Archive: March 1, 2006

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something to think about

Wednesday,  03/01/06  10:13 PM

From my friend Diane Simons:

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college.  Like many others her age, she considered herself to be a liberal Democrat, and was in favor of the redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed.  Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs.  The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.  He responded by asking how she was doing in school.  Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party.  She didn't have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is you friend Audrey doing?"  She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by.  All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA.  She is so popular on campus, college for her is a blast.  She's always invited to parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0.  That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades!  I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work!  Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree.  She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father said, "Welcome to the Republican Party".


Of course, Audrey was a minority, it wasn’t her fault that she played all day and got poor grades, it was discrimination and cultural bias.  So the GPA system was “rebalanced” such that Audrey got a 4.0.

P.S. The average GPA at Harvard is now 3.5.  No wonder Larry Summers quit.


Wednesday,  03/01/06  10:27 PM

Tonight is going to be serious.  I'm in a feisty mood.  Sure there were some Apple announcements today, but there's other stuff happening too.  The Ole filter makes a pass...

Can I just say, once again, publicly, how great Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs is?  Okay; it's great.  I link it pretty often, but I read it every day.  This is important stuff, real stuff.  Check it out.  Subscribe to it. 

I read Daily Kos, too, I don't just read what I agree with.  To me the difference in tone, the difference in logic, the difference in maturity is obvious.  Your mileage may vary, but if you aren't getting news from sites like these, you aren't getting news.  TV "news" is entertainment, not news.  And Newspapers are going the same way, unfortunately.

I received this video from my colleague Mark Wrenn, entitled "German engineering vs. Arab technology".  I have no idea if it is a real VW ad - I hope so, but I doubt it - but it sure is food for thought.  When did it become commonplace that people would blow themselves up to make a point?  Weird. 

Scott Adams on Strange Laws.  "There are a lot of laws that don’t make sense to me.  For example, if I were king, I’d make attempted suicide punishable by death.  That’s a win-win scenario."  Scott is like George Carlin. 

Douglas Murray: We Should Fear Holland's Silence.  [ via Instapundit ]  Indeed. 

Gerard Vanderleun: Saddam Lied on Tape.  Somewhat less reported in the MSM than Dick Cheney's hunting accident, but somewhat more important, don't you think? 

Eric Raymond: Media Analysts Sound Pessimistic as Iraq Civil War Fails to Materialize.  "Media analysts sounded an increasingly gloomy note today following news that a full-scale outbreak of civil war in Iraq had been averted. 'The prospects for regime change in Washington seem increasingly remote,' said one senior White House reporter who spoke on condition of anonymity."  Zing. 

David B on GNXP: The Evolution of Cooperation.  "The existence of cooperation is one of the major problems in human evolution.  Among non-human animals, cooperation is rare except among individuals who are closely related.  Among humans, in contrast, it is common.  The problem is to explain this in view of the temptation to 'defect' from cooperation, obtaining its benefits without its costs."  I think the key to this is the evolution of intelligence, which is one reason why Unnatural Selection is such a problem.  (And if you doubt this is really happening, you don't read LGF or Daily Kos.) 

Bill Taylor about Paul English, writing in the NYTimes: Your call should be important to us, but it's not.  I worked with Paul at Intuit, he's a smart guy.  His effort Get Human is important.  "This month, Mr. English transformed his righteous indignation into a full-blown crusade.  He started Get Human, which he calls a grass-roots movement to 'change the face of customer service.'  The accompanying Web site sets out principles for the right ways for companies to interact with customers, encourages visitors to rate their experiences, and publishes many more secret codes unearthed by members of the movement.  As of last week, the ever-expanding cheat sheet offered cut-through-the-automation tips for nearly 400 companies."  I'm a big believer in this; everyone at Aperio has heard me express many times that when people call us, they should immediately be able to talk to a live person. 

Ann Coulter previews the Oscars.  [ via Powerline ]  "I shall grant my awards based on the same criteria Hollywood studio executives now use to green-light movies: political correctness.  Also, judging by most of the nominees this year, the awards committee prefers movies that are wildly unpopular with audiences."  It would be funnier if it wasn't so true

Cybele on The Meeting of the Marys. "At Noon today, Long Beach received a royal visitor, the Queen Mary 2, here to greet the city’s own royal resident, the R.M.S. Queen Mary."  Great photo... 

Congratulations to Floyd Landis, who won the inaugural Tour of California (together with his team, Phonak).  By all accounts the race was a huge success.  "The week of racing couldn't have ended better for AEG Sports, the sports marketing company that owns and operates the tour.  With estimates of over 100,000 spectators in attendance in Redondo Beach, AEG estimates that over one million fans lined the roads of California to experience the event."  Wow.  I watched the stages on ESPN2, and the crowds looked like European crowds, with people ten deep all along the course.  Bike racing hits the big time in the U.S. - finally. 

This was also an interesting preview of some of the big American names in cycling; in addition to Landis, George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer also won stages.  With Lance Armstrong retired it is going to be a wide-open season of bike racing this year, with Americans among the top contenders.

So, what did you think of the Olympics?  Good?  Bad?  Indifferent?  I liked them.  A lot.  A lot more than I thought I would.  As CNN reports Olympics ends in a Circus, as they should - it is after all entertainment.  But it is unstaged entertainment; sports are the ultimate reality show.  The uncertainty and finality are what makes it great.  I'm looking forward to Vancouver 2010 already. 

Isn't Sam Sullivan awesome?  The mayor of Vancouver, he's been a quadriplegic since breaking his neck skiing when he was 19.  What an inspiring guy.

Dave Winer reruns an Ole and Lena joke.  I don't know Lena.  Do I? 


the spiral galaxy

Wednesday,  03/01/06  10:52 PM

The Hubble telescope recently captured the highest resolution view of a spiral galaxy, Messier 101.  So you know what that means; yep, I downloaded it and posted it for interactive viewing:

(After clicking, hit F11 to maximize your browser's window.)

Stunning, isn't it?  Galactic art.


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