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Something that bothers me.

There's such a thing as Fundamentalist Atheism, and this is distressing. Doesn't it defeat the point of being free of "violent, and conservatively-bound" religions to hate another only for their creed? I've heard the sentiment that only atheists can be rational, supposedly because belief in anything beyond proof is a sign of inferior cognitive functions.

Additionally, the tendency to speak hate on religious organizations without understanding the reasons they are flawed distresses me. I spoke to a friend recently about Scientology after becoming aware that he was unaware of Anonymous or the Church of Scientology protests. His stance was that Scientology is wrong simply because "[Scientology] is crazies" that it's a religion. No mention of people's lives destroyed, or how the Church took legal action against L. Ron Hubbard for selling his books at less than their asking price.

Though I wouldn't necessarily expect someone who despises all religion to draw a distinction between the act of following a religion and the actions of a Church, I'd hoped he'd at least realize the problem with belief without reason. I won't claim that everyone must be completely rational at all times to be taken seriously—quite the contrary. However, I don't like seeing violence backed by foolishness. *

My biases aside, the argument that everything about or produced by someone is wrong purely due to their beliefs or lack thereof, reeks ad hominem fallacy. Worse is committing without question and defending without thought. Regardless of ones ability to pronounce latin properly on demand, the inability to see ones own self as fallible is dreadful indeed. No matter the speaker—myself included—this I concede.


* If you want a small-scale example: My friend threatened to punch my laptop screen for reflecting a small section of the Internet upon its surface. For a larger-scale example, plus greed, see some of the later Crusades. Not even Christians were spared!

EDIT: Tried keeping comments open. As poorly as this was written, I hoped some discussion could result. It only attracted ad bots for the past three years.
I made a pledge that I would blog about a woman in science today, but I've been lazy and haven't researched anyone. I have papers to write and projects to complete, so I'll keep it concise.

Today, I will remove what misconceptions I can about Ada Lovelace. This is primarily aimed at those who haven't read up on the Countess of Lovelace and founder of computer programming and code algorithms.

Misconception 0: "Ada Lovelace is Charles Babbage's Daughter."

I can't begin to describe how utterly wrong that statement is. Augusta Ada Byron is her given name. She did not learn about the analytical engine at her father's knee. and she did not marry Lord Byron for his title (eww). That I had a conversation with someone that necessitated this clarification is appalling, and the sexist tone was fairly clear.

Whether Ada considered the nobility of her later husband before marrying him isn't a terribly heavy point. I believe they were of similar caste. It wasn't controversial at the time, nor out of the ordinary to marry within the court. It wasn't an incestuous relationship.

Misconception 1: "Ada's brilliance with numbers and logic can be attributed to her father, Lord Byron, or to Charles Babbage"

This is also very false. Lord George Byron and Ada's mother, Annabella, separated while Ada was still fairly young. Ada's upbringing is more akin to that of an only child raised by a single mother, than it is to the "daddy's girl" image I've heard supposed. While Lord Byron—as a poet—may have contributed some genes related to abstract thought, her intense interest in the maths and sciences may well have been influenced by her mother's desire to distance her from her father. Ada developed great prowess in mathematics, in her own right, and was already well-established upon meeting her contemporary, Charles Babbage.

That's all the time I have for now. I hope you enjoyed this and learned something.

Shameless group plug.


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LoudTweets seem to be working nicely. Yay. Posted manually. Effort given. Sleep now.

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mudkip is my homeboy

Sorry for not updating in such a long time. I'm considering using Loud Twitter or something similar if I ever find a means to update BrightKite more often.

My flanks are a little sore today. I'm not sure if that's from the exercise of lifting my legs when I go places or from using my buttocks so much.

P.S. The title is from a large reservoir of unmatched Google queries in the xkcd blag for December 3rd.

Lessons learned from STRANGERS.

To make a long story short: Get your prostate checked early or you may need laser surgery on your testicles. I'm uninjured, but there's a story to go with this moral, and I'll be sure to have my prostate checked before it's too late.
(?creepy) guy in a lavatory: (details)Collapse )

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Skrulls!

So Shady says to me today, "these people are killing each other." Out of the blue after we reviewed his McCain joke. Not realising the topic had changed, I ask which people. He replies, "these skrulls," as he gestures vaguely toward Steve's lawn.

Skrulls in the yard? No, surely not! I proceed to attempt to help his pronunciation of the word squirrels while explaining what a skrull is, and why that's clearly not what he means. I think he's vastly improved his enunciation, and we had a good laugh.

InterestedCollapse )

Right Alright

So I've gotten the house ready, and all but one housemate has moved in. Which, aside from joy and relief, means I get to stop putting off doing other things that need and|or want doing.

This weekend was fun. I saw the family and we went to my sister's friend's wedding. It was a nice ceremony, we all had a delicious dinner, and I danced my feet off at the reception. There were all kinds of songs both new and old, but quite danceable all the same.

As we left, mom enlisted me to carry one of the floral centerpieces as per tradition. They were a fragrant bunch, including lilies. Since I carried the centerpiece I didn't have my hands free to take my wedding favor on the way out.

Dad chose two "red gentlemen" wedding favors (choices were ladies, pink gentlemen, and red gentlemen) for himself and myself. The "ladies" favor (not favour, I'm kicking the habit) contained a neat fan. As it turned out, the two "red gentlemen" favors actually contained two pink ties. I had a good laugh about that.

Well I'd love to stick around and blog, but a good friend is in town and I shouldn't keep him waiting.

P.S. I miss my hair. Waiting for it to grow long and fluffy.

Writer's Block: Your Invention...

If you could invent one thing and make it a reality, what would it be? Why?
At the moment I'd like my inexpensive e-book/document reader design to see the light of day. Honestly, this sort of thing should be transparent by now. Everyone should have access to books, and so many of the e-book readers that have come out, (after my original design mind you), have been so expensive that only owners of even more expensive gadgets have them.

There are so many classic books, short-articles, finished works, sheets of music and many other things that need not be reprinted and copied in large quantities. Plenty of e-book makers are adding all kinds of neat features that require an infrastructure not present in every country. I wonder if anyone is working on making gadgets that just work wherever, and whoever uses them.

I like the feel of real paper as much as anyone else. And e-books and e-documents don't need to replace that completely. There are a number of applications in which paper is used a lot and need not be. For example, almost all kinds of typed documents.

Also having a very simple version of something often overcomplicated will make it easier to make things like automatic (musical) score page-flippers without any mechanical parts.

Otakon!

Otakon was awesome for so very many reasons. I met awesome people and had new experiences and enjoyed myself immensely.

Among the awesomeness were some great yet accessible makers-of-neat-things. For example, Anath Panagariya and Mohammad F. Haque (aka Hawk) of Applegeeks* fame, <protected> "Del" Borovich who has been making awesome illustrations as long as I've doodled randomly, Brion Foulke of Flipside, and """christie and the zombies"""(?fact-check in order), and a number of people I hadn't heard of, but happy checked out later.

I'll continue to update with more details later.

* Damn the risks! I would have brought my Powerbook if I'd known Hawk would be there. A little spice on the back would really complete that fogeybox.

(My house is no longer water-logged. Detail updates have begun. )