Luke Melia


March 25, 2004

Random Joy

Playing volleyball tomorrow morning at seven AM. Nothing I’d rather wake up for!

So, NASA has developed a system to computerize silent, “subvocal speech.” Pretty cool. This is right out of the Orson Scott Card Ender series, where Ender communicates with a sentient computer by subvocalizing. (He gets in trouble for talking to the computer while in bed with his wife!)

Dr. Newdow, the guy bringing the case against the “under God” clause of the Pledge of Allegiance before the Supreme Court, made me happy today! It took me until a few years ago to state it proudly, but I’ve been an atheist for a long time, and I remember in elementary school feeling that the “under god” made me feel wrong. William Safire acknowledges it in his column today:

“The only thing this time-wasting pest Newdow has going for him is that he’s right. Those of us who believe in God don’t need to inject our faith into a patriotic affirmation and coerce all schoolchildren into going along. The key word in the pledge is the last one.”

I marched in the “The World Still Says No to War” march here in New York this past weekend. Salon headlined their coverage of it “A day of grim vindication”. While it’s true that time is exposing the war in Iraq as a poor choice, for me this march had a palpable feeling of powerlessness. We marched preemptively and marched when the invasion happened, and still the war went on. Our children will see we were right, but that’s small consolation.

I just discovered the NATURAL JOIN syntax of mysql (and apparently most other modern databases). It makes joining tables in a semantically well-designed database almost pleasant…

If that’s not a random collection of topics, I don’t know what is. Feel free to leave random comments to accentuate the total lack of focus.

2 Responses to “Random Joy”

  1. anthony chimed in:

    k, how about white backgrounds in the archives? reading in a feed reader maketh for the eye strain..

    oh, and god bless william safire.

  2. mike melia chimed in:

    Lukio – I don’t think your set of beliefs actually qualifies you as an atheist . . . . Do you think that maybe God is in “clouds above, the tall grass, in the ones I love?”
    I have for long regarded myself somewhat of a Taoist with a few Buddhist tendencies, some pure Christian practices specifically “Love Thy Neighbor” and essentially a pagan of sorts. My sacraments include hop beverages, raw fish and herbal concoctions.
    I think the problem with the “Under God” is not in the phrase, but in the superstitious nature of most True Believers.
    Watched lots of TV today – Richard Clarke et al — Jon Stewart said it best when he said he was scared about how our country is being run, “You have to cut thru all the partisan bullshit (paraphrasing) to get to the bureacratic BS.

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