Sen. Sam Brownback Believes In The Truth: His Truth

Posted on

Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas is running for President and does not believe in evolution. To defend his view, he wrote an Op Ed in today’s NY Times which starts off making some surprisingly good points but he winds up seeming pretty creepy and backwards to me in the end. Here is one snippet:

The unique and special place of each and every person in creation is a fundamental truth that must be safeguarded. I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine man’s essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos. I firmly believe that each human person, regardless of circumstance, was willed into being and made for a purpose.

I thought what brought me into existence was that my parents had sex. Hmmm. His piece gets even loopier and nuttier when he says that any theory that does not state that man is a special being created in God’s mind is not science but atheism posing as science. I’m not kidding, here it is word for word:

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

There is actually a lot of evidence that says man’s development was an accident. I love how he throws this word “truth” around. Please note that his man is one of only one hundred senators in this fair land. And he wants to be President. I wonder what he would do with intelligence and/or information that doesn’t fit his worldview. Maybe disregard it like our current President does?


One Woman Bands Repeating Loop Style

Posted on

I love one man bands – especially this one guy in the subway that somehow plays 8 instruments at once (he is around Grand Central a lot) – but had no clue that one of the catchier songs I’ve heard in the past year or so – KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” – was made by taping and playing back self made repeating sound loops while singing and performing over them.
My buddy Chris posted an entry about how Imogen Heep makes music this way and on that post, someone left a comment saying that KT did that repeating loop thing too but that Imogen’s song is better.
I think both are really, really cool and impressive. I love the idea and execution. This is the digital era’s version of the one man band, something much easier to pull it off in a studio than live. For instance, Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails until he tours. It is then that his group of 1 must become a group of many but these women pull off this live loop-style solo without a hitch. I won’t judge one versus the other because they are different types of sounds/songs. Why don’t you be the judge?
KT Tunstall performing her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” live:

Imogen Heap’s performing her song “Just For Now” live:

Pretty cool, huh?
Via Chris


Wii Love the Simpsons

Posted on

Coming soon to a video console near you: The Simpsons Game! It is being created in partnership with Gracie Films and Twentieth Century Fox and is not based on the upcoming Simpsons movie. Rather, it is an original story from writers who create the TV program and it will feature the entire voice cast from the TV show. Basically, you just need to be prepared to never leave your couch as it seems that its going to be just plain awesome.
Techtree news said:

“Players must use exciting, all new powers to save the world from rising chaos, with Homer, Marge, Bart, Maggie, and Lisa being playable characters. Players will have to make a journey through all of Springfield, battle an array of villains, and fight their way through various parodies of multiple popular video games.”

The game has over 15 levels and each will take the form of an episode of the series, with a unique title animation, setting, and story. Within each episode, players will take control of two family members, or play one of them with a friend in a split-screen two-player mode.
It is scheduled for release at the end of this year for basically everything: PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS.
After the jump, read the preview from Yahoo! News. I have just one thing to say: Aye Carumba!
Via Phyl
The Simpsons Game Preview: May 10, 2007 from Yahoo! News
Like Bart and Milhouse plotting in the Simpsons family tree house, EA was cooking up a little something-something on May 7, 2007. Outside, hundreds were celebrating a milestone 400th episode of The Simpsons. But inside the Fox Studios cafeteria, guarded by famed bartender Moe Szyslak, The Simpsons Game was being unveiled to a select group of press representatives.
Executive Producer Scot Amos set the scene: “We wanted to stay true to the fans, first and foremost. We wanted to make the ultimate video game for the Simpsons characters.” The first step was crafting a script worthy of the license. To do that, EA enlisted a trio of the show’s writers and producers, Matt Selman, Tim Long, and Matt Warburton.
The three spoke to us about the game’s focus, and earned massive gamer cred. “EA has been great to us,” said Selman. “They’re much better than the other monolithic video game companies.” The plot promises a plethora of surprises, poking fun at not only standard pop-culture, but also game-centric segments and parodies to appease even the most hardcore gamers. Unfortunately, the camp was keeping all of these secrets, well, top-secret.
They would tell us the game featured over an hour of new, TV-worthy material in cutscene form. All the actors reprise their roles for voiceovers, so it will be as authentic as possible. Tim Long quipped, “We’re not going for a hard ESRB rating here, but I will tell you some of the lines are so dirty, they made the cast cry.” Also, very early in the game, the Simpsons figure out that they’re actually inside a video game, which means all Springfield breaks loose.
Amos and Creative Director Jonathan Knight took us through one chunk of the game, however. It was an eating contest at the Duff Brewery, and the player controlled Homer. The perspective was free-roaming 3D, as Homer battled Barney, Krusty and other familiar characters to reach food. Surprisingly, after ingesting enough grub, Homer could turn into Homerball — ransacking the place as a gigantic sphere.
Being in a video game (and being aware of it), the family Simpson is not tied to the limitations of the show as much. Each one has a superpower to exploit: Homer has his ball form; Bart turns into Bartman; Marge can command hordes of characters; and Lisa can change the environment. Each of these has their own advantages, and the level design allows you to use them both to complete prime objectives and do a little exploring to find secrets and gather pick-ups.
Back to the eating contest: The stage is almost like Epcot Center, with various geographical locations. Homer trashes Germany, Mexico, and others — partially with the help of a spicy pepper (referencing the chili cook-off episode) to turn into a ball of lava. When it comes time to go through Scotland, Groundskeeper Willie closes the gate.
Now it’s time to switch to Bart, and use Bartman’s glide ability to scale the wall and take out Willie with some well-placed slingshot fire. This is a good time to mention the co-op gameplay. Each stage features two Simpsons family members, and you can switch between them during play. Much like LEGO Star Wars, a second player can jump in at any time. This turns everything split-screen, and the difficulty scales dynamically.
Online play will not be supported, but EA’s reasoning is sound. Knight says, “Our focus has been high-quality couch play. People are going to want to own the game because their friend will come over for a Homerball vs. Homerball match, or to play through the story with them. It’s going to bring the whole family together.” The prospect of multiplayer-centric minigames is definitely exciting.
Being a 3D game about a 2D family brings up some complications. You need to be faithful to the show, but expand the world to be more exciting. You need to have the Simpsons themselves be 3D, but still look hand-drawn. The team worked many months in research and development to solve this. Knight says, “We have a patent pending on this tech to real-time deform the mesh of faces as you move the camera around. It’s important that they stay looking like Bart or Homer from any angle.”
This addresses problems with past 3D Simpsons games, where something just didn’t look right — be it Lisa’s hair or Homer’s marshmallow-man physique. Knight says, “You want Lisa’s hair to look like a flat 2D billboard from any angle. There’s a lot of technology behind it, but it looks effortless in the game. But once you see it, you can never go back to another Simpsons game. It’s the first time we’re capturing the look and feel of the TV show.”
As we got to see the game in action (on Xbox 360), we can attest to the beautiful and faithful art style. It’s like you could pause it at any time, and it looks like an animation cel from the show. The Simpsons has simplistic visuals to be sure, but the game doesn’t skimp on details. Physics react realistically (for a cartoon, of course), and the animation is very solid. Also, things like flesh bunched up on the Homerball are nice — albeit disturbing — touches.
We’ve gotten relatively technical talking about graphics, but Simpsons creator Matt Groening popped in to put things into perspective: “This is the most ambitious Simpsons game ever. It rewards people that love games, while making fun of other games.” This isn’t just a video game starring The Simpsons; this is exactly how The Simpsons themselves would do video games. Due to release in late fall, we still have a long time to wait, but with reruns, the upcoming movie, and no shortage of DVDs, there are plenty of outlets to get your Simpsons fix in the meantime.


My Brothers

Posted on

Tidbit of the day: President Dwight D. Einsenhower, Dr. Jonas Salk and Larry David are my brothers.
If you know me, you may (or may not) be surprised to learn that I was in a fraternity when I was in college. Before I headed north I never thought that I would be a “frat guy.” However, when everyone I was friends with started to go to all these rush events, I quickly realized that I would have to make new friends (because they all would be away for the semester pledging) or I could be a follower and join them.
So, to see if it made sense to cave on my convictions, I made the rounds to a bunch of frats and at one of them I found myself sitting on a table in a corner, tired of the inane bullshit and wondering why I ever decided to even think about joining a fraternity. I wound up talking to a guy in a Dead shirt sitting next to me who was smoking a cigarette (which was illegal since we were inside the University Union) and flicking the ashes onto the carpet. “This is so dumb, I hate this shit,” he said. “Me too. Why are you here?” I asked. “Because I have to be – I’m in this frat,” he responded. Then we began to talk…
That simple exchange opened my eyes and made me realize not every frat guy was a loutish rah-rah frat guy – some could be considered “cool” in my book. As rush went on, Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP) became the only one I was interested in. Luckily for me, out of the 5 guys that I was most friendly with, 3 of them liked it as much as I did and we all decided to pledge TEP. They saw the same stuff I did – it existed as a duality – a traditional frat and a non-frat frat at the same time. Years later, I count joining TEP as one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life. I won’t get into the reasons now but one thing that it’s given me is a list of some pretty interesting people to call brothers.
Here is a brief rundown of people should be able to respond to a secret handshake I know (if alive that is):

  • Dwight Eisenhower: Former U.S. President and Famous WWII General
  • Larry David: co-creater of Seinfeld and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Dr. Jonas Salk: scientist who discoverer of the polio vaccine.
  • General Omar Bradley: 5 star general. Former chairman joint chief of staff, WWII hero
  • William O. Douglas: United States Supreme Court Justice 1939-1975. One of the longest serving US Supreme Court Justices. Champion of First Amendment Rights and Civil Liberties.
  • Benny Goodman: Musician
  • Red Auerbach: 4th winningest coach in NBA history
  • Adam Sandler: Comedian/Actor
  • Samuel Lefrak: Internationally renown architect and builder of sky scrappers in New York.
  • Mike Nichols: Director of the “Graduate” and many other well known movies
  • George Stephanopoulos: Former advisor to Pres. Clinton
  • Judge Wapner: Former Judge on People’s Court
  • Jerry Springer: Talk Show Host, former mayor of Cincinnati
  • David Duchovny: Actor

Okay, Skull and Bones isn’t not but still, not a bad list…


"I Love You More Than…"

Posted on

Sarah Silverman is one of the hottest comics around right now. Some people love her. Some hate her. I’m on the fence – sometimes I think she’s great and other times I think she is just being offensive for no reason (which I know is part of her charm and her style of humor – I just don’t love it). The video for her song “I Love You More Than…” below though is decently funny, but its there is one part I just love because I feel the same way: “Jewish people driving German cars. Jewish people driving German cars. Jewy people buying German cars. What the cock is that shit?”
Check it out:

Via Chris


Mob Rule at Digg Nation

Posted on

Digg, which is a user driven social content website, faced a user revolt that it couldn’t contain or control over the past two days. Long story short, some users started posting some quasi-legal / illegal information about how to get around HD-DVD encryption. Digg management, fearing a lawsuit, deleted the posts. More posts came with the same info. More posts were deleted. Their CEO posted to the Digg blog and said,

“We’ve been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights. In order to respect these rights and to comply with the law, we have removed postings of the key that have been brought to our attention.”

That only go the users even more fired up and they rose up to make sure that EVERY single post was about this topic. As this is how the site works (users post information that they find interesting – like how delicious does bookmarks – and other users then link to it, comment, etc), management couldn’t do anything except either suspend EVERY active account or take the site down, neither of which were viable options in their opinion.
So, today co-founder Kevin Rose posted on the Digg blog, effectively capitulating to the mob’s demands: He wrote,

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Let this be a lesson to any community based / social networking type site out there, especially if your audience is comprised of IT gurus. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. I love it!
Read more after the jump.
To say what happened today on Digg was a “user revolt” is an understatement. The Digg team deleted a story that linked to the decryption key for HD DVDs after receiving a take down demand and all hell broke loose. More stories appeared and were deleted, and users posting the stories were suspended.
That just got the Digg community fired up, and soon the entire Digg home page was filled with stories containing the decryption key. The users had taken control of the site, and unless Digg went into wholesale deletion mode and suspended a large portion of their users, there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop it.
Digg CEO Jay Adelson responded on the Digg blog earlier this afternoon but it was clear he did not yet understand the chaos that was coming. The post only added fuel to the fire. Just now, co-founder Kevin Rose posted yet again on the Digg blog, effectively capitulating to the mob’s demands: He says,

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Until today, it seems, even Digg didn’t fully understand the power of its community to determine what is “news.” I think the community made their point crystal clear.
Vive La Revolution.


Mission Still Unaccomplished

Posted on

According the our esteemed President and Commander-in-Chief, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” ended four years ago today on May 1, 2003.
Here is the start of Bush’s speech:

Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.)

On that date, only 139 American soldiers had died. Since then, 3212 have died. That doesn’t count the over 62,760 Iraqi civilians who have died. No one ever seems to counts them.
As an American citizen, voter and taxpayer, I am opening demanding to Mr. Bush that he bring the vast majority of our men and women home from the Gulf. Let’s give diplomacy a try and our troops and equipment a rest. Four years in a desert is never good for any car – think about what its doing to our military’s trucks, tanks, personnel carriers, helicopters, etc. You should see the amount of sand that gets in my stuff after one day at the beach. After four years at the beach? Oh man…I don’t even want to think about it…