24 March 2007

UNC Mascot

Here's hoping that UNC's mascot pulls through. The full story here.

Final Four

With Ohio State winning today one of my predictions has made it to the Final Four. Here is hoping for three more victories.

Update I: Go UCLA! Two out of four. Now all I need is for Oregon and Georgetown to be tomorrow's victors.

Update II: Oregon lost to Florida. One of my championship game teams is now out. Indeed, the team I picked to win it all is out.

Update III: Well Georgetown advances. However, I have them going up against Oregon in the championship game and losing, a meeting which can't possibly happen now.


The just man, tenacious in his resolve, will not be shaken from his settled purpose, by the frenzy of his fellow citizens imposing that evil be done...

-- Horace, Ode III (trans. Sindey Alexander, The Complete Odes and Satires of Horace (1999), pg. 98)

North Carolina Foliage (Fall 2005)

Panda took these.

Pat Tillman

WASHINGTON - A Pentagon investigation will recommend that nine officers, including up to four generals, be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, senior defense officials said Friday.

Of all the results of the "War on Terrorism" the saga following Pat Tillman's death has got to be one of the most disheartening.

Some of Kevin Tillman's (Pat's brother) thoughts on Pat, the War in Iraq, etc. Both served in the Army Rangers.

23 March 2007


Apparently this is the conservative answer to wikipedia. The Houston Chronicle compares the two here.

If one reads through a few of the talk pages on subjects like atheism and the like one can see a pretty healthy debate.

Addendum: There are significant gaps - from my perspective at least - in what Conservapedia covers. For example, I looked up Spinoza and got zip. Anyway, I am sure that is just a function of its relatively recent genesis.

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Well, so far, I have three of eight teams in the "Elite Eight." We'll see how I do tonight in picking up another four.

Anyway, apparently last night's game between Ohio State and Tenessee was a barn burner.

Update: Well, three of the teams that I picked to win on the second day of the "Sweet Sixteen" round have made it into the "Elite Eight." So I got six out of a possible eight right. Not bad.

Oregon Teacher Fired

SISTERS, Ore. — During his eight days as a part-time high school biology teacher, Kris Helphinstine included Biblical references in material he provided to students and gave a PowerPoint presentation that made links between evolution, Nazi Germany and Planned Parenthood.

Does anyone ever claim that the holocaust is a direct result of the anti-Jewish commentary found in the book of Hebrews?

22 March 2007

Honda's New Hydrogen Fuel Cell

The FCX's driving traits are attributable to Honda's new vertically oriented fuel cell. Instead of lying flat under the floor like all the other hydrogen vehicles out there, Honda's new stack stands upright where a normal car's transmission would go.

The Big Picture

Q&A on Avi Lewis' The Big Picture following a viewing of Dawkins' The Root Of All Evil?

I must say that Lewis is a very sharp moderator. He's certainly a far better moderator than any I've ever seen on American television. So, good going Canada!

Culture Wars

So I'm reading this blurb on how Cartesianism (and one's favor of or opposition to) became part of the "culture wars" of 17th century Holland, and I laugh.

20 March 2007

Aporia II*

One thing that is common in the world of bloggers is the staking out of positions, which I suppose is also true in other areas of life. All the same, bloggers seem more wedded to their positions than people in their everyday lives are. Or at least more willing to voice such. Thus, they often adopt positions with so much passion that they are certain that their answer is "the" answer.

Yet I think that it is fair say that people shouldn't be so sure of themselves, especially when it comes to complex concepts like consent or justice. Indeed, these sort of problems seem to be plagued by aporia. Of course that particular bit of unsubstantiated certitude can also be questioned. :)

*Edited for clarity.


Today is the four year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Wow.

The image above is of Baghdad on April 2nd, 2003 (Source - NASA); the plumes of smoke are from fires intentionally set to confuse, etc. the American forces.
Addendum: If you click on the picture it takes you to a much larger, more impressive image.

18 March 2007

Is Deckard A Replicant?

One of my favorite films is Blade Runner. In part this is because of the film's discussion - unwittingly or not - of "being."* What does it mean to be "human?"

Tied up in that discussion is the question of whether Deckard is a replicant. Personally I think it depends on which version of the film you are seeing. In the original release - which I admittedly haven't seen in years - he probably isn't a replicant. Or at least the evidence for such isn't particularly strong. However, in the "Director's Cut," with its use of the unicorn as a way to tip off the audience, he quite clearly is a replicant.

Addendum I: It is fairly clear from the novel on which the movie was based that Deckard is a human; he is a human who cares about these replicants, that is one who empathizes with them. Empathy - as Adam Smith noted so long ago - is one of the core aspects of human sociability. If a human can empathize with a replicant, does that make the replicant human?

Addendum II: By the way, Deckard's rationale for killing replicants (in the novel) is in order buy a "real animal" - that eventually sets up a real bit of irony. Anyway, by this time in the Earth's history "real animals" are fairly rare and they are something of a status symbol. All Deckard has is an electric sheep, whose "real nature" he tries desperately to keep hidden from his neighbors. A little bit of this part of the story bleeds into movie vis a vis the snake scale that Deckard tracks down. Anyway, Deckard ends buying a real animal - an Emu or an Ostrich or something like that - while also taking in Rachel (a replicant). He loves Rachel and decides to tell her what she is; her reaction is to kill the Emu.

*Click here for some nice quotes on "being."