Friday, December 18, 2009

Totally Random Made-Up Term for the Day 2

n. – A kind of chronological dyslexia which makes it difficult to accurately place discrete events on a linear timeline. Example:
“This argument is going around in circles because of your dystemporia.”

Definition courtesy of Bones. Word courtesy of me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I get Facebook messages

Don't they have mad drive-bys on Marlow Road? You are a NOTHING. A NOBODY. You play World of Warcraft like a 12 year old pubescent boy because you are too afraid to live REAL life. Who gives a toss about you? Really? Maybe your mommy?

You needle-dicked coward. You have emotional diarrhea on Spencer's facebook page and then HIDE from Spencer like the yellow-bellied computer dork you are. And now you can't even see everyone ROASTING your pathetic ass. Stick that in your blog, loser.

Now...I will block you. Pussy.

Thank you for proving my point about you. Have a nice day! =)

PS: Look at me hiding here all alone in my intertubes!

PPS: The best part of it all, Spencer Hughes (Sarah's husband) is the person who introduced me to WoW.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kook Aid – The Battle – Part 4

This is a follow-up to my earlier posts.

In Part 3, Spencer posted a link to a video he wanted me to watch. Subsequently, he posted that video directly to his wall. Here’s the final thread.

Aside: it looks like this thread just won’t die. I’ll edit with any future discussion if it’s worthwhile.

Spencer Hughes - For the Reality Challenged folks out there who are still drinking the EARTH IS ENDING nonsense...THESE are the people who should get an Oscar, not Gore.

David - gore does deserve an oscar, but it should be for acting like he cares about the world

Spencer Hughes - NICE one, David! HAHA.

John - A liberal that loves Al Gore is a liberal that loves censoring rock and rap music lyrics ala his wife Tipper.

Sarah - I did a report on Tipper and censorship in high school. Not a lot of people remember her rampage on the music industry.

Mario - Good one David. Sarah, I remember how the likes of Frank Zappa and Dee Snyder made a monkey out of Tipper in the hallowed halls of Congress when the censorship trial was going on.

Sarah - I do too. *sigh* Those were the days.

Matthew Orlando - So, just finished watching the video as promised.

A large portion of it was devoted to the political issues which, as I've said in other threads, should be addressed entirely separately from the science. Treating them as the same issue only confuses matters and makes it harder for people to differentiate rhetoric from reality.

However, the video did make some specific claims. If you aren't averse to exposing yourself to an opposing point of view, there are several resources which attempt to refute the claims. E.g.

Sarah - *yawn* I ALREADY READ THAT. So now what? I still don't agree with you and??? Let it go, dude.

Matthew Orlando - So now i can't even respond to the video that I was urged to watch, without getting a snide remark? And you wonder why I got defensive earlier? Why are you taking this so personally?

I get that you've read it. I get that you don't agree. I don't get why you would try to keep me from sharing my opinion with others... I haven't made a single comment to this particular post. This post might be something someone sees without ever looking at the other ones. It was a more appropriate place to put my direct response to the video, which you and Spencer insisted I watch.

Sarah - Hey are so missing the point. No one is trying to keep you from sharing your opinion. What I am saying is that, much like if you were a guest at our house for dinner, I would expect that you would have manners enough to recognize that once you start name calling, the argument is over. (If you were at my dinner table and called my husband and me "denialists" you would be asked to leave.) Spout your opinions on YOUR facebook page. Healthy debate is welcome, but when you reach a stalemate, the appropriate thing to do is zip your lip, not whine about how you are being censored.

And Matthew...the two posts go hand in hand. It is completely irrelevant WHERE you respond. It is the same discussion.

Matthew Orlando - I'm sorry for insulting him/you with my "denialists" remark. I honestly didn't think it was any worse than the swarm of "kook-aid" comments that were directed at me. If that's what this was about, then yes I did miss the point and I'm certainly happy moving on

Aside: At this point, Sarah (who happens to be Spencer’s Wife) responded to the above message with a snide remark. She completely missed the fact that I was apologizing for doing the thing that originally upset her.

In the same post, she also stated that none of the “kook-aid” comments were directed towards me personally. Part 1 would beg to differ. As I was writing my next post below, she deleted the post. I assume she realized just how wrong she was. In fairness, I removed the parts of my response which shot her down for that transgression.

Sarah - OMG you are from Sebastopol. I should have read your profile and saved myself a lot of aggravation. Do you stand on the street corner on Main St and 116 on Friday too?

Matthew Orlando - I don't understand where you're coming from. I was being totally sincere when I apologized for insulting you. I really did miss the point.

And that Sebastopol comment? Talk about prejudice... Who's the one not moving on now? I don't even live there. In fact, my job isn't even "in" sebastopol. It's about 10 minutes north, but the Post office still calls it that.

Sarah - Matthew. I was raised in Sebastopol. I am a fifth generation Sonoma County resident. Berkeley transplants and moral fascists drove me out of my home town. I couldn't take living there anymore because of the mental illness being spewed at my children in a SCHOOL I ATTENDED as a child. My 10 year old came home crying because some ponytailed granola chomper told him that if I didn't stop driving my Expedition, he wouldn't live to see 20 years of age. Make peace? HELL NO. Take your Sky is falling crap somewhere else. It is CERTAINLY not welcome here.

Matthew Orlando - I agree about sebastopol. It's full of kooks. Did you know sebastopol schools have the lowest rates of childhood vaccination in the country?

"Make peace? HELL NO. Take your Sky is falling crap somewhere else. It is CERTAINLY not welcome here."

Wow... just . wow...

Elie - I became a Prince fan because of Tipper. It was because of the Dirty Mind album that we now have those stickers she fought for.

Sarah - Beat it, dude.

John - I forgot another reason why "Global Warming", "Global Climate Change" etc has been grasped on either side by both Conservatives and Liberals (from as high up as the parties and leaders themselves by way of their respective lobbyists) is to make sure that the people of the USA remain divided. Why is it in their parties best interest? Votes. But most importantly - diversion. If we are attacking each other over science (which I am willing to bet about 99% of us here REALLY understand) then the bad guys win. Trust me, this is diversion from noticing what is really going on in the background. So I plead with both Sarah and Matthew - agree to disagree! We are all here because Spencer runs one of the best radio shows out there and fosters great debate! (By the way - I think both Sarah and Matthew are great.)

John - Whoops! I should have said 99% of us REALLY DON'T understand! haha

John - By the way this whole topic proves again that party or "Conservative vs. Liberal" loyalty decides what people's opinions are. The last conspiracy that proved this was the Iraq war. Time to think outside of the boxes that have been set up for us all to think inside of.

Elie - Well said John.

Sarah - My being here has relatively little to do with Spencer's show, actually. I have been telling Matthew that he isn't going to convince me in seeing things "his way." He doesn't like that answer. I am not asking him to change his mind like he is asking everyone else here to do.

Sarah - John-I TOTALLY disagree. My stance on global warming has nothing to do with my political affiliation. If that were the case, then by definition I would be against gay marriage and pro-life. Who is thinking inside the box?

Matthew Orlando - "My being here has relatively little to do with Spencer's show, actually. I have been telling Matthew that he isn't going to convince me in seeing things "his way." He doesn't like that answer. I am not asking him to change his mind like he is asking everyone else here to do."

Wow... just . wow...

Obviously you haven't read even half of the posts I've written on the topic.

" So I plead with both Sarah and Matthew - agree to disagree! "

Tried that. Here's what happened:

"Make peace? HELL NO. Take your Sky is falling crap somewhere else. It is CERTAINLY not welcome here."

Sarah - Matthew...I have only read your posts in this thread and the other one from today. Have you not been trying to change our minds? Or was that just something I read into your words? I could spend time quoting you, but I only have 2 minutes between contracts at work...and I would rather grab a cup of coffee.

Wow just wow? FAR OUT, MAN... Hey, I hear that they are having a wicked folk song jam in the square by Whole Foods. I can't even drive through Sebastopol anymore because of yeah. I am hostile.

Matthew Orlando - Hmm, let's see... Quoting myself:

"I really don't care if you come away from it with a changed mind, but it's always better to expose yourself to more information whether you agree with it or not. This is why I read blogs and listen to radio shows from all different political persuasions. I'm confident that the decisions I make and the conclusions I reach are based on the broadest set of facts at my disposal. If you do the same, and reach different conclusions, then I'm perfectly happy to agree to disagree."

And that's a sentiment I've repeated several times over the past few hours.

"Wow just wow? FAR OUT, MAN... Hey, I hear that they are having a wicked folk song jam in the square by Whole Foods. I can't even drive through Sebastopol anymore because of yeah. I am hostile."

Oh goodie! An ad hominem! Haven't seen one of those in a while. *rolleyes*

Lora - Sarah, you're a hoot! You go girl! Bet you keep Spencer on his toes... :) I have never believed in the global warming stuff... I'm glad Climategate is happening, in fact. I love when the truth comes out. I am a conservative traditionalist but I don't need a government party to tell me how or what I think. I read all sides and come up with conclusions on my own. Mr. Gore has found a way to make a lot of money. Interesting that he cancelled his appearance in Copenhagen - the man who won an oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth". "Climategate" is the inconvenient truth now, isn't it...

Sarah - Oh deep, know Latin, man....Far out.

Matthew Orlando - I love how you keep avoiding the fact that you've displayed absolutely no willingness to reach some sort of middle ground, even if it's making peace with the fact that we disagree. This is making great blog fodder. Keep up the good work =)

Matthew Orlando - Republicans and peace just don't mix, i guess.

Sarah - I am no republican. And who says we HAVE to reach a middle ground? Sometimes there ISN'T a middle ground. Why are you HERE? I am not avoiding anything. I have stated PLAINLY that I don't want to make peace with you. Let me get as CLEAR as I can: VAPORIZE.

Sarah - Wait...before you say it...WOW. JUST WOW. Right?

Matthew Orlando - How'd you guess? ;)

Sarah - Because I am smart. I will turn this over to my husband now.

Spencer Hughes - Matthew, dude...why are you here? HONESTLY. Why? You ridicule my view on ghosts (although they ARE real...I have several sharing my house with us) think I am a misinformed on global warming (although YOU apparently don't watch anything but the mainstream channels, who are NOT reporting what people are calling THE BIGGEST shame on the scientific community perhaps EVER). If my page is BLOG FODDER for you, you can take a hike. My page is not a punching bag for you. Do you see why I have always said my page is for like minded people I would probably hang out with in real life, over a pizza and a beer? Am I really someone who you'd want to have dinner with? Other than to ARGUE with? You are snarky and self righteous and I am frankly getting bored of it all.

Sarah - I didn't know about the ridicule of the ghost stuff. His profile says that a cross between agnostic and ignorant? What exactly does this yahoo offer people here exactly? What contribution does he make? Maybe he should focus on making this a good day for the Alliance instead of buzzing like an obnoxious mosquito around everyone's heads.

Sarah - I GET IT! WOW just WOW means World of Warcraft just World of Warcraft. God I am slow.

Matthew Orlando - Feel free to unfriend me if you feel that way. I've always enjoyed your show, and I know we agree on a lot of issues. I also thought your followers would have a bit more class than to begin throwing rampant insults around when someone disagrees with them.

As I've said before, any hostility in my responses is only a reaction. Where I've misunderstood things, I've apologized. I've attempted to make peace, but certain people in the discussion can't seem to get over petty squabbles. I have no hostility towards the opposing view, I have hostility towards the assumptions made about me, the gross prejudice, and the dismissiveness.

None of this discussion has centered around the science, which is all I wanted to put forward in the first place. If you really can't be bothered to see the differences among science (pro- or anti-global warming), politics (pro- or anti-regulation), and personal interaction (pro- or anti-agree-to-disagree), then I have nothing more to say.

Sarah - Sweetheart, I am not a listener. I am his wife. YOU are making good blog fodder. Please continue...and I do believe you cast the first insult? Am I wrong? Why don't you save Spencer the trouble of unfriending you and just disappear?

Sarah - Sorry...I am not a "follower." My mistake.

Matthew Orlando - I HAD disappeared two hours ago and then you brought me back into the discussion with

"My being here has relatively little to do with Spencer's show, actually. I have been telling Matthew that he isn't going to convince me in seeing things "his way." He doesn't like that answer. I am not asking him to change his mind like he is asking everyone else here to do"

And yes, I know you're his wife. You're taking all of this way to personally for anyone without an emotional attachment.


Sarah - I have a very emotional attachment to the decay of my hometown brought on by the "green party" transplants and propagandists. It used to be a quiet, tranquil apple farming community until it became the mecca of liberalist mental illness. You are one of the people I blame for not being able to give my children the beautiful childhood I had growing up there. It is VERY personal. How long have you lived there, Matthew? I mean, 10 miles NORTH of there? Let me guess. Occidental? Graton? I am the first generation in my family NOT to live there... I would not allow my children to be exposed to your fear mongering and misinformation any more that I would let them play with fire.

I visit often. Let's meet over some organic free trade chai at Hardcore Coffee on Bloomfield and Hwy 116...which used to be FRANK'S CORNER...I knew Frank. Did you? My treat.

Sarah - P.S. My mom is calling me from Sebastopol. She asks if you have been outside today...cuz she is freezing her ass off. Global warming indeed.

Matthew Orlando - Quoting myself:

"I have no hostility towards the opposing view, I have hostility towards the assumptions made about me, the gross prejudice, and the dismissiveness."

Here you go again on another one of your prejudicial rants about Sebastopolians.

First off, as I said, I don't live in sebastopol, I WORK near sebastopol. If you absolutely must know, I live in Santa Rosa (not that it should matter).

Second, sebastopol has been that way my entire life. I certainly wasn't a contributing factor.

So, what exactly is your point?

Matthew Orlando - "P.S. My mom is calling me from Sebastopol. She asks if you have been outside today...cuz she is freezing her ass off. Global warming indeed."

You've heard of Winter, haven't you?

Global warming isn't about "OMG Its soooooo hot today!!!!." It's about "The average surface temperature over the last hundred years has experienced a statistically significant increase."

Spencer Hughes - Of about ONE degree, Matthew. OH NO!!!! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!! Matthew. I am officially DONE with this thread.

Yamasaki - Matt, just a question........Why is global warming such an issue to you? Your profile says you are a member of the "Come Out as an Atheist Group" as an atheist dont you also believe that the world ends in 1103 days? And no I'm not an Atheist, I'm a proud and practicing Christian who studies religion.

Sarah - My point is you would not be welcome in our home, so I don't believe you are welcome here. I have a funny feeling you are about to go bye bye, Matthew. And um...yeah. Heard of's like...when things get all COLD and stuff, right, man? Far out. Say goodnight, Matthew.

Matthew Orlando - Yamasaki: you do realize all the word "atheist" means is that I don't believe in god, right? It says absolutely nothing about whatever else I may or may not believe...

Matthew Orlando - Goodnight, Matthew.

Kook Aid – The Battle – Part 3

This is a follow-up to my earlier post. See also: Part 2, Part 4.

Spencer’s next pots was a link to an article about Arnold Schwarzenegger. This time I was prepared for a first strike. =)

Spencer Hughes - Even Arnold is guzzling the Kook-Aid on climate change. He is a Kennedy through and through.

Arnold Schwarzenegger unveils dramatic climate change map which shows flooded San Francisco of the f The map, which demonstrates the devastating effects of global warming in just a century, shows how San Francisco Airport would be completely underwater if sea levels were to rise by 150cm (60in).

Matthew Orlando -

Spencer Hughes - Matthew, Matthew. The SCIENTISTS THEMSELVES ARE ADMITTING THEIR DISTORTIONS AND LIES!! They were CAUGHT in their lies!! Are you just not listening to the news?? Oh that's right. The networks are refusing to cover the story, so it's really not your fault that you are misinformed about Climategate!

Kay - It's snowing in Texas, cold in California....if the oceans rise that much maybe they will put in a desalinization plant, Lord knows they need the water and then maybe the farmers will get their fair share for the crops....Wait until they realize the earth is cooling and a mini ice age is coming.

Matthew Orlando - Spencer, Spencer. SOME scientists are admitting distortions of SOME data. That proves absolutely nothing but that those particular scientists were fraudulent about their particular data. That doesn't mean you can throw out everything else that has come before.

Spencer Hughes - For YOU, Matthew...They were right THEN and they are right NOW. THESE are the people worthy of an OSCAR, not that blowhard Gore.

The Great Global Warming Swindle......

Matthew Orlando - Unlike you denialists, i'm actually going to take the time and visit the link you posted. I'm not afraid to consider views that are different from mine.

Sarah - Look out, Matthew! The SKY is falling the SKY is falling!

Amy - OMG! That's exactly what my husband and I were talking about last nite! Well more like I was schooling him! lol He married a Kennedy...what do u expect?!

Spencer Hughes - Matthew, the only thing that is falling is the FRAUD. Honestly, if you watch only the alphabet networks, you AREN'T reading or hearing about the THOUSANDS of docs and e-mails revealing this FRAUD. Are you NOT watching FOX, Matthew??

Matthew Orlando - If you'd take the time and actually read my posts I made in the other "thread" for content rather than assuming I'm part of the liberal conspiracy, you might find out that I'm not of the sky is falling variety... Reality > ideology.

Sarah - Matthew. Now you are just being rude. Spencer is not a denialist because he feels strongly about something you don't agree with. Be nice or leave.

Matthew Orlando - I'm not offended by being called a kook-aid drinker, I'd hope my similar attitude isn't being considered offensive. I have no hard feelings save for frustration at having the things I say completely ignored.

Amy - That's very diplomaric of you Sarah-:)

Sarah - The difference is, Matthey, we are not on YOUR facebook page. If you want the things you say listened to, go somewhere that people are open to it. Most of the people here can see through the crap. We can't help it if you can't.

Matthew Orlando - Now who's being insulting?

Sarah - AGAIN...this is not your page. Go pick a fight somewhere else.

Matthew Orlando - You're not "seeing through the crap" you're summarily dismissing everything i say as already settled. I on the other hand am actually taking the time to think out responses and look at the materials (articles, videos, etc.) that have been presented to me.

Matthew Orlando - Trust me, I didn't come here to pick a fight. I came to give another side to the story. Any hostility you detect in my writing is entirely a reaction.

Sarah - Then go check out the video and THEN get back to us. I don't detect hostility. Just arrogance.

Matthew Orlando - I am, and I appreciate Spencer for posting the links. My frustration is that I've posted similar (opposing) information which has been consistently ignored. Obviously, you're free to do so, but it seems a tad disingenuous.

Sarah - Why disingenuous? I have educated myself VERY thoroughly on this topic and have been screaming from the rooftops that it was crap for years. It is nice to watch all of the HYPE unravel.

Christopher - just an idea. maybe Matthew should read Telling the Truth About Damned Lies and Statistics. By Joel Best, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/4/2001, Vol. 47, Issue 34

Matthew Orlando - It's disingenuous (and I'm not speaking directly about you, but the general trend in this and other thread) because the link I specifically posted to this specific thread specifically addresses the claims made in the video with citations to research.

Like I've said multiple times, if you take the time to look at the actual evidence and you come to a different conclusion, that's fine with me. I just want your conclusions to be based on the maximum amount of information.

Is that arrogant of me?

I'll respond more directly to the video in spencers actual post of the video.

Sarah - keep saying how no one is listening to you. You are not listening to me. I HAVE seen the so-called actual evidence. I am VERY well versed in this topic and my opinion on this, as in everything else, is a very educated one. Why do you feel threatened by someone disagreeing with you?

Sarah - Specifically, I mean. Heh.

Matthew Orlando - I say no one is listening because no one has bothered to say they've even read the information I linked, let alone respond to any of the points specifically. Political rhetoric about fascist conspiracies and hypocritical morons like Al Gore does not a scientific discussion make.

Sarah - Matthew. I read it. Get over it.

Matthew Orlando - Thanks =) will do.

Elaine - doesn't arnie have enough to keep him busy already?????

Kook Aid – The Battle – Part 2

This is a follow-up to my earlier post. See also: Part 3, Part 4.

After the discussion got underway on Spencer’s status, he posted the following link on his wall:

Spencer Hughes Losing his LAME Oscar would be the least of Gore's problems as this global warming FRAUD continues to unravel. He deserves to go down with this filthy ship. - Hollywood Conservatives Say Gore Should Lose Oscar Over Climate-Gate Two conservative screenwriters say Al Gore should be stripped of his Oscar in light of the global warming questions raised by leaked e-mails out of a British research center.

Matt - AG is such a clown...

Matthew Orlando - Agreed. Doesn't make global warming any less true.

Susan - Al Gore is a fraud. If he were living the "green" life and truly believed and practiced what he preaches - but we all know he drives SUVs and lives in a mansion. So stop telling us we need to be green.Even his Hollywood counterparts... they fly all over the world to give their global-warming concerts are are leaving a horrific carbon footprint.

David - thatll take him down a few pegs. frickin smug clown

Spencer Hughes - Matthew, INFORM YOURSELF FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. This is NOT the calamity that it's been made out to be!! THEY HAD TO LIE AND DISTORT TO SHOW WARMING to the degree they insisted it was happening. So WHAT the earth is WARMING?? It has melted over and frozen over and melted over again for MILLIONS OF YEARS, Matthew. It's called earth CYCLES.

Matthew Orlando - Like i said, even if everything you say is true about one particular group of scientists, you are committing a logical fallacy by applying it to the whole. Science isn't about people, it's about research. Just because some people do bad research doesn't mean that all the other research is bad.

Oh and, btw, the earth does go through cycles of warming and cooling. Have you ever actually heard a global warming supporter say otherwise?

Sarah - Matthew, the issue isn't whether or not there is global warming. The issue is whether or not it is caused by PEOPLE. Al Gore has made obscene amounts of money by fear mongering. He SHOULD go to prison.

Spencer Hughes - Matthew...the earth MIGHT JUST MELT OVER SOMEDAY. It probably WILL, based on the past cycles. Have you ever considered that since it happened BEFORE WITHOUT OUR HELP, it could NOT BE our fault?? WHO was to blame when the earth melted over the last several times?? WHO, Matthew?? Honestly?

Matthew Orlando - I don't understand why you're all so caught up on Gore. As I've said multiple times, I think he's a hypocritical douche. Luckily he's not THE voice of global warming scientists. At least not to the same extent as the republicans would like to claim.

Nicole - Ok Matthew... listen to yourself! The earth will warm and cool naturally, we all know this. The question is what makes this "warming" cycle different than any of the previous and are we at fault? I don't really think so... actually I'm watching it snow right this very second in Houston. Damn this global warming!

Matthew Orlando - What makes it different? It's the greatest increase in thousands of years.

Are we at fault? While the science isn't as certain as in the previous question, it's certainly not as weak as the republicans would like to claim.

Sarah - If you ask Maryann on the street who they think the father of the Global Warming movement is, they WILL say Al Gore. He won the nobel prize and an Oscar and made gazillions of dollars peddling bull$hit. That is why I, personally, am caught up on him.

Spencer Hughes - Matthew, Gore is perhaps THE MOST INFLUENTIAL speaker on this FRAUD!! The average American who believes the sky is falling got it from the likes of GORE, not some nameless scientist in a lab. He IS the voice of global warming, Matthew.

Heidi - Matthew, unfortunately majority of americans listen to these celebrity types of people than actual real professionals.

Matthew Orlando - Heidi: agreed wholeheartedly!

Spencer & Sarah, while I agree joe on the street is most familiar with gore, I'd sincerely hope that the people in charge of the future of this country aren't so easily swayed. Gore is just a messenger, and a horrible one at that.

if you really want to further your cause, you should convince people to ignore him and look at the science. If reality is truly on your side, it will eventually win out. As resistant as science is to changing its mind, it WILL change its mind if the facts are against it.

Sarah - How sad is it that Al Gore is a "celebrity?" Excuse me while I vomit.

Nicole - Bahaha Sarah...

Nicole - "It's the greatest increase in thousands of years." So your point is the earth HAS warmed significantly before and without the help of the destructive human beings? Uh, Matthew, by earth time thousands of years isn't that long, so... the point is this has HAPPENED BEFORE and it will happen again, even if every human being is dead and gone the earth's climate will warm significantly and cool significantly. Should we treat the earth better? YES, but we can't take the blame for this warming period.

Sarah - Well said, Nicole.

Nicole - Why thank you, Sarah ;-)

Trucker - LET ME DO IT... I would be glad to RIP it out of his hands, and give it to a REAL humanitarian.


Kook Aid – The Battle – Part 1

I probably should’ve known what I was getting myself into when I left an opposing opinion on Spencer Hughes’ Facebook status, but it was 6:45 am at the time and I hadn’t had my coffee. Anyway, it sparked a discussion spanning four posts on Spencer’s wall. Below is the initial status I responded to. See also: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 (the last two are the “best”).

Spencer’s Initial Status

Spencer Hughes :You know we're in trouble when your liberal friends applaud that unemployment is down to 10%. What the frig are we doing in this country?!?! The bigger picture is that this Administration is implementing programs that will CRIPPLE America. And so far they refuse to believe that the global warming hysteria is based on FRAUD. What a MESS.

Alison - Amen Spencer. You tell it like it is and we appreciate that! Have a great FRIDAY!

Jim - I went through the list of wrongs last night - AAAAAHHHH! I mean, these republicans are arguing about AMENDMENTS to healthcare. Amendments???

Diana - I think they counted that number over Thanksgiving break, when the unemployment offices were closed.

Lee - Spencer, we know we will never get through to the thick headed liberals........especially now that they are in denial.......pretty sad our Constitution is being torn apart

Gil - Remember the NY Times top fold HUGE PRINT that said 6% UNEMPLOYMENT under GWB? Weird how suddenly 10% is a good number...

Mike - You're surprised!?!?! God forbid we had a couple of nuclear explosions in popular cities in this country & you would still have these far left radicals like Pelosi & Reid with nothing on their mind but using the opportunity to push these government control programs through while the countryl is distracted!

Kevin - i hope they will have a good answer to the LORD,because they F---up this great country and the people that live here.there will be close mouths and hell to pay.i would love,to see the LORD,tell nancy and her friends to shut-up and bow before me,because now it will be time to see how you live your life and how you treated other people.COME LORD,SOON.

Greg - It's 17+ percent. It's bogus smoke and mirrors that people are removed from the list when they stop looking for work. All Obama can do is hold photo ops at the White House and go to Allentown. Someone should tell him he won the election. Time to stop campaigning, and get down to work. Only one good thing will come of his Health Care Reform, Cap & Tax and his huge deficits... a Republican president in 2012.

Jim - Spencer this is a huge mess. The Administration setting up programs for people so they don't have to find work so they all can suck off the government nipple. This feel good, touchy feelly let's all hug and let's have the government take care of your needs will kill America as we know it today. Climategate is another mess of lies and slight of hand to make a one world government just scares the hell out of me. Having Barbra Boxer wanting to sweep it under the carpet and have the whistle blowers hung for coming forward is a just a peek into the future how they will control information to the masses and if you speakout??? Send you to a gulag ???This is a scary world we live in today. People, We need to vote these people out of office or our freedoms will be gone in a blink of an eye.

Matthew Orlando - I'm with you on the programs, but Global Warming? Seriously? I'm sorry to see you've fully drunk the Republican Kool-Aid since leaving KSRO.

Matthew Orlando - BTW: "believing" in global warming is not synonymous with the desire to increase government regulations. Global Warming is a fact. The politics is another story entirely.

If you believe that Global Warming is just a liberal conspiracy to implement tougher regulations on business then you're just as deluded as the people who think more government is the only viable solution.

Sally - Yes... What a mess....!

Jim - Matthew, Matthew Who has drank the kook-aid????

Matthew Orlando - Let's see... The majority of scientists from independent fields of study including climatology, meteorology, biology, geology, paleontology......... Or right-wing politicians who are simply reacting to left-wing politicians' push for more government regulation...

Lee - Hey Matt Global warming is a part of mother nature and guess what mother nature always wins..........keep drinking the koolaid

Matthew Orlando - There are two reasons Republicans are so opposed to the scientific truth (besides just parroting what they're told by their leaders):

1) If the liberals believe it's true, it must not be. This is absurd. You should spend less time denying reality and more time trying to convince the libbies that there are better solutions than increased regulation.

2) Belief that since God gave us this world to look over, He wouldn't let anything disastrous happen until the Rapture. I'm not touching this one with a 10 foot pole ;)

Gil - Think we found a Global Warming believer, the whole thing appears to be a fraud, the top scientists were fudging data, were destroying data (that was to be given due to a Freedom of Information order in England).

Global warming is a hoax, its a con, complete and total con. Anytime you have someone say "the science is settled" then turns and refuses to show their data or "science", wake up.

There was this guy, he found moons going around Jupiter, the zealots of his day said "shut up get in that tower and never speak again." Weird, it is almost like he pointed out that Global Warming wasn't real and the politically correct machine ran him over... Nah, that never happens anymore, or does it?

Matthew Orlando - And have any of you who are still calling it a con even bothered to read through the link I posted above? No. Would you even be able to comprehend it if you did? probably not. But it's not your fault. It's a failure of your education. Your entire world view is based on eating up whatever your leaders tell you without an independent thought to speak of.

I'm done here because I know I'm not going to win any minds. Just know that if you go through life never questioning, you're bound to be deluded about something at some point. If you care to come back with any rational, reason-based responses, I might play along. But if you're going to keep up with the emotional rhetoric, I'm not playing.

Gil - Pot meet kettle, his name is mathew.

Matthew Orlando - BTW: what I just said is equally true for liberals.


Matthew Orlando - Gil: have you actually looked at the claims of the scientists? Or do you just eat what you're fed by news outlets?

Gil - You're horribly confused if you think Global Warming is a Libertarian cause, its all about huge business and limiting freedoms to the public. It is, quite Fascist in nature actually.

Jim - Matthew needs to go play out in the snow. Vote Libertarian!!!!

Matthew Orlando - Ok. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt because it's early and I'm probably not making myself very clear.

Global warming is science, not politics. The problem in the politics is how we should move forward given the science. Liberals want to move forward by implementing fascist regulations. Conservatives, on the other hand, don't want to move forward at all. They just want to deny there's a problem in the first place.

I'm on your side as far as opposing anti-capitalistic regulations from the left. But that's not mutually exclusive with acceptance of the claims of scientists. If the Republicans want to win back some favor, they should accept the fact of global warming and try to find ways to deal with it in line with free market principles.

Jim - Matthew, There are many other Scienctist from all walks of studies that agree the opposite. You are getting the left-wing liberal push view. I feel so sorry for you buying into this crap. The world has always had climate change it's a fact. (where did the ice age come from??? Oh the Dino's did it driving Suv's I'm sorry. And what about the mini-ice age during the dark ages in Europe? Oh the monk's building chemical plants and driving Hummers) Do your reaserch and look at all sides.... Wow, you have been sucked in.

Matthew Orlando - jim: science is about the preponderance of evidence. The evidence comes from many different fields of study, as I mentioned above. In EVERY scientific matter, there will be squabbles about the details. But the truth isn't in the details. The truth is incorporated in the entire body of knowledge. At this point in time, the vast majority of peer-reviewed research supports the claims that our current period of global warming is caused by us.

Sure you can find scientists who agree with your point of view, but just because they exist doesn't mean they're right. And in fact, they may be right about particular claims they're making, but that doesn't somehow invalidate the mountains of other research that has gone into the matter.

Matthew Orlando - I invite you all to read the link I posted earlier (here it is again: )

I really don't care if you come away from it with a changed mind, but it's always better to expose yourself to more information whether you agree with it or not. This is why I read blogs and listen to radio shows from all different political persuasions. I'm confident that the decisions I make and the conclusions I reach are based on the broadest set of facts at my disposal. If you do the same, and reach different conclusions, then I'm perfectly happy to agree to disagree.

Jim - I did read it before I commented

Jim - Matt!!! Global Warming=Liberal Politics Bottom Line (Welcome to the real world and stay off the pipe)

Jim - Spencer??? See what you started...HaHaHa

Jim - GLobal warming is questionable at best. I've had the official class from the wx service and saw where the Gore-ites have played with the data. The truth is that when the sun is at solar max, there's appreciable rising in temperature. Currently the sun is in an astoundingly near dormant pattern and my friend tells me we haven't had sunspot activity now for something like 79 days and when we did, it was minimal. The sun seems be putting us in a cooling period so if mankind could warm the earth by a degree, it might actually compensate for this natural phenom. But that is all debatable and we've documented temperatures for such a short period of time relative to the total age of the earth, the mankind causes global warming theory is more religion than science.

Jim - I know Al said "the debate is over" but he's full of co2 on that. Real science is always open for debate.

Spencer Hughes - Matthew, these "scientists" are stepping down in disgrace. This idea that we are destroying the earth IS a FRAUD. God, Matthew, you know better than that! You DO sound like you've been more than sipping the Kook-Aid.

John - I think Matthew is right on. Questions everything.

As far as Obama still pushing through for government regulations etc after this internal conspiracy has been exposed? Reminds me of Bush and Cheney still pushing for Iraq so hard once that conspiracy was exposed.

Neither side of this Republican/Democrat government is your friend. Those that believe so on either side are drinking the kook aid.

Joshua - Here's what gets me: there are top reseachers who faked weather data to strengthen global warming debate and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) is more concerned about HOW the faked data got out in the open. Amazing.

Lee - liberals always looking for that free meal..........without working for it...........keep drinking the Kool Aid Matt

Matthew Orlando - Jim: Okay, now I'm NOT going to give you the benefit of the doubt. You have clearly demonstrated that you have no interest in discussing this in a reasonable, rational manner.

If there's one thing I've learned in my 3^3 years on this planet, it's that "plain and simple" is rarely both and usually neither. If you're not going to take the time and actually consider opposing views, then I really don't have anything more to say. Your mind is closed and no amount of contradictory evidence will convince you.

Unlike politicians, scientists actually analyze credible, opposing viewpoints which is what they've done in that article I linked. That's exactly what science is about. Falsifying claims is how science functions. Unfortunately for the climate change denialists, the opposing scientific view has been found wanting.

One last comment before I depart.

Anyone who says global warming is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy to implement fascist programs is just as much of a nutjob as the people who say 9/11 was nothing more than a conservative conspiracy to start a war in the middle east.

In both cases the overwhelming evidence leads to the opposite conclusions. But humans want to see design and intent in everything they witness. In doing so, they latch onto every tiny detail, and end up missing the forest for the trees.

Matthew Orlando - Ok, make that two (well really just expanding on my 3rd paragraph above):

Science starts out with the "null hypothesis," essentially they believe a claim is not true until evidence suggests otherwise. The null hypothesis in the case of global warming is that it isn't happening and that it isn't anthropogenic. This was the state of science in the early part of last century.

Then along comes some empirical data or some intuition, and someone comes up with another hypothesis: that global warming exists and is caused by human activity. These are testable claims, so experiments are designed such that a negative result will falsify the hypothesis. So far, the experiments have not contradicted this hypothesis. After decades of research, scientists have reached a consensus. Global warming exists, and the most recent trend was caused by us.

Now, consensus doesn't mean it's over. If more experiments come along to falsify the claim, then they should be given just as much weight as any other. And they have. But their claims too are falsifiable. And that's what this article I've linked several times has done.

Lee - tell Gore to give his trophy back! To be rewarded by lying.......seems to be the liberal way........can't get by on their own merits

Matthew Orlando - Sure thing. Gore is a hypocritical douche. That doesn't say anything about whether global warming is true or not.

Your inability to separate science from politics is breathtaking. Although I really shouldn't be surprised. Republicans and Democrats both have a long-running track record of ignoring reality in favor of ideology.

Matthew Orlando - Are you even capable of coming back with a response that shows even the slightest hint that you've thought about the scientific claims, or are you just going to continue your mindless "ZOMG ITS AL GORE!!!11" "FASCIST CONSPIRACY" "DON"T DRINK THE KOOL-AID" drivel?

And before you call me a hypocrite, I've done exactly that. I've backed up my counterclaims with resources so you can see for yourself and evaluate the evidence on its own merits. Like i said, I don't care what conclusion you reach as long as it's based on reality.

Jim - Some live in their own reality. Matthew, awake, my friend. This planet's been here long time before you and it will be here after you're gone.

Matthew Orlando - "Matthew, these "scientists" are stepping down in disgrace."

If every scientist who has ever published a study that fits the global warming hypothesis was a fraudster, you might have a point. But even if your claims are true about one or two scientist, that makes absolutely no statement about the truth of the science.

"This idea that we are destroying the earth IS a FRAUD."

you've been more than sipping the Kook-Aid.

Matthew Orlando - Jim: of course the planet will be here. And that's why I'm trying to get you to separate politics from the science. Even if this global warming is entirely natural, it's still something human society will have to deal with. Global warming has the potential to ruin billions of lives through coastal flooding from melting surface ice, drought-induced famine from changing weather patterns, etc.

Will it be the end of the world? of course not. Is it something we want to happen? Well I can't speak for you, but I certainly have compassion for the people who it will affect.

Is it something we can fix? Maybe, maybe not. This last bit is the only place in the discussion where politics should come into play.

Lee - the end it will all come out and unravel, it is happening now..........liberals will stop spending when they run out of everyone elses money.....Does anyone know what hard work is about?

Patrick – ask southern tx about global warming

Carrie - All I have to say is... UGH

Matthew Orlando - In all fairness, there's no way to specifically attribute any particular weather incident to global warming. The statements by scientists about global warming deal with time spans of many decades. All we can really ever say is whether there is a statistically significant increase in the frequency of severe weather. Which there is.

John - Matthew - I wish people on both sides of this Liberal vs. Conservative, (Burger King vs. McDonalds, Ford vs. Chevy, Coke vs. Pepsi) brainwashing would understand that they are being soldiers of strategic marketing put in place to control us and keep career politicians in business as well as those that lobby them. The problem as you are witnessing here is that too many people live in that bubble. They believe that is all that exists is Conservative or Liberal thought. And as you can see here - Conservatives can be just as narrow minded as the Liberals they seem to despise. Politics is imposing itself on Science only as a way to get votes, control people, control businesses and make their lobbyists proud.

John - I think the Conservative argument of "Who do you want in charge of your healthcare - the government???" could be applied to all sorts of areas. Science, Finance, War. It has shown to be ineffective no matter if Pepsi or Coke is in charge this four years.

Mike - I think it could be debated that the earth could be in a natural warming trend even though it seems to be going the opposite way right now but, when it comes down to who would have more power over us & you follow the money to where it would all be going if these GW Bills of control pass, could there be lying & corruption possible......Oh yeah! IF it could be proven that GW is a natural phenomenon, these people that are so adamant about pushing this control & taxing us to death would then just blow away & not care less about GW.

Mario - As it is written, "There are none so blind as those who will not see. The Global warming hoax was started back in the 70's by the same U.C.Berkeley moron who couldn't sell us on the coming ice age, (easily verifiable). Cfc's, freon, fossil fuels, cow flatulence and now carbon dioxide. What next. they've outlawed everything and say there's still a problem. What gets me is that in several places on earth, including here in Cal, the temperature can fluctuate 60 to 70 degrees within a 24 hour period, yet idiots like Algore are screaming "The sky is falling" because the mean temperature of the ocean has risen 1/2 a degree in the last 1000 years. Ooooh! I don't know how we'll ever survive the heat. Also, the seas already rise by 12 to 15 feet, and the cities are still here. It's called high and low tide, look into it. Finally, there remains the biggest indesputable fact of all, every other planet in our solar system is experiencing the same degree of "Global warming" without the benefit or help of mankind, with all our cars and leaf blowers. Now we have the current administration on board with Algore and all this "Hopenhagen bullcr@p. It seems the "Kool-aid" has been replaced by Obalming fluid. If there was anything to this at all, then one would think that the Algores of the world would set example by not jetting around the world in a Gulfstream 2 or driving around in motorcades of bulletproof Hummers and Escalades. So far, of all the people in Gov't and all the Hollywood heavy hitters and all the scientists who are spouting this climate change cr@p, I've only seen one, Ed Begley Jr, who is walking the walk and talking the talk. I may not agree with the guy, but he has my respect. There are two absolute facts about global warming. 1. Algore has made over $100,000,000 since leaving office, won an oscar and the Nobel prize for perpetrating this garbage. 2. Algore is a partner in the company that sells the carbon credits and is the major benefactor of the money made off selling said credits.

Jim - After all the damn changes we have made (like getting up an hour earlier every spring and having our yards called wetlands so we can't add that extra room) It's about time we stop the nonsense. Take care of the earth and don't do unnecessary harm environmentally but really, when do we throw the party for all the stupid things we've done and put up with in the name of "saving the planet"?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To WoW Programming: I’m Sorry

This is an open letter to my ex-colleagues from WoW Programming, and will also give the addon community some insights into my “retirement.”

Hi everyone,

I owe all of you an apology, however belated it may be. I’m very sorry for all the added headaches, missed deadlines, and other ramifications of my departure. While no explanation would be fully satisfying, you all deserve at least some insight into where I was coming from. I don’t expect you to excuse my actions, but at the very least your frustration will be directed at my actual motivations rather than whatever impressions I left at the time.

In hindsight, I began burning out on WoW even before work began on the second edition. I wasn’t writing any new addons. I was only supporting my old addons enough to keep them running in new patches. I quit my position as forum MVP last December. I was tired of dealing with users, tired of feeling like what used to be my passion was now a chore. Again, this is all in hindsight; I don’t remember being conscious of this for the most part.

Given that last bit, I was totally gung ho about working on the book. I am very proud of what we accomplished in the first edition, and was deeply grateful to be a part of it. I had swarms of ideas rolling around in my head for my chapters. Then, for whatever reason, I procrastinated. Whether it was subconscious pressures from the difficulties I was having or plain irresponsibility I can’t say (nor would it really matter in the long run).

Of course, I spent plenty of time rationalizing to myself. “The best work I did on the last book was when I crammed for two weeks of near sleepless nights.” “I scheduled my submission dates toward the front end anyway, so I’ll have time to catch up.” “My wife just got laid off,” “The house needs work,” “My day job just became über busy and stressful.” All true, but certainly no genuine excuses among them.

So the beat went on, until March 18 when the reality of the situation began to sink in and I suggested we pull in some help for my part of the API docs. I also started experiencing some of the hindsight I mentioned above. To reduce my stress, I officially retired from addon development by releasing all my addons to the public domain.

Two days later the feces impacted the rotary air distribution device for me when Blizzard released their new addon policy. This was an extremely emotional time for me, for reasons I can’t discuss. Suffice it to say it goes far beyond my visible reaction on the forums and has little to do with my “legal theories” on the matter. Such is life that I’ll never be able to express my true feelings on the matter.

After the fallout from the policy announcement (culminating in Blizzard wiping every post I’ve ever made from the forums, a great loss to them no doubt) I entered a period of deep conflict. On the one hand, I felt profoundly betrayed by and wholly disillusioned with Blizzard and WoW. On the other hand I highly valued my commitment to WoW Programming. How did I deal with this? Denial.

For the first two weeks of April, I ignored everything going on in the wow community and focused all my energy on my chapters. At first, I even felt like I made it to the same “zone” I was in during my first edition cramming. I churned out three chapters in a week and was well on my way to the rest of them.

But then something clicked. Suddenly I became acutely aware of those troubles I mentioned in hindsight. From that point on, I could barely force myself to sit in front of the computer at all, let alone make any progress on my chapters. I started withdrawing from the community, I started procrastinating at work, I even started closing myself off to my wife. Eventually I realized I was sinking into a depression, something that has never characterized me (except maybe after 9/11). This is when I made the decision to quit.

I had to do it for my sanity. I had to do it for my love. I had to do it for my job. But it didn’t have to be. Much of this could have been prevented had I met my original deadlines. Perhaps I still would have gone through the same troubles, but it would’ve been at a stage in the project when the rest of you would have been better able to deal with it. For that, and everything else I’ve mentioned, you have my deepest apologies.


Matthew Orlando

Monday, November 30, 2009

North Bay Skeptics

The North Bay, and Sonoma County in particular, is a hotbed of anti-scientific thinking. Vaccine hysteria, modern medicine denial, ideological faux-environmentalism, you name it, we've got it.

I'm starting this group in hopes of connecting with some like-minded locals. Even if changing the tide is a futile effort, at least we'll be able to commiserate. Preferably over drinks.

On Meetup:
On Facebook:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Totally Random Made-Up Term for the Day

en nom
adj. - In the process of eating (nomming) or being eaten (nommed). Examples:
“There is a picture of a steak en nom in my photo album.”
“I don’t want to go to McDonald’s because I’m already en nom.”

Monday, November 2, 2009

Doing the Wave

I’m sure this isn’t the first blog post about Google Wave with that title, but it helps illustrate the potential ubiquity of the system. Besides the obvious and oft-mentioned nod to Firefly, “wave” itself carries several connotations matching up with its intent. Most electronic communication manifests itself as a wave at some point or another. The act of waving is itself a method of communication. You can ride the wave while surfing the web. But this post isn’t about the name. It’s about aspects of Wave many reviewers seem to have missed entirely.

Have Revolution — Will Wave

Wave will revolutionize communication. There, I said it. I drank the Kool-Aid and placed my bets. This is something I can get behind and evangelize, and I am. In fact, it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for on so many levels…

But communicating the advantages of Wave to a wider audience than the geek crowd has been challenging at best. Every piece of “mainstream” coverage I’ve seen so far (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.), has either completely missed the point or has contained blatant falsehoods. I don’t hold it against them, however. From my point of view, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the tech-savvy reviewers, through whom mainstream media receives their filtered information.

The problem is a fundamental disconnect between the way the two crowds conceive of the changes Wave brings. Most of my geeky friends understood immediately what manner of things you could accomplish with Wave. The possibilities are endless. And there’s the real rub… Rather than trying to explain how Wave will immediately benefit “normal” people, we’ve tried to extol the vast and plentiful virtues of the future of internet communication ZOMG!!!11one.

Gogo Google — Away, that is

Besides the basic failure to demonstrate the benefits of Wave, we have also failed to separate the Google from the Wave. Much fuss has been made about Wave as implemented by the big G. All that fancy AJAX, and “shiny” chrome are simply the bling-bling of Wave world (part of me can’t believe I just wrote that).

If we truly want this to be the next wave in internet communication, we need to direct attention towards the Google-less components of the system: the Wave architecture and the federation protocol.* The saddest part of this story is that the Wave team emphasized this throughout the 1:20 long demo. But “architecture” and “protocol” are about as catchy as a genetic disorder (newb note: you can’t catch those).

The simple fact is that many people will be (and have been) turned off by the very things the media has been emphasizing. Occasionally they remind us that it’s only a developer preview, but first impressions are the most precious. After my few hours toying with Wave today, I can probably name the members of my family who would be turned off immediately.

My greatest AHA! moment during the presentation was when they brought up the Initech Wave client. Wait, what? Did I just suggest a console client will help invite the masses to the party? In a sense, yes. This is where wave really shines. (No, really!) All of the chrome and UI magic is utterly meaningless in the scheme of things.

Imagine if Microsoft had developed Outlook and then opened up the Exchange protocol to standardization. Would we not still have Thunderbirds, and Evolutions, and Eudoras, and pines? Google’s wave interface is nothing more than a single interpretation of what it means to wave (yes, I’m making it a lower-case verb). It’s a damn shame to lose a sizeable audience by scaring them away.

Something of practical value

In a break from my usual rants, I’d like to propose some concrete approaches for people to employ when trying to convince others.

  1. Make more clients! I know it’s a bit early to be making this demand, but we really need to show what else is possible with wave. To get the most bang for our klocs, we should begin by exploring simpler interfaces that put the emphasis on the mechanics of the conversation model.
  2. Re-target your conversations to put emphasis on the mechanics of the conversation model (bah… “mechanics,” “model,” maybe we should start searching for new language too). Extensions? meh. Bots? meh. Being able to follow who said what when? Oooh… (this may even help with marital spats). Eliminating header crap, re-re-re-formatting issues, attachment corruption, forgotten “reply-all”s, and other present-day annoyances? BIG OOOOOHHHH. Spontaneously switching from “I’m writing an e-mail” to “I’m chatting with someone”? Well, maybe that’ll take a bit more effort, but you get the idea.
  3. Remind people explicitly and often that “Google Wave” and “Wave” are not synonymous. What you’re seeing now is essentially the first version Hotmail cum Wave. When you look at how many differences there are between Hotmail and other e-mail clients out there (and even previous versions of Hotmail), it will be much easier to grasp just how nascent this technology is.

With all that out of the way, I’ll follow up at some point with my impressions of Google Wave. :)

* I say they’re Google-less because as open standards they will be under essentially public control.

At about 1:08:00 in the long demo.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

From Frivolity, Functionality Follows

Custom operator library for C++

Several months ago a friend of mine came up with a way to make valid C++ out of ^_^. Using the code in that link, foo ^_^ bar is equivalent to assert(foo != bar) (as long as foo & bar are implicitly convertible to ints, of course).

The topic came up again the day before yesterday, and I decided to try implementing it myself (having entirely forgotten what the original code looked like). My version used a template so that the operator could be applied to any type. When I tested it using an assertion instead of an exception, I stumbled upon my compiler’s ability to optimize the entire operation away when compiled in release mode.

After playing around with the template design trying to implement other operators, I realized the overall design was highly susceptible to generalization. So began a 48-hour mission to put together an easy-to-use library for creating custom operators. The result?

IdOp*, short for Identifier Operator, provides a few simple macros (at least on the front-end) to generate all the necessary templates for a wide variety of operator configurations. Here’s a small sample to whet your appetite. Further details are available in the source code.

//   x ^__- y <=> x / y
IDOP_CREATE_RIGHT_HANDED(^, __, -, Examples::Quotient)

        // x -_^ y <=> x + y
        IDOP_OPERATION(^, Examples::Sum)
        // x >_> y <=> abs(x - y)
        IDOP_OPERATION(>, Examples::Difference) 
        // x >_< y <=> if (x != y) throw
        IDOP_OPERATION_RET(<, Examples::ThrowNotEqual, void)
        //  x ^_- y <=> assert(x != y)
        IDOP_OPERATION_RET(^, Examples::AssertNotEqual, void)
        //  x |_- y <=> x * y
        IDOP_OPERATION(|, Examples::Product)

The only feature I feel it’s missing is the ability to modify one or both of the operands. When I was originally designing the templates, I threw const around like crazy to make sure I didn’t miss out on any static evaluation. Now that I have the code generation architecture finished, it should be a breeze to add in mutable operands.

Then come the joys of documentation…

* I've been pronouncing it EYE-dee-ahp (sounds sort of like giddyup) or EYE-dahp

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Live Writer – First Impression

Well, for GG Hubble! I decided to give Microsoft’s Live Writer a swing. So as first impressions go, this really is quite first (I probably will never go into any depth because I don’t blog enough to do anything deep ;) ). Oh, and expect me to be excited about things that you might find mundane.

After telling the software that I already had a blog and entering my login info, it immediately downloaded various resources from the website and presented me with an editor:

Live Writer

As you can see, it determined the styles in use on my blog and formatted the editor to match. There’s a preview tab which, unlike Blogger’s preview, actually shows your new post as it will appear on the main blog page. As far as I can tell, everything else is pretty much self-explanatory.

I’m a bit surprised that it doesn’t use a ribbon, but I think the toolbar layout is something familiar to most web users. It reminds me of the various JavaScript WYSIWYG editors you see all over the web. The rest of the UI has sort of a Visual Studio meets Windows Explorer look about it which I find appealing.

I do wish that the source editor did syntax highlighting, but I don’t anticipate using the source editor much. Oh what’s this? “Add a plug-in…” I’ll have to check that out later.

Speaking of source, the code it outputs is fairly clean, semantic XHTML. It does get a tad defensive with some inline styles (only on the image so far), but there may be options or plugins to change that. I could edit it to use a custom class from the template if I wanted to.

So far I haven’t had to “fix” anything. With the blogger editor, I couldn’t get paragraphs to interact correctly, and constantly had to make minor source code adjustments. Oftentimes I’d simply give up and just write the HTML in another editor. Not anymore (so far)!

I always try to use proper Unicode code points for things like ellipses (… vs ... – three periods), quotes* (“angled” vs. "straight"), and apostrophes (don’t vs. don't). (Yes, I’ve got the windows ALT-# shortcuts for all these memorized.) Live writer does it for me!

Just before posting, I discovered the categories feature. It pulled all the tags I’ve used from blogger and included them with checkboxes.

So yeah, I’ll be using this for a while until something about it starts bugging me…

* I’ve often wished that early typewriter/computer character sets included angled quotes, if only for the sake of people who write programming/scripting language parsers.

GG Hubble!

I’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since the recent repair mission completed, and now we have pictures!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Exceptional Logic

I’ve always felt that using exception handling for “normal” programming logic is a bit…dirty. Take the Access database I inherited at work for example. There are several UI modules in separate MDB files for various tasks like running reports, entering customers, sending mass mailings, etc. When one module needs to activate another module, the most straightforward method would be to check if the new module already open, then either open it or switch to the already open window. Instead, it blindly attempts to switch to the window and if there’s an error, it launches the module.

This is especially bothersome in VBA (Access’ scripting language) due to the way Basic handles errors. When you set an error handler (really just a glorified goto), all errors end up at the same point in your code, usually at the end of the function. This means that the code which launches a new window isn’t anywhere near the code that tries to switch to an existing window. I nearly gouged my eyes out when I first came across this.

And then there’s debugging… The Visual Basic debugger allows you to break on all exceptions whether handled or not. This comes in handy if you have a generic error handler which doesn’t provide enough information to track down the cause. By breaking on all exceptions you can find out exactly where the exception occurs and inspect the surrounding code. But if you are trying to debug code that activates another module, you’ll never be able to get past the initial exception when the module isn’t open.

That being said…

Here’s a really simple way to validate an e-mail address in .NET—no Regular Expressions or manual string parsing required:

  var test = System.Net.Mail.MailAddress(emailAddress);
catch (Exception)
  // email is invalid

Monday, August 10, 2009

This insanity has got to stop

If I posted links to every interesting article, video, etc. that I come across on a daily basis, this would be a much livelier place. However, something about it makes me feel a bit cheap. And usually the really good stuff is already so well cross-posted that I'd just be spamming your RSS feeds (as if anyone subscribes to my blog).

That being said... I can't adequately describe how much this story gets under my skin. Luckily PZ Myers can!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dark Matter/Energy, Resolution of Spacetime, etc.

Warning: This is wild speculation from someone who probably doesn't know what he's talking about. Please link me to any resources that would set me straight. :)
Cliffs Notes: Could the possibility of a fundamental resolution to the universe explain dark matter/energy?
Something about the search for the nature of dark matter/energy has always bugged me. Every time I've seen the topic explored (and I admit I haven't done any really advanced reading on it), they've taken for granted that the dark matter is a real substance that we can potentially interact with, and that the dark energy is an actual force being exerted on normal matter. In some ways it reminds me of the search for the luminiferous aether. Has anyone seriously explored the possibility that it's an effect of some (simpler) underlying cause?
In my time playing around with computer graphics, I became quite familiar with various aliasing effects. These range from "jaggies" and Moiré patterns in the spatial realm, to strobe effects like reversed wheel rotation in the temporal realm. These artifacts are distracting to viewers, so we use antialiasing techniques to alleviate the problem. Jagged edges are smoothed by what essentially amounts to blurring. Moiré patterns succumb to anisotropic filtering. Temporal antialiasing, aka motion blur, is more explicit about its goal. There is a fundamental limit to the amount of information an image can store at a particular resolution. Antialiasing removes a bit of certainty about the original source in exchange for a boost in perceived resolution.
What if there's a similar story going on "under the hood" of the cosmos? The first time I considered this was when I learned about Planck <measurement>. To my compsci-biased mind, this struck me as a fundamental resolution and bit-width/dynamic range for the universe. The first thing I noticed was that the blurring effect of antialiasing is roughly analogous to the uncertainty principle, which deals with effects on the Planck scale.
Obviously this is a retcon for me. I was simply trying to put the realities of QM into terms I could easily understand. But to my surprise, there are a few ideas being seriously advanced that are along the same lines:
The holographic and cellular automata explanations would certainly vindicate my resolution idea, and the fractal universe is at least compatible. When I heard about the holographic universe on The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe (#183), it made me think a bit (har) more about the bit-width or dynamic range analogy. They discussed how gravity wave detectors weren't seeing gravity waves but were getting a fairly consistent noise they weren't expecting (reminded me--and the cast--of the CMBR's discovery). This could easily be explained as a bottoming out of the dynamic range of the gravity field. Since gravity gets weaker as you get further from the source, the ideas above suggest that it would effectively disappear at some point.
Now dark energy attempts to explain why the universe's expansion is accelerating in defiance of gravity. What if there is basically no gravity at the massive distances between galaxies? That would at least explain gravity's impotence. Perhaps the extra oomph comes from quantum fluctuations (rounding error?) in this gravitational dead zone.
Dark matter tries to explain the opposite effect. Galaxies should be flying apart given the amount of matter we can detect inside them. What's holding them together? I haven't explored this idea in as much depth, but it seems like the resolution/dynamic range ideas could help explain this extra cohesiveness. Perhaps some of the resolution errors at the small scale create significant effects at the large scale. Maybe the dark energy effect is also "pushing" inwards over a large scale that isn't noticeable in the small scale.
Again, this is all wild speculation on my part. It's a fun exercise for my gray matter, but if it's all in vain, I'd rather turn my attention elsewhere. Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Correcting Misperceptions About Libertarianism

As posted on the Richard Dawkins forums (click the post title to visit the thread)

When I joined this “clear-thinking oasis” late last year, I was shocked to see such strong negative reactions to those of us advocating a libertarian position. The first couple incarnations of “How Bad is Socialism Anyway?” are rife with personal attacks triggered by nothing more than a statement of a political belief.

The more I involved myself in the discussion, the more I realized the vitriol was coming from unabashed prejudice. Even just mentioning the L word is enough to send some people into a tizzy. Once you’re tagged as a libertarian, it seems everything you say is sent through a distortion filter in these people’s minds. I’ve seen some seriously deluded people on this forum treated with more respect than libertarians.

I spent some time reflecting on and refining my own views and came back to the conversation about a week ago. With my new outlook I was pretty optimistic that I’d be able to garner a warmer reception. At least we could have some polite conversation even if they disagreed. No such luck. As soon as I indicated libertarian leanings, I was immediately subjected to the same vitriol as before. But this time I was able to examine it more carefully, and I started to see some patterns behind the reactions.

The more I argued, the more I realized I was pointing out an awful lot of straw man fallacies. When I actually managed to chip away some of the barriers to communication, I found that many people hold an extraordinarily distorted perception of what it means to be libertarian. I don’t know where the blame lies for this problem. Could it be lack of exposure? Could it be lack of investigation? Could it simply be something that’s been passed down relatively uncontested through the years? Who knows? What I do know is that challenging these misperceptions can only help to bring rational discourse back to the forefront.

The negative connotations around the word “libertarian” cause the same sorts of problems you see with the word “atheist.” Nearly every atheist in my youtube subscriptions has at least one detailed explanation of exactly what it means to be an atheist. This is because you can’t even begin to have a polite, rational conversation about atheism until people understand what you mean. The darker side of this is that people become hesitant to apply the label to themselves even if they fit the description. “I don’t really believe, but I don’t disbelieve so I’m neither atheist nor theist.” This is exactly how frustrating it is to deal with anti-libertarian prejudice.

Enough of my rant. Here are the misconceptions I have for you so far.

Libertarians are extremists

This is as silly as saying liberals are extremists or conservatives are extremists. Libertarianism is a category of political beliefs which places emphasis on liberty in both economic and personal pursuits, and attempts to keep the scope of government to a minimum. To be considered a libertarian, your political views simply need to lean in this direction more than in another. The chart used by The World’s Smallest Political Quiz gives a pretty good approximation of where libertarians place themselves on the political landscape.

Of course, there are libertarian extremists, but this is no more significant than that there are left-wing and right-wing extremists. Libertarian extremists may sometimes be seen as more extreme than other extremists, but this is really just a side effect of the fact that most people are so unfamiliar with libertarianism to begin with.

Libertarians are fundamentalists

As with extremism, some are, some aren’t. Strict adherence to the principle of minimum government would imply that every libertarian is an anarcho-capitalist. Many of their prominent figures and “role models” fit this description, but isn’t the same true for most other political philosophies? Moderate socialists still draw upon Marx even if they don’t agree with full-on communism. The idea here is persuasion with strong rhetoric, with pragmatism taking a back seat.

But this distracts us from the simple fact that not every libertarian is a fundie. Most of the libertarians I’ve met in person are a bit more left-leaning and minarchist rather than anarcho-capitalist. Again, libertarianism is a classification for a range of political views, not a strict set of criteria.

Libertarians are religiously motivated

I’ll be honest here. This was something I had blocked from my perception when I was deeply involved in the libertarian movement. I was raised practically anti-theist (though definitely pro-woo... luckily I grew out of that at a young age) so religion has never been a big part of my life. It didn’t strike me as significant that so many libertarians had strong religious views. But this also meant that I developed my own appreciation for libertarianism without this sectarian influence.

And that alone proves my point. There is nothing inherently religious about Libertarianism. Some people may be motivated by religious influences, but that doesn’t automatically discredit the philosophy.

Libertarians are dogmatically motivated

Some are, some aren’t (see a pattern? ;) ). I was when I was young. One of my childhood role models expressed his view of rights in a simple sentence: “You have the right to do anything you want as long as you do not infringe upon the life, liberty, or property of others.” This stuck with me through my high school years when I identified myself as “practically communist.” When I became interested in politics, I realized that communism wasn’t exactly compatible with this principle I held so dear. My first economics class was what finally did me in. Between learning about how economies actually work and investigating libertarianism after a fellow student asked about the teacher’s political orientation, I was hooked.

The dogma got me in, but the thing is, there are piles of literature justifying libertarianism in myriad ways. From utilitarian, to philosophical, to religious, to rationalist. Even when the literature is marginally well-known, though, it may not be well-understood (hence many of these misconceptions).

Libertarians are greedy

There are several reasons for believing this. Libertarian literature often uses the term “self-interest” in a positive light, and many people equate this with greed. However, the two terms have a specific differentiation: greed is acting in self-interest without regard for the rights of others. Libertarians believe that acting in self-interest generally promotes win-win situations. But acting greedily creates win-lose situations.

Another problem is that greed is associated with free-market capitalism (addressed next), so libertarians are guilty by association.

But the real problem is in the nature of the misconception itself: you’re making a statement about an individual’s personality based on their view of how the government should be structured. This is a blatant non sequitur. A libertarian could be the most generous person in the world and still believe that the state shouldn’t be providing universal health care. Libertarians simply feel generosity is better manifested by giving away your own money rather than giving away other people’s money.*

“Libertarianism” = “Unregulated free-market capitalism”

This isn’t a misconception so much as it is a misrepresentation (intentional or otherwise). Yes, libertarians do support deregulation and free-market capitalism, but making this statement gives a few false impressions.

First: There are plenty of perfectly rational defenses of free-market capitalism, even from non-libertarian types. This isn’t the place to get into that discussion though. ;)

Second: Many people assume everything about our current capitalist system would stay the same except for the regulations, therefore corporate greed and excess would be the new law of the land. I agree that if we suddenly dropped all regulations, all hell would break loose. However this ignores several important factors. All the power corporations have is derived from the government. The very idea of a corporation is a legally fictitious person, independent of the individuals who own it. Combine this government fiat with limited liability and you have a recipe for disaster. Another aspect of corporate excess is their grip on the government via lobbyists. With a libertarian system, the government wouldn’t have enough power to make it worth their while. These are just a couple examples. Regardless of whether you agree with them or not, I hope you can see we’re not dreaming dreams of sweat shops, dormitories, and oppressed masses.

Finally, and most importantly: Deregulation and free-market capitalism are conclusions drawn from a libertarian starting point, not core ideologies of the libertarian position. The core of libertarianism is minimizing the interference of government in the lives of its citizens. Capitalism is simply an emergent property of human interaction given the rights to liberty and property. Minimizing regulations follows from minimizing government interference.

Libertarians are all alike

This may seem a bit redundant, but I really feel it’s necessary to drive this point home. I’m sick and tired of being cornered into a little box and having to blow down straw man after straw man over many pages just to get in one meaningful argument. We are not just a mindless herd of sheeple. We are all individual people with unique thoughts, feelings, and motivations behind our libertarian beliefs. It’s been said that a libertarian is simply a liberal who understands economics. It’s been said that a libertarian is simply a conservative who’s had his ass kicked by a cop. All a libertarian really is is someone who values freedom over government interference, whatever their reasons may be.

* In fact, by some objective measures, libertarians (fiscal conservatives, in this case) are MORE generous than their liberal counterparts.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sheeple Report 1

In order to give my rants a bit of consistency, I’m starting a new series of posts called Sheeple Reports. A large part of skeptical inquiry is pointing out the blind following of numerous trends from religion to homeopathy. Sheeple Reports will give me a chance to vent my frustration in dealing with the various followers all around me. First on the agenda is an update to my previous snippet of frustration:

_____’s boys are still super congested and coughing horribly, but praise God they’re in good moods!

Yes, praise God for smiting my children with illness but having the decency to keep their spirits up. Such a merciful, loving god. Oh but wait… Them being sick is all part of His plan, of course. So, what if they were miserable? Would you still be praising the Lord who made them suffer in the first place? Just goes to show there’s no room for honesty in religion. Hypocrisy is the rule.

Thankfully (to the outcome, not to some mystical cause of the outcome), the children are beginning to feel better. Less-than-thankfully, as you might have anticipated, the mother is thankful to some mystical cause of the outcome (you know, the same mystical cause of the problem itself):

_____’s boys are starting to get better! Thank you, Lord!

I’m trying to think of the best way to describe the image of God she’s painting here. Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy seems to fit pretty well. This megalomaniacal being manifests illness in His children for the sole purpose of curing them and “earning” the praise of His other children. Yeah, I really want to worship Him now…

Next up we have someone who sadly confuses his own inner strength with that of God:

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:30,31

Tonight after youth group I went to the gym and got on one of the recumbent-style exercise bikes and started going (Level 12ish, kept it to about 80 rpm). Had my iPod blasting worship music by Everybodyduck. My first goal was 20 minutes or five miles, whichever came second. At 17 minutes (about four and a quarter miles), both calves started quivering; threatening to cramp at any moment. I closed my eyes, grunted once, and recited the verses above to myself. I then prayed, “Lord, please be my strength. I know you are made perfect in my weakness. Let me get to 10 miles.” At about 19 minutes, I made it to five miles and kept going. At 22 minutes, my legs started hurting a little more. I noticed my legs were hurting more when there was slack in the peddling, so I bumped up the level to 15 to keep constant resistance against my legs and pressed on. For the last mile and a half, I closed my eyes, tuned out everything and just focused on the worship songs. I finally hit 10 miles at 35:06 minutes. Pressed the cool down button and continued peddling for another 5 minutes at Level 3. In all, I went 10.94 miles in 40:06 minutes and not once did my calves go into full-blown cramping.

Yay God!

Why are you selling yourself so short? I guarantee you it’s not the prayer itself that did the trick. Here, I’ll highlight the key phrase from your note:

For the last mile and a half, I closed my eyes, tuned out everything and just focused

Any time you do that—whether it’s focusing on a prayer from the bible, visualizing some new-age imaginary energy field around your body, or listening to the violent and misogynistic lyrics of some hard metal band that you happen to enjoy—you’re going to discover an inner strength without any intervention from a divine being. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What makes you so certain you would’ve cramped in the first place?
  • What if you had been reciting any other passage from the bible?
  • Why would God even care about something so trivial as exercise cramps when people have been praying for far more worthy goals for millennia?
  • Why won’t God heal amputees?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snippets of Frustration

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” they say. Taking each small thing in a vacuum, I couldn’t agree more. The sweat, of course, starts flowing when small thing piles on small thing, until you reach the proverbial backbreaking straw. A ton of feathers still weighs a ton. In order to wash off some of my sweat, here are a few small things that have me a bit riled up:

Artitstry [sic]

Why are Americans so offended by breasts? Save for the poor souls who grew up without a mother able or willing to breast feed, we’ve all sucked on them at one point or another. How can such a natural, normal part of life be perceived with such rage? My wife and I celebrated our seventh anniversary yesterday by taking lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant. We first dined here shortly after they opened, and were impressed by the remarkable atmosphere which included some beautiful—if possibly inauthentic—Asian paintings. Paintings with breasts. The horror. They’re gone now, replaced by mass-produced Pottery Barn-worthy “artwork.” The waiter confirmed it was due to a customer complaint. And this is in one of the most liberal towns in America.

Praise the Lord’s Status

Two of my friends’ recently-posted Facebook statuses have proven to be a great exercise in self-restraint. The first one appeared yesterday on the profile of a friend who recently injured his knee:

_____ is praying for healing. Being in constant pain is no fun.

Pray all you like, buddy. You’d have better luck with Vicodin. It was all I could do to keep myself from commenting with just that sentiment. And it’s definitely a good thing I didn’t… Three of his local (Bible Belt) friends responded with various “we’re praying for you too”s.

The other friend’s status is so wrong on so many levels:

_____'s boys are still super congested and coughing horribly, but praise God they're in good moods!

Yes, praise God for smiting my children with illness but having the decency to keep their spirits up. Such a merciful, loving god. Oh but wait… Them being sick is all part of His plan, of course. So, what if they were miserable? Would you still be praising the Lord who made them suffer in the first place? Just goes to show there’s no room for honesty in religion. Hypocrisy is the rule.