Daily Archives: February 18, 2011

Fear, Loathing and Misogyny in the Upper Midwest

Two local stories you might be interested in from my neighborhood.

First, a girl high school wrestler advanced yesterday but was beaten today in the state tournament in Iowa. Why is this interesting? Well, first, this is not a girl wrestling on a girl’s team. It is a girl wrestling on the regular team which happens to be traditionally boys. Second, she advanced yesterday when one of the favorite to win, a boy, refused to wrestle a girl, apparently because he things the sport should be reserved for boys. (I dunno … in his case, maybe wrestling really is a gay sport? Who knows?)

Anyway, Cassey Herkelman beat Joel Northrup by default when he walked away from the match. To be fair, I’ll give you Northrup’s official statement:

On Thursday, Northrup said he respected Herkelman and Black but didn’t think girls should compete against boys in wrestling. In a statement issued through his school, he called wrestling a combat sport and said “it can get violent at times.”

Though I must say I got a bit of a different impression when watching this on the news. In any event, Northrup does not really respect Herkelman or the sport if he feels that he can make unilateral decisions about what the rules are despite the existence of a system that is in charge of those rules. The only truly honorable thing for him to do, other than fighting the girl, would be to resign from the sport. Don’t you think?

Herkelman had a 20-13 record going into the tournament but was defeated today by Matt Victor.

The next story is about a threatening obnoxious fax sent to Congresswoman Betty McCollum by an area teabagger.

Both are reported on CBS/WCCO but I also watched them on the news. McCollum represents Minnesota’s 4th district (mainly Saint Paul and nearby suburbs), and is a liberal democrat, has been in congress for about 10 years and sits on important committees. She recently proposed to cut advertising betwen themilitary and NASCAR. The advertising is expensive, (for 7 million you get a sticker and a couple of driver appearances) they are looking for cuts, there is no evidence that it is effective, and most of the military branches have already cut their use of NASCAR as an advertising outlet. The only reason to keep doing this is for political purposes. It makes sense to stop this funding.

Therefore, a teabagger, who would be happy to stop funding to efficiently save the lives of little wide-eyed children or bunnies, and probably collects most of his income form government sources that he opposes, sent Congresswoman McCollum a fax threatening both her and President Obama, depicting racist and violent acts of a crude sexual nature.

How evolution works, sometimes.

A Sequence of Lines Consecutively Traced by Five Hundred Individuals is an online drawing tool that lets users do just one thing – trace a line. Each new user only sees the latest line drawn, and can therefore only trace this latest imperfect copy. As the line is reproduced over and over, it changes and evolves – kinks, trembling motions and errors are exaggerated through the process.*

Once an accidental feature shows up, subsequent tracers try to reproduce it like good little replicators. Eventually you get a dancing chihuahua.
Continue reading How evolution works, sometimes.

Libyan Dictator Warns Against Facebook, Microsoft Bans OpenSource

These stories are closely related at a philosophical level: Both stalwart entities have similar philosophies about what they think they can tell other people to do, how they do things, and what they fear:

Libyan dictator warns against use of Facebook, 40 protesters injured

Many Libyan Internet activists have declared their support for the pro-democracy movements and revolutions in the Middle East. After seeing the power of the people succeed in Tunisia and Egypt, they created groups on Facebook to call for political and economic reforms in Libya. Libya’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, has responded by warning against the use of Facebook, according to IFEX.

read the rest here

Microsoft bans open source from the Marketplace

Microsoft has raised the ire of the open source community with its Windows Marketplace licence by specifically refusing to allow software covered under an open licence to be distributed.

The licence, which anyone wishing to distribute Windows, Windows Phone, or Xbox applications through the company’s copy of Apple’s App Store is required to agree to, is the usual torrent of legalese – but hides a nasty surprise for those who support open source ideals.

read the rest here