Tuesday, August 19, 2014

California leads the way..

California leads the way ... to crazy jurisprudence.  The California Supreme Court has ruled that what you don't say is admissible as evidence unless a suspect explicitly invokes his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Speechless, I am.  And I hereby invoke my Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination for my speechlessness.

“Obama is signaling to absolute barbarians that they have relative free reign to overrun Iraq and the Kurds, slaughtering our one-time allies with impunity.”

“Obama is signaling to absolute barbarians that they have relative free reign to overrun Iraq and the Kurds, slaughtering our one-time allies with impunity.”  Jeff Goldstein, at Protein Wisdom.


San Diego leads the way...

San Diego leads the way ... toward a thugocracy.  Really.

Police forces across the country are fighting, tooth and nail, the idea that they could be monitored and held accountable for their actions.  Mind you, this isn't all police forces – some have embraced the transparency and accountability afforded by body cams and dash cams.  In part, that's to defend their officers against fraudulent accusations.  But the police forces that have entrenched abusive mindsets – mainly, but not entirely, in big cities – are seriously threatened by the disclosures by personal and automobile video, and they're not going to buckle without a fight...

“But this criminalization of politics is really wrong...”

“But this criminalization of politics is really wrong...”  I agree with Ann Althouse (and, by extension, Rush Limbaugh). 

I'll extend it just a tad: the problem isn't just the Democratic Party – it's what American politics has evolved into.  We no longer have a “citizen government” in any real sense.  Instead, we have a permanent political class, feeling as entitled as any elite class – and subject to all the corruptions and dirty tricks that any entitled class feels, er. entitled to.

I like to fantasize that we the people could fix all this mess by electing ordinary citizens instead of our political “elite.”  Then I remember who the voters are, and what their track record is.  And then I start thinking about wine, or the nearest concrete wall to bang my head against...

Going to the temple...

Going to the temple...  I'm visiting the Mormon temple in Ogden, Utah today.  No, I haven't undergone a religious conversion.  Friends here (Bruce and June N.) invited me to go see the temple during its open house following major renovations.  Temples are normally open only to baptized members of the LDS church who have a “temple recommend” attesting to the worthiness of the individual.  I would not qualify on either count :)

I'm looking forward to seeing what a Mormon temple looks like, and learning a bit more about the function.  What I know (perhaps) now comes mainly from books by Mormons who have left the church and now speak critically of it.  Devout Mormons with temple recommends do not discuss what happens inside the temple, in particular the temple ordinances; knowing this, I don't ask questions about it of my Mormon friends.  But I'm hoping a bit more will leak out on this visit.

Wine tasting BS...

Wine tasting BS...  You've most likely already heard about the wine tasting study, over 10 years ago, that completely smashed any notion that wine tasting was an objective “science”.  This shook the pretentious world of oenophiles to its very roots, and it still hasn't recovered.  This was very satisfying to me, as I do like my red wine – but I've long thought the “experts” were full of something (and it wasn't wine).

But the BS exposure masked another interesting discovery revealed in that study.  It turns out that the perceived color can completely override perceived taste and smell.  In other words, our brains are more willing to believe what our eyes see than what our nose smells.  Much more here...

Look at that white big house!

Look at that white big house!  That “sounds” wrong, doesn't it?  It should be “big white house”.  But why does the order of the adjectives (“white” and “big”) matter to us?  I don't remember ever being taught rules about adjective order in school – and yet, we all “know” them.  What's up with that?  Our brains work in strange ways – read about it (and try to ignore the fact that it's on Slate)...


Hah!  A friend and former colleague (Bow R.) used to joke when someone yawned in a meeting: “Hey, now, no brain cooling here!”  Now I read that scientists think they've finally cracked the riddle of why we (and just about every vertebrate) yawn.  Yup, you guessed it: to cool our brains.

Bow, you missed your calling!