Innovation, Technology & Science

Maker Faire 2009

05.31.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Maker Faire 2009
Snake made from piano hammers at the Maker Faire 2009 in San Mateo

For the third year in a row, my daughter and I attended the Maker Faire in San Mateo this weekend. While we both managed to have a good time, the crowd is now overwhelming, or perhaps the venue is simply way too small. The crowd was so thick at times, I had difficulty getting the two of us through from point A to point B.

As an example, we were 15 minutes early for the lifesize mousetrap and couldn’t get close enough to sneak a peek – highly disappointing to the munchkin who wanted to see the safe drop on the mouse’s head. We also couldn’t see the mock naval battles, the powertool drag races, or robot fighting on account of the crowd of large, relatively rude, people.

However, fun was had with Cyclecide’s bike merry-go-round, Emiko-O’s make your own jewelry, some great alternative instruments made out of old pianos, the Lego jeep, and my daughter loved the mobile muffins. So, we’ll try again next year, but here’s to hoping they get a better, bigger venue where the crowd can be handled a bit more efficiently.

Politics, Religion

It’s Simply Murder

05.31.09 | Permalink | 5 Comments
Abraham stopped from sacrificing his son by an angel

I don’t know why the murder of a Kansas physician is being handled as anything other than a murder. Giving domestic terrorists a platform is a bad idea under any circumstance and unfortunately, the same people who think that child abuse and rape are ok in their leaders, condone this crime in the name of their convictions to – get this – prevent what they say is the murder. High irony indeed.

I’m pretty matter of fact about this stuff, no one, and I mean no one, is pro-abortion. Anyone with children in particular, is pro-family. But, biologically, there is a gray area in the first three months of gestation that really should be a potential mother’s business. After that (having seen the moving child on the ultrasound myself) I think it’s pretty dodgy. Medical capabilities have given us this choice and responsibility – it’s up to the individuals involved to make it and no one else.

I think it’s very interesting indeed that those who would in other circumstances say “government, get the hell out” are the very ones who wish the government to intervene on this matter. Crazy, nutjob, terrorists then go out and do things like murder this doctor in Kansas and the whole nutjob community will hold him up as an icon. Sick, I say. Sick, sick, sick. Even worse will be those who say “He’s a nutjob, but I understand why he did it to save all this unborn babies. It was necessary, but I don’t condone it.”

Say what you will about my own personal beliefs, I’m pro-choice, pro-gun, and pro-death penalty. Guess that means I’m pro-death. But, at least I’m consistent. And, given a choice myself, I’d like the government, and even more importantly, churches, to get the hell and stay the hell out of my life. These days, it’s pretty fucking hard to tell the difference between church and state. That’s a topic for another day.

Meanwhile, if the person recently apprehended is convicted as the perpetrator, I think his punishment should be to be placed on the altar of a church, have his chest cavity opened without anesthesthia, having his beating heart ripped out by a satan-worshipper, and preferably eaten while still relatively conscious (an experiment performed in the 18th century by a condemned scientist in the French revolution determined that a decapitated head keeps consciousness for at least 10 seconds post-severing.)

And, this should the conviction happen days, not 20 years, after the conviction. It’s appropriate and this sort of execution would be symbolic and useful in deterring the other nutjobs I think. Since, no doubt, he’s a devout christian, he can hope for the lord god to stop his execution as the story goes with Abraham and his son. Good luck with that, we’ll see the power of his faith, that’s for sure!

Humor, Religion

Kissing Hank’s Ass

05.28.09 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Just when you thought Eddie Current was the bee’s knees on parody, you find there is another artist at work. Check out Kissing Hank’s Ass below, it’s highly entertaining and happens to be true.

The best part is, it’s the most accurate representation of how I’ve been processing religious humbug for years; here it is for all to see. So, if you happen to be religious and you want to know how a non-believer is processing your offers of salvation, look no more. In fact, this should be printed on a hand-out for all door-to-door proselytizers.

Love it, love it, love it.

Politics, Religion

More on Prop 8

05.27.09 | Permalink | 4 Comments
The gavel of justice

Since I’ve gotten a bunch of private email (why don’t you comment?) on yesterday’s entry, I thought I’d take another run at this one. Summarizing the collective response it would be “How could you support what the court ruled yesterday? That’s like saying you support discrimination.”

I tried to explain yesterday, but obviously, it failed. So here’s another attempt. In my view, there are two issues that we’re talking about that have been conflated. First, there is the content of Prop 8 – the discrimination against US citizens denying fair access and equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Second, there is the issue of the right of the people of the state of California to amend their own constitution to reflect their will.

Let’s handle issue one first, equality for all citizens. I have been clear and unequivocal on this issue, I believe in equality and Prop 8’s amendment of the constitution is nothing less than institutionalized discrimination. It’s wrong in every sense of the word and it is outrageous that our general populace voted to enact the change. That’s the content issue, nothing has changed there.

When writing the entry yesterday, it was fully about issue two – the right of the people to express their will through the state constitution. Given that there was an election, that Prop 8 won and changed the state constitution, I can’t see how any judge could interpret the document any differently than was announced yesterday (frankly, I’m shocked there was even one dissenting judge on this decision.) The people, no matter how misguided, under the present set of laws we have in this state, have the right to amend the state constitution to reflect their collective will. That’s the law. Unless or until the law changes, the court had no choice but to rule in the way they did.

Now, since the content of Prop 8 stinks and the court wasn’t the right place to address the problem, I expect that the people of California will now be asked to reconsider the issue on the November, 2010 ballot. And at that time, I would expect the spirit that makes America and California great, equal treatment and opportunity for all, will come into play and that the voters will simply amend the constitution to do away with the institutionalized discrimination. Voters caused this problem and voters will have to fix it.

That being said, why do I expect a different outcome in 2010? One, same-sex marriage is real and has been performed and practiced. The world has not ended. The practice has had zero impact on so-called “traditional marriages” currently in force or planned. The fabric of society has not unraveled as the pro-8 spin doctors had predicted. We don’t see school children “being converted to homosexual lifestyle” nor do we see gay marriage being taught in classrooms. What we do see is 18,000 committed couples who are enjoying the same benefits as any other committed couple in the United States.

Many voters who supported Prop 8 didn’t really think it through, they simply were falling for the massive advertising and sound bites from the “Yes on 8” campaign. And, it was pretty clear the conservative voters weren’t going to win anything else on last fall’s ballot, so they went all out for this one.

Finally, I think the voting base that would rabidly oppose a measure like Prop 8 got complacent; never imagining Californians would support such a grossly inappropriate bill and thus focused more on the Presidential portion of the election. In November, 2010, this will be the main issue on the agenda for voters, there won’t be complacency, and the outcome will be different. Meanwhile, this will continue to be a point of contention and an embarrassment to the people of California. The state where discrimination is written into the state constitution, something even regressive states like Mississippi or Alabama haven’t done. How humiliating.

Politics, Religion

California Court Exactly Right

05.26.09 | Permalink | 1 Comment
Just like inter-racial marriage was the issue in 1960, in 2009 gay marriage has become the issue for bigots all over the US

Regardless of your view on same-sex marriage, the decision today by the California Supreme Court to uphold the voter’s will on Proposition 8 which changed the state constitution to outlaw same-sex union was the right decision. Personally, I’m embarrassed to live in a state that has made discrimination “legal,” so to speak, through their own bigotry, on display for the world to see. It is what it is. The voters created this problem and the voters will need to fix it.

Since most of the problem is with older voters, this problem will correct itself in time and those who voted for Prop 8 will be much like the bigots in the Southern US who fought integration believing it was ‘god’s will’ that segregation existed. A sad state of affairs, but true. Since we’ve now got this situation in place in California, I hope the voters see fit to amend the state constitution to ban divorce as well – that’s obviously the next step to “protect traditional biblical marriage.”

Of course, I wonder which of the 8 forms of traditional biblical marriage (via Unreasonable Faith) they’re referring to:

  1. Polygynous Marriage
  2. Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.

  3. Levirate Marriage
  4. When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).

  5. A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
  6. The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).

  7. A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
  8. The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually heirs, so they were safe outlets for sex without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).

  9. A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
  10. Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.

  11. A male rapist and his victim
  12. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.

  13. A male and female slave
  14. A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.

    and of course …

  15. Monogamous, heterosexual marriage

Be warned! This is what happens when politics, religion, and morality are mixed, it’s not good. Generally speaking, these folks don’t even know what their own holy book says…..

Vote to overturn bigotry and bring equal rights to ALL citizens, not just heterosexual so-called christians.

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