Daily Archives: May 25, 2010

Join America is Speaking Out!

OMG. Go to the sign on page. Look at the “select an avatar” part. What is that all about? I think I’ll be an Asian Girl then they’ll know I’m smart but non-threatening. No, wait, maybe I’ll be a non-white non-hispanic, like in the Census. No wait …

Well, I tried to register but their registration system is rather broken. Typical. Republicans can never get anything right.

Primitive Cultures are Simple, while Civilization is Complex: Part 3

I previously noted that to survive as a Westerner, you can get away with participating in a culture that asks of you little more than to understand the “one minute” button on the microwave, while to survive in a foraging society you needed much much more. Moreover, I suggested that the level of complexity in an individual’s life was greater among HG (Hunter-Gatherer) societies than Western societies.
Continue reading Primitive Cultures are Simple, while Civilization is Complex: Part 3

Diversity in Science Web Carnival

The Diversity in Science Carnival will be hosted at Quiche Moraine. Today is the submission deadline, but I’m sure posts submitted tomorrow (the 26th) will also be considered.

Here is the theme:

We are inviting all posts that challenge pre-conceptions and mis-conceptions of who scientists/engineers are, what they look like, how they behave, what they do, etc. A cross-disciplinary examination of this issue is encouraged and posts about everything from the merging of art and science or science and faith, to posts that highlight social life to how people from well-represented groups are strong advocates of diversity initiatives.

Submit your posts here.

Who is Erik Paulsen, anyway?

Erik Paulsen is my representative to the US Congress. This is his first term. He replaced a very centrist Republican (Jim Ramstad) who retired honorably. I worked for the Democratic Party (DFL, we call it in Minnesota) candidate, Ash Madia during that election. Ash was a good candidate but he was inexperienced (which may or may not have been a factor) not quite waspy enough for this very waspy district (which may or may not have been a factor), and although his politics matched those of the district’s constituents quite well (at least as well as the long-lasting Jim Ramstad’s politics did) he was probably viewed as too liberal and people chose the “centrist” candidate Erik Paulsen.
Continue reading Who is Erik Paulsen, anyway?

The Latest Ravirn Book, SpellCrash, Materializes Today: Meet the Author Tonight

WebMage is an interesting book if you are a computer geek. For one thing, the title of the book uses CamelCase. For another thing, the main characters are a hacker and his laptop. But since this is also a fantasy book, the main character is also a non-human (but you wouldn’t’ know to look at him) who is one of the best code hackers among his kind (which happens to include many of the Greek mythical figures you’ve heard of) and his laptop is a shape-shifting familiar, who changes between a laptop and an imp-like daemon thingie who is explicitly programmed to be snarky, like a modern human hacker might program his or her system event sounds but smarter.
Continue reading The Latest Ravirn Book, SpellCrash, Materializes Today: Meet the Author Tonight

Africa news items of interest

Kenya court rules Islamic courts are illegal

Kenya’s Islamic courts are illegal and discriminatory, a panel of judges has ruled.

The three judges said the Islamic “Kadhi” courts favoured Islam over other faiths, and that this was unconstitutional as Kenya was a secular country.

South Africa’s Julius Malema defends his radical views

The controversial leader of South Africa’s youth league has defended his behaviour after being disciplined by the ruling ANC.

Julius Malema had provoked anger with a series of outbursts about race, Zimbabwe and Jacob President Zuma.

In a BBC interview, he efused to admit he had done anything wrong, and brushed aside the measures taken against him.

EU trains 400 Somalis in Uganda
and Somalis clash with Ethiopia forces.

Kenya Inches Closer to New Constitution but churches oppose it on anti-choice grounds:

Kenya’s interim electoral commission has released the official symbols that will guide voters in an August 4 referendum on a proposed new constitution for the country.

The East African nation voted in a similar referendum in 2005, and 57 per cent of voters returned a “No” vote. The current draft constitution has faced strong opposition from Christian churches, which argue that it leaves loopholes for abortion by choice.