Well, the vote has been certified and Gregoire won. Of course Rossi is protesting, calling for a new vote and indicating that he will take “unspecified action”. What this means is that if he can take legal action, he will. Politics is too partisan. It’s no longer about issues, about the people, it’s about a party winning. The dems demanded a recount when they lost by a slim margin and the reps wanted the count allowed. Now it’s reverse, with both sides demanding the will of the people be observed. Hypocrites.
Archive for December, 2004
Entertainment is changing at an amazing rate. 10 years ago, I had a dozen or so channels and a VCR. My computer dialed up to AOL and I could read my email and check the news through a proprietary, filtered view. Radio was limited to the local stations and weather conditions. If I wanted a book I wandered through the aisles of the local Barns and Noble until something grabbed my eye.
Fast forward to today. I have a TiVo that finds the shows I want it to record. If I miss something, I can (for now) grab a BitTorrent of the show and play it on my XBox Media Center, streamed from my PC. Radio is pumped in both locally over the air and from across the world (I need that Belgium 80′s revival station) via Internet. If I want a book, I can check up on line what people are reading (The DaVinci Code) and what people who are like me are reading (The Jefferson Bible). I can surf thousands of pages, finding information on just about every subject. If I want something more physical, I can read up on Base Jumping after discovering it in some jumpers blog I found accidentally while looking for local baseball teams.
Technology is fun.
I have a bit of time off of work, so aside from work around the house, I’m going to tweak my site a bit. I’ve added some fun things, most of which are behind the scenes. As I said before, I’m using wp-photos for management and it’s turning out to be a good little package. Here are some of the changes I’ve made:
- I’ve added the random shots you can see on the left hand side of the page. Each time the page reloads, 5 random shots are pulled from the database and displayed.
- I added the ability to selectively add photos from a directory. WP-photos, by default, loads up all the pictures in a directory. I wanted to only add certain ones so I can minimize the number of directories I need to create.
- EXIF data is displayed for each photo at the bottom of the page.
- Another behind the scene tweak is the ability to add additional photos from another directory.
- I integrated fotobuzz to my pictures. This allows me to add comments on specific parts of a photo. You can check it out here.
I’ve also tweaked the layout of the site and came up with a new background image that gives the site more color. I want to continue to edit wp-photos to add a couple of things:
- I want to be able to selectively delete photos.
- Using fotobuzz makes it difficult to get back to the album list, so I’m going to give the viewer the ability to see or not see a fotobuzz enabled page.
I won’t believe Gregoire won the Washington governorship until it’s officially certified. I find it amusing that the dems immediately started calling for Dino Rossi should concede. Even more amusing would be the GOP demand for a recount if the dems are correct.
I classify spin into four categories: Accidental, Regurgitave, Assumptive, and Intentional.
Accidental spin is a fact that is mistakenly twisted into spin. An example of this would be saying 20 billion instead of 20 million. It sounds close enough to the truth. Accidental spin often morphs into a more dangerous form of spin that I call Regurgitave.
Regurgitave spin are facts that are recited because you “heard it” and liked the way it sounded. It’s a representation of laziness and can result in some interesting news clips (i.e. lesbianism is so rampant is schools, that teachers only allow one student to go to the bathroom at one time).
Assumptive spin is taking a fact and assuming what it means. It is an extension of the Regurgitave, but is based more in truth then Regurgitave, using a true fact but unintentially out of context. Jefferson’s statement “I am a Christian” is often bandied about by the religious right, and while technically true, its meaning is often different then what people assume the statement to mean.
Intentional spin is the worst spin of all. It is taking a fact and purposefully manipulating it to suit the needs of the spinner. Intential spin is often seen in marketing messages (“4 out of 5 doctors recommend”, when the study had twelve doctors in it), whose intent is to sell something. Intentional spin manipulates the people, preying on their ignorance of the facts and their emotions to create a deciding factor. It has always been around, but the ability to quickly check (the Internet) and refute (the Blogosphere) the spun facts has only recently become available.
So how can we identify spin and hold the spinner accountable? The Internet is perhaps the greatest tool invented, giving information and the ability to comminicate to the “common man”. As more and more information is digitalized, it allows for nearly instant fact checking. Imagine a debate that is time-shifted 15 minutes, with a non-partisan group using a “pop-up-video” type of technology to display the facts over the politicians spin? John Kerry would say “George Bush owns a logging company”; the ovservers would quickly do a fact check and display a yes or no, maybe giving the percetage owned; later when George Bush says “That’s news to me”, the observers could pop up a box saying “guess it is news to him. He owns part of Timberline Logging Company”. By identifying in realtime the facts, three things would happen. First, the parties would need to get their facts straight. Second, the emotional appeal the canidates were trying for would be lessened, allowing the people to think rationally. Third, the candidates would have to know the facts about what they are arguing with. By forcing our politicals to the truth, we can keep them in check.
So why the rant? I was reading an article by Bill O’Reily, of the “No Spin Zone” and I noticed his critque of secularism in Canada and how it has “corresponded to a change in public policy”. He used the fact that the age of consent in Canada is 14, as if the two were somehow tied together. A quick check of the Internet shows that the age of consent is 14, but that it was established as such in 1870, well before the “social reform”. While the fact is “true”, it’s use as an illustrative vehicle is incorrect. It’s spin like this, used to illustrative a point, that needs to be caught and corrected before it becomes a Regurgitave spin and ultimatly “common knowledge”, un-true and un-questioned.
Well, I like wp-photos, so I’ve started moving all my photos over to the new system (hence the sudden flush of photo posts). It’s relatively straight forward and I’m able to hack it so that it’s more with what I like. First off I added the random photos that appear on the left-hand side of the site. Technically, they could appear anywhere and they could be as many as I want, but I’ll stick with 5 for now. Next up I want to give the ability to read the EXIF data in each image. Then I want to give myself the ability to add only certain pictures. Nothing too exciting, but it helps me learn php and gets my site working the way I like.
Back in September, Sherri and I loaded the pups into the car and made a trip to the beach again. It had been over two years since the last time we ventured to the coast. Once again, the pups seemed to have fun, though for some reason, they weren’t as tired on the way home.
Back in August work sent me on a little trip to the UK, specifically the Shetland Islands. I have to admit, the place was beautiful. Too bad there weren’t any trees. I mean none. The entire island was one giant field. I can understand why the Scots invented golf. Again, it was beautiful, the part I saw, in the four hours I was able to tour. The rest of the time was spent in the bowels of an oil tanker. Let’s just say tall people like myself are not meant to be on ships.
Mike Tyson jumping on the hood of my car, attempting to attack me, is a frequent nightmare of mine.
I’m semi-ambidextrous. I right with my right hand and I play sports with my left (it’s a pain to find a vegan, right-handed baseball mitt. Surprisingly, footballs aren’t as difficult). Most likely that means I’m left-handed and was trained to write with my right. What ever the reason, I continued to play sports with my left. One of the things that I noticed when I fenced was that I did generally better then my team-mates, even if I didn’t have the same practice level. This may have been latent talent, but I’m more inclined to believe it was because my opponents were primarily used to fencing right handed people. Fencing a leftie was an anomaly that was difficult to adjust for. I made this determination because when I’d go up against a leftie, both of us would perform at a lower level then usual, we were anomalies for each other.
So, when I read a story like this one talking about lefties doing better in fights, I can see it. Most people will expect you to move in a certain direction, especially if they aren’t trained to fight. This would inherently give lefties an advantage. This may be a better explanation about why lefties survives fights more then some biological reason.