. I hope not soon -- from Tracy's facebook, it sounds like she lives in a good neighborhood in Austin.

But, with things like this story, I get depressed for my family and my country. For those of you who don't want to click on the link, an Arizona school commissioned a mural of the students, and the most prominent student in the mural happened to be black, with other students painted as white, black and hispanic. Because racist idiots drove by shouting racial slurs, and because a city councilman protested*, the school principal caved and asked the mural artist to lighten the faces on the mural.

Now, I hate to be 'think of the children', but an elementary school is exactly where you should be thinking of the children first. Yes, being called racial epithets is bad. On the other hand, giving in to the racists teaches kids that there is something bad about being dark-skinned. These kids need adults to stand up to the racists, and make it clear to the kids that they are all students of this school and residents of this town, state and country, and should be treated with courtesy.

Haven't we learned this lesson yet? To judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character? I guess not...

* Here's a hint. The mural painter had plenty of reasons other than 'political correctness' and 'Obama is president' to paint a black student instead of a white student, up to and including 'he felt like it', or 'he liked his shirt'. Saying otherwise makes you sound like a fuckwit. Also, more and more, as I age, it seems like 'political correctness' can best be modeled as 'be polite and call people what they like to be called' and 'be polite and include everyone unless individuals are being fuckwits'.

Feb. 5th, 2008

Neat Computer Tricks

Yesterday, I got to go over to the computer center, where they were trying to attract scientists into using 3D projection more. Which is pretty cool -- they had a 'basic' setup, which just used polarization and two projectors to make 3-D projections. (He even took two pictures of the group and projected them in 3-D in the screen), and a really cool one that used three screens to make a projection you could walk through, with the aid of a pointer (kind of like a Wiimote) and a tracking thing on your 3-D glasses (which was broken). Among the uses were visualization of things like proteins, 3-D concept maps, and models of metal crystallization. They also used the Quake gaming engine to turn architectural models into something one could walk through. It was kind of like having a holodeck in one's office.

The weird thing is that I have very poor binocular vision, thanks to crossed eyes as an infant. However, I could really tell things were 3D -- perhaps because I don't normally get binocular vision except in an area directly in front of me, so I really notice the difference. I also discovered that when shown two different images in my eyes, my brain knows exactly what to do -- the computer operator was showing us how far apart he could set the images before our brains refused to make them match. I went seamlessly from seeing both images as a 3D image to seeing only one and ignoring one eye's input. Everyone else got headaches. Go screwy vision, go!

(I was very impressed by the whole thing, as you can tell.)

Today I am voting in the New York primary. Go, democracy in action! (I am not telling who I am voting for, mostly because I care less about Clinton versus Obama than I care about Winner versus Republican Winner.)