Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah

So McCain announced his VP candidate today, apparently... probably while I was sifting through miscellaneous accessories to bring to my campus dwelling. Sarah Palin? Before now, I didn't even recognize her name. But the more I read, the more I like. (Of course, it's fun to have someone important share your name, too; but that's beside the point.) Now that both candidates have got running mates and (soon) platforms, I can actually look at these people. I'm fairly sure of whom I'm voting for; but I need to clarify a few expectations and such. Figure out what these guys are going to do if and when they're elected.

(It's even spelled with an H! Yes! *grin*)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm rather tired....

But, you know, working nine and a half hours in a day will do that to a person.

Thusly, though I've had myriad things run through my mind today, accompanied by the thought (time and again) that whatever-it-was would make for an interesting blog post, I can now conjure up absolutely nothing to write.

Although I must say, having... oh, say ten cookies for supper, is not really a good idea. But it tastes lovely, no?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oh my. Must be a trial.

Poor, poor science teacher. He has to work just so hard to get his uneducated, narrow-minded pupils to accept the fact of evolution and its undeniable proofs.

All right, enough with the sarcasm. My issue (today) with the NYT is its perpetuation of evolution-as-biology when it really is basically some sort of hypothetical branch of science based on the theories of some few scientists from the mid-1800s (which even their proponents would now hardly affirm).

This article betrays a couple misunderstandings which I had hoped could not have reached such "educated" folks as those who dwell in the heart of NYC.

Misunderstanding number one is the idea that evolution and natural selection are one and the same. Natural selection, properly understood, is also known as "survival of the fittest": traits that are already present are naturally weeded out according to how well or how badly they help the possessing species live long and propagate (prosper, if you will). Notice that it's a subtraction equation, and you end up with fewer traits than you started with. It can be described as the force behind extinction. But it can only operate within the confines of existing traits; that is the principle behind subtraction. You can't take three from two, and neither can you finish a subtraction equation with more than what you started with. (Using only zero and the positive numbers, that is--for all you incorrigible math perfectionists.) Evolution, though supposed to have operated mainly by natural selection, is much, much bigger than that--the analogy might look like this....
natural selection : evolution :: an engine : a car

Misunderstanding number two is the idea that evolution is really true science. I quote the article itself to describe science:

“Science explores nature by testing and gathering data,” he [Mr. Campbell] said. “It can’t tell you what’s right and wrong. It doesn’t address ethics.... Can anybody think of a question science can’t answer?”

“Is there a God?” shot back a boy near the window.

“Good,” said Mr. Campbell, an Anglican who attends church most Sundays. “Can’t test it. Can’t prove it, can’t disprove it. It’s not a question for science.”

I repeat, "can't test it"... and just what, exactly, is testable about evolution? What part of the hypothesis--that some primordial mix somehow gave rise to life, or that ancient reptiles gained the DNA (from who knows where) to develop previously-lacking feathers--can be repeated, observed, or even simulated within the four walls of a laboratory? It's a story about what might have happened a billion years ago (literally)! Science has nothing to do with the past. It's all in the present; that's probably its main limitation. Try scientifically proving who won Waterloo. No set of chemical equations will ever give you the answer; only a historian can.

And, as if to give me extra fodder for a rant... "To simulate natural selection, they [the students] pretended to be birds picking light-colored moths off tree bark newly darkened by soot." This is an obvious allusion to the peppered-moth study.... but of course peppered moths are nocturnal. Their color doesn't make near as much difference as one is led to think.

And I can't believe this teacher spent "weeks" (yes, weeks) on evolution. It's hardly “the organizing principle of life science," much as the Florida DOE would have you believe. However, since (according to the NYT) evolution is "the only accepted scientific explanation for the great variety of life on Earth...." (You see now why so many complain of media bias?) Whatever happened to learning about the incredible variety itself? Binomial nomenclature, anyone? Surely you can find enough in the five kingdoms to fill a year without resorting to weeks of hotly-proclaimed hypotheses.

Eh, I'll stop now. Someday when I get to be a real reporter..... but I'm working on it!

P.S. I give extra credit for those who can identify one historical allusion and two cultural allusions in my post today! I sincerely doubt that anyone besides my mom will be successful.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Things"

Yeah, so I stole this from JC. I love this type of thing.

Three things that scare me:
1. Anybody in my family dying.
2. My external hard drive suddenly malfunctioning and losing all my photographs.
3. Somebody reading my journals. (Other than posthumously. I don't really care who reads 'em after I die, but till then they stay in my treasure chest.)

Three people who make me laugh:
1. Sissy!
2. Dad, and
3. Alicia.

Three things I love:
1. Church small groups
2. Reading
3. Singing

Three things I hate:
1. Losing friends.
2. Irresponsible congressional spending.
3. Illiteracy.

Three things I don't understand:
1. The appeal of cigarette smoke.
2. Why some people don't like peanut butter.
3. The purpose of stretch SUVs.

Three things on my table next to me:
1. Mom's letterhead.
2. A brochure from our town's anniversary celebration.
3. umm.... a lot of other stuff! What to choose? Ah, here we go. A Keith Green tape.

Three things I'm doing right now:
1. Half-watching an episode of Stargate.
2. Wishing I could see a better picture of a certain courtroom morality display.
3. Blogging. But that's obvious. I'm also e-mailing my cousin, or rather, will be!

Three things I want to do before I die:
1. Visit New York City.
2. Get paid for writing.
3. Learn to ice skate.

Three things I can do:
1. Roller skate well.
2. Whistle.
3. Understand Eugene Meltsner.

Three ways to describe my personality:
1. Vivacious.
2. Contemplative.
3. Dryly humorous.

Three things I can't do:
1. The floor spin.
2. Drive a long distance without companionship.
3. Wear a watch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Projects, take two

Yeah..... so I did kinda work on one or two of my projects... I think... well, let's review.

1. I actually got most of the way through my writing project.... er, the first draft. Still have some to add, then comes editing!
2. I've not touched the book, at least that I remember. AND I have another journalism book (that looks fascinating!) to add to that reading, all of which must be finished in the next two weeks.
3. The special music didn't pan out, so I didn't have to practice for that after all.
4. Don't even ask about the college planning. Zilch.
5. No calligraphy yet either. At least that can wait indefinitely!
6. But I did write a couple days in my journal!

However, I did finish shopping for clothes that I needed, and altered one of my new-to-me pairs of jeans this afternoon! Nothing too outlandish (not like my last pair, that's for sure), but something unique just to flare the boot-cut legs. Didn't take too long. All I did was take some denim and broadcloth (both conveniently left over from old sewing projects!) and basically inserted them into the seam. The two fabrics made an interesting effect. I don't have pics though.

I should start my own line of jeans. Just for me. :-)

Well I really ought to get going on my book...... hmm.....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Projects

I kinda wish now that I had about a month off again... like at the beginning of my summer....

Because of all the projects I'm working on. Projects = things I enjoy doing that have some structure to them, like a book or something.

1. I started a rather lengthy writing project Sunday and haven't touched it since.
2. I'm halfway through a book on journalism, a fascinating one about bias and slant and such undesirable traits in the NYT.
3. I'm playing guitar this Sunday for a church special music thing.
4. I do need to start planning my packing for college eventually....
5. And my sister has awakened in me a sporadic urge to do some calligraphy, maybe to write a poem or something. It's just so much fun!
6. I don't think I've written in my journal for weeks... wow. I'll have a LOT of writing to catch up on.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"We're supposed to sing about piratey things!"

I saw The Pirates of Penzance for the first time Sunday night! My first movie since July 12th too, believe it or not. I don't miss movies much. :-) I thought this movie was quite entertaining.

Another thing: Atlantic Monthly and the NY Times both had articles dealing with newfangled "literacy" thanks to the 'Net. Is Google Making Us Stupid? (which appears to have started this debate) and The Literacy Debate--Online, R U Really Reading? fascinated me.