Sunday, October 30, 2011

Global Warming

AP: Skeptic finds he now agrees global warming is real

I'm not gonna guess on the causes. I would take global warming deniers seriously, but they always got an agenda. Notice how people who deny global warming always drive SUVs or other gas-guzzlers?

Not that the global warming believers are much better. They got an agenda too. They use global warming to push people around.

Me? I believe the climate's changing. No way around it. The past two years in Mississippi have been crazy. We've had some of our hottest and coldest temperatures in years. I can take people seriously when they say it's a natural change, but I can't take them seriously when they say it's not changing. It is.

Here's a long three-part article, Global Warming Ethics by Jack Marshall. It says everyone's wrong. It's great. Read all three parts. They don't link to each other, so bookmark them all. Or bookmark this page!
Part 1: Convenient Misrepresentations
Part 2: The Offset Illusion
Part 3: Ideology and Bias

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I Love Mississippi

If you live in Mississippi you see news articles all the time about how horrible it is to be here. Here's an example:

NEW YORK (Routers) - A new study shows that a higher percentage of people in Mississippi watch "Jersey Shore" than in any other state. "This proves that Mississippi sucks at everything," said one distinguished scientist. "If you're from Mississippi, kill yourself. You're trapped. Nobody will take you seriously - I know I won't. We had this one scientist here from Mississippi, and we all made fun of him so much that he quit and got a job at McDonald's. Serves him right."

Of course that scientist has never been to Mississippi, but he's an "expert" anyway. We got our share of problems, but I like it here. Would I live somewhere else? Probably, but Mississippi will always be part of me.

I love how we're proud of how uncomfortable summer (May 15-October 15) is. We may panic at an inch of snow, but we're PROUD of our 100-degree summers with high humidity! We can handle it, and YOU can't! Because we have air conditioning everywhere.

I love how green everything is in summer. I'm colorblind and most greens look dull, but not Mississippi summer green. It's so bright it looks like computer animation.

I love our normal winters. Kind of cold but not *too* cold. We think 10 degrees is the coldest temperature known to mankind.

I love how most of the state, with a few exceptions, is down on itself. This ain't Texas. We don't have big egos.

I love how we never do anything halfway. If we're good at something we're THE BEST. If we're bad at something we're THE WORST. No mediocrity in Mississippi.

I love our stupid college rivalry between two schools who usually suck at football. If one's good at football the other one never is. Speaking of which...

I love the fact we got the best college in the world, Ole Miss. Too bad we also got Mississippi State.

I love how even the girliest girls here love football as much as the guys.

I love getting on the freeway and going 5 under the speed limit in the right lane and people are fine with that.

I love the fact people don't get mad if you don't drink.

I love how when every other state picks on us, we pick on... Arkansas. Don't ask me why.

I love that we rejected the Arizona immigration law other states passed. There may be anti-Hispanic prejudice here, but it's less than other parts of the country such as Alabama.

I love that we have more African-American elected officials per capita than any other state - makes sense because we got more African-Americans per capita than any other state.

I love how we remember our history - we've moved past the 1960s because we remember them. A long time ago I read about an Orson Scott Card story where one group had murdered a bunch of people or something else horrible. Their punishment was they had to tell everyone what they did, and their descendents had to say what their ancestors did. This is what goes on here. Some people say it's in the past and we need to forget and move on. We'll never move on if we don't remember our past mistakes and avoid them.

We can stand to change on a lot of things. Our legacy of racism will haunt us forever. We've done a lot to overcome it, but there's still more work to do. We got in the news for blatant homophobia last year. We got a high poverty rate. Our economy is horrible now. But I love Mississippi anyway. If you don't live here you won't understand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Political Correctness

Ever notice how the only people who bitch about political correctness are white? "Political correctness" is supposed to be some vast conspiracy to make people care about other people who are not like them. I don't get it. Nobody says they're politically correct. When people say they're politically incorrect, it's always an excuse to trash people. Listen. There is nothing edgy or rebellious about being "politically incorrect". When you say "I'm not PC! Racial epithet! Racial epithet!" it tells me you're an asshole, definitely white and straight, probably male, Protestant, able-bodied, etc. Do you want to give out that much info about yourself online? I could steal your identity.

Of course, you get the odd person who defends political correctness. Like The Angry Black Woman. She, of course, is black, female, and lesbian, so she benefits a lot from political correctness. It's still a good essay. She says a lot nicer than I would,

I feel that Political Correctness promotes tolerance because it forces people to think about what they say and who they are saying it to. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) that people who rail against Politically Correct speech are those who do not want to have to be polite or civil to folks different from them.

Hallelujah. Most political correctness is about respect. Being in three minority groups at once means you face a ton of prejudice. I'll never know what it's like because I'm in all the majority groups. Most people like me don't care about anyone else. If you care about other people, it makes you too "good", and if you're "gooder" than everyone else, Real Men can hurt you with impunity. This is the hell we live in, folks. As a straight white male Christian etc., I have a special duty to not be an asshole.

My complaint about political correctness is it doesn't go far enough. It only protects people the Democrats like. I've heard "politically correct" people say complete bullshit about Mormons. Conservative blogger Ed Driscoll says poor white people are safe targets because they're white. I've seen people say - seriously - it's okay to hate one group because all their members hate another group. The groups vary. People hate people who are different from them. People hate people who don't fit into their world view.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rolling R's

Some speech sounds are harder to master than others. I've wrestled with Spanish for years and I've never been able to do "rr". Linguists call this an "alveolar trill". It's also in Italian, Russian, and a bunch of other languages. The single "r" is fine but "rr" always gives me problems. Any time I try to do one I get some other sound, more like the "ll" from Welsh. Fortunately, Spanish speakers can understand.

NOT! Do you know how you hear lisps? That's how they hear it. Either they ignore you or they make fun of you. They don't help you. It's a common speech impediment. I don't know if it's genetic or if I'm not used to it. I can make lots of other sounds easily. The French/German "r", a "uvular trill", is real easy for me. I use it when I "speak" Spanish because it sort of sounds like the Spanish "rr". I want to learn the "right" sound someday. Most instructions for learning it make no sense. I may have to accept that I have a Spanish lisp. But I don't know anyone who learned English as a second language who talks like a native. No matter how fluent they are, they sound foreign.

It's ridiculous that I can do the Dutch "g", Welsh "ll", Italian "gli", etc. but not a sound that's common in lots of languages. I don't find any German sounds hard, including their R, their umlaut vowels, or their "ch" sounds. There are other sounds I don't know how to do but they're not in languages I encounter every day.

I read somewhere that most people can do the Spanish/Italian one or the French/German one easily, but not both. I also found out there's a disorder called Ankyloglossia where the tongue is tied to the floor of the mouth. I may have this. I can barely stick my tongue out.

The "th" sounds in English are very hard to learn. (1, 2) They were the last sounds I learned. A lot of foreign speakers use "s" or "f". Some dialects use "s", "f", or "t" for "th". Thankfully, they're rare in other languages.

Linguists call the English "r" an "alveolar approximant". It's only in a few other languages. Here is a list of R sounds in different languages.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One and a Half Cheers for the Southern Poverty Law Center

Southern Poverty Law Center

Sometimes I look around the SPLC web site. Most of their work impresses me. Wikipedia has a long list of civil rights cases they've won. They fight for all kinds of groups. They've made the USA a better place by forcing some places to integrate. They're fighting against the horrible Arizona/Alabama laws that hurt our Hispanic citizens - that law didn't pass in Mississippi. Plus it's fun in a weird way reading their profiles of hate groups and seeing how pathetic they are. They recognize that anybody can be hateful - not all the profiles of racist groups are white racists. There's a few black racists in there too.

But, there's a dark side. They've written before how they think free speech should be restricted. (Link) I'm against hate speech, but outlawing it is a good way to get people interested. That's how human nature works. Plus, the SPLC is liberal to a fault - they think if you don't support Obama, you're a racist sexist homophobe. They think all conservatives, libertarians, etc. are extreme radicals and that liberals can't have any faults. On gay rights, I can understand that position, but they think all Republicans are racist. (Does that make Thomas Sowell, Herman Cain, etc. self-hating black people?)

So, one and a half cheers for the SPLC. I respect them a lot altho I disagree with them some.

EDIT: Sourcewatch has a mostly critical article on the SPLC.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Religion and Politics

It doesn't make sense that religious people are more conservative and secular people are more liberal.‭ ‬It makes more sense the other way around.‭ ‬Why are people like that‭? Stereotypes‭‬.

Religious people and liberals have the same stereotypes.‭ ‬They're both motivated by good,‭ ‬holier than thou,‭ ‬hypocritical,‭ ‬ruled by feelings over logic,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬People attack them because they're too‭ "‬good‭"‬.‭ ‬Secular people and conservatives also have the same stereotypes.‭ ‬They're selfish and evil,‭ ‬prejudiced,‭ ‬ruled by logic over feelings,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬People attack them because they're too‭ "‬evil‭"‬.

Of course,‭ ‬these are stereotypes.‭ ‬They are‭ not true‬.

People choose religious views and political views that cancel out stereotypes.‭ ‬If you're very religious and very liberal,‭ ‬people think you're pure good.‭ ‬Sojourners ‬is a great example.‭ ‬I read it sometimes for two reasons:‭ ‬1‭) ‬it's interesting,‭ ‬and‭ ‬2‭) ‬they're gooder than me.‭ ‬Not better,‭ ‬but‭ gooder‬.‭ ‬You know what I mean.‭ ‬I admire them but I don't want to be like them.‭ ‬They care about people a lot,‭ ‬but they sound like wimps who don't know a thing about the real world.‭ ‬In real life,‭ ‬a lot of religious liberals are pretty tough.

If you're non-religious and conservative,‭ ‬people think you're too evil and don't care about them.‭ ‬The people at‭ ‬The Atheist Conservative ‬are harsh and they don't mince words.‭ ‬They're angry and they don't have to look like hypocrites.‭

If you're religious and conservative or secular and liberal,‭ ‬the stereotypes cancel each other out.‭ ‬People judge you on your character.‭ ‬People don't think you're heartless and dangerous.‭ ‬People don't think you're self-righteous and wimpy.‭ ‬They think you're normal like them.‭ ‬It moderates your views so you don't sound like a wimp or a brute.‭ ‬Lots of them sound like wimps or brutes anyway.

Also,‭ ‬gay abortion.

There's other reasons:‭ ‬Secular people are rarely Republican because Republicans weave religious language into everything and exclude them.‭ ‬Non-religious people are a minority group and most minorities are liberals because some conservatives hate minorities.‭ ‬Nobody wants to go where people hate them. This is also why most black people are Democrats regardless of religion - some white Republicans still hate black people. Or some Democrat leaders say Republicans do to get votes.

Frankly,‭ ‬religious liberals and secular conservatives make more sense than the other way around.‭ ‬Why‭? ‬Their arguments don't bore me to tears,‭ ‬and they're both less prejudiced because they're minority groups themselves.‭ ‬I don't know how Jesus or Athe would vote.‭ ‬It makes me sick when I see‭ "‬Support Jesus‭! ‬Support‭ (‬political issue here‭)!" ‬or‭ "‬Jesus was a‭ (‬conservative/liberal/libertarian/anarchist/fascist/socialist‭)"‬.‭ ‬Also,‭ ‬I don't know how you can be non-religious and have a positive view of human nature like most liberals do.‭ ‬Still,‭ ‬thank God for secular humanists with a positive view of human nature.‭ ‬I'd rather be around a bunch of them than a bunch of Objectivists.

Sorry libertarians,‭ ‬I left you out.‭ ‬You're not a stereotype group on CNN or Fox News.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Summer and Winter Christians

Read this: Summer and Winter Christians by Richard Beck

It's a great essay. Richard Beck says many people see Christian faith on a one-axis model: if you're Christian, you don't complain, and if you're not, you do. Beck prefers a two-axis model where faith and complaint are different dimensions. He calls high faith with low complaint "Summer Christians", high faith with high complaint "Winter Christians", low faith with high complaint "Spiritual Critics", and low faith with low complaint "Disengaged Believers".

I'm a Winter Christian. Maybe it's me getting older and more bitter. I can't understand Summer Christians at all, but I like being around them. I can understand Spiritual Critics well altho I think some of them use their complaints as an excuse not to go to church. As for Disengaged Believers, I was one once. When I didn't go to church regularly I didn't complain about it.

I can't say anything else he didn't say better, so read his essay.

Real Men's Guide to Ethics

Hate any group you're not part of. Such as gays, women, disabled people, gays, people of other religions (or even denominations), other races/ethnic groups, gays, people with a different first language, vegetarians, and gays. Also people richer than you, people poorer than you, "hippies", "old ladies", women you're not attracted to, and anyone nicer than you. These people hurt you by existing, so they deserve a good thrashing.

If someone is miserable, attack them. Their misery tempts you to be nice and being nice is bad. Your only attitude is pointless anger against people who haven't done a thing to you. Justice is your enemy. Be proud of how "evil" you are because "evil" is good. Identify with the "bad" guy in every movie or TV show.

The victim is always wrong and the aggressor is always right. If someone gets burglarized, it's their fault for 1) owning things the thief might want, 2) having windows the thief can break, and 3) living less than 50 miles from a thief. If the victim complains, they're whining about a situation they could have done something about. For example, they could research every thief in town and find out what thieves want, and make sure not to own things they want. They can also board up all doors and windows so the thief can't get in. They don't need to go whining to the cops!

Corollary: Nothing is your fault. If someone breaks into your house and steals your TV, it's not your fault. It's the locksmiths' fault because they made an inferior lock for your door. It's also the homebuilders' fault, because they made the walls so thick that you couldn't hear the thief, and they made the closet inconvenient so you couldn't grab your gun.

Use the phrase "personal responsibility" a lot, but don't apply it to anyone who really is responsible. Only victims have "personal responsibility" problems. Say you're "conservative" or "libertarian" so it looks like you know what you're talking about. What this really does, however, is make real conservatives and libertarians look bad. Not that you care. You only care about yourself. Support political positions that hurt everybody but you. Attack anyone who disagrees with your political views.

You're only happy if you mock other people. You're better than them so it's okay. That's why they have so many friends and you don't. People realize they aren't worthy of your presence. When you watch TV news, make fun of people who get killed. Nobody else's lives are important. Humor is invalid unless it's gross, obscene, sick, or mocking inferior people.

Swear constantly. A good rate is one swear word for every two non-swear words. People will see you are tough, intelligent, realistic, eloquent, and articulate. If you sound really pissed off, you can scare people into agreeing with you.

Worship yourself. Other people are worthless except for other Real Men like yourself, and even they must bow to your greatness. You are the smartest person in the universe and the entire galaxy revolves around you. You are always right, and if someone disagrees they're stupid. Morality is for inferior people. If you can get away with something that's wrong, do it because it's wrong.

Women are inferior and only exist for your sexual pleasure. Society doesn't require them to be jerks, so they must be inferior. Most women are stupid and have lousy taste in music, movies, and TV. You might run across one who is as much of a jerk as you are; if she's "hot" (see below), then you just found yourself a date.

If a woman fits your standards of physical attractiveness, call her "hot". If a woman doesn't fit your standards, call her "ugly". If another guy doesn't agree with you on "hot" girls, he's "gay" and you should attack him. Your standards of physical attractiveness must be the same as the ones in beer commercials. Do not tolerate ANY deviation.

Sleep with every woman you can, then talk about them behind their backs about how they're "ugly" and worthless and you only did them because you were drunk. Don't mention you secretly think they're hot because anyone who likes an "ugly" woman is "gay". Your complaining is NOT "whining", because it concerns a deep, pressing issue (you hate the way they look).

If you can live up to every one of these, then congratulations, you are a Real Man. Not all Real Men are male. A few are females who hate their gender and want to be male. Most are male because these are the standards people expect for men these days.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I'm a language nut but I only speak English. I want to learn more languages someday. I took Spanish in high school and French in college but my Spanish sucks and my French is even worse. I really want to get good at Spanish someday. I could talk to a lot of people who don't speak English. It's one of my favorite languages to listen to. And it's useful here. There ain't much use for anything other than English, Spanish, or Choctaw in Mississippi.

I'd also love to learn Esperanto. Esperanto is a constructed language designed for world use. gives more information and Lernu! offers Esperanto courses. I've looked at Esperanto a bit. While it's nowhere near perfect, it's still better than English for a world language. Sometimes I forget how much privilege I have that my native language is the standard world language.

As always Wikipedia has a good article on Esperanto and other related conlangs such as Ido and Novial.

I have my Facebook in Esperanto right now. Google Chrome keeps flagging the page as either Slovak or Spanish. Makes sense because Esperanto's a mashup of Slavic languages (Slovak, Czech, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian) and Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, French, Italian, Romanian). Back then the rest of the world wasn't part of the world. I'm learning a few words from Facebook, but I'll forget most of them when I switch it to some other language. I should switch it to Spanish or French for fun. I've also done Welsh, Latin, and a few of the joke ones like Pirate and 1337.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Since I already ripped on libertarians (last post) and liberals (most of the others), here's the conservatives' turn.

Why are so many conservatives so heartless? They think that if you don't have a full-time job, your own place, etc. you aren't trying hard enough. They hate you because of things you can't control. They don't give a shit about poor people or any other people. The economy sucks. If someone can't find a job, it's not their damn fault. Most adults who live with their parents don't want to. They want to work full time but they can't. It's not laziness, it's because they got screwed over. Most teenagers can't find jobs. A lot of my friends with college degrees work in retail or other low-paying part-time jobs any high school drop out could do. They're not lazy, they just can't get anything else.

And even when unemployed people are lazy, it ain't my place to judge. The lazy people ain't gonna get jobs. The way things are now, lots of people don't have jobs. I got a job but I don't work as much as I'd like. I'm still glad to have one. I can be lazy but I won't let myself.

Reminds me of the bastards who blamed Katrina on the victims. No, I am not making this up. (Hint: It's because they were black) reproduces this letter and refutes it. Read it and then lose faith in humanity.

Not all conservatives are like this. Probably most aren't. But a lot of them are, especially angry old white men.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Driving Too Fast Is Driving Me Crazy

Speed limits are high enough already. Most people apart from old ladies think they should be 20-30 MPH higher. I'm sick to death of assholes driving 10 over in the right lane, where I usually drive, and tailgating me when they can pass me in the left lane. I'm also sick to death of the same assholes getting pissed if I go the speed limit in the left lane - at least I go the damn speed limit! I could go way the hell slower in the left lane like a lot of people do, but I don't. I got a right to the road too. I obey the law and you don't. The traffic laws are not based on what you want, it's usually based on safety. There's exceptions: Why is this one road 30 MPH when it should be 40 MPH? I still go 30 and some jerkass in a BIGG REDD TRUKK always tailgates me, but the cops enforce the speed limit.

You know one reason our gas prices are so damn high now? Everyone wants to drive way the hell over the speed limit. People will give up anything before they give up driving way too damn fast and endangering everyone.

Why do people claim slow drivers are more dangerous than fast drivers? It's simple. Speeders can't accept the blame for the accidents they cause. It's dumb to drive really slow, but what if you can't help it? Then you're screwed. Driving too slow *is* dangerous, but driving 65 in the right lane of a 70 zone is fine. At least where I live... thank God I don't live in a big city.

There is one problem with slow drivers: people who go 10-15 under in the left lane. all the time. I stay in the right lane unless I have to turn left or get around someone getting on the freeway, but I drive the speed limit or a little over in the left lane. I almost always drive a few under in the right lane, except during rush hour when I'm right at the speed limit. This is real rebellion - it's not rebellion against the law, it's rebellion against peer pressure. Peer pressure is way more powerful.

This is the main reason I'm not a libertarian or anarchist. If we had a libertarian society with majority rule, we'd have no speed limits and I wouldn't be able to drive anywhere. We'd get a tyranny of the majority. When the majority rules everything the minority gets screwed. We'd only have rights for straight white guys who agree with the dominant opinions of society. One real nice thing about the law is minority rights are protected. Without the law the majority would crush the minority - it happens over and over again.

People suck.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snob Appeal in Computing

I'm one of those holdouts who refuses to use "hacker" for security breakers. The right term according to the Jargon File is cracker. The real meaning of hacker refers to a kind of super-programmer. I'm not a hacker and I never will be - I don't have the personality. But I respect them. It bugs me when people talk about "hackers" breaking into things and causing damage. A hacker may crack your computer but he/she will tell you how to fix the hole. Real hackers don't cause damage. They build things instead, especially on Linux.

This brings me around to another thing: Why do people pronounce Linux "Linnux" (IPA lɪnəks) when that's not how it's spelled? Snob appeal. I pronounced it to rhyme with English "Linus" (IPA lainəks, or laənəks in my Southern accent) for a long time. Then I asked a snobby bookstore cashier about "Lye-nux" books, and he didn't understand me. Then he responded "Oh, you mean Linnux books. We have all kinds of Linnux books... I love Linnux..." Turns out Mr. Snob was wrong too: this link lets you hear OS creator Linus Torvalds himself say it. He says it "Leenooks" (IPA linʊks). Now I say either linʊks or linəks. However, most Linux users are snobs. Same goes with most hackers, including the good kind. If you pronounce something different from how it's spelled, it gives it snob appeal. The snob knows something regular people don't.

Linus Torvalds is Finnish but his name and first language are Swedish. Some people argue "Linnux" is the Anglicized version of "Leenooks", but Swedish has our short "i" vowel. It's rare in most languages, but common in Germanic languages such as English, German, and of course Swedish. If he meant "Linnux", he would have said it. But he didn't.

The same applies to Mac snobs who say "OS Ten" instead of "OS X". In this case I don't care how the Apple people say it. If they wanted people to say "OS Ten" they should have called it "OS 10". As for me I'm waiting for Mac OS Y to come out.

At least people don't say "Wine-doss" for Windows. No wonder non-snobs stick to Windows.

Uncyclopedia, the content-free alternative to Wikipedia, has an enlightening article on Linux.

(I still read "Linux" as Lye-nucks. I have to force myself to say it different.)