Grossly Premature Christmas Ornament Fun September 29, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
I normally refuse to blog about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but CNET made me violate my principles with this image:
Yep, that’s the scene from the end of Wrath of Khan, where Spock sacrifices himself for “the many.” In fact, that’s the name of the ornament: The Needs of the Many Ornament.
While I’m on the subject, the 2015 Godzilla ornament isn’t too impressive:
But check out King Ghidorah!!
Slow Motion 3D Fire Breathing September 29, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
Very, very cool:
Netflix Title Gains & Losses for October September 28, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
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Every month CNet publishes all the titles that are coming to, and leaving from, the Netflix collection. You can check out this month’s list here.
IMHO, they’re losing more than they’re gaining in October.
From the “If This is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be Right” File September 28, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
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Little Girl catches Big Fish September 27, 2015Posted by Retired Geezer in Ducks, Heroes.
… On a Barbie Pole.
Guaranteed to make you smile.
Zuckerberg Pours $100 Million Into NJ Education, Gets No Results September 26, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
Sorry, Mark, but reality is why we can’t have nice things. No matter how much money you throw at a social institution, it will never accomplish your goal:
In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark, New Jersey’s failing public-school system with the intention of turning around the schools in five years.
The goals Zuckerberg set out to achieve — to enact a number of reforms that would make Newark a model city for education reform — are widely seen as a failure, journalist Dale Russakoff told Business Insider.
Sadly, Zuckerberg was probably surprised at a result that was obvious to us. At least he put his money where his mouth was.
From the Unfortunate Headlines Department September 26, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
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I hope when I die they don’t put scare quotes around “tragic.”
If You Were Wondering Why We Always Get Our Butts Kicked in the Media… September 25, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
…it’s because we’re not even in the game. It would never occur to us to prepare and execute something like this:
Sophie Cruz’s brief encounter with Pope Francis during his parade in Washington this week appeared to be the kind of spontaneous moment that is so endearing about this pope: an initially hesitant young child wrapping an arm around his neck as he offers a kiss and a blessing.
But for 5-year-old Sophie, the moment unfolded as perfectly as it was scripted by members of a coalition of Los Angeles-based immigration rights groups. They had been preparing for nearly a year for the young girl from suburban Los Angeles to make a dash for the popemobile to deliver a message about the plight of immigrant parents living in the country illegally.
They had even pulled off a similar public-relations coup a year ago in Rome using a 10-year-old girl with the pope.
They’d been preparing for almost a year? How can we compete with that sort of dishonesty and focus?
I don’t think we have it in our natures to compete with this sort of media manipulation.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee’s Fumbled Hatchet Job on Carly Fiorina September 25, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
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Michelle Ye Hee Lee (MYHL), the so-called “fact-checker” at the Washington Post, is at it again. This time she’s taking aim at Carly Fiorina, trying to discredit her “secretary-to-CEO of HP” story. Here’s the setup:
Fiorina’s description of rising “from secretary to CEO” conjures a Horatio Alger-like narrative where a character starts at the lowest ranks of an industry, pulls themselves up by their bootstraps and, against all odds, reaches the top position in the industry.
When Fiorina uses this phrase, she often pairs it with saying she came from a “modest and middle class family,” or “challenging the status quo,” which frames her story as an unlikely upstart.
And here’s the kick-in-Carly’s-teeth part:
Her father was dean of Duke Law School when she was at Stanford, meaning Duke would have paid for most of her college tuition. She graduated from Stanford, and her elite degree played a role blah, blah, blah…
Fiorina uses a familiar, “mailroom to boardroom” trope of upward mobility that the public is familiar with, yet her story is nothing like that. In telling her only-in-America story, she conveniently glosses over the only-for-Fiorina opportunities and options beyond what the proverbial mailroom worker has. As such, she earns Three Pinocchios.
Three Pinocchios is reserved for “significant factual errors or contradictions,” so it’s basically saying that Fiorina’s story is incorrect.
But of course, it’s not. The only errors here are in MYHL’s obvious biased interpretation of the facts.
MYHL’s argument basically comes down to this: Carly Fiorina went to Stanford, which kick-started her career. Somehow the fact that Ms. Fiorina went to Stanford tainted everything thereafter, so she doesn’t deserve any credit for climbing the ladder to the position of CEO at Hewlett-Packard.
That’s simple and obvious bunk, with a laughably prejudiced interpretation of events. Here’s the real story:
Carly Fiorina graduated from Stanford with a completely useless degree in Medieval History & Philosophy. She tried law school but hated it, so she worked as a receptionist while she tried to figure out what to do. Then she moved to Italy and taught English, still trying to find a direction. After some time in Italy she came back to the US and entered business school, and that launched her career.
You can see that her Stanford degree wasn’t a huge asset, and if you read her story, you find that it was her persistence, initiative, and performance that earned her a fast track to upper level management. She managed to impress her teachers and managers at each stage, so they recommended her for advancement and special opportunities. Her career arc resembles a Horatio Alger story far more than the “born with a silver spoon” narrative MYHL is trying to sell.
So, did she start from the bottom, re-invent herself, and make it to the top? She certainly did. It is, once again, MYHL who is the dishonest storyteller here.
I don’t know if her bias stems from her progressive bent, or from the jealousy of someone who could never get into Stanford, but whatever the source, it’s huge and blatant.
The UN Declares War on Islam September 24, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
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At least it seems that way to me.
The UN is pushing its “17 Sustainable Development Goals,” a naive set of never-attainable development targets that will require a fundamental transformation of virtually every society on Earth. When I say naive, I’m talking about notions such as:
8.1 Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries
Good luck with that. You can read the UN resolution here.
What I find interesting, though, is the targets (169 targets tucked into the 17 goals) which appear to be incompatible with Islamic practice. For example:
4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education
4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
I assume this means that the UN will be invading Iraq to eradicate ISIS and Nigeria to eradicate Boko Haram. And anywhere honor killings and genital mutilations are still practiced. And anywhere women are forced to wear burqas and hijabs. And anywhere women are denied education on an equal basis with men, like Pakistan and Afghanistan. And…
The CAIR Quote That’s Making the Rounds This Evening September 23, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
Expansionism is always a threat to the entrenched. So the expansion of capitalism and Western culture into other regions has been regarded with as much suspicion as the threat of expansion of communism in the West. In the wake of the Ben Carson brouhaha you can cue more suspicion with this quote that’s floating about the Intertubes tonight (though the quote is from 1998):
But one man’s unwelcome expansionism is another man’s “gift” to a needy society – how to tell whether expansionism is good or bad? Is what that CAIR fellow said (if he really said it – he says he didn’t) all that bad, or am I just looking at it through prejudiced Western eyes?
Well, IMHO just as the arrow of time is defined by the direction that increases entropy, the virtue of expansionism is defined by the direction that increases personal freedom. Since Western culture celebrates personal freedom, I think its expansion is a positive for the world. Cultures which restrict personal freedom are a negative.
And that CAIR statement is definitely oriented towards restricting personal freedoms.
Dr. Carson and the Media’s Muslim Frenzy September 22, 2015Posted by geoff in News.
There has been a longstanding prejudice against electing a Catholic as president due to the concern that the president would have two loyalties: one to the United States and one to Rome. Only one Catholic has ever been elected to the presidency (JFK), and he didn’t even get to serve a full term.
So the US has never dabbled much in non-Christian religions, with JFK representing the biggest excursion away from Christianity (with the possible exception of two presidents who had no apparent religious affilation). No Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims have ever served in that office.
Which is one reason why I’m not really impressed by the furor over Dr. Ben Carson’s comment that he wouldn’t advocate that a Muslim be president. Most Americans have apparently not advocated that a Catholic be president, and Catholics make up a quarter of our population.
Another reason is that the first knee-jerk response from the media (and even Carly Fiorina) has been to cite the Constitution, which places no religious restrictions on eligibility for the presidency.
But Dr. Carson never said that Muslim’s couldn’t run for office, he simply said that if a Muslim president’s loyalties were divided between the US Constitution and the Islamic traditions of theocracy and sharia law, he wouldn’t be a fan.
That’s fair. I would rather have a president with split loyalties between a Pope and the US than someone whose driving motivation was to fundamentally transform the US.
Oh dear. I guess it’s too late to choose.