Monday, June 30, 2008

27 Siwan 5768: Please Take My Children to Work Day

Greetings.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is “Ruby Gamba”, dedicated to the electric viola da gamba. (Somebody had to come up with this sooner or later.) Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Sunday, June 29, 2008

26 Siwan 5768: Camera Day/Peter and Paul Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “Tell Senator Obama: Hang up on Big Telecom” and “FOX: Stop the smears”.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is the Cool Calvin and Hobbes Collection. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

22 Siwan 5768: Log Cabin Day

Greetings.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  • “Sacred Science: Using Faith to Explain Anomalies in Physics”: The notion of God conjured in this article is “the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere and human cultures”, an emergent property of the laws of nature. This is actually an illegitimate redefinition, as it does not respect the traditional notion of deity as a real entity and not an abstraction. Note Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning ’Elohim [God] created the heaven and the earth”, i.e., the Deity is the creator of our universe, not a property of it. Such a deity is to be expected to be independent of our universe and not subject to its laws. The alternatives given by some traditional religions to this idea of deity are really just variants, such as the Hindu notion that the deity being worshipped is an aspect of the creator deity Brahman. Trying to redefine the Deity of any traditional religion as a mere emergent property therefore makes no sense whatsoever, and this new vision of deity as a nonentity is completely unworthy of worship.
  • “Can a Robot, an Insect or God Be Aware?” I am unclear on where this notion of YHWH having no emotions comes from. It certainly does not come from the Hebrew Bible. (I suspect that philosophers are behind it.) The claim also makes no sense objectively: since we cannot observe YHWH’s internal states, such as emotions, we cannot make any legitimate objective claims as to what these states are or are not. However, since YHWH is depicted in the Hebrew Bible as acting emotionally (with other deities receiving similar treatment in other scriptures), we can, at least, speak of YHWH’s emotions in the same way one usually speaks about other humans’ emotions: in a behavioral sense. Paranormal empathic powers may be nonexistent, making it impossible to actually know what other humans are feeling, but that does not stop us from assuming that other humans have the same sorts of emotional states that we do; we do not know that an angry human actually feels angry, only that he/she behaves in an angry manner. Same thing with YHWH.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is RealSnailMail, explained in “'Snail mail' blazes slow e-trail”. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

21 Siwan 5768: Fairy Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “SAVE ZIMBABWE FROM MUGABE” and “Tell Congress to Resist Calls for Drilling”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is DISINTEGRATOR.co.uk - home of the motorised double rubber band minigun. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Monday, June 23, 2008

Worthy cause of the day: Don't Let Bush Cut Funding for Public Broadcasting

Greetings.

Today’s worthy cause is “Don't Let Bush Cut Funding for Public Broadcasting”. Please sign and save PBS. Remember: politicians have to pay attention to their constituencies or risk getting thrown out of office. Thank you.

Aaron

20 Siwan 5768: Let It Go Day/United Nations Public Service Day

Greetings.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions: “A missing ethic”. Rav Shafran is right. Being accused of wrongdoing is not the same as wrongdoing. All sorts of claims have been made against people throughout history, down to the present day, which have been baseless (e.g., conspiracy theories, blood libels, accusations of devil worship, accusations of witchcraft, accusations based on allegedly recovered memories, alleged Satanic ritual abuse, and “Palestinian” claims of being victims of genocide), and such claims have sometimes resulted in disaster for the wrongfully accused. It is therefore only sensible to give people benefit of the doubt when doubt exists and not to rush to judgement.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is a request of Barry in honor of his recently deceased dog, Buddy: “Johnny Carson - Jimmy Stewart - Beau Poem”.


Aaron

Sunday, June 22, 2008

19 Siwan 5768: Stupid Guy Thing Day

Greetings.

Relevant to Divine Miconceptions
  • “Court suspends French virgin case” (Oh, great. Not only are people sticking their nose in other people’s business where it does not belong, but now the court has invalidated the annulment of a marriage that both the husband and wife want to be over. Are people trying to make a bad situation worse?)
  • “Calif. Court Considers Medical Rights” (Some people clearly have ignored that freedom of religion is part of the Constitution.)
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is something someone who wishes to remain anonymous sent to me, included below. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron



The Hole in the Roof

A rabbi stands before his congregation and reports to them that a massive hole has been found in the roof of the synagogue.

“Now I have good news and bad news for you,” the Rabbi continues.  “The good news is that we have the money to repair it; the bad news is that the money is in your pockets.”

Friday, June 20, 2008

17 Siwan 5768: Take Your Dog to Work Day/Ice Cream Soda Day/World Refugee Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “Save the Ocelot from Border Fence”, “Tell Gov. Crist -- Comply with the law and register voters”, and “Take Action: America's Heritage for Sale”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  • “The New Israel and the Old ”
  • “souls. i eets them.” (I know full well this is completely unserious. However, it is not unprecedented. Soul-eating appears in some form in at least two Star Trek episodes, and intuition insists it happens elsewhere. Maybe I need to read more H. P. Lovecraft... In any case, there is the serious question of why and how anyone could eat a soul which merits investigation.)
Today’s news and commentary, some of which Barry is responsible for:Today’s weird thing is Tom Sepe's Steampunk Motorbike. Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron

Thursday, June 19, 2008

16 Siwan 5768: Juneteenth

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “Get Big Money Out of Politics”,
Tell Congress to combat global hunger”
, “Protect Medical Marijuana Patients”, “Make Pre-k Available for Every Child”, “Reform Unfair Credit Card Tricks”, “Reid, McConnell and PEPFAR”, and “HELP PASS THE INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (HR 5927)”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is “A Person Paper on Purity in Language”. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Job application kvetching of the day

Greetings.

I am still unemployed, and the process of applying for jobs really sucks. Many sites allow one to apply for jobs on-line. This may be convenient, but often the people who set up these sites have no clue what they are doing.

The last application I entered went through an especially bad site. This site allows the applicant to upload their résumé, promising to extract all the desired information from it. This, of course, failed for me. The site did not even have a clue that my curriculum vitae actually contained all the information it wanted. This is also despite my curriculum vitae being in the extremely common Microsoft Word format.

Furthermore, many values have to selected from pop-up lists which need to be “confirmed”. This operation invariably reloads the entire page when a selection was made—or even opens a whole new window asking for one, single value. Good grief! Who designed such an annoying system? The whole point of such a system is to ensure that all values entered are valid. Why not just let the applicant enter the values in simple, unencumbered text fields and annoy him/her only if some value is invalid?  That cannot be any harder to program!

OK, back to work now...

Aaron

15 Siwan 5768: International Picnic Day/Cow Day

Greetings.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is WE ♥ SHEDS, with a recommendation that you search for sheds with the word “TARDIS” in the description. Bonus points for anyone who figures out how to make a shed bigger on the inside than on the outside. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Job application weirdness of the day

Greetings.

I am still unemployed, and I am going to take out my frustration with the process on my blog. Yesterday, I tried applying for one job, but the site had two problems: 1) they insist one use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater and 2) every time I tried submitting, the code handing the process would suffer a catastrophic error and give a detailed listing of what happened that is utterly meaningless to anyone other than the person who wrote the job application submission code.

Problem 1 was relatively easy to overcome, despite my ideological refusal to use Microsoft software whenever I do not need to (and the whole point of Web standards is so that one can use any standards-compliant software and not be chained to a particular vendor) and the simple fact that Internet Explorer ≥6.0 does not exist for Mac OS X. I currently use Safari 3.1.1 (latest version as of this writing), and in the Preferences window under the “Advanced” tab there is the option “Show Develop menu in menu bar”. When enabled, one can choose a specific “User Agent” and lie to Web sites about which browser one is using. Aaron 1, Microsoft chauvinists 0.

Problem 2 took a bit longer to crack (figured it out a few minutes ago), but it all came out to a matter of passwords. My standard method of choosing passwords is to use text which I see or hear at the point I need it. E.g., I have a copy of Vanity Fair by W. M. Thackeray near me right now, so if I needed a new password, I might take some text off the front cover, such as “MODERN LIBRARY COLLEGE EDITIONS”. This system has the advantage of being highly unpredictable. The obvious disadvantage is that I have to keep records of my passwords, but good security is not always convenient. The not-so-obvious disadvantage is that many Web sites on the Internet have arbitrary rules for passwords, e.g., demanding that there be a number or symbol in them or refusing passwords with spaces in them. It turns out the problem with the site I was trying to submit to is one of the most idiotic limitations on passwords since it reduces the work anyone has to do to crack the system: the site crashed in response to a password that was too long. I wanted to use a four-word phrase, but the site only was happy when I fed it an eight-character password.

Go figure.

Aaron

3 Siwan 5768: Day 47 of the ‘Omer/Anniversary of D-Day/Teacher’s Day

Greetings.

Worthy cause of the day: “It's Time to Ban Cluster Munitions”.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is this cartoon:

Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron

Thursday, June 5, 2008

2 Siwan 5768: Day 46 of the ‘Omer/UN World Environment Day

Greetings.

Worthy cause of the day: “Support the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act”.

Today’s news and commentary, some of which Barry is responsible for:Today’s weird thing, courtesy of Nancy, is “When seafood”. Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron