Tarry for the Nonce

October 27, 2005

Sex, Please.

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:15 pm

In the United States, the precedent has been set to allow parents to select gender:

A clinical trial into the effects of allowing couples to choose the sex of their babies has been given the go-ahead at a US fertility clinic . . .

Fertility clinics already use a technique called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select healthy embryos if a child has a high risk of inheriting a genetic disease, but the technique can also be used to select the sex of embryos for couples having IVF treatment. In many countries, including Britain, using PGD for family balancing is banned . . .

Francoise Shenfield, a member of the ethcis committee of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology at University College London Hospital, said selecting sex for social reasons should never be permitted.

“If you believe in equality as enshrined in international human rights, it’s illogical to allow social sex selection. It necessarily means that one sex is preferable to the other for that couple,” Dr Shenfield said.

If this happened in China, of course, human rights groups would be up in arms, but I guess our American ethics committees consider themselves too inherently “enlightened” to be subject to the same pitfalls.

In this case, I am ethically opposed to double standards.


Moments In Time

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 2:52 pm

Google Video has partnered with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to archive priceless TV interviews of celebrities like Sid Caesar, Andy Griffith, Angela Lansbury, Carl Reiner, Sherwood Schwartz and Dick Van Dyke.


Drinking to Excess

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 2:19 pm

Since Sridhar Rao is a teetotaler, I was more than somewhat surprised when he forwarded the Coors Light Ice Swipe.

October 26, 2005

I Guess No One Wanted to Copy His Homework

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:18 pm

I did get a kick out of the collegiate argument posed by Andrew Freeman, purported columnist:

Plagiarism defeats the true purpose of education, which is to learn processes – how to research, how to write, how to conduct an experiment and broadly, how to think about complex ideas. The biggest reason plagiarism occurs is that most students are not intellectuals, and neither see nor care about the value of these processes. The goal for most of them is to acquire a degree or get good grades, and they see no other meaning in the work they do. In that vein, they have no respect for the standards that ideas and their origins are held to . . .

Plagiarism, and cheating in general, is ultimately a sign of something far worse for society. Journalists like Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair fabricated entire articles for respected publications. The Catholic Church allowed priests to molest children, moved them around and covered it up, not just in one city but across the nation. The nation was defrauded on a massive scale by businessmen, like Kenneth Lay of Enron, who amassed immense wealth while their companies fell. The President let his allies slime a war hero and lied to us repeatedly to promote a war that was never necessary.

All of these scandals start when someone decides that the goal he seeks to accomplish is so important that any method is justified in achieving it. People who do not care about the impact of their actions, from criminals to bishops, make the country a more miserable place. When my cheating classmates mature and enter the working world, I hope that lesson will be clear. If not, if there is no respect for ideas, no concern for the common good, then the scandals of today are but a prelude to the suffering we will face.

If you managed to slosh through the awkward parlance and grammatical lapses, I think he is attempting to say that plagiarism paves the way for child molestation, Republican domination and John Kerry vituperation. Wow. I could almost be impressed with the way Freeman manages to smoosh all his current political vexations into the box of his academic frustrations, were his arguments not so very sophistic. (Or, as Best of the Web observes, “Of course! Molesting children is just like liberating Iraq and being mean to John Kerry! UMass is doing a bang-up job teaching Freeman ‘how to think about complex ideas.'”)

One almost wishes that “intellectual” columnists of Andrew Freeman’s caliber would be content with plagiarizing better authors, rather than subjecting us to such poorly regurgitated ideology.

I Like To Be in America

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 4:41 pm

British banks are banning piggy banks for fear they will offend customers:

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.

Best of the Web notes that Islam forbids interest, so would the bank customers really be orthodox Muslims anyway?

Further, some sign-makers weren’t minding their Qs and Ws:

A Turkish court has fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration, under a law that bans use of characters not in the Turkish alphabet, rights campaigners said.

The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people 100 new lira ($75.53) for holding up the placards, written in Kurdish, at the event last year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.

Sesame Street would never survive in Turkey.

October 24, 2005

Sheer . . . Brilliance

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 5:04 pm

I would estimate that the purpose of my life is to enjoy the raw talent of friends and strangers. And they don’t come much stranger than the Backstreet Boys.

Some record company should scoop these two up.

(Hat tip to Toly Delm for finding them and Anne Walker for insisting I watch it.)

October 21, 2005

Movie Trailers

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 10:17 pm

And because I have nothing better to do tonight, here are some other trailers that looked interesting (pending ScreenIt approval, of course):

The Family Stone because I like Rachel McAdams.

In Her Shoes because I like Toni Collette and I have an affection for Cameron Diaz because she reminds me of my sister.

Stay just looks interesting.

Transporter 2 has Jason Statham. (Actually, I already saw this one. It was terrible, but I still like the trailer. The fight scenes were incredible.)

Walk the Line because I find Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix very watchable.

The Chronicles of Narnia!!

I hestitate to include The Greatest Game Ever Played and Dreamer, but it seems I am just in the mood for movies like this right now.

Just Like Heaven because – let’s face it – Reese Witherspoon makes cute romantic comedies, Mark Ruffalo is just charming and Jon Heder is a comic genius.

Red Eye for Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy as one of the freakiest bad guys possible.

Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

I Liked the First One

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 9:39 pm

Underworld: Evolution comes out in January. Derek Jacobi is in it.

Twiddling Your Thumbs

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 12:11 pm

Have you been warned against the dangers of Blackberry Thumb?

Repetitive motion injuries, which have long afflicted desktop and laptop computer users, are invading the mobile handheld world.

There’s even an informal name for the malady _ “BlackBerry Thumb” _ a catch-all phrase that describes a repetitive stress injury of the thumb as a result of overusing small gadget keypads.

Business executives and tech-savvy consumers are increasingly using BlackBerries, Treos, Sidekicks and other devices with miniature keyboards designed for thumb-tapping to stay connected while on the go.

And that has some ergonomic and hand experts worried about injuries from overexertion . . .

Earlier this year, the American Society of Hand Therapists issued a consumer alert, warning users of small electronic gadgets that heavy thumb use could lead to painful swelling of the sheath around the tendons in the thumb . . .

Specialists say the thumb _ considered by many as an island because it is set apart from the other fingers _ is among the least dexterous digit and is not meant to be rigorously worked out.

This is my public service announcement for Anne Walker, Andrew Pavlis, Dave Rumoro and virtually all Motorolans.

Pulling Together

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 12:04 pm

The Kashmir earthquake is creating some unlikely allies:

The aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan’s northern mountains is turning into the toughest relief operation the world has ever known, international aid officials said on Thursday . . .

Hopes have been raised by a dramatic agreement by Pakistan and India to allow help to flow across the heavily militarized line dividing Kashmir, over which they have fought two of their three wars.

Much more needs to be done. The U.N. is suggesting something like a Berlin Airlift to help speed relief to the thousands injured and dying.

May God be with them all.

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