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: (asshat)
If your appointment for the showing of our house is at 6:30pm, looking in our side and back windows at us at 6:10pm is rude.


quasigeostrophy: (weather book)
There was some kvetching on the radio this morning about the missed forecasts we've had this month, especially with snow coming today, and it just annoyed me.

This is one of my pet peeves, and it was so even before I headed down this career path. It's also one reason (of many) I don't want to go into forecasting.

Try this at home. I dare ya:

- Take a huge not quite spherical ball.
- Cover it with a very irregular surface, about 3/4 of which is water.
- Cover that with a thin mixture of gases that gets exponentially thinner as you go up from the surface.
- Tilt it 23.5 degrees, with a bit of wobble.
- Spin it.
- Heat it irregularly via a huge ball of fusing gas about 93 million miles away.
- Send it around that ball of gas in an elliptical orbit so its distance to the heat source changes.
- Accurately tell me what all the gases covering the first ball are going to do at any given time and place in the future.

Go on.

The other problems?

1. We know the set of mathematical equations that describe how that mix of gases flows around the big ball, with and without varying amounts of water vapor. Unfortunately, that set of equations cannot be solved exactly by any known means.

So the forecasters build models that make approximations. Approximations introduce error. What a concept.

2. We don't have accurate observations in enough places or often enough. I've heard via a third party someone (on faculty here at Purdue, supposedly, but I don't know whom) theorized that if we had observations about every square kilometer and every 300 meters in altitude through the troposphere (the bottom 11 km or so), we might have enough observations to calculate the models accurately.

Forecasters make mistakes. Now you know why.
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
After I take care of the errands at Purdue, I have until Monday the 14th when I start my RA job (classes don't start until the 21st). I've a list of what I can and/or should do in that time. Not all of it will get done, and I'm having trouble prioritizing because of the overriding need to have a break:
  • (This one is already scheduled for Tuesday night) Go to The Melting Pot with Toni for a belated anniversary dinner.
  • (This one is also a priority because it's part of the belated anniversary thing) See Pirates of the Caribbean II with Toni.
  • Cut grass.
  • Trim grass.
  • Kill weeds.
  • Get some new pants.
  • Get a haircut.
  • Try to ride my bike at least once.
  • Dust & vacuum the house.
  • See An Inconvenient Truth. I just know I'm going to get into arguments debates about this, so I'd better be informed.[1]

We're not going to GenCon Indy next weekend after all. We were just going to wander the dealer room and pick up some games and look at shiny, pointy things, but we looked at the admission prices and really don't want to spend $45 each just for that. Besides, [livejournal.com profile] moominmuppet isn't coming to town for it, either, so that meet-up opportunity isn't a motivator anymore.

[1] - On a related note, I saw where The Weather Channel's climatologist, Dr. Heidi Cullen, in [livejournal.com profile] twc_blog yesterday phrased something very well: We live in a world that has a mix of natural climate cycles at play - like a symphony orchestra. Global warming has joined that orchestra. It may not be the conductor yet - but it's playing along with all the other instruments.

That expresses the impression I have given what I know so far about global warming. I will learn more, but probably never as much as she has, and it's good to see and educated climatologist not screaming that OMG it's only people (or worse, it's Americans the worst) who are heating up the planet!! Yes, we're doing our share, but what about highly-populated third-world countries who are still burning coal much less cleanly than we do. Last time I checked, Sao Paulo and Mexico City had the worst air quality on the planet. Beijing and Chongqing aren't far behind. Better stop before I get into full-blown rant mode. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (hypnotoad)
I liked the book. Not a literary breakthrough and a bit telegraphed, but an entertaining and quick read. Even though I've heard the movie (understandably, considering the book is a lot of exposition) drags, I may go see it for the heck of it.

Currently, I've been half paying attention to a documentary on The History Channel called Beyond the Da Vinci Code which is uncovering the truth behind many of the so-called claims in the novel. I like the approach of this documentary. The facts are being presented neutrally. I've read so many similar debunkings that annoy me with a tone, explicit or implicit, of "Dan Brown got it wrong!"

Give me a break. He wrote a work of fiction!!

Many years ago, I fell in love with a novel called The Eight, the first book by Katherine Neville. It's still one of my favorite books. It's a creative placing of historical characters from around and after the time of the French Revolution linked to another story thread set in the 1970s. They're all where they were, doing for the most part what they did that is recorded historically, when they did it. But Neville changed their motivations, often extremely. To me, whatever his actual intent, Brown's The Da Vinci code is the same sort of thing, except only with present day protagonists.

People having cow puppies about things Brown claims in the novel about the Catholic church and so forth, IMHO, just need to get over it.
quasigeostrophy: (hypnotoad)
A riot... iss an ugly tingk. Und I tink it's yust about time dat vee had vun!!


Preface: I am all for breast-feeding. I am not prudish and generally, except considering business environments that prohibit such content for, IMHO, valid reasons, don't care what images or content is on my default LJ reading list.

Here's what annoys me - a little concept I call Crowd Mentality. To quote Tommy Lee Jones' character from Men in Black: "A person is smart. People are dumb." I completely believe that. I woke up this morning to find ranting and raving all over LJ about this breast-feeding default icon hoopla. I've read a couple of sensible posts on my default friends list, but on friendsfriends and elsewhere, people are misinterpreting the LJ TOS left and right, they're screaming LJ is unfair and is changing the TOS on them, they're quoting California laws about breast-feeding, etc.

All for naught. Step back and take a look at the issue. All LJ is saying is not to have default icons with breast nipples visible. Maybe that is a little unfair because, not that anyone would want to see them, I could show my manboobs all I want in a default icon and not get slapped. LJ can do that. They can change the TOS whenever they want. They are a place of business and have reserved that right. If someone doesn't like the new TOS, that someone is certainly free to terminate the business relationship with LJ. California laws about breastfeeding don't apply here - they're not telling anyone not to breastfeed.

More importantly, I get annoyed whenever something like this blows up with apparently large numbers of people jumping on a bandwagon, stirred up in all the fury, without logically looking at the issue. Why do I seldom if ever discuss sensitive issues in my LJ? Same reason I don't discuss them heavily IRL. I'm always gathering data and analyzing it. Does this mean I never take a stand and am wishy-washy? Not in the least. But I refuse to grab a torch and a pitchfork and go running off to burn the monster when I don't know what if anything he may have done. I'm told I think too much sometimes. Maybe there's a cosmic balance to some who think too little.

This rare soapbox brought to you by the letter 'W', for 'witchhunt'. We now return you to your regularly scheduled LJ...


Apr. 20th, 2006 07:49 am
quasigeostrophy: (stupid show)
Today's Something Positive is a fine example of what I, as a male, cannot stand about some aspects of so-called feminism. This is not meant as communication with anyone I know personally, just a sentiment I've seen. Once again, Milholland hits the nail on the head.


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