Saturday, August 07, 2010


Aretha lays it out for Matt Murphy. The Best scene from a musical ever.

The moral seems to be that if the boys show wanting to get the band back together, don't tell your SO. Please recommend this post

Friday, August 06, 2010

Destroyers of Cities

Near the end of Ray Bradbury's classic novel Fahrenheit 451 the main character, Guy Montag, leaves his city for the countryside and joins up with a band of exiled hobo/intellectuals. While sitting around a fire talking they see the sky light up as the city is destroyed. In Bradbury's imaginary future world there is never ending war and sudden destruction.

The group's leaders Granger, has a soliloquy near the end of the novel that kind of nails it all together:

"Now, let's get on upstream," said Granger. "And hold on to one thought: You're not important. You're not anything. Some day the load we're carrying with us may help someone. But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn't use what we got out of them. We went right on insulting the dead. We went right on spitting in the graves of all the poor ones who died before us. We're going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we're doing, you can say, We're remembering. That's where we'll win out in the long run. And some day we'll remember so much that we'll build the biggest goddam steam-shovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we're going to go build a mirror-factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them."

Mirrors, not bombs. Please recommend this post

Love Your Enemies


After more than 30 years in business, the Fayetteville Women’s Clinic in Arkansas closed its doors on July 30. The clinic had more than 500 patients and was “one of only two places in the state where women could have a surgical abortion.” While it focused mainly on obstetrics and gynecology, it also performed 700-800 abortions each year.

The Chief Physician of the Clinic, Dr. William Harrison, is ceasing operations because of his battle with cancer.

An anti-choice group is taking credit for the closure of the clinic noting that:

“It is truly an answer to prayer that abortions will no longer be carried out at this facility. All the glory belongs to God.” [...] How Humbling it will be to see God use the simplicity of prayer, fasting, outreach, and vigil to bring an end to abortion in many more areas, just like Fayetteville?”

I'd like to think that when they were bragging they didn't know about the cancer diagnosis. But they probably did. And that's too bad because it plays into their narrative that God is a monster who throws cancer around at the request of his chosen.

It's a really really appalling attitude, a sick-minded world view, and utterly disconnected from any ethical teaching religion might offer.

Please recommend this post

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

IPhone Consumerism

A small lineup of 20-30 people wait for their chance to buy an IPhone, at the Apple store in Market Mall, Calgary.

It's hard to know where to start.  The whole fan-person, lining up for gadgets topic is so broad and full of side issues we could be here for days.

As a technologist I love gadgets and electronics in general, however this perpetual culture of buy and re-buy as a means of keeping our economy going is something to think about.

Most Technology tends to roughly follow Moores law, where price, speed, and functionality tend to radically improve every 18 months or so.  In some cases manufacturers are getting into one year cycles.

This is both good and bad for the consumer. If you have the means and the interest you can line up every year or so and get a great deal of satisfaction out of the next version.  If you don't have the means, you quickly get left behind.  Your 4 year old flip phone is a key status marker out in the wild.

I remember asking a Rogers Sales Person about why they lock people into 3 year plans when the Phones are only desigined for a much shorter life span. (Both feature wise and in terms of break resistance.)   She stared at me for a good five seconds like I had just asked for sex, then recited the talking point about how great it is to upgrade in the second year.  You should see that "loyalty price" spreadsheet, it's huge.

If you get tired of waiting in that line-up there's a Cookie's By George right around the corner.  Two rich gooey chocolate chip cookies for $3.  There is no Moore's Law for cookies, they'll always be as good as they get.  But picture this, a three year contract requiring you to eat a certain number of cookies in order to get an overall reduced price.

Reprinted from The Last Cut is the Cheapest Please recommend this post