In the days leading up to Halloween, I’ve been hearing about and reading about people objecting to any observance of Halloween in public schools. From this article:
Bowing to concerns of a wide range of groups – from Christians who consider Halloween to have pagan or satanic overtones to church-state separatists who object to the holiday’s religious roots – some elementary schools are canceling their customary costume parades and Halloween celebrations.
Nonsense! The Christian objection here would apply just as well to Christmas. What with the tree being a pagan symbol co-opted for Christian purposes… On the other hand, the Church-State separatists should demonstrate how Halloween is religious. As far as I can remember, there is no doctrine associated with Halloween except maybe consumerism: “thou shall consume”. I think the doctrine of separation of Church and State (which is a noble fiction, but still a fiction) is important and should be enforced when there is a clear violation of the doctrine but it is not the case here.
Luk Van Parijs was fired from the MIT for fabricating data. I’m glad that someone is paying attention to issues of fraud in science and academia.
Daniel Lyons, over at Forbes, has some issues with blogs. The gist of the article is that companies should be protected from criticism on blogs and should have an easy way to quash such criticism. Free-speech and privacy be damned, companies should have their way with the little people. There are already laws against libel and there are ways to find a libeller. But those ways are just too damned difficult and costly for those poor companies. No no no, they should just have to call your ISP and be handed your personal information on a silver platter. Were I a Forbes paying customer, I’d be cancelling my subscription right now. (We can vote with our wallets, can’t we?)
See boingboing,bayosphere and Doc Searls’blog for other reaction to this piece of anti-democratic nonsense.
M. Night Shyamalan is against the notion that DVDs should be released at the same time movies are released to the big screen. He holds that that would spell the end of movie theatres. Basically, he wants to force people to see new releases in theatre. I don’t think this statement is a stretch. By his own reckoning, if DVDs are released at the same time as the movie, theaters will suffer and close. Why? Because people will buy the DVD instead of going to the theatre. Why? Because people prefer to see the new release at home. Therefore, when the DVD is not available at the same time the movie is release, people are forced to go against their wishes.
As far as I’m concerned, this puts Mr. Shyamalan in the same camp as people shoving DRM down our throats.
For those who needed another proof, here’s an article that talks about how the increase in average passenger weight has led to transportation disasters.
On another note but from the same article:
For end-of-life considerations, Batesville Caskets last year launched its “Dimensions” line of supersized burial caskets.
Does the funeral home representative ask the client “do you want me to supersize your order?”
I paid a visit to the dentist last August to have my teeth cleaned. The assistant asked me when was the last time I had my teeth cleaned. “Baaa baaa”, I replied sheepishly. It had been a long time since my last cleaning. I realized just how long when she announced that she would be using the Defossilizer 3000 to clean my teeth. But beforehand, she had to X-ray them to check for whatever it is they check for: bad fillings, illegal immigrants, free gifts, … So twice she asked me to “bite lightly” on what looked to me like random pieces of cardboard and then she’d scurry behind blast doors while shouting “fire in the hole!” Anyway, when that was done, she set the Defossilizer 3000’s power dial to “Cretaceous” and started digging. While collecting samples to be sent to the Smithsonian for further analysis, she launched into a long monologue about proper tooth care and so on and so forth. At strategic intervals, I would attempt to vocalize some sort of assent which invariably came out as “arghlg.”
I got a call from the Smithsonian today. It turns out that they found a perfectly preserved diplodocus in one of the samples.
Finally, someone has found the courage to just tell it as it is. No more euphemisms like “feminine trouble”, “male itch” or “overactive bladder”…
They even qualify the odor as fishy. How’s that for details? If they’d try to be clearer, they’d have to narrow it down to a specific species of fish and perhaps fetch the wine list.
The Rolling Stones came to C’ville last Thursday to perform at UVA’s Scott stadium. The parking spaces normally available to faculty, staff and students were taken up by people coming from out of town for the show. Departments closed earlier than normal. Classes were cancelled due to the disruption.
Funny thing. When I applied to UVA, I thought I was applying to an institution dedicated to education, not entertainment. Now, the bright minds that organized the Rolling Stones show would probably claim that the fees charged by UVA to hold the event bring more money to the school, etc. Whether the event made money remains to be determined. Moreover, I would think there are some guidelines that determine what kind of fund raising is acceptable. Otherwise, why not sell “study drugs” to students? Or beer? Anyway, I would suggest that one rule be added (which evidently is currently missing) prohibiting events that are in any way disruptive to the normal daily pursuit of the academic mission of the school.
With the way the Rolling Stones show was handled and the recent calendrical flop, I must say I’m not impressed with UVA’s upper management.