Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Peppering of Birdshot

Once again I've let too much time go by between posts, what with one thing and another. I've got a few longer posts in the works, but in the meantime here's a 28-gauge blast of random thoughts:

Sweet Home, South Dakota... As a follow-up to my thoughts on South Dakota's abortion ban, which Governor Mike Rounds has now signed into law (to less than rave reviews at home and abroad), I note the following from a CBS News web report: "Lawmakers said an anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to defend the ban, and the Legislature set up a special account to accept donations for legal fees." I suppose I just never thought about it, but I didn't realize states could accept private donations to defend laws against legal challenges. Now that I have thought about it, I think it's a bad idea: I can't come up with a legal theory for banning the process, but in principle I'm concerned that it has the effect of isolating legislators from responsibility for the laws they pass. If the state's taxpayers were footing the bill for all those millions of dollars in legal costs, their representatives might think twice before passing a patently unconstitutional law whose real purpose is to advance a national political agenda. As it is, the South Dakota legislature is now a regiment of mercenaries, fighting someone else's battle in the pay of outside money. If it were my state's legislature, I'd be pissed... regardless of how I felt about the issue at hand.

Blogstyles of the New and Clueless... I finally got caught up reading my daughter's blog (with her permission; I'm not snooping), and I see she initially took offense at my previous comments about high-schoolers' blogs. She quickly figured out I didn't mean to insult her and her friends -- she's a very smart kid -- but I wanted to say publicly that my comment about kids being interested in the minutiae of each other's lives was in no way intended as a putdown. It's one of the special magics of that age that your life should be so intimately connected with those of your friends; revel in it while you can. In any case, I'm new (and clueless!) at this whole deal, while she has just celebrated the second anniversary of her blog. If there were any conflict between our blogging styles, you'd have to give her way precedence!

These Dadgum Newfangled Computers... Along the same lines, at work today my Cranky Conservative Lunch Buddy (CCLB) was holding forth about how modern communication technologies like voicemail and e-mail have caused people to stop talking to one another. Me, I don't buy it. No doubt new technologies can present challenges to social behavior, but since we're stuck with them it's useless to wring our hands about how awful they are. In any case, I think computer-based communication enhances rather than degrades sociability. My CCLB was talking about how careful he and his wife are to police their kids' computer usage, so they will go out and play with other kids face-to-face instead. My perception, though, is that my daughter and her friends use blogging, e-mail, IM, and the web to add to, not replace, their face-to-face interaction. They spend plenty of time together in "meat-space"; the computer just helps them arrange it. And IM makes for great virtual study groups, too. I say bring on the pixels!

Do (Hungry) Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?... If they make a sequel to Splash, do you suppose Daryl Hannah will play this part?

Unit of the Day: The mickey, used by computer programmers, is the length of the smallest detectable movement of a computer mouse (mouse... mickey... get it?) or similar input device. Its absolute size depends on the specific equipment, but roughly 0.1 millimeter would be a typical value.


Mara said...

haha that looks like an animal-human hybrid to me!

ATalbot said...

This Sunday!

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