Friday, July 25, 2008

Mental Whiplash

Thinking one is starting to play Evanescence's Fallen, and missing by one slot on the iPod, and accidentally playing Enya's Watermark.

(Yes, I have some Enya on my iPod, and not just on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Want to make something of it?)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad Actor, Smart Parent

Via's "Broadsheet" blog: Amanda Peet isn't as annoying as I thought. I may have to start categorizing her as "smart person, bad actor".

The issue? She smacked down Jenny McCarthy (okay, perhaps an instance of using an elephant gun on a mosquito) over the issue of childhood immunizations (McCarthy blames them for her son's autism). Peet apparently said that people who don't immunize their children are "parasites" because they're taking advantage of the fact that nearly everyone else has immunized their children. She has since apologized for the use of the "parasites" word, but hasn't backed off her basic point.

I believe that people who do not immunize their children are freeloaders (my choice of word is a little less nasty than "parasite" but perhaps meaner in terms of judging intentions) — they can only get away with this because the nasty diseases are kept at bay by everyone else being immunized. Yes, there are risks associated with immunizations (autism, though, has been shown again and again to not be one of them); but those risks are very small in absolute terms, and they're even smaller when compared to the alternative: if enough people don't vaccinate their kids (and "enough" may be as small a number as 15%), then we could easily see epidemics of diseases that we thought were conquered in the US during the 1950s.

I predict that within the next ten years, some hyper-crunchy (Waldorf or similar) no-one-here-is-immunized school will be laid low (or worse, wiped out) in a viral outbreak that would have been prevented by simple immunization. I just hope that that event will end this anti-immunization fad once and for all.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oral History of the Internet

Vanity Fair has a big article with interview snippets from Internet luminaries from the 1950s through the 2000s: "How the Web Was Won".

They talk to a lot of the obvious (to geeks) people like Vint Cerf and Paul Baran, so they clearly did their homework. I just wish someone had mentioned Jon Postel and W. Richard Stevens.

My favorite quote from the article:

Marc Andreessen:When Al Gore says that he created the Internet, he means that he funded these four national supercomputing centers. Federal funding was critical. I tease my libertarian friends—they all think the Internet is the greatest thing. And I’m like, Yeah, thanks to government funding.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I Always Wondered About Jesse's Collection of Little Shoes...

Jesse Helms is finally dead. And good riddance.

For those of you who don't know the reference in the title, please go listen to Bill Hicks — the good stuff is about 01:50 to 02:50.