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Archive for October, 2012

“I want to file a patent on filing lawsuits claiming patent infringement.  That way, anytime someone wants to file a lawsuit claiming patent infringement, they’ll have automatically violated my patent and I can sue them.  Apple alone will make me a billionaire!”

Such was my thought after hearing some recent news stories on the ongoing patent kerfuffle between Apple and Samsung (see here and here), which reminded me of this hilarious essay, a bit of satirical prognosticating by the late, great Michael Crichton.

Funny that just about every mundane thing conceivable in science can now be patented, which throws future medical and technological innovation into jeopardy, but a discrete sequence of yoga postures performed in a certain environment cannot be copyrighted, which threatens to throw future profit for the entire fitness industry into jeopardy.

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Yes, about 90% of Mormons will vote for Mitt Romney.  About 90% of Mormons always vote for a Republican.

Yes, about 90% of blacks will vote for Barack Obama.  About 90% of blacks always vote for a Democrat.

Stop complaining about negative attack ads.  If we didn’t actually respond to them, then campaigns would stop making them.  Blame the voters, not the candidates.

Stop complaining that everybody’s talking about the election.  Huge decisions about the future of our jobs, military, and health care, among other things, hinge on who wins.  I think we can put our favorite sitcoms on the backburner for one more week for that.

Too much political talk on Facebook?  See above.  You have three options: drop all of your friends, don’t check Facebook for a while, or realize that living in a free democracy means being surrounded by citizen debate which you may not like or be interested in.  Deal with it.

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I recently read this excellent article, which defends the idea that female identity is essential to God’s plan of happiness.  One line in particular struck me as especially relevant for a train of thought that dominates some online discussions: an obsession with parsing speculations about Heavenly Mother.

[T]o assume that absence of mention is the same as absence is a logical fallacy…. it is possible to assert that whenever Elohim is mentioned, as it is in the creation story of Genesis (and by extension, the Pearl of Great Price), we are speaking of God, and “God” means an exalted woman and an exalted man married in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (D&C 132…).  

Quite right.  Those who demand more insight into and some kind of interaction with Heavenly Mother have completely misunderstood the nature of God.  We can already know everything there is to know about her.

We know that exaltation requires a sealed marriage, and we also know that exaltation requires the kind of perfect unity enjoyed by Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.   (more…)

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Spray Paint and Gun Control

Any time a crime is committed with a gun, there are many who claim that stricter gun control laws would have prevented it.

My state, like many others, has laws restricting the sale of spray paint.  Only legal adults with ID may buy it.  The idea is to curb graffiti.

Well, there’s still plenty of graffiti out there.  I’m not sure these laws have made any difference at all.

Because you know what they say: when spray paint is outlawed, only outlaws will have spray paint.

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The Toilet Room

“Bathroom” is a strange euphemism.  Most bathrooms do not have baths.  For that matter, a “restroom” should be a place where the primary activity is resting, but none of them have benches or beds.  A more accurate name would be “the toilet room.”

I used to wonder why we prefer bland misnomers for such a simple, common area, until I shared this thought with a class of high schoolers once, after which some of the more adventurous among them would come up to my desk and ask, “Excuse me, sir, may I please go to the toilet room?”  Much giggling ensued.

So, “bathroom” it is.

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In my studies of art, I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite paintings tend to come from a single time and place: the Hudson River School.  I guess I’m a sucker for dramatic, sentimental landscapes.

Two representative examples are below: first, Thomas Cole‘s The Oxbow, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm, from 1836; second, Albert Bierstadt‘s Sierra Nevada, 1871-1873.

Bierstadt may be my favorite painter these days, but I still really love the video at the bottom, for Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” which someone, in a spark of thematic brilliance, set to Cole’s series Course of Empire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heard about this on NPR’s Performance Today while driving home from work last Monday.  Apparently, every New Year’s in Vienna, a concert closes with this piece, with the audience clapping along and the conductor encouraging it, as seen here.  What fun!  I’d love to be in that audience, wouldn’t you?

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Saw this film recently: provocative propaganda, with this scene as the most moving.  For an 87 year-old movie, it’s remarkably frank in its depiction of violence.  No modern movie would show the baby carriage keeling over like that.

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October

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