What do you enjoy reading the most here on my blog?

Search My Blog

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour?

I'm really torn between enjoying this pointless event's creation or wanting to banish it to hell like all of the other fake, self-puffery, nonsensical, environmentalist bullshit going on in the world.

"Well Aaron, if you hate this kind of bullshit so much, why would you even consider possibly enjoying its creation," I hear you ask.

Because it's an HOUR.

In case you missed it last year, Chicago was the victim of environmentalist atrocity at a level of unspeakable proportions. Here's my scathing review of a piece of crap known as "Earth Month". Which wasn't even a month - it was 34 arbitrary days of scattered environmentalist meetings and demonstrations and recycling center groups. The worst part was their catchphrase of "Make Every Month Earth Month."

At least with this, they've scaled it all down to one hour of pretending to care about the environment.

The weird thing about this event is that I'm still trying to figure out HOW they plan on getting people to care or make a difference. The whole basis of this event is that around the world on this day at 8pm local time, everyone turns off their lights for an hour. Not "don't use energy at all for an hour" but just turning off the lights.

One hour of lights-out for a typical residence would result in no more than $0.25 in savings for the monthly electricity bill (and I think that's assuming they usually have every light turned on and like 100-watt bulbs in all the fixtures). So it has nothing to do with convincing people that they can save money. They're not telling everyone to turn off everything in their home - so it can't be a way to convince people that they can still have a great life while "living green" or something. I haven't seen any promotional T-shirts or hats or anything that you can buy in support of Earth Hour - so it doesn't seem like the WWF is trying to profit from this event.

I'm really baffled - what are they trying to do?

Any time something catches on and it's a widespread event, SOMEONE is looking to profit. Money makes the world go 'round, and wherever you've got millions of people who are gullible enough to turn their lights off because you've created Earth Hour - you HAVE to have someone profiting off of the gullibility.

Maybe it's the candle companies? After all, it seems like everyone who participates is going to need to be able to SEE, so candles are the way to go. Are candle sales really that low that they need a worldwide scam to have people turn off lights just to move a few extra candles??

Seriously - this is bothering me.

The website claims:
Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.

It's not doing anything for the planet except making regions of it dark for an hour.
It's not doing anything to affect the climate.
It's not doing anything for the environment at all.
It's not doing anything for the people participating other than making them feel smug about "helping".
It's not doing anything for greedy profiteers, except possibly candle companies.
It's not doing anything at all...

Please help me figure out why the hell this exists at all. Things need to have meaning or else they are literally meaningless. In which case, they shouldn't exist in the first place.

(Here's the website, in case you can figure any of this out.)

Read more!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Employers and Facebook

There's a new lawsuit going on over in England regarding whether or not business employers can investigate potential employees via their Facebook or other "social networking site" webpage.

Before you pick a side or finish hearing the story or my opinion - take a minute to think about your social networking sites (if you have any). What is on your Facebook profile that you would be okay with showing to an employer you're trying to get hired by? What is on your Facebook profile that you wouldn't want your potential new boss seeing? What's on there that you don't even want your family seeing? And we're not just talking about your basic profile information - we're talking about all of the comments left on your page by your friends, whether you think they're appropriate or not for any situation.

Let's continue, shall we?

A coalition including the NSPCC, the Children's Society and the NCH want a new law to prevent employers and colleges searching the internet for "digital dirt" on potential recruits.

Studies show one in five employers use the internet to check out candidates and two thirds of those admit their final decision has been influenced by what they found.

Checking networking sites is also common practice for recruitment agencies with research showing more than 60 per cent of British executives are signed up to Facebook or similar.

The children's charities argue that this is akin to nosing through someone's diary and is examining whether existing discrimination laws could be used to prevent the practice.

Now I'm not entirely sure about their argument that looking at networking site information is the same as reading a diary. In my experience, a diary is personal thoughts for yourself only, which is why you hide it under a mattress or beat up a sibling who discovers its secret location. Social networking sites aren't really meant to be solo experiences. And even if you DO use one for such an experience, there are plenty of filters and privacy settings arranged for most social networking sites so you can keep private thoughts private.

Of course, these filters are rarely used by the less-web-savvy users.

John Carr, secretary of the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety which is co-ordinating the campaign, said pictures and gossip posted while someone is a teenager should not be used against them years later.

Once again, I'm not in agreement with the argument. Just because there is no foresight about what is being done, that doesn't entitle them to complain when it rears its ugly head down the road. Everything we do is who we are - and while we can certainly attempt to change, we cannot deny our history. How many times can you recall a news story featuring a celebrity (major or minor) who became aghast to discover that old gossip or even photos or video of themselves had been dug up and gotten them into trouble?

The law currently enforces equal opportunities in recruitment and a system that searches social network sites could be unfair because some candidates will have profiles and others will not.

Here's where a real argument lies. It's discrimination to base a hiring decision on a piece of information that doesn't exist for all candidates. I have a Facebook profile, another potential hire might not. But they might have a MySpace page, whereas I do not.

Is each networking site off-limits because of potential discrimination?
Does the balance of each of us having a site mean there's no discrimination?

One could make the argument that both of us have a NAME, so there's no discrimination if an employer uses Google or another search tool to look up information just based on our name - but is a social networking page result equal footing because it was found in an equal-opportunity manner, or does it fall directly under this "not everyone has one" idea of discrimination?

It's a very gray area, and while it might deserve the scrutiny of a lawsuit to make the issue known and get people talking about it - it runs the risk of a decision being made that unfairly benefits one side or the other.

So far, one idea being thrown around is the notion of a "time limit" for surfing these gray-area websites.

Do you have any ideas? What do you think? Discrimination or not?

(The full article)

Read more!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For the Future

I was reading some article about a guy who got arrested in California for "being creepy" and something about him hanging around a library and was arrested for talking to a kid because a mom freaked out.

I could go off on a diatribe about how it sucks being male because every mother out there apparently thinks you're out to molest their children no matter who you are or what you look like, but I won't. Okay, I'll say one thing:

Mothers, your children aren't all that amazing. Just like I'd say that not all children are cute and not all children are geniuses - not all children are spectacular enough to become targets for molesters. From what I've read in the newspapers and seen on news footage, most of these kids who get molested are rather decent-looking kids. Odds are that if the other kids in the class don't want to play with your precious child, neither would some molester.

Now that I've got that tidbit of hatred out of the way, I'll attempt to bring you with me on a bumpy train-of-thought that gets me to the REAL point of this post.

Everyone has to wonder for a second what this guy was talking about with this child. Some would think it's evil things, some would think it's harmless things. I try and think about the less-likely possibilities that could ironically twist the situation into the MOTHER being the bad person. (And not just for getting some guy arrested for "being creepy".)

The first thing that pops into my head that fills this situation is: What if this guy is the future version of the kid and he's trying to warn him about something??

In all of the infinite possibilities, you have to include this one. I mean, this information could be the difference between life and death for someone. But if you're the kid - how would you know that this guy really is you from the future? With the internet and the possibility of a real stalker, so much information is already at everyone's fingertips. You can't use trivial things from your life, because who would really remember a triviality at the age of 30 from when they were 8?

The only solution is a keyword or code phrase.

This is a brilliant thing for every person to have, at as early an age as possible. Decide on a keyword or code phrase and NEVER tell it to ANYONE. Don't write it down, don't pick something that anyone could ever string together, and keep it memorized. Then if you ever do meet the future version of yourself, you'll have that failsafe to be certain that it really is you.

I'm making mine right now. Although it sucks that now I can never go back in time to meet myself at an age before 24, since I wouldn't have known my secret phrase back then.

Of course, if I did go back to when I was younger than 24, wouldn't I have experienced it already? I don't ever recall meeting anyone who claimed to be me from the future. So I guess all my bases are covered then...

Have you made your own future-self keyword or code phrase? Is it a good idea? Or are you still too peeved about my tiny remark about how your child isn't worth molesting? Read more!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pelosi and the Lama

So apparently the situation between Tibet and China has gotten to the point that we're sending our annoying politicians NEAR the area to TALK about things - and not speaking FOR the United States but just out of personal opinion.

Yea, we must not really care that much. I mean, it's Nancy Pelosi. Maybe they just needed her out of the House for a while.

I really don't understand the long long history between China and Tibet - I'm one of those dopey Americans who can pretty much sum his knowledge up as "there's a lot of people with signs that say 'FREE TIBET' on them so it's either not free yet and they want it to be free or it's a very strange advertising campaign."

C'mon down to Crazy Wu's Elephant Emporium! We got Asian ones, we got African ones, we got a whole lotta pachyderms and they're ripe for the pickin' - and if you act now, we'll throw in Tibet absolutely free! That's right, we're just givin' away FREE TIBET because I'm CRAAAAAZY WU!

Okay, all joking aside, the Tibetans are claiming now that the death toll of Tibetans is now at 99. Of course, China says the death toll of Tibetans is still at 0, but the death toll of innocent Han Chinese in Tibet is now at 13. Honestly, unless Giraldo is there with his journalism team, I don't think the numbers will ever be real. And even if they were real, we're talking less than a hundred.

Maybe I'm just the product of a horrible generation who paid attention in history class and tried keeping up with the news and would always hear about millions of people being killed, or at least tens of thousands. I mean it's not like I'm unaffected by anything unless it's at WWII level with 60,000,000 deaths (the deadliest war). But China's had a reputation for massacre before and they never got away with less than 50,000 and upwards of a 1,000,000 on some of them. Hell, in Darfur it's been at least 400,000 and even when the Hutu government of Burundi started the slaughter of Tutsis they killed like 50,000.

(Okay, I admit that I needed Wikipedia for those last ones.)

And we're talking about possibly 99 people in Tibet who have been killed. We should ALL be so lucky that the death toll amid governmental conflicts as such should be this low ALL the time! True, if there's ever going to be a resolution to this conflict, the death count will undoubtedly rise. Well, if there's ever going to be a resolution to this conflict that means the ceasing of FREE TIBET signs, I mean.

Few people seem to understand that another resolution is Tibet accepting things and understanding that it is owned by China.

This whole thing used to be so commonplace at a time in history. Forces rode in, conquered a land, and quelled the rebellions until the people understood their place and got used to it and carried on. There's a new jerk in charge and some things may be different and you may get some ethnic changes to the neighborhood, but you still get up and go to work and continue your little existance as a tiny cog in the grand scheme of the universe.

Back to Pelosi. (And yes, I get very little joy out of saying that.)

"As a freedom-loving people, if we don't speak out about the Chinese oppression, then we have lost our right to speak on human rights," Pelosi told reporters. She made the comments during a meeting with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, noting that she was voicing her personal opinion and not U.S. government policy.

You know, if you're a leader in the U.S. government and you start blathering political agendas like "Chinese oppression" in the midst of a political struggle - there's no f*cking way that anyone is going to believe you're not trying to be officially political.

And this whole generic term "freedom" is kind of misinterpreted a lot. It's NOT a general idea. Freedom only works one way. If I want to do something to you and you don't want me to do something to you, what does freedom say about it? Do I get the freedom to do as I please? Do you get the freedom to stop me? Isn't freedom tantamount to anarchy in some ways?

Or am I overthinking things?

Lastly, I want to take one more jab at Pelosi. Because it's fun.

Pelosi told the crowd at the temple in Dharamsala that it must be karma that brought her to India at such a difficult time.

To quote "The Princess Bride" actor Andre the Giant: "I do not think that means what you think it means." "Karma" is about the balance of nature and that good things eventually come to those who deserve it and likewise for bad things. I don't really know what the Dalai Lama did to deserve a visit from Nancy Pelosi, but if I were a decent non-violent person who has been exiled and am having my people possibly being killed by our oppressors and someone told me that karma was in effect? I'd be pretty damned pissed off.

Wouldn't you?

The article about Pelosi and the Lama

I promise I'll try to make the next post less political. Or at least not about Tibet. Read more!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tibetans in the Midwest?

I'm sure you already know how much I am against protesters. It's a running theme in this blog of mine. And apparently yesterday there was a protest here in Chicago led by "Tibetans of the Midwest" that consisted of a short march and then a bunch of yelling outside the Chinese consulate and eventually some minor damage was done.

In my usual state of mind, I am at an impasse regarding the whole China-Tibet situation. On the one hand, it's mean to just storm in, take over land and beat down any nails that try sticking up with a hard military hammer. On the other hand, that's just how things are done and you can't eradicate "mean" from the world. I mean, the only way to stop this situation (and I mean REALLY stop it) is war. Tibet obviously can't do anything against China, both for size/strength reasons as well as the whole pacifist government-in-exile thing. It would need to rely on a country big enough to "liberate" it from China's hands. Which would probably be America, since we're the country everyone looks to for barging into smaller countries and doing what they can't do for themselves. Of course, the largest group in favor of freeing Tibet is the hippie population, which is the least likely to pick up a gun and do something about it.

I'm a little sad that empires are kind of gone. While I realize it was a less peaceful time in history, the notion of living in a country that kicks other country's asses and then takes over sounds keen. Of course, living in a country that sucks and gets trampled on and absorbed into another country wouldn't be great, but if they were good enough to kick our asses, they must be doing SOMETHING right and now that we're part of it, maybe we can get in on the action. Like some better healthcare to pay for the bayonet wound created while we got taken over by a country with better healthcare.

I still think that the solution to the illegal immigration problem in America is just storming in and taking over Mexico. They should just let us, really. Then as part of America, we'd be responsible for taking care of it since their numbers would officially reflect ours. We could move in and industrialize and cultivate and throw some Starbucks locations in there to generate some economic flow. Plus, maybe some of these illegals would move back to be with their families since we'd be bringing jobs THERE instead of having them come HERE to STEAL our jobs.

Anyway, back to Tibet and this insane protest. I call it insane because it's not going to do anything. Protests just don't do anything. The farther away the situation is that you're protesting and the larger the situation is, the less you're going to be able to affect anything and the more you look like idiots for trying. And this situation is across the freakin' Pacific Ocean. I just don't understand what they're expecting to accomplish other than looking like idiots.

Do they think that there's some mentally-challenged newbie who is friends with the Chinese military leader and is working his first day at this consulate after living in a cave for 60 years? He'd see 600 protesters with big signs chanting "Free Tibet" and flip out when a rock goes through the window and he says "OH NO THEY'RE SERIOUS! AND THEIR SIGNS ARE SO SUCCINCT! WHAT A GREAT ARGUMENT! THEY'RE RIGHT!" and calls up his buddy in charge of the entire Chinese military and tells him that there's a crushable number of protesters in another country who are armed with rocks and not afraid to use only one of them so we'd better hand Tibet back over to the Dalai Lama and withdraw the troops??

The only thing dumber than a group of protesters might be the individual protesters themselves.

Demonstrator Tenzin Palkyi, 21, a student at the University of Minnesota on spring break, carried a sign with gruesome pictures of Tibetans she said had been murdered by the Chinese government because of their opposition to Chinese rule.

Seriously, if your idea of a rockin' Spring Break is displaying tableaus of murdered bodies while screaming and marching - you obviously don't eat lunch at the popular kids' table.

One protester, who did not want to be named, said many people knew nothing about Tibet other than the Dalai Lama, which he said was not what the march was about. "It's not about just China or Tibet, it's about basic human rights."

I'm hoping that he didn't want to be named because he knew the possible consequences of being dumb enough to march with the "Tibetans of the Midwest" in a protest of China's occupation of Tibet and murdering Tibetans - and then saying the protest isn't just about China or Tibet.

You can't march in that kind of protest with signs saying "FREE TIBET" and then say it's not about Tibet - it's about "human rights".

That's like throwing a temper tantrum over Denny's not giving you a free Grand Slam breakfast meal and then claiming "This isn't about me getting free food - it's about ending world hunger."

If you can understand the logic there, you're hopefully smart enough to know that protesting is useless, or if you have to be an idiot and protest, at least you'll be smart enough to not say insanely-stupid things about why you're protesting.

And sometimes, that's the least I can hope for. So when ARE we going to take over Mexico, anyway?

(An article about the protest)

Read more!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anime Review: School Rumble

I figure that as long as I once again spend a good part of my nights watching anime (mostly watching anime I've already seen before) - I might as well try reviewing some of them.

School Rumble is a school-based romantic comedy. Here's the basic premise that you get from the first episode and leads into the explanation of the "love triangle" that is what most romantic comedies rely on to keep the humor coming:

Harima Kenji was a delinquent high-schooler. He didn't go to class, and he liked to fight people. One day, he sees this girl getting attacked by a couple of thugs, and he rushes in to her aid. Just after the scuffle, she faints. Harima has little choice but to bring her to his place until she wakes up. He starts feeling an attraction, watching her sleep, and through anime-cliched tactics gets too close to her while she's sleeping and in her sleep, she says "I love you" - then gets him in a death-clutch while still asleep and of course wakes up to find the two of them in a compromising position. She freaks and calls him a pervert, but is nice enough to say before leaving, "Mr. Pervert, you should really come to school" or something like that.

Harima Kenji decides to give up his delinquent ways and go back to school in order to win her over and confess to her. However, since he doesn't want her to recognize him as "that pervert", he dons sunglasses and grows a small mustache and beard. The girl, Tsukamoto Tenma, is dense enough to never see through such a feeble facade. She also never notices the many many attempts of Harima to display his affection for her - since she's too wrapped up in making many many attempts to display her affection for Karasuma Oji, who of course never seems to notice them (or show much emotion at all). Oh, and Karasuma loves curry. So maybe this isn't really a "love triangle" and is more like a "love rectangle".

That's the basis for the main storyline. Along the way, you meet the wide range of classmate secondary characters who fill in the gaps with their own storylines and romance-comedy scenes. There are rivals, there are school events, and other school-related things that drive the series onward.

Of course, with one main male character and a female character with three female friends and a younger sister, it gradually blurs the lines between romantic comedy and just a simple "harem anime" where the other females start considering having feelings for the main male character who's just always around. Luckily, the guy used to be a delinquent, and he's kind of violent, so there are plenty of reasons to stop much progression on those lines. Of course, deep down he's a pretty decent human being - otherwise you wouldn't be rooting for him and Tenma to get together. Of course, it's hard when you also want to root for Tenma and Karasuma to get together at times as well - even if you're not sure why.

Let's just say that the "love triangle" concept branches out to enough characters and sideplots to give fanfic writers enough material for a lifetime.

Animation-wise, I love this series. Of course, I rather enjoy any series that utilizes a running "antennae" gag when it comes to hairstyles. Tenma has her two little pigtails that pulse in chime with her emotions. Harima has a very thin upward-arching hair antenna that occasionally gets pinned to his face by his sunglasses. And Suou has blue hair. Because "you gotta have blue hair" when it comes to anime. This series has both tons of cutesy-chibi scenes as well as overly-manly-drawn scenes as a balance. Oh, and there's a pig named Napoleon and a giraffe named Pyotr.

All in all, this is a series that you have to watch for yourself. So do that, and let me know if you agree with my overly-positive review.

And as a bonus, here's the Opening Credits to get you hooked!

Read more!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Liberation Fronts

If there's one thing that the news has taught me as of recently, it's that any situation that uses the word "liberation" means that the situation involves "terrorism". While some claim that America going in to "liberate" countries means us look more like the terrorists than the terrorists creating the ruckus in the first place that led to the country needing some "liberation", one cannot deny that the two ideas of liberation and terrorism are both at work. I've already had several diatribes against the Animal Liberation Front and their terrorist ways - especially when the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was passed and rightfully put groups who destroy animal testing research and threaten the lives of those in animal-based work into the proper classification of "terrorists".

Well here's a "liberating" group that needs to be rightly put on that list as well. The "Earth Liberation Front" apparently goes around destroying things that it deems aren't environmentally-friendly enough, or something like that. I'm not really sure how this group plans on liberating the Earth. I mean, with the A.L.F. they at least deliver what they promise. It's a lot more definable to liberate an animal than a planet. The animal-rights dipwads go into medical labs, release all of the animals (either into the wild where they cannot survive because they were bred for research or taken to shelters or kept as pets, which I wouldn't say is actual "liberation") and then decide to be jackasses and also burn down the lab or destroy the research or threaten to kill the scientists or their families.

Frankly, if the Earth Liberation Front really wanted to liberate the Earth, it could start with a mass suicide akin to famous cults in the past. Seriously, Earth is too bogged down and cluttered with idiots and it could use with some liberation from THAT. I mean their main argument seems to be that humans are destroying the planet with non-environmentally-friendly things. So which is more likely to liberate the planet: destroying those things, or destroying people in general? Apparently they're fine with arson forms of terrorism, but they supposedly draw the line at murder.

Yea, the main spark for this post was that the E.L.F. attacked some multimillion-dollar homes in Oregon that were built under the premise of being "green", and according to the scrawlings that the Earth Liberation Front left on the burned remains of the homes - they were not.

So the question arises: are we going to call this an act of domestic terrorism? My answer is yes. In the same way that the A.L.F. are terrorists, this group is using a crime to scare (aka: terrorize) people and coerce them into doing something or not doing something according to their agenda. At the very least, they are criminals. At the very most, they are a terrorist cell hiding out in the Northwest that have obviously done at least millions of dollars worth of damage.

And you know what? As long as we have idiot groups out there willing to commit crime in order to "liberate" things that they've deemed needing of liberation, I want to propose a few new Liberation Fronts that follow the same pattern of having crazy impossible dreams and going about them the wrong way:

The Vegetable Liberation Front - The V.L.F. fights to liberate the vegetables and fruits that cannot fight for themselves. They think it's okay to eat meat because animals can express pain, so they will always have groups fighting for them out of sympathy - but WHO WILL THINK OF THE CARROTS? Carrots and eggplants and other plant life cannot express themselves and the pain and emotions they must be feeling after being ripped from their natural homes to slowly die, unless they are chopped up into pieces or run across graters or cooked alive! The V.L.F. robs grocery stores of produce and burns down farmer's markets and puts all the liberated victims into compost to "return them to Mother Earth".

Seriously, are we really that far off from a band of these guys?

The Mall Liberation Front - The M.L.F. (not to be confused with MILFs) fights to liberate malls and other shopping districts from window-shoppers. The mall is a place of commerce, and window-shoppers don't buy things and contribute to the economy. Well, they don't contribute to the mall economy... In order to rid the malls of these delinquents, the M.L.F. goes around malls, destroying window displays and painting over the windows of stores without specific window displays. Without things in the windows to stare at, the window-shoppers will be foiled and flee from the malls or resort to entering the stores where their perusal can at least be counterbalanced by pushy clerks and salespeople who can target them and attempt to make sales. For the mall!

"Window-shopping" really is kind of a misnomer if no shopping actually gets done.

The Gene Pool Liberation Front - This is my favorite made-up organization. If only the streets had roaming assassins who were equipped with common-sense testing supplies or something; ready to kill those who threaten the gene pool with their idiocy. They could just watch all of the recorded episodes of America's Dumbest Criminals and make that their hit list. We can all agree that if you have to kill off the dumb people, it's a good idea to start with the dumb people who are also criminals. I suppose that if they're just trying to liberate the gene pool, it would be less-deadly to just castrate people instead of just outright killing them - but if you've already got people who are dumb enough to try and cleanse the planet of dumb people by killing them, I doubt you'd trust any of them with surgical tools. In fact, membership to the G.P.L.F. would probably involve some form of sterilization. It might be too expensive, though - so I guess the alternative would be using the murder-suicide approach as opposed to the straight-up-murder approach. It would at least mean fewer trials, since the killer would be dead as well. And that cleanses the gene pool of two problems at once. (More, if you hit some kind of idiocy convention.)

What do you think? Can you foresee any of these "liberators" actually existing? Any Liberation Front ideas of your own?

(The article about the E.L.F. destroying the expensive homes)

Read more!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Global Cooling in 2007

I seriously hope that George Bush has seen this article. I'm actually thinking about forwarding a copy of it to him at the White House or something, though I don't like the notion of being put on some "list" because I attempted communication with the President. I think he would thank me, though - if his e-mail weren't read by interns and there's only a slight chance it would ever really reach him.

We've all heard stories about George W. Bush and his statements about the nonexistance of global warming. Some of you laughed. Some of you were enraged. Some of you are just plain hippies so any time he opens his mouth you just assume the worst and then eat some organic granola or something.

Well what would happen if he were RIGHT? Think about that for a minute, and then read on.

I found an article by Brit Hume that has some scary information for all of you global warmers out there.

"Now there is word that all four major global temperature tracking outlets have released data showing that temperatures have dropped significantly over the last year. California meteorologist Anthony Watts says the amount of cooling ranges from 65-hundredths of a degree Centigrade to 75-hundreds of a degree.

That is said to be a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. It is reportedly the single fastest temperature change ever recorded — up or down."

Did you read that? The year 2007 basically erased a century of measured global warming.

Some of the scientists are attributing the global cooling to a reduction in solar activity - which is a much more powerful factor in temperature than any man-made greenhouse gases and whatnot have been. So does this really mean that global warming is true, but the sun basically counteracted all of it by itself? Possibly. Does it prove that global warming itself is a myth or a lie? Not really.

But you have to admit - it does present a good argument against the protesting green-movement hippies and all of the global warming fearmongering going on. Which is why I think Bush needs to see this and rub it in some liberal faces for a change.

Of course, the story came from Fox News, so I guess we should take it with a grain of salt. But when has that stopped us from blowing a story out of proportion in the past?

What do you think? Global warming going to kill us all? New Ice Age cometh?

(The Fox News story)

Read more!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Immigration and Crime - A Poor Study

If there's one thing I hate even more than a poorly-done analysis claiming to be research that assumes that correlation means causation - it's a poorly-done analysis claiming to be research that assumes that correlation means causation AND misgeneralized the interpretation in the first place AS WELL AS assumes that the analysis has something to do with the issue being researched, which it DOESN'T.

The poorly-done analysis/research in question today is a study that "shows California's foreign-born population -- including illegal immigrants -- makes up only a sliver of the state's population of inmates".

Fine, you found a slightly-negative correlation between California inmates and their foreign birthplaces. Unfortunately, that information is useless. Especially when you try and generalize and apply causation relating foreign-born people to illegal immigrants, relating incarceration to crimes committed, and then also neglect the effects of illegal immigration other than just the initial immigration (like family members) and neglect certain non-jailable crimes (like shoplifting and vandalism).

Are you starting to see why I'm pissed off at this study and the news article that makes the claim that a lower number of foreign-born inmates indicates that stereotypes about illegal immigrants and crime rates are now disproven?

First of all, let's start with the fact that this study can never prove anything about illegal immigrants because all the study inquired about was the nation of birth and who was foreign-born. They make the argument that illegal immigrants are INCLUDED in the foreign-born population. I would make the argument that could also be illegal immigrants included in the USA-born population, assuming that they emigrated first and applied for citizenship elsewhere, THEN illegally re-entered the USA. It's possible, you can't deny that. Would it make a difference? Not at all. I'm just saying that their logic sucks, and equally-sucky logic proves it.

Secondly, this study is about INMATES, not criminals or crime at all. These are people who supposedly have committed a crime and been convicted of it and sentenced to jail. This study cannot possibly fathom the number of crimes being committed that have NOT led to an arrest. This study also ignores the number of crimes being committed that do not have a PENALTY that would lead to an arrest. The biggest problem about trying to make ANY connection of this study and illegal immigration is the fact that an illegal immigrant, once arrested and convicted of a crime, does NOT go to jail! Illegal immigrant criminals who are convicted are supposed to get DEPORTED. Hence, the number of foreign-born jail inmates means VERY LITTLE in relation to illegal immigrants.

Thirdly, any claim about crime rates is bogus. The number of criminals in jail had little to do with crime rates in general. One would HOPE for a correlation between crime rate and criminals being busted, but there are so many other factors in play that any generalization wouldn't be strong enough to beat up a five-year-old girl. Not even a five-year-old girl with brittle-bone disease!

Lastly, illegal immigration is illegal. The crime rate / percentage of criminals in the illegal immigration population is 100%, you dumbasses! At least near the END of the article, there is one quote that actually admits to this glaring error in the statistics: "While acknowledging that staying in the country illegally is a crime, Butcher and co-author Anne Morrison Piehl focused on activities that both foreign-born and U.S.-born adults can commit."

So they basically decided to do a study about crime and foreign-born people, but completely ignore that all of the foreign-born people who entered the country illegally are already criminals.

Any way you slice it, this is a worthless study and an especially-worthless article about the study.


(I can't make up something this atrocious - here's the article)

Read more!