Thursday, December 15, 2005

you have no right to speak spanish in this country


This would pass without notice as yet another example of Kansas (my birth state, btw) plumbing the depths of human stupidity, but the article itself is quite interesting to me.

The article was apparently written by, whose other recent headlines include "Keeping Christ in Christmas -- The Most Important Tradition" and "Wal-Mart Preparing to Offer Another Carrot to GLBT Community". So I expected at least a whiff of bias here. But, I'm impressed - the article seems to be written with a very restrained hand. I'm used to seeing evangelicals fall in line with all manner of right-wing crap, even stuff that has nothing to do with christian teachings. It's nice to see at least one counterexample.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Secret Sins

Here's a compelling read:

Bombastically written, but worthwhile. I've committed these sins myself.

This reminds me of another thought I've had. This has probably been thought of by other people before, if you know who, please tell me. The idea is: If a field publishes papers on statistical results, and the accepted threshold for statistical significance is 1% (meaning that there is a 1% chance that the results were due to randomly picking a perverse sample), then 1% of those papers' conclusions will be bogus!

The question then, is: Which ones?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Power Line: The panic over Iraq

Power Line: The panic over Iraq

This is amazing!

(If you can't tell, I've decided to embark on a venture into the nether regions of the internet.)

Let me briefly summarize this post, I don't expect many people to endure actually reading it. The post excerpts from and comments on an essay by Norman Podhoretz. The claims he makes are (slightly exaggerated here):

1. The US invasion of Iraq is just like the American Revolution. (complete with Tom Paine quotes)
2. Turncoats in the american revolution turned traitor because they were afraid the British would win.
3. But The US can't possibly lose the war in Iraq! (After all, it's not like we've ever lost a war of unclear purpose in a country we don't understand before...) Besides, things are going swimmingly!
4. Furthermore, no one can possibly deny the conclusion that victory is "staring the US in the face". I mean, it's self-evident!
5. Therefore, the people currently opposed to the war (i.e. Traitors) are opposed not because they want to be on the winning side, but because they actually want the US to lose!

I'm not sure I know what to say. The only thing I can possibly imagine (other than that these people are just simply insane) is that, a few years down the road, we are going to see a repeat of the claim that "we could have won if the air force had been given its reins", i.e. "if the peaceniks and the goddam hippies had let us drop an H-bomb on those commie gooks^W^Wislamofascist ragheads, we wouldn't have suffered this national embarrassment".

Sigh. I'm so depressed by this kind of idiocy.