Friday, February 29, 2008

Walking away

Is it any wonder that people are walking away from their homes when they can't afford the payments, what with crooked CEOs and other white collar criminals behaving as bad examples? If the can ruin a company by making risky but legal gambles and still walk away with 10s of millions in a golden parachute, then why can't the average person?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ordering bbq by the pound

A couple of the guys at work are going to India for a few weeks to work with our off-shore co-workers. They think they won't be able to get much meat while they're there, so they're ordering a huge amount of bbq for lunch today. For 6 people, they're ordering about 4 pounds of beef, 2 pounds of chicken, and a few sides. I hope they get their work done for the day before their lunch arrives, because they're not gonna get much done after.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Age of American Unreason

Today's Salon has a good review by Laura Miller about Susan Jacoby's book, The Age of American Unreason. The book has some flaws, according to Miller, one of which is that Jacoby doesn't seem to care about why people like unreasonable ways of thinking:
The missing factor in Jacoby's formula is just that: In addition to being capable of rationality, we also have to want to be rational.
It's hard to imagine what could be more central to Jacoby's subject than the motivations of those Americans who chose what she describes as "willed ignorance" over reason. Isn't it likely that the recent resurgence of that ignorance arises from similar needs and desires? If there were some other way to address those needs (or fears), perhaps fundamentalism would be less appealing, and perhaps reason could be made more so. However, that would require admitting that people who are capable of reason will nevertheless sometimes pick an irrational course of action or belief. Rational people do this all the time, of course -- even intellectuals. But rationality has its own ideology, and one of its tenets is the conviction that, if given a fair chance, reason must always carry the day.
This makes me think about Transcendentalism, which was a counterargument to the Age of Enlightenment. Wouldn't it be nice if today's counterargument to reason (I wish I could say "our contemporary age of reason" because we never had one) had the same substance, a more thoughtful contemplation of spirituality and nature through poetry? Or is that passé?

I know peer pressure has a lot to do with some people not wanting to act smart, which supposedly makes others feel inferior, but I also think that the way in which we're taught at school should take some of the blame for people not wanting to think. Rote learning is good for some things, but it really drains all the fun out of learning; which is, curiosity, discovery, and that little tingle and light bulb that turns on in your head when you "get it".

Monday, February 11, 2008

out-of-print music on MP3

Here's a blurb about a Wired article about Anthology Recordings ("the first all-digital reissues label") from one of my co-workers:

Looks purty good!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Who runs the elections?

One of my friends lives in New Zealand and expressed frustration at the media's discrepancies in the delegate totals of each candidate. She included one of her Kiwi friends on the email and he asked, "Who runs the elections in the U.S.?" Quite frankly, I didn't know, so I did some research and here's what I replied:

Ok, so each state decides how its voting or caucus process works. Some vote for delegates, some vote for specific candidates, and some caucus for a candidate or remain uncommitted. Each political party decides how delegates are allocated. In addition to delegates, both parties have superdelegates - people who are selected in ways other than by the voters (Democrats have much more than Republicans).

Here's an ask Yahoo answer about it:


Why there's a discrepancy with the delegate counts in the news:

"The delegate counts are not really 'counts.' They're really delegate estimates," the director of surveys for CBS News, Kathy Frankovic, said yesterday. She said a key reason for the largest discrepancies is the different standards news organizations have about when to add delegates to the total.