A simple girl in a complex world

Friday, May 16, 2003

Ajax Against the World
Ajax! World! I received a "marketing tool" gift today from the owner of my company, a "stress world," if you will. It's a squeezable ball with world artwork on it, and it says "Global Wizard," which is the name of the software product on which I work.

Global Wizard, or GWIZ for short, is set to launch next Tuesday in Chicago, so today I've found myself owning not only this stress world, but also a nifty GWIZ letter opener. You can tell I worked too long today because I am blogging about work.

At any rate, all of the fun with the stress world ensued when I brought said item home. I placed it on the counter, and it was soon found by my most adventurous cat, Ajax, who surveyed it, sniffed it, and promptly put it in his mouth and carried it around the house.

This was so humorous I attempted (for quite some time) to get a picture of my cat chewing on the world, but, alas, he would do no such thing for the digital camera. Hey, someone, right there's a dissertation in waiting for some Heisenberg Principle enthusiast, as Brian pointed out.

This is the best I could do, but it's still extremely cute, though not as funny, as his ball-carrying behavior. One cat against the world - proving that, indeed, the world is not enough.



Thursday, May 15, 2003

Perspicacity - Absent I read about this for the first time today and immediately tagged <blog>it</blog>. First, a small summary, lest the entire article in its full journalistic glorified simplicity not beckon your attention. Two people were killed when the two defendents were "drag racing" on a public street and struck a Geo Storm at high speed. From another article, I discerned that the deceased driver was attempting to make a left turn across traffic - the drag racers being the traffic. It also states "the men were crusing down a city avenue." Because I must sleep soon, however, I'll pick only a snippet and comment (read: rant) about it. And it won't be the most obvious piece. I feed you this paragon of paragraphs:
    The defendants, who are seeking manslaughter convictions, which carry terms ranging from probation to about 12 years in prison, testified earlier this week that they were totally unaware that illegal street racing posed a deadly risk to others and could not have anticipated the accident.
Okay. Let us begin with the very simple automobile. This machine often zooms along major roadways in speeds, often condoned by the government, of, roughly, 60 - 70 mph. Such pavement is typically called an interstate highway, and cars can only access said highway at certain points; this situation is very controlled. The defendents were purportedly traveling at speeds "reaching" 87 mph on a city road. Danger? You betcha. In my research of defending my "you dolts" stance, I offer this nugget wherein the author states:
    Using data from actual road crashes, scientists at the University of Adelaide estimated the relative risk of a car becoming involved in a casualty crash – a car crash in which people are killed or hospitalised – for cars travelling at or above 60 kilometres/hour. They found that the risk doubled for every 5 kilometres/hour above 60 kilometres/hour. Thus, a car travelling at 65 kilometres/hour was twice as likely to be involved in a casualty crash as one travelling at 60. For a car travelling at 70 kilometres/hour, the risk increased fourfold.
And, remember, these Aussies are talking kilometers. While the defendants may or may not be scholars of physics (I'll posit that they are not), a few other simple facts remain. I'll enumerate. 1) In response to, "could not have anticipated this accident" - oh puhleeez. Has neither of these gentlemen ever been rear-ended on the front end by a Lexus SUV backing into them in a parking lot? Oh, I guess that happens only to me. Accidents happen for many reasons - carelessness of one or another driver, driving conditions, averting other, more serious accidents - a full gamut of reasons, and some of them are rational. Don't begin to feign that you are not worthy of the label of "human" by purporting to be so ignorant of death and destruction that can happen when automobiles collide in an unplanned fashion. Outright dismissal of the danger is only a full-handed slap in the faces of the loved ones left to grieve. Do you know the danger now, I have to ask? 2) A public street? You know, there are some of those in your neighborhoods. Some have multiple lanes, probably speed limits of 30 - 40 mph but everyone drives 50, sometimes 60, and that's not really a big deal because there are intersections and controls and some modicum of control from driver to driver. As you make your left turn across traffic to complete your commute to the dry cleaner (in whose parking lot you'd BEST NOT PARK IN THE FIRE LANE - 'cause I'll getcha), do you expect to be confronted with screaming metal whizzing by? No! And, as a driver, are you not always, at least subconsciously alert for childrendogspedestriansrabbitsbirdsbicyclistsstudentdrivers? Yes, those things occur in nature. As far as the murder/manslaughter continuum, my head and heart collide. My heart wants the stronger charge, but my head calmly states that there's no intent to kill here. Rationally, there's no paper/rocks/scissors with this decision. Head's always got to win the argument, and, I believe the 2nd degree murder charge will not prevail. In my world, though, these two should never drive again. hln


Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Talking Smack

I read this article twice, chuckling, and thought: I must narrate this. And so we go...
    LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Nintendo Co. Ltd., whose portable Game Boy video game player has dominated that market since the 1980s, shrugged off Sony Corp.'s plans to unveil a rival device and instead focused its efforts on new games.
Well, yeah! Game Boy's a staple for handhelds, dood. I've seen the Advance, and I'm impressed.
    Sony has already raced past Nintendo to the top of the game console market since launching its PlayStation franchise nearly 10 years ago. Sony now wants to take on the handheld market with its new "PSP" handheld device that will debut by the end of 2004.
Ever heard the Richard Marx song "Don't Mean Nothing"? Yeah, thought so.
    "The fact that they are putting a lot of features into it (PSP) is very Sony-like, but at the moment we dominate the handheld market and there is no need for us to be overly concerned right now," Iwata said Tuesday at a press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the video game industry trade show. "We will continue to do what we do best."
Whack, smack, and down she goes. I think this is a jab. "Features" doesn't alwas have a nice connotation.
    Nintendo's new Game Boy Advance SP handheld was released in March, and the $99 device has been hailed as Nintendo's best yet. Sony did not offer a price for the PSP but said it would be available in the fourth quarter of 2004. Iwata said Nintendo would continue to focus on creativity in games, especially those that link the Game Boy and its GameCube console, which has struggled in the market after Microsoft Corp. launched its competing Xbox game console 18 months ago. The GameCube, a major disappointment in the last fiscal year, trails both Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft' Xbox.
GameCube. If I were a bit less frugal, I'd have one of those. I really only care about two games, and, seeing as I don't play my Playstation nearly enough to justify even purchasing another game for IT, the GameCube's gonna have to wait. Two words, though. Samus. Aran. (sigh)
    Both Sony and Microsoft announced major hardware upgrades to their consoles this week, but Nintendo instead focused its efforts on new gaming titles and "connectivity" between the Game Boy and GameCube. Aiming to bolster the console's sales, Nintendo showed a number of new games at its news conference, including a revival of the arcade classic Pac Man, a multi-player affair that will let one player act as the little yellow pellet-muncher and three other players serve as the ghosts that chase him.
Hmm, eat your friends!
    Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Nintendo's hugely popular Mario Brothers games, previewed an upcoming version of the Legend of Zelda series that will let four Game Boy players interact in the same Zelda game using their own screens as well as with a GameCube console hooked up to a TV.
Nice, but not necessary.
    "Make no mistake .... This time we will not give our competitors a head start," Iwata said.
Oooh, ominous. Hmm, and is Iwata a first name, a last name, or an all-encompassing moniker? The article never really mentions anything more than what you see. And, WHSIWYG?
At any rate, a little lighter this evening.



Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Brains, in absentia

If this article were about the French, we wouldn't bother to read it because it's just stating the obvious. Oops, these were British, though, and not living people.


Missouri Federation of Animal Owners

Following up on Sunday's post, I visited the website of a group whose lobbyist spoke on behalf of the bill to make photographing animal facilities without prior written consent a felony.

I was greeted with some annoying music and bad web design, but, yes, you're allowed to call me on that ad hominem attack that it is. In scrolling text (at least it wasn't blinking), the site reminded me that:
    "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils of this world are to be cured by legislation." Thomas B. Reed (1886).


This is my second attempt to try to post this. Blogger ate the first post, so you get my truncated morning view instead of my prolonged evening view. The evening view contained a paragraph-long preachy rant about people, animals, responsibility, and people and their responsibility to their chosen companion animals. I'll skip that for now, but if anyone is unclear about the number of healthy animals that are put to death because they are unwanted (basic supply and demand, folks), I am more than willing to put together a post on that.



Monday, May 12, 2003

The Universe, explained

Yes, really.



Sunday, May 11, 2003

The Rest of the Story?

On April 25th, Brian gave brief mention to the Missouri legislature's bill to make it a FELONY to photograph animal production facilities without prior written consent. This wasn't the point of his story, though, but it will be the point of this evening's discussion.

We give a fair sum of money to groups like the Humane Society (both local and national), the APA, and Metro Animal Resource Services, for whom I volunteer by doing things like occasional website updates and wearing very short skirts to fundraising events. So, when animal legislation changes are possibly afoot, I'm often included in mailings, both paper and electronic. This situation has everyone's attention in the animal community.

I link you to this: Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation

First, felonies. A felony conviction, as probably all of you know, can remove many of an American's inherent rights. The first flyer I received on this gave an overview of a Missouri Class D felony - up to 5 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine. Don't forget, when you apply for that next job with your local government, you'd have to mark that you'd been convicted of "a felony" if somehow you were to violate this proposed law. Does this seem a bit harsh to you?

Next, animals, both companion and dinner animals. Animals are not people, though obviously companion animals can become part of the family. Though not self-aware, animals feel pain and pleasure, joy and sadness. Dinner animals, for lack of better terminology, well, we want our dinner animals to be as healthy and well treated as possible. After all, garbage in, garbage out.

Last, let's discuss obfuscation. Earlier, this was HB494 (officially known as SCS HB352/494). As of May 7, 2003, a mere four days ago, the debated language has been migrated (most likely strategically) to SB 668, otherwise known as the Omnibus Farm Bill, according to this article. It bothers me that I cannot verify the veracity of this information, but I'm going to go ahead and assume it is true given how long I've been following this concern, and I'll be digging deeper as the week progresses. And, if the claims are substantiated, I will make my requisite phone calls.

And I leave you with this, taken from http://nopuppymills.com/newsletters/0303.htm.
    Missouri – “The Don’t Show-Me State”

    It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but if certain special interest groups in Missouri get their way, a picture will soon be worth an all expense paid trip to the state prison.

    Crimes are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies, a felony being the more serious. Misdemeanors and felonies are further classified from ‘A’ to ‘D’, with an ‘A’ being the most serious. A Class ‘A’ misdemeanor is a step below a Class ‘D’ felony. A Class ‘D’ misdemeanor is at the opposite end of the scale from a Class ‘A’ felony.

    In Missouri:

    It is a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor to molest a child under the age of seventeen. 566.068
    It is a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor to conduct sexual activities with an animal. 566.111.
    It is a Class D felony to knowingly abandon a child under the age of eight. 568.032.
    Knowingly starting a fire or explosion is a Class D felony. (569.055.)
    Trespassing on someone else’s property is a Class B misdemeanor. (569.140)
    Participating in dog fighting or cockfighting is a Class D felony (578.173)
    To desecrate a flag is a Class A misdemeanor (578.095}
The site also asserts that Missouri produces 1/3 of the nation's pet shop puppies.

The bill's purported sponsors:
Sen. John Cauthorn 573/751-6858 (filibustered against a good puppy mill bill in 2001)
Sen. David Klindt 573/751-1415 (bill co-sponsor, chairman of Senate Agriculture Committee)
Rep. Peter Myers 573/751-5471 (chairman of House Agriculture Committee)

Thanks for reading.