Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is this really Easter?

My Mom's birthday is on Easter this year, which has never happened in her lifetime as far as she can remember. So my sister found this out:

Easter this year is: Sunday March 23, 2008
• As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).

• This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

• Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is rare.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:
• The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).
• The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Post Abortion Depression is real



Artist hanged herself after aborting her twins - Telegraph
An artist killed herself after aborting her twins when she was eight weeks pregnant, leaving a note saying: "I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum." Emma Beck was found hanging at her home in Helston, Cornwall, on Feb 1 2007. She was declared dead early the following day - her 31st birthday. Her suicide note read: "I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does."


I saw a film about this issue a few years ago. The filmmaker told me that every subject, no matter how taboo, can be discussed openly on the Avant-Gard film festival circuit; except this issue.

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Not your Grandfather's Covetousness



Megan McArdle -
People do not voluntarily give money to the government; polls show that most people support raising taxes on only a small fraction of the electorate. (Yes, yes, they're rich. Okay, and? The observation still holds: most people want other peoples' taxes raised, not their own. Whether this desire is justified is irrelevant.)

Henry Farrell, and others, stepped in to complain that I, like, totally didn't understand that people behave different collectively than individually. This does not, in fact, negate my point; it supports it. Most people are not concerned with remedying the injustice of their own high income; they want large public goods that can only be secured by taking a lot of money from other people. They are willing to kick in their own money if they have to in order to secure the coalition, or because they think this is fair. But they are primarily concerned not with their own contribution, but with that of others. This will not be a surprising observation for anyone who has ever lived in a group house.

This does, however, raise an interesting normative point, into which I have now been sidetracked without quite noticing: should you, if you think that your taxes are too low, voluntarily give that money to the government? The answer, I think, is yes, for reasons that I've laid out in previous posts. But that is separate from the positive observation I stand by: people are more interested in levying taxes on others than they are in paying taxes themselves.


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Small Wonders



Instapundit.com -
IT'S A START: Golf courses will return to Cuba now that Fidel Castro is out of the way. Castro rid the island of golf courses after he lost a round to Che Guevara. (Yes, really.)


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Oops



Researchers: Disk Encryption Not Secure | Threat Level from Wired.com
Researchers with Princeton University and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have found a flaw that renders disk encryption systems useless if an intruder has physical access to your computer -- say in the case of a stolen laptop or when a computer is left unattended on a desktop in sleep mode or while displaying a password prompt screen.

The attack takes only a few minutes to conduct and uses the disk encryption key that's stored in the computer's RAM.


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

American Greatness



Homeless: Can you build a life from $25? | csmonitor.com
Alone on a dark gritty street, Adam Shepard searched for a homeless shelter. He had a gym bag, $25, and little else. A former college athlete with a bachelor's degree, Mr. Shepard had left a comfortable life with supportive parents in Raleigh, N.C. Now he was an outsider on the wrong side of the tracks in Charles­ton, S.C. But Shepard's descent into poverty in the summer of 2006 was no accident. Shortly after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., he intentionally left his parents' home to test the vivacity of the American Dream. His goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year. To make his quest even more challenging, he decided not to use any of his previous contacts or mention his education.


He did it.

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Organized Religion



Churches Aiding Tornado-Torn Communities - Philanthropy.com
Local churches in Tennessee and Kentucky have played a key role in aiding the towns devastated by tornadoes last week, reports the Associated Press.

Churches have become local distribution points for disaster relief. Storm victims have gathered there, as they once did every Sunday, to receive donated goods, and communities have used the churches to rally themselves.

In addition, churches have helped to comfort people after the unseasonable storms flattened their communities and to mourn the 59 people confirmed dead and hundreds more left homeless. They will also likely play an important role in rebuilding the lost towns.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

How long O Lord?

An Army of GPhones



Breitbart.tv » Demo of Google’s Android Software

10 Million $ for GPhone makers.


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The Myth of Privacy



The Anonymity Experiment | Popular Science
Then we have Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of National Intelligence, who proclaimed in a speech last October that “protecting anonymity isn’t a fight that can be won.” Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.


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Ouch



Melanie Scarborough: Stop throwing tax dollars at well-funded colleges - Examiner.com
Clearly, she was not a candidate for higher education; she hadn’t mastered fourth-grade geography. Yet after struggling to graduate from high school, she went on to attend one of Virginia’s state universities — exemplifying one of the reasons college costs now are so high: Taxpayers subsidize college for people better suited to asking, “You want fries with that?”

Only in Lake Wobegon is every child above average. In real life, not everyone can benefit from advanced education. Not every career demands it. But while a high school diploma historically meant that an individual had been adequately educated for adulthood — could speak and write grammatically, perform basic mathematics, and had a working knowledge of science, geography, civics, and history — as my young friends so ably demonstrated, that is no longer the case.

The failure of secondary education means that a college degree is roughly the equivalent of what a high school diploma was a generation ago. Consequently, college instruction is not necessarily higher education; in many cases, it’s remedial, with universities having to teach freshmen basics they should have learned in ninth grade. Employers know that, which is why even the most menial of jobs now requires a college degree — spawning lower-tier state universities that are essentially seat-selling operations.


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Saturday, February 09, 2008

My old ball coach...

Good man.

ESPN - Three WVU players charged with felony possession kicked off team - College Football
Stewart talked Wednesday about expectations off the field, citing West Virginia's 48-28 victory over Oklahoma in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. Stewart was then the interim coach after Rich Rodriguez had left for Michigan.

"We were in the desert, had casinos over here, dance halls over there. Pockets full of money," Stewart said. "We had 125 young men. Eight days, seven nights -- one curfew bust.

"Coaching did not win the Fiesta Bowl. Chemistry, teammates, character, doing things the right way, being accountable, being responsible. That's the reason we won the Fiesta Bowl."

Stewart appears to be taking a tougher stance on disciplinary matters than his predecessor.


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Scholarship!

I resent the idea that my alma mater is somehow academically inferior. It's actually among the hottest schools in the country.

ESPN - Arizona's Stoops apologizes for calling Sun Devils 'a J.C.' - College Football
Stoops apologized for a comment made during a football signing day news conference on Wednesday in Tucson. He said some recruits had told him that it was easier to earn acceptance at ASU than at Arizona.

"Each school has to recruit to that school and what type of academic requirements there are," Stoops said then. "Obviously, Arizona State has turned into a J.C. and we are a four-year college. According to all the players, they say it is easier to go to school there, easier to get in. I thought we had the same requirements. It is news to me."

Even with the apology, Stoops' remarks are sure to turn up the intensity in one of the Pac-10's most bitter rivalries. Tensions between the football programs, located 90 miles apart, grew last month when highly touted tailback Ryan Bass of Corona, Calif., backed out of an oral commitment to Arizona and said he would attend ASU. Bass was among the 27 signees announced by the Sun Devils on Wednesday.


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Real Fascism



Olympic kow tow as British athletes are forced to sign contracts banning criticism of Chinese regime | the Daily Mail
British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes' contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.


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Little Ice Age 2



IBDeditorials.com: Editorials, Political Cartoons, and Polls from Investor's Business Daily -- The Sun Also Sets
Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun's magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.


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Saturday, February 02, 2008

In Zod We Trust



Zod 2008 - General Zod - 2008 Presidential Candidate
In 2008 I shall restore your dignity and make you servants worthy of my rule. This new government shall become a tool of my oppression. Instead of hidden agendas and waffling policies, I offer you direct candor and brutal certainty. I only ask for your tribute, your lives, and your vote.


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Why we fight...



Women 'tricked into suicide blasts'
Two women suicide bombers who have killed nearly 80 people in Baghdad were Down's Syndrome victims exploited by al Qaida. The explosives were detonated by remote control in a co-ordinated attack after the women walked into separate crowded markets, said the chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad General Qassim al-Moussawi. Other officials said the women were apparently unaware of what they were doing in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert toughened security measures.


This is the evil that the US is fighting, at great cost, in Iraq. And if US forces left Iraq today, do you think people who do such evil would stay in their own corner of the world?

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Interesting Stuff