Wednesday, November 19

Good riddance, Keyshawn

Only one more major mouth to go on that team...

Tuesday, November 18

v. the Anthropic Principle

People in the know agree:

the delicate balance of cosmological and physical conditions necessary for intelligent life does cry out for some sort of interpretation which will render it intelligible.

I've run into the Anthropic Principle lately in my reading of Hawking and Greene.

Teleologists and Anthropic philosophers differ radically as to what that interpretation should be. Theistic philosophers view this sensitive nexus of conditions as evidence of wider teleology and therefore indicative of a cosmic Designer. Anthropic philosophers contend that due to the self-selection effect imposed by our own existence we can only observe a limited number of worlds; therefore, we should not be surprised at observing this one. Moreover, if a Word Ensemble exists in which all possible values of cosmological and physical quantities are somewhere instantiated, it follows necessarily that our world with its delicate balance of conditions will also obtain.

I think William Lane Craig summed it up pretty well (from Concluding Remarks).

Obviously, I believe that conditions Hawking says 'seem to have been very finely adjusted' are what Hugh Ross calls 'the fine-tuning of the universe' by an Intelligent Designer.

Another interview with Brian Greene

I meant to link Brian 'String Theory' Greene's latest interview in Scientific American (via kottke), but I think I forgot. So here it is.

Friday, November 14

Jason's back

Jason's back to logging with some really strong stuff. I had Mr Sheeley, too, and he was a major influence.

Carver Mead redux

John Hardy and I really liked the Carver Mead interview in The American Spectator, but the link was broken. John has completely reconstructed the interview so we can all find it and make reference to it.

Wednesday, November 12

Venn Diagram-o-rama!

Did you know that I love Venn Diagrams? (I also loved proofs in geometry. I'm one of those.) So, here are 10 ways to use Venn Diagrams and Create-A-Venn. (from kottke)

Who is the working class

Jaq's got some good stats:

:: Forget "flipping burgers". Fast-food jobs constitute less than 5% of low-end jobs.
:: Teenagers hold 7% of low-wage jobs.
:: A majority of adults who hold low-wage jobs also have families.
:: Nearly two-thirds of all low-wage workers are white.
:: While blacks and Latinos constitute a minority of low-wage workers, they are represented in the low-wage workforce by a greater percentage of their overall workforce than are whites (31.2% of blacks and 40.4% of Latinos, versus only 20% of whites.)
:: Women constitute 60% of the low-wage work-force.
:: Three-quarters of those women are white. (But again, blacks and Latinos are overrepresented here.)
:: 40% of low-wage workers have a high school diploma, 38% have some post-secondary education, and 5% have a college degree.

These stats helped change my view of the working class. I've been assuming more immigrants were in that class (though there are plenty).

My position is still: if you like your lifestyle, with cheap food and service and goods, you better be darn grateful for these people who work so cheap. We should support a better deal for them.

(Hey, that could be my campaign: A Better Deal.)

Tuesday, November 11

The new Walt Disney Concert Hall

I knew nothing about this until I saw it in the paper today. Apparently it's the bomb, architecturally (designed by Frank Gehry) and acoustically. Good for LA.

Kucinich for President?

passed by the Kucinich table today and picked up his 10 key issues. I like 9 of the 10 proposals pretty well (you know which one gives me pause). What do you think of them?

Of course, he's not electable, but that's another issue.

Sunday, November 9

Just when you thought the Chargers might be the worst team in football...

the Vikings came along and found a way to change your mind.


Some of my favorite movies made since 1980

(Inspired by Jaq.)
in no particular order:

I think the thing that really distinguishes these movies is that if I walked in the room and they were on I would pretty much be happy to sit down and watch them anytime. That's saying something.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Empire Strikes Back
Say Anything
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Hunt for Red October
Raising Arizona
The Princess Bride
Toy Story 2
12 Monkeys
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
A Room with a View
The Apostle
Strictly Ballroom
[Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Clueless] (count as one for purposes of this list)

Wednesday, November 5

I think I'm in love with the idea of Annie Dillard

I listened to 'An American Childhood' on tape recently and adored it. I'll admit I couldn't get through 'A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek' (too filled with naturalistic data for a theorist like me). But I loved 'Holy the Firm'.

Now I'm inspired to write my own autobiography. And I've decided to do the first (only?) draft in installments on a separate weblog, My Childhood In Iowa. It doesn't matter if few people read it. This public announcement is intended not only to inform but also to keep me a little bit accountable. My basic goal is to write 'some lines' every day. You should feel free to prod me when necessary.

I'm further making a commitment to not play Civilization until I've done my lines each day. I was going to give up Civ altogether, but that seemed a little rash :-).

Rant on!

I don't generally do rants. Maybe I'm feeling crabby today...

Daniel Schorr informed me via ATC today (scroll down to the fifth item) that the vote in the Senate on the Iraq and Afghanistan budget was a voice vote that leaves no record of who voted which way. It was agreed to by the Majority and Minority Leaders in advance. There truly ought to be a law against such a thing. We have a right to know how our representatives vote and to hold them accountable for it!

I wasn't avowedly pro or con on the war, in Iraq. But I'm surprised by people who were pro, but now want out. This is not some simplistic deal where you depose a government and then pull out. If you're going to do something like this, you better have the will to follow through.