Today in Head Explody Logic

This article in Psychology Today is a reprinted letter in response to an earlier article on bonobo behavior in the wild from a Baptist pastor. To sum up:

1. Bonobos are animals. However
2. Bonobos have been observed extensively in engaging in war and homosexuality. However
3. War and homosexuality are a sin. However
4. Animals don’t sin. However
5. Bonobos are animals. Thus
6. Bonobos are against Christianity AND…
7. We should keep them away from the children.

That’s so awesome I have nothing to add.

The post is brought to you by lekhonee v0.7

Hurricane Season!

As you may or may not know (or care), hurricane season is upon us! Add in a little El Nino, put in a spice of some Global Warming turning regular storms into Katrina-like, city eating storms, and it should be a fun season! NOAA (somewhere, I cannot find the link) predicts a 44% chance of a monster-sized storm this season. YAY!

But wait, you say! Is there not insane amounts of oil in the Gulf? Will that not make things incredibly interesting for hurricane season?

Why yes! It will! Fun things to think about:

* Oil and water don’t mix so the oil won’t be carried by the storm, but no one has any idea what will happen with all those chemicals being dropped into the Gulf. Will a potential storm suck it up and rain toxic chemicals down on people for hundreds of miles? We Will See!

* Storm surge and spray may spray oil miles inland. Instead of just marshes and coastline being covered in oil, towns up to 45 miles in may get coated in oil and muck. Think about that cleanup job!

* What will definitely happen is a big hurricane will churn up oil beneath the surface of the water and disperse it right into the gulf stream!

I’m excited!

Deepwater Horizonought to be a major historical inflection point. We ought to be looking at it and going: dear God. We ought to be standing back and saying, 30 years of lax regulation and lax oversight and a hyper pro-business, pro-capitalism environment (and that is Democrats and Republicans) got us here. We should be saying, look at Greece! Look at Spain! Look at this giant Recession! Look at this mess!  All this has one root. And we have no political will to say, this is the problem, governments must assert their rights over corporation rights (which are now people!) and lay down the smackdown.  BP has to go.  All these abusive companies and practices <i>have to go</i>.

But we won’t. Because we suck. Even when a hurricane splatters all this oil everywhere inland and into the Gulf Stream and up the East Coast.

Anyway, Yves Smith has a nice roundup of daily business/economics links about the disaster. Read and be appalled. Or not. Me, I’m just watching the weather.

Droid Test

I just installed the WordPress app for the Droid. I’m experimenting with it a little bit to see how hard it is to compose and post to the blog. So far it’s quite decent although it makes me wist greatly for good droid bluetooth keyboard support. The lack of bluetooth keyboard is a small problem.

But! Not bad. I elected to use the clicklet keyboard for entry and it is definitely passable.

I Hate Deer

I have declared jihad on my deer.

On Saturday we went up to Lowes and bought this stuff called Deer Off. A nice lady working at Lowes wanted to be helpful but got scared when faced with my wrath and hatred upon the deer. She fled when I started trying to make all deer worldwide explode with my mind. I hate the damn deer.

I took it home and this stuff is the foulest, nastiest, most awful stuff in the history of mankind. It’s basically coagulated deer blood and it comes out of the bottle in concentrate. Lumpy. It is a sort of brain-puree pinkish color. The smell is something to believed — it’s easily the most foul stuff I have ever contacted and I have wiped many a dirty diaper full of baby butt. It is horrible.

My hatred for the deer saw me through. It was mixed in the spray bottle and put down on my most edible, tasty plants until those suckers were dripping with coagulated deer nasty. One of my roses looked pinkish white when I was done. The entire yard stank of this stuff that claims, oh yes it claims, to dry odorless to humans. I certainly wouldn’t eat anything that smelled like that.

Once I was done, we went off to see Iron Man 2.

When I walked out of Iron Man 2, it was raining.

And to add insult to injury, a deer came along and ate more heads off another day lily. I hate them. I hate them.

Some of them are blooming right now (yay) but I am just furious. God wants the deer to have a buffet. Next up: the hamburger sign with “THIS WILL BE YOU” on it.

Deer Burgers

The deer had yet another buffet last night and ate the buds off two of my day lily plants. Thankfully it looks like they were scared away before they finished their little snack. I am still planning on putting a sign with a picture of a hamburger in my garden to remind them what they are destined to become.

I have coffee grounds to put down around my plants and they are going down tomorrow because they are good for other reasons but does anyone have any anti-deer advice other than sitting on the porch at dawn with a gun? … although venison is mighty tasty. I have to head to Lowes to get a hedge trimmer this weekend so I was looking to pick up some products to spray.

(Note: I have netting around my vegetables to keep the animals out. The netting is very effective but wrapping my whole garden in netting is a little prohibitive.)

Rand Paul

Since this is all over the Internets today:

Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, the new GOP Candidate for the open Senate seat in Kentucky, went on NPR and Rachel Maddow (and other, lesser-known places) and articulated his pure Libertarian position on the Civil Rights Act. He does not believe the Government should interfere with private enterprise and tell privately held companies who they can hire or who they can do business with. Thus, turning away black people from the Woolsworth’s counters is okay. He wouldn’t personally go to Woolsworth’s if they did but if Woolsworth’s didn’t want to serve black people or hire black people simply because they’re black, he’s good with that because Government does not have a right to interfere with private free markets and individual freedom.

People started digging and discovered — amazing! — Rand Paul’s very internally consistent Libertarian philosophy right out of the Fountainhead. Surprise!  A guy named after Ayn Rand is a devotee!*

I’m a little disappointed he’s now backing off on his statements. It’s too bad. I love Victoriana! His platform is great for 1880! Yay 1880! Yay Steampunk!

His articulated position is not one of racism  — and I sincerely doubt he is a racist — but he is standing on ideology on a specific position: to be Truly Free, men have the right to be terrible to the rest of mankind without Government interference on their own recognizance and should pay whatever price society exacts. The problem is both a lack of context and a lack of history. First, society doesn’t exact a price from racial discrimination. Otherwise we wouldn’t have needed the Civil Rights Act.** Second, the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s upheld this purely Libertarian notion of freedom on multiple occasions in all sorts of areas — you can thank the Supreme Court of the 1880s for the whole Corporations are People nonsense. Most notably, Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) upheld the distinct rights of private enterprise (and, granted, the state, since this was about segregation laws in the state of Louisiana) to segregate at will. Hey, the decision says, black people can go make awesome stuff just like white people. You’re just not applying yourself! Stop your whining and go make awesome stuff! What do you mean you can’t get a bank loan to start a business or buy a house or… The opinions are online and pretty entertaining reads. This was overturned by Brown vs. Board of Education which lead to the Civil Rights Movement and we are where we are today.

The problem is, in the real world of big-time politics in a system where whomever builds the biggest coalition between different voting blocks wins, running on an pure theoretical ideology based on a science fiction novel is going to run into operational problems. Purity of Ideology rarely gets one kissing babies and hugging old ladies and giving speeches at the VFW hall so he’s doing well to get this far. I am surprisingly cool with his internally held convictions and his loyalty to his internally consistent ideology — when he’s not busy running from it. It’s great that he at least has one which puts him above other politicians. He simply shouldn’t be surprised when people, after listening to him, go: “…. what? Can you say that again?”

* Maybe he got his copy from someone on Mad Men!
** This is the core point I think Dr. Paul missed. There’s all sorts of things to unpack here but the 100 years between the end of the Civil War and the passing of the Civil Rights Act was not exactly a free market paradise and ultimately, the Government forced down a fairness as part of the rules of the road. Agree or not, this was the point.  We gloss over the 1870s-1910, the core of this period, in our history books.  Perhaps deliberately.

Sock #2 — Electric Boogaloo

I banged out 50% of sock #2 yesterday evening. After a long day nothing is more soothing than sitting there going in circles and going knit-knit-knit-knit. But I was a little dismayed — my speed has picked up considerably and I burned through several inches of sock in an hour. Guess I just need to keep making stuff.

So anyway! Sock. With same cheap DPNs and same crappy worsted weight lion’s brand wool in a highly unattractive brown. The heel turn came out much better as did picking up the stitches and closing that hole at the gusset. I don’t know what the final product will look like but so far it is considerably Less Full of Inexplicable Holes.

This fills my Heart with Gladness and Wonder because once I come around to spending life on DPNs I can move on and make more sock-shaped stuff and making socks has many advantages. A sock is a 1 ball project so sock projects are cheap! Sock projects are quick! Sock projects are portable! An entire sock project fits in my small knit project bag! Basic sock patterns can be committed to memory!

I see the addictive nature of knitting over crochet. Knitting is more precise and fiddly. It’s better for doing small, very precise work like patterns or colorwork. Or socks! It creates a smoother fabric. It’s better for tubes or fabric that has to be dense and hang right. But crochet is better for things like amigurumis where there are a bunch of different sized stitches all bunched together to make a shape like a wing or a nose or for big comfy things like blankets (I don’t really want to knit a blanket). I like crochet thread jewelry over trying to knit that stuff, especially with beads. Knit sweaters, socks, gloves, hats. Crochet accessories and stuffies.*

They’re both like mental crack, though: they completely clear the decks of whatever is going on to just count stitches and rows.

* I did buy the hand puppet kit from Knit Picks but those are, again, smooth tubes.

Socks!

I made a sock. It is a terrible sock. Of all the socks made in the history of socks it is one of the top 5 worst socks of all time. It has holes you can fly a Boeing through in the gussets. At one point I clearly got lost and started knitting the wrong way. I figured out the kitchener stitch halfway through doing the Kitchener stitch.

But. I made a sock. It fits on my foot. It has the general properties of being sock-like. It’s just a sad sock.

And I’m working on its mate! Which may be better. Or maybe not.

It’s sort of a victory over Man vs. Yarn. It’s the eighth sock I started but never got past the initial cuff. I’m a little disappointed that I am stuck with double pointed needles — I never got the two needle or magic loop methods to work. DPNs are an enormous pain and it feels like I’m knitting an overeager octopus. Little bits of wood and yarn are all over the place.

I feel like I have been admitted to some secret club. The Legion of Sock Knitters. Someone who can make a sock.

If the Zombie Apocalypse comes and I am trapped as a character in The Walking Dead, I have a functional skill to give back to the community — official Knitter of Socks. Well, providing we have sheep and spinning wheels… but that is details. Socks!

The Carbon Tax

The Deepwater Horizon spill should be a historical inflection point like Three Mile Island. The horror cannot be hidden. The cost to lives, property, livlihoods and the environment is increasingly difficult to hide no matter how hard BP tries because we have this thing called the Internet and it is on computers now. Engineers from all over the world are discussing not just the Deepwater Horizon spill but how we, as humans, have been destroying the oceans in general.

But it’s not just the incredibly lax overview of the deep water oil drilling industry where the Government gleefully hired oil industry lobbyists to fill key roles in oversight and licensing organizations and simply didn’t bother to do any inspections. This is one of many places where the cheap cost of business in the name of “free-enterprise” is passing on horrors to not just us but to everyone on the planet — it’s the agricultural industry and energy and mining and manufacturing where, in exchange for ‘cheapness’ we get a worse world in lax oversight and pollution and horrors. We not only enable these spills but we subsidize them.,

It’s time we, as Americans, start paying for our messes.

If you want cheap ethanol…
If you want to fill your enormous SUV with gas…
If you want expensive foreign wars…
If you want cheap hamburger at the supermarket…

It’s time to pay for it. It’s time to stop hiding the costs of things and bring them scurrying out into the light like hunting for cockroaches.

But because we clearly do not have the political will to enforce and tighten regulations on corporations because they dump money into our electoral system, it’s time to do what we, as Americans, do best: put the screws to regular people. Force the people to pony up for all the cheap things in life. Make gas at the pump cost $5, $6, $7. Only when people have to pay for the costs of “drill, baby, drill” will they make demands for change.

I have precisely three requirements for a carbon tax:

1. It be painful.
2. That it be clear when you are being charged in big bold letters on your food, your energy bills, and at the gas pump.
3. The money collected go only to paying all the subsidizes, to pay for our foreign wars, to pay for the cleanups of all the pollution and hazardous waste that our Fine New American Citizens, the Corporations, have foisted upon us. With, preferably, a website to track it.

I know this will never happen. Our backboneless government will only backdoor the screws to the people so people do not see a clear line between malfeasance from government (no oversight) and corporations and cold, hard cash. But I can wish…

So I come out in favor of a carbon tax. A great big one. A great big fat juicy one. Because only when we hit people in the pocketbook will people even begin to wake up and see the price of these decisions.

And one other thing: if corporations want to be treated like citizens and have the full run of the Constitution, I believe “jury of their peers” is in there, too. It’s time to start charging corporations as a whole with criminal charges. Imagine if a person or small group had destroyed the Gulf of Mexico. Follow that thought.

Completely Random Fact

The clip we saw on AMC from the original 1938 Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn was not colorized as we originally suspected but in an early and eye-gougingly bright Technicolor. I swear I thought it was colorized but no, apparently it was filmed in color.

According to IMDB, they used all 11 Technicolor cameras in existence (from Technicolor) to film the movie and it’s huge Avatar-like success is what lead to the adoption of color movies.

It’s the 1922 Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks that is in B&W.

That answers my random outstanding and context-free question of the day.