Sunday, December 17, 2006

Scare the People!

Is "torture" the new "neocon"?:
“It really sounds like he was tortured to death,” said Jonathan Groner, associate professor of surgery at the Ohio State Medical School, a surgeon who opposes the death penalty and writes frequently about lethal injection.
Dying in pain != tortured to death. What we have here is the fraudulent use of language to evoke emotions instead of applying rational thought to the facts. I suppose I shouldn't expect any better than this from a professor who opposes the death penalty, but it's still chilling to see how much anti-intellectualism is concentrated in our professoriate.

"Torture" is that thing that Bush, Cheney, and the other Republinazis do; a "neocon" is similarly used pejoratively to insult someone who supports an interventionist foreign policy. Both terms are misused - a neocon is actually just a term for a Jew who was formerly liberal and changed ideology in the 1970s and 1980s (and many such shifts in ideology are traceable to the apologism of the Left for the Soviet Union, something that principled Jews on the Left found repugnant); torture is the intentional infliction of pain as punishment or to elicit a change in position (such as loosening the lips of a potential informant).

The infliction of pain on this man was unintentional. In fact, the whole point of this phony lethal injection crap is that the criminal will feel no pain at all as he dies. It is nonsense to want him to die painlessly - why should the worst of the worst (the death penalty only going out to the worst murderers, remember?) not suffer? Forgive me if I fail to shed any tears for this sorry sack of waste, and if my mind inevitably compares the modest pain we inflicted on him and the unending pain he's gone to now.

I think the lethal injection should be abolished. It's a misuse of the medical profession to have them intentionally killing someone. It's also a perversion of justice to want the worst punishment we have administered in a quasi-humane manner, like we're giving a vicious sociopath a nice overdose of palliatives so he can enter the afterlife peacefully. These viiiiile f***heads should enter the afterlife just as violently as their victims.

Did I mention that professors are idiots?
Dr. Nik Gravenstein, professor and chairman of anesthesiology at the University of Florida, said it is impossible to say how much pain the chemicals produce since inmates can’t be interviewed while being executed
Yeah, there is no way we can possibly understand what is going on in the brain. You'd need some special machines to do that (possibly ones that go "ping"), and since this is 1906, we don't have that technology yet.

Gimme a break. The freakin' chairman of anesthesiology doesn't know the first thing about how the brain interprets pain? Geez. At least Florida has a football team, I guess.

Go Gators!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Self-help provisional remedies do not implicate due process

I suspected as much, due to the text of the 5th and 14th Amendments, but it is still nice to find that I did not get absolutely every question wrong on the final that just violated me.

Go public schools!

By now everyone on the interweb has seen this:

Verizon Doesn't Know How To Count

Apparently, hapless (i.e., publicly educated) Verizon employees are unable to distinguish between dollars and cents. Indeed, 0.002 dollars equals 0.002 cents, &c.

The customer in this little dialog does a wonderful job of explaining the problem to the Verizon idiot, alas! to no avail. See, e.g.,

If you're selling your car and I said I'm gonna give you twenty thousand for it, and I show up with 20,000 pennies, we're not speaking the same language. If you quote me .002 cents it's not the same as .002 dollars.

Now, I have a degree in mathematics, and I don't have any of that educational and psychological baggage from an education curriculum holding me back. As such, I can see exactly what the problem is here. In fact, this is something I noticed all through high school, all through college, and in my post grad work as well as at the college where I work now. The problem is the concept of UNITS.

Except to the most mathematically pure among us, numbers are nearly worthless without a UNIT assigned to them. Intuitively, we know this. In fact, I bet we pick it up from language classes as much as anything else. It's not, "I need six." It is, "I need six sheets of paper." Just like within a sentence a subject needs a verb (and they need to agree - look it up dunces), a number needs a UNIT. Changing the UNIT changes the meaning of the number, even if the actual numeral hasn't changed. If Willis McGahee rushes for 142 yards one day, that is pretty good. If he rushes for 142 feet, well, that's not nearly as hot.

There is a really easy solution to the learning and understanding of UNITS. It is called "factor label" and relies only on multiplication, division, and the pupil's not being a moron. Of course, this is usually taught in a science or math class, so, allowing students to abandon all study of math and science at around the 9th or 10th grade level hurts this process. Then, of course, with no marketable skills but their voices and nothing but a GED or Diploma (if lucky), it is off to the Verizon call centers.

Society is in some real trouble.

Friday, December 08, 2006

No kidding?

On a scale of One to Surprised, I registered about a zero when I saw this headline:

Kennedy pleads guilty to drunken driving.

Granted, it is about Kenoy Kennedy, a saftey for the Detroit Football Lions, but, hey, can you honestly say you aren't surprised? Honestly?

Oh, by the way, I did enjoy my two (?) week vacation from blogging which was every bit as deserved as it was noticed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


We have invented a machine that can beat us at one of the games we invented.

And it still can't do math.

Anyway, humanity is doomed, &c.