Saturday, May 30, 2009

People's Daily read by artificial girl

Something interesting & odd -- People's Daily Online now offers, for some of its stories, audio service in which a computer-generated woman's voice "reads" aloud the accompanying article.

For an example, try this one on the possibility of Indonesia mediating between the two Koreas. If war erupts with the North, it will be very strange to hear it discussed in oddly emotionless tones.

I'll enjoy the service even more when they add a functioning avatar for her.

(Regular link to People's Daily available on UC NEWS links.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The hypocrisy of the "Progressives"

By the indications I've seen, Sonia Sotomayor is a bad nominee for the Supreme Court. It doesn't appear that she understands the law as protecting individual rights; the Ricci and the Didden decisions seem to make that clear. But this post isn't about that; I will leave law professor Richard Epstein (and here) and columnist George Will to make this case.

But what are we to make of a nomination in which the primary rationale for selection seems to be her sex, ethnicity, and "life story?" Yesterday NPR's Mara Liasson repeatedly termed Sotomayor "bulletproof." And ABC’s Jan Greenburg confirms that this was indeed Obama's rationale.

Fine: a slick move on the part of a savvy political operator. But I note that Sotomayor has explicitly stated that her sex and ethnicity make her more qualified to rule on law than if she were a white male - this in response to a claim by Sandra Day O'Connor that one’s wisdom, not one's "identity," is the proper basis for making legal rulings.

I don’t know whether Sotomayor is actually racist and sexist - although I would certainly understand if fireman Frank Ricci believes he could not get a fair hearing in her court.

I do know that if a white man were to say that his race and sex made him more qualified to make legal decisions than someone who hasn’t had "the richness" of a white male’s experiences, he'd be immediately disqualified as a racist and sexist, and publicly destroyed by the "progressives." That they find Sotomayor’s comment acceptable, even cute, betrays their own hypocrisy, as well as their own racism and sexism. They've elevated politically correct racism and sexism to a "principle."

And unfortunately, progressive racism and sexism is increasingly becoming the law of the land.

See Volokh Conspiracy for intelligent and even-handed analysis of Sotomayor herself.

Photo: Fireman Frank Ricci, from the text Firefighter's Handbook, to which he's a contributor.

Utterly Out of Control

How else to characterize this? Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner declares that Treasury has perpetual authority and funds to manipulate capital markets as it sees fit.

And Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Elizabeth Coleman is more clueless as to what the Fed is doing (and even what she’s doing) than, well, maybe anyone else in country.

Here's the Bloomberg report on the $13 trillion in Fed and Treasury liabilities.

Here's the Fed OIG hotline for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse. Are we permitted to turn in the entire Federal government?

Dushka: Lost Dog - Reward

A standing offer: $500 for her safe return.

I realize most of my "regular" readers are far off, but I’ll put this up anyway. My dog was lost in mid-March, in south-eastern Michigan, between Hillsdale and Osseo. She’s a black lab (purebred), seven years old, in excellent shape, and was wearing a collar with orange diamonds on a black background, with a tag with her name on it. She was capable of covering 30 miles in a day, and northern Ohio and Indiana were certainly within that radius.

I've searched very hard in the immediate area she was lost, and found nothing. I've put out hundreds of flyers and run various sorts of ads, yet no one has reported seeing her. In putting this online I'm turning over another stone.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lost Friends

I had expected to begin writing, and blogging, extensively starting mid-March, but a few unpleasant unforeseen contingencies have derailed me for a few months. I’ve unexpectedly lost two friends.

Hans Roing, brother to my climbing partner Mats, died very suddenly. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and passed away shortly thereafter. I climbed less with Hans than with Mats, but greatly enjoyed the time I spent with him.

A few memories: When Mats, Katya, and I climbed Grand Teton, he was attending a meeting in the Jackson area. Just for fun and camaraderie, he accompanied us up to base camp, quite a climb itself, and then scrambled back down to get back to his conference. A year later, after Mats and I had successfully summitted Gannett Peak, Mats decided to run the Devil’s Backbone 50 Miler south of Bozeman MT. I was too pooped to run, so I helped pack supplies to the 25 mile aid station at Windy Pass and spent the day there. At some point, Hans and a friend showed up - they had bushwhacked from the Yellowstone side of the Gallatin Divide, over notional trails through grizzly country, just to cheer Mats on. Mats was outperforming his wildest expectations, and had already been and gone. I had a great time talking with Hans anyway, and he enjoyed the day. Somewhere I have a photo I took of him, and will post it when I find it. Hans - sorely missed. But I think they are happy to have him in Valhalla.

Second loss: during a mundane trail run, my longtime companion and running partner Dushka vanished without a trace. She was only a few yards ahead of me, running with another canine friend, Chaos. They suddenly veered off the trail after a little animal, and by the time I got there - a matter of seconds - Dushka was gone. This is quite unlike her; she doesn’t stray far from me, and I have called her off everything from bears to rabbits. I’ve searched as hard as I can for her, and still am doing so. I’ve feared she was somehow sucked into a nearby underwater drain and drowned, but with the help of a friend have dredged it with no results.

In my search, I’ve encountered the kindness of many strangers. I put out numerous flyers, and have subsequently bumped into people who are looking for her. I’ve also had calls from strangers asking how the search goes, and telling me they are keeping an eye out. Many of my students have been helping as well. I’m grateful.

There aren’t many beings as loving, thoughtful, kind, and full of life as Dushka. Here’s hoping that when friends are lost, it’s not forever.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?