Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shiny Object News, Philosophy and Sufism

So last week, I was sitting in cubicle-land, when I glance over at my television set, which is tuned to Faux News. I have the volume turned all the way down, and I don't have the headphones jacked into it, so I cannot hear what they are saying, but they are clearly discussing the Oprah Winfrey "scandal". They have some subtitle along the lines of "Did Oprah apologize enough?" or some such leading question. Bleh, I think. More shiny object news. So I turn over to CNN. Surely they won't be covering such silliness. They aren't, they are talking about Abramoff (a real scandal). But WAIT! They wrap it up, and then they go to a commercial, but first with a teaser about upcoming coverage of Oprah after the commercial. Yeesh. Where are the adults supposed to get real news? This question occurs to me all the time these days. Anyway.

So I'm watching the Daily Show from Monday and they TOTALLY point out how ridiculous the Oprah coverage is. Man, I'm glad someone else is paying attention that has a voice. Go to Comedy Central's site, click on "Age of Misinformation" to check it out. Colbert, on the same night, completely skewers Bush's little town hall meetings(click on "unscripted").
The more I watch shows like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, the more I believe the only people in the modern age that make any real money from philosophy are comedians. I've had this conversation with a co-worker years ago about Bill Hicks, and I think it still holds true.

So I'm reading about the Sufis in various texts I have read/am reading like Essential Crazy Wisdom, RAW's stuff, Poker Without Cards, etc., and it strikes me that the Colberts and Stewarts of the world just may be the mainstream's answer to mystic traditions like Sufism.

Getting Serious

I think it was Chomsky who I saw deriding the notion in which the elite media uses the word "serious". They'll discount certain positions as "not serious", for example.

Something I've noticed is that you can get ready for some bullshit to follow when someone in corporate media says "We need to get serious on/with...". For example, "We need to get serious in the War on Terrorism". Or, "We need to get serious with fixing Social Security". Or "We need to get serious with welfare reform". "We need to get serious with the War on Drugs". "We need to get serious on our energy policy".

The way that I translate the above when I see/hear those sort of sentences is that "We need to keep on doing what we've always done to address these issues, and don't bother me with the facts".

For example, if anyone was *really* going to "get serious" on the "war on terrorism", they would have to take a look at what drives people to terrorism. But anyone that brings that up is typically called a "liberal" who is "blaming America first", etc. and told that we don't need to look for root causes, we just need to kill the terrorists, and we define who/what a "terrorist"/"terrorism" is. It just baffles the mind.

As another example, if we were to really "get serious" with the "war on drugs", we'd abolish it altogether.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Liberal Media? Yah, Right!

While far, far right pundits like to say they can spot the leftist media bias by finding use of words such as "arch-conservative" in common use, while "arch-liberal" is rare, I'd like to focus on issues of real substance. Let's take two recent examples:

1. Abramoff. I think Franken discussed him in his book, and how Abramoff and Delay actually went to Saipan to ensure the bullshit there continues. Made in America - yeah, right. Yay, "free market"!

I doubt anyone in Bush's base would support this (other than the elites that benefit from this arrangement), but since they aren't told about it by corporate media, why would they care? Sure, mainstream book publishers will carry this stuff, but it isn't discussed in any serious way on television. If it wasn't for this recent scandal, the average schmoe wouldn't even know who Abramoff is. If the media were really "liberal" and doing their jobs, you'd know a lot more about these two, and much, much sooner.

2. Spying on Americans. The New York Times (which is supposed to be a Marxist rag if you buy the nonsense on right-wing talk radio) sat on this story for over a YEAR at the request of the government, even though it's questionable as to whether the administration violated the law. This is watergate stuff, and they sat on it for a year. What commies. I'm sure the upcoming election had NOTHING to do with it...{rolls eyes}

These two scandals are a little more substantive than the use of certain words.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Taylorism and IT - Specialization is for Insects

I think way back in high school, I dimly remember a mention of Taylor. Or maybe my Dad mentioned his name to me at some point. In any case, I got re-introduced to Taylor via the excuse me, Ghidorah? podcast a while back. This guy seemed to have some interesting concepts and a creative way of combining them in one stream, so it's a shame that he hasn't blogged or podcast in months.

Anyway, I see an awful lot of Taylorism trying to be applied to IT, and it really makes me scratch my head. When I first got out of school, I didn't find a job right away - I started working at my part-time job at PSU full-time. Later in the fall, I found a real job at a small startup called TSA. They had so few resources that I wore many different hats, sometimes on the same day. I was db admin, architect, client/server programmer, script monkey, db programmer, db designer, UNIX admin, tape jockey, and did site installs and some tech support, gathered requirements, put together a schedule for my own work, etc. I learned a lot, but I got paid so little that I eventually moved on.

Now, I see people even trying to push themselves into a niche. I knew someone a few years back who pitched themselves as a "JSP developer". During a session of being laid off, I got "advice" from a headhunter that I should try to specialize, that generalists were shyed away from. Wow, that's a big difference from what I was used to in the past. I get blown off by people in "IT" (you know, the network/NT/Unix admins) because I'm a "programmer" who is probably asking too many questions, and they find it threatening, I guess. Same with some DBAs. And architects. It's not all, just some - but it happens far too much, in my opinion. I find it weird in any case.

Specialization is for insects
, and I don't understand why the workers themselves go along with Taylorism. It weakens their position, and leads to burnout.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Where not to live

I watched the End of Suburbia a while ago, and man, is that one bleak movie. Sometimes the truth ain't so pretty, though. Most people like to keep their head in the sand until the train hits them. (Nice mixed metaphor, eh?) And the media is more than willing to accomodate them. As Jello Biafra says in the Special Bulletin: "All sports broadcasts will proceed as normal.". We'll keep driving our gigantic SUVs, owning 4000+ square foot homes that place us 1-2 hours away from our jobs...oil is a renewable energy source, no?

Since they mention that what is the current outer ring of the suburbs/exurbs of metropolitan areas will become some of the new slum areas when the effects of Peak Oil begin to have an impact, I began to wonder where those might be in the Denver area. Highlands Ranch comes to mind, as do a lot of the bedroom communities in this area. But after thinking about that, I began to wonder if almost all of flyover country might become a wasteland?

Like the rest of the nation, I feel like sticking my head on the sand on this one, and hoping the elites have some grand vision they just haven't mentioned to us. I imagine we'll have a few more Iraq-style invasions before the reign of the oil-burning internal combustion engine is over...hardly a long-term solution, but I'm sure that's the way it will go. It's pretty clear that if some of these predictions are true, we are going to have a "paradigm shift" like few ever experienced.

Low bandwidth version of Denver library web site

I discovered that there is a low-bandwidth version of the Denver library web site. I'm going to see if I cannot incorporate this into my GreaseMonkey library scripts instead of using the normal version of the site.

The reality-based community vs. right wing "sound science" fantasy land

I've recently finished _The Republican War Against Science_. I can't recommend it enough. I think I've realized pretty early in life that there is a strong anti-intellectual and anti-science faction of the right wing. However, it's really quite chilling to find out how the Newt Republicans worked to dismantle the OTA, with the result that now there is partisan science, and freaking political litmus tests given to scientists. Let me repeat that. In our 21st century United States, we have litmus tests being used. On scientists. This administration is insane. The author is right to compare this to Lysenkoism.

Anyway, in there, he talks about the phrase "sound science" as used by the right wing. "Sound science" means anything that supports their religious or corporate agenda - anything that opposes it, even if peer-reviewed, consensus science, is "junk science". But "sound science" is just the PR initiative they use on the sheeple. They show their true colors when they are discussing foreign policy behind closed doors. For example, he discusses this:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

He's just admitting that if they don't like the facts, they'll make up their own fantasy land because we are an empire. They are discussing foreign policy, but if they can do it there, they'll do it in science. And have. George Lysenko Bush, what a good comrade. "Catapult the propaganda", indeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Right-wing Christian activism, hypocrites, and lying

When I wrote earlier about the term "activism", I rattled off a few foundations I could think of that practice conservative/Libertarian and/or Christian activism. Well, here are two more for your perusal:

The Discovery Institute
- this neat little outfit is behind all the hoopla over Intelligent Design. It's entirely a "controversy" of their own construction. This is outright distortion, and it's really quite sad that they decided to attach themselves to Christianity. If you are LYING to support your cause, and you are supposed to be a moral group, you are now hypocrites. Oh well, I guess the defendants in the Dover PA case lied several times, too. Way to show what upstanding, moral people you are.

The Thomas More Law Center. These trolls went shopping for school districts so they could stir up a "controversy" over teaching religion in school. Apparently they got the folks in Dover to bite.

I contend that the term "culture war" is bullshit. It's more like a "foundation war" - well funded conservative foundations float bullshit as fact (read _The Republican War on Science_) and then proclaim in corporate media outlets that there is a deep divide, yada yada, when it's their own construction.

Here's a funny sidenote: when looking around for some links on this, I came across this little gem from some Christian site.
When it comes down to it, though, which do you think God cares more about? That those who act in his name got a school district to call Darwinian evolution a theory, or that the entire world now considers them perjurers?

LOL. Again, showing their ignorance. No one disagrees that evolution is a theory. Again, "theory" != "hunch". These people just have no clue. Well, to be correct, I should include this link that evolution is both a fact and a theory, but that's just for completion's sake. The point is that getting a school district to call evolution a theory doesn't deal a blow to scientific consensus on evolution.

I wouldn't even care about this except for the fact that Joe Sixpack takes away from the corporate media a very distorted view of the world and science in particular. I guess it's a lost cause, when 1/4 of Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth. This link also has a quote that makes the claim that something like 20-25% of Americans are "scientifically savvy and alert". Well, based on this survey, I'd be surprised if it's that high. One thing that was promising was that only 5% of "scientists" - including those with degrees in a wide range of fields, even Comp. Sci., believed in the Creationist view.

The U.S. is founded on paganism

Here is a rather tongue-in-cheek page poking fun at the misinformed Christians in this country that constantly repeat the lie that this country was intended to be a Christian nation, or more recently, a Judeo-Christian nation. Obviously, he's not entirely serious here, but the arguments in here are just as feasible as what the Christian right in this country espouse.


I've recently decided to take the leap and add db unit tests to my regular set of unit tests for the project I'm working on. In the past, I've always dodged these sort of tests. I'm hardly alone - most people don't like to think about this, since it can get pretty messy. However, it's pretty bogus to not put in db tests, when typically, most apps involve a database. In fact, other than smaller one-off applications, and small scripts, I cannot think of any application I've worked on in my career of 12+ years that didn't have a database.

Anyway, I decided to use DBUnit, since I'm using JUnit already. I decided to just crawl before trying to walk or run, and just do a simple compare of the expected data over a set of tables. DBUnit made this easier than it would have been otherwise. It wasn't without its frustrations. It took me a while, but over the course of a few days at work (doing other tasks, too) I was able to get the compare to work, incorporated into the battery of tests run by CruiseControl, and now I think I can add new tests if/when they seem warranted.

I have seen^H^H^H^Hheard the fnords

I listen to a podcast where they used this song where they loop a clip of Bush saying "you gotta catapult the propaganda". Talk about a Freudian slip.

Thing is, I saw this clip of him saying this (I think the Daily Show played it), and it didn't really sink in back then, since I unconsciously slipped in what he probably meant, and that is "pole vault", not "catapult". I literally couldn't hear the fnord until this song made it hit home. The poor guy probably has no idea what he said. His administration probably went ape on him afterwards. Speaking of ape, this again reminds me of RAW - instead of flinging poo, domesticated primate leaders fling PROPAGANDA - with a catapult. That's progress. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Religious Right's Obsession With Gays

I just don't understand why these people obsess over gays. Some, I suspect are actually in the closet themselves...it's happened in the past where the ones who were the most ridiculous and extreme in their gay bashing were gay themselves!

This obsession makes no sense when you realize that the Bible also prohibits eating seafood without fins, pork, and other things that obviously don't generate the sort of activism of say, the God Hates Fags website. These Baptists have come a long way from what Christianity is supposed to be about, IMHO. Click on the photos link over there. These pieces of human garbage not only attend funerals of known gays, they also held up signs saying "Thank God for Dead Miners" at the recent disaster in WV. I wonder how many of these people are in the closet...in any case, they must be an absolute delight to hang out with. Yeesh.

I love the argument that gay marriage will destroy hetorosexual marriage! That's a good one. DIVORCE destroys marriage. Live and let live, I say, and don't worry so damned much about what others are doing if it doesn't affect you.

The whole choice argument is funny, too: did left handers "choose" to be left-handed? Did they get "recruited" to the left-handed lifestyle? Don't forget that lefties are also viewed with suspicion, much like gays are.

Republicans Behaving Badly

The Republicans Behaving Badly podcast is hilarious. For instance, when he's talking to Republicans who start flinging racial epithets at him (he's black), he asks, "So, did you vote for Bush?" It's rather sneaky, but still very funny.

Other times, it's sort of disturbing. He's talking to Christians on a Christian chat room, and one woman actually thinks all homosexuals should be rounded up and thrown in jail. I guess intellectually, I know people like this exist, but to actually hear her advocate this is unsettling. Another also says the day she sees women and women holding hands and men and men holding hands in a church is the day she bombs that church!

This same "Christian" tries to draw him into a discussion, over and over, on which day is the proper day for the sabbath. I'm not a Christian, but I have a hard time envisioning a god so concerned with a technicality that someone who kept the sabbath on Sunday vs. Saturday would be condemned to hell over it. In my opinion, it's people like her who qualify for the moniker of pseudo-Christian. They will constantly cite Scripture for this and that various detail, and yet seem to have no brotherly love in their heart. I wonder if she eats ham or wears mixed fabrics. More about that later.

The Road From Citizen to Consumer

It's like a frog boiling in water. I heard a few people decrying the constant use of the word "consumer" instead of "customer" during the mid to late 90's. I don't know when the "consumer confidence" reports started, but they seemed to be more and more prominently discussed in corporate media. At first it seems like such a minor thing, and you think to yourself, big deal, it's just a word. Consumer vs. customer. Consumer vs. citizen. So what?

Well, it seems to reflect a great deal on how both multinationals and government view customers and citizens, respectively. They are expected to buy and vote, and then shut up. Activism/thinking/criticism is not required. Presidents have become likened to CEOs instead of public servants. Extending that analogy, presidents are now beholden to their shareholders (the corporations that bought and paid for their position) instead of the people.

The state of things was made blatantly obvious by our current president right after 9/11. What did he tell the citizenry, oops, I mean, consumers, they could do? That's right. Go SHOPPING. Now that's leadership a CEO can admire.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The term "elites" seems to have an interesting connotation for talk radio conservatives. I've read Laura Ingraham's book, _Shut Up and Sing_, and she constantly references "elites" in there. She makes some concession in there that not all "elites" are liberal - surprise, surprise. But the focus in the book and on her show when it comes to "elites" is on the typical far right's boogeymen - LIBERALS. The term "elite" is supposed to evoke goofy Hollywood limousine liberals, Harvard intellectuals, the East Coast "establishment" (whatever that means), ACLU lawyers, etc.

If the term "elites" is really to mean anything, it should be applied to those who actually wield power. Sure, liberals in Hollywood have a bully pulpit in the media - but they can't really effect any change. They may raise the hackles of those in the "heartland" (another interesting term), but that's about it.

The term "elite" really takes on more meaning in the real world when it is applied as Chomsky uses it - he seems to use this term interchangeably with "intellectuals" (he doesn't use this term in the same fashion as right wing radio does - "intellectual" as they use it means anyone who has anything beyond a high school education, but only if they don't adhere to conservative and/or evangelical Christian dogma). These are the people who "manufacture consent" and/or have the ear of those who enact policy, and in some cases, actually write or enact policy. Think of those who were charter members of Project for the New American Century, the conservative think tank that advocated current Iraq policy pre-9/11: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Richard Perle. Now THOSE are elites.

Applying the term "elite" to the likes of Barbara Streisand looks really dumb in comparison. Since right wing radio hosts often pride themselves on being anti-intellectual, it makes sense that they so often can get away with this asinine use of "elite".

Now, if applied to the likes of Kerry, then it looks a little less silly. The problem is, when talk radio brings this up, they invariably have to do mental backflips to avoid noticing, that hey, Bush is an EVEN BIGGER ELITE than Kerry, despite well-orchestrated photo-ops where he's out sawing wood and clearing brush on his "ranch".

What I find most amusing about Laura's derision of "elites", is that she doesn't really acknowledge that she is one. I've heard her mention on her show that she was working out and saw George Stephanopoulos at her gym, for example. I doubt many of her "heartland" listeners roll like that. She also dated a senator. She also has the sixth largest talk radio audience. I'd say having that much exposure and ability to form opinions of so many qualifies as elite.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Domesticated Primate Leaders and Their BS

Earlier I mentioned RAW's writings about various BS (belief system(s)). Well, here's a prime example. Here are two leaders of two different countries - both operating on their own BS, almost pre-programmed to react in robotic fashion to stimuli. Neither realizes they are practicing standard mammalian politics. If it wasn't so dangerous, it'd be funny.

If you live in either reality tunnel of these two, you'll probably be more than willing to do whatever it takes to bring on whatever fairy tale your BS espouses, and that's even more scary than what the so-called "leaders" are saying in public.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Independent Thought

Are your thoughts really your own? I was thinking the other day just how hard it really is to achieve independent thought in this country. People can walk around in entire ideological bubbles of their own creation by choosing to only read/watch/listen to media that doesn't offend their ideology. ("I can't watch Channel 'Foo', it's from those libberools,", or "I can't read newspaper X, it's owned by evil conservative so-and-so". Or worse, reject whole networks because, omigosh, they have a nationalist bent that's not American - think Al-Jazeera. Nevermind if they actually know anything about Al-Jazeera besides what an AMERICAN network told them.) Even if they happen to bump into memes/facts that directly contradict their ideology, they will usually reject them outright.

I don't discount myself from this. I'm not above the fray. For years, I considered myself a Libertarian (even paying dues) and generally thought most of their ideology to be of sound mind, and applicable to most problems. The problem with ideology of any stripe is that you won't tend to follow the facts - you'll only start with a conclusion, and find the facts that lead you to the foregone conclusion. That's not really thinking - that's more of a reflex[0]. It's really hard to practice independent thought on a day to day basis.

I've been reading a lot the past 3.5 years - one of the most interesting people I've read during that time happens to be Robert Anton Wilson, who is a highly unusual guy. He's known first and foremost for the Illuminatus! Trilogy, but if that's all you ever read of him, you're missing out. He lays out these two rules of thumb that are really quite funny and yet enlightening:

1. Never believe anyone's BS*.
2. Never believe your own BS*.

*BS = Belief System.

This is one especially for you conservative talk radio fans, but also you Air America fans. Us former Liberarians, too.

He talks about deliberately going out and subbing to something in direct contradiction to your worldview or "reality tunnel". So if you are a liberal, sub to National Review. If you are a conservative, sub to The Nation. I found myself listening to Rush Limbaugh-esque Jim Quinn years before I read any RAW. I also drop in on The Savage Nation and Laura Ingraham and Air America from time to time even though I don't strictly hold any of their worldviews as my own. As I read more lately, I find Laura and Savage unintentionally much funnier than I did before, but I still try to give it a chance.

The right wing talk shows rarely give much context to world events, and aren't really up for much of a nuanced argument. Air America, as might be expected, do give a bit more context and nuance at times, but they often degenerate into shout shows just as much as the far right shows. Both of them seem to do a bang-up job of cherry-picking facts to support their Belief System (BS).

[0] Of course, there is the theory that the neo-cortex is just there to rationalize the wants of the reptile brain and the mammalian brain, so it sorta makes sense. We are just domesticated primates who generally forget that, afer all. :)


Ahh, the things we wouldn't know without BoingBoing. Check out the article on Chuck Norris facts. It's good to see that Chuck Norris has a sense of humor about it all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Library scripts top 200 viewings

I was adding up the number of "viewings" of the five scripts I wrote for Colorado area libraries. They topped 200 viewings. 241 to be exact. Now, I have no idea how many people actually installed it and used it, and some of those viewings are mine from installing on various computers I use. Considering that's it quite a niche script (you have to be a library user living in a few Colorado counties and savvy enough to be running Firefox + GM), I'm flattered if even 50 people installed it.

Snapshot of Denver search

This is what the search should look like if the GreaseMonkey script is working properly.

Intelligent Duhsign Smackdown

Okay, I'm a bit late on this, but creationists got their ass handed to them in this ruling. Ouch!

Well, chalk one up for teaching science. I suspect the religious nutjobs won't ever give up. They got spanked in Scopes trial way back in 1925 (even though they won on a technicality) and are still at it 80 freaking years later. As someone who grew up in PA, I'm really disappointed that this happened in this area. Not that PA doesn't have its share of hicks, but you still don't expect something like this to happen in the Northeast. Apparently, the community didn't really support it so much, though, and it was just a few stupid Republicans who pulled this stunt. Eight of the dumbasses got unelected. :)

Listen up, you creationist goofballs. If there was really a scientific alternative to evolution, we will be hearing about it and it probably won't be so controversial to teach. If you really wanted to find real scientific controversies to teach, you could discuss the controversy over wormholes, or the controversy over the various interpretations in quantum physics. I don't expect the average creationist to even know what the hell I'm talking about, but just in case they wanted to really "teach the controversy" there are plenty to find. Plenty of legitimate scientific controversies, that is. Evolution isn't one. Saying evolution vs. creationism is a scientific controversy is like saying there is a scientific controversy over heliocentrism vs. geocentrism.

Of course, the creationists aren't fooling anyone - most people know the ID proponents don't want to really enrich scientific discussions, they just have a religious axe to grind. I bet if some of these guys had their druthers, in fact, they'd be using the Answers in Genesis website as a teaching tool. The judge wasn't fooled, either.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New GreaseMonkey script

I modified my Denver-Prospector script, and came up with a new one. This one now searches Denver, if not found there, then Prospector, if not found there, then it searches WorldCat. I kept the old script around in case people don't want the new behavior of searching WorldCat.

Unfortunately, for a hit in WorldCat, I don't know how to automate the script in such a way that you can click on the link from the Amazon page and then have an option to request the item right there. Part of this is because Denver (and other libraries) has the user log in first before using WorldCat from their site. If anyone has any clues as to how I might do this, I'm welcome to suggestions. You'll still know that the book is available in any case.

You can find the script here.


I used to listen to talk radio - a lot of it. Since I've started listening to podcasts, I don't listen quite so much. There are a lot of things I've noticed about political talk radio in general, but one thing I've noticed about conservative talk radio in particular: they always decry "activism". The image you are supposed to have in your head, of course, is ugly angry feminazis or godless heathen dirty hippies who have too much time on their hands and just refuse to Get With the Program. So when they don't actually say the word in front of activism, it's implied: liberal activism. Oh, the horror. People trying to get things changed in a constitutional representative republic. Can't they just shut up, go to work, consume, and watch mindless TV like the rest of us "real merrikans"? Yes, it's just awful.

The ironic part of all this is that I would contend that there is much more "activism" on the part of conservatives. At least it's better funded. Rarely do they have to stand out on the street. Here's a short list of groups that place op-ed pieces in corporate papers, who help shape opinion, etc:

Media Research Council, Focus on the Family, Christian Coalition, Christian Broadcast Network, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute. I'm sure there are many more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head. Then there are PR groups, and one that even, oh, I don't know, sold us a war. But that's not activism. That's, uh, well...well, this stuff isn't even discussed in right wing radio. The facts rarely matter to a partisan. Well, at least certain facts. Certain facts are even "un-American".

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sweet Feathery Jesus

I've been catching up on old Phil Hendrie shows, and somewhere in Nov 2005's shows (I have a backstage pass) I heard him mention a fansite, SweetFeatheryJesus.com. If you are a fan of the show, it's definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Intelligent Duhsign

I'm really tired of how the coverage in corporate media for ID vs. evolution in schools panders to the idiots in the Religious Right. The corporate media clearly don't want to step on any toes.

To see/read the average coverage of this, you'd think there was some sort of split in the scientific community about evolution vs. ID, instead of just coming out and telling the viewers that ID is so much untestable and unscientific nonsense. The only time I've ever seen anyone approach this topic in the corporate media - without gingerly tiptoeing around people's delicate sensibilities about their particular superstitions and creation myth(s) - has been on the wonderful show Bullshit! with Penn and Teller.

A few thoughts for you people still clinging to ID/creationism:

1. Don't give me that nonsense about the eye and how complex it is. The eye has evolved at least 40 different ways. Throwing your hands up in the air and saying, "Whelp, God must have dunnit!" when something is complex is not science.
2. If you claim that the fossil record was put there by Satan/angels or whatever to "test your faith" you are not qualified to talk about what sort of things should be discussed in a science class. Shut up and sit down.
3. Breakthroughs in science and engineering provide a nation a lot of wealth. If you want your child taught your particular creation myth, by all means, go ahead, but don't call it science, and don't bring it into the public schools. The U.S. already has plenty of competition in science and engineering without having our schools hijacked by religious nutjobs.
4. Young earth creationists are the funniest of the bunch. Do you guys think the Earth is flat, too? Grand Canyon, formed in days from a flood? Hilarious!
5. Do some reading. Something more than "Left Behind".
6. All you folks that still want your creation myth taught as science - will you swear off any sort of cures or preventative treatment that used evolution theory in the process? Didn't think so. Otherwise, there would be a lot more folks with polio.
7. Yes, it's "just" a theory. Like gravity. And relativity. If you don't understand the preceding sentences, your homework is to find out how science works, and then stop using "theory" (as applied to science) interchangeably with "hunch".
8. I know that you have no real interest in science, and that your interest in "teaching the controversy" or "teaching both sides" begins and ends with your religious agenda - there is no real interest in scientific inquiry here.
9. Stop confusing evolution with other areas of science. Here's a clue: the big bang and abiogenesis are different topics. When you confuse them with evolution, you are only showing your ignorance.
10. It's a damn good thing we don't have ID folks/creationists doing criminal investigations. "Uh, we found a body and no one was there to witness the complex details of the murder - must have been God^H^H^H a designer that did it."

Yes, this topic gets me angry. I seriously doubt that the educational systems in up-and-coming economies like China and India waste time and money fighting over whether they should teach their creation myths as science.

Douglas County

I forgot to mention in my last post that the reason I didn't do a script for Douglas County is because that library system does not provide an ISBN search, at least on their website. I actually called them about this. Even if they did provide this, the script would still be less useful than the others, as Douglas County does not participate in Prospector.

Maybe I've been spoiled by the great systems of the Jefferson and Denver counties.

GreaseMonkey scripts for Amazon and Colorado libraries

When I went to NoFluffJustStuff in Broomfield a few months ago, I was introduced to GreaseMonkey. While there are many things that GM can be used for, the idea of a script to search my local library while looking at a book on Amazon really appealed to a bookworm like me. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any for my local libraries (Denver and JeffCo). I ended up modifying another script to turn to my uses and created scripts for Denver, Jefferson, Adams, and Arapahoe counties. You can find them here: http://userscripts.org/people/2388.

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