Random Thoughts

In watching an interview the other day with Craig T. Nelson, I couldn't help but be struck by how dramatically the role of government is both taken for granted, and ignored.  It is precisely this level of misunderstanding that has given rise to the hysterical nature of the dialog about health care.

"They should be allowed to go bankrupt. What happened...? We are a capitalistic society. OK. I go into business. I don't make it. I go bankrupt. They're not gonna bail me out.

I've been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No. They gave me hope and they gave me encouragement and they gave me a vision. And that came from my education. "

Craig T. Nelson on Glenn Beck's show

Back from vacations, I found the usual pile of errands, tons of unattended emails, papers to review to take care of at work. I got home pretty tired tonight, and I was more than else looking for some relaxation when I logged on the Internet Chess Club for a couple of blitz chess games. Instead, I found some fulfilment by winning a short game with the black pieces. White was International Master Vladimir Barskij, Fide ELO 2419 in the current list, number 2273 in the world. Not a top chess player, but one of those I sometimes have a chance of beating.
Most people who are critical of Mormonism are familiar with the bizarre story of Joseph Smith's revelations leading to the writing of the Mormon scriptures. 

. . .the original record was engraved on thin, malleable sheets of metal with the appearance of gold
and bound with three rings at one edge. . .According to the account presented
in the book, it is an abridgment of earlier records by Mormon and his

Olympic Rugby

Olympic Rugby

Aug 21 2009 | comment(s)

The greatest sport on Earth, as well as its most popular contact sport, Rugby Union, has taken the first step to becoming an Olympic sport, again.  The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board has recommended that seven-a-side rugby be added for the 2016 summer games. 
The 15-member board, presided over by the I.O.C. president, Jacques Rogge, also voted to recommend that rugby sevens and golf be included in the program for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Geektastic.  Read the notes.
Lovelace and Babbage vs The Client, Part 3 by Sydney Padua
In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly universally the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.

- Richard Feynman, Letter to the Editor of the California Tech, Feb. 27 1976

Following Andrea's article on the necessity of creativity for genius, I thought it might be fitting to relate a chain of thoughts I followed last night during a session of "beer-and-lasers".

Public art project by Ryan Laughlin in New Haven, CT
* Platonic butt slap (in the sense of being the ideal representation of a butt slap) to Skepchick Rebecca Watson.


Aug 19 2009 | comment(s)


Really.  Come on.  Help us out.  Look, I know vampires are cool and all, but face it Bram Stroker's Dracula is a drag,  I, literally, started that book six times before I slogged my way through it.  On the other hand, the other story that came out of that legendary evening, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, is phenomenal.  Unlike Dracula, I've been back to Frankenstein's well multiple times with greater enjoyment with each revisit.
Let me tell you a secret.  I always wished/imagined that Milton (died 2006) and Rose Friedman were my grandparents.  Not that I would trade them for any of my grandparents-of which I have had 7 due to unusual family arrangements-but they would have made a great #8 .  I can only dream about the conversations around the dinner table at family holidays.