Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Return from (Unscheduled) Summer Break
Well, I guess I suck. When my blog-o-versary rolled around in June, I promised to deliver at least one new post a week. Well, here we are almost 2 months later. To anyone actually reading, sorry for the extended hiatus. I got a Nintendo DS Lite in June for my wedding anniversary (yes, my wife is THAT cool) and I've been neglecting the blog in favor of video games. Since my last post was in the last week of June, I figure I've got about 8 posts (in addition to resuming regular weekly posts) I've got to do to make up for my blogging-free summer. Well, given my past track record, I won't make any promises, but I'm trying to commit to this (Maybe 2 additional posts each week until I'm caught up? It's worth a shot).
Fortunately (or unfortunately) we live in very interesting times, and there's no shortage of stuff to deliver Unsolicited Opinions on. Some of the time I was supposed to spend on blogging was used perusing other blogs, and lots of stuff has caught my interest. Here's a running list, in no particular order, of potential topics I hope to turn into blog posts here in the next few weeks:
- In a series of posts at The Panda's Thumb, Dave Thomas shows how genetic algorithms demonstrate the ability of evolution to produce complexity without a guiding intellignce. Are ID supporters convinced by his demonstration? Alas, no.
- Mel Gibson's unfortunate tirade. I'm kind of conflicted on this. I've enjoyed many of his movies (but I haven't seen The Passion yet). He parodied himself on The Simpsons, proving he at least had a sense of humor. But it's hard to ignore his crazy remarks, even if he was drunk. I tend to agree with the phrase "in vino veritas." Alcohol lowers inhibitions, it can't make you say things you don't believe or don't think about.
- Apparently, dark matter is real. Cool science results that chip away at our ignorance of the universe.
- Orac reports on the Hitler Zombie's latest feeding frenzy. A documentary claiming to prove a direct causal chain from Darwin to Hitler? Yeeesh, such monumental absurdity.
- Over on David Neiwert's blog, Mrs. Sara Robinson has a series of guest posts about how to deal with right-wing authoritarians (Parts 1, 2, and 3, are up so far, with part 4 yet to come). Very interesting and helpful in understanding where these people are coming from, and how to break the spell their leaders have cast on them.
- From Mrs. Robinson's posts, I followed a link to an article discussing how consrvatives and liberals differ on how they view family relationships. Dovetails quite nicely with Mrs. Robinson's essays.
- Seth at Whiskey Before Breakfast has been
banging his head against a wallconversing with HIV deniers in the comments of epidemiologist Tara Smith's blog. He has an insight that there is a common modus operandi to evolution deniers, HIV deniers, and holocaust deniers, but he can't quite put a finger on what the underlying phenomonon is that makes these groups' tactics and memes so similar. I have noticed this too and I have some parallel thoughts. Hopefully I'll get around to sharing them.
- I've been wanting to write a series of posts outlining my big theory of what "human nature" is and how it influences human behavior and our conception of morality. I have seen lots of different individual points being made by Seth, David Brin, and David Neiwert, and my subconscious has been synthesizing an overrarching hypothesis about how these different points could be unified. Of course, I've never studied anthropology, and I took one introductory course in psychology 10 years ago, so I'm well qualified to hold forth on such a weighty topic right? Hey, this is Unsolicited Opinions. I never promised INFORMED opinions!
- BronzeDog has been doing a great job catalogueing logical fallacies with his series of Doggerel posts.
- Matt at Pooflingers Anonymous has apparently contracted creationist troll-itis. Unfortunately, his commenters have been steadily feeding this troll, causing the malignancy to spread and grow stronger. I recommend immediate and continous dosages of ignoracilin to remove the infection.
- The new live-action Transformers movie coming out next year will feature Peter Cullen, the original voice of Autobot Leader Optimus Prime from the TV show, as the voice of the same character in the movie. My inner 10-year-old geek squeals with delight. But my 30-year-old realist still thinks the movie will disappoint. However, my 30-year-old optimist will still drag me to see it on opening day!