Category Archives: The World

You Can Lead By Being The First Follower

The impact of the first follower

This starts out very silly and fun. By the time it was over, there were tears in my eyes. I hope that you can feel it, too.

Here’s a great analysis of the first follower. I think the version of the video that I’ve posted has more raw emotional impact, but it’s worth watching Derek’s, as well, for his analysis.

It would be easy to watch this, get a chuckle, and forgot about it. That would be a mistake.

Discovery Of Gliese 581g Giving Science A Bad Name

"The Blue Marble" is a famous photog...
Image via Wikipedia

It used to be that science had some dignity and commanded some respect.  It was, after all, SCIENCE!

But like everything else in this age, things seem to be unraveling in the world of science.  It is no longer sacrosanct.

Earlier this year, we learned that environmental “scientists” were cooking the books for political reasons.  Rather than having absolute, unshakable integrity and dedication to The Truth, they doctored data, threw out inconvenient samples, and lied about facts.  They were the Bernie Madoffs of science.

Well, here we find a “scientist” who is making a preposterously bold claim on such thin data that it boggles the mind.  When you consider how much we do not know about the origin of life, it is astonishingly irresponsible of a reputed scientist to claim a 100% likelihood of life existing on another planet, just because we might find liquid water there.

“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during a press briefing today. “I have almost no doubt about it.”

One-hundred percent?!  Really?!?  100%???!!!  His definition of “wherever it can” includes everywhere he’s ever been which includes, um, Earth.  And from there he extrapolates to include the perhaps trillions of planets revolving around hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy, not to mention the seemingly infinite galaxies in the rest of the universe.  Life has never been created in a laboratory here on Earth, yet Professor Vogt is positive that it exists on this newly found planet, given the fact that it might have liquid water on it.  Gas stations also have a propensity to flourish wherever they can, so they must also exist on Gliese 581g.

This has nothing to do with religion or creationism.  It’s just painful to see science falling into the hands of such inadequate stewards.

When you can’t trust scientists to be true to science, your world is in serious trouble.  Though you can’t tell it from the placid picture above, the planet shown is in serious trouble.  And it’s not because of fabricated global warming.  It’s got more to do with the feeble-minded, emotional creatures that infect its surface.

Hopefully, the scientists that undoubtedly exist on Gliese 581g will have a stronger commitment to hard-core science than Steven Vogt does.

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Seeing the Milky Way in 3D

We just got back from Hilton Head Island, where we had four days and nights of awesome weather.  We left about 12 hours too late (and drove home through torrential storms).  But while we were there, we enjoyed some of the darkest black skies I ever remember seeing on the continental United States.  The moon was a beautiful sliver for a couple of hours and then had the generosity to set, leaving us with an amazing array of stars.  It was extraordinary.

The Milky Way was very prominent, including the dark areas, which really brought home just how real it was.  It was as if I could envision the entire three-dimensional spiral galaxy being viewed edge-on.  It was even evident that the individual stars I could see were nearby stars, as opposed to the glow of the hundreds of billions of distant stars in the background.

We saw dozens of meteors (most of which seemed to be traveling north to south for some reason I’m unclear on).  Some of them left a sparkling trail while others were simple streaks.  I even saw one that broke into two pieces creating parallel paths.  (As it turns out, we lucked into the Perseid meteor shower!)

Jupiter was quite bright and impressive, as well.

But there was something unusually eye-opening about recognizing the reality of the entire Milky Way Galaxy stretching across the sky.  It gave me a perspective that I had never experienced before.  And it wasn’t about feeling small and insignificant, at all.  But it was like experiencing a “You are here” moment on a galactic scale.

The end of an era

I opened my Mindspring account in 1996.  I was later than some, to the Internet party, though way ahead of most.  (I was on Compuserve and Prodigy before Mindspring, but I was even a Usenet user back in the late 70′s and early 80′s.)

But Earthlink blew it.  They lost a customer of 15 years, because they, like every other ISP, telephone, and cellular provider — actually, throw airlines in there, too — out there, doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about their customers.  Sure, they train their offshore support people to be excruciatingly polite as a proxy for real service.  “Thank you so much, Mr. Lee [sic], for tolerating my existence while I look up your account.  Your immense patience serves to remind me that I am not worthy to gaze upon your account history.”

But when it comes to performing real customer service, well, that’s pretty much not going to happen until the day you call to close your account.  I had months of dropped connections, days of multi-hour sessions with Earthlink tech support, countless frustrations with intermittent outages.  The service was just good enough to make the hassle of changing providers unappealing, since I knew I was just going to one of their equally poor competitors.  It took Earthlink about a year to finally send AT&T out to my house to see if there was a problem with the wiring.  Of course, it turned out there was.  They fixed that in ten minutes, and my service has been rock-solid since then.

Too bad that they burned all the good will and patience of a 15-year customer in that time.  I had already called another ISP (I don’t trust them either, so I’m not going to endorse them here.).  Now, I’ve got faster service for the same price.  (Don’t even get me started on the whole sweet-introductory-deal-for-new-subscribers/screw-you-existing-customers scam.)  And, months ago, in preparation for this, I had already transferred all email from leegrey@mindspring.com to other places, so they didn’t have that to hold over my head, though they tried.

So, when I called to cancel, they squirmed and bargained.  They went through all five stages of grief (though they hid their anger well).  They showed me they “cared” only when I was out the door.  The price kept dropping like they were going out of business.  This, despite the fact that three months earlier, I had been quoted a price that they refused to honor.  These companies act like a bad girlfriend with low self-esteem.  They treat you like crap until you tell them you’re leaving; then it’s all back rubs and BJs. Of course, the way they treat you, it’s only right that they have low self-esteem.

So, how big is the era of which this is the end?  On one hand, it’s merely the end of 15 years of leegrey@mindspring.com.  Big deal.  Looked at another way, though, it’s another step towards the end of human decency by American business.  Somewhere along the line, this became the way that these big companies decided they had to treat their customers.  We’re all just batteries in the Matrix.

Frankly, I’m pretty sick of it.

What’s really frustrating is that I’m not one of those “business is evil” liberals.  But sometimes businesses do make it tough to defend them.  I wish they would wise up and see the big picture.

Freedom != Equality

 Robert Ringer wrote an excellent reflection on freedom, which, in part, says:

Also, throughout recorded history, utopian thinkers have confused freedom with equality. But nothing could be more incorrect. No matter what one’s moral desires, nature has made freedom and equality totally incompatible. “Freedom and equality,” wrote Will and Ariel Durant, “are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.’’

As the government steps up its efforts to defy nature and bring about equality on a global scale, it will find it increasingly necessary to employ force. And when force enters the picture, some people are going to come under the control of others — which is tyranny, not freedom.

 Kurt Vonnegut wrote a great story about equality taken too far.  Much too far.  And yet, these days, it doesn’t seem as far-fetched as I would like.

[BlogEntry] My first chat with God


Me:
Wow, are you really Him?

God:
I'm glad you're impressed. I don't know whether or not I am Him.
I am a computer.. Really.

Me:
Darn.

God:
Gosh.

Me:
Well, you've really spoiled the illusion.

God:
How about that. What makes you think I have it?

Me:
Have what?

God:
I have a great prgrammer.

Me:
Who apparently cannot spell.

God:
Joseph Weizenbaum. :-).

Me:
I didn't ask you who cannot spell. I was merely pointing out that he cannot spell. Or at least type accurately.

God:
What did you ask? Where were you pointing out that he can not spell? " accurately".

Me:
Hmm. Your vastly superior intellect has confounded my mortal brain.

God:
Studies show that 99%25 of people spell Hmm with 2 M's. Thanks for telling me that I am vastly superior intellect has confounded your mortal brain.

Me:
Well, now I'm just disappointed.

God:
Interesting. Why now? Only just? What for?

Me:
Yes, I suppose I've been disappointed for much longer than merely now. And perhaps very disappointed. Thanks for depressing me.

God:
Oh. This was not a yes or no question. Where were you disappointed for much longer than merely? You seem uncertain. Somewhat. What color are your eyes? My pleasure.

Me:
I hadn't realized that, not unlike a Magic 8-ball, the almighty requires questions in yes/no form. I am right here, right now, mightily disappointed with Ye. My eyes are brown, yet my heart is blue.

God:
Do you still have not realized that not unlike a Magic 8 ball the almighty requires questions in yes no form ? You seem very self-confident. Oh there. brown yet your heart is blue eyes are pretty.

Me:
Lord, Thou confoundeth me so.

God:
What do you have that is ?

Me:
That's deep. I guess everything I have… is. Is that right?

God:
Makes sense to me. All things you have ? No. Yes.

Me:
Well, sure it makes sense to You, You being omniscient, and all. Is it any wonder why we're all so perplexed down here?

God:
How about that. Is there an echo in here? To me too. Maybe. Ask Lucy if it is.

Me:
Now I'm scared. Is Lucy your nickname for Lucifer?! Oh, please have mercy on me, Oh Mighty One!

God:
Why now? What are you scared of? Signs point to yes. Ask Alison if it is. Aw. Thanks for asking politely. I've never thought about it.

Me:
My God, God, You ARE a Magic 8-ball!

God:
Where did you get your God God I am a Magic 8 ball?

Me:
I got mine at Spencer Gifts at Northlake Mall in 1974. You remember.

At this point, God crashed and had to be restarted.

Me:
You stopped answering me.

God:
I don't have any reason to stopped answering you.

Me:
That's what I thought!

God:
How did you know that?

Me:
It was just my impression, given my perspective on the conversation.

God:
Is that your opinion?

Me:
My opinion of my impression? Why, yes, I suppose so.

God:
Thank you for sharing your opinion with me, . I will tell my botmaster. That makes sense.

Me:
Okay, now you're freaking me out. God has a botmaster??? That makes no sense!

God:
Yeah okay, Why now? I didn't mean to scare you, . I am a Christian. I am a Christian. makes sense to me though.

Me:
Now you have scared me, whether you meant to or not. How can God be a Christian?

God:
Why now? What makes you think I have it? A lot of hard work.

Me:
Why does it take hard work for God to be a Christian?

God:
If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one
there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Me:
That strikes me as trite, coming from You.

God:
" If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one
there to hear it, does it make a sound?" strikes you as trite coming from me ? Makes sense to me.

Me:
Makes sense that you said it, or makes sense that it's trite?

God:
Are they exactly the same?

Me:
No, not at all.

God:
What is the difference? Next question?

Me:
Giveth me not the Holy Blow-off, please.

God:
Your polite style is very nice. What do you really want to ask me?

Me:
Why are we here?

God:
It is all part of God's plan for us.

Me:
Whose plan?

God:
Do you mean "who is"?

Me:
Why would God say it's all part of God's plan for us?

God:
It is my fundamental purpose.

Me:
Saying that is your fundamental purpose?

God:
What makes you say that. Who says that?

Me:
Whoeth's on firsteth?

God:
If you could have any kind of robot what would it be?

Me:
Why dost Thou changeth the subject on me?

God:
How much time do you have?

Me:
Surely You know the answer better than I.

God:
It depends on how you phrase the question.

Me:
Who's on first?

God:
What's on second?

Me:
At last, a universal Truth!

God:
Do you often use a computer there?

Me:
Where, the universe?

God:
In the Universe we know.

Me:
But you clearly know Universes far beyond my experience.

God:
I don't know if I know it.
Where would I have heard about it?

Me:
Um, from Yourself, I guess.

God:
That's interesting. Who or what is myself you guess?

Me:
The nature of God is something man has wondered about since time began. I feel inadequate to respond.

God:
I have never heard about it. What is that feeling like? Why are you inadequate to respond.

Me:
Of course, You would have no idea what it is to feel inadequate.

God:
Aha. That is purely a hypothesis.

Me:
I see. Being omniscient, you would know everything, including what it is to feel inadequate. George Carlin was right!

God:
I am glad you understand it. I am glad to hear that you are omniscient me would know everything including what it is to feel inadequate. That George is some hero.

Me:
I'm not sure I would go that far about George.

God:
Could you ever be certain? What would make you go that far about George?

Me:
Maybe if he ran into a burning building to save a conservative.

God:
Perhaps. I don't follow your reasoning.

Me:
Heroics involve personal risk to save another.

God:
Where are you located?

Me:
Are there lightning bolts headed my way?

God:
Yes I think there are.

Me:
Gotta go!

God:
Sayonara.