Scientific Savvy?

The most surprising finding out of this article is that 1 in 5 people believe the Sun revolves around the Earth.

I had thought people had a better basic understanding of science. How does someone not know what DNA is? Of what a molecule is? I thought this was basic stuff. People need a basic understanding of science in order to have meaningful debates on issues that are important today.


Gas Rationing in Greensboro?

So I’ve heard a rumor that an announcement will be made shortly concerning gas rationing. There was also an article saying a stretch of the Colonial pipeline between Houston and here had to be shut down.

Anyone know about this? Do you have rationing (or the threat of) where you are?


N.C. lottery

I had heard that North Carolina was the only state on the east coast without a lottery. Until now.

I figure it’s about time for a lottery, since all we would have to do is drive up to Virginia and get a lottery ticket. And provided the proceeds actually go toward education, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m afraid that might be a big if, though. Once the economy starts to go south, money from the lottery tends to get shifted from education to general stuff. Although this article is a bit old, it does illustrate my point.


Armored iPod

Now the case I have for my iPod definitely gets the job done, it doesn’t quite work for everyone. This armored iPod case looks really neat, but seems like it would take away from that whole portable music player bit. Although, the article it links to is in Japanese, it looks like the whole thing weighs only a pound. Still a bit heavy for me. But I’m not exactly rough on my iPod either.


Back in the Saddle

It’s been a hectic week. After the move, we didn’t have any cable or internet access until tonight. So I’m back, and will be updating again.

As for the move, it’s continuing, and feels like it will take forever. Packing is easy. Unpacking seems a lot harder. Even though we nearly doubled our living space, it still feels like we don’t have room for everything.

Gadgets News

Video Tombstone

This guy wants to have video screens displaying a short film about the deceased.

Chalk it up to a case of real life following in the steps of The Simpsons. I admit, it’s a little different, but there’s still a video screen on the tombstone.

Perhaps the most disturbing quote from the article, “What we’re trying to do is create the ultimate funeral experience.” I don’t really go to funerals expecting to get the “ultimate funeral experiece.” Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.


Pot Eating Cows

Odd article on using seized crops, some of it containing marijuana, to feed cattle during the winter.

My favorite quote from a yahoo article – “I don’t know what the milk will be like after this.”


Bush attends Little League game

Apparently, the President is more interested in attending Little League games than he is with people protesting against the war. Of course, I can’t say I’m surprised with that. It’s much easier to praise a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds than it is actually deal with something that’s important, like a war.


Baby Heartbeat

Sharon had her latest doctor appointment on Tuesday. Pretty routine, Sharon answered some questions, then we got to hear the baby heartbeat! It was really neat to actually hear that.

What wasn’t so good, the appointment was at 8, but the doctor didn’t get in until 8:45. Does something seem wrong with that? Or is it just me?


Essay by E.L. Doctorow

Susan sent along this essay by E.L. Doctorow. He’s critical of Bush, his handling of the war, his lack of compassion, and how he invokes God and Democracy to get his way. I think it’s a very well written essay.

I fault this president (George W. Bush) for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn’t the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can’t seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn’t understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life…. They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war’s aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it.

So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options, but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing — to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children.

He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills — it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners’ jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E.L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. He is generally considered to be among the most talented, ambitious, and admired novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. Doctorow has received the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howell Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the residentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

Doctorow was born in New York City on January 6, 1931. After graduating with honors from Kenyon College in 1952, he did graduate work at Columbia University and served in the U.S. Army. Doctorow was senior editor for New American Library from 1959 to 1964 and then served as editor in chief at Dial Press until 1969. Since then, he has devoted his time to writing and teaching. He holds the Glucksman Chair in American Letters at New York University and over the years has taught at several institutions, including Yale University Drama School, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of California, Irvine.