Thought of the day

I happen to have a job I got, in part, on the basis of my educational background. However, it astounds me the number of employers out there that just do not give two shits about 4-year degrees.

On nutrition

I’ve written a number of times about fatness and obesity. I don’t think it’s wrong to be either one of those, but I do think there is a moral argument that underpins the necessity to attempt to avoid being those things. You get one life. I think people should give it quality.

Of course, this doesn’t mean a person can’t enjoy something other than a diet half-salad once in awhile. That’s why the political (and often dishonest) arguments against drives like Michelle Obama’s pro-fitness efforts bother me so much. It’s also why I really like this post from Mike:

See what I’m getting at? Guess how much guilt I felt eating that [“prime”] burger the other week… that’s right, none. That’s because I don’t eat that way very often. My diet consists of whole grains, seeds and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. I watch my portions carefully. That means that now and again, I can splurge. And it just so happens that last week I was in Oklahoma City for a concert with some friends, and we grabbed some McDonald’s beforehand. I had a Big Mac, and it tasted awesome (not remotely as good as the prime burger, but still tasty). On the way back to Tulsa, I got hungry and had McDonald’s again… a grilled chicken sandwich. It also tasted good and I’ve lived through the experience.

This is what a lot of people don’t realize about nutrition. Eating right doesn’t mean avoiding every bad thing out there every second of every day. A person’s health doesn’t hinge on a single meal. A proper diet takes place over time; it’s an ongoing effort. Grabbing that doughnut once in awhile isn’t a sign of hypocrisy for someone who advocates eating well. (More importantly, we shouldn’t dismiss an argument simply due to hypocrisy. Think about it: If a serial killed said murder is wrong, would anyone reject the truth of his argument?) It’s perfectly possible to be healthy and enjoy life at the same time.

Richard Dawkins #1 on list of world’s top thinkers

Prospect Magazine has compiled a list of the 65 top thinkers in the world over the past 12 months. Topping the list is Richard Dawkins:

When Prospect magazine listed Britain’s leading public intellectuals in 2004 and invited readers’ votes, it was Richard Dawkins who emerged as No 1. Nine years on, the biologist, author and campaigner has bettered that by topping its “world thinkers” rankings, beating four Nobel prize winners (and another contender regarded as certain to receive one soon) in a poll based on 65 names chosen by a largely US- and UK-based expert panel.

Joining him in the top 10 are the psychologists Steven Pinker (3) and Daniel Kahneman (10), the economists Paul Krugman (5) and Amartya Sen (7) and the philosopher Slavoj Žižek (6), who all, like him, figured in the magazine’s first list of world-class thinkers in 2005.

A late run by the octogenarian British physicist Peter Higgs (8) secured him a place in an elite squad containing three other scientists, while the remaining slots are taken by academics turned politicians from the Middle East: Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani (2), an economist who served as finance minister after the US-led invasion; Iraq’s Ali Allawi (4), another ex-minister and author of The Occupation of Iraq and The Crisis of Islamic Civilization; and Egypt’s Mohamed ElBaradei (9), prominent in the Arab Spring and now in opposition to Mohamed Morsi.

To qualify for this year’s world thinkers rankings, it was not enough to have written a seminal book, inspired an intellectual movement or won a Nobel prize several years ago (hence the absence from the 65-strong long list of ageing titans such as Noam Chomsky or Edward O Wilson); the selectors’ remit ruthlessly insisted on “influence over the past 12 months” and “significance to the year’s biggest questions”.

Perhaps the most expected name to be nowhere near a list like this? William Lane Craig. This is the difference between a professional debater and people who make a real impact in the world with honestly considered arguments, opinions, and perspectives.

Terrorists motivated by religion

This isn’t a shocker:

The hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing suspect charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction has told investigators that he and his brother were motivated by religion but were not in contact with overseas terrorists or groups, officials said.

Several officials familiar with the initial interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev described his behavior during questioning as cooperative.

A senior government official said Tsarnaev has told investigators — by writing some answers down, and by nodding yes or shaking his head no to others — that he and his brother were not in touch with any overseas terrorists or groups.

Tsarnaev, who has injuries to his tongue preventing him from speaking properly, also indicated that he and his brother conceived the bombing attack on their own, and were motivated by religious fervor.

And what is the key underlying factor in religion? Everyone say it with me: faith. It doesn’t take some overseas organization to motivate a person to effectively random violence on a massive scale. With faith, anything is possible. I mean. It’s fucking random. It isn’t a way of thinking or knowing at all.

Don’t expect to hear too much about religion’s role in this (much less faith’s). The left-wing media is going to bury this key factor and the right-wing media will speak of the motivations here only in terms of “radical Islam”. (Why “radical Christianity” doesn’t appear to be a thing, I don’t know. That religion has more than its fair share of brutes, past and present.)

To digress, I’ve been perplexed by another issue surrounding the surviving terrorist fuck. Apparently people would like to deem him an enemy combatant and strip him of the rights afforded to citizens under the Constitution. It is absolutely beyond me that the nature and magnitude of a crime should make a difference. Once we start walking down that road, we start calling accused murderers “enemy combatants” – guilty or not. And why stop there? Stealing gum from that store undermines the U.S. economy, you economic terrorist. Enemy combatant! Like we need to tip the balance of power any further into the hands of the government.

Thought of the day

I find it amazing that I’ve yet to meet a Christian who has interpreted a piece of the Bible in a way which doesn’t match with his or her own personal views. Just imagine what technology and knowledge would look like if scientists behaved this way. Our streets and buildings would be as dark as North Korea’s.

Lyrid Shower

I really need to get back to my astronomy alerts.

Lyrid shower

Recent news

The biggest story of the week needs no link. They killed one terrorist fuck and caught his terrorist fuck of a brother. The city of Boston, Boston Police, ATF, FBI, and all the law enforcement proved themselves to be extraordinary throughout this whole ordeal. I frequently say not to talk to the police and to never give up your rights, but this is one of those times where if the police wanted to search my person or property in their efforts to find such dangerous individuals, I don’t think I would have impeded them. (That said, I still really like, appreciate, and support things like this.)

A fertilizer plant in Texas exploded, destroying a portion of a small town and killing many. It has been found that the plant failed to report the excessive amount of flammable materials it had, as required by the government. It isn’t clear if that contributed to the blast, but it is clear that any argument that private industry will do the right thing without regulation is bunk – just imagine how many companies would have unsafe practices if they weren’t willing to break the law like this one apparently did.

David Ortiz, DH for the Boston Red Sox, told Fenway today that “This is our fucking city.” The FCC chairman Tweeted this in response: David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston. The same lack of action should happen every time someone swears on television or pops out a nipple, but I’m glad our government’s censorship board has at least a little perspective.

Kansas has passed an anti-abortion law arbitrarily defining life as beginning at fertilization. I thought all these Republican-led legislatures were about the economy. I’m shocked – shocked! – that they’re really about ill-conceived/considered social policy.

Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage, has once again made an ass of himself. He has claimed that a wind turbine at one of the state’s university campuses has an electric motor that’s used when people visit. A spokesperson literally laughed out loud at the comment, shooting down the false accusation. And why did LePage say something so stupid? It isn’t that he’s against wind power; he actually once lamented an environmental agency that blocked a private company from installing turbines on a mountainside. He just doesn’t like that the project is government-based. Apparently there isn’t a single thing the government can do successfully in the small minds of so many Republicans.

The Boy Scouts have proposed allowing gay youth but not gay adults. There’s no way around saying it: This betrays not merely an ignorant mindset, but a truly stupid world perspective and understanding. It is not inherent or characteristic that gay adults seek to molest, rape, or in any other way harm children. You’re an awful person if you think otherwise.

Thought of the day

Since the early 90’s gun background checks have denied about 2 million sales to people not allowed to own the weapons. Such checks only cover a minority of all gun purchases. So why not expand this process to cover more people? Why don’t members of the U.S. Senate care about preventing felons from purchasing guns? What part of the second amendment is being protected by not taking a peak to see if someone committed an armed robbery in the past?

Fuck you, NRA. And double fuck you, Senate.

Why New Yorkers should consider Anthony Weiner for mayor

As just about everyone knows, Anthony Weiner went from being a U.S. House member from New York to resigning as a result of a sexual picture he mistakenly Tweeted to a woman who wasn’t his wife. And as just about everyone should know, there were only two problems with what he did (from a public standpoint). One, he wasn’t careful enough about his online actions, thus sending a lewd photo of himself. I consider this to be pretty minor because I wouldn’t be stopped from voting for someone who has nude or lewd photos online, but there is a problem with him sending the picture over a social media feed where people didn’t sign up for that sort of thing. Two, he lied and denied about his affair. That’s pretty much never the way to go with these things.

As I wrote about Gen. Petraeus a few months ago, these sex scandals are hardly even stories. Unless the official involved had his office or political/military decisions compromised as a result of an affair, I do not care. That appears to be the case with Petraeus, so that was a non-story. As for Weiner, the only story was his lying. And now that some time has passed, he’s hoping that he can get by that with a huge political comeback:

Democrat Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in disgrace two years ago, is weighing a bid for New York mayor, but a poll released on Tuesday suggests his political comeback would be an uphill battle.

Only 40 percent of city voters say they would consider voting for him, while 52 percent said they would not, according to the NBC New York-Marist poll.

Among Democrats, his chances were slightly higher, with 46 percent saying they were open to a Weiner candidacy and 50 percent opposed to the idea.

Weiner’s standing with the public has improved in the two years since he admitted to sending lewd messages to women and resigned from his seat in the House representing parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

He had been considered a front-runner to be the city’s next mayor but when he resigned just a quarter of voters polled thought he should run for mayor.

For those New Yorkers who once supported Weiner but no longer do, I think they should reconsider. If their problem with him is the fact that he lied about everything (and for some time, at that), then there’s nothing I can say about that. Not voting for a guy because of his public dishonesty is perfectly valid. However, if people aren’t voting for him because he cheated on his wife, I say boo. That’s an issue for him and his wife, not the citizenry at large. He isn’t a lesser lawmaker and leader because he isn’t a good husband. Infidelity certainly isn’t anything to praise, but it isn’t a federal crime.

I don’t know if Weiner is the right choice for New York City mayor. I live 6 hours away and don’t have an interest in the politics of big cities, much less living in one. However, I do believe that Weiner deserves fair consideration based upon his policy and lawmaking record. Leave his personal life out of it.


The events in Boston are still fluid, so most any comment would be premature. However, I do find this quote from Mr. Rogers to be appropriate:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’