… but it really bugged me that in the junior elementary classroom at the Montessori we visited the other day they were still teaching Biology using the ‘Five Kingdoms’ system of classification.
Come now, people. I mean, I know your students are like eights years old, tops, but we’ve known about the Archaea since the late 70s.
This ain’t about that. It’s just that the Archaea are cool. Kids should know about them.
29/11: The game enforces smirks
It probably makes me a bad person that I’m laughin’ too hard at this to be properly alarmed.
Yes, yes, it probably does mean the world is tottering on the edge of the abyss of the new dark ages or something… I mean, sure, if folk who can, apparently, actually type are typing things like this:
Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it…
… it’s probably something to worry about.
But I’m too amused to be worried right now.
Also from the same site, and well into the disturbing/ick-you’ll-get-it-on-me category: one more reason I don’t regret not watching reality TV (warning: disturbing content… or, at least, I found it disturbing).
On a more somber note, and moving on now from the profane theatrics of the wilfully dumb: I’ve just heard thanks to someone bringing up that link on Pharyngula that the brilliant mind behind that site (FSTDT, not Pharyngula—PZ’s just fine, I’m sure, provided he hasn’t had an aneuryism laughing painfully at that stuff) is dead.
This, sadly, is the first I heard of it. Kinda knew him, virtually (or, really, lest ye be thinking I’m droppin’ names, knew of him), but hadn’t been ‘round the sites he frequented much, of late.
Most regrettable. ‘A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy’ if ever there was one.
Anyway. Remember him as he would have wished. Go read the site. Durned funny stuff, that.
The city has set up one of those ‘pay-at-the-machine’ thingies in the one big public lot in our neighbourhood (the Glebe, in Ottawa), tore out all the old parking meters.
Now they tell us it’s just to save a few bucks—takes less time to collect from one machine than dozens of meters—and it is a bit convenient if all you’re carrying is a credit card, as these didn’t work in the meters, and they do in the machine.
But it’s a bit evil all the same for one reason: that’s a parking lot a lot of people use for fairly brief stops (grocery store, coffee shops all about; if you’re just in for a thing or two, you’re only there a few minutes), and it used to be, as with all meters, you could occasionally score a meter with a few minutes left on it, save yourself a quarter or two.
And it’s a really nasty area, meter maid-wise. $50 tickets, and they troll incessantly. The area, for you folk who don’t know Ottawa, is known for money, so it’s none too surprising they keep a close watch. Easy money, if someone forgets (which I’ve done three or four times, actually, and the city is now some $200 richer thanks to this), or thinks they’re gonna get away with a few free minutes, y’know?
So I’ve been doing my bit to subvert their dastardly plans. If I’ve got a slip with five or ten minutes left on it when I get back to the car, I walk up to the line at the machine, say hey, who just needs a few minutes?
There’s always someone who does, so far. And the gratitude’s always kinda cool, too. It’s especially great when it’s a retiree on a cane and probably a fixed income (we got lots of those, too) or a student rooming in someone’s basement, and driving a rusting hatchback, but hey, it’s nice no matter who it is—and everyone says thank you and means it when you do this.
This morning, grabbing a coffee, I managed something similar at a meter (we still got these in the street). Only had a loonie, wound up with lots left when I got back. And while I was opening the door, I noticed a woman at the meter behind, fiddling with her purse, looking for something appropriate to feed the ever-hungry beast, and apparently failing to find it.
‘I got twenty minutes left. Just pull forward when I leave,’ I tell her.
I’m waitin’ now, of course, for the city to insist the machine tickets are non-transferable, and demand we punch our license plate numbers in when we buy them or some damned thing. But ‘til they think of it, I’m going with what I got.
28/11: Modern horror stories
I haven’t attempted to write a review or anything yet. I’m not sure yet how to approach it.
And not sure I will, not exactly. This is one of those books that more calls for an essay or two than it does a review. And those, I’m pretty sure I will write anyway, eventually.
I will say this much as of now: from my own admittedly rather idiosyncratic perspective, it’s a must-read—and not just for cranky folk like me interested in how certain established cons we call religions and superstitions can be and are used to manipulate human hope and desperation—but for everyone. I suspect if you’re even half-awake you probably already know most of what it has to tell you about gullibility and wishful thinking—but it’s still invaluable in making it that bit more vivid, that bit more clear.
It’s kinda horrifying, really. You ask me, some of the scariest horror stories in the world didn’t take place in haunted castles on the top of dark hills, nor is it a crazed slasher with a knife that’s the creepiest, nastiest thing kicking around the planet.
No, the real horror happened (and still happens) in well-lit studios, gyms and stadiums, and the creepiest, most malevolent things going are the grinning, Brylcreemed horrors in pancake makeup bilking the willfully gullible for a few pieces of silver—frequently, at once pathetically comically and horribly, the last silver they’ve got left over from their pitiful pensions—and then leaving their freakishly cooperative victims crippled and helpless—their crutches and canes broken in a moment of ‘miraculous’ healing—sitting in the studio, still vacantly smiling from the euphoria of a moment, as yet unaware they’ve now no way to hobble home.
Yep. Be afraid, baby. Peter Popoff’s a-comin’
… well, I’m still a bit shy for content, s’true. But we do have some lovely skins, now. If I do say so myself.
Seriously, while I’ve left a few of the built-in ones for now, you might to check out one of Blue, Leaves, or Pine. There’s a skin selector near the bottom of the right menu bar.
Our charming daughter got through her A major scale on the violin for the first time at home today. I accompanied her on cello. Moral support thing.
She sounded better than me, really.
Guess I should be getting that thing out a little more often.
I picked a sorta bleak set of .oggs earlier this eve. Had a few things to do that seemed to call for it.
I think maybe I depressed my laptop, doing so. Now, it keeps playing Natalie Merchant’s My Skin over and over and over and over and over again…
… and the player isn’t even running.
So I requested an office for some reason.
I work remotely. But I hassled my employer a bit, told them listen, I should have a cube somewhere locally. It’s good to be able to have that sense of going into work now and then. The home office, it’s a good one, but now and then, there’s that sense of being connected…
And I can’t work in the office they gave me.
There’s all these salesfolk in there. They’re nice guys. The guy across the cubicle wall, he’s got that great French Canadian joie de vivre about him. Half his conversations with his clients seem to begin with talk of hockey.
But there’s so much talk. And so rarely about, you know, work?
And, of course, when it is about work, it’s not about my work.
I’ve probably been out of the world too long. Large companies, it’s always like this. I shouldn’t be surprised.
What can ya do?
(Puts on headphones.)
24/11: Off we go
This is The Accidental Weblog. Rightful heir to The weblog formerly known as C8H10N4HO2O2.
Yeah, it took a day or two. Apologies. And I’m far from done. No, the lovely Euro-odd default skins and templates aren’t gonna be around long if I can help it. But ze art I haff lined up for designing dis ting, she has not spoken to me yet, you know, baby?
Stay tuned. Actual content may be along any day now.