Bridges and Safety

03 August 2007

I heard this morning that the Governor of Minnesota has called for an emergency inspection of all bridges in the state with the same structure as the one that collapsed.

I may well be missing something here, but my understanding is that there is already a national bridge inspection database, which rated the collapsed bridge as unsafe in 1990. We don't need an emergency inspection sweep, we need to do something about the bridges which have already been inspected and rated unsafe.

It was said that the unsafe rating was not significant because there were 77,000 other bridges with the same rating in the country. To me, this seems like saying that DUI related deaths are not significant because there are hundreds of them every year. The fact that there are lots of a bad thing does not make the thing better. Maybe I'm just missing the logic here.

Name That Tune

01 August 2007

Michael Stackpole has refered to the relationship between authors and readers as an ongoing game of Name That Tune. That the reader is constantly thinking, "Oh, I know how this ends," and it is the author's responsibility to say "No, you don't." If the author is right, and the reader gets to the end thinking, "I see how we got here, and it makes perfect sense, but I never saw it coming," the author has succeeded. If the reader was right, they're unlikely to ever read that author again.

I'm inclined to think that Michael is right, at least most of the time. I know it's been true for the books I have enjoyed the most. There have been a couple of cases of books that were very predictable that I enjoyed immensely, but they have tended toward cliché books which are a literary equivalent of B-movies. Immensely fun, but not high art.

Music Rotation in the Podcast

22 February 2007

Hm. I'm trying to make a decision about how I do music in the podcast. Currently, I don't get podcasts produced very often, in part because of the time involved in finding new music. I've also noticed that it often takes me a couple of hearings to get really hooked on a new song. So I'm trying to decide whether to only play new finds (without repeats), as I've been doing so far, or to start allowing songs to repeat, albeit in varying mixes, to increase exposure and get more people hooked. What do you think?

The Immigrant Issue

06 February 2007

OK, I think it may be time to finally address this issue.

What do I think about illegal immigrants? I think they're here illegally and should be deported. Categorically. I think that they are not entitled to any benefits of our society such as public education and welfare. Instead, they need to be on the next bus, train, boat, plane, whatever, to send them back home.

I'm not against immigrants in the least. I'm just against illegal immigrants.

I've heard the argument that we need them to sustain our economy, as they will take the jobs that "American's" won't. I say we up the immigration quotas if that's true. I've no objection to them being here and working and living and playing etc. What I object to is the fact that they have effectively line-jumped those who are trying to come in legally. I object to the fact that they want the benefits of our society (i.e. medical care or education) without supporting it (e.g. paying taxes).

I've heard another argument that there are too many of them to deport. "Heck," they say, "look at the fact that we couldn't even effectively evacuate New Orleans. How are we going to transport all the illegal aliens?" To which I say, we're never going to do it if we don't start. It's not like I think we can round them all up simultaneously. If we transport them as we catch them, I have to believe that it's an achievable goal.

Personally, I'm more interested in addressing this aspect than in "tightening borders." I don't think we can practically close the borders. But in the current climate, the view for an alien is that once they're in, they're golden. If we change that to once you're in, you're a criminal fugitive, there's less incentive to enter illegally. Make it better to follow the rules than break them, and shockingly more people will follow those rules.

Ozone — Thought Palace

02 February 2007

Wow! Who knew Jens had it in him? Ozone — Thought Palace

Penn Jillette

02 February 2007

iPod Update

29 January 2007

It occurs to me, I never posted about the iPod resolution. At WWDC last August, I caved and got an iPod Video. I bought the harddrive out of Jim's dead 1st Gen to fix my old one. Then, for Christmas, we passed on the 1st Gen and the Nano to Carrie and Aly, respectively. All seems to be well, and everyone happy.

Jens Alfke considers Java

22 January 2007

The Right Wing

24 November 2006

Once again, I find myself agreeing with Stephan.

Iraq

24 November 2006

I wanted to chime in as seconding Stephan's comments here.

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