Thursday, March 31, 2005

Yahoo! News - Massachusetts Stem Cell Bill Gets Veto-Proof Vote

Yahoo! News - Massachusetts Stem Cell Bill Gets Veto-Proof Vote: "A bill that would allow embryonic stem cell research in Massachusetts cleared its second big legislative hurdle on Thursday with enough support to withstand a near-certain veto by the state's governor."


Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'
Another piece on the recent report of the consequences of exponentiation against limits.

What can be done about this problem when most of humanity not only fails to see it, but rejects the information out of hand when it's brought to their attention?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Study highlights global decline

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Study highlights global decline
The most comprehensive survey ever into the state of the planet concludes that human activities threaten the Earth's ability to sustain future generations.

Well, duh...

I wonder what Steven Pinker thinks the odds are of humanity undergoing dieoff, like any other organism that outgrows, consumes and fouls its environment. Surely the answer to why humanity can't acknowledge limits despite the obviously finite extension of its environment falls into his scope.

Monday, March 28, 2005


S. Korea bars secret video of the North | "We need to focus on what is effective, not what we think we should say."

Well... Ok...

Smarter people than me...

Easter Charade

Easter Charade - There's no resurrecting Terri Schiavo. By Christopher Hitchens

Finally! Maybe there's hope after all.

... united in eternal bliss with the man-child Elián González.
... vortex of irrationality and nastiness that generates its own energy.
...(unwise to burst in) but only because it might set a precedent for the rescue of living people on Death Row.
... arrogantly ventriloquized by clerical demagogues and self-appointed witch doctors
... The end of the brain, or the replacement of the brain by a liquefied and shrunken void, is ... if not the absolute end of "life," the unarguable conclusion of human life.
(My emphatic emphasis.)
... hysteria from the morbid and the superstitious. It is an abuse of our courts and our Constitution to have judges and congressmen and governors bullied by those who believe in resurrection but not in physical death.
... {Religious fanatics} have gone too far, and they should be made to regret it most bitterly.

Hear! Hear!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A more sensible Catholic attitude on Schiavo case

I like this man's approach. It doesn't require that we agree on the nature of the soul. If the losing side in the Schiavo controversy agree with this man, perhaps the whole controversy could be addressed in the context of the previous post.

Naaaaaaa..... Probably not.

The Seattle Times: Local News: 5 Times columnists consider issues of faith in Schiavo case: "
The Rev. Patrick J. Howell is a Jesuit priest and dean of Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry.

The Rev. Patrick J. Howell

Q: What would you do if you were making the decision in Schiavo's case, and to what extent is this decision driven by what your faith says on end-of-life issues?

A: The Roman Catholic Church has a consistent 400-year-old tradition that says nobody is obliged to undergo extraordinary means to preserve life.

This is Holy Week, when the Christian tradition is saying, 'We understand that life is not an absolute good and death is not an absolute defeat.' The whole story of Easter is about the triumph of ultimate life over transitory death. Catholics have never believed that biological life is an end in and of itself. It is a gift of God, and we are ultimately destined to return to God.

As far back as 1950, Gerald Kelly, the leading Catholic moral theologian at the time, wrote, 'I'm often asked whether you have to use IV feeding to sustain somebody who is in a terminal coma.' And he said, 'Not only do I believe there is no obligation to do it, I believe that imposing those treatments on that class of patients is wrong. There is no benefit to the patient, there is great expense to the community, and there is enormous tension on the family.'

I have been blessed in my own family with a great deal of practical realism. My parents both made it very clear 30 years ago that they did not want extraordinary means or an artificial prolonging of life through nutritional tubes. My mother, now 89, has a degenerative heart condition and has made it very clear through a living will she does not want emergency resuscitation or any other extraordinary measures should her heart fail.

The situation with Terri Schiavo is truly tragic. I hope her family and especially her parents will have the support and care they need to grieve her loss."

Yahoo! News - Docs Say Schiavo Videotapes Can Mislead

Yahoo! News - Docs Say Schiavo Videotapes Can Mislead: "To understand the emotional reaction to the tapes of Terri Schiavo, one need only spend a few minutes with Kismet.

People who spend time with the robot at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (news - web sites) lab walk away feeling like they've made a new friend. Kismet is nothing but a mechanical head made out of metal and plastic, but it has been cleverly programmed by scientists to mimic human social interactions.

Sit down across from Kismet and it gives you a pleasant smile. Step too close and it jumps back with a startled expression on its face. Introduce yourself and it waits patiently for you to finish talking, then replies with a few syllables of speech that sounds like a higher-pitched version of the language spoken by the teachers in 'Charlie Brown' cartoons.

Kismet is no more conscious than a dishwasher or a microwave oven. But its vaguely human behavior has a powerful effect on brains that are predisposed to attach meaning to gesture, facial expression and vocal tone.

'This ... system that we have is so automatic and so powerful, sometimes it ends up being triggered by things that aren't people and don't have minds at all,' said Martha J. Farah, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. 'It's very hard to suppress the impression that there's somebody there.'

People in persistent vegetative states are no more aware than Kismet, but they retain a handful of primitive reflexes that are naturally misinterpreted as conscious behavior."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Hear! Hear! On Bullshit

"I think that the tendency to bullshit is encouraged and promoted by the fact that it's a widespread view in a democratic society that a responsible citizen ought to have an opinion about everything. Well, you can't know very much about everything, and so your opinions are likely to be based upon ...pause... bullshit."

Harry Frankfurt
Princeton University Professor of Philosophy Emeritus
Author of "On Bullshit" in a taped interview

Still missing the implications of a dead upper brain

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Morality and Reality

I like David Brooks. He's a sensible, well-spoken, regular commentator on The News Hour and a New York Times columnist. In this piece he describes the contrast between social conservatives and social liberals with respect to issues of life. Brooks has the social conservatives coming from a morals perspective and the social liberals reflecting concerns about process.

But both of the groups Brooks describes seem to come, more fundamentally, from a mistaken definition of life. What differentiates human life from other life is the human soul. The distinction I'd like to press has to do with the nature of that soul, and when it is present and relevant.

Both of the groups Brooks discusses think there is a soul separate from the uniquely human functions of the brain, and that the presence of this spirit soul is what defines the live human being.

That's where both of Brooks' groups are mistaken. Whereas the live human being IS defined by the human soul, both groups fail to link this human soul to the human brain, and to realize that when the brain dies there is no human soul and all that remains is a shell, not a live human being.

The human soul is the emergent property of the complex human brain. When the brain dies, there is no soul.

Terri Schiavo is dead. She has been dead for 15 years. The tragedy of her death is only compounded by the present repercussions of dogma about spirit souls.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hear! Hear! Is There Really a 'New Diagnosis' for Terri Schiavo?

TCS: Tech Central Station - Is There Really a 'New Diagnosis' for Terri Schiavo?

The medical reality of Ms. Schiavo's case is this: She has been in what is medically referred to as a "permanent vegetative state" for the past 15 years, ever since her heart temporarily stopped (probably due to the severe effects of an eating disorder), depriving her brain of oxygen. Brain scans indicate that her cerebral cortex ceased functioning -- probably just after she experienced cardiac arrest in 1990. Ms. Schiavo's CAT scan shows massive shrinking of the brain, and her EEG is flat. Physicians confirm that there is no electrical activity coming from her brain. While the family video repeatedly shown on television suggests otherwise, her non-functioning cortex precludes cognition, including any ability to interact or communicate with people or show any signs of awareness. Dozens of experts over the years who have examined Ms. Schiavo agree that there is no hope of her recovering -- even though her body, face and eyes (if she is given food and hydration) might continue to move for decades to come.

The body being wrangled over is exactly that: a body. The former occupant died 15 years ago. The soul stopped when the mind stopped, which stopped when the brain stopped.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

World divided on ethics of Terri Schiavo case |

World divided on ethics of Terri Schiavo case |

Good article.

"The Catholic church, however, remains strongly opposed..."

Screw the church.

The Volokh Conspiracy - Cass Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule for the Death Penalty:

The Volokh Conspiracy - Cass Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule for the Death Penalty:: "Recent evidence suggests that capital punishment may have a significant deterrent effect, preventing as many as eighteen or more murders for each execution. This evidence greatly unsettles moral objections to the death penalty, because it suggests that a refusal to impose that penalty condemns numerous innocent people to death."

Monday, March 21, 2005

The New Republic Online: Preaching to the Choir

The New Republic Online: Preaching to the Choir

For those of you just back from Mars (tell Peter Jennings; he'll invite you on the evening news to talk about extraterrestrials), Ashley Smith is the 26-year-old Georgia woman taken hostage by Brian Nichols, the 33-year-old man accused of rape who had just killed a judge, a court reporter, and two law-enforcement agents in and around an Atlanta courthouse and was running for his life.
Prostitution is legalized in two places in America: in Nevada and on the airwaves. One of the biggest whorehouses is CNN (you don't expect integrity from Fox), which swung into action.

Blog shmog

OK, I've been playing with this blog for a few days now. It's been pretty interesting. I've formed a picture of the global brain in action. There are connected neurons like Volokh and Dooce. From what I've seen, Volokh is brilliant and Dooce is in a different category that did not attract my attention. Then there are blogs like The Angry Atheist that reflect high intelligence but are apparently not highly connected. Then there are the millions of little blogs like mine. In the aggregate they (millions of blogs) seem to model a crude brain of sorts. Maybe there is a Global Brain.

It's been interesting, but I don't think it something I give that much of a shit about. I already know that nobody give a damn what I think, secular bad person that I am. On top of that, I'm not that smart, or that energized or interested.

Fact of the matter is, I think the odds of a civilization-endangering meteor striking the earth, in the form of humanity bumping up against the walls of its petri dish, are very high. I am pretty damned sure there not a thing anyone can do in the face of dieoff, so why try? Trying is not why I did this blog, though. I just thought I'd check out the blogsphere. Now I have, and now I think I'm done.

Or maybe I'm just tired. Tired of politicians milking Shiavo. Tired of religious delusion driving events and humanity toward its limits. Tired of the stupidity of moral legislators, anti-death-penatly activists, anti-nuclear-activists, anti-war activits, activists in general.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Legislative Grandstanding

Why Schiavo is a cause celebre |

GOP leaders in both houses describe this case as having to do with the "culture of life" theme expected to be central in the 2006 congressional races. "Their gamble is that the general public will be divided on the issue and will not vote on the subject come 2006, but that the Republican-base ... group of conservative Christians will remember this vote forever," says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
"It would appear to be the kind of legislative grandstanding that Chief Justice Rehnquist, if he were up to speed and in good health, would swat away in an instant," says Patrick Gudridge, a law professor at the University of Miami.

Unsung Hero - Boris Smeds

Feature Article

Titan Calling

How a Swedish engineer saved a once-in-a-lifetime mission to Saturn's mysterious moon

There are some very smart people in this world. Maybe there is some hope for humanity after all.

Soylent Green

Yahoo! News - Ted Rall

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Mirror of Justice: Volokh on Pain, Punishment, and Vengeance

Mirror of Justice: Volokh on Pain, Punishment, and Vengeance

The notion of "inherent human dignity" (third paragraph of the linked post, and other posts there) is foreign to me. It is derived from the poster's faith, which I do not share.

Most people in the US (something like 95%, apparently) claim to believe in God. This is not surprising since humans are apparently hard-wired for belief. We are hard wired for faith due to the selective advantage that the capacity for unwarranted belief confered upon the human species and the human individual in the evolutionary scheme of things.

Dignity is evident in many humans, including all of those I have read on this topic, but the inherent nature of dignity in all human beings is a fantasy dogma related to the illusion of a soul. This illusion is of the mind, itself in turn an emergent property of a complex human brain.

There is nothing inherent about human dignity. Some human life is worthless. John Evander Couey, for example. I wonder if little Jessica Lunsford's father would want to torturously execute this son of a bitch. I hope not, but I'd certainly understand if so.

She's been dead for 15 years

BBC NEWS | Americas | US patient's feeding tube removed

The poor woman has been dead for 15 years already. She died when her brain died. All that's left is an artificially sustained shell.

The mind is what the brain does. The soul is an illusion created by the mind. Before she died she told her husband she would not want to be sustained this way. Let her body go.

This is all about the interests of institutions, not about one woman's body's state of life.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Google Search: blogrolling blogger

Google Search: blogrolling blogger

Well, I seem to be having a little trouble figuring out how to display my Blogroller links in my Blogger blog. I pasted the javascript link that Blogroller gave me into some wrong place towards the end of my template, and I don't see it. But my eyes are burning so I'm going to shut down for the evening and continue the fun in the morning.

In the meantime, here's a little test of the Blog This! function thingy I added to my Firefox toolbar.

Good night, I think.
No, not good night yet. Apparently I was able to follow instructions for adding links on my own to the sidebar. What I'm interested in, though, is how my Blogroller links will get added automagically. As I'm doing this I think I realize that it's only going to work with blogs that have a Blogroll Me! link, and that for others I'll have to go add them to my link collection on the Blogroller site. So I'm beginning to wonder what the BlogRoller site does for me in the wider sense. I guess that depends on how many blogs that I'd care to link to bear the Blogroll Me! link.

I think I'm missing something that I'll see more clearly in the morning. Good night.

Silly little pome

From long, long ago:

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

The deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed the two dead boys.

If you don't believe the story's true
Ask the blind man. He saw it, too.

I'll be damned! There it is, right along with "Ladies and Jellybeans!"

The internet and the WWW are so cool. Thank you Sir Tim (and all you other geniuses, too).


"The Beguiled" is one of my favorite movies of all time.

"Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page star in this tense psychological drama of love and betrayal.

During the Civil War, a wounded Union soldier is sheltered by the headmistress and students of a girls' academy in the South. As his health returns his desire increases, but can he trust these women not to turn him in?

The soldier takes his chances, but soon realizes his benefactress can't be trusted...with his love or his life! His lustful ambitions quickly turn against him and the story follows through a series of nerve-shattering events, including scenes that are among the boldest and most shocking ever witnessed on film."

"Tucker" with Jeff Bridges is, typically of movies with Jeff Bridges, very good. It's the story of Preston Tucker, the "dynamic engineer and an enthusiastic showman who envisions the car of the future. Against mighty odds he manages to bu9ild a fleet of them - only to have his factory shut down by Detroit's Big Three automobile manufacturers. They took away his car-but nobody could take away his dream."

"The King of Comedy," with Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis, blew me away the first time I saw it. Jerry Lewis' performance is DeNiro's equal or better in this non-comedic role.

"Glengarry GlenRoss" also blew me away the first time I saw it. Highly recommended for the performances in this story "of desperation and betrayal based on David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play."

I swapped these for a bag of working but obsolete computer peripherals. Now I have something play on my old Laser Disc player along with the Judas Priest disc I swapped something for a couple of months ago. I don't know his music yet, but I suspect the mighty Priest will now be balanced by Solomon Burke's Purely Music concert disc. "With his big, powerful voice and fervent-but-controlled emotionality, Solomon Burke was a pioneer of soul music in the early sixties. He made some of the first soul records by setting his gospel "preaching" style in song forms, borrowed from R & B, Rock & Roll and other secular music."Sounds good so far.

What's that they say about junk and treasure?


Solomon Burke rocks! If you like blues, soul and rock & roll, he knows how to rock.

It had been a while since I played any laserdiscs, big old things that they are. I'd even forgotten what I have. Not a big collection, but in addition to the five new ones above, I'll have to go back and watch

"" recorded during their 1986 "Fuel for Life" tour. I think I was there for part of it. I've seen Judas Priest several times, Rob Halford on his own once or twice, and I've never been disappointed. This is a great disc to have.

The Moody Blues at Red Rock with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

"Cyndi Lauper in Paris" is another really great disc to have. Cyndi Lauper's voice gives me chills. What a show!!

"Utopia - Redux 92 - Live in Japan" is good. I'm not that much of a Utopia fan but this is good stuff, too.

"Anita Baker - One Night of Rapture" annoys me. Anita Baker is great, but I hate hate hate the fact that they interrupt the perfomances for people to say shit I could not possibly care less about. Just music, please.

"Fantasia" is, of course, Fantastic. Chapter 9 is Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, which I've always loved, and which always reminds me of a great film I don't have, "Soylent Green."

"The Sound of Music" What can I say?

"Jurassic Park" The first one. Nowadays special effects are commonplace, but Jurassic Park was one of the first ones, and what a flick it is. The book was better, of course, but hey...

I've got a few DVD's, too.

  • All three Terminator flicks
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales (terrific movie)
  • Rush in Rio
  • Animusic
  • Ray Charles - Live in Brazil
  • Stomp - OutLoud
  • Riverdance - Live in New York City (I really like some of it, but some of it gets old.)
  • Trinity and Beyond - The Atomic Bomb Movie (wow, to have been there)
If the house was on fire and I could only get out with one of these, it would have to be "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Cyndi Lauper in Paris" and "Priest --- Live".

I have to take my hat off to "In America". I was really glad they left the lights off for a while after it ended because I didn't want to show any tears. What a great movie! "In America"

There are lots of great movies, of course. I have not seen them all, nor do I remember all the great ones I've seen right now.

"The Long Day's Dying" Late 60's. Amazing combat movie, never released on video that I know of.

Mention of net energy

U.S. needs rational energy policy without further delay
Houston Chronicle

What about *net* energy?

The testimony of Jim Wells, GAO's Director of Natural Resources and Environment, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Resources, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives a couple of days ago is available from the GAO in pdf form.

That I didn't see any mention of net energy continues to worry me. I am very concerned that we are ignoring net energy in considering future sources for our modern society.

So what? Net energy? What's that?

"Net energy" is something people generally don't think about and only gadflies ever seem to mention. I'm not talking about "net energy metering," which is when your electricity meter runs backwards if your solar cells are delivering energy from your house to the electricity grid because you aren't using it all.

"Net energy" is the ratio of
1) the energy a scheme is capable of delivering in its lifetime
divided by
2) the energy it takes to develop it.

If it takes more energy to develop a particular scheme than it can deliver, the ratio is less than one and the scheme is no good.

If it takes less energy to develop a particular scheme than it can deliver, the ratio is greater than one and the scheme shows promise.

This ratio is also known as EROEI, Energy Return on Energy Investment. Energy in over energy out.

You could also subtract energy in from energy out. If it takes more energy to develop a scheme than you get out, then the answer is negative and the scheme is no good. Generally speaking, that is.

Any number of possible energy sources are bandied about as possible options for the continuation of our modern society, but if these options do not produce substantial positive net energy, then they are not energy sources at all.

All potential sources of energy competing for our attention and dollars should be subjected to net energy analysis. Why isn't this done as a matter of course? My take on it is that 1) it's damned difficult, 2) it's highly political and 3) people just don't think about it, assuming that something from which you get energy is automatically a source of energy.

Why is net energy analysis so difficult? Because you have to take into account every bit of energy, including the heat to make the concrete for the tower or factory, the fuel to mine the raw materials, similar quantities for required connecting infrastructure, and so on. It is difficult and contentious, and it is different in every case.

Why is net energy analysis so political? That one's easy. It's because, if your favorite project is shown not to be likely to yield substantial positive net energy, it'll be axed and you're out of business. Also, it's necessary to tailor the method to the purpose, which means you might or might not count some energy inputs in the analysis, which opens the topic to argument.

Why don't people think about net energy? Beats the hell out of me. Maybe it's because of the difficulty and the politics.

I've only seen what appear to be good EROEI analyses in two cases, for nuclear energy and corn alcohol. In the nuclear case, despite what detractors like Helen Caldicott say, there is substantial positive net energy. In the corn alcohol case, it's positive but not much - basically a bit more than a wash.

People assume that wind will save the day, but when I look for good net energy analysis of wind I wind up looking at marketing materials reflecting the supposed net energy of an individual turbine. I have little reason to think that all the energy inputs required to build that turbine (mining, smelting, transporting the iron for the tower, running the factory building the composite blades, etc., etc., have been considered. Forget about all the energy to build the connecting infrastructure and redundancy required by the intermittent nature of the source. There seems to be a good likelihood that on an infrastructural basis, wind will turn out to be an energy sink not an energy source except maybe in particularly good wind areas (which are probably pretty rare, overall).

What about solar photovoltaics? I think there's a very good likelihood that we're really building batteries charged with today's cheap energy, not energy sources for the future.

Solar thermal concentrators? Maybe. I don't know. The question isn't being studied well that I'm aware of.

Maybe I just have not looked hard enough for this type of study, but it seems to me there should be an "Office of Net Energy" within the DOE and the GAO, whose charge would be to get rigorous with the net energy question so that policymakers could better decide how to allocate scarce research and development assets. The Office of Net Energy should be a scientific organization, not subject to external pressures.

This seems like a pipe dream, though, because money talks louder than morals, but look at how morals obstruct progress in, say, stem cell research.

Oh, well...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

No Stopping Global Warming, Studies Predict

Stopping human-caused climate change is a canard used to help justify continuation of the usual stupidities.

Nobody says you can stop global climate change, just that we should stop making it worse.

Real Climate

Hockey Stick

Torturous Execution

I hope Professor Volokh doesn't mind. He's a pretty credible guy in my eyes, but on the topic of torturous execution, well...

Prof. Volokh thinks it's a good thing that the Iranians allowed a condemned child killing monster to be torturously executed, with family survivors participating in the act with whips and knives.

I am in favor of torturous execution if, and only if, competent psychological evalutation determines that the survivors of the victims would find it ultimately cathartic after thinking very, very hard with benefit of a clinician's perspective. In other words, if you think you want to torture someone to death, get a good second opinion.

I am not one who would find catharsis in torturing anyone to death, no matter what they did to my loved ones.

My uncle Jack told me a story one time. He lived in a beautiful but poor, violent and corrupt country where life was (and is increasingly) cheap. He had a young acquaintance who was a policeman. It seems that (in contrast to the United States where there still remains enough wealth to indulge all sort of legal niceties) down there extrajudicial execution was used from time to time.

It was my uncle's friend's job to perform some of these killings. The young policeman was a former soldier, a veteran of the country's long insurgency, and no stranger to killing.

One morning around six my uncle got a phone call from his young friend, who sounded agitated and asked if he could come over. Of course. The young policeman arrived a little while later, and his first request was for a drink. So my uncle and his friend had a few stiff scotches for breakfast while the policeman settled down.

What had upset this hardened killer so much was an assignment he'd gotten, to kill a monstruous recidivist involved in some awful crime against children. I don't recal the particulars, but the young policeman had become so incensed by the nature of the crime that he had decided to perform the execution with a knife rather than a bullet.

That's what had shaken up my uncle's hardened-killer-friend. No matter how much the monster deserved it, and no matter how accustomed to killing my uncle's friend had become, it shook him up to be so up close and personal in the act.

No, my satisfaction at the death of a monster would stem from its finality, not its gruesomeness.

Now, if only we could get Prof. Volokh's colleagues to SPEED UP THE DAMNED PROCESS, then we might find some deterrent value in capital punishment. Why, oh why, cannot that judge and cop killing rapist in Atlanta be executed in a week or a month? Why do animals have to languish in prison for decades on my nickel?

Yeah, I know, human life is inherently precious. Right.

Humans are animals; when you get a mad one you put it down.

Don't do it by torture, though, because the act will probably warp the surviving torturer, increasing the damage the bastard already did.

Finally, what if your child got warped into a monster somehow? Would you not still love your child, irrespective of what he'd become? What about the pain of that other innocent, the parent, say, of the tortured monster, feeling the pain of their loved one, monster or not?

Torture is bad unless you can maybe save someone's life. Otherwise, just kill the bastard in the least costly and deterrence-enhancing way you can think of. Otherwise, if given my chance, I'll execute the way Uday did, with an industrial meat grinder.

OK, OK, a blog already...

So I decided to infesticate the blogsphere.

A few years ago my younger friend Kris turned me on to raw HTML, with which I kept a page that's still at That was before blogs.

Oops... got to edit that link: My old pre-blog site.

Then a while later my boss bought me Microsoft FrontPage to use at work, so I bought FrontPage for myself and used it to say my piece. That was before I'd ever heard of a blog. Maybe they didn't exist back then (depending on your definition of a blog).

Then I heard of blogging. By then, though, I'd learned that nobody gives damn what I think. But I was reading some blogs, like Eugene Volokh's "The Volokh Conspiracy," where a bunch of really bright lawyuhs post mostly intelligent stuff. Thanks to my friend Ken for that tip.

In the meantime, the awesome Google came out with some more awesome stuff. When I saw that Google was offering Blogger for the masses, I figured it might be pretty awesome, too. So here I am, checking it out. I don't know if it's awesome yet. Maybe Google's raised my standards. So far Blogger meets expectations (which is what I expected from Google - it Just Works so far).

So, why start blogging now?

Why not? I'm prompted now by Eugene Volokh's having surprised me with his stance on torturous execution. It could have been any of a number of things, but the good Prof caught my attention this morning.

I see there's a control down at the bottom of the page to allow comments or not. Please feel free. I always stand for correction.

How's that for a first blog post, eh? On to the next.