quasigeostrophy: (Default)
I have a killer headache at the moment, so this may not come out as clear as I would like, but I feel the need to clarify something, since I've been called on it more than once in the last few days...

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."
-- Linus Van Pelt

All silliness and joking about the Great Pumpkin part of that aside, why do I try to adhere to a quote from a comic strip? It isn't because I have no opinions on political or religious issues. It isn't because I'm too afraid to bring up my opinions around anyone because I'm going to be ridiculed, mocked, or otherwise derided. No, it's because, in my experience, I have learned that, for the most part, in those two subject more than any other, people are not convinced by others' views. I would end up feeling like I'm banging my head against a wall, and, over time I've decided it just isn't worth the energy I could be spending on other things.

I try to live my life very much in a non-interference mode. If I don't like something, but it doesn't affect me or those about whom I care, and isn't something that generally interferes with the ability of others to live their lives as well, then whatever. Freedom until it interferes with the freedoms of others, I suppose is the most succinct way to put it. I realize that brings up many issues of deciding where that dividing line actually falls. Often, people have religious and/or political guidance for the placement of that line. I suppose I do as well, but that's why I feel I'm beating my head against a wall in trying to debate such points, even amiably. I've found that internet forums such as Facebook are the worst place to have amiable debates. I see too many biting, venomous attacks posted on both sides of too many issues, and so I usually fall back on Linus. It's not because I don't care or because I'm afraid to discuss it. It's because I don't want to waste the energy.
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Sitting on my hands is getting too hard.

I try not to be the type of person who says "I told you so", but I definitely don't feel surprised.

I've never gotten into politics nor been much of a talker on the subject because this is how they all, in my observations of 43+ years, work at this level. When so many people were jumping on the hope and change bandwagon, I never said much. I still voted for him as the better choice we had overall, but considering the long list of grandiose promises, I decided to wait and see, with typically low expectations. My observations have led to a long-held personal opinion that it is easier for a politician to screw up any situation than to improve it.

Am I sticking my tongue out and saying "Nyaah! I told you so!"? Not trying to. I'm not feeling schadenfreude at all, so I hope this doesn't come across that way. Just putting my opinion out there that my low expectations are again being met by someone who is, at heart, a Chicago politician with everything that entails.

And now, back to the wall...
quasigeostrophy: (stupid show)
From CNN.com: What got cut from the stimulus bill

Excerpts

Partially cut:

  • $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)
  • $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)
  • $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)

Fully eliminated:

  • $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • $50 million for NASA
  • $50 million for aeronautics
  • $50 million for exploration
  • $200 million for National Science Foundation
  • $100 million for science
  • $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement
  • $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management
  • $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants
  • $16 billion for school construction
  • $3.5 billion for higher education construction
quasigeostrophy: (doommeter)
Yes, I'm breaking one of my own tenets ("There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin." -- Linus Van Pelt), but it's one post. I'll get over it. :-)

I've been a fiscal conservative as long as I can remember. I'm also very much in favor of small government. I don't claim to be affiliated with any particular political party, however, particularly in recent years. That said, I'm certainly not leaning toward McCain. The mainstream of the Republican party has gone so far away from fiscal conservatism and small government that it's barely recognizable. They ride on the jingoism stirred up post-9/11 and feed on terror generated by the current administrations own "war on terror". Sorry, but what war on terror? When my own countrymen can detain me under any flimsy excuse of terrorism, we lost. It's over. The rising tide of uninformed idiocy from the far far right also seems to be getting more than its share of the party platform with wasteful and discriminatory "defense of marriage" acts and the like. And then McCain goes and picks a completely incompetent running mate.

I'm currently planning on voting for Obama, but I refuse to declare that I support him. Unfortunately, as has happened in too many previous elections, I'm voting against someone more than for someone. I don't like voting for vague "hope" or "change" just because the candidate promises things will be different. In my experience, a president can make things worse much easier than he/she can make them better. Call me cynical, but I've heard it before. Obama's "Blueprint for Change" is extremely ambitious, and I'm not thrilled with the progressive taxation planned to pay for it. I don't like the idea that we must "spread the wealth around". I've never felt that rich equals evil or is a legitimate reason for those folks to pay more taxes (and I'm not rich). Financially, however, McCain's plans are either in the same ballpark, or they're worse in other ways.

So, yes, I'm voting blue, at least for prez. Neither candidate excites me, but the negatives of one outweigh the negatives of the other.

And now back to the wall...
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
-- Thomas Jefferson

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-- Benjamin Franklin
quasigeostrophy: (asshat)
Banning Fast Food in Poor Neighborhoods

The fuck? The Nanny State in action.
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Well, ICCP 2008 is now over. Tomorrow I have to be in the lobby by 7:15am for a long bus ride to Chichen Itza. I have no idea how long the tour is supposed to be or what time it's expected to get back to my hotel.

I noticed something this week that my advisor had talked about before, that I'm sure is present in any field. There's an Old Guard that runs the ICCP (International Commission on Clouds and Precipitation, a division of some other body which is itself a division of the World Meteorological Organization, which in itself is a United Nations body) - a handful of elderly cloud physicists who, with the exception of the committee president, have been pretty grumpy during presentation question and answer periods all week. Despite their pressing of the younger crowds to keep open minds, they have built up a lot of cynicism with age. There is a lot of age striation in the field as well - apart from the Old Guard, there are people around my and my advisor's age, and then post-docs and grad students in their 20s like my lab mate.

On the actual ICCP sits the Old Guard and a just couple of people in my age group who were voted on at the last meeting four years ago in Bologna. Apparently there was another opening that they voted on in private last night, and my advisor is now on the ICCP. Considering how she got grilled after her talk Tuesday morning, by some of the Old Guard, one of whom flat out told her he didn't like her modeling framework at all and she should do something else, I think that's pretty cool.
quasigeostrophy: (PVP - menstruating star trek)
(Disclaimer: These opinions were formed upon my initial encounter with the viral "Anonymous" videos yesterday morning, before personal issues struck very close to home as a result of differences of opinion elsewhere.)

1. Behaving in the same manner as one's intended target doesn't differentiate one from that target. Group A hates group B for doing X. So, in order to stop B, A does X to B. Who is the more "evil"?

2. Who gets to define "evil"? No one in history we define today as such ever thought of themselves as such. Hitler believed he was right. So did thousands of others who supported him. Same for the Borgias. Or Genghis Khan. The list goes on. And the definition constantly evolves.

3. Lack of responsibility is already rampant today. Anyone could go join some group similar to "Anonymous" and institute a DDoS against whomever the Target du Jour is and never be held accountable. It's like playing Illuminati with all the cards face down.

4. Freedom of speech is not a matter of convenience. This probably should tie in with #2, but just because group A spouts some theocratic or other message group B doesn't like, group B should just try to get their message out as well or better. The right to free speech doesn't equate to the right to be heard, either, but that doesn't mean group B has the right to prevent group A's message from being delivered.

ETA: 5. Life is not a science fiction story.
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Done, done done!

Submitted my NSF Fellowship Application just a few minutes ago. Need to ping my reference letter writers, as none of them have submitted letters yet, but they have until 12/31 at least. IUPUI on the other hand, is, as usual, pissing me off. I submitted my transcript request to them (for my B.A. timeframe) at the same time as my requests for Purdue (my initial freshman year) and Ball State (my M.S.). The NSF shows receipt of Ball State's and Purdue's, but not IUPUI's. They don't need to receive them tomorrow, but they say they should be postmarked by tomorrow. So, I just frantically requested another one from IUPUI. They'd better process it on time. I can't call anyone - I just tried, and they said "All transcript requests must be made in person, by mail, or by fax. :-P Anyway, wish me luck on getting that moolah. I may not hear anything on final award status until as late as next April.


Weather PSA

Finally programmed our NOAA Weather Radio receiver upstairs for the local county codes for the Specific Area Message Encoding feature. Now I can leave it set to come on for weather alerts and it won't wake us up for every bloody alert in the state. I even stopped at Radio Shack this morning while running other errands and picked up a portable weather radio with the SAME alert features that I can use in the Baja when I'm (hopefully) commuting back and forth to Purdue next year across the open tundra flat open fields that are northern Indiana. After the tornadoes that hit southern Indiana in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I highly encourage everyone to get such a radio, at least for your home. Several survivors of Sunday's tornadoes claimed they "never heard the sirens". An Emergency Management Agency official confirmed in The Indianapolis Star this morning that those sirens are meant to be heard outdoors. They're not intended to be heard by people indoors, particularly sleeping ones.

You don't have tornadoes in your area? Don't bet against them. Ever. Anyway, what about hurricanes? What about flash floods? Mudslides? Forest fires? The SAME Emergency Alert System will carry messages over NOAA Weather Radio for all of those and more.</soapbox>


No voting here.

We don't have an election to deal with here this year. Thank dog. I've seen a few folks grumble a common sentiment that if you don't vote, you can't bitch. I strongly disagree. I have voted in elections for a long time (I missed some when I was in college the last time for several reasons), but the last time I checked, anyone can bitch about it, thanks to Freedom of Speech. IMHO, if you don't vote, you can bitch all you want, but it's pretty stupid of you to do so.</rant>


Coming up Next

Getting new tires on the wagon tomorrow. Timely, I got paid by the JDRF today for the walk shoot we did last month. The wagon needs new tires before next week when I need to take it to Buffalo - some stuff I'm taking to [livejournal.com profile] karenthecroccy won't fit in the Baja. Around that, I'm going to be working on calendars for the Café Press store, we have an alumni dinner at Ball State on Friday, and still hope to see the Lord of the Rings exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. No more specific grad school/fellowship application prep for me until after Thanksgiving, when I'll start studying for the GRE.

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