community shout outs
Congrats to Lyn and Steve on their upcoming nuptials, and a hearty ‘huzzah’ to Flutterby’s third. Dan was one of the reasons I got into this crazy thing, back when the world was new and giants walked the earth.
Last but not least, Lor and I had a great time Friday at the DC Blogger Gathering; it was good to see everybody again, and to meet Missy. (Jenn, sorry we missed you — next time, look for the group of people repeating the latest ‘net catch-phrase (this time: “all your base are belong to us”) and laughing wildly.)
your colon: bacterial meat market
Recent research suggests that antibiotic resistance genes are passed between bacteria in the human colon. This has been a widely discussed possibility for awhile; the fact that it happens merely reinforces the need to use antibiotics wisely and sparingly.
making the evil ‘net safe for children
Great Ghu — GWB and Tony Blair recently agreed to ‘lead a global crusade against the internet perverts who peddle child porn’. Hold on — that’s not the scary part — that comes a bit later in the story (italics mine):
The demands drawn up by leading children’s organisations - National Children’s Homes, Childline and the NSPCC - include measures to ensure that all internet users are clearly identified and closer supervision of chatrooms.
The problems involved in developing such an identification scheme in a way that it does any damn good at all (bearing in mind that the Internet is a global network) are left as an exercise for the student. Note that I’m not asking you to come up with a scheme that doesn’t infringe on the rights currently enjoyed by US and UK Internet users — because that isn’t possible. I just want an identification scheme that reduces traffic in child porn.
el nino blows
The Post’s Sunday magazine supplement had a length piece entitled Nino to the Rescue, which detailed similarities between the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore and an earlier case. In both, Scalia played a central role in defining the Court’s reading of the existing case law and its ruling on the matter at hand. Some interesting pullquotes:
One justice, most observers agreed, was the key to what the court would become — Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. In the case of Employment Division, Oregon Department of Human Services v. Smith, he played the key role in transforming an obscure, small-stakes dispute over unemployment compensation into a landmark case that reversed nearly 50 years of judicial decisions and slapped tough new limits on the exercise of religious freedom.
Scalia became head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Ford administration. After Ford left office, Scalia went to teach at the University of Chicago Law School. One of his best-known law review articles was an attack on affirmative action and the white judges who supported it. As his central metaphor, Scalia appropriated the old joke in which the Lone Ranger and Tonto find themselves surrounded by hostile Indians. “Looks like we’re in trouble, Tonto,” the masked man says. Replies his Indian sidekick, “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”
Scalia saw himself and other white children of immigrants as the Indian sidekicks. He felt no responsibility for the disadvantages suffered by black Americans. “My father not only never lived off the sweat of a black man’s brow, he never saw a black man until he was 21 years old,” he wrote. But liberal whites were now proposing to give black Americans jobs and educational opportunities Scalia felt properly belonged, on grounds of merit, to white ethnics like himself.
It was a bold and eloquent statement of the case against affirmative action, and it almost certainly played a role in moving Scalia into line for a judicial appointment under Reagan. Critics argued in vain that Scalia himself had been accorded educational and social privilege based at least in part on the color of his skin. And those critics — and particularly those interested in Native American rights — might have pointed out another irony. Apparently unaware or simply indifferent to the fact that his language might be offensive, Scalia had liberally larded his discussion of race and opportunity with stage-Indian dialect, complete with broken syntax and pidgin phrases like “ugh” and “ride-um west.”
Read the whole thing — it’s good.
not public transport advocacy
Personally, I take the Metro to work, so traffic isn’t usually of great concern to me. If it is to you, you might like this MapQuest page, which has links to traffic reports for tons of US cities.
community, part II
Got to see some new webloggers’ pictures last week: Graham looks less frantic than I expected, and Wes is just begging for some sort of Commander Data/Brent Spiner crack — but I’m restraining myself.
As proof that the ‘net has not yet been sanitized for your protection (despite continuing efforts — see above), I offer you: Top Ten Hottest Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors. What, you were expecting some sort of freaky porn thing? Get your own, ya pervs!